Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ingredient 10...OCEANS

Testimony.  Glorious and true.  Reflecting every image of God, attesting to lunar scripture and solar urges, made as one and likened unto a kaleidoscope I dreamed of in my infancy.  I walk along, my feet made of miracles, in the wake of a breeze beset of an angel's wings.  I ask for the nothing I need in this foamy white moment.  The raging fire that solders the seam between body and soul surrenders to the tide on high.  I dream with my eyes open.  My heart receives a gift.  The Baptist whispers to me yet another riddle to unfurl as an accessory for my soul.  And, I ask for the nothing I need.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Two-Take Exchange: Take One

Hello visitors of the Akashic Basement! My name is Jenn, but you can call me...Jenn.  My friend (and awesome writer/poet..seriously, she's like a modern-day Mark Twain), Aubree - who calls this Basement home - and I are embarking on a "Blog Swap."  Every so often, we will choose an image, post it, and each of us will write our individual "take" on what we see and feel as inspired from said image.  We will then swap our posts: she will post mine (below) on her blog, and I will post hers - for your reading pleasure - here.  Please note: one of the rules of the "The Two-Take Exchange" is that neither of us discuss what the other will be writing about; in fact, we will not know anything of the other's "take" until the swap has occurred.  Having said this, you may find it interesting ( I know we did, although we were not entirely surprised) that Aubree and I experienced some parallel perspective on the below image, though we expressed it in two entirely different ways. 

So, here it is: my Take One...

What if both doors lead to the same place?

There is pure innocence captured in this photo, and the curious child may tend to lean towards dreams instead of reality, as they don’t even know what reality is at this stage in their life.

So, why is there a visible hesitation in her choice?  Perhaps, it’s the subtle skewed appearance of the Reality sign versus the straight facing Dream sign.  Or maybe she’s going with her gut instinct to choose to dream versus play out reality.  In her dreams, she will create her reality.

Is there really a discernible difference between dreams and reality?  What about the possibility that our dreams are our reality versus our reality consisting of our dreams?

Unfortunately, I don’t remember most of my dreams, so I feel that my reality sculpts my dreams, although I’d like to experience the opposite.  I feel we can live vicariously through our dreams and subconsciously will them into fruition. 

Do you choose to live out your dreams or are you torn into believing that you’re actually living in a reality?  I know many people that are living in a dream-world.  Is that so bad?  Most of them appear to be happy.

There is an accessibility in your dreams that you’re not always able to experience in reality, such as places to travel, guides to show us ‘the way,’ the extraordinary ability to fly and also to be able to transcend into different eras. 

Another intriguing vision about this photo is how dated, yet current it is.  The arched doors, reminiscent of an old church, coupled with the vintage clock may suggest that dreams are meant to be remembered from another time, whereas the clock and its incessant tick-tock may suggest that time is running out, so decisions should be made quickly, but not knowing your life’s journey or purpose, could make for hasty and ill-chosen decisions.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the ability to get lost in your dreams and actually discover yourself and your purpose for being?

 What about the illusion of time?  In the words of the great Janis Joplin, “It’s all the same fucking day, man.” 
If time is an illusion, is it not safe to assume time is infinite? When I think of time, I think of it as circular.  It’s a continuous loop that never ends; no real beginning - no real end.
Is there any significance that the clock shows five minutes to noon or midnight? Does it matter?
And what about making the wrong choice?  The fear of regret often keeps us from making the wrong decision and uncertainty almost always makes choosing impossible.
When it comes to dreams and reality, why can’t we choose both? Aren’t we ultimately going to end up where we started?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ingredient 10 -Pain

Simply put, pain is as much a part of life as is breathing.  And it is every bit as necessary.  I once saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel ( was actually probably Oprah or Montel, but whatevs) that featured a young girl who was born with what many of us -at first consideration- would declare a super power of sorts: she was unable to feel any physical pain.  Nothing hurt her, physically.  Pretty awesome, right?  Absolutely...except for the fact that when she was a baby-going-on-toddler she used her new teeth to chew up her fingers; when she began to eat solid foods, she would chew her tongue up along with the food in her mouth; she could not feel the pain of extreme heat radiating from the stove upon which she rested her hand long enough to sustain permanent damage to it.  Because she could not feel discomfort of a physical nature, she was a constant danger to herself and had to be closely supervised at all times. 

Just as physical pain has a very important purpose to serve in warning us about any variation of detriment to our health and safety, so does mental and emotional pain exist to keep us learning about the dangers of life, and therefore makes us, as individuals, more aware of the purpose and beauty of life.  Further, and every bit as imperative to human existence as a whole, pain has the task of teaching us compassion and empathy for our fellow travelers, human and non-humans alike. 

When I think back on some of my most painful moments in this life, I can also see, in retro-spect, the lessons I learned from them.  My childhood was (and still is) a consistent and reliable source of pain for me.  But, I wouldn't change a thing about it, because I developed some of my most basic survival skills from my earliest years.  I also learned how to try to be the best, nurturing mother I can be...always.  In fact, reflecting upon all of my moments of pain and suffering in this lifetime (moments of which have been mercifully few, childhood aside), I can clearly see the necessity of each and every one. 
The absence of love put love into my looking glass

And so, it seems, pain has an "after the fact" value to us.  When we touch a hot surface,  we jerk our hand (or other extremity) away as a fast and furious reflex, but it is only after having endured the searing touch do we learn what extreme heat can do to our frail human bodies.  The same is true with emotional pain.  In almost every instance, we cannot adequately figure out the meaning or purpose of the suffering as we are going through it.  It is during these moments (and I'm assuming everyone does this) that we throw our hands up in a questioning gesture at the heavens and ask the inevitable and ever-popular, "Why?!"  Try as we might, sometimes we just can't figure out the reason behind much of our pain...until time moves on, and just as all of the parts and pieces of a good movie or a well-written book come together neatly at the conclusion of the tale, often leaving us to ponder how we didn't see the revelations sooner or read the symbolism more accurately, so does life play out for us, using pain as its most unappreciated narrative.

Pain leads to introspection, by which we find our truest truths

Of course, this whole pain-thing also begs the question: Without undergoing personal suffering, how would we know enough about anything to understand, establish, and practice the most valuable of all human commodities: Compassion, which is comprised of a coupling of Sympathy and Empathy.  This is not to say that we must suffer the exact sort of pain as another to be able to sympathize and offer compassion.  On the contrary, being able to directly relate to someone or something else's pain is not at all a prerequisite for compassion.  Instead, the sense of fellowship that arises from being a soul in motion, and as such, enduring painful circumstances as a part of life -whether comparable to another's own experience of sufferance or not- should be all we need to extend ourselves when a compassionate reach is needed.

The long and short of it: pain is necessary to our growth and survival as individual souls existing within a common spiral of experiential learning.  Indeed, pain could very well be hailed as one of life's greatest teachers, yet if we had our choice, we would chase it away, just as we would initially view the inability to feel physical duress as a magical gift from the gods.  Upon closer inspection, though, we find that not only would we sustain third degree burns in physicality by staying out in the great light of our sun for far too long, but without the soothing knowledge that comes from the singe of emotional pain, we would blindly set our very existence -both personal and collective- aflame; not knowing -until it was much too late- what we had done.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ingredient 9 - Purpose

WARNING: No lifeguard on duty!  This post will not be easy for some people to digest b/c of the use of deliberately exaggerated vulgarities; but perhaps more so because, beneath the over-dose of irony and satirically used content, there are disturbing and enlightening truths to be found.  Read on at your own risk.

I'm going to put a different spin on "purpose" today, because I'm in a shitty mood and have very little faith in humanity at this point (which is really no different than yesterday, or the day before, or the year before that); however, if you are wanting to read something about "purpose" that you may find a bit more inspiring and reminiscent of rainbows and sunshine, you might enjoy this

Today, I want to address purpose by the way other people serve it in our lives, and I'm not talking about some invisible and fantasy-based Collective Cosmic Consciousness, either.  Although -on a good day- I do believe in some sort of unity or soul alliance, today that seems a reality so far out from the boundaries of humanity that it hardly feels worthy of contemplation (Hey, look.  I warned you guys from jump that I have a very fickle relationship with my god, and I have very little tolerance for the sub-levels of the humanely-challenged, and even less so do I regard the few humans that possess content of character but refuse to use it).  So, in the spirit of all this whining, I am going to make this post completely and absolutely all about me.

I am one of those people who believes that most other people are complete dollops of shit-jelly on an ass cheek sandwich.  I believe that most people cannot be trusted and exist only to serve themselves giant platters of ego-feed.  But, I also know that there are people in this plagued world that wish only to be part of the cure, the remedy (I happen to be married to one of them).  In regard to humanity's vast spectrum of intellectual and emotional content, what I am learning is this: regardless of which side of the character fence on which any person with whom we come into contact is standing, they can serve a purpose for us...if we let them. 

For instance, I recently came into (cyber) contact with two people, both of which were well-versed in hypocrisy and a level of self-involvement that could ONLY hint at layers and layers of immense self-loathing.  Years ago, I would have really let them get to me; years ago, I would have...well, there's really no telling what I would have done, truthfully, but trust me when I say it would have been as ugly as the side of themselves that these two people felt (seemingly) obliged to display.  We all have an ugly side -some of us possess more inner-ugly than inner-beauty- but we all have that side of which we just aren't the most proud.  I am no exception.  But I am learning that I am in control of my "ugly" far more than I ever used to be.  Now, don't get me wrong: I would be a liar and a poser if I said that I didn't let them pry their way a little under my skin, but all it took was some awareness and a band-aide to remove their toxins.  And I felt good about this, because while -at first- I was perturbed that I let it bother me even a little, I realized that there was a time when I would have let such shocking negativity virtually skin me alive, until I bled the obvious truth all over them, leaving them to Stephen King's, blood-soaked with shame, and crying.  Look how far I've come!  The purpose of these two juvenile giants, as it turns out, was to show me that I have grown substantially over the years, learning how to rein in the hostility and save as much of my energy as possible for life events and people that deserve it.  But, if I am being completely honest (and why be anything else, especially when caught in a D-day type cross-fire of ignorance), I still have much to learn when it comes to completely brushing off the extraordinarily stupid, and thus leaving no residual effect on myself what-so-ever.  So, it seems that even the most pungent of human existence has a reason for stinking up our lives -even if only for a moment.  We simply have to take a minute to evaluate, with honesty, the purpose of an unwanted existential stench.  As soon as we do that, we can move on with a smile...and an economy-sized Cosmic air-freshener.

Together, the aforementioned trolls taught me...or reminded me...of some pretty pertinent stuff.  But, they also served a purpose in my life as individuals.  I would like to acknowledge -one at a time- the inadvertent positivity they brought to my own personal awareness.

 I will start with the intellectual and emotional infant, who I shall call a Center of the Universe Narcissistic Trick (or C.U.N.T. for short).  Even though I found C.U.N.T. to be a delightful source of entertainment (and by entertainment, I mean straight up bat-shit crrrrazy, and I'm talking the kind of crazy that leaves you staring speechless at what this person has written; the kind of crazy that had my inbox filling up with inquiries about her metal health, for which I had no answers, b/c I don't know the nut-job, personally).  Anyhoo, I engaged her, initially (I mean, I have grown as a person over the years, but not so much that I would not be drawn in and tempted by such a display of downright insanity).  But, as she continued to contradict herself in the most ineffective attempts to save face from the last ridiculous thing she said, I became bored, and wanted to move right along; I also wanted the conversation -of which she had no business being a part- to return to its origin which, incidentally, was a praising remark I made to a friend -a mutual friend of mine and C.U.N.T.'s-who has been in my life a very long time (as you may have surmised, this is quite a feat, b/c while some people might make it as far as "acquaintance" with me, the rest usually prove themselves to be wickedly oblivious to anything beyond the tip of their noses, and therefore I have no real use for them in my life...or so I thought!  Hence, the inspiration for this blog-post!  Funny how realizations come about).  Side Note: the original sentiment to my friend expressed admiration for her inability -through the years- to remain impartial when caught between any adversity among friends.  This is important to note, b/c it will come up later in this post as partial source of an additional lesson I learned through this whole ridiculous affair, as it pertains to the question: when does impartial become so extreme that it actually transforms into partiality?  When is it no longer okay to remain silent?  Is avoiding conflict at all costs admirable, or just easy?  In order to partake in any attempt at answering these questions, I must first finish the tale of purpose as told by the utterly disdainful.  Anyway, in my effort to return to the loving, positivity that somehow the crazy bitch, C.U.N.T., had -in her own obviously overburdened head- made about her, I stopped engaging the insanity.  See how selfless I have become?  Years ago, I would have engaged the crazy until it was oozing right out of that bitch's ears, but for two reasons, I did not: 1) my dear friend means more to me than some short-lived, and -I admit- ill-sought source of REE-diculous humor; and 2) I guess I am learning that I value my time more than to spend it toying with the mentally unstable.  So, I'm pretty sure C.U.N.T.'s purpose for crossing my path was to point out how far I have come in both these regards.

Now, moving on to the very first grown-up crack baby to whom I have ever been subjected (I shall dub this adult crack-baby a "Self-Loathing Unintelligible Trick" (or S.L.U.T. for short).  Everything that sprung from her "brain" (I use this term as loosely as her lips flap; I am referring, of course, to her mouth, although I would not be surprised if the loose-lip euphemism is equally applicable to her genitalia) was like the result of a violently dislodged anal-plug: disgusting, pungent, and certain to lead to a burst of sewage in every instance. 

S.L.U.T.'s rancid declarations caught on film

And, even still, S.L.U.T. had a purpose...for me.  It was through her absolute itchy rash of an existence that I learned how very little I let such people effect me these days.  I scoffed, I laughed. 

But then I realized something...what she wrote mattered because of where she wrote it.  And suddenly, I was bothered.  At first, I thought I was digressing in my personal evolutionary growth to let such an itchy, blistery, stank-hole get to me.  But then I recognized that it wasn't she that I found bothersome.  It was the non-reaction of my close friend (the one to whom I had extended the loving sentiment that somehow set off the ill amount of crazy that ensued).  So, I guess I found solace in the fact that I had progressed beyond letting a mental amoeba's drunken, drug-induced tendencies get to me; I could let it free as a fart in the wind...and I was happy to do so.  Plus, I kind of felt sorry for her after it dawned on me that she had more than likely been slapped one too many times by her mother's pimp; AND judging by her picture she looked to be a mid-operative tranny, so her hormones were probably all helter-skelter.  See?  There I go again: showing my growth as I give S.L.U.T. every benefit of the doubt.  You guys should start calling me "Buddha."

So, I was proud of myself for not only discovering the purpose served by another person on my behalf, but I was proud of my ever-growing compassion, too (how many people would have stopped to consider the "pimp thing?").

However, what was this new feeling I was having about one of the few Someones I hold so near and dear?  What were all these questions coming up for me?  Was I feeling resentful?  I couldn't understand what was occurring.  On the one hand, I had just given open and honest praise to one of my closest friends regarding her ability to spread the loyalty around in many instances where a lot of people would have found it easier to say one thing to one side of a conflict and another to the other side.  On the other hand, I could not believe or relate to her silence in reaction to two of her friends bringing nothing but hate and hostility to a sentiment written out of love and admiration.  As the hours passed, and my inbox began filling up with the very same questions I had been asking myself about my friend's silence, I found myself getting angry.  But, I needed to evaluate my anger to make sure it was justified, and as it turns out, it was...and it wasn't.

See, I realized I was angry because I could not relate to one of my longest and closest and best friends taking a silent seat on the sidelines while her friends inexplicably decided to attempt to dismantle my character, my marriage, and my morals (of course, their attempts were feeble, especially since they wrote them on my page where the people that know me best could read them, and therefore scoff at them).  Even in light of what simple fools they made of themselves with their disgusting exhibits of dull intellect and even duller intuition, I knew that if the tables were turned, there is no way in the blazing pits of hell I would have let any of my friends and/or acquaintances attempt to declare unprovoked war (well, C.U.N.T. felt like she was provoked because I would not stand for her ignorant declaration -on a completely different thread- that anyone who did not agree with her political opinions should "shut up" because "no one cared what they had to say."  Crazy bitch) on the very same friend that sat idly by while all this was going down.  I am simply not the kind of person that believes in that kind of inaction as a way to "stay out of it."  Eventually, in my opinion, when something is so wrong, it becomes our responsibility to step up, step in and put an end to it.  Eventually, a person has to grab their balls and get involved.

But, because this is how I think and function, does it mean that everyone should think and function the same way?  And alas!  We have arrived at that with which I have most been grappling.  Low and behold, I think the biggest lesson learned from this whole juvenile debacle arose from this very inquiry.  Should a person step up in an attempt to set things right, even if it is on behalf of someone other than themselves, just because I think that it is way it should be?  And I have decided the answer is yes...and no.  There are few things in this world that are black and white.  We live in a gray world.  Plain and simple.  However, every now and then, a situation presents itself, as well as the challenge in its hands, to test our character.  Do I think that my friend was required to use the same words and tactic that I may have chosen to turn things around?  No.  Because I don't believe that there is but one way to reverse something that is just not okay.  Do I believe that an action was required, whether it be comparable to what I would have done or not?  Yes.  I do.  Should right be right just because I say so?  No.  Right should be right, because it is right

This was not a gray situation.  There was nothing even remotely okay about what my friend's degenerate friends set out to do...without reason, and without taunting (though, again, C.U.N.T. would argue that I made a loving gesture to a friend we have in common as a way to take a jab at her; and on the very life of my only son, I can say that not only was her ridiculous claim untrue, it was borderline fucking cracker-ass crazy.  The only thing I can assume is that this person was severely mentally and emotionally abused in her lifetime, and has hence developed such a sense of self-loathing that she has literally become unforgivably self-involved and narcissistic.  And, no.  She does NOT get compassion from me for having a fucked up life.  So did I.  And I can honestly say that the hate and negativity she brought to the table was astounding.  The other bitch, S.L.U.T., is just a drug-dealing, classless trick whose morals probably got left under her pimp's bed, right next to her Dynamiclear).  But I digress.

To wrap this up: Even though we have our own purposes in life, we should not overlook the purpose that other people bring to us, whether dressed in rays of sunshine or costumed as the devil's cock.  And just as equally, we should be aware of the purposes we may serve for others.  The example within this post is perfect to remind me (us) that there is grotesque negativity in this world.  We should always do our best to rise above it.  And we should always be willing to step up on behalf of what is true and right and good, even if we're afraid of what the repercussions might be.  At the same time, I learned that we are only human (myself included, if not especially), and we will sometimes fail ourselves and the ones we love.  Whether our reasons for doing so are of pure intent or composed of excuses and bullshit, only we will really ever possess that truth.  And it is right that it should be so, because ultimately, it is solely ourselves with which we have to live, and die.

On a serious note, free from ironic vulgarity, I would like to let readers know that the friend -of whom I wrote in this blog- and I have spoken on this matter, although maybe not as candidly as I would like, b/c it was by way of text and in-box rather than actual speaking (this was not the choice of either one of us, in particular; it's just how it has happened up to this point...the ease of technology).  At the same time, regardless of the form of communication, I have always been absolutely honest with the few people who have permanently been initiated as members of my "ka-tet" (I guess it's Stephen King reference day), and I was not about to stop that practice in light of this crap.  So, I let her know how I felt about it (though some other revelations have come about since we last "spoke," and are expressed within the above paragraphs).  In return, she has explained that she would have felt like a hypocrite by jumping in on the very thread/post that gave her praise for maintaining a neutral ear and tongue.  She says it was the content of the praising post that kept her from reacting.  A part of me understands this, and a part of me hopes that in the future, she will not let words -whether cruel or kind- dictate her action, or inaction.  I also hope that she can understand the vast difference -to me- between remaining neutral amongst two dueling friends, and not stepping in when unnecessary hate and relentless negativity are being thrown at someone you love.  I, too, would never play two sides of the same fence that stands between two friends, but once one of those friends jumps over the fence unjustifiably and with wicked intent, you can bet your sweet ass I'm going to pull the ill-seeking friend to the ground by her throat -if necessary- until she comes to her senses.  So, while I still have some personal reconciling to do on the matter, and while I am trying desperately to not let it thwart my perspective, I know that she and I will be fine.  She is, after all, a member of my Ka-tet, always; I only hope that she is the "gunslinger" I've always thought she was.  BUT, if she isn't, I suppose I possess enough "gun-slinging" for the both of us.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ingredient 8 - Sunsets

When I referred to The List to find out what "ingredient" was up for dissection, I was DEE-lighted to find "sunsets" awaiting its moment in the blogdom spotlight.  Sunsets: what an awesome thing to write about! 
Except, now, after sitting in front of my laptop waiting for the words to find me, I am realizing that sunsets are not so easy to express in written word, because they are so incredibly self-expressed.  How can I take one of God's most beautiful art forms and expand on it, even with the cerebral library of words I have carefully catalogued over the years?  Words can say just about anything -paint any picture- if strung together in neatly descriptive juxtaposition, but how does one repaint a praise-worthy image of a spectacular vision that just about everyone has had the chance to behold? 
So, of course, I now find myself pondering the "what if" scenario(s): What if I did not possess the gift of sight?  What if -as a blind person- I desperately needed someone to be my witness, to help me know the beauty that is the reality of a sunset? Or(!), what if I was asked to bear vicarious witness?  What if I had to find the words that would bring to life the last moments of daylight for someone who had never seen light or color or clouds or the horizon?  What would I say?  How would I say it?  Could I even come close to getting it right?
After much thought, I feel certain that I would have to take my "what if" blind-since-birth friend to the beach.  And, as the sunset approached, I guess I would say something like...

"First, listen closely to the wind and water -elemental siblings- as they play sweetly with one another; the activity between them heightening as their ruling parent -a great nocturnal sphere that reflects the fiery warmth of the sun- begins to rise with calm supervision.  Hold on to that sound. 

Imagine a vast watery expanse, rising and falling, falling and rising in an unplanned, but perfected rhythm, like a song composing itself: its melody seeming to create your very existence where you stand, calling on your cellular memory, beckoning you back to your origin.  Let yourself rise and fall with the sacred promise of the sea.  Hold on to the sound. Stay in motion.

Beyond the watery expanse is the bright taste of orange and lemon sherbet, followed by the deepest of red wines, taken one small sip at a time.  Hold on to the sound.  Stay in motion.  Savor the taste of iridescent warmth. 

Let yourself transpose those flavors into a vision of the mind, and then wrap that vision in silk and cashmere, soft and flowing.  The sound, the motion, the taste, and the touch: everything coming together in joyful camaraderie.

During this time, the cooling sand has made an exact mold of your feet as a simple trick meant to remind you of your form (one existence leaving an imprint on another, as with the sun and earth).  Hold on to the sound.  Stay in motion.  Taste.  Touch.  Be still. 

Just for a second, be still. 

When you are ready -only at your own command- walk to where surf meets shore, no further than to tickle your toes, and let yourself recall -with vivid feeling- the moment your lips first touched those of a new, true love: your heart quickening, your soul singing, your skin simultaneously running warm with the chills of a love shared, even if for only an instant. 

Hold on to the sound, stay in motion, keep the taste on your tongue, relish the touch, remember your form, rest in the stillness, and experience the love.  Now, take it all and make it the one that it never wasn't.  Then toss it out, far beyond the expanse of water and time.  Behold...your sunset."

Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z Reflectorial

As the final piece to this year's A to Z Challenge, I am sharing a bit of a challenge memoir by way of the 2012 "A to Z Reflections" posts, as encouraged by the talented and thought-provoking hosts and co-hosts of the Challenge, itself.  After making it all the way through the challenge, I am proud to partake in a reflective moment with the rest of the magnificent bloggers that held sway and tackled the challenge -in whole- with an inspiring mash-up of humor, depth, and creativity. 

As a new blogger, having only started regular visits to the Blogdom this past January, I was immediately enthralled, excited, and spooked by the A to Z Challenge concept.  If I am being honest (and why be anything else unless answering questions regarding a whole tray of missing deli samples at the grocery store), I had absolutely no idea how I was going to approach the challenge; and, even as I signed my blog up under number five hundred and something on the list, I was harboring some serious reservations about the commitment I was making.  As every one was organizing and discussing their March preparations for April's challenge, I found myself feeling even more intimidated.  Was I going to have a theme?  Would I think of 26 words before hand?  Would I just "wing it?"  And should I go ahead and start pre-blogging in case I had to miss a day or so in April?  So much pressure (of course, I have serious anxiety problems sparked by abandonment issues, so I am really needy in the ole "stroke my ego" department).  I just didn't know if I would let myself down, or worse: bore the hell out of readers.


But, I went for it.  I'm so glad I did.  I had a blast.  At first, I tried to think of words ahead of time, but I learned very quickly that was a waste of insomnia, because every time I sat down to begin each post with "Today, A, B, C, etc is for..." some random word would appear on the screen.  Not once did I actually end up writing about the subject I had planned.  So, basically, not even I knew what I was going to blog about as each day blossomed its letter, until my fingers started tapping keys.  At the close of each post, I would look back over the words before me, and just kind of smirk as I contemplated how very coy my muse was (and is).  Lesson learned: my muse is a stealthy word-ninja, and I may very well just be the vessel with a handy laptop.

I also learned that I will never be the kind of writer that can be boxed into a category.  I will never produce material that has an expectant tone or texture.  In fact, about six alpha-letters in, I started to get inquiries from readers (friends and family) about the range of emotion covered from one post to the next; some people seemed simply intrigued, while others seemed downright uncomfortable with it.  So, I posted a status on Facebook that read:  "There seem to be some people that are confused as to where my blog is 'coming from.'  The truth is: just like me, the tone of my blog is going to change daily. It will never be up for labeling, because it is a human expression of a human existence.  I'm glad so many of you are enjoying it, but please don't try to fit it into a category. It won't be forced into place, and you will only get mental callouses in your attempt..."  Alas, I also learned this very thing about myself in a more concrete, manifest way through the A to Z Challenge (and blogging, in general).

By traveling from blog to blog -as written by others that signed up for the A to Z Challenge- I learned that there are some really talented writers hanging out in the Blogdom, by comparison to whom, I am but a peasant, writhing and frothing outside the castle gates. Unfortunately, I also learned that there are many people that use blogging as a way to commercialize themselves and their work in a way that is extreme and disappointing.

And now, taking an excerpt from my letter Z post, and making this reflection all about me, I'd like to share some more specific points of interest I learned about myself (and others...I guess): "This A to Z challenge has taught me a lot. I have uncovered some long and well-kept government secrets (poor, poor chickens); I know exactly what I'm going to do if I should discover that the world is, indeed, coming to an end in December 2012; I have learned to embrace the fact that I hear voices...lots of them; I acknowledge and accept that I am a mental masochist; I made the delightful discovery that many of you LOVE cheese as much as I do; I understand that my Asian friend, Me, is pathetically co-dependent, and I judge her for it...freely; I have learned that Oscar Meyer has superior marketing skills; I recognize that memories are important, but they do not define us or the moment in which we stand; I now know that I will never be able to properly spell lickerish, and I don't care, because liccaritch sucks; I realize how amazed I am by the magic we all hold, yet about which, we know very little; I know that I do not regret kicking my bitch-ass ho of a mother to the curb, because she was a horrible energy and influence in my life; I am coming to accept that I may never be able to sufficiently define "intelligent life-form," but I also do not plan to stop seeking Truth; I think it is safe to say that I reminded everyone how cool haikus are; I reminded myself how awesomely unique my goldfish, Morpheus, was (RIP, lil' homie); I learned that most people don't want to be bothered with the rest of humanity, so f*ck 'em; I expressed and stand by my love and admiration for dogs; I fully realize that I will always become near-homicidal when subjected to loud chewers, AKA smackers, so watch yourselves, you nasty fouloids; I think I am learning that I want to be a butterfly (I can't really remember the metaphorical crap I wrapped around that one, so...); and also, I like apples. Most of all importance, though, this challenge has taught me that "Z" is a wanna-be pseudo letter that heads up mostly ridiculous, fake words."

But mostly, throughout the A to Z Challenge, I learned that it's more important to stay true to who I am than it is to watch my "follow count" grow.  And as a new blogger, I think that's a damn good lesson to learn.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ingredient 7 - Turmoil

Alrighty then!  In my archives, you will see that the month of April provided a bit of a detour for this ole blog of mine, but now it's time to get back to the list that started it all.  If you head ALL THE WAY back to January 10, 2012 (I know: I can't believe I've stuck with it this long, either), you will find the first two posts that serve as instruction manuals and building plans to The Basement. 

For my constant readers, to whom I -once again- extend my most gracious of gratitudes, let's pick up where we left off, shall we?  Here it is...The List's seventh ingredient: Turmoil.
What exactly is turmoil?  My dictionary app defines it as "a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions."  That all sounds about right.  So, what more is there to write about on the matter?  How about this: is turmoil a real thing that exists outside of us, or is it one of those created internal affairs of the human condition?

As it so happens, my life - as of late - seems to be in quite an ongoing state of "disturbance," "agitation," "commotion," and "confusion."  And being a believer in some sort of "higher power" (except for the days that I act out as a non-believer in a passive-aggressive tantrum to get back at the God in whom I claim to no longer believe during said tantrums), I can't help but ask the inevitable "why?" or "what did I do to deserve this?" or "this is a lesson, right?  RIGHT?  Hello?" *insert hollow echo here*  Apparently, my god thinks that all such questions are rhetorical, and maybe they are, but that is probably best kept as subject for another day. 
For the most part, when my life's pendulum is taking a swing at me, I fall into the pattern that so many of us do: I look for outward reasons; I obsessively dwell on choice and consequence; and when all else fails, I pass blame around (in the spirit of fairness, though, I never leave my own name out of the blame-hat).  Yet, my eyes keep returning to the last bit of the above definition: "disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions."  And there it is.
I suspect that if I were to poll the world, inquiring about the one state of being that is almost never felt, the answer would come back as one resounding response: "Contentment!"  How many of us can boast feeling content for the better part of a single day or week, much less a year, decade, or lifetime?  Unless you are Buddha or Ghandi or the Christ, I am going to assume you are nodding your head in complete agreement at this point.  Now consider this:  if we cannot allow ourselves -if we do not know how to allow ourselves- to remain in a constant state of contentment when life is "good," how in a bowl of beans should we expect NOT to feel like no more than a post-Taco Bell fart swirling around in the unpredictable winds of fate (I wonder if Taco Bell is going to sue me for making so many (truthful) connections between their food and ass-blastations)?

But wait.  The word of the day -at least as far as this post is concerned- just became "expect."  From where do our expectations come?  Not from the world around us.  No.  Sure, the outside world might inspire our choices of expectation, but it does not create them.  We do.  Our expectations come from within.  The more active life becomes -whether with negativity or positivity- the bigger in size and number our expectations grow.  And don't we know that the Future maintains exclusive rights to both expectation and anticipation?  What, then, holds the contract with Right Now?  Contentment. 
We simply cannot do Expectation and Contentment at the same time.  It's impossible.  Why?  Because one haggles with future dealings, and the other rests peacefully in the now.  If expectation and anticipation create turmoil, and turmoil is an ingredient of the mind that inevitably gives us indigestion of the soul, contentment would be the prescription strength cosmic antacid. Right?  So, why not just be content?  Why not let all of the expectation go?  Why not release what we never really have a hold of anyway (the future), and replace it with the only thing we really ever have (the moment)?  And in so doing, we would cure ourselves of nasty symptoms like turmoil, doubt, fear, noxious gas, etc. 
Man.  It sounds so damn easy.  Doesn't it?  Why, then, are so many of us failing miserably at it?  I suppose now would be a good time to refer you to my "Letter R" post which may or may not shine some light on why we seem to be more comfortable with the turmoil than the tranquility of life (at the very least, you'll get to point at me and laugh at what a gross emotional cry-baby I am).

So, what's it gonna be, ladies and gents?  Turmoil or Contentment?  These are our choices...everyday...on a sliding scale of degree and intensity.  Choose, and your choice is made...until you choose again.