December 17th

Yes, it's been a while. As I've said before, maybe I should change the name of this missive to Mea Fuckin' Culpa.

There are several reasons for the extended absence...

  1. I didn't want this journal to become a tiresomely repetitive archive of negativity. Okay, maybe it was too late, but better late than never, maybe?
  2. My attempt at NaNoWriMo crashed and burned - I couldn't even get the outline gelled and, frankly, that put me into a sulk that is still going on. 
  3. I've been too busy stressing over my employment/marriage/family to really have time to pen anything more meaningful than LiveJournal entries.

I would like to put together an entry about my ongoing personal war between cynicism and romance but, frankly, it's late and I'm tired. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next month.

 
December 18th

This is one of those induced-by-guilt-over-a-lack-of-entries entries but, what the hell, at least I'm here, right?

Ten Reasons Why I Love Alex
These aren't the primary ones, but the ones that first come to mind
  1. He makes me laugh
  2. He doesn't (vocally) contemplate divorce when I drape my icy limbs over him in bed
  3. He always makes a point saying goodbye to me in the morning before he goes to work (yeah, yeah, I've got separation issues, let's not talk about that right now)
  4. The second thing he says when he comes home every day - after how are you? - is What do you want me to cook for dinner? Here's a guy who's tired and stressed from eight hours at the office, but he's willing to cook dinner.
  5. He knows how to make tea to an English person's satisfaction
  6. He's incredibly creative and will brainstorm any game/writing/whatever ideas with me. True, we sometimes come close to trading blows during these discussions, but an energetic exchange of ideas is good for the creative process.
  7. He's really, really trying to be a less-cynical person. Rome wasn't built in a day, but I appreciate the effort.
  8. Ditto, he's really, really trying to quit being a back-seat driver - on the rare occasions he's in the back seat.
  9. He has promised to never buy me a diamond ring or other expensive trinket. He knows if I want a token of his love, I would much prefer a vacation we can both enjoy or - failing that - some other durable goods for the household. 
  10. He has no problem saying "I love you"

There, how's that for happy?

Otherwise, I am on the usual treadmill of anxiety, guilt and occasional overeating regarding the job situation. Nothing new there. Lately, I have been sewing, which has been nice, but I've yet to actually complete a project, which isn't as nice. That seems to be my problem right now - I can start things, but I can't finish them. I lose interest, I get distracted, I decide I've screwed it up totally and I put it aside. Sigh.

Time will heal all, I suppose. 

December 22nd

Brace yourself, this one might get a little spacey before I find the end of it...

From a recent LJ entry of my own making:

The solstice is not a particularly spiritual day for me, as I'm not a spiritual person. I have faith that elementary particles will continue to do their dance, that the sun will keep rising every day and I have an abiding respect and awe for a universe that is so unmistakably cool as to create supernovae, planets of all kinds and Kermit The Frog, but as time passes, I find a belief in a supreme being to be of decreasing importance. It's just not vital to my perception or appreciation of existence. Ergo, I feel no need to worship or recognize said supreme being. The solstice is just the most logical time to mark the ending of one year and the beginning of another, rather than an arbitrary date on the calendar - the solstice fits in with my rather functional view of the universe, you could say.

Some might feel sorry for my "lack of faith" but, honestly, I'm happy with my own variety of it. The occasional moments of doubt keep me on my toes and save me from intellectual complacency. In the meantime, I simply love the universe as it is. If there is a Head Honcho, I don't think they're going to object to that...


I later decided that this entry was incomplete and poorly-done, to boot. I rarely describe my thoughts about religion/worship so language sometimes gets clumsy and in the way when I try. Here we go again...

The universe is a groovy place. Everything from subatomic particles, to supernovae, to the bizarre little packing beads I get with an Amazon order is wonderful and even sublime. I don't believe that I should feel obligated to ascribe all of this wonder to a creator. Whether made or just happened, I adore existence in general.

Specific bits of it can get a person down. Existence is a constant exchange of energies, actions and thoughts. Terrible things happen for apparently no reason, and I mourn that - but I also accept it. It's not a case of You can't have light without darkness, as that is too pat, too trite. It simply is. There is negative and positive, good and bad. That doesn't mean one has to accept the bad with shrugged shoulders and complacency. Every thinking being has a chance to spread joy and create happiness - and I can't imagine why every thinking being would choose to do otherwise. I know there are reasons, and they are logical, necessary, inescapable. But that doesn't mean I have to follow a doctrine of evil is as evil does. With such a wonderful universe all around me, I am infused with wonder of my own, and - in my own, limited way - I try to share that wonder, and minimize the badness that I could be spreading.

I know. This journal hasn't exactly been a bastion of that, but Yestermonth has become a repository of strong emotions which can only be released over time, when they have cooled a little. I'm not a good person, nor am I always happy. I try, but no-one is perfect, or even close to it. 

I sometimes creep towards the notion that there is no such thing as good or bad, that they are words we've arbitrarily tacked onto situations, entirely dependent upon our perception and context. Then I think of things like the Holocaust and realized That's unequivocally bad, so that answers that question - next topic? 

In the grand sense of supernovae and electrons, there is no such thing as good or bad, but in the thinking feeling society, then, yes, the notions of good and bad exist and are valid - and it's usually pretty easy to tell the difference, ten years on. It's figuring everything out on the fly that's got us in a dither - but that's a subject for another post.

I have a deep abiding respect for the wonders of the universe, and this world I inhabit. I think that's one of the reasons I'm such a documentary junkie. I'm always curious to learn something about this fabulous place - be it the history of the London Underground, the formation of stars, or the separation of conjoined twins. Every fact learned provides another chance for awe and wonder. And awe's addictive.

Do I believe that I should attribute the universe to a creator? No. Do I think everyone who worships a creator (or creators) is misguided and wrong? No. There is so much I don't know. I like to hope that we're all right - that there is a heaven or reincarnation or ascendance for those who want it and those that don't want it just quietly dissipate. In that manner, perhaps, we define the universe and our place within it - one of the few ways we can.

(Quick aside: religious expression can be (and usually is) part of that whole wonderful-existence thing. Granted, some terrible things have been done in the name of assorted gods, but look at the good stuff, too. I think that side 'wins'.)

Oh, we can affect our lives. I don't believe in predestination or fate. We are agents of change - and not just because of our opposable thumbs. But I'm digressing. Then again, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going. What else is new? 

Taoism and Zen Buddhism are continuing to exercise their appeal, because I find myself agreeing, on a deep, gut level, with a lot of what I find within their texts. Now, discussing it on a coherent, conscious level is a challenge that is, clearly, still a bit beyond me. As I've said before, studying Eastern thought is a constant challenge to my linear, goal-oriented Western mind.

But, gosh, I'm enjoying the process. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to define my world-view even this much. The universe is a wonderful place Existence is fabulous and awesome, and, in some little way, I'm happy every day to be able to perceive it and interact with it. That's all I need for now...

December 26th

Christmas, isn't quite as special for a penniless non-Christian as it might be for others. That, combined with the fact that my parents are in Europe - my first Xmas without them, sigh - made for a fairly low-key holiday. Still, I liked my present from Alex - two books I had been hankering after - and things could have gone far, far worse than they have. 

Some things still have the potential to get worse but, frankly, I'm done tossing gasoline on that particular fire via my LJ, and I don't see the point in doing more of the same here. Besides, by the time this entry goes online, the matter will be close to forgotten, I'm sure.

***

To continue on the theme of before: I don't believe that religious expression is pointless or misguided, just because I don't subscribe to a theist point of view. In fact, I believe that religious interpretation of the universe has produced some wonderful and beautiful things - from poetry and painting to awe-inspiring architecture. Religion has been a consolation to countless billions, and I don't believe in the habit of rug-pulling that some atheists seem to find so amusing. 

However, this is not a cue for anyone of evangelical leanings to have a go at converting me. My Jewish ancestors didn't take well to such attempts, and nor would I. I don't make fun of your god(s), please don't carp on me about the state of my soul, as it feels just fine from where I'm sitting. Don't distress yourself on my account, friend.

In one of those ironic, um, ironies, I should admit, however, that my mind is not closed regarding 'mysterious' phenomena. The universe is an amazing place, and humans are rife with potential. We haven't discovered everything about ourselves, our abilities and our environment - not by a long shot. For all I know, the reincarnationists will have the last laugh when I come back as a musk-ox (I should be so lucky - but I digress). 

Do ancestor spirits watch over us? Possibly. Do we reincarnate? It strikes me as a more viable possibility that then heaven/hell scenario. Could I access past lives/higher consciousness/my inner child, given the correct environment and training? Perhaps. My mind isn't closed on these subjects. Again, it's all part of my 'the universe is a place of wonder' state of mind. A belief in electrons doesn't negate the willingness to believe in past lives. It makes one much more skeptical, granted, but not entirely-closed minded.

I take my wonder where I find it. And you have the freedom to find yours. I'm not going to stamp all over it.

***

When people lack a sense of pure spiritual piety toward natural life, then awful things happen in their life. 
Therefore, respect where you dwell. 
Love your life and livelihood.
Because you do not disparage your life and livelihood, you will never become tired of life.

Thus, one of natural whole virtue respects his own life, but is not egotistical. 
He loves his life, but does not exalt himself. 
He holds a sense of spiritual serenity for all things, and disparages nothing. 
Hence, he does what is right and gives up what is not right. 

     -- Lao Tzu

November 2002          After - January '03