Little Can Be Big, Big Can be Little

I can recall only one mystical experience. In an eternal moment I felt myself expand out into the cosmos and then zoom into the micros. Imminence and transcendence, the temporal and eternal, corporal and spiritual, telescopic and microscopic… all hang out in the same universal bar at the same universal party. They sing fun drinking songs while we hunt for them in self-help books and churches and universities and the words of experts. They welcome anyone to the open bar but we are too busy with the mundane (“Life is frittered away with details” -Thoreau) or too busy perusing and pursuing profundity to attend.

A Zen saying is that all Truth is paradox. “Paradox” is the label we give to stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into our dichotomous demands. The universe, thankfully, isn’t as limited as our thinking. But I really didn’t start this to talk about Mandalas singing and dancing in a bar. That silly metaphor wasn’t even in my head when I started this. What I was thinking about when I started this is Perspective, particularly how something tiny and often unnoticed can be not just enough, but completely meaningful and fulfilling. I am not just talking about a what is obviously meaningful like a baby’s smile, I am talking about a grain of salt, a pinch of an herb, a ripe strawberry… . We are starving in our culture of excess and addictions. We are lonely though we surf an ocean of human connections. We are sex addicts who find holding hands uncomfortably intimate. And in the land of literal, on the corporal plane, we are obese but malnourished.

Satis quid sufficit: Enough is as good as a feast,” -Holophernes. Enough is BETTER than a feast. If we are not happy with enough, we are miserable with excess. If we don’t appreciate healthy and nourishing portions, it isn’t possible to appreciate what is unhealthy and non-nourishing. Addiction isn’t appreciation. Addiction is fear- and scarcity-based. Addiction is control and we run the hamster wheel trying to control the control of addiction. Most (if not all) addictions start with a displaced reprieve from some pain. I ate that fruit pie and felt comforted. I felt life was a sweet celebration that first trip to McDonald’s that included a HAPPY meal with toy. A sugar rush from a “breakfast food” while we watched cartoons and dad LAUGHED is what I want to feel every Saturday morning… . The second high isn’t as high as the first but we keep chasing it until we are just stuffing unhealthy foods down our throats out of habit. And now that “food” is actually physically toxic and addictive, we are in a crisis of which too many are completely unaware.

And we all feel we are in this alone. I was struck when I first heard the line, “I look at all the lonely people,”  from Eleanor Rigby. Why is it we feel even more alone in crowds? Why is it more painful to feel lonely in a relationship than when we are just alone? It’s disconnection. We are not just disconnected from nature, we are disconnected from ourselves. Even as we assess, inflate, defame, adore, compare, despise, esteem… each other we not only do not connect, we disconnect. We fear connection. We have apprehensions about the wounds that will result. The fear is as legitimate as a pregnant women worrying labor will hurt–but the best stuff results from labor.

I’ll wrap this up with the opening lines of

Auguries of Innocence

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…”
It’s a party, people. A feast of enough–and we are all invited.
#WilliamBlake #sufficient #Universe #HDThoreau #Thoreau #Holophernes #AugeriesofInnocence #FeastofEnough
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All Things Are Petty (12/2016)

This past Tuesday I was with one of my kids sitting on a bench at a church. A woman I don’t know drove up, parked and then walked toward the church to deliver a present. As she walked up to the bench on her path to the door, I said to her, “I feel bad. I didn’t get you anything.” I thought it was funny but it seemed to throw her off and she said some stuff about her running behind schedule and how busy life is. “You know how it is this time of year.” How would she know what I know? I didn’t even have a present for her. I’ve spent the past two decades incrementally opting out of holiday madness. Yeah, I know HOW it is because it is WHY I opted out. But we all have these things we mindlessly say about the mundane that may or may not help advance real connections.

I considered her response and commented to my child, “Wouldn’t it be great if we said profound things when we don’t know what to say, instead of commenting on the weather or re-enforcing silly and oppressive paradigms? She could’ve said, ‘All things are ready if our minds be so.’ To which I could have replied, ‘That we would do, we should do when we would…’.”

My child called me a nerd! :-\. I insisted my way would make the world a better place. “There’s probably a parallel universe where they do that,” the child offered in way of consolation. “Why I gotta be stuck in this one?” I whined.

:-). Soooo… . How about this weather? Mild enough for ya?

“The Only Thing I Did Wrong…” (7/2013)

I heard the Dixie Chix version of Bob Dylan’s _Mississippi_ a week or two ago and it’s now my favorite song. It has some great aphoristic lines. TIMING is the overall theme, to me (Dylan isn’t unlike Shakespeare in that we can pick from a dozen or more themes and we can take away as much as our brain buckets can hold). We usually think of timing only when it’s bad. For example, “The only thing I did wrong, –I stayed in Mississippi a day too long.”

The day of a life-altering crash is bad timing, but how many drives don’t end in a crash? That’s an extreme example, but all in all, timing has been pretty damned kind to me. I’ve had three tragedies (a few self-inflicted subtragedies but my stupidity and or selfishness is not the subject I’ve chosen for this blog): 1.) my first husband’s death caused by a bloodclot that traveled from his fractured patella, 2.) my fourth child’s burst appendix and the month she spent in hospitals for two major operations (my stupidity was involved, even more than the doctor who misdiagnosed her) and then 3.) my cousin/brother’s death. But even when suffering, I can see that there are people who suffer so much more pain and injustice. The parents of the ten-year-old who was recently killed by a drone would give anything to be dealing with just his appendix (http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/15879-despite-president-s-pledge-10-year-old-victim-of-drone-strike-identified). The man in Iraq who had sent his son to the store just in time to have his son killed by a bomb perhaps would pick having a pulmonary thromboembulism over his son’s death (no link, it’s something I read years ago and the son was eight which is how old my now 14-year-old son was at the time). I had a college classmate from a war-torn African country who hadn’t been in contact with a single family member in over two years. He didn’t know who in his family was alive or where they may be living. I at least had my cousin’s funeral. I got to prepare a memorial program and organize a party on the one-year anniversary of his death.  And at both events I was surrounded by family and friends.  

The universe is, all in all, indifferent. There are governing laws that cannot be “shuffled” (that’s a reference to King Claudius). The Universal Laws are neither kind nor cruel. When I think of tragedy, I don’t think of a flooded house, wildfire, hurricane… . The real tragedies are those we inflict on each other. Humans can be so cruel and thoughtless. (We shouldn’t be cruel and thoughtless, but too often are.) We take marching orders from the most selfish and thoughtless elitists who have ever plagued this planet and jingoistically sing jingles about what an honor it is to give our money, energy, lives and/or children to the cause. Otherwise kind and reasonable people proudly defend torture, drones, abandonment of Civil Rights… . They claim to “Support our Troops” by sending them into unconstitutional wars that are bankrupting our country while making a few folks even richer.

My first husband said he was glad everyone doesn’t think and act like me because if that were the case, he wouldn’t have a job. I’ve been recycling and composting for over two decades and I went weeks without filling even one trash can. Now that I don’t eat GM and processed food, figured out life is possible without styrofoam and all my kids are out of diapers–my house makes almost no trash. My first husband worked for the City of Lake Jackson as a trash collector. It was a good job with good pay and benefits. But he gave his LIFE for garbage. He fractured his patella stepping down from the truck. How ironic is that? The husband of the one of the very few environmentalists in Brazoria County (I don’t know anyone as radical as I am, but do know some who recycle and/or compost) died to send mountains of garbage into landfills.  Point is, I think we might be better off if more people did think like I do, or at least THOUGHT for themselves.

All Things Are Petty

This past Tuesday I was with one of my kids sitting on a bench at a church. A woman I don’t know drove up, parked and then walked toward the church to deliver a present. As she walked up to the bench on her path to the door, I said to her, “I feel bad. I didn’t get you anything.” I thought it was funny but it seemed to throw her off and she said some stuff about her running behind schedule and how busy life is. “You know how it is this time of year.” How would she know what I know? I didn’t even have a present for her. I’ve spent the past two decades incrementally opting out of holiday madness. Yeah, I know HOW it is because it is WHY I opted out. But we all have these things we mindlessly say about the mundane that may or may not help advance real connections.

I considered her response and commented to my child, “Wouldn’t it be great if we said profound things when we don’t know what to say, instead of commenting on the weather or re-enforcing silly and oppressive paradigms? She could’ve said, ‘All things are ready if our minds be so.’ To which I could have replied, ‘That we would do, we should do when we would…’.”

My child called me a nerd! :-\. I insisted my way would make the world a better place. “There’s probably a parallel universe where they do that,” the child offered in way of consolation. “Why I gotta be stuck in this one?” I whined.

:-). Soooo… . How about this weather? Mild enough for ya?

Telos Vision

When he was a kid, my dad took a mail correspondence course and became a TV repair”man” at the ripe old age of 13. He went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering and work with computers from their infancy and on into internet. This made our childhood interesting. Tami and I have loaded cards into a room-sized computer so that the “super computer” could perform some important task, like make a pixeled poster of the Mona Lisa. Our family was at least two years ahead of our neighbors when it came to most technology. We had satellite, VCR, home PC… when many of our peers had never seen them. But the real fun was in where our home was backward–the TVs.

Because dad would ever be the TV Repairman, our house was a TV hospital. We got scraps from friends and family. This could make watching TV an adventure. For example, there was a time when the TV in the family room had no sound and down the hall, in Matt’s room, the TV had no picture. The pictureless TV was by Matt’s open door but there was still a fun split-second sound delay. Changing channels was doubly-fun–with yelling numbers down the hall, “Okay! Now 13!” And these were KNOBS. Those were fun.

I’m glad I had so much analog experience. I like the lightness of wireless and the cloud, but there’s a tactile beauty in the contortions of antena adjustment, weight of vinyl and solar cycling of dials. 🙂 You snappers of whipper just have no idea… .