Little Scraps of Wisdom

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“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”  ~  Umberto Eco

If the illustrious Mr. Eco is to be believed then I have a few choice words for my father. Instead I will sit and wait, and type, until the coffee is ready. One of the oddities that unfolds from depression, as I experience it, is an unwillingness to do small tasks. Like making coffee. Like it’s not so hard, right? Don’t get me wrong, I do it. It’s as if I expect someone to make the coffee for me. The cat won’t do it. Given. What’s the use. I’m so tired. This stuff can’t be good for me. Tiredness is good. But I do it because I love the stuff. So, you may ask, how is it? Bold, bitter, and black, with overtones of heartache.

I lost most of yesterday to depression. Hopelessness, powerlessness, anger turned inward  .  .  .  however you describe it in essence, one thing about depression is that if you can take time to define it at all, and to have appropriate words to do so, you’re not in too deep. Dude you’re okay. I love my intellect. It has gotten me out of some pretty tight spots. Yesterday I got angry at the cat numerous times. A lotta good that does, eh? She vibes in to my moods and when I am high anxiety she is as well. The difference is that she acts out while I strategically sit like a lump. She, in her agitation, disturbs my lump-ness. The whole scene gets loopy, curls back on itself, and the resulting snowball effect is anything but cold.

I did manage to get in a few episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. I’ll tell y’all right here right now, that Captain Janeway is one tough cookie, with a heart of gold, and she slings a Kate Hepburn persona like nobody’s business. She’s a beauty alright but I don’t have a crush on her. My crush is on Kes. Ooo, that voice. Suffice it to say that Voyager serves me on several levels, the most basic being that it gets me out of my own head for a spell. The writer in me gets a heap of help just by taking in the rhythm of the narrative and the sparkle of the plot. Characterization. And maybe – just maybe – I will be left with some wisdom. Last night they even had the Borg in the story, and they had a species, race, whatever, that could defeat the Borg quite easily. And one of the Borg drones gets separated from Collective, is rehabilitated by the holographic ship’s doctor, and joins the crew. Adolescent boys take note, just have a look, k?

And so, in today’s search for the scraps of wisdom my father left me I will venture into town to do my laundry. Maybe stop by the Coffee Spot to get a cup of Joe, and to see Amber the sweet, the barista. She told me to stop by. Girl’s a balm for a heartache, let me tell ya right now. And the rest of the day? That’s anybody’s guess. I have a nagging hunger for some really good magazine style writing – think The Atlantic, The New Yorker. Reading is a balm for heartache as well. And it exercises the brain. The stress hormone created through depression can squeeze life out of the brain. With any kind of luck at all that won’t be so bad today. My father usta say ‘with any kind of luck at all’. Really, dad? Really? Any kind? Dude like thanks.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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This Revelation Mine

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“Intuition is the art, peculiar to the human mind, of working out the correct answer from data that is, in itself, incomplete or even, perhaps, misleading.”  ~  Isaac Asimov, Forward the Foundation

I got my coyote fix this morning. That should do it for the day, but if more magic comes then so be it. It’s just short of 6AM and I am delighted that the vague and ominous clouds of low-level dread are dispersing. I hate that stuff. I mean, what if I were a hunter-gather and I was like all what if there is no meat out there today. No prob, I’ll grab a burger on the way home. Such silliness is one of the prices I pay by simply being myself. Luckily I can afford it. Lately I have been low-level moaning about my tight financial state of late. There are things that can be afforded that have no real connection to money, none beyond the way that .  .  .  .  oh, never mind. What was I thinking?

This morning’s opening photo was taken last evening on my drive home from my therapy session. So many times, while feeling grateful to just be allowed to pour out stuff, I have wondered if the sessions were really helping at all. The feeling of not really feeling anything profound, of not understanding just where it is all going, of not having even a fleeting glimpse of the payoff, all of these things become only so much flotsam and jetsam when the money shot arrives. Let me put it this way, if you have a revelation while thinking ‘wow, will you look at that’ it ain’t a revelation. I had a real one yesterday, during the session, and I was not thinking at all, or I couldn’t hear any thoughts, no, what I was doing was peering straight through the wall when there was a perfectly good window right there at my disposal. Was I a dolt? You can’t see through a wall. But that’s the way depth psychology works. I ain’t even going to go all Yoda on y’all here by telling you that there ain’t no wall, or maybe dig up an old chestnut from the Matrix and tell you there is no spoon, all’s I am saying is  .  .  .  dude there is a wall. That’s the whole point of the exercise. It just pisses me off that ancient wisdom, Zen and such, has become major media cliches. There is a wall, get used to it. The trick is to realize that the wall is only so much furniture. You can rearrange furniture. You don’t go in blasting with a flamethrower or a battering ram and tear down that wall, no matter what Ronald Reagan said to Gorbachov. You worked hard to pay for that furniture. The fact that it is durable ought to indicate that it should be respected some way. Don’tcha think?

“And we hold the right to rearrange how the stories can be heard”  ~ Yes, from The Calling

It’s all stories anyway. Whoever controls the narrative calls the shots, and if you control your own narrative then bully for you. Never be your own bully. Says me. Philosopher Christian de Quincy once told me that I have a natural gift for narrative. I know, he’s not well-known, except in certain circles, and he may be all like PhD and stuff, but he is also a writer, an editor, and a writing coach, and, besides, he was wearing jeans. Dude rocks.

So  .  .  .  what was the revelation? I ain’t tellin, but I think I’ll retire. Not yet, but I will. First I’ve got to move the couch over here.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Change Doesn’t Go Away

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“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”   ~  Ray Bradbury

Home at last. My surroundings for the past three days were much lovelier, more spacious, more elegant, and possessed of a gasp-inducing view of the mountains. Yes, I gasped a few times. But I don’t think I gasped at all during the last two years I lived there. Depression had me and it was wringing my neck quite effectively. In some ways it still is. I made a mistake and it changed me. Part of that change stayed with me, and it is still wringing my metaphorical neck. I’ve got to change that but I don’t know how. Change doesn’t go away. Never. I’ve got to learn to show it what to do, where to go, and how to stay out of its own way. That’s good advice for me as well. Will I listen? I just did, I wrote it down. It has become part of me. Funny how that happens. Playing safe is, in many ways, playing rough. Life creates friction when necessary.

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”  ~  Ray Bradbury

The chicken coop is about 20 feet from my window. I hear them clucking out there, and the rooster is crowing frequently. Today is a work day. Half a shift. Then I have a six hour wait until a therapy session. The therapist is a good one. I like the way she sometimes just gazes at me silently, as if fishing, and I bring forth the fish from where they’ve been hiding in the rocks. My feelings these days are like groupers; big and sluggish. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was spontaneously happy. This is not even a complaint. I playfully diss positive thinking at times. You’ve read some of that here. But my goal is to yank depression out of hiding, and to leave it out where I can get a gander at the beast, and to tell it things that will get it to calm down and glow for a change. I’m at long last ready to fight. It’s hard to do that when your brain tells you that it won’t work to do so. It just won’t. Dude like you are wasting you time dude so chill. Ya just gotta get used to being down with feeling down. Some things never change. My brain really pisses me off at times.

Let’s see how the day goes. No two days are ever the same at the shelter. Caring, group caring, for animals is an enterprises built of hope and love. We have a great crew at the shelter, from the administrators on down. We caregivers are in the trenches. It’s hard to be there, and we get compassion fatigue, and we get sad too. What the heck. The crew is a good one. Heroics are not rare. That’s what we like. Onward.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Sort of Looking Back

lucas 006  This is my good buddy, Lucas. When he is adopted my eyes shall become misty. Love can do that to you. So can beauty. There you have it, I love the little guy. My apologies for the lapse in my posting, Not much to say and working, writing, whatever, on the iPad just pisses me off. Yet we go on. The lack of words is part melancholy in being in the house where I thought . . . . Never mind. I was looking back in regret. My bad. Folks remind me to look forward, to be positive, to step into line with the soldiers of optimism, marching smack into a better world, but I know, in my heart, that time is flexible, time is recursive, time is sometimes irrelevant, so I scratch my head, seeking to appear wise, or maybe just doing my impression of a Three Stooges moment, and either way a brighter day will come my way, no matter what people say. Boy howdy, my finances ain’t looking too good neither, so I amuse myself by writing a long David Foster Wallace inspired sentence as I await the inevitable maturation of kittens. Kittens, love, and beauty; those and an Oxford comma go a long way, forward into the fog, I smile at Goddess knows what, and tell myself, once, that it’s all good, because if I say that more than once I just get pissed off.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Ten and Still Counting

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“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”   ~  Edgar Allan Poe

It’s been a night of coyotes prowling nearby. I’ve been awake on and off throughout. Anxiety stuff. Worries about finances is the bulk of it, but that is old territory for me. There’s no way out, but I will find one. And shaky too. The agitation feels quite like the effort it takes to resist doing the hermit thing in regards to a down-cycle of depression. Stuff to do, stuff to do. Housesitting for the ex begins this afternoon. I’ll be needing the porch by then. So far Taylor Swift has not contacted me, so I will be on the porch alone. Poor me. Speaking of women, my old and dear friend, Kim (Here’s lookin’ at ya, kid.), sent me a link, via Facebook, to an article on a shaman’s view of mental illness. It’s old territory for me, the stuff the author writes about, but it comes at a good time. And speaking of good times, I remember the night Kim and I first became close. I was out bicycling at night and I was passing the Harbor Bar, at the Chesapeake Resort on Upper Matecumbe Key, when Kim spied me from her car and waved me down to invite me for a drink. She had something on her mind and I was simply dazzled being there with her, listening to her sharing her concerns. I seriously thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Sea breeze, water bird’s night calls, live music, and good company. Beauty. We were in it together. She is one of the loves of my life. There are over ten now, I stopped counting. Lucky me. I saw another one of them yesterday at the robot self-check at the supermarket. She’s a tiny young Spanish beauty named Amber. Once again, lucky me.

It feels like even my brain is vibrating. As I write, here this morning, about how much love I feel, it feels as if my very brain is vibrating as well, along with my body. It is life force but it also the Spirit trying to get Its vibes in edgewise through the accumulated muck of my mental state. Breathe, good buddy, breathe. I’m remembering the days after my bicycle accident and NDE. When I came back to this life, the portal to the Other Side was wide open for a spell. I was burning bright. It was hard to handle. I feel it poking at me now, in the guise of my Grandma Olive’s finger reminding me that good grammar and a love for word are all I need right now. Words, through spelling, create spells, which then conjure the magical dreams that prop up our daily material life. We’d be hard pressed to live without this magic. So what if I am a shaky guy today. I needn’t feel embarrassed about it but I usually am. I simply remind myself that these intense waves that wash through my nervous system are the Life Force. The Spirit is pushing it’s way through and I tremble at Its very touch. Lucky me. Taylor, sweetie?! I’m still waiting.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously. I plan to.

Truism and Alt-Truism

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“The thing for us to do is just to do our duty, and not worry about whether anybody sees us do it or not.”   ~  Mark Twain

It is said that the only mockingbird that sings at night is the young unmated male. Well, that rascal is out there as we speak, down in the arroyo that runs through this property, up in the Chinese elm tree. Is that true? I can’t rightly say, but they say so, and y’all know how they are. I guess that makes it a truism, eh? Yup, says me. It’s best to share impressions of beauty. I am no longer young, although I do have my moments, but mockingbirds still thrill me anyway. Dude like sing on for me dude.

A fresh cup of coffee at my right side, the dog asleep in his mama’s bedroom, soft ambient music playing through the Dish Sirius network, deep feelings of loss, I’m shaky as well, the loss having stayed where it is for so long. What if, what if? Never mind, eh. Could it work again? I may never know. All is well. That’s what they say. Soft tinkly piano music. Feels like some kind of French existential scene, and I am simply going to have to take it in, out, whatever. How’s my melancholy working for ya, my friends? At least I have all the components to do it right. I am smiling because I am well-practiced, I know how to do it right. Lucky me.

The charming mess that is my life awaits me just beyond the sacred song that the piper at the gates of dawn will so faithfully provide. I like to think that Carol King will provide accompaniment on piano. Boy howdy I want the best.

Waves of nearly coherent anxiety wash through me as if they might be tickling the white sands in northwestern Florida. My anxiety waves are rarely this consistent. Usually they are jagged and harsh. Yesterday was a bad day. What lesson can I derive from the day?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

 

Idiot Compassion

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 “For me, to remember friendship is to recall those conversations that it seemed a sin to break off: the ones that made the sacrifice of the following day a trivial one.”~  Christopher Hitchens

Sometimes I don’t know where to start. I spent some time with the chickens, the rooster, and Oscar the turkey this morning. Don’t know why. I usually just give them some feed then leave them alone. I guess I just needed some company. I just reached the tipping point yesterday. My truncated hours at work, even though temporary and necessary, take a big bite out of my material life. Ouch, poor me. It’ll work out, and nobody, especially me, need be castigated for it. Dude it’s like all cool and stuff.

That’s really about it this morning. Pretty much anyway. My consciousness, due to the tipping point thingy, has shifted, it happened yesterday, and hopefully it went up a notch. Does it matter? It depends on your point of view. I’m going with the self-centered POV for now. I feel crunched and dazed, thusly I need some self-administered comfort. Housesitting for my ex will provide that for me. I really don’t think I want any company except for Mr. Sky the rat terrier. Hey, did you know that Teddy Roosevelt would have only rat terriers? Bully on that dude. But porch sitting at sunset, mountains in full unobstructed view, would be a nice place to sit and chat, so I am, once again, inviting Taylor Swift to come chat a while. There is deep intelligence there. I’d like to experience that in person. No friggin way, huh. That’s not the point. My own intelligence is couched in dullness these days. That is what I am looking for. I could and will find it again on my own. It’s just that Taylor, or Anne Hathaway, would make the discovery easier to bear. Come to think of it, Sarah Silverman would be good too, if she could keep it urbane. That’s important to me right now. People with an edge that veils their soul are really not my cup of tea these days. Let compassion flow. That’s what I say. Remember, you heard it here first.

“Idiot compassion is a great expression, which was actually coined by Trungpa Rinpoche. It refers to something we all do a lot of and call it compassion. In some ways, it’s whats called enabling. It’s the general tendency to give people what they want because you can’t bear to see them suffering.

Basically, you’re not giving them what they need. You’re trying to get away from your feeling of I can’t bear to see them suffering.

In other words, you’re doing it for yourself. You’re not really doing it for them.”   ~  Pema Chodron

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously, k?

Angels and Chipmunks

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“A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change.”  ~  Neil Gaiman

Have you ever been in a spot where people around you, even if only a few, wouldn’t let you change? It gets confusing here so bear with me. Maybe what I mean is that they can’t see a change in you so they go on believing that you are still the same. So did you really change? Are they right and you wrong? Does it really matter? If that friggin tree fell in the forest and bonked a chipmunk on the noggin does anybody hear? The chipmunk lived, by the way. It was only a scratch. This is cartoon violence we are talking about – and this is because my own life has become cartoonish, as far as I can see. So, that’s why I have turned to angels to help me with this passage. Although chipmunks would be fun advisors as well.

The sky is going pale as sunrise grows nearer. From the looks of my hair I slept peacefully. I can’t get my head around that. My mind has been playing host to seemingly insoluble problems. Why so calm? Could be exhaustion, I suppose. The truth is that I just don’t know, and that, to me, is not a problem. From within my rather gnarly self-reflection I remind myself that I will be in the good company of a dog in a few days. Dogs are much like chipmunks in that they make me smile. I know from my work at the animal shelter that dogs are really quite special. So, who’s the dog? I’ll be house-sitting for my ex in a few days. That explains the dog. His name is Mr. Sky, a rat terrier. I’m grateful for his company. Going back to my old residence always reminds me of the painful split that sent me packing. Ouch. It still haunts me each time I go. Poor me. It’ll be good, I suppose. I’ll be able to porch sit and watch the mountains sit still, from the position of an outstanding landscape view. My problem will still be here. What is it with that anyway? Well, I’m 60 years old and I don’t have anywhere to go. My job is pretty much my whole life. That and the cat. I’ve grown weary, I suppose. That would explain it.

“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.”  ~  Tennessee Williams

I think I will leave it at that, before I fall into the deep chasm of self-analysis. Trust me, I’m just tired, that’s all. And that too shall change. I hope my friends can see that when it happens. That way we can avoid further confusion.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Sweet Treasure of Stillness

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“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”  ~  Robert Frost

I love today’s opening quote. I would like to suggest that his wisdom might apply to management as well. I admit to being dragged under lately by reading of situations in the world these days, current events if you will, and of course I have no solutions, yet I still adhere to the possibility, which I see as a probability, of an en masse evolutionary shift in human consciousness. I seriously doubt that it will happen in my lifetime, truth be told I seriously expect my cat to outlive me, but only for a while. The magical cat named Rosie would be devastated without me. We’ve been through a lot together, but it was my in-house caregiving as my mother was slowly dying from terminal esophageal cancer that sealed the deal. I took Rosie with me to mom’s house, in hopes that she would do some sweet lap-sitting time, but Rosie was clearly disturbed by the illness, from either the smell or the overall vibes of grave illness. She wanted nothing of it. When unconditional love entangles two souls there comes a bond that can and will transcend time and space. There have been periods in my recent life, say within the past eight years, when it was Rosie alone who kept me grounded as suicidal ideation grew strong and dark, creating a feeling that could make lead look like feathers. She held on tight because I was afraid I could not hold on tight. I’ve been feeling that way the past few days although I haven’t sunk down into the depths. Mine, my mood, is like a wave-whipped boat floating on the sea of murky depression.

The cat bite is healing well, no doubt because of the doxycycline. My right hand is still swollen a bit this morning but the sickly redness of inflammation is gone. I can now make a fist again, although it makes the skin on my knuckles as taut as a drum. Be ye not alarmed, I would only use a metaphorical fist should any threatening situation arise. I seriously doubt that such an occasion will arise but you never know what might, as Alfred North Whitehead once said, “undergo the formality of actually occurring”. I stand prepared. But my hands are full of tiny tremors today. There are days when I am unwilling to go out into the world. I’d rather stay home in my fortress of solitude, so to speak, watching Star Trek Voyager on Hulu. No superman am I. And I will go. The good news is I only work a half day today. Then I have an appointment with the pretty doctor lady, my psychiatrist, this afternoon. It’s a med check, a followup, but she always lifts my spirits because we always chat as friends, which I believe that we are. Mental illness sucks, and it helps to have friends at such times when it hits hard and persistent. And using the metaphorical fist against it only serves to make it worse. That doesn’t make sense.

The morning sky has a cloudy cast, tarnished pewter right at the starting gate of a new day. Yes, it is a new day. Move forward. Sweet treasures come to those who do not wait. Yes, it is a new day; time-honored wisdom no longer applies. I doubt I can get used to that. As I said, I await the shift in consciousness that will lift humanity up to a new, a clearer way of living in the world. Until then pushing forward might only serve as a way of shoving the future. Who knows what kind of reaction that might arouse.

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“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”  ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is a choice, my choice for the day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.