Yet Another Comfort

“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” ~ Richard Bach

“I’m not a body with a soul, I’m a soul that has a visible part called the body.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“If someone told me that I could live my life again free of depression provided I was willing to give up the gifts depression has given me — the depth of awareness, the expanded consciousness, the increased sensitivity, the awareness of limitation, the tenderness of love, the meaning of friendship, the appreciation of life, the joy of a passionate heart–I would say, ‘This is a Faustian bargain! Give me my depressions. Let the darkness descend. But do not take away the gifts that depression, with the help of some unseen hand, has dredged up from the deep ocean of my soul and strewn along the shores of my life. I can endure darkness if I must; but I cannot lie without these gifts. I cannot live without my soul’.” ~ David Elkins

Thunder came shortly before I went to bed last night. Big stuff, nearby. I fall asleep easily, and the thunder made it even easier. Why? Because witnessing Nature’s immense power comforts me. I feel somehow safe. Reassurance never hurts. Now – the lingering moisture from last night’s gentle rain is yet another comfort. Do you think it is healthy to be reminded on occasion that we are part of Nature, that we are but a small part of . . . whatever. It’s that way whether we like it or not. Nuff said. I do not feel inclined to write much this morning. There is a lot I could say, but I am just not into it. Or am I? So far it’s a smile of a day, and I intend to keep it that way. However much it happens I to this day usually forget that one can smile in just about any situation. I’m not sure why that thought is with me today but I will listen to it, and resist insisting that I will someday understand why some thoughts impose themselves then endure. There is something to learn. And you can learn happiness. Delight is spontaneous, but you can conjure up happiness through intent. That’s enough for me, on this fine Spring day. It seems to be a gift in honor of Beltane, which comes tomorrow. Beltane celebrates fertility. I believe that includes fertility of the mind as well. For now, I will quit before I start offering advice. It has begun raining once more; yet another comfort.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Into the Hot Windy Afternoon

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.” ~ Frédéric Gros

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

It’s a fog, a good fog, that nestles within my head this morning. Perhaps it is simply shock. After many months of sedentary life I finally got out and walked along the West Rim trail, out along the Rio Grande Gorge. Yeh, it was nice – to put it mildly. My hope had been for some privacy as I walked, but there are obviously many tourists in town. Despite my druthers I still found all of those well-dressed people with shiny smiles and demeanors to be welcome companions out in that wide-open place. I felt happy for them to be walking in this place for the first time. But, back to the shock. With over 10,000 miles of bicycling under my belt I think I can accurately call myself an athlete. My best ride was a 30 day 1800 mile solo ride. That’s a brag, BTW. Now, having let depression whittle me down to near couch potato status I am mentally shocked to confront this oversight for the travesty it is. Physically speaking the body just says “that was good, let’s do it again”. No judgements like the mind can make. Just aches and soreness. So many people espouse the virtues of being in the here and now. That’s where the body is, by necessity. Listen or not, feel or not. I’ll listen to my aching body today as I navigate my workday. Though I would likely rather not . . . ummmm, let’s just say that my cynicism, when in gear, eschews participating in assigning merit badges for taking a hike. I cop to the negativity of such a view, but the view can also be instructive in that upon recognizing the cynicism I can pretty much also recognize the naturalness of simply sharing about having walked 6-7 miles out on that trail of breathtaking beauty. I don’t need no stinkin’ merit badge. Perhaps the most disturbing part of breaking a long spell of sedentary behavior is that I had a hard time keeping my mind open to the spiritual level as I walked. Or did I have trouble at all? Really? Yeh, I had a little hope/fantasy about stalking the Great God Pan out there. I used to do that up in Rio Chiquito Canyon back in the day, and the results were compelling and somewhat spooky. The truth is pretty simple. I’m just out of shape – on all levels. With practice I can open up to the spiritual level gradually. After all, it’s not that the spiritual level is lacking. It’s always there. Always engaged. What is lacking is simple awareness of the engagement with Spirit. If you think you are outside of that connection, think again. There is no way out. Though I would rather have started earlier in the day, to take advantage of cool Springtime air, I wandered right into the hot windy afternoon. Yet that as well felt good. And, of course, sunlight cleanses the aura, defrags the electromagnetic field, promotes healthy levels of vitamin D, whatever. All of the above. I’ll leave it at that. The workday is soon upon me. I feel good about it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Adrift With Wild Horses

“Why couldn’t two unhappy people refresh each other on their way through this dusty business of life by a little talk—real, natural talk, about what they felt, what they would have liked, what they still tried to hope?” ~ Elizabeth von Arnim

“Writing is very hard mostly because until you try to write something down, it’s easy to fool yourself into believing you understand things. Writing is terrible for vanity and self-delusion.” ~ Mark Vonnegut

“Who but a brazen crazy person would go one-on-one with blank paper or canvas armed with nothing but ideas?” ~ Mark Vonnegut

Lap cat and ringing ears, good coffee and coyote songs. Not a bad morning, if I do say so myself. More often than not Sunday’s run from dreary to painfully depressing for me. That’s a harsh spectrum. To approach this condition with a rational outlook is a noble yet often futile endeavor. Heroic even. I’m not into that today. If for some strange reason I do become rational, for any length of time, I will welcome that level of clarity. But I plan on following the intuitive path – if I can find it. So, here’s the plan. Breakfast at the Taos Diner, where Sunday mornings are marked by a large gathering of locals, creating a crowd that likely sounds with more that a murmur. You can get one of the best breakfast burritos around, and you can be seen as well. I sometimes get the impression that being seen . . . ummmm, let’s not go there this morning. Being cynical comes somewhat natural to me. It can be a gift, but not usually. The political climate, in these days that seem like years, can smack you around with ambient cynicism. And, by the way . . . the president must be impeached. That is all I will say about that. Anyway . . . after breakfast should be a nice long walk out on the West Rim trail, in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. In my imagination I am flirting with the idea of walking being an expression of philosophy. There’s some French guy who wrote a whole book about the philosophy of walking. I have not read it. But it is on my list. Lately I have begun rereading Christopher O’Brien’s lovely explorations of the weirdo woo woo paranormal stuff that goes on in this San Luis Valley. I first read that book last century. Can you believe it? I actually bought it from a revolving display of pulp paperback books, within weeks of my arrival in Taos. Turns out my learning of just how weird this place is was a blessing. Taos is in the southern tip of the valley. I’ve been feeling a mild hankering for a trip up to San Luis, just north of the border. Mostly for the drive and the spectacular scenery, but I could swing by the dispensary; maybe buy a pack of Willy’s (Nelson) pre-rolls. You never know. With any kind of luck at all I might see wild horses up at the border. That time I slowed to a stop in the middle of the highway and the horses surrounded my car was a blast. That, my friends, was magical. Those noble beasts, there at the border . . . I don’t know . . . there’s some kind of metaphor in there somewhere. Anyway, there is always a chance that I might blow off the plans I have for today. That’s an artifact of depression: it’s either what’s the use or I’m afraid or isn’t there something more responsible that needs doing. Listen, there is nothing more responsible than taking care of your health – especially your mental health. Depression and PTSD are anchors that need to be yanked from the sea floor on occasion, to open the way for a bit of drifting and adventure. The concept of being set adrift upon the sea seems to have such dire connotations, but I am having none of that today. I’ll drift if I damn well please. Goddess knows I’ve done enough of that already in my life, and when you’ve had enough of something any more than that is a bonus, a ticket to freedom. Hmmm, I hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yeh, maybe. My thoughts are more of an image of an introvert in the midst of a crowd of people at the hotspot for Sunday breakfast a qui en Taos. It would be nice to have the companionship of a woman I know but that ain’t on the menu today. That thought makes me smile anyway. And the day begins now.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Open on Both Ends

“Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is.” ~Terry Pratchett

“Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” ~ Hippolyte A. Taine

“We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.” ~ Abraham Maslow

Lavender hour. I haven’t seen it in ages, and I suspect this is my own failing. It’s a moment within morning twilight when the hue of lavender washes through all things; like sepia with a touch more class. Beautiful stuff. So, anyway, I saw it this morning. Good on me. Now, moving along . . . it’s right up on time to get ready for the workday. And it is sorely tempting to follow up on all of the wisdom and cats and Rachel Maddow videos. Or to dig in mucky places where I can find enough stuff on Trump to . . . oh my. Is that guy a drag or what?! But I haven’t time for all that. Yesterday’s massage loosened up a lot more than I thought. Then a birthday dinner with friends. As a result I am overloaded this morning on 4.5 hours of sleep. The sleep was pretty good. The dreams I don’t remember, but I so rarely do anyway, so there is yet structure and comfort in the world. And I just realized, remembered, whatever, that I have a piece of birthday cake to eat before work. I’ll have to bend time a little to make space for the cake. The shower always takes me longer than I think. In an out. Five minutes become twenty. But there is cake, so how do you . . . oh, never mind. It is best I do not carry out that question, right on through to the question mark. This is my gift to you this day: a question of balance, open on both ends.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Fantasy and Residual Haunting

“You got a lifetime. No more. No less.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“He was walking into Faerie, in search of a fallen star, with no idea how he would find the star, nor how to keep himself safe and whole as he tried. He looked back and fancied that he could see the lights of Wall behind him, wavering and glimmering as if in a heat-haze, but still inviting.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Stardust

“For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it’s true. Children know that. Adults know it too and that’s precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons because they are afraid of freedom.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Judging by today’s opening quotes, I am in the mood for fantasy. Something ultimately – in the grand scheme of things (I’m not really sure what that means) – petty is weighing heavy on me right now. Fantasy is a good escape valve, to let off some of the pressure, lest it render you a nitwit, or something worse. So what kind of fantasy, I wonder. That’s a good word: wonder. It perfectly describes what kind of fantasy is best for the times. Wonder is a necessary element of life. Now, I could go all dark here, but one thing to remember about chronic depression is that the process (and it is a process) will likely cast things as darker than they actually are, or need be. But if the depressive fantasy happens to come true? Don’t fool yourself, you’ve had plenty of practice in dealing with troubles. Imagined or otherwise. That’s my lecture to myself this morning. I’ve got a general feeling of yuck, going strong. Somehow I am not near as concerned about this passage as I think I should be. And I am not actually sure that thinking has much to do with it. Habitual thoughts sputter and snarl when thing get tough. It is something about having PTSD, and having taken the time to research what that is, and what it means . . . well, let’s just say that I see it as something akin to what paranormal investigators call a “residual haunting”. Whatever or whoever is doing the haunting ain’t much more than an old tape loop, played back on a really crappy old holographic projector. But one trouble with PTSD is that when triggered it becomes all too real, as if a snapshot of trauma is not good enough, it has to come alive. The body flushes with adrenaline, and then cortisol; muscles tighten and roar; digestive track all but stops dead in its tracks; the brain delegates, under pressure, most functions to the brain stem and limbic system. Act, react, fight, flight, panic, hide, or maybe just space out for protection. I’m pretty good at that last one. Sigh. I have a massage this afternoon, and she will have plenty to work with. Ouch. Plus, I always enjoy her company and our chats. She is darned good at what she does as well. In the meantime, I’m in and out of that space out thing. That will have to do for now.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Humorous Glasses

“No, free will is not an ‘extra’; it is part and parcel of the very essence of consciousness. A conscious being without free will is simply a metaphysical absurdity.” ~ Raymond Smullyan

“But free will is what it means to be human, and no one can determine the path you take through this universe. Choice is our greatest right, our greatest gift-and our greatest responsibility.” ~ Amie Kaufman

“But it’s not pre-ordained. It’s a chance, a fork in the road of my life. I have to have the courage to take it on of my free will. In that way, the balance of prophecy and free will is the magic of the future.” ~ Terry Goodkind

“A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.” ~ Aldous Huxley

Perhaps the most honest thing I can say is that the cat has the right idea, all curled up on her bed, nose tucked “just right” below her left foreleg. I’m not sure I could even do that, but I admire it nonetheless. And, of course, there is coffee. Chills as well, but I strongly suspect that the chills are an allergy thing. At the moment it all feels like an allergy thing; maybe even the barely restrained cynicism. This in part comes from national politics and daycare. These Republican Trump apologists – I wonder how they raise their children. “I’m sorry, mom, dad, but I don’t like what you are telling me, so you obviously have political motives and I don’t have to do what you say; and if you get a lawyer I am going to have my lawyer investigate your lawyer, and you have to pay for the whole thing”. See, I told you I feel cynical this morning. Other than that I haven’t much to go on, nor much I feel like writing about. Laundry day. A quick trip into town to buy a new pair of reading glasses. Why is it that so many people laugh about reading glasses? That is something I just don’t get. Nor do I really expect an answer. Argle bargle, right? Grumpy me. And cynical. Did I mention cynical? Geez, never mind. This is all fun somehow, and come first light . . . well, I will see. Then, and only then, I will head south for errands.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously

A Subtle Order in the Rain

“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.” ~ Tony Hillerman

“The richness of the rain made me feel safe and protected; I have always considered the rain to be healing—a blanket—the comfort of a friend. Without at least some rain in any given day, or at least a cloud or two on the horizon, I feel overwhelmed by the information of sunlight and yearn for the vital, muffling gift of falling water.” ~ Douglas Coupland

“There is no fear in letting tears come. Sadness is a gift to avoid the nothingness of numbness, and all the hard places need water. Grief is a gift, and after a rain of tears, there is always more of you than before. Rain always brings growth.” ~ Ann Voskamp

It was raining earlier, but not now. I had the window open about two inches so the room feels fresher than it has in months. Moisture and little metaphors fill the room. It feels good. And it looks like more is coming. Moisture, and the promise of cleansing change, even if it is only a metaphor at this point. But “only a metaphor”? Listen to me, I love signs and symbols, and metaphors, and archetypes. Semiotics can tickle me to no end. All metaphors count, regardless of size or power. There is a subtle order in the rain, even if the only reason for the order is that I put it there. Not! Patterns exist, and not because I put them there for my own viewing pleasure. The rain does what it does and I find that to be simply groovy. “Groovy” is a great word, one that survived for over 50 years now. I still hear the word used in public, but not at all often. It always makes me smile and commend whoever said the word in my presence. Maybe it’s the old Flower Child in me. I know a woman who claims she is creeped out by modern Flower Children, what with their peace and love and hippies and stuff. Creeped out? Yeh, she knows I am, to a large degree, like that much of the time. So I creep her out? As Elvis Costello wrote: “What’s so funny ’bout peace love and understanding”. Shouldn’t we take heed of the wisdom from people like Elvis? And no, I don’t care if I creep her out, as long as I do not see her as creepy in kind. She’s not creepy, not to me anyway. I’m sticking with the flowers and love. I mean, I’m not going to skip off to the rainbow with a hand basket of posies. It’s not like that. For me it is an attitude, a way of filtering the world in a way that keeps me relatively comfortable yet with ample room to move. Soooo, I look forward to more rain, later in the morning, bringing patterns and benefits, and they are not all of my making. And I had nothing to do with the rainbow so don’t even try it. A rainbow is fractured light as it pervades the atmosphere. Look at it – there is nothing but order there. Gosh, am I being creepy? No worries. Best get to my day now. Onward.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

When Seriousness Call for Silliness

“It is proved that things cannot be other than they are, for since everything was made for a purpose, it follows that everything is made for the best purpose.” ~ Voltaire

“When will people learn that just because you can make something doesn’t mean you should?” ~ Sara Gruen

“Let us now take a moment to reflect on the plight of the Starbucks barista, that patient indulger of obsessive-compulsive customer requests, that tireless dispenser of forced smiles, that hapless victim of a never-ending parade of indignities. Any brave soul who dons the green apron must endure annoyances that would crush the rest of us – or at least send us into a cup-throwing, syrup-spraying rage.” ~ Taylor Clark

The coffee had little effect, but it always tastes good. I suppose the main thing I feel this morning is relief and gratitude that the Full moon is past. It was a rough one, following a week of sensitivity that was truly annoying. And of course annoying is but one small step from maddening. I had both. Luckily my rational faculties were relatively in tact. Another point of gratitude is that I seem to have given the skunk a choice he couldn’t refuse. It involved mothballs, which I placed right at the opening he wanted to use to nest under the deck. He has not returned. We’ll see. I feel good about this. He can live his big beautiful life elsewhere. And speaking of stinkers – how about that Mueller report? I think that Congress has a duty at this point to pursue impeachment, not as a strategy toward winning the next election, rather as a . . . ummmm, a duty? Impeachment should be symbolic first, then get your political ducks in a row. I’d hoped to leave the ducks out of this but the plain seriousness of the situation calls for silliness. Luckily I am good at that. Now, as for the moment, my focus is lacking this morning. A good shower will cleanse that back into place. It’s just that the world feels so dirty at times. It can be a drain on our faculties. That’s me today, as I endeavor to walk further on through this rough passage in life. It does . . . oh, never mind. Feels like a good day is at hand.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Reverse Pratfall

“Don’t confuse symmetry with balance.” ~ Tom Robbins

“Life rises out of death, death rises out of life, in being opposite they yearn to each other, they give birth to each other and are forever reborn. And with them all is reborn, the flower of the apple tree, the light of the stars.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

“The dogged determination and patience of one person to do what is Right and Necessary may not always win the day or even be noticed, but it will tip the balance just a little in the direction of good.” ~ Terry Pratchett

“We strive for beauty and balance, the sensual over the sentimental.” ~ Janet Fitch

A short ways after sunset the commotion began. The first sound was clearly some mammal in distress; an almost muffled scream. Then a coyote erupted in song, that kind they do that sounds like gratitude and victory. But that coyote wasn’t the only one. They were right outside of the fence, so I could not see them. Their song was magnificent. Their exuberance was thrilling. I found it easy to lay back into the sound and let it sooth me some. Yeh, something, someone, whatever, had just died a gruesome death, but I could do nothing about that, besides maybe offering a little “good journey” to the departing soul. A few more coyotes, just up the hill to the mesa’s edge, let loose and joined the exuberance. The whole happening was breathtaking. Good fortune was mine. A grand expression of Nature’s wild spirit had let me witness, even to partake in, the magic of Springtime twilight beauty. Yeh, lucky me. Now – this morning is quiet. Gratitude is part of that silence. I suppose it would be kind of uppity for me to say there is also an aura of grace, right here and now. Whatever. I just had to say it – that’s all. Maybe I should just leave it at that? Yeh, maybe. I suppose I could whine about how much my upper ribcage hurt when I first moved to sit up in bed. I now always allow myself to just be one with the pain and the comic relief. Of course it wasn’t just the ribcage that tormented me, it was also that twisty spot in my spine. Poor me, right? I find the ordeal of me getting out of bed in the morning to be eminently comical. It almost has a Chevy Chase feel to it: a reverse pratfall, where instead of falling down you fall up, into a beautiful material world, after floating around in the Dreamtime all night long. Sigh. It’s a workday. Tomorrow is Easter. I hope to laugh a lot today.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Lori and the Many Worlds Interpretation

“Most of us are moving through such an undergrowth of excess that we cannot sense the shape of ourselves any more.” ~ John O’Donohue

“A large part of our excessive, unnecessary manifestations come from a terror that if we are not somehow signaling all the time that we exist, we will in fact no longer be there” ~ Peter Brook

“The world is full of people who will help you manufacture tornados in order to blow out a match.” ~ Shaun Hick

“There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” ~ Jane Austen

Yesterday’s post was lost to sleep and history. I’ve needed lots of sleep for at least a month now; the speculation being that the processing of psychological issues – which unavoidably includes hormones, neurotransmitters, and chakras – is the culprit. We’ve started to go deep in psychotherapy. Because the brutish looming of trauma stirs up inner issues you never can tell when a trigger might trip, or fear might come clawing out, looking for a foothold. This is unavoidable. It is also exhausting. Very much so. So, yesterday morning I was awake for a couple of hours then went back to sleep at 4 AM, which is the time I usually am involved in setting up the blog post for the day – format, photo, quotes, and general tone. I was awakened by a gentle nudging at my cheek; the pat-pat of a little paw against my skin. And she was like “dude, it’s 7 AM and you haven’t made a move toward feeding me, dude”. She was right as well: 7 AM is her general mealtime. Fourteen years ago the cat’s waking me would not have been so gentle, but she is 15 years old now, and we know each other well enough to cast a respectful mammalian decorum across all we do to interact. Lucky me – there is rarely any blood involved. Anyway, by the time I got out for a few minutes of fresh air, and put on a pot of coffee, it was 7:30. I was just in time to watch the press conference wherein the pretend Attorney General did some skeevy spell-work on the American public, as a prefacing for the release of the Mueller report. I was locked in for hours. This political scandal is fascinating. Luckily the AG’s attempts at a Jedi Mind Trick did not take hold except with peeps who are pretty much chained to preferred outcomes to begin with. As for those chains, I am seeing Michael Cohen as Jacob Marley to Trump’s Ebenezer Scrooge. I’ll not carry that analogy any further. It’s time for me to go look at the mountains, get a feel for the vibes of the day, and to shake loose any sprouts of romantic daydreams from my immediate awareness. You can never get rid of them because the mating urge in us fancy top shelf higher primates is pretty much locked in to our DNA. Between that and my opening up a can of worms over the loss of the love of my life, Lori Mellon, I was kinda sorta gobsmacked after Wednesday’s therapy session. My revelation there was that the tragedy and loss of Lori is now serving to inform; almost as if she is visiting me, from time to time, across the Veil between the world of the living and the world of those who have moved on. She does that, of course, but this is something new, to choose to see her as a teacher. Well, she taught me a thing or two on the pinball machine. I’d love to get her feedback on a woman I have been fascinated by for some time now, but likely she would get on a riff about how I am a freak for believing in life after death. Maybe so, my dear, but why exactly are you here, babe, if there is no life after death? She tells me she is not dead, she has simply moved on to a different world among the many worlds that are open and available to our participation. Yeh, there is that. I haven’t time to go into the quantum physics of her claim, like perhaps the Many World’s Interpretation. Not now, ciao.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.