Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dreaming Myself Awake.

Are you dreaming? Or are you awake?....Guided Meditation

  I've wondered about this over the course of several years. There have been times when I've thought "If I could just look intently enough I could see the edge of this reality." Sounds weird? Well, I was a weird kid growing up. There's a podcast called "Rune Soup" dealing with paranormal topics that I listen to on occasion and the host ask's every guest "were you a weird kid?" But, let me digress

Fly me high through the starry skies maybe to an astral plane...Dream Weaver

As a young adult I had a lucid dream some years ago. I became aware I was dreaming. I'm walking across a red tinted landscape. I have the thought "my bodies back there." I keep going since I'm obviously right here. I'm also aware there is a person walking beside me. I can't really see him clearly or I just don't look closely. This is a several year's old memory. 

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise. They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies...Styx "Come Sail Away." 

Well, he wasn't a space alien of that I'm sure. An angel? I don't know but I remember thinking he "knows." This person walking beside me right now absolutely knows the answers to the biggest questions in my life.

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions. ...Stevie Nicks

My questions. Who or what is God? Which religion is right? What happens when we die? Do we actually have a spirit or are we a spirit? Why was I born and why do I die and where do I go when I do die?

Lot of questions about death right? Well in all honesty I have thought about that from my youth. But as an older adult? "@#$% gettin real." 

I read a book review the other day. An atheist I guess wrote it and he didn't like this particular academic's book that seemed to say everything is conscious. That matter didn't come first. The reviewer said that we die and that's it and he is happy about that and would hate to live forever. Really? I thought "Okay dude since life is so horrible to you why aren't you jumping off the nearest cliff?" The thing is his review got a lot of likes on Amazon. I have to be honest. I do want to live forever. I've heard well what if it get's boring? My response is have you looked at the cosmos? Have you considered how awesome and how incredible experience must be and how many places and things haven't even entered your earthly mind that can exist beyond these few wonderful tragic days that we have here? 

I fly a starship across the universe divide and when I reach the other side. I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a highway man again...The Highwayman Chris Kristopherson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

I had a good friend. No we weren't best friends. I was older and my friend was a rock star. Not an actual one although he played music. He was a chick magnet though. Must be nice. Anyway, he died at a young age. I'm not sure he was fifty but if he was it wasn't by much. We could talk about anything. I've had closer friends and people I grew up with but never anybody that I could just talk with the way I could with David. There was nothing off limits and no judgement. You said what you thought when you thought it and I still remember one of his sayings. "Fuck em if they can't take a joke." We connected again via phone before he died. He told me he was dying but I couldn't really get my head around that. In my minds eye I still saw the long haired musician ready to party and  rock all night. If I had just realized how close he was I honestly would have gotten to Birmingham to see him. Anyway, he said something to me that I absolutely understand and agree with. We talked some about religion. Both of us raised in a very bible thumping background and both of us pretty sure that most of the religious dogma was bullshit. But, I also felt and still feel that we are more than a cosmic accident. He had come to believe that too. He said he didn't know for sure what happened after death but he felt that something certainly did. That God must be more than the hypocritical angry old man of his childhood religion. I expressed my thoughts that we more than likely reincarnate but who knows? Anyway, he said one thing that has stuck with me. He said he didn't know for sure what the afterlife would be like but he did know one thing. He said "I like to be." I agree with all my heart. I like to be. Cause as long as "I be" or I am then there is hope.

"Ain't it hard when you're all alone in the center ring? Now there's no time left to borrow. Only Stardust. Maybe tomorrow. ....Desperado Reprise....Eagles

  So, I hold on to today but hope for tomorrow. I have reason to believe there is always now and tomorrow is always coming. 

So, back to my dream. I look over at this person walking beside me and I ask "What is the dream?" Meaning who is God? What is life? Is there life after death? What and who am I? He said "You ask too much."  I felt a tear run down my cheek. Then I woke up and I had an actual tear running down my cheek.

Sing with me, sing for the year, sing for the laughter, sing for the tear.Sing with me just for today. Maybe tomorrow the Good Lord will take you away...Aerosmith.

Lessons learned. Well, I have traveled a few more roads since that dream. I've had some experiences and at times I have felt my spirit rise to the heavens and other times I have felt like an automaton with no more purpose than a brain induced hallucination or chemical reaction. But, I've seen just enough even in those times to know that I'm not a brain induced hallucination. I've had those most recently after heart surgery. So, I know the difference. But, for some reason I still wonder what this is all about. I think it's a dream. 

If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel. I would probably know just how to deal with all of you...Deja Vu...Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The dream is one of the highlights of the journey for me. It changed over time or added over time to the way I look at life. I also heard about Steve Jobs on his deathbed saying "Ow wow, oh wow, oh wow." Rodger Ebert saying "this whole  thing is just an elaborate hoax." Ever since that night I have felt that life is kind of like a dream. I even saw a facebook meme that said "Maybe life is a dream and when we die we wake up." I suspect that is pretty close to the truth. I find myself hoping so.

So you can get on with your search baby and I can get on with mine. And maybe someday we will find. That it wasn't really wasted time...Eagles.

So, I continue my journey. I don't do a lot of religion these days and I don't argue or try to convert people. We all have our own dream to live. But, I do believe that God is sane and that the universe is built for spirit and for life. For love. I'll hold on to that during this part of the dream because there are days when it's hard to see the good and "love" is a word thrown around loosely that really means to most people "I'll love you as long as you don't piss me off." I think religion has made a living off that type "love." But, on the other hand my religion has gotten me through some dark times so I'm not angry at faith or those who still practice their faith. I'm just trying to be honest these days about what I really believe. 

I did my best it wasn't much. I couldn't feel so I tried to touch. I've told the truth. I didn't come to fool you.And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah. ....Leonard Cohen.

 If you read all the way to the end I am honored that you took the time.  Hallelujah and Peace. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Pilgrim Soul

  When you are old and grey and full of sleep,...William Butler Yeats

When I was still a young man and much more prone to "the feels" I watched an episode of "The New" Twilight Zone that has stayed with me all these years. I emphasize new because the New Twilight Zone is over thirty years old.

The plot started with two scientist that build a holographic projector. Out of nowhere it starts to project the image of a human fetus. Now, I had to check Wikipedia for the plot because honestly I barely remember where I put my phone from minute to minute these days.

and nodding by the fire, take down this book...Yeats

The fetus starts to age at the rate of ten years a day. The child quickly ages into a young woman named Nola. She has a past and can tell them where she came from. She tells them of being a young woman from the early part of the 20th Century.

and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep:...Yeats

So, have they captured the soul of a young woman? A wondering soul somehow caught in the technology of science? Or is she simply the projection simply by chance of their invention?

How many loved your moments of glad grace,...Yeats

Kevin who is one of the scientist has a strained relationship with his wife. Their marriage is on the rocks. Nola talks to him about her past life. He is falling in love with her. She ages and become pregnant with a child from her husband Robert. Kevin feels jealous even though he doesn't know any Robert.

And loved your beauty with love false or true...Yeats

They have had long discussions and share a love of the poetry of William Butler Yeats. Nola has a miscarriage. Kevin's fellow scientist Dan finds out that Nola died as a result of the miscarriage and Robert died himself out of grief and guilt.

But, one man loved the pilgrim soul in you...Yeats

As Nola is dying she somehow uses a voice modifier and posing as Robert calls Robert's wife Carol asking her to come to the lab.

And loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

In her final conversation with Kevin she reveals that he is the reincarnation of Robert. Nola tells him that in his grief he drew her back to him to have this final moment. As Nola passes and fades away Kevin's wife comes in the lab.  A child's ball bounces out of the holograph and into her hands. They have a very emotional reunion. Maybe she was pregnant I really don't remember. Maybe she was Nola. That seemed to be the point of the symbolism.

And bending down beside the glowing bars, murmur a little sadly, how love fled and paced upon the mountains overhead. And hid his face amid a crowd of stars...William Butler Yeats

 This was my all time favorite episode of Twilight Zone. I had started to really explore my own childhood and life long memories. I still had and still have much to learn and discover. But, I had always had this feeling that maybe, just maybe there was something to this eternal being thing that had nothing to do with the contradictions of religion or the just so stories of Sunday school or even the just so stories of modern science with it's emphasis on the illusion of the soul being just a by product of the brain.

I don't mean to offend anyone that I grew up with who hold on to the faith of my upbringing. I understand. But, I have taken a long time to finally be able to say what I have long suspected. I have wrestled with these questions most of my life and I still can't say I am absolutely sure of where we come from and where we are going. But, I never forgot "Her Pilgrim Soul."

  I don't look to pop culture or movies or songs to decide what is true and what isn't true in this world. But, no matter how you look at it the Yeats poem is a beautiful work.

It was rainy and I felt like doing a blog and I thought of this poem. I'm not a big poetry guy but this is my favorite and even though it's a short list with me it's still an honestly beautiful verse. Anyway, I'll get back to horror movies and space aliens and even the evils of "The Donald" one of these blogs. But, for now...

Alas, he was the highway man the one that comes and goes and only the high-way woman keeps up with the likes of those....Stevie Nicks "The Highway Man."

  Again, thanks for reading my ramblings.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fangs for the memories.

Haunting memory, veiled in misty glow, phantom melody, playing soft, and low. ...Shadows of the night (Quentin's Theme.}

I've been a horror novel and movie fan most of my life. I still remember watching old science fiction movies on the family black and white TV. My mother of all people loved the old horror movies and she encouraged my enjoyment. I remember watching the Amazing Colossal Man which was released the year I was born. Although full disclosure I didn't actually watch it until a few years had passed. I remember the old Dialing for Dollars afternoon movie and I would watch giant radioactive spiders and lizards and flying saucers complete with the local car lot commercials. Ah, the joy's of pre internet streaming services. Not even a VHR much less a DVD player. As with many people my age I would rush home in the afternoon from elementary school to see the latest episode of Dark Shadows and of course the greatest vampire this side of Dracula Barnabas Collins. Screw you Johnny Depp and the little pirate ship you rode in on. You made a travesty of a great character and series. 

  "We couldn't even hear you in the night...no one could. No one lives any nearer than town. No one else will come any nearer than that."
I know, Eleanor said tiredly"" In the night Mrs Dudley said, and smiled outright."  In the dark, she said." ...The Haunting of Hill House.

The Haunting of Hill House 1963 version scared me a few short years later as I was in front of the TV and for some reason no one else was around. I can't remember why but it was broad daylight and chances are I had come home from second grade or so and turned on the TV. I was paralyzed with fear and transfixed in front of the TV. Scared out of my young mind and having so much fun and yet..yet, what was that? I'm not going to move. Maybe if I just yell mother will hear me and come into the room. But, if I yell then "they" might hear me and then they will know I'm scared. Images of moving statues and little girls growing old and dying while beating on the wall with a cane and loud footsteps in the halls of Hill House while Julie Harris and Claire Bloom held each other in the dark and cowered as "Oh my God, who was holding my hand?" came from Julie Harris and I was enraptured with that movie. Even now it has the ability to chill me just a little.

Mid to late 1970's...Gadsden, Alabama Mall bookstore. I pick up a paperback called "Salem's Lot." A clerk comes up and say's "Oh, yeah. Stephen King. He's a young writer that people say is pretty good." ....

  Such is the hand of fate as a lifelong "Constant Reader" is born. I devoured Salem's Lot and then? Joy to the world he already had written a book called "Carrie." How had I missed that? Now, around 44 years later I have read and reread as many books as Stephen King has written. I would walk into the Gadsden Public Library and before I even said a word the librarian would say "Yes, you are already on the list for the new Stephen King book. 

  I also had the good fortune of growing up in a neighborhood with a drive in theater. Now, my mother and step dad had a rocky marriage at times. But, there were also some good times and memories. One of the best memories is coming home from school and pop corn would be popping and cola's would be sitting on the table and my mother would say "we are going to the drive in tonight."  Me and my sister would get in our pajamas and pile in the car and off we would go for the couple a mile drive to the drive in. If we were really lucky there would be (especially during Halloween season) a "Dusk till Dawn" Horror movie festival with Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Boris Karloff. Dracula and Son of Dracula and Dracula's Daughter and the Wolf Man and the Living Dead. Back to back to back. 

Charles Grant, Alan Ryan, Dennis Etchinson, Jere Cunningham, JN Williamson. No, these are not household names. But, a few of the names of horror authors that I read "back in the day." I can remember having a drawer full of paperback novels in a drawer at my grandparents house. Books were an escape for me. I rarely read fiction these days. For one thing my 60 plus year old eyes don't adjust well to print. Although, my Kindle ereader helps. The back light and the font adjustment are eye savers. I also don't have the same ability to get lost in a book that I did in my youth. I wonder if fiction of all types will ever be quite the same. No, it won't go away. We will always love a good scare or a good portal out of the mundane. But, the medium will be more visual and intergrated with graphics and voice or at least I suspect that it will be.

One of my race crossed the Danube and destroyed the Turkish host. Though sometimes beaten back he came again and again then at the end he came again for he alone could triumph. This was a Dracula Indeed....Christopher Lee as Count Dracula.

I knew all the lore. Silver bullets for the werewolf and wooden stakes and holy water and a cross for vampires. Zombies? I hate zombies. 

Did you know a vampire can't cross running water? A werewolf can be identified by a unibrow. A ghost will tell you it's name if you ask it. Vampires don't cast a reflection in a mirror. Bat's may well be vampires just waiting to transform. I mean I knew stuff. Important stuff if I ever meet up with a member of the living dead. Zombies? I hate zombies.

Did you know the Mummy was buried in a tomb and a curse would be put on anybody who broke in? They would pull his brains out through his nose before burial so no wonder he was mean and cranky when he was disturbed. I knew all kind of stuff from my wide reading and movie watching about things that go bump in the night.

I'm afraid there is no alternative. In such a case, the planet earth would have to be...eliminated. Klaatu "The Day the Earth Stood Still." 

Oh great, now there were powerful space aliens to deal with. Oh well, at least the death rays will take care of those damn zombies.

I will always enjoy a good horror movie. Actually as I get older I really don't get as into horror as I did in my youth. I have zero interest in most of the slasher movies except for Halloween and the original Friday the 13th or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These days I'm more comfortable with action and comedy and my reading leans more towards non fiction and the possibility that once I shake off this mortal coil the party continues. Honestly, if you read the research it's a real possibility. But, that's a different blog all together. 

So, even though it's hot as Hades in Bama right now on this August evening. Pull up to the fire and wrap yourself in your shawl or robe. I smell a hint of Autumn in the air and the corn has been harvested. At least that's what "He who walks among the rows" say's. 

Either way, I hope you enjoyed a little of the journey in Stevie's love of horror movies and books. 

I hope we can make it to the castle before dark. The horses are laboring and the sun is descending behind the mountains. But, up ahead I think that shadow is the turrets of the Castle. Yes, we made it.there's our host.

"I am Count Dracula and I bid you welcome, Mr Harker to my house.Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest....Bram Stoker ..."Dracula."

  As always, thanks for reading my ramblings and Pleasant Dreams! 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Early Morning Musings.

  Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too...John Lennon

  Do you ever imagine? I find myself at 2:30 in the morning just not getting there as far as sleep goes tonight/today. Even the old reliable guided meditation download on my earbuds isn't quite doing it tonight. I went to bed around ten and around 2:30 my body parts starting with my bladder yells "rise and shine" cause we are up! So, I sneak out of the bedroom hoping not to wake Cindy and go past the dog hoping she doesn't sound the alarm that something is moving in the house and head for the computer room. I then give my mind (not a worried mind just a busy mind tonight) permission to imagine and think.

Sing it sweet and clear
Oh mama, let me hear
That old rock and roll lullaby...B.J. Thomas

I sometimes wonder if my generation was the last to grow up on music. We didn't have the internet so we waited until our favorite artist would release an album. We didn't have as much segregation of our music back then. You might hear Al Green and then Jackson Browne and after that Willie Nelson or The Who on the radio. But, there was always an undercurrent of "rock." AM radio was the thing back then. There were giants on the earth broadcasting out into the night. I would be in my Gadsden, Alabama neighborhood or out at my grandparent's house in Altoona, Alabama and rock myself to sleep listening to WLS in Chicago with John Records Landecker playing the hits. Rocking me to sleep. I also would listen to talk radio such as KMOX out of Saint Louis. I still remember waking up and hearing my hometown stations in Gadsden, Alabama signing on the air. WGAD would sign on and I knew I had made it through the night and was back home again.

I'm young
I know
But even so
I know a thing or two, I learned from you..."Love Hurts" Nazareth

I was young but I had a lot more to learn. I just didn't know it at the time.  I think we miss youth is when we get older because it seemed like everything was out there and you were heading towards it. Now the road in the rear view mirror is longer than the road up ahead or at least from this limited view it appears so. But, I think there are more things in heaven and earth and to infinity and beyond (to mix the Bard with common pop culture) and I am optimistic that there are "Other Worlds Than These"  I know, but I had to throw a Dark Tower quote by Stephen King in there somewhere.

All We Are Saying is give Peace a chance...John Lennon

Peace. I find peace in stillness and meditation and prayer. Not because I'm devout. I no longer see God as a sky daddy to give me stuff because I found Jesus. But, because I've had enough experience along the way to be hopeful that this journey is meaningful and not simply a march towards oblivion or some sort of perverted hellfire and brimstone. Sorry, I don't mean to offend but I'm rambling about my thoughts here. Not trying to uphold or tear down religion or convert people as if I have the answer. I got questions though. 

The cup that I drink. You will drink....Jesus

I don't follow the religion of my youth anymore. The dogma just didn't survive my life experience or my prayers and questions. But, I still see in the person of Jesus the wisdom and hope and struggle of this journey. I remember when I was a kid and adults would take you to a funeral. I would see these old people with white hair go past the coffin. They would shake their heads in sadness as if the person in the coffin had been a poor unfortunate victim of a disease and they were spared. But, in my youth I figured out something. Everyone of them and everyone of us including me will drink that cup. So, is the hope of life after death as dead as my  faith in the religion of my youth? No, because I have had some personal affirmations that I and we are more than the body. But, I'm not interested in converting anybody to a particular religious proof. As Stevie Nicks sang "I keep my Visions to Myself.

I often see my old childhood friends post their religion on facebook and proclaim the faith. I don't have a problem with that as long as they understand that I don't want my government to be a "Christian" government. I don't want it to be an atheist government either or a Muslim or a Jewish or any other special interest government. I also don't want far left identity politics and social justice warriors running it. What if we just agreed that everybody has a right to health care regardless of social status. What if we stopped playing nanny to the world and cleaned up our own act. Not isolationism but simply work on our own stuff for awhile. Oh well, I'm not a spring chicken anymore so I guess that will be an issue for another generation in the coming years.

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once...Votaire

I have my own reasons for suspecting that this isn't my first rodeo but, here is the thing in the United States or at least in the part of the country I'm from which is the Southeast or "The Bible Belt." You can proclaim Christianity and belief in certain dogma and be considered spiritually and morally and even mentally sound. You can say you are an atheist and even though you will get some funny looks and invites to church to save your sorry hide you will not be thought of as insane or mentally unstable. But, if you let it out of the bag that you suspect that you have made this journey before and that you are an eternal being having a human experience then you will be considered crazy at best. 

I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane...Waylon Jennings 

Writing thoughts down while sleep deprived is not the best way to have a coherent flow of consciousness. But, sometimes I just like to ramble and see where the road takes me. If you have come along on this ramble then thank you for giving me the honor of reading my blather.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

I didn't come here and I ain't leaving.

I'm not half the man I used to be. There's a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly...The Beatles.

Why in the world do we and by we I mean me. look back on the seventies and eighties as such a great period of time? I think it's because as you get older and your body makes some really silly demands on you. "I'm talking to you heart and lungs" When you find the long walk or the hot sun takes it out of you then you look back on youth with more fondness than you had while living it.

I don't so much miss the seventies as I miss my hair. Long thick hair and being asked by certain kinds of folks if I "was a boy or a girl." Being asked if I knew I had "Jesus Hair." Yep, I miss that. I miss being able to drink and party after working second shift and being able to get up the next morning and feel like I would be ready again as soon as the shift ended that evening.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not the party or the drinking I miss, It's the feeling of being young and bullet proof and ready to rock.

Twenty one and strong as I can be. I know what freedom means to me. And I can't give the reason why. I should ever want to die....Eagles.

It's funny looking back though. I think about how I was sleep waking once the eighties arrived. I met this girl back then and honestly I'm not just saying this in case my wife reads this. I don't remember the girl's name. But, I wuz in luv..She really did have the greatest makeup and that eighties look down. She looked like Stevie Nicks but with much more makeup and eye shadow. But, now I can't recall her name so it kind of put's the youthful "luv" in perspective.

"Oh, I love to be in love." ...Bette Midler with a hint of sarcasm quote from "The Rose."

I loved that movie. I thought Bette was robbed of an Oscar that year. I also love that quote. It put's some of the silly stuff I see from older people these days on facebook in perspective. Everybody get's desperate and has to have somebody else. A guy or a girl to complete them. But, hey I've seen this movie before in my youth. Maybe,I'm just getting old and crabby.

"Not everybody believes in Ghost, But I do. Do you know what they are Trisha? She had shaken her head slowly. "Men and women that can't get over their past..That's what ghosts are....Needful Things by Stephen King

It took me awhile but I got over the ghosts of my past. I try to remember that I really do have today and this moment in time. I don't long to go back to the seventies or eighties but I do miss some folks and I hope to see them again down the road.

And may we meet again, in the clearing, at the end of the path....The Dark Tower...Stephen King.

So, I don't miss the years or the lifestyle or the teenage or young adult angst so much. But, I do miss my youthful energy and the feeling that life is stretched out in front of me and mine for the taking.

It's been so long now but it seems now that it was only yesterday. Gee, ain't it funny how time slips away...Willie Nelson

It's funny how people look at you when you get older. Kind of like your opinion or attitude is cute or quaint or to be tolerated. I wonder. Is that how I looked at older folks when I was twenty one or in my early thirties? If so then I needed my little butt kicked back then.

When my life is over I'm going to stand before the Father. But, the sisters of t!he sun are going to rock me on the water now... Jackson Browne

So, it ain't over yet and I'm going to live today and not live in the past. But, I'm not apologizing for my past either. At least not to other people that have their own baggage to deal with. Nope I don't so much miss the seventies or at least not to the extent of constantly living in the past.

But, I do miss my hair!


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ramblings at 3:00 AM

  So, here we are again. I wonder about how all this works. From the time of my youth you have allowed me to come to this place. I can see it clearly at times. At other times not so clearly. I remember the first time or at least the concept of the first time I came here. I was just a kid and scared by a fire and brimstone sermon and was really sure that I was about to be thrown in hell for my sins. No, I realize now that kid's shouldn't be worried about the weight and guilty feelings of the elders. But, it happens and so there I was. Out in my yard and honestly telling God that I would never do such things as were running through my young mind. Really intrusive thoughts were pummeling me.

But, I got quiet and still because you did answer. In the confusion of my mind and the pummeling of thoughts you brought me to a room. A heart room, a sanctuary. I saw a couch and I set down and there you were. You said "It's okay." "those voices are calling and talking about me not you." "So, from now on anytime you hear them picture this sanctuary. This is your place and my place. You and I are the only ones with any authority here. I am the only authority that has the right to touch you here. To be here with you. So, picture a door and see them knocking on it. From now on whenever you hear those voices or think those thoughts just sit here. I'll answer the door. You did answer the door. You answered the door every time they knocked over the years. You saved my sanity and when I was strong enough to stand on my own you allowed me to stand. 

I still come to this room from time to time. I still need the sanctuary. I don't battle those particular demons these days. I don't have to because you answered the door a long time ago. I know that several years ago I woke up in a dream in this room. You gave me another gift and an assurance that things are on schedule but, that I shouldn't try to worry about things that are not ready yet. 

Lately, I've tried to meditate in a place with a running creek and it's been pretty good. I even have an app on my phone that I can play and hear water running. I can imagine the banks of the stream and think and meditate. It's not the same as the sanctuary but, it's my attempt at the walks I used to do up at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama when I was a teenager and young adult.

My favorite thing was the New Year's Eve walks where I would get a breakfast biscuit and a cup of coffee early in the morning and head up to the falls and walk in the woods. I would think and pray and we would have the inner dialog and the out loud talks that have secured my sanity over the years. I have done those walks over the years but not in recent years. But, I've never forgotten them. Now that I'm retired who knows? Maybe I'll find a place and a time to resume my New Year's Walk. I won't rush it because if it's time I won't have to. 

I remember back when I was young and really wanted to know just what was true. Was the fire and brimstone of my youth true? Was the atheism of some of the smart people who sniped about religion true? What about those memories of another time and place that I had snippets of? What were they? Was the bible true? I just kept living and talking to you and slowly oh, so slowly learning to think for myself. I put down a lot of stuff over the years. I came to terms with the inconsistency of the fire and brimstone religion of my upbringing. I was able to make up my own mind about the hopelessness of atheism and trying to put lipstick on a dead pig and calling it meaningful. If there was no meaning then the universe was cold, stupid and insane. Not even evil, just insane. If God were a puppet master being arbitrary and deciding that if you said the sinner's prayer and recited a creed you were okay but if you didn't then you would burn up forever then God should be spelled with a little "g" not a bit "G" 

So, I kept moving and living. At times pushing away the inner voice and doing what I had to do to fit in and be a part of the club. Falling in love and lust and self medicating with alcohol and some drugs from time to time. Screwing up and not treating loved ones and animals and other people with the respect they deserved. I think I slept through the entire decade of the 80's or at least was so drunk and stoned and in and out of the religion of my youth getting a healthy dose of guilt that the decade just kind of passed me by. Or I passed it by. Whatever!

I got my feet under me in the late 80's. I still had a lot of trauma to come and I had no idea what the universe was about to unload on my young and aging adult ass. But, I did get my sea legs and was able to navigate my way a little better. Day by day a little more securely. 

So, a little over a year ago I find myself in a hospital with a leaky heart valve and after years of ignoring the flip flops of my heart and avoiding cardiologist the universe smacks me upside the head and there I was. Got to go under the knife or die a slow death by drowning in my own fluids. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. It's just the truth. So, I finally get the surgery. I chose the mini invasive. Meaning  they make a robotic cut and instead of breaking the sternum they go in and remotely replace the valve. It was the heart/lung machine that scared the shit out of me. This little ole heart had been beating for about six decades and I was pretty sure it had not taken many breaks over the years. But, now it would be stopped and it's function would be taken over by a machine for a few hours give or take. What if it wouldn't start back up? But, like I said once you hear the cardioloigst tell you that the breathing will get worse and you will get weaker and weaker and unable to breathe until you die it kind of makes you a little less hesitant to go under the knife.

I did wake up. But, then the stitches sprang a leak and I had to have another surgeon at another hospital repair the leak. Thanks to my wife Cindy who got on the phone and the internet and researched and called between hospitals and surgeons until she found the guy who could do the job. Long story short she saved my life with her persistence. I was so tired and weak by then that I wasn't going to be able to save myself. But, the day came and there I was ready to be transferred to another hospital and another procedure. This time they wouldn't stop the heart. It wasn't strong enough. They would go through the groin and plug the leak. Thankfully, medical science has really progressed in open heart and valve replacement and now they are not always having to open the heart.

Anyway, back to me and you. You gave me the inspiration/vision/intuition while I was in the hospital of being shot out of a pin ball machine through the universe to a purposeful destination. That's how I felt in the ambulance. That I was being lined back up in front of the lever in a pin ball machine and God had pulled the lever and shot me back through the universe and I was traveling to another destination and so I lay back in the ambulance and allowed the universe to do it's thing.

So, they plugged the heart valve and the heart is getting stronger by the day and life has really changed for me. I look at every day as a gift. A bonus. I feel like I'm playing with house money. I really was almost gone and now I'm able to walk around. To laugh with my son and talk and argue with my wife and catch up with old friends on facebook. My memory isn't a steel trap like it was in my youth. I no longer have as much patience as I did. I can't lift heavy objects and if I had to defend myself in a fight i'd be in trouble. I still run my little mouth though. 

  So, what have I learned? That the universe has a purpose but no I don't think God sits on a throne and micro manages everything. I think we live with a plan and the first time we get hit in the mouth we drop the plan and have to keep playing the game. I think shit happens and I think the bad guys win more often than we are comfortable with. 

But, ultimately there is a river. A time when I will and so will all creatures drop the body. I had a dream one night many years ago. I came to a river. It looked really cold and I was afraid to cross. I told whoever was there that I couldn't cross . I'd die it was so cold. "Get in. You have to cross." Finally, after really not wanting to enter I did get in. The cold was so intense that I felt it freezing my body. I knew I would die. But, the exhilaration was so immense that I felt my spirit, myself soaring in joy. 

So, here we are. Still on the journey. You have given me some more time and yet I could die today. That's the thing that I think frustrates atheist and terrifies religious people. There is no absolute guarantee that the good guys will win and that we will be physically protected. No rapture of the saints out of the cold cruel world. No, scientific utopia where we find the cell that will reverse aging and death. We have right now, right here. This eternal moment. Death? Sickness? yeah. But, also hope and life and health. It all gets jumbled up together. 

Scary? Yeah. But, there is a river! 


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Thoughts about stuff.

  I first started this blog as a way to put my thoughts down and to have fun. I think sometimes about politics and religion and race relations and all the rest. But, honestly I've learned that you can't change anyone's mind by facebook memes and endless links and telling them how stupid they are for believing or not believing something. I can honestly say that nobody has ever changed my mind by yelling at me or cursing at me or calling me an inbred southern hillbilly redneck religious fanatic, devil worshiper, witch, libtard, or any other of the countless way's that folks have of making themselves feel better about themselves or keep themselves in a dither about how other people choose to live this wonderful, tragic, experience we call life.

  So, sometimes I like to talk about things that make me smile or make me happy or give me hope.

"I made a decision to believe in God because it's better to believe than not to believe," he said, noting that his belief became possible while in the throes of addiction. "So it was easy to say, 'If I've got a power greater than myself okay, that's fine, I can use that to make life livable and good.'".....Stephen King.

  Now, I don't do guru's. Not even my favorite author who I just referenced. Okay, maybe if I had to have a guru it would be Willie Nelson. But, other than Willie I really don't do guru's. But, like my favorite author Stephen King I made a decision based on my lifetime of inner dialog with the divine that I now call Holy Spirit and also with my later years practicing or dabbling with meditation that I am in the "Yes" camp on belief although belief isn't really the right word. Belief has such a religious sound and belief is kind of like a theory. If you disprove the theory then you disprove belief. After six decades and counting on the earth I really feel a little stronger than belief about my worldview. 

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” ―Helen Keller

So, my feeling that life has purpose and that my loved ones and others that I have lost over the years are just in the next room gives me something to smile about.

Books are a uniquely portable magic....Stephen King

Books have made me smile. From my earliest childhood it just seemed like books took me to other places. I don't know if I had been born into this generation if I would have the same love affair with the printed word. I do know that I don't read as much as I used to. Maybe some of it has to do with my eyesight which was severely nearsighted in my youth and is really uncomfortable these days when trying to read print. But, I also think it has to do with streaming videos and instant youtube and other clips. It just seems like there is so much instant information out there these days. Not , wisdom but information. Oh well. Anyway books made me smile. 

“Childhood itself is a myth for almost all of us. We think we remember what happens to us when we were kids, but we don't.” 
― Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Not for me. I remember what happened. I just choose to tell the story these days in a different light. Maybe that's what movies do for us. Movies make me smile. Seeing Clint Eastwood stroll into town and the bad guys are laughing and spitting tobacco juice and slapping around innocent people. But, when Clint does that Eastwood squint and throws that poncho back you just know that in a minute justice will be served and the world will be made right again. Yeah, it's a rush because it takes you out of the day to day dog eat dog world and for once the good guy's kick ass. I don't hold movies to a really high standard. Just entertain me for an hour or two and let me kick back eat a tub of buttered popcorn and suck down a big ole soda. I'll worry about the weight and the blood pressure tomorrow. But, for right now just take me to a different world. Yeah, it makes me smile.

Stuck in some sticky situations
Feelin' like I wanna explode
All this gratification
And sick conversation
Someone get me out of town

Oh well, it's been a good day in hell
And tomorrow I'll be glory bound...Eagles

Music makes me smile. The above song is not really the best example of making me smile. It's an old Eagles song and not from the ole top forty radio hits. It's from what would have been called the "B" side back in the day. But, it was one of my anthems in my misspent teenage years. It kind of described a lot of what I felt back then. But, still a good song could take me to a different place and relieve a little of the teenage hell of my overly dramatic youth.
“I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.” ,,,Steve Martin
Sex makes me smile. But, uh I ain't gonna talk about that. So, let's talk about comedy. Comedy makes me smile. I grew up with the greatest music and also the greatest comedy stand up's in history so far. As a child i would tune in and see Don Rickles or some other Vegas type comic on the Tonight Show or other talk shows. As a teenager Richard Pryor and Steve Martin and comedy movies like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Nothing politically correct about it. Everybody was a target but it wasn't cruel or degrading. People didn't need safe spaces and Republican or Democrat the old time comedians would take their shot at you. Comedy is a way of laughing at the seriousness of the world.
So, I get it. Donald Trump has free rent in some folk's head. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have free rent in other's head. OMG, the world is going to boil due to global warming and the illegals are going to come for us in our beds. The right wing racist white nationalist are going to kill all the people of color and the liberals are going to take all the guns and put us in a Latin American style dictatorship. But, before all that happens and you completely lose all sense of balance try to find something to smile about today.