Archive | April 2021

The Cattle and the Field

I have been reading an interesting book: “A Healing Space” by Matt Licata. A quote:

“Generally speaking, tending to the context or ground of our experience but not explicitly exploring the content. its qualities, and meanings is the invitation from the meditative traditions, whereas unpacking, unfolding, and embracing the content itself and the potential wisdom it contains is that of the alchemical or depth psychological approaches.” (p. 128-129)

I think of it as a wide open field with lots of cattle. Zen is all about the field. Is it sunny, cloudy, breezy, still? The field is where everything happens and yet is untouched by it. It is space.

Psychotherapy is about the cattle. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (which does not impress me in the least, having had a lifetime of it) is about how to handle the behavior of the cattle in creative, less-destructive ways. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is more about learning to love the cattle, befriend them, understand where they came from, and heal any injuries to them. Trying to kill them is like some archetypal nightmare/joke where you slice them into smaller pieces and that only multiplies them infinitely because the pieces are simply miniature, completely whole versions of the originals. Reality is so holographic.

Such self-directed violence is the birthplace of addictions. “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate is all about the societal impact of addictions and the potential, more compassionate solutions to end the insanity of “the war on drugs.” Trauma is the origin of self-destructiveness and addiction. We understand that now, but we have yet to even begin unpacking its implications for individuals, groups, and society as a whole.

Reality is like a never-ending compromise. I have my issues. Work has its issues. The interactions between my issues and Goodwill’s issues is fascinating, but the compromises are in-your-face. I am the back-up cashier. This is what I wanted. Be careful what you ask for. I don’t think I am a fabulous back-up cashier. My hearing is not great and I can be easily overwhelmed. But I am all they have. When the opening cashier leaves at one and the closing cashier doesn’t arrive until three, I’m all they’ve got. I’m it. Nobody is applying. You can’t hire people that don’t apply.

So I am trying to figure out what I can contribute to this world. My job is perfect for now because it is not brain surgery and I can use any extra available brain power for healing. I get so overwhelmed sometimes. Every little thing triggers the inner response of ,”OMG. What am I supposed to do now?” It is pure trauma flashback. And the weather–not helping. It actually snowed last Wednesday, during the day, not overnight like you might expect in late April. But I am slowly learning to love the cattle. I am getting there. It is quite the process.

Ready to Go

This past week, I purchased my cremation and transportation (back to Michigan, if need be) insurance. It cost a little over $4,ooo. That hurts. But the only thing worse than paying it all up front would be to make payments with interest on it for the next few years and paying even more. Death sucks.

But there is a freedom to this. I still need to get a signature from my friend to be my funeral representative. She has agreed and I have proof that none of any of this will cost her a dime. I can go to another state, fall asleep, not wake up, and everything is all taken care of.

I feel like everything is a compromise (or perhaps “negotiation” is a better term) and that compromise is not always pretty. At work, we have lost two cashiers. This past Thursday was just plain ugly. I was cashiering because they had no one else to do it at all. That meant that the floor was trashed. Stuff was everywhere. Production was high. They started running out of racks in the back. It was horrendously stressful for me and the manager on duty. The next day, Friday, there were plenty of floor people and the place looked fabulous. I only had to be the back-up cashier, which was all I ever wanted in the first place. Friday was what I wanted. Thursday, and until they replace the cashiers, what matters is what the store needs. The store manager and I have each made compromises and this is what it looks like.

Since Barry passed, my life is about me. What do I want and need? I have never known, but now I have the time and energy to deal with these issues. The Crappy Childhood Fairy has helped, as have various books. My entire life, I was too overwhelmed to deal with much of anything. Especially with Barry and his medical issues, I had to continually set aside my feelings and deal with that minute’s reality. Now I can, with a much higher degree of clarity. I can feel the feelings and deal with the issues. I can much more easily recognize which issues are mine and which are not. Paying for my final expenses is something I can do to simplify my life. I don’t have to pretend to believe in things I don’t buy into anymore. I can walk away from relationships that never served my needs at any point. It is not my job to protect people from the consequences of their own choices. All I can do is to take responsibility for myself as much as possible. I can avoid a whole lot of drama and do my best to create as little of it as possible. Is this freedom? It might be.

Some Semblance of Control

I feel like things are spinning out of control. But I suspect they have always been, since the beginning of time. What I am feeling is what denial is meant to protect you from.

The spinning flavor comes from work, where we are losing some key people. I wanted to do some cashiering. Be careful what you wish for. I will be morning cashier once the current one gives birth. It’s almost painful to watch her waddle, her center of gravity has so shifted. I’ll just do the best I can to be helpful.

This upcoming Wednesday I am going to get my cremation set up so that I can be anywhere, fall asleep, not wake up, and have everything taken care of. I never thought of this stuff when I was married. When you’re married, the other person can handle the arrangements. My other person is already interred at the cemetery. I’m all set with the cemetery. This is the final piece. Why am I doing this? In large part because I can. I have no control over much of anything else. Will you achieve your dreams? Visit the places you’ve always wanted to go? Meet the people you’ve always wanted to meet? Maybe, maybe not. But you will die.

I lost a hearing aid yesterday. I wanted to cry. The helplessness is right at the surface.

We all like to think we are in charge. It’s pure denial. The problem with denial is that it affects the individual alone. It’s like wearing your sleep mask and going to work. Only you don’t see what’s happening. No one else’s judgment is affected. To the person in denial, everything is a mystery. “Nobody really knows why……” Bullshit. Everyone else saw whatever it was coming. Only your judgment has been compromised. Everyone has been on both sides of this, has seen things coming when others haven’t, and has felt blindsided while everyone else knew what was happening. Want to know if you’re in denial about a situation? That’s easy. Ask yourself how mysterious the situation seems to you. If you feel like nobody could possibly know what’s going to happen next, you are in some major denial. Trust me. There are others that look at the exact same situation and make plans accordingly. It’s called being “proactive.” Denial is just being overwhelmed at the responsibility of the situation and refusing to deal with it.

Everyone wants some semblance of control. Some scrap of comfort.

Politically speaking, Republicans in Georgia are doing everything in their power to suppress the black vote. Republicans understand that if everyone votes, they are finished being in power. Because of the obviousness of their tactics Major League Baseball is moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta. Major corporations are supporting the move. Trump is suggesting a boycott of the MLB. Everyone is screaming, “Cancel culture!” I say, “Go for it.” Corporations have figured out that their workforces are diverse. Supporting diversity is part of remaining in business. Have you ever worked somewhere the employees were basically boycotting their own company? I have. Seriously. Companies have figured out that if their own employees won’t buy their products, they are done for. This is the reality of human resources. Let’s see who wins this cancel culture debate. It’s called “voting with your pocketbook.” In case no one has noticed, most major league sports are dominated by black athletes. This country has a long history of using blacks for entertainment purposes. Now there’s a price to pay. Are white baseball fans and gambling addicts going to suddenly stop supporting professional sports? I doubt it. But we’ll see.

Everyone wants some control. Do you know who wins these wars? People that are willing to make the sacrifices. The Montgomery bus boycott in the 1950s or 1960s forced the black population to rely on their own meager resources. They gave each other rides and hoofed it a lot. The bus company, on the other hand, was totally dependent on the black riders for their survival. It did not last long. Contrast that with the churchwoman wearing the Eeyore shirt protesting Disney at the local ABC affiliate. If you couldn’t tell, I have nothing but contempt for conservative Christians that scream, “Persecution!” every time they are so much as inconvenienced. Christians in other countries experience real persecution. Killed for worshipping or carrying a Bible. American Christians are worthy of contempt because they are willing to make no sacrifices for what they believe and think it is the government’s job to force the Christian religion onto everyone else. When the government says no, cries of persecution are heard throughout the land. The problem for them is that no one is listening anymore. If you want to make real change in the world, you have be willing to do without. Even while the world spins out of control.