My life and death as spiritual path.
- Name: Queri
- Location: River City, Northern California
Monday, June 27, 2005
Busy doing art
Which I will show you when I can. In the meanwhile, let me share something.
I was watching Law and Order last night-- isn't it a national law???-- and the closing tagline was
"You know what happens when they prevent you from doing the only thing you do best? You go insane."
It was obvious the cop saying this was taking the message truly to heart as if he was unable to act out as an overly intrusive investigator, he as well as the murderer in the case would go over the edge.
I, too, took the statement very close to my heart. I cannot describe my "only thing" without hubris so-- ok, it's prayer, closeness to God. And no one has prevented me from doing this but me.
I drug out my Practice book and sang the deepest dearest Buddhist practice I know-- The Song of the Vajra. It's a strange song. The words are essentially transcendently meaningless in a combo of Sanscrit and Dakini language, which sounds like baby talk. The Song is designed to take you to a place of pure sound which, like pure color is a magical element of it's own.
It's supposed to create sacred -- what?-- space? air? Sound? Being?
All of the above.
I no longer know it by heart, I need the music, which is sorta forbidden, cause I have forgotten-- in part-- the tune. I didn't sing it well, but I feel different.
I'm not sure why.
I have, however, returned to what I do best. I won't leave again.
Oh, yes, I will, humans are all fallible beings. I will always return however--
As I have returned here.
Be well, Be Blessed, Be at peace-- with yourself and as many others as you can manage. We truly are all one. There is no other truth-- just look at the earth from space-- do you see differences or barriers. As they used to say on the Whole Earth Catalog. We can't put it together-- it is together.
So are we.
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in Action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.
[funny how I tend to sound more nutz when I'm sane, than when I'm crazy, oh well, at least I know the difference.]
Friday, June 24, 2005
Warning: Don't leave your Blog too long
I forgot my signin and almost lost, well, access to my own life.
Granted I'm my usual paranoid, hyperbolic self. Aren't you glad I haven't changed? well, aren't you? Hmmm, maybe not. But still, the effect of looking at Undertaker's Daughter from the outside, battering my hands on the glass of the monitor, unable to get in and say anything. . .
Well, I repeat-- don't leave your blog too long unattended. This is your life, you know, maybe not your only one, but the only one you've got right now.
I've had my wake up call, here's yours.
And here's why I got off my duff and started babbling in digital print again. There's this rather toothsome review of Batman Begins by Thomas More, that luvely Irish Soul-Keeper-- not the obvious reviewer of such a summer thrill-fest, and not the obvious review either.
Here's the "almost" opening line that grabbed me.
Almost six hundred years ago, the brilliant theologian Nicolas of Cusa said that we should be like bats to see in the darkness of our ignorance and in our world of mysteries.TM: see Review
Yes!! Darkness and mystery as a blessed expansion of Humanity rather than a morbid excess of evil shadow. It goes on to expound on the values inherent in The Fall-- reminiscent to me of Julian of Norwich's teaching on the values of-- of all things-- sin-- the secret road to Grace. Without it, without descent into those places we thought we thought we would never go, but always do, the hand of God would have no reason to reach out, to show the love inherent in creation and not only lift us up but increase our understanding and compassion in doing so. Falling deepens us in more ways than one.
Shamans-to-be are sometimes recognized as spiritual leaders when they fall from a tree or some other high place. We fall into awareness of ourselves and into the complexities of our lives. So, the fall into the well is a wonderful start to the movie about Batman’s beginnings. TM: see Review
Ultimately, More is dissillusioned with the movie, which like so many other blockbusters, backs off from the deeper meanings of its imagery for one more cliche-ridden violent special effect. It's an illuminating review though, for once, a Christian writer has seen the real deficiency in these flawed fantasies. It is not that they are too dark-- though I admit some truly are and irredeemably so. More sees the greater flaw-- that they do not appreciate the vitality and power of the darkness to transform and illuminate our souls-- yes, darkness brings light, always has, as Midnight brings Dawn, as Death and the Fear of Death brings a New and Richer Life.
A mantra is repeated throughout the film: "You fall so you can learn to pick yourself up." Maybe that’s true, but in light of Bruce Wayne’s fall into the well, I would think you fall to become acquainted with your deeper nature, to enter the realm of the bat, which is mysteriously a part of your interior, the dreamworld that has great impact on your emotions and sense of meaning.TM: see the review
I did not-- I hope-- like a bad preview, give up all the best lines in the teaser. Read the review, and, do like me, see the film with all its potential and flaws and edit it on your internal all-powerful imagination to reflect how you would add more to it, deeper, wiser, more magically wonderful. It's a gift we have over any faulty entertainment--the ability to revise reality-- or fantasy, is there ultimately a difference once they hit the convolutions of our brain?-- and make it truer to ourselves.
Bye for now, it's good to be back. Hope you feel the same. I won't leave it so long again. I've missed my invisible audience.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
I have to thank Meghan O'Rourke for her slightly back-handed review of the forgotten poet Jack Gilbert in Slate's online magazine. Without it-- and without my anger over her reference to Transcendence in poetry as being out of date-- how can transcendence ever be out of date??? [embarrasing, yes, but that is an indictment most can not bear to accept]-- I would never have read this vital, provoking poet.
It's a very tough day for me-- worry over mere survival obsesses me. But Jack is a sure talisman for such trivialities. I'll leave the text to him.
. . . . .There is laughter
everyday in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction.
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the
the stubbonness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
. . .
from A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gilbert in his latest book, Refusing Heaven.
The train is coming at horrifyingly thoughtless speed but I must agree. I have had Magnitude in plenty and may have years more, god help me, if I push the horror with adamantine intensity. There has been enough of wanting to die, too damn many years of it. I have become perverse enough to live.
Enough of Seigfried's Death March with it's funky Sith grandeur, play the Goldberg Variations-- their infinite variety and minute fussiness reflects my DNA. All DNA, in fact. And, when it's time, for god's sake, crank up the Sanctus from the B Minor Mass to wing me home in style if for no other reason than my dear angel, bright being of lost light hears it in the memory of Dante's Paradisiacal White Rose.
But do close it down with Bach's Dona Nobis Pacem. So calm it's almost forgettable in the face of what precedes it but I have the temerity to want Peace-- eternal Peace, hell, World Peace to mark my death.
Why not dream big? I've certainly lived small enough to deserve it.
I'm not this maudlin often, thank god, but today is a day for it. If for no other reason than it's here. And, Jack, believe it or not, this is a kind of delight.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Another Wretched Addendum
Concerning This is Not a Poem.
It wasn't, it was a -- damned if I know--
It was and is the truth about my life and now that I think about it, the truth about the lifes of most of my friends.
Maybe I just have unfortunate friends, I know my luck is seriously tarnished and always has been in a topsy-turvy way.
Give her lots of money, make her hate it, and lose it, you must know the syndrome. Give her tons of good health take it away in one fell swoop, well, not enough to be serious, just eradicate quality of life to the bone. Give her teaspoons of meaning and relevance where there used to be quarts and bushels.
That kind of luck-- I'm used to it, but not at this velocity. I know I'm older-- 60-- maybe that's the only answer, it's the velocity of life at the end passages.
I'm not sure. I don't think so. Or not entirely. I have this feeling I'm being toughened up in as kind a way as possible. It's dreadful and exhausting but not without compassion.
Does god truly understand how Tired we get??? How utterly worn-out?
What I'd like to know-- in a world where I'm speaking, but no one is listening-- is are there anymore out there like me?
And what are we being toughened up for?
No End-of-the-Worlders need apply. Sorry.
This is Not a Poem
He holds my feet to the fire.
I know no other way to describe it.
Goodness occurs then pain
And I must fight my way back to Goodness
With my feet to the fire.
All I want to know is the impossible
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I Know The Truth Will Make Us Something But I Can't Remember What
Maybe, it'll just make us crazy.
[This is a mammajamma wierd blog and I got no idea if I'm blowing smoke on this one-- read it and judge for yourselves.]
"How do we protect the truth of ourselves in a world that seems to require us to never be who and what we are?"
How do we see ourselves through the haze of what we should be, who we want to be and what we do not want to see?
Well, this is how I have done it so far:
I Look. We look. I pray we all try to look. At ourselves, compassionately but ruthlessly. Everyday. We look behind the light into the shadow, we look where we are not supposed to see and who we are not supposed to be.
And we live with that.
No, we also have to love it, that's the secret of the darkness within.
Because that is the heart of the truth of who we are.
It's the secret of the Light too, but how easy is it to Respect and love the Light -- aren't we drawn to it from birth, like sunflowers, our heads naturally turn towards the source of light.
Our hearts, like Mary's hold and comfort the shadow, and think on it deeply as the future looms. We need to be Christ and Mary, Isis and Osiris. Able to shine, reflect and magnify the glory that we see and freely give it out like blessing to others.
Able to know and own the darkness that surrounds that glory as the womb surrounds the child. Everything that now hurts and hinders us, was once an attempt to survive, working as well as it could. All our enemies were once allies, they need to be allies again.
And-- this is the most important thing.
Not everything in the dark is bad. Much is the essential strength, courage, definition of our lives. Every sexual thought we ever had lies there in the warm fluid darkness, not truly knowing what the hell it is, good or evil. Like soup without salt for savor, add a little love and/or joy and make it good. Um, respect wouldn't hurt either, never does. For yourself, your partner, hell, your lubricant and your hand. Even your fantasy. Maybe, especially your fantasy.
Tip: what is goodness? Look to the Hippocratic oath and remember, first do no harm. And you're kidding yourself if you think Love is harmless. You have to make it so.
back to our regular scheduled program
I tell you what John of the Cross told me: Put Love where there is no love and you will "grow" love. Just like a garden in rich river soil.
In you. In me.
Why do I hold the shadow as a lover? The shadow is my truth. Our truth. god's truth.
Our secret ally against despair.
So, back to the first quote of my Lectio Divina. That came from A Thousand Paths to Tranquility. We know we cannot live a lie and yet we do or feel we must in order to "fit in" "get along" "be sociable."
Maybe I'm lucky to be a hermit, or a dangerous woman. I never quite understood why everyone who saw pitiful me thought me dangerous. But I did tell the truth-- had no choice, being the atrocious liar that I am. The Truth is dangerous. Big unknown cause we are not used to it.
Small excursion into what might be called the political vein: no place in media or politics or even school, outside of math class, possibly, is a sure source of the truth. Every single venue I have mentioned-- church?? I'm not sure, some churches certainly-- fears the truth as a wild quantity we cannot handle and will not give it to us. Fear their own ability to measure the truth, even so much as fact, which in my mind is a lesser truth-- so they push it away for cliches, things "everyone knows", rampant untruths and rumors.
I can't tell you where the world's truth is-- but I think you do know it when you hear it. I think a clear thoughtful mind can perceive the big lies floating everywhere-- look for the fear trailing off of them.
You know where to look for your own truth. In your heart, without sugar-coating, excuses or rationalisation. But always with compassion. Live that and the world's truth will literally seek you out.
Do I know this? No. No, I merely want it to be true. But I believe in magic and this is a spell. The only kind I ever do anymore.
Stay true and Fear not, You aren't alone.
Monday, May 16, 2005
This is more like something I would recognise as my work. A whole Julia-- like every other fractal I have posted today. However this one defies symmetry. Same Simple Traps coloring formula as Nebulae and Deja Vue but I was calmer and could take more time trying to find the shape that would work with me. Perhaps this is how god creates-- with enormous patience and endless tries after tries to find that one form within an overarching identity-- a human soul-- that will work with him. To make beauty with love. He does make much finer Fractals, though, just look around-- the whole world is one.
I didn't think of divine process while I was building and rebuilding this minor, if satisfying, piece, but I do now. And now, I understand the title. And I, too, in my infintesimal way, say, with Mary, yes, I'll work with you. I'll go in ways I can not begin to understand: for the sake of beauty, for the sake of hope, for the sake of love. And because I recognise that fuse that through the green shoot drives the flower and me and All.
For the umpteenth time that Thou hast saved my life: Let It Be.
My first step back to self respect. Here's a warning for artists. When you're down and out, pick up your head and shout if you've a mind to but, by all means, do not peruse friends, especially dear friends galleries whose works will blow your tiny mind out of all rational response. I almost-- as I believe I stated in an earlier thread-- gave up fractals completely.
Might have been a good idea for the art world but it wouldn't have helped my sanity any. I need my art. I need to see and make pretties-- beauty would be even better, but I'll take pretties for now. Here's another important tip for getting back into the creative water-- try something you've never done before. This is made with a formula I've never used in this highly elaborate form. Never mind how pretty the colors are-- I can almost always do pretty colors-- reverse green and you get this gorgeous purple, reverse brown and an incredible Isis blue results. There, you have all my secrets now.
The joy of this was not in the colors but the ribs that float and the bits of asymmetry that are subtly occurring. I must admit, I also loved playing around with it in PhotoShop to tart it up a bit. I'll never be a purist.
I did better in my next one. A dear friend calls this purple broccoli with diamonds. I think he got it dead on right. Thank you, Jo.
A fractal from a few weeks back. A good one. One of the few truly inventive fractals I've done in awhile. I treat it like a 3d landscape. I'm beginning to be sick of Fractals as abstracts. They don't feel like abstracts when you are doing them. And, to these deludable eyes they don't look like them after they're done either.
Deja Vue a la Peter Max
Deja-Vue all over again. I guess everyone at one time or another does a Hippy Dippy Fractal-- this is, um, not my only one by a long shot but my latest. An Homage to Peter Max.
By the way this is the Pseudo imitation Wavy Gravy album cover art I mentioned in the last thread-- it's obviously not the second post-- I wanted to get it over with quicker than that. [smile] I don't exactly dislike it, it's just occupying the lamentable place of red-headed stepchild at the moment.
My snooty nose-in-the-air attitude about Fractals as High Art-- Medium to Well-Done Art???-- thinks that hippy-dippy coloring and busy drugged-up light show detail makes a poor white-trash fractal. In my heart I know this is bullshit. I just wish there were less examples out there supporting my prejudices.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
My Promise to My Angel
Well, this was my promise to my angel and you don't rat on those. I will post in my blog at the very least every other day. It can be quotes I find interesting, it can be musings, it can be-- pause for laughter-- wisdom.
Not so much of that coming down the pike lately.
But, he said, and I believe him, since I am isolated enough to be an anchorite it would be a waste of celestial time and effort not to act like one. My praying is -- I'm afraid-- rather lame lately-- I can at least practise some Lectio Divina.
And-- no more than 30% max of whining. Which is all I really want to do.
My teeth are crumbling-- bad choices in dealing with serious dry mouth earlier in my condition-- there's the whining for today-- oh, not quite, I have allergies to the usual novcaines, all of them, and can't take them without major panic attacks and elevated heart beats. In effect, they turn into cocaine in my system, mostly on my right side, the left side can tolerate the drug better. My choice this week was whether to see my doctor for rectal bleeding [probably not pre-cancerous] or my dentist for prospective abcesses. I decided to make an appointment with my lawyer instead.
I'm sorry that my invisible and probably imaginary readers are going to now dwindle to nothing, but this was originally meant as a religious exercise to keep me alive, so my apologies for boring you and grossing you out but -- there it is.
I almost gave up fractalling yesterday because I went to some galleries.Not only that but one half of Fracternity is PrairieGirl and her photography is so stunning I want to cry.
I mean, in view of these utter beauties that push the envelope, does the world really require more of my lame fractals? I doubt it. But I also doubt my own ability to judge my recent work. It isn't up to my standard but it isn't total crap yet either-- I hope. I'm including a couple of examples after this thread to give you a chance to judge. The second one even goes into Wavy Gravy territory which I consider beyond the pale-- well, you know, we all go beyond the pale once in awhile, don't we?
The quote for the day comes from A Thousand Paths to Happiness. I, of course managed to pick one that is not all that happy. We live where we are, not where we wish to be.
"The more you have in this life, the greater your chances of losing something."
They don't attribute the quote. I would like to add this cheery touch-- it is very very difficult, if not impossible, to reach the point where there is really nothing left to lose. It would seem as if the Divine Housekeepers have microscopic vision for that one thing left you had forgotten you had and now-- have no longer. Happy yet??
Here's another: " Happiness isn't won-- it's deserved."
Crap! Happiness is deserved just as often as Grace. We are not talking about a contest or a Win/Loss situation. Happiness is perceived. It is a kind of art involving surrender and trust to be able to perceive it because it can come in such small traces, but unlike almost anything else in this world except Love-- Happiness does not need quantity to be valued. It needs only existence and a keen appreciative perception.
You don't win it or earn it. You can, however, create it, almost out of nothing. You never get it just sitting around waiting to be blessed with it.
No, wait a minute, you do, but happiness received that way is useless unless you can reach out and see it and accept it. Your participation, which need not be heroic or monumental, is, however, necessary. It's kinda like Divine forgiveness. You've got it, but if you don't know you have it, and will always have it, what good is it?
I have had some happiness today. It was sweet like the trace of sugar in a bitter herb, or the swiftly fading scent of lilacs.
Happiness does not last, it was not meant to, all of its meaning is wrapped up in existence itself. The present moment is all it has.
All any of us have.