Monday, May 26, 2014

My Family of Soldiers

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  As an English major I probably ought to feel insulted, but I will disarm for the day and let some family pictures do arguably the more important portion of the talking.  Today, in addition to bring grateful to all the countless soldiers who give their all that we might enjoy freedom I'd like to spotlight my gratitude on a few within my family.  My mother joined the United States Army shortly after coming legally to the States from her native Mexico and my father joined shortly after their marriage.  My three older siblings, including the two below, were born army brats. My eldest sister, Crystal, was born in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Coral was born when my parents were stationed in Germany, and my brother was born here in Tucson, also under the banner of red, white, and blue.  I am the only born civilian of the four.

Growing up in these conditions, I learned very early the power and passion of patriotism and the fact that my mother came from poor conditions in another country added to the reverence I hold for the United States.  Patriotism permeated everything growing up, from army games I played with my brother to the way my mother taught me to fold clothes and clean, to the adoration we had for this land of unparalleled freedom.   Those formative years gave me an added appreciation when Coral and Joe entered basic training, not out of physical necessity but from heartfelt conviction, patriotism, and national passion.  It lent me greater joy and pleasure when my cousins joined the Marines and were among the first to enter the war against terrorism in armed and life threatening earnest. By the time another cousin entered the Air Force I was way ahead of him on knowing what would befall in basic training and relished his letters describing the horrors of facing the gas chamber. 

My dear friends, I very nearly joined your ranks when I came of age and it took a great deal of thought and love for my family to recognize that my place was not as an actual soldier defending her homeland.  It was a difficult decision to make and part of me grieves that I will never take on the intense exertion of basic training, but I recognize that for my journey in life, it was not the appropriate course.  However for all that my heart is with you, my fellow soldiers, if I may call you that, in gratitude for protecting the God blesséd nation and sacred soil I adore so much.  I may not carry the insignia of the Army National Guard on my sleeve but I continually wear it in my soul.  MY gratitude to you, my brethren and sisters in arms and thank you for making this the home of the free because of the brave.  In God we trust.    

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Final Challenge to My Dear Atheists

Well, it seems to have been an interesting argument and twist in debate on this my blog.  I have given my dear atheist readers chances to ponder and reflect on those things that science cannot at this time specifically resolve or comprehend.  Indeed, there is much science fails to answer, which any wise scholar understands.  Human knowledge is a bare pittance in comparison to the great, unchartered universe of truth before us.
 
My final challenge shall be brief and to the point and it for once does not have specifically to do with me.  Answer me this, my dear friends.  How is it that a 33 year old man from a bare corner of the known world in an age before internet, who never held man cherished award or honor could have so powerfully changed the world?  How is it that this oft penniless carpenter, bare of worldly position or political power could have gained such trust and faith in the hearts of His hearers that long after His death disciples would rather be torn apart until death without any kind of sedative or pain killer in a coliseum filled with hungry lions rather than deny His divinity?  What are the odds that this lowly Jew could give sermons that would flood the world's literature, thought, art, architecture, and sociology until toddlers barely able to speak could easily recognize source of the exhortation to "love your enemies"?  How could it be that over two thousand years from His birth people all over the world speak His name in reverence and love?  How is it that this man whose travels took Him hardly over a stone's cast from His birthplace is known, revered, cherished, worshiped and adored in virtually every nook and cranny of the occupied globe?  Explain that to me in scientific terms.  You may argue that people are foolish.  True.  People are foolish, but hardly so foolish as that.   
 
Often passionate atheists are those who were once devout followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And it generally isn't that through much study and pondering they come at long last to tearfully recognize that their faith has been misplaced in a graven image.  It is almost always that something offended them, either that a prayer was not answered in a manner they liked, they failed to attain the position in church hierarchy they thought they deserved, or that someone higher in the chain of command made a decision with which they disagreed.  I have had, in the darkest moments of my life, a woman with authority over me in the church treat me with such heartless contempt that had I not had so passionate a testimony I would have walked out of the church and never returned.  But the existence of imperfect people does not mean that the underlying doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ is wrong.  A prayer that doesn't receive the answer we think may simply mean that the Lord's way is a bit higher than our own mortal understanding.  But our pride and desire for our own way hardly disproves the existence of God.  It merely proves His mercy in giving us a mortal experience in which to learn.

Explain This Scientifically

My gentle reader of course must comprehend that my mind has continually been on the topic of turning the intellectual tables in the sense that the though scientists, atheists, and the like tend to spew forth accusations of folly and weakness against theists, demanding that theists prove the existence of God, I would like to make a point and ask those same atheists to explain the existence of spirituality. 
 
My previous post recounted an experience I had in knowing what was transpiring in a distant land without communication with that area and such impressions proving correct.  Such was a type of impression that presented itself in real time as it were, but not all spiritual impressions are of that kind.  Often they require time, patience and a great deal of what atheists most scoff - faith.  My dear atheist reader will please explain another situation to me without the use of spirituality or of God.  Many years ago a woman of my acquaintance was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Many people tried to force me to stay away from her since they were quite convinced based upon her actions that she would never return to God or a life of moral decency and they assumed her habits would corrupt mine.  I could not believe them and in many instances found myself forced to go behind their backs to talk with this woman, risking their anger and punishment if discovered.  It seemed to them the perfect order of logic that she was quite lost and could not be reclaimed.  I knew within myself in a way I couldn't explain save that my soul was certain that she was not lost.  Twenty five years after her excommunication and after my having to sorely battle against those around me who refused or could not see with an eye of faith, she was rebaptized and I am happy to say continues in the path toward Christian discipleship.
 
Faith is something in this world that even many God fearing disciples tend to lack when it reaches past their comfort zone or their agendas and yet it is obviously real.  My question to you is, how could a young girl know perfectly, calmly, patiently, and faithfully that this woman could turn her life around many years before the fact?  Logical, intelligent adults who held to what they could see with their physical eyes missed what seemed to a child obvious truth.  How could faith prevail though all the logical points of reason, statistics, science and probability towered staggeringly against it?  I leave that to my dear atheists to decide. 

An Invitation to Atheists

We Theists generally and Christians specifically tend to feel ourselves under fire in recent years by a continual barrage, usually disrespectful and brash, by those who would loudly proclaim the nonexistence of God that they might be clearly heard by men and women in hopes of sounding wise, learned, powerful and strong.  As it is a clear command within Christian doctrine to prove meek and lowly one doesn't often hear the brash, grating tones of an argumentative, defiant, and obnoxious answer coming from those disciples and followers of God.  However, any clear thinker can easily see that it is the quiet person who has self mastery enough to hold his tongue who proves more heroic than those who engage in insulting, jeering mockery.
 
But enough of that.  That isn't why I invited you to this blog post and I hope we can mutually enlighten each other.  I bring that point to the foreground in order to place the foundation of my invitation.  Theists are often expected to defend their faith in the face of cold, unfeeling scientific sophistry, but I would like to turn the tables for a moment today and ask atheists to explain something to me instead.  I have often, as have many others I know, been able to feel the specific mood of someone who just walked into the room without turning to see their face and without their speaking a word.  I know two women who have such a strong spiritual relationship that they can transmit ideas and feelings to each other without speaking and at a distance of more than 100 miles. But as one might like to dismiss these as dishonest challenges or mere fancies, let me throw you one that proves somewhat more distinct in nature.
 
Some years ago I was praying and felt overwhelmed by the impression that someone in my mother's hometown was dead or dying and I called my mother in a panic telling her she had to travel to this town.  Turicachi, Mexico has very few phones and we only hear about the news from that region after a death transpires; we are not privy to knowledge of how our relatives and friends are doing.  My mother thought me mistaken and disregarded my urge to immediately visit Turicachi.  I continued my desperate nagging for months and she continually felt she had other things here in Arizona that claimed her attention too much to go to Mexico.  Finally one day we received a phone call.  Her very dear friend Irma, who I barely knew, had just passed away.  She had been battling cancer for six months. 
 
Explain that to me, my friends.  Explain how I could have known such a thing without internet, without telephone, or other form of communication.  And explain it scientifically, without reaching for the spiritual or the divine.  I would venture that one cannot do so.  I feel that perhaps the only thing a person can say to that is to admit that we do not know all the intricacies of science just yet.  Exactly.  Which is why we cannot rule out conclusively the existence of God.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Passionate Masculinity

I confess I don't watch television at all and only find myself on the internet when I have a specific task at hand so I do not see or hear much from the media firsthand about society's general opinion of masculinity.  Nevertheless, I know it has been a trend and hear other speak vehemently of men in a manner that I cannot help disliking intensely.  Men have long been treated as unintelligent brutes who are useless or worse than so.  I have heard them described as being nothing but liars, adulterers, and many woman have sought for ways to have and rear children without having a father in their child's lives.  The role of the father in general has been in many ways demolished in our society and the importance of strong male role models almost annihilated.  One thing that I find particularly disturbing is the fact that women becoming addicted to pornography is very much on the rise.
 
And I couldn't disagree with this more.
 
As a young child I had some qualities and opinions that seemed to me absolutes and though I have heard such ideas undervalued I hold to them still.  One of them is the fact, the complete and certain knowledge that men are extraordinary beings with endless potential and worth beyond mortal comprehension.  I refuse to believe anything else.  And yes, I have known my share of liars, cheaters, and the like.  I cannot believe that any human being can be so easily labeled.  We are all works in progress, truly, and every human being has the ability to improve.  I have counseled with countless men in their efforts to become better people and I honestly believe in every single one of them.   One man I spent quite some time teaching and in whom I deeply believed had been with over 200 women, some of them married, some of them single.  No one is exempt from becoming better or from reaching outward and upward toward their heavenly reward.  And there is something quite extraordinary and beautiful about masculinity. 
 
Here's how I see it, or feel it, rather.  I can see, feel, and understand that men are exquisite beings filled with potential and light, sons of God and powerful beyond their own present comprehensions.  There is room and ability for eternal growth, inner fire, righteous passion and overwhelming personal strength in each and every man.  I know perfectly that men are beloved, glorious, amazing people and that God wants to encourage each and every one of them.  I have often met with men who have been surprised at the fact that I can treat their past or present misdeeds with so little judgment and carry so much hope for their future joy and righteous glory but that is because I can see and understand that a man is more than the mistakes he makes.  Society may disagree with me, other women may disagree with me, but as Gandhi said, "if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."  Brethren, my respect and honor for who you are, all you are, and what you can be.  I would encourage every last one of you to spend some time focusing inward on the God given power, passion and strength that is already within you.  

I Love Being a Woman

A few days ago I encountered a man who delighted in being as feminine as possible.  I saw him on a dance floor swinging his hips to belly dancing music and it seemed to me quite obvious from his manner, bearing, attitude and the like that he, if I might come to an educated guess, was homosexual.  I eventually left the dance floor in order to take care of my children with a loving prayer of goodwill for this cheerful soul but it has brought me to much thought regarding one of my more passionate issues, that is, of gender role.

I should begin with the confession that as a child I grew up in close quarters with an older brother, had primarily male cousins my age and found myself raised by two soldiers for a mother and father.  I was in many ways raised to be quite masculine and femininity was something I had to learn to some degree later in life.  So I comprehend the opposite side of the coin quite a bit.  Nevertheless, as I have learned, thought, experienced and matured I have found a great deal of joy in womanhood and also have found a fantastic amount of respect and admiration for men who delight in being men.  As I have been much given to meditation and prayer, ever looking inward throughout my life and particularly in later years I have found that when I stopped trying to fight against feminine traits and embraced them more fully my joy in life and in self expanded to an extraordinary degree.  It has expanded my horizons tremendously and it seems that femininity is a well of joy, passion, beauty, innocence, bliss and ecstasy that knows no bounds through mortality or eternity.  I can well perceive that the opposite, that is, masculinity, proves much the same to those sons of God who embrace their everlasting identities.

In this society of confused gender roles where women are often expected to compete in the workplace and men are increasingly taught to shun such natural virtues as protectiveness, patriarchal authority, personal strength and the like I can't help but take extreme delight in pure, intense, concentrated passion some of us still have for who we are and who God made us.  I can't help adoring the natural balance and complimentary nature between man and woman, and certainly stand in awe of the beauty of a traditional heterosexual relationship.   

Learning With Your Body

Some years ago when I found myself falling into the abyss of post traumatic stress I lost the ability to read, write, and generally learn in the manner I had loved to learn previously.  It had been my ambition to become a university professor, I had studied voraciously after I received my bachelors, and here I was unable to learn, my mind broken and distressed, and at a loss of how to follow my constant yearning for progression.
 
Gratefully I had begun exercising at the gym shortly before the condition hit and in the months and years that followed God taught me a new way of learning; He taught me to learn not with my mind but my body.  The idea of learning wisdom, gaining strength of mind, and attaining extraordinary skills with my body had never occurred to me before.  Although I had enjoyed dance, volleyball, and hiking before physical exercise had never much appealed in a general sense.  I learned mental stability through yoga, emotional strength through weight training, spiritual power through dance, and formed a mind/body connection that I never had conceived existed.  I added to this an extremely healthful diet and kept my body totally free from impurities as far as circumstances permitted me and the mental and physical clarity that comes through excellent nutrition proves absolutely unparalleled - far more powerful than all the university level bookish study on earth. 
 
I am grateful to God that the trials He knew would prove beneficial to me also included a great deal of physical and psychological strain and trauma.  It taught me, once again with my body as a focal point, who I was, the identity of a daughter of God, the exquisite gift that our physical bodies is, the power of femininity and the power of a healthy, romantic, heterosexual relationship.  Sometimes when difficulties arise we believe that there can be no silver lining - after all, I lost what I treasured beyond expression in losing my ability to read and write.  Nevertheless, God always has a plan for our betterment and with every trial and hardship He renders comes an expanded horizon and viewpoint beyond anything we might have considered erstwhile.
 

Swimsuit Season!

Ah, my friends, it's summertime and I can't wait to hit the local pool with my kids!  School releases them tomorrow and I am thinking we will have a sweet little swimming session the following day!  As I have gone from store to store looking for a new swimsuit I have come to reflect a great deal on a very sad social reality, which is that clothes generally and swimwear particularly seem to rapidly lose any restraint, decency, modesty and frankly good sense.  I am becoming more and more grateful that according to the moral standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints my daughter and I will not wear the degrading bikini type swimsuits that unfortunately abound. 

Stuffy?  Yeah, I probably sound pretty dull and completely unable to have good time.  What difference does modesty make, especially in the summertime?  Let me level with you completely.  In these sweltering Arizona summer months it would be very easy for me to strip down to a scanty bikini rather than don a one piece and truthfully I would probably look better in one as well.  But there is a thing called self respect that I would have to take off of my person along with the extra clothing and that isn't a sacrifice I am willing to make.  And as to levels of having fun?  Oh, I assure you I can have just as much fun as any well put together human being can stand in modest attire.  Fun depends on a state of mind, a happiness of heart and a touch of wild, outgoing creativity.  I have often heard women say that the only reason someone would refrain from wearing scanty clothes is if they don't have a beach body.  I am a gym rat all year round and honestly, I generally have trouble getting rid of random drooling men when I get into a modest swimsuit.  Wearing a bikini would cause more annoying glances, winks, nods and men tripping over their tongues than I would want to handle.

Our bodies are temples, beautiful and deserving of respect from everyone but first and foremost from ourselves.  In spite of what media and often even guys will tell you, the most attractive thing about a woman is not her willingness to flaunt her body.  Yeah, it may catch a person's attention for a moment, but those women who really get men wanting a real, honest, true, lasting relationship are those who know who they are, who are confident in who they are, and who value their physiques enough to make a guy work for seeing it rather than give it to every passerby on the street.  Just sayin'.   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teaching Your Kids This Summer

I am so happy when school lets out for the summer because that means I actually have time to teach  my kids something!  Yes, I know they do learn in school and that is important as well but during the summertime they meet with a much stricter and more loving teacher.  Her name is Mommy.  I think most kids generally forget much of what they learned during the school year by the time August rolls around and I try to avoid that by making learning an exciting adventure all summer long!

Here are some ideas of what we will be doing this summer to shake off the boredom and have some intense educational fun.  Almost as soon as school lets out we will be having a party at our house, and inviting the children's cousin, friends and neighbors for an Ancient Egyptian play date, including foods from Ancient Egypt, inexpensive crafts that I am researching on the internet now such as making amulets, and turning one or two of the kids into "mummies".  In this way we learn about how mummies are made, the kids learn to write their names in hieroglyphics, they get to experience a touch of Egyptian cuisine, dress up as Egyptians and have fun with their friends.  We are also planning a 19th century (My daughter's idea and I couldn't resist) and a Greek Mythology play date.  Each one will require research, work, labor, and eventually a great deal of learning fun! I am told I have to host the 19th century play date on a Saturday because so many adults who work during the week would like to attend.

Those in Tucson may also join up with us in visiting Flandreau Planetarium at some point during the summer and those outside Tucson can of course research similar places in their respective areas.  My kids also always participate in the Summer Reading Program at the library, which I believe is a nationwide program.  Some of our favorite books that promote learning are the "You Wouldn't Want to Be" series, which uses cartoons and humor to teach things such as Ancient Greece, Pompeii, American History, and Mount Everest.  My kids adore them and they are some of the best educational tools I've ever seen.  Another of our favorite authors is Marcia Williams, who has published several comic style books of Shakespearean plays, Dickens novels, and Greek drama.  My goal this summer is to read all the Williams' comics of Shakespearean plays and Dickens novels to my kids.  I also tend to teach them a little science and math so that when they reach higher math in their next grade levels it will not be totally foreign to them. 

So what are you going to DO with your kids this summer?  Hit the ground running and get them in gear to rock out their next school year.

Why Doesn't He Just Leave Here?

This morning I was listening to a song by Michael McLean entitled "Not My Will" and which I would certainly recommend to anyone interested in the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.  The song is something of an allegory regarding the Atonement of the Savior and several people, including an unnamed prophet sing in various parts throughout it.  The prophet brings a poignant question to the table as he watches Jesus suffer for our sins.  He says "Why doesn't He just leave here?...Could we be truly worth such grief and pain?"

We read in the New Testament two interesting events that give us insight to the Savior's feelings about what He was about to endure.  The first is that He asked to be released from this assignment if His Father was willing.  He would do it, but He did look for another way, if there was one.  Secondly, an angel came and strengthened Him immediately before His suffering in Gethsemane.  One may argue various things about this strengthening and what it was but I can only imagine that it was giving the Savior a chance to see all those who He was about to rescue and reminding Him how much He loved each one of us.  I do not believe that the Savior could have had the voluntary will to wrought the Atonement only out of obedience to the Father, though He loved the Father so eternally and perfectly.  I think at those moments when He was in the most pain, the most ready to quit, the most exhausted He remembered that our spiritual lives rested on His shoulders and He wanted more than anything to be with us in heaven.  Don't ask how I know that, but suffice it to say you might review my former post about Tasting Gethsemane to gain some idea of how I do.  But I must assume it was His love for and desire to aid us and be with us that ultimately wouldn't let Him quit.  Surely He loved the Father and wanted to do His will in all things and that certainly carried Him through much of the ordeal, but I believe that when He felt He could go no further, when His body had been blown to pieces as it were, when He had endured mockery and scorn, physical exhaustion and personal betrayal, possibly not altogether sure how much more there was to endure, He remembered us and knew that as long as He was in existence at all regardless of His condition, He could not and would not fail us. 

"Why doesn't He just leave here?...Could we be truly worth such grief and pain?"  Because He loves you.  Yes, you are, in His eyes, worth all the grief and pain.  Yes, you are worth the anguish, you are worth the blood from every pore, you are worth the endurance, the mockery, the betrayal, the crucifixion and the death.  You are worth it to Him. 

Tasting Gethsemane

Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said that in order to gain an in depth understanding and testimony of the Savior, as he has, one must experience just a microscopic touch of what the Savior experienced.  Truly we cannot be expected to experience all of it to the same magnitude as the Savior Jesus Christ, but in order to gain a staggering testimony like the one he has, we must experience just a small taste of the anguish of Gethsemane.  Without discussing my own history, please allow me to share some thoughts on what the Savior likely experienced in the heat of His passion.

Firstly, I often hear people describe the Savior at that time as being in a weakened state because of His sufferings, and I have heard that His loving compassion is most truly made manifest in His concern in healing the soldier's ear in the midst of His own pain.  While I admit that this is true, I think we also need to remember that at this time the Savior was the strongest He had likely ever been in many ways.  He knew what was coming, He knew what He had to do and like an athlete preparing for a championship game, He was ready to hit the ground running, though He had no exact idea of how painful it would be.  He knew it would require everything from Him and He had agreed to that idea.  He also knew why He was doing it, and when the time came His focus was so intense, His spirit so on fire and determination so high that while He certainly felt extreme pain, He also was ready and willing to see it through to the end.  

We read that He sweat great drops of blood from every pore.  I don't know how you imagine that, but I believe it was, on a microscopic level, brought about by sheer pressure and pain.  Like a volcano erupting from the pressure of the magma beneath it, His pain, His anguish, and the weight of all our sins on His shoulders was enough to ravage His physical body and cause the vessels to literally explode. On a microscopic level, I cannot imagine it was a soft, gentle release of blood but a shattering, cell blowing violence of pure stress, though on the outside of the body I imagine it looked and felt similar to sweat. 

I may or may not continue my thoughts regarding the Lord's Atonement in subsequent posts, but I hope we always seek to recall and retain in remembrance His sacrifice for each and every one of us.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Peace. Be Still



I strain to read the faded words
That splash across his face.
A book of truth unhinderéd
By glory or disgrace

Betoken life of wisdom’s strength
That others failed to see
Because they do not understand
The truth that sets them free.

The darkened world walks blindly on
Ignoring heaven’s light
And spurning him who strives for peace
And seeking greater sight.

Perhaps instead of chiding him
Who often we deride
It might behoove to gaze into
The joy that speaks inside.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Levels of the Mind



*This  post is extremely dated.  I wrote it about three years ago if not a bit before but it treats on post traumatic stress and is one of the most comprehensive texts I've ever penned on the subject of how compound trauma appears and how one may heal it level by level without medication.  This is essentially my story in a technical view. 

This is going to become rather technical and though it often takes center stage in my mind I do not speak of it much at all.  This is the first time I have attempted to place this on the page and I would forewarn those who have not interest in psychology to skip this post entirely and do something with their time which is of more interest to them.

Surely a basic understanding of the human mind brings us to the idea that the mind works on several different levels.  There is the basic conscious and subconscious and the like but I have had the wonderful opportunity to slowly go through compound trauma and slowly leave it level by psychological level without drugs to confuse my perceptions and have thus gained something of greater insight into how the mind can become damaged and also how it can mend itself. 

I have been generally more interested in how to mend damage done to the human mind rather than dwell on the things which can harm it, but in order to understand the healing of the mind one must understand a basic idea of the damage in this particular case.  I will therefore brief you on what happened to my psyche during the slow onset of post traumatic stress as it rather mirrors the healing process.

The most important part to comprehend in this case is that this compound trauma took years to fully mature into what it became and eventually cause me to lose my memory and certain types of physical, mental, and emotional perceptions.  It also took a form which led me through a downhill path in which when I was certain my mind and body could stand no more except it be to death and even after I had started having panic induced seizures something else would happen which would take me to an even deeper level of trauma.  I do not recall how many of these downhill steps I took but I recall certain symptoms which included an inability to feel any kind of emotion save compassion, a sense of haziness which stayed with me constantly, a sense of exhaustion and brittleness in the skin and the feeling that pain like lightening seeped out of each pore.  These symptoms made up my whole life for an extended period of time.  Once I left the downward path of trauma the kind friend of amnesia set in.

Amnesia proves highly important in comprehending how trauma can heal.  Compound trauma also heals in stages, just as it accumulates.  It is the upward psychological healing that interests me at present and which drives me to write this post.  Imagine one is climbing a very massive and steep staircase.  Each step represents a level of trauma and when one reaches a step a part of the amnesia is lifted and the trauma in various forms enters back into the person's consciousness.  The mind is an extraordinary tool and master of healing itself because it releases only as much memory as the person can handle and overcome at one time.  This process of releasing is a tricky and sometimes messy one.  Often the person will experience powerful feelings of hysteria, bipolar extremities, and a sense of helplessness.  I have sometimes experienced seizure like symptoms in these moments, which felt much like a panic induced seizure but in reverse with my feeling better and lighter afterward rather than sicker and darker.  Not long ago I rose another psychological step and the inside of my chest and body felt deathly cold while the outer layer of body was warm, as though my mind and bowels were going into a slight case of shock. 

The person in attempting to find a way to deal with the released memories or feelings will naturally gravitate toward something that soothes that particular type of pain.  I recall at one point walking into the gym feeling entirely worn from one such step up and feeling a need to take a yoga class though in my conscious thought I did not pinpoint why.  I spent the next several months doing yoga three hours a week in class and practice besides and completely foregoing the rest of my workout regimen.  As well as yoga worked for that level of trauma however, it would not have been sufficient for the levels before it and not quite right to handle the levels that followed.

While on that psychological upward step one has the psychological necessity of working through that piece of trauma.  It carries its ups and downs and once that level of psychological upheaval has been mastered, one comes to a wall.  It is the wall which is leads to the next step upwards.  If the person does not give up and continues to try to master his or her pain eventually they will be able to rise over that wall onto the next platform.  With each new step or platform the trauma diminishes and the memory slowly restores itself. 

It proves a slower process than anyone would likely wish but there is always a bright side to everything.  Besides the obvious healing power of the situation it surely expands a person's experiences and skills, since each level is different and must be handled differently.  I believe the previous level I just left responded best to writing.  I have reason to believe that the level I just reached may perhaps respond well to running, which until tonight I have never been able to do.  That being said, should you find me comparatively remiss on this blog in the upcoming months, look for me on a treadmill.  I'll be burning trauma and calories.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Open Space and the Purposes of Love



*I wrote this a few years ago but feel to publish it now.  This is not a definite shift from my typical writing to a new way of speaking or thinking; rather it is a vacation into some of my thoughts from the past. 

“A book is not what the writer puts into it but what the reader gets out of it.”
William Golding


Nothing we do matters then, at least not in the manner we intend.  One may attempt with all strength and activity to bring about change in this world, in society and better the lives of others but surely cannot achieve it by the labors of one’s own mind and acts.  What purpose then do our daily labors serve?  If formal educators cannot make us wise, why do we find ourselves in cold, lifeless lecture halls taking notes about what others have thought and said in times and seasons past, treating them therefore as truth, whatever that may be, and struggle sometimes vainly to guess the answer a certain pedagogue had in mind when a test came into existence?  What purpose does the knowledge of an educator serve then if one’s labors are strictly arbitrary and unaligned with the thoughts and intents of those in near proximity?   

What are we then but flutterers in space, unattended by anything, untouched by the affectionate hand of another, perfectly lost and flitting about in an ever wayward existence?  Such proves life without direction and without form.  But considering man’s abhorrence of anarchy which form matters?  Why create manmade hierarchies to which we bow and cower in reverence if there is no authority in this world that can override the existence of our own personal thoughts?   Why seek to create beauty if surely it exists only in the eye of the beholder?  What good do we achieve by penning brilliant thoughts even to match those of Plato when it shall fall inevitably into masses of lifeless texts among so many others to be forgotten or praised but not understood?

I suppose the relationship between reader and literature therefore proves a more personal attachment than between the reader and writer therefore.  Who is the creator of the work but a slave to personal passions and prostitute to the goddess Success in striving to promote it?

Perhaps these things surely prove so when one fails to consider the aspect of love.  Love it seems, changes the relations between people, bringing them closer together and uniting the minds otherwise floating unrelated in an unresponsive universe.   It is the electronic binding between atoms, the glass through which we see the events around us as anything but arbitrary and the inevitable focal point around which everything else orbits, each in an ordered pattern.  It is what brings life and spheres together and creates within the human mind a purpose for being, not in an overly passionate, self centered desire that we so often term as “love” in our present confused society but the genuine affectionate feeling that straightens our course before us and gives us the purpose to step into its all consuming adventure.