I feel much of what I do
is wrong or off
and when I appeal to God
I receive a wink
instead of a plan.
|For These Times
I feel much of what I do
is wrong or off
and when I appeal to God
I receive a wink
instead of a plan.
My car was and is giving me troubles and neighbors would pass by and lend their opinions. One neighbor, Saul, had some knowledge and played with the plugs and choke but still couldn't solve the problem. We became friendly and turns our he was having some trouble with his wife who was becoming resentful and mean, but who also had some serious health issues. She also brought her brother into the fold who was hostile to Saul. Anyhow, I advised to take the high road, do what you have to as a husband, fulfill your duties, and just keep your own world going. Otherwise the battle in your head (rehashing conversations etc.) will eat you up.
He liked that and gave me some quality time on my car., although solutions were not forthcoming. Anyhow, Saul promised a lot of people his time so he moved on but during one of our discussions he proudly proclaimed he kept a checklist and enjoyed so much checking things off.
Then, I think Maria, another neighbor, because of her malady asked me to go with her to the supermarket. Being that my car was giving me trouble, it was a chore that could benefit both. During the drive she proudly proclaimed she kept a checklist of things to do. Hmmmm. Why am I hearing this over and over. She forgets a lot, is not that sharp these days, so I guess a checklist is really helpful. She just has to remember where it is.
I have a date book that gives a little room for a checklist. I bought it at a Hallmark store, thinking it would be special, but it cost more and had less space than the CVS variety. My lists extend to the margins. I find it does help to map out what has to be done. It's almost a survival tool. Things become less scary when they are just a number on a list. Plus you have to break down an entire issue to doable parts. So step one, call so and so, becomes just a call, not a whole campaign. It does provide some order to all the chaos. Plus it's democratic. Both brushing your teeth and paying your taxes get a number, no more nor less.
Of course the day takes on its own form and has to be organic. One thing leads to another and you sometimes have to go with it. The list, if you are very involved in a project, can seem superficial, a fearful attempt to control what is unknown. Often you have to be on a roll with one activity, and it can engulf you until you come out the other end, or just end up exhausted from effort. Still, I find some comfort in knowing, when all else fails, or even it things are just okay, I have my list to fall back on.
Sometimes can’t control damage
No matter how self-aware one is or psychologically astute or careful and thoughtful, the original dynamics of how you are designed and of your early influences still have hold over you.
I know one can learn a lot of lessons from a dad. When your own voice can't be heard you hear his. I recall two bits of advice that don't fail me. Always bring a jacket to a movie or a restaurant. Yes, they do get cold. The second is carry two sets of keys. How often this has served me. I just wish I heard his voice more.
Death and dying
Death does not have to be painful
When thinking of all the worries and concerns
which strain and stretch your insides
often without a happy ending,
easing towards another realm is less scary
and can even offer comfort and relief.
Choice can be a luxury
Also at some point in life one realizes one could have ended up anyone, a thief or a saint. Choice, self-determination can be a luxury. Some people have no choice but to be what they are. True compassion can lie in this realization. Often this awareness comes as one sees one's self evolve into ways of being never before considered.
Art of the word
I read recently an essay about the importance of the word in Judaism. The deepest thing is the word was its theme. Is this true? What about expereince, beauty, metaphysics, love, or pictures? Isn't a picture worth a thousand words? What about the mysteries and subtleties and the ephemeral? Aren't these as deep as one can get? Can't words be used cheaply? Can't anyone say anything and have it mean this or that? Isn't seeing with our own eyes the real proof? What about other dimensional experience, where one merges with the light, even the light of truth? Or what about an inner peace and or well being?
I question all this. Didn't the light through meditation lead me to God? Didnt my hand tingling and calmness of breath lead to peaceful waters? All true to some extent.
When pondering this the other night i came to an understanding that was deep and sufficed. Now for some reason it is not fully clear as I write. Hopefully I recall some of its essence.
The universe was spoken into existence. It wasn't a feeling thing, or a harmony of forces and a code of beauty that brought it about. It was just a statement of intent with words that willed it into being. Words used in the right direction become our comfort and guides. If you hear 'I will be with you or I love you' that is all you need to hear. Peace, well being, love then follows.
Can these words be broken or not followed up? Yes. But so can everyting else. The light can be broken, beauty can be distorted and lied about, just as much as the word. What it does is state the claim, the ideal, what things should be, in words. That breaks the ground. Then other phenomenon follow.
Even silence values words. Today there is too much noise and too many mouths talking, so words are cheapened. Silence hushes all talk so we can hear and listen again. Once done, words can appear once again as the jewels they are, precious in so many ways.
Art often serves these different concepts such as form, light and dark, all leading to beauty and harmony. Purpose and aesthetics are at the forefront. At this point I will attempt to create art that serves the word. This won't be in a literal sense. It will just be in my consciousness as I pick and choose from a lifetime of influences what techniques and aesthetics to use. It won't be devoted to an impression or observations of light or motion. But I might use elements of them to borrow from to serve this understanding. What helps portray the word in its power and import will be kept and what dissipates this will be discarded, of course as best I can and if menat to be.
Never considered before
At a certain point in life awareness of death sets in. One becomes aware of this when one realizes you would rather die than live under certain circumstances. Before this point one might have thought “survive at all costs.” But now one is not so sure. If the pain is severe enough or chronic enough, or the strain too much, the possibility of letting go becomes a “considered” option
Be here now...Dad's 100th (Original Version)
I plan later to write something on Facebook but I'm prewriting this entry on dad's, Milton Nussdorf's, the Cohanan's 100th birthday on July 15th. Unfortunately, dad is not around for it. As some of you know he passed away at the end of January, 2018 at 99 ½. My sister posted on Facebook that his 100th birthday would have been an occasion, a unique goal reached. She even thought of having a big party. In afterthought, she thought it was her own goal more than his. I commented he would have liked the milestone, but did not really doggedly pursue it. My sister followed by saying he was too focused on the day to day survival needs to really think of it. I think this is accurate.
Some of my thoughts on the matter are as follows. First, my family at a certain point in time would relish their party celebrations. Often distant from them, I saw this as an escape, pushing the reality of what had to be faced into the background. It denied the reality of our lives, particularly my conflicts with them. Nothing was solved, just covered up. Energy was wasted. I was after a new direction, solutions, not rehash of old ones and their glorification.
Now as I get older I do understand the need for escape. Sometime life doesn't work out all the time, and some socialization can hit the spot, even if it is meaningless. Straining for meaning and resolving difficulties doesn't always work You stress on it and it still remains there. In the meantime, you could have gone on with life and had some enjoyment. Perhaps. For a time maybe. But if one is bothered internally, covering it up can just go so far. Eventually things have to and will be faced.
Second, my dad suffered much his last year. He once said 'I'm being punished.' This implies there is a punisher, a force beyond himself that is orchestrating events. Or that there are laws that catch up with someone, or karma as they say. Dare I say after such a year of suffering on all levels, physically, emotionally, and spiritually celebrating a milestone trivialized the ordeal. Perhaps the powers that be above did not let this happen and had my dad exit before that time. Maybe even out of mercy. I would have been uncomfortable with the ra ta ta of it. I do have love for my dad despite it all, but I also love the bigger truths.
Now the Jewish people live through holidays and celebrations, but their system is a total one. Celebrations and occasions ideally are tied into their history of exile, praise of God, the year's cycles and spiritual prayer and mending. Unless just going through the motions, one has to believe it all ties together and fit in. The group events than have meaning. Sure, there still can be riffs and personal difficulties. But if all agree to the entire context as a goal, there is a framework to operate from and even to heal in.
Outside of such a complete system, celebrations and events have to take on a different tone. They have to be sensitive to looking for a better way to live, to resolve various violations and traumas, and be humble if the answers aren't there. Perhaps even asking for help from the universe, or God, would be appropriate. If one doesn't believe in a God, then just asking for help is a good step. If answers aren't had, then this should be acknowledged. So outside of a good, mutual belief system, these variables should be there. Then a ;little celebration can be had.
Third, as said, my dad had many physical difficulties. Just maintaining himself was an ordeal. Cleaning his eye lens, adjusting his hearing aids, fixing his dentures, all required time and patience. Then he broke his hip, his blood pressure was high, and he caught infections. Before this his body was in decent shape. But not in this last period.
Before this period, I would caution him to be careful crossing the street, to not lose his balance, to be careful of bikers on First Avenue. Most of all, I would say don't fall. If he did and broke his hip his fate would be in others' hands. Eventually he did. The rest is history as they say.
The point here is that his day to day life, the functions of just minimally staying alive, took all his energy. In the sense there was no past or future, just the moment at hand. What's funny is that all the psychologies, spiritual systems of mental health, Eastern meditative religions, mystical and New Age religions all teach this as a way to live. My father was living this way, He was 'being here now.' He was living in the present. However, his path to this came from not having a choice anymore. It was minute to minute survival. What a price that was paid for such an 'enlightened' state.
Steven B. Nussdorf records his lifelong search to find meaning outside of the normal channels. He uses writing, poetry, and drawing to document this effort.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.