The Cathartic Dog, not Pavolov’s

He was like that, always quoting things he thought he understood and using them for his own personal meaning. No one ever bothered to fact check. Who would do that anyway? What type of a person listens or participates in a conversation and then spends time to research that conversation for truth and clarity. Thank God most people don’t do that. Although I suppose in this “on demand ” world that we now live in fact checking is becoming more normalised and with it trust in each other is being eroded as well. Perhaps it is the harvest of a generation of lies? Or more aptly the overarching sentiment is that the machine needs to tell untruths for its sustainability and everyone is beginning to understand that now.

This is not a treatise on the subject of catharsis rather an observation and reflection that may or may not be your experience but it is his or was his. Once things are written or spoken I find that they often lose the connection with the speaker or the writer. It is as if they, the words, develop a life of their own. Just now as I write this my mind wanders to a new place because the words just written are now out of the way and I can move forward. Almost like a fallen tree in the road that has been removed and we can now continue. This road I speak of I know not. Except that it stretches out in front of me and I am compelled to travel it, even if only for a little while.
What was that thought? O Yes, perhaps our communication is the very first AI. What he means is, words on page or spoken, once communicated and absorbed, seem to come to life. Maybe not all words but I think most. Once they have come to life they move and take different forms and meaning, perhaps accomplish more than expected. Isn’t that a type of artificial intelligence or is it just intelligence?
This is exactly how he does it. So convincing are his expressed thoughts that you don’t even realise that it is an argument that you didn’t have.
Perhaps it has to with setting, but once he enters contemplative thought, he changes. The world as we know it and as he knows it seems to fade or dim and a new world or at the very least a doorway opens and he is not one to stand in doorways, he passes by them or through them. Scattered thought or clear eyed determination of a pursuit of knowledge. Education after all is about learning and learning has to do with things we don’t know or understand, yet.
Maybe it is simple curiosity that moves him to say outlandish things like, I will perform catharsis today and thereby possibly take part in my healing. There he goes giving birth to a new AI. Does that even make sense. He needs a strainer for his thoughts before he sets them free.
When the apostle Paul started writing and talking about things and interpretations of things didn’t his contemporaries dispute him? When the friends of Jesus, disciples, I think we made that word well after they were all gone, (We like the word disciple because it takes the responsibility away from us the individual and places it on some hierarchy.) wrote their stories did anyone fact check them?
He wanted me to write this down so that you could hear and see his thoughts. Not to judge them, although I suspect that is inevitable.
Alright maybe I should come clean. He is me and I am him or maybe I am all of you? What If catharsis isn’t real? Then scooping up huge amounts of dog shit from the back yard and placing it in a bag is just that. Or raking leaves that were once beautiful and alive is simply just exposing what is underneath? Or writing ones own thoughts are just hedonistic and meaningless? No it’s real. Who said, physician heal thyself? Someone crazy right? Someone who rejects interdependence? Or is it someone who realised that we are a collective rather than an individual in mind body and spirit. “That what you seek is within you”. That’s another good one, rejected mostly by organizations that survive on, quid pro quo. How can we already have what we need and not know it?
No this is not a treatise nor was the scientific method used to reach any conclusions. Simply put, I have a dog and a yard with trees. My life is filled with challenges because I create them or accept them as gifts or burdens. I might be the dog or the tree. 

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Reunion, is it possible?

Hey so it started with an impromptu visit by an old friend. Preperations included a hair cut and nervous tension. I even contemplated washing the truck, inside and out. Where will this lead? I am definitely taking a shower, after the the haircut and the day of struggle I feel a bit like a gummy bear that’s been left in a pocket on a warm day.Cold shower, the boiler wasn’t working at least I’m fresh.

I left the house in good timing, apparently too good. I found myself pulling up to the parking lot terrified at the realization that I am 20 minutes early and I could be one of 15 or so cars, meaning there is no one here, yet. I quickly drove past the church parking lot and kept moving. Indecision set in and overwhelmed me. I could potentially just kill time and and come back arriving a little late thereby saving face and presenting myself a little less eager ergo, cooler. Or I could just forget the whole thing, turn around and go home. I didn’t have the courage for that cowardly act. So I just drove around for 10 minutes and then actually pulled into the lot, as if this was an organic experience, not actually controlled by anxiety or fear. I wondered, most likely aloud, does everyone that attempts to go to a reunion, go through these emotions?
I was near the door now, crossing the threshold into a space that was at once foreign and familiar. I don’t hesitate at thresholds that has always irritated me. My family knows this of me and it irritates them equally. I would rather cross into the new space, almost crash into it, quick and then deal with the consequence of arrival. My family would rather open the door, survey and plan the next move.
I have entered the foyer and find myself the foreigner. There is no recognition, the welcome group was non existent. There was no banner or balloons falling from the ceiling welcoming me back into the fold.
I moved forward with no map and no direction other than perpetual motion and the sense that I was yet to find the place where I would be welcomed. I knew the spaces as I travelled through the building and yet I did not know where I was going. Then all at once I was disoriented, l had for some reason turned a corner and entered another familiar room but it was empty and void of any homecoming. This can’t be right and I almost left the building. How could l be lost in a building that was part of my very essence, the setting of so many dreams? I wasn’t lost so much as I was in the wrong place. I asked for directions from an oddly familiar face, an employee? I had forgotten that this was where he worshipped. He was so at home here and I was so lost. I thanked him for the orientation, still in disbelief that I required assistance, like an old man looking for milk in the fridge and finding none even though the milk was apparent to everyone else.
I took direction well, that was something positive. I moved forward climbing the stairs now. I entered an entirley new space. White walls with a purple glow. It immediately reminded me of my grandmother’s basement, where she grew violets in the winter time under a fluorescent light. Not foreign but out of place. Finally a familiar face, a quick conversation of who I was made me feel, or perhaps exposed my true feelings of not belonging. Another familiar face, anotber quick conversation, more discomfort. I am an extrovert, I can handle this. I will prevail. It will be good. Catharsis set in. I reached my destination, a seat beside and behind people that I once knew, well? How much does anyone really know you at a time when you don’t really know yourself? I don’t know these people, they don’t know me. It’s Ok. The presentation began with the assumption that I knew what was happening, I didn’t understand. I followed along, at a distance. Then I trailed off, how did I get here today? Am I so easily convinced? Am I looking for something and this is where I thought my search was leading me? Did I bump my head earlier?
Thank God the “formalities” ended and I was released to go back to my own habitat. I made my out and through my imagined gauntlet of past experiences to the parking lot. With one last attempt to associate, I ate a hot dog, with only mustard as a garnish. I drank nothing. I tried to wipe my hands of the mustard but there is always residue or at least aroma. I placed the napkin in the trash. Climbing into my truck I felt safe. I drove home remembering a bizarre night long ago that involved me catching chickens, as a new career choice.
I am part of evolution. I am evolving. I do change. My younger self is no longer,  the self I am yet to become does not yet exist, but it will.

Deconstructionism is necessary and always has been. It’s just not helpful if you end up stuck with your life, relationships, philosophy and theology in pieces like a bomb went off.

I recognize I am a little slow but it occurred to me that the cross represents the process of deconstruction. Jesus came and he said yup you have had your ways of thinking and relating and now we are going to break those down through a process of necessary suffering.
I understand now that deconstruction is the easy part, it’s making something of all the parts or at least some of them even if they seem upside down or inside out.
We all need a new beginning after we take it apart or it falls apart.
I love how Jesus upon the eve of the disassembly of the worlds of his friends and family, guides them of what to do next.
He is near death on the cross. He looks down and sees John his buddy and his mom, they are messed. Sometimes you are in control of your destruction and sometimes not. He says hey John and Mom. Your worlds are falling apart and here is what you do next. ” John this your mother. Mom this is your son. Love and care for each other.

I promise

God is good and great. God will never leave you. God is a force greater than you. Not by God’s doing or by our doing does God love us but because God is love. All the love that you have experienced up to now and all the love you will yet encounter is God. This I know is true in faith and only in faith, the rest of this are my musings but I give them as a gift to you.(Originally written for my son at his ROP)

Lets begin with this premise, that God is love. In the Christian Bible there is a book called Corinthians, apparently the author is the Apostle Paul and many of his writings in this book are about love. Often, the religious tradition that I am familiar with, looks for and interprets messages from God as if God were a general or a ruler or king.  Let’s suppose God through the writings of Paul, is not commanding us on how to live and act and judge but rather God is simply giving us a different vision so we might be able spot love more easily. Or perhaps better yet Paul is describing the promise of God. The promise that was first described in what the Christian tradition calls the 10 commandments. I like to call them the 10 promises. The following is the list of “commandments” following by my interpretations.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me. JRW version: I promise you that although you may attach your allegiance to other and you may think you find your significance in other, I am other and i love you.
  2. You shall not make any idol in the form of anything in the heavens on earth or in the sea. I am a jealous god punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation  of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations to those who love me and keep my commandments. JRW version: I promise you that I am in all things whether you judge them good or bad I am in all things. You can look high and low near and far and you will not be able to find anything or make anything that I am not a part of. I am other and I am what is.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. JRW version: I promise you that whatever name you call, when you cry out in anger, in exasperation, in pain and suffering and in joy I hear you and I cannot turn away. I am in all things and you cannot hurt me.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy: JRW version: I promise you that there is now no more work for you. I have completed all of it. Today is the Sabbath, rest.
  5. Honour your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord is giving you. JRW version: Go ahead be good to all. I promise that there is nothing you can do to gain more.  
  6. You shall not murder. JRW version: I promise you that you do not need to kill in order to survive. In fact I will show you how to die in order to live.
  7. You shall not commit adultery. JRW version: I promise that if you are looking for love you will find me. Love is all around you for I am love and I am in all things, take me in.
  8. You shall not steal. JRW version: Whatever I have is yours, whatever you have is me and whatever you take is me. I promise you that your need is my need your want is my want.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. JRW version: I promise that you do not need to lie. I have given you the truth that love conquers all. You cannot be backed into a corner where the only tool is a lie because I am the corner and I am the truth.  
  10. You shall not covet. JRW version: I promise you that I am the gap in your life that you seek to fill and I am the filling you seek.

Red Sweater

Red sweater
I wish it was different.
I wish I could remember what is was, but honestly I can’t.
Maybe it was love at first sight but I don’t think so.
Maybe it was her infectious smile and maybe not.
Maybe it was those beautiful brown eyes that seemed to draw me in I’m not sure.
Maybe it was her soft sweet hands that were cool and warm all the same, perhaps.
Maybe it was because we talked all night about nothing, over and over.
Maybe it was the feeling I had when I was near and the ache when we were apart.
Maybe it was the way my spirit moved when I saw her.
Maybe it was because she laughed
Maybe it was love.
It was because she laughed.
It was because of the way my spirit moved when I saw her.
It was the ache in my being when we we’re apart.
It was talking all night about nothing.
It was her soft sweet hands that were warm and cool all the same.
It was her beautiful deep brown eyes.
It was her infectious smile
It was love at first sight.
It is different, we are older.
It is her smile that brings the day to life.
It is her beautiful brown eyes that cry and laugh and love.
It is her soft hands that warm and cool all the same.
It is talking about things that matter
She is the ache in my heart.
She does move my spirit.
It is her laugh.
It is love.