I feel like things have sped up lately.
Of course, holidays make everything a little crazy without any other additional input.
But then this year started and I felt like the world was spinning out of control to some degree. Trump gets us into war with Iran. WTF? I am not a Trump fan, but the one thing I liked about him was his pledge to get us out of these endless middle-eastern conflicts. I am old enough to remember my parents thinking that Carter was simply incompetent foreign-affairs-wise because of the whole hostage crisis. This is the best guarantee I can think of that Trump will be a one-term President. Once we get into a conflict somewhere, we never leave. Seriously. We are still in Germany, to this day. No kidding.
And I am feeling some urgency to get out of Michigan again. Why? I don’t know. I have a lease that does not expire until November and a job I am greatly appreciated at.
I have always been interested in intuition, the paranormal, and other subjects that I have not always seen as related. But now I know they are. I am currently reading Jean Shinoda Bolen’s The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self. After her book, The Ring of Power, which I found profoundly illuminating in reference to my narcissistic father and my relationship to him, I wanted to get more of her insights. She is Jungian. I realized that my relationship was truly archetypal, with him being Wotan and me being Brunnhilde. Every recurring situation in life is archetypal. Our responses can be conscious or sub-conscious. I am unwilling to just bumble my way through life anymore. Here is a quote from page 18: “Jung maintained that the collective unconscious or the archetypal layer of the unconscious (two terms for the same phenomenon) was involved in synchronistic events….’There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life. Endless repetition has engraved these experiences into our psychic constitution.'” Bolen is quoting Jung, of course. Page 23: “Tao and Self can be considered one and the same, both giving meaning and both beyond definition.” Tao is about our holistic right-brained perspective, as distinct from our dissecting left-brain.
A few days ago, my dad called. I had not spoken to him since probably July for more than a few seconds at a time. He called for more than an hour. OMG. What was happening? My brother Bob is looking for property in Florida and now he has blood cancer from the weird JAK 2 mutation. In addition to COPD, heart disease, and cirrhosis. My friend on the east coast said she thinks he was looking for some reassurance from me. I am so not the person he should be seeking that from. He calls me “my favorite daughter” which I am not completely comfortable with. He has no other children. It just gives me the creeps, for whatever reason. It feels like I am playing a game that I tired of a long time ago. My brother Mike passed away this past summer. My dad raised my brothers from my mom’s first marriage and myself. Now it probably feels like he has lost one kid and another one is on his way out. When I told my friend I might tell Dad not to call me that anymore, she implored me not to, saying it would devastate him. I feel for him, and yet, I am tired of other people’s feelings mattering while mine…not so much. It just gets very old.
(And the weather sucks, of course. This is Michigan. We got a ton of rain yesterday and then we got a good inch of sleet. It could have been worse: freezing rain. In some ways, we got “lucky.” It was nasty. The roads are still not great.)
So now I feel like I am getting closer to being the last sibling standing. Things seem to be speeding up. And I have my ear to the ground for odd coincidences.
I find myself more determined than ever to meditate. Slowing down. Listening to myself, the cosmos, changing my brainwaves. I feel like everything I want and need is within, if I can find it. What do I want? How do I want to do it? I believe it must all come from within.
Everything external keeps changing. One of my favorite bosses just quit. It breaks my heart. She was my champion. I feel like everything is is slippery. Try to hold on to it and it squeezes out of your hand. I can see why people try to hold on to things (hoarders) but the effort is futile.
I saw a cat Christmas day, Shyla. I pet her and gave her treats. I am trying to be a blessing to her owner, my friend Lynn. Live feline dufuses are all good.
I am coming up on two years without Barry. OMG. I still miss him so much it makes me ache. The love is for the man who m I spent so many good years with, not the one who passed away in my living room. It was a horrible way to go. The cold is a trigger because it was all of five degrees the day he died. My recommendation is that people who know they have the Huntington gene not reproduce and take that chance. The word “suffering” is insufficient.
And here I am trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can think more clearly now because, when he first died, I spent a long time just numb. Now I am not numb, but dealing honestly with my issues.
No matter what is happening, wonderful or awful, it is temporary. Just remember that.
I have been thinking “it’s just a matter of time” lately about pretty much everything.
A few weeks ago, I went to my brother’s house. He sat in his chair with a grandson. It was so beautiful. They were so happy together. But Dave’s already had one heart attack and refuses to change his diet at all. My heart breaks for Dave’s son, who is about twenty, and the grandkids. I cannot imagine losing my dad before I turned thirty, which I think is a very likely scenario. My parents are still alive and in Florida at this moment. (Which is good because it didn’t hit twenty degrees today here.) I seriously doubt Dave’s wife is going to put on these giganto affairs once he is gone. Each minute is poignant.
Today I made peanut butter balls with my former Protestant minister’s wife. I think she might be coming down with Alzheimer’s. Her mind seems to be going very quickly. I can hardly believe in the change in just the past year.
Then there’s politics. I don’t what will happen, but I do have one guarantee: Trump will not be in office forever. Absolutely everything Trump gets away with now, the next Democratic president will get away with, and more.
No one seems to get the idea that actions have consequences. Eventually “later” becomes “now.” Then we have to live with the fallout of what we have done. And the fallout of what everyone else has done.
Worrying about the future doesn’t help. Trying to do the right thing now is the only real ethical option. It is an imperfect system on a good day.
Everything really is just a matter of time. Enjoy what you have. Be grateful for the good stuff. Try to do no harm.
I have been trying to be kinder to myself lately. Now that Barry is gone, I can actually focus on myself. This is partly at the urging of my psychoanalyst.
So I am trying to be true to myself, without really knowing what that means.
But, at the same time, I feel a need to somehow integrate ethics into my life. What are ethics? They come from a sense of right and wrong, not exactly popular concepts these days. They are a means of trying to help all people be and feel respected. The rules apply to everyone equally.
Buddhist ethics seem to be all about not harming. I like the idea. I don’t think I could be vegetarian, but celibacy would be doable.
But what I am thinking of is more along the lines of accountability. When someone’s behavior is wildly out of line, what recourse is there? I encounter people who think that they can do whatever they want and nobody has the right to respond in any way, shape, or form. I find the expectation delusional at best. We all have the right to hold each other accountable. To think otherwise is Trump-ian and narcissistic to the max.
Everything seems to come down to power and control. But demographics have changed. The days of old white guys deciding what is real for the rest of us are long gone. Until our society settles on a commonly-held set of standards for behavior that works for a whole lot more people, everyone, everywhere will have to define their terms carefully and try very hard to be nice to others, unless and until they do something blatantly disrespectful.
Is there a better way of doing things?
Everything in my life seems to point in a certain direction: grief.
Earlier today, I was watching Hoarders. I am also reading a few books, one of which is Unattended Sorrow (“US”) by Stephen Levine, and another of which is The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones. Also, the immediately previous therapist to my current psychoanalyst said that one of my main tasks at this point of my life is to deal with all the losses and disappointments at this current stage of my life.
US is a phenomenal book. And it is inclusive of all disappointments and losses, not just the obvious sorrow from Barry’s passing.
Hoarders is about people that can’t let go of stuff. And The End is all about the obliteration of white Christian influence on culture and politics. For example, Jones says that by 2024, people that are simultaneously white and Christian will be less than half of all voters. There is even a eulogy for these people at the end of the book.
And I talked to my friend Tamara. I reassured her that Trump would not be President forever. He is in his seventies. I cannot guarantee many things, but I can guarantee that. He can do a lot of damage in the meantime, make no mistake, but he is destroying the Republican party from within. Their credibility and integrity are gone forever, or at least for a generation or two. Their supporters are old, white, and dying off.
But I am in my fifties and she just turned sixty. What will we be around to see?
What’s worth my investment of my remaining time and energy?
This past week, I told the managers that if I do not show up for work and they cannot reach me by phone, to call the police to do a welfare check on me. I have been sick for over a month and have missed no time. If I don’t show up, I might be dead. I have not missed a minute of work in the 14 months I have worked there.
Part of getting older is having my tolerance for BS reduced. Perhaps that sounds ironic. We teach people how to treat us. As Dr. Phil says, “You don’t reward bad behavior.” Period. I got my lessons in boundaries from Al-Anon. They teach that you do not have to participate in any activity that puts you in legal, financial, or emotional jeopardy. Other people have the right to do what they want, and so do you. Just because your idiot friends or family are jumping off a cliff is not an obligation for you to join them. You are free to decline and say, “I’ll pass. Thank you very much. Oh, and by the way, don’t even bother calling me to bail you out. Good luck with that.” When people see you taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself emotionally, financially, and legally, sometimes that alone is enough to wake them up. They can see you are serious. In my opinion, that is how learning and growth occur.
This is why I see a psychoanalyst. I want to take full responsibility for my stuff (so I don’t just project it onto everyone else) and I want to take no responsibility for other people’s crap. I have enough of my own. But I am not capable of always telling the difference. I want my mistakes to be my own and not just the playing out of my family’s unlived hopes, dreams, and fears. And the clock is ticking, for all of us. Tick, tick, tick.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my weird spiritual journey lately,
Many years ago, I almost became a Mormon. Coming from a family where my brothers did a lot of alcohol and drugs, I admired the clean lifestyle they lived. It was a definite step above what I was raised with.
The reason I did not become a Mormon was that their canned presentations were not honest. I knew what they really believed because one of my best friends at the time was a Mormon. They truly believe that once you are married in the temple and are righteous, you and your spouse become gods and goddesses of your own planet. My friend and I would imagine what color we would make the leaves of the trees. The missionaries were talking about golden plates and other strange and unlikely things. Also, one day I was sitting in the hallway of the church and saw all these women walking past me who were 400+ lbs. It was surreal. Suddenly, I knew what they did instead of drinking and doing drugs: they ate.
Over the years, I have been attracted to many philosophies: Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism, New Age-y stuff. Some part of my soul is hungry for something. Maybe forever.
What I have learned is simple: philosophies and beliefs have consequences. And you don’t usually see the real consequences until after you sign on the dotted line. They make sure of that, It is not until you take things to their natural logical extreme that you see the real agenda.
Take Nazism, for example. It promised pride for humiliated Germans who got their asses hand to them on a platter after WW I. It got people back to work. It was exciting. And many of its ideas sounded remarkably reasonable and productive. Lately, I’ve read about recent white nationalists that are quoting things straight out of the third Reich. And their arguments are very persuasive–for those folks that don’t know the real-life results.
That stuff about the “final solution”? They wouldn’t really do that, would they? They would and they did. Auschwitz and Birkenau are real.
My point is that you have to take things to their logical extremes to see just what is really going on. Follow the money. See who benefits–and who is ethnically cleansed.
My suspicion, politics-wise, is that today’s Trumpers are tomorrow’s Germans of the 50’s and 60’s. Ten years from now, Trump will be long out of office, but his living supporters will have to justify their blind allegiance to a man intent on destroying our institutions of democracy. They will say, “But we didn’t know.” And the rest of us will say, “Because you did not want to. Period.”
Becoming a Mormon might not have been the worst idea in the world, given my upbringing. But it would have created a lot of future problems. It would have met some very real needs. Funny how temporary solutions have ways of becoming permanent problems.
The same with Balanced View. Everything it says sounds good–and it may be exactly what some people need. But, at the same time, its literature is brazenly honest about normalizing everything. Groups of humans require consistent rules that apply to all equally. Those rules can be called morals, ethics, codes of conduct, etc. If everything is okay, then so is ethnic cleansing, lynching, embezzlement. The ends justify the means.
It can all sound so good. Until you are the one embezzled from–or ethnically cleansed.
I have started psychoanalysis. This is a better fit for me than cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Don’t get me wrong. Coping beats not coping. I just don’t feel that CBT addresses the real issues. It can show you how to handle your feelings in a more constructive manner and perhaps not kill your boss on a bad day, but it doesn’t get at the root of why you feel a certain way in the first place. It has abundant resources for finding various alternative behaviors, support systems, etc. However, it may simply aid in learning how to react more “normally” in abnormal situations.
In my opinion, the glory and horror of humanity is our ability to adapt to anything and everything. We can change our environments for the better or worse and children can adapt to virtually anything whatsoever. This is why addiction is a family disease. This is also the problem of abusive relationships. The abuser never starts out beating his girlfriend. It starts with yelling, and then a slap, and by then the girlfriend has zero self-confidence and will sometimes die emotionally and/or spiritually. That is, if the boyfriend doesn’t physically kill her in a fit of rage. We adapt. Adaptation is not always a good thing.
I’ve been blogging a lot lately about this new-agey group I attend. At one point, I said that I did not want to be interrupted when I speak. I was told how inappropriate and judgmental I was. I came in the next week and told that person that their attitude was toxic. I would do it again. If wanting to be treated with a basic level of courtesy is “inappropriate” in this group, then my participation in this group needs to end immediately. The core value is non-negotiable; my participation in the group is highly negotiable.
I spent some time with the leader of the group and she said that that lady (who ran out crying after I said her attitude was toxic) was struggling because of her “Balanced View” (BV) perspective and how everything in that philosophy is just “data.” I have since done some research on BV.
BV looks like the next stage in human development, but it is not. It is amoral. There is no sense of justice. It talks about human relationships without mentioning ethics. It is all about how things are now. The idea is that everything we encounter is just data. Information for us to use. It talks about normalizing everything. George Orwell could not have written it any better. In my opinion, BV is demonic, delusional, and destructive. I am not kidding. This stuff can be easily used for evil.
If you take their philosophy to its logical extreme, you easily see the inherent evil of BV. The holocaust? Just data. Child molesters? Just data. Lynchings? Just data.
The reason my friend ran from the room crying wasn’t because she was a poor BV practitioner; it was because BV doesn’t actually work in the real world.
BV is the ultimate in moral relativism. This woman is one of the sweetest, most good-hearted people I have ever known. But moral relativism simply does not work. And it never will. The most ardent moral relativist becomes a strict moral absolutist the very nanosecond they feel wronged or treated unfairly in any way.
You have to understand how far left on the political spectrum the women in this group are. They talk about social justice all the time: racism, criminal justice reform, LGBT rights, etc. I don’t ever want to hear about any of that stuff again if it is all “just data.”
Talking to the leader was very enlightening to me. She said that what I perceived wasn’t even real. I remember thinking, “What an odd way to be invalidated.” She also talked about the Matrix and how everything may just be an illusion.
The problem is simple: even if we are just in the Matrix, we still have to function within the Matrix. We still have to get up and go to work in the Matrix. We still have to get our cars fixed in the Matrix. We still have to make our rent or mortgage payment in the Matrix. Even if you believe you will be instantly released from the Matrix upon death, you still have to function within it in the meantime.
I identify as Buddhist many times. Buddhism believes that everything is ultimately an illusion. Yet it has a high ethical/moral code. Why bother with ethics/morals when it’s all illusory? Because, in the meantime, we are stuck within the illusion of consensus reality.
I believe that our culture has lost its moral bearings. Because of white supremacy and misogyny and rules only applying to some people, a contempt has developed for all rules.
The problem is that every group, association, culture, business, school, or whatever has to have some code of conduct and meaningful consequences for those who refuse to conform. That is called “morality.”
Conservative Christians are hypocrites for supporting Trump. Hypocrisy is when you claim certain values and then do not live up to them.
This is the problem on the political left: a refusal to accept that behavior has consequences. Anal sex is a fabulous way to get AIDS. Marijuana inhibits the intellectual growth of adolescents. Drinking leads to cirrhosis. You can make something legal, but you can’t make it healthy, safe, or non-addictive. Reality always, 100% of the time, rules and comes back to bite you in the ass. People on the left are not hypocrites because they claim no morals in the first place. They are simply amoral. Loving feelings are not a substitute for common sense courtesy.
I want something better than what our culture seems to offer. Adaptation is so not the goal. Becoming better adjusted to insanity is not a worthy goal. I am not interested in spending my remaining days trying to cope with stupidity. If that makes me “judgmental,” my I become more so every passing day.