Saturday, August 30, 2008

Black Mission Fig Saturday

Stuffed with Danish blue cheese

The secret of magic is that the world is made of words

"... you always have the power to create heaven or hell through the words you choose, Pisces, but right now is a potential turning point when you could form good habits."

Timely advice, perhaps, from Rob Brezsny's weekly pearls of wisdom.

Sarah Palin: Trojan Horse in an Up-Do

Mark my words.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Questions we don't really want answers to...

Today, someone from Eugene, Oregon, happened upon this here blog by Googling the following text (without quotes): f***ing my 73 year old mother in law

I am grateful that my page was only the 25th result returned: a post entitled "73-Year-Old HIV+ Texas Lay Chaplain Arrested for Needle Exchanges."

No idea....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crankypants, Heal Thyself

I'm pretty sure I clipped this Cathy Guisewite cartoon from the newspaper around 1990 or 1991. It's apparent I've learned a lot since then, right? Right?? [Cue cartoon bubble above my head reading "sigh..."]
Cathy: And would you mind not throwing newspapers all over my nice clean floor??!

Irving: Hey, sorry! I'll just go home!

C: No... I don't want you to go.

I: Cathy, you've been snapping at me for two hours. You must not want me here.

C: No... you've been great. I just feel fat and grouchy and disgusted with myself.

I: Why are you taking it out on me?

C: The person I'm really sick of in this relationship is the one I can't break up with.

[dedicated to Salty Miss Jill]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Upside of Anger?

Is there one?

We're supposed to allow ourselves to "feel our emotions" and accept them, recognize them, give them free rein to a degree. At least that's what we're told in the post-psychologized world where the jargon of therapy is bandied about as if we really know what we're talking about when we throw around terms like "codependent" and "projection."

My anger worries me sometimes. It's not the kind of anger that erupts in physical abuse, picking fistfights, smashing glassware, punching holes in walls, or anything like that. It's more of a slow burn that lashes out with sarcastic, blunt, passive-aggressive comments toward those around me. I don't like it -- and like any dysfunctional abuser, I'm ultimately sorry for my misanthropic moments, but I feel somehow powerless to stop them when I get into the red zone.

I'm supremely impatient, and I also allow myself to find fault with and become annoyed at the neurotic habits of others (nevermind that we all have such habits).

My impatience and my blunt, cutting remarks sometimes get me in trouble, and they ultimately aren't indicative of the kind of person I want to be. I've been trying to cultivate a mind of "lovingkindness" for several years now, and in theory I understand and aspire to the concept of human imperfection (even -- or especially -- my own). But all learning about this goes out the window when something sets me off.

It makes me sad, this impatience of mine. I don't want to cut people down, belittle them, hurt them. And the truth is, I've gotten better; sometimes I think that's all I can aspire to: gradual improvement.

But nights like tonight when I realize that I was sitting at work, getting extremely irritated and ready to spit fire at the next person to approach me... these are the moments when I feel I haven't progressed at all. I'm still some petulant, childlike creature who is angry at unknown enemies, ready to slam doors, stomp feet, and give terse, one-word answers to anyone who dares question me.

And I want to just say, "Try, Joe, please TRY to be pleasant and happy and kind to others, because really, all's well in the world and everyone else is only doing their best and because life is short really, so why get irritated when this will all be over in the blink of an eye."

In the end, I wonder: how can someone so loving and sensitive be so damn nasty and mean sometimes?

I need to do more work on this -- possibly daily. I have the following quote from the Dalai Lama posted on the wall of my office; I think I want to meditate on it a little more often, and maybe search for a few other similar teachings to think about as well:
Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own. ...When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Irony (or Atropos)

This weekend, four fortyish, single, hiv-positive men will pile into a car in Northern California and drive to the memorial -- the celebration of life -- for a [probably] hiv-negative man whose life was cut unexpectedly, shockingly short at the age of 37.

Things happen.