Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Breath at a Time


Beneath the heavenly equator in the valleys where the sweet and saline dew meet, there grows a huge poisonous fungus, and the tasty little edible mushrooms on its cap transform its contaminated blood into sweetness. The deer like to invigorate their masculine strength by nibbling these little mushrooms. But if they are careless and bite down too deep, they ingest some of the big poisonous fungus along with the little mushrooms, and then they die.
Every evening, when I kiss my beloved, I think: it is only natural that one day I will bite down too deep....
Milorad Pavic, Dictionary of the Khazars [ellipsis in original]

...don’t let them fool you with dope and cocaine;
Won’t do no harm to feel your own pain...
John Lennon

...takes a few frustrating details to irreparably alter the most placid description...memories make me ugly, sometimes...I know alcohol’s not an answer, or even much of a question, but knowledge ain’t always all it’s cracked up to be...

...there’s a song called Boulder to Birmingham by Emmylou Harris, about the death of her friend and mentor Gram Parsons...I’ve always liked a line at the beginning of the second verse: well you really got me this time...thought about that a lot after my dad died...after so many years of fucking with each others’ heads...in protracted and largely unconscious psychological warfare...him a licensed shrink...me, the son of a shrink who’d grown up learning to resist anything anybody else wanted me to do or be like my life depended on it...which it kinda did...I’d say we were evenly matched...until he went and threw down the ultimate trump card...

...every couple years I quit coffee...temporarily...like, for a month or two...usually when it gets to the point that excessive caffeine seems to be keeping me awake and bothering my stomach...meaning that, at this point, I’m long overdue...down to one cup a day for the past couple weeks, but it’s still difficult to schedule that three day headache...

...last week somebody at the rehab called me an angel...I was trying to tutor her in writing, and, with just a couple sentences on paper, she put the pen down and vented to me for about an hour about how she missed her kids and how pissed off she was at their father...apparently, I called her to come meet with me just after she’d gotten off the phone with him and was sitting with the other clients, pretending everything was okay...said she felt she could tell me everything precisely because I’m not a therapist...that I was an angel God had sent to her just when she needed me...

...was late to yoga class this morning...hate it when that happens...walked in on everybody else already in yoga class mode while I was in fuck, I’m late to yoga class mode....after fifteen or twenty minutes in the car, getting pissed off at other drivers...speed up goddammit, I’m trying to get to my fuckin’ yoga class...tryin’ to be more open n’ compassionate n’ shit...get outta the fuckin’ way...

...maybe there’s a reason the women at the rehab can relate to me, even if I’ve never been addicted to cocaine or heroin...they’re struggling with the one day at a time thing...I’m working on one breath at a time...and thankful that I get another chance, every second or so...

14 comments:

Bob Weisenberg said...

Lately I've been feeling guilty because while I'm moved by your blogs, they leave me uncharacteristically speechless, to the extent I have nothing meaningful to add or comment on.

I want you to know this is the good kind of speechlessness, the speechlessness of personal absorption, not the speechlessness of lack of interest.

Even a "nice blog" or "I enjoyed this" or even "great blog" doesn't really seen to fit here. So maybe the best I can do, without forcing words that aren't there, is to say thank you for the privilege of sharing your inner feelings with us.

Bob W.

Brooks Hall said...

Beautiful post, Jay…

TheRiverWanders said...

Like Bob said - sometimes you say all there is to say, ya know? I often lose the words to comment.

Weird, huh, when other people's assessment of you is so different than the one you have of yourself.

*smile*

Claudia said...

Really enjoyed reading this, and I related to the coffee part, among others, I wonder if we as yogis go throughout it together at once, I kind of know I have to stop coffee for a while cause of what it does to the stomach yet find myself unable too... Then again reading further, perhaps I can stop coffee today, this moment, take it one day at the time... Let tomorrow morning take care of itself...

Meredith LeBlanc said...

I was thoroughly absorbed in your blog here thinking how I can relate to the relationship with your father from my experience with my late paternal grandmother, how I like to quit coffee from time to time, and the stress of being late especially to yoga when my phone rang. The contractor installing new railings at my mother's blew a circuit and needed me to come let him in the house to flip the breaker. I'm on latch key duty because my Mom is in physical rehab after hip replacement surgery, where she is unhappy with the facility. After that I ran home to get my phone charger so I can be in contact with her, and when I walked in the door to bad belly doggie poop.

So, thank you Jay this morning for the shared breathing experience.

This brings to mind a lyric from Michael Franti's song Never Too Late that has been stuck on my mind for days: "It's never too to late to start the day over."

nothingprofound said...

We're always harder on ourselves than we need to be. Lots of unrealistic expectations. Every now and then someone comes along and sees the exceptional person we don't see.

LauraX said...

beautiful. nothing else to add.

Eco Yogini said...

I really like this post. Usually I feel a little non-english lit person-ish from your quotes, but this time I really really love that first one. it's perfect.

sometimes things seem to build.... ebb and flow. just need to get to the ebb part....

Brittany said...

Great post! Very few things make me more irritated then having to be late to yoga class. I feel so bad for the people I am interrupting and never seem to get into the "yoga mindset".

LauraX said...

Changed my mind, something to add...I would love it if you'd participate in the gratitude quilt this year...drop by my blog and look for directions at the top of the page...I know you would have a colorful square to add!

earthtoholly said...

Better to have a bottle in front of ya than a frontal lobotomy. Tom Waits

I agree with Bob, but I yammer on, regardless. So often your posts evoke "yeah, I know what you mean...," so...

I wonder about my own parent and "the ultimate trump card." Will I regret then how I feel now? Then again, maybe I'll play mine first...you never know. Will she regret then how she feels now? I'll never know.

Cutting back on the good stuff...I admire that, drjay, 'cause it's not easy. My addiction is ice cream and its detrimental effects are barely offset by the biking...and I swear, if Breyer's doesn't quit those $1.99 specials!

How nice that you were right there when she needed you. She obviously felt a comfortable connection with you, which has to be a good thing for the rehabilitation process...relating and being understood. Something else you're to be admired for...wings and all!

I was going to ask you about your photo, but found my answer elsewhere. It looks like azaleas(?) are in bloom...the open window lets in the springtime air...very relaxed, beachy. Simple subject and colors...I love it.

The Aethernaut said...

The people you can spill the beans to are rarely those who are officially designated I find - and spilling works better when it's spontaneous rather than an appointed and paid for 40 mins every Tuesday, though those 40 mins are better than nothing... good that that woman had your sympathetic ear. Hope you'll get the same for yourself when you need it.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Lovely post; you rock.

I felt the same about my mother, as you did your father... her ghost visits me and is smug about making the ultimate journey and lightly taunts me for being so scared of leaving this incarnation.

Other times, she talks about Obama. If she were here, she would defend him to the death... and I can always hear her voice in my head defending him, even though she'd never even heard of him in her life. I just know what she would say.

I think its weird how our parents' consciousness can be nestled deep within our own, like some alternate version of reality or maybe an unborn twin. It's totally understandable to me how certain people who lost an infant twin (Elvis, Philip K Dick) believed they were somehow in touch with them... where else could "the other" come from?

Hilary Lindsay said...

"try n' to be more open and compassionate n' shit"

That line just makes me love all of us; and mostly you. Beautiful.

Hilary Lindsay