Something in the Way She Moved

“Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions.” ~ Tony Kushner

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

More sleepy than anything. Yawn. Yesterday was an oddball day. Not to be disparaging of odd things. Nearly half of all numbers are odd. That says a lot. It would be easy to go all philosophical and stuff today. To spend all day in that drifty space. To further the pale spate of rest I have been cultivating since last Wednesday, when … geez, I don’t remember that day being any more restful than any other . . . but it was. Rest is what happens when you think you are not having fun. How hard is it to sit still? If I let loose fully it is inevitable that my foot wags, sometimes furiously. It doesn’t matter which foot – it’s one or the other. For the longest time I believed that I could not truly rest until that foot became still as well. My father’s feet were like that. That says a lot. Today is a workday. I’ve got a big decision looming over me. That alone will provide impetus to get me through the day. The decision, when it reaches fruition, will be life-changing. For some reason it reminds me of that old logic puzzle from Raymond Smullyan. You are on an island. There are two villages ahead of you as you walk along the path. One is a village of liars and the other is a village of truth-tellers. You come to a fork in the road, and find a man standing there. You tell him you seek the village of truth. Silently, he points down one of the two new paths. But you suddenly realize that you don’t know which village he is from. Is he telling the truth? Sending you down the right path? Or is he a liar, sending you down the wrong path? It makes my head spin just thinking about it. At such times, when the spinning begins, I usually fall back on the old Luke Skywalker bit. (Has it really been over forty years since Luke and Leah made their debut?!!) I am referring to Luke’s solo attack to bring down the Deathstar. Using a technique he developed hunting rats on his home planet he plunges into the Deathstar. At one point, when things got really hairy, a vision of Obi Wan Kenobi comes to him from the Great Beyond, telling Luke to let go and use The Force. That’s me today. That has been a favorite metaphor for a long time. I first got it back in 1987, after reading about how the character of Luke Skywalker was actually modeled on Joseph Campbell’s notion of “the Hero’s Journey”. As for the two paths, I don’t rightly know which one to choose, but I reckon that either one will do, and I like one better than the other, so might as well take that one, right? Yeh. It’s like my wagging feet in that either one will do. But dag nab it I’ve got a woman on my mind, someone who is often on my mind. I saw her yesterday in the flesh. Something she did, a certain way she moved when I asked her a simple sociable question, has been haunting me since. I don’t know, maybe that’s why I didn’t sleep well or long enough last night? Nah, this haunting is of the good kind, right on the edge of poetics and heroics and stoics and noetics. Is that obscure? You can tell a lot about someone from watching how they move. I like the way she moved. I’d love to see her do it again. That’s it in a nutshell. Now, I’d best get ready for work. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Riffing with Marcus Aurelius

“Nothing is more revealing than movement. The body says what words cannot.” ~ Martha Graham

“Here tail moved, in another dimension, as if its tip was catching messages her other organs could not. She sat poised, air-light, looking, hearing, feeling, smelling, breathing, with all of her, fur, whiskers, ears—everything, in delicate vibration.” ~ Doris Lessing

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” ~ Carl Jung

A sense of monotony has over recent days come to assail me in search of a host. It starts with the weather. For some strange reason I have been finding myself annoyed at the deep cold mornings, with their stubborn persistence in coming one right after another, after another. Keep moving. That’s the best I can do to guard against the cold, both metaphorical cold and empirical cold. My life is a cluster of dilemmas lately, and I guess you could even call it a time of crisis. Without going into details, I am faced with a decision that has me wishing that I had good and wise counsel – like King Solomon, Marcus Aurelius, or maybe even George Carlin. Marcus is the one I find myself trending toward. I don’t sense that he would advise I face the future full on, rather that I just oughtta maybe not go gently into that good night. Ooops – that was Dylan Thomas. I once had lunch at the White Horse Tavern in the East Village – grilled cheese, fries, and a pint of Bass Ale. The tavern is said to be where Thomas had his last drink, shortly before his death on the streets of New York City. After lunch I found a bookstore and browsed until I came across “The Aquarian Conspiracy”, which I then purchased for the bus ride back to the islands. On another trip to NYC I found myself standing on the spot where John Lennon succumbed to murder. There I was, at 2 AM, doing such a thing. None of this is relevant to my period of crisis, nor to the fact that I gotta get my assets into gear. Workday, don’tcha know. I’m just riffing here. It’s that big decision that’s got me riffing when I maybe oughtta should be Mr. 100% Practical. That ain’t gonna happen. It’s a good day. No need to pin it down or second guess it. Says me.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Scarce Smiles and Mental Comfort Food.

“But if one observes, one will see that the body has its own intelligence; it requires a great deal of intelligence to observe the intelligence of the body.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

“This is peculiarly an age in which each of us may, if we do but search diligently, find the literature suited to his mental powers.” ~ P. G. Wodehouse

“An intelligence test sometimes shows a man how smart he would have been not to have taken it.” ~ Lawrence J. Peters

One by one they lit up, white at first, which quickly acquired orange and yellow highlights. Fresh snow up on the high peaks conspired with the sunrise to give me a smile. Smiles have been far too scarce for me, for my tastes; not counting those I get from babies, dogs, cats, and lovely women. The past two weeks have been what some might call weeks from hell. Or the fortnight from hell. Whatever. Yesterday it hit me. I’d been over-amped for nearly two weeks, maybe longer. So yesterday was what I call a down day. The phone’s ringer turned off, a 2.5 hour afternoon nap, and that mental comfort food I always get from watching Star Trek NextGen reruns. It worked, with only a few micro-doses of indica drizzled lightly over my day. I’m not going to go into the coming day. Things to do, people to see, and metaphorically seeing “a man about a horse”. I just wanted to check in here. It would not be hard to just let this blog go, but I don’t want to, so I won’t, can’t, whatever. There’s a day to get to now, but with very little pressure to do this, that, or the other thing. I like that. And I’m not done with that mental comfort food either. It is not necessarily linked to only Star Trek. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Controlled Panic and the Tailgating Angel

“But above all, in order to be, never try to seem.” ~ Albert Camus

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” ~ Anne Lamott

“There was a basic logical paradox that I called the ‘fraudulence paradox’ that I had discovered more or less on my own while taking a mathematical logic course in school…The fraudulence paradox was that the more time and effort you put into trying to appear impressive or attractive to other people, the less impressive or attractive you felt inside – you were a fraud. And the more of a fraud you felt like, the harder you tried to convey an impressive or likable image of yourself so that other people wouldn’t find out what a hollow, fraudulent person you really were.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Alliteration is the prize of the day: cat, coffee, and coyotes. Mostly it was dogs, but the shrill provocations from coyotes could also be heard on occasion from within the ruckus. Good on me. I like this. Of course, I am reticent to leave home to face the day, perhaps even to enjoy it, yet my reticence rarely goes that far. I almost always enjoy my days in town . . . among people. It’s that way with introverts and agoraphobic folks in general – unless the anxiety is running so high that ya just can’t muster up much cheer at all. Today I will go to a local car dealer to check out a car that is relatively inexpensive, and is suited to my needs. Here’s the thing: my car died last week. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a metaphor for my current life. The engine runs just fine, the tires are almost fresh, but it won’t go. Clutch, don’tcha know. By industry specs it is right about on schedule for failure. Repairs, replacement, can go as high as $2000. Ya think I’ve got that kind of money laying around? Think again. Putting that much money into this, that, whatever, car is just not wise – so says me. Nor preferable. I’ve driven that car for fifteen years. The drive home that night (I made it without a tow) was excruciating, as a panic attack manifested just as I was leaving the parking lot from work. I could barely get the beast to move, but when I did it did well enough to navigate the streets of town, though the slippage of the clutch was near profound, in my eyes. For some reason I thought it was okay to stop for a couple of pints and shots to get good and buzzed, since I did not have to work the next day. The car and I barely limped back out of the parking lot to head home. We crawled across the middle lane with a sporty little thing coming fast from the other direction. I was in shock by then, and necessarily so. Then that sporty thing made a U-turn and sped right on up near the rear bumper. I reckoned there was a road rage encounter coming on. All the way home (4 miles) he hung on, right there, no matter my speed (I was up to the speed limit by then). Left at the light – he remained up close. Right turn onto the side road – still right there. I accelerated and gained a little breathing room. I signaled to turn into my driveway – so did he. When I parked the car I got out, tremors in process, and looked back. He was gone. I was safe. As I rolled a cigarette to calm my nerves it dawned on me. It was not road rage at all. The guy was an angel of sorts, who flew behind me to be sure I got home okay. Here’s the thing: having a full-blown panic attack, when necessity requires you to keep control, is something I would not wish on anyone, ever! I’ve been all week recovering. Still not there on this fresh Monday morning. But boy howdy I’m a gettin’ there. I’ve no more time to write, but I’m glad I did. Putting it into words feels good. Wish me luck. I’ve got a car to go look at, which I can afford to purchase on credit only with generous support and help from my brother. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Nature of Sporadic Appearance

“The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know everybody’s always going around all the time with something wrong and believing they’re exerting great willpower and control to keep other people, for whom they think nothing’s ever wrong, from seeing it.” ~ David Foster Wallace

“And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down. All U.S. irony is based on an implicit “I don’t really mean what I’m saying.” So what does irony as a cultural norm mean to say? That it’s impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it’s too bad it’s impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today’s irony ends up saying: “How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Things have been difficult on the personal front, which is why I’ve been missing posting daily; “missing” in both senses of the word. Such is life. More time needed for sleep and other elements of self-care. It’s as easy as that. As a result I reckon my posts will appear sporadically for a while. Sad, right? Yeh, poor me. All things must pass. It’ll get better. Focus on the positive. All that, and I unavoidably missed my monthly massage. That’s the sad part; the rest shall indeed pass in time. Including the low, troubled mood, but Rosie the cat is here, and quite capable of helping with that palliation and stuff. Feeling challenged, nervous, and exhausted. We’ve all been there. I do keep that in mind. On that note I must be running along. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Day of Palliation

“Chaos is merely order waiting to be deciphered.” ~ José Saramago

“I saw in details while she saw in scope. Not seeing the scope is why I am here and she is not. I took each element separately and never looked to see that they never did fit together properly” ~ Erin Morgenstern

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” ~ William Blake

Feeling dull this morning, and that’s just the way I want it. Not all day long, just right now. Stress, tension. Depleted energy, on the way back up. Sunday was a day from hell. Hellish things did not happen that day, but it was recovery day from something rather hellish that happened on my way home from work the previous day. I will spare you the details, no permanent damage was done. But it triggered a panic attack. I ended up sitting as still as possible all day, feeling as safe as possible in knowing the irrationality that had consumed me was a passing thing. I had slept 14-15 hours the night before but did not feel at all rested or clear. Why would I, right? I have PTSD. When a spell like that hits me I have to just ride it out by finding as much palliation as I can, to get me through. Today is Tuesday, and the journey through is not yet complete. That’s why I feel dull. That’s why I want it this way. Today is Tuesday and I must go to work, having called in sick the day before.

“Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me” ~ The Beatles

All that aside . . . one of the means of palliation is to seek the magic in a situation, and try to see it as other than dark magic. Not much success with that, but I did find it on Monday, in one of those synchronicities that are a profound reminder that Space and Time are not all there is. That’s right, there’s more. I’m not whining here, so I hope it doesn’t sound like I am doing that thing. A nice hot shower should perk me up enough to walk through the door at work standing tall. Amidst the stunning feelings I have found a smile again. Good on me.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Journey of Relevance

“Our lives are marked by the people who choose to matter more: the teacher who encouraged our curiosity, the neighbor who lent a helping hand in time of need, the great leaders and perceptive thinkers whose vision and innovation improve the quality of our lives. And that’s what it means to matter more. It’s not about pursuit of riches or fame. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives. Remembered or not, lived out in a small town or on the world stage, the journey of relevance matters.” ~ Marian Deegan

“Care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristic of quality.” ~ Robert Pirsig

As usual, it’s cat and coffee this morning. Both things of quality, in my book. I’m not sure why the idea of quality came to me, quote-wise, today. I’m not sure I need to be sure. It’s a workday. What else do I need to know, right? Let’s be objective about it. No, let’s don’t. I’m much better at subjective things. Between this sentence and the previous one I had to get up to tend to a hairball the cat hacked up. Now that is objective. It almost makes me want to go all existential and stuff. I could go there with the workday as well, but I won’t. The thing is, I am looking forward to tomorrow; perhaps wake and bake, but it’s the practical notion that I don’t have to do anything until late morning that appeals. That notion is ripe with quality. It is relevant to my needs. Ya reckon we’uns gotta be relevant to ourselves to be effective through whatever kind of novelty we can dish out? I reckon so. How good is it gonna be if it means nothing to you, right? Right. How good is it gonna be if you don’t care? If you don’t give a shit? That is why I see novelty as a necessary quality. Wow. I reckon there is a thrill to be had in walking the line between relevance and just plain old content. No, I’m not up to that right now. A hot shower awaits. A drive south into Taos. A day of work and a day of laughter. I like the people I work with for this very reason. Our workday always begins in the comfort of laughter. There is joking around all day, but the work gets done. Humor is a quality as well. Boy howdy I do believe I’m just riffing this morning. Feels good.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Snipping the Scraggles

“Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are.” ~ José Saramago

“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” ~ John O’Donohue

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” ~ William James

Silly me. A few days ago it dawned on me that I had these same physical symptoms this time last year. And I was like “Duh, humidifier?”. It was sitting right there the whole time – of course. I ran it all night, and made things better. The coffee is good as well. The cat is mellow, on my lap. Well, there is one thing: the morning news is pretty disturbing. All told, it’s a nice morning.

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” ~ Anatoli Boukreev

The opening paragraph, I admit, was written yesterday. And the opening image was placed as well. So this morning I decided to include an additional photo of the mountains in Winter, to balance out the mountains in Summer. Just kinda seems right somehow. So, what else? Yes, I am totally tired of these deep-cold mornings, yet equanimity requires that I stay balanced about it, throughout it, whatever. Ain’t working, but that’s okay. I’ve been feeling none too balanced lately, in general. I admit that I would be a chronic homebody regardless of the weather. My recognition of the need for substancial change in my life has morphed into the realization that need has nothing to do with it at this point. It has begun, and it’s a matter of riding it out and staying cognizant of the process. I’m tired, and have been for a while, yet the familiarity of long-standing tiredness can be a boon in that knowledge is power, and that means it ain’t so hard to progress anymore in the presense of tiredness. All I have to do is resist the urge to call myself lazy. Well . . . that’s not all it . . . oh, never mind. Depressed yet armed with fairly good humor, I must face the day. How nice it would be to lounge around and watch Star Trek NextGen all day. That sort of thing definitely calms my Spirit. So does making a day’s wages. Also, my interactions with the public are excellent Medicine. I had my two days off – an object at rest tends to stay at rest. That sort of thing. So I go into the day to earn a day’s wages, and to be vigilant in hoping for a nice smile from some woman. That’s another good Medicine, because it requires me to be worth smiling at. Time to go snip the scraggles off of my beard. Ooooo, now I know I’m in better shape than I thought. I mean, who writes “snip the scraggles”?! Really? I coined the word “scraggles”, noting to myself that by all rights it should already be a legit word. I should note that there is a commercial product named Scraggles the Teddy Bear available at Walmart. So, if I retain my scraggles would women think I’m a teddy bear? And on that note . . . catch ya on the flip-flop.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Secret of Window Gawking

“Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ~ Sigmund Freud

“Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.” ~ John O’Donohue

A swirling of snow, a morning of aches. I missed posting yesterday because of a little pain I had lingering. The previous afternoon, what is usually a nap of an hour or two stretched out to 6.5 hours. I’d just turned off the alarm and went right back to sleep. The cat woke me at 9 PM, unfed, and surprisingly mellow about my failure of duty. Within 15 minutes of waking up, my shoulders, neck, and spine, began to hurt. The pain increased quickly, until it became nearly excruciating; painful enough that I had uncontrollable moaning going on for a while. I’d also missed taking my meds so I took them and continued moaning. Nearly three hours later I finally started to doze off; climbed into bed and slept another four hours. I was wrung out when I woke up, yet I was able to complete my work shift without much trouble. I’m feeling the pain again this morning, but not like it was – it had topped out at 8, on a scale of 0-10. But enough of that. It’s been snowing some overnight, maybe an inch or two, nothing serious. It’s a work day. Coffee gone, cat asleep. Sloppy typing. And the constant struggle with tenacious tinnitus. Something came to me this morning as I hunkered down on the door stoop (such as it is) having a smoke. It clearly was spurred by memories of the work shift, during which I had found myself, on numerous occasions, just gazing out the window with my attention turned inward. It reminded me of something the principal at my junior high school had said to a few of us during study hall. “Get back to work! No window gawking!”. Now that is a rich phrase. And that reminded me of the late great George Carlin, who said “If you find your kid standing, staring out the window, leave ’em the fuck alone. They are just daydreaming. You might want to try that yourself. It might do you some good”. Paraphrased, but true to the original. So much to do, so little time. Right? We are too busy, folks, and move too fast in trying to make it all work. Make of that what you will. Just sayin’. Now, I’m going to take this aching body out to the car to see what level of snow or frost I have to deal with before heading to work. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.