Tuesday, 29 September 2009
The upside of working from home is that I would save on commute time, and I could do things like walk the dog on my lunch breaks, etc. I am trying to be honest with myself about how disciplined I would be; working from home, you really need to ensure that you get out and socialise or else it's all like four day old bread really quickly. And that whole deal of working in your PJs is charming for, like, a day and then it really wears off. I am finding it difficult to really be able to gauge how well I would go because the last time I did it I was (a) living with another person and (b) I was sick with CFS, so it's all totally different now than then. Socialising is a much easier option now than it was then.
Even though it's not like I get to socialise a whole heap at work, I still see people on the train, and in the cafe and in the lunchroom and stuff, you know? I can imagine there would be days where I was unmotivated to go out and would therefore spend an entire day at home without seeing anyone. How would I go with that? Would I go loopy loopy?
And yet I go entire days without seeing anyone regularly. I ROCK at solitude. I enjoy being alone for a couple of days in a row without seeing anyone and yet I am one of those strange people who are also extroverted and if I do not see anyone for two days running I will begin to wilt and start wondering if I am hallucinating my own existence. Too much time alone can be really crappy if you're on a muddledness and self-preoccupation binge, or it can just be great if you're in the Zenzone.
When I am in particularly earthed periods where I feel both grounded and connected to God, a day spent doing the most routine of things can be a long prayer. And always when I am in those sorts of spaces, my creativity is revved up also. I don't imagine working from home would really in the end be a whole stack different than what I am doing now, except that I would get to spend more time with my dog. It would be easier in terms of stopping for ten minutes or so to jot down a particular writing idea that has occurred to me while I've been focussed on typing. I guess that is one good thing about my dull job - and yet it's still not washing dishes. There is too much concentration occurring to be dozing off awake and upright the way I do when the dishes are being done, and the gloves are coming off once or twice in a washing session because a good phrase occurs to me :)
Maybe I should develop an alcohol problem so I can go to an AA meeting. Or maybe all Christians and churches should be forced to go to AA meetings. I reckon we should have CA, Christians Anonymous. There could be a detoxing centre for those of us addicted to the rat wheel. With a 90-day in-stay deprogramming intensive with optional delousing to help get rid of all the accumulated bullshit of the past 200 years and teach us how to be real, GODDAMMIT.
AA communities know what losers they are cos they're stuck out on the edge of the whole experience of looking at the demons within their own souls. Too hard hit by them to dress them up and put a nice smile over the top of them because you can't hide a booze addiction the way you can hide an addiction to being right, or to stoking your ego and calling it service to God, or to continue the tradition of everything being so bloody complicated so that you click on a church website and there's the "438 rules for joining us" that are so much less fluid than Benedict's and "our mission statement" and "our ministry people look how wonderful we are" and "please come along and worship with us and we'll bore the shit out of you but you can all meet up in the carpark afterwards and have some real chat time" and blah blah blah and I can't even keep my eyes open to keep reading because the whole thing just collapses on me as soon as I start seeing all those rules.
Spot the person who's been looking at some church websites. Heh. Why do we need any rules at all? Why could we not operate as a family instead of a multinational corporation? Would we combust?
My idea was to look at some churches with the idea of seeing if I could find a group of people (who I'm sure would all be quite lovely underneath all the systemic and structural things that do my head in and frizz my hair ends). Maybe go along to something they have on a Wednesday night or something, you know? But I got sidetracked by the gooberly claustrophobia that descended upon me. I must remember when I next go looking to not let myself get sidetracked. The website is not the people who attend, which is what I am looking for. The people. Not the guff that covers them over in beige coloured dust.
I hate 21st century Christianity. Did you guess that? What I also hate about it is that complaining about it like this is naughty naughty naughty and some people will read this as a rant and a rave by a bitter person trying to find something perfect but that's not it, folks. It's just that so much of this deal is so massively gassed up with secondary bullshit that if anyone lights a match we're done for. I don't understand it because I did not walk in these circles when I was younger and now I'm older I love Jesus and I love God and I love the Spirit and I want to just be able to hang with some people in relation to that AND I CAN'T FIND IT!!! How hard is it? Why are there not groups of Christians wanting to hang out on each others' couches? Why are none of them inviting me to hang out on their couch? My only conclusion must be that GOD IS KEEPING ME AWAY FROM EVERYBODY!!!! :)
It's me. Haha. He's keeping me here, confined on this blog, so that I do as little damage to the Christian populace as possible. So that you can just click away and I can just turn the computer off and no one comes to any harm :) Hah :)
Or alternatively, God is speaking to me but I AM A BIG THICK BRICK who, when he says, "Try this group of people" says no because I am being stiff-necked and willful and a big scaredy cat and there are 486,000 different reasons why that particular group will not be acceptable. That is a possibility, I must concur. Just a slight possibility, you understand. But probably not though. That and refusing to believe that there is anywhere out there that I am going to be able to fit into, even if it's wedged in slightly sideways. That self-defeating thought going through the Susie head is probably one more thing stopping me from seeing clearly in this matter. *Sigh* It's hard being such a clod.
PS: In a completely unrelated postscript, I saw the movie Up today. Has anyone seen it? I just fell in love with Dug. "My name is Dug. I have just met you and I love you. My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master and he made me this collar so that I may talk ... SQUIRREL!!"
Monday, 28 September 2009
I have been learning that the life of a caretaker is as addictive as the life of an alcoholic. Here the intoxication is the emotional relief that temporarily comes when answering a loved one's need. Though it never lasts, in the moment of answering someone's need, we feel loved. While much good can come from this, especially for those the caretaker attends, the care itself becomes a drink by which we briefly numb a worthlessness that won't go away unless constantly doused by another shot of self-sacrifice.
It all tightens until what others need is anticipated beyond what is real, and then, without any true need being voiced, an anxiety to respond builds that can only be relieved if something is offered or done. At the heart of this is the ever-present worry that unless doing something for another there is no possibility of being loved. So the needs of others stand within reach like bottles behind a bar that, try as he or she will, the caretaker cannot resist.
I have experienced this even in the simple issue of calling a loved one while away from home. Even when no one expects to hear from me, I can agonize over whether to call. Often, unable to withstand the discomfor of not registering some evidence of my love, I will end up going to great lengths to call.
IN truth, caretaking, though seeming quite generous, is very self-serving, and its urgent self-centredness prevents a life of genuine compassion. In all honesty, to heal from this requires as rigorous a program of recovery as alcoholics enlist, including sponsors who will love us for who we are.
Within one's self, the remedy of spirit that allows for true giving resides somewhere in the faith to believe that each of us is worthy of love, just as we are
This is why,
Sunday, 27 September 2009
If the early monks [the desert dwellers of the third century] paid close attention to themselves, it was only because they knew that rigorous self-analysis was an indispensable spiritual practice. Change was the point of the discipline, and they nailed narcissistic self-definition, correctly, as vainglory. To people schooled in a religion that has often seemed to define sin as a grocery list of dos and don'ts, these monks can seem, as the Dominican Simon Tugwell explains in Ways of Imperfection, "rather casual about morality." They were not all concerned, he writes, "that people should behave correctly according to the rules, but rather that people should be able to see their situation clearly for what it is, and so become free from the distorting perspective which underlies all our sins."
I thought it was an interesting comment and while I bridled a little at it, of course it is something I need to keep in mind. I can criticise Christian communities' sin and failure and refusal to admit their own sins, corporate and otherwise, truly. That is what I mean when I say "why would I commit to something like that?" If the community I join cannot be true and real and vulnerable with itself and its people and me, then I do not wish to be a part of it. I cannot. I cannot be a part of a group that is unrepentently hypocritical itself. But I cannot be an island unto myself either. What is one to do? (I guess one is to wait and ask. But I have been waiting and asking for an awfully long time now, I cannot help but wonder whether I am being deliberately obtuse in hearing in this regard or whether this is one of those thousand years as a day type scenarios. Perhaps I am waiting for perfection. I don't think so. I am waiting for transparency though).
I get what you’re saying. I feel the same way sometimes.I think you see where dealing with the awkwardness and difficulties and failures to connect are pretty much what “loving the church” actually means in context, too. All that crap you instinctively dislike is more or less what you, as a Christian, are being groomed to overstand, forgive, transcend and love and grow through; saying “why would I commit myself to something like that?” is just unrepentant hypocrisy and we should know better.
And yet, of course, the same defections I criticise in those communities are the same ones in myself. That is probably why I dislike them so. I have had cause over the past couple of days to see a little bit more into my capacity for acedia, betrayal, commitment phobia, lust, and on and on and on. I am viewing these things as I do from within what has been the greatest evidence outward of these propensities in me: my leaving of a perfectly good, though not perfect, marriage. The things I told myself about brighter horizons. The daydreams about other men, the insistence that I could not stay and it could not be fixed. I did not believe that life could flow after death. It's been a most sobering experience for me to realise how little I see in this regard, how I viewed my marriage like a consumer (with a hope to upgrade to a Christian model). I am, after all, a product of the same culture that I despise and decry. It's just easier to see it in the culture than it is within me. Because what I see within I despise and scapegoat, I guess.
(And yet, of course that description of leaving my marriage is a one-sided simplistic sort of one. I had nothing left after being sick for so long. I was sort of falling apart and I couldn't stay. And yet ... and yet ...)
But it is safe for me to view my murkier depths, from within the enfoldment of God. I know that I am loved. I know it not because I prod myself to believe something that will be good for me to believe. I know it because I know it. But still, seeing these things hurts. I am so much more and less than what I used to think I was when I was more blind than I am now. And now I am less blind than I was, I know that I am pretty damn blind. *Sigh*
(And a sigh of relief, paradoxially, also. I need God to see. I cannot do without him/her. And the small realities and seeings that slowly, drippingly, over days and weeks unfold are so different to what I once thought. Where once I thought small and constricted now I see a little bit more how beautiful things are in God's economy. I am understanding the differences between wholesomeness and holiness, for example.) Places where I have hope that I can one day stand).
HT to Barefoot Barbara, who I have linked to not once but twice in this post :)
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
The last post was embarrassingly long and boring so I deleted it. I feel like I'm beginning to repeat myself here. Actually, I am feeling a bit restricted by the whole blogging thing at the moment. I mean, how much can you say in 500 words, which is the standard blog post (or it's meant to be, unless you're me and write double that)? I am trying to write less here and write more in other places.
The short story I was in the middle of writing before I had the fortnight of fatigue still remains unpicked up. It surprises me how hard it is to get back into the swing again. I find that the importance of jotting down the things that occur to me as I'm doing random things can't be underestimated. It's like when I take the time to note down, the way I did yesterday, "Her perfume smelled sickening, like the inside of a dog's ear" that the inner part of me that is wondering if I am serious about this writing deal starts settling me for serious. And hopefully that's when the glimmer comes and the story comes to life again. So I wait, rather impatiently :)
I've been feeling a whole lot better again the last few days. I don't know what is going on in my body. Perhaps I had some sort of a virus that lasted a fortnight. I dunno. All I know is that when I feel better again the most mundane things are wonderful. These blips on my health radar remind me about how important it is to get healthy, lose weight, get more active, keep moving. Hooray for the springtime :)
I have just applied for several jobs. Before doing so I checked my resume and realised that it contained my old email address. Oops. Maybe that's why I haven't heard back from any job I've applied for in the last year. Still, I'm not holding my breath about hearing back from any of them but remaining hopeful all the same. It's a pretty competitive job market out there. But still, regardless of the outcome, doing the little things that feel like I'm doing something make a big difference just to my motivation levels.
Monday, 21 September 2009
There are so many fears surrounding my health dipping downhill even slightly (why am I feeling worse? Is it endometriosis? something horrible like cancer? a return to CFS? What's wrong with me?) Trailing on the ends of those thoughts are fears that I have brought this upon myself. This is an intermittent thought and one which is frustrating because there are strands of truth mixed in with error there. After all, it is taking responsibility for your health and tuning into your body which enables you to begin to act to do the things that lead to health. But sometimes I think we are encouraged in our pill-popping culture to feel a strange sort of over-responsibility whenever anything does go wrong and doesn't rectify itself in 13.4 seconds.
And yet, I am the owner of my own body and therefore responsible for what I put into it, and feeling bad today is partially linked to the McDonald's I had yesterday - twice - and the evening before that as well. Three lots of Maccas in one weekend, and I can feel it. I once hated McDonald's when I had trained my taste buds to a better place than they are at the moment. I saw it as cardboard unfood and now I gobble it up, yum yum, to comfort eat. Maybe comfort punish is a better thought. We do so easily punish ourselves with doing awful things to ourselves, do we not?
So these fears and worries about feeling more fatigued are strengthened by two underlying fears that bob their head up intermittently. I wish it was not so. I wish I could say that I would get to a certain period in my spiritual life where these thoughts have no power to affect me, being the sorts of unreal illusory unthoughts not worth my consideration, but they seem to creep in unawares sometimes, without my even realising it. The first thought is that there is something lacking with God and he is not as lovable as I believe. The second thought is that there is something wrong with me and I am not lovable. Pretty obvious how the two fit into each other, right? And yet I am more dismayed about the first thought than I am about the second, however. Even though my lenses have cleared in ways unimaginable at the beginning of my journey, I still see far too easily in the Scriptures when I open them the ogre God, as Baxter Kruger calls him, and it is dismaying. Where do these pockets of unbelief dwell within me? How do they dwell co-existent with the beliefs I do have about God? It takes courage to admit those pockets exist, or that they have sprung up again from when I last called them out onto the carpet and shot them with my reality gun.
How we want to be pearlescent. It does feel we are made to be so, and seamless and open, with no hidden pockets to trip ourselves up. How much courage therefore to steady your eye upon them and not flinch away. Their existence does not mean I am a complete giant freak but hey, who doesn't feel this way about themselves? And how hard not too when everywhere surrounding us in the world we are told we are freaks if we are imperfect.
And so even though I do not like the hidden pocket I look at it, because I am far enough along in my faith that my unfaith is acknowledgeable. These thoughts about unlovable God and unlovable us are so entrenched into our hearts. It's why the bastard God of Christianism has been given so much power and emphasis; it creeps me to ponder that it seems easier for us to believe in that God than a good god. This is surely a shocking thing to consider, and so we dismiss it. And yet the evidence seems overwhelming that this sort of God is easy to believe in even when our hearts whispher otherwise. Because hey, look at the evidence in the bible, right? There are all sorts of verses to prove that God is basically a prick. And how quickly we believe that we are seeing clear-headed when this God is presented, the petulant Jonathan Edwards version of God. But what about those times when we experience something numinous about God? How good this God is. How love, how beautiful, how massive and expansive. And then we see Jesus and we get to see how far our conceptions of God stretch as compared to this man Jesus. We are so very blind to the reality of God.
It's such a wrench to look inside yourself and see, sinkingly and with some dismay that here you are - at least today - believing small things about God again. Not even consciously. You don't believe these things consciously but then you act in ways that seem to bear out the fact that unconsciously you are believing those very things, from out of the delicious murk that comes up to you in your dreams and sculptings and ponderings and writings. You are believing what has been told to you every day by many and varied sources that because of your obvious imperfections and your self-centredness and self-absorption and your failure to continue to love your husband and the fact that your father did not show you hardly any affection and the way that person looked at you and the fact that you are stuck doing the same shithouse job you were last year and the fact that that thing over there in your soul is still there and blah blah blah blah blah means that in actual fact you really are not lovable and not loved by God (who is also not lovable himself, being a bastard, so who really cares? Let's all get drunk).
There is enough in that sort of state of mind to despair for several centuries. You feel you could sink into oblivion in that headspace. And yet sometimes faith grows upon the back of unbelief, if you let it. It's hard to climb onto the springboard from those sorts of quicksand thoughts. How surprising then the quick bounce once you have from admission into yieldedness. So much yielding in this faith life. Like a woman's pelvis cracking open for birth. A return, once again, in the spiral of life, back to somewhere you've been before. You always wonder when you come back to this place how you could ever leave it. When you are here the air is so fresh it is much easier to acknowledge just how much Vaseline sits on your lenses.
And how strange, the comfort in that. The amazement that the depth of my blindness when viewed through the lens of a loving trinity God is a far greater comfort than any of your unbelieving illusions. How good to be able to fling them off again.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
I guess it's not really helpful as such to be cynical. It's sort of tiresome seeing other people being cynical.
But oh, how fun it doth be when it's you being cynical! :)
Breaking News: Series Of Concentric Circles Emanating From Glowing Red Dot
Of course the thing so ironic it's just sorta sad is how The Onion now has paid advertisements. Bastards
MYRTLE BEACH, SC—In a tragedy none have struggled to comprehend, a group of 12 schoolchildren on a whale-watching trip died in a perfectly logical manner Tuesday when their boat capsized one hour into its voyage. "How something like this could have happened—it's completely imaginable," said Coast Guard captain Don Broyard, addressing a group of reporters who were immediately able to make sense of the terrible disaster. "The way the unstable boat overturned, the powerlessness of the small children to fight against the current, the quick flooding of water into their lungs—the whole thing is so well within reason." Capt. Broyard added that the state coroner would be more than happy to give parents still uncertain of how the tragedy happened a detailed, step-by-step explanation of every fatal injury.
Friday, 18 September 2009
And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom.
~ Anais Nin
We all face this turning point repeatedly: when resisting the flow of inner events suddenly feels more hurtful than leaping toward the unknown. Yet no one can tell us when to leap. There is no authority to bless our need to enter life but the God within.
How often we thwart ourselves by holding tenaciously to what is familiar. It is instructive, if chilling, that in floral shops the roses that won't open are called bullets. They are discarded because they will never bloom. They have turned in on themselves so tightly that they can never release their fragrance.
Yet as spirits in bodily form, we have the chance to tighten and bloom more than once. But even spirits, if turned in on themselves enough, may grow accustomed to being closed. Unlike roses, however, the human chamber can be shut down for years, and still, it takes but one breath from the true center and we will flower.
It has always amazed and humbled me how the risk to bloom can seem so insurmountable beforehand and so inevitably freeing once the threshold of suffering is crossed.
I have a friend in recovery, and when asked what made him stop drinking, he says, "The pain of drinking became greater than the pain of not drinking." The same can be said for us all. We can flower in an instant, as soon as the pain of not flowering and not loving become greater than our fear.
This one is inscribed on the inside front cover:
Collette ~ pg. 161 - the risk to bloom - you are taking it and we will all benefit from your tenacity and courage! I love you dearly, PamelaI always go off on rambling internal ponderings wondering who the people are and what they are doing now. How sweet of Pamela to inscribe her thoughts that way. How mean of Collette to give the book away ;)
Or maybe she didn't give the book away. Maybe something else happened in Collette's life that caused the parting between her and this book. Maybe she died, walking the street, killed by a falling clump of the waste that comes out of airplanes. Or maybe she had a seachange and moved to Botswana to run an orphanage and sold everything, even the book with the beloved inscription from Pamela.
Maybe one day Pamela couldn't help herself and helped herself to Collette's husband. Or maybe Pamela hit on Collette and the friendship ended. Maybe Collette's life spiralled downhill and she died destitute on a chilly Chicago street. Maybe Collette went blind and sold all her books to buy some new braille ones. Maybe Collette met Mark Nepo in the street when he was having a bad day and he yelled at her and she went home and in a fit of pique took The Book of Awakening to the local op shop.
But I don't think so. He seems too nice and kind to do something like that. And why be all mean and snarky thinking of Collette? Why not prefer to think that she has gone off blooming and something nice has happened to her. Maybe she sold everything she owned to part-fund the opening of a florist shop. That would be a cool thing for a tenacious blooming woman to do. Well, okay, maybe not so tenacious. Maybe she sold everything she owned to open a florist shop across the road from a really busy florist shop ... in Mogadishu. Who the hell knows? Maybe she runs a part-time flight school in New Mexico with a bloke called Des and has a family and a cat and a vegetable patch. Maybe Collette has awakened so much that she has been raptured. Or has bloomed right out through the radiance of enlightenment in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal :)
Wherever you are, Collette, here's to ya. And you too, Pamela. I like your taste in books.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
I do regularly think perhaps I should break this blog up into seven, so that the people who like reading mystical ponderings about looking up God's nostrils don't have to read about my whingeings about the system, or about my personal life. It all feels so ridiculously divergent, muddled up together in one blog. But then, I s'pose that's why this blog is called Discombobula :)
I just did a yoga session on my lounge room floor mat and Lester was very well behaved this time. He just sat on the couch and did not interfere while I plonked myself in different positions and did a clunky shoulder stand. The elephantine descent on the way down has contributed to the slight niggle in my lower back. However, I guess it's balanced out by the fact that all the other niggles have been ironed out. I really like doing yoga. Been reading a bit about weight loss being much more about weights and yoga than 700 k's on the treadmill or pounding the footpath, which suits me. I LOVE doing weights, used to really look forward to that when I was going to the gym. The treadmill not so much. The stairclimber thing - that thing was hell. I'd rather get my cardio out walking the dog in nature, not walking inside in some sweaty gym somewhere. But the weights - yeah, bring 'em on.
I've also been trying to get myself off to the sauna over the past several weeks. Perhaps this weekend. They are great for detox, used to make me feel wonderful. Isn't it funny how certain words have indelible images that come carved into them as they come into your mind? Every time I think the word sauna there he springs up into my mind again, the vision of the last sauna I had several years ago at the Footscray pools. The man was so dark-skinned that each individual droplet of sweat stood out along his arms and legs ... :)
I just ate a bowl of the Russian borscht I cooked last night. It sounds disgusting with its beetroot, potato and cabbage but it tastes so very YUMMY. I am considering doing a liver cleanse in several weeks with my friend Jane which involves four days of eating nothing but lettuce, cashews, bananas, carrots, celery, beetroot, eggs, and two other items that escape my attention but do little to add to the palatability of the prospect of those four days. How deadly dully dreary. Still, could be a good thing to get my liver feeling good about itself again so I can drink more than two glasses of wine or bourbon without going, "Ach!"and keeling over :)
I am feeling content and hopeful this evening. It is so nice to feel reasonable again after a week of feeling vaguely poisoned, toxic, and headachey. I feel hopeful about the world, too, despite the amount of whingeing I do about it here (cos after all, there's a bloody lot to complain about). Despite everything, I cannot shake the deep impaled feeling that all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. Even while I consider chid prostitution in India and 27,000 children dying of preventable diseases every day around the world. In fact, I think becasue I do think all shall be well I can think about those things, even while it feels like some days it all could break my heart off in chunks like ice. The hope. It keeps me doing tiny small little things that only make droplets of difference. A few bucks here, prayers there. Maybe one day something more, possibly not. Who is to know? But the hope. It's like a nugget of dark chocolate in the middle of a landmine, you know? The hope that justice will one day flow like a river. I'd even give up chocolate for that.
Like when you tell your kids to clean up their rooms, and your kids know that last time they made a big mess they came home afterwards and you'd cleaned it up for them.
Several weeks ago a 33 year old woman bashed an 89 year old man to death in a suburban Melbourne street. She has been remanded at this stage so we can't say what it was that caused someone to do such a horrible thing. Who knows? They were apparently unknown to each other.
There was some placard waving going on in that suburb several days ago. Ashburton is a respectable, well off suburb with an ageing population. Those people waved their placards in protest that their local police station is only manned part-time. They were angry, they were fearful at the increases in violence on our streets. They said that if the police station had been manned, something like this would not have happened.
I do not understand how this would be so. Even if Ashburton police station had 50 cops in it all day every day, what do they wish? For police to be patrolling quiet suburban streets where the occasional lone walker takes their dog for a walk?
The same quiet suburban streets where I'm sure all of those people go inside and lock themselves away behind their security screens, fearful, dependent upon the police force to maintain law and order.
Divide and conquer, I think it's called.
I wonder if modern-day scapegoating is called outsourcing. We outsource everything - our public transport system, our safety requirements, our personal authority, our kids, our ability to discern and assess situations for ourselves, our worship, our entertainment. In return we hope that none of it is our responsibility. In a sense it's not - after all, we didn't personally make it like this, did we? All this talk of the system that I go on with, but no one individually has set it up this way. It's just a conglomeration of thing laid upon thing. But maybe in another sense the system is simply the greatest reflection of what we do not wish to be responsible for. We can complain about it and beat our breast about it and then do nothing. In outsourcing everything we get used to sucking on the giant teat that will grant us the peace and safety we crave so that we can go about our business. Or so we hope.
Shit happens, I guess, in a messy world. But Wall Street gets its cleaned up by the government. Suburban streets must get theirs cleaned up also by a regimented police force trawling our suburbs just in case. Outsource. Outsource. Outsource. Then we can fool ourselves that none of this is our responsibility, none of this is our reflection. It's not my problem.
Like Kent said Ellul said: "all power gravitates towards totalitarianism. People are so willing to give up freedom and liberties in hopes of being given security in return. Truth is, security as people wish for can't ever be achieved...so all that has happened is you've lost your liberty."
I heard a story on the radio the other day about someone visiting hell, which was a table full of people and food. Each person had a spoon that was very long, so that they were unable to feed themselves. Then this person visited heaven, which was exactly the same scene except that the people were feeding each other.
In the end, that's all there is. Each other. Holding ourselves. Holding our own and holding each other. Holding God. Hold our own and holding our enemies. No outsourcing
Monday, 14 September 2009
- Anyone tried the blood type diet and notice any difference?
- I wonder why I am a grumpier sick person now than I was before I had CFS? On the one hand I can say because I had over six consecutive years of feeling awful and I am OVER IT, and that all the old memories come back whenever I am ill. On the other hand, illness is a fact of life and having the expectation that I won't ever feel unwell ever again is just setting me up to be curmudgeonly. On the third, more philosophical hand, keeping the second hand in mind, I could look at the situation in the way that whenever I am unwell these days it never lasts more than a week or two consecutively, and so therefore I have an end in sight to these periods of illness that I did not have in the CFS years. Therefore, that remembrance and perspective giver should by rights make me feel happier, and less curmudgeonly and just relax into what IS. But it just doesn't happen in that lovely logical way. I HATE feeling unwell, it feels like SHIT. I lose all PERSPECTIVE, I write lots in CAPITALS, and the fact that I am CUT OFF from my CREATIVITY adds an extra tinge of CRAP to it all and is probably the thing that makes me feel curmudgeonly the most. (This question is actually a rhetorical one and you do not need to answer it unless you wish to do so.)
- Do we ever stop being kids to our parents? I just rang my Mum up before to ask her what my blood type was. She wanted to know why I thought she would know such a thing. She was also in the middle of her dinner (a roast. If I'd known it was a roast I would have gone over there, even though I struggle every time I eat meat now to pretend it's not a dead animal). I thought all parents knew what their kids' blood types were. Do you know what your kid(s) blood types are? (This could technically be two questions, but this makes up for the one above which is rhetorical. Feel free to answer both, or none, or one, or half of each, or make up your own question and answer it. Up to you.)
- I love the word 'curmudgeonly'. I get GK Chesterton in my mind for some illogical reason because as far as I know, he wasn't particularly curmudgeonly. He just looked curmudgeonly. Well, actually, I don't even know if that's right. I think he rather looked portly rather than curmudgeonly. I look portly. I wish I would stop eating and start losing, for God's sake. I hate being a portly curmudgeon. Do you have any words you love, that you roll around on your tongue after you say them?
- What's something that has touched you recently?
- Do you ever get tired of the results of science journal articles that then get published as magazine and newspaper articles saying, "Do not eat bananas! They contain too much sugar"? And so everyone stops eating bananas until the next study that's done where it's found that bananas are an amazing source of potassium and so then everyone eats bananas again. But we forget in the focussing on one facet of bananas that there are a whole lot of things about bananas that we don't know. Yes, I know I'm talking Donald Rumsfeld again but honestly, we really know so little because we forget to look at the whole of things. Maybe bananas contain an amazing untestable-because-not-classified compound that helps alleviate the effects of the sugars in some way. When you think about it, bananas probably contain a whole lot of things we don't know anything about and that is a nice thought to me because it puts all the mystery back in the universe again. (Answer this question any way you wish :)
- What's your favourite colour?
- If you could do any job in the world, what is something you would dribble to do?
- Have you cried this week?
- Will you still love me tomorrow?
"The largest turnarounds in carbon productivity are required by Australia, Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The longer these countries take to achieve these turnarounds, the more costly the eventual transition will be.''
Vivid Economics report, as seen in The Age
Australia has come out the worst placed of the G20 nations to be able to compete economically in a greener world. There is so much change required, and we are a terribly conservative country in many respects. We are so ridiculously over-bureaucratised. The status quo tends to win when innovation is stymied by the 38,692 things you need to do to keep the red tapers happy in the federal government, the state government, the local government.
We are in love with our recovering economy, our coal-based electricity, our aluminium exports. Carbon, yum yum. It would be ironic if it was the conservatism brought about by our wealth that is the cause of our slowness to act, when the very act of changing slowly will determine that we are less wealthy the slower we are to act. Countries like France, Mexico and Argentina are leading the way, and we need to start taking leaves out of their books. Their fast acting will pressure is to change whether we want to or not. This is where competition is a good thing.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
I once asked a man who knew he was dying what he needed above all in those who were caring for him. He said, 'For someone to look as if they are trying to understand me.' Indeed, it is impossible to understand fully another person, but I never forgot that he did not ask for success but only that someone should care enough to try.
Friday, 11 September 2009
K is terrified of going to the dentist. None of us like going to the dentist but it seems to be at phobia levels with her. I did some asking around a week ago or so; there is a dentist in the city who will remove her tooth for her. I told her about the schemes going on for dentures where she will not need to pay. Just talking about going to the dentist made her hands begin to shake. She is terrified, totally terrified. But she is also running out of teeth.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
He came upon a pond and as he swam there it became colder and colder. A flock of creatures flew overhead, the most beautiful he had ever seen. They cried down to him, and hearing their sounds made his heart leap and break at the same time. He cried back in a sound he had never before made. He had never seen creatures more beautiful, and he had never felt more bereft.
Sometimes I wonder if God is telling me or suggesting things to me and I'm not listening. Or not believing because it sounds too good. I'm inclined to think, "Why me?" Why should I have a satisfying job being paid to write when heaps of people have shitty jobs bored out of their skulls? I don't want to buy into that Gen X thing we were brought upon that all of us are meant to have wonderful amazing jobs. But then on the other hand, why not? Hope deferred makes the heart sick and I've been working shit jobs for several decades. Writing and being published is right there in front of my eyes on the newstands but they might as well be on Jupiter if I don't believe it's possible. And I don't really. But I do. But then I don't. Sometimes I think the greatest yearnings I have for freedom, to run out the door and fly into the wind, to go and work in Alice Springs, to write and keep writing, are the most responsible followings after God I could do if I had the courage. Other times I don't know if I am hearing anything at all, or if I am it's just my own ego. Sometimes i think if I could just hear him tell me in that crystal clear/hardly heard way that I so love and hate, along with a few wet fleeces on the ground, I would be off like a rocket, going wherever or doing whatever. Other times my knees knock together at the thought.
I am at work feeling unwell. Feeling inspired by what I heard last night. Wondering and wandering. Working for the man.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Still, the music lives on beyond the godawful clothes and this song is still a favourite of mine.
'O Lord, they tell me I have so offended against your law that, as I am, you can't look upon me, but threaten me with eternal banishment from your presence. But if you do not look upon me, how can I ever be other than I am? Lord, remember I was born in sin; how then can I see sin as you see it? Remember, Lord, that I have never known myself clean; how can I cleanse myself? You must take me as I am and cleanse me. Is it not impossible that I should behold the final goodness of good, the final evilness of evil? How then can I deserve eternal torment? Had I known good and evil, seeing them as you see them, then chosen the evil, and turned away from the good, I know not what I should not deserve; but you know it has ever been something good in the evil that has enticed my selfish heart - nor mine only, but that of all my kind. You require of us to forgive; surely you forgive freely! You may be bound to destroy evil, but are you bound to keep the sinner alive that you may punish him, even if it makes him no better?
Sin cannot be deep as life, for you are the life; and sorrow and pain go deeper than sin, for they reach to the divine in us; you can suffer, though you will not sin. To see men suffer might make make us shun evil, but it never could make us hate it. We might see by it that you hate sin, but we never could see that you love the sinner. Chastise us, we pray, in loving kindness, and we will not faint. We have done much that is evil, yes, evil is very deep in us, but we are not all evil, for we love righteousness; and are you not yourself, in your Son, the sacrifice for our sins, the atonement of our breach? You have made us subject to vanity, but have yourself taken your godlike share of the consequences. Could we ever have come to know good as you know it, save by passing through the sea of sin and the fire of cleansing?
They tell me I must say for Christ's sake [or in Jesus' name] or you will not pardon. It takes the very heart out of my poor love to hear that you will only pardon me because Christ has loved me; but I give you thanks that nowhere in the record of your gospel does one of your servants say any such word. In spite of all our fears and grovelling, our weakness, and our wrongs, you will be to us what you are - such a perfect Father as no most loving child-heart on earth could invent the thought of! You will take our sins on yourself, in addition giving us your life to live. You bear our griefs and carry our sorrows; and surely you will one day enable us to pay every debt we owe to each other! You will be to us a right generous, abundant father! Then truly our hearts shall be jubilant, because you are what you are - infinitely beyond all we could imagine. You will humble and raise us up. You have given yourself to us that, having you, we may be eternally alive wiht your life. We run within the circle of what men call your wrath, and find ourselves clasped in the zone of your love!
(translated into more readable English by my good self ;)
At least this flare-up has renewed my motivation to climb out of the sugar well, and to not fall down it again (it's a legalised drug and indulging in it every day for months on end is maybe why I am having these flare-ups in the first place). When I have energy these days, I do not waste those days. I guess this is just the land I live in of post-CFS and other health issues. It's not where I want to be, by any means. But it just is, I guess.
Yesterday I only worked five hours. I'm meant to be going to my friend's daughter's school play this evening. I've been stressing about it all yesterday, the possibility I may not be able to make it. Today I woke up and it's like it's this big dark cloud hanging over my head of having to say no to someone. As if it's of earth-shattering consequence if I don't go. It's so weird, and so annoying. I can't make it, I'm rather lacking of energy at the moment. End of story. (Just like I think this post is gonna be end of story for me today, too. Writing it has taken me an hour and now I have a headache and feel crap. Oops. Shame I don't write a blog post for a job, then I'd be sweet :)
I chatted to my chiropractor's receptionist the other day. She works three 10-hour shifts in a row during the week, and in those days she still is the one to cook dinner when she gets home at 7pm. There is a husband and a couple of sons and none of them see a problem with this situation. I guess they don't see a problem because she doesn't see enough of a problem to set some boundaries and say it isn't okay. She is like a timid little mouse, apologetic for existing. Unfortunately, people always take advantage of that situation. I did with my own mother.
This woman also looks after her father and has him stay with her from time to time after he had a recent stroke. She told me in apologetic terms how she asked her university-going son (who has two days on campus a week) to put the food she had prepared earlier in the oven, and to put the potatoes on and mash them one evening after she took her father to a funeral of a friend. Her son had the gall to whinge about doing just that. Meanwhile she's running herself off her feet.
I have a sign stuck on my playroom door which is perhaps indulging in the land of psychobabble but is nevertheless true for all that. It says: "Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong." The level to which you respect yourself is, I think, the level that others will respect you.
How do you go with the n-o word? Do you stress about it? Do you think it's something that needs to be learnt, the art of saying it? I think some people, especially women, are prone to find themselves doing things that are not in their best interests, that they don't even want to be doing, all because saying no feels Everestian, pushes ancient buttons.
The chiropractor's receptionist is a timid little mouse, but I can see somewhere deep down in her soul she's angry about it. She's angry about being taken advantage of, and she's angry that something is missing in her toolbox that gives her the permission to put down her foot. She's the daughter of an alcoholic. Her husband is like a dry alcoholic. I can see even without meeting any of them that they have little respect for her. The fault lies greatly with the father that she feels apologetic about existing. This is the power that fathers have. But the responsibility lies with her to follow down the threads of what that is all about.
"I married my father," she said to me the other day.
(We cut to the chase in our chiropractic conversations, haha. No talking about the weather for us ;)
I think hers is the sort of anger that would be pretty damn helpful for her to tap into, terrifying though it would be. Maybe she's worried if she does she'll explode like a volcano and burn everybody up. That her family will walk out the door and never come back. That she will walk out the door and never come back. Go postal. Maybe. Or maybe the anger will give her the impetus to say no because looking after herself and defining her limits is not an optional extra.
But Geez, Louise, how hard that little word is to say! I've had plenty of practice and it's getting easier but still, I've sweated a bit about having to say no to my friend when I have a legitimate reason. I still feel guilty about it. I've always felt guilty about it. The guilt is much, much lower these days because I feel like I am standing way more firmly in my fat feet. Cos really, what's she gonna do? Yell at me for not making it because I'm not feeling good? It's all so irrational, these mind monkeys that take up space in our heads!!! :)
I'm going away to lie down now.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Fear of the smallness of our world and its life may lead to a kind of claustrophobia and thence, with apparent reasonableness, to a desire for the “freedom” of limitlessness. But this desire, paradoxically, reduces everything. The life of this world is small to those who think it is, and the desire to enlarge it makes it smaller, and can reduce it finally to nothing.
... In our limitless selfishness, we have tried to define “freedom,” for example, as an escape from all restraint. But, as my friend Bert Hornback has explained in his book The Wisdom in Words, “free” is etymologically related to “friend.” These words come from the same Indo-European root, which carries the sense of “dear” or “beloved.” We set our friends free by our love for them, with the implied restraints of faithfulness or loyalty. And this suggests that our “identity” is located not in the impulse of selfhood but in deliberately maintained connections.
It takes wisdom and faith to enter into the life that goes even smaller than small. It feels like death. It is death. And then it is life/death/life. What opens out the other end is as vast as the entire universe, contained in a grain of sand.
God seems to be the only limitless resource I have found so far. Love. Not coal, not the economy. How childish a concept, a continually growing economy. It is blinder than faith in an unseen God. Especially when the latest economic growth figure report on Lateline dovetails into the report about the climate falling apart. The spiritual vistas are limitless; our economic vision makes us blind. The coal will last another hundred years.
Lord, we are blind and tired and have lost our way. Hear our prayer.
Friday, 4 September 2009
So I might as well round out the week of bagging my fellow humans both skin and plastic by bagging this crappy piece of art that has shown up recently in the foyer of the office building where I work. It's bright shiny inoffensiveness is offensive to me. The only way I can feel good about it is to think that whoever made it has probably made enough money now to spend the next six months making stuff they really want to make.
What does it say? It says nothing, like all the other inoffensive art I see hanging in the foyers of offices around the city. It says that it's art and it doesn't say anything more than that. It says the companies the work in this building are cool 'cos they have big Lego piece of art in their foyer. Apparently.
Well, I say, the body corporate should have bought an inoffensive print of a large pastoral scene, and shoved that in the foyer, and with the money they saved bought a new bloody heating and aircon system that works properly :) Or had some windows installed that open. We promise we won't hurl ourselves out below because of the foyer art. We promise. Just give us the responsibility to open our own windows. Please.
Alrighty then. I think I've had my say now, at least for a coupla hours. I have had fun manically writing here over the past few days. Part of that mania is fuelled by procrastination of course. I do, however, refuse to let this current story I'm writing get away from me without a concerted fight, no matter how many hundreds of blog posts I may write in-between :)
But hopefully I've stopped bagging people for the moment. It's fun, but it sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth, the way this foyer art does :)
I am sick to death of hearing about America and the evil antichrist Obama. So many people the world over are dying, and all we hear about are the eroding freedoms under the great evil socialist. (Which is not to say that your freedoms perhaps are not being eroded, or that Obama isn't in fact a socialist or even that he is not the antichrist. But I'm not sure what I think about all three of those words, freedom, socialism, antichrist. And my focus isn't so much on what might be actually happening - of which obviously I know very little apart from what I am told - but my focus is more on what America seems to be encouraged to believe about herself, and what she is therefore discouraged to believe about herself. That's the part that interests me.)
I am sure many believe Obama is the antichrist. There is no end to the fear available to fuel end-times scenarios, is there? And there is so much extra fear around these days, surely there must be multiple more end-times scenarios. Such an easy way to divide the wheat from the tares. And anyway, we all know the book of Revelation is about America, right? She's gotta be in there, that great eagle? That has to be America, surely. America, America. The land of the free, and the home of the brave. The country that had one attack perpetrated on it (a mighty, amazing, Hollywood-sized attack) that was awful and horrible, and the retribution that came afterwards was 100 times fiercer. But that's okay. You have to protect yourselves after all, don't you.
You're not free and you're not brave, you know. You're rich and fat and greedy and lazy like all of us rich, fat, greedy, lazy Western people are. How many of you continue to believe you are the great benevolent eagle spreading freedom all over the world? Does it surprise and baffle you that the rest of the world sees you quite differently? The world, unfortunately, cannot be rebadged by Disney to make it something nice and palatable for you to feel better about yourselves being the great spreader of Christ and democracy. Because you are not. Did you really think you would get away with being rich and powerful and it not somehow affecting everyone else? Affecting yourselves? As if the deceitfulness of riches was hyperbole? As if you haven't been imprisoned inside your own wealth like the rest of us?
It amazes me how the more people wilfully refuse to ask the hard questions and want everything to be "nice" cannot see the predators in their own midst. It happens on a psyche level and it happens on a national one too. Some people go on about Obama turning America into a socialist state, as if socialism sits somewhere directly to the left of middle right on the political spectrum. They insist on maintaining their freedoms to the extent that they will allow predators like the media and advertising to continue to gobble them up and they don't seem to be able to readily see the paradox. They won't put limits on anything because that is curtailing their freedom.
But what is freedom, exactly? Is it freedom to do what is right, or freedom to do whatever you want?
Perhaps freedom has become the American god. Believe me, past foreign policy makes it pretty evident to the rest of the world that America will insist on her right to keep what she has, even if it involves suppressing those who do not have. This is what rich countries do. The deeper the wealth the deeper the moat. Not that I imagine foreign policy and its effects is something that FOX News has regular in-depth analysis about. There are two sides to every story. If you read every story with the desire to see yourselves as the heroes, then you won't be asking and reading and listening with discernment, asking why stuff is packaged to you in the way that it is. It's easier to watch cable news. It can just simply reinforce your prejudices about all those evil socialist Latin American countries lurking and trying to take away your freedoms from you. When you are the hero in the storybook, you do not readily wish to see what your past governments have done to other countries in the name of keeping YOUR freedoms intact - the richest country the world has ever seen, and you have run in fear for the past 50 years that it is going to be taken away from you. Perhaps this is partly what Jesus was talking about with the deceitfulness of riches. It doesn't feel like a particularly safe space to occupy, to me. How about you?
I'm sick of hearing political stories about people's freedoms being taken away all the time. So much focus, so much fearmongering by the media, and some drink it down whenever it is on offer, without discernment. A country full of Christians who are told not to fear. You've got a tap full of clean, running water whenever you damn well want it. Maybe turn off FOX and drink that one down instead. The kingdom of heaven is still near, still sitting outside of what is happening in our individual countries, the third way. Maybe the world would be safer if we Christians turn our focus there.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
This morning I contacted a few dentists to try to find out what could be done for her medically with no cash. Turns out there are a few options that could involve her getting dentures for no cost, which is a wonderful thing. And now I don't know where she is, I don't have a number to contact her on. I have written my number in the book she carries around but whether or not she would actually ring me is another story. I am having visions of her in hospital with septicemia, over-dramatic sorts of thoughts. Two weeks in a row is a long time when she is usually there every week.
L on the other hand, I haven't seen for months. But I saw him yesterday. He has a full head of teeth - they are dentures as well, paid for, he told me, by a dentist who did not charge him. Pretty nice, huh. There's plenty of kind people in the world, despite what the Channel 9 news is telling me. L told me about another nice man who gave him 250 bucks a few months ago because L needed a few weeks' rent in advance to secure the place he had managed to get.
Pretty stoked, L is, about the roof over his head. He only needs to go out begging several days a week now to get by. L is the most gentle, beautiful man. He has been living on the streets for years. Schizophrenia, I think, from memory, though I have never seen any hint, just an inability to meet my gaze for too long and a sort of shy and hesitant manner of speaking. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. I really am so fond of this man. I asked him about K, if he had seen her. "Not for a few weeks," he said, not since he saw her with a swollen face. Aggh.
Yesterday he was clasping his hands together and thanking God out loud for his new home. "Thank God," he said. "Do you know how nice it is to go home and climb in bed and pull the covers over?
"I don't know what I would do now if I ended up out here again," he said, indicating the concrete streets. "Now I have a bed and a roof, I think I would crumble."
I hope L never gets the chance to find that out.
I had a funny intersection with food and this sculpture last week. I bought some chia seeds. Never heard of them before but they are one of the superfoods the Aztecs were adept at growing. These tiny little seeds pack a punch. Full of omega 3's (the good fats), vitamins, proteins. Good to help regulate your blood sugar. Give you energy. Mixed with water they go all gelatinous and the resulting gel can be used in place of oil or butter in cooking. Pretty nifty and handy little things and I shall be buying them again.
When I was looking up info about the seeds after I bought them, I had just begun adding branches to this sculpture. When I saw that the seeds can be sprouted in all sorts of weird and wonderful places, I just knew with a jolt that after I get this girl fired, I'm gonna be spreading me chia seeds all along her boughs and have myself my own chia tree :)
Funny how things intersect, sometimes. Food and sculpture.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
There was a crazy white-eyedness that came with the break-up of my relationship on the tail of being ill for so many years. I was bowed down double with grief and guilt, leaving the man who stood by me all those years. Oh, boy. But I had to go. I had to crawl away into a cave, by myself. I had to. Oh, boy. The guilt, the guilt.
I have been not afraid to die over these years. I would have welcomed it. More than once or twenty times I have cried out for an ending. Now is another sort of fearlessness to re-cultivate. One of not being afraid to live. You cannot have one without the other. Much of Christendom has taught differently, and many rich Christians think that this is what it is all about. But the way of life through death is exactly what Christ teaches. He knows how deep it all goes. He knows the gold swells out the ends of dead threads, that death has lost its sting. That life always comes after death.
Something has shifted in my self image. Perhaps I have finally forgiven myself for not being perfect :\ Now, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to look in the mirror and think that someone somewhere could love me. Maybe even will. After all, it's happened before, I'm sure it can happen again. I am, after all, quite lovable :) And yet, as is always the way, now that I can consider the idea of a man in my life, I am really not all that interested! Always the way.
It is amazing, the time factor. Some things you think will gape open forever. I guess some things do, with a bit of puckering along the sides as the years pass and the shock and numbness wear off. This wound is a sharp slice from the sharpest knife. The tears that came out of that wound filled several Olympic sized swimming pools surely. I still cry. I am not sure that all of those tears are not coming out of a series of joined-together wounds, all stretching way back into my childhood. They are not going away. They are a part of me and they belong in my body, in my life, like stretch marks, from the good and bad choices and the occurrences beyond my control. The tears that have flowed out from those spaces have oiled the way for a greater compassion to come from there, too. And for the light to get in.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Probably better for your skin to do yoga rather than buy yet another jar of something containing retin-A, urea, a few magical secret ingredients and the dessicated lungs of squirrels. There must be something to yoga. You see those yoga heads that have been doing it for 30 years straight and they're 60 and they look 40.
I did a session last Thursday night and it felt so good to stretch out my body. Today, while I ached my way through sitting with my body prone and my fingers flying, I swore I would come home and hang out with Diane again. I like her style, her deep breathy relaxing voice with her continual encouragement to not be a bloody cowboy. As I've said before, I like the humility of yoga. Some poses I find very easy. Others I can't even get halfway to where I want to be. To only do what your body can do sounds like it's simple and easy and logical but it's not always so.
There are pros and cons about lounge room yoga. It don't cost nuffink except my internet connection. That is beneficial when I realise, as today, that it is 16 weeks to Christmas and I have to start saving so I can have some time off seeing my job does not pay me holiday pay. The beauty too of lounge room yoga is that no one else is around to hear you grunt and fart - although I must say, these asanas are very gentle and beginners level so no untoward noises are happening so far.
The wonders of a yoga studio are having an instructor to show you where you may be going wrong. And it is delightful being in a group all doing the same thing, a lovely energy. This I miss.
The beauty of a yoga studio is that dogs are not allowed in them. It is nice to stretch yourself into different poses without your dog trying to hump you, bite you and bark at you, and then sit on the couch and stare at you. Most disconcerting.
Yoga studio classes for me in January, I feel :)