I’ve been working a lot since my grandfather died, keeping occupied, a la “Don’t look down.”
It isn’t exactly his death which has been scary to me at some deep level, but what his stepping out of the way reveals about what remains… what a life might amount to and mean to others. Or not. His absence is limitation in my life–so many things that now go away. But it is also permission–to stop hiding the wine and buddhas in the apartment, to ask myself what should be written, now that it won’t hurt him to do so.
Walking a tightrope is hard without fanfare. “Keeping busy” means answering “Just fine” a lot, because who has time to hear the whole of it anyway…
Yet, it must matter in the Big Scheme of Things, especially when what seems my very personal, almost entirely unexpressed, pain, comes back, reflected through the lives of those whose stories did eventually find expression, those who were eventually seen. My incredibly edited life bursts the bounds of its interiority this way, becoming 99% subtext, and Art not my own.
To lesser or greater degrees, this is true for all of us, as it was for Judy Garland, the newish film about whom I watched today, weirdly, just after I’d come across a clip of Elizabeth Taylor during an interview. In the interview, Elizabeth said people loved her because the highs and lows of her life, the near deaths and public sorrows, deemed her a survivor. Was Judy a survivor? I’m not sure.
Still, I need to reduce that subtext proportion. Maybe that’s why I keep trying to write about him, but not exactly him. I keep searching within the details of moments, for where to dwell, what to deem the truth of things–looking for the beauty I know is there, without applying unneeded gloss nor extra scuffing.
What I’ve found so far, is that his life is not just his life; his story is not just his story, but also mine, just as much.
The 16 year old car I’ve been sharing with my son has had it… its very latest expression of resistance being the driver’s side door, which only closes after a 5-part dance of pray, jiggle, shake, pull, and slam. This, on top of the finicky gas reader, the loud whistle just slightly different from the one we’re used to, and the crackled melting seats. The time to let go is now–yesterday actually–but I’ve been hesitating.
For most of my childhood, my grandfather owned an auto body shop. Occasionally, we’d drive up to see him work and help clean up… a frustrating visit for a child outside of going to a restaurant at some point because there weren’t many safe places to play.
There were, however, interesting things about: typewriters, rolling stools, and calculators which made receipts. In later years he lived right there behind his shop in the air-stream trailer he and I traveled in to see my Great-grandfather for what would be the last time. That trailer was in much better condition than most of the the cars and boats he endlessly traded and tinkered with.
Once, he tried to talk me into turning an air boat–the kind that glide through the Everglades–into a houseboat!
It was just the sort of project to lodge in his mind as a next big thing, alongside hydroponics gardening and online stock trading– things which for months or years he would beat the drum about, hoping someone in the family would seize and run with the idea.
He was right about computers though, encouraging what he saw me go toward naturally when given one, although he could be impatient about my bearing (real) fruit (money) in some way.
He always thought I should start a blog, but not like this one. See the fruit factor, above. 😉
He liked to work as though getting away with something. Whether intricate work like watchmaking and sewing, or larger-scale mechanics and real estate, very little seemed all the way right. Yet, in that not-quite-right-ness was a choice he was consciously making … a rebellious streak.
I‘m a little like that too. 🙂
Unlike me however, my grandfather believed in formulas, and in sayings, such as “There are only two reasons people do things: fear of loss, or expectancy of gain.” I couldn’t glom on to this, nor most of his formulas actually, no matter how oft repeated. I would think, “That’s a problem, if true.” After he’d driven away though, I would ask myself whether some of his formulas, especially about motivations, were true of me, and determine that they not be. In an upside-down sort of way, they often became great advice
We worried about him a lot in the last years. We worried when he insisted on driving the bartered cars up and down the coast, often breaking down at least once between one point and the next. We worried that he thought rest stops were good places for naps; he felt that by looking as though he had nothing, he was safe. It was because of his own serious need of towing service that he always kept an AAA membership, adding my name to make sure I would never be stranded.
I feel a little stranded, now.
Which is what tipped the scales today… got me thinking too deeply. Because of the state my car is in, I signed myself up for AAA this morning, then spent the rest of the day trying to shake deep and unreasonable anger… some at him, for worrying us with his maddening ways of thinking and infuriating priorities. And then, for going on before everything could make sense for the family, so that we might mourn his passing together without the second-arrow-suffering so common as to be cliche’.
Suffice it to say we haven’t escaped that.
The membership was a little thing, but represented so much. When I received email confirmation for the account, my first thought, bizarrely, was, “His mercy endures forever.” I’d renewed this for myself, but in his name, in a way…
After all, it was my grandfather who taught me to drive, in a tiny Chevrolet he stored for a man who lived in another state. I practiced for hours, circling cones he picked up somewhere and placed around the bowling alley parking lot across from the shop. He also taught me to play tennis, to fish, to drive a boat. The very first time I saw a cruise ship was from his boat… one which seemed so large to me just a moment before.
I’m thankful I got the chance to express my appreciation to him directly many times, but I’m thankful for other, difficult things, too. He could mostly handle having honest conversations about things we clashed about, because if a discussion became too heated, we’d both stop rather than risk deeply hurting (or god-forbid losing) the other.
Not everyone can do that. My mother and I could not.
As to why I have avoided changing cars like the plague, aside from it being better for the environment not to constantly upgrade…It is a feeling that just has so much baggage for me: fear of being fed bad advice, vulnerability at the mercy of others to follow through at their end in a trustworthy way.
Although through meditation practices and commitment to examined living/examined mind, it is possible to live with a great degree of open-awareness, nothing quite shows up ‘who you are’ like loss does. Thus I’ve found losing my grandfather to be a place of deep vulnerability, more like an inverted mountaintop than one offering some great perspective – a stripping away rather than any gaining of insight.
Even having ample time for preparation and reflection, I was just so unprepared for how alone I would feel each time I remember he’s gone.
Some heartbreak is due to the way my small family has handled things, in essence closing me (and my children) out of the process, not necessarily out of maliciousness, but their own pain and exhaustion. Most of it is simply the childish wish that things (“everything from all time”) could have gone differently had I just been more this that or the other. There was so much he wouldn’t let anyone do for him, so many ways in which his independence and stubbornness set the stage for confused reading of intentions, for fragmentation.
Yet I always knew that he loved me, and that he would be there for me if I were really in need. I suppose growing up often means losing ‘that person’. So many great books have this theme of transformation post hollowing out.
But may I say, I’m tired of transforming…
And when I look around, I don’t see others called upon to ‘transform’ quite so much…
So what can I do. I’ll turn my heart toward conscious appreciation… for the way I got to witness and be part of his having a kind of second wind at the end, going out with and leaning on friends, smiling more than I’d seem him do in a very long time. He learned to easily say “I love you” after withholding that phrase for most of his life, and to listen to the whole sentence when someone said “I love you”, to him.
I think that he was able to survey the whole of his journey at some point too, that the end result was a life in which he had provided foundation and rescue for 3 generations of our too often struggling family… a life where he had, however unsteadily at times, ‘been there’ in ways only he could have been.
I keep waiting for him to show that he’s still there in some way. The day of his passing I felt the strange ‘off page’ sensation of a conversation, of permission asked, of the need to say a blessing. I wrote what amounted to a prayer, that he would experience forever the freedom and joy of knowing… complete ease. Other things. It was less than an hour between my pouring my heart out, of gesturing that I could let him go, and the text my mother sent of his passing. (Yes: text.)
Since then I’ve kept myself so busy, and my body so full, that I’ve been able to mostly squash down the sadness, except on those nights when I wake up with tears streaming down my face… except when I encounter someone else who has just experienced a loss and our losses bump into one another… except when, like today, I determine to let the feelings flow wherever they will.
Actually, I’m able to write a little today thanks to a quiet moment I found while scrolling Instagram and sipping coffee during a beautiful sunrise. George the dachshund settled in on my legs and fell asleep so heavily that I couldn’t bring myself to shove him off, so I scrolled, and mused, sometimes gazing at the white gauzy curtains that resemble those from my childhood.
I remembered vividly, once as a teen, having a hard time trying to change myself/my life. My grandfather pointed to the oak tree outside the living room window of our house in South Miami and told me how he’d seen it grow from a small shallowly-rooted tree that could hardly withstand a summer storm, into a deeply rooted tree that withstood strong hurricanes.
My mother ridiculed me for telling the story that way, tried to tell a different story about the tree to supplant what he’d said. Until he died I never knew how much she resented his care of me, though I realized she didn’t share that. Back in that moment, his story gave me comfort beyond anything else he might have said, because the example was so tangible. So it didn’t really matter to me whether it was true or not.
It still doesn’t.
Sometimes, lately, I feel like I’m back there again. The tree isn’t in quite the shape he promised it would be… needs some tending to become a better shelter.
I spent a lot of Fathers’ Day watching films, beginning withRocketman as a promise to my daughter, who loved it so much that she paid to see it three times. Then, wishing to make comparisons, I rented Bohemian Rhapsody., which I’d walked wide circles around before, failing to imagine how anyone could do Freddie’s story justice.
It was in fact a little surprising, to have felt such strong possessiveness over Mercury’s story, since roughly calculating the hours I’ve spent listening to Elton vs. Queen, the former would easily run circles around latter. This is mainly because his music has permeated key events of my life to a greater degree, often through the instruments of musical friends.
I didn’t fall in love with QUEEN until I was into my 30s, but THEN it was, “Oh, wow.”
Freddie is clearly the more tragic figure, also the more naturally flamboyant, which makes him delightful to watch. But, importantly, he is not alive to validate nor invalidate what has been done with his life story, so is also far more vulnerable. I can’t help but think he might have added nuance to a few needed places in the film, such as regarding the tenderness of relationships other than with his first, female, love.
So I didn’t want to like the film.
However, in the end I must admit that both films were sufficiently tender with their subjects. Artistry-wise, I mostly liked them differently, with what I disliked hinging upon the handling of the music itself.
That Bohemian Rhapsody was lip-synced should have been a problem but wasn’t, because Rami Malek’s physical embodiment felt so genuine that I wasn’t put off by his lip-syncing at all. I felt that not thinking about the music, a la “I like (or dislike) this better than the original, etc.”, kept my attention with the story. I was also already a fan of Malek, thanks to binge-watching Mr. Robot during a time I desperately needed that immersive distraction.
On the other hand, I would describe what was done with Elton’s story and catalog of music as “translatable to stage.” Choices made to adjust to the pace of the story and Taron Egerton‘s voice, make total sense when putting the concept itself at the fore, and Rocketman is definitely more conceptual. Think Across the Universe with a bigger budget. I’m a fan of Across the Universe, and covers of Beatles music generally, but there isn’t a single Elton cover I deeply like, even when sung by artists I value; his voice is simply fused with his songs for me.
Today I did find THIS playful rendition:
The presence or absence of fathers in shaping a life, features prominently in Rocketman, and must have been the main story Elton wanted to tell as the hook into understanding his longings… the depths he sank to, the fits of ego that possessed him. Longing has shaped many artists – to be reached for and loved, seen and known.
My longing has been to make sense of everything in some cathartic way, to turn the puzzle inside out. It is the fairy tale of finding (or being!) a magic key that once turned, makes ‘it all’ always to have been worthwhile. It is some version of karma, but without punishments and rewards… something like, true character revealed, and that being a good thing.
I’ve had experiences of this kind of flip in vision-dreams before. Once the curtain falls, everyone bows, acknowledging the roles that they played and why, with even the villains deeply appreciated. In my last dream of this sort, I encountered my once step-father, the night that he passed away. He was surprised and delighted to find me there (whatever ‘there’ means in this context) to see him off, since we’d shared tragic history.
When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
– Totally Fake Buddha Quote
Addiction features prominently in both musicals too… addiction to whatever can stop the consuming pain of a primal need unfulfilled, such as for that of a present and approving father. Or the pain of looking for knowledge that can’t quite be filled in… understanding you would have had to have received from the get-go, or early along the way.
Therefore, we will always require the kindness of others. We will always need others to empathetically imagine us as though we had been given all those pieces – to see the ways in which what is missing makes us the wonderful beings we are.
The tragedy for those who become famous may be to reach the pinnacle of achievement in the world and find it ‘still not enough’. No matter status or stature, the answer is never ‘out there’.
“I wasn’t doing magic anymore… was just talking about doing magic.”
The above is a note I jotted to myself several months ago, and ran across today. It was something I saw up ahead as I wrote it, as though spoken by a me reflecting on that time, once through it. There was a sense of things I was struggling to identify then… a flatness to everything I suddenly became acutely aware of.
I think I’ve arrived at that point now, of understanding what I said to that previous me.
There’s a book that I love so much that I’ve recommended it to almost every dear friend, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. There are just so many excellent things about the book, starting with the distinct language and the mood that it sustains (like a mixture of many great writers in the Dickens and Austen vein), but what hooked me, was the very idea of the scene Susannah Clarke started with: a meeting of magicians.
These magicians were meeting together very regularly and debating quite vigorously over texts about previous magicians and the times of magic in which they lived. Most of those devotedly present were in total agreement that magic no longer occurred in England, which made for quite enjoyable meetings that ultimately fell into the same patterns as any other hobby group might. Two of the group however, were longing for more. They knew they were missing something.
In the book, this sets the stage for the two men of the title to appear. These men are not among those in the meetings, rather they are twoactually practicingmagicians quite different from one another, each intense and daring in their own ways. They seem to be brought into view by the context of the times. One, an older book and formula hoarder, resource-guards against those he deems unworthy. The other, more lighthearted and generous, is reckless at times.
Both continually endanger those around them.
I could elaborate further, but suffice it to say that the contrasts between the magicians’ group, the two curious men, and the two daring practicing magicians, are something I’ve never been able to shake when examining my own life. I ask myself, am I really IN this that I’m doing right now, really ALIVE in it? Or am I playing it safe because of A, B, C? Where am I indeed out on the edge? Can I give something more to that effort?
Things have started flowing again, taking on new dimensions as my intentions and attentions become less divided. There had been a missing road connecting distinct sensibilities I think, linking knowing about with stepping into that knowing.
I’m thinking of having the Kena Upanishad tattooed onto my body, but the text is a little long:
“Not that which the eye does see, but that by which the eye does see…”
Which has the feel of being inside the storm. Come to think of it, there is another character in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – a disturbing figure in many ways, covered in tattoos. Maybe I’ll take a bit longer to think about it. 😉
Today, after a full night of tossing and turning, I felt it… a spark of innocence floating in the air. It seemed very real, yet somehow not of the same universe or substance as the rest. I watched, my inner vision locked in on the hint of the glimmer, as just like the Good Witch’s bubble in The Wizard of Oz, it grew bigger and bigger; there, yet also not touching anything else.
I asked myself, which is the dream? It didn’t feel like an angel I was wrestling with last night, more like the baggage of a thousand lifetimes, but surely I awoke to some kind of gift.. a new opening of mind or sense of liveliness and freedom through which the wonders of life may flow more freely. Or at least, my awareness of them…
When I first began meditating. I met a monk (who was or wasn’t – it doesn’t matter) in a virtual world who, listening to me talk about my spiritual experiences and visions, cautioned me not to become too enamored, a la Narcissus with his reflection. He suggested I instead consider the taste underlying the experiences, and let that taste spread out, permeating into the rest of life.
While I don’t think I missed the point entirely, it would be a long time before I could see that not owning personal experiences, not holding them too tightly would enable growing wings.
However, something else clicked when that feeling of claiming ownership of experiences fell mostly away. Even to tell a simple personal story began to feel pointless or indulgent. I often felt guilty, or like I was lying. My context was way too wide.
Yet, that’s how people converse. It is normal to ask about someone’s past or hopes for the future. Locating one another in time and space seems necessary to further connection.
So it felt for a while as though I’d undergone surgery, but the wrong part had been removed, leaving me unsure how to interact with the world. Thankfully along the way I found other ‘spiritual types’ who felt this way, and more patience to wait for that phase to pass too.
It was then that the insecurities of childhood and fears of adulthood reappeared with brand new ferocity, and wow, such deep feelings of regret. I suppose now that what happened is that I hadn’t had to deal with those fears and inadequacies for a for a while amidst my blissful romance with meditation and spirituality, and was caught off guard to find the wounds still there, still un-healed.
Doesn’t that sound similar to what people describe in romantic relationships? So much can be covered initially, by awe and newness.
I think that’s what the spark of innocence that greeted me this morning means to remind me. That although my field of perception may feel full of the beasts of doubt and fear at times, I can recognize that they aren’t ‘me’ or ‘mine’. That there are muses of clarity, too. Now I want to see and converse with them all, hear the strange and wonderful things they have to say.
Sometimes when I write a post here, something comes up on twitter that speaks so closely to it that I find it hard to leave out. Today it was,
“…to arrive at that beautiful ancient innocence which consists of the ability to plunge into dream…”
-Albert Camus, Youthful Writings; “Essay on Music,” , 1932 – quoted by Rubynola82
What comes to mind too:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Even whittled down into bursts of story, George R.R. Martin’s range as a writer is a wonder to behold, never letting the reader off the hook from intense examining of character motivations, never ceasing to surprise with blind spot connections, and showing that like-it-or-not we coexist with unfathomable contradictions – in ourselves as much as any outside character.
I find myself examining my own life’s story-lines as if written by Martin, which gives me patience with my own “villains” and impossible situations. And I must say, this especially during the show’s last few seasons, where verdicts are coming down, hindsight well in hand. We see some of the we characters we thought of as noble and ‘good’ as sadly ineffectual and even dangerous due to the very values we love so much, for one thing. And we reluctantly love, even forgive, indisputable monsters. George R.R. Martin has said in interviews that he finds the question of redemption especially fascinating. Me, too.
Oh, I’m talking about Game of Thrones, by the way.
My son and I have an ongoing debate. He has a distaste for social justice warrioring, not because he doesn’t care, but because he feels that the only things that ever change anything… anyone in the world, happen not because someone learns them in a straight-forward way, but through such things as, well we might say *art for art’s sake* and one-on-one relationships. To forcefully advocate for a ’cause’ as a central thing, goes against what he believes in, in a way. The closer one can get to being themself, and doing what they do, the more the world at large will also. Or something like that.
I, on the other hand, see it all similarly to learning foundational times tables. I think you have to get some basics down, and then as you work with those basics along with the material of your life, those values/principles/aspirations may find their own avenues of expression. Or they may not. But I don’t think one can afford not to try to move something forward because their effort may be clumsy, or because all they’ve got to work with are blunt instruments. In a nutshell my philosophy is something like Picasso’s line, “Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.”
I agree that it is the sublime that *most* matters, but that doesn’t let us off the hook for the rest.
Yet, I must admit that when I see the process of illumination and natural learning people undergo when parsing and obsessing over these books and shows, I lean my son’s way. I begin to think his way is more realistic about the downsides of measuring what is happening in the world through our filters of concepts, even of compassion (which I do consider the highest ‘value’ available in the world). I have often wielded my sword seemingly driven by such ‘good’ motivations. But then, was I, really? How often am I simply reacting out of un-faced pain? How much damage have I caused at times while trying to do the right thing, to be good, to be worthy in the eyes of someone who isn’t even still there in my part of the grand story …
For now, I can’t decide whether my son is cynical or clear seeing about the political dimensions, but I know that he catches much that I miss, including camera angles and lighting, sound engineering and song choices–not just when we’re watching Game of Thrones. Maybe he is like a mantis shrimp and has more cones than I do, so to speak. 🙂
I wonder how he is seeing this world in this time, which to me has appeared more and more overrun by blatant villains, more empowering to the overtly cruel. I want to believe that by people banding together for the sake of honor and justice it is possible to speed up exposure of what needs to be addressed behind the scenes… that Bengal tigers and rhinos and elephants and wolves might continue roaming the earth, clear waters continue to flow, and all beings be beheld as valuable on multiple levels, rather than just resources to exhaust. Sometimes I do wonder whether my son may be missing my sense of urgency because he may not see how women fear they factor in this question of resources and territory to conquer in times experienced as austere (a measurement itself subjectively imposed).
Well that went in a few directions, not even getting to the contemplative questions I hoped to approach… again. 🙂 So for now I’ll just finish with a photo of Ghost and Jon, just because the dire wolves deserve lots of love and attention as imparting the original vision to George R.R. Martin which became A Song of Ice and Fire, then Game of Thrones.
Summer has arrived in Spring, as it always does here in Miami. It is a terrible season in some ways, the sun so intense that I try to time walks in the evenings, even to the mailbox. No doubt though, it is beautiful. For any would-be photographer, the quality of light and the brightness of everything is astounding. On the water, stars glisten well into the evenings… a dance of pure magic.
At least once between now and September, I’ll cover myself in light clothes and powerful sunscreen, don a large ridiculous hat, and risk what I pray will be just a quick dip in health ‘this time’, to capture a little of the show. For a few days I’ll drink more water, eat more vegetables and fruit, take every vitamin, get to bed on time. For a few vivid pictures, I’ll plan to afterward pass through the days of self-judgement when the weakness sets in, try to remember the promise I made to myself, not to panic but to let it pass.
As it does, almost always.
Those without chronic illnesses can’t imagine the wear self-condemnation can entail. One can hide from others, but not those who show up there ‘in the mind’, wearing one’s own face, speaking in one’s own voice. “If you had…” “If you had not…” It was the glass of wine this time, or the sugar, or the garden stroll too early or late in the day. Maybe the unforgiveness … Yet perfection of behavior is never guarantee that the general cycles would not be much the same.
I’ve mostly avoided writing and stories that delve into it as central, just as even when in the most serious times I avoided support groups (although, Life serendipitously brought me into support groups through work, which has been beneficial). Maybe this was foolish. Maybe it would have been wiser to, as Ellen Mains does in her book Buried Rivers, work to integrate it all into the path all along – not editing it out of the internal dialog, allowing the conversation.
“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed… it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.
– Virginia Woolf, found in a completely wonderful and worthwhile post fromBrainpickings
I do love the sudden afternoon rains in summer though, especially when occasionally they stretch into hours. The air turns suddenly cool, the edge off the harshness. It feels like permission to breathe, permission not to worry. Whatever I’m ‘supposed to be’ working on to make up for gives way.
I often stop to imagine that the rain is cooling the waters of the Atlantic that begin to boil this time of year, brewing monster storms.
The truth is I’m worrying way too much these days, doubting decisions and feeling ill-equipped. Sometimes all my tools and strategies of positivity – feeding more to the happy wolf – turn on me. “If you’d only do the affirmations…” “If you add more meditation…” “Be more grateful…” All fine and indeed wonderful things to do.
But those are still do-ings rather than knowing nothing is missing, and actions flowing from that. The silver linings really ARE there. ‘Miracles’ do continually occur. Life has never seemed easy, after all, but like the spring-summer setting in all around me now, it has always been astoundingly beautiful.
I let the weekend pass by without writing, too preoccupied to string thoughts together sensibly with the correct measures of thought for others, the big picture, my little self. I’m worried about things: my country, my judgment, our systems of justice, overall stamina to rise to the occasions arising. And of course the just day-to-day.
A woman on twitter wrote that the country seems like an abused spouse to her, walking on eggshells trying to find ways to mitigate the chaos constantly. Her image has stuck in my mind. Simultaneously, I try to seat myself ‘in the light’, so to speak. Without closing my eyes to the above, I find ways to root myself into ‘this very existence’, ‘what is’ through play and loving energy with others, making a celebration out of ‘whatever is right at hand’, be it silly or profound.
A friend with an ill son once said to me that during the times in which he was healthy, their family wasted no moment finding ways to express and celebrate *the life*. Her Jewish ancestors had taught her the wisdom of hesitating not at all.
Which may be part of the reason I’ve been taking refuge in music similarly to when I was young and, feeling caged, thought my life would forever be small. I have hesitated too much in my adult life (my ancestors taught me the opposite – that moving too fast and being reckless will get you into crisis where you will stay and stay for a long time), but the exceptions to that have been times of being so caught up in the flow, especially with others, to an extent that I couldn’t have overridden it if I tried. But why on earth would I have tried? 😉
And… music is flow. So I’ve been getting myself back to the garden playing dozens of small documentaries around the apartment while sorting and working. There arelots easily streamed, among them Jeff Beck, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, Abba, ELO, and Joni Mitchell.
My oldest ‘child’ is moving away, which keeps hitting me over and over again. I can see her at every stage of life, hear her many voices, remember so much. Trying to wrap my mind around the idea of connecting over the (yuk) phone isn’t working so well. No matter how unzen it may be, sometimes I DO want to go back. But instead must flow with the changes, align with the countless possibilities, appreciate the presence of mental time machines when they spontaneously appear.
This is where we are, with all the big puzzles of our time – *more* cooperation is needed, not less.
For those who love words, I’d highly recommend listening to the question and answer segment after the unveiling. Answering a student’s question, Shep Doleman described space time as “flowing through the horizon”, among other wonderful things I’ll spend my day envisioning.
So I’m driving along when it hits me: “Belief systems are effects, not causes; everyone has the wrong end of the stick.”
The paradigm of the last decade or more has been to think in terms of belief systems (programming packages from childhood and current environment), then to examinine, expose, and consciously replace outdated thinking with new. But lately I notice a lot of us giving up on overtly changing others’ thinking by reasoning and argument, aware that thanks to media filters for one thing, we are truly living in entirely separate worlds. Words, even words communicated in the same language, often mean completely different things.
Yes, I do worry that resistance fatigue in itself is part of authoritarianism creeping in.
Perhaps one thing left to do, is go even deeper. When I think about my own belief systems, they often are much more about resonance than something I was convinced of. Or, if I was convinced, I was already drawn into listening. I’m drawn to teachings that feel like good music to me, that affect me energetically. I’m drawn to people who remind me of what I want to be, and be doing… people I feel sparked by. It was a tiny photo of people sitting at a small make-shift desk in an airport, embedded in a random article about deportations, that sent me back to school for paralegal training, for instance.
Beliefs are not irrelevant, but there has always been a sense of not quite hitting the right spot when trying to get at things by working with past traumas and limitations in some logical way. This must be true on a larger scale as well? Things like EFT Tapping and Myofascial Release have shown me how much more effective it is, to go deeper than thinking, then deeper than even ‘patterns of thinking’. Then, the screwy thinking comes up and shows itself and you can deal with it, or say goodbye. 🙂 Meditation has always been about this, but personally I was too disconnected from BODY for a long time.
Anyway, just some thoughts this Saturday morning as I get ready to move my body outside into the uncharacteristically GORGEOUS weather.