Friday, November 5, 2010


I've just finished meditating after completing the prior blog post. While meditating I made the obvious connection between my fear of retirement and my self-worth issues. This simple, direct relationship is so glaring that it's almost embarrassing to write about it. (There's that embarrassing embarrassment stuff again) I'm afraid of retiring because my sense of self-worth is tied to my job. Duh. I think I've always known this but now I feel it. There's quite a difference and somehow it helps me feel more ready to make a move.

Living with clarity

In my first posting I seem to be setting goals for this whole operation. I want to be more accepting of myself and what I do. I want whatever I write to not be too constricted by a perceived need to have it be well-planned or thought out. And I want my writing to help me try to connect with guiding forces which will help me through the "tricky end game."

One of the things I'm trying to accept is that this blog is mainly going to be about me. I find this repulsive. It's not that I think I'm repulsive but there's an alarm bell that goes off when I turn the camera around.(My new iphone has a lens on both sides so all I have to do is push a button)

This reaction will hopefully help me come to terms with the egocentric bogeyman. It's frankly embarrassing to say too much about myself. What the hell does that mean? I hope it's more of a function of a belief that communal issues are more important than personal concerns. But I'm afraid it has more to do with feeling and thinking that there's fundamentally something wrong/embarrassing about me. That's truly fucked up and something I want to somehow get beyond. Easier said than done.

After typing the above lines I went to my book rack looking for my copy of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach.Tara was one of the teachers at a retreat I attended at the Insight Meditation Society and her teachings and her book have been very helpful.

Well, I couldn't find her book but I picked out a book by Rodney Smith called Lessons from the Dying. He was a teacher at another retreat I went to at IMS. I opened the book to a random page and here is the first thing I read....

"There is an opportunity at death to give up all self-images, positive or negative. For peoople who have a low sense of self-worth, negative qualities can be more tenacious than positive ones because we believe in them more strongly. We often believe that we deserve to suffer, given how badly we feel about ourselves. We can even feel guilty for being happy."

He gives examples in the book of people who were successful in "working through ...negative self-images and dying with clarity."

Dying with clarity.
I want to live with clarity.

The opening quote of the book is apropos.
"Rehearse death. To say this is to tell a person to rehearse his freedom. A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave." - Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holding hands in the dark

I've just spent thirty minutes trying to come up with a blog title I can live with. Right Now! Right Now? Write Now? Write Now! As usual, resolution is ultimately compromise. I guess it finally comes down to acceptance. Accepting that my efforts are all right if they are from the heart and don't do damage. Accepting that despite my struggles with aging and pending retirement, joy and peace are lurking out there ready to pounce. All I have to do is let down my guard. Hell I could try to couch this in Buddhist terminology but it comes down to my choosing to be mired in past conditioning or deciding enough's enough. And it is.

So will I let my freak flag fly or continue to try to craft something solid, thoughtful and organized... certainly worthy of an "A" or at least an "atta boy". Impulsive rant/stream/vent or structured, thoughtful treatise. Some of both I hope. But there's a part of me that clearly leans toward the spontaneous. Somewhere I picked up the notion that less filter equals more truth. I think Allen Ginsberg and his ilk had a lot to do with that. I have an audio clip of him reciting "Howl" that I play to be reinspired re the power of art and balls-naked self-expression.
There's a new film out about him "Howl" I haven't seen it yet but the promo piece looks a bit too Hollywood to me. I glad he's getting attention I hope it doesn't sanitize him too much.

I am starting this blog as a way to connect. Connect with guiding forces which will help me find my way through this tricky end game. The form, timing and content of these hoped for hand holders through the dark are far from being clear. I invite you to be part of this journey and perhaps we can hold each other's hand along the way.