Saturday, June 5, 2021

Grace At The Bottom Is Beautiful Stuff

Scorched earth, you look up, you look anywhere, dust rising, doubt everywhere. There's a mirror that ironically shows the horizon and you can build anything on a blank canvas. It's abyss staring in ways that could never have been previously imagined, it's living life wholly and resolutely (and somewhere Hesse smiles). And I was so wrong about stoning the abyss, -- it was sitting and staying with the abyss. Accepting, turning towards. But fuck me it ain't pleasant, stoning equals bravado, staying equals owning. Let the hurricane do its thing. I sit cross-legged on the floor, opening my hands to god. I don't know what's next, I'm scared, I accept, one foot in front of another, a new horizon. Grace to all, grace to me.

We must own and work with “our real shit” including the cleverly hidden stuff—the white lies, defensiveness, sanctimoniousness, and all those conceits that we pretend are invisible to others.
As mild as some of these may appear, at their core is the belief that our needs are more important than those of others. Arrogance, hubris, defensiveness, bravado, fear, timidity, aggression—all of these are made possible when we believe how things work out for us is primary and how things work out for others is secondary. We don’t see these subtle ploys because they are so easily cloaked by the drama of the moment. They are cloaked by all the emotional juice that comes with being defensive; they are cloaked by the scheming and strategizing that comes along with justification; they are cloaked by the fear of failure that drives us to blame others.
• Kent Alan Anderson, When Bad Lands: How Not to Numb Out, Freak Out, or Bottom Out – Buddhist Style 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Rumination Destroyed My Nails

Rumination also makes bearable the unbearable, perhaps shoved in a paradox you want to get out of but can't get out of. There was that lame commercial circa many years ago that heaped criticism on ending a sentence with a preposition. Well, fuck off. Fill in the object and it all makes sense. Nine months ago I sat alone in bed with Gerry Rafferty's Whatever's Written in Your Heart for at least five hours straight and tonight I’d do the same, only this time with a piece of home (song below). If you open your eyes in small moments sometimes it opens doors to big deals but then you chase the big deals and it brings you to the mountain tops and all the way down and there you go, alone, stuck in self-examination. It's (not?) up to you decide where to go from here (perhaps?).

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

People always ask me why do you phrase things like you were raised by a Midwestern hack? and I say "well, I was raised by a Midwestern hack."

"He spent all night staring down at the lights of L.A.
Wondering if he could ever go home"

It's a quote, therefore Googleable ^^^. You haven't quite gotten to the highlife if you haven't enjoyed the pairing of a Hostess Crunch donette and some kick-tail espresso -- espresso perhaps from a place like Revolver in Vancouver, B.C. (and if you would not, could not with a fox, I cannot help you -- there are barriers and constraints, you know!) Oh shoot, the aforementioned Seger quote, I got distracted (is it too provincial to quote Seger? It at least sounds cool, if not scholarly: Jung, Kant, Emerson, Seger, etc. Sounds good to me, and, dear god, not Pete Seeger, not that that is terrible, but there's only one Seger really and it's the Bob type. I think I'm still within a parenthesis at this moment, so, here you go -> ). Ha, I feel like I am just lost in Richard Lewis' head at times, and that's cool 'cause I presume it mostly worked out well for him. Right, so, the aforementioned quote, that's where ego gets you. I mean, eventually you can get rich enough and go live in Clam Lake or elsewhere, and that's cool and all, but what about the rest of us who set out for betterment and be-damn the point of no return, then what? I figured out my problem this week -- at least one of them: one cannot seek enlightenment and also simultaneously choose to be crushed by cynicism -- but when has cynicism not won? Ah, nope, don't answer that. I got to at least try to sleep peacefully tonight. Procrastinators always have more fun so I am going to figure this one out tomorrow. 


Monday, February 1, 2021

The Laughable Unachievability Of Spirituality

As soon as spirituality is the goal, it's all over. No one escapes it. I think it's why I prefer sunsets to sunrises. The sun rises, alarms clocks go off, I'm checking the market, I'm dodging cruel emails, I've got goals because if I don't, someone else's goals will push me into working for his/her/their goals and you quickly learn that that's not a lot of fun. Being a lanky, undernourished, and nerdy kid, I remember this 5th grade bully shoving my 3rd-grade face into the ground and he desperately wanted me to kiss it. Man, at some point, you just do it. It ain't your goal but life seems to work better when you align yourself with all the forces (including ground kissing) -- what do they call that? Go with the flow 😆? Spirituality seeking will automatically ironically saddle you with a ton of forces that run counter to spirituality. I just don't understand it. And, the flip side, the assured path to spirituality, that is, to let it all go -- give it all away, how does that not jam you under the metaphorical bully and completely diminish your emotional, spiritual, physical value to the rest of society? Man, what are we doing to ourselves? I don't have the courage to give it all away and I don't have the courage to not seek spirituality. Where do I go from here? Oh yeah, sunsets. At least with them you have hope, the concrete brutality (<- dangerously close to a pun there) is forced to surrender to brilliant colors and the much more peaceful and manageable abstract -- and night, yeah, well fuck it's distant, but at least you can close your eyes and dream. Sunsets -- you get hours until "reality" hits; sunrises -- you get minutes and I'll take hours over minutes any day.
"You got time to lean, you got time to clean," it's funny until it becomes not funny.

Monday, January 25, 2021

One Year Ago, The Dark Night Of My Soul

Alternative title: Takers Take What They Want And You Don't Get To Fight It -- Sit Down And Shut Up Johnny. 
I went to a funeral, to my cousin's husband's funeral. I had to miss my daughter's 14th sleepover birthday party but I was mostly OK with it because I celebrated with her on her actual birthday -- dinner, presents, and cake -- and -- being there at the beginning of life and at the end of life superficially seems to have significance. I took two books with me on my trip: Hesse's The Journey to the East and Thích Nhất Hạnh's Our Appointment with Life: Discourse on Living Happily in the Present Moment. Although I flew first class, the rest of my trip was centered around walking and public transport and being in the moment as much as possible. I was seeking something different, a new awakening, a greater spirituality. But, as flying first class might allude to, I only wanted spirituality in a rock star, look at me I'm holy and great arrogant manner. To the north, about 853 miles to the north of Cupertino, god planted a nefarious force in my life. A taker! Someone who most definitely did not have my girls' best interest in mind and although I'm no stranger to nefarious forces, this one is strong. I may not win. Now, there aren't winners in this sort of spiritual struggle, but I am patient. And, perhaps the forevermore duality of good versus evil, light versus dark doesn't end in the way George Lucas would like us all to believe, but takers aren't patient, they can't see context, and they most certainly don't understand the Pale Blue Dot. They get to the end of their selfish orgasm and toss the collateral detritus away, like a crumpled Doritos bag tumbleweeding down Interstate 5. The only game of the taker is to take and they are generally just nuisances -- until they infiltrate and impact your tribe. Fortunately, patience has never lost against a Doritos bag, so there's much more than hope. There are new avenues, more so, a new river to navigate, one that's always been there and yet never too far away (maybe the steelhead are biting too?). And the arrogance of my journey morphed into a a new book via my BFF! and when you lose everything you suffer humility and humility is the true hammer of the gods, the ambrosia for the Midwestern dolts like me. Rock on for now and evermore, here comes a hurricane! Don't believe me? Just rewind six months to the day folks, I had nothing on that day, just two dollars and a Tom Petty song -- motherfuck that slipper's gonna fit!

hot towel and Zen 🤦‍♂️

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Only Thing I Want Is To Be Warm

Well, safe and warm, but if you are from Wisconsin, you take what you can get. Meat Loaf was satisfied with 2 out of 3, but that's a pretty fucking high bar. I really only want warm but it's been elusive my whole life. God found it funny to drop me in Sheboygan and I made the most of it by starting a Johnsonville habit. I make the most of everything, you can think your way out of anything with a pedestrian pair of headphones and some old 70s rock tapes -- doesn't matter the situation. I put everything I have on the line and someday I will be warm, probably just not today.