The Freedom to Play Cat and Mouse

“Magic doesn’t require beauty,’ she said. ‘Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.” ~ Leigh Bardugo

“Protect your good image from the eyes of negative viewers, who may look at your good appearance with an ugly fiendish eye, and ruin your positive qualities with their chemical infested tongues.” ~ Michael Bassey Johnson

“This cat-and-mouse could not last forever, and he also knew that when you are the mouse you don’t have much to say about it to the cat.” ~ Robert Olmstead

Where does the time go? It goes nowhere, as I see it. Aging, however, seems to be a different story. Unlike Aesop, there are a shitload more morals to your story than just one. Given a preference, I would choose the cartoon version Aesop’s Fables – which appeared alongside Rocky and Bullwinkle and Sherman and Peabody – to the real thing. But maybe that’s just me. Yes, I am a total Rocky and Bullwinkle fan. Now, moving right along. I usually say “moving forward”, but I’m just not in the mood for that. Most people seem to believe that time travels in a straight line. I beg to differ. I believe that it sometimes throws off an orthogonal branch that is not unlike the one that Robert Frost noted poetically as he gazed upon the snowy woods. And it sometimes curls back on itself, which may indeed explain the feeling of déjà vu. As for myself this morning, I am feeling somewhat curly, and I ain’t talkin’ Three Stooges here. I’ve had quite a few spells of déjà vu lately.

Just back from stepping outside under the stars. I was last outing was about 4 AM, to haul the trash bin out to the side of the road for pickup. I needed a flashlight. Too dark. Walking back I stopped at my car for a quick smoke. Once my eyes became readjusted after turning off the flashlight, I saw Orion overhead. And Sirius, and the Pleiades. Sirius and the Pleiades – it sounds like a 60s rock band, or the aliens from those two places that some folks claim exist. The stars were brilliant. Hopefully I will be as well, as I perform my job today. I’m in an unprecedented mood today. That’s one of the cool things about aging – at least for me. Experiencing purely new feelings is no small thing. I describe it as a Longing, but these feelings are a spiral step up from days of yore. Transcendence, evolution, or simply a bit higher than before. I can tinker away choosing attributes that may become revealed about this Longing. But all I get from that is the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, who says: “Aw, Bullwinkle, that trick never works”. One thing I like about the Longing is that it seems to be immune to the meddlesome tyranny of PTSD. Yes, my PTSD is professionally diagnosed, so don’t even start with me, k? I’m not like the people who say – undiagnosed, except for their own – that they are OCD, when they really just don’t want to slow down about 2% and simply pay attention. Just sayin. Maybe this Longing provides a kind of healing relief from virulent anxiety and fear? Yeh, I think so. Or maybe even a way out? I wouldn’t go that far. But I did recently find an actual proactive use for the hypervigilence I live with every friggin 24/7, or whatever, of my life. I’ve got a situation where I am pretty much the mouse mentioned in the Robert Olmstead quote above. Luckily I know a lot about cats, from my time working with them at the animal shelter. But about the hypervigilence: since I already have it all the time it takes no more expenditure of energy to make use of it. Turning it to my own benefit is pretty much free. And that is how I feel this morning, at least until I get out on the highway and get the inevitable tailgater, who will piss me off, and when he finally backs off some I will softly say “There now, that’s a good boy”, or something like that. It might sound like I respond to the situation with sarcasm, but what I am really accomplishing with that utterance is to say it to both myself and the nitwit behind me. By heeding my own – ummmm – sarcasm I can make myself smile, then transcending the feeling of self-importance that I get from acting all high and mighty by getting pissed off in the first place. That too is freedom. Freedom does not even mean to be free of troubles and nitwits, it just means that you don’t – no, wait – even getting pissed off is okay when you feel free, because it is a real event in life. So when you get pissed off it is just a matter of what you are going to do with it. You can shine Light on the world regardless.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

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Listening to the Giggling Goddess

“The struggle for a free intelligence has always been a struggle between the ironic and the literal mind.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

“We’ve known for a long time that it was no longer possible to overturn this world, nor reshape it, nor head off its dangerous headlong rush. There’s been only one possible resistance: to not take it seriously.” ~ Milan Kundera

“To paraphrase Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, and all those guys, “I wish I had known this some time ago.” ~ Roger Zelazny

“With every mistake, we must surely be learning.” ~ George Harrison

Lately I’ve been trying to take life less seriously. To sorta accurately quote novelist Tom Robbins: the world situation is grim, as usual. Ya just gotta laugh, right? I would, if I were you. When I look at this Trump Ukraine Giuliani Pompeo Bill Barr weirdo clusterfuck I see a bunch of clowns stepping on each others’ clown shoes; shoes that are always big enough that it’s hard to miss when you stomp on the other guy’s feet. And the makeup, and the sinister eyes. I’ve not read Stephen King’s “It”, but I’ve seen enough snippets from the film to know that some sinister clown keeps trying to drag people down into the sewers. Come on, Mr. King – ain’tcha got no better metaphors than that?

Yikes. I just took a break to step outside under the stars. Mr. King is a star. He’s an international bestselling novelist and I’m an unknown self-published writer. Why would I wanna pick a fight with him? Sorry, dude. This morning has one of those dazzling starry skies that New Mexico is famous for. I won’t bother trying to describe it – I’m just not in a poetic mood today; I’m drawn to intellectual stuff. A couple of months ago my massage therapist said that I am an intellectual. There I was, naked and face down on the table, listening to lute music on Spotify, and feeling somehow disappointed at being seen as an intellectual. I told her that I am a mystic as well. Not that it matters. I’m of the mind that women don’t like intellectual men, especially those who work for low wages at a retail outlet. It was a poignant moment for me. Now I can see the irony in it. For me, when I get a thirst for intellectual writings, it usually means that I am depressed, clinically speaking. It is sort of a caution flag that pops up to let me know that I need to be mindful and self-forgiving right now. I turn 65 in three weeks, and this fact is stirring an intense longing in me. It’s that Celtic kind of Longing, where there is no real object or goal, because the Longing is a drive and a teacher; no more than that. It’s a Spiritual thing . . . and intellect can’t touch it. If I sit still, to calm the aches and pains and creaky bones, inside, I am still that barefoot island hippie boy. A woman I know said she is creeped out by the peace, love, and hippies schtick. And I was like “come on, lady. You’ve been reading Stephen King, haven’t you?”. Just kidding. I said no such thing. No, I keep going back to the houseboat, moored at a diagonal in the corner notch of the marina at Smuggler’s Cove, across Snake Creek Channel from the Coast Guard Station, in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. To the west, out over Florida Bay, the slivered Moon was capped by Venus, and we had 13 of us atop that boat. We hippies had a band called The Matecumbe Minstrels, and we had some guys from another local band, called Nasty Habits, sitting in. There was an aura of beer, weed, and coke, in the air . . . 13 of us, atop that boat, playing Willy’s “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”, and the boat was literally rocking back and forth in 3/4 time. And now I live in the American West. No, I’m not a cowboy, but it is ironic. We were all just babies on that boat, having a good time and stirring the crowd up into party mode. We were good. We were feeling good. Geez, am I getting wistful or what? Today at work I will be that barefoot island hippie boy, creaky bones and all. I don’t give credence to wistfulness and/or nostalgia, because I just don’t think that time works that way – because to me time ain’t linear. Atop that boat we were all in the here and now, just as I am in the here and now as I sit at this messy desk with my trusty cat at my side. How is one here and now different from another? To me they are one in the same, and it cannot be otherwise. Maybe my massage therapist was right? Yeh, she’s a smart lass, and her strong suit is that she knows where it hurts. Geez, I wish I could afford biweekly massages. My next massage comes on my birthday, then a casual dinner with my ex that afternoon. Nurturance. Plain and simple. I may never defeat depression, just as I may never get over my intellectual proclivities (not that I actually want to). ‘Proclivities’?! What a great word! My Grandma Olive would be proud. She was a closet intellectual, absolutely brilliant at Scrabble. The Grandmother is with me these days. The Mother Goddess Brighid as well. And Hecate. Hecate is an interesting goddess. She rules the night from her vantage point at the crossroads. She was Persephone’s guide through the underworld. And she is the Queen of the Witches. Dag nab it, that friggin bruja is really starting to get on my nerves! Soooo . . . exactly where is the crossroads, where Hecate stands with her two hounds at her side? It is, simply put, where the Longing begins. It is a timeless place. And here I stand puzzled at it all. Hecate smiles and says “Nurturance, child”, and Brighid just giggles. She’s the one I listen to the most. I like giggles.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Cute Cat and Good Coffee

“What Youth deemed crystal, Age finds out was dew” ~ Robert Browning

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” ~ C. S. Lewis

“I believe that maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up: that an adult is not a dead child, but a child who survived. I believe that all the best faculties of a mature human being exist in the child. . . . that one of the most deeply human, and humane, of these faculties is the power of imagination.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Somehow or other I just found myself reading about the proper usage of a certain punctuation mark. I won’t mention the identity of that mark, except to say . . . oh, never mind. Come to find out there are both formal and informal applications, so I am off the hook. What I find to be even more peculiar is that I was actually reading about something other than politics. Go figure. None of this is distraction, though. Yeh, right. The truth is that age has been snickering at me lately. Come Tuesday I will begin Medicare. This is most definitely a good thing. That’s not the point. I told my therapist yesterday that it almost seems like a mid-life crisis. It is both philosophical and existential stuff. And, yes, at times I snicker along just for giggles, if they should come. If nothing else, it is amusing. But this morning is about contentment. Like OMG just look at the cat! Soooo cute. Careful not to wake her. The old gal needs her sleep. And good coffee. And a workday ahead, which I am looking forward to because the past three days have been chock full of solitude. This is also a good thing. I’d say it’s all good, except I hate that aphorism. Whatever. I did get a little work done on the new book. I’d forgotten how much work is involved in writing a book. Good thing I have this blog to keep me from getting toooo serious in writing whatever I write. Once again . . . whatever.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Ontology of Coffee

“When our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals its wonders to us. There are people who see only dullness in the world and that is because their eyes have already been dulled. So much depends on how we look at things. The quality of our looking determines what we come to see.” ~ John O’Donohue

“The problem with certainty is that it is static; it can do little but endlessly reassert itself. Uncertainty, by contrast, is full of unknowns, possibilities, and risks.” ~ Stephen Batchelor

“The gods are fond of the cryptic and dislike the evident.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s a noisy morning out on the highway but at least I seem to have caught up on my sleep so whatever. Made the coffee absolutely perfect – like how can you make a good pot of coffee before you’ve even had any to drink. It’s magic, I tell you. I recently have been thinking about getting a coffee maker that has a timer, where you can set up the brewing the previous night and have it start before you do in the morning, and you wake up to a fresh pot, already made. I’ve decided not to. For some strange reason I feel that the machine would cause me all kinds of ontological problems – like what was I before that first cup? Or why do I feel incomplete since I stopped setting up the machine in the morning? These issues go well beyond psychology or consumerism. Nuff said. Today is laundry day. I look forward to it. My Medicare begins on Monday. I could almost call it a mid-life crisis, but the truth is I don’t know what to make of it. I seem to be simply perplexed by the implications here, of the passage of time and the plasticity of currents within the mind. My thought experiment is to visualize sitting down on a comfy chair. Take a few deep breaths. Get centered. Now, say “I’m too young for all this to already be happening”. Then stand back up. Do you hear the sounds and feel the pains when you begin to move. That should answer your question about age and time and life and stuff. You ain’t too old, muchacho. Accept it gracefully and gratefully. Says me.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Sowing the Seeds of Love

“Reality denied comes back to haunt.” ~ Philip K. Dick

“Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look.” ~ James Burke

“History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Although the situation is way larger, I will openly admit to a rich sense of Schadenfreude. I am, of course, talking about the formal impeachment inquiry of that half-baked Moriarty who would be Trump; whereas the true Moriarty is not at all stupid. Other than that this feels to be a sweet day. I’m dazzled by the joy I feel from the changed light following the Equinox. Clarity is what I see, whereas the light of Summer is nearly brash in it’s presence — or at least boisterous. It’s all about angles and planets and stars and stuff. I’d love to be sharing a beer with Richard Feynman, discussing this issue, and maybe some of his brilliance might rub off on me. One can only hope. What I mean is not his knowledge — I have my own, in abundance. What I mean is his brightness. I speak from Shadow a good part of the time. Brain trauma lodged me in a dark place — on a part time basis. I have my moments. A few people have called me a “Lightworker”. Yeh, why not. Carl Jung urged a basic form of Enlightenment that does no more than to bring Light into Shadow, thus illuminating to reveal the dark forms that will become allies at least, instead of the looming beasts that they are purported to be. The prospect does me good to contemplate and/or cogitate. I think it was David Bohm who proposed the replacement of either/or with both/and. There is a whole school of thinking that supports this proposal. I’m sure it goes back before Bohm, but I just wanted to mention two brilliant physicists in today’s post. Don’t ask me why. Both/and is a fine way of doing you own therapy for yourself. Today may bring such therapy, or it may just be a spaced-out river of dreams. Yeh, I’d be happy to daydream today. That certain smile. That strange excitement that I acquire from contemplating the delicious contradictions couched within quantum physics. The way the spirits of the Ancestors communicate with us regardless of our disbelief or fear. The way sowing the seeds of Love doth make sprouts of us all. I think I’ll squirt some chlorophyl into a glass of water and drink it down. Chlorophyl in water the morning, Key Lime juice in the IPA in the evening. There is balance in this approach to the second of three sequential days off from work, and perhaps progress as well. Now, that smile is calling me as the Goddess giggles in my Central Nervous System, no doubt amused by the horns of dilemma I encounter when considering the choice of doing something about that smile, or just leaving it to the Ancestors to guide me on my way. Of course, horns remind me of the Great God Pan, and how he cast forth wisdom to Psyche when he found her at the river’s edge where she was lovesick and suicidal. He encouraged her to pray to the Creative Force rather than taking her own life in the river. I can dig it.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

In the Moisty Autumn Chill

“The story of two dreams is a coincidence, a line drawn by chance, like the shapes of lions or horses that are sometimes formed by clouds.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges

“He stepped outside and looked up at the stars swimming in schools through the wind-driven clouds.” ~ John Steinbeck

“My soul
must reach
into the clouds
and touch
the beauty
of madness.”

~ Melody Lee

Here I sit in shirt and jeans of denim, old Yes “Fragile” T-shirt beneath, and the moisty chill of the first full day of Autumn. Fresh and to the bone. It is cold enough to close the window but I cannot bring myself to do so. However brief was Summer’s visit the change of season is refreshing my mind and heart with a deep and soulful longing. Some unknown force beckons forth, and I listen. Softly, like a churned sea caressing the beach some ways away. Got a woman on my mind, and the ambient music of low-grade wonder. I don’t rightly know what drove me to get to know her, but I called it, at first, the call of Spirit, which is still pretty much how I see it. We are sometimes drawn to people in some cosmic dance that few of know much about. No, I am not one of the few who know. I wouldn’t want to if I could. I need that mystery. I like that I can flow soft in thinking of her smile. Yeh, it’s the first full day of Autumn. I feel somehow rich with this new season sitting in my lap. I think that’s enough for now. Today must be a day of profound rest. I could barely stand up when I got home from work yesterday, so exhausted I was. But first a trip into Taos for a few small supplies. Then rest. Dang, I might as well start resting right away and use it as a shield for the introverted empath in me in my morning travels. That and a beautiful smile welcome the season for me. No, that smile is not a memory. Rather it is timeless; the call of Spirit.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Trick of Time and Mind

“One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

“There’s been time this whole time. You can’t kill time with your heart. Everything takes time.” ~ David Foster Wallace

“It’s all fine to say, “Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget”—and things like that when you are not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people do not forget and you are in the middle of something that does not change.” ~ John Steinbeck

The warning signs are here, telling me to take it light and breezy today. Yeh, okay. It’s that Monday that would be a Friday. Four days straight of gainful employment. Tired, and emotionally low. Self-judgmental. But this is not all light and breezy, is it? Nope. I seem to be more sleepy for a while now – or needing more sleep? Change of season is the likely culprit. Not that it matters. In fact, chances are this tiredness has not been going on for anywhere near as long as I think it has. It’s a trick of time. Or of mind. Whatever. It is good to have the old support structure of cat and coffee. Sunrise is a short ways away but first light is rising and it will soon be time to go out for my morning look at the mountains. I truly wish I had something more to write about this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

“Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.” ~ Aristotle

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Prosperity lets go the bridle.” ~ George Herbert

Look at the photo, and wonder. These are the curtains that shade this room from the light that comes through the one and only window. These curtains are before me as I sit as my desk. The window is dingy and needs cleaning. Maybe tomorrow? Yeh, right. Make of that a metaphor, if you will. I can dig it. Not much on my mind this morning except that dazzling smile I see once in a while. I’ve known her since Summer of 1995, when I was working at the drive-through liquor window in Ranchos de Taos, right behind the famous St. Francis church, and she pulled up with a friend riding shotgun, in a car I remember as being a convertible. Both women were round about 21 at the time, and beautiful, with mind-hushing nubile vibes. Yikes. And I’m like ‘dude, you’re like 40 years old’. I didn’t see her for many years, then I did, and now I see her every few weeks. She is even more beautiful now, as she comes within sight of 50. We just smile at each other – and gaze into the eyes. I don’t sense this as romantic, and I’d be lying if I said that there was no sexual attraction involved, but this is one of those rare relationships where definition is not much of a high priority, and the only true commodities in our intersubjective experience are beauty, Light, and brilliance. Yesterday she brought me a jar of canned fresh-picked apricot jam, made by her own hands, which have the look that exposes the hard work she has done through the years, yet they look quite gentle as well. Hard work and gentleness go hand in hand at the best of times. No, I have not tasted the jam yet. It should go with some Carr’s English biscuits, and I’ll get right to that after work. A nice hoppy hazy IPA would be nice as well. I believe in past lives, but my view of them emerges from the concept of simultaneous time, where past, present, and future kinda sorta swirl around together in whatever cosmic gyre they may fall within. I like this woman. Yeh, love as well. But what does it mean? I have no idea. She just makes me smile – and I her. This is life, no más y no menos. This is unconditional brilliance.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Health Benefits of Archetypes

“People didn’t realize it, but they needed myths to survive, just as much now as when their forebears were alive. Perhaps more. Mythology embodied the world’s dreams, helped to make sense of the great human problems. Just as the dreams of individuals exist to give subconscious support to their conscious lives, so do myths serve as society’s dreams. They uncover the dark, hidden places where mysteries dwell and can turn to nightmare if left untended. They make sense of injustice in archetypal terms. They give men and women a blueprint for how they may respond to success or failure, tragedy or joy.” ~ Charles de Lint

“I’m a writer and this is what I do no matter what name we put to it. Year by year, the world is turning into a darker and stranger place than any of us could want. This is the only thing I do that has potential to shine a little further than my immediate surroundings. For me, each story is a little candle held up to the dark of night, trying to illuminate the hope for a better world where we all respect and care for each other.” ~ Charles de Lint

Dark times are upon us, right? Without a doubt. So what does that mean for me, here, this morning, waiting for the Sun to rise? It means I gotta go to work soon, and all of this news perusing is mostly entertainment, for just a part of the day. I woke about 15 minutes before the alarms were set to go off. Opened my eyes to see Rosie the cat sitting before me, inches from my face, and she was in that classic regal Egyptian divine cat pose, bolt upright, seemingly with purpose. To me, when I am in a more magical state of mind, this indicates that the bruja has been visiting, or at least trying to. Rosie has my back. Just sayin’. I sometimes wonder how the bruja – or rather what she experiences when the cat is in her face. But she’s just a fantasy of mine, right? Nope. No more of a fantasy than Trump is. On an archetypal level he is a dark sorcerer, spinning energy, dark eddies, creating illusions that suit his purpose, whatever that may be. Seemingly all illusion, all imaginal slime, but there is a real man there doing it all. Sometimes magic is illusion-spinning. But not always. Not by a long shot. The bruja is here to show me the dark side of the Goddess. Ya gotta know both sides of the Goddess – light and dark – if you expect to know much of anything at all about her. This archetypal view of the Goddess is best suited to enhance my mental health. But there is a real woman doing all of this. It’s not a fight so much as it is a dance, and I make no effort to avoid stepping on her toes. Step on her toes to keep her on her toes, right? Geez, that is one clumsy metaphor. But it’ll hafta do for now. First light is coming up pretty good now. The bruja’s jest gonna hafta wait. I’ll be looking at the Light in the Goddess today, like I wrote about a few days ago. I’ve said enough now. Gotta get ready for work.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Of Discordant PTSD Wagnerian Intensity

“What should I take? Something that will not be missed. In the wood at midnight, a magic flower.” ~ Margaret Atwood

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.” ~ C. G. Jung

“Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“Still write it down, it might be read
nothing’s better left unsaid
only sometimes, still no doubt
it’s hard to see, it all works out” ~ Procol Harum

Down to 40º – that’s the big news for me. The coffee is good but I am in no mood nor hurry to wake up to any effective degree. I finagled life conditions so that I can put off the laundry until Sunday. Casual dinner with a friend this evening, so the day may be left to flow easy. Lap cat. Purring no less. She purrs a lot more in her senior years – one can no longer say “old age”. What, is that considered to be negative thinking? Don’t get me started. By my own decree, I am supposta be stroking my rational mind today, kindling it to light me up after a dark spell on Tuesday. Well, maybe not so dark. What I brushed up against was way dark. I just got scuffed a little. The degree of that scuffing doesn’t always strike any kind of ratio with the degree of the effect it causes within my PTSD world. Now that was some kind of awkward sentence! But it said what it was intended to say. It doesn’t have to make any kind of sense at all. I feel better this morning, but yesterday was a low-grade nightmare of discordant PTSD Wagnerian intensity. Luckily I had therapy in the afternoon. Just as a reminder before I publish this post – I am not whining when I describe these mental issues. I advocate for mental health and illness issues. Sometimes it helps to understand when you hear it from a firsthand point of view. That’s all, folks.

All is well. Goof gloriously.