Kindred ripples

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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Do you ever have bolts of recognition with people you meet? That indefinable feeling that you have come across a kindred spirit, that you are resonating on the same frequency, so that you kind of ripple together like a pond? I have. And then tonight, again, I just watched one, on the television, writer and essayist Barbara Blackman whose thirst for knowledge, truth, reality echoes my own. I am tempted to say that if I can have the rich life she has had then I will be happy ... but really, in some ways, very strangely, I feel like I am already there. Not on the outside, but on the inside.

How strange when something punches you in the gut, when it feels like there is something important going on here for you, something to follow and see where it leads, and you don't know why. You're left wondering, "What is the significance here? Why has this affected me so?"

Feels like Christmas when that happens :) Christmas in Wonderland.

I was bored out of my skull before, stressing like a banshee. Now, suddenly, I feel safely centred in the present once again. In the now. Right now. Nowhere else. Noice :)
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.

~Thomas Merton

My inspirational blog bud Jennifer has made herself a paper link chain of the things she has to do that she wants to accomplish. I think I might take up her lead, actually. It can be something I can hang from the roof of the playroom, along with the couple of masks I saw at The Warehouse the other day, blank theatrical masks waiting to be painted I have no idea what. I don't even know why they are attracting me, but they've stuck in my head ever since I saw them, and I can see them hanging from the roof, so why not?

I love what Jennifer talks about on her post, the chiselling away of the things that we don't really want or need to do to make way for the things that we really do. If we don't get down to the things that we really need to do (and they can be hidden, and we can automatically say no to them when we uncover them), then we will be wasting our lives and the world will be poorer for it, and we will always feel like there is something off kilter and we are sitting somewhere outside of our own bodies. We are. I have had a fair bit of experience of smallifying my life in the desert of CFS Land, when I basically had to pare back my life to almost nothing. Turns out there was a vast amount of stuff I learnt in there, about what I want to do with my life, about how a few well-selected items in a life can be more beautiful than a life that is chaotically overflowing in all directions (although oh, for chaotically overflowing days, full of riot and colour, too. They are also needed). But having your life pared back makes you realise how little you can live with, how noisy and squalid the world in the West has become with our oodles and oodles of stuff and diversions. We don't need three quarters of them.

I am baking myself a potato in the oven for breakfast. To be smothered with sour cream and coleslaw. It smells good. Today, if all goes to plan, I am going to make vegetable soup (yum yum) and go and catch a movie with Jane at The Sun, a cool little art deco movie house in Yarraville that has correspondingly lumpy art deco seats, but which is somehow more charming than the local Sunshine Village Megaplex (although put me in the Gold Class section and we might be onto something). But really, give me music, friends, creativity and nature. That'll do me, Jack.

Having my life stripped away has made me appreciate the smallest of things, the less is more ethos. Yet looking around me, to say that I have little is laughable. I am blessed beyond belief. Absolutely totally blessed.

One thing I do want to add to my own paper link chain is to join an organisation to help people who are ill. I know what it's like to suffer through your days. I'd like to give something back, take the focus off me me me me me and help someone else out in the process :)

And so it goes

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Friday, 28 March 2008

And so it goes
we are taught to
mistrust our own bodies
yet
the kingdom of heaven
is within them
so
we trust neither
ourselves nor god in us 'n
think that self-despising
is humbling ourselves
when really
it is just
humili
ation

Awwww

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I feel good today, even though I feel a bit ill. I got up and went to uni only to find that classes weren't on. So that was a bit of a waste of time, really, that I could have better spent staying in bed catching up on the sleep I've been missing recently.

Today is a day to be frivolous, particularly because I am focussing too hard on trying to do today well. It's the first day of my weekend, I've got creative stuff I want to catch up on and housework and friends and parents to see and yada yada yada and I'm focussing too intently on it all and so therefore, after I come back from the back cracker, I'm gonna sit me outside in the sun and read a novel. It feels counter-intuitive. But I'm knowing myself enough to know that often the times when I'm most intent on stressedly getting stuff done is actually a weird manifestation of the fact that I haven't been indulging my creativity enough. And I haven't. How strange. What mixed up strands of blobby stuff go on inside of us. Feels so messy and so unfixable and unredeemable. But only from this side of the court.

Frivolous. Tastes good :) Dispels the anxiety voices clamouring for me to treat my life like it's an Excel spreadsheet. Might write me some poetry, even. The ultimate frivolousness. Anything to shut those goddamned bloody voices up *grrrr*


Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics
Suddenly it's winter here ... well, just about. Well, not Winter Winter with snow and minus temperatures. People go on about how cold Melbourne is but really, compared to Siberia our Winters are a piece of urine. Still. Last night I wore pyjamas and socks to bed. The heater has been fired up. I am hopefully going to make a batch of veggie soup tonight if I can muster up the energy after a day of workish boredom. It's time for umbrellas (it's raining again) and coats and all of that stuff is nice and cosy (and a football team that is sitting on top of the ladder after round 1 and looks like some kind of amazing oiled machine), but I know it won't be long before I begin to pine for barefoot weather and dry heat. But in its time. It will swing back again.

I am feeling so much better. I have walked around for the past few days feeling content with feeling low-level crap because compared to Monday I feel great. Last night on the train home I stared out the window at the sunset and caught my reflection in the window, a goofy smile on my face.

After a few days of low-level crap, though, I'll start getting discontented with that and want more. The memory of Monday will fade and I'll be left with the memory of the day before. But really, when I look at all the bad health I've had over the past 10 years, the way I'm feeling at the moment is pretty easy to deal with. There's no doubt I'm on the upward trajectory; I just need to keep reminding myself of that 'cause every time I slip back my perspective buggers off.

I was thinking yesterday, if in some future age we shall be living in a time of golden light but no bad stuff - no death, no sickness, no causes of tears - then how shall the momentum be kept up? How shall we go on enjoying everything without getting bored? What would happen if constant joy became tedious?

Then I thought ... we have no idea what it's going to be like. Presumably we would be experiencing life in more dimensions than we do right now. And God, also (or maybe they're the same things). Those two things in themselves ... what do we have to compare them to? How do you envisage dimensions that you don't know what they are, and elements of God you haven't experienced? (Well, maybe the second is easier than the first, in some ways, if you compare the minutest touchings of God in this life, the whispers so subtle you can wonder whether they are you or God, the things that s/he has made, that gentle voice ... bring more on, whenever you like, Starfield God Dude).

A future of more God and more dimensions, a future of learning and continual growth (not the unimaginative sitting around on clouds in heaven crap but someplace amazing, someplace that takes all the best elements of learning and growth here and amplifies them out beyond belief. Someplace that makes the best music we have hear sound like a baby beating a plastic xylophone). It's a tantalising prospect to envisage ... and knowing that I'm nowhere near the mark is tantalising in itself. Like trying to work out what the amazingly wrapped Christmas present is that I'm not allowed to open yet. It adds rock-on edges to boring moments. The thought of how we could be ongoingly happy with no dark to define the light makes me think that the light is going to be very amazing indeed.

Medicalised mysticism

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Perhaps why I identify with Francis of Assisi so ;) Hehe (HT to The Website of Unknowing):

Straightjacket Needed in Assisi

I think sanity and insanity are fluid constructs, and maybe we all flow regularly in and out of each state. All of us.

But maybe God's holy fools need these days to be prepared to go to a psychiatric institution rather than to prison :)
Last night, Lester stood barking out the open door, into the dark at nothing, seemingly. So I told him off. Turns out he was saying his piece to the great sky monster before it came too close. Then it came closer, rushing through the city in a great swathe that stretched from the north all the way down to the Bay (I checked. I love the Bureau of Meteorology website ;)

The great bucketfuls were so loud on my flat roof that I couldn't hear the radio playing and couldn't walk anywhere without a shivering dog at my feet. As the rain fell, the intense pressure I'd been feeling in my body began to ease. It was like an outward manifestation of the inward relaxation that had happened when I had sat down earlier at my computer to write I knew not what, and the words came, and they relaxed me, and I felt his pleasure. And I swapped, for the 388 millionth time, expectations for expectancy and relaxed into the moment to find God there. Again. Enough.

The rain stopped and the great sky monster brought out his party tricks, throwing his beautiful bolts through the sky, lighting up into the black that wonderful sensuous blue. Sending his great shards of crackling sound through the air. Releasing further the pressure in my body that had threatened to pop it earlier in the afternoon. It's something to do with barometric pressure. Ever since I have been sick, it's been really bad. Some days it can send me to the couch in a raging frenzy of anxiety and tension, sending all my internal dials buzzing backwards and forwards. When I'm already unwell, it's just too much. And so the relief when the storm hit was palpable. With the change in the air, the balloon deflated back down to garden variety crappy, feelings I was able to put aside in such rarified air that can only come with a storm, the sun, a waterfall, or standing on the side of a mountain.

Poor Lester didn't fare so well. I got up with renewed energy and began cooking myself dinner at 9.30 pm. Lester, however, cowed by the overhead shenanigans of the great sky monster, cowered at my feet, all 40 kilos of him, trying to stuff himself into the open cupboard in some kind of frantic effort to get away from it all.

I mourned with him for a while. Poor darling, he does have such a hard time of it. But selfishly, I hope that when the next great storm hits he is at his Dad's place so that I can rejoice with myself rejoicing, instead of mourning with a dog who just doesn't understand that the great sky monster is just having a bit of fun and ain't gonna do him no wrong.

The storm passed, as they always do. I felt cosy, all of a sudden, cooking myself up some good nosh, feeling the exhilaration of feeling slightly unwell. In comparison to how I felt earlier, it felt like magic. Always our moments are defined by the ones that have gone before. Light and dark mixed together, redeeming each other.

The radio was able to be heard once again after the sky monster moved on. Phillip Adams got talking on Late Night Live about his usual interesting subjects and I felt that cosy, comforting, inside feeling of the cooler months. Phillip discussed melancholia, and the place of sadness in our lives, and whether we are too quick to medicalise melancholia, that there is a place in the world for all sorts, that go-getting extroversion might be the only way to be in a culture that expects 24/7 productivity, but that we are much, much more than our small, small culture.

Nothing like a bit of philosophical pondering to redeem a day that was totally shot to hell several hours earlier. Yesterday ran the gamut of emotions, more than usual. I may be a positive melancholic, I have decided, after listening to LNL. I don't know if there is such a thing. I do know that there is certainly a place for it in our world, the world that God inhabits, in dark and alien places. Sometimes, when I ponder that, I get so Zen and calm I couldn't reach out and touch the edges of the moment even if I tried.

Drinking the cup ...

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Monday, 24 March 2008

... of suffering is never something I covet, but within it, at some point, I come slamming up against the presence of God.

"You're here?" I say, bewildered (it always seems surprising to find him here, even though he was here last time I bothered looking into the dark). "But it's so dark here."

"Yes," He smiles. "But if you go down to the depths, you will find me there. I am an all-terrain vehicle."

Then suddenly it doesn't matter where I am, because I realise, again, that he is here. He has always been here, but as surely as I knew it yesterday I have forgotten it today riding the rollercoaster of anxiety. (As far as I can tell, he even rides here. I'm generally too busy hanging on to turn around to see where He is, unfortunately. Maybe next time ...)

I look at him beeseechingly.

"How many more times will I have to keep going through days like this forgetting you, and finding you again?"

He looks at me with compassion.

"That is not for you to concern yourself with or to control. I am everytime, but for you, I am nowhere but now. Today is the day. Be here now."

He reaches over and kisses the top of my head.
I am feeling quite unwell and quite anxious at the same time. A dastardly, fragmented combination. This place of racing anxiety is caused by ill health. Ill health is hell. I remember this terrain so well from CFS land. Paradoxically, on top of the racing anxiety, there is this almost manic happy feeling going on in my body at the very same time that I am aching, with sinusey head feelings making me feel like my head is about four inches taller than it is, while at the same time like it's being squashed into some insidious mammogram machine. It's not entirely unpleasaurable, the manic feeling. But it's fake energy.

I am, I hate to admit, a writer of the type Helen Garner mentions below:

Writers seem to me to be people who need to retire from social life and do a lot of thinking about what happened - almost to calm themselves.

Perhaps I am not ill at all but am simply an insane writer. God knows there've been a few of those. But really, I don't think I'm insane, at least not today. I suspect it's hormonal imbalance, thyroid fucked-upedness, immune system overload, a healing crisis from the stuff I am taking, maybe a fighting off of a flu bug. But really, I don't know really what is causing me to feel like I am in a giant washing machine, spinning around in this whirligig of strange, adrenally-fatigued anxiety.

I don't know. I might get that tattooed on my forehead, preach it to myself a thousand times a day like a mantra. Saying "I don't know" is like a release of a bolt that I didn't realise was screwed on too tight.

I have given mental assent to the unpleasant understanding that I need to climb back on the carousel of the medical profession, at least for a couple of turns. It's time to try to fit yet more pieces of the puzzle together so that I can experience more consistently the good health that has flitted itself in and out of my life, flirting like a lover, over the past few years. I will pursue it down whatever roads it wants me to chase it. It's worth it. It feels better than any drug to be able to dance through the day in your own body, careless of yourself.

I was about to have a shower before when I noticed an insect of indeterminate stock beating futilely against the frosted glass of the bathroom window. It could see the light, was trying to get to it, but there was something in its way. It kept trying. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, was the insect of indeterminate stock insane?

I took pity on it. Took a piece of folded up toilet paper and stood, imploring it to climb onto the toilet paper so I could take it outside. It was quite beautiful, when I looked at it. I have never seen one like it before. The pattern that stretched all the way from head to toe aroused a memory of someone's wallpaper. Green and cream wallpaper with a tiny fleck of yellow. Someone's hallway that I spent enough time traversing in my childhood that it's filed itself in my visual memory. The insect climbed rather daintily onto the piece of folded up toilet paper with yellow legs.

I took it outside and it flew. I felt a flutter of jealousy at the way the insect of indeterminate stock got to look like green and cream and yellow wallpaper and also to fly off. I wanted to fly off too.

What does the life of the insect of indeterminate stock count for? However long its life is - where does it go? Does even its apparently rather pointless life get filed in God's giant filing cabinet? Does it need to? Does it need to go anywhere? Does it need to all matter beyond what it is right here, right now? Am I displaying the ridiculous thoughts of one has the blood flowing in my veins of a Family that has always wanted to know too much?

Human existence is neither perfectly consistent (as rational and control-needy people usually demand it be), nor is it incoherent chaos (what cynics, agnostics, and unaware people expect it to be); instead, human life has a cruciform pattern. It is a "coincidence of opposites" (St. Bonaventure), a collision of cross-purposes; we are all filled with contradictions needing to be reconciled.

The price that we pay for holding together these opposites is always some form of crucifixion. Jesus himself was crucified between a good thief and a bad thief, hanging between heaven and earth, holding on to both his humanity and his divinity, a male body with a feminine soul, expelled as the problem by both religion and state. Yet he rejected none of these, but "reconciled all things to himself" (Eph. 2:10).

Christians call this pattern "the paschal mystery"; true life comes only through journeys of death and rebirth wherein we learn who God is for us. Letting go is the nature of all true spirituality and transformation, summed up in the mythic phrase: "Christ is dying. Christ is risen. Christ will ever come again."
Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs

Blow me down with bird fur if I haven't finally given in, again, to the letting go of expectations and the giving in to expectancy. Feeling life as it is right now fly in, feeling like childhood, and settle down into my gut, patting down the fluttering of anxiety, of expectations. Letting go of holding onto myself too tightly. Now, if I can only do it a bit more consistently, perhaps I will lose the self-absorption that causes me to begin so many of my paragraphs with "I" (look at them all) and lose myself to life (it's just hard to do that when your head's pounding).

Thanks for listening to my blathering pointlessnesses this evening (except for that above Rohrianism; they're never pointless nor blathering). Writing it has calmed me down, somewhat. I'm so glad I picked up Richard Rohr (or his book. Personally, I feel too weak to lift Richard myself today) .

Prayers Pliz ...

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... would be good.

I'm in the land of Stressing the Absolute Shit out of Myself. It comes with the territory of the Land of Returned Golfball Neck. It comes with the territory of still not having great health after 10 fricking years of shithouse health (excuse my Tourette's but I'm just fed up today). It comes with the territory of having to have my mother or my ex-husband help me yet again to pay my rent because I'm still a limpet on the sole of society's foot.

When do I get good health? Never? Is this what I get to put up with for the rest of my life? 'Cause if so, Papa, it stinks. I'd rather not have the two weeks of feeling fine if I have to put up with the returns back to dragging my feet through bloody well everything. I'm just fighting off the flu or a bug and I'll be feeling good in a week or so? Well, tell that to my rational mind because I have been inoculated against being able to deal calmly with a week of feeling yuk by the preceding 10 years. So I'm being a two year old throwing a tantrum? Yeah, I am. And yeah, I'm shaking my fist, too. I'm sure you're big enough to deal with it.

Off to search for God. I think I lost him somewhere under the piles of stress ...

He is here; he is risen

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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Okay. Maybe that title is the biggest paradox of all. "He is not here; he is risen" the angel said. "He is not here; he is risen; but he is here" we say.

Watching an interview with Paul Young, author of The Shack and I just love these words:

If you think you can do this [perform well, have a shiny life, embrace the rules of The Law in such a way that you can accomplish them - even in a New Covenant way, with the help of the Holy Spirit] - I've got a book for you: 1,342 Steps to Holiness. I guarantee you, at step number 2 you'll be dead ... when it comes to God, the central issue is his character. Who is this god? When it comes to human beings, the central issue is identity: who are you? We have a theology that's told us that ... we are still stuck in a paradigm that identifies us as an old nature, and that we have a new nature now but these two are duking it out, and it's kind of, "What nature are you going to feed today?" But they don't tell us if the feeder is part of the old nature or part of the new nature. If it's part of the new nature, it's only going to feed the new nature, but if it's part of the old, maybe it gets confused. In that paradigm, which comes down to performance, you're always going to consider yourself fundamentally as the old nature. The issue is identity. Did anything really happen when Jesus Christ came to live inside of you, or is it just all positional and intellectual? Because if it's just positional and intellectual, I'm back working at this as hard as I can, just like I was before. But maybe, maybe, he came to dwell inside of this flesh, not to eradicate it but to heal it ... God is the only one inside of us who can unwrap this healing in such a way that it doesn't destroy us.
Maybe. Maybe :) His timing is way different to mine, I have to say, but still ... we get to rest. We don't have to perform to earn favour with God because we already have it. That seems to good to be true, doesn't it?

Living with him is constantly surprising. My paradigms keep getting altered. Just when I think I've got it pinned, things shift again a bit. It would have frustrated me once but now it just excites me :) He is mystery and paradox and not knowing and surprises and growth and healing and love and life. And it's so painful and it's all gonna be worth it folks. Paul wrote about that sort of thing on his blog today, how his heart has been dealing with the effects of the backlash that's currently going on against The Shack, and the ways his heart wanted to respond, the hurt that he felt, and what he sensed God was telling him. It's so hard for us to get free. Kent was talking about that a bit on his blog, too, about how hard it is for people to break out of their paradigms.

It's so good being openhearted and honest with each other about our stuff-ups. There is this constant propensity in us to try to shield ourselves and present a shiny face. I do it all the time and it shits me, to be honest. This dynamic of cover-up, it is constructed of bricks. But Jesus inside me keeps reassuring me that it's okay, I can be myself, that he's tearing down the walls, just in his own time. Sometimes I forget that I'm not the one in charge of my own stuff. How easily that thought rises up. Jesus brings me back to greater honesty and greater rest. He is still my favourite loser, falling for the entire human race.

I've had such cool fellowship this morning, across the ether, with you blog buds. Thank you :) It's helped take the focus off my slight frustration that this morning I woke up feeling a tad more golfball neck than when I went to bed.

He's not here; he is risen

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Saturday, 22 March 2008

"The angel spoke to the women: 'There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed'."

(Matt 28:5-6)


The chicks. The chicks were the first there and the first to believe. Of course they were ;)

Tonight, the whole earth feels to me as mysterious and pregnant
as it must have felt when the Spirit brooded over the waters. I am having my own little mini resurrection, a tiny pinprick in comparison, a return from almost a week of lethargy and struggle back to the beginnings of feelings of health and wellness, bubbling excitement, the golfball neck receding, a drawing done, some shopping done, a salad tossed, the colours noted, how the greens and purples of the lettuce looked so nice against the green of the avocado and the yellow of the cheese. Instead of the bread or fish fingers I've been eating, too lethargic to have anything more, being bloated by the wheat.

It's always the way. When I'm feeling under the weather and I need as much nourishment as I can, I am much more likely to eat crappier stuff because I don't have the energy to do for myself what I need to do. When I am feeling good, I eat so well sometimes it blows my mind (and my body). To he who has, more will be given.

Poor Lester didn't understand why I didn't walk him for two days. Stood at the door last night at the appointed walk time looking at me queryingly. I said no, irritatedly, my guilt at being unable to explain to him why I couldn't walk him notching my voice up higher than intended. Tonight all was forgiven as we walked the streets of ugly Braybrook. The sun was going down, sitting lower in the sky now it is March and we are Autumnal, the golden light hugging his coat, bringing out the red tones, soaking into my skin and making the mundanities of Braybrook look like some kind of Arcadia, if that were possible. (It is, to the many Africans who live here. And it is to me, too. Arcadia can live even in Braybrook. And Braybrook is Arcadia to those who live in Calcutta).

The setting sun's rays permeated everything so I felt like I was walking through God him/herself. The beauty had a touch of melancholy attached to it for a seasonally affectively disordered girl who has but one season between her and her Winter nemesis. It made me ponder how Easter would feel if I was walking my dog in the colds of September into a budding Spring and pondering the resurrection of Christ, how much more appropriate that would be (and it reminded me of you dudes who are experiencing just that right now :) But still, the melancholy didn't dispel one iota of the beauty of the light, the lovely feeling of endorphins pumping through my body as I pumped my legs along the footpath, of Christ in me, the hope of glory. Melancholy and joy all mixed up together. They end up coexisting quite beautifully within me. Paradox.

I went barefoot all afternoon today, from my visit to the supermarket to our walk through the streets, careless of how it looks when a 37 year old woman goes barefoot in public. I don't care. I just want to savour as much as I can the drawing in of the season when my feet can be in contact with the ground without having to have layers of material inbetween. Walking barefoot is a celebration for me, as strange as that sounds. Every step on the ground, shoeless in a world of paving, shouts freedom. It may make me look like a skanky ho, but I simply don't care.

Last night, the ABC television news reported, as I knew it would, an insipid item about Easter, and showed various Anglican cathedral shots (file tape from 2003 for all we know) and reported that this year's Easter messages were about reconciliation and renewal. Well, like, duh. I think you'll find that every year's Easter messages are about the same sort of thing, because the resurrection of Christ is one mystery that is so all-encompassing, so unfathomable to its depths, that we don't need to cast a new spin on it. We just need to keep revisiting it.

The newsreader also reported about Christ's resurrection, which, as far as I remember, doesn't happen until tomorrow. But then, they don't want to talk much about his death, the big D word. The earth is terrified to death of death. And it's slightly embarrassed about this anachronism that comes the first full moon after the equinox each year. The world feels uncomfortable about this.

They're terrified because they think that death is the end. But everything about life screams that death is only the beginning. An empty tomb from 2000 years ago screams loudest of all. If you've got the guts to believe such ridiculous fairy stories, so simple that even a child can believe it :) If you do, then your life will scream second loudest of all, confirmation of the first, without your even trying. Regardless of how many grave clothes you wear.

Happy Easter everyone. There is nothing to fear here [but we still do]. He is risen [but so will we].
Jesus' clear criterion for one who speaks with authority is simply one who has gone through the belly of the whale experience, or what he calls the "sign of Jonah," the "only" sign he will give. Neither membership in any group ("a throne") nor correct verbiage ("Lord, Lord") is what gives you authority in Jesus' understanding, but those who "drink the cup that I must drink and are baptized with the baptism with which I must be baptized" (Mark 10:39). This is "the true authority of those who have suffered" and come through the cleansing bath transformed.

Jesus reaches this shocking and scandalous conclusion because his starting place is quite different. He does not begin with any preoccupation with human sinfulness or the weighing of worthiness or unworthiness (that is the preoccupation of the ego). In fact, he just assumes that we are all "sick and in need of a physician". As he puts it, "I did not come to call the virtuous" (Mark 2:17). Jesus' starting place is human suffering instead of human sinfulness. How else can you explain his fulltime ministry of healing, exorcism, affirmation of the excluded ones, and the alleviation of human distress and humiliation? He is not naive about sin, but just recognizes that human sinfulness, "hardness of heart," is much more a symptom than a cause. Sin largely reveals the problem and he uses it for diagnostic purposes not for condemnation or exclusion. Sin, for Jesus, is not a set of purity codes or debt codes - which he goes out of his way to flaunt - but inner attitudes which blind and bind us inside of ourselves, and away from communion and mercy.

It is not moral unworthiness that keeps people from God, but moral righteousness and self-sufficiency. It is that simple recognition, which is almost his constant message, that makes Jesus the ultimate, perennial, and radical reformer of religion. And why religious people oppose him. It makes one wonder if such a foundational critique can ever fashion itself into a proper religion at all. I agree with Simone Weil who said that the problem with Christianity is that it insists on seeing itself as a separate religion, instead of a healing message for all religions. I am afraid that is what will always emerge when you have religion without spirituality, or pious practices without inner experience. The very best thing will then become the very worst thing, and the only way through is to be awakened and astonished by a divine love that is of an utterly new dimension.

Richard Rohr, 'Awakened and Astonished', Radical Grace

Heartbreakthrough

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Friday, 21 March 2008

I hope some day I get there fiction writing-wise:

The freedom to create is a fruit of personal growth and evolution. In the creative life cycle we pass through at least three stages: innocence (or discovery), experience (or the fall), and integration (or rejuvenation or mastery). Birth, blockage, and breakthrough. This passage is not, of course, a single and straight line; developmental phases are complexly shifting and interlooping throughout our lives.

In our original state of innocence, creativity evolved out of the child's primary creative experience of disappearing - pure absorption in free play. But eventually we experience life's battles, the long list of evils that seem to come intrinsically woven into our existence on earth, as well as the internal impedimenta of fear and judgment. Sometimes before we can reach a breakthrough to clarity we live through a dark night of the soul ... Sometimes we are able to transcend innocence-and-experience and achieve a renewed innocence. The mature artist comes back around, spiral fashion, to a state that resembles child's play [oh, I thirst, I thirst], but which has been seasoned by the terrors and trials it took to get there. At the end of the journey "costing not less than everything," writes T.S. Eliot,

We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art - Stephen Nachmanovitch

Today, with golfball neck, fighting off the latest bug that's closing off the world to me, making it small, as small as the couch (oh, Keanu), ending whatever ideas I had about what I was going to do today or this evening, today I just want to live whatever today is. Today I want to get through the day with the least amount of self-conscious awareness, the incessant Satanic drone of "What am I doing today? What am I doing today?", trying to write the script in the middle of it. I want to ride the bike instead of trying to build it (it's already there). I want to ride out today even if it's grey and embracing its greyness (oh, death).

So this is what it comes down to. Trust or no trust. Love or fear. Do I trust God enough to lay down my life, to lose it so I can gain it? Well, yes. At times. But then I pick it up again out of habit - such well-worn ruts - or fear. Fear sometimes because I know he is the god of all comfort but not the god of my comfort zone. He will invite me to go places I don't want to, internally or externally. He'll ask impossibilities of me.

But not today. Today it is impossible to do what I will be able to do on Sunday or Monday. Today has its own shape. But on Sunday or Monday, even, maybe it will be too hard to do something he asks of me and I will go away into myself where it's safe. And then I'll get bored because it's an empty safe cave because all the fun toys - love, beauty, breath, creativity, fun, joy - are in God's cave. Including myself. I'm in there too but sometimes I forget and I think I live in this small cave. I have to lose my small cave to gain my Big Cave and sometimes I hate that so much I want to spit it out of my mouth and other times I love it so much I want to wrap myself up in it and go and give it to the world.

You gave it all to the world. You - You kinda sorta rock, you know that?

From little things big things grow ...

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Thursday, 20 March 2008

Jennifer linked today to the Dervaes family who began in the early 80s to set themselves up as self-sufficient on their standard house lot in the States. I've looked at one 'episode' of their vlog and it is fascinating stuff. I love what Jules Dervaes says here:

In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can - and will - overturn the corporate powers that be.

By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world ... we change ourselves!
I was talking earlier with someone about what seasoning our world and "bringing out the God colours" might look like. It's funny, but it seems we are in a world where the most radical acts are often the most simplest. Perhaps it's always been this way; however, it seems so much more pronounced in these globalised times.

I have been planning forever to grow some veggies for myself. Home grown organic produce is just a teensie bit cheaper than the expensive shop bought alternatives. I don't want to eat pesticided vegetables, and I don't want to eat veggies that have been grown outside of my own country. I want to eat what's in season that I have planted myself. It really doesn't take too much effort. The physical effort, if I choose my day and make sure it's one where I'm not fighting off the flu (again), it's so simple that I can't quite work out why I haven't done it earlier.

Probably apathy from all the veggies I've eaten with DDT on them ;)

The land of dreams

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This is the kind of thing I dream of having in my backyard to work in one day in the future, when I'm living in the Dandenongs. It's not exactly like this. But something like this. Made of cedar, of course. Have you ever smelled cut cedar? Its scent is so strong and raunchy it would either distract me totally from working or it would cause me to write 400 novels in a year.

Which would be good, because these things are 10 grand a pop, so I would be hoping to have already written a couple of best sellers to fund the damn thing.

Which seems completely, utterly, totally impossible - but this is my dream, right? And physically I'm feeling rather as flat as a French crepe this morning, fighting off another cold, so I may as well be dreaming big dreams (going on the idea that your immune system doesn't know the difference between real thoughts or remembrance of past experiences or daydreaming about the future, but the endorphins get released just the same).



While I'm here, I guess I'll have one of these installed as well. This is a dog kennel that Jennifer talks about on her blog. Which would just end up sitting there because my dog would never, ever deign to sleep outside :)

Seriously, some people have too much money if they're building stuff like this. (The kennel, I mean, not octagonal shaped enclosed gazebos, although they seem pretty frivolous too).




If I had 10 grand fall into my lap right now, I would go down the travel agent quick smart, book me a return ticket to France and Italy, before I could change my mind and plough it into less "frivolous" pursuits :)

When He Came

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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

by Dorothee Soelle (seen and swum in over at Barbara's)

Christmas sucks, my dudes, but oh, Easter. Easter. This is where it all is, hidden, like a treasure in a field.

I don't as they put it believe in god
but to him I cannot say no hard as I try
take a look at him in the garden
when his friends ran out on him
his face wet with fear
and with the spit of his enemies
him I have to believe

Him I can't bear to abandon
to the great disregard for life
to the monotonous passing of millions of years
to the moronic rhythm of work leisure and work
to the boredom we fail to dispel
in cars in beds in stores

That's how it is they say what do you want
uncertain and not uncritically
I subscribe to the other hypothesis
which is his story
that's not how it is he said for god is
and he staked his life on this claim

Thinking about it I find
one can't let him pay alone
for his hypothesis
so I believe him about
god
The way one believes another's laughter
his tears
or marriage or no for an answer
that's how you'll learn
to believe him about life
promised to all.
I could eat this book for lunch and still only need a light dinner. It speaks not only to creativity in the sense of creating art, but also of art in the sense of creating a life. A life spent creatively. It's yummy yummy in my tummy.

Young artists easily fall into the trap of confusing originality with newness. Originality does not mean being unlike the past or unlike the present; it means being the origin, acting out of your own center. Out of your spontaneous heart you may do something reminiscent of the very old, and it will be original because it will be yours. Under the spell of wanting to appear original, you may end up rejecting your first thoughts and dredging up something far out - not yourself. (If we try for the Tao, the koan goes, we move away from it.) Yet the first thoughts are the ones that, by definition, are the inspired ones. Just stay with the obvious and humdrum. Because you are the unique product of evolution, culture, environment, fate, and your own quirky history, what is obvious and humdrum to you is guaranteed to be thoroughly original. The great scientific, artistic, and spiritual discoveries generally involved some breathtaking piece of obviousness that everyone else had heretofore been too scared or too hidebound by conventional wisdom to see or imagine. Some unwieldy, overcomplicated thought structure, like the epicycles of mediaeval astronomy, comes crashing down to reveal a synthesis so simple "a child could have thought of it."

Paradoxically, the more you are yourself, the more universal your message. As you develop and individuate more deeply, you break through into deeper layers of the collective consciousness and the collective unconsciousness. There is no need to alter your voice in order to please others, and no need to alter it in order to differentiate yourself from others. Quality arises from, and is recognized by, resonance with inner truth. Hence the famous prayer of Socrates: "Beloved Pan and all ye other gods who haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward andinward man be one."
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art - Stephen Nachmanovitch

Confessional: I wish I could watch U2 videos without taking it into the bedroom of my mind. Yes, I do. Amen.


Less blogging more creative variety

15 comments

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Storyteller has just informed me that in 4 days I have posted 11 times. That is crazy, even for me! :)

I love this blog but I do use it sometimes as a way of avoiding being creative in other ways. Hopefully, you will see less of me over the next few days :)

See, to say that I'm hopefully not going to be blogging as much, I've just created my 12th blog post in 4 days. Where does it end?

In other news, it has been the hottest March on record here in Melbourne. Which is kinda cool for a heat lovin' chicky like me ... but still, 39 degrees is too hot by anyone's standards. Last night I woke at 2am and came and slept in the loungeroom on Keanu, in the airconditioning. I feel like total cactus. Bring on the cool change. Even I'm ready for it now.
Sometimes, when I find I haven't written a single sentence after scribbling whole pages, I collapse on my couch and lie there dazed, bogged in a swamp of despair, hating myself and blaming myself for this demented pride that makes me pout after a chimera. A quarter of an hour later, everything has changed; my heart is pounding with joy.
~ Gustave Flaubert


Yeah, I hear ya, Gussy baby. But hey, you should at least be glad you've scribbled whole pages of prose. You know what I do? I get these killer sentences that just appear to me out of the ether (this is why I can only work part-time; 'cause my damn subconscious is high-tracking 24 hours a day. I haven't got the strength to consciously work full time as well ;) The problem is that the sentences can be as killer as they want, because there they stay. I sit down and write them down on a piece of paper. If I'm lucky, a sentence or two will come along and attach itself to the first, but then after that? Constipation. Clamming up, as effectively as my subconscious has done these past few weeks in refusing to offer me remembrance of any of my dreams to write down to take to my art therapy session. Very frustrating. But everything in its time.

Writing blog posts are safe for me. I love writing here. I feel comfortable. I feel like this blog is a nice cosy lounge room, full of warm tones, with a fireplace and a whole bunch of cool people that kinda sashay in and hang around for a while and then sashay out again. It's really cool :)

But writing fiction? Well, because I want it so much, seems I'm determined to make it as difficult as I possibly can to reach it. As soon as I write down the killer sentence, the blocking monster comes along to shut me down. Why? I don't rightly know. Fear, of course. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of writing about people I know and alienating everyone, fear of being published and having to do it again, fear of never being published, fear of inadvertently revealing myself so that everyone can see except me how it is that this story here is totally autobiographical and about the deepest, ugliest part of myself that I never knew existed. Fear of exposure, I guess you'd call that one if you were going to say it in less words than I just have :)

Unwarranted fears? Maybe. But this creativity thing ... well, let's just say I am developing a healthy respect for it, for just how fucking hard it is to stay here in this open, magical world. As enchanting as it is, I sweat agoraphobia here, even though the air is sweet. But still, I also love it here. I went into my playroom before, sat down, put the lamp on, did a bit of colouring-in (my inner artist is 3, what can I say?) Today at my art therapy session, I discovered the joys of watercolor pencils (mmm, want me some of them). Not of course, as Maggie clamoured to assure me - she sees already my perfectionism and fear - that art therapy is about doing great art, as it is about using art as a therapeutic tool. I know, but gee, you know what? I'm so glad I decided to do this. Having no excuse not to play is great, and with such cool toys - she has clay there too, and when I heard that, something inside me had this wild urge to grab it and smear it over myself and eat it, so perhaps I might work with clay at some point, methinks ;)

She also clamoured to encourage me to speak as little about what goes on there as possible because this is new ground I am creating. I tend to agree. I kind of feel like I don't really have the words to explain what I am doing there yet anyway, but it is creating a safe place for myself. It feels much too personal and private and unformed to talk about yet. It's like a first draft of a new part of my life; not fit for human consumption.

As wanky as it might sound, giving myself permission to do even minor things like colouring-in and collages, playing, feels like a massive, massive, out-there, scary thing for me to do. The paradox is that when I am doing them, I can feel the part of me inside that is starving and thirsty just lapping it all up like a dog in the desert. Every time I return after a layoff of a day or two, it's like dipping my foot into a warm bath; it's feeling increasingly like returning back to a safe place. When I leave this place, it feels like the most dangerous place and I take elaborate, multifaceted steps to keep myself from entering back into it. Steps which involve a whole stack of energy and generally something unhealthy. Running into death to hide from life.

The artist's life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him - on the one hand the common human longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire ... There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire.

~ Carl Jung

I have sat stuck in the no-woman's land of unfulfilled creativity for so long that I can't bear to stay here a moment longer. And I can't bear to leave. I can't bear to go where my creativity is telling me to go, and I can't bear to not go. What a pretty pickle. I am so convinced that I always wish to choose life and never wish to choose death, but it seems that it's not quite so simple, after all.

Luckily, life smells so compelling and is so beautiful, keeps throwing little morsels along the path if I remember to keep my eyes open and not fall asleep, that it doesn't take long until curiosity gets the better of me and I want to follow on just that little bit further. This creativity thing, it is so intermeshed with God, like a piece of his/her robe. It captivates, woos me, calls me forward just an extra step more. Whispers that the space forward is one that fits me better in it than the space I'm in now. Doesn't flinch or hesitate or worry when I take an extra step back of disbelief or fear. Waits patiently for me to take another step forward. God is the ultimate lover.
At Mercy Not Sacrifice

Bloody sacrifice is in OUR heart….as proven by the history of human sacrifice. The Mayans, the Aztecs, the worshippers of Baal and Molech. The children of Israel sacrificed their own children in a sick, perverted ritual to Baal. The need for blood sacrifice…the need to appease an angry deity is in the heart of man…NOT the heart of God. God makes that declaration in many places throughout the OT. He did not desire sacrifice…nor did he require it and he says he abhors it. He did not feed a bigger, better sacrifice into the sacrificial machinery to end sacrifice once and for all. Blood sacrifice is the antithesis of what God desires from us.

Casts a provocative light on Jesus saying, "You must drink my blood and eat my flesh." Here you go, o violent peoples, drink the blood that puts an end to all of that.

Oh, communion. I haven't taken it for so long. Can't think of a better time to start again. Happy Easter.



You Act Like You Are 23 Years Old



You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.

You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.



You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.

The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

Imagine ...

4 comments

Sunday, 16 March 2008

... how much more honest the world would be if we could only communicate to each other in song lyrics? There are parts of me that feel like they can only be expressed through music. And I can't play any instruments. But still, I can sing - or at least, a passing resemblance to singing. And I did, yesterday, with Neil Diamond on the CD stacker. I have his Greatest Hits CD there that I pass over constantly over and over. I haven't played it ... well, I don't think I have played it ever, actually, since my ex-father-in-law asked me if I wanted it. But yesterday, gave it a burst, and boy did I dance around my lounge room? Yeah, I did. But then went quiet for Play Me. But gee, he had some good stuff. Solitary Man, September Morn, Cherry Cherry, Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon, Kentucky Woman. I must admit, I'm also a bit of a sucker for You Don't Bring Me Flowers. Just don't tell anyone.

Jane and I were talking last night about how a movie of Gandhi needs to be made that is less Hollywood-ised - that tells the story not only of his greatness but also of his less-than-perfect family life, and of an India where the people look and sound Indian instead of some bastardised English/New Zealand/Swahili/Botswanian thing (the South African ones were even worse), and where the poverty is represented truly instead of glossed around the edges for a people who weren't ready to see how the rest of the world lives. But then again, those things aside, the heart of the man was captured. Which is the only thing that matters, perhaps, or at least the best thing that matters. This quote was featured at the start of the movie:

"No man's life can be encompassed in one telling. There is no way to give each year its allotted weight, to include each event, each person who helped to shape a lifetime. What can be done is to be faithful in spirit to the record, and to try to find one's way to the heart of the man...."

Still, it would be good to see a movie about Gandhi made in India. Just as long as it's not a Bollywood version :) A dancing Gandhi musical probably wouldn't cut it :)

A dancing life musical though. That would be pretty cool. As long as it was a rock musical.


Edit: I think this disjointed post is actually about 3 separate ones. But you know, you can't always have jointed posts on a blog called Discombobula. And anyway, the transitions make sense to me - however, I suspect my brain works in rather strange ways :)

Richness

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I was thinking today about how St Francis left a life of riches to marry Lady Poverty. But growing up rich, he must have still felt rich in his soul. He must have still felt, even when he was poor, that he was the son of a rich man. I'm the daughter of the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. The Lord of the Starfields is my dad. I believe that a little bit.

Maybe when God says that we are rich and we have everything, if we let him pump that into us so that we start to believe it, then we will be able to be poor and have nothing and still feel like we are rich and have everything. The ultimate freedom. If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.

I wanna be careless for God. I wanna throw my life away on something grandly frivolous, something ridiculous in the eyes of the world. I wanna throw it all away for You because You have become more real to me than myself, the pearl of great price. I wanna lose my life for your sake. I wanna want it enough to have the courage to do it. That's what I want.
Sometimes I wonder if the issue isn't so much that there was only one Gandhi (although there was, that man in that time and place, and we are all totally unique, even while we're all quite the same).

Sometimes I think that the point is that we are all potentially Gandhi. And that's just a tiny bit more terrifying.

Oh, sure, I mean, we wouldn't all be doing things like leading entire countries to independence. But we would be putting ourselves on the line as much. Leaving our lives behind as much. Walking out in the future and what God calls to.

Because maybe we all have the potential.

'Cause maybe the potential doesn't lie within us so much as it lies in being envisioned and inspired by the One.

But that's all a bit scary so I'm going to bed now.

Crummy church sign

11 comments

Saturday, 15 March 2008

How to have a congregation full of Sybils with major mental illnesses.

"Trust me, climb in my lap and call me Abba. But if you don't bow down to my giant ego in the prescribed time, I'm gonna fry you forever."

Right. Sounds like child abuse to me by a writ-larger-than-life human.

Pass :)

Not, of course, that I don't think God is going to judge things. But I don't think it's going to be in a cold cold courtroom with someone who used to be our Father but who has now suddenly become institutionalised and whose laws and rules and regulations are larger than he is, and which cause him to have to move in prescribed ways.

I went back to bed and just woke up and now it's already lunchtime. Me and Jane have a date with Gandhi so I don't have time to write my usual Saturday morning rambling blog post. It'll have to wait till Sunday.

Still, happy Saturday, bloggers :)

Your one stop praying shop

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Friday, 14 March 2008

Seen over at The Wild Things of God. I could only get up to the bit where he's standing in the maze and I had to stop:

Christvertising

Edit: Seems this is a hoax. Which is kinda ironic I got caught out, especially seeing I've been doing a bit of Onion reading today. But I guess so much stuff in Christendom seems like a parody at the best of times that it's probably not that bad I got caught out :)

Teenage dirtbag

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I was just musing over on Honest Faith where Barry has a funny post about backward masking - you know, the hidden "Satanic" messages on albums by heathens like Iron Maiden and the like? It's quite amusing.

I was pondering in the comments about the backward masking on Uncanny X-Men's EP Salive One which, if you played it backwards on your turntable said "This needle is f#^@ing your record". Which I always found quite amusing, and I still do.

Uncanny X-Men. I loved Brian Mannix so much. I cried myself to sleep over him every night for over a year. I caught the train to Oak Park, went to his house, took home the hair from off his moulting dog. Took home some leaves that had fallen off his tree. Brian was a 24-year-old still living at home with Jack and Elga. Jack bemusedly was out in his garage. Elga had a sign in the front window saying, "Brian is in Adelaide". Presumably so 14 year olds didn't come knocking on the door asking where Brian was all the time.

So anyway, we knocked on the front door. She was so lovely :) We chatted with her about her adoring son. I even think from memory she gave us a signed photo - was that right, Andi?

We went to 3XY one night and sat out the front waiting for Brian. He was a regular on 3XY. They catered to the teen market, definitely. I still remember the smell of his leather jacket as I hurtled myself across Kings Way and into his arms. Poor thing. I could have killed him. (And myself). What a dick :)

Ahhh, teenage obsession. I wouldn't be 15 years old for all the tea in China, Ceylon and Pakistan put together. What a shit time that was :)

Anyway, this is all pure procrastination, putting off the reading I have to do for this afternoon's class, which is all about 'The performed life - critical approaches to life writing'. I have had somewhere in the vicinity of 5 or less hours' sleep, so I will either rabbit on at my usual pace or I will be a crumpled ball in the corner.
I would so have loved to dress my bubby in this and take them to child care. I feel like I would have been a despised pariah amongst my fellow mothers :)

http://store.theonion.com/this-daycare-is-a-fucking-joke-p-132.html

Breaking news

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Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

The Onion

Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

VATICAN CITY—The damage occurred when Pope Benedict XVI, who was on laundry duty, did not notice a brand new bright-red Hanes Beefy-T in the Holy Whirlpool washer.


Man Dies After Long And Painful Battle With Life

The Onion

Man Dies After Long And Painful Battle With Life

LEWISTOWN, MT-Gerald Carruthers, a retired insurance agent and father of three, died Monday at 77 following a long and painful battle with life.


I Say Live Life To The Fullest In Terms Of Yearly Income Set Against Monthly Expenditures

The Onion

I Say Live Life To The Fullest In Terms Of Yearly Income Set Against Monthly Expenditures

Each morning, I wake up with a smile on my face and a renewed sense of vigor, because this day is unlike any other, and it is full of potential....


Somebody Should Do Something About All the Problems

The Onion

Somebody Should Do Something About All the Problems

Why isn't anyone doing anything about all the problems? We're living in a time with super computers and underwater sea stations and million-dollar laboratories. And still, everyday when I watch the TV news shows I see all sorts of problems!

When I run I feel his pleasure ...

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Thursday, 13 March 2008

I believe that God made me for a purpose... for China. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure
~ Eric Liddell


I was thinking about this quote on the way home from work, gazing at the sunset out of the train's doors (so much thinking done on the train, and yet whenever I dream and I'm travelling, invariably it's on a bus). I was looking at the sunset and counting my blessings. Something about the sunset took me out of myself, as they do, and it drew me to anticipate with pleasure the small things coming up over the next few days. The hot and dry weather, just the way I like it, holding even within its heat a slight melancholy ache that it is March (I have, after all, already seen some leaves turning yellow on the tree on Andrea's front nature strip. I can't pretend it is not Autumn - and I don't want to, either. All of the seasons in their time. Winter will not kill me; it will only make me cry twice as much). I thought with pleasure of my uni class tomorrow, which I am enjoying immensely. Saturday, Jane and I hope to watch the DVD of the life of Gandhi, which arrived in my mailbox today. I also thought with pleasure of going into my playroom later on tonight, after I finish here, to do a bit of creative well dipping.

And so as the train flung itself toward Tottenham I thought how it is that when I write, I feel his pleasure. I don't imagine Eric Liddell was thinking in terms of Olympian glory when he spoke of feeling God's pleasure when he runs. I imagine there are countless people jogging all over the place right this second entirely unseen who understand that pleasure. And I feel it when I write. Even if I never publish a word my entire life, writing, being creative, opens me up to the easily forgotten reality of the musical hum that sings through my veins, through the air and through a sunset.

I am beginning to tire of my cynicism. Oh, it's not like I'm under any illusions I am going to be able to dispel it. It sinks too deeply, entwines itself into my bones and sinews like ivy onto an oak. I loves it :) But still. I'm tiring of the long night of gazing at the reality that surrounds us, of deconstructing and decompressing it, of realising that it is a construct, a tired, grey shawl we are given to wear as soon as we open our eyes squalling. I know all of this and I have known it for years. I love to criticise it - indeed, I think there is a place and a necessity for criticism of the monster - but lighting candles always remind me about darkness cursing. I want to light some candles. But I don't know what that looks like.

I was pondering this afternoon, how much does calling come into our steps to love the world? Is our response to a suffering world one of rushing out willy nilly so that chronic compassion fatigue sets in within 15 minutes of our debating how to pour ourselves out into the world? Perhaps it is a sign of ego to be wanting to do "big things" for God. We are, after all, called to our neighbour, who happens to be whoever comes across our path in need. This morning it was the smelly dude down on his luck for decades who was on his way to football training in some oval in Footscray. He crapped on for five stops and bored the hell out of me, but he had the bluest eyes, and anyway - breathing through your mouth isn't that hard.

Perhaps it's just another form of control, wanting to know the future and the role I have to play instead of just walking out into it. It's certainly not fear anymore that I will not "accomplish" enough for God by the end of my life to balance out the heaven/hell ledger.

Perhaps debating and abstracting about ways to be Christ to the world are simply a way of keeping the suffering world at bay. It's the world of programs. Design a program for the homeless, or the alcoholics, or the druggies, a way of one step sanitising the situation so that if you must sit with the despairing, at least it is under your terms and your framework. Christians have been good at that.

This is why I have this idealistic idea of being called, that to go to another and sit alongside their pottery scrapings only really makes a difference when you love them. A supernatural kind of love. A love that speaks to love, so that you can sit with the ugliest and see the beauty inside.

I look forward to watching Gandhi on the weekend and to be honest, I'm feeling a bit wary. I don't know where it will lead, watching something so subversive and inspiring. Gandhi might not have been a Christian on paper, but gee, his heart beat like this Man I know, where the light and dark of life meet. He inspires me with his sensual simplicity. He knew that hedonist living will empty us out quicker than a carcass on the side of the road. He has made us to feel his pleasure. I want to go where I feel his pleasure. Into the light and dark, into the mystic.

Send me.

Shit. I do persist in praying dangerous prayers. I prayed crack me open and now I can't stop crying. Oh well. Live dangerously :)

Can I write a blog title ...

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

... without using ellipses?

I don't think so.

Sorry. I'm going away now.

Is it so wrong ...

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... that I would like to smash James Blunt really hard against a wall until he explodes?

I don't think so.

One day I hope ...

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To lay in the grass here and tell these pansies (petunias?) about how I knew the photographer who captured their great, great grandparents for posterity.

Unless she's there too. Who knows?

How about you? What do you one day hope?

Travelling

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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Mocca is taking his girlfriend to Fiji for Easter. He felt really bad telling me, because we didn't go overseas when we were together. We didn't go anywhere much, really. But I got sick six months after we were married, so what can you do? It was a different time and a different place, anyway ... and a totally different man! Sheesh, some people, you break up with them and they bloom. It's enough to make a girl's ego split all over the floor :)

Just kidding, Mocca. Off you go; have fun. Even though you're gonna miss Round 1 of the football which is a goddamn disgrace. The you of 10 years ago would be totally, completely and utterly horrified ;)

I am feeling wistful right now, not because I'm jealous that Mocca and his squeeze are going to Fiji. Well, okay then, maybe I am a little bit. I think it's a combination too of seeing Lucy's jaunt in Paris this last week, also. Suddenly, tonight, I am feeling a little melancholy because I think I am fighting off the cold Jenny at work was snivelling into her tissue over today, and also because I never thought that I would get to 37 and have still never stepped foot outside of the country (nor be one-day-divorced, like a big dumb loser). Not once, ever. I had the opportunity this time last year but I was barely in a fit state to put one foot in front of the other without feeling terrified, let alone leave the country to travel.

Sigh. What if I never do? What if my life is just boring forever and ever, and then I die - the end? I think it's time to go to bed and read. Or go jump out of a plane. Or somethin'.

Sometimes, life is too painful. Even though it's so good and wonderful lately, it's still painful. Light and dark. Even though life is wonderful, I still cry at least once a day.

I know what it is. I don't need to go jump out of a plane (even though fun it would be). I need to park my arse in that playroom with the clean floor, light some candles, and do some writing. I haven't been doing much creatively the last few days, no meditating. And it shows. As soon as I start looking for something to amuse me outside of my own mind and heart and creativity, I know I'm not centred. The universe is contained in a pen, in a candle flame, and in my heart, as well as a grain of sand. But sometimes I don't wanna die to myself to walk back into it, even though it's as close as my own heartbeat. Sometimes I want it home delivered, and cost me nothing.

I just noticed it's 11 past 11 again. What does it mean?
May you be snogged greatly with his pastalike extremities, today and every day.

I love worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster but it irritates me that he, like so many gods, is represented only as male - look at all those phallic noodly appendages and those giant big meatballs.

Where is the place for the feminine in the universe of the FSM?

Half empty or half full?

3 comments

Monday, 10 March 2008

In the case of life, I guess I would say I'm a glass half-full kinda girl. I've always thought I was a reasonably positive person who has forays into moodiness of every conceivable variety (except there was this guy I worked with years ago who said I was the most negative person he'd ever met in his life. Which was kinda weird, but I wonder if his perception was skewed by the fact that I wouldn't sleep with him. But see, I was kinda put off a bit by the fact that he had a fiancee - who worked at the same place - he'd neglected to tell me about).

I've got this bottle of coleus extract I'm taking to help with a health issue of almost two decades' duration. So after that long, you'll be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the issue sorted, right? Well, dammit if this stuff isn't just the foulest, most disgusting stuff I've ever had the misfortune to have to have 2 teaspoonfuls of, 1 morning, 1 evening, until said bottle is finished. It better damn well work, that's all I can say, because looking down the neck of this particular bottle, my view is always a half full one. In fact, this bottle will still be 1/269th full when I have one more teaspoon to go. Some bottles are only good when they're completely, entirely empty.

Speaking of completely, entirely empty, my angst-ometer is sitting at empty. Dunno if it's this burst of barometrically static weather we're having, the Indian summer that is making up for the pissy real one that's gone before. Probably, it's most likely because this last two weeks is the best health I have experienced in about 10 years. I feel good. I do a whole wad of stuff, go to bed, get up, and have energy to do a whole wad of stuff. I can't begin to explain how that feels. I don't think it can be appreciated until it is taken away from you. And so now I find myself sounding like an 85 year old, saying, "If you don't have your health, you have nothing" and such nuggety bits of wisdom. 'Cause they're true.

And so with the health - thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you, God - comes this peace and contentment. Didn't that Paul dude say something that contentment with Godliness is great gain? Well, I don't know about the godly part, but I feel like a cat in a dairy. Paul also said to be content with a quiet life, and that thought used to make me sigh and think how boring - but right now, from where I've been, a quiet life of creativity and nature immersion sounds just ... well, kinda divine.

I don't want what I haven't got. I don't know how long it's been since I could say that. I don't know what my life holds in the future. I don't know if I'm gonna have to move house sometime soon. I don't know what my life holds for me workwise, romantically, creatively. And none of it concerns me in the slightest. Today, with the sun shining, even knee-deep in more housework, I can say ... bring it on, whatever it is. But whatever it may be, right now, I'm living today. Even if it's staring down the neck of a bottle that's still half bloody full :)

What time are you?

15 comments

Sunday, 9 March 2008

I have been uncommonly busy today, vacuuming and cleaning showers and toilets and mirrors and all of that shit off the floor in the playroom that's been sitting there since I took a photo of it back some time in November. I have Febrezed rugs and the couch (who I have named Keanu, as in, "I lay on Keanu and absently stroked his back while watching bearded men in jerkins on the television"), cleaned grouting, and done other mindless dull crap because tomorrow is gonna be hot hot hot and Monday is gonna be hot hot hot and I don't want to be houseworking in 35 degree heat (by the way, don't you love the word "jerkin"? It sounds a bit naughty, doesn't it).

And yes, I also took out some time to rest and relax, like I said, and went to Savers, which is like an intensive farming version of an opportunity shop, with branches in Australia, Canada and the US. It's massive. It's also much more expensive than, for example, the one St Bartholomews runs with Dulcie and Gretel behind the counter selling stuff that's a bit smelly. This one moves stock through pretty quickly, and there isn't too much crap there. Which is why I managed to spend 50 bucks there. 50 bloody bucks. That's crazy. That's eating into my "Going to Rosebank Retreat" fund right there. Shit. 50 bucks. But out of that, I got two skirts and five tops and a giant big ceramic bowl that Lester is now drinking out of (he's gone up in the world; the whole time we've been here he has been unceremoniously drinking out of a bucket. Ceramic that's cream coloured to match the benches is a much better look :) And so I'm tired now from all my gallivanting and doing so much in one day. I'm not used to this pace!

So what better thing to do but to digress and do mindless quizzes like What Time Of the Day Are You? (I was hoping it would tell me I was 11 Past 11, 'cause seriously, I notice that it's 11 past 11 WAY too many times in a week for it to be coincidence, and I have no idea why I am noticing it. I remember someone somewhere saying it was Universal Something Or Other Time, someone else on a forum said that they always stop and pray at that time.

But I like wasting all of my 11 Past 11'ses. I just notice, Oh look, it's 11 Past 11 again! and then I start singing the song called 11 Past 11 that featured in The Young Ones. And that's about it, really. Maybe one day I will stand before God and he will say, "I kept reminding you that it was 11 past 11 and you just kept blowing me off". If so, I apologise in advance, Papa. You'll have to give me a bit more of an idea what you want me to do, because I'm a bit thick, and before I know it it's 12 past 11 and I'm continuing on doing whatever I was doing at 10 past 11. So I'm sorry. But as you can see below, timetables aren't my thing.

I think I've sucked in too much vacuum cleaner dust. I'm going a bit insane. It's time for beddy byes (and anyway, Jennifer and I share the same brain frequency, and it's probably getting close to her getting up, and she's planning on cleaning her shower, and I don't want to be wasting any of the frequency rabbitting on about inconsequential shit 'cause it's past midnight and I always rave at this time of the night i think it's time to go to bed now dont you okay then goodnight or goodmorning as the case may be good afternoon and good evening while im here just to cover all bases okay i really am going away now bye)


You are late-sleepy relaxation, the half-awake moment when you realize it's morning, but you don't have to get up, because there's no place you have to be. You are that cozy spot under the covers where everything feels temporarily perfect, even if you know you'll eventually have to wiggle out and start the day. Maybe you're the artistic type, who doesn't function well on a normal schedule. Sleep's important to you, and you like the freedom of sleeping as late as you want (especially since that is closely related to the freedom to stay up as late as you want). You like to roll out of bed, put on some comfy clothes, and get a laid back start to the day. If not everything on your list gets accomplished, no worries. Your only priority is having no priorities ? you just want to take things at a slow, mellow pace.