Sunday, November 7, 2010

"My own mind is my own Church."

Thomas Paine said, "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church."

Welcome to my worship service. :)

Ahhhhhhh. Sweet, soft rainy Sunday. I hear the rhythms of the rain; my wind chimes dance with the wind, sing with the rain. I have a book to read today, a paper to write, and some freelance graphic design work to finish (a lot of things are very different in grad school, but I still like eating). So a blog post is the prefect thing to do, right?

Right. It's my going to church on Sunday, I guess you could say.

One of the classes I'm taking is an online class (which I will never do again if I can help it. I need skinsuit contact; mere textual engagement in insufficient). Many of my classmates are not skilled writers, which can make it harder for me to extract meaning, to understand their thoughts and feelings, especially without physical cues.

For this class, we had to read a really crappy article, one of those that pretty much swears that if we had matriarchy instead of patriarchy, everything would be all better. If we worshiped a goddess instead of a god, things'd be ever so much nicer!

Ack. That crap drives me nuts, I tellya. We have this absurd notion of a matriarchal prehistory that women ran and life was great. Historical and anthropological evidence refutes this idea utterly. Didn't happen. We've built several cultural structures around hindsighted ideas about shit that never really happened (sound like a familiar pattern?) and it's pretty much a bad idea to do that--build a house on sand, as it were. Any structure built on a poor foundation is more likely to collapse; this happens in the mind as well as with levees and in governments).

So, speaking of building complex, elaborate structures on fallacy, my Mom just this week joined Facebook. Right before election day, she posted something about getting through elections so we can go back to 'normal,' and votes changing things so this country can heal. I asked her if she meant all the people, or just the Christian ones. All the people, she assured me.

She continued, "this Country is a democracy,"

[Which it actually isn't--it's a constitutional republic]

Mom: "created by men who believed in God"

[Also not true. All of our founding fathers had a relationship to religion--they couldn't avoid it, given the timbre of the times (I can't recommend PBS's series God in America enough!!).] And when you're done with that--or, hell, even as an appetizer--go read The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion. Excellent research.

Mom: "and trusted in this nation to govern themselves, to put men and women in office who listen to the people of this nation and pass laws the meet those needs!"

[Kinda true, but not really. The idea was to create some thing that allowed for everyone to have a go at whatever they wanted, neither being oppressed nor supported. There isn't supposed to be one authoritative line; hence the whole checks and balances thing. I gotta go to Jefferson: "I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."]

"Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State." The U.S. Supreme Court, 1947

Mom : "It is time for the American People to stand up for our Constitution and what it stands for, and I will hope and pray for all governing bodies to work together for the good of All the people!"

[Again, I hafta let Jefferson answer that one: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and State." Thomas Jefferson, in his historic Danbury letter, January 1, 1802]

On top of that, I admit a strong queasiness about their being some sort of arbiter of what's good for all the people. I know for sure that folx like Dobson, Gingrich, Rove, McCain, Palin, Brown, Falwell & Robertson have NO fekkin idea what's good for me. Nor, I must confess, do I know what's good for them. But I believe we both have the privilege/obligation to go find out what's right for each of us, and to keep that spaciousness open for others who choose a voyage of discovery over a prison of certainty.

Thing is, I plan to stop at discovery; I don't feel burdened by a need to foist my doctrine on others. Again with the Jefferson: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

I will now sit quietly back in my pew, and let this chorus of benediction round out my worship service. Enjoy. And praise be to Roland99for this excellent assembly of music to my ears.

"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?" James Madison, in "Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

Roger Williams: God requireth not a uniformity of religion.

Thomas Jefferson: The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and the freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated Reformer of human errors.

James Madison: During almost fifteen centuries the legal establishment known as Christianity has been on trial, and what have been the fruits, more or less, in all places? These are the fruits: pride, indolence, ignorance, and arrogance in the clergy. Ignorance, arrogance, and servility in the laity, and in both clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

Thomas Jefferson: I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

John Adams: The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.

Thomas Paine: Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."

Abraham Lincoln: The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma.

Benjamin Franklin: As to Jesus of Nazareth, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with the most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts to his divinity.

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion ..." from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams, June 10, 1797.

"The number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of church and state." James Madison, March 2, 1819

May you worship as it suits your soul,
even though that be no faith at all.
May you think as it suits your work,
even though that be no consideration at all;
and may you live as it suits the world you live in,
even though that be an unexamined life.

Pax, Shalom, Salaam, Pace, Paix, Freiden, Peace.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moore Commentary on Ground Zero

Ground Zero? Doesn't that mean a place where things begin, where they start, in addition to being a signifier for where shit happens? Doesn't that mean we can go somewhere shit happened and build consciously, intentfully, better than before? For me, that 'better' means more inclusive, btw.

Some serious shit happened 9 years ago in New York. More serious shit happened after that. Then Americans got seriously shitty about the shit and the people they all lumped together as being causal to that shit who they then treated even more shittily than ever before.


So, I take what Michael Moore says with a grain of salt (sometimes I need to reach for the shaker, really). He's fantastic at using edited or adapted facts to create states in his viewers/readers. I like the guy, but I'm suspicious of everything he says because I always get the feeling that he's trying to get me jacked up about something so I'll do something about the something.

I susbcribe to his newsletter. Once in a while, something grabs me, like today. Mind you, I'm no sychophant. But this one--if you too will gird your loins with that salt I mentioned earelier--has a lot going for it. And it made me laugh, to boot.

It's hyperbole *at best* to declare that "If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America." Lots of things in America get built and don't get built and this is still America, in geography if not in (arguable) spirit. But I'd be much obliged if you'd do me the kindness of reading this one through, and letting me know what *you* think, even if it does end up tasting just the teensiest bit salty. Here's the Moore post in it's entirety:

If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America

OpenMike 9/11/10
Michael Moore's daily blog

I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.

There's been so much that's been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don't want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that's been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:

1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I've gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a "mosque," it's going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that's already there. But to even have to assure people that "it's not going to be mosque" is so offensive, I now wish they would just build a 111-story mosque there. That would be better than the lame and disgusting way the developer has left Ground Zero an empty hole until recently. The remains of over 1,100 people still haven't been found. That site is a sacred graveyard, and to be building another monument to commerce on it is a sacrilege. Why wasn't the entire site turned into a memorial peace park? People died there, and many of their remains are still strewn about, all these years later.

2. Guess who has helped the Muslims organize their plans for this community center? The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER of Manhattan! Their rabbi has been advising them since the beginning. It's been a picture-perfect example of the kind of world we all want to live in. Peter Stuyvessant, New York's "founder," tried to expel the first Jews who arrived in Manhattan. Then the Dutch said, no, that's a bit much. So then Stuyvessant said ok, you can stay, but you cannot build a synagogue anywhere in Manhattan. Do your stupid Friday night thing at home. The first Jewish temple was not allowed to be built until 1730. Then there was a revolution, and the founding fathers said this country has to be secular -- no religious nuts or state religions. George Washington (inaugurated around the corner from Ground Zero) wanted to make a statement about this his very first year in office, and wrote this to American Jews:

"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy -- a policy worthy of imitation. ...

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens ...

"May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants -- while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."

3. The Imam in charge of this project is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Read about his past here.

4. Around five dozen Muslims died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hundreds of members of their families still grieve and suffer. The 19 killers did not care what religion anyone belonged to when they took those lives.

5. I've never read a sadder headline in the New York Times than the one on the front page this past Monday: "American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?" That should make all of us so ashamed that even a single one of our fellow citizens should ever have to worry about if they "belong" here.

6. There is a McDonald's two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald's has killed far more people than the terrorists. [this is one of the places where I laughed, because all comedy is based in tragedy; in this case, the tragedy is it's true]

7. During an economic depression or a time of war, fascists are extremely skilled at whipping up fear and hate and getting the working class to blame "the other" for their troubles. Lincoln's enemies told poor Southern whites that he was "a Catholic." FDR's opponents said he was Jewish and called him "Jewsevelt." One in five Americans now believe Obama is a Muslim and 41% of Republicans don't believe he was born here.

8. Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?

9. Let's face it, all religions have their whackos. Catholics have O'Reilly, Gingrich, Hannity and Clarence Thomas (in fact all five conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court are Catholic). Protestants have Pat Robertson and too many to list here. The Mormons have Glenn Beck. Jews have Crazy Eddie. But we don't judge whole religions on just the actions of their whackos. Unless they're Methodists.

10. If I should ever, God forbid, perish in a terrorist incident, and you or some nutty group uses my death as your justification to attack or discriminate against anyone in my name, I will come back and haunt you worse than Linda Blair marrying Freddy Krueger and moving into your bedroom to spawn Chucky. John Lennon was right when he asked us to imagine a world with "nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too." I heard Deepak Chopra this week say that "God gave humans the truth, and the devil came and he said, 'Let's give it a name and call it religion.' " But John Adams said it best when he wrote a sort of letter to the future (which he called "Posterity"): "Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it." I'm guessing ol' John Adams is up there repenting nonstop right now.

Friends, we all have a responsibility NOW to make sure that Muslim community center gets built. Once again, 70% of the country (the same number that initially supported the Iraq War) is on the wrong side and want the "mosque" moved. Enormous pressure has been put on the Imam to stop his project. We have to turn this thing around. Are we going to let the bullies and thugs win another one? Aren't you fed up by now? When would be a good time to take our country back from the haters?

I say right now. Let's each of us make a statement by donating to the building of this community center! It's a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and you can donate a dollar or ten dollars (or more) right now through a secure pay pal account by clicking here. I will personally match the first $10,000 raised (forward your PayPal receipt to If each one of you reading this blog/email donated just a couple of dollars, that would give the center over $6 million, more than what Donald Trump has offered to buy the Imam out. C'mon everyone, let's pitch in and help those who are being debased for simply wanting to do something good. We could all make a huge statement of love on this solemn day.

I lost a co-worker on 9/11. I write this today in his memory.

"The man who speaks of the enemy / Is the enemy himself." Bertolt Brecht

I'm sending a dollar to the mosque. I'm a grad student now, and that's about what I can afford. But that dollar is still a symbol of my chi, and the rest of my chi is committed to ending this irrational, fear-based, sickeningly polarizing, divisive shit. I leave you to the guidance of your conscience (and wallet) but encourage you to take a moment and send a grain of blessing, support, love, harmony or whatever else you can think of to support all of the Muslims in NY, especially imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as he struggles to follow his grace in this sitch.

Insh'allah, may there be peace, at Ground Zero and all other grounds of new beginning built on catastrophes of misunderstanding and fanatacism.

Pax, Shalom, Sala'am,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bring It, Boss

Some fears you can move through singularly, like a minor boss in a video game. You meet it, you kill it, you find more treasure. Some fears are Big Bosses, and the battle with them is cumulative. Everything you do up to that point trains you to meet the Boss Fear, you fight it, you get your ass kicked (and, hopefully, win) and then you level up. Those kinds of fears must be moved through; one you’re through, you’re simply not in the same landscape anymore. Same game, but new turf.

I’ve dealt with all the minor bosses I can. Met them on the noble field of internal combat, won (well, mostly) and now it’s time to level up. The Big Fear is up next.

For me, that means becoming a verb. The little fears I’ve been able to deal with on my insides, using my tools, my process skills, everything I’ve learned over the years. I’ve been training to meet this Boss since I got back from Cuba in ’05.

The two times in the last 10 years that I can remember someone asking me what I was most afraid of, the answer has been the same: getting my PhD. No, I don’t need it to legitimize my knowledge. To a point, I don’t need that sort of credential to teach, either. But I desire it. I need to know that I can commit to a dream, take the baby steps involved and pursue my Personal Legend. Her name is Dr. Addington. She dreams of social justice through religious literacy. She strives for a better world by becoming the change she wants to see in it. She aches for all this to make sense, somehow, to broaden her awareness of assigning meaning and value to a life that’s over in the space of a cosmic sneeze.

And here comes the Boss Fear. It means moving—both figuratively and literally.

We leave in 2 days to go seek housing and employ. We seem to need to be on the ground there, where the chi most needs moving. An angel brought us a car perfect for living there, at a price we could afford. An angel offered us lodging while we go look, til July1. One thing at a time, we’ve found the magical objects needed to meet this Boss and win. I still think that I could use some bonus armor or magically enhancing objects or special spells, but who knows what’s to be found on the way.

That’s the thing: hafta be on the way now. I’ve processed. I’ve moved through my innerscape. I’ve done all the footwork from here that I can. For some reason, I was under the delusion that if I did it “right,” I’d have moved through all my fears so that I could go un-gently into that good night, fear-free and ready for anything. Not quite. This fear has been distilled to its essence: a fear of the unknown, which can only be properly dealt with by moving into it, by acquiring knowledge.

I’m ready. I have to be. If I tell myself I’m not, I won’t ever go. I’m not fear-free in the way I thought I’d be, but I’m not being animated into action by my fears, either. They’re like the smelly hippie hitchhikers in the backseat that I know I get to take with me a little way along this path, and then they’ll get out, hopefully without leaving stains or a lingering, nose-whapping scent.

Here I come, Boss. I’m ready for you. I’m naked, vulnerable, exposed. I’m spacious, loving and grateful. I’m unarmed and waiting to embrace you into non-existence. I’m looking forward to what you have to teach me about the pursuit of my Personal Legend.

Bring it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It Ends at the Beginning

I am so sick of my own process that I could just about puke. I place enormous value on self-reflexive methods of growth and evolution, but seriously. All things in moderation, right?

I’m doing the least I can—check. Moving through fearwads as they arise—check. Dealing with my shit the best way I know how--check. Remaining engaged and present, open to what is—check.

Great. Could we do something else now, please?

I crochet. It started when my chiro suggested that a handcraft might help me move more energy into my creativity. I figured, okay, what can I do that’s cheap? I had two old crochet hooks and one knitting needle in the bottom of an old sewing kit. I had some interesting leftover yarns from making hairfalls for Burning Man. Seemed ideal. I got a book targeted at 9 year olds or so and taught myself basic stitches.

Then I got another book and learned more. Then I went out on the net and learned how to read patterns (they’re written in glyphs, not words, so some learning curve there).

I started by following directions, learning the “rules.” Then I kinda went off on my own, making simple things according to what I’d learned about the rules. Then I got bored.

I got tired of doing the same thing repetitively. Then I found freeform (also called scrumbling which the urban dictionary defines as "blowing a raspberry on someone’s testicles" (go figure I'd have a hobby that has a connection to doing odd things to people's naughty bits, huh?). I started to paint with yarn.

I’m only a beginner. I’m still learning about how different weights of yarn and different stitches can dance with each other harmoniously. I’m still learning how to make it lay flat, how to get it to do what I want. I’m still using the rules and stitches I learned early on, but now I’m having my way with them.

I’ve been working on my learning piece for 2 months. Not every day, but steadily, and some days for hours and hours. Creating beauty calms me. Struggling with creation centers me. Watching a something emerge form a not-bloody-much fascinates me. And I now have concrete proof that I can start a long-term project and finish it, even knowing for a fact that it’s utterly imperfect in more ways than I can count.

And now it is complete. I finished it last night—wove the loose ends in, tidied up, that sort of thing. Imperfect as it may be, I did it and it’s mine. I learned a lot from it. Each time I look at it-even though I made it-I see something new. That seems improbable to me, but there you have it. I journalled and photographed its becoming; I’ve never done that with art before. It was interesting, and a definite exercise in discipline for me.

So my first try ends here. Completion achieved. The work even inspired me to write a poem (which also helped when I was facilitating the writer’s group for the Emma Center, because my cowriters got to watch a piece get written, worked on, change, and be finished--it's down at the bottom of this post). And I got to go through the process of writing as a process. This is good for me because I have a nasty, sabotagy tendency to quit if something doesn’t come out perfect and finished on the first try (a lethal habit I am striving to unlearn).

My fingers itch already for something new to work on. I’m lying on the grass of my brain, looking up at the moving cloudforms of my thoughts, becoming willing to let an inspiration find me and light me up. I have no doubt it will, and I have no doubt that the more practice I get in doing that the better off I’ll be as I walk off into my own new sunrise.
approx size = 2.5x2.5 feet.

Crocheting a Poem

I pick up my pointy stick and begin to inscribe patterns:
loops, lines, stringy language;

each row builds on the last and becomes the next.
I hope the one before makes sense
or the followers are lost.

Tension is critical. If I make the next word too tight
or too loose
the other words will have a hard time figuring out where they belong
and the work won’t lay flat on the page when it’s done.

If I don’t balance creation with control,
it will curl around the edges:
that makes a poem harder to wear.

If I can craft this poem,
allow it to become,
witness the tango of colors,
pace my hands and feet,
weave a rhythm,

I will have made something that might
clothe a naked form,
or offer nice, warm beauty
on a cold, blocked night.

I cut the working strands
and weave in the ends.
Good finishing is invisible.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Changing the Story

Stuff happens. As it turns out, the stuff that’s happening is very seldom the cause of any pleasure or distress I may experience. Pleasure and distress come from the stories I instantaneously (and far too often unconsciously) tell myself about the stuff that’s happening.

Take moving from my 20 year home to a whole new place, for example. Not such a big thing, really, especially when I look at people like my friend Inge (see previous blog post), and when I observe the different ways things like this are handled in other places in the world. Were I Bedouin, I’d nut up about staying on one place!

I’ve been telling myself some hella sketchy stories. I think I’ve moved through a lot of the tangly threads in the fearwad an am now hopefully moving on to dealing with less fearsome, paralyzing things.

I’ve been using Dave Berman’s Manifest Positivity motto: What’s the least you can do? It’s really been helping; some of these fearwads and their constituent chunks have been so seemingly gimonstornormous that I haven’t been able to work with them as wholes. In pieces, though, I can manage to chop wood and carry water.

We took a big step yesterday.L & I sat down and crafted an ad to go out on Craigstlist and some other places where, hopefully, the person(s) who need us will see our beacon shining against the clouds (evokes Batman, dunnit?). It took us a couple hours, and we had to get past the stories behind some the of the kneejerk reactions that can make it difficult for us to co-craft, but we did it.
It’s here:

We think it turned out pretty good. Hopefully, you’ll go take a look at it, offer us comments, maybe put it on your Facebook where more people can get at it, etc.It really is rather lovely.

To find the stuff that went into that note, I had to change some story. While the details in story vary for me, many of the little ones share a common theme: This is HARD. Moving is hard. Moving to the Bay is hard (oh, yeah, and don’t forget expensive). Packing is hard. Letting go of what I know is hard. Finding a place is hard.

What if I told myself a different story? Like, moving is challenging, but doable. This is a chance to learn even more about managing my personal resources. Packing is a bitch, but it gives me a chance to sort out the detritus I’ve kept that isn’t me anymore. Finding a place to live might be tough using conventional methods, but I live in a place of boundless hope with almost infinite other ways to try and do things. Being me isn’t a detriment to doing what I desire—it’s exactly what’s required.

Just one different story can alter my perceptions; a combination of other stories can alter my perceptions significantly enough to allow me to become aware of other, previously invisible, options.

So today, this Note from the Universe comes in: "Never compromise a dream, Deborah. Always compromise on how it will come true." The story I was telling resulted in a worldview that I would need to alter my dream to make this happen. Bullshit. It’s the story that needs altering, and that part is way easier than, say, packing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tying Up My Camel

The more I wrestle with this, the more I find it to be a complex, Gordian set of fears, not just one or two that I can deal with quickly, detangle and move on. I keep finding the smaller fears that make up the big, scary looking fearwad and am dealing with them as I find them.

Somehow, I expected this to go faster. Silly me.

In the midst of my wrestling, I got to do a couple neat things this weekend. I had the pleasure of attending a lovely wedding and help a friend with moving stuff. All I really wanted to do was stay home in a corner sucking my metaphoric thumb and twitching, but I’ve learned that the best way to get out of my own crap is to do something for others. So I got up, dressed up and showed up.

After the lovely wedding, we headed for Inge’s. That’s the friend we were helping with moving. She’s amazing. She’s got more time in volunteering, community activism and social justice than I’ve been alive. She has health challenges, and this really neat wandering eye. She’s leaving her home of 18 years to move to the east coast, to live closer to her other kids and grandkids

She’s 75.


Isn't she delightful? So curious! So mischievous! So vibrant! She’s built a life here, and is giving it all up to do something else. Can you imagine? At that age? Packing it all in to go do something totally new and different? Hell, I’m having a hard time imagining it for myself and I’m only 45!

But she’s doing it. Her house sold at a good price (for this market) before it ever even got listed and she had 2 buyers standing by. Once she made the decision, she says, things just started falling into place. She’s very sad—grieving, even—for the life here that is ending. But she’s all sparkly and excited about the new life that’s about to begin. There was a book about love and dying on one of the boxes in the living room, which she enthusiastically recommended to me, saying, “Grieving comes from love, you know. We must risk the pain of loss to really love all the way down.”

I have at least two choices, here. I can look at her as a model, a way of helping me to comport myself in a similar fashion. Or, I can discount her entirely by drawing on specifics, like our lives are different, she doesn’t have the same issues I do, it’s easy for her, blah blah blah. That kinda crap. I have decided that, like her, I am not a victim of my chaotic existence but that I am an adventurer off to see what this next bit of my life is going to look like. I can make either option come true, depending on which one I choose to believe.

If Inge can do it, then I bloody well can, too.

This fine model may not help me find and detangle another fear; that’s my work in progress. But it does something equally valuable: it shows me that theses fearwads can be dealt with, and that there’s hope. Vast, boundless amounts of hope and the deep, fervent faith that if this is really what I’m supposed to be doing, doors I can’t even see yet will open to me right when I need them. That’s not to say that I’m operating under the assumption that I can sit on my ass and if the Universe wants me to go somewhere or do something that a magic carpet will arrive to whisk me off to my fate or destiny; it's up to me to take the steps that move me in my desired direction. It means that I’m abiding by a Muslim truth: Trust God and tie up your camel.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Suck By Association?

Emotional weather forecast for today: anxious and uncertain with patches of peace and tranquility. Internal squalls of debate and doubt with breakthroughs of clarity. When in motion today, be wary of high turbulence in areas of low ceilings.

I’m making headway.

Last night, while moving through some more of this very interesting internal weather, I ran across something. It’s thirty years old and subtly influential. I found myself saying, “…and the last time I gave up everything I knew and moved, it sucked.”

Well, of course it sucked. I got married and left home young. Really young. Fifteen. Shortly after I got myself into some wedlock, I moved. At first, it was only halfway across the country, to Colorado where children in Halloween costumes were making snowmen. I was horrified, and cold. A year later, it was the rest of the way across, to Virginia. I was horrified for different reasons, and I was hot and overhumidified. I didn’t know anyone, I’d never lived anywhere but California, all my family and my familiar stuff was gone, gone gone. That hellish phase lasted for two years. I’d never had to move in the world as an adult before, and I had not one iota of a thought about a clue about anything in life. I was miserable.

I didn’t realize I was still operating within that vintage misery, until I heard myself say the thing about last time and the suckage.

Sure, it sucked. I was basically a smartass teenager, using marriage in order to run away from what I didn’t like at home. I had no idea how to be in the world. I learned a lot about how I didn’t want to be in the world.

The similarity this situation bears to “the first time I did this” is actually minimal. I’m moving. That’s about it. I’m thirty years away from being a smartass teen. I’m not running from anything; I’m moving myself steadily, consciously towards something that matters a great deal to me. I have something of a feel for how the world moves, now, and a much better idea about how I desire to move through it. I’m not the same person I was then. The situation’s not the same. I’m leaving my home base to go somewhere else: that’s really where the resemblance between then and now ends.

And yet, I still have it in my head that “the last time I did this, it sucked.” That doesn’t make a lot of sense, really, considering that what I’m about to do (make conscious changes in order to pursue my dreams) is not what I did thirty years ago. There is no “last time I did this” because I’ve not previously done it. But damned if my saboteur isn’t trying to tell me it’s the same.

It isn’t. There’s a big difference between escape and adventure. Last time: escape. This time: adventure. It is not going to be all suck. There will be some suck, as it is moving, and moving, in general, sucks. But default suckage by association? Nah. That, I can leave behind.