“I’m confused – more than usual, that is.” — Smart Bee
I am considering using this as the opening line for this blog every day, much like the sig file I use at the end (“Sometimes I sits and….”)…. It certainly fits my usual state of mind when I sit down to write in the mornings. In fact, it occurs so often, it could be considered a ritualistic behavior, designed to mitigate the overall impact of having to wake up and get moving. I have learned enough in my years to make sure that I own a programmable coffee maker, that has my coffee ready for me when I get up. But, I still have to get up, stir in the condiments I use, then go stare at the computer while it boots up…. by the time I’ve sipped a few ounces down, and I’m beginning to be able to focus my vision on the screen, well, that is when the confusion becomes a factor…. right when, of course, it is of the least use to me…. See what I mean about Murphy?…..
I promised y’all, however, that I wouldn’t whine, so I won’t. I will merely note the state of confusion, and let it go at that, allowing you to snicker behind your hankies and roll your eyes at your discretion…. Let it never be said that I tried to limit your choices here, loud as I do tend to get sometimes in my enthusiasm for what I’m saying…. just chalk it up to the passion that goes along with being a triple Scorpio, and it will suffice, even if it doesn’t make any more sense. Remember, reality has no provisions listed that require ANYTHING to make sense, much less me….
You may be glad to know that most of the confusion has cleared, and been replaced by anger, or more accurately, frustration with my own body. Just when I had thought that things might start moving in a better direction, my lack of dietary balance rises up to cause other problems. I swear I don’t know whether to spit or whistle, not that either would help much, nor, in this case, make me feel much better….. not much will do so, in this instance. But, damn it, I’m not going to let this get me…… I am repeating that phrase to myself, over and over, in the hopes that my body will be persuaded to stop what it has begun…. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t….
Silly creatures, aren’t we? Apply a bit of pressure, and we retreat back to childhood in our reactions. I’m an adult, of this there is no further doubt…. whether I want to be or not. Responding to physical discomfort by chanting the mantra of all two-year olds is, as the years have impressed on me, not the most effective way of dealing with reality. Just because it fulfills some inner tape we run as part of our behavioral repertoire is no good reason to let it disturb our serenity, such as it exists. You know what, though? Our bodies don’t care how old we are, they just want the pain/discomfort to stop, and they don’t care if it takes a two-year old’s mentality and behavior to get it done…. in other words, maturity goes right into the toilet in the face of undue, or apparently unwarranted pain….
It seems as if the condition is backing off somewhat…. perhaps my inner appeal to reason has struck a chord, and persuaded whatever it is to mellow out for a while…. whatever, I’ll take it…. I started both the pearls below last night, getting a jump, as it were, so, I ‘ll do my best now to finish them off, then all we’ll need to do is either write, or find, an appropriate piece of poetry to fill in the central portion of today’s effort. I’m not sure how this will work out, but, we’ll see…. All you can do is all you can do, and no more….. so, let’s do what we can….. Shall we Pearl?….
“It is a misconception that spirituality brings everlasting happiness. There is no such thing. Sadness still comes to the wise, but, unlike most people, their clarity of mind allows them to see beyond the temporal emotionalism of the moment. They are farseeing, and so happiness and sorrow become the same to them.” — Deng Ming-Dao
This is a very subtle and difficult concept for anyone, of Western or Eastern orientation to reality, to fully understand, and even harder to put into action in everyday life…. It is also an idea I’m not sure I can completely hold to be true, in one sense at least. I can see how learning to accept both happiness and sorrow as being equal in value, in terms of how reality is structured is important to understanding. The very fact that we perceive them as opposites reflects our way of seeing the universe, as a dichotomy, with each characteristic balanced by its spiritual opposite, its mirror image, as it were; it follows that being able to recognize this without experiencing any discomfort or imbalance would be a valuable approach.
But, I cannot say that they are the same to me, for as a human, it is part of my nature to “like” the happiness, and “dislike” the sorrow; as people, we are going to have an emotional reaction to what we perceive, regardless of any other factors. It seems to me that the lesson to be learned, then, is to not allow our emotional preferences to influence our inner state, beyond the state of acknowledging it. Our task then becomes to learn to accept it, and appreciate it for its place in reality, without letting our feelings about that place bring us to imbalance within our own spirit…. As I said, subtle and difficult, and more easily said than done, to be sure…..
The events surrounding this morning’s Pearl, as outlined in the intro, serve well to demonstrate how this principle can be useful to us in a very real sense….. I am unbalanced this morning, with my physical being complaining in no uncertain terms that it is displeased with the current state of my diet. This imbalance takes the form of severe discomfort, with some pain located in specific areas of concern. In addressing how I would deal with the feelings it generates, in the above section, it could be said that I was attempting to see past the event itself, into the meaning of it. This encourages some distance between the mind, and the actual events, and consequently, some distance from the feelings. With the sense of panic that accompanies such feelings abated, it is possible to adjust one’s attention to other places in the mind, and the imbalance of the negative feelings is brought back into proper alignment….
As with most types of pain, the feelings we have in reaction make the pain worse, if only by forcing our attention onto it. By creating some inner distance from those feelings, we take control of our attention, and by doing so, reduce the amount of pain/discomfort by a significant factor…. The pain doesn’t go away, but it is reduced enough so we can deal with it in a more productive fashion. It is by no means easy; the pain/discomfort doesn’t like giving up its position in the forefront of the mind’s attention. But, as can be seen by this very pearl, it can free us from the tyranny that our own bodies may try to impose upon us…. In a very real sense, learning this lesson, and how to apply it to the real world, can free our minds completely, to exist in a place where good and bad do not affect our inner balance….
“If you regard discomfort as a normal condition you are not likely to be troubled by want.” — Ieyasu’s maxims
This maxim points to one of the important attitudes one must cultivate, in order for this principle to work properly. It reminds me of the old story about the colonist and the Indian, walking through the forest in winter, sometime in the late 1600’s. The colonist is fully dressed against the cold in leathers, sweaters, jackets, furs, boots, and full beard; the Indian is in moccasins, breech cloth, and skin, despite the snow all around. The colonist says to the Indian, “Aren’t you cold?” The Indian asks in return, “Is your face cold?” “Well, yeah, but I’m used to that,” is the reply….. The Indian just smiles, and says, “Me all face….”
Put most simply, it’s all in what you are used to…. So, get used to learning to adjust your own mind, teaching it to control its reaction to events of all types, rather than letting the world, and its unwelcome events, adjust it for you….. Me, I’d hate to have the words “willy nilly” apply to me in ANY respect….. I prefer having some say in the matter…. and I’ll tell you, it has been an invaluable tool this morning, else there would be no Pearl today…..
And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
‘T is that I may not weep.
— Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Don Juan, Canto iv, Stanza 4
Ogden Nash, I think….
Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I’m not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.
By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever’s hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!
Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.
Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne’er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.
A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare’s plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!
“Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.” — Edward Abbey
This is a difficult pearl to write, as it turns out….. I’ve been cutting and pasting it ahead now for a week or two, trying to get past the anger I feel whenever I think about the number of asshole men who actively perpetrate the oppression of women in our society, a number far too large for my taste, and one I hope to make smaller before I leave this world…. one way or another. I’d prefer to have them listen to me, and consider what I say to them, and subsequently change their ways…. but, if it takes more than that, say, the judicious application of brute force upon their person, well, I hope to be able to oblige them…. because, in my world, any man who is cowardly enough to try to assume his delusional superiority over women deserves whatever they get from other men, as well as from women strong enough to fight back….
“You’re a very strong woman… Though this would be a traumatic experience that you would never forget, I think that you would be very successful in
life.” — Senator Dan Quayle telling an 11-year-old girl — why he would want her to have the baby if she were raped by her father, 10/18/88 (reported in Esquire, 8/92)
Note, please that this quote from the Quail was made 20 years ago…. yet, the Republican party includes this very atrocity as a part of its platform…. disguised of course, and never directly addressed, or even obliquely alluded to, but, these attitudes are just the same now as they were then; perhaps even worse. A very similar statement, just one of several in the same vein, was made in the last couple of weeks by a currently running candidate for the Senate, and the R/R ticket has steadfastly refused to speak out against what the man said…. or about any of the other statements by the low-class misogynists now inhabiting the entire Republican party. In fact, Lyin’ Ryan is already on record as having made the same assertion as Mr. Quayle did in 1988, earlier in this year’s campaign.
“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life — the children; those who are in the twilight of life — the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” — Hubert Humphrey
These asinine fools would have us believe that their entire concern in this issue is for the fetus…. when in reality it is their own sexual insecurities that they are protecting, by taking the decision about any such matters, involving women’s health, out of the hands of the women involved, and putting it in the hands of men, who are deathly afraid of the women’s sexuality, because they automatically feel inferior…. This creates the reaction of rage, or anger, which always covers our fears, and these cowards in men’s clothing cover it all by spouting their lies and insanity even more….
I find at this point that I must bring this to a (temporary) end…. I am not paying attention to the lesson of today’s first section, and my anger at these assholes is getting to the point where I want to put away the computer and pick up my stick, to go looking for a few of them to bludgeon until some of my anger is released. That, while satisfying in the short run, would no doubt lead to complications I’m not prepared to accept, so….. but, I’ll be back to this subject, be sure…. I need to ask all those women out there who are supporting Romney and Ryan just when it was they lost their minds….
Boy, if it ain’t one thing, it’s another! Due to unforeseen but amicable changes in scheduling, this Pearl has been truncated a trifle, but apparently without harm…. at least on first pass. Since it is done, we’re going to let if fly without any further checks, other than to see what spell-checker has freaked about…. Tomorrow promises to be, well, different, which, I guess, is all we can really hope for…..Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.