Thank you, Elle
:: With Gratitude ::
There is a warmth to a day like today, early in spring when each note of the birds song endures, stretched out as if time itself is slowed and her song reaches out to fill the space between, it’s not the same warmth that caresses your skin, arousing the senses, no it’s more immersed, and facile; it’s infinite, one moment everlasting, until the air tempers and the sun drifts, and one everlasting moment is simply gone, and a new day takes its place.
I’m mourning, and celebrating simultaneously. Mourning for something that I lost: a look, an expression of love, and admiration, and respect not something in the eyes but behind the eyes, the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen expressed on the face of the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen.
My respect, admiration, and adoration for her is unparalleled and it’s nothing that I could even attempt to describe, I’ve tried. I didn’t know that I could respect, admire, and love her more than I did, I didn’t know it was possible. There is no one, anywhere that could compare to this woman, she is someone that shatters all notions defining or outlining the character of a wo(man). I cannot even begin to explain how the decisions she’s made over the past week stun and amaze me; what she is willing to do and to forgive for no reason, none except that she is capable and that she is willing is astounding.
She is a living angel, and she has compassion and understanding and faith like nothing I’ve seen, witnessed, or imagined in the quality of a person. She is the Spring; the summer, autumn, and winter she is the feeling inside of you that you cannot explain, new but familiar with every season: the birdsong that reaches out to fill the space between, the passion simmering in the summer heat, the tranquility descending with the autumn leaves, and the fated passing in a winters’ breath.
My gratitude for her is unbound, every day.
In my plight I allowed expectation to obscure my unconditional awe, in my loneliness I allowed my desire to overwhelm my thanksgiving, and in my exhaustion I allowed discourse to illuminate my failing. I am so sorry.
So, I mourn for something that I lost.
And, yet there is a warmth to a day like today, early in spring when each note of the birds song endures, stretched out as if time itself is slowed and her song reaches out to fill the space between, it’s not the same warmth that caresses your skin, arousing the senses, no it’s more immersed, and facile; it’s resurrection, an opportunity to fall in love; again. It's rebirth. It's a gift. And, I accept it with complete recognition of it's requisite. Thank you, love; Thank you.
This isn't what I intended to write today. I started writing wanting to write poetic prose about the season, and how much I'm enjoying the day but I kept getting stuck, and when actually let myself write this is what came out.
And, about the song... I just had to do it ;) Watch it!
My mind is reeling; It’s amazing how days can spill over into the next bleeding into one for weeks, months, years even and our moods and our emotions became as familiar as the routine itself, regardless of how often they change, because we make the conscious decision to pair the two; then overnight, something could snap, a perfect storm of circumstance, emotion, and thought that occur concurrently that challenge every one of our assurances.
How do we re-balance all that?
We make choices.
And more often than not we don’t allow ourselves the emotional and mental balance to make the most weighed harmonious choices.
I made this mistake on Tuesday morning of this week. I made a comment to someone I cared about without giving myself time, both intellectually and emotionally to measure where I was at.
I do make this mistake.
I justify it by telling myself that communication is key, which in-and-of-itself, isn’t a lie, but when it’s an excuse for saying something prematurely or, most harmfully, saying something unnecessary and hurtful. I said this, and over the course of 36 hours something very important to me, in my life, began to change. Unfortunately it wasn’t the comment alone, that afternoon and the following evening I didn’t stop myself to recognize the mistake I had made, and to try to address it. I allowed it to play out, as if I was actually in the right, as if I was behaving appropriately.
I had a rough weekend, and instead of actually giving myself the time to put all the pieces together and acknowledge my role in it, and ask for the guidance and for the help from someone who could have aided me through it; I made it their problem, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t even recognize that I was doing it, and had continued to for the days to come, until the digression of my behavior and the consequences of my actions were made, indirectly but unmistakably clear to me.
I accept the responsibility of those actions, although I would love, more than words are able to express, to learn from the mistakes I made and to build from them, and to continue forward.
There are a number of conditioned behaviors and insecurities that I have from past lives that are presenting themselves to me, and I have had trouble recognizing these behaviors and insecurities as they actively show up. When paired with exhaustion and a variety of other factors and choices, I have been trying to cope with them in the best ways; but I am coping, I am working through them, and they are not permanent, in fact, with a little help and understanding and, maybe forgiveness they will be out of my system very quickly—because I actively want them to be, and I want to move forward. I believe that after a certain time period of developing a relationship there are behaviors that present themselves, and I think where we’re at it's a laboriously developmental time. The point in a relationship when two people not only consciously recognize the issues they would like to address with another, but also being comfortable enough to do so, only it's still early in a relationship so it's handling the realities and the residual affects of those confrontations is still uncertain and difficult. I think a lot of people give up in that time, especially with certain other outliers in our lives. I don't think we should.
I made a comment that we might be friends w/ benefits as opposed to in a relationship, and I really don’t think that’s true--I think that I have been speaking a lot in terms of how things are right now, as opposed to in general, and I think that I think and speak in that way a lot. So when I make comment like that and, on occasion, some others that I've made, I am speaking in a very exact, in the moment way and not how I might generally feel. :/
it’s been a challenging, exhausting week, and I’ve said things I regret and will continue to regret—I believe that we are in a relationship, I believe that we love one another, and I believe that it’s worth pursuing, especially after everything we’ve been through (since we’ve known each other more than decade) I believe it’s real, I believe it’s real; I believe it's real; and, my heart is so full of love and admiration and profound respect, I want to hold on to that as long as I can, and I want to leave it only when we cannot possibly hold on to it anymore.
Letting go of something so perfect only because of certain stressors and exhaustion and convenience will only ultimately hurt us, especially since these dark, challenging feelings will pass and we will feel close to each other again, and ending and starting and ending will inspire confusion and prolonged turmoil. This too shall pass.
Let’s develop, until we cannot develop anymore and then all we’ll leave each other with is gratitude and love, and not uncertainty and confusion.
I have your heart, and your have mine.
I am sorry, and I am grateful for you.
I’ve been struggling with topics, things to write about lately. I know people are tired of hearing about COVID-19, and yet it’s also all people really want to read about, and I really don’t like writing, or talking about it. I’m a member of a couple of local Rants&Raves groups on Facebook and they are consumed with COVID, but no one is really actually saying anything; it’s the drama of it, events such as this give certain people a reason to behave dramatically while reason and rational thought don’t really animate a lot of people.
I’ve seen a couple of memes and quotes going around comparing COVID-19 to H1N1, Trump and Obama era viruses, the comparison of a few side-by-side is pretty funny because well, first of all they were antithetical politically, but the statistics and words were nearly identical only the tone was different. One was suggesting that Obama era’s H1N1 was a larger pandemic, it affected more people but our response to it was considerably more calm, because the way Obama handled it, while the other (Trump era COVID) although with a smaller impact had a greater media presence suggesting that Trump is taking it more seriously—hence the national reaction. It’s just funny to me, assigning blame and praise to people as opposed to parties, to parties as opposed countries, and to countries as opposed to nature. Thank you Obama and/or Trump for allowing Nature to take its course, how would the American people have survived without either of you making amended comments regarding the undomesticated course of chance. MotherNature 2020!
Anyway, aside from the first paragraph, I don’t want to talk about Coronavirus: COVID-19. I’m just trying to get those of you that can’t get enough of it hooked to this column so that you might actually read something beyond the scope of the Coronavirus.
It was suggested to me that I use a blog idea generator and write about the 5th idea ‘down,’ so this column will focus on me “Documenting my experience trying something new, or giving something up.”
There are a number of things that jumped out at me when I initially approached the topic:
The first was my experience parenting and how, overnight, I became, essentially, the sole provider and caregiver of two children, neither of which were mine.
However, after sleeping on it, and then rethinking this topic this morning in the shower, and again a good bit while I was at work and out of the house (I work at Natural Grocers grocery store) I thought about documenting my experience trying LSD, but it was rather uneventful; LSD doesn’t engage the mind like shrooms does, it’s just visually stimulating and other than me pointing to the shapes and designs on the carpet and some blankets that were hanging on the walls, and me asking the two friends of mine that joined in the experience if, “...those [are] supposed to be moving?” it wasn’t all that spectacular.
...and I thought, too about documenting my first real, prolonged experience smoking. That too, was limited only to the two weeks that I had two French girls from Paris staying with me, via Couchsurfing.com, in Santa Fe. The first thing they would do, once waking up in the morning, was to stand out on the porch in a French nightgown smoking a cigarette, and it was only then that the appeal of smoking became, suddenly, much more clear to me. “Veux-tu une cigarett?” (would you like a cigarette?”) “I can see right through that nightgown. Fuck yeah, je veux une cigarette!” Almost every morning for two weeks I started my day with a cigarette, but as soon as they left I never felt the need, or the desire to pick one up again.
The other ideas were a product, only of an under-active mind cooped up in a small, dark house and needing the mental stimulation of being surrounded by an active society, and that’s something that we’re all sorely missing right now; even the introverts and homebodies.
There is something that required many, many years of conversation and thought and absolution and open mindedness to really open my eyes up to allowing myself to see something that I was, essentially, raised not to see.
Those of you that read this column have read about my relationship with religion, and G~d and, although, I have discussed parts of it in some detail I’m not sure that I ever actually documented the experience of allowing myself to try looking at something, anything really through a lens that wasn’t blurred by condition, expectation, and stigmas. This is my experience trying something new: opening my mind, to something that many people who claim to have an open mind simply refuse to realize.
I have shared that my father considers himself agnostic, but only because he accepts that he might have to call himself something and for lack of interest, I think, he settled with agnosticism. He was raised in a strict conservative, southern baptist family and to be completely honest I don’t think the politics or the religion of it matter much to him, I believe he cared only to rebel, and that revolution has lasted his entire life.
My mother was raised Catholic. She spent her entire scholastic term at an all-girl Catholic school; 12 years, in Catholic school. If you’ve seen The Trouble with Angels, you might have a pretty good idea of how my mom spent those years, with the exception, of course, of joining the sisterhood and remaining on to teach for the rest of her life. No, mom went a different way. She couldn’t reject the idea that there was a higher power greater than herself, that much was clear to her, she just needed a different way to view that higher power—as long as it wasn’t based in the foundational dogma of Christianity. She had developed a stigma. I don’t know, exactly what happened while she was in Catholic school but I do know that the distance that exists between man and G~d can sometimes be filled with hypocrisy, and seeing that day-in-and-day-out for years, for your formidable years can be influential.
It also took me years to even realize that I maintained a stigma against Christianity, I didn’t even know it was there; when I was triggered by certain words or ideas rooted in Christian belief there would be a tightness in my chest, and my first instinct was to argue, avidly against whatever was being said. I became defensive, and I didn’t even know it.
Once I was, finally able to recognize my stigmas I challenged myself to let it go, I wanted to see everything through new eyes, and with an open heart. But, how do you dislodge a stigma that has been conditioned heedlessly, carelessly since birth?
I started listening to people about their beliefs, and every time I felt the tightness in my core developing I consciously acknowledged it, and when the urge to argue a point or challenge an idea or an assumption came up I stopped myself, and simply listened.
And, what I learned is that I was the one maintaining the assumptions. For a lot of people G~d is a trigger word, and maintaining a belief in G~d demands certain underlying expectations and ideals, but not by those that believe - I stress that point - the expectations and interpretations that challenge your assumptions about G~d in a negative way are deeply-rooted in a stigma that has been defined, only by the holder of the stigma. If you’re unsure what I mean, try looking at it this way: you were raised watching how your parents interact with one another, how they chose to express themselves to each other in their relationship and, as a result, you have unconsciously developed an expectation of what a relationships is, or supposed to be based entirely on that perception. Period. A negative emotional reaction to a belief system is based in deeply-rooted unconscious expectations.
OK, I’m going to try to drastically avert this technical crap.
G~d is not exclusive to Christian Dogma. G~d is as much an idea as he is a divine entity. But it’s really easy when your stigmas forfeit your ability to relate to the act of creation, if you can’t see past your own misgivings. G~d is the act of creation inasmuch as G~d is the creator there’s very little difference except how you choose to perceive it; but one of these ideas is a lot more easy to swallow for people who have an active distaste for Christian doctrine, in large part due to the behavior of Christians, but you’re forgetting that it’s not really the behavior of Christians, but rather the behaviors of humans whom happen to be Christian, whom you are clumping together as a means, simply to ease your own conscripted worldview.
G~d is G~d. It really isn’t much more complicated than that, unless you allow it to be.
At least that’s the process that I allowed myself to take over the course of many years, and many conversations, and many choices, and doubts, and challenges, and assumptions in order to find a more balanced perspective, which has since allowed me to rebuild on a belief system that has grown, and a relationship that has grown, not with any of you or with a specific person but with G~d.
...if nothing else, this is a template for you to use so that you might begin to challenge your own assumptions and expectations, in order to acknowledge and create/rebuild an open mind for you to use however it best applies to you.
A thing that I have struggled with on and off throughout my life has been related to body issues - to a degree. In my youth: middle school and high school aged I was pretty heavily into sports, mostly cross-country, track, and basketball and I worked out a lot. My basketball coach asked me to join cross-country to stay in shape for basketball and cross-country ended up being what I most excelled at, for a while. I was always active. Although, I had such a high metabolism that I could not gain weight, and struggled to build muscle and then for years, after high school, I stopped putting effort in. Eventually I would try to get back into running and then every year I would, unintentionally form new habits; I seemed to be living a completely different life towards the end of a year than I was at the beginning, and I would have to start over again to reform the habit. This was pretty consistently the case through my early to mid twenties, and during that time I moved between Idaho, Utah, New York, and New Mexico and I lived and experienced, probably, the equivalent of what an average person would live and experience through their fifties.
That’s not exactly what this column is going to be about, though.
Living in New Mexico was probably, both the darkest and most enlightening period of my life; I developed a lot of who I had always wanted, and sometimes already—in a sort of an idealistically way—saw myself as, as well as lost a great deal of myself, of which it took years and years to realize, only that I would never get back a lot of who I had lost. Once I did finally realize this I was able to, again work on building and developing that self image that I had both always wanted and, in some ways, always saw myself as.
I put a great deal of effort into disciplining myself, and practically—and actively—applying that discipline to my life.
The foundation of which was always in building, and maintaining my body, my mind, and my emotions. Roman and Greek philosophers understood that without balance we could never be whole in our humanity, and therefore never truly experience the human condition: what it means to be human; therefore apply the test to whatever, exactly comes next.
One cannot understand the mind without maintaining a healthy, and fit body inasmuch as one cannot consciously acknowledge emotion without a sound, and reasonable mind, and in view of the fact that without acknowledging emotion as well as an open and sound mind one cannot discipline themselves to frame and manage the body; without the balance of the three it’s impossible to truly accept and to understand and to enjoy our present condition.
I grew up being asked to develop my mind, and simultaneously, through incidental spiritual development, my emotions. I was exposed to a number of religions when I was younger; my grandparents were Southern Baptist and Catholic and while my dad never really applied religion to his life my mom spent much of her early adult life searching for a religion that she felt comfortable with, it took her away from Catholicism but the endeavor enveloped my family in spirituality. My mom would attend Sunday services and if my sister and I didn’t attend, we were asked to explore spirituality/religion in other ways. I’ve been a reader for most of my life, and I think a large part of that is because I chose to read about a variety of religions, and to understand them academically or, rather, theologically. I consumed authors and their books: C.S. Lewis, Piper, Young, Warren, Freud, Jung, Hume, Aristotle, Plato, Aurelius, Campbell, etc., and then began to explore fiction: Wallace, Franzen, Bolano, DeLillo, Pynchon, Gaiman, Tolkien, Wolfe, Proust, I could get lost naming authors, and eventually Musicians, Filmmakers, Artists, etc., as well.
I have withdrawn into conversation with people that I have not understood and fundamentally disagreed with, and in doing so have had to learn to curb my expectations and my assumptions; which, in turn, has taught me that expectation runs deeply, and is one of our archetypical conditions; this helped me to evaluate mine, because most of our expectations are developed when we’re too young even to recognize them and they follow us throughout the entirety of our lives. Acknowledging this allowed me to create my own axiom from which to revise, and re-balance.
There’s a great TED talk by Ken Robinson in which he describes how our society, through the pyramid of our education system, has elevated the role of college professors, as if the position in life were our objective, and academic conquest was the most important aspect of our societal endgame. Robinson says that, in our society, we’ve come to perceive our body as a means of getting our head from one place to another—I’ve always loved the ideology of that—and that we depreciate the arts, many of which such as drama and dance effort our bodies and our emotions more practically.
These are things that most people ignore because of our preconceived expectations and the fact that we, almost too literally, live in our heads; as a result we condition ourselves to ignore our senses, our emotions, and our bodies, and yet these tell us more about ourselves, each other, and our immediate condition than our head(s) ever could (part of the reason is that our education system is an outdated, obvolute system teaching us that 1. there is a right way of doing things and a number of wrong way(s) and, 2. it’s designed around memory as the primary function of thought.
Once we escape our heads and understand how to apply the balance we’re limited by almost nothing; and the easiest way to begin the effort is by working out, the easiest way is to build your body: run and do push-ups, every day or as often as possible the combination of the two works, nearly every muscle—especially if you change up the push-ups (hover push-ups, and try shifting your weight from left to right, wide gripped, diamond, pike, Spider-man, etc.). When you work your body and you maintain a routine your body begins to recognize that you’re willing to listen to it, and it will start talking to you; now you’ll have to start to learn how to listen. Once you’re body and mind are working together consider reevaluating your expectations, and then start recognizing how your emotions are reacting to your, and the actions/reactions of others.
I’m still working through some of those emotional reactions, things that have developed at different points in my life that have remained dormant because new, similar situations haven't presented themselves, and when they begin to, again, for whatever reason, that emotional “baggage”—for lack of a better word—will, again present some of those developed emotional triggers and responses, especially those that have existed, passively and they can be a real pain-in-the-ass to work through, but understanding them mentally and physically, and recognizing what you’re feeling when you are feeling something intentional it becomes a lot easier to both work through, and to relate to the human experience.
I have written both music, and advice columns that covered a wide variety of topics, such as: relationships, communication, lifestyle, business, and life (coaching)