Category Archives: Inspiration

Quotes, music, art, other authors – anything that makes me want to write more and more.

Spirituality as an Attitude: A Manifesto

We create our own reality.
Our life is a storybook in the first person that we’re constantly writing, with every action and every thought. Aristotle understands half of this in his well-known saying: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Correct, but he is only seeing half of the picture. What we repeatedly do is a condensed product of who we are moment to moment; what we do is motivated by our thoughts and emotional reactions, which are provoked by our experience of life. These internal parts of our identity are also not who we are, ultimately, because they are not the only things present in our minds. We have the Thinker that experiences emotion and produces thoughts – a running narrative on the state of things; and then the Awareness of that narrative, slightly behind it.The Thinker belongs intrinsically to this Awareness, and depending how often we separate from the world of thought, and invest our energy in awareness, the more able we are to influence the Thinker.

It is reductionistic to say that who we are is as simple as our actions. Actions only cement in place a history of who we were in that moment, without ever exposing the details of what caused that particular accident of an action. Which part of our collective identity – meaning the holistic interplay of all the various roles and archetypes we fulfill throughout our duration – causes individual actions/mindsets in each moment?  All of this is enclosed in our personal story. Who we are is nothing but the protagonist of that story. Reality is the gestalt of everyone’s stories going on at once – collectively intersecting and producing plot twists in the stories of others, yet who you are remains a moment-by-moment construction of who else’s story is influencing yours in that moment, and who you personally are preceeding each moment, always bleeding into the next, forever surging into itself. The momentary decisions we make create the next, into infinity; the Butterfly Effect in action.  I created this moment without knowing that this Manifesto would result from my creation, and that’s kind of what art is like. We continually create our reality, without being aware of the resulting future, by constantly interacting with the world and all the other worlds going on. We can influence these resulting realities through learning from past moments and using that knowledge for growth in present moments. Of course we never have control of the future, and adverse things that may intrude on our known routines, but we always have the power to interpret a moment how we wish, and this determines the way our story is written and the way it will be recorded in our history. Our interpretation depends on our attitude.

With a spiritual mindset, I can interpret, learn from, and make the most of my time spent depressed. It’s a lot like flying a kite, and using a strange gust of wind with which to propel your mindset. When I’m depressed, I do what I can with it. It’s like taking a burst of momentum & running with it. When I’m overtly depressed, I have good and bad days. If I take a good day and do what I can with it (things conducive to feeling better: self-care, cleaning, creation – should it come, observing beauty in art books or nature, seeking out loving connection or understanding in another), I find myself swept away with it. Like an exponential magnetism. It is the herd behavior inside myself – if one thought is doing it with complete conviction, and infects other thoughts similarly, the mirror neurons inside myself avalanche in the direction that has the strongest pull – whether positive or negative. It is thought polarization that maintains either a positive or negative attitude.

I’ve observed this in my own downward spirals – one day, I’m far too exhausted to get out of bed, so I go back to sleep. I wake up much later and am not able to accomplish the things I’d wanted to while I was sleeping in, that had meaning for me (volunteering, reading and article, researching, meeting with someone). I feel badly about myself because of this, reasoning that I should have fought my exhaustion and forced myself through it because at least then I wouldn’t feel like a failure. Not wanting to feel like a failure, I invest my waning energy in escape, because comfort is the only energy expenses I can manage, besides continuing to lay in bed and stare at the wall.  Perhaps I scrap the entire day in light of these feelings – I spend it doing NOTHING conducive to feeling good (despite what I may or may not have salvaged), maybe I eat junk food, smoke weed and watch a lot of tv. All of these feel good in the moment and distract me from who I am because of the pleasure derived from them. {However, through observation, I know that eating junk food makes my body feel poorly which affects my self-love and overall mood. Weed does the same by causing my thoughts to be foggy and dulls my experience of life which is constantly altering, so I’m more likely to miss an opportunity for love or connection or experiencing beauty. TV is a huge waste of time that can be addictive}. Maybe because I indulged the day before, the next day, my desire for that pleasure again is aroused, and I think to myself “well, what’s the harm in just one more day – one more indulgence”.

This type of attitude is conducive to habit-forming, which is helpful if the habit is good, but only destructive if it is bad. So maybe I smoke, over time with frequency and my thoughts become increasingly duller and I am unable to create or communicate or even be self-aware, because I am off in the ether, feeling good. Maybe I eat a lot of junk food and cause my stomach to feel nauseated for the rest of the day, and feel fatigued and bloated. Maybe I waste hours watching TV, and don’t read something I told myself I would or don’t create anything again. Eventually, I stagnate and feel poorly about myself for not having accomplished anything, for having no novel thoughts or perceptions on the world with which to record and for pain/discomfort in and with my own body. These swell together in my depression and evoke low self-esteem, fatigue, misconceptions about myself, isolation from others, a dulled ability to do things that I love (writing, singing, playing, socializing). Seeing this transformation in myself causes me to feel cynical about my own abilities and potential, because my thoughts are constantly overrun with the negative, so I say, “oh well, I guess this is just who I am at heart, and its way too difficult to get back to who I was, because I’ve spent so much time being this fat, lazy, dumb slob with no convictions and no ambition. I’m wasting my life and wasting space on this planet”.

And yet — I’ve made the long, difficult journey back there before (to a person with talent, health, clarity of thought and creation). It – again – starts with one, two, three grains of TRY, then ten grains of good habit, and then the whole damn avalanche comes racing down and all of a sudden… I’m happy?    I’m happy. I made that journey back this past year, after a strong bout of depression that started with a relationship going south, a realization that I was no longer important to the one person that was important in my life, and then half a year of rebound. It started with making new friends who stimulated my life and thoughts (watching other people become important in my life), starting to run again (building my health, quality of life and self-esteem), eventually pursuing a new love interest (having the spiritual experience of being in love), writing poems when they came, enjoying life (the outdoors, the nights, the love), going out on limbs and taking the opportunities that were handed to me, putting myself out on limbs by sticking my neck  out – and continuing to, allowing others to fuel my wonder with the world and motivate myself to study and learn. While these were landmarks on my journey back from depression, none of them (even all together) were enough to fully bring me back. It was the attitude that I developed that allowed me to believe in myself and allowed me to follow this path back to happiness. I would not have believed myself or trusted myself enough to put myself out on the limbs that lifted me highest.

I continue these attitude-based habits in my daily maintenance. I still experience bouts of depression that intrude on me with fatigue, irritation, anger, depersonalization and a strong urge to cry –  sometimes provoked by illness and sometimes provoked by a lack of spirit. Getting sick knocks me completely off my feet and forces me to be bed-bound for days, which makes me extremely vulnerable to being overtaken by my depression. However, by maintaining my spiritual attitude, it is easy to take advantage of things the moment I get a burst of energy – a gust of wind. The moment I’m feeling better after being sick, I clean up and change my sheets, air the stale air from my bedroom — get out of bed, cook myself healthy soup and tea, straighten up my room, because I know it boosts my vibes to have a tidy environment, spend my day quietly watching movies I’ve been meaning to see, etc. These are the actions that separate me from my depressed self. But these actions do not define me for en eternity – only in that moment. They don’t make up for past actions and they don’t assure that I will remain this way forever. Additionally this only exists in the world where every day is basically similar; if a wrench were thrown into the monotony of our “average guy” story, who we’ve practiced being will determine how we handle catastrophe.

Perhaps another’s story will horribly intervene with yours – you may meet the end of your story one day by being squashed by a random meteor. Perhaps you will be taken out of your story and thrown into a nightmare of history by a sudden war, fatality or persecution. Each moment will still be what you make of it. Are you the type to attempt escape at the cost of your life? The type to derive meaning from it, while passively accepting the reality of it? Are you the type to be broken and victimized by it? Possibly, you are a combination of all three and many others, fluctuating throughout the time of your life spent inside of this tragedy. Being yourself, with your own duration, encountering others with their unique durations within this tragedy epoch of your story contributes to the constant creation of your own reality that you are always doing. This is very much an echo of the Serenity Prayer.

We all start our stories in a set of  unalterable factors (generally: our race, sexual orientation, home culture, etc.) alongside circumstances or factors that are more alterable, though often through much opposition and struggle – which act as LEARNING opportunities for us (ex’s: gender/sex, religion, behaviors and habits). Generally, we cannot change our roots, but we CAN grow in whatever way we please to, shooting out to whatever direction we  want. A tree may be pruned constantly to fit within a pleasing shape to whomever holds the clippers, but the tree has the resilience and hope to continue bursting through these societally pleasing boxes to fulfill its own destiny and to reach for the sun in its own way. We can change to be whoever we wish to be, because the world truly is what we make it, within the confines of what restricts us naturally. In rarer anecdotes, certain individuals have made triumphs through supposed “unalterable factors” via  pure will and refusal to lose hope. Wilma Rudolph was told after her polio-inflicted paralysis that she would never walk again, and became the fastest woman in the world (circa 1960’s), Anaïs Nin slaved over her novels – producing them herself – for a society that did not value her perspective, until she finally became recognized (in the modern age), the resilience of those that survived the holocaust (Victor Frankl, in particular), plus EVERY success story you’ve ever heard. The hope of individuals who refuse to accept defeat have been proven more often than we know, even if just in the anecdotes of your friends on Facebook.

This is why it is so important to use and understand life as a learning opportunity. We must live life with an open mind, because we live in a world of uncertainty. Science tends to have an ego attached, and tends toward the idea that all things can be known NOW. But there will always be questions. There was a time when people knew beyond a doubt that the world is flat, and we’re no different today – there is so much science still doesn’t know.

To assume that I know everything now and that this is how it will be always is a mistake. I am excited beyond reason for every love, every instance of suffering and every experience that I will have, because I know that I will continue to find truth in the world and continue to get better at living wisely and will be able to contribute so many more truths to my own art and creation! I will be able to do something better next time (whether it be the beauty of a relationship, or something as simple as baking a cake). By experimenting, and then doing, and then doing over and over again as a habit, we learn! We get better, we become experts! We integrate it into our flow, and into our life-long dance!

If I can learn to keep my head in a crisis, I will be that much better at dealing with crisis. If I can learn how to detect my depression when it surges up again, I can combat this by knowing what triggers me – it’s all body chemistry & psychology. If I can learn my deepest fears and grievances – If I can know which previous parts of “my story” are damaging me still now and making a victim of me, I can detach my ego from those things and tell them that they will no longer have control over who I am. I am, ultimately, not my thoughts and feelings, but the awareness behind them. If I choose to give my energy to the parts of my life that defeat me, I will spend most of my time feeling defeated. If I can learn what things widen the gap between me and my depression, I can do those things constantly to maintain my balance. If I can learn to harness my awareness and use it to be present in my body and anchored in sanity, then I can better treat myself and maintain my health.

By learning and observing, I gain wisdom about how I live my life, and subsequently, I love it with those truths alive and active, making my life into something beautiful and wonderful. When I have a new experience, (ex. Going past 6 months in a relationship with somebody) I learn more about what it means to love them, I learn how to compromise, I gain the wisdom that you can disagree and fight and still love more strongly than ever. I learn what/how much tension I will take to continue a particular experience. I’ve learned my boundaries – I learn about myself. I learn how to draw the line, and I continue this particular exercise knowing that at some point it will end. At some point we will break up, there will be some endstop when the relationship becomes too damaging to us to continue it, too unhealthy, as a bad habit, to be enjoyable any more, infecting other aspects of our lives. And at this point, we will separate, but I will certainly love again after this, because love is a dazzling experience that can change the entire nature of existence – a particle (with considerable weight) in the ether that can influence and infect all the other particles as to entirely sweeten this time we spend on earth. When I do start a new relationship, I will have the knowledge of this past love to do it better next time, and be a better lover, be a wiser lover, to continue to grow. I have valued growth  so strongly throughout my life, and growth is a product of learning.

Having an open mind is oh-so important for this reason. I agree with the teachings of Alice in Wonderland, here – I indulge as many as twelve impossible thoughts before breakfast, because I never would have made it to this happiness – this life! – if I hadn’t been open to the possibility. I believe in the impossibility that this life is a great cosmic joke. I believe these impossible things, because the world itself is impossible! If one million factors hadn’t all aligned to produce this world, I wouldn’t be here, and yet I am. This existence is highly improbable. This existence IS a Boltzmann brain emerging from the ether, and I plan to construct it exactly how I choose. There are *impossible* thoughts in existence that the mere collective presence of many people’s interpretation of a thing is what defines it in reality. This is of course subject to change through changing social attitude over time (ex. Anaïs Nin going from nothing to famous to defamed). The power of thought.

It’s easy to see yourself as one way, and one way only; To look at yourself as no good and without hope to change, while your mind is in hell. And yet, because you are on a continuum, *who you are* is a vast amalgam of all the people you’ve ever been. I can produce the same action while depressed as when I’m happy (Ex, complimenting somebody) and it will likewise be motivated by two vastly different attitudes, therefore having two completely different meanings in the context of the whole. When depressed, I may compliment someone because I think somebody I want to impress will overhear and think better of me, here it is motivated by ego and it is not good; Perhaps I do it because I feel so poorly about myself, that it is a type of jab at myself, because secretly I crave to be as good as them, or to be like them, making it motivated by low self-esteem and self-deprecation which is not good; or maybe, I say it because I love them and it cheers me to see them so empowered, in which case it is motivated by good energy and love and a will to build someone up.

This gets dangerously close to the Love/Fear approximation from “Donnie Darko,” which is not quite correct either, because it supports over generalization and a resistance to the complexities that are a reality in everyday life. Something motivated by love can still be horrific and grotesque – we’ve waged wars through a destructive love of one deity & way of life over another. Every action is quite subjective and complex because it is enacted in a specific context and BY a particular individual with the ever reaching bias of their previous experiences. The same action can have a world of different meanings or interpretations (which is why we must keep an open mind when judging others & why we must leave room for their different ideas/opinions and their subjective story). The antagonist from one story is the hero of another – “The Wizard of Oz” vs “Wicked”.

This is why I keep an open mind, because I know the reality of things is often a product of perspective, and often potentially so many things at once. This is why I strive for a positive mindset, because not only does it feel good and is conducive to a happier existence, it can signal and affect another’s existence. It is the path I take while creating my own reality, so that I might make the best of my own reality.

We must go into life with a positive attitude – the spiritual mindset.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dialectic, Inspiration, observations, Philosophy, Thoughts

Brothers

Jon and Zach have the same teeth and smile-cracked eyes

Zachary and Nick have the same neck and smile,

eyes always glint the same across families

if we’re attracted to anything in a mate, it’s the eyes

that first hatched into our view,

a spaceship pervading the strung mobile, spinning spinning

then novelty – tufts – foreheads — Faces!

the new spectacle tucked side by side

by flesh, enclosed in people, the eyes were the real entities, never

“daddy” or “mama!”

parents think themselves mighty proud for their visage to produce a label,

for this so-called understanding to emerge in their smart, smart babies.

But for the baby, it was only ever the eyes they spoke to.

when I’m despondent and depressed, I will not look into eyes,

when I’m confident and self assured, I speak only to eyes

when I tell you that I love you, I tell your eyes, because they are the ones that see me

I may find a blind lover, that they might love my voice, and my touch

but nary a love is started outside of the eyes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, observations, Poetry, Thoughts

Everything I Don’t Want People to Know About Me (Part 1)

Dear Brian,

I got your thoughtful note, in response to my startling revelation on Thursday night. We were going around the circle, sharing things we didn’t want anyone to know about us. Will, who’d suggested the activity to our Spiritual Seeker group, started off with, frankly, a lame ice breaking revelation that he hadn’t brought his dog to the past two sessions, because after it had growled and pounced at me [two sessions ago], he was embarrassed and felt it a poor reflection of his training. Basically, it was an illogical insecurity he harbored that we all instantly stifled with affirmations to how much we loved the mangy beast, and how a dog acting on instinct could never be a bad reflection of his training (Oh, perish the thought!), because dogs are individuals prone to fits of territorial paroxysms, just as humans can be (it’s a spiritual group, remember?). As everyone flooded Will with good vibes and chakra strengthening thought beams, I was incubating within myself a ploy to up the ante; to reveal something meaningful that many could relate to, in order to spur confessions that could get us somewhere – in order to reveal our deepest fears and anxieties that our insecure psyches clutch in crooked fingers, knurling into the fetal position with barbed knuckles divaricating about all that we want to remain secret, as we pull it behind the shadow of our physiognomy, brows and eyelids cleft and cusped, respectively, darting towards any threat to our private let-downs.

I wanted to blow this wide open, and I considered it a challenge to myself, to be the one to breakdown the barrier of the ego. As my mind flooded with ideas of what I could divulge to others and still save face with the contrived personality I had projected over the months, everything from the mild crush I had on *everyone* in the group to suicidal tendencies entered and were quickly chased out of my mind with a flailing dish towel that offered melee whips to my ego at the thought of revelation. The moment my mind flitted to the anorexia I’d combatted most of the summer, I knew it was the one. Easily relatable to anyone that has struggled with self esteem, and yet an equally difficult chink of my armor to be flashing at a bunch of strangers that I read and discuss books with on a monthly basis. I waited for the silence that followed Will’s submission, and staring straight at the table, spoke: “I’ve struggled with anorexia since high school, and still sometimes starve myself.” I waited for the stuttering admissions of self hatred, the staggered promulgations of other self-esteem motivated self-inflicted suffering. I heard silence. My vision burned holes of embarrassment into the table, while boiling the stress induced water that was never too far from my eyes. The craters of embarrassment quickly transformed into fiery portals to hell, as – still without a word spoken – Alyssa extended a box of Kleenex (with lotion) towards me. I waved it off, still waiting for anyone to speak – anything.

“Is there anything we can do to help?”  – except that.

Uh, YEAH. You can fucking admit to me all the fucked up parts of your life, so that I’m not sitting here feeling like the only person that’s ever done shameful things because I didn’t like myself as I was. ALYSSA.

“No, I’ve been really good with it for the past six months”

“Thank you for sharing your struggle, that took a lot of strength for you to say” Kera remembered her mouth, snapping her gaze from the floor to my tinged red eyes.

“No, it felt kinda…good.” Saving face, saving face – see guys it wasn’t that hard. I’m not screaming internally and perching my hopes like a Disney animated turkey vulture on your parallel self hatred. Half smile, to demonstrate how   *good* it feels to unsuture your festering personality in front of strangers so that they can gawk at the odors of decay.

“SO, were you ever bulimic?” —Stefan, not a week out of a mental institution, in his mental downward spiral often resembles a child in both behavior and physicality. Freakily enough, as the boyfriend and housemate of Alyssa, he has basically taken on the identity of Alyssa’s child, as she quickly turns to chastise him for such an insensitive question.

Just somebody go next, I’m tired of all discernments being fixed on my averted gaze, or *suddenly* agazed with the pillow cover at their elbow. Everyone is embarrassed for me. I shouldn’t have said shit. I should have dug up some meaningless obscurity about my life that no one will ACTUALLY care about, so that we can all go on pretending to heal our emotional wounds and drive home feeling *real good about ourselves for conquering our emotional traumas through sharing it with strangers*.

Stefan: “Well, you all know how my life has been for the past week.”

Alyssa strokes her baby on the head with a crook’d neck and soft doe eyes, “Yes, you’ve been dealing with a whole lot of paranoia, babe. But that’s all okay now” She speaks to him as though he were either hard of hearing or an actual infant, long slowly paced wording punctuated with understanding nods.

Stefan gulps down the last of a home-brewed beer out of a Ball mason jar. “Yeep, I’m on Seroquel now, BELCH”

Yeah, fair game Stefan. Fair game. Stefan is probably the winner of the activity, as we’ve all been pretty privy to the shit storm his mental state has been for the past few weeks. Hell, the past few years. He used to be engaged to a cute lil girl, until one day she came home to him rambling about the aliens that were contacting him through his dreams. Fast-forward three years, and it’s only gotten worse. He no longer talks about the aliens, but I suspect it has a lot to do with how many times people have told him it was all in his head. I think if I have faith for anyone, it’s Stef.

Zach spoke. “Some of you who know me,” the man I spent Valentines Day with, frantically copulating in the field that introduces my house, underneath a pine tree that played more of a role in the love making than I’d care to admit, followed by a two hour drive to Cape Henlopen during which I unsuccessfully sucked him off, eventually skinny dipping in the frigid Atlantic, then nakedly cuddling about a fire on the dunes, was hopefully now going to cover my pride with an equally humiliating confession “Know I’m not even on a speaking basis with my parents, and I spend most of my time alone in the woods. So, what I don’t want anyone to know about me is that I am extremely incapable of being vulnerable.”

“Same,” Alyssa tacked onto his “confession” quick as a fly swatter.

*Cue sarcastic applause in my head.

Well, well. That sounds like something you should have said when Will was ensuring everybody would be comfortable participating in this activity. It really isn’t that difficult to say, ‘Hey, you know what Will? All the tearful admissions of internal guilt and shame and fear sounds real nice and all, but I’m just not feeling it right now. Let’s play Buddhist Monopoly instead,’ now is it??

Now that everyone’s gaze was agreeing with Zach’s pussification, I allowed mine to rise from the table and reel about the traitorous faces. They settled on yours Brian, still fixed disquietly on the floor, flooding it with anxiety. If I’d been observing you in any other context, Brian, I would have been certain from your stare that the floor were actual lava which you were frantically, within the statue of your body, deducing the best way to maneuver. I sent accusational darts into your soul for a comfortable 30 seconds, knowing you wouldn’t dare let those brown orbits settle on mine. I would have sent them into your soul for longer, dear Brian, had my lover man not risen from his seat on the floor and squeezed next to me in the armchair, offering a comforting cuddle – most likely out of shame for not having the strength to admit part of his struggle in my presence as I had. As I took in the resumed shameful quiet, the cynic in my head marched about with freedom, careening in threatening circles around my internal victim. The town crier of my soul became the drunkard at the bar who slurs in the faces of Flyers fans when they inevitably lose a game, proclaiming his own team’s victory in boastful insinuations. Oh, so that’s it. I’m the strong one, eh? Of course everyone here’s struggled with self esteem – but the self abasement by admitting it? ‘Nah, we’ll leave that for whoever goes first. Let them be the “strong” one,’ except I’m not strong and your silence proves it. My so-called avowal was probably one of the most gilded confessions I’ve ever had. To be perfectly frank, I wanted to hear some dirt on all of you – EXPECTED to hear some dirt on you. And that’s exactly why my revelation was anything but strong. You can bet to hell that I would have kept my Irish-Catholic-Shame mouth fucking SHUT if I thought you were all gonna pussy out on me.

Will Spoke. “Well, I have something to share,” you already went? “A couple years back – some of you’ll remember this – when I cashed that bad check?” I’m not one of those people, bud. Will nods, eyes meeting recognition in Zach, Alyssa and Stefan’s faces. “Yeah, I actually considered suicide at one point. I was in a really bad place with all the court proceedings and explaining it to my parents and da-da-da.  I was paranoid man, every time I heard the gravel crunch on the driveway, I knew it was the cops. I remember standing in front of the judge and he was just talkin’ at me and talkin’ at me, and I couldn’t understand what I did wrong, you know? And that was just the first court date – I didn’t think I could do it – livin’ with the feeling that at any moment a cop car could just pull up and..   take me away.” Will let his eyes sink to the floor, normally such an emphatic talker. “Yeah, one night I got really close and I ended up callin’ a suicide help line,” his expression, still on the floor changed slightly. “Yeah, they put me on hold – – it was a really fucked up experience” alright Will, I see you. I see you lifting the mood by loosening everyone up with your story-telling ways while simultaneously calling my anorexia ante. You’re not so bad, Will. 

After everyone had a laugh at the prospect of a suicide help line prioritizing their suicides, the atmosphere was less forced, and the group quickly transitioned to what the next meeting should discuss. It was then that I realized that two of the seven members – Kera and you, Brian – would not even trouble themselves with any admission at all. I greedily returned to the rage in my starvation-maintained stomach.

So that’s it? BULLSHIT. I know all of you have struggled with SOMETHING – if not low self esteem. I meant to say what I said as a conduit for you all to express things you’ve been repressing. I’ve never told anyone, including family, about my *struggle* and what would really make me feel better about it is to know that I’m not alone, or for someone to relate THEIR struggles with self esteem and destructive habits. It would have felt far less humiliating to know that you guys have also grappled with that type of shame-induced behavior. I only realize how un-strong I am from seeing that expectation go unfulfilled. It would have been an ACTUAL strong action of myself if I had been able to admit to being so insecure about getting fat to the point that I starved myself without needing others to admit things on par with it, and I didn’t realize that fact until just the opposite happened. I can understand people being uncomfortable with making themselves vulnerable, but I also feel as though that type of insecurity should have been disclosed before anyone else admitted to something, uh idunno, seriously embarrassing like that – In fact, I feel kind of bamboozled that my admission was met with a handful of tentative confessions of inability to actually participate in the activity. A bunch of cop-outs, really. Will described the activity (that he’d done the week before in Men’s group) as a tear jerking time where everyone divulges their deepest secrets – everyone. From that, I thought my divulsion would be the first of seven, and it ended up being the first of two. Ha-ha that’s not to say that I don’t feel different from it – no, sir. Now that I know the world is full of a bunch of pussies, I certainly will not allow other people’s cowardice to make a fucking fool out of myself. And that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m going to keep my secrets inside in the future – should you be so lucky. Nope, I will continue to reveal uncomfortable parts of myself to others – for the same reason of helping them to feel less shame in their own lives – but I’ll do it without the expectation of hearing any of their trauma. And without further ado, here’s everything that I don’t want anyone to know about me:

(continued in Part 2)

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventures, Inspiration, observations, Thoughts

A Note on Identity

Very few people are themselves. Most people are a well balanced equilibrium of the people they care to impress that are currently present. Well behaved in your parents presence, discussing through an array of charming anecdotes that demonstrate what a moral and responsible member of society you’ve grown up to be -cut to- several shots past drunk, chain-smoking cigarettes in a basement that very well may harbor tortured girls just beyond the unfinished cinderblock walls, spouting stories of good fucks, bad fucks, and any drug story – any. Who exactly is yourself?

Yourself is always honest, it’s constantly perched back there in the shady crook of your brain, palms pleasantly intertwined over its large, you-shaped belly, dropping insensitive comments you were conditioned to produce at a young age, judging people the way your mother used to in pedagogic observations, grumbling cynically about the ill-truths of humanity your fellow humans display, checking people out, loudly reminding you of whatever you momentarily forgot to crave, bleeding a little bit when it loves, when it becomes attached to things. But going around and being yourself is considered bad manners and cockiness.

People whisper about individuals, half out of fear and half out of infatuation. The real you stretches into your entire body on psychedelic trips. The trip you is you. Insecure, suspicious of everything, unbreakably enraptured by the cheap plastic flower vase in the corner, and the way it pushes itself into that space underneath the naked light bulb, and when you aren’t tripping, all you can see are the scratches on it that reveal its inferior material, and the brusk edge where Joe knocked it off at least once a month, but tripping, it’s so complete and glowing and you want to be inside of it, in it, to be it, but you are it and it just keeps – “oh,” you take the bowl being passed around and hit it, immediately forgetting the overpowering love the real you just had for a parsimonious attempt at home decor, and just as your gaze settles again on the aforementioned Joe who has been staring at your nipples for the past hour, the little you at the back of your head stretches its helices and glares at his disgusting male face, jaw partly open because god knows what is seducing him into a hardon in his brain, his awkward autistic mind that just hates to ask if you have any weed to throw in with whatever niggardly stem he decides to drop on top of the nug I always offer up – out of courtesy and social responsibility – never kindness, that same blank expression that has been jaggedly picking up mannerisms and phrases from the overconfidently attractive asshole in the gang, the same classic Italian that you hate to sit next to when he’s drunk because he chews with his mouth open constantly belching and snorting and stinking in his beer breath, and as the effervescence of you touches fingertips and toenails inside your psyche, you begin to loathe him and allow yourself to think of him as an inferior homunculus while the latent part of your brain begins to piece together from its dusty eternal cabinet of filing folders each and every way which who you are actually resembles him, and how if anything, you’re worse because you hide all these characteristics away like a cowardly hypocrite and pretend to be pure and perfect to everyone else, but only the real you knows that you aren’t and you’re just as bad, so you take this half deflated balloon collection of uncomfortable thoughts outside with you to burn a camel and slowly suck the stagnant air from each day-after-a-child’s-birthday-party edifice, until you’re weak from asphyxiation, so you light another fag and it occurs to you this is actually your third fag, so you may as well stay outside on the damp bench with the curiously reddish clouds swirling on top of twinkling diamonds laid in zaffre, and you begin to get lost on hating yourself and fall into the complex dervishes above your head so that when Thomas comes out for a smoke, you realize that you are much more horizontal than he is, rising obliquely from your hip bones, because you’d unconsciously laid out on that green wet minefield of splinters, once again to fall in love with strange beauty. So you sit up and find the energy to be not yourself for a cigarette longer (the fourth in a night that has not yet reached its chain smoking threshold, you’ve already made your amends with throat cancer), so that he’ll leave without question and you can go back to relishing in the exhaustive self hatred and should-haves. That’s not to say the real you is simply a child with love and curiosity and confusing rushes of emotion in inappropriate circumstances, the real you wants you to be better, and the two of you get along when you clean your room and do the laundry and wake up on a schedule, so as to accomplish things throughout the day, because the morning wake-n-bake, coffee from the dingy diner you half waitress/half prostitute yourself at every weekend for rent money BELIEVE IT OR NOT is a self perpetuating routine because it makes you feel like shit, and shit is as shit does, and hell, I always get the sticky bun and two refills of coffee, so between the weed and the coffee and the fiber and the cigarettes you smoke to cover up the weed, the only guaranteed high point of your morning IS shitting. The real you knows this, and whispers lasciviously from inside your ear to use that tea the homeopathic doctor suggested, and to run for just ten more minutes even though the old fart on the treadmill infant of you keeps glancing back no doubt at the sound of your labored breath grunting through the stalactites that have built up in your nose from the dry greasy atmosphere you work in every day, and wouldn’t you be happier if you didn’t have to wake up and step buck ass naked sweaty dream feet onto the soil and stone granule from yesterday’s shoes that have embedded themselves in your carpet. Wouldn’t you like a clean room?

The real you knows exactly where it’s going and what it wants, but is consistently burdened with concerns of the flesh that heap up around it in cells and tissues and organs and cosmetic products that stay on the top of your skin, though the bottle said ultra-absorbing and the flickering glances that size you up and sexualize you under the hushed discussion that halts when you round the corner, that sink in though you tell them the bit about the duck’s oily back and its history with water. The ones that want you to be like them tell you that your identity is just pipe dreams and dormant failures so you believe them, because company is as addictive as the bowl ride on the way home from work. The real you is shouting inside to SHUT YOUR EARS TO THE ROARING OF THE VOICES, GEORGE WILLARD AND GET THE HELL OUT OF WINESBURG. Sidenote: Why is it Ohio has so many famous towns? Winesburg, Xenia, Defiance, etc. The fuck’s Ohio have that Delaware doesn’t?

The real me keeps seeing foxes when I drive home at night, or when I drive to the friends house after work, though I’d rather be at home studying, as long as it isn’t for a grade. They dash in front of my path and I never hit them, I have a jumper sticker that says “I Break for Bunnies” with a pink little Peter Cottontail thumbs up on the right. They walk towards me sometimes ,but mostly away from me, and I wonder if they don’t have my scent caught in their pointed snouts. A Native American adage claims the fox to be a wolf, bearing flowers, and you know they had that shit down, so who am I to disagree. The real me knows these foxes aren’t just foxes, because I’m the one who’s seeing them and it’s crazy and I’d never explain it to my friends, but it’s the only time the voice in the back of my head shuts up and listens, like she does when I become infatuated with dollar store vases and stormy April nightscapes. She’s listening, because she knows that she is in the presence of something sacred and couldn’t bear to gab over a cosmic gift, for fear she’d stop receiving it and still not know which direction to steer the wonky tires in.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dialectic, Inspiration, observations, Philosophy

Gratitude Prayer

I have gratitude for all sentient beings. I accept that life

is consciousness

is suffering

is sonder.

I am grateful to each object that has touched me today

outside of its own dizzy dance

and altered me, however small, through our interactions.

I am grateful to bacteria for expertly maintaining our environment.

I am grateful to the sun for giving us life and to the ozone atmosphere for keeping it.

I am grateful for water in its endless incarnations.

I am grateful for earth and nature and plants for being our covert teachers through the changes and challenges of life.

I am grateful to animals for their pure existence and their abilities to survive without hateful destruction.

I am thankful for people.

Every human with a struggle, every individual without a clue,

every person doing their best with what they have, every bodhisattva learning,

every twinkling particle of God in its own unique expression of our sameness.

I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned, the struggles I’ve endured, and the challenges ahead of me.

To silence.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiration, Poetry, Thoughts