December 18, 2008

hanging in the balance

i read this comic today, and was immediately struck by how simply it conveys a societal tendency that catches us all up. how do we equate the unknown with danger when often, it is the familiar that hurts us? if i took a poll... though surely, the desire for the familiar is clearly beneficial in many senses - healthy patterns like diets, bedtimes, grooming, friendships, communities. it's simply not universally applicable. (agents of the search for the universally applicable continue on, disappointed but stoic.)

the mystery of the unknown can also be attractive. but that needs to be our choice, to investigate or be open to the unknown. as a statement of freedom, independence, choice, stepping into the unknown is amazing. being hucked into the black hole of who-knows-what by circumstances beyond our own powers is often a little rougher to swallow than a "ooo, i'll take door #3, please" situation.

the love affair with the familiar. the romance with the unknown. the inevitable chaos of the future, rolling invisibly toward us.

an old roommate told me matter-of-factly once that when it's happening to someone else, it's a soap opera. but when it's happening to you: "it's my life!!" ah yes, yogi. for each of us, it is of vital importance, to the highest standards, the immediate circumstances of this one life.

how do we deal with the moments when it seems so hard to keep living? when the blackness is threatening to swallow us whole, when we must flee but there is nowhere left to go? when we check in with our hearts and the reply is a cryptic "wait". when the suspense is killing us.

may we learn to forgive ourselves. over and over and over again. seek new ways the universe is friendly. remember how often we've assumed the worst and it turned out to be something simple. and if we aren't big risk-takers, take small risks instead. so often, i reach out and the other person says "i was hoping you would. i myself was too scared."

December 16, 2008

love yourself justly

calling sadness. alienation, anxiety, loss, listlessness. can we be gentle? can we laugh? can we explore in softness, can we support common independent forays into our selves, our needs and feelings? can we, like zorba, give the last laugh to our hearts?

if we're going to be alone, each of us, can we play with reflection? can we form language, expand upon it, use it to convey our deepest fears and wants... oh yes we can.

i've had a magnet on a fridge in my home for a number of years. i have no memory of its original publication. it says "the situationists maintained that ordinary people have all the tools they need for revolution. the only thing missing is a perceptual shift - a tantalizing glimpse of a new way of being - that suddenly brings everything into focus."

every day brings another tantalizing glimpse.

December 14, 2008

stomach sings the blues

examining the misery. what are some of the premises my sadness rests in, and are those valid? one of the things i noticed yesterday in a conversation with a warm spirit is my degree of upset with the 'positivity at any cost' attitude. when i hear "just focus on the positive, and the negative will dissipate," i respond with "oh, you mean denial?" i feel very strongly, for example, that even as we learn how to live in harmony with a living planet, it's important to grieve the species we lost along the way; the price of our education.

but there's a difference between being present with my emotions and dwelling on them. i know that since sadness is how i got to my needs initially (how i noticed there was something out of balance), my default attitude is to trust sadness more than happiness. sadness has proven to be of value. which is different than awarding it 'cure-all' status.

i wonder what gifts happiness could offer me. in a story i wrote, what would happen to my character? she would come full circle while continuing to rock the spiral. she would learn to appreciate what she has while benefiting from her efforts toward service and personal development. she would grow up. the broken social scene lyrics come through: "you know it's time that we grow old and do some shit." she would grow old and do some shit. and she would have a buddy. but she would need to shift her emotional settings to accommodate the happiness.

i wonder what that would look like?

December 5, 2008

darkness and co.

new news, more news, old news.

our lovely household is facing a shuffle in roommates. while we currently have the most amazing coalition of folks, one of our fold is leaving for a 'house in the country'. the garden and the solitude will feed his peaceful soul. meanwhile, a yogic healer with nerdy tendencies is moving in to the orange room. i have lived with this character before. consciousness is brought to the most insignificant actions. i look forward to it.

i have also begun a job this week, after a month of unemployment. i'm enjoying the pace, and have been able to work from home for a few days this week. the job has scored well on three of my job standards (money, geography and people), and neutral on the fourth (the change i want to see in the world). it's hard for a web development company to really echo my values, although i suppose they could be a little closer. but then they wouldn't necessarily be the same people, and i like these people.

this seems like a boring entry, but winter has hit, and i dutifully record the occurrence. today it's freezing rain. yesterday i was out for five minutes and my hands were painfully numb. i'm not sure how they can be both numb and in pain, but it is possible. the increasing darkness is also afoot. ah well, two or three months and then i can breathe freely again. meanwhile, huddle under the full-spectrum bulb. last week i was doing so well with the approaching winter. plans to go snowshoeing, deep breaths into the cold... now i'm all "man the hot chocolate machine!" and grumpy bunny slippers. ah well.

been reading philosophy or poetry in the mornings (though this morning i forgot and read about heinous crimes and terrorism in the guardian while i drank coffee). trying to let that part of my brain breathe. mostly it's been a zen book, though occasionally some rilke. it's nice. i read about some guy in the atlantic monthly or maybe the walrus who maintains this practice and attributes his happiness in part to that. i don't know about that; it seems to be the rule that people don't really know why we're happy, and don't even continue to identify with what makes us happy from one moment to the next. i find that amusing, who knows why.