Saturday, September 29, 2007

about links and linking

Saturday, September 29, 2007

... i thought this cold, nerdy and un-sexy post needed a hot, sexy picture for balance...
expand the post to see codes for the various ways you can link stuff.

essentially we create a link when we use the anchor ("a") tag with its href attribute. other useful attributes you can specify include:
1. title ~ some text that will appear when users 'mouseover' the link, and
2. target ~ which specifies to the browser to open the link in a new window (the default is '_self') when assigned a value of '_blank'

to link text (to another website)
<a href="">put your text here</a>

to link an image (to a website)
<a href=""><img src="http://yourimage.url" /></a>

to link to an email address
<a href="">an email link</a>

to link to another part of your document (i.e. like if you have a wildly long blog post and you want to provide navigation links at the beginning of your post or something)

you have to identify the sections of the document using the "a" tag like this:

<a name="intro">Intro</a>

then you can refer to that section like this:
<li><a href="#intro">Intro</a></li>


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

it's a dog's life?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
note: comments of previous post returned ... also, comments on lullabies ... returned and another choice added to the book cover post there. so, go to the other blog and help me decide which cover i should submit.

EDIT: choice made ~ see below ...

ok ... I've decided on what to submit for that project ...

book cover ~ yeah the third one I made turned out the best ... soooo ... I'm going with it! (I love the colours).

here's a first 'draft' of the fake web site 'prototype' that's part of the project ~ you see the way the words Books by Design look embossed? Well, the final effect of the website will be that sort of embossed effect to each of the menu items on the left when the mouse rolls over the text. I like the simplicity of the page.

OK ... NOW YOU CAN expand the post to read about why I had to file a missing persons report early Wednesday. Just so you know ... everything's okay, but the experience of it all I wanted to share.

I hung up the phone. And stared at the 8 digit number. I had just filed a missing person's report. On my husband. I wanted to cry ... as in gutteral weeping. I wanted to cry out to the universe gimme a fucking break, already! I felt the temptation so strongly, to fall into that smelly pity pit. I resisted the urge. I resisted the urge to use any external device to dilute that sick feeling I had in the pit of my gut. I called the hospitals. No one there by that name. I called his employer and left a message for him there. And then ... I did nothing. Just felt incredible fatigue.

My ego raged. It clamoured for some sort of outlet, something foolish to engage its infernal rage. I must admit, I indulged it. In a small, stupid way. By finding all the cigarettes he had left, stashed around the house, and cutting them up. Not just in half, but, in small pieces that he could not easily patch. And I left the mangled tobacco sticks on his side of the bed. As I studied my handiwork, I giggled, imagining seeing him sitting on the sofa, smoking a patched-up cigarette. I wondered if he would patch these. Or just disembowel the remains and re-roll the tobacco. I told myself that he might not ever return. I decided that, regardless of whether or not he came home, I would refrain from sleeping in the bed. I contemplated all the things that I'd have to do, if indeed this meant he would not return to me. And I mulled over the four reasons he could have for his tardiness: (1) some harm came to him; (2) fucking some other girl; (3) careless and air-headed - just lost track of time; (4) not coming back because he didn't fucking feel like it.

The last time I went downtown to look for him, every dingy pub looked closed for the night. Well past 1 am ... not a time I typically like to lurk about the infamous corner of Hasting and Main. I saw three cop cars in the alley near Carnegie Centre. A scattering of way strung out high junkies floating about the sidewalk, and at times, in the middle of Hastings. I saw no one that resembled my guy. I saw rats, stealing across the sidewalk, and into one of the many board-up businesses that lined Hastings, near Cambie Street. I wondered why other wives don't have these sorts of experiences. I wondered how wives of police officers and soldiers struggle with the possibility that their man may not return home to them. How does one live with that real possibility? No one who has lost a loved one ever expected it, did they?

I tried to tap into my intuitive sense. It kept telling me he would return to me. Each time I returned from looking for him, my heart sank to find his absence from our home. The raging inferno in my ego's core diminished the quiet wisdom of my neutral intuition. I doubted myself. I wanted to feel prepared ... for the worse possibility. When I heard the key turn in the lock, just before 3 am, a deluge of emotion beckoned me. I resisted. I expressed my disappointment. Asked where he went. He apologized, then answered the question ~ sitting in the park smoking crack, I think, not sure if it was that or meth. Do I believe him? What difference does that make? Its the what I have to work with. Do I lecture him on the dangers of that smoking that white shit? How pedantic ~ he knows all that. What difference would it make? None. Besides, details ... mean nothing. They're like that part of the onion we discard, when preparing dinner. Its what drives the details that matters to me. Everything means something.

I fell asleep by around 4 am, I think. I awoke, on the red velvet couch 1 hour and 45 minutes later to wake the truant up to go to work. As he left, about a half-hour later, I told him, come back to me. He smiled, slightly, then left. I spent the morning weighing in my mind the intention behind that gesture of obscene tardiness. Never, had he done that before. It must mean something. I wanted to run ~ escape. I fantasized about going to Winnipeg to see my parents. Just like that ~ going without saying anything. Pointless. Solves nothing. Seems like an example of the behaviour I decided I found unacceptable. I fantasized about changing the locks. Or issuing some dramatic ultimatum. Counter-productive. Bitchy and childish. Solves nothing. I asked myself what would I do, if I possessed the financial capacity to leave. Would I? The temptation would urge me, for sure. But, what of the consequences of indulging spite in a moment of acquiescing to one's raging ego? And ... what of honouring the vow i made, years ago? What of following through with a choice I made?

I thought of something Susan wrote about, in her blog a while back: life is not about my happiness ... and I understood what she felt, in that moment. I can only effect change by managing my response to those things I wish to change. Exerting pressure ... name calling and be-littling ... manipulating ... throwing raging histrionics ~ these all work at counter-purpose. I wondered, is this it? What's the deal breaker for me? Indeed, would my threshold of tolerance decrease if I had the financial means to leave? (I admit I fantasized about indulging myself by getting a fancy hotel room downtown at least for the night ... so as to remain absent upon his return home ... how childish, I know!). Does financial dependence exist for me, to teach me the lesson of humility and tolerance? How do I tolerate the unacceptable? That's what love means, doesn't it? Tolerating the unacceptable? The disagreeble? Perhaps financial independence would afford me distance ~ the sort of distance chickory has with her cabin. Of course, I would opt against a cabin in the mountains, preferring a studio apartment, perhaps. Perhaps distance would bind us? Perhaps ....

Perhaps I just chalk it up to c'est la vie, stick that feather in my cap, and move forward. Awareness means that unceasing tug of war with my ego ... and it prevents me from turning into that pillar of salt ... the one borne from the inertia of holding grudges, desiring revenge, harbouring resentment. We all make mistakes. That we learn from them seems to me, the best means of accepting responsibility for one's behaviour. Escaping never solved anything. In fact, it seems like the quickest way to become a slave to that very thing from which we run.

It's a dog's life ... and I love it! I feel so fortunate to have it. Besides ...


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

can't decide ~ which one? REVISED

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
ok. for a project ~ like, for marks ~ i must submit a book cover. here are two three choices i have dreamed up. whaddaya think? anyone? opinions and feedback graciously and gratefully received. oh yeah, i've decided to stop being so effing paranoid and not give a shit who knows my name.

eye of the storm ~ the cover for a fictional non-fiction book which attempts to dispel the various urban myths that exist regarding various organized religions.

(pssst ~ this is an addition ... and my favourite ~ does it look too sinister, or surreal?)

falling: my life after 9/11 ~ the cover for a fictional non-fiction book written by the wife of the falling man, a man who died on 9/11, when he jumped from the twin towers ... his fall was photographed and the photograph published. the author uses the fall which took her husbands life as a metaphor for the way in which her life changed after that fateful day.

(i like this one b/c, despite its plain-ness, it is a better photochoppy that the needle cafe one. i edited this one slightly ~ added a 'tiled' filter to it to give it that texture)

the needle cafe: tales of an IV drug user - a collection of short stories ~ the cover for a fictional fictionalized account of stories from the open drug scene in vancouver's downtown eastside, which the author affectionately calls "the needle cafe". the stories, all told from first-personal perspective, depict the darkest and yes, sometimes humourous, sides of life as a junkie. told in an irreverent, sometimes abrasive tone, this collection of stories strips away any perception of glamour from living life as an addict.

(this is macabre ~ the blood splatter could be better tho, some of it looks too faint in places. overall, i think this one's the most amateurish-looking one of all, but its quite eye-catching.)


je pense, donc je suis

or, for those who prefer latin: "... cogito; ergo sum ..."

things i'm thinkin' about this week ~
expand the post to see what

  1. ok. so the dollar's reached parity. big FAT deal. i mean, it's spent decades as an undervalued currency ... now its going to spend some time as an overvalued one. c'mon, let's not fool ourselves into thinking that the strength of the dollar has as much to do with the soundness of canada's economy, as it does with the weakness of america's economy.
  2. why does the usa call itself america? i never understood that. aren't canada and mexico part of north america, too? does calling itself america intend to assert some conceited notion as being the most important ingredient of NA?
  3. amadinejed is visiting nyc this week. and there are lame asses all over the place with placards saying stupid sh1t like 'we don't support terrorism' ... ! lies! y'all do ~ them's some terrorist-like behaviour in israel, ain't it? and the usa is funding those terrorist that i will call zionists. heck, i guess that makes the usa zionist, doesn't it? so ~ how is it that a country that supports the most blatant example of terrorism this era has seen ... likes to tell itself we don't support terrorists ... of course you do! silly americans ~ tricks are for kids. and ~ if you disagree ... please tell me how that's different. maybe canadians should hold similar protests when dubya comes to visit ...?
  4. if we legalized heroine, we would steal some serious thunder from the taliban, who apparent have funded their resurgence/come-back with poppy money. doesn't it just make sense? legalize all the illicits ~ and you will instantly remove all the crime from that trade ... look to history if you think i'm full it sh1t on that one. how well has prohibition really worked for humanity in the past?
  5. i've thought about truth ~ whether its absolute or relative ... or ... what. i reject the notion of absolute truth. the universe expands, time passes, knowledge evolves. we seek truth via knowledge, which we acquire through our senses. perception ~ that's the source of living truth for each of us. however, something must bind the matter and energy of the universe to itself. yes ~ universal truth. a realm to which, i suppose God belongs. and the immutable laws of the universe. and we, humanity, reside at the intersection of universal truth and that relative, personal truth which our perceptual senses have conjured.
  6. how many times has the creator unfolded and folded up the world? there's a theory out there that says the expansion of the universe has begun slowing ... that one day in the future it will stop and that will mean time will stop ... the universe will end ~ collapse into itself and become another black hole, from which ... eventually, another big bang will emerge. i imagine, then ... that we aren't the first of our kind ... that there have been other universes and humanities ...
  7. i got a beautiful, handmade scarf from cora last evening. i love it so much, i fell asleep with it on! i will post a picture in the coming days.
  8. aside from the scarf, i allow myself one luxurious indulgence ~ estee lauder's pleasures exotic perfume. yes, i got a guy that brings me perfume ... just because he loves me.
  9. i find myself struggling with tolerance of the intolerant ... tolerance of the rude. oh dear! its so very challenging ... like playing tug of war with a giant bull mastiff (my ego being the giant mastiff) and sometimes not winning. awareness ~ the most efficacious weapon against intolerance.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

manifesations of visceral intuition?

Saturday, September 22, 2007
... No words here ... just visual thoughts ~like those below. Expand the post for some eye-candy ... it may also serve as soul-candy, if you get my poetic visuals. (this blog's header, btw, seems to me the most poetic visual of all ...)

(Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the pic ~ the images are large, and may take some time to load in your screen, but the tiny little wait will seem well worth it, I think)


Friday, September 21, 2007

visceral intuition

Friday, September 21, 2007
I have spent my days, this week, immersed in Photoshop. I love graphic design. I love Photoshop. This Photoshop course has sent me on another photo-choppy jag. Hours on end, spent with squinting at the screen, talking to myself, wearing my glasses on my forehead, searching for just the right image ... or look. And then, in the midst of it all, when I have my glasses on my forehead, and someone walks by and starts talking to me, I have gone so viscerally into my intuitive self that I find myself thinking, I can't talk to you right now, I'm not wearing my glasses. Like ... my brain felt incapable of processing outside auditory stimuli because I could not see through my eyes clearly. The two have some sort of connection ~ not sure just what though.

And so, it seems that different modalities of creativity have different energy fields ... and and reside in different areas of the Self and the psyche. Photo-chopping takes me to a very intimate place of my being. A place so spiritually visceral, it defies words. And at that place, dear reader, I have arrived. Like a weary traveller who failed to adequately prepare for his journey. Yet, who marvels at the wonder of all he encounters. Viscerally. Words make no connection. Only image ... colour ... shadow ... texture. My eyes have now become the vehicle through which my heart escapes its bondage. Bear with me.


Nuthin Much

A lady threw herself in front of a moving subway this morning. So, of course, this caused the shutdown of the entire subway system in Vancouver for the better part of the day. Undoubtedly, people react with the how could she do this to me attitude, as opposed to the how awful ... attitude. *sigh* ~ its all about me, that's how I find most people. And ... mostly unaware. Though, its trying to tolerate, I can only feel sorry for those who demonstrate themselves pre-operationally egocentric, I suppose. As I wonder, what agony drove this woman to end her life so violently? Did she find herself regretting her decision to throw herself in front of the train, but only too late? Did she feel afraid, in the nanoseconds before her death? Did she ask for forgiveness ... for such an act of cowardice and carnage? That's not for me to judge, I know. Still ... I wonder about such things. I wonder about other humans ~ like ... wonder what makes them tick. Too bad more humans have forgotten to wonder.

A few posts back, I wrote a post based on a speech I heard Giorgio di Cicco give at a televised conference. One of the ideas he expressed involved sullenness on peoples' faces as an index that must be read. Well, don't you find people embroiled in such deep despair that they rage? Don't you see the rage in society as an index which we must begin to read? I do. The west has too much ... and yet not enough. All at once. We behave like dumb, patronizing sheep. Or magpies ~ following the shiny objects. We'd pluck each other's eyes out, because they look like that shiny bauble we want. Want? Why? Because. Because, why? Because ... we can. This constant faceless desire, lust for power, and egocentric approach to life will certainly spell humanity's demise ... at some point in the future. *sigh*

Anyways ...

You'll notice the new header. Like it? Yet another photo-choppy ... by yours truly. If you go to the lullabies for cerberus blog you'll see a new header there, too. I disabled the funky mouseover script i had goin' on here, for now. Just for now. Yeah ~ it seems I'm on a Photoshop jag. I suppose that's where all the creative energy's going to, these days. I'm still reading Dante ... though my pace has slowed ... and still reading Dostoevsky (Brothers Karamazov), and still poking through St. Augustine's Confessions. I think I will revisit a book I have on my shelf ~ The Trouble with Islam ~ a book written by a Muslim woman/journalist here in Canada. It's a genuine and balanced portrayals of Islam with references to the Qu'ran ... and her take on the whole extremist phemonemon. Its a book written by a woman who still believes in the merit her faith system ... just has trouble reconciling the direction some appear to want to take it.

Its a similar thing many Christians struggle with these days ~ questioning one's religious context and/or background. When I read the book, for the first time about 2 years ago, it actually inspired me to find out more about my own religion. Know why we're such sheep here? Coz we really know jack shit about the things we should have great knowlesge. Its pitiful, how obtuse and impatient technology has made us - particularly that photon-box that gives its viewers square eyes. And the crap that actually makes it to those airwaves. And that people lap it up, like a thirsty hound laps up water from his dish. I find myself tiiiiiiirrrreeeed of hearing Islam-bashing. Rather that climb in the mud pit with the bashers and the brawlers I choose to take the intellectual approach: learn about the things of which I know little. I used to feel absolutely compelled to vehemently address the disagreeables, to convert their ways of thinking. But, the most intolerant typically have grown that way over time ... and their attitudes have firmly taken root. And stirring the pot really does little but create friction and dissension.

Okay. That's my lamest post ever, I think. Well ... ok. Just look at the pretty header. And just think ... TGIF! Wishing everyone a great weekend.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

the needle cafe ~ thoughts?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I wrote a piece a few years back, after my stint at that place I now call the needle cafe ~ the sunshine-heads that cooked up this ridiculous waste of taxpayers' funds like to delude themselves by calling it the safe injection site ... HA, what's safe about it? Sorrry, I've tried, but can't think of anything safe about watching (dirty) street junkies shoot up using insulin needles filled unsterile drugs! And, I can't really think of how this prevents junkies from getting sicker, and sicker. I feel pretty confident about the fact that I would ultimately get charged with neglect, if I ever tried to start an IV on a patient with an insulin needle (too small to reach the vein), after having washed my hands in a dirty, fetid alley-puddle! So ... why does everyone think this f*cking needle cafe such a good idea?

~ see? this needle is tooo short for a venipuncture! ~

~ and this ... this is what we use in the hospitals to start IVs - much longer! ~

Anyway ...

I find myself thinking about what to do with this knowledge I have ... I think I will have to revisit this piece. I know I will, given that the Federal Minister of Health plans to make a decision regarding the future of this site by year's end! Here's the link, anyway. Keep in mind that I wrote this 3 years ago, so the quality of the writing may seem like slightly less than what you've come to expect from me. Anyone who reads this ~ I'd appreciate your constructive feedback, in a comment or via e-mail.

needle cafe PDF


Thursday, September 13, 2007

AURA ~ an approach to interaction

Thursday, September 13, 2007
A ~ awareness
U ~ understanding
R ~ reflect & react
A ~ acknowledgement

AURA ~ its an acrostic ... a tool, designed to teach us how to play well with the others. Its something I made up. Apparently I had to visit the hell of insanity and burn-out to get wise to what life and living takes. Here's what I think, anyway ... take from it what you will.

Awareness ...

(1) ... of your level of awareness and how it affects your perception of events/situation
(2) ... of Ego, and the way in which it diminishes awareness
~ its desire to be served ~ "its all about me" ...
~ its frailty ~ r/t perceived needs, expectations ...
~ its intensity ~ r/t its constant expressive state
~ its universality ~ r/t the fact that everyone has an ego
(3) ... of the fact that almost two-thirds of the information you gather through communicating with humans resides in the non-verbal realm ~ i.e. what the person has failed to say in words. this means body language, gesturing ... but also ... also refers to the words which the person did not choose, as opposed to the ones they did choose.
(4) ... of the reality that #3 also applies in reverse ~ you communicate far more than you realize through the non-verbal realm ~ check yourself, once in awhile, to ensure the congruency of your non-verbal and verbal messages


(1) ... of the fact that a person represents more that just an energy cell trapped inside a physical shell. each person represents a unique perspective, one which influences our interactions with others.
(2) ... of why? why did that person say or do what s/he did? what's behind the action, response, behaviour?
(3) ... of the fact that awareness and understanding will not necessarily give you the power to change anything ... that perhaps, they will just enable tolerance to take root more easily.

Reflect & React

(1) ... why? what's behind my feelings ... or my initial thoughts on how I should respond to this situation? What could be the possible outcome of following that course? damage the relationship? further the antagonism?
(2) ... can I recognize my ego? and can I swallow it? cut it down to size? so it doesn't get in the way of what I need to do ... in order to remain effective and tolerant ~ in order to maintain collaborative connections?
(3) ... contemplate the alternatives ... react based on what your reflection indicates as a best choice to achieve desired outcome
(4) ... remember desired outcomes for the situation do not necessarily equal desired outcomes for your ego


(1) ... people inherently need to feel valued
(2) ... recognizing others goes a long way toward fostering the relationship/connnection
(3) ... we begin to lose interest when we feel undervalued
(4) ... we won't always agree with others. still, we can function effectively among others who share another view by agreeing to disagree ~ i.e. respect


embedding powerpoint slide shows!

Just something new i'm testing out ~ embedding powerpoint slide presentations on the web.

This PPT presentation I had to make for one of my classes, for a project that's requires a presentation on a topic of one's choice. Of course, y'know I'd take the easy route, and present a topic that I know by heart!

For those of your who use PPT alot, check out the link in the embed ~ its a way cool site. No need to convert your slideshow to graphics, upload each individual graphic and then string them together. Nope. You just create your slide show and upload to that site. Sorta like youtube, except its for slide shows. Cool, huh?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

indulging ~ thinking of suffering and death

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
EDIT: I have decided to re-post this ~ i.e. make it current, once again ~ in remembering September 11th. I remember. I seek no revenge ... just peace for those suffering with hatred and vengeance in their hearts and minds ~ that's the suffering hurts humanity the very most.

Luciano Pavarotti died the other day. And, when I reflect on him, I find myself wondering how the disease manifested itself in him ~ how he suffered, and what the suffering looked like. And what his death looked like. My husband smiled dryly and replied, "Once a palliative nurse, always a palliative nurse, huh?" I suppose he means the part of my soul that needs to bear witness to the suffering of others will never stop throbbing for more. That's the contradiction inherent in me ~ for the very experience my soul yearns to witness, to me feels crushingly unbearable to endure on so many levels. I thought about this. About my capacity to channel what surrounds me. And how that capacity renders me vulnerable to humanity ... far more vulnerable than I care to admit.

I thought about a comment I made at Aunty Belle's Front Porch ~ expressing my concept of a sacred pilgrimage as a visit to the places of WWII's of greatest human suffering and death. Why, when witnessing the suffering of others caused me the greatest anguish, would I seek out such a pilgrimage? What makes suffering and death so sacred? It purifies, and that's part of it. But, also, the scale. The scale on which the carnage and cruelty occurred in these places renders each place special. Special, in the sense that it symbolizes the monstrosity of evil. Special, in the sense that it symbolisms bright potential lost to that monstrosity. And, special, in the sense that death occurred there. And, some small essence of the spirits, and their suffering, lingers. They want us to bear witness. They want us to confess, on behalf of the human race. They want us to surrender hatred, anger, and other such violence. They, who suffered so immensely in the carnage of war, bask in divine light. I always witnessed death and the suffering of imminent death as quite mystical. I often felt divine presence(s) close at hand ~ a silent, yet sweet guide for the suffering soul. And suffering, in and of itself, seems to me a sort of pilgrimage.

What happens when we die? Does the body die, thereby expelling the soul into the waiting arms of its guide? Does the waiting guide pluck the suffering soul from the bondage of its dying companion, the body, at which point, physical death occurs? I feel inclined to reject the first possibility in favour of the second. I have always believed the soul animated the physical body. To the point of making us look the way we do. Even immediately after death, a corpse looks different than the person did alive. Why? Because, I believe, the soul has departed. Convincing me that the formless soul gives a person her form, as an individual. And that despite the tension between soul and body, the two fuse seemlessly to provide existence. Like lovers fuse seemlessly to produce a life. I suspect the bond between soul and body exists at that level of intimacy. I should think, then, that the soul feels some sort of trauma on separating itself from the body, at the time of physical death. Similarly, at birth. Unboxing and also, boxing, of the soul must cause some level of pain or discomfort. I imagine, then, that upon physical death, the lingering divine presence, of which I spoke earlier, comforts and soothes a bewildered and throbbing soul, the way a mother comforts her distressed child.


Monday, September 10, 2007

thoughts on nursing

Monday, September 10, 2007
I saw a young student tightly hugging a Fundamentals of Nursing text on my morning commute. I guessed her age at around 20 or 21 years of age. So young. I wondered if she had any real clue what she was getting herself into. Did she really know, anything about the journey on which she appeared poised to embark? I always feel a strong urge to ward all young prospects away from Nursing as a career, whenever I encounter them. Still, I refrain from doing so. Who am I, to rain on their parade? Perhaps, perhaps, they will forge through that hell, unaware as one needs to remain in order to survive.

I reflected on the fundamental weakness of health care as a profession ~ particularly Nursing, since that's the beast I know. The administrators of the health care system and the regulators of the profession exists as separate entities. The administrators of the system have the capacity to effect change on the regulators ~i.e. via legislation (the legislators still control the Act that governs the regulating body). However, the regulating body has negligible political influence on the administrating authority, and hence, little capacity to effect any real change in the system.

So ... we have an entity responsible for the administration of patient care. We have an administrator responsible for regulating the professions - the individuals who actually work to deliver the care. Who works to regulate the administrators of care ~ the architects of the health care system? Who works to ensure they have set things right ~ established the appropriate care priorities, allowed for sufficient resources in the field, established safe and effective practices? No one, as far as I can see. That's a problem.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

pier giorgio di cicco ~ creative spirit

Sunday, September 09, 2007
... if one does not stir the waters too much, one can see to the bottom of the river ...

While channel flipping Saturday afternoon, I came across a televised version of a speech which Pier Giorgio Di Cicco gave at the recent ideaCITY conference in Toronto. The way he spoke, the words he chose, and the lyrical manner in which he wove his thoughts together really struck me, drew me in. And so, I watched, and listened. And recorded every fibre of what he said that I possibly could, with my fingers and this keyboard. His sentiments seemed worthy of a blog post. And, I thought, perhaps you'd all like a break from the heaviness of recent posts. This stuff seems somewhat a lighter fare. Though, deep and meaningful, in its own way.

The word choices, the meaning conveyed ~ these belong to Di Cicco ~ I have only added words for flow purposes whenever absolutely necessary. And, I could not help my compulsion to transform the passive into the active tense whenever possible to do so without butchering the message. The ideas belong to Di Cicco, not me, I just thought the message he conveyed worth sharing. So ... read on.

FYI ~ Di Cicco is a published poet ~ you can see some of his work here. He has also published several books.

Aristotle gave us the language of dualism ~ a finite, columnar paradigm from which humans have had wrestle themselves, ever since. Human endeavour does not move from the rear ~ we're not propelled by event and causality, but called by what we're meant to be ... called by something that lies in our very teliology. We feel drawn to each other ~ we desire recognition. The global citizen awaits for a world design that inspires with implicit care. Humans want recognition, not identity. People want things to rejoice in, not things to be proud of.

We must transcend pride in any form, including idealogical wars and labels. We must transcend the branding. We cannot lever, commodify, or strategize creativity. When we treat creativity like a social capital we only succeed in diminishing it, and this erodes the element of trust. Today, a conspiracy against trust pervades societal thinking. Creativity cannot exist without trust. When we stifle creativity, we stifle primal forces that motivate humans. Creativity must be inspired, not rallied ... not branded, out of oneself.

Fracturing of agendas and ideologies cause humans to withdraw from one another. Human nature is currently being revised out of frustration, in light of confusion, out of our inability to recognize others and their sacrifices. We must read the bohemian index ~ the sullenness on people's faces! One notices the sullenness on people's faces ~ an index that must be read ~ as a real financial index. The tides of sullenness have changed, based upon the freedom of people to create, to encounter, to recognize each other. We must know how to read the psychology of the human heart. We must all learn to read deep primal desires of the human spirit. Its often not in what people do, or say even, its more visceral and primal than that. The human spirit desires delight and creativity, and these meet in moments of wonder, making for trust and mutuality.

Creativity involves recruitment of the most pedantic into the surrender of their skepticism. It's a spirituality that gets people affirming the same wonder, the same source, with shared gratitude ~ free from the caveats of stereotype and historical woundedness. It involves imagination ... seeking the grander scheme of things. The sacredness of creativity lies in its power to introduces us to a higher version of ourselves.

Today's large cities burgeon with diversity of spirit. This diversity poses the next great challenge for large cities. Citizens of a city need bonding. Creativity serves as the common spirituality of a diverse people by uniting their collective primal energies. We must begin to build cities around the elements that bring the civic heart to a place of wonder. We must learn the art of random ~ to invite spontaneity, which, in turn, will nurture creativity.

EDIT: Its the 9/11 eve as I write this edit. I'm adding this as edit, because I want to leave this post current for now ~ its positive and beautiful and inspiring. But, I did not want September 11, 2007 to pass without an acknowledgement. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth ~ but not for reasons you may think. Nonetheless, I will refrain from diminishing the memory of the dead. And just say I remembered.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dante's Wisdom ~ Inferno (Part IV)

Saturday, September 08, 2007
{find part I here, if you want}

{find part II here, if you want}

{find part III here, if you want}

So ~ now we find ourselves at Hell's Seventh Circle, which contains three rounds ~ one each for sinners who have committed acts of violence against neighbours, violence against self, violence against God, nature and art. Its clear to me, particularly in this circle of Hell, that Dante's Inferno represents a sort of Catholic rendition of kharma, assigning eternal consequences fitting to the actions committed by the souls in question. The notion of the inner violence of one's soul as seeding one's violent actions in life ... and also the notion of fortune as a manifestation of the free will of other humans, which impinge upon each of us ... these stand out for me, as I reflect on Cantos XII through XVI of Inferno.

In the first round, the poets find a scalding, boiling river of blood, the Phlegathon, in which the souls of those who shed the blood the fellow man during their corporeal existence wallow and boil. How fitting, given these souls spent their earthly lives wallowing in the blood other others. Now, they wallow, shrieking all the while, for eternity in the scalding purple river which flows through the entire Seventh Circle of Hell.

The poets encounter the Minotaur, the beast who guards the souls of Hell's Seventh Circle. Fitting, in a Dantean manner, that a beast who devoured human flesh in his lifetime ... a beast conceived from an unholy union, would eternally guard the wraiths incarcerated within this part of Hell. Similarly, the Centaurs also find themselves in this part of Hell, as guardians of those who wallow in this shelf's first round, The poets then pass the broken rocks of Hell ~ the ruins of the Harrowing of Hell, which occurred after Christ's death, when he descended into Hell. Virgil theorizes that the elemental matter of the earth, of Hell itself, felt harmony ~ the harmony of love from Christ's soul ... causing it to implode in chaos.

After the poets receive assistance from one of the centaurs in crossing the bloody and boiling Phlegathon, they arrive at the second round of Hell's Seventh Circle ~ The Wood of the Suicides. As these souls destroyed their own substance in their earthly existence, thus bringing about their own death, so shall they spent an eternity encased in the thorny trees of these woods. Harpies, defilers of all they touch, eternally guard these souls, feeding upon them. The Harpies feed on these souls, creating bleeding wounds ... wounds which provide the only means through which these souls can speak. Here we see another layer of symbolism ~ suicide relieves pain and causes pain, simultaneously. The loudest cry one hears from the one who has suicided himself involves the damnable act of taking his own life.

Having emerged from The Wood of the Suicides, the poets encounter the third round of Hell's Seventh Circle. A slow, eternal rain of fire descends upon a barren landscape of burning sand. The souls of this part of Hell find themselves wallowing in these burning sands, or fleeing endlessly at the insistence of divine compulsion. The symbolism here, of course, speaks to the barrenness of such sins these souls committed during earthly existence. And the perversion of nature, we can see emerging in the rain ~ normally cool and fertile ~ which here, descends as fire. All that we see here, in this circle of Hell, represents the inner violence which really seeds all the sins punishable here.

Dante makes reference to, in these Cantos, the descent of Hell as metaphorical for decline of man, and the waters of Hell ~ which flow to its very icy depths ~ as symbolizing the tears of man's woe. He uses the figure of the Old Man of Crete to conjure this rich symbolism. Also worth noting, perhaps, the fact that Dante encounters a beloved acquaintance here, in the third round. He expresses great sorrow, while respecting the fate of his friend's damnation.


Friday, September 07, 2007

my twelve-headed monster

Friday, September 07, 2007
I felt seized by frailty of my psyche, when I heard the tone of the message on my voice mail. The message seethed with hostility, with the sort of personal resentment that comes from making a career out of bullying and intimidating other humans. Please take this message seriously, Roxanne, the message said. How patronizing, in a manner that only a bully could manage. And, of course, what a veiled threat! I felt the evil, twelve-headed monster ~ also known as my Ego ~ begin to rouse.

I felt my Self begin to break ... from the inside out. Just from listening to the message. I had not yet spoken with this chap who left that message for me. I dreaded it, of course ~ likely related to the fact that this professional bully seemed to have the social skills of a black mamba! And, i have a weakness when it comes to rude heathens and social bullies. I must confess, I simply have no tolerance for these people. I know, I must grow some. Lately, I have had success in managing trying situations through self-talk. Yeah, I typically talk myself into silently growling about it while thinking how fortunate for me, I don't live with such a nasty human. I catch my Self, as she's about to fly off the handle ~ and remind her its not worth the effort and energy to become that misery.

Alas, I failed this time. I lost it. My frail Self broke wide open, unleashing the full force of the twelve-headed monster, known as my angry Ego. I returned the call, holding my anger all-the-while. I had no new information to provide, and indicated so in the message. I did not request a call-back. What for? What did we have to discuss? Well, the intimidator wanted to get his fix, I suppose. Gotta get that humiliation hard-on, don't we? Yup, that's it, I've decided.

So, the asshole returned my call. Rude. Arrogant. Hostile. Insulting. Humiliating. I wonder if the part about calling me a thief ~ ... you're stealing ... ~ forms part of the script they're instructed to read to clients. I wouldn't surprise me, you know? Not at all. The tirade rolled from his lips, like an endless stream of the foulest-smelling vomit. It bled all over me. All over my psyche. It gurgled, boiled, bubbled. It swept my Self away from me. On hearing the feigned concern for my credit rating, I finally lost it, retorted My credit's shit, don't do me any fucking favours, and then hung up.

So ... that ended it, right? WRONG. No sooner did I exhale, and the phone rang again. Some other asshole, apparently also hankering for a humiliation hard-on ... at my expense, of course. This time, I had to listen to another unpleasant chap tell me about my unco-operative and verbally abusive Self. Yeah, the problem's with me ~ a thief, and a verbally abusive one, at that! Hilarious. And sick, because, our man clearly believed himself. How sad for him, I think as I write this. And, if he's married, how sad for her. But ... saddest of all for anyone who happens to have the misfortune of possessing his genetic material. Indeed, I did not see it this way as he spewed his very own flavour of intimidation and humiliation vomit my way.

He took it upon himself to snoop through my credit rating file ~ none of his business, really, for none of the items he mentioned pertained to his client ... and he had no idea of what he spoke. What business did he have, asking me how my car got paid off, over a year ago? Or mentioning a past item, an item in dispute and unrelated to the matter at hand? NONE, methinks. Finally, my verbal flogging ended. Actually, I ended it, after hearing the caller, in a very malicious tone, threaten me with, I'll be calling in 24 hours and you better come up with the money or we'll be taking you to court. Before hanging up, I replied, Go ahead, I won't be here to answer your call. After hanging up the phone, I proceeded to trip out.

I can't remember, really, exactly what I did first. I googled "debt collection laws bc," to get to the BC Bureau of Business Practices and Consumer Protection Agency. Of course, my friendly debt collector callers totally violated their code of conduct. And, obviously, I have recourse. Immediate recourse. As in, request in writing that the agency refrain from communicating with me via telephone ... and communicate with me only in writing. With my shaky hand, I scrawled out a handwritten letter, quoting the Act, making my request. I reminded said friendly agency that it had an obligation to comply with my written request. I waited until after 1800 hours and then hand delivered it, to the agency's drop box.

But, not before completely flipping out ... calling my mother and having a complete breakdown over the phone. I ~ who tried so hard, and succeeded, to keep myself serene, strong, and balanced for the past two or three weeks since the suicide attempt, fell apart. It didn't occur to me think about what I will do ... to whom I will turn and spill my guts ... when my mother no longer can answer the call. I just gushed. Undignified ... given that my son sat there, stoically watching me completely unravel. Mum did what all blessed and loving mums do ~ comforted me ... listened to me ... told me all the things I had going for me ... and that I mustn't give up, that it simply didn't make sense ... and where would quitting school get me? NOWHERE ~ a place I already happen to find myself. A dark pit out of which I continue to climb.

Its a slow climb. And I felt ashamed ... at having stumbled back into the pit a little. And at all the verbal diarrhea ~ the intimidators' nasty words and sentiments ~ I'd heard. I felt wounded ... so terribly wounded. Not just my Ego. But my Self, too. It's really stupid. How, 24 hours later, I still feel traumatized from these phone calls. How, writing this has made me cry. How ... this has caused me to question my stability ... my sanity ... my ability to function fully in society. I felt bent from this episode. Bent and traumatized. And mildly paranoid that someone would come and get me. For the whole evening I felt edgy ... shaky ... really jarred.

I wonder if that's a reasonable reaction. Or if, perhaps, my psyche seems too brittle. I still feel afraid when the phone rings. I feel even more afraid when I return home, and see the message light blinking on my phone. I feel positively seized with a dreaded terror as I'm listening to said messages.

I hate the phone. Positively hate it. Because people use it as a tool to socially rape others. And that's it ~ I feel as though I've been socially, psychically, raped. How grotesque.

The credit counsellor I spoke with this morning informed me that's how collection agencies do business. She wondered, out loud, how anyone who does that for a living could live with himself. I silently wondered, too. Not that it matters. C'est la vie.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

And now, I do suppose that I must take steps to ensure accountability on the part of those individuals. No man that's ever raped me has ever had to account for his behaviour. These men will. Somehow. And that's not Roxanne feeling vengeful. That's just Roxanne feeling compassion ... for humanity. By forcing those around her to account for their actions. I ain't tryin' to change the world, just the way I operate in it. There's a difference, and I think greater efficacy of action lies in the latter.

*Sigh* ~ another letter to write.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

the collector ~ what is time?

Thursday, September 06, 2007
I am working on another Dante post ~ the 7th Shelf of Hell. This, however, seemed worthy of sharing. The Collector seems quite philosophically related to Dante. The attraction of this show lies, not in its characters, but in the situations, conflicts and temptations placed before these characters.

Time. What, exactly, does it represent? Who, or what is time? I think of it as nature's forth dimension ~ a manifestation of the universe striving to attain balance. The cosmic expansion occurs unceasingly ~ the result of energy's constant transformation of itself. And so time forges on, as the universe reaches for a balance it shall never achieve. until ...? That's the mystery which we shall never unravel. And, why should we concern ourselves with when or whether time shall cease? Because our rationality demands this of us. Or how to thwart or accelerate its passage? Each time we attempt such folly, we only succeed in disturbing an unbalanced universe even further.

[Haven't we done enough damage? Why can't we just LIVE, already ... until we die?] Nonetheless, we fools spend our lives attempting to bring heaven down to earth, rather than working our way up to heaven. That's the wisdom I gleaned from the latest episode of only fictional TV show I ever watch ~ The Collector. I'm not one for speaking about fictional characters like they're real ... but the attraction of this show lies not in its personalities ... but in its innate, underlying wisdom, in the conflicts which it presents said personalities.

Morgan Pym's assignment for this week involved collecting the soul of a man who's 10 year deal long expired in the temporal realm, but who extended his deal (in corporeal time) unilaterally, by manipulating his own temporality with the use of a chronometer. What's a chronometer? It's a time manipulation device that looks like a pocket watch. Our man attained his chronometer through his deal with the devil. How foolish ~ to think one can fool a being (i.e. the devil) who resides outside of the realm of time! Nonetheless, the show made for an interesting portrayal of time and what it represents to our existence.

Chronometer man thinks he's so clever, zapping in and out of the present. He spends his life using the time tool as an escape hatch from confrontation and responsibility. Imagine the convenience ~ just zap oneself from the present, when when met with one of life's unpleasant challenges! At what cost? What does chronometer man discover, when he turns the dial of his new time tool all the way to the future ~ as far as it will turn? The void: a place in which time does not exist. In the void, the universe ceases to expand. Rather, the individual, himself, expands. Unceasingly. In the void, what feels like mere seconds actually equates to the passage of several years. Of course, chronometer man wastes his life trying to cheat the supernal, trying to cheat the devil, through his distortion of time ... and fails to apply himself to life ~ fails to use his intelligence and gifts for worthy, as opposed to conceited, causes.

In a truly Dante-esque fashion (the show's creator and writing team have filled it with plot threads that remind me of Dante's Inferno) chronometer man meets a fitting fate. As he spent his life distorting time, and thereby distorting the existence of so many other individuals, so will he spend his eternity. Chronometer man meets his eternal damnation by spending it in the void, where his soul will become eternally and unceasingly stretched and distorted. Balance ... its all about striving for balance.

Is that it? Of course not. Indulge me, dear reader. Let me reflect on the passage of time, and how we perceive it.

Does time continue passing, even when one make oneself absent to said passage? I suppose for that one individual it does not, in his experiential present, but for the remainder of the universe, it does. And what happens when the future has turned as far as it will turn? Do we reach the void: that place in which time does not exist? I think the void should feel like a painful place in which to exist, for temporally-bounded beings such as us. Why? Remember my consideration of time as a manifestation of the universe's expansion? Absence of time means the expansion of the universe ceases.

Still, an immutable law exists in the universe which demands balance, doesn't it? If so, something must expand, in an attempt to achieve balance. That's the individual who finds himself in the void ~ his matter, his essence must expand. But ... what if time ceased to exist because the universe had achieved balance? Then ... would anything need to expand? So ... what would this void feel like? Nothing, I suppose. I would think, even, that one could not possibly have experiential knowledge of existing in the void, by sheer definition of the void ~ how can one experience nothingness? Does our consciousness cease when time ceases? I mean, does consciousness exist as a direct function of time? Good question. Okay ~ now imagine existing in nothingness without having the experience of doing so ... would one even exist in nothingness?

Good question.


Faith, Love and Divine Will

Faith means trust in Divine will as truth. It involves unwavering resolve in pursuit of this will. Even when, to our finite intellects, this makes little sense. Especially so, in fact ~ for that's when faith becomes a struggle to nourish, and hence becomes more meaningful through that struggle. When we say we have faith, then, we mean we trust Divine will, as superseding our own will. But, how do we express that faith? Loving ~ without a view to any benefit which one would derive from that love, without any hope or expectation of reciprocation, and possibly with the certain knowledge that expressing said love will occur at one's own expense. Demonstration of such love requires great faith and also expresses great faith in the Divine.

Some might argue for a more concrete, and hence shallow, definition of faith ~ for instance the notion of faith as optimism. However, this seems inadequate to describe the type of faith which drives one to physically risk one's life for another or give his life for that other. It also fails to explain the type of faith and love which drives one to suffer on behalf of another or as a consequence of loving another. Such individuals clearly have unwavering trust in their expression of love as honouring the will of the Divine. How ... through what mechanism? What determines the degree of faith that individuals exert in their lives? In my opinion, its the extent to which each individual offers the Ego portion of his Self to the Divine. Placing one's trust in Divine will necessitates sacrificing that portion of one's Self demanding service to its own will.

The struggle to nourish faith, then, creates a great tension between that faith and one's Ego. A necessary tension, a circular tension. The mere existence of Ego lends living faith her title as vanquisher. Yet its existence also gives faith her reputation as a challenge to pursue and maintain. Would faith have the same meaning if we could woo her without a courtship? One wonders ~ perhaps the tension existing between Ego and faith animates living faith? That's a question for reflection, it seems. Nonetheless, as faith grows, so the Ego diminishes, and, the difficulty of our struggle against it.

It seems worth noting at this point that we don't have faith or love to earn salvation. The notion of salvation as a commodity, which we can purchase from God with our loving, altruistic deeds, seems uninformed. Rather, we receive salvation because we have faith. Trust in Divine will infuses a soul with a living, breathing faith ~ a sacred energy that occupies every fibre of our being, pervades every moment of our existence. And loving ~ loving, irregardless of the worthiness of the object of our love, just the way the Divine loves us ~ that's the purest manifestation of living, breathing faith. I conceive of love, then, as a cherished offspring of faith.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Andromeda ~ living, death and love

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Trance, an avatar of the sun, did not die. She never lived, as humans conceive of living ... and so her consciousness could not cease to exist apart from her form. The others, however ~ mere human mortals ~ had that inherent and heart-breaking vulnerability known as fallibility. A parasitic species, has invaded the human collective on the space ship Andromeda. A species which has conquered numerous species over the past millenia. They want to possess human bodies ~ effectively enslave humanity ~ and, in exchange would grant eternal life to humanity.

So? Does that sound like a deal to you? Would you enslave yourself in exchange for longevity beyond your wildest dreams? What matters to us, in this existence? Quantity/longevity? Quality? Or some reasonable convergence of both? What defines a good life? Its length? The wealth in which it existed? The amount of wealth and materials it amassed during its span? And, should we consider, as we form live our lives in connection with other living humans, that we will not live forever, that ultimately, death will separate us from those we love in this lifetime? Does death really mean the end? Does quantity really equal success? On what scale? Does love really live on? Does love live? Or does it transform itself into some more abstract form of energy that resides beyond our primitive emotional realm?


Disillusionment with Church

I felt disillusioned at Catholicism, an essence which embedded itself, like tiny shard of the sharpest edge of broken glass, burrowing its way, into the depths of my soul's nucleus. Like the tiniest shard ~ so tiny, one barely has awareness of its sharpness. This tiniest shard, so embedded, that my own Self assimilated it into her very Self-matrix. God lived in me, a vital element of which one gives little thought, until one perceives its absence. And yet, I felt distanced, from the mediocre attempts which clergy appeared to make, in driving home the relevance of the Bible teachings to the daily lives of the populace. I always believed in God, in Jesus, and I had seen and felt the Holy Spirit. But I found it hard to believe in the clergy, and in that collective called Church. I wanted to, but found I never could. I simply lacked the trust required. In my view, I suppose I did not lack it ~ the Church ~ including its hierarchy ~ failed to earn my trust through its betrayal of the trust of many distant others. I had such trouble reconciling the betrayal of trust, let alone done under the cloak of God. It seemed, to me, a special kind of blasphemous.

My heart sunk as I began considering that, really, the average Catholic parish priest possessed little capacity to relate to the average member of his congregation. Could you go to your priest, and ask for his real-world, family guidance? Could he really provide you with any experiential advice regarding a difficulty in relating to a sullen child, or an impasse reached in your marriage? Or, how to survive, as a husband, the bewildering beasts called PMS, post-partum depression, and menopause? Could you go to your priest and ask him how to live again ~ how to release the grip of seething rage and pain from your soul ~ following the loss of your child? How could any priest, in his remote and ivory tower, provide any meaningful advice on any of these issues? Celibacy precludes this, of course. Whenever I have approached a priest, I have always received the same old tired evangelically-embellished phrases. Phrases which really ring hollow ~ because they have no substance. Telling me that a lost child will live again in the resurrection does not guide me, a grieving parent, in the present! It does not tell me how to strip away the rage and sorrow. It does not provide guidelines on how to lift the dead, hardened, rotting part of me that had succumbed to lifelessness, that had succumbed to living in my abject grief and that had, like an oppressive scab adhesed onto my soul, grown to squeeze the life from my Self ... from my soul.

I wondered, then, what's the purpose of clergy? Of the Church? I suppose I had conceived, or expected, that Church existed as a conduit between the congregation members and God. And, so ~ what a responsibility the clergy must shoulder, to light and guide a route to God for each of us. However, clergy and all those who occupy the hierarchy of the Church ~ they're only human! A gaping chasm lies between those who purport to represent the divine on earth, and the actual creator himself. How many of us realize this, when we experience disappointment, sadness, even anger at the recurring ways in which, throughout history, the Church reveals itself as grotesquely corrupt, political and power-hungry? The offenses against humanity which the Church has committed, fuelled, or enabled, and the manner in which the Church hierarchy appeared to view itself as immune to consequences and accountability led me to question ~ what possible guidance and divine wisdom could I hope to gain from such corrupt individuals? What benefit could I derive from association with an institute that has, through the ages, plunged itself into a cultish, manipulative and socially-sanctioned self-idolatry? Can one trust the Church, as vehicle to God, when one has to wonder how much of the Church's message actually represents God's word and will, and how much represents that its own? I struggle with that one ~ always have. Perhaps its healthy for one to possess that level of awareness, with respect to any representative?

As these thoughts and questions wore me down, as I watched the horrors of Mount Cashel, and the like, unfold, I grew angry. I began learning about Pope Pius XII and his indifference during the Holocaust. And, I learned about horrific secrets many clergymen had tried to keep. The world, too, learned, as light illuminated the painful darkness of this sick secrecy. Society's primal seething felt palpable. I seethed, too. At Church ~ the collective, which, to me, always seemed suspect ~ like a false friend who makes all sorts of promises and pledges and then proceeds to honour none of them. I grew angry, also, with God. And suspicious ~ intellectually suspicious ~ of dogma, of things long take for granted, such as the divinity of Jesus. Anger prevents a person from achieving elucidation. Its a thick, and heavy black velvet cloth, pressed against the eyes of one's soul, to the point of pain. Pain that leads one to take quite a hostile and sardonic view the situation. And so I did, take that view of all things religious ~ the institute itself; the corrupt collective called Church together with its self-serving, self-glorifying, and repressive leadership; of the notion of a Supreme Being; and even, of God himself.

Still, try as I might, I failed to flush that tiny shard known as Catholicism from the very matrix of my being. I externalized the suspicion and rage I felt by expressing and sympathizing with existentialist and atheist view-points. I denied God whenever I could, though in retrospect, I realise I did this to spite God, and not out of some transformation within my belief matrix. And ... then I began blogging. That's when I became painfully aware of religion's powerful grip on the psyche, and on society. Religion forms a very important part of one’s culture, even if one calls oneself atheist. We shan't fool ourselves, shall we? Atheism still represents a belief in a concept. Religion influences us all ~ even those of us who choose to ignore this reality. And so, I slowly acquiesced to my Self that, yes, I do believe in the existence of a Supreme Being ~ of a God. I wanted to learn more ... about God. I researched Judaism. I gleaned much wisdom from Judaic teachings and biblical interpretations. I savoured Maimonides. I grew fond of Judaic contemporary poetry. I still felt the question of Jesus and his divinity nagging me. I still felt an intrinsic understanding of the Trinity. So ... Judaic consideration of Jesus as a mere mortal stirred some conflict within my inner workings. How could I rectify this?

I felt like Jacob ~ wrestling angels. I also felt like Lot's wife ~ turned into a pillar of salt. Turned into a pillar of salt by the inertia of looking back ... by the inertia of the rage which I felt when I looked back. I read about binding together heart, mind and soul. I read of struggling against and, ultimately, devouring, the Ego. This struck a chord with me, and I wrote about it in a private blog. Still, I only maintained a shallow grasp its meaning ... of its implication for living, and responding to that living. Intuitively I suppose this drove my search for understanding, for knowledge, for awareness. I felt the seed of a yearning to strive for love, rather than for loathe or scorn. I understood already, the difference between possession of knowledge, and possession of the power to execute that knowledge ~ in the material, corporeal sense. I understood, without knowing perhaps, that, the power of intellect and the capacity to understand, render freedom by increasing awareness, not by increasing the power to execute change.


Monday, September 03, 2007

the collector ~ ice skater

Monday, September 03, 2007
Morgan Pym had two clients this week ~ a 16-year old ice skater and her coach, also her dad. Only he didn't realize it. The Devil - he likes to manipulate the truth ... or, at the very least mislead. At any rate, Morgan only had time to save one of them ... and so, of course, he worked with the client he thought he had ~ the girl. Apparently, pride prevented the dad from admitting to his daughter that he made a deal, the dead which got her into that mess. Isabelle never really had the talent which sprang her right to the top. She won all those competitions, and even a spot on the olympic team all on the false talent she received from the Devil. But, she so wanted to please her Dad, who had also served as coach to her late mother ~ a truly talented skater with much promise until she got herself 'knocked up.' Ahhh ~ but what you don't know can definitely hurt you. What Isabelle didn't know did, indeed hurt her, and those around her.

You see, dear old Dad really wanted that olympic medal ... that olympic glory. He so wanted it, in fact, that when he found out his first protege "had a bun in the oven" ... well, he wanted her to get an abortion. Yes, that's right, he didn't ever really want his daughter. He would have much rather had his girlfriend's/wife's olympic glory! And, when Isabelle's mother killed herself, sent to the edge by her husband's selfish berating, well, how convenient that he had another tool through which to achieve the glory for which he so hungered.

So, as usual, Morgan has 48 hours to try to redeem his client. In this case, first he's got to convince the client, a 16-year old girl, that she even made a deal with the Devil, because she has no recollection. Her Dad suspects that his deal maker has come to collect, but never lets on that he knows ... that he made a deal with the Devil ~ a deal in which the Devil would let Isabelle gain world class skating talent (that's the pride I spoke of earlier). Instead, Dad thinks he can thwart the Devil by leaving the country with Isabelle. Of course, that never works. Accountability for one's own action follows one. The universe seeks balance. That balance will occur, for every misdeed, mis-decision, whether we like it or not. Often we don't like it. And, of course, when we try to superimpose our own will upon the universe, it eventually comes tumbling down, like a house of cards. And what's that they say about pride? Pride goeth before a fall? Yeah, that.

Pride ~ a man's pride, and selfish desire for self-glorification. In the end, it did him in. How ironic, because, despite the fact that he never wanted that child which he father, she grew on him ... and he indeed wanted to give her the moon and stars. Instead, he ended up driving her mother to suicide, and then wasting her life carving talent which never belonged to her, in the first place ... and for one final blow, he paid for his deal with his life ... with his soul. So, he leaves his daughter with all something he never wanted her to have ~ pain and suffering, for the his misdeed. Yeah ... poetic justice. A man who devoured two lives, in seeking self-glorification, loses his own, and never really receives the glory for which he so thirsted. And Isabelle, she's left with none of the life she thought she had, and all of the life which she never dreamed she would have.

If only we knew what damage we cause to the balance of humanity and the universe, when we make our own petty will more important that the divine will. And also, the way in which, not only our Selves, but those around us also, suffer for our mis-deeds.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

suffer!! what have we become?!

Sunday, September 02, 2007
here's a reality check for all those who purport to have fears about school shootings, and mass shootings in general. it seems to me the USA no longer lays claim to the monniker 'land of the free' ~ what's free about it, if you can get your fucking head blown off, just for going to school? NUTHIN', that's what! IMHO, of course. read on, if you'd rather stick your head in the sand about all that.

I'd just published a post on time and the universe seeking balance through its expansion. And then, I had a change of heart. This public ad ~ its not new ~ changed my heart (squeezed it, too). I've seen it numerous times in the past. Each time, I feel instantly inclined to change the channel ... and each time I deny myself that indulgence ... that self-centred, petty indulgence. So many of us do actually change the channel, clinging to the pre-operational notion which tempts us each to think, if we shut something from our vision, it does not exist as a problem for us.

So ~ watch this video. Its short ~ 2 minutes. It should give you a mammoth heart ache. It should make you feel abject shame at your membership in the human race. It may make you cry. Its designed to garner a reaction ~ to open our eyes to selfishness and cruelty, as humans. This video serves as a humble reminder, on this fair Sunday afternoon, the we, humanity, truly are the scourge of the earth.

Expand the post to read the poem, Treat Me Kindly

Treat Me Kindly

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
For no heart in all the world is more
rateful for kindness than the loving
heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick,
For though I should lick your hand
between blows, your patience and
understanding will more quickly
teach me the things you would
have me learn.

Speak to me often, For your voice is
the world's sweetest music, as you must
know by the fierce wagging of my tail
when your footsteps fall upon my ears.

Please take me inside when it is cold
and wet, For I am a domesticated
animal, no longer accustomed to the
bitter elements. I ask no greater glory
than the privilege of sitting at your
feet beside the hearth.

Keep my pan filled with water, for I
cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I may stay well,
to romp and play and do your bidding,
to walk by your side, and stand ready,
willing and able to protect you with
my life, should your life be in danger.

And, my friend, when I am very old, and
I no longer enjoy good health, hearing
and good sight, do not make heroic
efforts to keep me going.

I am not having fun. Please see that my
trusting life is taken gently. I shall
leave this earth knowing with the last
breath I drew, that my fate was always
safest in your hand.

~ By Beth Norman Harris 1968 ~