Monday, October 20, 2014

How Do I Define My Work?




As I was setting up the pages for Tumblr, I was asked the following question in setting up my profile:
How Do You Define Your Work?

Holy Shirt!  What a question!  It caused me to pause....and pause...and in this manner some days went by...and I paused some more..  This is how I finally defined my work.




I work to express the beauty and majesty of the Universe.  I work to understand and to worship those Energies that are involved in its creation and continued existence.

I work to help those people who are involved in healing themselves from parental abuse, violence, ignorance or indifference.

I work to manifest images that evoke emotional truth and self-revelation. I work to revive atrophied faculties of mind and spirit that have been damaged by our culture.

I work to contribute my iota to the world of self-knowledge.


I write, play music and practice photography for people who want to be mirrored in their deepest selves, that they may better understand their confusions.


At the moment I can't bring any more cogent definition of my work that wouldn't involve writing fifty pages of boring junk.




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cries From The Heart


Lately I've been getting messages from people that I would term
"Cries From The Heart".  The French have a term for this: Cri de Coeur.   A Cri de coeur is deep, serious and without artifice.  It's the real thing.  I've gotten emails, facebook messages, texts, phone calls, cries from everywhere on Earth.  They are wails of desperation, despair.  In May I uttered such a cry to a few of my friends.  Perhaps that's why I'm getting these messages now.  People feel they can let down their guard.  I hear from strangers, from acquaintances and from friends.  It's as if our bodies are distilling our  experiences and allowing these feelings to percolate downward into the Earth.  "WE'RE IN TROUBLE!" is what I'm hearing. Well...what else is new?  We've been in trouble for some time now.  When Robin Williams died there was a collective outflow, as if a giant balloon had been punctured. PSHEEEEWWW!  Suddenly the world had lost an important shade of color.  Gone!  Our palette was subtly impoverished.  I found myself thinking, "If he could get to such a state, then ANYONE might find themselves so distressed that they start looking for a way out."
Fortunately, I survived my May crisis but I will admit that it left me frightened.  It was ungodly painful!  I don't want to go through that again.  I don't want anyone to go through such an ordeal. Perhaps it was a true mid-life crisis, just a little late.  I didn't have the crisis about getting old in my fifties.  But at 65, whammo!  I write this because I think it's time to be honest.   Hang on tight, my friends.  We live in "interesting times" as the Chinese curse has it.  "May you live in interesting times" is an oriental malediction.
It's like saying "may you be witness to much war, famine and suffering." 
  We have all of that and we are forced to be witness because we live in a global information network where the news is even pumped through men's room urinals. It's important that we help one another, any way that we can. Expect to feel confused. Reach out when the confusion gets overwhelming. Reach out, anyway.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Compassion Found Dead In House Of Reps



 


            Early this morning Compassion was found dead on the floor of the House of Representatives.  An employee of the Capitol’s maintenance staff, Dizzy Tilton, found the body as he was sweeping debris down the center aisle.
          “I seen it comin’ for a long time.  It wasn't no shock." said Mr. Tilton, who has worked in the House for thirty seven years.  
            The body of Compassion was sprawled across a large number of  seats in the House Chamber.  Of course, Compassion was well known for her immortal hits such as “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” and “I Seen the Devil And It’s You,”. An anonymous source in law enforcement told this reporter that as many as fifty knives were used in the killing.  The FBI and the Secret Service say they have no suspects at this time, but a thorough investigation will be mounted as soon as a committee is formed to decide who will lead the inquiry.
            “There’s plenty of evidence”, said Special Agent Dawn Zerle-Light, 

“There are fingerprints on top of fingerprints.  Seems like everybody 

wanted Compassion out of the way.  The timing is suspicious, I must say.  

Only last week, Wisdom was blown to pieces in the Senate. Officials in 

Congress are trying to pin the crime on lobbyists. Of course the 

investigation won’t start until the end of the current filibuster.”

Suicide And Robin Williams


            Suicide.  Robin Williams.  You would think that those two items would not compute, that they wouldn't add up.  I can hear millions of people talking: "the guy had everything", they say.  "He was successful, famous, loved around the world.  What could be so depressing that it would cause him to wrap a belt around his neck?"
            I counseled a Suicide Hotline for five years.  I burnt out.  I couldn't take it any more.  My mother was a suicide; I found her cold body laid sideways across her bed.  I never thought that I would entertain suicidal thoughts, but I was wrong.  Only recently I had a two month depression so intense that I did indeed creep up to the edge of that precipice and look over the rim.
            In suicide counseling we were taught to look for particular red flags.  The first indicator was whether the caller was having thoughts or fantasies of suicide.  Then we would ask if there was a plan, a mental blueprint of how the suicide would happen.  If there was a detailed plan we were to probe for the acquisition of the instrument of self-murder.  A gun, razor blades, pills....by means of asking these questions we were trained to evaluate how seriously the caller was flirting with suicide.  If things were bad enough it was time to trace the call and get the police involved. 
            A prominent suicide like Robin Williams strikes us in a peculiarly vulnerable place.  If he can kill himself, we think, then anyone is capable of suicide.
            That is the plain truth.  I never thought that I would encounter suicidal ideation, that I would entertain fantasies of killing myself.  Around the beginning of June this year, a depression of overwhelming intensity seemed to leap on my back like a leopard striking from the high branches of a tree.  It's mostly over, now, I feel better, but I will never again put myself beyond the reach of the bony hand of self-killing despair.  Whatever deadly instrument it holds, I know that I have suicide within me.  My mother did it.  I thought about her a lot as I endured my mental and emotional pain. 
            Robin Williams, Robin Williams.  I loved Robin Williams.  I spent an evening in a club, sitting next to him at the bar.  We talked about the band we had both come to hear.  He was a compact little guy and as I was being entertained by our conversation I felt a weird familiarity but i didn't realize that he was THE Robin Williams, comedian, actor, bicyclist, humanitarian and all around conscious intelligent man.  Then, just as we were going our separate ways it hit me.  OH!  That was Robin Williams.  Well I'll be damned!  I didn't have to pretend not to recognize him because I didn't until the encounter was over.  Just as we were shaking hands and saying farewell a little voice in my head said "Television Television" and I thought maybe he was in a commercial or something and then, as I watched his retreating back exiting the club I got my "AHA!" and I knew he was Robin Williams.
            Having Robin Williams hang himself with a belt hurts so hugely I can't even begin to encompass its massive trauma.  I can only think, "That poor man!  His family must be going through hell!" My brush with the heavy dark freezing terrifying possibility of killing myself was enough to lift the blinders from my eyes.  Anyone in this world can find themselves in enough trouble to seek the last, only, final way out.  The problem is this....I know nothing about the Afterlife.  But I have an intuition that suicide doesn't get you a free pass out of that trouble.  It lands you in even worse trouble.
          But that's only one possibility.  I imagine there are as many afterlives as there are people and each one of them is unique.  I hope desperately that Robin Williams escaped from whatever it was that so tormented him.  I can't begin to imagine.  Due to Williams' drug history there's a widespread assumption that drugs were involved.  Now we have late breaking news that he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.   That would push me towards the precipice.  One of the hallmarks of depression is the phenomenon known as "catastrophizing".  In my case I began fantasizing about my future; that I would end up lonely, sick and homeless.  I would be a degraded dweller in cardboard boxes.  THAT's catastrophizing.
          There's some deeper wound that exists in all of us, some Original Grief that accompanies us into the physical world.  It rides along with us in our physical bodies and sometimes it just waits there and does nothing but cause pain, momentary pain, endurable pain.  But sometimes that primal slash starts to bleed and no matter who you are, you can't stop the bleeding, you can't stanch the flow.  Your psychic energy begins to drain from you just like real blood and you get weaker and weaker and you tell yourself, hang on, be a warrior, endure.  You do NOT want to hear some fool tell you "Get over it.  The past is the past, it's over and done with.  It's time to move on."  You don't want to hear that because the fool who says that is clueless, has no idea how deep psychic pain can take you. 
            Just pray, O Afflicted One, pray and reach out to your friends, the ones who understand that no one is immune, no one gets a free pass, when the Darkness descends.  It can come at any time.  We never know.  If it's not on top of you right now, breathe a grateful sigh of relief and thank the Gods that you are more or less normal.  Enjoy that so-called Normal because sometimes it's the best we can have. After feeling what I felt these last few months, NOT feeling such things is pure bliss.