I haven’t done this in a while. I haven’t even posted anything since December. I’ve been busy (work – yes! I’m still working! A miracle!), resting (I spend so much time resting I haven’t seen some friends for months), and I’m writing. Hooray! I have about four stories I’m close to finishing (one is finished but it’s still under revision).
So here I am, three months later, feeling, for the most part, pretty okay. This past week was a rough one. I survived it but I had to take a few days off to rest and really be strict about what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t eat. My goal is to start walking to work, which I think will be good for me. My main concern is that it may make me more tired or if I have a medical emergency (pain, attacks of sleepiness, gut issues, etc.) I won’t have a quick getaway.
But I guess this is it and it’s not so different from other people’s lives, trying to find that balance, that happy medium. For me, it’s acknowledging my limitations, taking advantage of what I can do, managing my health, making time for friends and the other important people in my life. I’m working on it — with breaks now and then.
Well, less about me and more about me and what I’m loving at the moment:
1. My sister’s blog. She’s been making waves with I Quit My Job and Moved to Guam, for which she writes at least one post a week. She shares her perspectives on life in Guam and details her adventures on the island: experiencing a new kind of nature, gorgeous beaches, and the unique and rich culture of the indigenous community. In December, her blog was chosen as 2013’s Best Blog in Guam and last week she was interview by Patti Arroyo on the local newstalk radio station. She was brilliant and it was great to hear her voice. I love you, Donut! Listen here.
2. Saltine crackers. I’m on this kick, eating so many Saltines, plugging up my intestines. They’re not particularly healthy or helpful for my gut, but they are so delicious, so perfect. I prefer them to cookies. Oh, god. I ate too many and…ugh. Delicious devil snacks.
3. Huston Smith. In college I minored in philosophy, specifically the philosophy of religion. As a Freshman I had the opportunity to be an usher (better than nothing!) at a major event called Jesus @ 2000. (I feel I should state that I haven’t been a Christian since middle school, but as a former Catholic the idea of Jesus will always be a part of me.) At the conference I saw the Reverend Al Sharpton, in the office I forwarded the calls about death threats against the Jesus Seminar. The JS was a group of scholars, all Christians themselves, who carefully studied the details of Jesus’ life and his words, finally concluding that he preached sapiential eschatology rather than the apocalyptal eschatology that is popular today. They saw Jesus as both God incarnate, powerful and great and merciful, and as an historical man, a social revolutionary full of conviction and love. They studied the Bible literally and metaphorically.
Obviously, this is a dangerous topic, one deserving of death threats. Lordy!
Anyway, I was 19 at the time, excited to hear divinity scholars, religious leaders, and theologians discuss the many aspects of this man and the world he lived in. I was able to get two friends to help out as ushers as well, and because of that, we were invited to an evening banquet with all the guests, scholars, and speakers, as well as the philosophy department faculty. (No Al Sharpton, though.) It was at this dinner that Huston Smith came up to me and in his happy, gentle way said “Enjoy the food! It’s delicious! Help yourself. Have a drink. Go on — get something to eat. This is the best part!” Earlier that evening, as I listened to his lecture, I became immediately moved. I’d never seen anyone with such a glowing, peaceful face, someone who was so inclusive of all religions, of all paths of seeking the divine, our desire to commune with what is great than us. He balanced science with mysticism. He danced, it was more of a sway (he was in his 70s after all). He told stories of his childhood in China as a son of Christian missionaries. He spoke in such musical tones about his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pete Seeger. He spoke about social activism, the idea of God, of Western and Eastern traditions, as well as what he calls the primitive religions. His book The World’s Religions was, in a way, the first introduction of Eastern theology to the West. And all these religions, he himself practiced and studied so that he could expand his experiences, to learn and better understand the divine.
At one point during his lecture, he sang a song — I don’t remember what it was now — but he sang with such a clean, hopeful, content, mischievous voice. It was joyful. At the supper, I was thrilled to meet him in person because what he had said touched me deeply, revealing to me the profundity of human belief and disbelief, hinting at some truth I desperately wanted to know. Still, there was something in me that understood it completely and that’s how I found my connection to Huston Smith. This is important for me to share because at that time I wasn’t a sentimental or a particularly warm, trusting person, yet during his presentation I fought back tears. I’m not sure why, or maybe it was a feeling so deep it overwhelmed me. Smith once said that a human being understanding a shared truth with another — that acknowledgement of truth, the sense of connection as powerful as common sense, that was spirituality. Something like this happens when I read the work of another writer: “That’s me! That’s what I write! Someone knows this style, this interpretation and presentation of us, this truth I’m trying to capture and convey through story.”
I’m not sure how long ago I discarded the idea and experience of spirituality. I know it happened, in part, because of the way others spoke about theirs, how they described their melodramatic communion with nature through folk songs and exercise with an air of conceit. Their distrust of science was unacceptable to me. They seemed to take no notice of anyone else except to say “Be positive. Listen to the wind or moon or stars” or whatever kindled their la-la-land mentality. Being my cynical self, and I acknowledge that I’m also a hypocrite and not good at being good, I decided to leave such bullshit behind. But now, rereading Smith’s autobiography, I’m becoming more open to an honest spirituality.
A few weeks ago, I came across his autobiography while shelving books at the library and I had started a separate post about Huston Smith, one in which I spoke in depth about this very topic, but it became long, convulated, and I questioned my grasp of the scholarly and mystical aspects of divinity studies. (I feel that about this post now but I’ll continue.) I took it home to read and then searched for any videos of interviews or lectures he had given. I found one, a beautiful little piece about our minds and the connection to the divine. Perhaps the science in this clip isn’t perfect, but his imagination, his consideration of what is known as The Ecology of Mind caught my curiosity. That original post had been titled: “March, A Lioness; The TARDIS, The Divine?” Well, March is March, windy with hail storms, rain storms, and tricky sunny weather. The TARDIS of course, is a mystery. As a Doctor Who fan, I was tickled by something Smith said about the “in here” and the “out there.” Don’t you think he’s cleverly suggesting that we are all bigger in the inside? Here’s the clip:
Ah. What a wonderful thought.
4. Now from Huston Smith to Helena Christensen. Talk about divine! I may have said this before, but I think she is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. I never get tired of looking at her. When I look at her I feel beautiful — isn’t that strange? We’re fortunate to have these alien people, people who brighten our days with their physical perfections. I know the package isn’t everything but why not enjoy it?
So to end this list, let me say Hoo-hah! Hubba hubba! Ahooooga! Hallelujah! And Amen.
Oops! I still need one more item. This one is easy:
5. Root beer on tap, various bottled root beers, international root beer. This summer I plan on learning about root beer and trying out as many different varieties as I can. Who wants to join me?
Root beer and thin crust pizza forever!