Intoxication Is Necessary

Français : Portrait de Charles Baudelaire.
Français : Portrait de Charles Baudelaire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I wanted to share a favorite piece of prose from a french author. English translations vary, and this one is from, Words I Wish I Wrote, by Robert Fulghum. I’ve seen many other translations and mostly they all come to the same conclusion, enjoy yourself, because time is short. I wish for you the same, enjoy your holidays everyone. Time is short. Eat, drink, and be merry. I truly think the French are wiser than we give them credit.

You must always be intoxicated.
That sums it all up: it’s the only question.
In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time
which breaks your back and bends you down to earth,
you must be unremittingly intoxicated.
But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please.
But never be sober.
And if it should chance that sometimes, on the steps of
a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak
solitude of your room, you wake up and your intoxication
has already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind,
the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything
that sings, everything that speaks, ask them what time
it is and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock
will reply: It’s time to be intoxicated!
If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of
Time, never be sober; never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry
or virtue, as you please.
Charles-Pierre Baudelaire
The Prose Poems and La Fanfarlo

Here is another version, if you are interested: Intoxication

 

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Wants, Desires, and Actions

Continue reading “Wants, Desires, and Actions”

Not Waiting

Sometime after the blame and the anger, you realize it’s no one’s fault but your own.

Recently, I realized that I can take care of myself. And I kept saying those words, aloud, I take care of myself, over and over. I’m sure my family thought it strange, but for some reason it seemed more real to me than at any time ever.

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to and struggled to be independent, but something inside of me these last few years finally grew up. Yeah, I’m responsible for me. And there’s no easy way to describe that feeling other than the reverse. I know what it feels like to not have the choice. To be the one who waits for someone else to decide. In those cases you somehow disengage. You stop caring. You forget how to want, how to choose. 

I have always been taught that I must forgive. I must not hold onto unforgiveness or hatred. I tried for years to heal and forgive. Finally I stopped and decided it was actually normal to hate and be angry. And I don’t mind my anger anymore.

When you no longer fight your feelings, fight your needs, fight your wants, and fight your loves, you can look at yourself as you are. I can stand and say, I want this, I need that, I hate this, I love that. I don’t know exactly how it works, but I know that by acknowledging the facts I freed myself. I realized that I provide for my needs and I can take care of myself. I’m not the sad little girl who waited as in Amelia Pond on Doctor Who. Twice.

Amy Pond: In fact I think I can now definitely say I hate him. I hate the Doctor. I hate him more than I have hated anyone in my life and you can hear every word of this through those ridiculous glasses, can’t you, Raggedy Man?

The Doctor: Uh, yes. Putting the speakerphone on.

Amy Pond: You told me to wait, and I did. A lifetime.

The Doctor: Amy!

Amy Pond: You’ve got nothing to say to me.

The Doctor: Amy, behind you! – imdb.com/quotes

It’s not necessary for me to actively try to forgive anymore. It never worked anyway. When I realize I’m a free agent and I’m the responsible person here, I am free to walk away or stay. Being responsible helps me forgive. No, I take that back, being responsible helps me not to notice that there’s anything to forgive.

 

In the Name of Love

What overtakes us when we’re in love? What is this passion, this force that motivates us to set ourselves aside?

What you don’t understand is
I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya
Read more: Bruno Mars – Grenade Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Last winter, after a ridiculous ice storm, I got out of my warm home for two reasons, both for love. Early that Saturday morning I went to watch my oldest son walk across the stage with the other college graduates. I wouldn’t have missed it. Zombie attacks, apocalypse, earthquakes, or whatever. I love that boy.

Later that day, and not a bit warmer, I stood in a line that wrapped around the corner and the along the side of The Brady Theater. A light drizzle of ice was falling, but my friends and I stood and waited and shivered. Why? Our favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, was playing for the Rockin’ Christmas concert.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door – Proclaimers

Passion motivates us to do many things. And you can’t fake it. I’ve tried to be passionate about things but there’s no life if there’s no love. No zest. It’s an internal motivation that can’t be bought or borrowed. Forcing yourself to complete a task you hate is necessary at times, but you won’t hurry up to do it again and the time spent doing it is draining. Exhausting. I’m currently reading a book called DO NOTHING. It’s a very Zen or Taoist concept. I’ve played with this notion for years as I’m sure you have too, but I think I understand it now. So I stop grasping at every loose end and unfinished task. Focus on what’s the most important and the tasks that are lead by my motivation. There are two questions that have stuck with me that I read a few years back in a time management book,

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? These are your passions.

The Simple Life

We say we miss the good old days when times were simple. Snapping green beans on the front porch or eating homemade ice cream comes to mind. Maybe I just miss the innocence of youth.

I feel bad about the struggles on the other side of the world, but I’m limited to what I can do. I can listen to Beatles music. Maybe say a few lines of Rumi. It’s not by any means stopping the skirmishes of fighting tribes. I don’t really wish for the old days, not really. They had their own issues. Days were devoted to food preparation and lives cut short by disease. What I want is simplicity. Living with this moment. Making the most of what I have now. I don’t want to be always thinking about the fun of tomorrow or worrying about the issues that are not in my control.

This We Have Now

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn’t.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

The next time you’re watching the news and paying your bills while trying to phone your mom and pet your cat, stop. Do one thing. Only one. Choose your activity wisely and give it your full attention.
Save your sanity and realize your own limitations. It’s okay if you can’t fix everything. It’s okay if you can’t save the world. Now, let’s put on our tie dyed shirts and chant OM.

Recommendation: The No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Failure is Relative

Am I a failure at relationships because I can’t give someone what they want? Or, maybe they need to find what they are needing somewhere else.

Does it make me incapable of being intimate if my need for aloneness is huge? Taking time for myself is essential to who I am. Am I the other’s property? A doll to dress up and approve? Do I need to ask permission to wear blue or take a nap? Who do I listen to, myself or to other people? Is their need (even if they are a lover) more important than my own?

I need space, but that doesn’t make me cold. I love reading, but movies are wonderful also. I love blue and red and green and purple and black. Taste the rainbow. I cannot live in one man’s pastel world. I cannot be there for his every need.

I deal with these feelings of anger and sadness because I’ve felt like a failure at times. Old issues seem to resurface. I’ve heard the accusations, You weren’t there for me. You’re cold and emotionless. But I’m not.

If I take my love back why are you complaining? It was mine to give in the first place. You don’t own me.

 

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The Not So Assertive Me

Thought Bubbles
Thought Bubbles (Photo credit: Michael Taggart Photography)

Sometimes we have to become comfortable with who we are when we are alone. I was driving in my car yesterday, thinking of of all the things I’m afraid of. How I’ve tried so much to be what’s expected of me and to hide the unacceptable parts. Be more respectful, less quiet, open up and share my private thoughts. Be outgoing, win friends and influence people, stand tall and assert myself.

In the normal moments, I’m happy puttering around my house or watching a marathon of Doctor Who. I tried dating because I don’t want to become a hermit quite yet. Maybe when I’m 70. Most of the guys I’ve dated like to do things. Shopping, traveling, gambling, all those physical and crowd oriented activities. And I can do those things just like anyone else, but it makes me tired.

I remember in elementary school fluffing and enlarging my persona. No one wants to be thought of as boring. And being fearful and boring at the same time is a huge ick factor for children. So over the years I learned to say the right words when asked, what are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time? Fluff. It was easy because most people don’t really care. They move on and I can go back to my book.

But that moment, while driving, I was alone. Just me and my thoughts and I was okay with them. I’ve finally accepted that they are who I really am. In that moment I was being myself. No act, no bluster, no fluff. And I liked it.

 

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Know Thy Species

Self Portrait

You have to understand the rules before you can break the rules. At least that’s what I’ve been taught. One easy to understand rule is, people need oxygen. We can’t live without it. It makes us uncomfortable and we start to panic. We will fight against anything that keeps us from breathing. There’s no nice and compliant if someone is choking you. You will kick, claw, poke and jab.

I once thought it was important to be tough. Tough meant defying the rules. Defying what I needed. Things that were natural came too easily and where’s the challenge in that? Climb Mt Everest and prove yourself. Prove that you can make it to the top and still breathe. Scoff. It’s important to know the rule of oxygen. Humans just can’t live at 35,000 feet above sea level. There’s barely any oxygen. And it’s freakin’ cold.

By the same measurement, I wouldn’t expect to feed grass to a dog and expect him to leave the T-bone steak on the kitchen table. It’s natural and expected for the dog to eat the steak. So I realize I have to take a fresh look at being tough and strong. It’s not defying my need for oxygen.

…Know thy species…The best way to learn about a species is to study it in the wild, living in its natural habitat. This includes everything from what the species eats to how it moves, from common predators to mating behavior-everything…..This approach works for humans too…..To understand human health we have to study our own species, the human animal. The Paleo Manifesto-John Durant

Most of my life I’ve operated by existence. My thoughts were of what I needed to survive. And even then I questioned it. I scoffed at people who were high maintenance and was cocky that I wasn’t one of those women. I didn’t require a spa day or an entire room for closeting my shoes. I could travel with just one suitcase. I could get by on less. Now I ask why that was so important. My badge of honor looks rusty now. The truth has nothing to do with high maintenance or low maintenance. If I were an African Violet, I’d need x number of hours of sunlight and y amount of rain. It’s just the facts. Maybe I’ll still scoff at the women who can’t live without their mani-pedi, but I may also reconsider and enjoy one myself.

I want to dig into this more. One of the books on my reading list is, Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self By Jennifer Ouellette

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No Change

Would I be different if I wasn’t able to change things? I’m a bit spoiled in that most things in my life, I’ve had the ability to change. Sometimes it took persistence and work, but after the sweat and callouses, the job got done. But would I be different if, feel different, or give different advice if I couldn’t change things?

I’m a great believer in not accepting the status quo. If I have a problem, I research and try, try again to fix it. Even with my migraines, which I know aren’t curable, I still try to discover the missing link of why I have migraines. Surely something is wrong with my body.

Maybe I just overlook the things I can’t change. I don’t have a formula on how to decide what can be changed and what can’t but it’s probably not necessary. Let me know what you think.

Things I haven’t been able to change:

  • my gender
  • migraines
  • phobias
  • highly reactive personality
  • physical strength

Here’s an interesting book for my fellow introverts or anyone wanting to understand them. It has a little to do with the subject above, but I learned a lot from it.

Quiet

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Seeing the Unseen

How do you see something you can’t see? We gather information to find truth or to prove our point, but sometimes we want to learn something new. Our brain sorts through all the input from our senses and decides what is useful and what isn’t. It even has the ability to fill in the gaps to complete a picture. How do learn a new truth when our brain is picking and choosing the information for us? Your Hidden Censor – Scientific American

In the physical world, astronomers have the same problem. For years they relied on telescopes and light that was visible to their eyes. Instead of using visual light and eyesight, they needed to use other methods. Regarding the discovery of the now termed Dark Energy or Dark Matter,

How do you see something that is dark, if by dark you mean as astronomers in the 1970’s and 1980’s did, impossible to see. How do you do something that is by your own definition, impossible to do? – The 4% Universe, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

We have to do the same thing as the astronomers did. Ask questions, to our equals and our non-equals. Read, learn, and question. Be open to other possibilities. The first step is becoming comfortable with not knowing. When you step up and say, I don’t know if I’m right. Can you help me see this better? At that moment you will start seeing and doing the impossible. It’s like discovering a hidden door in your house. A room opens that you never knew existed. Wonder and delight are in that room along with the undiscovered years of dust.

When you make an empty space for knowledge, the information will come. The first answer may or not be correct. The purpose of seeing the unseen is to continually grow your sight. Never stop and settle. Never close the door and say, I’ve learned that. I’ll move on now. Anything closed is finished. Life isn’t a task list of items to be learned. It’s a constant growth cycle of building and destroying. Learning and unlearning. I wouldn’t go up to a 6th grader and tell him he’s finished learning math. Not even a college student. There’s always more to explore.