Am I one with my quest?
Am I one
with my quest?
Can I merge
with a concept
that is big
but still a concept?
Can I embrace
until it blossoms
|For These Times||
Am I one with my quest?
Am I one
with my quest?
Can I merge
with a concept
that is big
but still a concept?
Can I embrace
until it blossoms
'It's just tennis.'
Years ago I recall reading or hearing an interview with Andre Aggasi and he was being asked about his moodiness, or isolation, or not speaking to press, or something I don't remember. His character and actions were being questioned.
His answer to it all was 'It's just tennis.'
After all these years I find often my mood or feeling of well being depends on how I did with my art. I thought I could be more removed, detached, more zen about the whole thing at this point. I am not the results is my mantra. But art is a jealous beast and wants all of you even if you set limits. Definitely if I am struggling something feels wrong inside me. And if I do well I feel light hearted. Often if I have a good session, or a good fifteen minutes, or even a good thought about an approach or problem, I:ll leave the work just so I can feel good for a while. Sometimes I'll stay away for a day and savor it.
I wish it were different. I wish I could be 'cooler' about the whole thing. But part of maturity is acceptance of what is. If I was able to change these dynamics fundamentally a lot of things would be different. But I haven't been able to. So I accommodate, see it for what it is, and see myself for what I am.
It's just art.\
Sections of life
Just a flash note here. It seems as if in life there is your involvement with your place in the environment and your activities, and responsibilities. Your interactions with your neighbors are one example.
Then there is the wider scope of the time and historical setting you live within. It's where you are placed in the evolution of mankind and all the political, economic and social pressures that influence you. Seeing how things turn out is of interest. An example is how political actions have economic consequences. There is some fascination in this, and it confirms your sense of judgement. It exists outside of your immediate needs so also takes you away from yourself and your own problems and challenges. It also allows for the opportunity to confirm or deny your judgments on various issues of the day which focuses your reasoning and intuition beyond just yourself. This allows you to test your presumptions and conceptions in a wider arean.
It can help you to see how on or off course you are. It's another guidepost.
Finally, there is the section in life of life itself, on its own terms, just living and experiencing what comes before you. These experiences are almost history independent. Seeing a bird scamper on the beach or a wave retreat or having a pull towards a friend you knew 40 years ago are examples. If the bird was sick due to pollution that would be part of history. Otherwise just experiencing life without a oontext is part of what we are here for. These core life expereinces are universal to the human life experience.
I'm not bringing in the spiritual dimension here. I'm letting just what we see and experience speak for itself. In this discussion no larger context is called for. In a sense its kept clean that way. Concept doesn't pollute. These sections exist in the material world and emanate from what we can observe.
No patience for meandering
I was speaking on the phone to my ex wife Maggie and we were talking about the environment and tornadoes and the diminishing bee population. I said we should be all on our knees asking for help, as in my first painting. She then said check out the writer John Michael Greer whom her daughter, a millennial, was into as others in that age group. Curious, I did and learned he was 66, hippyish looking and had founded recenty an occultist druid organization. Ho hum I thought. He was also a strong environmetnalist. I thought the tie in should be interesting.
I then turned to a blog page he had and read a four page essay that was crafted well and carefully and was very engaging and involving. He was a good observer, for example noting many hippies had become Jesus freaks and then moderate Christians. Okay. His basic critique was of positive thinking and preferred to let reality speak to us as it is. He saw many of us as having stories in our minds that we applied to what we saw, instead of just honestly seeing what we saw. True. He saw many well off environmentalists as doing harm rather than good in their approaches to help the earth. I forget hhis reasoning. He also saw his own dichotomy in that in being an occultist he favored imagination here on earth which seemingly contradicts his endorsing objective observation. He kept on writing and built his case gradually.
However, it just became clear to me in writing the previous paragraph I don't remember really waht his case was. I just was left with a general impression that whatever he was for or against and wrote about it was professional and done well but what was he really saying? It became clearer to me he was just stroking himself, luxurating in his own clevreness.
I relayed this briefly to Maggie and said I did not research him after this.. I had lost some patience. She also said that she was losing patience reading certain interpretations, or analysis, or explanations of things. I said maybe some of it has to do with his still being 66. Sounds old to some but around 70 certain things become clearer and patience runs a little thin, contrary to what I thought it would be like. Maggie concurred.
I ended the conversation by speaking brashly and saying I lost patience with his writing. Basically I wanted his conclusion, where he landed, what he understood life to be. I wanted to know 'did he believe in God or not' number one and if he did how does he work that in with how 'sh....t' life has become. I think that covers it all. I wanted to hear his belief and his pain. That's all I was really interested in. Unforetunately, he was still plaiying around.
Dancing with God
Dancing with God
5" by 8"
Oil on Linen
(Some history.....after the Painting Empathy i worked on a painting of the maker creating the universe in spheres. The drawing was developed and anatomy all there. somehow it felt wrong. that took a month.
Then I worked on an interior of a hospice room with my dad dying and me present. Details and objects were all there. Somehow that felt wrong. That took another month.
then i thought return to direct figures, have them say what they have to say directly and simply. And so 'Dancing with God' came about which took another 6 weeks. So far it feels right and back on course. And so goes the journey.)
(On Facebook a certain lady posted a link to what appeared to be Socialist leanings on the left. Her points were well taken. However, stirred by her ideological leanings, I countered giving examples of abusive capitalism, or what's been described as predatory capitalism. She responded briefly saying we need 'compassionate' capitalism. Maybe so, maybe not. (I'm really in the middle, or, take no sides.) I wrote the following response, kind of James Joyce, or Jack Kerouac stream of consciousness. It's not overly literary but there is a certain feel to it which has some substance. Not constrained by grammar one can let it hang out so to speak.
I forget if I actually posted it or not. I think it describes the landscape that exists.)
Answer to FB 'Compassionate Capitalism'
Somewhat true...but too much tech, too much centralization of power sources....leads to abuse....Sam Walmart started out an all American guy......good values...led to a monster....small cottage industries...tried...only so many tea shops can be done....now the worse types thrive....and truly, capitalism for a long time has been about making everything into plastic....and what's that doing to us....its really not the answer anymore.....return to tribalism.???? no real answers...just surviving as best you can whatever is thrown your way....that' what I see ...we've just gone to far in every which way....best to tone it all down, keep a small imprint and don't get carried away...OK, I've gone on.....I was out West for a time....people were trying that....community, mom an pop stores....but didn't last....bought there gold and silver......good principles but many are now gone and ended broke.....that's what I saw....now we have China sending their techies here....no conscience there, just business......basically I don't see an answer....just life will continue.....maybe until natural disasters intervene and we're all down on our knees....
Parts of me
Parts of me are opening up
and parts of me are drying up.
I think the trick is to not have hard edges, with God or people. The presence can be with you all the time, going through experience with you and easing in and out of you. All is tempered this way. This is better then having experience beat you up and then in a panic having to run to him, although there is a place for that too in life..
Rather, God can be a silent companion as you venture through this seemingly foreign land. It does seem as if you have to go through everything alone. Still, you can also have a tempering companion present. It's not easily done but I think it's the way to go. It's how to use God and live with God in a real way.
What can be helpful is to begin the day with this intent and as you slip away and forget be drawn back into it. It's a starting point and hopefully one that can be maintained for periods of time.
On my late mom's birthday
April 9th was my late mom's birthday. She got named Bunny because it fell on Easter. My dad when working as a human resource manager for a defense company eons ago gave everyone off on their birthdays and apparently it became a nationwide tradition. Not particularly relevant but interesting. My sister emailed me saying mom used to announce her birthday a month before the date. Then the whole month was her birthday. To honor her 'Bunnyness' I put together a book on her writings on stars that she performed and wrote about. She was a funny lady. Valuable time was spent on it but it encapsulated her and her good, bad, neutral qualities. She was a major player in our family.
As a child we seemed close and she was a dominant influence. Later the years flew by and there were psychological insights into my youth, philosophical journeys to help handle what was realized, and spiritual quests to reconcile. We had argued, tried to be peaceful, and sometimes were estranged. Since her passing 9 years ago, (my sister said she would have been 98 this year), I did not think of her as much as I would have thought I would. I was preoccupied with my own stuff, my dad was alive until last year, and I did not encourage myself to speak to the deceased. My dad would say her presence is around us. That felt good to know but I didn't feed that type of connection. Dad's last year was a mess, and this year I've spent repairing damage and reviving and balancing neglected areas in my life. Awareness of mom would have to seep in.
Tuesday was 'Bunny's' birthday and I was busy registering a car and other stuff that takes your time. Finally I sat before the computer and tired of talkers and noise just played some yoga music. It was so relaxing I fell asleep in the chair and when I awoke I thought now was the time for some 'mom' time. If not now when?
Just to note the Jews I had read never made that big a deal about birthdays. I think I recall the reason being how a person lives a life was more important. Plus, celebrating ourselves took away from celebrating God, the one who created us. All true I'm sure. Judaism also didn't encourage speaking to the dead. I think it was viewed as best to go with our appeals and prayers to God directly. This all makes sense to me. Still, one is here to test the waters to some extent and see for one's self what works and doesn't. At least that's my rationale.
At first when I thought of mom I communicated my feelings about not doing enough for her and dad. I was never well off enough and able to help them, whether we got along or not. Money might have helped on certain levels, with credibility, with the luxury of time, and with buying some ease. They needed that 'show me' element. My own course demanded too much from me. Plus, I could not risk the loss of time and energy due to emotional upheaval. I could not give with no results. Without a lot of money, that was a fool's game, a luxury I could not afford. If we were on the same page money didn't have to be a factor, but we weren't.
I also wish I could have had more influence during both parents' ends healthwise. Mom was open to other influences, some alternatives, but to go against the establishment, family, and their own mindset would take total dedication with perhaps no appreciation and worse betrayal. Instead, it became clear that I had to keep a light touch and reflect some light here and there.
This feeling of guilt I've heard from other sources so perhaps it's not totally authentic to me. Even so the guilt feelings have credibility. I then thought of how she had hurt me and relayed some of that to her. Then I thought of the years gone by and how I had missed just having a mom in the picture. Everyone stayed in their corner and life just went by. I then appealed to mom about my present activities and pursuits and wondered about her approval of them. After all she was in the next realm. I'm not sure or clear on the response I intuited from her. For aforementioned reasons maybe I was inappropriate in bringing this to the table. This is where the Jewish thing comes in for going directly to God. Well I was trying different things. I didn't want to interfere with whatever mom was doing but maybe at special times the realms could be traversed with some communication taking place and with the maker's approval. I'm not sure. Maybe some day I will be.
I then thought of how she had so much pain and discomfort during her decline. I felt bad she had to suffer so. Both parents had. Almost like torture. My dad had declared he 'was being punished.' I relayed in a silent way to her how I felt. My mind wandered to misgivings I had for why I was not able to communicate more and get across the ideas I had when I was in my middle age and trying to reunite the family and be on the same page. If I could have just explained things at the time and gotten the family on board. I don't recall any specific reaction from mom. I then thought of my youth which just flew by, stress and tensions everywhere with occasional respites of closeness. Things always seemed off balance and tainted. Still, there were some moments where peace broke through.
Alright, I've gone on I know. But I'm leading to something. In that moment of trying to communicate with mom, I fatigued myself with trying to understand things, with trying to reason things out, with trying to involve mom with my future, and trying to be blessed, and with trying to redeem the past. It was all too much.
Then my thoughts turned lighter. They had to. I remembered some cozy moments on the couch with the TV on. I then thought of mom as a young women with pure wonder in her eyes and honest questioning. It seemed as if at one point she had trusted the universe too before feeling perhaps betrayed and things became hardened. She saw my essence and I saw hers and that was good. We were two kindred souls connected in this life. Such moments were too few and did not last.
This led me to feel why bring up anything from this life. It's all goal oriented, about striving, or about fear, or gain, or competing, or the need to achieve and feel safer. Whatever. Why not just go to our pure beings and spend time together in that and in a sense be 'out of time.' I saw her pure lighted being with kind of a smile on it. Light streaked out from her. Then my being was full of light and it streamed out from me. And we just hung out, at peace within, and peace without, together with our lighted beings and feeling love. And all was well.
This was it. This was what I was looking for. The answer was to be able to leave all the 'mishigas' (sp?) behind and get to our roots. We were out of the time realm. Whatever business we had on earth was not paramount at this moment. We could not fully understand it anyhow. So my peaceful shining being hung out with mom's peaceful lighted being, and we had our moment, me in this life, she out of this life, on her birthday. For the moment all felt lifted and blessed.
As you get older, and it can takes decades to steer the course, you might have ended up with a final concept and plan of action. It is honed down since everything else had fallen away. It is what is left and all that your thinking, pondering, and instincts have led you too. It is good that you have had such a final realization. Perhaps your nearing end has sharpened your awareness on finalizing the culmination of all your thinking.
So you have plan of action. Not all is known, there is room to grow in, but the parameters are set. The field to operate in is delineated. There will still be evolution and the unknown, but within this framework. Having achieved this is evidence there was meaning and purpose to all your questioning and searching.
On the other hand, with the years remaining fewer, part of you prefers not to strive and make things happen. You prefer to observe, to be entertained, to have others do the work and for you to be an onlooker.. This is no so much an intellectual process as rather your body and nature telling you what it needs
You can't maintain a strict regimen so easily. Indeed, often you can't be active at all and rather be passive and just see what just comes your way. You are almost as you were before you went on this long journey and quest.. Who knows, your path might have come out of pain and struggle. It might have made too many 'pure' demands on you while your soul yearned to just be a person, flaws and all. It's a one time chance just to be human with human needs. It's a chance to honor your frailty and not ask too much from life. You can have some fun, be pleasant with people and take the best from things without having to change them.
So while your striving has led you to a simplified disciplined existence to be played out, your inner life's cravings ask for a simpler recipe for old age. It is hard to know how this all plays out. Your biggest fear is to let down the vision you had and this might keep you from abandoning it. In between you might work in spontaneous life. This seems like a probable scenario.
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.