A Fortress of Introversion

“Is it possible to say “It was a beautiful morning at the end of November” without feeling like Snoopy?” ~ Umberto Eco

“But what use is the unicorn to you if your intellect doesn’t believe in it?” ~ Umberto Eco

“The older I grow and the more I abandon myself to God’s will, the less I value intelligence that wants to know and will that wants to do; and as the only element of salvation I recognize faith, which can wait patiently, without asking too many questions.” ~ Umberto Eco

A storm or two looms not far beyond the horizon. Perhaps rain beginning this evening. The metaphorical storm upon this nation is already here, so . . . whatever. Just friggin whatever. The news emerging from the Right Wing perceptual bubble Universe can be infuriating, to say the least, yet I remain fascinated and excited. The story value, that’s what does it for me. As for now, the coffee is all gone. The cat was up and about but she has settled back down onto her paper grocery bag on the floor. She has never been one to enter the bags. She has, from day one, laid upon them. She’s a weirdo in that respect, as far as cats go. Speaking of cats, the animal shelter where I used to work is opening up a combination resale store and cat cafe. Cat Cafe! How cool is that. You go in for a cup of coffee, and hang out with a dozen cats for a while. I’m not one to hang out in coffee shops but I will visit this one on occasion for sure. Beyond all that I feel some agitation within but likely that will pass once I am out in public doing what I do out there before I scurry back home to my Fortress of Introversion. Tomorrow will likely be one of those profound rest days. Still feeling physically somewhat a kilter. But better. Definitely better. Mentally and emotionally I feel battered and bandaged, as usual. I think it serves us well to check in with these feelings periodically. It makes me somewhat squirmy to say that living in the moment is all there is – really, all there is. Who am I to question the Perennial Philosophy? Right? Wellll . . . actually I don’t mind if I do. I firmly believe that Life must be toyed with, in a positive sense, to get the most out of it. In this regard writing is my most predominant tool. Now, it’s time to put the tool down and get to preppin’ for the workday. Later, y’all.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Mistrusting Perfection and Illusion

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~ Albert Einstein

“If nothing else in this long and short life, let me be true to my conscience, to the dignity of my own heart. Let me act in a way that says, I have honored my spirit as truly as I have honored others’. Let me stand tall and rooted as a mountain in the face of a quaking world.” Jennifer DeLucy

“In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honorable. What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private.” ~ Susan Cain

Monday, Monday. My nearly perpetual optimism feels quite close to the surface today. Usually it floats, buried in illusions, and fluid because of that. Psychological illusions, by their very nature, tend to be fluid. Says me. I think of what Mark Twain said, how if you lose all your illusions you become less human. I get that on a gut and soul level. Today I don’t care if it is an illusion or not – whatever comes along must be experienced, no praise no blame. Simple as that. And that it will lead toward the eventual edification of things in general. Now, that is a fine illusion. Do you get that I have a mistrust of the whole concept of illusions; like, compared to what? The bottom line here is that I really have to go to work today. I really have to graciously accept my paycheck, go to the bank after work, then the dispensary, then home. Feed the cat, pop open a pint of ale, take to the chair as a mediator between me and gravity. Simple. It just plain don’t matter iffin it’s real or not, and on a Monday I reckon that is just about perfect as yer gonna get. Of course, I ain’t all that trusting of perfection either, not as it applies to the human condition. I’d settle for good enough any day.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Crying Over Lost Soap

“It seemed to take the most colossal effort to do simple things. I remember bursting into tears because I had used up the cake of soap that was in the shower. I cried because one of the keys stuck for a second on my computer. I found everything excruciatingly difficult, and so, for example, the prospect of lifting the telephone receiver seemed to me like bench-pressing four hundred pounds. The reality that I had to put on not just one but two socks and then two shoes so overwhelmed me that I wanted to go back to bed.” ~ Andrew Solomon

“If there is one thing I can pass on from my humbling experiences in life, thus far, I will tell you this, the next time someone tells you “the absence of expectations is the absence of disappointment, do not listen. Have expectations. Keep them great. It’ll be a very bumpy ride. You’ll even get bruised, sometimes very badly. Sometimes, you’ll come to an abrupt halt or even fall off your ride. But you’ll grow. And if you do not grow, you do not live.” ~ Pandora Poikilos

“To wage war on depression is to fight against oneself, and it is important to know that in advance of the battles.” ~ Andrew Solomon

The title of this post and the first quote go hand in hand. On Sunday mornings I always feel the depression more strongly than I do on any other given day. Call it a head start, yet usually no more than static noise in the background. Then on some Sundays, somehow, the volume gets cranked up, background noise becomes a dull roar, white noise turns gray, sometimes dark gray. On a scale of 0-10 today is about a ‘4’, give or take. Boy howdy would it ever be fun to write lyrically about depression this morning, to lay bare the beast, under the pompous light of the morning Sun, and wean it on pretty stories and pop-psych aphorisms. Never mind that! No, it is not so bad this morning, but like the author of the first quote there are days when I could cry over lost soap, then retire to my chair, all downhearted and stuff, summon the cat to my lap with a pssst, find something intellectual to read on the internet, lest I should be so lucky as to actually ground myself, pour a goblet of IPA, read some then turn on Netflix, tune into Star Trek NextGen to re-establish my connection with Lieutenant Data, after all of which I simply unwrap another bar of soap, all the while reminding myself that stupid me totally forgot that there is also a bottle of body wash in the shower, but I dare not use it because it too might be on the verge of empty. But today is not that bad. My rational abilities remain intact. I rarely feel like going back to bed, so that is of no concern. See, yesterday was a difficult day out in the peopled world. I got beat down by untripped hairpin triggers, and impatience cranked up to near-critical level. I was depressed by the time I left work. Driving home with vestiges of sunset still in the sky was oddly soothing. Darkness was descending, and I knew that stars and Moon would soon break darkness’ spell of completeness. This morning’s depression is mere leftovers. I did not intend to write about depression today, but here ya have it. My intent was to write casually about romance and relationships. Maybe some other day. Geez Louise, I musta been having a nice dream about someone, and I know who it is. That changes nothing. Inspiration is inspiration.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Nothing Like Enough

“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.” ~ Drew Barrymore

“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” ~ A. A. Milne

“The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

Head heavy, ears ringing, eyes puffy with allergies. Yeh, my head hurts in general. No worries. Inner peace is with me. I got some lovely news yesterday that one of the big annoyances, stressors, whatever, in my life has abated, perhaps for good. It’s a story that takes too long to tell, and it may not be one I should blog about anyway, so, whatever. Today shall be a whatever day. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, because it can go either way, but here ya have it. And I’m leaving it at that, because it is my blog and I can do what I want, but mainly, and more seriously, my focus is short yet sweet this morning. Remain totally functional in obligation and . . . well, your focus is yours to do as you please. I find it to be healthy to live life in soft-focus once in a while. My true focus is fixed on a lap cat, a pint of ale, a chair, and this mysterious and unprecedented feeling that is tickling me so. Any day with a mystery is . . . ummmm, never mind.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Serendipity and the Last Laugh

“Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.” ~ Pablo Neruda

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” ~ J. K. Rowling

Are there any hazards in contemplating serendipity on a Friday morning in mid-November? I’m not sure and I apparently don’t care. I’m more about a routine day at work, with no occurrences that may be construed as serendipity. It’s almost like I am challenging the Three Fates to prove to me that routine ain’t where it’s at. Whatever. It’s a normal ‘cat and coffee’ day for me. There were just some angry dogs barking adamantly outside. Likely coyotes providing the aggravation. All is well. I’m hurting from yesterday’s massage. The therapist told me I might. During the session my body proved to be exceptionally sensitive, painful, and reactive. Lots of inflammation I suppose. I spoke some about the existential crisis I have been and still am navigating. It felt like maybe that was too personal. Maybe so, but I did anyway. And life goes on. This Full Moon has had a powerful effect on me. Emotional sensitivity is also in play. Yet I feel tender and a tad more serene than I might expect on a workday. That’s a bonus, to be sure. And what of serendipity? I could go into a pop-science exploration of how serendipity may not be indicating randomness so much as it does a lack of understanding about some deeper currents of exactly how things come to be. All I know right now is that things do come into being. That’s as complicated as I dare be today. See, there is something that part of me wants very much to experience. It’s an ongoing hankerin’ that supplies more amusement than it does angst. And entertainment. Pioneering NDE researcher Raymond Moody wrote an exquisite little book (“The Last Laugh”) that talks about the role of entertainment value in paranormal phenomenon and investigation, which are two things that have permeated my life for years, indeed for decades. Entertainment value is a prime force in garnering and holding consciously aware attention. The thing I want, the thing that holds my attention, may never comes to be. That’s one of the charms of serendipity: it don’t give a rat sass about what may or may never come to be. Fascinating, for me anyway. So I give a little bow of thanks to the Three Fates for being there for me regardless of probability and quantum entanglement. Today I am going to look at life as a song – and not one of those crafty songs you might hear on “America’s Got Talent”. I’m sittin’ on a rock and roll mood today. Sweet.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

With My Bed on My Back

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” ~ Homer, The Odyssey

“I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use. Pleasant because one is in the best possible company and safe because sleep is the consummate protection against the unseemliness that is the invariable consequence of being awake. What you don’t know won’t hurt you. Sleep is death without the responsibility.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

They are out there, hunting, bathed in the light of the Full Moon. Coyotes at work, play, whatever . . . or maybe just dancing the dance we all do. Rabbits on the run. Two rabbits running in the ditch. And me here with my cat and coffee; wild animals prowling in the dark outside the door. I could easily go back to sleep, for at the moment there are dreams on both sides of the Veil. I missed posting yesterday because of sleep. Ten hours. My boss at work and I talked about it yesterday . . . sometimes you just need to sleep a lot. Take time to sleep, or at least be willing to sleep although you are serenely awake. I’ll do it some more this afternoon, after my jaunt to the wash-o-mat on the Pueblo. It’ll be a ‘chop wood, carry water’ sort of endeavor. It’s all just that simple. Take time to do a chore, then back to sleep for you, bucko . . . no, wait! The impeachment hearings begin today. I’ll hafta watch some. Probably fall asleep in the chair. If I do, and wake up with a crick in my neck, no worries, because tomorrow is massage day for this month. Go lay on the table and enjoy an hour of good conversation with a lovely woman while she probes then rubs out some of the stress, tension, whatever, from my aching back. It’s the highlight of my months. Energy work. Sleep is energy work as well. Don’t mind me – I’m in an odd sort of existential state of mind these days. I find myself sitting or standing in wonder at friggin existence its own self. Not a bad way to spend time. In the Dreamtime, yet aware. I think I will publish this then go outside to see if the coyotes are still yipping while they work. As my little Brazilian friend might say, I will have “my bed on my back” throughout the day. Exercise my “inner cat” and nap when and where I choose. It’s got to do with dreams. Aho!

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Bitterness of Goldilocks

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” ~ Guillaume Apollinaire

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” ~ Mark Twain

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Every once in a while there arises the need to have a little fit of outrage. In these days of the impending impeachment of the ‘”anointed one” it is quite possible to live in a state of perpetual outrage. I wouldn’t recommend . . . oh, never mind. Enough politics already. Let’s just say that the president could give master classes in outrage, he being one who has a fairly unique level of ability to express outrage against his own beliefs. It does you some good to get it out once in a while, just don’t lean on fantasy as a guide. Fantasy also serves a purpose, but that is not a topic for today’s riffing from this faithful scribe.

“In violent times

You shouldn’t have to sell your soul

In black and white

They really really ought to know

Those one-track minds

That took you for a working boy

Kiss them goodbye

You shouldn’t have to jump for joy

You shouldn’t have to jump for joy” ~ Tears for Fears

This morning’s coffee is just right, having a balance of bitterness that only Goldilocks could appreciate. Quiet cat. Not all that cold outside. The Moon is coming up on full, guaranteeing the thinning of the Veil between worlds. Dag nab it, lately it seems the Veil is stuck on full open. Mom came through this morning early, her presence as strong as any time since her passing on Guy Fawkes day in 2006. From past experience I can surmise that either she comes with a message or she comes because I need a mother’s touch a lot these days. Self-nurturance is of course the goal, but don’t turn your back on what the Ancestors have to offer. As for the possibility of a message, it’ll shine when it shines, right? Yeh buddy. Boy howdy the lingering of a liminal message is always inspiring. So much so that I don’t even have to think about it. I think I can leave it at that for the day. I’m hoping so.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Trauma & Excessive Commas

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” ~ Mister Rogers

Honestly, I don’t feel like doing anything today – a case of what the great Dana Carvey calls “the fuck its”. But, alas, I must go to work, where, as always, I will have fun. Now, do ya think I used too many commas in that last sentence? I’ll just say that there’s not a lot of room for more. I was trying to be frugal, but I stand by my punctuation. So, moving forward. I saw an old friend yesterday, at work, just as my shift was beginning. I’ve known her for 24 years – she was my first therapist when I moved to Taos. I was in deep depression at the time. She helped me out of it. Simple. No, not so simple. It was one of those times when triggered PTSD (diagnosed since then) ran rampant and piled up on the bipolar disorder type 2 (also diagnosed since then). They make a sinister pair. I wanted to die. For months. I was stunned for months as well. Anyway, back to yesterday – we chatted and caught up a tad. When she was telling me that her husband is writing a book I mentioned that I am writing new book as well. What about, she asked. I told her that it is about coping and management strategies for trauma. She grabbed my left wrist in a firm grasp and looked at me with an urgent look. I took that as an affirmation and validation. As for this morning? Gotta get too it.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Robust Case of Longing

“There are winds of destiny that blow when we least expect them. Sometimes they gust with the fury of a hurricane, sometimes they barely fan one’s cheek. But the winds cannot be denied, bringing as they often do a future that is impossible to ignore.” ~ Nicholas Sparks

“[…] almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of ‘psst’ that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer. ” ~ David Foster Wallace

“I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Excellent coffee to start the day. Cat asleep. Occasional coyote yips and barks in the dark distance. A good morning, if I do say so myself, and it’s my blog so . . . oh, never mind. It’s been a good two days off. Lots of rest. More food than I usually eat. A few episodes of Star Trek Next Generation, one of which I had not seen before. All said, the recent history leading up to this morning’s excellent coffee was satisfactory. Yeh, yeh, yeh, I shoulda gone for a much needed walk, but I didn’t, k? I have no justification for this neglect. I just did not go. I didn’t eat any popcorn either. That also is major neglect. I really must take better care of myself, he says, flirting with irony, and getting only a demure smile in return. Sigh. In my mental/feeling theater I have this powerful image of me walking along a Scottish shoreline under a sky that is about two steps this side of stormy. Gently roaring waves. A few gulls and terns. On my way back to a little cottage on a bluff overlooking this dynamic scene. I have been walking for maybe two hours, incrementally embracing the Autumn chill. The chill feels good to my chapped soul but the body says it’s gotta go. Back at the cottage, finally, I stoke up a fire in the hearth, pour a goblet of fine Scottish ale – a shot of single malt as well, then sit down at my desk, huff at the cat for her rather sprawling occupation of the desktop, and fall headlong into a misty gaze out over the scene before me, as the storm grows. There is a middle-aged blond woman who should be in this fantasy, but she’s not, except in the acknowledgment of her absence. How could it be that someone could evade being included in a fantasy? I’m guessing that my desire to know her better is better suited to reality. There’s a lot to be said about that, but I ain’t goin’ there, not right now. I’d better grab the fantasy gently and slowly shake it off, then put it away for some other time. I have to work today. I relish the fact that there is no true pressure before dawn; you can’t burn daylight before daybreak; it’s just not logical, so why bother. Daybreak leads to the pressured place, lubricated by Red Bull or latte, and I see it all as a launch from Wile E. Coyote’s catapult. He always falls flat, but likely I won’t. I enjoy my job, and I have fun most of the day. That woman with the hazel eyes – I suspect she slips into my fantasy scene when I am not looking. Maybe I will sneak up and surprise her one day. I’m not sure how that might work, or what it would look like. That is the allure of mystery. From my soul-sight I see that her inclusion in this fantasy would put an end to probabilities that really should oughtta be left open. How do you make the Goddess laugh? Tell her your plans. Yeh, she’s got a point. See, she laughs at me anyhow. That’s the thing: in that fantasy scene on the sea’s edge she is laughing at me for the sweet melancholy feeling I indulge. You simply have a robust case of Longing, she whispers silently, barely harboring a giggle. And in my heart I know that the woman is indeed included in this fantasy by the very fact of her absence. If she were there she would not, could not serve as a lodestar, and I suspect she would laugh softly at the very thought of it. Therapeutically speaking, I must work to integrate all of this laughter and giggles into my world. And that is truly funny. Kind of ironic as well, don’tcha think? I mean, after all, it is my fantasy.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

One Big Whatever

“A true dreamer is one who knows how to navigate in the dark”.” ~ John Paul Warren

“Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of agencies; for solitude is essential to man. All men come into this world alone and leave it alone.” ~ Thomas de Quincey

“Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. There is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks.” ~ Johann Gottfried Von Herder

There are dark clouds to the south. The forecast mentioned snow around sunrise but that clearly ain’t happenin’. Still, the shadow hour, right before sunrise, feels sweet and nearly splendid. Empathy is the vanguard issue today; I can feel it coming. I’m an introvert by nature. When the head trauma and NDE happened in 1984 filters fell away, those filters of the variety that protect us from conscious awareness of just how much there is “out there”. Those filters gone, or at least rendered irrelevant, left way for scabs that never came. The wounds became timeless, and overstimulation became a very real ongoing concern. You can unwind at home after a day out in the world, but when you are exposed to such a massive flow of psychic impressions on a regular basis you’d be wise to go a few steps further than simply unwinding each day. The toxins just plain gotta be flushed out on occasion, chemical and otherwise. That’s what today has in store. One big whatever. I plan to make the most of it.

All is well. Goof gloriously.