What I Would Have Said To You If You Had Ever Been Born

saw a man and a baby, the man was jogging, pushing the baby in a stroller. The man looked like it hurt so much, to be jogging. I thought, that man is going to drop dead of a heart attack on the seawall, leaving that baby alone. Then a few minutes later the man did drop dead, and I saw him fall, and I was there. I called 911 and took that baby out of the stroller and held her on my knee while I talked to the 911 operator. Someone asked to the general crowd where the baby from the stroller was and I said I have her, and everyone could see she was happy there. 

"It's going to be okay, little baby," I said, "don't worry, don't worry."  We both looked at the mountains a while. Then I sighed, and said, "No, it's never going to be okay." That baby listened. She held eye contact and furrowed her brow and pursed her lips. 

"It will be with you all through your life, informing your choices and identity. You will search a long time, baby, for that missing piece of your heart. But this is your story, and it will make you interesting, and complex, and you will have to decide how to be all those things, use them. Let it happen, baby."

Then the fire department came and then the police, and finally an ambulance. Not very reassuring if you're waiting to be saved, but that man wasn't waiting, he was dead. There was activity and questions and then someone took that baby out of my arms and she started wailing. Some time her mother arrived, too, and started wailing, too, and they nearly harmonized. I noticed the resonance specifically. 


The Inevitable

I am nearly ready to get the laundry from the dryer.  Right after I bang on the wall a bit, to let the neighbours know the thumping bass is penetrating even the concrete between us. I bang on the gyp rock wall, not the concrete one, though, so as not to break my hand, and so there's a possibility of being heard.

I believe myself to be the crazy lady. Do you know what I mean? I talk to myself a lot in my home, and often wonder if anyone just stops in front of my apartment door and listens to me. I speak in voices, do scenes with myself, angrily rant about what's broken in the apartment, how cold and stupid it is, complain to myself about the dumbassness of people, cry sometimes, very occasionally wail, and, once, such protracted screaming that I was surprised no one came to check on me or called the police. Every once in a while in life, the only thing that works is a good, long, loud scream.

Are the gods wrathful or kind? Within me or without? It is hard to tell because even when things don't go my way I can never be sure if it is because of the gods, or in spite of the gods, or if it is the exact thing I need at that exact moment, and the gods know, so I ought to just accept it. "Enlightenment is cooperation with the inevitable." This is my favourite thing I have heard lately, and I'm really, really sorry, but I can't remember the man's name who wrote it in a book. If you look it up on the internet, using a search engine of your choosing, the whole sentence, you'll find the writer lickety split. I know, I've looked it up before, but forget now. "But, Riel", you may well be gearing up to ask, "you're using the internet right as you're writing this entry, so why wouldn't you just Goo(my hand pops out and clamps over your mouth, to stop you from using that damn word as a word and to use other words to convey your meaning so you do)I mean, why wouldn't you just look it up using a search engine of your choice right now right while you're already most of the way there?" Good question. Sigh. One sec.   

 Just hum a little while you wait, to pass the time. Hmmm, hmm, dum de dum, la la la, mmmm, hhhmmm,

Anthony de Mello is the fellow who wrote the quote in a book.

I came on here to talk about depression, and this is what happened instead. Ain't life a funny old bear?



Royal Oak Burial Park

Had a strangely beautiful afternoon with my dad at the Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria this past Sunday. We went to look at the green burial part of the cemetery, because he's started thinking about where to be interred. Or whether to be cremated. Or what. It was an easier and more beautiful conversation and walk than you might imagine. I personally think he's going to be around for quite a long while yet, but I'm glad he's not scared, and is willing to talk about what he wants. Our cycle is what it is, no matter how hard people try to stop aging and cheat death, and his making peace with the process is an inspiring thing. Probably this cemetery won't be his end game, too much highway noise plus a realization that maybe being cremated and having a little of himself scattered in all his favourite places in the world would be better. What's funny is how he is not afraid of dying, but he is worried about spending eternity in Victoria. I hear ya, dad.


I Dream In Not So Subtle Analogies

I woke so many times and each time felt fatigue flood my body, forcing me back to sleep, going back to the same dream, until it had concluded, like I was in an alternate reality that would not let me go until my task was completed.  I slept so late.

I dreamed fascism came to us.  It started in the schools, where else?  I saw it coming and tried to escape slowly and quietly, but was thwarted at every turn by doors that were locked, guards that appeared suddenly, first jovial and in costumes, under the guise of keeping the students safe.  A festival was named, there was food and a circus atmosphere, so that most did not feel the yoke tightening.  The more I tried to run the harder it was to move my feet, and the more I felt myself whispering instead of yelling.  Those whispers, though, they found their way to the ears of those who also recognized the signs.  We spoke falsehoods out loud to each other as a diversion, while writing the truth in notes.  We made borscht, giant pots of it, and from under the sound of the rhythmic chopping of the beets and onions - we chopped yams and carrots and sweet potatoes, too, but only as a distraction, they were never intended for our soup, just a pile of colours to dazzle scrutinizing eyes - from the rhythm of the chopping was born a plan.  More joined us, and we continued to make individual and easily detectable escape attempts, to be thrown back over and over.  But quietly we built strength, and with coded messages and well timed precision, one night we ran en masse and I was thrown far over the wall by the hands of many who sacrificed themselves for the cause, so I could run and run and spread the word, to free us from the isolation of silence.

Before this I also dreamed a talking horse would not let me out of buying it, for the steep price of seven apples.  So who am I that my dreams are to be trusted?


Me and the Atheist

A few weeks ago I found myself trying to describe to an atheist what I feel about God.  The atheist is a very, very smart man.  An exceedingly talented writer, director and performer.  He is also an absoluteist, in my estimation.  He is fun to talk to, but sometimes can get so loud and smart and certain that I begin to feel like he's not really in it for the exchange but for the delivering.  The conversation went to many places, including my feeling that atheists can be zealots on the same level as evangelical religious types. Atheists don't like it when I say that I feel atheism has become its own religion, that you can not merely point to the absence of A god, and the lie of THE god and sit back and say, "See, I've cured the human need for spiritual fufillment".  I'm not here to tell you about that part of the conversation, though I'll expound on it if asked.  The end of our discussion was when the atheist pointed to the dictionary definition of God when I suggested that I had formed my own meaning, my own relationship.  He said because of the dictionary, (the atheist bible!!), (I am gonna get myself yelled at, I can tell), there is no room for discussion about the meaning of God.  I have been thinking about this for weeks, I felt unfinished with him, and wanted to think more clearly about what I meant. Then tonight I wrote the entry before this, about love and hunger and sadness, and then  had to write him an email, because I felt I had clarified something for myself.   I have excerpted the email here, because I want to keep talking about this and finding my own way. It is as follows:

"I have been thinking constantly since you and I spoke at the party, since I attempted to describe to you what I feel in my heart and soul is my connection to God, and what it means to me. I wanted to say to you that I have been bothered by your assertion that the dictionary definition of God means that I can not develop my own idea of what God is, my own feelings, because once the definition is set, there is no longer room for growth.  I can not accept this, as I can not accept that there is no room for evolution and interpretation when it comes to language and the poetics of the soul.  I do not subscribe to the Bible as truth, nor do I feel that the organizations of specific religions are doing the world anything but harm, unless you are a fat rich white man, then organized religion is totally your friend! I do, however, feel a strong connection to the divine, to a powerful force that is created by the collective energies of humans and nature. It is, on a very large scale, much like the entity that is created when two humans fall in love. The nurturing of that tender and fragile relationship allows a third thing to be born, something alive because of the two people loving each other, but also separate from those two people, and available for them to draw strength from, but also able to turn dark when not properly negotiated and tended to. I hesitate to suggest symbiosis, because that isn't quite it, but certainly the love can not exist without the humans, and the humans can not rise up without the love.

I feel there are so many more words for love that we have not even invented, because there are so many kinds of love, and the same is true for God. We have defined it narrowly, but it encompasses so much more than Oxford or Merriam-Webster can describe. I will continue to use the word to find common ground with other humans, to be a beginning of a life long conversation and exploration. I do not think there is a single being that rules us all and decides our fates and eternal dwelling place, but I think that all humanity continually creates something together, a temperamental and divine, humming consciousness that both gives and takes, can be unpredictable though comforting, and which you can not always find, even if you are looking, because it can also be petulant. Just like love.

I have not written this in a draft after draft fashion, I'm just thinking and talking. I believe language to be malleable, and love and God to be ever searching for their own place in the lexicon."

That is what I wrote to him, but it just scratches the surface of what I mean, and leaves out the details of a lifetime of divine experiences and the reception of both destructive and inspiring energies from beyond myself.  It is, perhaps, the continuing search that keeps me alive and breathing.