ELS

Smiling at strangers and misplaced anger
And laughing in the face of the chance to rearrange her
Because we are all flawed, all perfect parts of God
And if we don’t fit the mold, it’s because the mold is odd
We are all aching for this world’s waking
For a power for which there is no mistaking

I’ve got a love grenade and empathy goggles
And they’re both homemade
We’re making lemonade
The price of peace is not a war of power
When the voices cease and their words turn sour
When the numbers fade, that’ll be the hour
Explosions of light serenade

And we’ve cried for a love that’s not died
Why we keep looking out when it’s buried inside
It glows from within, just below the skin
And if we try we will find it again
It’s reanimation and stifled elation
It’s a chemical reaction to light up this nation

I’ve got a love grenade and empathy goggles
And they’re both homemade
We’re making lemonade
The price of peace is not a war of power
When the voices cease and their words turn sour
When the numbers fade, that’ll be the hour
Explosions of light serenade

The Black Dot

I awoke to sunshine bursting through my home-made curtain. This floral flannel sheet did little to keep sunlight out and had no regard for how late I had stayed up the night before. I rolled out of bed and walked, half asleep, to the bathroom. The mirror was dirty. Spots of toothpaste foam and other smudged decorated the mirror as though it were a canvas on which to throw any number of abstract designs. I lifted the toilet seat. The sight of the dirty toilet bowl served as another reminder that today would be a good day to do some cleaning. After relieving myself, I washed my hands and dried them and slid back into bed. Cleaning could wait. There was still unfinished business in the dream world that lived just under my blanket. I pulled a second pillow over my face as means of blocking the sun from my eyes: A map of the United States – Texas seems misshapen. But it is right. Of course it is. This is a map. A coworker had told me about this place.

I awake again. I feel guilty for having gone back to sleep. There is so much to do today. Sleeping late only makes me feel tired. I roll out of bed and go into the bathroom. The mirror is still dirty. The toilet bowl is still dirty. I flush and move to stand in front of the mirror. “I love you.”, I say to my reflection. It feels good to remind myself. I need to clean the mirror. I need to clean the toilet.

I go to the kitchen and pour a bowl of cereal. I sit in front of my computer and watch Netflix shows as I eat. an episode ends and I am still hungry. I pour another bowl and start another episode. These shows, although distracting, do not truly fulfill me. I search Facebook for some sort of video or interaction to end my session on the computer in a positive way. Now I am 22 videos deep in a thread of videos. these videos leave me wanting. But, perhaps the next one will give me what I need to feel content.

It is afternoon. I feel guilty for waisting half my day. The bathroom calls to me. Still, one more video couldn’t hurt. Instant gratification and the Id rule my behavior. It is 2:58pm. I still haven’t done anything productive. I feel sick – dizzy. Could I clean today if I wanted to? I will. I go back to Netflix. I will listen as I scrub the toilet. I hit play. I stand and blood rushes to my head. I feel as though I will fall over, but I don’t.

I whirl the brush around the inside of the toilet as I sit on the bathtub’s edge. this exercise takes little concentration and I am able to follow the storyline of the episode playing from the next room. It is a distraction. This constant entertainment enables me to avoid spending time by myself – with myself. I decide to let the bleach in the toilet soak for a moment and I move to the mirror.

I keep all kinds of cleaning supplies under my bathroom sink, but rarely use them. Crouched now, I find Windex and paper towels under the sink. I spray the mirror and wipe it clean with a neatly folded paper towel. I notice a black dot in the spot I had just wiped and go over it again. The dot remains. I scratch at it with my fingernail. The dot remains.

I need something stronger. I retrieve the 5 gallon gas can and a towel from my garage. I wipe at the dot with the gasoline soaked towel. It smudges. The towel it turning black. I would seem to be making progress. I scrub further and the black dot is now a black streak across the mirror. This will no do. any guest would surely be displeased at the site of this mess. I find a clean spot on the towel, soak it in gasoline, and start scrubbing again, this time in an upward motion.

This black body mocks me as it grows in size and darkness. I am only making things worse. still, I am in too deep to stop. I must prove I am better than this. My fingertips are black, almost the entire mirror is streaked with black, and my towel, once green, now soaked in gasoline and completely black.

I cary the towel to the laundry room and hear a knock at the door. I place the towel in the washing machine and turn on the sink with my elbow to wash my hands. I pick up the bar of soap and hurriedly scrub my hands. The soap is now black and my hands are no less black than before. “Just a minute!”, I call to whomever is at my front door. I scrub harder, looking for this layer of black to wipe off the bar of soap. Frantically now, I peel at the bar with my fingernails, looking for a sign of the once orange color of this soap.

Another knock at the front door. “Just a minute!!!”, I say with irritation. I drop the bar of soap in the sink and hurry to the door. I look out the peephole to find no one waiting on the other side. I breathe heavily as I stare out the peephole. “Good.”, I think to myself, “Better to maintain this desolation than have someone see this mess”.

Looking back toward the laundry room, I see a trail of black droplets on the carpet. I had better try to get that up before it stains. I soak the carpet in vinegar. I need to let the vinegar set for a few moments. I sit on the couch and drift off to sleep. I awake to find the black color has affected the vinegar. The black spots on my carpet are now twice the size they were and just as black as ever.

I see through my peripherals the blackness has spread up may arms as well. I look down and watch it crawl up my skin – millimeter by millimeter. I scratch frantically at the shinny reflective coat, attempting to peal it off my skin. What would any visitor think?

I peer out the peephole again. There is no one there. “Good. Better to maintain this desolation than have someone see this mess”. The black crawls up the walls, spreading across the floor and my body, quickly consuming the interior of my house and everything inside. A knock at the door. The black is now coating my lungs. It is a part of me. But it has always been a part of me. I’m suffocating. I inhale, but no oxygen reaches my bloodstream. I check to make sure the door is locked just before I lose consciousness. “Better that than have someone see this mess”.

I Love You / Namaste

Merriam-webster.com defines “love” as

. 1
a (1) :  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child (2) :  attraction based on sexual desire :  affection and tenderness felt by lovers After all these years, they are still very much in love. (3) :  affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests love for his old schoolmates
b :  an assurance of affection give her my love

. 2
:  warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea

. 3
a :  the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration baseball was his first love
b (1) :  a beloved person :  darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address

. 4
a :  unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent 1a) concern for the good of another: such as (1) :  the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) :  brotherly concern for others
b :  a person’s adoration of God

. 5
:  a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love

. 6
:  an amorous episode :  love affair

. 7
:  the sexual embrace :  copulation

. 8
:  a score of zero (as in tennis)

. 9
capitalized, Christian Science :  god
.
In our society, the word “love” holds a certain taboo. We tend to see ourselves as autonomous, disconnected, and multiple. This disconnection enables us to feel protected, insulated from each other. Fear causes us to focus on the undesirable aspects of alternatives to this. If we are one, then your pain is my pain. While this sharing of pain is very real, our singularity also means your joy is my joy. Empathy is a natural part of the human experience. Science tells us so. Therefore, this disconnect, this separation of mine and yours, is unnatural. What we have, the pain and the pleasure, is ours.

So, when I say “I love you.”, I do not mean you are special and that I hold you above everyone else; I mean namaste; I mean you are everything good about this world, because we are all everything good about this world. But I also mean that I gladly take on your burden as my own, as I recognize we are the same.

God is Energy

God is energy.
Energy is means to life.
Love spreads energy and life.
Fear hoards energy and stifles life.
Energy is expressed through math.
Math is all around us.
It is the building blocks of our world.
It holds our world together.
Understanding of math gives us the power to harness energy, to use it for our will.
Fear inspires destruction.
Fear takes the greatest discovery of energy and uses it to destroy human life.
But this destruction only brings us back to our most basic state – energy.
Energy is finite.
It is never created or destroyed.
God is energy.

Wild Horses

I allowed myself to cry today. I say, “I allowed myself to cry…” instead of “I cried…” because the difference is significant to me. I wasn’t a victim of happenings in my life. The world around me didn’t make me cry. I chose to. I had a moment when I felt that I might be able to and let the feeling swell up within me. It would have been easy to decide that I wanted to refuse to dwell in this feeling and move on to a happier one. But the experience of actually letting myself cry with the understanding that this experience is something I control has tended to be a truly pleasurable one. I’ve been told that not allowing myself to experience this kind of emotion is simply stifling myself, that I’m bottling up my feelings when I refuse to dwell in unhappy emotion. I disagree. I believe our emotional states are directly affected by our temporary perspectives of the world and that our temporary perspectives are largely the products of choice. The experience today was rather unexpected. It was a mixture of memories and a choice that lay in front of me.

I know I tend to offend people regularly. This outcome is never something I intend, but it takes great effort to avoid offending. This is why I often refrain from social interactions in the work-place. I know that I’m going to say “3.14” and someone is going to hear “lasagna”. Not long ago, I made a post on Facebook that was the product of my playing with the phrase “itty bitty titty committee”. The idea was what would such a committee actually look like? Sure it may seem immature or even sexist to reference such a phrase. But life is about having fund and not taking oneself too seriously. It was certainly not malicious. Either way, this post offended a coworker I had recently called “friend” to the point that she seemingly wished to dissolve any kind of lingering relationship.

We had, months before, spent quite a bit of time together in the pursuit of a common political interest. At the event (And I understand that one may not want to call this an event. But calling it an event here is the result of an effort to try to keep the topic of this post somewhat ambiguous.) there was great racial division. There were meetings for everyone but the “white” people. “White” people were often asked to speak last. And those of us of European heritage abided as, although we were there to help, to put our bodies on the line for the greater good just as everyone there was, we were in a foreign land. I developed the opinion along the way to this point in my life that it didn’t matter what color a person’s skin was. But that it only mattered what was in his/her mind and heart. I was told throughout this time that my efforts to try to help in person were the result of my trying to be a “white savior” and that donating money was just the “white” way of trying to fix something. I spent a lot of this time feeling as though I should be sorry for something.

I had opportunities to feel so much pain over her apparent perspective that I had failed her so frequently in the time we’d spent here. But I didn’t allow myself to. I, instead, allowed myself to accept that we were just very different people with very different perspectives and decided I was going to allow myself to love her from a slightly greater distance. Months later, when my post caused such offense, I figured this was the end. I was fine with it if that’s were this relationship was going to end. It was my primary goal not to cause any more offense. If that meant cutting ties completely, it was the greater good. Today, I made the mistake of mentioning to a coworker that the song playing through her computer was the favorite song of this other coworker. She called the coworker in after I left the room. A few minutes later, the coworker sincerely thanked me for remembering her favorite song. The thanks was like ripping off a scab. It brought it all back, the feeling that I was wrong in whatever action I chose, the loneliness, the cold, and the fleeting hope that this familiarity had the potential to be a friendship. I didn’t want this hope back. I just wanted to heal. At the same time, a part of me wanted to feel that again, the enchantment of the cold air, the feeling that I was putting my body on the line to at least try to make a difference, the love of almost every person I met during this time, and most of all the fleeting hope, the wild horses. It was worth it. But I don’t suspect I’ll let myself feel that way about this any time in the near future.

Here’s to the Atom Bomb

I’m starting to think the “Big Bang” was a nuclear explosion – that we were born from the last race of humans – that human evolution is cyclical. Sure there are flaws to this logic. The “Big Bang” is said to have created everything in our Universe. Even if we destroy our planet, it is doubtful such an explosion, or group of explosions, would reach out into the rest of our galaxy, let alone everything else in existence. Still it’s a beautiful thought. So let’s just suspend disbelief for a moment and go with it. This would mean that we are not near THE end. We are near the beginning of another beautiful world. Maybe they’ll get it right next time. Surely some kind of new life would be born from such a huge explosion. And, perhaps, their “Universe” could be contained in the remnants of our Earth. There are seemingly infinite possibilities. Energy never dies, but only changes shape. It is truly beautiful that dividing the atom, the very smallest building block of our world, results in the release of such energy. It is this energy that animates us, that gives life and enables us to inquire, aspire, and even destroy. But we are never really destroying anything. We are just tearing down the Lego castle to build a Lego metropolis. So here’s hoping the next creation is deserving of staying standing for a little longer. If not, we have the power of roughly 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of these huge explosions within us all.

This world is losing its mind It’s division by design And we keep falling in line It seems we’re all fast asleep Now only wolves are counting sheep And still waters freeze deep Open your eyes Open your eyes This whole cage is made of lies Open your eyes Open your eyes At this age we should be wise Open your eyes Open your eyes Slave to wage a new world dies Open your eyes Open your eyes The continental divide A candy coating of pride Never tasting what’s inside Protecting us from made up threats We are the system’s many pets No memory of captor’s nets Open your eyes Open your eyes This whole cage is made of lies Open your eyes Open your eyes At this age we should be wise Open your eyes Open your eyes Slave to wage a new world dies Open your eyes Open your eyes Distraction serves to blind the flock Constantly taking stock It keeps our shoes safe on lock We play dolls, husbands and wives Never shaping our own lives There’s no honey without hives How do you keep an animal captive? Never let him see the cage.

This world is losing its mind
It’s division by design
And we keep falling in line

It seems we’re all fast asleep
Now only wolves are counting sheep
And still waters freeze deep

Open your eyes
Open your eyes
This whole cage is made of lies
Open your eyes
Open your eyes
At this age we should be wise
Open your eyes
Open your eyes
Slave to wage a new world dies
Open your eyes
Open your eyes

The continental divide
A candy coating of pride
Never tasting what’s inside

Protecting us from made up threats
We are the system’s many pets
No memory of captor’s nets

Open your eyes
Open your eyes
This whole cage is made of lies
Open your eyes
Open your eyes
At this age we should be wise
Open your eyes
Open your eyes
Slave to wage a new world dies
Open your eyes
Open your eyes

Distraction serves to blind the flock
Constantly taking stock
It keeps our shoes safe on lock

We play dolls, husbands and wives
Never shaping our own lives
There’s no honey without hives

How do you keep an animal captive?
Never let him see the cage.

It’s that simple

I try to love every person I meet. But more than that, I try to love every person on this planet. Love: “unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent 1a) concern for the good of another: such as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others.” Love is not difficult. Love is natural. To not love others goes against our nature. Mirror Neurons are the source of empathy in our brains. Our brains are hard-wired to recognize a connection, a mutual interest. It is in our interest to act in selfless ways. Community works toward insulating individuals from isolation. Connection and symbiosis are necessary for humankind’s happiness and survival. And yet, somehow we tend to feel safer when we disconnect, refusing to let others in. I suppose, if we care about others, we give them the power to cause us pain. But real love fears no pain. Real love choses empathy and connection over fear of pain. If we seek our own fulfillment, we have no choice but to love each other. It’s that simple.

Altruism, Religion, and Thermodynamics

Why do we help others? Many of us would seem motivated by reward, be it a reward in this life or a reward in the next. Religions promise reward for socially desirable behavior. I once heard a man proudly refer to prayer as “sending up bricks”, building his house in Heaven. Many of us would seem to help others out of the desire to feel good about ourselves: “If I help someone in need, this makes me a good person.” But, is it really selflessness if our motivation is to feel good about ourselves or find reward in another life? I believe both of these motivators are based on one incredible misunderstanding of our world. This division of flesh and skin is temporary. We are energy. We are not bad or good. I help you because we are parts of the same life-force that fills every living thing on this planet. If you want to call that “God”, that’s fine. If you want to call it something else, that’s fine too. But stop fighting, stop killing over who understands this energy best. It is this energy that gives us the ability to conjecture about it’s nature. It is this energy that enables us to create stories that promote our own agendas and claim the agendas are that of this energy. We can kill and shame in the name of God… or we can live in it, live for it, experience it as the greater whole of our own existence, and know that we have nothing to fear. Pain is temporary. But the energy that fills every living being on this planet is eternal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_law_of_thermodynamics). So is “selflessness” the right word for it? Does “altruism” even exist in any way other than theory? Is “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others” even possible? As long as we continue to recognize ourselves as separate from the whole, altruism is possible, but not practical. On the other side of it, if we accept that we are all small parts of something greater, real altruism may be impossible, but efforts toward achieving it may be perfectly practical and even a part of our nature.