Warts and all

We’re all flawed.  We’re such a mash-up of insecurities and assets that clash with intrinsic contradiction that when taken in concert feel akin to a towering plate at the ass end of a Shakey’s buffet line.   No wonder Modigliani saw us how he did, in his divine intoxication; elegant fools.  Naked.  anonymous and often in mismatched pairs.

The warring natures in us fight to reconcile with shadows for bare knuckle dominance and so on and so forth because of  societal pressures or negative beliefs of any number of blah blah blah. Point is: We’re all way more nuanced than we think and even what we tell ourselves or dream about.  It’s a miracle we can even feed ourselves as Bob Dylan croons at the end of his prayer of outrage, “Idiot Wind.”

We chase behind the fallout left at the crossroads of our lives; the interpersonal fuck ups, the shitty career moves, or decisions based in fear, like detectives gathering evidence to feed whatever story we need to tell ourselves to make us feel better about how we lost what we thought we wanted or didn’t get what we felt we couldn’t live without.  Could be a dream or a love or even worse.. an identity, or all of the above.   Things fall apart.  It is the nature of things.  Life does that.  And something else grows in its place.   Adversity reveals to us the parts of ourselves we didn’t know were there, untapped inner resources, or more ugly unexpressed things that rot within us like left overs past their due date in the fridge.  And so we face reckoning here on earth, not beyond, if we are fortunate.

We’re a mixed breed.  It was built into us by the great creator. These conflicting desires.   These limitations and yearnings.  The holy trinity?  It’s within us.  It is us.  We’re spirit.  We’re animal.  And we’re consciousness, right?  We can’t be just one of these things.  Whenever we lean in on the animal  – the part of us that only knows fighting, fucking, shitting, eating, you know, making babies and running from bears – something is lost and we come to with indigestion, remorse, or the jitters.  If we lean too hard on our intellect – then we lose impulse and build our own prisons of construct to make our world smaller and smaller as we try to rationalize the infinite with this finite thing… or when we sit on the cushion too long and forget the world, we can love people in the abstract but insult a waitress or honk at the car in front – then once again, part of us is out of balance.  And you don’t get very far when you are out of balance. Or, at least, I never did.  You just go round and round.

I think in this whole chase the doom train of our end times, or fight for who can scream the loudest that expresses itself in the great divide of political extremes – we are missing this simple more Jungian approach to it all. Balance. Not compromise.  Compromise is different.  Compromise is not needed when things are in balance.  And balance comes from being secure in the fullness of position.  In a way, it can be manufactured by counter weights and ballast — all forms of triangulating… this balance.  And security.   It comes with constant adjustment.  And orientation toward a fixed point.  Or True North if you will. But nothing is true as any navigator understands.  There is a thing called Relative North.  And getting those two to work in unison is how alignment is achieved and a vector made.   And theory becomes application.  That’s how we arrive where we want to get to, efficiently, safely, and without scurvy.

Most of us don’t achieve balance till late in life. And a corporate buzz phrase du jour of “we promote work life balance,” isn’t enough.  The problem is more nuanced.  More personal.  And requires attention.  And right effort.  Not a quick fix seminar.

Attention.  Awareness.  And adjustment.  My father, in his infinite wisdom, would say, “life is a series of constant adjustments.”  It took me years to experience that as unescapable fact.

There’s a axiom, amid certain spiritual circles, that says the great myth us humans suffer from — when it comes to these matters —  is that we cling to the belief that there is time.  There isn’t time. Everything can wait but man’s quest for God.  Or Self.  But oh how we look in all the wrong places along the way.   So becomes our daily doing an odyssey.  A daily odyssey.  Like Bloom we all are.  And it is that day in early June.  Over and over again.   As we try to cross town and find our way home again.  And know it for the first time.

I’ve been pondering these things lately with a newfound openness that only loss can create.  Or change.  And as I give myself the respect and time to adjust – as my father would say – clarity returns.  And with that clarity I start to draw connections with the thinker and I start to feel with the flesh what is in my heart… a kind of profound optimism.

Maybe these greenhouse-gas-infused-post-end times– with our doomsday clock counting down the hours and days … will continue to ignite, and more importantly, fuel a sense of spiritual urgency.  I may be wrong, but I think we need to reclaim that principle from the fanatics.  All due respect to them and their fixed relevation curated into the final chapter.  I do agree.  There is no time.  None.  To waste.  But not on plastic bottles alone. And outlawing straws.  Or increasing the tax on oil imports…. The change is within.  As it always is.

Again, I may be wrong, but there is an opportunity in crisis.  I believe in Mandarin – the symbol for crisis is the symbol of danger coupled with the symbol for opportunity.  Call me naive, call me a deep down optimist – but maybe the change we need in this world is happening right now within each of us as we stumble forward and work on ourselves and our little lives toward greater harmony within us.   You cannot harm, others, yourself, or the world, when you become integrated and at peace.  When each part of you works in harmony with the rest and you reside in that transcendent bliss.  I’ve had glimpses of it. And it does do something I can’t deny.  Conflicts dissolve.  It is a solvent.  This attention inward.  You need less.  You want less.  You vilify less.  I know it sounds simple.  But complex solutions usually are.  Maybe that is why they are so often overlooked.  I know it’s been that way in my life.  We’re blind to it, till something shakes us out of the spell and we see things for what they are.  It’s the greatest dividend love gives us when it appears to leave.  It shows us our incompleteness.  That space for, well… God.  Spirit.  Or simply… our humanity.

That’s the kind of sustainability that can grow organically from each of us and power the change to come. As we express it in our individual ways.  This profound human kindness cannot help but repair this earth,  And it is the original and ultimate inexhaustible human resource.   Call me a dreamer.  Sure.  I’ve been called worse.  But it sure makes it easier to make way in California as we approach the hot part of the year when climate change roars tonight with uncommon winds and nothing looks that good on Netflix.