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Part 4 – Going out, Not knowing where I go

I was reeling after the he left me. It is always the same. The shame, the degradation,  the impotence, the self-pity, the excruciating cold numbing fire,  were all familiar to me but there was something different this time. I was not able to grasp it but I felt a slight shifting in my relationship with him.  The Clown was right but not all-powerful, not all-knowing. I knew that when he was running his mouth about Her. There was a bit too much swagger in his response to me. I posed no threat to his rule, or did I?

I called out to them. “Where are you?”  After a minute or so I saw them rise from the rubble looking sheepishly at me.  “Where did y’all go?”  The Priest  replied , “Well, we did not see that we could be of much help with him around.  You know that Freud would say the interplay between the Ego and the Superego and the Id , , , ”  “Shut up!” I said.  “You are as useless as he said you were.”   “I am an academic what do you want from me?  I deal with concepts not crazy Clowns.  He really makes me uncomfortable .”  “Yeah he really don’t get what we are trying to say,” the Rebel chimed in.  “That’s all y’all do is say shit and sing and write papers.  We are homeless and your lofty romantic drivel  wont help a starving man no matter how profound it is.”  “Well what do you want us to do?  We could set up on the street out There somewhere with a guitar maybe they will give us money” said the rebel.  I chuckled.  “We may have to before it’s over but I don’t think that is going to feed us all very long,” I said.

Talking with the Clown usually helps my perspective.  Laughter has another face too.  Sometimes it brings life and playfulness into bad situations.  The Clown had shown me my foolishness.  I saw myself through his eyes and it was “stupid” as he called it.  Being in agreement with him changed things.  “I don’t know boys, but we got to figure something out.  Come on.  I want to go see something.”  As I took a few steps in no particular direction and the two fell in line behind me.  The Priest inquired, “Where are we going?”  “I’m not really sure about the where or the how but I need to go find everybody and talk to them, especially Her,”  I offered.  “A Quest!” the Rebel said excitedly.  “Shall I compose as we go?  Would you like it blues, more jazzy, or a more classic romantic feel?  You see . . .”.  I turned, placing my finger to my lips indicating for him to hush.  I started to cut him off.  I started to shut him down, but had a second thought.  I chuckled again and said  “Yeah, you do that.  You are actually quite talented and I like your stuff.  Just play what you feel.  A sound track may be just the thing,” I smiled at him.  The Priest chimed in, “A Hero’s journey.  You know that is a common archetype or more correctly a motif that can be found in some form in all cultures.  Joseph Campbell,  one of the most well-known if not the preeminent 20th century scholar on the subject would say that . . . ”  I held up my finger again but this time over smiling lips.  “OK smart boy, then what do we do now?”  I could see that I had rattled him a bit with the question.  He replied the best he could with, “Well ah . . . you know that ah . . . I am not as familiar with the mundane and/or logistical aspects of an actual journey, ah . . . my pursuits have been more along the lines of ah . . .”  “Yeah, that’s what if figured.  Tell you what, you keep notes and watch and be ready if I  need a consultation along the way.  You are pretty smart in your fashion but I think you only know about things.  I need to know the thing itself.”  “But of course, that is indeed my function, after all.  The other is a bit outside my purview.  And if you would allow me to . . . ”  I cut my eyes back at him with a smile and he quit talking.  He seemed relieved.

High on a hill above them he stood and watched all that had transpired.  The corner of one corner of his mouth turned upward within his panted on smile.   He shrugged either in resignation or perhaps hope.  He turned on his big floppy shoe and walked away down the hill back toward Her.

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Becoming a little Child

I posted this on another blog lately in response to the author’s musings about the writing process and doing life in general.  There was a line in her article about sometimes we have to reach out to new experiences and people and “ask if we can play too.”

“asking if we can play too” . . .  Maybe that is all that “become as a little child” means. 🙂  Very sweet.  I needed some sweetness today.  Thank you.  I am very new to all this blogging.  My grown children had to show me how to get started.  It’s kinda fun to be ignorant again.  Stupid has gotten old 🙂 .  Me just sticking my toe into these alien waters is so far from the “competence” I had grown accustomed to.  I have begun to shyly comment and follow (if those are the correct terms).  Each time I do I feel like an elementary school boy with his new cigar box filled with the smells of pencils and erasers and Elmer’s paste tucked under his arm.  I laughed in a good way at myself when I read that line.  So I guess this is the boy who still resides in and sometimes peeps out through these 51-year-old eyes asking if “I can play too”.

I have thought about this idea for some days now.  Wondering if that shy vulnerable place was a doorway that I have typically avoided.  And because I avoided it I have left something behind that now I must find a way to reclaim.  I vividly recall the sights and sounds and smells even some of the faces I encountered along the way.  I remember the sense of isolation and feeling exposed.  New school.  New boy.  New people.  Unknown.  It is interesting that I remember that feeling but don’t remember much of what happened to overcome it.  What did the boy do?  We moved quite a bit during my early school years so it was a familiar experience.  I think I began to piece together certain patterned responses to situations that merely got refined and updated through the decades and changing contexts.  Making touchdowns, being funny, thoughtfulness helped, being “smart” was a plus, and they were all a  part of finding a way to be in the loop.  But really it was more about avoiding being left out than actively pursuing being in.  I became quite competent in most situations and exceptional in a few.  But . . . and this is a huge but, I was still alone and for the most part unknown outside the roles I played in other people’s lives.  My identity and living became attached to other people’s needs, wants, and goals, and my ability to anticipate and respond adequately to them.  On many levels this is appropriate and good except that I stopped consulting that shy, inquisitive, creative little boy in me.  I left him behind somewhere and have orphaned myself.

There has always been a thought in my mind and heart usually just out of conscious reach but there just beneath the surface.  It was something to the effect of “One day after I have done enough, helped enough, sacrificed enough, achieved enough . . . then I could rest and do what I wanted, have what I wanted.”  The funny thing is that I never really knew what it was I wanted.  Even now it is still opaque, vaguely outlined in emotion more than a burning clear vision.  You see, I never asked the boy.  Never thought to, assuming that all he had to offer was weakness.  But now I think he knows, or at least he knows where to look.  So it seems I have become a clever man without much practice or knowledge of how to play, or let go, or just be.  I have left behind the childlike part of me and have injured myself.  But . . . and this is another big but, I find myself back where I left off.  Shy and vulnerable and unsure, working up the nerve to ask “if I can play too?”.  Perhaps walking through those doors long avoided will finally lead me to the place I have wanted to be for so long.  Be Groovy!

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Sacred Space

Sacred Space happens and exists on the boundary. It is discovered somewhere between space and time. It breaks through at the point of contact between two. Two different, but at the point of contact something new and wonderful is born. The ocean is the ocean. The earth is the earth. But when they join something new and wild and beautiful springs into existence. The joining of the earth and sky creates and defines a boundary which calls the heart on to better things. There is a time between time which happens at dusk and right before daylight. There is stillness and a wonder which hints at something profound and good and powerful waiting just outside our awareness. It is hinted at in art and poetry and music. All of these things awaken the deepest longings and hopes of our hearts. We long for the sacred. We long for completion. We sigh for what our heart knows must be true.

Plato spoke of the Real calling us into It. It is as though our experience is in the Shadowlands, on the very edge of what is ultimately true. At times it seems as though we get glimmers and tastes and teases which both thrill and disappoint. I believe in the Real. I believe in an answer to all appetites. There must be an answer, or the motivation for living above beyond the mundane is a cruel cosmic trick.

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Part 3 – The Rebel the Priest and the Clown

As we worked I felt something at the nape of my neck running down my back signaling danger, and the panic of being exposed.  I knew who it was even before I heard him laughing.  Dread filled my belly, saturating me, draining me of what little motivation I had mustered.  I turned and watched him approach.  He skipped, jumped, and danced his way through the dry, dusty debris.  And each time one of those huge red shoes hit the ground it stirred powdery puffs of ash and grime that slowly settled again outside the print. I have always hated him. That crazy orange hair, that stupid round red nose, and that painted on smile that mocks me without mercy.  He plopped himself down in front of me then caught and held my eyes.  “Hurts don’t it?”  It was as much a statement as it was a question.  Looking into his eyes I could see the fierce disdain mirroring my own repugnance back to me.  It was horrifying looking into those eyes and knowing what lay under that painted on smile.  “And what are you doing messing around here in the trash?  You’re so stupid,” he smirked.

He looked around appraising the situation.  And finding nothing of interest said, “Well, guess I’ll go for now.  I just wanted to come say hello in case you had forgotten me,” he laughed, taunting.  “I’m going to find something to do. You are so pathetic it’s boring”.  I had no answer.  And the silence like an open grave, revealed my decaying and utter impotence.  “And where are your boys”?  I looked around for them but they were gone.  “They are impressive but quite useless at times.  You know you are going to have to deal with all of us one day.  This will keep happening until you do.  And you know it will keep getting worse if you don’t. So either you will deal with us here or you will meet us on the Outside. That’s the hard way. But either way I’ll be seeing you.”

“Where are they?  Where is everybody”?  I whimpered. “Hell if I know.  Its not my job to keep up with them.  It’s yours.  You are so, so stupid,” he said shaking his head at me as he turned to leave.  He called back over his shoulder “Have you seen Her”?

“Sometimes in my dreams.  She usually just shows up and reminds me of how insufficient I am and leaves me again”.  Laughing he answered, “I know. I was there”.  “But,”  I said, “This last time though she kissed me sweetly like a lover, like it mattered, and said to trust her.  It was right before everything fell apart.  I don’t know what it means.”  This seemed to surprise him a little.  He stopped and turned to look at me.

“Really?  She did not mention anything about it”.  He paused, “Well, whatever.  Tell you what,  I’ll give her a kiss for you when I see her.  She says she likes how I kiss.  Nobody kisses like me.  I think she just likes love.  I don’t really care one way or another as long as she gives me what I want.  Later stupid”.  And then he turned and walked away.

 

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Part 2 – The Rebel and the Priest

They would not listen. They sat looking at the rubble, the twisted shards and broken pieces of their “glorious” dream.  I had called several places for assistance but none came. They all were booked or busy or otherwise occupied. I watched these two feeling the disgust rise in me. The Rebel sat on a broken wall strumming a guitar and composing a beautifully romantic song about freedom and the exquisite pain found in loss.  He wept as he repeated the strain again and again. The Priest was rambling on and writing about some obscure theo-philosophical concept. He spoke most profoundly about the Weak Forces of the universe and the creative destruction necessary and expected in life.  He was drawing parallels between Quantum theory and the theological constructs of death and rebirth.  I was “at once” sick of, and perversely attracted to their efforts. I needed them to get anything done, and here they sit in a heap writing poetry and philosophy.  What a waste. I began to worry that a storm may roll in while we sit here. I realized that they were not going to be any help, and none was coming. I looked down at the broken wall at my feet, considered the damage a storm might do if we had no shelter of any kind.  I knew I could not do much without them but I can pick up a brick. That’s all I know to do.  Exhausted, weak, and discouraged but I began. I moved. I did something.  And as I began my clumsy ineffective effort, the music and pontification began to fade. I was soon joined by the two. The Rebel attended to stylistic and comfort concerns and the Priest had an eye for the structural and safety issues. Before too long there was at least a place to find some shelter. It was not much and it was temporary but it was something and not nothing. Which may be all one can do at such times.

 

 

 

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