Entry 01/07/2016 02:16:30 AM – Mentat 1036
“The great thing about a computer notebook is that no matter how much you stuff into it, it doesn’t get bigger or heavier…” – Bill Gates
I’ve gotten into the first week of the new year and in spite of the fact that I’ve been more than diligently writing personal diary entries, it’s been some months since the last time I had written publicly was about the time of the mugging. In the following three months since then I’ve been inordinately quiet online while happily producing various Mandelbulb and (mostly) JWildfire fractal work. While I’ve been more than happy about keeping my diary private (offline), the primary reason hasn’t been because of the frivolousness of the entries. Not at all really; after all I’ve been well known for taking the most frivolous and dog-eared end of any element in my life and turning into a melodramatic moment of story-telling proportions. No, the ongoing issues that I’ve been having since starting this job has been the ability to focus on any one thing and staying with it from beginning to middle to end. Instead of focusing and staying to that course, I often find myself going in a hundred different directions at any given moment. Further, the more intense the issue — the more frustrated I become when trying to describe the issue — the more likely I am to run away from it, finding something else to distract myself from that frustration. I have since gotten a little better about this at least privately — whether this will extend publicly remains to be seen — but I’ll endeavor to do my best one way or another.
I got hired at the contract I’ve been working for the last 9 months. In spite of the anger issues that I had been going through because of that mugging, the delusional pats-on-the-back the manager (only in the position 3 weeks longer than I’ve been working there) that firmly believes she’s changed things for the better, and the host of other issues I’ve seen, witnessed, experienced both just prior through to just after the hiring process. As I’ve said before (around the end of September) I’ve never been in a department that completely lacks the ability to reading (and comprehending) e-mail sent to them personally as well as a blast to the whole department. The icing on that cupcake came a couple of weeks later when I was pulled into the manager’s office and was chastised for the “scathing” e-mail I had sent QA coordinator (a contractor barely into his 30s) and how much he cried to the manager about how harsh that e-mail was to his feelings. After about 15 minutes of being berated not only by the manager but also the witness (because she’s female and I’m not, it’s common practice to have a witness — usually of management — to ensure nothing goes afoul. This witness is also a team leader for the department), I decided to go onto the offensive to shut the meeting down when the manager said, “if you got an e-mail like the one I wrote, I’m sure you’d had been crying in my office about it.” I looked at her and said, “Uh, no I wouldn’t. I would have handled that criticism like an adult and not a spoiled child.” And then went on to state the apparent issues that continue to plague the department, including how no one reads e-mails, no one seems to be able to take any criticism and how everyone cries foul for any slight that might come out or inferred. I got loud enough in the meeting that the window on her office door rattled and when I left that meeting people in the department were unusually quiet like they thought I was getting fired.
The fact is, I could go on and on (and on and on) about it, and the more that I do the more I’ll feel my blood pressure once again rising and the more aggravated I’ll be about it. And while it’s true it might get a bit of frustration that I’ve had pent up over the months — I suspect more than it’ll just torque me up in ways I don’t want to cope through. And I’m rather liking having my attention to coping through health and fitness issues more than work-related issues. With that I keep reminding myself that there are some places that have it well established on how to handle such situations and such issues and there are places that don’t. This is just one of those sort of places that doesn’t. And the bottom line is that I’m just riding it through to see whether the changes are going to be for the better, or for the worst.
After all the zaniness of getting hired and getting the Golden Ticket to allow being hired at this place, I’ve continued with my regimen from my doctor as he balanced out my medications for high blood pressure as well as dietary changes because of these medications (low sodium mostly); I come to find out the main medication for controlling high blood pressure — Metoprolol — is also used to control anxiety. This was after the second month of the medication adjustments; of which two of those months I was seriously crotchety as I was fighting the near constant fatigue I was experiencing. By the third month — I had gotten used to the medications and whatever hostility I had been feeling just washed away and disappeared. Because of this, I’ve learned to take advantage of the medication and allow most of the aggravating instances at work to wash away and deal with them if I can deal with them. Or to leave them be until I can handle or not.
The other drug that I take — Chlorthalidone — reminds me vividly that I am middle-aged. Seriously. Because of one of the side-effects of regularly taking it, I’ve had to include taking Metamucil (AKA, The Radioactive Sludge) as part of my diet. I think the most annoying part of about it is that if I miss so much as two doses of Metamucil — my bowels stopper up faster than you can say, “Screaming Jesus on a Ferris Wheel”.
All I can think on this is — so this is what Middle Age is all about? And I thought the first six years were going to be a cake walk through to retirement. Nope, this is where the true “fun” begins.
The second part of this middle-age is the amount of fun I’ve been having in the kitchen trying low-sodium and more healthy alternatives to the things I’ve been eating most of my life. While it’s true that I had learned my cooking from my three grandmothers (maternal, paternal and step-father), I never did take advantage of that experience on just myself. While it’s true that I normally cooked such meals for boyfriends & partners (or for special occasions) it was rare to do so for myself. Further I’ve been expanding upon it thanks to places like All Recipes, Food and Food Network as well as Epicurious just to name the few off the top of my head. While I might not post the pics on WordPress, DA or Blogger — I do on occasion post them to Twitter and Facebook. And if you’re curious enough — you can always ask me what I’m trying out at the moment.
Couple this with the exercise/keep busy routine that I’ve had going since October last year and I’m happy to say that I continue to lose weight. I’ve currently gotten to my first goal weight of 185 lbs. (83.9 Kg) and I’m currently working on my second goal weight of 170 lbs. (77.1 Kg). I’m optimistic (but not overly hopeful) given that it’s winter and I’m not overly enthusiastic about walking in sub-freezing temperatures. It’ll definitely be happening over the spring to fall of this year though, rest assured.
Next up for 2016 is finally getting around to redecorating and renovating the Homestead. That’ll start in the spring when it warms up. Heh, unlike the douchebag ex-landlord that I worked for — I am NOT doing any interior painting in the winter. Not now and especially not ever again. I guarantee there will be pictures coupled with the potential for the mis-adventures that will and can occur.
Overall, I’m getting rather used to it just being Moe and me. At least Moe and I have come to an agreement about certain things; namely his not kneading the duvet when he comes to bed and clawing up the rugs instead of his scratcher. Though it took me a while to realize one of his habits is actually love bites, even if he doesn’t do head-butts. While he hasn’t ever drawn blood, he tends to clamp down a bit harder than I’m used to. And while he’s not as friendly as any of other cats, because of it he’s a perfect alarm for people coming into the house and when noises are too clamorous outside. If it’s too noisy he’s gone… disappears… and runs immediately for somewhere in the bedroom. He’ll only come out after they’re gone or it’s quiet in the neighborhood once again. Which is perfect when I’m unconscious and drooling into a pillow.
While I’ve set about 25 goals for this year, three of which are currently sitting on my desk: publicly posting (some more) of my journal entries, trying to write a short story without the necessary muse for writing and whether to continue posting fractal work for 2016. So the operative question I’ve had since the new year is will I add them to the list of goals or not? Well, it remains to be seen.
Entry 04/26/2015 12:25:00 AM – Mentat 914
Entry 10/10/2014 12:31:42 PM – Mentat 757
I have been in a hell of a foul mood since this morning when I received a call from my mother informing me that the reason why she had been pulled into surgery yesterday morning. It wasn’t about the fact that I hadn’t been told that the reason why there was surgery yesterday for the skin grafting that they had performed to thicken up her thin skin around the ankle area. Seriously that was to be expected. The thinning skin around her ankle since the accident has been an issue of contention since they put the pins and plate to hold together her ankle some months ago after the accident with the Monster Child. What set it off this morning was in fact the news of her coming home maybe on Sunday and that for a while afterwards, she’s going to be laid up and have to keep off her foot and have it elevated while she’s healing. What set me off is the fact that this is going to put me in a difficult position with her husband. Now this is why… Three weeks ago this Sunday there was an incident between he and I.
It started with going over my mother’s for dinner.
I went a little bit earlier than usual, partially because I know how my mother has been since breaking her ankle and she usually ran dinner a bit earlier because of it. So when I was over there, while my mother was finishing her cooking (boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes), I watched a few of the subscription videos in advanced. By the time we sat down I was sort of confused about Twitter and the fact that my ADD was acting up (thanks largely to the various aches and pains in the back of my head and sinuses as well as the cramps from whatever I ate two or three days ago). So I was trying to do a quick scan of the messages and why I received a notification and who it was from… And was about to give up the search as dinner was about to be served, when my mother’s husband starts asking how big a piece of pork.
It’s the same question week to week to week… How big do you want? And unless I’m ill, ate really big for lunch or queasy, I have settled for the same amount and the same size of any cut of meat — be it meatloaf, pork, beef roast — it’s bigger than my mother’s but smaller than his. So I just said, “use your best judgment.. You know how big I usually have…”
He asked again, I said the same thing…
Then he gave me a sliver of a slice from the end of the roast as I was putting the phone to the side. He had a smug look on his face like, ‘this is what you get for not answering the question I asked.’
I looked at him, then my mother and instead of allowing myself to be ruffled by it because he had the scowl going when I didn’t react the way he wanted, and said something about being an asshole and having my nose in my phone. So with a little drama and putting my hands in the air said I was going home and would be by the next day.
I remember hearing noise about it, and the next thing I know the serving fork and then the carving knife came at me. They both hit the chair at the table and fortunately for me: they both missed.
He followed me to the door, and while I’m now hazy as to what happened at that point, remember saying I didn’t want to hit him, but he hit me. At the back door he hit me…
He hit like a girl. Or rather not like someone with so many years of military experience in the Marines. But that didn’t mean I was just going to stand there and take it either. So, I struck back. It was damned sloppy though… I was in sandals and couldn’t get a good stand or counter, but at least self-defensive. I pushed him to the garbage bin, with a light choke hold and as there was another sloppy scuffle where he was holding me by the collar for a long time, but after my mother intervention and my warning him that I was left-handed and that hand was free to strike, he let me go and I left the house.
In hindsight, my attitude in this — with or without ADD — was bound to happen. If I’m asked the same thing over and over for course of at least two years and my patterns are clearly defined, I get tired of answering the same question or saying the same thing ad nausea. In the past I would have really had an explosive moment because such painstaking banality used to drive me to utter distraction. After all how many times can you ask, “how big a piece do you want?” and not catch a pattern to it without the normal cues (to the exception)? Now, I simply ignore it or brush it off.
I told my mother the next day I would give him a week’s time to apologize for his act of violence. I went on to tell her that if he simply screamed at me, I probably would’ve apologized for me actions; but the instant he hit me and threw things at me — he wouldn’t get any respect from me until that action was apologized for. My mother told me that it would be a cold day (in hell) before he would ever apologize for what he did. That convinced me right then and there and confirmed it at a week’s time when he didn’t seek me out to apologize for this act of violence he was a bully (at best) or an abuser (at worst).
Since then, my mother has done her best to keep the two of us apart. She’s pretty much told me that dinners with her and her husband are a thing of the past. When it came to laundry up until this week she and I would be going instead of putting me in the car with him (and doing it alone at the laundromat).
She’s told me that the reason why she’s holding off is that she wants it to be at the “right time”. She’s told me that she’s afraid that he might hit her if I confronts him. She has put me in the right difficult position of trying to make me promise I won’t confront him while she’s currently in the hospital. While I didn’t actually promise, I did say that I would do my best not to confront him during this time.
The problem with me is that this has gone on for too long. I’m not about to let go of it. It’s built up rancour and more anger than what I’ve dealt with dealing with the two ex-douche nozzles I used to deal with in Olneyville. I’ve been in one too many abusive relationships and I refuse to sit idly by while a bully thinks he can get away with hitting me Scot-free without repercussion or apology. And it’s only a matter of time before our paths cross, and it’s not going to be pretty; particularly when I happened to have perused his coupon for Cialis… Yeah, excuse me… you have anger and violence issues, the last thing anyone would be worrying about is whether or not they can keep their penis erect… But that’s just me, right?
Anyway, that’s what’s really set me off… Because between my mother might be coming home Sunday (and having to watch the dog), coupled with my pussy-footing around my mother’s husband, coupled with the difficulties that will crop up next week with the laundry and everything else… I just think it would be easier for everyone (or perhaps needs to come to a head) by confronting it, instead of ignoring it like the Pink Elephant in the room.
Well, I’m going to wander for the time being. Mail to check, dog to walk, and listening to something that should sooth the savage nerves. Until the next time.
Entry 09/20/2014 03:21:18 AM – Mentat 737
Oh yes, I continue to do the old man thing; I passed out on my bed with Moe happily hogging more than his fair share at a modest 9 o’clock and now six hours later, I’m up and unable to sleep. Oh sure, I know I’ll be able to sleep another couple of hours, but until I do I found myself thinking about something that I’ve thought about responding to… Here, let me set it up.
When I had a moment of not having to assist my mother with her housework (something she was rather proud of finally being able to do on her own since the stitches in her ankle came out and she’s able to put some weight on her ankle), I had the opportunity to watching my YouTube Subscriptions. One in particular — Mr. Louis Cole (FunforLouis) — had been reprising about one of the top items on his bucket list (Swimming with a Whale Shark) and asking his followers and subscribers what some of the items on their Bucket Lists were.
I found myself amused by it.
As a child, I had a rare form of Hypoglycemia (which was later identified and my name ended up in some medical journal because of it) and though the doctors were able stabilize it, until I was 7 my life was pretty much treated I could die at any time. So because of that, my family — namely my maternal grandparents but aunts and uncles as well — would pack me up with them and go traveling in the trailer where ever they happened to be going. Well that and let’s face it, compared to my younger brother I was an absolute angel.
I got to see things few of my peers would in their lives. The Montreal Expo of 1967, Six Gun City and riding the stage coach there, the Polar Caves and spelunking. Being on the campgrounds in Montreal and listening to these couple of Hippies singing Puff the Magic Dragon for hours (seemed it was the only song in English they knew).
Woodstock… Yes, that Woodstock.
From my paternal side of the family: living on the Cape (Cape Cod) during the summers when I was in elementary school on the campgrounds in East Dennis. From there I saw all the touristy and non-touristy things the Cape had to offer. Deep Sea Fishing, wandering the shores of a beach where the Navy and National Guard used the wrecks and hulks beached there for target practice. (To an 8 year old, that would definitely rank up there as completely awesome seeing various boats completely shelled to hell and back.)
Being there at the docks after hearing a local man (on my uncle’s CB Radio) having successfully caught a 400 pound tuna saw the boat he was on coming into the bay listing horribly to the side as it wasn’t big enough to bring the tuna onto the boat — so they had it strapped to the side. Standing there on the dock as the proud fisherman and seeing it five times my size as they hauled it up on its hind fin. I even remember the man that caught it allowing me — the only 10 year old there to see it — to come up and touch it as I was intensely curious what it would feel like. I think I remember he even offered to give my family some of the tuna steaks from his catch to my family (saying that he couldn’t possibly have them all) because of my bravery and passion for fishing that I showed. My uncle turning him down politely because that’s what my family would do when offered such generosity.
Getting a piece of my art made in Elementary School shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (in New York City) and winning third place for it.
My trip to both sides of Niagara Falls (US and Canadian side) when I graduated from Elementary School with my maternal grandparents. Heh, I still remember my grandmother saying for hours when we left my hometown, “I know I forgot something… I know I forgot something…” and when we stopped for supper she remembered: the box of matches needed to start the propane stove. And during our slow trek through Upper State New York all the places we stopped along the way — like tourists typically do.
Making an instructions book in my senior year (last year of high school) art class on the preparations (and requirements) for making an artists’ portfolio that as I understand is still used by schools in Canada to this day. (It was also in the US, but it was phased out for a more modern book for students to use sometime in the 90s. Though it’s still in many school libraries to be taken out).
And while not necessarily on any bucket list but instead is more bragging rights, but until I changed my name — my family name (Newlander) is still sitting on a Lunar Landing Module base on the moon.
As an adult after the car accident and being diagnosed with epilepsy (grand mal seizures until I was 27), the doctors would typically give me the typical diagnosis of “…2 years to live…”, which makes you do anything on a bucket list pronto.
Living in Key West. (And in the 80s that was a Gay Man’s to-do because it was a status symbol of being out — though something a 50-something not a 20-something would do).
Learning how to scuba dive (and later swimming with Manatees and Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico).
Which later lead me to swimming with a Whale on the east coast, and Sea Otters on the west coast.
Jumping out of a plane (yes, sky diving).
Running a safe house for gay and lesbian youth out of my own mouse-infested warehouse apartment (yes it was that huge).
Throwing a beach party in the dead of winter with a summer dress requirement and complete with the floors being covered with several hundred pounds of beach sand along and beach accessories that included a volleyball net.
Hot Air Balloon racing in New England. Yes, racing. It’s like watching pretty, colorful snails racing several hundred feet up in the sky combined with herding cats because the balloons have to rely on the direction of the wind which does what it wants more than a petulant 10 year old.
Won a $500 pot (err., what most other people call prize), playing cow-pat bingo in Vermont. And for my family — that’s like winning PowerBall or MegaMillions given our luck.
Landing a job on an Army Base (CHAMPUS) in Bavaria (yes, in Germany) and then being able to travel a lot of Europe doing things both as a tourist and as a native on holiday.
Took a trip on Route 66 (as inspired by the Depeche Mode song). Oh and it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Well that and waking up with a rattlesnake under the truck when I was taking a break on Route 66 was rather nerve jarring.
Play softball with celebrities… I didn’t know this would’ve qualified as a Bucket List item until after I did it. I worked a convention in Boston at the time, and ended up being asked — to fill the team — so I played softball with some of the actors from the cast of Babylon 5 at the time.
Like being at Mardis Gras and Southern Decadence in the same year.
Was there the first year the Boston Pride Parade when it looked like the Norse Snake where the head of the parade met the tail as it marched into the park.
Oh and made it a point to be the last into the park that day. Everyone wants to be first, but last billed is more memorable.
Was one of the first 100 during Rhode Island’s first gay pride parade. And watching an acquaintance of mine during the pre-pride preparations say, “Oh I don’t know if I’m going to go.. I don’t want to make such a scene… I’m out, but not that out…” Only to watch her the day of the parade at the front, leading everyone up the street holding up a sign for RI Pride like a ring-girl announcing the next round in boxing. Made local news too, which we ribbed her about for months.
I was invited to an underground rave and an awesome house party within six hours of landing in Atlanta The kind of parties that you can only be invited to and will never be held under that name or that theme again.
Got to see massive amounts of the USA. Sure it was a job, and sure it was exhausting after doing it 18 months, but not only did I see places like Chicago, Austin, and Denver, but I also saw places like Butte, Redmond, Council Bluffs, and Cheyenne. It gave me insights into regional and parochial perspectives I had never had before and gave me a more refined world view that I still have today.
To fall head over heels, truly, madly deeply in love. And I didn’t do that once, but instead did that three times. They were all meteoric and while I think the first might have lasted, it had been cut short. The other two had a beginning, a middle and an end because something that burns that brightly will never last long. The first man that did that taught me loyalty, the second taught me faith, and the third taught me understanding.
And I can keep going.
The thing is now that I’ve made it to middle age and (now) to my half-century mark, while I didn’t actually think the words when Mr. Cole talked about it and asked his followers to tell him some of their bucket list items… I felt the “how quaint…” feelings of it while amused by someone 30-something asking kids still in junior and senior high (secondary) school what they want to do before they die…
I woke up this morning and thought how does a man that has lived life both as an observer and as someone tits-deep playing the game to its hilt create another Bucket List?
The answer is, I can’t really.
I don’t want to either.
That doesn’t mean that I’m going to lie down and die any time in the near future either. For as the quote that I used to stop myself from being an introvert into more of an extrovert:
Confine yourself to observing and you always miss the point of your own life. The object can be stated this way: Live the best life you can. Life is a game whose rules you learn if you leap into it and play it to the hilt. Otherwise, you are caught off balance, continually surprised by the shifting play. Non-players often whine and complain that luck always passes them by. They refuse to see that they can create some of their own luck.
Yes… Live the best life you can.
Or as another one of my favorite quotes taken slightly out of context, “…And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after. The point, gentleman: is that they lived.”
It’s not (and never should be) really about bucket lists. It’s not about checking something off on a list that you want to do before you die.
It’s about living… For in living, we don’t always appreciate the little things in life that happen along with those bucket list items….
Like seeing Lunar Moths congregating in your back yard and mating in the moonlight.
Or being beaned (hit in the head) by a member the biggest moth species in the United States (it looks like the Atlas Moth in color and wing shape, but can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head Hercules Moth or some such) while watching a total lunar eclipse as it turns blood red.
Being a second (back-up) for a childbirth because the husband was away on an Oil Rig and would never make it in time (and for a Gay Man was quite the surprise in more ways than I can shake a stick at. Blue! Enough said).
Being stuck in traffic and in an act of boredom blow up balloons throwing them out the window, and watching people behind laughing and try to collect them and passing them backwards to others frustrated by the traffic jam.
Like being there for a friend comforting them as they died.
Throwing a lingerie party for drag queens as an act of defiance for the nosy neighbors. The expressions were flawless ad the neighbors tried to work out how women came into the party in the evening, yet men left it in the early morning.
Finding out that my journals (blog) and the trials I was going through helped someone realize that the problems they’re going through aren’t as bad as they thought they were and helped pick them up and continue on.
Or having a friend comment that my silence being such a presence during a meeting, challenged him in ways he never knew possible.
Riding my bicycle at 2 in the morning and watching the deer on some rural road, stopping and staring while a flock of turkeys ran in the opposite direction as I’m cackling like a madman (while listening to a podcast) riding downhill at breakneck speeds.
Being complimented on my laugh and asked by several members of an improv troupe if I would sit in on their shows more often as someone to prompt the audience to laugh more.
Or dancing with a date at a movie in the park that prompted people to dance along and turn a quiet movie into an awesome and camp audience participation event. And back more than thirty years ago, not a noise was made that it was two men dancing together.
And of course, there’s so much more there too…
My point is: if you treat everything you do, see, experience as part of a bucket list… As something wonderful, unique appreciated and cherished… perhaps you won’t actually need to plan one as the amazement, strangeness and uniqueness of life happens around you minute to minute.
Until the next time.
Entry 09/18/2014 03:51:47 PM – Mentat 735
“How we face death is at least as important as how we face life…” – James T. Kirk; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
I’m doing the old man thing once again… Fell asleep reading Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Series at about 8 o’clock and then ended up waking up at 4 AM. Sure it’s uninterrupted sleep. Sure the autumnal catch-up time from the 6 hours of sleep a night I typically do during the summer, but it’s not quite the sort of sleep I regiment myself do as a Daywalker. It’s just too… one-off. I’m sure it’ll continue for a while longer; hopefully toward the end I’ll be able to better control it.
The fun (read: challenge) though was the energy that I tapped into both when I began falling asleep and again an hour after I woke up. You see, Mr. James Radcliffe had posted a positively inspiring Part I of a 2-part series on gratitude and death. One that inspired so many different thoughts and feelings and even a perspective on how much work can be behind the simplicity we often take for granted. It created the kind of thoughtforms, the kind of feelings that invoked interest, curiosity, intrigue and the sort of mental energy toward inspiration tapped into the imagination. I had been looking forward to Part II with anticipation, and based on what I saw on his personal comments when he split up the elements he was trying to cram together it should have sped Part II out relatively quickly. That is to say within a couple of days… Maybe a week tops…
One week passed.
Two weeks passed.
During the beginning of the third week, I send him a tweet reminding him of the time passed since Part I and hoped that his “secret love” (a cello he had recently acquired) hadn’t distracted him.
Then I saw the tweet of his studio time about a day or two later and realized that in my experience with the artistic; Mr. Radcliffe would be tied up anywhere from three days to three weeks working on the passion that drives him: his music.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always adored, respected and appreciated most artistic types. They are well known to be the most impulsive of the energy types in humanity that I have witnessed. Following their passions the artistic type can work on something for weeks to produce music, poetry, art-work and subsequently thoughts that can culminate Harmony through Conflict to produce sublime beauty. However, the issue I have is that I intimately understand through my own personal experience is the fluidity of the human mind: changing thoughts, changing perspective, changing mood, etc. That even I could not possibly maintain the mental discipline over the course of several more weeks the thoughts and feelings I had at the end of reading Part I while I wait in anticipation to an opinion and a perspective from someone else for the next part. Even the delicacy of the energies I might preserve is going to change because of events and meditations that happen with me from the day to day and the week to week.
And so last night, I started the necessary meditations to respond to Mr. Radcliffe’s un-submitted Part II based on the energy I have been holding close in anticipation in my own online blog without waiting any longer.
This morning, I continued to work with the energy and knowing I had family obligations of schlepping over to my mother’s house to watch her monster child (her spoiled absolutely rotten Chocolate Labrador) while she was at the Orthopedic Doctor’s, I set up Eärendil (my laptop), started chugging my iced coffee and headed over Mr. Radcliffe’s WordPress page and do a quick re-read of Part I to set my mind and passions in motion.
That’s when I saw that Mr. Radcliffe had finally posted Part II.
Having read Part II, I found myself keenly disappointed. Not exclusively because of the content of the second part — which covered the subject of death and facing it instead of shying away from it — but also because I found the thoughtforms that I had been slowly building up falling apart and crumbling right before my (mental) eyes. I hadn’t remotely expected him to be talking about death quite as intensely as he did talking about life in Part I. I maintained the energy for the original inspiration as long as I could, posted the changed comment and wandered off trying desperately to hold on to the original inspirations and mental side notes that I started with last night.
Spending time caring for my mother over the course of the next few hours, I was snarkier than normal. While she did her usual of raising protest and eventually being equally sarcastic as defense and retribution, nothing she could do was going to assuage the direction of my thoughts and emotions. It was going to take me retreating to my apartment and with some attention from my cat, I focused on a meditation to reset.
Reset is precisely what I did, opening up my mind and my imagination to comprehending the universe around me as I laid there listening to the sounds in the neighborhood.
The first thing that struck me after I came out of my afternoon meditation was that it was necessary for Mr. Radcliffe to focus on death and getting people to overcome their fear(s) of it. I often forget that I am part of one of the rarer groups of humanity that has faced death (in my case by Car Accident and DOA) and came out on the other side not only facing the fear of it, but understanding that death isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s simply the end of the cycle that every living being starts when we’re born into this world. And that near-death experience has lead me to both my personal enlightenment as well as my embracing its inevitability in my own life. While I had hoped that Mr. Radcliffe would have continued his train of thoughts into the more positive, as I sat with Moe on my stomach, purring to his heart’s content it dawned on me, that perhaps it’s not Mr. Radcliffe’s obligation to continue the creation of those thoughts — but may in fact be mine –as reader and follower of his blog.
Mr. Radcliffe was quite correct when he stated that once you face your death… the ennui created when running away from your fears about death and dying makes regret (and that horrible grey area of entropy) unable to grow. But the question that it raises was left unasked other than in the hearts and minds of his readers & followers. That question was left unanswered by Mr. Radcliffe as he brought the readers face to face with the shock of one’s own mortality… it’s something that I have often answered of all that have asked it in my direction during my wanderings on Planet Earth…
What do you fill that space with?
What can one do to bring joy into one’s own life?
The first thing that I remind everyone that I speak with is to always safeguard against fear returning. All people fall into habits… get lazy… Follow the path of least resistance and when they return to those habits, fear comes back. For me, I happen to use the Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear as part of a daily ritual:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Once the fear is faced (and perhaps even obliterated temporarily from the consciousness) however you choose to remove or embrace that fear, then it’s time to find a purpose and remind oneself of that purpose routinely.
For me this was set before I joined the Army (that was when I was 19)… As I sit here and think about it further, if I recall as correctly as I can (the time between my graduation from high school and sometime shortly after the car accident is a hazy blur), was set sometime around the time I was finishing up high school when I worked out a philosophical dilemma when my friend asked me as a challenge, “how are you planning on changing the world?”
My answer was “… I will change the world, one person at a time..”
I worked then– and continue to work now — on the concept that if one person is changed, be it given a bright spot in their life, given advice to make a tough decision a little bit easier, made happy, given peace and solace against personal pain and suffering, give them laughter, a happy day, something for being thankful for, paying something forward, educated to a different perspective… even so much as simply listening to that person talk about something that’s been on their minds — then that person has been changed for the better — even for a moment — and the decisions made by that person forward from that moment should also change, and in changing — the world as I understand it has been changed. It is different than it was the minutes before.
Sure, it’s a Sisyphean undertaking. Changing 7 billion people one at a time will take longer than any of our individual lives. And until my epiphany when I was 25, it certainly felt futile at times. But in that moment of my epiphany — 25th of June, 1989 — I realized, I’m not the only one trying to change the world. There are others, even if I don’t readily see them around me. Even if it’s not exactly the same way I’m attempting. Ultimately though, they are also changing the world.
Fast forward 25 years and through all the karma that I have been working through, all the struggles I have endured. The gains.. The losses. The joys and the sorrows… I have learned one thing above all… The only way to know how strong (you truly are) is to keep testing your limits. This is positively necessary in any goal you choose for yourself. Be it raising a family, be it being in love (and/or) monogamous to one special one. Be it helping others one at a time or thousands at a time. Be it as a member in your circle of friends, within your neighborhood, your community, your town or city, or even as a loner. For whatever you choose to do — do it. And keep testing to see if you can do more — even in that one choice you choose.
When in doubt, also remember what the Dalai Lama once said, “If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.” That includes harming yourself. Push your limits yes, but never harm yourself by exceeding those limits foolishly.
I fear I’m beginning to ramble and get myself caught up in all the nuances of all the things I’ve learned in assisting in my want to change the world, so I will leave you with this.
Whatever you choose to do with your life…
- Be it breaking old habits through activism and civil disobedience.
- Be it through love and understanding and imparting wisdom to all those who will listen.
- Be it as the analyst that enacts the ability to subtlely change things in wisdom by word and deed.
- Be it as the artist (like Mr. Radcliffe) in bringing inspiration through the clashes of harmony and discord to create the sublime and a change in perspective.
- Be it as the scientist.
- Be it as the faithful to an ideal.
- Be it as the magician that can make reality out of thoughts in the imagination.
- Be it as any combination of these archetypes and more unlisted and seen through experience.
…Embrace it and — most importantly – live it!!!
Until the next time.