Zen, and the Art Of Surfing the Ebb and Flow Of Bullsh!t

Growing up, mom says I was serious and composed. Rarely silly, too self-conscious from as far back in time as my memory goes.

Which in my case is way back, to this distant memory of flying into London Airport. Mom actually was stunned when I asked her about this.

Our conversation went something like…

“Mom, how old would I have been when we were on a plane coming into an Airport”?

I don’t know, probably two and a half, why?

“Well, I have this old memory of coming in to this airport. I remember watching the little cars, and the tiny streets. I remember the plane starting to dip as we came into land. “

This ancient recall, circa 1970, well, has actually a lot to unpack, a story left for another time. But this memory is the signpost of my journey from what had been my home in the U.S., where my father was from, to this far away place where mom was from.

Mom always said she was not sure when exactly I had been sitting down long enough to stare out the window, as my fussing got the two of us upgraded to First Class, where I spent the flight entertaining the drunk businessmen behind us, oblivious to the silent tears that ran down her face.

Standing back from the fray more now, least the last while, back from the chaos at play, sort of up above looking down on this world of streets and cars, coming closer and closer, like that memory. I see all around polarizing and dangerous rage, and sometimes consumes too much of my time. I worry about this place where I was born. Flipping back and forth, between twitter and some show I’m binging at the time, riding the wave of waiting for life to get back to some sense of normal.

Whatever the heck that is.

So, with the pandemic raging, hold up here in my nook for the last number of months, unemployed, my life revolving around home, and how well at any given moment I’m able to successfully surf the ebb and flow of their crap. My crap. His crap. Their crap.

My dogs’ crap, actually, more welcome.

Many things, too many – of cancellations of dental surgery, and so becoming more creative at eating with fewer and fewer teeth, preparing mentally for those days I will have to muster my strength to endure the psychological trauma of having all my teeth pulled. {take a breath, Paula}

Well, anywho.

The context of my satisfactory isolation is two-fold. For one, I was fortunate to have worked for a fantastic company for 4 years, good settlement when it closed (pre-pandemic), went on unemployment for the majority of the summer waiting to have my teeth removed.

Second, lucky I suppose I was a lazy slob that didn’t do her taxes for 8 years, which I rectified last month, and now has a wee cushion of cash to pay, or enough, for my teeth and to live my simple life for a few more months. I have no control over the timing, kind of frustrating, but I’ve adapted.

Well-timed, that influx of shekels, as today our provincial government announced we are going into another state of emergency, enacting stay-at-home orders, with more restrictions on who can remain open, and for how long. So, bye bye dental appointment I had made at the University. Plans will need to be changed. Again.

Now, I have over the years strived for a simpler way to live. Certainly a benefit this year. I’ve learned new ways of coping with less, thriving with less, so this past year I was merrily living my hermit dreams.

This isolation provides me with all kinds of time to overthink absolutely everything I want to say, so words slowly dried up from overwatering every thought this summer, and by late fall they almost withered away completely. Even now, still, I find writing a struggle of nurturing whatever daemon, muse or genie that may be around to help. I want to purge all their scanky vile rage, the ire that creeps up my spine in response, be gone. But, the words just won’t come, I just watch it all unfold, offering little to the fray.

I mean, seriously, you have to really admire those whose faith and worship of their God becomes their sole defining way. From Buddhist to Christian, isolate themselves from the world, focused on genuine humility, they spend their waking days in worship of their God, their beliefs. You know, like the ones locked away in caves, the wise man on the mountain sort of stuff?

I’m not that guy. Gal. Whatever. Well, ok, not yet.

So having an abundance of time on my hands, means I had time to take a front row seat to this crisis that has brewed up in the States, coupled with our multitudes of personal tragedies and disappointments of the last year, both large and small, overwhelms right now.

I am almost at this peak amount of gaslighting bullshit streaming up from Washington’s festering swamp of fascist rhetoric and authoritarian ideals, almost drowning in it.

Save me all this right-wing kumbaya.

Tired of these conspiracies, like a tumour in the brain, wrapped up with their hypocritical ideologies, crippling any notion of rational people actually ever viewing them as virtuous and patriotic.

How we react to this barrage of chaos is key to transversing the current divisions manifesting before our eyes down yonder south of that other defining line, the 49th.

As an American who grew up in Canada, over the last number of months, hoping I was wrong about this growing reality that Trvmp was mounting what experts of historical authoritarians call a self-coup.

A self-coup, or autocoup, is a form of putsch or coup d’état in which a nation’s leader, despite having come to power through legal means, dissolves or renders powerless the national legislature and unlawfully assumes extraordinary powers not granted under normal circumstances. Wikipedia

Suggested Reading:
Politico – Fiona Hill, 01/11/2021, Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why.

Chilling, watching the Big Lie they’ve manufactured, of the rigged election, every tweet and rally fans the flames of the insurrection that had been unfolding for months.

Staggering, watching the GOP completely lose control of the monster they thought they had on a leash. Just more lies they told themselves. Lies to rationalize their enabling the darker tendencies of this man who is completely unfit for the highest office in government. Untethered to reality, a lethal mixture of ego and self-interest in one who takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Curious, which part of the constitution says they can completely disregard the votes of the people in a fair and secure election? Where does it say they can storm the Capitol and spread feces throughout the halls, vandalize, steal and threaten lawmakers one disagrees with? And then stand back all indignant, insisting that they’re a patriot not a terrorist?

WOW!

To be honest, it would be more honest if they’d just admit, they concur, that this is all just about defying the election results, admit they are on board for this putsch, this coup d’ete.

putsch/po͝oCH/
noun: putsch; plural noun: putsches

a violent attempt to overthrow a government.

Suggested Reading
Washington Post – Michael Brenner, Jan. 9, 2021, Pre-Nazi Germany tells us the fight to save American democracy is just beginning

Failed coup it may have been, it was still a coup. And, to my mind, staging and participating in a coup to overthrow a government should maybe have consequences. But what do I know.

And, it’s not over. More violence is promised in D.C. beginning January 16th, through to, maybe even beyond Biden’s inauguration.

Thankfully, consequences may be on the horizon, and the perps won’t necessarily be difficult to identify. I mean, seriously. For some fools there is photo evidence they took themselves, posted to their social media accounts of them stealing the things they were charged with stealing, that they took in the place where they were trespassing, where they stole the things from.

Myself included, this year maybe has taught some to recognize and question why and how the stories we’ve told ourselves don’t work anymore.

Which stories to tell instead? Ah, that is the question, eh?

These nightmares of violent outbursts, anti-science, anti-mask, anti-lockdown, raging grievances of undetermined origin, extremists dredged up from the dark places, and their cultish love of the tyrant spooky as hell.

Yet, blessed irony, the historical record would indicate that tyrants often in the end become their own worst enemy, their fall from power coming from their overarching greed for more power.

Purge
1.rid (someone or something) of an unwanted quality, condition, or feeling.
2. remove (a group of people considered undesirable) from an organization or place in an abrupt or violent way.”

Suggest Reading:
New York Times – Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, 01/12/2021, McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment, believing it will be easier to purge Trump from the G.O.P.

This violent mob of Trvmp supporters that descended on the Capitol is planing in the days ahead to return, so who knows what the future holds for that story that Americans tell themselves, as terrorists wipe their feces on the walls of Congress.

Cops taking selfies with the thieves and vandals, whilst one of their fellow officers is knocked in the head with a fire extinguisher, and while on the ground beaten with a U.S. flag pole as a weapon. Four died that day, including that cop, collapsing later at the station and dying in hospital.

One does not just walk away from that unscathed. Untouchable. Not accountable. And who among the GOP are still continuing to enable him after he incited a mob to storm the seat of government [ibid]?

Ah, yes, the inconvenient truth, that every child should learn, that our actions have consequences. Or, else what?

So, I’ll leave you with the following, which touches on our preconceived notions, our polarizing points of view. Girlfriend gave me this book for Christmas, and I’ve found it offers valuable wisdom. A little small thing, not 4 inches high, I have it sitting here beside me, and I often find myself reaching for a shot of Zen philosophies of life, politics, and the human condition.

Serious one I’ve always been, I find inspiration in these unfamiliar stories.

137 ~ CONTROLLING BIAS

Caotang said:
There is nothing special to leadership – essentially it is a matter of controlling the evils of biasd information and autocracy. Do not just go by whatever is said to you first – then the obsequities of petty people seeking favor will not be able to confuse you.
After all, the feelings of a group of people are not one, and objective reason is hard to see. you should investigate something to see its benefit or harm, examine whether it is appropriate and suitable or not; then after that you may carry it out. true Record of Sushan

Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership, translated by Thomas Cleary (abridged). SHAMBHALA, Boston & London, 1993 (c1989).

3 Comments

  1. cindy knoke

    ” so words slowly dried up from overwatering every thought this summer, and by late fall they almost withered away completely.”
    For me, this has been a blessing, I have stopped talking!! I feel little need for it. What joy!
    Stay well my friend.

    Like

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