You know… I just want to be in love. And I don’t mean a relationship, unless that means a relationship with life, in which my heart is open and pure. I have many feelings. They run deep into my core. Sometimes they’re too much to bear and I close myself off from them. But all that happens is that I close myself off from life. I lose my true sense of self–that part of me that bursts for the world–that loves everyone and everything, and cried for how fast things go by. Today I feel such nostalgia. And they say love is not love until it’s passed. So I’m going to be in love today. And I hope you know I’m sorry. And I love you. And I wish to let you go, to let you be as you are. And nothing more.
In a way, you were right. I have been playing the victim. And though you said it with one too many scoops of condescension, I took it in and savored the sentiment. I have been playing the victim far too long. I have been giving my power away. And I no longer need to do that. For in the end, I am the sovereign ruler of my inner life. And I shall rule this kingdom with peace, gentleness, compassion, and creativity. Thank you, love. Thank you for showing me what I needed to see.
Ah what a mirror I’m constantly looking into.
What a fucking charmer I am. What a fucking fake.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of miles away from the physical place I call home. Longing for the people I left behind–for the people I’m always leaving behind.
Do I miss you or do I just long for what you represent?
The one I love has only distance for me. She pushes away from me as I push away from myself. And yet somehow I remain so desperately tethered to who I am–so unable to overcome my stupid fucking superiority complex, my awful feeling of constant loneliness, of disconnection–perhaps worst of all my anger towards myself and the world. I feel that it seeps out of me and pushes away everyone I want to be close to. It’s a real fucking turn off, I know.
Even now I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Central London, wondering how the fuck I am supposed to make it out of this void. It seems insurmountable, like a deep well with walls slick and smooth, lacking any sort of handhold.
I truly want to slip into despair and die. Let the Dark Night of the Soul take hold of me. And no it’s not because the one I love wants very little to do with me, but rather because I want very little to do with me.
Here is the terrible truth: I really don’t fucking like myself.
I can’t seem to lift a real pinky for another human being. Words are nice and fluffy but they mean very little in the end–which is ironic because I base my life around words–around communication.
Well here’s the truth. Right in front of you. And it’s not pretty in the least. It’s dark, and craggy like a gnarled tree rooted on its last legs.
I walk through a forest and all I want to do is sneak inside a snaky hollow and remain there in silence.
I seek out the womb, the cocoon, a true wall behind which to hide. For there, in the soggy dark, I might release what burdens me. I might come back into stillness. But how foolish? To think I can escape the echoes of distant laughter, of foot crunching fallen leaves, of children asking for mother, of planes landing and departing, even of the wind blowing through a grove.
I (arthritis aside) am like a crotchety old woman, soured by and sloughing off the world around her.
And Love… Love remains as well a distant song, heard by families, by lovers in hand, by dogs jogging the meadow.
And then, as one such family takes a seat on a nearby log for a photo, saying “cheeeeeeese” in monotonous unison, a thought strikes me:
That perhaps I have conceptualized Love as accessible only to those who find themselves in the midst of company.
That Love is a transaction of sorts, an exchange, from one person or being to another. Perhaps that is true, sure. But that alone cannot be the way. There must be something more to this conundrum.
And if there’s not, then God’s got to be a mean mother fucker, doesn’t He?
This is my thought, one that is by no means original, and even, on some level, comes adorned in awful redundancies and expositions and asides and ornate baggage that really just weigh the whole thing down in unnecessary trifles and frivolities. And that is this: that Love is something we can find within ourselves, alone in a forest, or in a freaking washing machine for that matter. So long as we understand this basic truth, perhaps there is hope yet for the individual, uncoupled, unattached, free, to find it burning in theirself.
As for me, the person from, for, and about whom this bit of blog has been made, perhaps there is hope too (and equal despair, to be sure) for salvation, for some sort of transcendence, or at the very least some good old fashioned acceptance and tolerance of self.
Since, as I’ve discovered, it’s not that there is something inherently wrong with me, that there is some way in which I am more or less human than anyone else, more or less suffering than anyone else, more or less of any such superficialities that we dwell in, superficial in the sense of surface appearance, in subjective traits, in qualities and manners distinguishable, discernible, or otherwise different from person to person, such as intelligence, physical beauty, fashion sense, height, weight, skin color, talents, blah blah blah, but rather that I belong to the single Universal essence which pervades and pulsates in all things, animate and inanimate, and it is from and to that essence I have arrived and I shall return, and maybe while I’m here, in this terribly liminal space, I shall rediscover what I already am, what I have always been a part of, but perhaps, in my foolishness, in my haste, in the endlessly spinning wheel of thought atop my cranium, I have forgotten, I have lost sight, I have chosen to believe in the stupid illusion of separation, in the false solidity of things, and it is from that choice, that shortsighted and most likely unconscious choice, that all this inescapable suffering, all these ridiculous manners of coping, defense strategies as they are, personality defects, flaws, and condemnable mannerisms, arise.
And therefore there is no puzzle to solve, no real need to constantly remain embroiled and absorbed, egoically I might add, in myself. That is the folly of human misery–but also that most of this boggy silt, sediment, and shit weighing us down, comes from lives past, from childhood (nonverbal stages most likely), from times not right here in front of us, nor for that matter are we to blame for any of this, for none of us made the conscious choice to take all this on, to be here.
And yet, the responsibility is ours to accept–the responsibility to uncover all that keeps us from Love, all that keeps us in darkness, all that separates us from ourselves and each other. If we can accept this basic truth–the truth of our creative capacities–then we might begin to unravel ourselves from the big, messy ball of sludge yarn we find ourselves entangled in. We might begin to live not as though we’re separate, nor as though we must yearn for someone’s hand to hold, someone’s lips to kiss, someone’s body to cuddle, nor for a fleeting hug, a rousing conversation, or a romantic stroll upon the bank of an emerald pond with our dearest sweetie (though all these things are quite nice, indeed), but as though it’s all right here within us, always accessible, always available–our birthright, our innate joy, a freedom (true freedom) that swells and surges independent of the physical, independent of ebbing and flowing circumstance.
And, yes, in the back of my mind, there is a gnawing voice that these nice fluffy words are grand and all, but that when I finish writing, when I emerge from the hollow of this tree (possibly a birchwood), I shall find myself once again walking hand in hand with my own wound, my self-absorption, my ego as it were, and all the things others (and myself) might glimpse and call god damned ugly.
No matter, the way out is in, is it not? So let me go inward and onward, and so, outward. For I’ve no other idea what to do, except also to share these thoughts, feelings, and speculations, with you, dear reader, in the hope that you don’t think I’m quite an oaf.
And also in the hope that you come a bit closer to who I actually am–that maybe, through my writing, I might tear down the wall, and plant some tomatoes, avocados, and wheat in a garden in its place, that we might one day enjoy a delicious tomato and avocado sandwich together. Cause in the end, the best things in life, while not necessarily free, are fleeting and momentary. Including the turn outward, the fastening of my attention, not upon my misery, nor myself in any way, but on the Here & the Now, and all the ways that I too dance upon its stage.
Signed, dearly and weirdly,
Your good pal Zo
(P.S. please excuse my extravagant use of commas. I never learned the meaning of a good semi-colon.
P.P.S. if you found yourself confused by the abrupt change of scenery [i.e. from the Starbucks to the hollowed birchwood] I apologize. Though after all, is life not a series of fractured and episodic moments, for whom a rightful name might not necessarily exist?)
I forget that a great writer, in order to find their own secrets, must maintain an avid taste for great reading. The well runs dry when I neglect the pages that call me. Then, just as quickly, i remember; my soul awakens, and I am set aflame once more with the Creative Spirit.
Okay this is me venting something that’s been festering in my mind quite a bit recently. What I’m about to say probably reeks of privilege, but I’m going to say it anyways because it’s how I’m feeling lately.
I’m tired, absolutely fucking tired of America’s bull shit right now. I’m tired of many things: I’m tired of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I’m tired of racism. I’m tired of people identifying so heavily with their flimsy and limited identities. I’m tired of trigger warnings. I’m tired of people hating on the ignorance of white people, of cis people, of straight people, of people who experience privilege and power. I’m tired of people whining so much about all that is wrong with the nation. I’m tired of police brutality and unnecessary systemic oppression. I’m tired of dualistic thinking. I’m tired of people conflating masculinity and femininity with gender. I’m tired of trigger warnings. I’m tired of constant conversations about feminism. I’m tired of people thinking they’re better than anyone else for having a solid understanding of these issues (myself included). I’m tired of cause crusaders. I’m tired of hypocrisy. I’m tired of idiocy. I’m tired of oil dependency. I’m tired of people being short sighted in their vision of the world’s future. I’m tired of codependent relationships. I’m tired of television. Of gun nuts. Of the healthcare industry. I’m tired of poverty wages, gentrification, and segregation. I’m tired of divisive politics. I’m tired of the illusion of separation. Of feeling separate from what I and everyone intrinsically are. I’m tired of arguing with people. I’m tired of people needing so badly to be right. I’m tired of people who constantly focus on all that is wrong with the world and yes I acknowledge the irony inherent in this rant. I’m tired of rape. Of rape culture. Of capitalism. Of fear based advertising. Of people in power not giving the smallest shit about those who lack power. I’m tired of trolls. Of cyber bullying. I’m tired of being misgendered. I’m tired of caring about my gender. I’m tired of caring about my identity at all. I’m tired of being out of shape. Of not eating right. Of worrying about my financial status, my health, my future. I’m tired of giving in to my suffering rather than being gentle with it, rather than accepting what is without throwing salt on the wound. I’m tired of people dismissing other people simply because of their social location–that goes for white people, black people, women, men, everyone. I’m tired of not taking full responsibility for myself and my personal power. I’m tired of people not knowing how to communicate. I’m tired of pointing the finger outward at a world that is so sick with pain. I’m tired of factory farms, of animal testing, of fracking, of deforestation. I’m tired of war. I’m tired of western imperialism. I’m tired of in groups and out groups. I’m tired of patriarchy. I’m tired of manipulation and control. I’m tired of passive aggression. I’m tired of pursuing a life that others deem worthy rather than follow my own compass. I’m tired of caring so much and being constantly disappointed by everything. I’m tired of denying myself, silencing myself, of making myself small, of controlling my personality, of feeling lonely and disconnected. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of letting unworthy people hurt me. I’m tired of attachments. I’m tired of clinging. Of obsessing. Of living anything but the fullest life imaginable and unimaginable. I’m tired of everyone being so damn whiny about everything, of not taking the time to change themselves before complaining about the external world (and before you say anything, I’m constantly looking at myself, pursuing self growth, embracing inner work, radical honesty, and self care). I’m tired of people thinking spirituality is a sham, of thinking science somehow excludes the possibility of God. I’m tired of living in such a backwards world when I know at the core of my soul what humans are capable of, when I know how fucking far we can go, and how far we have yet to travel. I’m tired of our brutal ignorance of one another. And yeah, maybe I’m tired of worn out aspects of myself–of smoking so much–of judging so much, even though I do it a lot, even though I’m so sensitive that the slightest feeling of rejection causes me to get angry. I’m tired of being so fragile, at least without doing what I can to strengthen my self esteem, my boundaries, my personal worth. I’m tired. I’m fucking exhausted. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m vulnerable and scared. I’m a fallible and ignorant human. I’m an alien with memories of utopia. I’m desperate to love and be loved, to know that’s the simple and immaculate reality if I’m willing to open up to it. And I hope, I hope to fucking God, that at some point very soon, every single human being in the world tires of the same things and chooses instead to dive deep within themselves until they find forgiveness, until they discover inner peace, then when they do, spread it, share it, be it. And stop caring so much about this paltry illusory world.
Seriously. Fuck. Can’t we all just take a breath together? Can’t we all just wake up to our own potential and quit all this stupid fucking bull shit? Can’t we?
Because I’m tired. And I’m ready to let go of all of it. And if you tell me that’s a privilege to be able to let go, I’ll give you ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Victor Frankl, and wait patiently while you realize just how much you perpetuate your own damn suffering. I’ll wait until you realize that any freedom that can be given can also be taken, and true liberation, the kind we’re all seeking, is an inward experience. And until we have it all, until we’re anchored firmly in it, none of this crap is going to change.
I had fallen into a river bed in boulder and the river came, threatening to take me with it.
I came very close to being carried off until I hoisted myself up and out.
Here’s the thing about being unfulfilled on the deepest level: chances are it’s been this way for a long time. It’s a depression of the soul that runs so deep it becomes near impossible to maintain vitality. Forget about gaining momentum on anything. Forget about pursuing and achieving your highest goals. Forget about actually connecting with the people around you, or with the true power of sunlight on your face. The wound won’t allow it. And your life force is entirely bound up in its yoke, all your vital energy–the stuff that empowers you to live your dreams, to fulfill the prophecy of your highest self–just spills out.
The soul becomes a dry river bed. Rain is sporadic. It doesn’t fall enough to fill the basin. So you just wander aimlessly among the weeds, among the clouds of dust. You cry out for help but no one is there because how can they be if you are unable to be there for them? For yourself? How can you allow yourself to be seen when the part of you that is so afraid of the light prefers to remain cowered and coiled alone in dark corners?
So you spend years this way. Your attempts to create and cultivate the life you so yearn for fall again and again into acrimony and painful dissolution. Because the wound is not healed. It has not fully expressed itself yet. And still you remain unfulfilled, longing for the seemingly inaccessible. And there’s no way out but in.
Fortunately, in time, the defenses begin to break. Life starts to seep in through the cracks. Symptoms arise–symptoms that demand your attention. The body is a big bowl of anxiety, ambivalence, panic, pain, and fear. The soul is crying out for healing, making the world overwhelmingly uncomfortable. The more you consciously press against it, or try to scratch it away, the more intense and overwhelming it becomes. The life force is pushing its way out, doing everything it can to get you to see what’s going on inside you. It feels like death, like if you face the symptoms directly, you will drown in the torrent beneath them.
Sometimes when you’re walking in the river bed, accustomed as you’ve gotten to its aridness, to lifeless plant matter, dead and always dying, you feel a rumble beneath your feet. You hear it in the distance. The defenses will soon break entirely and the river will come forth.
But there’s something about this that’s so scary–like you know that whatever’s coming is a good thing, but it’s new; it’s unfamiliar. It may be what you’ve always wanted, but how frightening to find yourself in new territory, where perhaps you don’t speak the language, perhaps you are tired from walking among the emptiness, parched as you are for new life, for a new sort of flow. And though it is hard, one thing is certain: change.
The water will bring life once more to your dry river bed. It will bring change if you let it.
Ecosystems will blossom from errant and subsumed tumbleweed.
But it feels like death–like finally you have to get out of the way and let it flow.
If loneliness were food, it would be a rice cake.
Please excuse my odd comparisons. The nonsense helps me to cope; helps me giggle once in a while.
It’s good to giggle; to pull a laugh out of the darkness as one might retrieve a prized gerbil from the anus of month old elephant.
Laughter is an alchemical process. It has the capacity to lend golden hues to the shade of despair. I hope to laugh more on this trip; to make more room for genuine humor.
You see, I have a tendency toward over-seriousness. And for a long time, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that what this world needs is not seriousness so much as playfulness.
I hope to teach the world to be more playful. To find light in the mundane, the messy, and the morbid.
But I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like a hypocrite for wanting the world to heal and transform when I am so unwilling to commit to it myself. Earlier today, lost in contemplation, I mused to my friend, “I wonder what kind of healing I’m supposed to do.” To which he replied, “healing for you or others?” Admittedly, I was thinking of others. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s quite beautiful–this profound yearning I have to serve the world. But there is something missing from the equation–something so necessary that until it’s dealt with, the real work cannot begin. And that is an equally profound yearning to heal myself.
And that’s why I’m embarking on this trip to Europe. Because I want to heal–to experience a deeper sort of medicine. I want to face myself in unfamiliar mirrors. I want to find out where my walls are so I might begin to tear them down, so might begin to open my heart more fully. Because it’s painful to be closed off. I feel it so acutely–the way I distance myself from the ones I care about–the way I turn off my feeling self so as not to expose my vulnerability, so as not to expose my deep insecurities, so as not to be seen fully.
It is easier to hide. Or at least, hiding is my habit. It is not simply patterns of behavior and feeling. It’s a hardwired configuration of my nervous system. Loneliness is hardwired into me. It wraps itself around my bones until my joints ache with constriction; with the feeling that I am limited by who I am–that who I am is a burden, and perhaps the world is better off without me.
Suicide is a nice thought but I’m afraid of having to repeat all these lessons in the next life. I’m afraid I might actually have to confront what I’ve been running from all these years.
So here I am, less than a week from flying across the pond, less than a week from becoming a stranger in a strange land, where maybe loneliness will taste less like a rice cake and more like a piece of dutch apple pie and a cup of coffee in a corner booth of some dimly lit Amsterdam diner (they have those right?) I won’t be upset if they don’t. It just wouldn’t make much sense to call such a delicious dessert treat Dutch if the Dutch had nothing to do with it.
You know what? Give me a second to research this. It is important that this blog maintain the utmost accuracy when it comes to the Origins of Pie. We can’t take any chances if we want God to show up emblazoned in a crumble crust, or if we care to truly grasp the objects of our worship.
While you wait, here’s a picture of a cat dressed as a wizard. We’ll call him Hairy Potter:
“You’re a wizard, Hairy.”
Okay, I’m back. Thank you for your patience. So here’s the scoop, or should I say the slice:
Dutch Apple Pie is in fact… Dutch. Somewhere there is a book written in 1514 entitled Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen, which literally translates to “A Notable Little Cookery Book.” In its pages there is a recipe for Appeltaerten. Notabel indeed. How many cook books do you know that survived the Middle Ages? Clearly there is something divinely guided about Dutch Apple Pie, something inherently intelligent within its tarty innards. Either, someone in Heaven has a thing for crusted pastries, or medieval humans were just smart enough to know a good pie recipe when they saw one. Either way, we are fortunate to live in a world where pie has yet to go extinct–that is unless the bees go. Then it’s just a matter of time until our fruit supply runs dry and America has to find itself a different dessert to compare itself to.
Anyways, if you ever find yourself calling something as American as Apple Pie, just remember the Dutch were making appelkruimeltaart long before any pilgrims had pie at the Thanksgiving table.
I realize that I’ve digressed a great deal from my original point. So I’ll reiterate.
If loneliness were a food, it would be a rice cake. Bland. Flavorless. Dry. The kind of crunchy that leaves you dying of thirst. Or at least, that’s how I’ve felt for a long time.
It is my hope, nay my intention, that upon this European journey I come face to face with the rice cake of my loneliness and laugh as it transforms into a mouthwatering slice of Dutch apple pie. The process may take some time. Unlike water and wine, there’s no precedent for turning one into the other. No Gospel to speak of such miracles. Lest that Gospel be that of cooky old Thomas.
Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing a little, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in coconut cream pie,’ they’re fucking lying. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known… But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty. It is you who are that rice cake.”
So don’t be a rice cake, I say. Look into the void and see the emptiness, see it glitter and glow with the terror of absolute nothing. See the mundane as magical. If I’m going to walk around with a wound in my core, I’d rather it taste like apples than grain. I’d rather I hold myself in high regards; cherish this solitary pilgrimage; cherish the strange contents of my oldest dreams; my wanderlust, my need to write; cherish feeling completely alone, completely unique, completely lost, for in that there might be a much deeper unity to discover.
Whoever it was that first saw a pile of rice and thought, “we should condense this pile into a single disc-like object,” that person was using the old noggin. That person, like so many before and after them, must have been driven by the desperate need to make the Many, One again. And is that not our greatest urge? To return? To remember that we are forever and always in beautiful relationship with the entire Universe, and nothing, not even the vicissitudes and illusions of space and time, can alter that reality?
Who the fuck really knows?
Your Good Pal Zo