The Silent Speech of the Soul

“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.” ~ P. G. Wodehouse

“To the dumb question “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?” ~ Christopher Hitchens

“Life calls the tune, we dance.” ~ John Galsworthy

This is my little dragon, guarding her treasure, which consists of coins in a Rubbermaid tote. No significance need be applied. It’s just a cat on a box. Cats of all sizes, on up to lions and tigers, love boxes. She’s laying on the bed now, sleeping. Rosie is getting old, and I’ve noticed her sleeping postures have changed, and perhaps the most noticeable thing about the change is that she seems to have developed a more intimate relationship with both gravity and comfort. She kind of sinks into the bed a tad. I admit to doing the same thing. Yesterday morning, and again today, my first motions brought pain. When my upper body gets all relaxed like that it’s humorously painful to get the contraption into shape for the waking world. I blame it all on the bicycle and the tarmac. Several times, when I hit the road I really hit it hard. And yes, I did just refer to my body as a contraption. In Celtic lore we are a body within our soul. From my soul’s point of view this mass of flesh and bones operates as a contraption, in a humorous regard. Of course. There’s a lot to be said about this Celtic inspired worldview but I ain’t goin’ there this morning. Not in any kind of depth. Suffice it to say that it is simply in my blood, in a matriarchal sort of way. Just outside of Baldwin, Illinois lies a tiny cemetery honoring my Preston lineage. We go back to before the Revolutionary War. The Preston name goes back to 12th century Ireland. That’s nearly 1000 years, give or take a few. No wonder I’m so tired, right? Yeh, right. Anyway . . . odd things can happen when you look to your soul. Listening, learning, with no assurance of anything at all. An ambiguous approach to life is sometimes the healthiest anyway – what, with the sometimes unbearable weight of definitions and such. There was the time, a few years back, that I was mysteriously inspired to approach and get to know a woman that I have known for over a decade. No, I don’t hear voices. But it was almost like a borderline command from my soul. I responded to that command quite spontaneously, and was moving before I knew it. I asked her out early on. But that didn’t happen. Details aside, I’m glad I listened. No – no romance. Let’s just say that my life is enriched for making the connection in the first place – simply because I listened to my soul. Yet I ramble. Seems I’m just riffing this morning. Riffing, ever so gently sucking down good coffee, and steeling myself for the workday. I’ll loosen up when I get there and get moving. The steel comes from the PTSD I live with every nanosecond of every friggin day. Before I turn on the car and drive “I just know” that I am going to get hurt out there in the world. Oh, no, no, no. Don’t start with me! It is not simply a bad, negative attitude. Keep your positive thinking to yourself, k? This is an artifact of the emotional response which comes from the mysterious physiological dictums of my muscles and endocrine system and stuff. I don’t resent it because I was there when it happened, back when I hit the tarmac one evening at sunset. Science does not yet know how PTSD works, but the symptoms are blatantly obvious – yet so many people just think we are simply crazy. Whatever. They just don’t know what they don’t know, epistemologically speaking. My illness is active 24/7, operating in the background. I trip over micro-triggers all day long. But sometimes the dark curtains part and sweet things happen. It’s the silent speech of the soul that does that. Listen.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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The Expansiveness of Distraction

“You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.” ~ Goldie Hawn

“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street” ~ Stephen Hawking

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” ~ John O’Donohue

It’s been a while since I woke up and got out of bed at 3 AM. Kinda nice, really. There’s someone running some heavy equipment, not too far away. At 4:30 AM. A couple of dogs were barking at the noise a short while ago. Otherwise quiet. I saw a meteor. That’s what put me in an expansive state of mind. That’s something that is quite like water in that you cannot grasp it. That’s the whole point. You enjoy it. You don’t have to do anything with it, and yet you can – if you so choose. I’ve got somebody on my mind and that’s what started the whole thing. It’s proving to be sort of distracting. I’ll just have to live with it, I reckon. Other than that? Yeh, whatever.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Ubiquity of Severed Nerves

“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” ~ Richard Bach

“You may say you won’t interfere with another person’s soul, but you do—merely by existing. The snag about it is the practical difficulty, so to speak, of not existing.”  ~ Dorothy Sayer

“If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.” ~ Charles Schultz

Another drifty morning. I’m getting ready to boost the cat from my lap so I can go look at the mountains for the first time today. As things sit, there are things that could be done but no things that must be done. That’s some pretty good clay from which to sculpt a day. Though I worked my day job yesterday I had two days off before that and today is the beginning of three more consecutive days off. Once again – good clay. I am mostly recovered from the panic attack the other day. The thing that’s been bugging me is that you can try to explain such an attack til the cows come home, but many people are just not gonna get it. I think this is, in part, because the public perceptions of mental illness have been rather severely watered down in the vernacular usage of relevant terms. When a really really really bad headache is a migraine. When erratic behaviour is bipolar. When you overreact to something you have PTSD. Stuff like that. Of course . . . no, wait . . . people trivialize and marginalize mental illness all time. Yet nobody one goes around saying “My stomach really hurts. I think I have a little touch of cancer today”. That says a lot.

Oh, and one more thing, on a similar note. I remember one day a customer commented on my difficulty in getting a specific word out clearly. I told him that I have trouble like that at times because I have a severed nerve in my lower lip. Which I do, and it sometimes gives me trouble with enunciation. He replied “Oh, I think everybody does”. No, dude, they don’t. Now, moving forward . . . if somebody says “it’s like that for everyone” it’s probably not. Geez, I . . . now, moving right along. It’s about time to feed the cat, though she would probably say it’s way too late. Soooo, today I am in search of romance. I’m tempted to say that I’m like that every day, but some days I am just pining, and pining is not the same as longing. Let’s put it this way – if longing is a luscious cheese omelette pining is scrambled eggs with a few chunks of cheese on top. I’d better get along now. The cat has just informed me that her litter box needs to be scooped out. Might as well feed her and change her water while I’m at it. Ya know, sometimes I suspect that she always holds a little back just in case she needs to stink up the room to make an emphatic statement. Some people are . . . oh, never mind. Ciao.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Goddess and the Physicist

“Never stop being a kid, Richard. Never stop feeling and seeing and being excited with great things like air and engines and sounds of sunlight within you. Wear your little mask if you must to protect you from the world but if you let that kid disappear you are grown up and you are dead.” ~ Richard Bach

“If we wanted to construct a basic philosophical attitude from these scientific utterances of Pauli‘s, at first we would be inclined to infer from them an extreme rationalism and a fundamentally skeptical point of view. In reality however, behind this outward display of criticism and skepticism lay concealed a deep philosophical interest even in those dark areas of reality of the human mind which elude the grasp of reason. And while the power of fascination emanating from Pauli‘s analyses of physical problems was admittedly due in some measure to the detailed and penetrating clarity of his formulations, the rest was derived from a constant contact with the field of creative processes, for which no rational formulation as yet exists.” ~ Werner Heisenberg

Fascinating. That word has come to always remind me of Lieutenant Commander Data, on Star Trek Next Generation – he often says “fascinating”. Yes, I am a big fan. It is my go to show when I truly want to escape my problems and the world in general. Netflix is really cool that way. Star Trek NextGen is offers me comfortable fascination. When Captain Picard got captured by the Borg I was like all OMG. I can be that way all I like, on up to bedtime, anytime I feel the need. But I am fascinated by life in all its manifestations. This is an amazing world! The material world is fascinating to me, much in the same way that Nobel Prize physicist Richard Feynman pointed out that you cannot, no way no how, know a bird by merely learning it’s name. Someone says, “Oh, wow, that bird is a raven” and I’m like all “Dude, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”. This morning I am fascinated on many fronts. One is the traumatic experience of having a Chevy van crash through the wall, while I was reading Drunvalo Melchizedek explaining angels. The van’s front bumper sat no more than 18 inches from my left knee when all the deafening roar and flying stones calmed down. An angel came to help me that frigid November morning. Well, not an angel. She is the Mother Goddess of Celtic lore. She taught me instantly how to sidestep the physical danger by slightly phasing out into a parallel universe. Something right up Feynman’s alley, right? Yeh buddy. Does all this sound weird to you? That’s because it was.

I don’t know why the van incident is on my mind this morning. But I do know I am in a nearly perpetual struggle with the effects of trauma. The van came about 20 years after the bicycle crash that birthed my trauma. Lucky me, right? Yeh, right. It’s hard to explain. The negative after effects of the now released trauma runs parallel to the benefits. Fascination with the material world is one of them, one that helped me come back to earth after the bike crash and the NDE that it launched. But enough of that. The coffee is good. The cat is asleep in her bed, to the right of my knee. Better a cat than a Chevy van, but I suspect that goes without saying. I just spent the last two days in introvert land. That panic attack last week knocked the living bejezzus outta me. Such an attack is not a subjective thing. It is heart and bones real; a real physiological event. The after effects of the cortisol rush still linger. The aches are still in effect but the shaking and occasional tremors have abated, back to near normal. But I have to work today. To work I will carry with me images of a raven’s indescribable aerial skills, of how it was Archimedes who gifted the world with screws and bolts (I work in a hardware store. What do you expect?), thoughts of Parmenides trekking into the Underworld to encounter the Goddess, memories of Lori’s brilliant smile, and that of a beautiful woman I know in realtime. Sigh. She’s a beauty too, and I am a romantic. Lori’s spirit comes to me at times to cheer me on in this respect, but she does it with foot-tapping faux-scorn. I’m never quite sure what she means by that, but then again I am not a New Ager these days. Yes, there is Love and Light in this world but there is also the Trickster, who dances on the border between Light and the Darkness. That is the place where the alchemical river of mercury runs, the place where Yin and Yang smooch in perpetuity throughout eternity. Man, that last sentence had kind of a Tom Robbins feel to it. David Foster Wallace might say that ‘you’ve got to get it together when it comes together, when two irresistible forces entangle, when certainty takes a time out’. Boy howdy ain’t that the truth, if I do say so myself, which, of course, I just did. And on that note I must fly. Launch my car south into Taos. Feynman and Archimedes, Parmenides and that woman I know. Tom Robbins, David Foster Wallace, Dow Mossman. Yeh, why not – Neil Gaiman too. Trauma and tremors, cortisol and Love and Light. To work I go to pursue and fulfill my livelihood, go to that smile. Yeh, ain’t so bad, though I had a friggin rocky weekend. Just sat on a metaphorical rock and watch the metaphorical river flow. That’s what I did yesterday, after the storm. Yes, I did.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Ghosts of Autumn’s Tendrils

“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.” ~ Fred Rogers

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” ~ Bessel A. van der Kolk

“After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.”  ~ Judith Lewis Herman

Lately the drafty political video commentary has taken on a slightly different tone, perspective, whatever. Numerous times I have found myself tranquilized by what has turned from perky smartness about current events into an Om-like drone. It’s like Spirit is saying like dude chill, that is all one level of being, there are others. My having come to this revelation suggests that political video commentary can be a gateway to Spirit. If you look at it over a span of linear time you’d be surprised just how many of those gateways there are. They could pop up almost anywhere. Trust me, the more the better. Soooo, no, I don’t claim wisdom on a Monday morning, in fact, I am tempted to make a third cup of coffee, though I ain’t so sure that would be smart, but the thing of it is is that I’ve gotta find some way to amp myself up to dive into the heavy vibes of the workaday world on a Monday morning in late August, and even now, even this early, there are subtle signs, whispers really, revealing the ghosts of Autumn’s tendrils, reaching back in time to call us gently forth, as a hope becomes a certainty who’s time has come. Giggling here – that sentence was a tickle to write! Kind of a Dow Mossman feel to it, though you may asked just who in the dickens Dow Mossman is. Now, I’m going out to look at the Sun rising behind the Sacred Mountain. Bisy backson.

That was one long day yesterday. This morning the lingering body tension is seriously annoying. I had a panic attack on Friday and managed it quite successfully. Management simply delays the full effects until time to let loose arrives. Such a skill is useful, but the piper must be paid. So yesterday was a chore in keeping a rational filter for the chaotic vibes in the aftermath. I accomplished that, for the most part. Yet my body still wants to follow my droopy head right on through to curling up for a good snooze. Nope, not today. Laundry day, don’tcha know. I’m not sure I need much more than that right now.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

All of the Above

“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.” ~ William S. Burroughs

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” ~ Erica Jong

“Stand at the top of a cliff and jump off and build your wings on the way down.” ~ Ray Bradbury

It is simply good to be back home after only one night away. Back to the cat, back to my own bed. The morning is cold. I actually had to put on sweat pants for the first time in a month. This is good. And today is a workday. They are having some kind of big to do in town this weekend. But I am ready to snooze in and out for a day. Two days away. After big crowds and heat and cars and agitated people it should make for a pleasant day during which to catch up on needed rest. Body, mind, and Spirit. Good rest benefits all of the above.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Danger of Inadequate Sleep

“That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating on anything is very hard work.” ~ David Foster Wallace

“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?” ~ Charlotte Brontë

“And he knew that at that moment, they understood each other perfectly, and when he told her what he was going to do now, she would not say ‘be careful’ or ‘don’t do it’, but she would accept his decision because she would not have expected anything less of him.” ~ J. K. Rowling

Time runs short and I like to write and post everyday. Or most days. I’ll miss posting tomorrow’s post. No way around it. Almost missed today’s post due to spacing out over coffee and stuff. But here it is. The spacing out is related to tiredness, intimately so. A couple of medical professionals are trying to help me tweak things and attitudes to help me get more and better sleep. The current consensus is that inadequate sleep is dangerous for folks with bipolar disorder. Especially men. Dang. That’s no small potatoes. To quote former vice president Joe Biden – that’s a big fucking deal. But, alas, I live in the modern world, where sleep is no longer a . . . oh, never mind. I reckoned in lieu of going all writerly and stuff this morning I would jot down a few words then turn it over to one of my writerly heroes, David Foster Wallace. So that is what is happening – quote included after the usual tagline . . .

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

“If what’s always distinguished bad writing – flat characters, a narrative world that’s clichéd and not recognizably human, etc. – is also a description of today’s world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.

Postmodern irony and cynicism’s become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what’s wrong, because they’ll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving. There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cage… The postmodern founders’ patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years.

We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent.

You burn with hunger for food that does not exist.” ~ David Foster Wallace

Agreement Through Conversation

“We long for blessed rest that reaches into our marrow and beyond. More than physical, mental, and emotional; complete and utter rest for our battered, frazzled, hopelessly forgetful souls.” ~ Laura Thomas

“Healing is essential for lasting change. Healing is a transformation, not just a quick fix; a change from an inhibited or impaired state to one of greater health, integration and connection. What was damaged must be soothed, repaired, restored, and given new pathways in which to grow and flourish. In order for change to be thorough, old patterns need to be dissolved, and new, more coherent and refined constructs, formed. In creating coherency in new forms, what has become fragmented or separated, injured or diseased must be made whole again, or perhaps made whole for the first time.” ~ Sharon Weil

“Grief is a form of validation; it says the wound mattered. It mattered. You mattered.” ~ John Eldredge

Good coffee, sleeping cat. The morning is still and quiet. I find myself having to hold back a tad on the sensational flow of information that . . . well, here’s the thing: if you are not careful and judicious you may find that your computer has become essentially a spigot. I could talk about the precarious state of nutritional information. Of folks with with electronic devices nearly glued to their face, nearly divorced from immediate surroundings. Of how the potential atrophy of our inner life looms like a troll with a cookie in each hand and sweat on his brow. Ooooo, that is a tasty images! I’m not set on what kind of cookies to assign to our troll here but I would offer that Rocky Road is a good candidate. Woof. It just occurred to me that if you replace the cookies in the image with Big Macs it sounds suspiciously like the president of these here United States. Just sayin. Now, going forward. My visit to the nurse practitioner yesterday was nice. I had to wait a long time but that gave me the unique opportunity to practice mindfulness in the examination room. She is sweet and low-key. That’s a plus. And at the end of the appointment she said “It’s good to see you again”. That’s a first, for me, from a medical practitioner. I did have the opposite one time, when the neurologist said he hoped to never see me again. Of course I knew what he meant. I found that quite humorous. Anyway, we decided to put me on a five day burst of antibiotics. She was hesitant but we came to an agreement. I knew it would help me heal from this lingering muck and bacteriological vermin in my head. I didn’t insist. I didn’t have to. We arrived at an agreement through actual conversation. I love it when that happens. Dialog sometimes seems like an endangered species these days. I don’t feel much better this morning. My body is dealing with that wide-eyed WTF that comes when strong antibiotics first kick in. Anyway . . . it’s a workday and I have to leave the house early to drop off my laundry to be done for me. I’m looking at a schedule that I didn’t expect. Five days in a row. Caught me off guard, it did. I usually do my laundry on Thursdays. And I have a massage appointment scheduled, then I’ll have to return to work afterward. I didn’t cancel because I really need it, and I always enjoying chatting with the therapist. I saw her a few days ago. She asked how my neck was doing. I just laughed. Now, I’d best upshift and get this days underway. Slowly, Ken, slowly, dude.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Maintained Beyond the Goal

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~ W. B. Yeats

“Just as in the body, eye and ear develop as organs of perception, as senses for bodily processes, so does a man develop in himself soul and spiritual organs of perception through which the soul and spiritual worlds are opened to him. For those who do not have such higher senses, these worlds are dark and silent, just as the bodily world is dark and silent for a being without eyes and ears.” ~ Rudolph Steiner

“We must therefore rediscover, after the natural world, the social world, not as an object or sum of objects, but as a permanent field or dimension of existence.” ~ Maurice Merleau-Ponty

On my agenda for today is to keep my senses open to the pervasive and persistent presence of magic in the world. I thought that could wait until after my visit with my nurse practitioner but decided to keep open throughout. One reason I prefer women as my practitioners is that as women they have a built-in conduit for the healing energy of the goddess. Trust me – that’s a thing. I’m beginning to suspect that healing is not so much a goal-oriented process as it is a way of living. Sure, it is excellent when a malady fades, or goes away altogether, but it is, in my mind, even better when the attitude of acceptance that facilitates the healing is maintained beyond the goal of the allopathic treatment. I do view my nurse practitioner as an allopathic practitioner, so I will see her this morning to see if we can get this physiological pressure in my head to friggin calm down already. I’ve no doubt that the pain and pressure and crazily ringing ears are an analog of activity of Spirit, but this is not something I care to take time to think away and gone. All that said, it is time to feed the cat. Onward.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

For Rudderless Drifting

“It has always been a happy thought to me that the creek runs on all night, new every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale. So many things have been shown so to me on these banks, so much light has illumined me by reflection here where the water comes down, that I can hardly believe that this grace never flags, that the pouring from ever-renewable sources is endless, impartial, and free.” ~ Annie Dillard

“She wanted to tell him what happened wasn’t really his fault, but she knew that wasn’t the way this kind of guilt worked. Intellectually, he already knew that. It was his emotions that were tripping him up. The tangle of love and memory and what might have been.” ~ Charles de Lint

It has been a long time since I had a morning nap, and today may be the day. I’ve been trying to get into the news of the day, but some part of me is just like all “oh, please, not now”. Wisdom. Meanwhile, that familiar ring in my ears is all maxed out. Head full of cotton – allergies. My brain feels like an item packed tight and shipped from Amazon. Just have to live with it, I suppose. At the moment the cat has just moved in close on my left side. I think she is trying to lay a guilt trip to coerce me to feed her right now. Since I live at the behest of this creature I’d best be moseying along and get it done. Maybe then a nap. Or not. A Sunday morning such as this is made for rudderless drifting, and so I shall.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.