Tuesday, October 31, 2006
as i gained more experience on the surgical nursing unit, it became clear to me that a nurse's role centres around the patient's response to illness and unwellness. that means bedside care. the paraphenelia, the pumps that beep and hum, the plastic and rubber tubes which we insert into peoples' orifaces, the needles, vials, and pills - a nurse these do not make. a nurse engages with patients whose body betrayals have thrust a painful metamorphosis upon their lives. with serious illness often comes loss of some kind. loss of normality, normalcy. loss of independence. loss of the little things which we encompass in our daily lives.
no amount of morphine, or iv fluids or physiotherapy will cure this sort of loss. the art of nursing lies in the delicate skill of assisting our patients in navigating the changes associated with these losses, in adjusting to an altered health status. and in guiding them to rebuild with what remains. with diginity. with compassion. and always, always, always while doing no harm.
this navigating - its the primary and most essential piece of a nurses' job, and yet its the part of the job for which we seem to have the least amount of time. and therin lies the incredible heartbreak of nursing practice.
Tags: illness, loss, personal, practice
the ancient celts celebrated all hallow's eve with a fire feast - a bon fire would ward off any evil spirits that may travel to earth from the other side. the festival day sort of became solidified into celtic and saxon culture when, in the 8th or 9th century, pope gregory moved the catholic 'all souls day' - a day to remember all souls condemned to purgatory.
the tradition of trick or treating appears to have its origins in the all souls parades that took place in england. the poor would go door to door, begging for food, and families would give them pastries , called soul cakes, in exchange for a promise to pray for dead family members. in ireland, children would go door to door collecting nuts and sweets, etc for the festival.
so ... why do we still do the trick or treat thing? i mean, think about it. we invest so much time, effort, energy and resources teaching our children not to talk to strangers. remember, being a kid, and the constable would come to your class and tell you all about the bad people who want to lure you into their cars or houses with candy? so .... ? why do we spend soooo much time, effort, energy and money promoting a festival that involves our kids going door to door and begging for candy from strangers?!
i just don't get it. the tradition has gotten so warped by the commercialism ... the capitalism ... in our society. all hallows eve now seems so far removed from its roots. its not about remembering the dead. its just about consumption. how grotesque!
Tags: hallowe'en, pop culture, society
Saturday, October 28, 2006
maybe if none of the tax paying americans see exactly what is going on in iraq, then ... well, maybe the government could keep a lid on this thing until after the election? RIGHT. and if you believe that ... well, i got some land to sell you. ha ha.
so ... given that the clips shown BLACKED OUT any scenes actually showing a US soldier getting shot ... what's the problem? do we kid ourselves as to what, indeed goes on during war? and ... are those who oppose CNN's decision to air the clips going to tell me some story about the sanctity of life? ok. so, its only dissing the sanctity of life to watch death when its real, not when its staged (ie fictional) purely for entertainment? riiiiight. [can you here that my voice is dripping with sarcasm here? sorry - hard to resist letting the sarcasm gremlin out for a post].
PTOSH! take your blinders off. the only way to put an end to all this suffering is to acknowledge it ... that means witness the suffering. oh - but is this asking too much? would we all rather be watching monday night football, or desperate housewives or something equally as assanine? i hope not!
Tags: free speech, middle east, press, usa, war
Friday, October 27, 2006
she struggles. she wrestles. with the concept of LIFE. what constitutes life? she realizes the question sounds ridiculous. so much so as to seem flip. but ... she wonders. what does constitute life? she feels g-d. she innately knows him. and sees the soul as a spark of g-d. an animating force. housed - on this plane of existence - within a decaying shell - the human body. the soul - a life force.
she wonders, still. what constitutes life? animation? does animation constitute life? does cognition constitute life? where does the soul go, when a person lies unconscious? when a person cannot express itself tangibly? can life support really keep a vibrant sacred soul in a failed shell? and what of conception? has the fusion of two souls, during sexual intercourse, miraculously produced a third? does this occur at the moment of fertilization? she surmises for herself that it must. it simply must. and so ... yes, she believes, at her core, that life begins at the moment of conception. the presence of a living soul does not necessarily coincide with the presence of cognitive awareness. she innately feels this truth. the presence of a living soul only coincide's with g-d's breath.
but still she struggles. with existing. with existing while honoring life. while honoring humanity. while battling suffering. she wonders, in a reserved thought whether suffering fulfills a purpose. or whether suffering simply exists as the cummulative result of humanity's choices. it does not seem clear. and that's why she wrestles. and does it seem related to the issue of life? well, yes. in her convulted mind it does.
she questions her previous mode of thinking. which basically placed the relief of suffering above the sanctity of life. which placed the sanctity of humanity above the sacredness of life. she believes that every occurence has a cosmic purpose. including suffering. even though suffering to her seems the spawn of humanity, knowledge and free will. she believes. and at times it seems an insurmountable standard of existence. but she believes. she knows. she thinks of how the sacredness of life ... the sanctity of humanity ... and presence of suffering have carved her life.
she remembers thinking about her youngest son. about how she felt, at the lowest points of her life with him. about how she chose to feed her despair by saying she felt it better to have only had one 'normal' child, instead of one 'normal' child and one 'defective' child. yes, she feels mild shame, at disclosing to you, dear reader, that, at times, she wished she'd never had him. and, that she deliberately chose the word 'defective.' s opposed to 'special.' and, ironically, now that she no longer has that second, special child to love, her soul admonishes her for feeding her despair and bitterness. and for starving her love and compassion.
every fibre of her being knows that abortion does terminate life. she feels, at the core of her femininity, that no woman has the right to chose abortion. she feels that, rather, women have a responsibility to harness their creative - ie life-giving - powers with respect, wisdom, and love. as opposed to lust, greed and self-gratification. however, she wrestles, here, too. she wonders, about the sanctity of a life conceived in the throes of violence ... of utter disrespect ... of fear ... of violation. she wonders - what if the girl did not chose? and ... what if she trusted, and that trust got betrayed? does a life produced in violence and violation, in an act of abuse, hold any sanctity? she wonders ... does it constitute murder, when a girl chooses to abort a life created during such an act of violence? she tells herself that it does not. she must believe it. for her own psyche, she must. but she does not know if she can believe it.
she wonders. if that's why she spent so much her sanity in a career that saves life. she wonders if its her attempt at some sort of cosmic repetence. to try to add life. to make up for the one she took. she also wonders, does it work that way? and she wonders. didn't her father violate life, too? she surely believes he dishonored humanity.
and she wonders. about 'honoring thy mother and father,' she wonders. does it matter what parents do? does g-d still want her to honor her father? despite what he did? and her mother? for standing by and never fighting to protect her children? she feels that, yes, she must still honor these parents. she cannot ever touch her father. or allow him to touch her. but her soul tells her she must honor him. and her soul feels only mercy and sorrow for her mother. and love. and yes, honor too.
with herself. with life. with angels.
and she feels the warm hand of g-d
touch her, at her core.
images originally uploaded by loswl and ivory illusion
the nature of a human being is to simply react -
to give back the medicine others give you.
here's some advice from the ancient sages:
ignore the urge to return bad with bad,
hurt with hurt, scorn with scorn --
and the heavens will ignore
all the mess you've made in the past.
image originally uploaded by hanuta
Tags: humanity, wisdom
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
'There is still -- and I say this with a heart full of sorrow -- no Iraqi people but an unimaginable mass of human beings, devoid of any patriotic idea, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatever.'
in 1959 historian hanna batutu wrote the following of iraq:
"For four days and four nights Kurds and Yezidis stood against Arabs; Assyrian and Aramaean Christians against Arab Muslims; the Arab tribe of Albu Mutaiwat against the Arab tribe of Shammar; the Kurdish tribe of al-Gargariyyah against Arab Albu Mutaiwat; the peasants of Mosul country against their landlords; the soldiers of the Fifth Brigade against their officers; the periphery of the city of Mosul against its centre; the plebeians of the Arab quarters of al-Makkawi and Wadi Hajar against the aristocrats of the Arab quarter of ad-Dawwash; and with the quarter of Bab al-Baid, the family of al-Rajabu against its traditional rivals, the Aghawat."
so ... if we read these thoughts correctly, we begin to see the tribal forces at play in the region known as iraq. did you know, dear reader, of such a tangled and complex historical context in iraq? did you really think it would simply take removal of saddam hussein to "correct" the region? how naive, indeed! and did the region need correcting at all, any more than the usa needed 'correcting' during its own civil war? any more than canada required 'correcting' during the FLQ crisis?
and ... dear reader, what do you think happened to this region in the post WWI period, when victors of the great war carved up the lands of the defeated ottomans? well, exploitive distribution, of course. with western interests in mind. does it surprise you to know that little regard was given to involving the iraqi people in the formation of their own fate?
its interesting, isn't it? learning that colonial interest in mosul-kirkuk did not surface until AFTER discovery of oil in this region? and that oil - and western dependence on same - motivated the brits' invasion and subsequent occupation of iraq during WWII?
historical context. sociologic context. tribal underpinnings of the populace. when one considers iraq, one MUST consider context. and so, that means ... what? simply, that one must consider the current uprising of insurgents in its context. the region and peoples of iraq have suffered occupation and domination for very much of the past 748 years. knowing this, king feisel I's remarks, made 73 years ago seems so very fitting today.
and ... it leads me to ask. what does america think its doing, in iraq? and why are we, the world, so surprised at the reaction of iraqis?
and, more importantly. this begs me to ask. through what process does a mass of humans become a nation of people? can external and culturally alien entities impose such a process on the population of iraq? how much of a nation's development and social progress must simply originate from WITHIN? and what can the west do to assist? and that line separating domination from guidance? do we know where it exists? do we even know it exists, at all?
Tags: history, iraq, middle east, usa, war measures act
her mosaic lense makes murky her visualization of cultural identity versus assimilation into society. while some others around her appear to have the answers ... or seem content acting upon an initial emotional reaction to a cultural controversy ... she feels bewildered. puzzled, by the issues. she understands the desire to express oneself religiously - nun's habits, turbans, hijabs/ niqabs, and yarmulkes. she also understands the importance of maintaining a secular society to honor egalitarianism.
her mosaic lense muddies clarity. she understands where jack straw is coming from regarding the issue of the niqab - veil that muslim women wear which covers their face, save for their eyes. she understands people, and sees how speaking to someone - whose face one cannot see - could evoke some discomfort. she personally thinks that a requirement to cover one's face seems tantamount to an attempt to marginalize ... render invisible. to silence women. however, she respects a woman's desire to express herself religiously. and so ... she doesn't know. how does a society juxtapose or balance freedom of religious expression with the requirements of a secular society?
her mosaic lense causes her to stumble, when it comes to consideration of fundamental issues, such as health care. politically, administratively, and quite possibly financially as well, universal health care seems questionable. but ... equality means all citizens receive equal treatment. democracy fundamentally goes hand in hand with equality for all. so ... how to reconcile dis-equal access to a basic requirement for human existence? this seems at odds with egalitarianism. and so ... these opposing views wrestle within her.
culture and religion provide shape, form, identity, context. they can even promote growth and enlightenment, as long as they're not excessively repressive, exclusivist and/or reductionist. to diminish the cultural identity of an individual or a group seems to her like ripping the lovely, thriving flowers from the ground. that said, she resents attempts by a particular religion to manipulate society for its own promotion. she thinks that christianity has really come to embody idolatry. so much opulent and massive machinery ... g-d does not exist there anymore. it makes her soooo angry. she seeks truth. she feels like that droplet ... searching for its source. she knows g-d provides her context. she feels it. g-d cannot live where intolerance does. that she knows also.
image originally uploaded by silkdiver and firelily
Tags: canadian society, culture, humanity, me
Monday, October 23, 2006
for the source.
the spark craves
the great fire.
i can bear no longer
the darkness of the world
into the sea of nothingness
let the grains of our existence
his infinite being
carved my spark
from his blaze
the extinction of my candle
within his flame
the searing tremor of my soul
from afar, from the dark
towards his light.
Tags: faith, g-d, god, judaism, poetry, spirituality
so ... let's talk about this niqab. jack straw wants us to believe that a niqab presents a barrier to communication. really? so ... i'm guessing jack doesn't do the telecon thing? HA HA. how does he reconcile all the communicating he doubtless does in the course of his day via telephone, email, memo? i can't imagine that he refuses to engage in these means of communication on the grounds that they preclude him from observing facial gestures. so ... what gives? perhaps an inability, or unwillingness, to assimilate a foreign custom? a sort of hiding behind one's own veil of fear, in rejecting the validity of niqab? one wonders.
i think of france - where legal restrictions curb religious expression wrt dress. and i wonder. i understand the sentiment. but - does it go too far? i think of the usa. known as a melting pot. meaning, from a cultural perspective, dilution of cultures of origin by the american culture. i think of canada. what makes canada, canada? does the term mosaic have anything to do with it? i think so.
and so ... we as canadians must decide - mosaic? or melting pot?
Tags: controversy, culture, niqab, religious expression
Sunday, October 22, 2006
the tendril of wisdom i wish to impart here in this post relates to the story of lot and his wife leaving sodom. you know the deal - despite the angels telling them on more than one occasion to go forth and not look back - lot and his family delay and delay and then when they finally do leave, lot's wife looks back and then gets turned into a pillar of salt. what happens here, in this story? why the procrastination, despite numerous urges to leave and escape an impending inferno? what, about looking back, causes lot's wife to become the most inert and lifeless substance? perhaps it had to do with her disobedience? NOPE. simply put?
when lot's wife looks back, instead of 'going forth,' she becomes a haunting metaphor for the perils of inertia. her preoccupation with the past literally paralyzes her in the face of danger, freezes her in time ... attachment to material possesions, coupled with denial of evil, can create a fatal blind spot. lot's wife, and the legion of procrastinators who have followed her through history, teach us that we suppress our instinctual flight response at our own peril
the wisdom of lot's story does not end with his wife's demise. oh no. there's more. recall the story of lot in the dark cave? after g-d plucks him away from the brimstone and destruction of sodom, lot makes retreat into a dark cave. somehow, he cannot seem to rescue himself from himself. i see this as a sort of looking back, don't you? extend the wisdom of the story of lot's wife.
can one really go forth while hanging on? NOPE, that's just common sense. symbolically no difference exists between hanging on and looking back - they originate from the same energy of inertia. and so, focussing so much attention and energy on past offences, angst, upheavels - it closes our spirits and psyches off to the possibilities and potential of the present. and ... the future.
image originally uploaded by two crabs
Tags: g-d, genesis, inertia, life's lessons
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
consider that, under the current law, prosecutors that move to declare an individual a dangerous offender typically meet no resistence. also consider that, enactment of this statute, does not neccessarily mean any province will actually use - and that our prison system simply cannot accomodate the increase in prisoner populace such an act implies, if indeed provinces did appeal to this statute.
scary. when lawmakers wanna fuck with due process ... what's the point of the bill of rights, then? and the court system? do lawmakers now impose sentences upon criminals, as opposed to judges, via trial? what does that say about the direction for which our legal systems appears destined?
Tags: dangerous offenders, due process, legal statutes
In stark contrast to Christian dogma -- where marriage is seen as a concession to the weakness of the flesh, and celibacy is extolled as a virtue -- the Torah accords matrimony an exalted and holy position.
what a difference this makes! such a difference ... i will not elaborate much further at this point, but just say that my soul feels liberated at the underlying sentiment of the torah wrt marriage and sexuality. repression has no place in the torah. in fact, it commands healthy sexual intimacy for all married couples. one removes the villainous tinge from sex and sexuality when one promotes open healthy expression as natural and necessary, rather than a grotesque manifestation of human weakness.
think on it. how many rabbi's are sexual predators? and how many so-called catholic men of the cloth are sexual predators or deviants? and how does a man, a celibate man who has no family experience whatever, possess the experience and knowledge and wisdom to guide his laiety in matters of family living, child rearing, marital strife? what counsel could such a repressed, oppressed and sheltered man provide an average person?
and now, in my convoluted thought pattern, this takes me to the issue of jesus. the being whom christians call the 'christ' .... the messiah. i have done, and continue to do, some reading on the divinity of jesus. on his message. the notion of jesus as divine does, when one delves into the facts of the matter, seem at odds with various prophecies that existed regarding the messiah. ie - one of many small seemingly insignificant details - jesus, not being joseph's biological son according the gospels, does not then descend from the davidic line, then does he? puzzling.
when it logically causes one to call prophecies into question. is not the word of g-d constant and unchanging for all time? and does it not evoke confusion, to think of g-d in a human form? and ... on top of all this consider the social dynamics of the time. the followers which jesus picked did not follow the laws of their faith - had a diminished experiential knowledge and understanding than, say, your average judean jew would have possessed. and ... at the risk of superimposing 21st century values upon an ancient society, i want to ask - what of all the families that jesus basically encouraged his followers to abandon? i wonder ... its suspect. so many things just don't add up.
so ... that's some of it. i can say now that i don't believe in the divinity of jesus ... that he is the messiah. that's not to say he was not an important figure in judaic thinking ... just that calling him a 'son of g-d (man)' does not imply his divinity - it imples a titled traditionally bestowed upon ancient sages/rabbis - a title of respect, a title which honours a man for his wisdom in interpreting the law of g-d.
and ... well, given that jesus appeared himself sort of conflicted about the torah, i think it would even be a stretch to call him 'son of g-d (man).' one must remember, that to the jewish diaspora of his time, jesus seemed as revolutionary and extreme as, say, osama to the mainstream muslims. a charismatic, maverick outspoken individual who aspires to lead a revolution against the status quo and who represents manipulative disrespect for the law of g-d.
Tags: catholicism, g-d, jesus, judaism, religion, spirituality
Monday, October 16, 2006
i cannot speak to specific issues or philosophical renditions just now. my core just does not possess enough energy to respectfully discuss this right now. just suffice it to say that i have soaked in some refutation of the messianic nature of jesus. the conflicts surrounding jesus, and his failure to fulfil the prophecies, loom. i have soaked in the culture of the populace at the time jesus lived. and ... with regards to the viewing the gospels as a reflection of reality and truth, i remember reading something that alex hailey wrote: 'history is written by the winners.' and so my question of catholicism as a false god continues to circulate in me.
the chasm of my spiritual self runs deep. and wide. my thirst for knowledge, for understanding to fill this chasm, drive me to continue. to read. to devour the writings of the sages. writings which demystify g-d. the kabbalah. spirituality. life. meaning. purpose. self.
Tags: judaism, kabbalah, quest, religion spirituality
what makes some societies more repressive than others? intuitively, i see an association between repression and monotheistic religions. such religions have sophisticated structures in place to assist with the subjugation of their subjects. and villification of human flesh plays a key role in this subjugation.
the example of catholicism spins through my head. repressive. subjugating. vilifying the human sexual experience and all pleasures of the flesh. if we vilify the process/act which produces the human fruit - read: us - aren't we vilifying the human entity, ie ourselves? vilify. subjugate. forbid. repress. and then i think.
i think, what's born in the dark, and grows in the dark, must stay in the dark. and secrets? they erode. and therein lies the cancer of repression. so? where does this lead me, as i continue along this thought trail? it begs me to begin articulating my observations.
observations that the vilification-repression dynamic seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. like ... creating the very conditions one sets out to avoid. does the reality of our sexuality make us villains, or, does our vilification of this sexual nature? i guess i'm asking - does our own sexuality, or our denial of this sexuality, make us villains?
Tags: humanity, relgion, sexuality
and ... i'm doing just that. the word 'israel' apparently means struggle with g-d. i really believe i feel the essence of what that means - what that struggle feels like and whence it resonates. i tumbled into the world and landed in a microcosm veiled by an ultra-catholic filter. the cult of catholicism. an institution which strives to keep its believing masses uninformed - like faithful zombies with no capacity for scrutinizing - one cannot scrutinize what one does not fully know.
all the questions i had. ignored, all of them. one mustn't ask such questions - its a sign of your weakness of faith. we must just believe, even if it doesn't make sense. that was the standard party line. and ... well, now it just does not suffice. its a cop out. so i'm on a quest. to quench this thirst i have for knowledge of g-d. i've poked thru the summa theologica by aquinas. the logical inconsistency of the trinty, the notion that illogical propositions are 'mysterious' and therefore, worthy of faith -- these i found untenable.
i have discovered maimonides and his guide for the perplexed - a stunning, stunning and brilliant work. light years ahead of his time - in terms of his description of the universe, the notion of planets, circular motion, atoms, and description of laws of nature that remind one of the so-called newton's laws of motion. and in all this, yes, a brilliant discussion of the nature and essence of g-d.
i read a lucid, well written refutation of the classic christian proof-texts re: messiahship of jesus in why the jews rejected jesus, written by david klinghoffer. wow. inspiring to see such a lucid explanation ... such clear answers to questions i have had for so long. the questions that i always got told pointed to my weakness of faith. inspiring. incredibly inspiring.
and then i began to read about kabbalah on the bus ride back home. (yes, finally after three hours i managed to drag myself away from the library). i only read a few pages. but, even just opening my mind and heart to the words and sentiments contained within the pages i held, even this filled me with a strange ecstatic sort of rapture. not a physical feeling. an essential sensation - a psychic sensation.
and so ... that's it. the awakening. or, more accurately, its beginning.
image originally uploaded by panic-embryo
Tags: g-d, kabbalah, personal, philosophy, spiritual
the forest marches to the edge of the sea,
challenging the waves, challenging fate.
and the sea waits.
simone weil writes about attente - translated to english as 'waiting'.
this, to me, sounds intriguing, philosophical and mystical all at once. its crucial in my search for truth, meaning and light, because it lies at the convergence of human complexities - knowledge, belief, spirituality, connectedness. and, at the deepest level, it echoes faintly sound hues resembling both the eisenberg and ripple effect principles. and ... in some wierd metaphysical way i think that nature waits, knowing.
WAITING - ATTENTE:
“… waiting; not motionless, nor shaken or displaced by any shock from without.”
a state in which we suspend ourselves, and allow the truth to penetrate our minds.
a state of active contemplation achieved thru suspension of any thought that powers our faculties of observation.
this attente ... this waiting ... manifests itself even in nature. and yes, in waiting, knowledge emerges. waiting ... it does the word 'attente' a misservice. really what we mean by 'attente' exists more completely in 'attending,' than in 'waiting' ... however, even this does not fully describe the pure psychic state known as attente. distant attention ... or distant waiting. adding the qualifier 'distant' somehow brings us closer to the essence of it -- of attente eloignee.
and this distant waiting, we can see everywhere in the natural environment. if we approach and observe nature with contemplative sensing - in this suspended pyschic state. go for a walk. and you will see. the amamzing and simple way in which nature attends itself. the throbbing sea waves - beating a contemplative sigh with each ebb and flow. the hush of a spritely breeze, tickling through a forest of brooding and moss-covered giants. the glistening, pink worms burrowing in the rich, dark earth. the migration patterns of birds and butterflies. the innate wisdom of deciduous trees. how do they know? they wait ... and in waiting they know what needs knowing for their survival.
so ... 'the sea waits, knowing ...' what does this mean?
it means that state of awareness we call knowing does not come from possessing material and finite knowledge. rather it can only emerge in the light of suspended contemplation, in the light of emptiness of thought, in the light of clarity of the psyche. when we open and empty ourselves fully, then this knowing state can emerge fully and fill us.
does attending one's emotions transform how these emotions feel, when one feels them? does existing in a psychic culture that demonizes so-called negative emotions have some sort of repressive effect? and then, does not this diminish the value of self-attendance?
i find our western culture quite emotionally repressive. its stifling, sometimes, the barrage of messages we receive, that portray expression of emotion as undesireable, a manifestation of weakness. and yet, despite all the media's desensitization we humans continue to feel emotion, and with blinding intensity. and, the apathy carved into society via the media leaves us with little or no mechanism for outlet or channelling of said emotions. and we wonder why we have road rage? and tragedies such as columbine and lancaster?
we feel emotion. plain and simple. its a physiologic phonemenon that no amount of technologizing can remove. so, why all the repressivity? why the desperate need to dilute emotions? do we fear emotion? specifically, do we fear grief? anger? sorrow? it would seem so ... yes?
and so ... back to my original question. if we embrace our emotions, by attending to them - a la attente eloignee - does it make a difference? emptying oneself of all thought, of all distraction, allows for the grief, or sorrow, or rage, to penetrate the self and then, pass through. by sitting with our feelings, not resisting, oppressing, or repressing, but just experiencing them, we transform and heal ourselves. transform ... because we work through the stuff of life - the psychic manifestations of our daily existence. heal ... because we acknowledge what our psyches know, what our bodies know ... what we feel on both a visceral and spiritual level.
do you think me esoteric, in this discussion? well ... try it. the next time you feel your viscera boiling ... or the next time you feel the inertia of sorrow/grief weighing heavily upon your spirit ... just clear yourself of all else and sit with it. retreat inside yourself somehow. for whatever morsel of time you can devote to yourself. and just be in the moment. be in the sensation of feeling.
face the compulsive desire to escape, to avoid the sensation of emoting. face the compulsive. name it. and clear it from your consciousness. and emote. feel. its nature, you know. and, even though the sensation of emoting may feel unpleasant, its liberating. yes, liberating. because emotions, when allowed to run their course - ie, once acknowledged, named, experienced and then embraced in feeling - transform and strengthen the self, as opposed to restraining and impeding the self.
Tags: emotions, personal, spiritual, waiting
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Conservative government is expected this week to table clean-air legislation that would avoid setting fixed targets for businesses to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.
Opposition parties and environmentalists are critical of such initiatives, saying they do little to safeguard the environment. But Blackburn insists the government is taking a balanced approach.
"You have to be pro-environment, but it's also necessary to go ahead in a flexible, measured manner so that businesses don't start an uproar," Blackburn told The Canadian Press.
The minister, who is from Quebec, cited the current crisis in his home province's forestry industry as an example of excessive conservation.
and the big boys just cannot get their fucking big heads outta their asses. and they cannot adapt to a changing world. and they appear far too fixated on those god-damned fossil fuels. barrels and barrels of the stuff. and still the ice keeps melting. and still north americans occupy their thrones as the most obese and, quite possibily the stupidest and the laziest, humans on the planet. and still the ice melts. and still need grows in places like darfur, iraq, palestine, and right here in the soweto's we've created in our largest cities.
and then toss in the epidemic currently ravaging an entire generation of the world's largest and most polulated continent - africa - AIDS. and so many of us have achieved a perfect state of desentization that we can honestly believe ourselves when we look away from the tele screen and say 'its not my problem.' or believe ourselves, complete with self-righteous indignation, when we apply a scornful blame-the-victim-elitist attitude to the homeless, panhandling, addicted street uchins.
do you feel happy? you there, surrounded in all your stuff? wrapped in the comfort of your apathy and cruel disregard? do you feel connected to the web of humanity? or only when it suits your requirements? what responsibility to you ... do any of us ... feel as a human?
Tags: environment, humanity, kyoto
Saturday, October 14, 2006
i have begun reading simone weil. and then somehow, trapsed into jewish philosophy. jewish agnosticsm. kabbalistic thinking. i have discoverd the concept of g-d. of ein sof - that which has no end. no-thing-ness. ein sof contains no things. no parts. its a purest form of completion. its infinite. reality, the universe, then become the fingerprint of g-d, of ein sof. and g-d’s light - his wisdom - lies in the articulations of this fingerprint that generate the momentun which powers the universe, reality.
the crux of this vision lies in a necessary distinction between existence and being. the notion of existence as participated being. and the notion of being as a state which only g-d can achieve, through his very essence.
Everything else simply assumes reality and value through God alone. ‘God is mediation: God is mediation between God and God, between God and man, between God and things, between things and things, and even between each soul and itself.’
simone weil … and her mystical, agnostic vision sparked something in me. (incidentally and unbeknownst to me until recently, the kabbalistic vision looks much like simone weil’s in this respect).
And he shows his love through absence. Because, even though He can have no part with the finitude in which we live, except through Incarnation, He created all this finitude of ours through a withdrawal from Himself which allowed for our existence. At this precise point, we have what I would call, a metaphorical depiction of the mystery of Creation. Thus God has to be absent so that we may be. He proves his love through his absence.
interesting? i think so. i feel so.
and … as i delve further
into the mind of simone weil,
i have this question.
has the catholic church become the false god or idol against which it preaches?
Tags: kabbalah, philosophy, questions, spirituality, Thoughtful
Friday, October 13, 2006
so the issue for any such government becomes balancing national security against civil liberties. and remaining ever cognisant of the wisdom in that old adage 'power corrupts absolutely.' in 1970, during the FLQ crisis, many raised concerns regarding the potential threat to civil liberties. recalling the government's past use of the act - ie to isolate and/or persecute particular groups of society deemed 'hostile' or 'enemy' groups - validates these concerns. yes, trudeau's decision to invoke the war measures act in response to the FLQ insurrection did provide a swift end to the crisis and to any FLQ and related terrorist activity. does the end justify the means?
i wonder. more on this ... just not right now.
Tags: FLQ, The Past, war measures act
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
i feel as though i have awoken from a very lengthy period of anesthetized slumber. wierd. trippy. i remember feeling this way sometimes as a child - sort of a restless, listless dessicated psychic sensation. and mum would tell me 'that's a growth spurt.' i'm guessing that's what this is - some sort of growth spurt.
a molting - like a serpent shedding its skin. molting - an intensive, metabolic process. i will refer to the serpent analogy, then, since its quite fitting here. the serpent retreats - becomes reclusive - into a sort of nesting phase for this metamorphosis. once the serpent has cast off the old skin, he's renewed, refreshed and ready to tackle his world once more.
of course, it goes without saying that the serpent and the world into which he re-emerges have changed since their previous interaction with one another. and so it goes. the dynamism of life. juxtaposed with the inertia of metapmorphosis. that's the space i find myself within these days.
so ... forgive me, all of you out there, if i just fall away from following your blogs for awhile. its just that i haven't the energy ... the psychic energy to interact in any meaningful way. in fact, this oppressive inertia has blocked me even from writing since the weekend. i've had spurts of inspiration. just tiny spurts. ideas. with no spark in me strong enough to nourish the idea into a blog post. do i rambling? ehh gads. i feel it.
ok. so ... i'm molting. or struggling to stay afloat. or retreating. for a bit. i'll come to my blog world to write ... write ... write. but i can't think beyond that for now. not just now.
image originally uploaded by shutrbugr.
Tags: change, me, new start, personal
Monday, October 09, 2006
technorati.com says 55 million blogs.
livejournal says 11,299,071 blogs.
why do we blog? what do millions of us derive from blogging?
does it serve our primordial animal requirement for social contact and connectedness? does it fulfill the hunger pangs of that narcissistic wedge of our being? does it serve as a tool of self-discovery for those who have lost themselves to the fray? does it somehow seem ironic that blogging, this communication tool upon which many depend heavily for human connectedness in a dehumanizing era, emerged as a possibility only because of dehumanizing technological advance?
i don't have the answers. but observe, from my year or so of blogging experience, that this phenomenon appears to reflect an interesting fact about humanity. a mostly overlooked fact of humanity. a profound fact about humanity. essentially we share the same core. regardless of what latitude, of what longitude, of what continent people reside within. regardless of what religious or political beliefs that people follow, they all have hopes. fears. thoughts and worries of the future. children. dreams for those children. jobs. careers. stresses. neighbours. vices. joys.
the more i blogged. and the more i read the blogs of others. i realized. its all so simple. what makes them (being those individuals who do not reside in my geo-culture space) so different from me? stripping away all the superfluous? nothing makes them different than me. me and them -- that's a construct, a mere construct. there's only us. fractured, in some places. but its us. if you liked cliche and believed in god, you might say, 'there but for the grace of god go i.' truly. we = them. them = we.
startling? or humbling? or despairing? that mere circumstance and socialization separates me from the fundamentalist and fervent religious believer. or the comfortably numb suburban stepford wife. or the family living among savage violence and carnage in baghdad. or the soldier, stationed somewhere in the middle east and a witness to unspeakable attrocity, venting his soul to cyberspace. or that homeless person living in her car.
since taking an online presence i have learned about life in the swedish arctic circle, have increased my awareness of the cultural distinction between canada and the usa, have found some absolute treasures of humanity - intellectual, artistic, spiritual, eccentric. have discovered entire communities devoted to fetishes i once loathed myself for having. have felt disturbed and chilled at the ease with which one could become homeless.
i'm not that different, on the most fundamental human level, from any of these people. however, i am definitely a different person now, as opposed to before encountering any such individuals in the blogosphere. blogging quickly becomes addictive to all who engage it fully for this reason. it enriches us. energizes our humanity. of course it does! for in contributes to the growth, and also our understanding of, the web of humanity. it melts the walls, fences and other obstacles that separate so many humans in the physical and social worlds. it helps us see ourselves. it makes us feel we belong.
i think of g-d as the momentum in cosmic expansion. the energy that expands the universe. perhaps one could think of him as the universe? something to ponder. i think of g-d as neither created or destroyed. a source of motion. light. growth. truth. he exists infinitely. he exists outside time, outside space. he transcends all physical laws which bind us - finite beings. god has no gender role. to call him “he” seems a misnomer - but i see this as restriction of language. and also a reflection of human culture - of a male-dominated humanity, for instance.
i think that god’s creative role exists at the moment of the big bang. and that all life at this moment … everywhere in the universe … emanates from that one moment. g-d’s momentum pulses based on knowledge of all … which he possesses by virtue of his transcendence of time and the physical realm. this momentum cannot change course, or any individual cosmic outcome, based upon performance of rituals such as prayer.
god exists in everything. therefore, we have connection with him at all times. to say that one has dialogue with or belief in the g-d entity expresses a misunderstanding of the true essence of god. i do not believe in gravity. or newton’s laws of physics. i know them. i touch them intimately, continuously in my daily existence. and the same goes for the g-d entity.
Tags: personal, philosophy, spirituality
Saturday, October 07, 2006
right at this moment.
pain. silent, inert rage
this sense of worry i have?
could that be a trace of love?
love … where did it go?
i feel empty of anything
and a fervent desire
g-d - are you?
i seek the truth
seems far too vile
to have come from
compassion … escapes … me.
Tags: g-d, I Just Have To Say, questions, spirituality
Friday, October 06, 2006
do i read anything into that?
where's the consideration?
it must've gotten lost.
in that FUCKING barley soup.
am i over-reacting to feel hurt?
first time ... ever that
he fails to come home.
image originally uploaded by vialetter
i'm tired tired tired
... sooooooo tired of humans ...
and their seeming inability
to deliver anything except
a lot of empty and patronizing platitudes
you know, human race?
you're all quite tiresome
and that is how i feel
he came home.
i said nothing
he got cross at me
for talking loud
because he failed
just talk right over me
i'm not really here
he's gone for cigarettes
its 4 am
i'm watching a movie
i just watched a character
slaughter a tiny canary bird
i think i was
slaughtered then, too.
like that bird.
Tags: marriage, me, sadness, Thoughtful, trust
did we think the threat of mcarthy-ism dead? think again. maybe not. did we think solving the middle east difficulties would really be that easy? did we bother to inform ourselves of the history of the conflict? did we already forget about lawrence of arabia? did we already forget that 54,000 canadian, 400,000 american, and 25 million in total, soliders died in WW2 - a war that spanned 6 years? the world effectively lost an entire generation of men. do we have a fucking clue? about history? about things that happen on the other sides of the oceans?
do we really think its ok to send adolescents, who have questionably yet to reach the age of consent, into a environment filled with manipulative, power-addicted narcisstists (read:politicians)? OMG. what the fuck makes us soooooo blind and naive? really, its all too much. i wonder if its occuring to anyone out there that sexual deviance and sexual repression goes hand-in-hand. or if we are all just going to put another pair of blinders on and get on the 'indignant outrage' soapbox.
it saddens me a great deal that people out there still think the collective WE bears no responsibility for all the world's suffering. absolutely saddens me. that they honestly believe, because they did not pull the trigger, wield the torture device, or hold down that 15 year old girl so 14 others could rape her, this grants absolution and frees them from accountability. why? why, if another human, somewhere - anywhere - out there, suffers would ANY one think they have no responsibility to contribute toward efforts to relieve said suffering?
and why have we attached some sort of twisted ideological entitlement to the relief of suffering?
and what the fuck is up with this culture of retribution and revenge?
breathe. can we?
image originally uploaded by wimdejonge.
Tags: despair, humanity, me, suffering, world
the 3 Os? omniscience … omnipotence … omnipresence
omniscience? definition: knowing everything.
omnipotence? definition: inexhaustible power.
omnipresence? definition: widely or constantly encountered.
what do these concepts mean, when applied to the g-d entity? well, according to the catholic politik it means that god created, and has ready access to, all knowledge; that g-d can accomplish everything in accordance with his own nature; and, g-d is everywhere at the same time.
so - g-d existed before knowledge? yes - omnipresence. how, then, did he gain the knowledge required to create it? omnipresence. does g-d possess and/or have ready access to propositional as well as experiential knowledge? omnipotence, omniscience. does the g-d entity’s omniscience include all knowledge that extends to the end of time? this implies that g-d has knowledge of what lies ahead. assuming we also ascribe omnipotence and omnipresence to the g-d entity, then ‘yes’ seems the logical answer.
so far it seems logical to reconcile what the politik have told us about the nature of the g-d entity. we can think of the g-d entity as (1) possessing all knowledge - past, present and future; (2) possessing the ability to transcend the dimension of time as well laws of science and nature; and (3) existing everywhere at the same time.
how do we juxtapose the concept of humanity’s free will with such a g-d entity? the existence of an all-knowing g-d entity seems at odds with the concept of man as a free agent, doesn’t it? if we consider that the g-d entity transcends the dimension of time, then omniscience and free will do not seem mutually exclusive concepts. when using the word eternal to describe the g-d entity, the politik meant that he transcends time. this stands to reason, if one accepts the asssumption that god created time.
aquinas reminds us that free will also means the god entity permits anyone to fall into sin and “incur the penalty of condemnation for sin.” and so … aquinas leaves us with the notion that freedom exists only in one’s own heart, mind and soul. that freedom really describes a psychological state. since, to say that the g-d entity causes everything means that he causes even so-called free acts. and here we have a loose end that remains to be tied up at some later date, in its own post.
with respect to omnipotence, i think its crucial to consider the g-d entity’s perfect nature - what aquinas called ‘actus purus et perfectos.’ what did aquinas mean? well, that’s a subject for an entire post. but briefly — he meant the g-d entity exists only in act, that he exists completely in actuality and not in potentiality, and therefore, has no corporeal form. so, this implies then, that the g-d entity does not have infinite abilities, per se. but has the power to do all things instrinsically. he cannot lie, by definition, since he speaks truth.
and so, it seems i have accomplished a great feat here in this post. i’ve reconciled these 3 Os with the concept of free will. a great feat for myself. achieved through thru this dialogue. with myself. on these questions of god-ness that have burned inside me for as long as i can remember. i have always wondered, and, as a child, i even asked a few times. about how to juxtapose an omniscience god entity with man as a free agent. i do not ever recall receiving a satisfactory answer. i recall hearing far too many words … prompting me to think ‘hmmm, i guess they don’t know either, they’re just towing the party line.’
i feel i have stumbled onto something here, in striving to touch god. for me its striving to touch truth. whatever that truth may be. truth grows only in the light. darkness can harbour no truth. inherently and innately, my humanity, my blood and my bones possess this desire for truth and light. so, this oddessy i have embarked upon, to touch g-d. its a sort of peeling away the layers of darkness to see what lies beneath. i have no way of knowing, really, what i will find when i’ve cast aside the darkness with my questions and investigations. and … no preference for what i find there. but, i owe it to truth to continue on this course, on this course of touching g-d.
Tags: philosophy, questions, spirituality, theologica, Thoughtful
Thursday, October 05, 2006
the words of my husband (a UN brat who spent one-third of his life in africa) ring true in my head. i peer thru a veil of tears, as sanjay gupta tells the stories of the sudanese refugees of brutal civil war. silent sobs fill my chest, as i focus on the photon-spewing flat screen sitting a mere 6 feet away from me.
a NGO/MSF worker strolls with gupta on camera as she paints a picture of daily life in sudan, near the chad border. a 14 year girl, gang raped by 15 members of one tribe. the women and children of another village taken, raped and killed. my heart crumbles, with each syllable, each word, each phrase, each story uttered. and the videography? equally heart-wrenching.
my heart crumbles. and i feel the fullest sorrow of those words - "... i eventually realized the hopelessness of the situation." such carnage. such brutality. such corruption. so widespread. i feel no outrage. or indignation. or anger. just incredible sorrow. and something i feel inclined to call guilt. for, the fact of my membership in humanity holds me, in some infinitesimal way, accountable for such pockets of incredible suffering and carnage.
and so, what do i do? how to i act? i know. i know. one person cannot change the world. but, i believe in the eisenberg principle. and i believe that humanity changes one human at a time. and, i see witnessing as an crucial form of action, of doing. and so, i watch. i fervently watch.
i deliberately choose not to look away from the screen. or leave the room. or cover my eyes and ears. i do not shield myself from the event of this suffering. i embrace its connectivity in my living room. it touches me. i touch it. i decide. not to let go. and then, i embark on a journey. my mind's journey. a journey into my humanity. i seek to inform myself. i owe it to myself, to my humanity.
Tags: humanity, suffering, Thoughtful
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
i came up with this.
sort of like a creed.
a self creed.
i've discovered the most genuine and compassionate manner in which i can effect change in my surroundings. it involves effecting change in my self first and foremost - challenging my self to compassionate and hostile-free exchanges. i choose a course that involves altering my reaction to the thoughts, feelings and expressions of others.
i've discovered some energies exist against which i seem innately unable to shield my self: (1) fear philosphy, hostility and obscuring, belief-driven ideology; (2) inflammation and rhetoric; (3) labels, accusations and the blame game.
i choose a path that involves stepping outside the box. i choose challenge - choose to push the envelope. i acknowledge dynamism, and the inevitability of change. i choose to make thoughtful and determined choices as to the energy with which i surround myself (read: company i choose to keep).
i choose. i choose. it starts with me.
image originally uploaded by simon herb
Tags: choices, creed, exchange, interaction, life, personal
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
so? what’s the verdict? on G-D? omnipotent? or master manipulator? or … does this discussion beg the question of spirituality? on one level, i’m inclined to observe this dialogue i’m having with myself as silly. i mean … why ask the questions? why contemplate the things i really ‘don’t get’ … if i’m not really sure of the g-d entity’s existence? and then, on another level. it makes sense. my need to have this here dialogue about the god entity.
even though i remain noncomittal on the whole g-d belief thing, i absolutely realize that its seared into the fabric of my person … of my self. so … i can choose to disregard the possibility of the god entity altogether. just throw the baby out with the bath water because of the hypocrisy of catholicism and christianity. because of my anger and respulsion at the abuses of power and belief. and deny myself a most important and deeply personal philosophical investigation. clearly, i have reasoned for myself that value of this discussion i have begun here in touching god. so … where does that leave me?
well, it leaves me …. still not prepared to commit, in writing, to belief in a g-d entity. still skeptical of the notion that prayer makes a difference in a situation’s outcome. still viewing prayer and religious ritual as comfort rituals. repititive actions that we can do in times of stress to derive comfort. as opposed to spiritual satellite-links to g-d. and still wondering. this belief in a g-d entity? does it make things seem more meaningful? does it comfort us, to think of some omnipresent, omniscient entity that rules and creates us all? and that altruistically has all our best interests at heart? and … how can will really be free, then, if the omnipresent one lurks about, manipulating the circumstances of our existence?
as you can see, i’m very confused. and i feel this g-d entity thing worthy enough to warrant close inspection. more close inspection. i owe it to myself. to self-elucidate. for so many years i heard the ‘party line’ each sunday, at the ‘party meetings’ that my parents called ‘mass.’ and the indoctrination continued at school, where we learned of the sort of treatment which the loving institution of g-d (read: the catholic church) gave to those individuals who questioned the paradigm force fed to us all. it makes me think of something a very wise man wrote only recently.
and still. i feel no closer to the answers i seek. i’ve muddied the waters. but, then, perhaps i’ve looked at this wrong. perhaps the answers i seek lie in my method of uncovering them. perhaps the answer does not lie in some gleaming ark. or some rustic piece of wood. or some ancient fortress in rome. perhaps the answer lies in the journey itself? perhaps the answer … perhaps it IS the journey?
and so, my question has morphed in the following. why the need to assign omnipotence and omnipresence to g-d? why blindly submit to manipulation and then call it reverence to the absolute truth?
surely more than one path leads to rome, don’t you think?
Tags: g-d, philosophy, spirituality
Monday, October 02, 2006
suspended. here. in this void.
wondering. wandering. waiting. frozen. in time. space.
image originally uploaded by arab queen
Tags: motivation, restless, sleeping, snoring, waiting
i’m thinking of JC. a maverick of his era, for sure. shunned, in fact, condemned, by the religious authorities of that time for heresy, blaspheming. not married, in an era which expected, required even, men his age to marry. and he kept companionship with several other males. what. what. what, would we think of such an individual by today’s standards? would we think he’s gay? and … does it matter? and … does JC matter? i mean, in the grande scheme of things?
does it frighten us to apply contemporary standards to ancient biblical times? does it assist us in advancing our goals? i have awareness that i’ve used “US” here. only for convenience, really. i don’t consider myself part of that US. but, the old paradigm, seared into one’s being, ain’t so easy to erase from this self. at any rate, what of applying today’s standards to societies that existed millenia ago? if this makes mohammed a pedophile, then surely, it must also make joseph and god himself one, too. for … mary was but a child, by today’s standards - barely old enough to give consent to any sexual union - be it with another human or with the holy spirit. and now back to my comparison of societal standards … does it make JC gay?
and this leads to a very interesting thought that catholicism - i keep myself closed in the catholic box here because that’s the paradigm i know very well - has based itself upon sexual repression. one only need look to the horrific abuse at mount cashel school for boys in the maritimes to face the ugliness of catholicism’s dirty little secrets. dirty. that’s a word i think of when i think catholic. manipulation. of the power dynamic. oppressive. in its subjugation. of the flesh. of humanity. this subjugation of sexuality. this repression of a most powerful and most beautiful primordial behaviour. don’t you think its twisted? sick? DYSFUNCTIONAL? i wonder … did JC intended for his ‘church’ to erect itself in this manner? did he intend for his institution to grow to such largess as currently? and with such carnage?
of the world today. of so-called christians today. what would JC think? what would he feel? if he could see? see into the reality of human existence? and the hypocrisy of christianity. christians who burned joan of arc at the stake. and then several hundred years later canonized her to sainthood. hypocrisy. hearts filled with hatred. all in the name of JC. what would he think? would he give a free express pass thru heaven’s pearly gates, to all those mothers who abandoned their dying, AIDS-ravaged sons? would he give out special edition halos to all those who exclude others in his name? would men who rape little boys receive an exemption from condemnation because they wear a roman collar?
i wonder. i wonder. that’s all. i guess that makes me a heretic, then?
Tags: catholicism, faith, g-d, god, politik, questions, religion, spirituality