Alan Watts weaves together many layers of the human experience in a liberating expression of truth. It’s one of those essential truths I wrestle with more often than I care to admit to myself. But. The more I admit it, the more it’s about the music and less about what I’ve accomplished, where it is I think I’m “going.” The way we’re set up, at such young ages, to look for the grand trophy, the major accomplishment, the big prize…it’s a defeating march. Chronic illness, or any recurring struggle, will either highlight the defeat or push us against that wall, the one we can stand and look at until it melts away and the music is the thing, once again. On with it…
There’s this incorrigible black kitten in my life now. Over the holidays, he pissed under the Christmas tree right on the tree skirt not once but twice and both times with me staring right at him. I. Dare. You. To. Freak. Out. Woman. I did, in fact, freak out, having no tolerance for turf wars or any pissy acting out. He’s had more timeouts than all three of my kids combined and he still thinks it’s super cool to jump on Eesa, evoking yowls and hisses the likes of which the cauldrons of hell would cherish. Eesa waddles through the house, fat female cat, black with white chest and a huge trunk full of squatting rights perfect for kittens to transgress. I had no idea she could make some of the noises she now makes on a regular basis. My mornings are even more full now. Sipping coffee, relaxing into the routine and Slam! YOWWWWWWWLLL, hiss, pounce, hiss, sounds of claws scrambling on hardwood floor like Tom and Jerry running in place before bursting out of the room. Then all goes quiet. Sighs. Dumb cat. Deep breath, sip coffee, SLAM…mwwwwwwwwwwwwwOWwwwwww! hissssssssssss, snarl, silence. Chuckle. He doesn’t learn. In a span of 8 minutes I get to hear the pounce, yowl, hiss, silence routine 4 different times. Only after I scold the monster and put him in another timeout (his little room) does peace ensue. He does need to respect his elders even just a little bit.
Tootsie is so brilliant and willful it renders him completely and utterly stupid, a slave to his impulses, every rustle a challenge, every nook and cranny of bookshelves, cabinets and buffet offerings an invitation to trouble. Just when I think I’ve reached ultimate transcendence, he comes along and conjures murderous outbursts of anger the likes of which I’d forgotten existed anywhere in the darker domains of my psyche. Apparently, I’m still a real human being. Very. Real.
The fact that his adorability ranking is higher than any other aspect of his wide range of traits is rather fortunate. And I’m a card-carrying member of the cat-lovers club.
For one thing, he has this sweet habit of putting his paw on your cheek right before rubbing his whiskers, nose/cheek silky fur wonder hard against your face and then burrowing under the chin, purr-motor on so full blast the windows rattle. Try to put him down when he’s in cuddle mode, do it. See if you succeed. He’s mastered the art of defying gravity while scrambling for the back of your shoulder and continuing to purr full blast. Didn’t know there was a “back” of the shoulder? There is. Tootsie finds it on all people he loves, no matter how thin they are!
I’ve become pretty handy with a kitten on one shoulder and a water bottle in the other, standing over my stove, pouring the water into a pot while begging the little demon to be still.
I’m not known as a pushover. But Tootsie’s managed to turn me into exactly that with random outbursts of complete raving redheaded lunatic. And it’s a good thing. There’s something about chronic illness that puts the spirit in slumber-mode. Two steps forward, 3 back. After a while, the thought of raging against anything is fantasy. Even cuddling is effort. I’m doing well to go shopping and come home and unload groceries without falling over at this point. (There’s an “AND” in-between every one of those points because it’s that difficult.) Depression can be inevitable sometimes. But only for about 2 minutes because this black monster cat comes pouncing. Even if all he does is make me angry, he’s roused me beyond the discouragement zone and into a more stirred, active flash of spirit. It shifts, transmuting into a force for change: “There has GOT to be something I can do to improve my stamina.” And that’s no small challenge since the normal channels for increasing stamina make this particular illness worse. But that determination to get what he wants, it’s infectious. Some faint stirring of remembrance of that imp-force within comes bubbling up. He’s a gift from the darker gods of mischief and resilience, demanding I not forget my animal self, the layer of soul that unabashedly unfolds into life without too much concern for consequences, grabbing the goodies of comfort and fun whenever I’m able, purring ’til the windows rattle and shake and yowling at restriction.
After all, better days are coming…
Or two? So many I know and cherish are living on the fine line between loss and hope, smiling, laughing and crying as they refuse a few demons scrambling to take even just an ounce of what’s precious. They refuse and sometimes precious things are taken anyway. They, and me. We can say we have limiting beliefs and if only we could believe bigger, deeper, broader then these demons would flee. I disagree. That concept is true on a few levels but if we can fling the curtains open wide and see clearly that there’s more to it than what we believe, some might actually grow outside their bigger playpen posing as arrival.
Life isn’t made of only butterflies floating around or only crocs waiting to grab and growl.
Not only that but butterflies float, are fleeting and seasonal. And crocs walk. They beat the streets posing in big suits and grins, waiting, beckoning, seducing. Hey, the percentage of interest is well worth the pay off now, right? Hey, no. And that butterfly moment with the uber sweet woman is gone and you can’t guarantee the next flicker of color will come along any time soon. But you can turn your face to the sun and laugh or weep if that’s where your heart is…
The common denominator in all of these realities is whoever is present, right? You, Ruth. You, Casey. You, Bam. You, Dan. You… It’s YOUR fault. Well, as one of those listed would say, Hell the F*&! no, it isn’t. It can take decades to realize the person you trusted was, in fact, a croc on the prowl and it may not be obvious to most folks even after the fact. Even when you’re missing a few limbs. People often see only what they want to see. Heaven help us if they’re standing on the edge watching you scramble with a fiend as they mutter under their breath… “she’s not a victim. She knew better.” (Really? How do you know that? What are you projecting?)
Doesn’t anybody else realize that this is an ancient agenda? Accusation posing as great enlightenment saying “You have the power.” Yeah? Hey, guess what? There is tremendously beautiful power in healthy dependence and reliable relating. How many folks get that? Actually, few. What then? There are some realllly obvious easy, no-brainer personal growth moments that can lend truth to the idea that we are our own worst enemies. You keep doing the same thing and getting the same injury, you either have no motivation to make it different, or like the drama but also like to pretend you hate it, or you’re too brilliant to see the simplicity of the solution or so into each moment that you can’t be objective enough to pull back and assess or are simply quite dumb. So, you wake up one day and see the pattern and change it and your life flourishes. Does that then mean everyone on the planet has the same need? Or everyone else is just as dumbo asleep as you were? No offense but it’s an offensive and much-repeated assumption. “Hey y’all! Stop bein’ stupid! You’ve got the POWER!” Duh. Really?
See, I sit here with an illness I can’t, for all my power, oust. Just when I think I have it figured out, it morphs into a different monster. Ah yea, I know. I have a limiting belief about my health. You know what? I have a huge belief in the preciousness of life and love and that alone keeps me trying to find a solution in spite of the unpredictable change in the game plans. I realize I might sound like a whiner (depending on the “ears”) on 1/5/2012 but I’m not. I’m angry. I feel this year is going to be hugely better than last year. But it’s starting with some much-needed pissy woman on the snarl.
Do I blame anyone for where I am? No. Not even me. Some lives begin in a whirlwind and are fortunate not to be smashed into bits by the 3rd decade. In fact, we can say that of many lives out there but we’d rather talk about how it’s all in your head as we take that pound of flesh in our greed for rightness. Ah yes, and as much as I have an inclination towards it, reincarnation takes that pound-go-round too with the whole “you chose it before you entered this life” mantra. The brilliance in that is only so far. See, if you choose something in order to learn and grow more towards that which you already fully are then, um, what’s the point? And if you chose it and then drank from the river of forgetting, what damn good is it doing you to remember? A lesson is purely learned when we dive in, period. This “hey I chose it” is another version of “God causes all things to work together for good for those that love him and…” More conditional unconditional dumbness. I know of lives who believed thus and things didn’t work together for good. Not in ways the human flesh can appreciate while living out the pounds of blood and bones pulsing what we have right NOW … LIFE.
As much as I need to lose some pounds right now, I’m not losing another ounce to the wave of dumbness posing expertise as it looks at life through a crack in the curtain. The cost of some huge and beautiful changes can sometimes eclipse the gain, folks. For years and sometimes, forever. Why is that? Because nature is brutal, as well as gentle, seasonal, random, ordered. And we are in it, of it, rolling with the tide and making the most of it as we remember to turn our faces to the sun.
Happy crocs and butterflies, y’all! May we all realize that the innocent can be seen as guilty if you wear the right shades. Emphasis: RIGHT. May we all realize that the guilty started out without any power and now feel entitled to take it. And some of them started out with so much they’ve no idea how precious it all is. May we all realize that life. is. a. mystery. Nobody. gots. THE. answers. And good people, positive, hard-working people with huge belief in good things happening to them personally STILL. GET. KICKED. to the ground. Why? Are you kidding me? Because. Period. All done. Ain’t. Always. A. Why. We. Can. Make. Peace. With.
But we can smile into the sun…shake off the energy of loss and hold to how it’s taught us of the wonder… Besides, what if we’re here for one reason? One. One repeatedly. But ONE. And like the butterfly, fleeting, beautiful, brilliant, drinking up earth through the feet. ONE. Purpose….
LOVE. Love in the moment as we look up at the next person. Love in the moment we can comfort another human being. Love in the moment before the baby you just birthed takes his last breath. Brutal but. Love. Gentle. But. Love. All true at once. And more than we can fathom. Just. Love. If we look for the happy lil reason for it all after it’s all said and done we’ll miss the moment we can love and as soon as we define why something happened, we diminish the million and one other possible whys and wherefores and we actually think we can put a price tag on immeasurable value. Tell you what, if you like a pound of flesh, go ahead. But not here. I’ll lose mine by sheer melt. All other takers, be gone!
(Thanks for riding the ruth-wave… believe it or not, I’m believing bigger this year and more specifically than this post might suggest. I’m just wow. Yeah. Amazed.)
Check out the song that helped me hurl this particular post…
no purchase, no gifting,
nothing permeates, sates so fully
as these daily
moments eternal filling soul with color,
with every reason to breathe,
to be given in love,
to receive every ounce this life bestows.
to the seer goes the spoils,
to the one who tastes a richness nothing can destroy…
This was originally posted with this image: http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwgk2pFJFX1r4t9h1o1_500.jpg
then it struck me that before I had a tumblr acccount i had never considered using an image even with the source credited without permission. we quote people all over the place without getting in touch with them and… yeah. this one i’m going to be more careful with! but wah! i love the pic!!!
So so many layers, cycles, seasons and reasons to feel completely totally overwhelmed while the leaves flame their songs, filling me all the way up as I spill the last bit of resistance to this, to all that is this life. A life that might break me open more, might ask for more vulnerability. It might hurt more, maybe explode the canyons down into deeper channeling of a love this mind cannot articulate as my whole being embraces, given to a beingness lost to my comprehension as soon as I grasp it. But, never gone.
All these trees stand naked now and I can only love that they so shamelessly unfold their stories without apology. No regret that they didn’t fill a richer landscape or bigger plot of land. They hum with the energy of the creative’s best stuff going to ground, hiding under earth’s cover, brewing songs for spring in the silence of this cold, gusty time.
Thanksgiving is life, life while the blues wash a tide over meditative minds and then ebb their way along as the trust and truth muscles flex, putting one foot then the other beyond the drag of uncertainties, and hopes long lingering. Poignant awareness of the preciousness of it all visits me now in ways almost unbearable but I hold to the wealth of my world with all I have. And it is beautiful. Happy Life, y’all…
“…our clothes, our skins, our personalities, our virtues and our vices are as transparent as space. We cannot lay claim to them, and there is no one to lay the claim, since the self is as transparent as its garments.
Empty and nihilistic as it may sound, this recognition of total nakedness and transparency is a joy beyond all telling, for what is empty is not reality itself but all that seems to block its light.” Alan Watts – Nature, Man and Woman