“How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?” ~ Robert Frost
“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” ~ John O’Donohue
“Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding.” ~ Werner Heisenberg
There is a lot I don’t understand. It’s like that for everybody, right? I don’t know. I don’t care. Not right now. It’s still early and I hafta go to work in town in a bit. Nothing new about that, nor is there anything new about my strong resistance to do so. I usually try to lay back a tad on resisting something I am going to do anyway, regardless. Resistance ain’t futile, however. It’s a good measure of balance or imbalance between where you are and where you are going. I hope that wasn’t too cryptic, and so what if it was. This is a holiday weekend and it is my hope that I will not end up becoming cynical. I was born an iconoclast. It sure didn’t come from my dad. And mom? Don’t even think it. Some kind of karma, I suppose. It has been said that we come into this life to learn, with a purpose, with a smile. No, wait. The smile . . . oh, never mind. It’s not required, though it is a good idea to learn to do so. The gauge of resistance gives you a more accurate reading when you smile. So, there is no use in resisting resistance either. I will go to work, and smile, and laugh. That is all I ask of this day. Well, that and maybe the smile of the goddess seen in the eyes of the smile of a woman I know. That would be okay as well.
“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it” ~ D. L. Moody
“And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves.” ~ Mark Twain
Self-gratitude started my day, simply because I set up the coffee maker before I went to sleep last night. A flip of the switch and my day began. Sorta. Caffeine doesn’t kick in all that fast, if you ask me. Regardless, it was delicious. While I’m on the subject, I think the little valve that allows you to pour coffee, without spilling any, before the brew cycle is done is simply genius. Yet, a cup and a half into the day I still feel groggy. It takes more than coffee to snap me out of my serenity; it takes civilization. I’ll be going out there in a coupla hours. Lucky me. Somehow I failed to recognize that this is Labor Day weekend, and to top it off, Sting will be in concert in Kit Carson park. The idea of thousands of people in that little park just gives me the cold chills. I’d love to see the fella, but there is no dilemma – I ain’t goin’. No way, no how. It would take a week to recover from the intensity of the event. I have no regrets. I just know my limits. Some of then anyway. But we won’t go into that. Soooo – moving forward – Summer is not yet over but I am over Summer. Despite having the sub-tropics in my blood, I no longer like the high heat of the season, though I have no problem enduring it. 23 years in the Florida Keys, rarely suppressed by responsibilities. Perhaps the prime takeaway from those days is that I sorely miss the ocean. It’s a soul phenomenon. The ocean is on a par with the sky, in my estimation. As far as visuals go, the most impressive was those rare nights when the Moon and other conditions are just right, and at a certain point, the horizon disappears. The ocean and the sea become one. Breathtaking, on the lifetime scale of wonder. Sigh. It’s a good memory to have this morning. I’ll just take the hot water on the shorelines on into the shower with me, apply a different kind of hot water, a little soap, and struggle to maintain my sense of time, and my obligation to go into Taos for work. See, there is a time warp, vortex, whatever, in my shower. It makes 20 minutes feel like five. Fascinating, and comfy. Now, I’d best go before the vortex sucks me into that alternate universe where I sit at my old wooden desk, in front of the bay window, cat being held at bay from laying on the keyboard of the computer, and that computer, somehow, quite oddly, looks like a quill pen. The view through the bay window is the sea. Waves upon the rocky shore. Gulls. The profound light of Autumn piercing the air over Martha’s Vineyard. Stuff like that. I miss the sea.
“Wherever we go, there seems to be only one business at hand—that of finding a workable compromise between the sublimity of our ideas and the absurdity of the fact of us.” ~ Annie Dillard
“Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question.” ~ Barak Obama
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ~ Robert Pirsig
It’s kind of an odd mood that has hold of me this morning. Nothing I can’t live with. That’s for sure. The stillness and quiet in the neighborhood underline a feeling I can’t put my finger on. Yesterday I nearly had to wrench myself from home. I didn’t want to go. No wrench needed today, but a good swat with a broom wouldn’t hurt. I heard a few soft yaps from a little dog earlier. That’s all. Silence is good, but why is it so hard to achieve when you need it? I don’t know. People say “it’s not for lack of trying”. Well, this quiet morning is for lack of trying. But all of this is about what’s out there. My inner, subjective experience is not quiet. All I can do at this point is to grab a hold of that rope that leads to a good place and pull myself right along. Do you remember when pushers were drug dealers? Well, these days they sell you time, and encourage you to use it up as quickly as possible, then lure you back for more. I no longer see pushing oneself into the future as fulfilling to any degree. Pulling is the way to go. And what of imagination, of manifestation? Yikes! As I began to type that last sentence I had a strong sense of deja vu. Magic is afoot in the land. I intend to go along for the ride; not pushing, not pulling, just hopping on and enjoy the ride. I worked yesterday, and there were some cranky people in the crowd. What’s up with that? I coulda gotten feisty a few times, and one time almost did. But I’m trying to stick to my diet, which consist of peace and kindness, all the while reminding myself that kindness does not always preclude putting someone in their place. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to utter a healthy WTF to get some nitwit’s attention, get them to suspend their nitwittery for a moment, in hopes that that moment may lead to another, then another. One can always hope, right?
“It’s hard to believe in coincidence, but it’s even harder to believe in anything else.” ~ John Green
“Every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendall Holmes
“That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.” ~ Charles de Lint
There is so much I could write about this morning that I am tempted to let it all go and space out in front of some cable news panel discussion. Sleeping cat, good coffee. Oh, and those stars. When I first got up and went outside the stars were doing that thing that seems to be unique to this high desert mountain valley in Nuevo Mexico del Norte. Brilliance – plain and simple. Trust me, ya had to be there. No meteors. Otherwise it was perfect. Before I got out of bed, after asking Alexa what the time was, I experienced some serious, temporary pain that made me cry out loud. That’s life. I am paying the price for what has gone before. That’s all. Move along – there’s nothing to see here. I say that with a wry smile on my face. To get serious here, before I wrap up a short post, I will mention that I saw a friend yesterday who is one of my favorites. She’s a lovely woman, straight and to the point, and has a PhD in neurobiology. Her mind alone appeals to me. But there is some rare undefinable quality in her that reminds me that it is okay to be yourself. Imagine that. I have to smile in noting that I’ve seen numerous people get totally flummoxed by intimidation in dealing with her. Flummoxed and angry, all at once. I experienced this the first time I encountered her. But in my perplexity I struggled to figure out how to deal with her, because I pretty much had to deal with her. I decided that making friends would be the best strategy. It worked. That’s an important lesson. I have as a result come to know and love a research scientist. How cool is that, right? Yeh, right.
“The very fact of snow is such an amazement.” ~ Roger Ebert
“We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
“Anyone can buy a car or a night on the town. Most of us shell our days like peanuts. One in a thousand can look at the world with amazement. I don’t mean gawking at the Chrysler Building. I’m talking about the wing of a dragonfly. The tale of the shoeshine. Walking through an unsullied hour with an unsullied heart.” ~ Amor Towles
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman
Sunny Sunday morning. Mellow. I made the coffee perfect. The cat is slipping in and out, Cheshire-like, first logey, then asleep; like a yo yo. I’d better feed her anyway, in spite of her not being conscious enough to adamantly suggest that I do so.
The deed is done. I haven’t a lot on my mind, compared to usual. I think ten hours sleep could account for that. It’s chop wood, carry water today – which literally translates to a trip to the laundromat, which means a fresh breakfast burrito from LotaBurger. Yum. Those things are excellent and inexpensive. The little things. This evening I will be dogsitting with my favorite (though crazy) dog. Her mom is going to see Ringo Starr at the Santa Fe Opera House. Lucky her. I’d love to see Ringo, but I have others I rather see first, and none of them too soon. Anyway . . . the quote from Mr. Pullman has me intrigued. I agree with him fully, and have said that very thing for decades. Why does it intrigue me today? What is different about the way the thought hits me? Because of the book on trauma I am writing, the idea of story value comes in here. Good stories are good medicine. So how does that fit in with PTSD? Right off the bat I can see, for the first time, trauma as a frozen story, a tall tale in the literal sense, that became encased in a kind of syntactical amber as a defense against something that was so overwhelming that it was well over the limits of the defense mechanisms available. I choose syntax as the encasing agent because words so easily fail to describe the nightmare and torment of PTSD. As the original story is effectively unaccessible all ya get is a story about a story, and that secondhand story is translingual at best. No words, no words. But all that is best poured into my Inner Cauldron, to simmer and reduce, to enhance the magic that most certainly lies at the core of trauma. Maybe think of the metaphorical amber as a kind of spell cast by circumstances on a cosmic scale. Now think of the dual meaning of the word “spell”. You can spell a word or you can cast a spell. Then – PTSD is a layered shell, like Russian dolls: one layer of syntax, one of adrenaline and cortisol, one of immutable muscle tension, one of magic, and one of dark wonder. Very dark. But I feel good this morning, with an easy day ahead. The concept offered above is kind of exciting for me to consider. My latest panic attack, just last week, was pretty much mine to bear alone, because nobody except a therapist understands just how real this condition is, and how much IT FRIGGIN HURTS. Pardon the caps and boldface text. Sometimes it really pisses me off. Ciao.
“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.” ~ P. G. Wodehouse
“To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?” ~ Christopher Hitchens
“Life calls the tune, we dance.” ~ John Galsworthy
This is my little dragon, guarding her treasure, which consists of coins in a Rubbermaid tote. No significance need be applied. It’s just a cat on a box. Cats of all sizes, on up to lions and tigers, love boxes. She’s laying on the bed now, sleeping. Rosie is getting old, and I’ve noticed her sleeping postures have changed, and perhaps the most noticeable thing about the change is that she seems to have developed a more intimate relationship with both gravity and comfort. She kind of sinks into the bed a tad. I admit to doing the same thing. Yesterday morning, and again today, my first motions brought pain. When my upper body gets all relaxed like that it’s humorously painful to get the contraption into shape for the waking world. I blame it all on the bicycle and the tarmac. Several times, when I hit the road I really hit it hard. And yes, I did just refer to my body as a contraption. In Celtic lore we are a body within our soul. From my soul’s point of view this mass of flesh and bones operates as a contraption, in a humorous regard. Of course. There’s a lot to be said about this Celtic inspired worldview but I ain’t goin’ there this morning. Not in any kind of depth. Suffice it to say that it is simply in my blood, in a matriarchal sort of way. Just outside of Baldwin, Illinois lies a tiny cemetery honoring my Preston lineage. We go back to before the Revolutionary War. The Preston name goes back to 12th century Ireland. That’s nearly 1000 years, give or take a few. No wonder I’m so tired, right? Yeh, right. Anyway . . . odd things can happen when you look to your soul. Listening, learning, with no assurance of anything at all. An ambiguous approach to life is sometimes the healthiest anyway – what, with the sometimes unbearable weight of definitions and such. There was the time, a few years back, that I was mysteriously inspired to approach and get to know a woman that I have known for over a decade. No, I don’t hear voices. But it was almost like a borderline command from my soul. I responded to that command quite spontaneously, and was moving before I knew it. I asked her out early on. But that didn’t happen. Details aside, I’m glad I listened. No – no romance. Let’s just say that my life is enriched for making the connection in the first place – simply because I listened to my soul. Yet I ramble. Seems I’m just riffing this morning. Riffing, ever so gently sucking down good coffee, and steeling myself for the workday. I’ll loosen up when I get there and get moving. The steel comes from the PTSD I live with every nanosecond of every friggin day. Before I turn on the car and drive “I just know” that I am going to get hurt out there in the world. Oh, no, no, no. Don’t start with me! It is not simply a bad, negative attitude. Keep your positive thinking to yourself, k? This is an artifact of the emotional response which comes from the mysterious physiological dictums of my muscles and endocrine system and stuff. I don’t resent it because I was there when it happened, back when I hit the tarmac one evening at sunset. Science does not yet know how PTSD works, but the symptoms are blatantly obvious – yet so many people just think we are simply crazy. Whatever. They just don’t know what they don’t know, epistemologically speaking. My illness is active 24/7, operating in the background. I trip over micro-triggers all day long. But sometimes the dark curtains part and sweet things happen. It’s the silent speech of the soul that does that. Listen.
“You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.” ~ Goldie Hawn
“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street” ~ Stephen Hawking
“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” ~ John O’Donohue
It’s been a while since I woke up and got out of bed at 3 AM. Kinda nice, really. There’s someone running some heavy equipment, not too far away. At 4:30 AM. A couple of dogs were barking at the noise a short while ago. Otherwise quiet. I saw a meteor. That’s what put me in an expansive state of mind. That’s something that is quite like water in that you cannot grasp it. That’s the whole point. You enjoy it. You don’t have to do anything with it, and yet you can – if you so choose. I’ve got somebody on my mind and that’s what started the whole thing. It’s proving to be sort of distracting. I’ll just have to live with it, I reckon. Other than that? Yeh, whatever.
“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” ~ Richard Bach
“You may say you won’t interfere with another person’s soul, but you do—merely by existing. The snag about it is the practical difficulty, so to speak, of not existing.” ~ Dorothy Sayer
“If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.” ~ Charles Schultz
Another drifty morning. I’m getting ready to boost the cat from my lap so I can go look at the mountains for the first time today. As things sit, there are things that could be done but no things that must be done. That’s some pretty good clay from which to sculpt a day. Though I worked my day job yesterday I had two days off before that and today is the beginning of three more consecutive days off. Once again – good clay. I am mostly recovered from the panic attack the other day. The thing that’s been bugging me is that you can try to explain such an attack til the cows come home, but many people are just not gonna get it. I think this is, in part, because the public perceptions of mental illness have been rather severely watered down in the vernacular usage of relevant terms. When a really really really bad headache is a migraine. When erratic behaviour is bipolar. When you overreact to something you have PTSD. Stuff like that. Of course . . . no, wait . . . people trivialize and marginalize mental illness all time. Yet nobody one goes around saying “My stomach really hurts. I think I have a little touch of cancer today”. That says a lot.
Oh, and one more thing, on a similar note. I remember one day a customer commented on my difficulty in getting a specific word out clearly. I told him that I have trouble like that at times because I have a severed nerve in my lower lip. Which I do, and it sometimes gives me trouble with enunciation. He replied “Oh, I think everybody does”. No, dude, they don’t. Now, moving forward . . . if somebody says “it’s like that for everyone” it’s probably not. Geez, I . . . now, moving right along. It’s about time to feed the cat, though she would probably say it’s way too late. Soooo, today I am in search of romance. I’m tempted to say that I’m like that every day, but some days I am just pining, and pining is not the same as longing. Let’s put it this way – if longing is a luscious cheese omelette pining is scrambled eggs with a few chunks of cheese on top. I’d better get along now. The cat has just informed me that her litter box needs to be scooped out. Might as well feed her and change her water while I’m at it. Ya know, sometimes I suspect that she always holds a little back just in case she needs to stink up the room to make an emphatic statement. Some people are . . . oh, never mind. Ciao.
“Never stop being a kid, Richard. Never stop feeling and seeing and being excited with great things like air and engines and sounds of sunlight within you. Wear your little mask if you must to protect you from the world but if you let that kid disappear you are grown up and you are dead.” ~ Richard Bach
“If we wanted to construct a basic philosophical attitude from these scientific utterances of Pauli‘s, at first we would be inclined to infer from them an extreme rationalism and a fundamentally skeptical point of view. In reality however, behind this outward display of criticism and skepticism lay concealed a deep philosophical interest even in those dark areas of reality of the human mind which elude the grasp of reason. And while the power of fascination emanating from Pauli‘s analyses of physical problems was admittedly due in some measure to the detailed and penetrating clarity of his formulations, the rest was derived from a constant contact with the field of creative processes, for which no rational formulation as yet exists.” ~ Werner Heisenberg
Fascinating. That word has come to always remind me of Lieutenant Commander Data, on Star Trek Next Generation – he often says “fascinating”. Yes, I am a big fan. It is my go to show when I truly want to escape my problems and the world in general. Netflix is really cool that way. Star Trek NextGen is offers me comfortable fascination. When Captain Picard got captured by the Borg I was like all OMG. I can be that way all I like, on up to bedtime, anytime I feel the need. But I am fascinated by life in all its manifestations. This is an amazing world! The material world is fascinating to me, much in the same way that Nobel Prize physicist Richard Feynman pointed out that you cannot, no way no how, know a bird by merely learning it’s name. Someone says, “Oh, wow, that bird is a raven” and I’m like all “Dude, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”. This morning I am fascinated on many fronts. One is the traumatic experience of having a Chevy van crash through the wall, while I was reading Drunvalo Melchizedek explaining angels. The van’s front bumper sat no more than 18 inches from my left knee when all the deafening roar and flying stones calmed down. An angel came to help me that frigid November morning. Well, not an angel. She is the Mother Goddess of Celtic lore. She taught me instantly how to sidestep the physical danger by slightly phasing out into a parallel universe. Something right up Feynman’s alley, right? Yeh buddy. Does all this sound weird to you? That’s because it was.
I don’t know why the van incident is on my mind this morning. But I do know I am in a nearly perpetual struggle with the effects of trauma. The van came about 20 years after the bicycle crash that birthed my trauma. Lucky me, right? Yeh, right. It’s hard to explain. The negative after effects of the now released trauma runs parallel to the benefits. Fascination with the material world is one of them, one that helped me come back to earth after the bike crash and the NDE that it launched. But enough of that. The coffee is good. The cat is asleep in her bed, to the right of my knee. Better a cat than a Chevy van, but I suspect that goes without saying. I just spent the last two days in introvert land. That panic attack last week knocked the living bejezzus outta me. Such an attack is not a subjective thing. It is heart and bones real; a real physiological event. The after effects of the cortisol rush still linger. The aches are still in effect but the shaking and occasional tremors have abated, back to near normal. But I have to work today. To work I will carry with me images of a raven’s indescribable aerial skills, of how it was Archimedes who gifted the world with screws and bolts (I work in a hardware store. What do you expect?), thoughts of Parmenides trekking into the Underworld to encounter the Goddess, memories of Lori’s brilliant smile, and that of a beautiful woman I know in realtime. Sigh. She’s a beauty too, and I am a romantic. Lori’s spirit comes to me at times to cheer me on in this respect, but she does it with foot-tapping faux-scorn. I’m never quite sure what she means by that, but then again I am not a New Ager these days. Yes, there is Love and Light in this world but there is also the Trickster, who dances on the border between Light and the Darkness. That is the place where the alchemical river of mercury runs, the place where Yin and Yang smooch in perpetuity throughout eternity. Man, that last sentence had kind of a Tom Robbins feel to it. David Foster Wallace might say that ‘you’ve got to get it together when it comes together, when two irresistible forces entangle, when certainty takes a time out’. Boy howdy ain’t that the truth, if I do say so myself, which, of course, I just did. And on that note I must fly. Launch my car south into Taos. Feynman and Archimedes, Parmenides and that woman I know. Tom Robbins, David Foster Wallace, Dow Mossman. Yeh, why not – Neil Gaiman too. Trauma and tremors, cortisol and Love and Light. To work I go to pursue and fulfill my livelihood, go to that smile. Yeh, ain’t so bad, though I had a friggin rocky weekend. Just sat on a metaphorical rock and watch the metaphorical river flow. That’s what I did yesterday, after the storm. Yes, I did.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” ~ Fred Rogers
“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
“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.” ~ Judith Lewis Herman
Lately the drafty political video commentary has taken on a slightly different tone, perspective, whatever. Numerous times I have found myself tranquilized by what has turned from perky smartness about current events into an Om-like drone. It’s like Spirit is saying like dude chill, that is all one level of being, there are others. My having come to this revelation suggests that political video commentary can be a gateway to Spirit. If you look at it over a span of linear time you’d be surprised just how many of those gateways there are. They could pop up almost anywhere. Trust me, the more the better. Soooo, no, I don’t claim wisdom on a Monday morning, in fact, I am tempted to make a third cup of coffee, though I ain’t so sure that would be smart, but the thing of it is is that I’ve gotta find some way to amp myself up to dive into the heavy vibes of the workaday world on a Monday morning in late August, and even now, even this early, there are subtle signs, whispers really, revealing the ghosts of Autumn’s tendrils, reaching back in time to call us gently forth, as a hope becomes a certainty who’s time has come. Giggling here – that sentence was a tickle to write! Kind of a Dow Mossman feel to it, though you may asked just who in the dickens Dow Mossman is. Now, I’m going out to look at the Sun rising behind the Sacred Mountain. Bisy backson.
That was one long day yesterday. This morning the lingering body tension is seriously annoying. I had a panic attack on Friday and managed it quite successfully. Management simply delays the full effects until time to let loose arrives. Such a skill is useful, but the piper must be paid. So yesterday was a chore in keeping a rational filter for the chaotic vibes in the aftermath. I accomplished that, for the most part. Yet my body still wants to follow my droopy head right on through to curling up for a good snooze. Nope, not today. Laundry day, don’tcha know. I’m not sure I need much more than that right now.