12 Four Hands, One Heart

It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything here.  I see by my last post, that this will be somewhat of a variation on a theme, which wasn’t my intent.  Call it an update on my life after a year or a bit more of trying to put this into practice in my life.

As I look back on the past year+ since I did post, it has been miraculous, to put a name on it.  While I am certainly not a perfect paragon of gratitude, it’s the first thing I’ve committed to doing consistently in some time.  The results have been rather astounding.

First of all, the one thing I’ve noticed about it, is that it becomes like a cascade reaction…one thing leading into several others.  For an example, finding inspiration through the actions and attitudes of others in ways you might not expect.  I have a friend who is dying of cancer, which would make one would think I should be sad about it.  I am.  On the other hand, I am finding inspiration from his positive attitude, despite what he is facing.  I won’t even attempt to speak for him here, but it seems that he has found his own reasons for being grateful, certainly due to his point of view as his life, at least as he knows it, about to be over.  While I hate the fact that I may never see him in this world again, I’m certainly happy for his transformation, and his spirit, which will never die. Though as we’ve said already to each other, this isn’t goodbye, just ‘see you later’.

I’ve tried putting myself in his situation, and asked myself if I could still be able to express gratitude.  I suppose it’s kind of an intellectual exercise, because I’m not in that situation.  I want to be able to say yes, I could.  I probably won’t know, at least for some time whether I can answer that question in the affirmative.  On the other hand, I can take comfort in the fact that he is going out as the warrior he has always been, and Valhalla will be better for it.

On the opposite extreme… well I’ve been single for a very long time.  By choice really, as I won’t be with someone just to have someone in my life.  This is how divorce happens.  I can tell you a bit about that, as I have earned that particular T-shirt in life.  That is, as they say, a closed chapter in my life.  The old adage, ‘when you stop looking is when you find The One’ has probably never been so true as it has become recently for me.  Honestly, I was quite content with my single person status.  My life is pretty amazing, with a great job, lots of free time and many amazing friends who are all very important to me.  The funny thing about gratitude, is that it leaves room in your life for better things to come your way.  About the time I was thinking to myself…”Self, you really have a pretty good life don’t you?”, the Universe of course, just laughs because it has other plans.   The thing is, they manifest more quickly if you leave room for them.  Gratitude does that.

Well, along comes…someone, who shall remain nameless on this blog, but those of you who know me, know who that is already.  What I haven’t said about him, is how much he complements me (no, not compliment, though he does that too), how much of like mind he and I are, and how different we also are that makes it more interesting.  Not even sure if I can put the rest into words that won’t drive  you all into a frenzy of searching for insulin and a toothbrush to avoid cavities… so I won’t try.  I knew the second I laid eyes on him (which was some time after we talked forever about everything) that I Knew.  He’ll be reading this at some point, so all I will say is that I love you very much.

So much for my old life. Things are changing, and I couldn’t be happier.  I was sort of afraid that I wouldn’t be suitable for anyone after being single for so long.  Well, I left that particular gap in my life unfilled, and yet by remaining grateful for what I did have, the Universe decided that wasn’t good enough.  I’m embracing the changes, and looking forward to what is to come.  He’s just amazing and for that I am eternally grateful for whatever powers brought us together.  We should all be so fortunate.

I need to give credit to Steve Walker, an artist unknown to me, for the picture in this blog post, the title of which is Four Hands, One Heart.  Wherever you are Steve, thank you for putting what I am feeling into this image.


Everything happens for a reason…

“Time passes in moments.  Moments, which rushing past, define the path of a life, just as surely as they lead towards its end.  How rarely do we stop to examine that path, to see the reasons why all things happen.  To consider whether the path we take in life is our own making, or simply one into which we drift with eyes closed?   But what if we could stop, pause to take stock of each precious moment before it passes?  Might we see the endless forks in the road that have shaped a life?  And seeing those choices…choose another path.” – Dana Scully… (All Things, X-Files, Season 7)

I’ll admit it, I’m an X-Files fan.  Not strictly because it’s kind of an entertaining monologue about aliens, and government conspiracies (honestly, the gov’t is too inept to be that clever, individual people on the other hand…) and monsters and paranormal stuff.

Once in a while though, the show got kind of introspective and philosophical.  This particular episode is near the end of the 7th season, and one of the main characters (Dana Scully, an FBI agent) is having a moment of frustration with her relentlessly curious partner.  One thing leads to another, and she finds herself confronted with an episode from her past that she’d long ago buried.  A rather painful episode, a mistake, if you will.  Or was it?  She begins a rather introspective look at the events that led up to that episode in her life, the consequences of it, and the choices she’s made since then, and where they have led her.  It culminates in a rather intense spiritual experience (all the more remarkable since she is a very ‘skeptical about such things’ scientist) that leads to a reconciliation, redemption, and letting go of pain that was, unbeknownst to her until that moment, weighing her down.

This particular episode has become a favorite of mine, the writing was quite good, and some great imagery and background music sort of just flowed with the story and made it all come together, at least in my fevered brain.

I think the writers must have been reading some of the teachings of Buddha, where he discusses the nature of Suffering, and how we must act and think to divest ourselves of it.  Or they were smoking some really good weed.

Seriously though, I can’t overemphasize the value in letting go of ‘things’, or our attachment to things.  Whether that thing is an actual thing, a concept, a person, a location, a job, paradigms, or a favorite pair of jeans that lets in more daylight than is legally allowed.

So many friends and acquaintances of mine are going through some really difficult challenges lately, it seems.  We all do from time to time.  A point brought out in the show, was that when an event comes to us, of major proportions, it may be a sign to slow down and think things through.  Why is this happening?  What is the lesson here for me, or even for all parties involved?

You see, I believe with all my heart and mind, as the title of this blog suggests, that everything happens for a reason.  We may not always see that reason, and maybe can’t see it until much later.  If ever.

We all, each of us, so easily get stuck in ruts of behavior from doing the same thing all the time and expecting different results.  Or perhaps we don’t perceive that what we are doing is repetitive and not moving us forward?

I spent many years living in a denial of my self, or shall I say, of my true nature.  Those of you who know me may think you know what I am referring to, but no, it goes beyond that too.  Living that particular lie about myself was merely the cover of the pressure cooker that was my life.  We all know what happens (or we imagine we do!) if we suddenly remove the lid from a pressure cooker.  Well, I did that, and although it was a relief, a lot of things boiled over as well.  A lot of things best let go of.  It happened eventually.  But when one is faced with having to rebuild and reinvent oneself, it’s a bit daunting.

Circumstances often either lead us…or force us, into changing something about ourselves.  Personally, I prefer the former over the latter.  Having a sublime Dana Scully moment is much preferable to having our pretenses stripped away by force.  It’s somewhat akin to those dreams we have where we are walking around naked.  But maybe that’s what those dreams are actually about?  You know the ones, where no one seems to notice that we are buck ass naked but us, but maybe it’s really because we’re afraid that people will see that which we are trying to hide in our waking lives?  I can tell you that once you embrace (or perhaps better said…to accept those things), and learn to not be ashamed of them, it’s very liberating.

Some of you who know me, may also remember a period of time where, shall we say, I was not at my best.  That pressure cooker analogy again.  The heat was building and the pressure was rising.  My inner conflicts became my outer jackass.  Yes, at one time I lived in a state of shame and embarrassment over these things.   My volatility was no fun to be around.  Ask me I know, because I also had to live with it.

Well, this wasn’t meant to be a confessional, or an apology even.  But for those of you I was a jackass to, I really do sincerely apologize.

You see, the process of letting go, of forgiveness, including yourself, is just that, a process.  One that is definitely worth undertaking.  I never said it was going to be easy either.

Which leads me really, to where I think I was going with all of this.  Gratitude.  A friend was telling me about this many years ago, and though I wasn’t really prepared then to accept what she was saying, I never forgot it.  Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks. (Merriam-Webster).

Whether you are a spiritual person, or not, being grateful, expressing gratitude, seems to leave a void in our lives which then seems to get filled with…for lack of a better word, good stuff.  Through no effort of my own, one day I found myself in this state of feeling…grateful, to no one in particular or to a beneficent Universe, for so many cool things in my life.  For a long time, I’d cut myself off from this, awareness shall we say?  Constantly struggling to do better, seemingly getting nowhere.   For whatever reason, things changed when I found myself in this state of mind.

The ‘good stuff’ just sort of keeps happening.  For which I am of course, even more grateful.  I encourage you to try this.  I personally feel that too many of us are incredibly spoiled individuals.  We complain about a myriad of things that have no real importance.   We live in a miraculous age!  We carry internet devices in our pockets, we fly through the air in modern machines with no more thought than putting on a jacket.  We have an abundance of basic needs filled FOR US by people we think of as invisible every day.  We should be grateful to them as well!

Thanks for reading.  I’m actually grateful if you do that.  Try to practice this in your life.  After all, what could it hurt?

Heisenberg may have slept here…


“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” — Sir Arthur Eddington (English Astronomer)

I see by the timeline here, that it’s been longer than I had hoped between posts.  I blame myself.  So much spinning around in my fevered little brain, that I’ve been a bit distracted.

The above quote popped into my head the other day.  I wanted to blog something related, but I promptly forgot it, as I am wont to do when life gets in the way.  Back it popped today, so I wrote it down right quick…

Having said that, this may end up being some free form blather as I don’t really know why this tickled my writing reflex, but it has so here we go.

I guess I’ve been contemplating a lot lately on…life in general I guess for the purpose of brevity.  The corollary to the above quote is something I and many others have used…”That’s so weird I couldn’t possibly have made it up”, when something or other pegs the needle on their Wierd Sh**-O-Meter.

Maybe it’s just me being Mr. Cosmic, but I am finding profound thoughts lately in seemingly insignificant events.  Without getting all mysterious, let’s just say, I’ve been compelled lately to start writing what will no doubt be a difficult to write tome about some of the spiritual influences, events, and compelling forces in my life, approximately.  I generally don’t discuss my personal belief system with others, as it’s one of those ‘taboo’ subjects, along with politics.  If you’re inclined to rage and express anger toward people who don’t follow traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy…best close this down now.  Flames will be cheerfully not approved.

Having said that, far be it from me to tell someone else what or how they should believe, if anything.  I find that presumptuous, and frankly insulting.  The paths of our lives are as unique as the individual, and one persons experiences or hard won wisdom may only apply to them.

My own life experience has led me to a point in my life where I have begun to actually understand or intuit (as opposed to just ‘know intellectually’) that nothing happens randomly or by accident.  Now, I’m not talking about stubbing your toe and making a cosmic incident out of it (sorry, just simple cause and effect here.  Put on some dam shoes), but I mean actual events in your life.  New jobs, new relationships, and the like.  The big stuff.  These mean something.

There are those who would argue that they planned for that to happen because they sought out a new job, or a particular person to pursue.  Sure.  If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  Far be it from me to be a fatalist either.  If our entire lives are pre-ordained from cradle to grave, then why bother getting out of bed in the morning, right?  Though I admit there are days when that has a certain appeal.

Most/many people live their lives like a cork on a lake, driven by currents and waves, and accepting what comes with little question and even less insight as to ‘why’.  When you set your feet on a path of understanding life, the universe and everything, strange things start happening.  It’s as if we accelerate karma to some degree.  Changes happen faster.  As our understanding of ‘whatever this is’ we are doing here, it starts happening faster.

There’s a lot more to this, trust me.  I’m just hitting the surface of the highlights.  I’m also not here to tell you how to do this.  How should I know that?  It’s your life,  you figure it out, I’m having quite enough problems with my own, thank you very much.  To put it the way Brian did in the movie “The Life of Brian”, “Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do.  You’ve got to figure it all out for yourself”.  Of course, the crowd that started following him was perfectly content to allow him to ‘lead’ them, despite his pleading with them.  It’s a very funny movie really, and despite how you may feel about it’s irreverence, it brings up a whole plethora of issues about religion, self governance, introspection, as well as how to be a member of a crack suicide squad.

When will this book be written you ask?  It’s an excellent question that I continue to ask myself.  I continue to be mentally and intellectually daunted by the project that came flying out of the ether to slap my brain like a wet fish.  But you readers of this blog will be the first to know.  Or maybe the second, depending on where you are in the pecking order of my friends.  Being surrounded by writers in my group of zanies, I fear they have corrupted me into this path.  There will be hell to pay upon you, unless this turns out to be easier than I think it will.  I hold little hope for that at the moment.

Now that I’ve spilled the beans, sort of, I feel a bit more like I’ve committed myself to this path.  The thing is, writing, although I love the idea of it, is almost physically painful to me…until I get started.  Then things sort of start to flow.  It’s the starting that is difficult.  Just like setting your feet on the path of self discovery I suppose.  It’s beset by a lot of psychic bruising until you get your sea legs under you.  Well, it’s still a difficult path even then, but you sort of get used to the abuse heaped up on you by the Universe I suppose.  It’s really for our own good you know.

And when you gaze long into an abyss…

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. –Friedrich Nietzsche

I was motivated to write this post because of something a friend of mine posted on the hell that Zuckerberg created.  That’s a subject for a post in itself, but I digress…

Said friend was ‘unfriended’ by a friend of his over political differences.  My friend made a comment that he was getting tired of his negativity anyway, but was trying to ‘understand’ his motivations.  While I generally support the idea, as it does tend to help us get along better, usually, it also led me to ponder the Nietzshe quote as above.

It seems to me, that the political process in our country has gotten out of control.  This isn’t meant to generate any “Ya think?” comments, rather I am leading up to something.  This isn’t meant to be a political rant, per se, rather an observation of the process and its effects.

Politics, in my recollection used to be more civil, at least the discussions between normal people.  Between politicians, it’s as nasty as it’s always been.  There were times, back in the day, that fist fights erupted on the floor of the House/Senate.  It hasn’t improved all that much, it’s just a lot more verbally nasty now.

Sadly, we as a people have gotten caught up in this as if we really have a personal stake in the outcome.  The reality is, not much will change.  Enter (anti)social media, and the concept of safety and anonymity behind a keyboard.  Keyboard warriors, or as I call it, “Facebook behavior” has allowed the self isolated disseminators of chaos (DOC’s) that are usually shunned by local communities to have a much wider audience.  To the dismay of us all.  Yet, I believe that no matter how much we try to ignore them (the Ignore/Block button IS your friend, not said DOC’s, even if he has “Friended”  you), their words and actions do have a cumulative effect.  They post something offensive, we try to reason with them, correct their behavior, it turns into a s***t storm, and everyone looks bad.  We’ve allowed the abyss to stare back into our very consciousness and express itself through us (I can’t come to bed honey, someone is WRONG on the internet!).  That one never gets old. 🙂

I certainly don’t put myself above this, as I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in it also.  To my great regret.  I do try, very very hard, to not engage.  I am not afraid of the Hide/Block button, and I use it liberally rather than get sucked into the maelstrom.  No good will come of it otherwise.

But to come to the point of this, I think it’s important to remember who we are, rather than which candidate we think is prettier.  I’ve worked hard at surrounding myself with good people, supportive friends and acquaintances.  I’ve had to cull some of my social networking lists when such behavior appears, but I do so without rancor.  I just don’t have time for it, and I don’t wish to hear the abyss screaming obscenities in my ear, telling me how wrong I am, what kind of smartphone I should own to avoid being an asshole…etc.  I prefer the still small quiet within.

I just want to do the things that make me happy, and live my life in the best way I can.  I share those things here, hoping that they will bring some measure of happiness to you as well.

Rise above, and stay in the light my friends