A Blanket Instead of a Hearth

“Externally, the jollity of aged men has much in common with the mirth of children; the intellect, any more than a deep sense of humor, has little to do with the matter; it is, with both, a gleam that plays upon the surface, and imparts a sunny and cheery aspect alike to the green branch, and gray, mouldering trunk.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Hardest of all, as one becomes older, is to accept that sapient remarks can be drawn from the most unwelcome or seemingly improbable sources, and that the apparently more trustworthy sources can lead one astray.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

Once again there is some serious wind yet the weather site shows the number, speed, whatever, at 4 mph. I’d look for a conspiracy there, if I could. I can’t stomach such stuff right now, though I do have some serious talent for concocting supposed theories: for entertainment purposes only. If you don’t mind working hard in reading a novel, I recommend Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum” as a cautionary tale regarding conspiracy theories. Brilliant book, but you will have to work at it. But, enough of that. The good news this morning is that I seem to have a mild aversion to excessive Facebook timeline scrolling. And there aren’t many fresh videos on the MSNBC site. There may be hope for my mind yet. It’s a workday, and all that goes with that. As per usual I’m not too psyched about that, but I know I will slip seamlessly, right into the scene, and enjoy it. But with the wind and the cold (about 20º) I have this strong, innate longing for the hearth, but I ain’t got one of them so whatever. The closest thing I have is to light a candle and spread out the fleece lap blanket I have come to love. But not today, or at least not until this evening. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Grooving in a Pine Grove

“The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.” ~ David Bohm

“Pribram has given evidence backing up his suggestion that memories are generally recorded all over the brain in such a way that information concerning a given object or quality is not stored in a particular cell or localized part of the brain but rather that all the information is enfolded over the whole.” ~ David Bohm

“One of Bohm’s most startling assertions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate (which means “enfolded”) order, and he refers to our own level of existence as the explicate, or unfolded, order.” ~ Michael Talbot

There may be a little ways to go before meteorological tedium begins to set in, but it feels to be in sight. The first mutterings of those who love Spring are beginning to emerge. I’m not that far along yet. My desire, realistic or not, is for the morning temperatures to rise some. I mean, is that too much to ask? Yeh, I thought so. But I’m not bored yet, nor am I (usually) using island memories to assuage any discomfort I feel today. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be kicked back in a pine grove overlooking the Florida Straits; bottle of Red Stripe at my side, spliff in hand. I’d love that, yes, but not as an escape. But if tedium does arise for me I can zip on into that island scene at a moment’s notice. I’ve experienced a fair amount of edification in such groves, and maybe I can still get some from memories as well. We shall see.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Smile or Go Back to Sleep

“Listen to th’ wind wutherin’ round the house,” she said. “You could bare stand up on the moor if you was out on it tonight.” Mary did not know what “wutherin'” meant until she listened, and then she understood. It must mean that hollow shuddering sort of roar which rushed round and round the house, as if the giant no one could see were buffeting it and beating at the walls and windows to try to break in. But one knew he could not get in, and somehow it made one feel very safe and warm inside a room with a red coal fire.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

“There are always waves on the water. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small, and sometimes they are almost imperceptible. The water’s waves are churned up by the winds, which come and go and vary in direction and intensity, just as do the winds of stress and change in our lives, which stir up the waves in our minds.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

A morning of wind, and it gets into everything. Everything. Cold, oppressive, tenacious. The odd thing is that the weather site records no such wind. I don’t know if it suits my mood or merely drives it. Whatever. Whatever it is it is enough. I don’t really care if it is what it is or not, as long as it is enough. And . . . I don’t know where I was headed with that, but I suspect I was just playing with words rather than anything truly meaningful. At times it is hard to tell the difference. Alas, tis a workday. Tomorrow is the good one, the “down day”, when nothing needs doin’ or sayin’ and the cat on the lap and it is a drowsy day throughout, all creature comfort and stuff. I’d almost say that I wish the wind were here tomorrow as well. And a cloudy sky, with a hint of snow, perhaps. A Wuthering Heights feel. Best not push my luck, right? Yeh, right. Time’s up anyway. I don’t know whether to smile or go back to sleep, but tomorrow I have the option of doing both, maybe even all at once.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Finding Fun and Patience in Flow

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~ Rainer Maria Wilke

These days I don’t even want to leave the house, and this morning is the return to engagement with the whole consensual reality of the 9-5 workaday world. Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day. Just another Manic Monday. Hmmmm, Manic Monday is what they call discount day at the dispensary. I need to stop by after work, so my timing is impeccable. Now, I don’t reckon I know why a loose theme of patience came to me this morning, but I see now that I have been feeling it coming for a while. Equanimity is an ongoing practice for me. It is, or needs to be, closely aligned with patience. There are two overt factors in my focus on patience. One is the increase in the dosage of Prozac. It takes time for the desired effect to be reached and stabilized, yet I can already feel the difference. The other thing is the shoulder brace I recently purchased. One of it’s functions is to help correct bad posture. It’s a gradual process. I can already feel the effects emerging. It will take time. Ack. It is just all so overwhelming at times. Today is one of those times. Likely I will enter Flow Consciousness before the day is over. I’d like that. That is where magic flows, pretty darned freely too, if I do say so myself. I look forward to it. In the immortal words of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, “It sounds like fun”.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

On the Brink of Being Fiesty

“I had a dream I was awake and I woke up to find myself asleep.” ~ Stan Laurel

“He awoke, opened his eye. The room meant very little to him; he was too deeply immersed in the non-being from which he had just come. If he had not the energy to ascertain his position in time and space, he also lacked the desire. In utter comfort, utter relaxation he lay absolutely still for a while, and then sank back into on the the light momentary sleeps that occur after a long, profound one.” ~ Paul Bowles

“Sometimes at night I would sleep open-eyed underneath a sky dripping with stars. I was alive then.” ~ Albert Camus

Going back to sleep would be easy. Fully knowing that the alarm went off I snatched another hour of sleep anyway. I didn’t used to be this way, having always been afraid I’d miss something if I went to sleep, but now I’m like whatever. It would be way easy to over-think this right now. Like, am I just getting old? Am I fighting off something? Is the bruja after me again? And how about dreams? Hmmmm? I remember back in the days, weeks, and months, after the head injury I slept a lot, which is understandable, I s’pose. But those dreams, back then, I experienced as a kind of classroom, as a learning experience. After all, I’d gone through an experience that very much seemed to be a cosmic voyage of some sort; a journey to another world. My dreams became a metaphysical continuing education. But now? Who knows. I’m not totally convinced that I care right now. I’m feeling peeved that I have to get ready for work soon. Anyway . . . the third quote is something that reminded me of those times. I would sometimes climb up onto the roof of the trailer and sleep under the stars. I often felt claustrophobic in general, like life itself was restrictive to the extreme. Yeh, call it an existential problem. That’d be okay, but I’m not sure you’d be too right about that. I wouldn’t be right if I said that. Just sayin’. Woof. I could get feisty today, I’m on the brink. Best get on to it. I promise to be good. Wink, wink.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Providence of Jasmine

“You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.” ~ Albert Camus

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ Carl Jung

“Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Winter has acquired a pattern of consistency this year. I admit to being tired of the deep cold mornings, as if that matters. I’ve got plenty of island memories to warm me up, if I need to to do such a thing, and I often do. Mid-teens at night and 40-something in the afternoon. Day in, day out. I’m talking, of course, about the air temperature, not human behavior. The daytime temperature fairly plummets after about 3 PM, just short of English teatime. What does that have to do with anything? I mean, teatime? Really? 3 PM is the time when our body’s electricity, energy, whatever, is at it’s lowest. Tea and biscuits, chemical stimulant and carbs. Carries you through to that first cocktail, on toward dinner. 3 AM is called by many “the Demon Hour”. If you think that demons follow human definitions and theories just remember that they may have other plans. Oddly enough, I’ve long had the tendency to get up and awake at 3 AM. It’s an artifact of the bicycle accident and head trauma; don’t know why. In the islands, often, I would mount the bicycle and ride out into the sumptuous darkness to get the daily copy of the Miami Herald from the metal box down front of the bait and tackle shop, just south of the dolphin and seal lion tourist attraction. They used to, at that shop, give me a 10% discount on my Budweiser, a local’s discount. Just sayin’. There in the night, I was lucky if the Jasmine and/or Carissa was in bloom, for their aromas bear providence, of feelings that make memory more more acute and and accurate. When I got back to the trailer – only then did I put on the coffee. But all of that has little to do with today. They say that memories are not reliable or accurate, to any significant degree. When they say that, I say that that there’re things they don’t know about memory, like there are other, more effective ways to recall the past. Ya gotta go with your feelings, not the supposed details. Whatever. Now, going forward. We’re jus waxing our way out of a Dark Moon. For some reason I have something akin to romance on my mind this morning. Worth noting. I don’t reckon this is a prognostication as much as it is an tendency from my soul. There’s that one with the intense and mellow smile. But I’m not attached to details today. Sometimes that is plenty to get you, me, whatever, through the day.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Yowling Like a Tom

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

“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

“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. In life is death. In death is rebirth. What then is life without death? Life unchanging, everlasting, eternal? What is it but death-death without rebirth?” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

We came pretty close to storm proportions, back at 5 AM, when the cat woke me, yowling like a tom. Not just meowing, mind you, full gut-purging yowls; impressive yet unwelcome. I barked out a few “no”s before I finally snapped and let out a guttural reply of my own, in the form of a primal alpha growl. I got to bask in my presumed satisfaction for but a few seconds, before the cat was up on the bed and in my face. Ummmmm . . . okay, I’ll get up. So I did. By now, the second cup of coffee is about gone. The cat – after food, water, and litter scooping – is sacked out in her cat cave. Yes, that is a sigh of relief you just heard. I thought this point would never come: the chance to garner a bit of profound rest, or at least a few hours of unmoored, rudderless, serenity. I’m down to a mundane point right now, like, should I do my laundry today, or have it done for me. That’s about as much as I care to consider today. Likely I will have it done. It’s a minor extravagance yet not without its merits. That woman at the Wash o Mat . . . well, I’ve never seen underwear folded so impeccably. I personally don’t care if it is folded or not, I just appreciate excellence when I see it. The socks as well. It’s the darndest thing. Anyway . . . I’m fairly certain that I am already feeling the effects of the upped dosage of Prozac, after just two days. The doctor said I would know within a few days. He was right. Other than obeying the cat, I can just barely feel the sense of free-floating urgency I get in the mornings. We shall see. Speaking of Prozac, one of the most impactful writers on my list of favorites died just a few days ago, of metastatic breast cancer, at a fairly early age. Elizabeth Wertzel caused a literary ruckus back in the 90s, when she published a tell-all (Prozac Nation) about her struggles with clinical depression. It had almost a punk tone — good, compelling writing — and something I sorely needed to read, having been out of a full-blown depressive spell for a mere three years. Prozac helped me out of that one, back when it had only been on the market for a couple of years, and I was about fixin’ to yowl like a tomcat, my own self. Elizabeth’s prose was sometimes wrenching and jagged, so clear and brutally honest as it was. Was she brave? Yeh, maybe at first, but I think she really just dove into a form of the gonzo journalism perfected first by Hunter Thompson. As depression goes, it takes more than good writing and urbanity to be able to get across the monstrous reality of it all. Hemingway mighta said it was to “bleed onto the typewriter”. And I woulda said like, dude, what’s a typewriter? Ms. Wertzel was being the journalist she was. I am thankful for that. Now, going forward, I might just mosey on out to the car to have a broad look at the morning. There I go.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Magic of Sub-Surface Irritability

“Magical places are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated. Always stay on the bridge between the invisible and the visible. ” ~ Paolo Coelho

“When you’re touched by magic, nothing’s ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They’re too busy, or they just don’t hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.” ~ Charles de Lint

“It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.” ~ Charles de Lint

Every once in a while I have to pull a little course correction, having lost sight of the importance of magic in life; or rather lost sight of the magic itself. It is not something I can articulate, but the past two days without internet helped me to get back to magic; that and the quarterly visit to the PhD psychologist for review of my psych meds. Though I strongly prefer women as health providers, this guy is a gem. We decided to raise the dosage on the fluoxetine (Prozac), doubling a “baby dose”, as the doctor said. The goal is to ease some “sub-surface irritability” that has really been dragging me down, for a couple of months now, through exhaustion from holding it back at work, which seems to aggravate it when the work day is over. I won’t delve into it here today, other than to say there is what I think of as a kind of energy constipation, which is what makes the sub-surface irritability thrive. There is always indica, but I prefer to not rely on that smoky flower for this application, because although it works, it takes too much to have effect – in other words, I have to get a big high, which I also prefer not to do very often. This stuff ain’t what we used to smoke back in the islands. Back then we smoked leaves. I told that to a millennial kid recently and he said “You smoked leaves?!” Yeh buddy, ya shoulda been there. Anyway . . . that’s about it for today. Just wanted to check in. Pretty cool about the return of the magic, right? Right.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Both Timid and Blessed

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

“To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.” ~ Bill Watterson

“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.” ~ Eric Byrne

Today it would be so easy to take a mental health day . . . but I won’t. I’m not really sure why tending to my health won’t happen today . . . but it won’t. Maybe tomorrow? I reckon so. I could whine, but I won’t. Seems I’m feeling somewhat adversarial today. I probably just need a day off. That’s the bottom line. Yesterday was an odd day. One thing was a young man, a millennial, telling me I am too timid. Yeh, I can give that some thought. On the spot I simply told the kid it’s called equanimity. A timid man would not use the word “equanimity” in public, right? Geez, now I’m being flippant. No, maybe just evading the issue. Ack, maybe I should save these musings for psychotherapy on Thursday. There’s yer mental health day right there, buddy. And the psychologist on Tuesday, for the quarterly evaluation of my meds. The other thing about yesterday was my being blessed and prayed for by a young Christian lad. Yeh, I lowered my head and closed my eyes, as if that alone signified I was praying. It’s not needed. Not for me. For nearly 40 years I have considered all of it, all of life, to be a prayer, yet I felt gratitude for his prayer: a lovely gesture that was clearly authentic. Hmmmm, I wonder if the kid knew I’m a pagan. Blessed as such by the shiny Christian lad I must head into the workday. It’s yet another friggin cold morning. Bright and sunny today. So says the forecast. I’d better get my timid self into the shower, then work clothes. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Memory of Jamaican Coffee

“The subjectivity of consciousness is an irreducible feature of reality, and it must occupy as fundamental a place in any credible world view as matter, energy, space, time and numbers.” ~ Thomas Nagel

“Scientific points of view are always both naïve and at the same time dishonest, because they take for granted without explicitly mentioning it, that other point of view, namely that of the consciousness, through which from the outset a world forms itself around me and begins to exist for me.” ~ Maurice Merleau-Ponty

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.” ~ Richard Dawkins

Snow has a way of slowing time. At least this morning it does. Or is it just me?. Regardless. I’ve not been far enough out from the door to get an empirical estimate of how much snow fell, but my guess is about 3-4″. I’m hoping the ride to work will be okay, but I worry too much, and I am always afraid of what might happen. Go anyway, do it anyway. An odd thought, from far back in my past, came to me a short while ago, while contemplating my lack of desire in regards to heading out into the cold, cold world. It wasn’t at all common for me, but once in a while a few tokes in the morning, and a cup of Jamaican coffee set a nice mood for the day. Jamaican coffee consists of coffee, rum, cream, sugar, and Tia Maria liqueur. It is yummy, and has about the effect you would expect. Maybe nostalgia, who knows. I was in my 20s back then, and such behaviour was not uncommon in the islands. But all that has nothing to do with today. I do have to work. I don’t want to go but I’ll enjoy it when I get there. This is, of course, nothing new. My job is pretty much my only social life, along with psychotherapy and massage therapy, which take up a whopping two hours per month. No, I don’t get out much.

The time to shuffle out to the car, through several inches of snow, draws near. No rum for this boy, but I can go with the memory. I so rarely avail myself of the rich trove of memories I have from the islands. I deserve it once in a while. Anyway, going forward . . . I’m feeling the after effects from the massage yesterday; soreness where knots have become unknotted, inflammation from all of the toxins that got broken loose and need to be flushed from the system; a feeling of nurturance from the synergy that happens between us during that hour. I don’t know how it is for her, but I know I get much more out of it than the physical ministrations. But for now I must indeed deal with the physical aspects, as I stand up, take a really, really, really, big stretch, and . . . hey, I live with a cat. Sure, I know that cats are Zen masters, Tai Chi dancers, space aliens, and multidimensional beings, but I think their strongest suit is their exceptional knowledge of how to stretch. There I go. Bueno bye.

All is well. Goof gloriously.