Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Writing grasps at a paradox, or tries to, like gathering a stream of water running underground. Life is a rapid flow and I can never catch more than a few drops as it rushes along. Time itself has always fascinated me. What is it really, or even is it really? I often have ideas and insights as I’m driving, walking, washing the dishes and so on,  yet before I can logon to this computer or pull a notebook out of my purse, the thought is gone and something just as interesting (or not) washes over it and takes its place in a Nano-second of time.

My version of Yin Yang from
a number of years ago
I’m a spontaneous painter, also. Sometimes just drawing lines, curves and abstract patterns trigger images. It is a way of pumping the image well that flows involuntarily below the surface of the mind. However, I’m not an abstract painter. I suspect that only the imagined familiarity with the world of objects surrounding us leads us to believe there is anything but abstraction. Only an established habit of interpretation makes an image recognizable.  I’m uncomfortably familiar with the unidentifiable and unknown imageless surging beneath our common perceptions.  I love to turn them into recognizable words and shapes. Perhaps it’s really like seeing horses, elephants or racing cars in the clouds. 

Of course, as someone tells a story or writes a novel, or even news, history, politics or whatever, it is really always about telling a story, and the form guides the mind. Yet telling a story can be an adventure into an unknown wilderness.  The really great novelists are over taken by a story that wants telling from the collective mind of their time or occasionally from beyond time. 

One must still read hand held books to get gourmet mind food.  Although there is an enormous selection of stories on TV, the quality is usually fast food with a lot of mental sugar and trans-fat. Now and then, I send an eye and ear toward PQ’s documentaries and action programs across the room and usually begin mentally arguing with them because of the simplistic conventional views of nature, spirituality, and history that even documentaries frequently express. Definitely lowest common mind food planned so as not to challenge anyone’s palette but with enough spice to hook the human appetite for gossip and secrets. I do wonder if there is some conspiracy to tease the appetite without giving anything of substance. Keep them coming back for more like the iconic donkey following a carrot that forever hangs just beyond reach. The hungry viewers will wait through the commercial for a satisfactory result that always disappears into a suggested reward in the future.

Ideas erupt into the present and I try to catch them, but often they run away zigzagging like rabbits evading the hounds. However, the past has some controllability. Perhaps that is its great appeal. No matter it isn’t very nourishing. At least we know what to expect. I find myself drifting into thoughts of a grim future when reviewing the future with my present mind and wonder what we will need to survive even the immediate future, as the needs of family and the throng of bills seem to increase every month. Last night I caught myself doing a dysfunctional mental dance instead of sleeping. Over coffee and quiet, I compared these compulsive thoughts to an epiphany also over a cup of morning coffee several months ago.  

At that time, I suddenly recognized that getting onto the vibration of joy and love was literally the cure to angst. I was broke, PQ’s health was worsening, and his youngest son was going through a bad divorce, was temporarily unemployed and needed our support both emotionally and financially and our taxi service to pick up his kids from school. After that, things just kept going down. It seemed there was an unwelcome and expensive surprise weekly.  Even when we had a moderate windfall, it was quickly gobbled up by another unexpected crisis. It seemed that reality was out to destroy us and occasional positive events tempted us like cruel jokes just before surprising us with another over the top situation.

This morning I realized that I could also see the events over the past year as a revealing test to expose my automatic attitude. It is easy to feel positive when everything is just fine. Eckhart Tolle refers to the product of early traumas as the Pain Body. The Pain Body essentially becomes an addictive attachment to pain and resulting self-pity in a continuous search for the balance of compensation.  Of course, the world produces what we perceive or, more accurately, what our emotional filter lets through. 

Spring always brings the best of times and the worst of times to borrow a famous quote. This seems normal as nature surges out of the darkness of winter and it is much bigger than we are.  We are going to Arizona for a visit next week for a house-sit, an unexpected miracle that caused PQ to do handsprings in his soul. Then in early May, we will visit National Jewish Hospital in Denver, perhaps the world’s foremost experts on lung diseases.  It is definitely time to do whatever we can about PQ’s lung disease, as it has intensified over the past year and become a real obstacle to the flow of life.  The future is unknown, and although this is a truism, at this time in our lives, it has become very personal.  The life stream surges up this spring and will we swim, drown or find a previously unknown option.  I’m counting on the unknown.