Trauma on Display

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“Citizens of modernity, consumers of violence as spectacle, adepts of proximity without risk, are schooled to be cynical about the possibility of sincerity. Some people will do anything to keep themselves from being moved.” ~ Susan Sontag

“Spectacle is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity”  ~ Guy Debord

“Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”  ~ Timothy Snyder

Just a few words. First, the usual ones: cat and coffee, both good. Now, yesterday was a big day in our nation’s history. I don’t have TV so I watched various clips of the testimonies and commentaries. It wasn’t easy. It was clear that the degree to which these events shake the patriarchy to its core is inching toward critical. It may have reached it already. That’s good. It’ll be fascinated to watch it unfold. But there are two other things about this spectacle that touch me deeply. One is that I agree with President Carter, that there is no functional democracy in this country right now. The bastards are tearing it down, and I don’t reckon they mean to return to it; it doesn’t suit their needs or desires. Bunch of old white dudes, thoroughly slathered with entitlement. And – was Kavanaugh drunk on the stand? Go find a video clip of his performance. I’m not saying he was, I’m saying he looked and acted like it. Anyway, the other thing was the heroic delivery by Dr. Ford. The big thing for me is that she was heroic in that she rallied the courage to put her trauma on display for the whole world to see. That is no small feat. Those of us who have a permanent clinical level of trauma know what that must feel like. She was heroic in that she relieves some of our burden by doing what she did. Thank you. I had a therapy session mid-day, so we had the opportunity to discuss the situation. Of course the dialogue went pretty much straight to Dr. Ford, what happened, and what the actions of Kavanaugh (yes, I believe) left her with. A trauma like this is pain and fear that has stepped outside of time. The trauma is always happening, the moment that it set in, during the event that created it, is realtime friggin happening all the time, throughout the rest of the life of the one who must bear it. Geez, was that sentence cumbersome or what?! Whatever. This stuff has me all shook up. And not like Elvis. My trauma had nothing to do with sex, yet Ms Ford’s bold expression triggered me too. I reckon it triggered any and all trauma victims who witnessed any part of it. Trauma is like that. Each case of trauma has it’s own details, but the demon that it is pretty much looks the same from all angles. And, on that note . . . tis a work day. I must go do it. It will likely look like any other day, but something changed on a metaphoric tectonic scale yesterday. And it ain’t over.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

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Disturbing Yet Golden

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“One must not prostrate oneself before the minor impossibilities, otherwise the major impossibilities would never come into view.” ~ Franz Kafka

“Never let up. In stories, things go from bad to worse, even if nobody wants them to. If she wants to apologize, interrupt her. Whenever anyone is about to release tension, interrupt her. Is the couple on the date about to kiss? Pull them apart. You might think the audience will love you if you give them what they want. Not true. Make them want it, then yank it away.” ~ Matt Bird

“Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.” ~ Rod Serling

It has been a dark night of the soul kind of morning, the kind which have happened so frequently, for the past six years, that they really don’t pack the punch they did earlier in life. Lucky me. I’m not talking about depression here. Yeh, I’ve been on a significant downswing for nearly a week, but something pissed me off yesterday, and the anger was sufficient to shake me out of the down. Likely it will come back. Whatever. No complaints. In my heart today I want to regard consciousness in a casual way, observe then comment later on. And hopefully I will achieve this desire, but I am so friggin tired again. That’s one thing about anger, it sometimes sucks you dry. It gets greedy as well. The inability, at any given time, to not dwell on the thing that started it all . . . well, lets just say that holding onto shit like that can wear you down, then out. I’m about out this morning, and it’s okay. I can and likely will plug my brain into a movie tomorrow. Netflix just started showing the new movie version of “A Wrinkle in Time”. That was the first book I fully read on my own, back in the 4th grade. It means a lot to me. The story is disturbing yet golden. Now, moving forward . . . the desire to write in that staccato Hemingway style is really badgering me at the moment. But I deeply and truly am not in the friggin mood. I’m cranky. I’m frustrated. I’m over-tired. That was three ‘I’s in a row; very sloppy technique, but it said what I wanted it to say. Not that I should get over myself and get happy. I’m tired of fighting ego. Intending to transcend ego is an ego thing in itself. Nah, no sense in getting ruffled by getting angry for a simply good reason. Anger is natural, as natural as that priceless WTF look you get on your face when someone says something bizarre, and they think it is an okay thing to say, which it is, but bizarre is also what it is, regardless. Did that make sense? Whatever. Think I’ll have some fun today.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

There Is That

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“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” ~ Deng Ming-Dao

She sat down and pulled her necklace out of her shirt. “I read about it in my mother’s journal. The Witches believe we are all parts of a whole. Like the phases of the moon. Together, we complete the circle and bring balance.” ~ Amber Argyle

“We all shine on…like the moon and the stars and the sun…we all shine on…come on and on and on…” ~ John Lennon

The coffee is perfect, the moon is just past full. A short while ago a small gathering of coyotes were howling just up and over the hill. The call of the wild is something that keeps me softer in this world. The inner call, the whispering of DNA, and maybe endogenous DMT, is softer, yet perhaps too personal to be open to expression through words. The actual call of the wild, like them crazy coyotes a while ago, can call up an instinctual, visceral feeling, maybe chills across the skin, or the rising, expanding feeling as the adrenals kick in. For me this feeling evokes translingual wonder that is much like the feeling of falling in love . . . not that I have actually done that in the recent past. But I remember. You don’t forget stuff like that, yet some not-tiny part of me hopes that will never happen again from this point and place in time forward. In essence, what I am trying to refer to here is a sense of wonder that occurs on a level where it doesn’t matter if the adrenaline rush comes from fear or from love. I always feel some degree of fear. I’m a scaredy cat. All my waking hours. Management skills in regards to PTSD keep – so to speak – that ‘demon’ on a leash, or at least sleeping in the laundry room, or on the couch or something. But love? There was that time a coupla years back when I thought that I was falling in love. I reckon I don’t rightly know one way or the other. The feelings were commandeered so swiftly, by analysis and worry, that who the heck knows for sure. I look back on it now and it feels as if the falling in love thing was at least nascent, rather than theoretical, and it was all entangled within a web of practical matters. One needs practical magic at a time like that. Which is likely what I did, I likely basked in the feeling rather than trying to figure out what to do next. Chuckling here. I heard John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” the other day. I’ve driven for years without a functional radio in the car. About two months ago I purchased a little MP3 player that has FM radio built in. Because of what I suspect is a crappy antennae only one station comes in clearly, and that happens to be a pure rock station. Funny, I’ve actually been listening to tunes I never would have listened to before. Go figure, right?


This morning’s rambling is coming to a close. The essence of what I have been seeking to convey is that anxiety can also be seen as the Life Force stuck in the ‘fear’ setting. Fear of the unknown is hard-wired, me thinks. The joy comes when the fear is transcended, for however long. Perhaps I did fall in love that time. I have my doubts but I still to this day feel the wonder. There is that.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

That Wavering Shrill Howl

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“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

“I write almost always in the third person, and I don’t think the narrator is male or female anyway. They’re both, and young and old, and wise and silly, and sceptical and credulous, and innocent and experienced, all at once. Narrators are not even human – they’re sprites.” ~ Philip Pullman

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ~ Graham Greene

“Autumn arrived in character”. That’s what I told my boss as I arrived at work on Saturday. First day of Autumn. Clouds, lots of clouds. Overcast, mildly windy. Dapples of rain. I enjoyed the day. It went on to sunlight and hot air, which was also nice – just not as nice. Now, it’s back to the half-fast late-Summer wind and sunlight, and . . . hey, I just used two hyphenated words, terms, whatever, in a row. Is that allowed? I’ve never done it, that I can remember. That’s the writer in me that does that, who has half an eye out for novelty laced with questionable grammar or lexicon or syntax. The word ‘questionable’ has kind of a bad name, or at least connotation. I don’t see it that way. Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes it is both. That’s the rub. But if it all gets too bad, all of this intellectual baggage, I can rely on my Grandma Olive to grab me by the earlobe and lend me a hand. Better yet, to simply be here for guidance should I need it. Hoo boy. She is a formidable one alright. The thing is I can’t call her a ghost, because the term is too limiting. She comes in Spirit. That’s all I know. From personal experience I know that death is somewhat of a ripple in consciousness rather than the be all that ends all that is commonly accepted as fact. It’s not, so don’t bother. Now, Spirit hums in harmonics within my central nervous system today. The season has changed, and with it the quality of light. The Equinox has just passed and the Moon is coming up on full. In Celtic lore the old God has died and a new one will be born come Solstice. Dude it’s like the best time of year, right? Right.


The Sun comes up, bringing with it a brilliant day. There were coyote sounds earlier, in the dark. Mostly it was one extended barking party. You can tell they aren’t dogs because every once in a while a bit of that wavering shrill howl rises out of a bark. No mistaking that. I love it, that howl, because I know that I too have it in me. Alas, a couple of chores sneaked up on me and I have to do a small load of laundry so a jaunt into town is unavoidable. Whatever. I’ve got a lot of shoulder and neck pain this morning, with 17 days to go before the next massage. Poor me, right? All is well, however, and nothing is wrong.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

All Aboard the Illusion

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“We all woke up this morning and we had with it the amazing return of our conscious mind. We recovered minds with a complete sense of self and a complete sense of our own existence — yet we hardly ever pause to consider this wonder.” ~ Antonio Damasio

“The tree was so old, and stood there so alone, that his childish heart had been filled with compassion; if no one else on the farm gave it a thought, he would at least do his best to, even though he suspected that his child’s words and child’s deeds didn’t make much difference. It had stood there before he was born, and would be standing there after he was dead, but perhaps, even so, it was pleased that he stroked its bark every time he passed, and sometimes, when he was sure he wasn’t observed, even pressed his cheek against it.” ~ Karl Ove Knausgård

Why trains? Movement, power. Community, adventure. But mostly I just love Amtrak. I’ve traveled well over 10,000 miles on Amtrak. Just as an aside, I have also traveled over 10,000 miles on bicycles. Without elaborating further, if at all, the train represents irreversible change. And a chance to get away for a spell, moving along in a rarefied environment. They even serve beer. Another cool thing about trains is . . . I get giggles when I hear someone say that they ate magic mushrooms, or Ecstasy, or ayahuasca, whatever, and they had this big revelation that time is an illusion. My first reaction to such talk is to give rise to my best confused look and ask “Compared to what?”. I’ve written here before about bending time. It can be done. Last week I tried to explain it to a friend who asked how to do it. All told, I’m not sure I succeeded in explaining it to her. My bad. For me the key to bending time is to get your silly head out of the much too common notion that “There’s not enough time!”; “There aren’t enough hours in the day”; “So much to do, so little time”; “I’m late for work”. Listen: there is plenty of time. Deal with it. To bend time, and maybe get to work on time, even though you don’t have enough actual time to safely do so, you have to take responsibility for how much time you have been using . . . So, maybe you ran out of time. And you don’t have enough . . . geez . . . you used too much and you don’t have enough, so you are simply going to have to make time. That’s what bending time is in essence all about. You make time to get to work on time. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But it does work, though not every time. I just kinda wandered off topic, but not really. Inside the train, moving through the countryside, time is different, even slower. And if you read a book while underway you are really messing with time. It’s quite amazing to me. It takes 24 hours, on schedule, all stops considered, for the Southwest Chief to get from Santa Fe to Chicago. If you play your cards right you can find many more than 24 hours in that 24 hours. Both trains and bicycles have shown me this.


Speaking of time, it’s time for me to stop what I am doing here and publish this post. What I am doing here is not writing, it is data entry. Writing, for me, is a continuum. Choosing and applying words is . . . . sigh, I’m getting my mind all in a twist here. It’s a big topic, full of puzzles. Ain’t it odd that I used to punch a time clock, but now I click a mouse. Yeh, it’s just weird, that’s all. And boy howdy I do enjoy some good weirdness on occasion, even if I have to make time for it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Don’t Fly Too Low

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“Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.” ~ Bessel A. van der Kolk

“The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” ~ Judith Lewis Herman

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” ~ Bessel A. van der Kolk

That last quote gives me the shivers. He nailed it: “The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort“. I feel that gnawing every day before sunrise. Every friggin day. No sanctuary. Sometimes that “interior discomfort” gets stoked, then the trauma wakes up, rears its ugly head (as they say tritely), and does that ominous looming thing it does so well. Not so much this morning. Yeh, I got triggered yesterday when the cat woke me up and told me someone was witching me through my dreams. Ya gotta take that stuff seriously around these parts. I can defend myself, and I think I know where this intrusive energy is coming from. I’m not worried about it. And no, the cat does not speak English or Spanish. The voice she used yesterday was a new one to me, but it was definitely a version of meow. Not so much more to say today. Yesterday I mentioned the new/old twist on the Icarus myth. Suffice it to say it rocked my world, giving new power to the story I will tell in my novel. Almost makes me want to write. When I think of Icarus flying too low I get an image of soppy wings, which is definitely not cool. Whatever. It stimulated my creative Muse, and now she is doing the looming thing, but it is a friendly and loving loom she provides, not like PTSD does. A loom good for weaving. Sounds good. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

 

That Kind of Day II

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Me and my friend Dobbie

“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.” ~ Markus Zusak

“He was listening with pain of spirit to the overtone of weariness behind their frail fresh innocent voices. Even before they set out on life’s journey they seemed weary already.” ~ James Joyce

“As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.” ~ W. B. Yeats

It’s not just the change of season, it is more the energetic shift that moves along deep, eventually evidenced by the rather startling change in the quality of the Sun’s light, as it is forged through Brighid’s fire, and through refraction, to give us the power to see what is going on around us. Refraction gifts us with colors, and Brighid’s fire infuses us with Spirit. You can accomplish a lot with just those two things. But yesterday I added a couple of episodes of Star Trek Next Gen, season six. As you may imagine, it all went quite well for me. I have been longing for the arrival of Autumn; only two days away and I am breathing a little easier. No, I am in no mood to try and go all Walter Mitty these days. My fantasies are scarce compared to my dreams. And Don Quixote tilting at windmills while sitting on his ass. I know, I know, there’s a bit of snark in my attitude this morning. It actually feels good, kinda like an old friend. I’m like more into Icarus right now. I recently heard a new perspective on that old myth. The upshot of the story has always been that Icarus flew too close to the Sun, melted his wings, casting feather asunder, and friggin died as he plunged into the waiting sea. Dude had class, no doubt. But this new perspective is that daddy Daedalus not only advised the boy to not get, go, whatever, too high, he also cautioned him to not fly too low, lest the misty moisty seafoam and ocean-spray embrace his feathers with too much weight and pull him down into his death by drowning. And I seriously doubt that daddy told sonny boy to straighten up and fly right. This myth plays a crucial foundational role in the novel I am working on, so my coming across this new perspective is a profound thing, indeed. Just in time for Autumn. Fancy that, dude. Gnarly, right?


The sky is hanging low at sunrise. Countless shades of gray. It rained overnight. And there are things that must be done today, mostly consisting of the laundry. Dag nab it, I blew it off on Sunday, though I knew the day would come. Today’s the day. Que sera sera. Then therapy at noon. The Icarus myth oughtta play well there. My therapist is into Jungian depth analysis. No worries. Then likely a pint and a little more Star Trek Next Generation. I’ll be haunted all day by the look on Rosie the cat’s face as she pleaded to me upon waking me at precisely 3 AM. We were like Timmy and Lassie there for a minute. “What is it, girl? What is it?”. The feeling I got from it was that someone had been witchin’ on me and Rosie put the kibosh on it. Good kitty, nice kitty. I wonder who it was. Are there any clues? Yeh, there are. The matter will be addressed accordingly. It’s that kind of day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

Stepping Through the Crack

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A looming snow monster threatens to swallow Taos, New Mexico

“Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking from the whirlwind, nature’s old song, and dance.” ~ Annie Dillard

“In any case, it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy. The days when even our hands do not stir are so exceptionally quiet that it is hardly possible to raise them without hearing a whole lot.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“Sometimes you just have to turn off the lights, sit in the dark, and see what happens inside of you.” ~ Adam Oakley

Lean back and the spine twinges a bit too much. As my back hit the pillow I realized that I was leaning against the heating pad as well. The control was within reach with nary a move of a muscle. Lucky me. This is, I suppose, about something that came to me yesterday at work. Inner peace stealthily arrived and pounced on me. I didn’t stand a chance. It happens once in a while, often enough that my own still small voice doesn’t forget any of the words to the silent song that is peace. Wow, that was kind of a tricky thought to put into words. That is one of the purposes of this blog, to make sure, as far as words are concerned, that I remember to sometime work while I play. And no, I don’t feel I did a good job of putting said thought into words. No worries. The rooster has just begun to crow and the Sun will be cracking through dawn in a few minutes. I am required to attend, so I will grab the camera and go out where I can see the mountains. Castaneda’s Don Juan Matus called twilight “the crack between the worlds”. I think I’ll go step through it for the day, and contemplate Netflix.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

Depression and Rooster

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“We often confuse what we wish for with what is.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“Before I came here, I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture, I am still confused — but on a higher level.” ~ Enrico Fermi

“Censors tend to do what only psychotics do: they confuse reality with illusion.” ~ David Cronenberg

Rosie the cat’s facial expression in the opening photo kinda matches how I feel this morning. I could really use another hour of sleep. Or not. Somewhere in the back of my mind I am smiling, somewhat amused, somewhat bemused, nearly painfully irrelevant to my place in the world, and, totally irreverent about that place as well. No big deal. Only the president does big deals, especially when he lies like a pre-teen just getting their footing in the world. The teens are going through the process of maturation that we all have to go through. I’m not sure how I did on that unspoken test, but I am okay with the outcome. Right now I have half a mind to write more, but the other half is like “dude, the clock, remember?”. Yeh, I remember. It’s too early in the morning to contemplate whether or not time is an illusion, or if we create our own reality. As for positive thinking, read (it’s a great book, and sincere) Barbara Ehrenreich’s ” Bright-sided”. She expressed a view very similar to my own. I still consider the positive thinking thingy to be more fad and myth than anything else. But the attitude itself has had a long run of it, and it is not likely to abate any time soon. The world is not going to stop and wait for me to come to my senses. I guess my only question (such as it is) this morning is do positive thinkers ever think about deeply and clinically depressed people at all? Or do they wait for them to get onboard before communications begin in earnest? Whatever. That was an attempt at humor. I really don’t care what positive thinkers think as long as their smile is genuine. It doesn’t take much to please me, now does it. As for now, the fake rooster is piping up, calling forth the Sun, which will rise about 35 minutes from now. I wonder about that rooster. Is it really male? I reckon so, although I have been told otherwise. In listening to the fowl  . . .  geez, it sounds just like a friggin rooster! Isn’t that enough? I once read a tiny note pasted in a place where it was unlikely to be seen by much of anyone. The note read, “Attitude is more important than facts”. That, of course, is not true. I got me some serious body chills when I read that. It was a WTF moment. Boy howdy was it ever! But I must digress for  moment before I call it a wrap. Do you think it is possible that it is really just a hen with a positive attitude, and she’s willing to aspire to take the place of alpha male, which position has been open ever since the turkey left? That was a clunky sentence, I know. I’ve grown to love the fake rooster. And I know danged friggin well that yer attitude has little to do with the quality of your love in general. Are you confused yet?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Posture and the Pathway

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“Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality”  ~ Oliver Sachs

“We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.” ~ Terence McKenna

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.” ~ Erwin Schrödinger



Yesterday I was pretty much attached at the hip with the king-size heating pad  –  or, more accurately, at the shoulder. My massage therapist explained how my permanently dislocated left shoulder is compensated for by changes in the positioning of the right hip, to balance out the injury. That is one prime benefit from her work: the aching in my right hip is no longer chronic. The shoulder? Not so much. I still favor the hip, but I am constantly trying to hold awareness in improving my beleaguered posture. It’s been good for both hip and shoulder. This presents a big challenge, one that my fellow career cashiers would understand, due to the predictable attrition in our bodies as we work. I have the additional challenge of endeavoring to loosen up the friggin postures that the PTSD creates in order to defend me against a hostile world. Not that the world is inherently hostile. It’s just the PTSD doing what it is designed to do, which is often a way of telling me to get the hell out of Dodge before I am accosted by orcs or demons or other monsters (Have you ever been to Dodge City? It literally smells of bullshit!). Dang! If Gollum shows up, I’m in deep doo doo, my precious. Wish me luck. This is what that pharmaceutical is for  –  to keep me from pouncing on one of those phantoms. The other pharmaceutical does something else, although chemists originally designed the drug to combat nerve pain in diabetics. The drug  –  both of them, actually  . . . .  they are classified as antispasmodics. I had a mild seizure 3.5 years ago. The drugs guard against another, although that was not the original intention of the lovely doctor lady, the psychiatrist; the neurologist approved of the drug cocktail, because it fit with his intention as well. She listened to me for an hour, the first visit/evaluation. Then she designed a path out of the darker spaces I inhabited at the time; a collaborative effort between PTSD and bipolar type two. It worked remarkably well. And when I got my card, and added Indica to the mix, it all improved, once again. Lucky me. I deeply love my former doctor. We connected on a soul level, and she knows it too. We are friends now. We’ve talked about it on a spiritual level. Just as there is karma, there is also healing. Healing is not something that happens then goes away. It is a Neverending story of growth. Healing is like that.



I just stepped outside to behold the lavender shadows in the pre-dawn hues. There is a bit of agoraphobia. I’ll deal. But I do not know why I got on this faux-griping. Consciousness is constrained by this stuff. That’s all. Just sayin’. Geez, I’d better go pick up the razor and then have a shower. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.