Of Anxiety and Feckless UFOs

“To live without philosophizing is in truth the same as keeping the eyes closed without attempting to open them.” ~ René Descartes

“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” ~ Judith McNaught

“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Clear sky, cold air, hot coffee. Good morning. Seems I missed the past two days here. I had a case of severe anxiety on Tuesday. It’s been a chore to recover from that. But here I am. Self-conscious enough to be intimidated by “big picture” things — such as consciousness, life after death, Spirits, Ancestors. And so on. Put UFOs on that list. I try to keep up on UFO studies and sightings. This has been my way since about 12 years of age. There have been some exciting developments lately. I sense that Disclosure (of their presense, and influence on our culture) is approaching. I’d like to see it come before the election, just in case the ETs are skilled in deprogramming cult members, victims, whatever. Folks like Louis Gohmert, Jim Jordan (I mistakenly typed “Jim Jones“; you do the math), Matt Gaetz, and KellyAnne Conway may prove to be tougher nuts to crack – maybe Thorazine or Seroquel might help. Don’t hold your breath on these folks. Maybe we could call them “Unified Feckless Operatives” – UFOs? Their behaviour is alien to intelligent human behaviour. Well . . . I could go on with this tack but I must get to my day. Go out first to assess the frosted windows on the car. Then a hot shower, which always has a grounding effect on anxiety. On bad days I sometimes shower 2-3 times to keep myself tethered. Tally ho. Onward. Whatever. It’s all good. Right?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Brief Note on a Weird Day

“After this whole acting thing is over and done, you eventually have to be human. Some people are never human. It’s very weird.” ~ Joe Rogan

“I’m quite aware of my differences. I wouldn’t classify them as weird” Sherman Alexie

“What makes you different or weird—that’s your strength.” Meryl Streep

“The most interesting people are the unusual. No one writes about or discusses the average, the ordinary, or the common; they write about and discuss the weird, the mad and the different, so if you are one, even though the opinions of others are of no importance, you are, in their eyes, significant enough to notice and remember.” ~ Donna Lynn Hope

Feeling weird, I am. It’s not the Moon or the stars, not fate nor destiny. Some days are just like that: this whole thing of life seems weird. Somehow, I think this is healthy. No assumptions, nothing to prove. No agenda, no expectations. As David Foster Wallace said, you eventually end up becoming yourself. Yeh, buddy. Boy howdy, I could get used to this. At least once a day, hopefully for a long expanse of time. And there you have it. This is a feeling to savor and cherish – and, hopefully, it will last until tomorrow.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Lull in the Thick of Swirling Winds

“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned. Adult. You have become adult.” ~ Harlan Ellison

“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~ Jim Morrison

Here’s the photo, taken a few days ago at sunrise, in the climax of the two storms that whooped on us last week. The temperature was about 5º F, wind oscillating between 20-30 mph, a lull in the thick of swirling winds, wind chill factor -17º F, and I couldn’t find my gloves. The car was nearly encased in a plaster of snow and frost. Thick stuff. The front door was frozen shut so I had to go in through the back door, climb through the cramped space above a few boxes of stuff in the back seat, wiggle through the gap between the front seats, groaning and shivering, remembering my age, then lay back next to the gear shift stick and kicked the door open. It worked. I started the car to warm it up, then lit a cigarette. Yikes. Tis no easy thing I did. My eyes and fingertips got frost-burned that morning. They still hurt a bit this morning. Poor me, right? Uh huh. The drive to work was no better.

Through stress, mental and physical, my chronic neck pain got way aggravated. Ouch. Arms, shoulders, neck, the whole magilla. I wish I could run down to have my lovely massage therapist rub out this pain a little. Alas, money is too short. My spirits are high this morning. I got out of bed and for what ever reason I made stomping sounds like Godzilla as I headed for the bathroom. How odd, but funny. I stopped that silliness and knelt down to say good morning to Rosie the cat. I explained to her that I thought I was Godzilla. I have no idea where this silliness came from, but it is rare for me to wake up in a light-hearted mood. I’m sure the gratitude work I have been doing has something to do with me thinking I was Godzilla. As for now tis time to get moving. Alexa tells me it is a balmy 11º. I look forward to the day. I I carry ibuprofen and Tylenol in my back pack. It little jar of Tiger Balm as well. Hmmmm, I wonder if my inner Godzilla will show through at work today? I hope so; it amuses me. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Where Wonders Stand Tall

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

“Human language, for us moderns, has swung in on itself, turning its back on the beings around us. Language is a human property, suitable only for communication with other persons. We talk to people; we do not speak to the ground underfoot. We’ve largely forgotten the incantatory and invocational use of speech as a way of bringing ourselves into deeper rapport with the beings around us, or of calling the living land into resonance with us. It is a power we still brush up against whenever we use our words to bless and to curse, or to charm someone we’re drawn to. But we wield such eloquence only to sway other people, and so we miss the greater magnetism, the gravitational power that lies within such speech. The beaver gliding across the pond, the fungus gripping a thick trunk, a boulder shattered by its tumble down a cliff or the rain splashing upon those granite fragments — we talk about such beings, the weather and the weathered stones, but we do not talk to them.” ~ David Abram

The storm has passed. The air here does not get much clearer than it is this morning. The star show in the pre-dawn hours was spectacular; one of those displays that I have only seen in Northern New Mexico, where the stars could reach down and pat you on the head if they wanted to. What better blessing, right? Yeh, bright blessings indeed. I’ve got the cat on my lap. purring away, and I need another cup of coffee. Telekinesis is not one of my strong suits, so I guess I’ll have to boost the cat for a few minutes while I go get some and then go out to look at the frozen world. It got down to 0º F last night; it has warmed up only slightly since . . . 9º at 9 AM. Bisy Backson.

Had a smoke, filled the bird feeder, now back at my desk with that second cup of coffee. Outside the window I can see that the birds are right back at it. Juncos on the snow below, picking (pecking, whatever) up the seed I spilled. They run the show around the feeder in the little apple tree. Occasional sparrows, pine jays, magpies, ring-necked turtledoves, grosbeaks, downy woodpeckers, and a few I have not yet identified. Rosie the cat likes it too. It keeps her 16 year old cat body and mind stimulated, and gets those instinctive hunter’s hormones flowing. Good kitty, nice kitty. Today’s quotes I chose because I am in process of opening myself up more to the sensuous world, where magic and other wonders stand tall. David Abram is a wonder his own self – “Spell of the Sensuous”, his first book . . . well, I couldn’t recommend the book more highly. Later y’all.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Feeding Mystery to the Muse

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion” ~ Paolo Coelho

“The public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities…. A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions–one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Avoid being brainwashed or controlled by the opinions or attitudes of others.” ~ Steven Redhead

There was another writer at the Thanksgiving dinner table. He spoke of going to visit a publisher to pitch his idea for a Young Adult novel for boys. The woman he talked to asked him about it, and when he told her that it was for boys, she replied “No, we write for boys”. He wondered if he should write for the market or for his own inspiration. I told him about my blog, and how when readership got down low, a few times, I too wondered at that same dilemma. The truth is I do write for myself, and truly hope that it touches someone in some way. Simple as that. This is my playground and workshop. I feel truly grateful for the readership I have – about a half dozen at this time. When I write something I think is particularly good, I do wonder if it had any impact outside of my own mind. Not knowing the answer to that wonder is simply a mystery. Mystery adds flavor when fed to the Muse. And it comes out in future posts, in inspiration, in continued wonder. Just sayin. Hey, thanks for reading here. I like it when you do.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

This too Is a Wonder

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

“When you get to a certain age you find that other people’s opinions don’t really matter anymore, and you get kind of uncomfortable with your place in modern life.” ~ Noel Gallagher

“We are told we must choose — the old or the new. In fact, we must choose both. What is a life if not a series of negotiations between the old and the new?” ~ Susan Sontag

Mindless scrolling is coming to be kind of a boogie man for me. I catch myself doing it, and it’s like, “Oh, no. Not this again”. I see it’s a drug. The mindlessness of it is the whole point. Like on Facebook – dozens of photos of food do not make me hungry. That says something. But what? It’s just an example, but it is as far as I will go with it. It’s been raining lightly all night. Hovering right at the freezing mark. This storm has not passed, and it won’t until tomorrow. I’m okay with it, except that a cold rainy day is sort of a chalice for me. A quest. A fulfillment of a relaxing influence that does not dump anything toxic into my mind. Sweet. Natural. But no! I finally get the perfect storm and I have to go into Taos to the workday. Don’t friggin call it karma – I tell myself. I will enjoy the day anyway. That Chesterton (what an unusual and refreshing mind) quote provides the key. As dismal as I can get lately, it has somehow opened me up to the wonder, of life, in life, whatever. There are days when this fascination with the actuality of life is pretty much the sole thing that pulls me through the fear and anxiety that I feel out there in the world. No, I don’t resent my not being able to stay home on a rainy day. I could call in but I am still listed as part-time, so sick pay is but a fantasy. The irony is that I have begun writing a book – a slim volume – about coping and management skills for trauma victims, and lo and behold, those skills are being put to the test as soon as I begin writing in earnest. This too is a wonder. Time to prep for work. Tally ho.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Ubiquitous and Omnipresent

“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” ~ Phyllis Diller

“I wonder why I don’t go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip on hour more of sleep and live.” ~ Sylvia Plath

“It’s in the morning, for most of us. It’s that time, those few seconds when we’re coming out of sleep but we’re not really awake yet. For those few seconds we’re something more primitive than what we are about to become. We have just slept the sleep of our most distant ancestors, and something of them and their world still clings to us. For those few moments we are unformed, uncivilized. We are not the people we know as ourselves, but creatures more in tune with a tree than a keyboard. We are untitled, unnamed, natural, suspended between was and will be, the tadpole before the frog, the worm before the butterfly. We are for a few brief moments, anything and everything we could be. And then…and then — ah — we open our eyes and the day is before us and … we become ourselves.” ~ Jerry Spinelli

Were it not for the cat I may well still be sleeping. Of course, a hungry cat will not be denied. It’s rare for me to sleep in like that, but I suspect it is healthy, and I intend to keep it that way. It’s the day before Thanksgiving and it seems I am already giving thanks. Yeh, sometimes my aim is a little off – or maybe I should be thankful a good part of the time? Yeh, whatever. So thank you for reading here. I’d write anyway, even if nobody showed up, but it’s better when you’re here. As for the sleep, I have nothing needs doin’ ‘cept a jaunt down to the dispensary to replenish the meds. I can linger near sleep and dreams until around noon tomorrow, when I go help some with the prep for the dinner I will be attending. There will, of course, be imbibe-able fluids to be had. The weather forecast calls for snow, perhaps a lot. That would certainly add to the ambiance of the affair. Until then I can dabble in the Dreamtime. The day is sunny and clear – 24º F. I’m curious as to when the clouds will start moving in. Hopefully it will be before nightfall; I’d like to watch them pile up a bit before they do what they are fixin’ to do. But first, a shower. I’ll hafta make a decision whether to take to route through town, or travel down Blueberry hill Road. Likely through town. As for my inner life – there’s the lovely woman I often think of, the whispering of the manuscript that nestles on the hard drive, like some digital lump, waiting to be indulged, and fear for the future. Not to worry, that fear is pretty much ubiquitous and omnipresent. Nice phrase, right? I don’t know – I like it. It’s trauma stuff, no biggie.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

And A Peaceful Breeze Within my Soul

“At sunrise, everything is luminous but not clear” ~ Norman MacClean

“Our need for language, conversation, and definition goes beyond the wish to put things right. Through words we come to know the other person–and to be known. This knowing is at the heart of our deepest longings for intimacy and connection with others. How relationships unfold with the most important people in our lives depends on courage and clarity in finding voice. This is equally true for our relationship with our self. Even when we are not being heard, we may still need to know the sound of our own voice saying out loud what we really think.” ~ Harriet Lerner, PhD

“Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.” ~ Oscar Wilde

There’s some serious swirling wind out there. Chance of snow. Gusts over 40mph. A bigger storm on the way. In the immortal words of Captain James Tiberius Kirk: “Sounds like fun”. Happy holidays. No, I don’t think I am being cynical this year. The retail holiday season is simply appalling; not that there is anything to do about that. I went to one of the local supermarkets yesterday to get something for lunch. The thickness of the crowd, and the chaos within the vibes, left me shaking my head upon departure, a serious WTF hovering silently on my tongue. And thus we celebrate. I shall not continue and make this a rant. I just saw a map forecasting the storms that will, it seems, cover nearly the whole nation in the near-future. That’s a little too close to a metaphor for the serious stuff going on in our nation’s capitol. The only thing I will say about that is . . . well, you know how you have to keep sharp implements away from some people? Or forbid others to play with matches? tRump (sic) should never have been allowed to play with other peoples money. That is one pitch-dark dude. As for me – ain’t so bad. I had my monthly psychotherapy session yesterday evening. Going from weekly to monthly has been . . . ummmm, let’s say difficult. I feel trepidation in entering this holiday season depressed, but there ya have it. Pushing depression down into storage until a later date is simply foolish, unless you have no choice. I have a choice. I intend to befriend the beast, then go for a casual walk with it, to get to know it better. Sigh. Poor me, right? Yeh, right. I’d best go out to the car, brave the chilling wind, and assess what kind of battle I will have to wage to remove frost from the windows. Then struggle to wrench myself from the sweet comfort of a nice hot shower. That’s gonna take some doin’. For whatever reason hot showers are often an emotional experience for me. If I let the water spray upon the back of my neck it will, almost without fail, make me weepy. That’s an artifact from PTSD. I told the therapist that I don’t expect the PTSD to go away, ever, but I would welcome that, on the chance that it should happen. Whatever. I’m depressed and emotional this morning. It’s real. It’s a workday. Regardless of all that – I feel a smile and a peaceful breeze within my soul.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Deep Processes and Micro-triggers

“Trauma, which is stored differently in the brain than memory, seeps out of us as warnings of worse to come.” ~ Anne Lamott

“All of the diagnoses that you deal with – depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar illness, post traumatic stress disorder, even psychosis, are significantly rooted in trauma. They are manifestations of trauma. Therefore the diagnoses don’t explain anything. The problem in the medical world is that we diagnose somebody and we think that is the explanation. He’s behaving that way because he is psychotic. She’s behaving that way because she has ADHD. Nobody has ADHD, nobody has psychosis – these are processes within the individual. It’s not a thing that you have. This is a process that expresses your life experience. It has meaning in every single case.” ~ Gabor Mate

Cold November Monday morning. Second cup of coffee consumed to completion. Lap cat. I’ve got a lot of involuntary wincing going on this morning. Active trauma, triggering through “micro-triggers”. A day like this is usually exhausting yet doable. As it is a workday, this activity cranks out trepidation. Poor me, right? We are supposed to take a positive and proactive approach to life – so they say. Yeh, I can do that. But it in no way diminishes what is going on in these deep processes. These are not mental aberrations, nor are they simply bad attitude. Sigh. I feel a heaviness that is not supported by the evidence at hand. Ain’t nothin’ wrong, dude. So chill. This is a physical thing. A physical process that has not a lot to say for itself. Hey, it’s Monday. Thanksgiving Day is Thursday. I’ll be dining with friends, then come home to feed the cat, then hang out as simply two mammals, until I have enough good sense to crawl into bed and get at least adequate sleep. I feel depressed today. I could blame it on Seasonal Affective Disorder. I lay that one squarely on Edison and his light bulb. But there is simply no need to actually lay blame or seek any level of explanations at all. It’s Monday morning and it is time for me to do the morning clean and groom thing, then head on down into Taos for the workday. There I go.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Urgency of Sitting Still

“In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.” ~ Pico Iyer

“It was the kind of building that remembered things, deep-down things, things that rode tears into the world, telling them back to anyone old enough or wise enough to know how to listen with their eyes.” ~ Charles Blow

“The death of a parent, he wrote, ‘despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago.” ~ Joan Didion

Sometimes I have the feeling that the first true step toward healing is to become and remain present in your life; remain grounded, that sort of thing. I don’t want to get too deep, after all, it is Sunday. These notions are the impetus behind the way I so often begin a blog post, noting mundane features of the morning – cat, coffee, cold weather, et cetera. It is a journey, and if I don’t start from where I am sitting, then who’s doing the sitting around here? That said, it is laundry day. I usually don’t go down to the wash-o-mat until midday. There is plenty of time before then. Through my window I see the crisp morning light, the birds coming and going at the feeders in the little apple tree t’other side of the window pane. The recent snowstorm flipped the switch. It is now more Winter than it is Autumn. And there ya have it. I’ll be sitting a good part of the day. Catching glimpses of juncos and pine jays at work. Keeping an eye on the news. Checking in with the body, now and then, here and now . . . whatever. But boy howdy I ain’t goin’ all Zen and stuff by just sitting around doing nothing but everything. That takes too much work! No way, no how. It’s too much like philosophy. Wah. Better stop before I whine, or simply get all cranky and cynical and stuff. Ciao.