manifesting air quotes…

In the last few weeks of my ongoing general-non-differentiated-aimless, yet all-encompassing, discontent; I seem to be encountering persistence of the word “being”, appearing, “fraught”* with meaning.

I am seeing that I have been captured all these years in the habit of “doing”, and like all habits I didn’t see it as one. The sense of doing, or at the very least planning some doing, was habitual, in that habits are often (part of), the various cores of that ceaseless story by me, told to me, about me. Twenty-four/seven, for however many years I can manage to to tell it, hear it, and nod in agreement. I suspect that is a common human experience and we don’t notice it for the most part. After all, “that’s just Me”.

I had become a little worried that I wasn’t “doing” anything. Not in the fascist “productive member of society” formulation, but more in the continuous validation that I am “active”, and that proves some sort of worth, as if I had to keep updating a worthiness for existence. My coming into existence established my worthiness, but I had never fully begun to realize that. I thought I had to establish that to others. You know, so they would approve and I could bask.

I’m beginning to see that “being” takes just as much effort as “doing”, yet has more long range “potential” for good, because in “being” I cultivate my “human” side and that is not an accomplishment, it is real-“izing.”

So, as I become more entrenched in my Old “Cootage” (French pronunciation please), I feel less pressured to do something, anything; and just try to let things be. Including me.

 

Lost and found is not

A department it is

How we all are in

This here life now.

 

*Fraught” is not on my list of “Words I Like” which is my next topic.”Soonish.”

 

Incomprehensible world…

In a cave.

How do we spend

our lives, our time?

At times I am at peace,

Other times, no. So,

Let us all, not eat

Or drink anything

For one, measly, hour.

A Teaching Moment!

That’s what Life is

Composed of. Isn’t it?

Children in a cave.

Send love.

One hour adds up.

Potential Millions.

A lot of love can

Help! Reflect.

One hour is infinite

In effect. Make a

Difference, in

Your life. Affect others,

Abide in reality.

Offer Love.

One hour. Can we

Do more? Then let’s!

Half-life…

Yesterday I celebrated 35 years clean and sober. It was on the 20th of June 1983 that I drove my 1966 Chrysler New Yorker (with whiskey dents) up to the door of the Napa County Detox facility on Old Sonoma Road in Napa, Ca. I had the better half of a bottle of whiskey in me, it was about 10 or 11 in the morning. I had been on my way out of town to go back to San Francisco, for no good purpose except that I had nowhere to turn or go. I had failed yet again.

Not too sure of timeline; but about six months prior to that I had been living in a half-way house at #80 9th Street in S.F., between Mission and Market. As part of the program there I was doing a job search and using the wall pay-phone in hallway,  had called about a management position at a well known Golf Course/Resort in Napa, I managed to arrange for an interview, and an old friend and his wife who had found me at that half-way house, after contacting my mother back East; drove me out for that interview. I got another interview. I got the job. Manager of the main restaurant and in charge of central bar.

I arrived there, same friend drove me there, with a suitcase of clothes from Salvation Army and my last GA (General Assistance) check from S.F. of $124 in my pocket. I was given a condo to live in with daily maid service and everyone called me Mr. Schatz. From half-way house to Napa resort condo; and I though everything was as it should be. Maybe, two months later I was fired. It didn’t take long to revert. I drank up the money I saved and was again homeless and headed back to SF, to die. I didn’t care anymore. Things were bleak.

A year or more before that, I had asked for help while living in a drunken stupor on streets of S.F. and it came by the truckload, but I was unable to accept it because I couldn’t see it for what it was.                                                                                                            My mind was clouded and it rained every day.

As I was driving down Hwy. 29 to head to the City, something made me pull off the road into a small shopping center, park in front of a Sew/Vac shop and go in and ask the lady there if I could use her phone book. She said yes. I looked under “Alcohol” in Yellow Pages and saw address for County detox facility. I asked lady where that address was and she gave me directions. I got there and parked right out front. I had to leave engine running because I had hard time staring car that morning. I went in and was greeted by Jack Malin, who ran the program at that time. We sat in his office talking and smoking, you could still do that back then, and he did the intake procedure on me.

Over the years many things have clarified, among them were the awareness of discreet moments, tiny increments, where some little cog-wheel in my heart clicked over a notch in the right direction. Several clicks happened that day. One, of course was the lady at the Sew/Vac store, several more came in the next hour or so.

After listening to my false self-aggrandizing story of how I got there; Jack said, “Well it sounds like a hell of a life, but you had some short periods of time where you were trying to stay sober but couldn’t. It’s very important that you don’t see those attempts as failure. They were actually a success.” Blam, tick, click.                                                                          “You can stay here, we are a social-model facility and our only requirements is that you go to one AA meeting every day and daily meetings and counseling sessions that we schedule.”  I said, “I can’t go to a meeting every day but I’ll go to two or three a week.” He said, “You don’t understand. If you want to stay here you have to go to a meeting every day.” Blam, tick, click..    I said, “Oh, O.K.” Blam, tick, click.

Then, he said, “You can go out and turn off your car. You are safe here.”                      BLAM! TICK! CLICK!

That I nigh I lay in a special room with the usual thick plastic covers on beds in drunk tanks and such, curled up, facing a wall, an open knife in my hand, just in case ( I had lived a very fearful life for many years but didn’t know it yet), and the next morning it was the 21st of June 1983 and I haven’t had drink or drug since then.

About three weeks later, I declared myself a Buddhist, I had just read Three Pillars of Zen and realized that I would lead a revolution in not only Zen but the Twelve Step world by syncretizing those two in a way that would be completely Helmuthian. It took a couple of years for that attractive delusion to wither of itself, and then the hard work took hold. Dealing with what was in front of me.

For some time I couldn’t really see what was in front of me because I was always, or so it seemed, in the way. Now I know that I just hadn’t sufficiently seen through me. To see what actually is in front of me. That clarity comes and goes, but never completely, away.

It turns out, this second half is no different than the first half. There is always a before and there is an after. I experience the after and often misremember the before; and, I am here.

Grateful. Thankful. Fairly sane.

I take Refuge in the Buddha.   I take Refuge in the Dharma.   I take Refuge in the Sangha.

Sunrise, Sunset…

The Sun doesn’t set

Nor does it rise. No,

It’s just me, we, us,

The World, turning,

Spinning, slowly, inexorably,

Away. Then, at That point,

Turning again, once and ever

Towards.

Rising we sense, yet

Turning always, over and

Over. Not this,

Not that. Yes this and that.

A  gain and,

Again. “Two crows sitting on a

Fence, one is named Pete, the other…”

Perpetual

Motion. Wonder

Full.

It’s a draft resurrection…

I was looking at some old starts on some posts, because I haven’t really been moved to post anything and I basically have nothing to say, Yes, yes…

But, I found this and it’s ok, as is.

sitting alone in an

empty house,

suddenly bereft I

long, for something

I never had, nor knew

I wanted; but now it

shows what it is and

was; by its absence.

A real me; not the

I, but the me. I

cannot be alone and

can feel me being

so. It is the  heat that

makes incense light

from a flame

which, from a distance,

can appear cool.

 

 

On the road…

Having moved again two months ago, I’m on the road again, this time to D.C.

A lot has been going on, yet not much at all. That, I’m beginning to sense is the actuality of everyones life, but that doesn’t mean we are aware of those two seeming opposites on a regular basis, or even sometimes.

It seems, I have no way of knowing this, that as my mind gets spacier and I have increasing difficulty with memory and single-mindedness, there is a deepening of some of the more elusive, and formerly sought-after, aspects of being in this world.

So, when things seem a certain way; they may be. I feel naturally more able to remain still within and allow the mind to just be. If that’s a form of dementia, or the right-on-time onset of something or other, then I can be very comfortable with that; providing I develop small strategies in dealing with the little daily doings that I tend to forget. I’m just getting old and am grateful that I got sober and clean while simultaneously starting a regular Buddhist practice, and continuing to nurture those two vital aspects of my life.

What a lucky duck!

I stumbled into a good life and even though I’ve tried to mess it up a few times, apparently my efforts were insufficient.

Good fortune with a modicum of effort and sometimes just not being too afraid.

I’m in Denver Airport and like how simple and quiet it is, in a book store I found some good airplane-reading. For me a part of flying is a moment to indulge. I found a high window seat where I can watch them load and fuel planes just 50 yards away. All those routine things that have to get done so we can fly high up in the sky (Fly Me To The Moon:) in compact and enclosed little swarms of humanity/karma and are, with very few exceptions safely brought back to earth. Wether we want to or not.

Going here staying there

Moving about being still

Thinking and forgetting

No matter where or how

There is no here, Never

No there. There!

It’s the journey, no

Arrival. That’s just

A resting place.

 

 

 

 

 

Movement…

After being in Walla Walla for the last year and settling in a bit, I had started to look at houses that were in my range of do-ability, and just recently realized that what I could afford also called for at least two years of remodeling and endless puttering, and then I had an Aha! moment, and decided to rent an apartment instead and settle into old age as an apartment dweller. It was a big step in several ways. One, was the simple fact that at my age I need to be realistic and err on the side of caution in my plannings long range.   A couple of AA slogans came to mind; K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) and Easy Does It! 

I had been feeling sort of captured by my ideas about aging and the things that I have schlepped around with me for the past few years after Linda’s death. All MY tools and gadgets and stuff that a prudent homeowner has so they can fix what needs fixing, from shovels to planers, to pole pruners, chop saws, fine saws, one million assorted screws and nails and hinges, and handles and lights and clamps, and gizmos and extension cords, table saws and routers, and another million or so items that are “put away” and I don’t even know I have them. A bed that weighs 14 tons and is a “king”, and I am really, just a former knave. I had lost perspective and become used to old discardable ideas that no longer served me, but rather I served them. So another move is on. It may be my last or I’ve got four or five more, somewhere in the future ’til there is a last.

What’s been currently (last night), interesting is what stolid companionship worry, fear and doubt can be when we least need them (2:11 a.m.). They arise unbidden and give me plenty of opportunity to not only observe and feel (and feed) them, but also to enter the pack as a visitor and sort of knock around with them in the wee hours. I could probably bring a camera crew and get a couple of hours of documentary footage for the PBS “Inner-Nature” program.                                                                                                                   And then it’s time to just, get-the-fuck-up and enter the day. Facing the actual aspects of life that require a different type of participation activity, you know, doing.                              So, my first doing was to put on outside clothing and drive to “Popular Donuts” in Walla Walla, 6 minutes away, and get my usual (once a week), an old- fashioned Chocolate, and a Powder Lemon-filled donut. Then home (Now three minutes away), and a cup of coffee and a few pages of a poetry compendium by Red Pine.

Now, that is an example that the stuff in our minds is basically not real, but Popular Donuts is (and are), real. Life continues and I have to go do some chores around the new apartment and this month use many of my tools for the last time before finding a home for them where they can help others.                                                                                         That’s what tools do. I want to become a tool.

With these hands, also 

This mind, I have wrought

And sown much disaster, as

Well as strife. Now, for

Some years there has been a 

Peace growing within

That informs me, that All means

Every Thing. Every No-Thing.

In and Out

Nothing goes to waste,

Not even time. Not in

The long run.

(Donuts are a good Thing, In moderation)