26 December 2005

Happy Birthday Henry

What we all hope in reaching for a book, is to meet a man of our own heart, to experience tragedies and delights which we ourselves lack the courage to invite, to dream dreams which will render life more hallucinating, perhaps also to discover a philosophy of life which will make us more adequate in meeting the trials and ordeals which beset us. To merely add to our store of knowledge or improve our culture, whatever that may mean, seems worthless to me.
--Henry Miller

21 December 2005

Winter Pause

The truth is that in this very moment of deepest winter with all its paradox and juxtaposition, of frosty rooftop mornings, fuzzy magnolia buds and daffodil bulbs yet to burst forth with color and ever new life, that I can be in winter pause and know another spring lies just ahead; that bitterness melts into a caress. The truth is that at this very moment we know - all we are, all we can become and all we might never be. And as I contemplate my deepest, darkest fears, I watch for temperate signs of spring, of hope for a kind renewal and the assurance of perennial love.

19 December 2005

King Kong

I went to see the new King Kong movie Friday night. We took along my son and his buddy. I knew, ever since we saw the previews for this movie, that it was going to be spectacular. I felt that the dinosaur scenes were a bit too long, in keeping with Jackson's style. And the liberty he took with the character's story lines was ok with me. But what struck me during this movie that I failed to notice in the previous versions is the deeper meaning behind the story. It brought to my attention how anything that is raw, primal or primitive is always exploited by man (usually "white man") for personal and financial gain. He attempts to control it for his own purposes and when he can't control it it, he kills it. It's the same with endangered animals, the Amazon rain forest, old growth forests, native peoples. The only one who understood the "beast" was the one (a woman) who surrendered to it. It is only when we surrender that it becomes possible to see the beauty within the beast. And for that reason the story is tragic and sad.

13 December 2005

31 years ago

It was a day I shall never forget as long as I live. I had to beg my mom for weeks to let me go. My first concert ever was to be the one and only George Harrison. As I was just twelve years old, I was only recently immersed in the phenomena known as the Beatles. My cousin had just obtained the Let It Be album and when I saw that cover picture of George smiling so brightly I was hooked. Perhaps it was due to the generousity of the season, perhaps it was because an office mate of my mom's was also going to go, but she finally consented to let me and my girlfriend go, chaperoned by her co-worker. (Mom was not the type to attend rock concerts, poor girl.)

I was enthralled with the Ravi Shankar indian music portion (though Ravi was absent due to illness, his Indian orchestra did go on). And I grooved to the Billy Preston funky tunes. But my heart soared at the sight and sounds of George and his guitar. His aura and essence filled the Capital Centre arena in Landover Maryland. And I was never going to be the same after that day.

That same day, George and the band was invited to the White House as a guest of President Ford's son. He was the only Beatle to ever do so. He exchanged an "Om" button for a Ford "WIN" (Whip Inflation Now) button.

In hindsight, I know now that it was clearly fate that brought me there. I had no idea how rare it was to become to have seen a Beatle. And yet he was much more than a Beatle to me. He became a spiritual polestar for me in many ways.

I continued to follow his career, craving every tidbit of news I could find about him. Living in the Material World was fundamental to surviving my adolesence. I was horrifed when he was attacked. And I wept when he finally left this plane. But I still feel his influence, whenever I meditate. He was instrumental is leading me to my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda.

There are few days which really stand out in my life, the birth of my children among them, but 13 Decmber 1974 is a day which I will always remember.

09 December 2005

Christmas crunch

The crunch is on. I loathe the span of time between between December’s rent payment and the maybe/maybe not Christmas bonus. I always get in a funk this time of year. I start to feel inadequate from having viewed way too many asshole commercials telling me how white my shirts should be, how I should be spending every waking minute at the local mall, and baking cookies in my spare time. I start to miss the family I hardly ever hear from or worse, the ones who have departed this world for the next. On top of that, the folks I work with every day, think that the thing I should most want to do is to spend my personal time eating dinner with them and their spouse and hearing about this year’s vineyard profits and next year’s vacation plans. No thanks. Every year I tell myself, next year I’m going to start early and plan and save and not let this happen again. But I always fail. When I was a kid Christmas was always magical and no matter how hard my mom struggled as a single parent we always had a tree and gifts and I was always grateful for family and always got way more than I expected. But somewhere between puberty and middle-age the magic seems to have slipped out of my grasp. I can’t seem to find the special, from-the-heart words to write in the Christmas cards, can’t afford the gifts I’d like to get my dearest loved ones and it just makes me want to crawl under the covers and cry.

But next year it will be different, I will be better. I have made calendar entries for every month of the year as follows:

Jan - Christmas lists done - gifts/cards lists prepared for next year
Feb - 10 months to Christmas
Mar - 9 months to Christmas
Arp - 8 months to Christmas - start saving
May - 7 months to Christmas - what are you doing about it?
Jun - 6 months to Christmas - get your ass in gear
Jul - Five months to Christmas - Get it together now to avoid mid-December depression
Aug - 4 months to Christmas - What are you waiting for?
Sept 15 - 100 days to Christmas
Sept 25 - Three months to Christmas - No bullshit now
Oct 10 - 75 days to Christmas
Oct 25 - Two months to Christmas - NOW!!
Nov - one month to Christmas - This is no joke!
Dec 10 - two weeks to Christmas eve - Can you fucking relax?

I’ll let you know how it goes this time next year.

08 December 2005

8 December

Not that I want to commemorate a date in history that I wish would never have
happened, however, it does seem that the passing of time will undoubtedly not let us
overlook it.

What I remember most about 8 December 1980 was the initial utter disbelief. How
dare the radio report such a repulsive lie. Then, as the reality slowly sunk in, the
devastating sorrow and saddness so deep that I was absolutely convinced that the
sun would not rise ever again.

But it did.

The next day I went to school and respectfully requested that the flag be lowered to half-staff. But the administrators would not as it was "not an official day of national mourning". So I lowered the flag myself and said a silent prayer on my knees. The world was mourning as I saw it.

I bought Double Fantasy, but I was too raw to play it. Instead I played "God" over and over and over. ~God is a concerpt by which we measure our pain...the dream is over~

I participated in the moment of silence as requested by Yoko and Sean. Yoko also asked that rocks from all over the globe be sent to create a memorial. I responded by sending a small rock shaped like a heart that I'd carried around for years. Later I read that Yoko received a heart-shaped rock from a girl in California and that it was part of the Imagine memorial in Central Park.

I also sent letters to Sean and Yoko for a few years. They would alays respond with a signed postcard of a photograph of Sean or one of John's lithographs. Regrettably, these precious items were some of what I lost in the breakup of my first marriage.

The 25th anniversary of one of the saddest days "in my life" will be passed in as much silence as I can possibly find.

01 December 2005

A simple kindness

I got the chance to be someone’s hero yesterday and I am just grateful for the opportunity. When I returned to work from my lunch break I had to park in the outer reaches of the lot because all of the close in spots were taken. When I got out of my car I noticed an elderly may sitting on the sidewalk near a car two spaces over. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was, but he just did not look right to me so I continued to talk to him. I said “Are you sure?” He said “yes” as he continued to look very unstable, hardly able to hold himself up . I said “Can I call someone for you?” He said “No. My wife is just across the street buying something.” I said “What’s your name?” more in an effort to gauge his level of consciousness rather than to try to make his acquaintance. He said “Dick H.” I said my name is Sharon. He is still sitting on the curb making vain efforts to get up alternating with appearing to want to lay down. I said “Are you cold?’ (It was a cold day here yesterday.) He said “No.” with a manly demeanor. But he continued to look as if he was going to go completely prostrate on the sidewalk. I said “Are you having a seizure.” It was then that I noticed one of his fingers was bandaged as if it had been set from having been broken. He said “No.” I said “Are you in pain?” Finally, he allowed himself to show some venerability and he said “Yes. Oh, yes.” He wobbled some more and I grabbed a small blanket from my car, I placed it behind him so he could lay down without putting his head on the ground. He said “Oh, you’re very nice.” I said that I would just stay there with him until his wife returned. I asked him if this was his car that he was sitting next to and he said it was. I asked him what his wife’s name was.

After a few more minutes, an elderly woman approached us and she seemed very concerned and suspicious as to why I was standing over her husband on the sidewalk. I said “Are you Libby?” She said “Yes. What’s the matter?” I said “Your husband seems very unstable, so I was just waiting here with him until you returned.” They shared a few words, he told her I was a very nice person who just “saved my ....neck.” I asked her if I could help her get him into their car. She told me that he was taking medication that said it would make him dizzy. As we got him to his feet, her and I under each of his arms, he was very disoriented and could hardly put one foot in front of the other. We managed, with no small amount of effort, to get him turned around in order to take the few steps to the passenger side of the car. Then she began to tell me about his having a stroke two years ago and having to take this medication for it which made him very dizzy. In fact, he fell two weeks ago and broke his finger. The finger then got a staph infection. I made sure she buckled his seat belt but I was concerned how she would get him out of the car. She said they were on their way to a physical therapy appointment, so that relieved my concern somewhat. He said that I deserved a medal for what I’d done for them. I said that was not necessary. But I told them where I worked and said to let me know if there was anything else I could do for them. They thanked me and I gathered up my belongings and went off to work.

Maybe it’s the small-town-never-lived-in-a-really-big-city girl in me, maybe, after having a my first grandchild put up for adoption and having my favorite aunt pass away this month, that I just needed to feel needed by someone, but I just could not walk by someone lying on the sidewalk, who may have needed a little help from me. Maybe there was some reason I had to park farther away from my office than I prefer to. Whatever it was, I was just glad to be able to be of service to someone who needed it. A simple kindness really. It was the least I could do.