I can’t decide if I’d get everything done or nothing at all if I never fell in love.
I just re-watched Benny & Joon! I am still so enchanted by it after twenty years. There is the nostalgia, of course, but the thing I keep thinking about after watching is how much more I love and relate to the relationship between Joon(Mary Stuart Masterson) and Sam(Johnny Depp), than I do to the one between Benny(Aidan Quinn) and Ruthie(Julianne Moore). Yes, the movie glosses over the difficulties and seriousness of mental illness, but I think I’ve always been drawn to ‘crazy’ despite its baggage, rather than normal. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be someone’s caretaker, but I tend to fall for women who are a bit on the nutty side. More interesting, better story. Also, the crazy one’s seem to appreciate me for me more. Which reminds me of a really good story I just read. Cool woman!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I will go find a tree to sit in.
Yzarc er’ouy fi em nioj, emoc!!!!!
Curiously, I am finding a similar pleasure, which I most experience gardening or building a fire, from cooking my meals, eating, and even washing the dishes after, things that were kind of annoying when doing them for myself and part of why I was eating out a lot. But time passes and thoughts drift in like waves and the dishes get done! Productive, domestically and cognitively. I also find a good amount of joy from my meal creations, seeing then eating them. I made myself 3 sunny-side up eggs topped with hot sauce, spiced up green beans, and a few pieces of toast spread with Nutella and strawberries. Glass of orange juice. Almost everything bio/organic.
Even better, I got to process a dream that left me a bit heavy hearted. I replayed a crazy experience I recently had. I tossed around my thoughts on god and love, spurred by the Rainer quotes I just posted. I brainstormed on how I could help a friend with some superhero research she needs to do for a gig. Also, I enjoyed the sound and feel of the water rinsing off the soap from the frying pan and my hands. I took in the quiet of my building despite the new stone sidewalk that is being put in outside my door. I noticed how lovely the tangerines look on my table.
Both from Letter to a Young Poet. I need to read this.
“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
A close friend shared with me this WONDERFUL short film. It is perfectly delightful. The team is/was based in Brussels.
When it first starts I see a global version of Pong. Then it when it really gets going in the early 60’s it reminds me of the human/alien communication at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind(coincidentally, or not, I reference it in my last post). There’s a double-time version for the impatient.
Seeing this beautiful and horrific work of art makes it clear that these were not merely tests. More like alpha challenges. Oi.
Just listened to a Radiolab episode, Rocked by Doubt. It’s a super close hit to home because one of the deciding factors of the end my marriage to Heather was my backing away from Christianity. It is important to me to stress that it was/is a backing away because I am not turning, or “repenting” from Christianity; the things that brought me to it (i.e. selfless love and empathy) are still, for me, at the heart of spiritual health. I imagine myself panning back, like that American Museum of Natural History video I saw years ago. Moving out from earth, then our solar system, then our galaxy, to behold the known (even uncharted) universe before rubber-banding back. I don’t know where I am on this journey (maybe somewhere around the Voyager 2!!! ) but I know I have to do this. I have been abducted, Close Encounters style, by my doubt, my experience, my lack of experience, my desires to go deeper, my knowledge of religious fanaticism, human psychology and tendencies, etc. But more than anything, steering this ship is the tug I feel inside my chest when…. I look into the night sky, for example. This excitement and magic that I know is out there but links up in here.
I walked out my balcony door last night and saw the bright moon and venus and a few stars, and I felt it. It called. This is not my imagination. This is why I cannot and will never give up my spiritual enterprise. It is in many other things, too. Often nature, but also people. I always find the biggest deterrent to moving forward spiritually is myself, never demons or the devil or Facebook.
As I walked around last night there were so many voices in my head drowning out the one I went out to hear: “Go right.” “No, left.” “But what about straight?” “Maybe you are called out here to prevent that woman from a possible mugging and rape.” “Maybe you are supposed to take out 20 EUR from your bank account and give it to the first person who asks you for help/money.” “Better that you use your judgement if they really need it.” “Why do you always think how you can be the hero!?!” “Just walk.” “No, let’s walk under the trees with the lights.” “Dammit, I don’t want the police to think I am going to break into these cars. Also, the dog shit.” “You aren’t even listening!” “Where did the woman go!” “There she is. I am being ridiculous.” “Does that graffiti signify a secret meeting place for ‘free thinkers.’ I should see if I can move that panel of wood and squeeze into that empty store.” “Nope. It’s nailed.” “Maybe I am supposed to talk to that guy who’s just…” “Too late! Just walked past him. He looks fine anyway.” “Oooh, the moon!” “Oh! Some abandoned lottery tickets.” “Aaand, nothing. At least I can put these in the trash.” “That’s really beautiful street art that I never saw before, I wonder….” “I wonder if a hot and thoughtful woman is watching me right now from her apartment window and we will meet and she will remember me walking down the street appreciating the moon and graffiti…” “Stop it! Stop it!” “Just walk.” “In the middle of the street?” “Ok.”
I will keep trying to quiet my head. I will try to remember the old proverb:
The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.
Anyway, here is a poem I plunked out before I left for that moon walk. It’s a bit Frostian, but whatever.
Something calls me in the night.
Over rooftops, whispers
under wind and blinking light.
Gentle moon, what’s this that keeps me looking
in corners, among roots?
“Put on your coat, your boots.
Come out, press close to my petals.”
The city gate beyond is black,
the wood’s of whistling nettles.
I’ll tell you when I come back.
Made a new song tonight. Doesn’t mean anything. Just placed lyrics that fell from my mouth for some guitar plucking I liked.
Just read the last pages of Essays In Love. Quite an amazing feat for a book published when he was 23 years old. Chock-full of good insight and wisdom. Here are two final quotes I want to highlight (fyi: they aren’t really spoilers, but they come from the final chapter):
1. It is the confrontation between wisdom and wisdom’s opposite, which is not the ignorance of wisdom (that is easy to put right), but the inability to act on the knowledge of what one knows is right. […] knowing we might be fools had not turned us into sages.
2. I realized that a more complex lesson needed to be drawn, one that could play with the incompatibilities of love, juggling the need for wisdom with its likely impotence, juggling the idiocy of infatuation with its inevitability. Love had to be appreciated without flight into dogmatic optimism or pessimism, without constructing a philosophy of one’s fears, or a morality of one’s disappointments. Love taught the analytic mind a certain humility, the lesson that however hard it struggled to reach immobile certainties (numbering its conclusions and embedding them in neat series), analysis could never be anything but flawed – and therefore never stray far from the ironic.
It shouldn’t amaze me how closely my spiritual quest parallels my needs for love, but it does.