Time Expansion and Self-delusion

Maybe it is because of my age, or perhaps health issues, I suspect it is a combination of both. Often age and health problems are positively correlated, or should I say correlated in a positive way. Anyway, they both increase, and that really isn’t positive. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean you can’t be healthier as you age provided you were unusually sick for being young. We call that a tragedy if you’re prime or younger and natural at my age. To define what are your prime years and what I like to call near prime; can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. I strongly believe ‘near prime’ should become a common term everyone misuses. I will not examine those factors, nor question any of my contemporaries that think they fall into this near prime category. I am a big-time believer in self-delusion. For whatever reason I have been thinking about things that expand time. I have come up with five; boredom, fear, pain, making love (at least for the man) and competition. It occurs to me three of these tend to become more prevalent as we age and two on average decrease. One caveat to this rule is drugs. They can help decrease to some extent the three that increase and increase the two that decrease.
To begin with let me dispense of the time expanders that tend to decrease over time. The making love one requires a willing party, so modern medicine is of no help to me. Concerning competition, at my age it has been reduced to one word, it is a powerful word, unfortunately it is not in my vocabulary. The word is golf. Golf is so much more than just competition, it is the social sun, the center of the aging universe. I am once again left in the dark vastness of the lonely. This is sad because given the circumstances there is no reason for me to explain how they expand time. One of you lucky, popular, in-crowd people can do that.
So that leaves me with boredom, fear, and pain, oh my. I will start with fear, we don’t have to be in danger to be afraid. There are many things we can fear and they all have to do with what might happen. They may be informed by experience, but prior knowledge isn’t necessary. All that is required is a realistic view of the future. It is not only possible, but probable that we have at some time in the past and will again in the future, experience significant pain. I am not talking about the darn, darn pain, but the, this pain killer isn’t working, what do you mean you got nothing stronger, this can’t possibly go on, please take me now pain. You should be scared. It most likely will end badly. That is why I choose self-delusion, I try not to think about it and when I do, I tell myself that won’t happen to me. Hey, it worked with smoking, well, until I got throat cancer. If you think back to a time when you were afraid or in pain, then you know how interminable time can be. It seems that fear and pain have a symbiotic relationship. Isn’t it great how things work together.
I fear something I am not sure anyone else does. I fear boredom. When you are bored, minutes seems to swell and previous short time spans can seem too wide to traverse. Once you finally cross, there is nothing on the other side. It can feel that way. It is true that there is a certain point you reach when the only thing on the other side is the great beyond. I have seen people who are disinterested, hollow, suffering soul sapping boredom. They have lost their reason for living and dying by inches. I fear that, I am not that tough, I can’t imagine enduring that. On a brighter note, there is far more to entertain ourselves from a room or a chair than ever before. In the end, it is always a matter of focusing on what you can do. I stopped posting for a while in an attempted to find mental health, but it still eludes me. I looked for it in some of the bottles they gave me, it wasn’t in there. So in the absence of some pharmaceutical genie, I will stay close to my friends and the people in our little church and start blogging again.

It’s not , just Feels Serious this Time

                                                                                                                                                                   I have been sick, probably not serious, but it feels different. Different,  meaning not normal, but not unknown. There is pain in the form of body aches. Body aches means what you focus on hurts. This however is a small thing and I would not spend time expressing its existence. No, what has capture my attention is sometimes described as extreme fatigue. It comes with a weakness that creates a feeling of helplessness, and at that moment, we are the wounded animal looking for a dark secluded place to hold up. Being different in mental make-up our anxiety and fear is not so easily or quickly comforted. It seems our ability to predict the future, understand cause and effect, has it drawbacks. Our oppression is not limited to the moment, we fear what is ahead and the waves of understanding grow and the future ends threatens to drown the present. Like all waves of a different nature, they grow more familiar as time passes and the intensity decreases. Unless, of course they continue to increase and the only comfort resides in the final ending of this stage.  I am lucky, I am already a little stronger than yesterday, but when will I know the strength of the yesterdays of even a decade ago or when will the next shoe drop for me. So many friends in trouble, so much pain. There is a point we reach or maybe it is just me, when we begin a disassociation with our body. They are not sticking that into me, just a body part, how interesting. When this dissociation process is well under away, things remain endurable. Beyond words, our understanding of the ghost in the machine, in our body, expands. I didn’t believe that smile would come back. That smiles that says it is me the ghost that will define me; not my body, not my past successes and failures; not the opportunities missed. I leave judgement to God and forgive myself and others for past transgressions. Those many regrets, once acknowledged turn to ether and dissipate. For now, I will rage against the darkness and know there will be a time to go gently into the goodnight. I have slept twice since I started, with returning strength comes a sort of amnesia. Tomorrow will be better, by next year,maybe sooner,  I’ll be back into my old self; unification complete. Or So I”ll think ,once again a broken part of the material world.

A Thin Veneer

I woke up this morning anxious, but not desperate or demoralized. I had a plan or least an idea about what to write for my blog. Something different, something now, and something that has always been. Walking out the back door I longed to embrace this beautiful day of fall, mostly terrified of wasting it; not sure how to spend it. PC in hand I would sit on the deck and write. We never really know how many more days like this we’ll have. After all, it is house money we are playing with, and when it is gone, it is gone. Hearing my name I sit my PC down and walk back into the house. I attempt to Hold on to the flash of original insight that for now threatens to pour out and be lost forever. I jot down ideas on whatever is close.  Lately, I have turned my attention toward learning leaving  little time for my blog. After hearing really talented people I wonder what I could possible offer. I would not be discouraged, Not today, I had a plan, it might be goodArmored with this new enthusiasm I set forth to quickly dispense of the day to day problems that confront me; before I turn my attention to my true task. A word to the wise, do not meet the everyday so cavalier, it is a formidable enemy.   At last, I was beaten, laid low by a dishwasher. Do not shake your head in disdain because it is sometimes these small and mundane intrusions on our life that show us our inadequacyThey tell me my efforts are foolish games that serve no purpose in the practicalPerhaps, my morning perch was too lofty, fueled by a night‘s blessed sleep I climbed to high; my expectations for the day was a thin veneer.  Anyway,  it gave way and I fell. Really, life is too short to spend time broken. I will not remain in various pieces, the parts will fit back together, although even Humpty does get tired.   Allow me my sorry and if I share it, it is not for your pity. I desire it not, no it is because there are others like me. Next time I will avoid the pitfalls, I have said that before.  Inspiration gone, nowhere in sight. It might have been good. There is always tomorrow?

Unsell

A long time ago I had a service company and when we had a particularly opinionated customer we had a technique we called the unsell. I stole the idea from a 7up commercial. Back then it was unusual to mention a competitor’s name in your commercial.  They went way beyond that, they used the competitor’s product to define theirs. They were calling 7up the uncola. The unsell technique consisted of causally mentioning what it was you wanted to sell and then quickly assuring them they wouldn’t be interested. The key was you had to act like you didn’t really want to do it. A surprising number of times they would insist that it would be right for them; after a quick sigh, I would smile and tell them of course, I’ll get right on that. Everybody was happy.

Being a typical male I spent much of my life  explaining to people who cared about me, how they could best be of use. Somewhere along the lines there was a general mutiny and I found myself spending most of my time in my own company. This wasn’t all bad, after all who better to talk to. The flaw in the plan became apparent when I found out I had cancer. I was really going to need some help and it seemed I had already used up my allotted portion of goodwill. In a stroke of brilliance I came up with the unself. You need to remember I was desperate, scared and had very limited options. So I decided to become concerned with other peoples welfare. You probably thinking you mean pretending like your concerned, I know I would be. The fact of the matter is it was easier to be genuine. My situation sucked so why not concentrate on helping others. It worked amazingly well. People were incredibly kind and it really helped my anxiety. Recently, the country has experienced some major tragedies. The scope of the misery is really hard to comprehend; both mother nature and man can be cruel. Amid the devastation it is good to remember the heroic acts of kindness that both unite and remind us that there is hope for us has a society. For an individual there will come a time in your life when hope will run out. Maybe it is a good time to pray.

Flawed Messenger

I am currently trying to lead, teach, maybe head a conversation would be more accurate; on the gospels. This exchange of ideas through spoken words takes place at our church.  I don’t know what to call what I do, but I am aware that my remarks too often fall short of their mission. I am not a teacher, I lack the knowledge. I am more of an explorer asking  people to join me on my journey of discovery. This is an expedition in search of understanding. We have no ship to help us travel to the island where wisdom sits about, still, for all to grasp. We have no shovels to find the meaning buried beneath. This pilgrimage requires us to step outside our current space/time and experience through words and inspiration a very different place and existence. Meaning cannot be taught; instead it must rise up almost on his own accord and is revealed, found through personal experience. If my message does not touch, not in the same way, but in some way the members of our merry band; I have failed. It must become an occurrence before it can become a point of reference. Meaning once captured will not remain hidden; it will shine through our actions and even our thoughts. Meaning is external only in its visible effects because it resides internally, like an organ, no, a compass that alway points north. If used properly it can help the lost find their direction. 

Before I scurry to far from the path let me get back to the point. How do I convey a message? I come to this task, first, as a little child finding wonder in the familiar, also as an adult endeavoring to make the strange familiar. I doubt less my purpose or selection of ideas, no friends, it is my presentation. My words lack vitality, they do not stir the imagination without which we are bound to a short distance; we cannot travel far. Perhaps, I have yet to escape my own confines. There may remain remnants of scales clouding my vision. I will continue to look for the narrative, its setting and the people within each gospel. That’s where meaning is found. Yet, even if I gain deeper understanding, I might still be a too flawed messenger. 

What now Grey Seal? asked the Survivor.

I am a cancer survivor. I know because I have a hat and tee shirt that says so. Actually, the shirt says, me 1, cancer 0. The hat says, “My to do List: beat cancer, conquer the world,” cancer is checked, conquer the world is not. It will remain unchecked. I have no desire to conquer, only make my little space a tad better. It has been less than a year since my last treatment so It might be a little early to call the game. I still fight fatigue and other effects that stem from the treatment more than the disease. I don’t feel like a winner, I feel like a survivor. Most days I have a new appreciation for life. My lack of wealth and status seem like such a small thing now. Overall, it is easier to be happy. I worry less about the things I can’t give my kids and more about what I can. I love my wife again and I think, just maybe, she loves me. Other times I want to, sometimes I do cry for the people who didn’t make it and the ones I know who suffer now. My perception has changed and I have a clearer understanding. Certain words are no longer concepts, but have a reality, a presence. These words have many faces. While, they may take different forms; they evoke similar responses in those they have an intimate relationship with. Words such as fear, death, suffering, mercy and maybe God?  Like many, if not most survivors I feel a need. This need is new only in its intensity and quality, not in its existence. It is driven not only by the words mention, but through the awareness that life is lived in the moment and those moments are limited At first, I wondered why me? But that is a dead-end street. The question is, “What now Grey Seal? I think this question is what fueled the greatest generation and can even help a guy like me find meaning in the life I have left. I have an ear and I will listen, maybe that is why I am here. 

Words

Have you ever spoken when no one heard

Have you ever spoken and no one to share 

Have you ever spoken and wondered how did we get here 

Do you ever wonder why should I speak and be afraid of a time when you can’t 

I want to exchange thoughts and experiences 

I want to feel communications outside my room. Outside myself 

Prove to me I am alive and this is not hell

Do a dear friend who’s abilities are only matched by her limitations

Story about Stories 


This is a story about the stories. There are stories people tell us about us and people like us. They tell us these stories in many different ways, by what they say, by where they go and what they buy, sometimes it’s more about what we can’t buy and where we can’t go. It can be a look that gives us a window into what they’re thinking. Although, we really don’t know what they are thinking. Sometimes it all about what we think they are thinking. These stories are important, but not crucial. The stories I want to talk about is the ones we tell ourselves.  Stories tend to change with age, but the importance and even fundamentals change less than we might think. My observation about aging is that people become more of whatever their dominant trait was. If this is true the most repeated or at least, most comfortable story we tell ourselves becomes exaggerated. Comfortable is an interesting word choice. It indicates it’s easier to think negative than positive for some people, some of the time.When I am unhappy about my situation I tell myself it is too late and I have blown it. At my age there are few options, limited energy and a time factor. These are very real obstacles and are in large part due to my age. Although the young may not share my limiting factors; it appears they tell themselves the same bottom line. If my memories are accurate and judging by my observations of current teenagers, they share this reaction to life’s failures and rejections. It seems they perceive life as they have previously known it is over and the outlook for the future is bleak.Some stories are ageless. The young are better equipped to recover and dart off again and it is a little harder for those with more experience. There are elements of time that become more similar to the young has we age. Our horizons are shorter and the nights are longer. On the front end you have yet to experience enough time to see past the immediate future and on the back end there is not enough productive time left you can count on. This is my take, each day is precious and if it sucks remember this too shall pass. Listen to the stories you tell yourself. If they don’t lead to a brighter day stop them. They will come back, but the more you listen the quicker you can stop them. When you do I don’t suggest you replace them with how great you are, instead, practice telling yourself stories of love, faith, and hope. Then reflect these thoughts in your actions. 

                              Just thinking, wade  

Fathers Love 

  1. It is my daughter’s birthday today so I texted her a message. A year ago, on her last birthday, I had never sent a text. I could receive them but that was a rare. That’s pretty much the way it was with the best word love. I strongly feel that it’s presence was demonstrated, but not by speech or touch. Sometimes old men can change. When you have faced mortality you begin to question not just what you have said, but what you haven’t. Love requires both affect and action; action is shown in all the things we do and have done. Affect is invisible, kept it the heart, I would suggest that you communicate your love with words ands my daughter’s birthday today so I text her a message. A year ago on her last birthday I had never sent a text. I could receive them but very seldom and I never sent text. That’s pretty much the way it was with the word word love. I strongly feel that it’s presence was demonstrated, but not by word or touch. When you have faced mortality you begin to question not just what you have said, but what you haven’t. Love requires both affect and action, action is shown in all the things we do and have done. Affect is invisible, kept it the heart, I would suggest that use you words and touch to prove it’s existence.  Be careful someone could roll their eyes.