Recovering the Brain

“I don’t believe that consciousness is generated by the brain. I believe that the brain is more of a receiver of consciousness.” ~ Graham Hancock

“The neural processes underlying that which we call creativity have nothing to do with rationality. That is to say, if we look at how the brain generates creativity, we will see that it is not a rational process at all; creativity is not born out of reasoning.” ~ Rodolfo R. Llinás

“There is certainly a universal and unconscious propensity to impose a rhythm even when one hears a series of identical sounds at constant intervals… We tend to hear the sound of a digital clock, for example, as “tick-tock, tick-tock” – even though it is actually “tick tick, tick tick.” ~ Oliver Sacks

This is one of those mornings when I could have easily begun the morning ritual of perusing the news and then soon and simply mutter, “This is weird”. Which, of course, it is. I could just turn to the beauty of the natural world again, I suppose. Or I could get inspired by Hunter S. Thompson saying, “When the going gets weird the weird turn pro”. It’ll be a little of both, I suppose. It’s a matter of perspective. I can only imagine what all Thompson might say about our current state of affairs. But my perspective is turned more toward brain health, or lack thereof, this morning. Yesterday’s visit with the psychologist was interesting, to say the least. Without all the details I come out with the analogy “Like playing only three strings on a guitar”, and the concept “recover my brain”. I wonder if I ever did recover my brain after the big bad bike accident. Brain, mind, Spirit, soul. Whatever. This stuff is fascinating, mostly because I get a chance to re-evaluate how I relate to all of my brain and mind stuff and how it in turn relates to consciousness. Like Mr. Hancock’s opening quote here, I believe that consciousness does not arise from the brain, rather the brain is a processor and a transceiver. Too much to go into right now. Work day, don’tcha know. Best get to it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

An Oozing Sense of Urgency

“Both described at the same time how it was always March there and always Monday, and then they understood that José Arcadio Buendía was not as crazy as the family said, but that he was the only one who had enough lucidity to sense the truth of the fact that time also stumbled and had accidents and could therefore splinter and leave an eternalized fragment in a room.” ~ Gabriel García Márquez

“It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at last, just as when we have accepted an invitation we duly arrive in a certain house at a given time.” ~ W. C. Sebald

Seems kind of ironic to me – I used up most of my writing time by reading a rather heady article about the nature of time. Time well spent. Now, time to go forward. The coffee is good, and I am drinking it slower than usual. Not sure why. I know full well that I will need to shift into gear for the marketplace soon enough. The speed out there is not within my natural spectrum, except maybe if some guy is chasing me with a stick. That says a lot. Seems to me that so many people are needlessly agitated, and easily so. It seems the workaday world oozes with a sense of urgency. That’s not a pretty image, but, then again . . . oh, never mind. Boy howdy I sure could get into this loosely knit topic. I think I will simply end this post with a brief anecdote. Just the other day a young woman was commenting on the music playing on the stereo at work. It was set to “Classic Hits”, stuff from the 60s through the 80s. She didn’t like it, and said that it had no beat. Then came the kicker – she said, “It must have been before they started doing drugs”. Ummmm, no, it wasn’t. I am pretty sure that musicians in the 60s on forward were doing drugs, and liberally so, if memory serves me well. And on that note, I had better take my meds, then get on with the day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Dances With Photons

“Magic doesn’t sweep you away; it gathers you up into the body of the present moment so thoroughly that all your explanations fall away: the ordinary, in all its plain and simple outrageousness, begins to shine — to become luminously, impossibly so. Every facet of the world is awake, and you within it.” ~ David Abram

“What can we make of the inexpressible joy of children? It is a kind of gratitude, I think—the gratitude of the ten-year-old who wakes to her own energy and the brisk challenge of the world. You thought you knew the place and all its routines, but you see you hadn’t known. Whole stacks at the library held books devoted to things you knew nothing about. The boundary of knowledge receded, as you poked about in books, like Lake Erie’s rim as you climbed its cliffs. And each area of knowledge disclosed another, and another. Knowledge wasn’t a body, or a tree, but instead air, or space, or being—whatever pervaded, whatever never ended and fitted into the smallest cracks and the widest space between stars.” ~ Annie Dillard

The coolest news I’ve heard lately is that the Chinese have teleported an object – a photon – into orbit. 500 kilometers away. This is a first – not the teleportation, the distance. And – I would add – the wonderment. I mean, WTF. We Americans live under a leader guy who seeks to drag us all down into the muck that is his putrid crew and their cruel and cynical aspirations for mankind. I mean, dude, really? I say let’s kick the bums out. Anyway – about the wonderment. That’s one of my prime movers, much of the time: wonderment. Wonder makes me want to pontificate and stuff. But I won’t. Wonderment is often simple recognition of the magic we live within.

I just stepped outside for a few minutes. The distant crow of a rooster greeted me. The sky is lightening toward dawn. Pale but ambitious, pulling the world into that lavender light before daybreak. Pretty cool, if you ask me. I’m kinda bummed out because I realized yesterday that I have to work today. I rarely work on Sunday, but it was a tradeoff to make room for my appointment with the psychologist doctor guy who is helping me tweak the way I relate to the world, neurochemically speaking. Skeptics and detractors aside, the effects of the SSRI drug do fascinate me. And I must admit that this months long depressive spell has lessened since I started swallowing a pill a day. There are no results in this quest. Goals, perhaps. But there is no ending to process. Here’s a clunky metaphor for ya. Prozac helps me untie the laces of these lead boots of depression, but I still gotta take them off myself. Yeh, kind of obscure, I guess. I suppose you had to be there. Whatever. SSRIs help to increase serotonin levels in the brain. As a neurotransmitter serotonin helps regulate interactions with light, our dance with photons. Since depression is a form of darkness it all kinda makes sense. Yeh, it does. There’s a lot to it. The first time I took Prozac was back in 1990, and I did a fair amount of research to find out what exactly the pills I was taking were doing to/for me. The effects of the drug back then were profound – or I should say that what I experienced through the auspices of this med was profound. I think I will leave it at that for now. I like this doctor a lot. He is one of those (all too few) people who you can see them thinking; not know what they are thinking, just see that they are thinking and what . . . geez, I can’t really explain it. The dude is chill. For now I’d best start myself up for the day. Onward.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Smile and the Telling

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.” ~ Louise Erdrich

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

“His spirit was warped by bitter vindictiveness and puerile self-commiseration, and he spent his days in scorn of the labour that brought him bread and in pitiful devotion to the labour that brought him only disappointment, writing interminable scores which demanded of the orchestra everything under heaven except melody.” ~ Willa Cather

Perhaps my favorite tailgater (speaking irony here) is the one who when you are at the speed limit, or above, they are right up on your ass, yet when you slow down below the speed limit they drop way back. I don’t get it and I don’t want to, because tailgating is not a rational thing. As David Foster Wallace noted about aggressive drivers, they pull all sorts of tricks just to get maybe 20 feet ahead on the road. Go figure, right? I’m not going to analyze it further, so relax, you will not be squirming just to get through this post.

I just went outside after the previous paragraph. Truth is I don’t have much to write about. No issues anyway. The sunrise, gray and coral colors over the silhouette of the mountains, remind me of mom’s paintings. It’s a good way to start the day. Well rested, perhaps too much so, but I woke up cheerful once again. That’s three days in a row. Is it Prozac? Indica? Shimmers of approaching, surprising edification? Yeh, whatever. I could say “all of the above” and get away with it, but that too ain’t true. This new age of truth being whatever you say it is, or whatever it is your iPhone is spewing out at you, can be a real pisser, unless you remember that you . . . oh, never mind! Geez. You do as you will. K? Harm none. I just had two days off; work a short shift today; tomorrow off. Healing to be had. A couple of important tasks to do. Last Wednesday I spilled out details of my bike wreck to my therapist. It was a drawn out ordeal. It was probably about 12 hours action packed hours and 100 miles between the crash and when I finally was resting and sedated in a hospital bed, face all sewn back together. The amount of emotions I stirred up with the telling was a little alarming. Healing. Love and compassion for self. Then and now. And so I go out into the marketplace today. Do my job. Come back home. Lap time with the cat. News online. A little Netflix fiction. Ale. Flower meds, moderately puffed. Attempt to stay up past 7:30 PM. Likely succeed on that matter. And so on. But now it is time to feed the cat. Groom and shower. Daydream of that smile that haunts me so. She really got to me that last time. It lingers.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Reining In Consciousness

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” ~ James Herriot

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~ A. A. Milne

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ~Brené Brown

“My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.” ~ Anne Lamott

The first turtledove started up at exactly 5:30 AM. It’s a pleasant way to start the morning. Cat’s asleep at my side, as is the coffee, which is pretty good though it could have been better. Just sayin’. For some strange reason I woke up feeling cheerful. That is rare. The most usual positive feelings are no more than pained amusement. I groan liberally and allow myself to chuckle in gratitude; that sort of thing. The cheerfulness is only the gateway mood, a gateway to gratitude. The cheerfulness noted, the gratitude came with. Gratitude is said to enhance your proximity to the Here and Now. Here and Now is good, but I like a good dose of the Now and Then on occasion. As with gratitude my interests these days include memory. Memory is much more than we yet know. It’s bigger and more important than we give it credit for. Time will tell. We’ll learn. But today is laundry day. Chop wood, carry water. My motions in doing so will be deliberate, flush with mindfulness. Gotta rein in my consciousness, to get grounded and stay there, for as long as it takes. Ease out. Friggin let go already. It’s that kind of day, and I intend to keep it that was, for as long as possible.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Little Bit About Mortality

“After all, that is what the merely casual onlooker always sees — the outward appearance, the non-functional, the surfaces of things. No one who is really involved in the landscape ever sees the landscape.” ~ George Orwell

“My temperament and my instinct had told me alike that the author, who writes at his own emergency, remains and needs to remain at his private remove. I wished to be, not effaced, but invisible – actually a profound position. Perspective, the line of vision, the frame of vision – these set a distance.” ~ Eudora Welty

It is taking some effort, but I decided to force myself to write a post this morning, all groggy. It’s that slow (and maybe even dim) witted, warm feeling that benefits from a puff on the pipe to express gratitude to the indica goddess. In my experience she is a benevolent Spirit, and in my latter years I feel no need to take myself to the “glued to the couch” level. First of all, I don’t have a couch; second, don’t even think about giving me lovingkindness-scented guff about saying “latter years” when I am only 64.This is the threshold of my personal end game. That doesn’t mean I won’t last another 20 years, whether I want to or not. From my bicycle crash and subsequent NDE the emphasis of the swiftness with which mortality can be queued was energetically imprinted – burned like a tattoo on my soul. Although I don’t remember, I am an experienced cyclist, so I know the time between upright and and flat on the ground is literally no more than 1-2 seconds. That fast. Poof. Bueno bye. I no longer fear death. I’ve been across twice. I know enough well what’s over there. Remember, conscious never dies. Time to feed the cat then go out and gaze at the mountains before the heat of the day arises. Bisy backson. (for newer readers – “bisy backson” is an allusion to Winnie the Pooh)

So, the cat is fed and watered, and I adjusted her tiny tiara as well. The day is clear, the heat is nearby. Alexa says it might rain around 2 PM – a 47% chance. Friggin artificial intelligence. The term reminds me of some of the Republic barking luminaries. I don’y wanna leave home today, but I must, for cat food and ale, and a loaf of bread that ain’t white and squishy. It just occurred to me that I can avoid going into town by stopping by the natural foods market where I used to work. I sometimes get a pretty strong PTSD buzz when I go in there. The PTSD is activated anyway today, because in psychotherapy, yesterday I told her in detail about the ordeal I went through the night of the bike crash that killed me It was the first time I told her the story. After 34.5 years I still don’t like to talk about, especially the extent of the wounds. Let’s just say that I had 200 stitches on my face and leave it at that. Hurts to think about it. So, now, I have a day off to ease the tension and flush out the cortisol, and I really must get to it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Blame It on the Coyotes

“Set your fantasies in the here and now and then, if challenged, claim to be writing Magical Realism.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. […] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.” ~ Harlan Ellison

“Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.”  ~ Salman Rushdie

For some reason I think there may be nothing else worth knowing today. It was the coyotes that set me to thinking that way. They went on for over 30 minutes. Now all is quiet, like the quiet after a peal of thunder. I always find coyote sounds in the dark to be magical, to whatever extent. This time they were off the charts. I feel satisfied by the whole thing. Of course there will be other things I need to know today. Things to do, with more supposed merit than just listening to a bunch of canids yakking around in the dark. But when you live for magic it may be wise to not lose track of the mundane world because it provides a reference point. Otherwise, full of magic and not much else, you may well be flirting with delusion. It’s a yin yang thing. No light without shadow. No sound without silence. This is something you don’t get to choose. To put it obscurely, it’s like totally missing out on noticing the flavors and textures of your meal because you are so adamantly devoted to this new chile sauce you discovered. You might as well just drink the stuff right out of the bottle.

Overcast. Gray. Still the view of the mountains is never too dull. And I only went out to the car to get the box of granola bars I left out there. The clouds and mountains were a bonus. A sky like this makes me want to hang out with the cat and doze. Nope. Workday. No can do. It will be fun. And it will suffice, in lieu of what I really want to do. Earlier I spent some time perusing quotes about writing. What is it with these people anyway? They sound so fierce, and sometimes intimidated. But maybe I am too, and am just not aware of it. Whatever. Tis shower time, then showtime. That will do just fine. I think this post has been somewhat disjointed, or something like that. Stilted? I don’t know. However I might describe it I am well aware that it pretty much conveys how I feel today. I’ll blame it all on the coyotes, k?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Capacitance of Anxiety

“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

“In walking, far from any vehicle or machine, from any mediation, I am replaying the earthly human condition, embodying once again man’s inborn, essential destitution. That is why humility is not humiliating: it just makes vain pretensions fall away, and thus nudges us towards authenticity.” ~ Frédéric Gros

Good to the last drop, the coffee is all gone. I rarely make a second pot these days, except when I make a cup to take to work with me. What happens two hours from now is none of my business at the moment. Will I make a cup to take to work with me? Maybe yes and maybe no. Back in the day I used to attribute, as a direct quote, that last sentence to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre. I called it his political style. I marveled that the two leaders, Trudeau and Jimmy Carter, were both Libras. Hey, I was a flower child. Whatta you expect? I expected that after Nixon we were on the road to a free, just, and fair, society. Boy howdy did I ever have that one wrong! Now. Moving forward. I’ve looked at Facebook several times this morning. An odd notion came to me, that Facebook is like a Lego version of public discourse. Just sayin’. Is that cynical to say that? Maybe yes and maybe no. That phrase beats the hell out of Trump’s “Fake news!!!”. “Maybe yes and maybe no” almost sounds Zen. Trump’s phrase simply sounds like a bullfrog in a mucky pond – or swamp, if you will. That pond may be murky and smelly, but it is fecund in a way, and that which grows from the fertility may well look like an army of orcs rising up from the very soil. I see that army as being led by Darth Vader, so you can see that I am a bit confused. But darkness is darkness.

Enough of all that. A lone turtledove is murmuring in the dawn. Through the window it looks darker out there than it really is. I’ll be going out to look at the mountains in a bit. Since I have to go to work today I must give tolerance to this speed-driven world. Looking at the mountains can actually help with that. There ain’t nothin’ speedy about a mountain! Sometimes you can tell a lot about what something is by observing and determining what it ain’t. That determination must come through the whispers of your heart, spoken through intuition. Otherwise you just talkin’, dude. See, mountains stand still, and their perseverance is second to none. Wow. On that note I’m goin’ out to look instead of just writing about it. Bisy backson.

I just saw on Facebook that my cousin posted a video of a golden retriever barking at his own shadow. I think we all do that to some extent. One notable feature of the morning is that there are no birds singing, besides that lone turtledove. There are some nice clouds out there. The forecast is for possible thundershowers this afternoon. Monsoons? Yeh buddy. That’s what we’re hoping for. As for me, I just realized that it has been two weeks since I began taking Prozac. Has it helped? Let’s just say it changed things, neurotransmitters and stuff in my brain. Seems to me that if you let the drug do all the work you ain’t gettin’ the most out of it. Ya gotta work with it. Yes, something has changed. Back in 1990, when I first took Prozac, I was paying $100 for a month’s supply. Now I pay a co-pay of $1.67. Of course back then cannabis was still illegal, so you couldn’t by it over the counter like ya can now. I’ll be stopping by the dispensary this evening after work. I pretty sparing with the stuff. Naturally so. There has been no effort on my part to use any less or any more – but it has become less. Naturally so. It’s a Flow phenomenon. I take it for anxiety and chronic pain. Anxiety is is a form of capacitance in Flow – or so it seems to me. On that note I must go. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Aphorisms and Conversation Stoppers

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ~ William Blake

“It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.” ~ SirArthur Conan Doyle

“Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living.” ~ Mark Twain

“Imagination is the highest form of research.” ~ Albert Einstein

Out twice before, at 5 AM I went out for the third time. The first two were illuminated by Moon and clouds, with no stars. The third time I found the sky lightening toward sunrise. I had just started to think that moonlight and sunlight were blending out there. But something I read earlier came to mind and I stopped in my mental tracks. It was from an article by one of my favorite writers: William Rivers Pitt, from He wrote of the Moon’s borrowed light. Yeh, that’s it. But it has now all moved along and the Sun’s direct light is underway. A shelf of pale gray clouds sits out over Pueblo Canyon. It doesn’t fool me. The brilliant and oppressive sunlight will be the feature of the day. I know I will have to go out to get the laundry done. But the rest of the day will be within these walls. I have things to do in here. Not a lot, but likely I will do them. There is always the desire to amble on into an afternoon nap, perhaps too soon. Save for one nearly mandatory task, an expedited nap is well within the realm of possibility today. I’ve been trying to spend more time watching Netflix, to wash away the shouts and pedantry of emotions I so coldly banter with. It usually works, but lately I find myself being annoyed and perhaps overly critical of what I watch. I’m pretty sure that this is an indication that I will need to practice to get this to work. My inner critic is so often bullshit and talks way too much. Don’t tell me “it’s like that for everyone”. I strongly dislike that aphorism. It seems such a conversation stopper, on a par with “it is what it is”. Why not just say you don’t want to talk about it? Now, moving forward, the direct sunlight has made it up and over the mountains. That golden hue just now shown through the window. Whatever. It is . . . no, just say it, dude – I had better feed the cat before I get in trouble and have to pay for it the rest of the day. Cute little tyrants they are.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Waking to the Cat’s Meow

“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.” ~ Claude Monet

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.” ~ Chaim Potok

“But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.” ~ Thomas Merton

“All I insist on, and nothing else, is that you should show the whole world that you are not afraid. Be silent, if you choose; but when it is necessary, speak—and speak in such a way that people will remember it.” ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Siesta season is upon us. How many people actually participate in the practice, I don’t know, but I certainly partake. Yet these cold mornings don’t seem to speak of the oppressive heat to come later in the day. Go figure. The heat will be rising up soon. It’s 6:30 AM – 59º. The rusty hue of smoke filters the light that is emerging from behind the mountains to the east. The fire is to the north. A small fire, but that’s all it takes, The smoke isn’t thick enough to carry a detectable odor, but it is still good to avoid breathing it as much as possible. Says me, but I admittedly am seeking a justification for an afternoon nap. As if the choice itself is not in my ken. Which, of course, it is. I’m a grownup. I can nap when I danged well want to nap. Besides, I need it. Up too late after an unintended two hour nap after work. The cat woke me up all “Dude, where’s the dinner? Ya gonna sleep your life away or what?”. Yes, the cat calls me dude. Called from sleep by the cat’s meow, I looked at the clock: 8:15 PM. Oops – well past her usual feeding time. There was a time when her tail would be slightly whipping, showing that she was pissed off, but she has grown gentler with age. So I stretched off the sleepiness then did the usual – food, water, scoop out the litter box. Cats are stinky. I dutifully serve this ancient deity. The Egyptians worshipped cats, and cats have not forgotten the adulation. It is still expected of us two-leggeds. Whatever. It’s not hard to do. However of a pain in the ass they can be, they carry a tone of majesty that seems to justify their often annoying attitude. Perhaps Nature’s most perfect predator, yet they prefer their meal from a bowl. Go figure. All said, here this morning it is again feeding time. There I go.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.