“You can keep as quiet as you like, but one of these days somebody is going to find you.” ― Haruki Murakami
I have wondered how it is to try to understand me when I sometimes do not understand myself. I have put up a barrier between me and the rest of the world. I can and do retreat into the small quiet place inside where no one can get to. I would hide there as a child whenever the world became too big, too bright, too loud. I would retreat there whenever my heart would break at the smallest of upsets, when I could not understand that there were things I just couldn’t understand. Whenever I realized no one understood me, I would go there. When I would do or say the wrong thing, this became my protection, my wall, my shell, my sanctuary. I have never let anyone in.
To be honest, there are times when I like it in there.
In my adult life, during the 17 years that I lived with an emotional abuser. I would go to that place inside myself. In my imagination I created a nice place in the sun on a sandy beach that I had frequented in real life as a teen. I would sit back and watch the river flow, listen to the birds and bury my toes in the warm sand.
This sustained me during the times I could not defend myself because I was not strong enough to even realize I was worthy of defense.
I seldom go there now; that protected place as my life has changed, I left the abuser and definitely I have grown stronger but that barrier remains, the bubble that protects, the facade that makes me seem just like everyone else.
It is only through words on this screen that I type to you through my keyboard that I am able to say this much. My brain is somehow connected better this way than verbally. The words flow right from the source, actually speaking words is not my best thing, but I try.
It has taken me forty odd years to find someone I feel a deep enough connection to not only want to share myself and my inner world with.It is a thirst long overdue sating.
I try to imagine the way I must come across to him. I don’t think he realizes how different I am with him than with other people. I know he knows that I can shut down, he has seen the blank look come across my face, he has watched me instantly withdraw, he has felt my body become limp. He has seen my at my worst, he has seen what I have been able to hide from others, he has seen the exhausted me that can’t speak, he has seen the burned out me that jumps at the slightest sound. He has never judged me or made me feel bad about who I am. He has held me tight and loved the pain away. He has loved me and has tried to understand more than anyone including my own Mother. I still can’t let him in fully and I still can’t tell him in words what I am writing here about I feel. This is a curse and a blessing to me.
It is said that Asperger’s is developmental and I do continue to develop everyday. I have worked on myself my entire life. Writing this blog has certainly helped me in an abundance of ways. I hope to inspire others in this way; you matter–you are loved –you are not alone–although you are special and unique there are others who feel like you–and you can change your life.
We all engage in self talk. A running inner dialog that writes the script of our lives.
Seldom are we completely aware of just how influential we are on ourselves. We definitely live up to our own expectations. Positive or negative. Problems arise when insecure feelings begin to dominate the conversation. And rarely do we share these dark thoughts with others. They are hidden behind a wall of bravado we put up between each other. This causes us to see only the exaggerations put together by our imaginations not the full scope of reality.
Insecurities are kept in a secret place locked inside ourselves in that dark closet of pessimism, where fear lives. It is fear that leads us to lie to ourselves in the first place. Much of the negative crap that our own insecurities whisper to us is not accurate or realistic at all, but these hidden feelings do have a profound effect on our behavior. Only when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect can we begin to rebuild and replace all that negative crap with good crap.
I liken a life to a garden. What grows in our garden is what has been planted.
The lives which we are living now are the result of our past actions and those past actions were the result of our past thoughts. The seeds we planted long ago are sprouting now.
We truly are what we have cultivated. We can thrive in a colorful vigorous and sunny garden or we can wallow in the dark. and it is that simple… of course surprises can spring up
Life is random and certainly not fair. We are subject to the whims of that randomness…
…and no matter what we do surprises can spring up…
Sometimes squirrels can dig up your tulip bulbs and plant them in your neighbors backyard…sometimes a spring hail shower can wreck havoc on your tender pansies. There have been times when a black cloud descended into my garden and left it cold and dark. There have been times when I thought that the sun would never shine again…
And then I found the sunshine within myself and lit up my garden with hope, faith and blind determination.
These are the times when we have to rely on that sort of sunshine to make our gardens grow.
…that’s why you need a good dose of it stored up in your pocket for a rainy day.
Determination: Yes. Work: Most certainly. Anything worth anything takes work and belief. That is your sunshine and nothing will shine without it.
Gratitude is like water. It nourishes life in our garden. It makes what grows grow. Without gratitude we will never find the happiness and contentment we seek.
Attitude. How we frame the picture we see.
What some may interpret as a raging storm can seem like a gentle shower watering a summer flower.
Seeds are the ideas we present to ourselves. We can plant what we want.
Being afraid; having social anxiety…the alien-ness I felt being on the autism spectrum…my alcoholism.. these were symptoms of a greater problem these were/are my challenges. I on instinct planted seeds to counteract the ones planted many years before which led me to feel so sad.
How do I do this? I change my inner dialogue. I forgave myself. I saw myself as a poor damaged thing that needed sympathy, love and understanding. I began to treat myself more kindly; I began to lie to myself but in a good, encouraging way.
I told myself wonderful things about me; things I didn’t believe. But I kept planting and counting.
I counted reasons to be grateful. I thanked God or the spirits that be. I thanked the universe for my good fortune. I embraced mindfulness and tried to enjoy every passing moment for what what it is without expectation. I found worthiness in contentment and strength in humbleness.
I wrote words like”optimistic” ,”happy”and “Yes” in bright colors and tapped them around the house.
I found solace in the colors of music and the sound of the rain.
I refused to be daunted by a reluctant sun so I made my own.
What began as a tiny spark has grown larger and my garden is growing with colorful, green, growing wild things.
I continue to plant seeds whenever I can. My garden is a work in progress. Always planting something, digging, weeding, taking it all in.
Despite changes and setbacks I am here to encourage other gardeners who may be discouraged. Maybe to make myself feel a bit better too.
As Ram Dass once said: We’re all just walking each other home.”
And I say that it’s damn good to have a friend to walk through the rain with.
The wilds touch my back door. A part of them does anyway. Strangeish insects and unfamiliar Corvids enliven the “wilds”of my new backyard. Tall skinny Evergreens surrounded by persistent English ivy. Small deciduous trees that await new spring leaves dot the landscape accented by bright green moss providing splashes of color that reminds me that spring really truly here.
A tiny brook babbles on by fifteen feet below. I can hear frogs in the morning and the friendly neighbor’s cat comes to greet me in the bright but cool sunshine. I am beginning to attune to my new atmosphere.
It is different here but I find much beauty in this newness.
I am now an apartment dweller. My big yard has been replaced by this woodsy spot with two cement slabs and the before-mentioned surrounding moss which will now serve as my garden area. I have three large pots, empty for now. I will certainly get more. Out of the thousands of plants in my old yard I brought only one; the meadow rue. It lies dormant under the soil in an indigo planter awaiting warmer weather. It wasn’t a choice I wanted to make but in order to make a new life for oneself one must put aside the old.
I have done a lot of that lately; setting aside.
After a 17 year relationship I parted ways with someone who wasn’t good for me. My trusting nature and naivety paired with my wholehearted belief in redemption kept this damaging storm rolling much too long despite the, obvious to others, unhappiness it was bringing me. When living inside the eye of the hurricane; the epicenter of emotional and psychological abuse, you can’t see how bad it really is. Over time the abnormal can become the normal.
And a deep sadness can embed itself in you and you don’t realize how awful it really is in part because if you stop and do this it will break your heart and maybe you can’t go on. And so I put what I thought was a convincing happy face to the word and went on. Inside a hole grew and grew and in time, by the end of those 17 years, it was a giant gaping hole…a chunk torn out of me and beat to hell.
My yard which was in it’s entirety what I deemed my salvation would have to be left behind. My cats too. Spotsy and my Mario would stay with the house and the yard and it’s owner. I left with my two kids ( 18 and 21 ) to go live in an apartment across town. A new place of sanctuary. A place of freedom with my name on the lease.
It’s different but it is becoming home. Home is really in the people you are with not the place anyway.
I was fortunate to meet someone at work. An amazing person I knew that I knew the instant we met. I have been having the pleasure of getting to know him ever since. We all live together in this apartment that skirts the edge of this thin strip of urban woods.
There is a freeway that lies beyond it. I can hear the traffic, its steady hum sounds like the ocean to me, it is easy to drift to sleep to.
I feel free and happy and loved. I feel confident and hopeful, more than ever.
The hole in my soul is filled, love pours out and spills out into the world. I am grateful. I thank God everyday. I am blessed beyond measure. I have the opportunity to start anew and this I will do, This I am doing.
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
In the interest of science I am putting together a team of elite experts and chartering an expedition to the jungles of Borneo to seek the all illusive psychedelic toads that are rumored to live there.
A film crew will be documenting the events…
We will be led by Doctor Major Hector Cortez Santa Ana Rodriguez Rodriquez. He is hands down the foremost expert on those trippy toads of legend.
He has sought these elusive toads for over seven years close and believes he is about to hit paydirt.
That is why we hired the film crew and that is why I personally loaned the Doctor Major 50 bucks of my own money for this very important and possibly dangerous scientific event.
The Doctor Major first became interested in the idea of Psychedelic Toads after reading a slender book smuggled to him by a fellow inmate at The Rocky Butte correctional facility in Portland Oregon in 1983. It was entitled Bufo alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.
The Dr Major was instantly fascinated. The book explained how to find the toad in dark damp caves, how to extract the venom and how to prepare it for smoking.
The Doctor Major was so fascinated by this idea that he after his release he went immediately to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona where he met two teenage boys at the 7 eleven in Gilbert. They were riding a mule and eating jelly donuts. They told him that the Sonoran toads were “dude, so totally last year” and if he really wanted to find “the real shit” he should go see the Toads of Borneo. Ever the optimist The Dr hopped the first barge to Borneo where he met a man, an old Indian who was drinking in the only decent bar in the town of Putatan near the edge of the jungle. The man was wearing a loincloth and speaking in a language The Doctor Major could not understand but that or because of it the two immediately had an understanding that transcended all words and all logic whatsoever. They decided to join forces and descended into the dark jungle.
There they spent seven grueling years fighting off bouts of malaria and godless heathen tribes who wanted to eat them. They searched deep caves and high into the mountains. The jungles beat the hell out if them but this made the Doctor Major even hungrier for a taste of the toads. The years had not been so kind to the old Indian who had died six years previously but this had gone unnoticed until recently by the Dr Major who had thought the Indian old and lazy and hadn’t noticed he was decomposing.
Obviously the Doctor Major was distraught. That is when he contacted me and told me his story. Of course I was compelled to help.
Together we have raised almost 2,000 dollars through a series of Tupperware parties and by selling The Doctor Major’s high grade marijuana.
The day we put out the ads we were swamped with offers to go along. We have picked what we have deemed the best ones.
The mate is a mighty sailing man, The skipper seems brave and sure. He tells me it will only take three hours to get there, yes–a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
I will be writing an epic novel based on the adventures of the Doctor Major and his brave crew if they are successful and survive the journey.
I, of course reluctantly have to stay behind due to my job as president of Shenanigans University. I will however be hiring an assistant who will be my eyes and ears on the mission. I will be accepting applications all week.
(Hint: I am NOT above bribery)
Please send your resumes (and bribes) to my secretary.
“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.” ― Bill Watterson
Just another winter’s day, just another icy commute in the dark. You can hear the shuffling of footsteps on the frozen ground. No one speaks, no one smiles, we all just keep moving..
People waking to and fro, many in a hurry, most of them with the same look; that same glazed over gaze which extends beyond the person right next to them as if the other person, the fellow human is not there at all. It is a tunnel vision of sorts, it could be more of a selective vision. It is an acquired ability. We are not born with it; this talent for ignoring the obvious.
It comes out of necessity and takes practice. In this rapidly changing world, many of us are getting a lot of practice. If you live in a large urban area you probably know what I mean…
I know you’ve seen them: Their swelling number are almost impossible to ignore. The tents and blue tarps under bridges, the huddled sleeping figures in crowded doorways. It’s not just in my city or yours, it’s everywhere.
And it scares the hell out of me. And I shiver. From the cold or that icy fear or both I don’t know.
Last night in my city of Portland, Oregon a newborn baby died possibly from exposure, sitting in its homeless mothers arms. This would be the 5th person to die from the cold in the last 2 weeks here.
What kind of people are we? We forsake our most vulnerable citizens. It is a sickness I think this indifference. One of ills of our society and one that just seems to be growing.
We are told those less unfortunate deserve their fate. It is easy to want to believe that. That means if I work hard and toe the line and do what I am told. I too won’t be one of those less unfortunate ones, it is tempting to want to believe this; it feels safer.
At least I think it does…
I think of all the people in the US who have just lost their health insurance. Again I could be indifferent here, I have mine. To me, seeing a doctor is not a luxury…yet.
I have a warm home and enough food to eat.
Why should I worry about these strangers? Many of them are probably drug addled or mentally ill. They probably want to be out here. They like living on the fringes of society. No bills , no responsibilities. Not my problem… Right?
The man at the bus stop with the unkempt beard and the wild eyes. He is hard not to notice; wrapped in a tattered blanket he is shouting obscenities at the sky. My pulse quickens; I am scared and I tiptoe past him hoping he doesn’t notice me, I walk down to the next stop.
Nothing is all black or white. But we are all human from the innocent babe to the wild man at the bus stop. We are all part of the same human family. I admit it is easier to care about the pretty, the untarnished, the salvageable.
I imagine the man with the wild eyes was that too once; pretty, untarnished, salvageable. Now he is just part of the wreckage left behind to lurk in the shadows, in the cold doorways, watching everyone look away…
Something to ponder on…
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
― Stanley Kubrick
We live in interesting times with one foot dragging behind mired in the memory of a gilded past and the other poised to go off the edge into a dark unknown abyss. It’s preferable to focus on the comfortable illusion of sameness, ignoring the obvious signs of change especially if the change is not so good.
Our planet is in trouble and so is our spirit and our collective soul. In a world with a swelling population and dwindling resources it’s easy to zone out on the meaningless and glaze over that gnawing feeling with yet another distraction and there ate plenty distractions to keep us occupied.
We are bombarded with messages everyday, bits of information, much of it totally useless that invade our minds on constant basis. Most of us are used to this constant stream of stimuli. Some of us thrive on it, and depend on it.
These messages are unimportant useless fluff that disguise themselves are dire. They cover up what is truly important. They lull us into complacency, we are not required to think, they do that for us.
They provide our heroes. the dreams and the ideals that we as responsible consumers should aspire to.They also tell us who to point the finger at and there are endless sources of blame to go around.
They give us our scapegoats. They prey upon our fears which they too have cleverly crafted.
We are managed and manipulated by a system that has become rigged against most of us to benefit a privileged very few. Our lovely planet that belongs to all of us is becoming more and more privatized and profitized used to feed an bulging worldwide economy with a hearty appetite that never stops being hungry.
We are told we must have endless war. That we are not safe.
We are told that the worthiness of a human life is measured by one’s assets. We are told a lot of things.
They distract us. They divide us. We are told what and who to fear. They are very good at this because they have been doing it for so long. They provide the illusion of choice.
Treated like children we are presented with limited choices, usually two. This team or that team? Coke or Pepsi? Red or Blue? Republican or Democrat? Left wing or Right? When in reality it’s the same damn bird. They who control what we see and and hear they would let us believe these are the only choices but they are not, far from it. We do have real choice and we can make the world a better place for us all.
There are forces that would polarizes us. They divide us with their illusion of choice.
They want to keep us from finding common ground. Pitting one side against another, distracting us from our common enemy. Because as drastic as that sounds there is an enemy and it those who pull the crooked strings, those in the shadows, the ones that have the game rigged.
They manipulate everything they can. There is no pie they haven’t already eaten most of and they are still very hungry. We are being forced to share what little is left. They distract us with this and that. They divide us. And they are very good at it.
Most of us exist on the bottom of a great pyramid where those very few on the top live on the backs of those on the ever widening bottom. The very top depends on this arrangement and pretty much always has, we the people are waking up to that illusion of choice; that our much touted and much admired democracy is an outright and blatant lie and has been for a long time.
Together we are powerful. A force to be reckoned with. And we can remake the world into what we want it to be. We can heal our planet and ourselves. We can take back what rightfully belongs to ourselves and future generations. We can refuse to play, to go along with the idiocy of the day.
We need to focus on what we agree with not what do not, this separates us. We need each other; divided we fall but united we stand strong.
We can get back to basics. Turn off the damn TV. Go outside. Go for a walk and leave your car behind. Talk to your neighbors. Grow some tomatoes. Don’t buy anything you don’t really need. Open your mind. Open your heart. Question what you are being told. Speak up and speak up for others who cannot.
Topple their false idols and render their marketplace a ghost town.
Perhaps we can break out of the illusion and make our own choices. I do think we do have a choice and despite what one may hear about rigged elections and the like, I know for a fact that money talks. Don’t buy what you are being sold. Question what you are being told. Listen to what your inner voice tells you.
Encourage free thought. Listen to those who may have a different view that you. Seldom if ever is one side 100% right or 100% wrong for that matter. Listen to those who may be supporting a different presidential candidate than you. Many of us have friends and family members who fit that category and it is easy to be confused at their choice or their lack of choice at all but there can be found nuggets of universal truths and wisdom everywhere and in everyone, seek that out. Let us not be separated from each other at a time when we need each other the most. In reality we are all on the same side. No matter who is elected to any public anywhere. It is we the people who matter and it we the people can make a difference.
“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”
We are born of Chaos. A singularity known as the Big Bang sent forth into being an ever expanding commencement of all things.
Clouds of dense gas and swirling universes come together and are pulled apart….Stars are born, they shine and explode and then die. Black holes devour all they touch. Galaxies collide spraying stars into eternity. Particles are continuously being created and destroyed; blinking in and out of existence akin to a ginormous Schlesinger’s Cat.
We are born of hydrogen and oxygen, of nothingness and of everything. We are truly stardust come down to Earth.
Our home this planet has had a violent past and without all that disarray and upheaval we would not be here today.
We come from chaos and someday we’ll return there too. This is how infinity perpetrates itself.
We are a part of that.
As we are a part of everything.
Albert Einstein once said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. He knew that a stirring of the waters can sometimes conger up the fish. We know from history that many a good thing can result from many a bad thing indeed and if necessity is the mother of invention then perhaps chaos can be the father of the creative thought that sparks that necessity.
Fate forces our hand and we must act, even inaction is a form of action or reaction. We can go with the flow or fight it. Life is a raging river, never standing still, always moving, never the same…change is the only constant.
The death of one can come about the birth of another
Chaos is raw violence. It rips apart what was to make room for what will be. In it’s upheaval change does not waiver. It is indifferent to fate. It just is. Change devours the status quo. In its varying degrees it can make quite an impact. Life ebbs and flows. Stability returns with the growth that follows upheaval. Life is but a dance between the two extremes seeking to find an undulating balance between them.
Music interrupts silence and color disturbs the black and white. The peanut butter in my ice cream has only increased it’s tastiness to me
Imagine a world that never changes, a river that never flows, a planet that has lost its spin. Imagine a world without the audacity of daybreak. Imagine a blank piece of paper where words will never be. Imagine the leaves never falling off the trees, or crying babies never being born, imagine the butterfly never emerging from her chrysalis and becoming the butterfly she is meant to be…
This is why we need chaos you see…
Despite the pain of upheaval. Wonderful things can be found among the ruins. Sometimes it can be oneself.
I am myself at a time in my life where I have found the courage to make some drastic life changes. I write this as I sit in my new apartment, my name on the lease. It is mostly devoid of things for now but it holds the most precious thing of all: Love. The love that this place abounds in. I am truly blessed to have people around me that love me and encourage me to be the best me I can be. An unexpected butterfly landed on my shoulder one day last February and I haven’t been the same since. I found the strength to leave a situation that was not healthy for me or my children. I have taken upon myself to change this situation that I had lived with for many years. I will continue to keep you posted. Suffice to say I am happy and excited!!
Look deeper through the telescope and do not be afraid when the stars collide towards the darkness, because sometimes the most beautiful things begin in chaos.” ― Robert M. Drake
Fortunate happenstance perhaps…good things coming by chance..happy accidents…
What is serendipity and where can I get some of that potent elixir?
Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Life is a fast paced, whirlwind of a trip with plot twists and turns, unexpected snippets of senselessness tempered with semi-predictable outcomes. I say semi-predictable because I am of the philosophy that we make our own destiny and that destiny certainly make us. We can prepare for and harness both what we can and cannot control to our best advantage.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who inspired us all in his wildly popular “The Power of Positive Thinking”
I have read this classic at least a decade ago. And it inspired me. Many truths are contained within the pages of books. Peale explains in this book that our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” I have taken this advice to heart…or mind, so to speak. What we see and what we believe creates our reality. Appreciation is key and what we think about what we already have taints whatever we encounter. I never was always so positive as I am now. I’ve spent a great part of my life as a sarcastic cynic who believed that if I never believed in anything or anyone that I would never be let down. I was ever wary, I had “seen it all” I expected the negative and had no problem finding it.
I realized that if I wanted to change my life I would have to change myself and my outlook. And I decided to believe in all this, what I thought at the time was crazy mumbo jumbo because I really had nothing to lose.
We can recite platitudes, embracing their meaning but not truly believing in them. A lot of this stuff makes for excellent sound bites. We can sound cool and enlightened to our friends. I known people like this who seemed to have something to prove by reciting every guru and free thinking wise person from Buddha to John Lennon. Words can inspire but it’s what we do with that inspiration..
Serendipity is such a word. It is inspiring, yes….
I realize what I am saying may be construed as sounding too Pollyannaish or too easy. Real life is not like that. I know firsthand how damn ironically unfair it can be. I have found myself many times awestruck at life’s ironic unfairness. I could venture to say that a sense of humor helps but sometimes in life nothing seems to work and all the good thoughts and positive actions in the world cannot change that…
Ever have one of those days that start out horrid and end up atrocious? No matter how well intentioned and positive you are, you can’t win them all, no one can. That seems like a worthless platitude that doesn’t make anyone feel better. Truly it is only ourselves that can allow us to feel better.
Through our actions and reactions to events and nonevents we scatter seeds. Some get rooted deep in the ground long forgotten and some of those can seemingly out of nowhere erupt out of the ground and grow into something wonderful. It comes as such a surprise one can almost trip over it’s fantasticalness.
Serendipity isn’t what we find. It is not simply some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We can engineer serendipity by making something out of what we find, knowing this and then expecting to find it in the first place.
I could venture to say that positive thinking borders on the magical but it is not magic.
I think we can and do encourage serendipity by the choices we make, by our attitudes and by the way we treat others. Put good out there in the world and with patience it will come back on you. Never stop believing, never stop putting your best possible foot forward.
I have seen people with good intentions try positive thinking and abandon it far too early expecting instant results. It doesn’t work that way.
Life runs in cycles, it ebbs and flows, no matter positive you are bad shit is going to happen to you. Conversely, so is the good shit, the trick is to learn from the bad and don’t take the good for granted…or too seriously. Goods things often take more than the power of positive thinking, no matter how powerful. Hard work, perseverance and time with a pinch of luck makes the cake and when that’s topped with creamy optimism, the combination tastes like sweet success.
“Cultivate the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.” ― Gina Greenlee
“Success is three parts hard work and one part serendipity; this serendipity is a direct result of the other three parts of hard work.” ― Ken Poirot
“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
― Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
There are aliens inside us…hidden deep inside us…restless ones who move about changing shape and creating quite a stir…subtly effecting us in ways we cannot imagine…slowly taking over our minds…driving us insane…
This is the dramatic version I like to entertain myself with. The one that suggests a nerdy sci-fi thriller mixed with a slick medical docudrama. This may not be too far off. ..
So just what am I jabbering on about you ask?
(Play dramatic music here)
that’s right. Mitochondria.
As we all know from Science class , mitochondria are adorable microscopic rod-shaped organelles. They live inside our cells, they give us our get up and go, our va va va voom and our very breath.
Really far out and groovy scientists hypothesize that millions of years ago a microscopic free-living single-celled organism met up with another larger microscopic free-living single-celled organism and the two dug each other so much they reached some sort of agreement to develop a symbiotic relationship. And so they did; shacking up together like bohemian live-in lovers, one not being able to live without the other, each complimenting each other perfectly. Eventually, the larger organism developed into a cell, the eukaryotic cell to be exact and the smaller organism developed into the mitochondrion we know today. But how much do we know about mitochondria anyway?
Although they live inside us, mitochondrion do not share our DNA, they have their own. They are quite the powerhouses of energy. They can change shape rapidly and are quite restless moving about ours cells almost constantly.
Mitochondria may not be literally the air that we breathe but it is they who convert the oxygen we breathe into energy in a process called aerobic respiration. Without mitochondria higher animals such as you and I and even my cat Mario are not likely to exist…
Ever since I heard of mitochondria and this arrangement made millions of years ago I have been fascinated.
I myself have entered into what most would consider a symbiotic relationships with another human and I don’t have to tell anyone that sometimes these relationships just don’t turn out. Sometimes they end badly and by the time you realize this, it’s already too late and you have been driven insane. It happens all the time. But imagine if you had literally absorbed this partner into your body and now it’s DNA is in your nucleus! How can you undo this? Argument, logic or idle threats cannot separate you. You are stuck with this mistake forever and there’s no amount of clever legalese or high priced lawyers that can save you. OMG! Yikes!!
Really? Can your Mitochondria make you crazy and if I ever do go crazy can I use this as an excuse?
I have been catching up on my technical journals and ran into articles citing evidence that there is a correlation between mutated mitochondrion and mental illness. This is no surprise.
This aspect is what intrigues me about the whole subject. I mean could these little buggers be influencing us on a more subtle level, and if I screw up or do something stupid can I blame them?
Would anyone buy this?
This is what I ponder as I look out the window into the great wide world outside. I watch two crows fly high in the sky which leads to more pondering. Yes, there are times when symbiosis goes horribly wrong but what happens when it goes wonderfully right? Apart from some craziness, are we not the product of a successful symbiosis? I try to imagine a time before the merging of the two single-celled organisms that created life as we know it here on earth. In our narrow human point of view not a lot had happened before this chance meeting. It was a spark that set off a whole heaping helping of a lot, dammit…
…has all of this been good ? That I will ponder another day…
Music effects me like nothing else; pure sound melts into my body and fills my every pore. It travels down deep through my veins and capillaries straight to the heart then to the soul where it lingers a while, resonating like a fine wine. I am intoxicated. Even amid what may seem like chaos one can feel those fine melodic tones pushing through to the surface. They cover me like a soft blanket of warm sand. They scintillate and tickle me, tantalizing my arm’s and legs. I feel a rush of joy like a child in the sun. I am warmed and revived. Music does that to me. Good music, harmonious music.
I carry this with me, in snippets of memory; in songs that get stuck in my mind and play as a soundtrack to accompany parts of my day. This inner soundtrack lifts my mood and encourages me. It strengthens my spirit and resolve. It calms me, makes me happy but also allows me to feel a million moods from sunny yellow to deep stone black. Through music I hear the song of the singer. I feel their thoughts and hear their dreams, even experience their heartbreak in a small way. I hear their soul singing out and I hear a hundred million others.
Music is that powerful.
According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe, all of the particles that make up matter and forces, including you and I and my cat Mario are comprised of tiny vibrating strings. Because of this some have likened the universe to a symphony.
Michio Kaku the famous Physicist once said ” We are nothing but melodies. We are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes. Obeying the laws of physics, which is nothing but the laws of harmony of vibrating strings.”
Playing the song of the cosmos I suppose…
I think that is how we are connected and why music holds a universal appeal with us. It’s something we can all share. It is a ancient connection that’s been wired into us since the beginning. It is the ultimate in communication.
I’ve had musicians tell me that playing with others in concert operates on a very intimate level and that doesn’t surprise me. I have felt similar feelings when engaged in a slow dance with a partner. I think most of us possess the ability to connect with others through music and with music itself.
This makes me think how life on earth is like a orchestra and we are all members of that orchestra. We hum along, creating our own music in everything we do, think and feel. I can see how imbalances could cause the music to distort and become unpleasant. Only when harmony is restored are we whole and playing beautifully once again.
I believe we on the planet are in a state of extreme disharmony. There are too many voices that sing songs of hate and exclusion, inequality, indifference and greed. Songs that disrespect and pillage our planet, songs that kill the soul and lull desire. We need to sing together for the common good; for peace and love, for kindness and understanding in concert with the earth and with the universe itself.
Most of us go about our lives encased in a hard shell that we have developed from our own personal experiences of being alive and living in the world we do. Many of us hide our true thoughts and feelings from each other and to an extent I think we rarely realize, we are all connected by circumstance, by fate and by our very atoms themselves, down to those tiny vibrating strings but we act like strangers to each other. I think society teaches us this; that we should be wary of the different, have disdain for the unusual and mistrust the independent minded. Our mutual fear of each other causes misunderstanding and disharmony. Children have a natural affinity for other beings. They don’t see what adults have been trained by society to see. We share so much and yes we are capable of singing a beautiful song in harmony made up of beautiful voices, of varied colors and hues of thoughts and ideas.
Together we are the song of the universe.
And as I go about my week I am going to keep this in mind and try to remember that we are all connected, even those that may disagree with me. We all share the same needs, wants and fears. We can attune ourselves to the same frequency if we listen and find some common chords.
“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ― Alan W. Watts
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
The sky is a deep cerulean and it is inviting. It is a spectacle decked out with puffy white clouds like cotton. The sun is warm and kisses my toes, inviting a stretch and a yawn. I am sprawled out on the grass, it is soft and cool and I feel at home here among the green.
The birds sing like mad and I can’t help but smile. I close my eyes and feel the sun’s warmth on them. I imagine being a feather on the wing of an eagle soaring ever higher in the sky. I feel the rush of air go through me, the power of the bird and the exhilaration of flight. I feel a part of the bird and the sky and the sun beaming down…
…and I do feel a part of this greater whole. I can’t help it, especially out here, outside under the trees among the flowers and the weeds and the bees and the worms and the neighborhood owl that surprises me every time it hoots. I feel the grass under me…it’s alive and so is the soil that nourishes it, teeming with lifeforms from the obvious to the microscopic. We are all made of star-stuff. The grass, the trees my cat and me.
When I look at the night sky and gaze upon the lovely moon I cannot help but feel a kinship with its solitary light. I imagine others gaze upon the very same moon with the very same thoughts. The stars twinkle and universe expands and time goes on and as I sit here in reflection I am awestruck by my existence and how really small I really am; like a speck…a drop of water in a vast ocean.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling and that comforts me. I also know that much of this feeling can be backed up with science and that is intrigues me.
The patterns of life…the sameness..the variety all beautiful, all beckoning another look…
For me it goes beyond The Fibonacci sequence and all that math I can barely understand. It is more than pattern recognition and the appreciation of beauty and even the seeking of truth…
It’s a feeling, a real physical feeling and it’s emotional for me. Perhaps it is because I am sensitive, perhaps it is because I am empathic, perhaps everyone feels this way…perhaps…
I can only speak for myself but it makes me more compassionate. I see it as a gift although it hurts inside sometimes…but mostly it is the most wonderful feeling; this feeling of “connectedness”.
It allows me to imagine like I do and write what I do. It moves through me like music and this causes me to dance! The more I feel it, the more I yearn to seek it out. The more I seek it out, the more it finds me.
“Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
“Someone called me “Irish” like it was something bad…something to be ashamed of. He meant it as a dig in reference to my so called stubbornness, my pride. my willingness to see the truth for what it is and call it. He called it haughty, he called it “Irish” and I wore it like a badge of honor.”
I R I S H P R I D E
It is not boastful pride or a belief that one person is better than another. It’s a pride in oneself and one’s heritage. It is honor and affection for loved ones, friends and comrades. It is standing up tall and looking everyone you meet straight in the eye and saying; this is who I am and I am proud. I don’t care if I am perfect, nor would I be if I could. It is rising in the face of adversity…
It happened so quickly: a flutter of wings, a white flash..and then I saw them…two cavorting butterflies, cabbage whites, I think. Fluttering all around me; my head and legs, coming so close I can feel the gentle breeze on my face created by the fritterings of their little wings. I sit as still as I can and take in this surreal and glorious moment. Then just as abruptly as they appear they flutter off together into the blue October sky. It was quite a moment and strange as it sounds I got the idea they were thanking me for something. A place to cavort perhaps. A resting place amid the growing greenness in this nondescript urban oasis that is my backyard. A wildish place of ordered chaos. A pesticide-free zone with a little bit for everyone. Native plants and more. Providing nectar and seeds and shelter and safe spots to forage with berries and tomatoes and lots of tasty bugs and worms.
A respite from the lifeless urban jungle of hard concrete and indifference.
These moments bring me such joy; my encounters with the urban wildlife that visit my garden. There are the squirrels who compete for nuts with the squawky jays. They are beautifully blue and like to fly from rooftop to rooftop swooping down in the yard hunting and catching insects.
Along with the white butterflies, there are bees galore, buzzing from here to there, intermixed with hover-flies which seem to defy gravity. These beneficial insects love the sweet asylum that seeds itself freely and grows every summer against the southern wall that borders the driveway. This once barren slab of cement now teems with exuberant life. The other side is filled with a hodgepodge of annuals and perennials.
It resembles more of a science experiment than a tidy yard. I’ve never been a very tidy person but the urban fauna doesn’t seem to mind.
And as the season progresses and as October turns to November my time in the garden has decreased in fact admittedly, it has been nearly a week since I have been back here. I take advantage of a much needed sunny day and plan to spend some time working and appreciating. All the work I do know will pay off next Spring.
Of course I leave much of the wildness for the urban wildlife who will winter here.
All the remain of the once vibrant yellow Susans are the jet black seed pods which the chickadees and finches have been devouring with a flourish.
I am always reflective this time of year and I do much of my reflecting back here. The fuchsia is still blooming and the Pineapple Sage is in it’s full glory. It’s scarlet spires provide nectar to the hummingbirds which still visit as the season progresses and progresses it does. The leaves have changed and many have fallen to the ground. I can hear them crunch under my feet. My mind goes back to the white butterflies and my brief encounter with them just a couple weeks ago. I haven’t seen any since. Our next meeting will have to wait for Spring when they return. And so will the Canada Geese that I hear flying overhead, their distinct honking flooding the sky with such riotous sound. This brings me back to Autumn’s past. It is these living harbingers of winter who make me sit and pause and reflect upon life and time. It will be the Geese again who will prompt the same reflection upon their return.
And now it is my turn to say thank you to the fantastic world around us. From the smallest proton to the largest supernova…from the tiny microbe in the soil to the hummingbird to the black and white house cat to the awestruck and humbled human. We are all connected and what a beautiful thing is that.
Have a fantastic day!
“…Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”