Life happens…all the time aka – The “I”s of Life and Pride

Standard
20150813_175232-1

CoCo and Ivan

Pretty sure the universe conspires against me
Ripping out my heart from time to time
Insisting I stay behind those curbs
Deciding when I can and can’t
Everything

 

I know Pride is supposed to be the root of all sin, or at least that’s what the religious scholars and philosophers of old would have you to believe. But I struggle with that idea sometimes. Most of the time I just think that life happens to you no matter how good, bad, riotous, poor, indignant, humble… that you are. Here’s an example of a case of bad luck.

Ivan was a nine year old Dobie and was the greatest companion anyone could ever know. Less than 10 months ago I had to put my beloved best friend to permanent rest after a quick and sudden onset of an incurable k9  condition of the spine took away his ability to walk. He was a VERY big boy ( 90+ pounds) and I couldn’t carry him outside to go to the potty due to my own back issues. His prognosis was not good. The condition would eventually move up his spine and cause respitory problems and an eventual death. It could have taken days, weeks, months, or on the odd chance maybe years for him to deteriorate to that point. So I did what I thought was best at the time.

BUT, I always question my choice.

Not a day goes by that I don’t run though all of the what if’s and find innumerable ways to persecute myself. That day was one of the saddest and most painful moments of my life: having to chose death for something else because of my own inadequacies as a caregiver was not a choice I made lightly. Yet, guilt still abounds in my heart. Anyone who loves animals can surely understand the grief of losing that “one special friend” who for some mysterious reason binds your heart in ways that no other pet had. To be the one to choose to end that life only magnifies the depth of grief by way of immeasurable guilt. He trusted me. Did I let him down?

So your probably asking why I’m telling this story. Well,  here we go.

Life happens, again.

Suddenly (less than a year from losing my best friend) his little sister, my four year old Dobie girl Coco has developed some kind of urinary problem that seems to have no resolve after over a month of very expensive prescription treatments. She goes in for x-rays tomorrow and maybe I’ll know more about what is really wrong with her at that point. As for now, who knows. She’s been treated for a bacterial infection that was supposedly the cause of her incontinence issues. Apparently those two items are merely symptoms of something else that is going on and not the cause. Needless to say my concern borders on panic. I can’t help but wonder if I’m about to face another one of those gut wrenching decisions.

So this brings me back to pride. I can’t help but wonder. Am I being punished? Should I have asked strangers for help managing Ivan during what time he might have had left? Was it pride that kept me from seeing any other alternative? Is CoCo’s recent trouble a test of my resolve or a lesson about murder? How damn prideful would I have to be for the universe to punish another innocent creature as a means to try and reach into my subconscious?

I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve determined that true pride would be me viewing this situation from a self-centric position. Thinking that my actions someone steered the universe in some negative fashion toward another living thing seems to me a pretty darn ego driven thought process. Because, if that be the case; if the past decision I made has caused another innocent to suffer, well, then we are all guilty of indirectly harming each other. Worse yet, it would seem the whole universe is conspiring against you to put you in just the right place for **it to happen. None of that makes sense to me.

So I have to think that the value I put on my sin is measured not by my actions, but by my thoughts and how I view my world. Am I looking inward  from without? Or am I looking outward from within? Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be looking at all. Maybe the real lesson for **it is that life just happens: to the good; to the bad; and to us all.

**Update: 7/12/18: CoCo’s x-rays were clean – No stones – the problem is muscular or neurological, both of which can be treated with medication. Things are looking up for her.

 

Advertisements

From the Bottom UP

Standard

(Carlsbad Caverns-2018©)-Photo by KMcGee – All rights reserved.

Hell.. it’s that place where you think other people go when they do something bad. But is it really? Maybe hell is a place much closer than you think. Maybe we’re all looking out from inside there.

I’ve been comparing three of the major world religions as an attempt to find a beginning to my journey of self-improvement through poetry. Having always look outward, I knew that to turn my gaze inward I would need a formula or at least a guide. Religion, having in most cases the purpose of teaching one about the good and evil of the human condition, seemed a suitable framework to start my work.

Now, I confess that I’m a deeply “spiritual” person. I believe that with all the unknowns in the universe and beyond that humanity cannot and will never possess the complete knowledge of the material and immaterial worlds. There is without a doubt something much larger than we are capable of ever imagining and for that reason I’ve never subscribed to any specific organized religion. I might add that this is much to the dislike of my deeply Christian in-laws. But we love each other anyways and they hold onto the hope that I’m a Christian that just doesn’t know it yet. So they’re praying for me. (Wink)

I don’t take offense of/by/to others that do their spiritual practice with a predefined set of parameters and I do try very hard not to offend them. Most of the time I keep my thoughts to myself. In this case however, I can’t do that. Not if I’m going to explain the place from where my next series of poems is coming. So what I’m trying to say is feel free to bug out right now if your belief system makes you uncomfortable hearing someone’s outside opinion. I’m going to get into some stuff you probably don’t want to (or shouldn’t) hear.

This is how I decided to navigate my poetic exploration and it relies largely on my “spiritual formula” for growth. I’ll give a brief outline later in this exposition. So…Here we go!

It’s my personal opinion that the ultimate truth (known only at the beginning and being since then misunderstood; altered; retracted; misrepresented, etc.,) is the only guaranteed thing in this world that will remain unknown until death and possibly beyond. So how with clear conscious could I possibly choose a single pre-outlined path with wholehearted conviction. The best I can do is to do what seems right in my mind and have faith that my “God/Higher Power/Ultimate truth/Reality” knows my heart and understands my desire to get my crap together and get it right – if possible.

I set out to study at least three of the older recorded mainstream religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judeo/Christianity (as explained by Dante – although I did read the entire bible and a good part of the Talmud). And Yes, I’m also aware of the Pyramid texts and how they date around the time of the Vedic also, but I haven’t finished reading them and can’t speak to them at this moment. During my study, I realized that each ultimately represents a common series of themes and that they progress in a similar fashion. Realization (Awareness), Actualization (practice), and finally Reward/Punishment (Heaven & Hell). I’ve come to understand that Absorption, Union, Nirvana, Empyrean…Heaven… is a state reached only in the perfection of altering one’s own consciousness through awareness and the practice of mindfulness. To put it in Christian terms – we all fall short of the glory of God and are in need of salvation.

So now that I’ve found my starting point, I’m going to use Dante’s formula of a deliberate conscious progression though hell and purgatory with the hope that someday (be it during this lifetime or beyond) I’ll ultimately arrive at a state of paradise. Or quite possibly a mental institution. I’m joking of course.

However, during my reflection I also realize that following Dante alone is not enough. so I plan to employ the practice of restraining my really big Ego and tie it all together by trying to maintain an awareness that all of the subjects that I broach are capable of bringing harm to self or others. Especially if I am careless with my actions and words.

With all this said, this leads me to a place where I can finally begin my first series of poems. This series will be based on the knowledge that I’m currently living in a state of hell.

..not to make light of it, but this ought to be fun…or not

Anyway… If anyone is interested in following along I’ll be posting the poems that I feel don’t quite make the grade for the new chapbook. So stay tuned. I promise there’s more than all this babble to come. Finally – back to Poetry!

 

So What’s Next?

Standard

a continuation of yesterday’s discussion.

Well, I think it is about time to start addressing life’s issues though a new set of lenses and discard those old “New Clear” lenses that previously filtered my vision. So, I’m considering a new project since I’m no longer inspired by my previous works, nor my method of deriving inspiration.

Self PortraitThe project I’m considering is one that incorporates an inward search for purpose with poetry and photography. Now, I know I don’t have the market cornered on this. It’s not a new idea. I did my research and understand that, like everything else, this is nothing new under the sun. However, I’m trying very hard to embrace the process of growth by utilizing the medium that is my most accurate expression of self – poetry and vision. Although, poetry (or any written account of personal history) can quite often cause me to drag my old self along, kicking and screaming, by the hair. I know it has to be done.

I suppose you could consider this project my memoir of sorts. But not in a boring LET ME TELL YOU MY LIFE STORY form.  Honestly, my actual day-to-day life story has been fairly uninspiring at best. Yes, there has been trauma. Maybe even a little evil. So what. The world is filled with enough pathos, you don’t need to hear mine. Instead, I prefer to think of this project as a little something more to be added to my single page Legacy Letter. Something that explores a little deeper the ideas and beliefs I’ve presented already. While at the same time allowing me to argue with my interpretation of events without appearing to be a raving lunatic. Or so I hope.

I was reading the Vedas and discovered the philosophy of the four phases of life. YIKES! I’m supposed to be in the third phase by now, but find I’m starting over at the first. I have a lot of catching up to do. I have to reverse my own pathos and regain that wonder and awe that is so inherently ingrained in children — before the material world tears them down and apart. So back to phase one it is. Fortunately I can skip the second phase and that will give me the chance to regain much-needed time, since I’ve already raised my family and my home has long since been quiet.

It’s uncertain how long it will take to develop enough work to consider putting something together for publication. But that is my ultimate goal. Little known fact, I’ve been out of the income game for over a decade. Sometimes anxiety gets the best of me. I don’t like to talk about it. I used to be in mid-level management. But now, the thought of taking on a public job makes my heart race and my thoughts bolt toward every possible worst case scenario. It’s not that I’m frozen into stasis. I do function normally in society when necessary. But when possible I take the easy way out. That’s why I write poetry and the occasional blog post. It’s a substitute for companionship.

However, the wilderness calls LOUDLY to both me and my significant other. It’s our goal to get there before those final years are upon us. I need to start making money. I’m a realist. I know it’s not going to secretly fall from the sky. So I need to start getting serious about what I can do for work. Because, miracle aside, any outside help we have left strictly in the hands of “God” without any attempted manipulation or interference. AND so far “God” has been silent. It’s up to us.

To make our goal a reality and accumulate enough personal wealth to make a permanent retreat to the desert, well, I need to start pulling my weight.

So it’s time to get to work! Wish me luck!

 

Something is Coming

Standard

Life has this funny way of taking you down paths you never imagined you would follow. I find myself on one of these unexpected diversions.

For years I’ve written poetry that examines the many social, political, and environmental illnesses that plague our world. But I’ve spend very little time examining inward.  After all, we are a society of victims. We make quite a good habit of blaming one another for what we perceive as injustice. But I’ve come to realize that almost everyone suffers inequality in one form or another. We are not formed of the same cookie cutter and so the very existence of diversity within life itself is inherently filled with a vast array of unmanageable inequality. By focusing outward I cowardly avoided assigning any blame inward.

In an epiphanic revelation I now understood that this departure (or escape) from reality is not only unhealthy for society, it’s dang hard on me as an individual. I can’t fix society, but I can better myself. And so with hindsight firmly grasped in my hand, I began to examine my previous attempts at “correcting” the world through poetry. It didn’t take long to find a common thread. I did a lot of complaining yet took very little action. SMACK! Talk about a rude awakening. Especially when combined with further realization that my paralysis in action was caused by my now conscious understanding that I’m not qualified to pass judgement or sentence. How I came to that understanding is a broad topic of discussion.  We’ll leave it at..   I’m trying to be better.

For the past year I’ve exposed myself to a diversity of outside opinion on a multitude of subjects. This eventually lead me to study various philosophical and historical papers and even some religious texts predating the Judeo/Christian Era. And although I can’t claim to have a solid understanding of them, I can claim exposure to a new subjective truth.

During my reading I came across a passage (and forgive me because I have long forgotten where I read it) that said something to the effect that in the beginning there was only truth and not truth. It was the evolution of consciousnesses and morality that corrupted the pure and simple with the complexity of subjectivism. It was like a bomb going off in my head. THIS is our common failure. No one, past or present, can say that they view the world through a strict truth or not truth lens. I was beginning to understand what so many before me had been trying to say. The proverbial apple took on all new meaning.

We are  molded by our experience. Our minds, emotions, and rationalizations have been uniquely established by the very root of our self-awareness. This consciousness of the self and the need for self preservation that immediately follows undeniably molds and modifies every thought as it is filtered through the background of our experience. BOOM! Imagine the level of humility that overcame me as I became absorbed by this awakening to my new understanding of thyself.

Inevitably this sent me down another rabbit hole, and another and they culminated in a juvenile search for meaning within and without the self. I discovered Dr. Jordon Peterson and started to devour his lectures. Again, I only obtained a superficial understanding of his obvious brilliance, but it was enough to send me off in the right direction.

But more on that later…

Photograph by KMcGee – White Sands National Monument. April 2018

A Plea to End The Era of Self-Importance

Standard

how can you speak to me of acceptance /
while denying the flesh
between your legs /
as if you have it mastered /
this acceptance thing /
all bias removed with your lips /
replaced by a sword of justice /
forged of liquid and original sin /

you know little of the word /
acceptance is silence /
a mother whose soul gives forth /
and splits quietly /
while seeds of society take root /
and grow infertile trees /
coated by a resin too thick /

and unlike the jack pine /
their fire produces nothing useful /
(to the forest) /
an unnecessary distraction /
lest we all grow wild /
with anger and fury /

and when the expectation of
their yield blossoms full /
of hollow nut
and barren fruit /
the rest quietly await

the inevitable /
consumption
by another
useless fire /

tell me /
who then
remains

to hear
your

discourse

©KMcgee – 2018

so much to say – I guess it doesn’t matter – war seems inevitable – so frustrated – some days I think I ought to John Galt it – (sigh)

no brakes

Standard

there was a (space) inside rolled up like a kitten soft and fuzzy until it grew and clawed and gnashed its teeth a cheetah blades full of fury chasing innocence down to the bottom of a ravine where it lies limbs broken on ancient rock as it awaits decay kept from bleating by the birds of prey eyes dead fixed on tender flesh assured by tradition that time always on the side of death announces victory over the infirmed inevitably and innocence once as desired as truth vanishes with like similarity so that no matter whether routes turn left or right it will always be in the end no brakes given to those who flee the womb death oblique to wait with darkness