Monday, November 27, 2006

Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.
Blaise Pascal

“You are my soul-mate;” “I will always love you;” “My love for you is unconditional;” “You complete me;” “I will give you the moon and the stars;” “True Love Forever;” “True Love Always;” “You are my life;” “We are joined together forever in love;” “Our souls are now one;” “I will never love another;” “You are my shining star in the swirling tempest of life;” “I cannot live without you;” “Your love defines me;” “I am nothing without you;” “You are my everything;” “Together Forever”; “I will be your knight in shining armor”

These are all euphemisms and phrases that more than likely, everyone has used from time to time. Young lovers, carving their initials with TLF or TLA in the park bench. Love notes passed in class, terminated with one of these brief statements of over-infatuation. Older, more experienced humans should know better.

Being the mutterer of many of these phrases, whether in the throes of passion or in the grip of some unseen force, I feel the right to state this: These phrases and those like them are pure and utter bull shit. They are phrases that either intend to initiate sexual conduct or just outright pronounce one's co-dependence.

Ayn Rand once wrote, “To say "I love you" one must first be able to say the "I."” This brings the emotion of love to a more objective level. Saying “I” and knowing what it means; it's complexity; its desires and needs; its path. Saying, and understanding the “I” is no small task. Saying the “I” requires an insight into one's self; one's being; one's soul, so to speak. It is a lifetime journey to understand “I”.

To extrapolate on this, one must also know how to say “you.” This is also no minor matter. Knowing “you” is such a complex matter that few actually view the summit of knowing “you.” Knowing this word; this other person; requires a lifetime for an attempt to even be made.
How, then, given Ms Rand's statement, can love ever be achieved? It is a trick of light and varying shadow. Perfection of loving another and admitting that love and reciprocating that love lies somewhere in the shadow of light and dark. Both must be comfortable with the lighting scheme and understand that shadows change with the movement of the participants and seasons. There will be days of clouds and rain and sun and snow. Given her statement, love can be given and reciprocated only within the context of two agreeable partners, individually and collectively. It is not black and white but an agreeable shade of gray.

Far too often I hear or read phrases like, “I will give you the moon and stars,” “I would give my life for you,” “I will give you everything you ever wanted,” and “I will write your name in the stars.” Please! How can one reasonably give or do something that is not only improbable, but impossible? And how can a being reasonably accept these statements? Oh, it sounds SO romantic, though, doesn't it?

Imagine, two young lovers lying together on a quiet beach. Waves in the distance, crashing against the soft sandy shore. Only two hearts rapidly beating. All alone, with the dark starry sky above as their blanket, he turns to her and whispers in her ear, “Stay with me forever and I will write your name in the stars; the sky and the ocean will be yours.” Perhaps this works well for romance novels and movies but in real life, this is for the most part, emotionally expressive fluff.

The promise to give something that cannot be given is simply baffling. Why would one say this? Why would one promise to give or do something for someone that is impossible? Further, why do people, thinking people, accept these false promises? I have done both and still wonder why.

What can anyone give and what should anyone expect to receive? One can easily answer this question with “Love” or “Respect” or even “Honor.” But there is an even more encompassing, empowering, albeit more subjective and individual answer. That answer is “me”. That is what I have to offer, “me.” And all I expect is “you.” This encompasses everything good, bad and in between: love; respect; honor; procrastination; emotional baggage; distaste for disco and rap music; etc...

Take it or leave it, and that is fine... I can only promise me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Do not judge, lest ye be judged.
Bible – Matthew, 7th chapter

I have been thinking a lot about this topic recently. Within the context of an individual's life, who is the judge of that person's actions or thoughts? I have arrived at the conclusion that the judge is whomever we allow it to be. Do I let my boss judge my actions? Do I let my wife or friends? Circumstance? God?

There are many times when I simply want to be told what to do. “Do you want A or B?” “Do you want to call or should I?” “Should I do this project like Y or Z or maybe W” I feel that is a weakness I must overcome.

In life we have far more choices than we realize. Our subconscious does it's job by filtering most of these. Walking down the sidewalk, one rarely thinks, “Gee, what if I skipped, or hopped, or jumped from side to side every 21 steps.” Far too often I hear from others, “I just couldn't do that,” or “I've never done it that way before.” What bothers me is not the fact that I hear others saying these sorts of things; it's that I say these sorts of things as well.

And so what if I decide to skip from my car, through the parking lot, into the office? I will not be written up or fired for it. I will probably not hurt myself. I would probably cause a few people to point and laugh and have some of their suspicions proven, that I can be an odd fellow from time to time. Oh, then, there may be that pesky drug test! But all the same, nothing bad will happen – so why don't more people do these odd little things?

As I crawl out of my little co-dependent shell, I realize that there are some things about myself that I really don't like. These are traits and behaviors within my being that previously I could simply explain away. Things that I could really believe were the fault of circumstance. Now I see they are not, and I must change for myself.

Introspection really can be a bitch at times. I am judgmental. Not at the big things and not with many things; just a few. I like to be at work on time and feel it is a vital responsibility not to miss days when unnecessary. When my daughter complains of a sore throat or sore feet or an ache or pain and subsequently does not go to school, it, well, makes me a little angry. I am judging her pain based on what I would do; go to work. Within that judging, I discount her feelings and that simply is not right.

Where, then, does being a good parent fall into this equation? I want her to be a tough kid and a tough adult, but I need to be empathetic as well. She is an intelligent individual with an IQ in the upper 130 range but her grades simply do not reflect it. So should I push her to 'suck-it-up' and 'get busy' or should I be more empathetic and let her stay home when she isn't feeling one-hundred percent?

My empathy seems to be waning. Many people have suggested, and perhaps rightfully so, that my empathy has been beaten and bruised and is lying dormant somewhere. I hope I can find it; without it, I am not me.

On one hand, I want to stop being judgmental and be more empathetic. On the other hand, I want people to not judge my actions. I hope the two hands can shake and be friends soon!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
Jack London

The 'muse.' According to, “...the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.” Many have written about finding or waking one's muse. A fine science fiction author, who's name fails me at the moment, wrote that when his muse was sleeping, he would still write... write complete and utter nonsence and gibberish.

Heather Armstrong, in her keynote speech at South by SouthWest Festival in Austin this year, said “Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing.”

I would like to add, that when it starts hurting, you have woken your muse. You have found that 'sweet spot'; that transit from soul to words and sentences and concepts.

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
Robert Heinlein
Texas -
This is not one of my typical blog entries. This will be nothing but quotes about this fine state, Texas that I now exist within.

"I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans." - John Steinbeck 1962

"Texas history is a varied, tempestuous, and vast as the state itself. Texas yesterday is unbelievable, but no more incredible than Texas today. Today's Texas is exhilarating, exasperating, violent, charming, horrible, delightful, alive."- Edna Ferber, author, 1955.

"If a man’s from Texas, he’ll tell you. If he’s not, why embarrass him by asking?"
-U.S. journalist John Gunther regarding legendary Texas pride in 1970's

"What you Northerners never that Texas is so big that you can live your life within its limits and never give a damn about what anyone in Boston or San Francisco thinks. A writer can build a perfectly satisfactory reputation in Texas and he doesn't give a damn about what critics in Kalamazoo think. His universe is big enough to gratify any ambition. Same with business men. Same with newspapers. Same with everything." - 1985 James Michener's "Texas."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nothing is beautiful except the abnormal; and nothing is abnormal until we have grasped the norm.
C.S. Lewis

This is such a powerful quote. It is almost recursive in nature. We must grasp the norm to know the beauty of abnormal; but we must know what is beautiful and abnormal before we know the norm. How do we know what is beautiful? It illuminates; it shines; we are moved at levels that cannot be explained. That's a start.

Normal – That was the subject of my ponderings today, and I had plenty of pondering time. I drove more than 600 miles from Socorro, New Mexico to Sherman, Texas and honestly was not paying attention to the time. Time doesn't matter in this journey, and I hope I learn from that.
The definition of 'normal' from is this: (1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. (2. serving to establish a standard.

In my opinion, that definition is pretty much useless and circular. 'Not abnormal.' What is that? The logical NOT of normal. The entire first definition is completely subjective! What if 'normal' was NOT conforming to the common standard? There are many people who live within this context and are considered 'normal' within their group but perhaps bohemian or even disgusting or unacceptable to others. Given that, 'normal' is a subjective term and must be.

The second definition is equally subjective. “serving to establish a standard” means what? Who's standard? Mine? Yours? Some unknown, faceless mob of people?

According to Aristotle (or Francois Rabelas – French monk, depending on what source you believe), “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Nature also abhors normalcy. Those subscribing to the Theory of Evolution should recognize that for any species to survive, it must evolve; change; NOT be normal. Those subscribing to creationism should recognize that the most important people in Christianity were not considered 'normal' by most. Joan of Arc was a woman commanding an army! What about Noah? The list of Catholic Saints is full of people who were not considered 'normal.'

'Normal' is a tool of the intellectually weak. 'Normal' is a crutch of those with closed minds. 'Normal' is not for me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.
Katharine Butler Hathaway

I write this while less than 50 feet from the rim of Meteor Crater. It is magnificent; words cannot describe. I feel an explosion of emotions within my soul. I want to cry... and I do... and I am unsure as to why.

I walked to the top observation deck and wandered off about 50 feet where there is no guard or fence. I am face to face with the crater. Below me is nothing but a 400 feet drop... certain death to those less certain of their footing. The air is clean and quiet. I hear the voices of gleeful children and the trail guide 500 feet away and the people at the bottom of the crater, more than a mile distant. And I want to cry.

I walk to the lower observation deck and read of the history and of the people who have cared for this site. And the tears start, and I don't know why. This is just a hole in the earth, uncountable ones exist throughout our solar system alone, but at this one, I cry.

After snapping a few photos, I start walking back to the parking lot. A crow, probably the largest one I have ever seen flies overhead. It lands on the building, not more than 20 feet away. It looks right at me, crowing and flapping its wings. Why can humans not be more like birds; flying where they please, enjoying life in a way nature intended. Why do we create such artifices to impede our own happiness, and why do we allow other's artifices to build on our own?

The crow turns its tail to me and calls several more times as if to say, 'pay attention.' It turns its head and looks right down at me, calling, I hear the words, 'follow me.' It extends its wings and glides down from its precipice. Glides down and lands directly in front of my car.

Maybe there is more to the universe than we can perceive. Maybe we simply need to open our minds.
Go forth on your path, as it exists only through your walking.
Saint Augustin

I like this quote. In the universe of quantum physics, nothing exists unless it is observed. Specifically, this is not really correct. Quantum physics roughly states that all possibilities exist until a specific possibility is observed. But there is a catch. At the moment something is observed, the event is altered. In the observing of an event, as transient or benign as that may be, that event itself is altered.

Therefore, does the viewing of something effect the outcome? Does the path exist only because one is walking it? Saint Augustin may have been a religious man, but just maybe, he knew a little about quantum physics.

Does this path I am now traveling only exist because I am traveling it? Of course. This path is mine and mine alone. My existence, my trek down this path creates ripples of my own creation; my own existence. These ripples affect others. I drive down the darkened road and illuminate it for others. I pass cars and trucks, effecting them, if only minutely. For better or worse I effect peoples' lives within my path. Viewed as right or wrong by others, I am the judge of my own path.

A life un-lived is a life not lived. Life is a path. Each person must be the judge of their own path. Some people live a bohemian lifestyle, somewhat contrary to popular norms. Those living that life are the judges of that lifestyle. Within the context of their lifestyle, they judge what is right or wrong. They travel their own path and it exists, right or wrong, as judged by others. But, it is not right for others to judge.

To many, nudists live a impure life. Was it not Adam and Eve who walked naked in the Garden of Eden? Personally, I view the human body a beautiful instrument of nature. But not just externally beautiful. Like a light bulb, beauty resonates from within. It resonates from the soul through our corporeal bodies. Beautiful people are as such through deed and belief and individuality, not through lip liner or mascara or plastic surgery. The radiance of a beautiful person eclipses all physical alterations human kind can imagine. True beauty is an illumination from within, false beauty is illuminated from the light of others.

OK, I am not sure why I am writing this. Perhaps it is road exhaustion, perhaps the beer, perhaps my freedom from the constant stresses of the day. A friend asked me today, how it felt to be free. It is an odd feeling. Liberating but unsure. I sit in my hotel room in Flagstaff, Arizona pondering life and the path and what is right and what is wrong.

I am enjoying this solitude. The night is mine. The drink is mine. The path is mine.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5, 2006
T-Minus 1 day!

I am a man who does not exist for others.
Ayn Rand

I have come to learn a great many things over the past several years. One of those things is this: As long as I please myself, there is a good chance I will please others. If I work only to please others, there is a great chance I will not please myself and a distinct probability I will not please the other person either.

I don't mean that I should be completely selfish to the point of disregarding others' needs or desires. I mean, focus on my desires, extending to others. Here are some examples:

Daughter's birthday – A) Work my tail off to giver what she wants. B) Give her the best of what I can give.

Work – A) Listen to everybody's suggestions and trying to make everybody happy. B) Listen to everybody's suggestions, evaluate all requirements and do the best I can.

Life – A) Listen to everybody and try to make them all happy and healthy and satisfied. B) Make myself happy and healthy and satisfied, then think of everyone else.

I think that selfishness, working within the proper altruistic context is synergistic. I work harder and live better for myself – My daughter reaps the immediate rewards and learns by example.

Intimate and sexual relationships pose an interesting juxtaposition of selfishness and altruism. Pure altruism, doing whatever the partner wants; whenever, can lead to the feeling of not being fulfilled or fully complete. Pure selfishness is nothing more that exercise; and emotionally damaging exercise at that. Somewhere in the middle of selfishness and altruism lies the 'Holy Grail' of an intimate relationship. It is up to each couple to discover where that lies; and it may change from day to day; week to week; month to month.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

November 4, 2006
T-Minus 2 days! (yes, I am leaving on Monday, not Tuesday)

A person who does not attempt to evaluate all possibilities is a fool.

Why Go?

At times I evaluate me need, my desire to proceed with this trip. Over and over again, I remember something I heard from a CSI episode. Grissom, a middle aged, intelligent, single guy, seems to be attracted to a rather mysterious, attractive, intelligent woman. Oddly enough, this woman is also a “madam” of an S&M club. This attraction is mutual and expressed in rather intelligent ways; not simplistic or raw. I don't think they even kiss.

Captain Brass, another character on the show, tells Grissom to “Get a sports car. It will be cheaper.”

Is what I am experiencing a midlife crisis of sorts? Is this need to hit the road for a week, an expression of my mid-life angst? Is this just an escapist ploy to avoid the real world that seems to be infinitely confusing and troublesome? Is it a way to exercise and advertise my independence as a person? Am I trying to prove something to myself or to others? Is this an action by me, to in some way, punish those who have incidentally or purposefully injured me? Am I covertly exercising some level of retribution? Am I expecting more or less from this journey? Or, is this a path toward discovering myself?

Many people have stated that I am not have a crisis... That I am instead, discovering ME again. That I am remaking ME version 2.0 As I look at things, I tend to believe them.

I like to think I am not the type of person to over evaluate things but in this case, maybe that is exactly what I am doing. I am not doubting my need or desire for this trip and yes, short of someone being hospitalized, I am going.

There are some practical issues and loose-ends that must be settled before I leave. Those of you who know my situation will undoubtedly understand this is no trivial matter. I will not dwell on this topic but may touch on it periodically. It is, as I have stated to my friends before, a rather complex situation.

Thought for the moment...
My wife told me that if I were with another woman on this trip, that I shouldn't even think of kissing her ever again. So, does the converse hold true? And, what exactly is her definition of being with another woman? Dinner? Drinks? Skinny-dipping? Waving at one while on the road?