Unquotables

Unquotable Quotes #32

When the sh*t hits the fan, you can be grateful that the colder weather has come, regardless of how it affects your aching joints…

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Essay, Reflections

Surrender…?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes you have to lose big before you can win. Sometimes you have to let go before you can move forward. And sometimes, you have to surrender before you can be empowered.

I learned that mostly through getting sober in a 12 step group. Being a stubborn lass, I often push myself well beyond my limits, convinced that “if I give up now, I will never get back in the game.” And too often, that has proven to be true.

But there occasionally comes a time when I know I can’t continue, when there is simply not enough left in the tanks or the reserves to carry on. There are times when the battle, for survival or supremacy, simply isn’t worth it anymore. And times when even my wild imagination cannot fantasize a happy outcome, no matter how bizarre and impossible I allow the parameters for “success” to become. The question is knowing when that is…

Hello, Time, my ever present nemesis…”

Because letting go of something that isn’t working (at the right time) may ennable you to notice opportunities you would otherwise have missed; aka the other door or window that appears in the vacuum. Or it may allow you to accept help, whether it comes from other people, some Divine influence, or a quirk of fate. It certainly forces you to re-evaluate your place and your priorities, perhaps leading you to more realistic and attainable victories. Such re-orientation brings new strength to bear in the struggle, new hope, new goals to pursue. It reinvigorates the life you are presently living, however diminished that might be from the one you were pursuing…

But giving up too soon is a cop out, a failure, a loss of momentum; it makes you a quitter, rather than a winner, no matter how successful your “lesser” life becomes. Surrendering too early makes you weaker rather than stronger, presenting as a failure of will rather than an unwinnable contest. It creates a sand pit, a muckhole full of regret and “what if’s” hungry to suck you in at your first hesitation during any subsequent efforts. It is a loss from which you never truly recover…

So, how do you know where that line is? How do you figure out the timing of any surrender? Do you just push on, bruised and broken, until your only coherent thought is “enough, already!”? Or do you push on after that, preferring to err on the side of trying too hard, rather than quitting too soon? Do you literally press on until death drops you while still in harness? (Romantic thought, yes, but unrealistic, as the body usually stops functioning well before death actually comes to claim it.)

I was watching a show the other day, some apolcalyptic, end of the world scenario, where different factions fought about the best way to save the world. And as those “in power” argued amongst themselves trying to one-up each other, a doomsday cult grew up among the common people. The common folk accepted the inevitable end of humanity, seeking love and comfort from each other, while dreaming of how some other form of life (better than the plague that humans have become) would one day rise up to take our place.

Sound familiar?…

But then some renegade science geeks found a way to possibly save humanity, risking all to fight against the powers that be to achieve their vision of possible survival. And just when it seemed they might have succeeded, against all odds, the doomsday cult interceded with an act of terrorism to destroy that fragile hope, and the miracle device they built. Apparently, having accepted the inevitable end, having properly surrendered and found peace, they could not now accept that such an end might not occur. And so they acted out to make sure it would…

Have we, as a species (the masses, not the elites), surrendered our “power” too soon?

That’s the question haunting me today. For I believe I have accepted that humanity, or society anyway (as it is currently structured), is doomed; it simply cannot be saved. Nor do I believe it should be. Too much damage done over too many centuries, too many repeated failures and mistakes, too much proof that “good” can never truly triumph over the “evil” that rules. So, like many others, I wait for the inevitable end, the collapse of society as we know it.

But that end never seems to come, does it?

I mean, all the indicators are there – climate change, mass extinctions, vastly disproportionate allocation of resources, constant discord, increasing violence, an absolute refusal by those in power to change course, and an inability for the common folk to make them. Doomsday cults are a dime a dozen, and the major religions all seem to be preaching “end of days” scenarios. Countless apocalyptic dates have come (and passed), and more are predicted ahead. Most people seem to agree the “end is coming”; it’s really just a matter of when…

And yet…

And yet we keep on keeping on, limping through each day crippled but not dead. Individuals and entire species die off, while new individuals are born and live. Microscopic life forms are thriving (at the expense of others, of course). The sun rises each day on a planet more polluted than the day before. The moon transits through her phases, bearing witness to growing sorrows. But life, and more importantly here, society, continues. Why?!

I believed people who said the economy would collapse. I believed those who said humanity would turn on and destroy itself. But it hasn’t happened. Yet. And that’s a problem for someone like me. Why?

Because every day is a struggle. Because I want nothing more than to lay down my “coping tools” and give up. And I suspect I’m not the only one. But we can’t do that. Not really. Because if we give up too soon, we will only increase our suffering, but not speed up our relief. We won’t die, at least not right away. And while we wait for that, we will lose everything we are barely holding onto now.

I, personally, don’t like how it feels to be homeless and hungry. I’ve been there (long ago), when I was stronger and more physically capable, but I was still miserable. I can’t even fathom going through that now! So I continue to drag myself to work, day after day, juggling bills I can’t actually pay off, waiting expectantly for the day when these struggles become meaningless. But that day never actually comes…

I watch people I love struggle the same way, knowing how little I can do to actually alleviate their pain, because I have none of the resources that might actually help them. And I know they feel the same. I’m starting to feel just a tad bit envious of every death I learn about, knowing they, at least, have escaped. It’s getting to the point where I’m no longer sure if the “grief” I experience, the tears I cry, are to honor those who’ve passed, or to lament the fact that I haven’t!

And those doomsday predictors have all had to “walk back” their predictions, claiming now that we will not pass from this place with a boom and a flash, but with a whimper and a slow rotting away. Maybe in my lifetime, or maybe three generations away! The end, however inevitable it may seem, is not necessarily imminent…

“Time, my old enemy, you have a wicked and cruel sense of humor!”

Is giving up even an option anymore? Is there any chance that surrender could hasten the end of this war? It doesn’t seem that way to me, but perhaps I’m missing something here. Please feel free to enlighten me…

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Poetry

“Emo-ting”…

All dressed in black…

heavy bangs hung low to hide my eyes

from those soul-less zombies of society

who thrive on peering…

…and prying inside.

Hungry ghosts seeking me

to feed upon my fear…

…and anxiety.

Driven to explore…

the shadowed recesses of my mind

confronting my felonious nature

my angst and downcast eyes…

…the only outward signs.

Of the price I pay every day

for the crime of Being…

…and staying alive.

 

** NOTE: Please don’t take this too seriously, folks.  I’m just exploring my “emo” nature a bit, having had the word “angst” appear in the comments section of my last two posts…  😀

 

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Reflections

Wordy, wordy… the Message in the Medium…

I use too many words to express how I feel, to say what I mean, to get my point across…  If you follow me at all regularly, you know this.  I often meander way off track to get to where I’m going, taking the scenic path through unnecessary landscapes, just to prolong the journey.  I know this about myself.  I’ve heard it all my life.  It’s one of the reasons I’d never make it as a published writer, because I refuse to let those extra words go, and I will not allow my message to be biased by arbitrary (even if well-reasoned) word count limits…

So to be told by someone that I “sure take a round about way to make a simple statement” shouldn’t “hurt,” right?  But it does…  It feels like a rebuke.  Because it is one.  It also happens to be true!

My response?  Immediately shut up while silently going on the defensive…

[But I love words!  I want to use them…]

[So what?  No one is requiring you to hear me out…  I’m just making conversation, after all.]

[Sorry… My bad…]

And then I retire with my cup of coffee to mull it over…  And over…  And over again… [Just to be sure, you understand…?*]…

(* note where the comma is placed; it’s important.)

And then I ask myself, “what does it matter?”  If this is who I am (and I like that), what difference does it make?  People are free to walk away any time.  Why should this even bother me?

But it does…  Which tells me something more than mere words is happening here; some truth is trying to reveal itself to me.  So let’s chew on this some more…

Why do I need so many words to express my self?  [Oh, is there an extra space there, dividing the word “myself”?  ;)]  Why can’t I be content just saying what I mean?  Why does almost every direct statement feel incomplete?

Is it just my ego revelling in the sound of my own voice?  Is it my insecurity attempting to hold someone’s attention, now that they’re finally listening to me?  Or is there something more going on with Me? [Yes, that capital “M” was intended; it’s not a typo.]

The truth is all those “extra” words serve a purpose in the end.  They provide background, context, for what the words are “supposed” to mean, at this time, in this place… all relative, you see…?  They provide history (how I got to the point I’m trying to make), and connotative context (how and why I feel about what I’m about to say).  But mostly, all those extra syllables are there to illustrate the complexity and design behind simple statements, to show how Truth cuts through dimensional barriers, existing every where, every time, simultaneously, without contradiction.  That fact never ceases to create a sense of awe and wonder in me, and it is the closest thing (I’ve ever experienced) to the feeling known as “faith.”

I, personally, have never “trusted” an outsider to “take care of me.”  I’ve never believed that any human, god or cosmic plan existed with my best interests at heart, even in the best of times.  I’ve always waited for the other shoe to drop – the expectation, the exhortation, the exploitation…  It always comes…  Eventually.

And maybe that’s just the way life is done – an exchange of energy essential to keep things moving along.  Too much flowing in one direction creates an imbalance, requires correction.  Nature abhors a vacuum, right?

So… who’s to say all these extra words are not necessary after all?  If only in the way they hold the space, preventing any lesser truth (or greater falsehood) from sneaking in behind to fill the void.  So much left unsaid when word counts start to matter.  So much left open to interpret, outside my purposeful intent.  Yes, indeed, there are times for that.  But that’s what poetry is for…

And when carefully constructed poetry (or random intuitive ramblings) draw forth too literal responses (“what a lovely picture you paint with your words!”), however well-meaning and sincere…  Well, let’s just chalk that up to the Failed column, with so many other wasted words, because [clearly!] you didn’t get my point at all…

*** deep sigh ***

Words are easy… Communication is not.

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Reflections

Moving On or Giving Up…?

Questioning motives today, mostly my own.  Wondering about this weird “between” zone I’ve been living in of late.  Not really here, but not really anyplace else, skating upon the surface tension of experience without attempting to delve within.  It’s almost like a dream state, acknowledging events as “significant,” identifying which are most currently relevant, suspecting why they may be pertinent, but refusing to make any commitments on this, my own journey.  Like reading headlines and telling myself, “that looks interesting,” but not bothering to read the actual content…

I’ve been “struggling for so long” (yes, those are the words that presented themselves, though I am eager to change them to something less combative, less obstructive, and more positive, but I can’t, or won’t in good conscience do so, lest I give in to some compulsion to be less than totally honest with myself) to grasp (and utilize productively) the concept and tools of self-empowerment.  Decades I’ve spent “learning” this path; yes, decades!  I understand the theory behind it. I’ve explored so many methods of expressing it.  I’ve owned the responsibility.  I’ve dedicated myself to this particular path.  And yet…

I get frustrated when it does not seem to work for me.  (Note the qualifier there, as I suspect it is important.  Lol!)  The truth is, if I’m actually being honest, while I may never attain what I want, I almost always get exactly what I need.  My dissatisfaction comes from my refusal to accept that as enough…

Am I really so greedy that “enough” is not enough for me?  How can that be me?  Honestly…

This past week, like so many more before, I found myself in that familiar but unenviable position of seeing my “almost safe” position collapse into absolute uncertainty again.  I was fed up!  “Why?!,” I cried out.  “Why does this always happen to me?!  I get so close to that light at the end of the tunnel, I see the exit bright before me… And then the world trembles, the tunnel collapses, and all is dark again!”

And the answer came to me…

“Why not?”

How do you refute such logic?  How do you answer such simple and real honesty?  I can’t.  There is no compelling reason why I in particular should succeed when so many others are failing (or more accurately flailing about).  There is nothing so special about me that I should be exempt from such setbacks; in fact, my very history (if viewed from a perspective of self-empowerment) would imply that I prefer it this way.  Consistency is key in any experimentation, and in this journey of self-mastery, “just falling short” is my hallmark, the highest rank I have ever achieved…  Perhaps I want it this way?  *sigh*  (I would ask why, but really what is the point?)

So I lashed out against All, acknowledging I was responsible, but still wanting to express myself.  And in doing so, I was presented with story after story of troubles that far surpassed my own.  Relativity, right?  Comparing misfortunes.  I hate it, and I refuse to encourage others to pursue it; just because others may have it worse than me, I see no healthy reason to deny what I feel.  It matters to me, therefore it’s worth experiencing – fully, and without minimizing it.

But I couldn’t maintain my self-centered point of view, and so I turned my conscious thought to “wanting” what was best for the others involved, and trusting that my needs would be met in the end…

And “miracles” occurred – a shifting of reality so dramatic and improbable that reasonability would not have allowed me to truly hope for them.  And within 48 hours, events resolved themselves to meet everyone’s needs.  And I had to stop complaining… (lol!)

It does work, but it does not appear to truly require work when it does…  And perhaps that is where I have led myself astray so many times before…

Because I have believed in my own potential, and I have owned my failure to live up to it.  I have seen how fear, laziness, selfishness and greed have prevented me from truly succeeding, and I have justified every failure with judgments against myself – I didn’t follow through, I gave up, I never gave myself a chance, I didn’t want to do the work, I pursued the selfish (unnecessary) goal, I made mistakes, I was impulsive (or too slow to act), I spoke too soon (or not soon enough)…  Etc., ad nauseum…

But my needs have always been met…

So I “should” be grateful (and I am).  I “should” accept what is (and I do).  I keep on keepin’ on.  Life proceeds…  and plans and needs change, along with those unfulfilled wants, though to a much lesser degree.  Those wants return with amazing consistency, changing only enough to better meet the “times” they are experienced in; at their root they remain the same.  And unfulfilled.  Still…

And still I question why I am here?  Still…  Could there be some sort of connection there?

Nearly 3 decades ago when this path first became clear to me (crystally), it emerged in a rapid series of epiphanies.  Suddenly I was fired up, motivated, eager to pursue what was so obvious, and yet had remained so hidden from me.  I’ve been sensing such an epiphany pending, all week, hovering at the edge of my consciousness but refusing to enter.  Always on the periphery, threatening to topple my well-ensconced beliefs about myself…

Back then, my “others” questioned, as did I:

“But how can I use this to get what I want?  What is the reason for knowing this stuff?”

The answer came then, cryptic but certain, haunting me to this very day, where it runs through my mind like an endless refrain:

“You will know how to use this as soon as you see…

the purpose of Being, what it means to be Me.”

And I can’t muster enough depth of awareness to even pursue it…

Giving up or moving on…?  Today, that is the question.

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Reflections

Red Pandas and Snow Leopards, Oh My…

For weeks now, my primary function in life has been acting as host of a new age game show – “Name that Feeling”… (Not really, of course, but that’s how it seems.)  So many people suffering – friends, family, strangers, co-workers…  Chaos corrupts and distracts them, leaving them vulnerable, overwhelmed, irritated and touchy, with one unifying characteristic – the temptation and opportunity to make “bad” decisions.  Impulses based on negativity rarely result in positive outcomes.  So I hear myself speaking, repeating, over and over again: “what are you feeling?…  Ok, but ‘bad’ is pretty vague; can we explore that some more?”

It’s been my experience that correctly labelling a feeling often times introduces a viable solution to address it.  Frustration is more easily tackled with distractive techniques, while anger must be appropriately channeled before clear thinking can return.  Sadness takes many forms as well, each requiring a different approach.  Is the sadness based on grief, loneliness, purposelessness, etc…?

The head and the heart must work together, or be driven ever further apart.  And we, as empowered beings co-creating reality, are responsible for aligning those components, for too much distance between them leads to unhealthy detachment and sociopathy, or, contrarily, dependency and powerlessness.  For how can we make moral and ethical choices without empathy?  And how can we devise workable solutions when logic and reason abandon us?

So…

This weekend the red panda and snow leopard exhibit opens at our local zoo.  It is an event I have eagerly awaited since it was announced last year.  I even bought my daughter a zoo membership this year so we could all enjoy it.  (My grandaughter is every bit as attracted to animals as I am!)  And today is the day we are going to meet them!

Yet here I sit in meditation, conflicting feelings competing for my attention, leading me far from Center, and directly into the cyclone surrounding me.  For I feel empathy for the animals, caged far from home for the cruelly voyeuristic pleasure of humanity.  Yet there is no denying the delight I experience at the mere thought of sharing the same space with these magnificent beings, to breathe the same air, to feel the same sun shining upon our skin/fur.  To be so close to these animals whose natural habitat I will never experience…

How can I justify/live with both?  For my empathy demands the creatures be free, while my selfish delight seeks their company…

Anyone who has experienced Oneness understands that it is quite possible to maintain multiple perspectives on a single experience.  The trick seems to be in keeping the separate tracks separated; clearly divided lanes that allow one to experience from multiple points of view.  The problem arises when those tracks begin to cross over one another, combining then separating.  Such crossover invariably creates disorientation and hesitation, wincing at near collisions, slowing then stopping all forward momentum…

For many years in my city here we had a tangled bit of highway locally nicknamed “the can of worms.” Four major highways came together in a 1/2 mile space, forcing traffic to cross as many as 4-6 lanes of traffic to get to the desired route.  It was a nightmare for drivers, particularly the timid or unfamiliar.  Accidents occurred every day.  Multiple accidents occurred every day.  Those accidents added to the congestion of rush hour, making the necessary lane changes all but impossible, causing frayed nerves, impulsive actions, road rage, and more accidents…

The highway system has since been corrected, but the analogy remains.  When multiple perspectives get entangled that way, the results are quite similar – crash and burn…

So, while my instincts tell me to unify my perspectives, my experience warns me against it.  Especially when the perspectives are actively opposed to one another.  How can I hold such deep resentment against humans like myself for caging these beautiful creatures, at the same time I feel such anticipation and gratitude for the opportunity to see them?!

How can I see so clearly what others need to do, and be so blind to what I myself should do?!

Today’s episode of “Name that Feeling” is a beast…

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