The Spirits in the Shower Stall

“How long do you mean to be content?” ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

“The bodies of traumatized people portray “snapshots” of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. For example, when we prepare to fight or to flee, muscles throughout our entire body are tensed in specific patterns of high energy readiness. When we are unable to complete the appropriate actions, we fail to discharge the tremendous energy generated by our survival preparations. This energy becomes fixed in specific patterns of neuromuscular readiness. The person then stays in a state of acute and then chronic arousal and dysfunction in the central nervous system. Traumatized people are not suffering from a disease in the normal sense of the word – they have become stuck in an aroused state. It is difficult if not impossible to function normally under these circumstances.” ~ Peter Levine

Wow, “they have become stuck in an aroused state“. About a month ago the clutch on my car failed terminally. The drive home from work (five long miles), nursing the pedal to keep the car moving, was excruciating, anxiety-wise. I made it, yet worse for the wear. Though I have PTSD humming at all times, sometimes it gets triggered and the hum stretches out then knots up into a scream. It got triggered that night. The after-effects are with me still, including the one that makes feel on the edge of tears most all the time. The knot remains tight. It’s not just physical pain, it is burning, itching, aching, pounding, terrifying. Not to mention the emotional and psychological effects. It’s complicated. It’s a mess. I wanna stay home! Alas, tis a workday. Poor me, right? Whatever. As long as we have coffee on it’s okay. Mask & gloves. I find myself hoping that people can detect a smile behind the mask. I think of it as my “Hurricane Andrew mindset”. Andrew taught me that happiness is indeed elective, especially when things turn dire. And advisable; happiness is advisable. It ain’t gonna fix nothin’ right away, but it is like putting a new set of tires on your car, the way it makes you feel those deep feelings. Oh well. Gotta get to it. I bought one of those super-wide rain-mist shower heads, as a luxury during this crisis. I have the next two days off so I can take a couple of showers a day. It ain’t an OCD thing. Nope. I find that 2-3 showers a day, during those triggered spells, is not only soothing, it also seems to ratchet back the severity. I am now off to step under the rain-mist before work. The Celts believe that the Mist is where the world of Spirit and the material world intermingle most thoroughly and intensely. And now I can enjoy the perks at home. Good on me.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Disdain For Aphorisms

“It doesn’t matter how many years go by, how much therapy I embark on, how much I try to achieve that elusive thing known as perspective, which is supposed to put all past wrongs into their rightful and diminished place, that happy place where all the talk is of lessons learned and inner peace. No one will ever understand the potency of my memories, which are so solid and vivid that I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me they are driving me crazy. My subconscious has not buried them, my superego has not restrained them. They are front and center, they are going on right now.” ~ Elizabeth Wertzel

“When I say or write something, there are actually a whole lot of different things I am communicating. The propositional content (i.e., the verbal information I’m trying to convey) is only one part of it. Another part is stuff about me, the communicator. Everyone knows this. It’s a function of the fact there are so many different well-formed ways to say the same basic thing, from e.g. “I was attacked by a bear!” to “Goddamn bear tried to kill me!” to “That ursine juggernaut did essay to sup upon my person!” and so on.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Never did I think anything like it, to think that going down into town to do laundry is risky in that I am exposing myself to a deadly disease by doing so. But I do it four days a week. I’ve had customers praise my bravery for working as a retail cashier in an essential business during a pandemic. A woman said that to me yesterday and I chuckled, smiled, then said “Somebody’s got to feed that cat”. Not to mention that the cat doesn’t want me home every day. But I didn’t tell her that. She might be a dog person. You never know. Another thing I ran into the other day . . . the Boomer/Millenial pop-banter. Pollyanna here thought there was respect given to seniors as a matter of course. Nope. I’ll admit, it threw me off; I felt temporarily powerless, and that tripped a couple of my triggers; so now I’ve got a day of mental health management to perform. Depressed, don’tcha know. Pretty bad as well. I don’t have a cane so I couldn’t gently beat the child, but I do think it would be fun to carry a quality water pistol as a sidearm. “Like dude, don’t patronize me, dude. No worries, I use distilled water, sanitized under UV light. This stuff wouldn’t even make Ironman rust, dude. And dude, the antidote to this stuff is a towel. Dry yourself off – you’re all wet! Dude, I never had kids, and you are why, dude”. Hey – a guy’s gotta dream. But no, the child actually hurt my feelings. Listen, I’m calling a 30-something human being a child. Just sayin’. And, hey again – don’t give me that “you choose how to react” stuff. That’s why they call it clinical depression: a New Age intellectual aphorism ain’t gonna make a lick of difference when ya get tripped and head into the darkness. No worries: I’ve climbed out of this kind of attack countless times. And I feel disdain for aphorisms of any type or sort. No worries, k?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

This Cat-Stubborn Irrationality

“Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.” ~ Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.” ~ Andrew Solomon

“That’s what literature is. It’s the people who went before us, tapping out messages from the past, from beyond the grave, trying to tell us about life and death! Listen to them!” ~ Connie Willis

Quiet mornings have become quieter since the State lock-down began. That only makes the tinnitus seem louder. This morning it is, a dull hiss, which is akin to a dull roar. Coffee all gone. Cat in cat cave. Workday ahead. Of course, I don’t wanna go, but when do I ever want to go. Luckily I have learned to rudder on regardless of this cat-stubborn irrationality. This is in part due to years of work through both psychological and somatic approaches to this ever present ever lurking disturbance. The larger part, the part I more tend to forget and let drift off, is the Magic. The magic of Love slapped me upside the head a few days ago, reminding me that it ain’t all roses and chocolate, if at all. Something truly scary opened my eyes to something truly beautiful. Rationality was not efficacious, one way or another, being more of a concerned bystander. Clunky sentence. I know. But I have to hang on to what rationality I feel this morning. It will come in handy at work, where I know the true bottom line in these dark times is to let Light shine. Rational or not, like it or not, sometimes the cat is being stubborn for a very good reason. Ciao, meow, whatever!

All is well. Goof gloriously.

An Open Offer For Edification

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“It’s strange how dreams get under your skin and give your heart a test for what’s real and what’s imaginary.” ~ Jason Mraz

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ” ~ Oscar Wilde

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.” ~ Sinclair Lewis

A rainy morning fits the day perfectly. It’s a gentle rain, intermittent, and sweet. Forecast? Yup, on and off throughout the day. I consider it to be an open offer for edification from Mother Nature. When there is so much fear, tribulation, and strife, loose in the world it seems only logical that the opportunity to calm the fuck down is preeminent. Easy pickings, if you really want to go there. I do. Free-floating trepidation has me all wound up, beneath the well-earned fatigue, on top of the weariness. Somewhere in the middle. On a rainy morning. It has been pert near a month since I bought my new car. If the Fates are not fixin to laugh at me I’ll be picking it up this morning. The tech gave the all clear. The new part . . . oh, never mind. This has been a – shall we say – rigorous experience so far. All I want at this point is to get into that car and drive home. I need a good metaphor today, and that one is perfect. And if I am lucky the rainy skies will pervade the day. It is so quiet this morning. I definitely do not want to drive into Taos but I have to. I can blow off the laundromat for a few days, but the new car calleth. Better yet, I think I’ll start having my laundry done via drop-off service, to lessen my social contact exposure. I might grow to enjoy this self-isolation thing. I mean, I’ve done it for years now, but now it is different. Truth be told, there ain’t none of the pandemic makes much sense to me yet, other than the fact it is real. I look forward to this rainy day. It symbolizes cleansing and placid arrival. The mist it provides represents a closer than usual intermingling of the two worlds. The Spirits and Ancestors hang close. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Agoraphobia and Unspeakable Connection

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“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” ~ L. R. Knost

“Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.” ~ David Foster Wallace

“Even as a child, she had preferred night to day, had enjoyed sitting out in the yard after sunset, under the star-speckled sky listening to frogs and crickets. Darkness soothed. It softened the sharp edges of the world, toned down the too-harsh colors. With the coming of twilight, the sky seemed to recede; the universe expanded. The night was bigger than the day, and in its realm, life seemed to have more possibilities.” ~ Dean Koontz

It’s the little things. I woke at 2 AM, feeling good, and clear. A few minutes later I stepped outside for a smoke and to take a gander at the stars. Somewhere in the distance, far out into the darkness, somebody had a radio playing loud. Taylor Swift. That was the start of my day, and it is good. The day will be good. Today is another workday. Lately I have been feeling fortunate to have devoured so much science and science fiction in my youth. Yesterday our lovely governor put a two week lockdown on all non-essential business. My job is essential; lucky me. On the plus side it is nice to have so little traffic on the roads. And the feel of community in this little town is palpable. There’s a lot of love here, and it shows. But it is also a science fiction epic unfolding. Call it post-apocalyptic if you must. I don’t like to look at it that way. Maybe Hunger Games. I’d be okay with having Jennifer Lawrence in my immediate circle, and maybe we could deluge a few Republicans with bigly huge Super Soakers. Nice image, that. Maybe infuse the water with patchouli oil? Nah, that would be cruel. A little bit of my inner Abbie Hoffman showing, no doubt.

“Nobody on the road

Nobody on the beach

I feel it in the air

The summer’s out of reach” ~ Don Henley

Today’s opening photo is of Rosie the cat at the tender young age of about one year old. We were staying at mom’s house, helping her through the process of a slow death. The look on Rosie’s face looks about how I feel these days, after 9-10 hours in the marketplace, and the little voice inside my head is like all “dude, can’tcha lose the agoraphobia for the time being, dude?”. Yeh, it does seem kinda sorta irrelevant right about now. Several times yesterday I found that my heart was pounding, yet my heartbeat was not at all accelerated. Sheer life energy, pumping Light. I feel it strong this morning, this life energy. After 36 years of research into consciousness and death I have come to have the good fortune of being able to see beauty in death, but the pandemic is pretty much rolling right over that beauty, as if Sisyphus lost his focus. Another thing that had my heart pounding was seeing a woman that I don’t see enough of. There arose a personal, interpersonal note of unspeakable connection between us. As she was headed out the door our eyes locked and our faces both took on a facade of fear and unknowing. We said nothing, not aloud. But the level of communications going on, wordless and potent, pushed me into a new level of consciousness, and I ain’t lettin’ it slip away – no way, no how. I stepped to where I could watch her walk to her car. The whole scene was magical, despite there being an undercurrent of foreboding. Sigh. I gotta get ready for work. Dang. I hope to see her soon.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Out Into the Great Whatever

“To write as if your life depended on it; to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence– words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.” ~ Adrienne Rich

“One loses, as one grows older, something of the lightness of one’s dreams; one begins to take life up in both hands, and to care more for the fruit than the flower, and that is no great loss perhaps.” ~ W. B. Yeats

“Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one.” ~ Black Elk

Quiet morning. Little to none as far as fresh internet content is concerned. Facebook slowed to a halt, or so it seems. The cat has been in her cat cave all night long, by all indications. I’m facing a workday, and all that might entail in these dark days. Earlier I read an article about what different cultures are stockpiling to cope with the crisis. My favorite was the Finns, who as reported are introverts who stock up on box wine. I must admit I have had the urge to stick a box of wine in the pantry. As of this writing no wine has been in the pantry. Will there be? I don’t know, maybe if I have to stay home for a week or two. I did stop by the dispensary to fatten my stash a bit. They have a signboard set about 25 feet from the front door. It has instructions and a menu. Wait here for the clerk to come out to you. She appears, with apron, mask and nitrile gloves. She takes your medical card, your drivers’ license, and your cash, then scurries back inside for a few minutes. It’s similar to the way they did it back in the 60s, except back then you went to the back door. Just sayin’. Of course the reactions to medical cannabis go anywhere from giggles to scorn, but I remain grateful for having this resource available, especially during these stress-saturated times. It helps: kind of a psychic anti-inflammatory after a day of exposure to whatever. Which is where I am headed right now: out into the Great Whatever. Wish me luck. Retail work is an adventure, not just a job.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Savor the Blessed Weirdness

“We teach our child many things I don’t believe in, and almost nothing I do believe in. We teach punctuality, particularly if the enforcement of it disturbs the peace. My father taught me, by example, that the greatest defeat in life was to miss a train. Only after many years did I learn that an escaping train carries away with it nothing vital to my health. Railroad trains are such magnificent objects we commonly mistake them for Destiny.” ~ E. B. White

“Peter has learned the difficult animal skill of doing nothing. He’s learned to unshackle himself of the race of time and contemplate time itself. It’s a lesson hard learned, just to sit there and be.” ~ Yann Martel

“So much space, such silence, so much time. To drift. To think. To let your mind roam anywhere it pleases. To dream. Perhaps the true luxury of our age is not the piles of goods we endlessly accumulate, but Time.” ~ Ferenc Máté

As Sundays now acquire a new tone and feel I find that it is an easier tone and a more comfortable feel. Social distancing, stay at home. This day of the week seems to be losing its mystique for me. Just as well, I suppose. I’ve got the curtains drawn open for my daily sports of watching the colors and shadows of morning morph seamlessly via angles of incidence and angles of refraction, reflection, whatever. I will of course draw them shut this afternoon, while I peruse the news and catch up with the 22nd century via Star Trek: Enterprise. The Star Trek is a feel good thing for me. Keep hopes up, that sort of thing. As much as I remain upbeat at work I find that it is impossible to ignore the increased emotional and psychological attrition of dealing with the public in these dark times. There is no sense reckoning much analysis at this point. Oh, another feel good thing for me – oddly enough – is savoring the blessed weirdness of the tectonic shifts underway for our species. And the weather? Windy and a tad cold. Good day to stay home, reckon?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Eeyore and the Law of Attraction

“Writing, which was both painful and palliative for me, turned out to be my own way of giving blood in a crisis. I can only hope this unit of words will have a longer shelf life than the forty-two days of a unit of blood, as this critical time blends seamlessly into the next one.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Something that happened yesterday reminded me of Eeyore. I fell into a brief conversation about positive thinking, the Law of Attraction, and Doris Day. No, not Doris Day. I made that up. But Doris singing “Que Sera, Sera” fits in quite nicely. I am not a positive thinker, except when I am. I just don’t think positive thinking is akin to magic, any more than anything else is. The Law of Attraction? Hmmmm. Let’s just say that if you rule out happenstance you cease to live. Says me. But what of Eeyore? Is he doomed because of his gloom? That’s the question that haunts me today. And I have no answer. The guy I was talking to backed out of the conversation when in response to his mentioning the Law of Attraction and “you create your own reality” I mentioned that the quantum physics argument that is used to explain these purported phenomenon is seriously flawed. I was really ready to get into this topic when the guy stopped us short and changed the subject. I guess I brought it upon myself, right? Poor Eeyore, wasting away his life with a bad attitude. Of course, Eeyore may be clinically depressed. Then what? That’s where this gets personal for me. Sigh. Tis a workday for me, in an essential service industry job, serving the public during a deadly global pandemic. Yesterday’s shift was fun. The public spirits are running pretty high. I’m holding my own, having only slipped once when a different guy mentioned that the coronavirus is a man-made bio-weapon. I told him that more likely the coronavirus is simply Mother Nature’s way of thinning out the herd. And let’s not get into chemtrails, k? I’ll take happenstance and Nature over conspiracies and pop-magic/science any day. Or at least for today. I bow to Eeyore. And Tigger, dude, ya might wanna ease up on the Red Bull, dude.

All is well. Goof gloriously

That Marketplace of Uncertainty

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“An honest bookstore would post the following sign above its ‘self-help’ section: ‘For true self-help, please visit our philosophy, literature, history and science sections, find yourself a good book, read it, and think about it.” ~ Roger Ebert

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” ~ H. G. Wells

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.” ~ Philip K. Dick

Overwhelmed. Too much information. Slept on and off throughout the night. Maybe not enough, but it sure feels like enough. Cat’s asleep in her cat cave. I made the coffee close to perfect. The morning is quiet. The day is a workday. I’ll be off into that marketplace of uncertainty is just a few minutes. As usual, it is highly likely that I will have some fun with it. This is advisable in a professional service worker, if they are so inclined. I think levity and slapstick in general are key tools in facing something so large as the pandemic out there. That’s me today. Philosophy, humor, fear, hope; all these things and more . . . gotta get to it.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Donkey in the Dark

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Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your doorI know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years” ~ Mike and the Mechanics

Every star is gone. It seems maybe the storm is coming in. Snow by sunrise? That’s my guess. Earlier, when the stars were still out, a plane took off from the airport, which is about 3 miles over yonder. The plane circled over toward the house here, then head west. As it disappeared from view another big noise arose from the darkness: a donkey from the pasture across the road. They always make me laugh when I hear their sudden proclamations. Especially before sunrise. But I was wrong about the snow – it’s already begun. Snow, rain on top, then sleet. It’ll settle into snow by sunrise. But I could be wrong again. Regardless, I gotta go do laundry today. Oh, and did I mention there’s a global pandemic going on? I’m trying not to go all existential about this, but likely I will anyway. Just me and Rosie the cat here. I pretty much self-isolate as a matter of course anyway. This part of it is nothing new. Right now I am beginning to go through the series “Star Trek: Enterprise, and I find myself enjoying it greatly. Then there is season two of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. Let me tell you, that teenage witch gives Lucifer a run for his money! Listen here, Dark Lord. Don’t let her blond cuteness fool you. Just don’t. Sigh. Mundane stuff, mostly. I guess I am flat out of words.

All is well. Goof gloriously.