Constant Havoc

Yes, I thought about this stuff before I put it here.

Anticipation

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My concentration is very low this morning. Meditation was very short, and it was loose, for wont of a better word. I put out a tarot spread for myself and couldn’t get any real thoughts about what I was looking at. Reshuffled the cards, and put out another one. I didn’t even try to think about the second spread.

I was quite distracted in thought in the days leading up to the Great American Eclipse of August 21. Nothing was sticking. It was a jumble. Immediately after it passed, calm returned. That’s faded this morning.

I have a desire. I’ve had it for a very long time. I’ve brought it up in therapy. I’ve meditated about it. I’ve released it in little rituals I’ve created.

It won’t fade.

It’s there.

I’ve come to a kind of peaceful coexistence with it. It doesn’t occupy my mind as it has some days in the past, but it’s there. It just kind of exists in there somewhere.

This morning is one of those days when it’s existing in the front of my mind. Not sure what that means. I just kind of let it have its room and go about my day.

But it’s causing some kind of reaction in my stomach. Not sure what that means.

I’ve had this desire so long that I can’t believe there’s actually about to be some kind of realization. Surely not.

Surely, tomorrow will come, and it will peak its head out of the back of my brain just as it always has.

Do we exist apart from our desires?

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Is this the answer?

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Love

What is love? I’m not sure I know.

Google defines it as “an intense feeling of deep affection” as the noun and “feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone)” as the verb. Definitions are often sparse, and these leave me wanting more.

Does love have conditions? If I have great affection for a person but I dislike one aspect a great deal, do I love that person? If I meet a man whom I find attractive and want to pursue, is my lust love? Is it a kind of love? Does love vary?

I might be arguing semantics. I’m not really sure what I’m doing.

I have a friend I’ve known for 15 years or more. We know each other intimately. I share my deepest thoughts with this man. I love him. I love everything about him. I love his artistry he displays at work. I love his sexual forays that he describes to me. I love his quest to inject meaning into his every moment. I love his pain. I love his faults that creep in every once in a while. I would fight for this man. I have no fear that our love might falter.

I love my children. They are young adults, and I am very happy with how they are maturing. I can say authoritatively they are genuinely good people. They each evince high standards of behavior. I would die for them. I would not think twice about it.

Those two are love. I have no doubt of it.

I want to know that quality of connection with a man.

In my meditations every morning, I remove the layers I accumulate throughout the day. First, I take off a thick layer I gain from simply walking around and interacting with the world. Next, I take off the layer I build up around myself each day to protect myself. I go within and remove the layer around something that’s in my core. Perhaps it’s the layer I create to hide myself from myself. Finally, I unzip the layer I build around my heart.

In meditation, I completely expose myself to the Universe.

When I continue meditation, I move through a landscape of love. I end up walking through a wall of light coming to a place of immense love. From here, I can go even higher. Yesterday, I did just that, and I removed even another layer ending as a shining beam of light.

I want that with a man. I want to be that exposed.

Pure openness.

Getting Some Things Off My Chest

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Positive thinking does not change systemic, structural barriers that have existed for hundreds of years and longer to keep certain groups in a lower socio-economic status or otherwise disadvantaged.

Simply thinking better of myself is beneficial for me as an individual, but it does not change the stigma placed against me as a gay man, and it doesn’t stop the homophobic attacks that kill and maim my gay friends and cause me to have fear.

***

When I am abused by individuals or larger groups or the system, the abusers do not get the right to tell me what I experienced. My voice can sing alone or join in chorus with others and denounce the hate I experience.

***

You do not get to claim to be a victim when you are rightly caught abusing other people. You do not have an inalienable right to commit abuse or spread hate.

***

Public employees do not get to choose how they enforce the laws based on how they perceive the people they are presently addressing. We are all equal before the law.

***

My civil rights trump your religion.

***

The world is a very complicated place. We should all beware of anyone telling us they understand it and can fix it.

***

Fear is poison. It’s also an instinctual drive.

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Critical thinking skills should be nurtured.

***

I am not perfect. I love myself.

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Much of what is wrong with the world can be traced to a need to control.

***

The world is a mess. The world is exquisite.

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I have a feeling that life is so intricately complex that we can’t fathom it as a whole.

***

There is much in the world that may cause despair. I think we’re improving on the whole.

Reading “Howl”

On the first reading

A locomotive rhythm propels me through the lines driving me from one syllable to the next. A hunger in the sounds claws at the words to reach deep in my mind’s eye conjuring images of a man standing at a microphone eyes closed coughing line after line into the air falling on ears drowning thoughts out of blank stares soaked with yesterday’s tears. I’m left wondering when this force shoved my head into its vise grip.

Who gives way to what. The Fates are there. A god appears. Denver takes a beating. Sex’s scent rides high over the pages. There is dirt and anguish and women and men.

Was there laughter?

There was pounding sound. There was a beat. There was a need to move on on on.

I do not sense a wood fire. This is a modern, internal combustion. Sparks ignite gas, and a thousand intimate hopes burn through the paper and drive the pistons to push and pull on on on.

There were commas. Were there periods? Did anything stop? I don’t remember rest. I remember need.

*

The second reading

There was one period. And I’m out of breath! The words! They come relentlessly driving me over the cliff.

The rooms are unshaven. Purgatory is not a place but an active force. The ashcans scream. And what is a “kind king light of mind”? How does a mind illuminate? “Grandfather night” smiles on us all and gives us just a line or two of rest. “Hotrod-Golgatha jail-solitude watch” reaches in and twists me.

The commas are not punctuation. The lack of commas speaks of need to make language.

“What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?” Oh, God! What sphinx indeed?! I am laid waste. My breast is open, and my beating heart is there to be eaten.

I have so many questions. Why does this make me want to rush to the corner to buy a pack of cigarettes?

Need. Hunger. Want.

Breath. Sound. Rending.

*

Third

I forgot how to read. I must learn again.

Is anyone listening?

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I have a problem. It’s a longstanding one, and it hurts. What hurts most is I honestly have no one I can talk to about it who will hear me.

When I talk to friends, they immediately start to tell me either how to fix it by doing something, or they tell me what I’m doing wrong in order that I can stop doing that so the problem will be fixed.

No one listens.

Everyone has their own ideas how things are supposed to move through our complex universe, and when I point out how my experience shows their ideas aren’t universally true, they get defensive.

It always comes out that I am doing something wrong, so I have a problem. Always.

I want to talk to someone who will listen to me without immediately reaching for their own ideas about how to fix my situation.

I want to be heard.

I want someone to listen to me.

Ugh

hashtag

I hate hashtags.

Truth

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I think I’m an anomaly. I want to know the truth, even if it contradicts something I hold dear. I am willing to step back from what I think and believe and allow those things to be questioned.

I do have some precious ideas that would pain me greatly to let go. The most important of those ideas are the spiritual ones. I do not fear disagreement with my spiritual beliefs as some people do. I don’t need to defend them. I recognize my spirituality is not based on anything that can be empirically verified.

My spiritual ideas feel right.

That’s all. There’s nothing more to it.

It feels right.

This understanding that my spirituality feels right is not new. However, the type of spiritual practice I enjoy today was not possible when I practiced religion. Having another person define my relationship with existence I see as larger than what can be described with our five senses was too confining. I am much calmer now that I left religion and all its trappings. I don’t need to explain anything to anybody. I sit and know that I am part of a magnificent reality.

Leaving religion freed me.

I am not in any way a materialist who views life mechanistically. I am more than chemical processes occurring in the mass called my brain. I recognize those processes take place, but I reject the idea they define me. I do not think the day will come when a scientist will open my skull and find me.

I am the memory of the cascading scent of freshly turned earth and hot marigolds on a summer’s day.

I am waking from a long nap riding in the car, opening the door only to be assaulted by a wall of fragrant pines.

I am the sound my foot makes in the gravel as I walk with my son as we view the ruins in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

I am the first sight of a clear night’s stars glistening overhead.

I am the taste of warm skin under my lips.

I am vast.

More Ephemera

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I like old names. I like traditional spellings for names, too. I am not a fan of inventing names. Naming is an art. It marks a person for life, and it should, therefore, be taken quite seriously. A name can lift a person or weigh them down like an anchor. My children have names that have been in our families for a long time.

I am infatuated with the music duo 2Cellos. I absolutely love rock music played on classical instruments. There are many very good performers marrying these two streams today. It’s very exciting.

Humans are hard-wired to try to control. Our first attempts at communication are about control. The baby feels hunger, so it cries, and the parents give it food. It learns to cry when it wants something very quickly. We carry this idea throughout our lives. Crying got us food, so why don’t our attempts to manage other areas of our lives yield similar results? As we age, I think each of us has to come to terms with our relative lack of power. There is very little in my life I can control. I do my part, and then I have to sit back and watch events unfold.

Education may be the most important activity we do. Everything starts with education.

Why hate? Why do people revel in the filth that hate churns up? I have felt hate, and it upset me so much I have endeavored my whole life not to feel it again. I have yet to hear about hate that was rational or justified. It harms the one who harbors the hatred.

Studying the classics made me a richer man. There is very little original thought since the Greeks. We may have more technology, but we humans have not changed in the past 3,000 years.

I like the Internet very much. I can wander around it all day. There is a lot here that makes me smile and laugh and cry, and there is much that gives me hope.

People are wonderful.

The arc of history is moving to a more peaceful and egalitarian world. It is a slow process, but it is happening.

For most of my life, I resisted the notion that I should love myself. It sounded too self-centered. I was raised in a strict, fundamentalist evangelical Christian family, so I often heard that I was unworthy and sinful. Loving myself seemed wrong. I had to give up religion to find the peace that religion said it would give me.

Quitting religion improved my spirituality vastly. When I rejected the notion someone else should tell me how to approach divinity, my approaches to divinity began to give me the answers others kept telling me they had for me.

I like thought-full people. I want to surround myself with people who like to think carefully about many different topics.

Lava

lava 28 Oct 2014

Picture by County of Hawai`i. Taken October 28, 2014, in Pahoa.

I am feeling some deep emotions this morning. I live on the east side of the Big Island of Hawai`i. This island is the product of five volcanoes, two of which are still active. Kilauea is currently erupting. The eruption began January 3, 1983.

June 27 this year, the eruption changed its course and began to flow northeast toward the town of Pahoa. It is a pahoehoe lava flow and is slow moving. In the last four months, it has traveled thirteen miles and is still on the move.

I do not live in Pahoa or anywhere threatened by the lava flow, but I have friends who are in the projected path of the lava flow, and it is scary to think of their plight. I have a friend who works at Pahoa Elementary School, which is closing today to prepare many of the teachers and students to transfer to a new, temporary campus being built in the parking lot of a high school in Kea`au. It is a stressful time for many people here.

Kenoepoko Elementary School lies in the projected path of the lava flow, and it closed yesterday indefinitely. The students there held an assembly on their last day. I know one of the kumu (Hawaiian teacher or guide to learning) at the school. He said the students were grateful for the ceremony to mark the possible end of the school.

Lava is a sacred manifestation of the Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes known as Pele. Native Hawaiians welcome her when she comes. Another friend grew up in Kalapana, a town covered by lava early in the current eruption. His grandmother’s house was nearly covered, and his grandmother prepared by cleaning everything, saying she had to prepare for an honored guest. Her house was spared and still stands.

Months ago at meetings organized by the county to inform people about the coming lava and the changes it will bring, many people wanted to know about the possibility of diverting the lava flow. County officials and scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory of the US Geological Survey gave clear evidence that diversions would not be attempted.

The most important reason against trying to divert the lava flow is simple: it doesn’t work. It has never worked. The army bombed Mauna Loa in the 1930s to stop lava flowing toward Hilo. It didn’t work. Videos of the 1960 eruption at Kapoho can be seen on YouTube by typing in “Kapoho eruption.” There are many to chose from. When the eruption began, large berms were constructed around the town. They did not work. The lava surmounted all the berms and destroyed the town. The current eruption has produced 350,000 cubic meters of lava each day over the last 31 years. The present flow is producing 100,000 cubic meters of lava each day. This mass of molten rock will not stop.

The other most important reason not to try to divert the lava is also simple: since it won’t stop, it has to go somewhere. Diverting the present flow only places other people in danger. Whose property is more valuable? Who chooses which property should be lost to the lava?

The lava flow is approaching the main road through Pahoa today, and it will cross a major highway soon. Once it crosses the highway, a large part of the island will be cut off from the rest of the island. Gravel roads have been cut through the rain forest to provide access to the people who live on the south side of the flow, but it will require slow driving. If the lava continues on its path all the way to the ocean, the gravel roads will be useless, too, and a third road is being made across the lava flows to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the effect of what is happening. It has made me think on a much larger time scale than I normally use. I think it’s normal for each of us to think of time in terms of our life span or perhaps of the span of our families. I am now thinking of things on geological time. These volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean have been erupting much longer than homo sapiens have walked the Earth. We are still newcomers. Kilauea will continue to blanket herself in new lava for many more thousands of years. We are travelers. She is permanent.

Besides time, I am also thinking about space. Space for people, I believe, equals the ground we walk on and the places we inhabit. We think of property as being owned. Pele is proving who owns the land. This is her land. We dance on it for a time, but it is always hers.

Lives are being altered. Histories are being written. We can fight, and we will lose. Or we can accept, celebrate, and welcome the changes.

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