Things that may help:
I’ve had a few metaphorical bumps and bruises in my life, but I’ve never known what it is to be depressed or worried or miserable. There are times, ordinary times, picking up a pencil or walking across the room while thinking of the Universe, that I become so full of something akin to joy that it seems something will break. So a few years ago I started consciously practicing bliss. And that worked out so well, a few years after that I started working on ridding myself of any anger and frustration that might come my way, not by “uprooting” it, but by disallowing to even visit. Easier said than done, of course, but with practice it gets better, and it’s a much better place to be.
Three years ago (2010) I started eating three-squares a day and drinking only water. No other liquids, and no sugars or snacks between meals. After a few months my body felt so “whole” that I started to feel weird–that is, I felt fine, but it felt weird to feel so. Surprisingly, the habit of a lifetime of junk and candy easily fell away. There was no time spent in longing or craving. Perhaps living in China, where there’s lots of good (and good for you) things to eat, had something to do with it.
I once went two years without listening to any electronic music at home, at first due to circumstance, and later, to choice–no T.V., radio, stereo. It seemed weirdly quiet for a time, but then I started listening to the silence. The world goes by quite peacefully, excapt for the neighbor kids yelling and playing.
Yoga everybody knows about, but it can be started at any time and to any degree desired–it’s neither a contest nor a performance. Health giving as it is, the real reason I’ve done it consistently over the years is simply because it feels good. How else can you do something for 40 years?
2. Memories with Reid:
Reid stood in my hand until he was 2-3 years old. Then I accidentally bonked his head on the Kitchen ceiling beam and that was the end of that. It was fun at the time, but I was almost as happy that he wouldn’t later join the circus.
Late at night I held Reid in my arms as we looked out the kitchen sliding-glass door at the thunder and lightning show, me pointing and exagerating laughter at all the noise and flashes of light. I don’t know if anyone ever did that with me, but I have always loved thunder and lightning and have never feared them.
Teaching Reid to sleep through the normal banter of household affairs, but to awaken at the sound of our whispers. I know my parents did teach me to come out of sleep to their whispering calls.
The road to Badger Lake had some scary moments (cliff’s edge) and Reid got on the floor and closed his eyes.
Viewing the stars on the way home from Beaver Lake, they were the most brilliant and luminous I had ever seen them in my life.
Do you remember when you were three or four or five and I would ask you to give me power and you put your hand on my head to cure my headaches? I think it’s important to teach children that they have power. I wish I had taught you even more, but that is always the wish because the knowledge of the universe is infinite and we can never keep up with it.
Reid could tell time at 5 or 6 years of age. I only remember this because Barbara once came into the kitchen to ask me if I had taught him how to tell time.
Never once, even on the day of his birth, did I speak “baby-talk” to Reid. I only know this because Du’o’ng Nam noticed it and brought it to my attention.
Asking Reid if he could get a tear to come out of his right eye, too, and he stopped crying!
Magic in Hanoi: This occurred in Hanoi and we watched it on T.V. in Saigon in 2008:
We were channel surfing one night in the hotel and came upon the Southeast Asian Soccer Championship match between Vietnam and Thailand that was being broadcast live from Hanoi. Vietnam needed a goal to claim their first championship ever, but unfortunately, there was only one minute left in the contest. Then a foul on a Thai player set up a free kick for Vietnam about 35 meters out and to the left.
Just as I was saying, “Well, it does happen on occasion. We’ll see,” the Vietnamese player taking the kick kicked the ball to a team mate and into the goal. The cameras in the stadium panned the crowd for a full five minutes and it was absolute bedlam. Everyone was screaming and crying and laughing and stomping and couldn’t stop. No one could believe it, even after watching the replay a dozen times. Amazing. And we were lucky enough to have just tuned in. Sweet!
3. Reid’s Stories:
Reid learned to snowboard (both sides) by going to the top of the mountain (not the beginner’s life) and going down as fast as he could, then falling off, then getting back on until he fell down again, then….
4. Non-Reid Memories
You know you have a special connection with someone when you let the phone ring 270 times before deciding to hang up, and just before you hang-up they answer. (True)
My Sunday Wisdom Tooth Pull in Taiwan and no blood–the dentist was surprised.
With John Bealey out all day and we stopped to ask some guy on a tractor what time it was, and I said to John it’s exactly 2:17 and the guy called back “It’s 2:17.” That’s when the time thing started.
Puking on a fishing boat (with John Bealey) all day (6 a.m. to sundown), I said to the concerned 3-man crew, “I know it looks like I’m miserable, and I am, but I very much appreciate having this opportunity to experience this day on your boat, and I’m having a great…WRETCH!” They all laughed. I spent a lot of time on my back watching the sun inch its way across the sky.
In the 11th grade in Salem our English teacher (perhaps the best teacher in the city) handed out a short essay by Spinoza and, as the bell rang, said, “Do it.” There was a clamour begging for more explanation, but that was all we got. Most kids did mostly nothing, and nobody did anything wholeheartedly except me. I wrote a wonderful essay that I still remember and Mr. Voigt read to the class.
He confessed to the class that he had had many superlative fantasies about how the whole class would rise up to meet the challenge and he would have found the vein to the mother lode of student creativity. But, alas, it was not to be. But I had fun.
5:10 mile, as a freshman at Whitworth College, almost won, collapsed and was taken on a stretcher to our dorm.
Bill Reynolds blowing the fly off his nose while asleep. “Bill, there’s a fly on your nose.”
Standing on the freeway (1964) for 15 minutes and getting a ride in a blue Corvette all the way to my friend’s door 600 miles away (Salem to Berkeley). The driver was amazing, never saying one word as a number of bad drivers made mistakes for him to maneuver around during the trip.
Back from Taiwan weighed 115 lbs. (lost 30 pounds and didn’t know it. I thought Sharon’s scale was broken.)
Driving from Spokane to Salem in my 1953 “50th Anniversary Edition” Ford and Burke asking me why I was six minutes late–I had written a letter a couple of weeks before and said I’d pull into their drive-way at 8:07 p.m. He had to remind me that I had written that letter. I laughed.
In the Navy:
In the summer of 1968 I went to sleep with headphones playing a San Diego FM station. In the dark of the baracks I heard three versions of “Morning Dew” played consecutively without interruption. The last version was done by Tim Rose. I have never forgotten it and now I found it on a Chinese music website that took me back to a long time ago.
Tim Rose: “Morning Dew”: http://www.xiami.com/song/1493368?spm=a1z1s.3057849.0.0.RoHh1V
Flying off the Fremont Bridge with Reid in a dream and telling him no problem, things happen. I love you. Nothing more need be said.
I think you can train yourself to lose your memory, to freak out, go nuts, not care, etc., or to believe you have power, to see the world with or without justice, to smile or not to smile.
Rodney Green from Arizona fought his best friends with fists; you can pick your relationships, too.
What is the difference between detachment and love?
Landing in Nha Trang and thinking we were going to end up in the trees.
Sillyness: I found it much easier to deal with unreasonable people after reading this:
“We thought the guy was an asshole but then found out he was moody. Being moody is a medical condition, being an asshole isn’t. Or is it the other way around?”
More Sillyness: When I go to America for the first time in 12-and-a-half years I’m going to eat 3 Reuben sandwiches, 12 pints of Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, and mashed potatoes and gravy. I worry about ordering food in restaurants. I’ve heard stories from visitors to Australia who said that not only do restaurants serve Super Sized meals on Super Sized plates, but patrons all gorge themselves and then lick the plates clean. I do not think I could do that, unless they serve Haagen-Dazs meals.
Growing Old Sillyness: “No one’s interested in Chinese men except themselves.” I read that in a 1936 Shanghai memoir, and I think the same thing can be said about old people. I remember as I was passing through the “getting on in years” door that I wanted to speak of my new-found ailments, but all my friends were twenty years younger than me, so I kept quiet. But since passing through the “old age” door I’ve found friends my own age, but when I see what breakdowns they are dealing with, my own fade into nothingness.
First Time Back to America after 12-1/2 Years:
DEATH IN THE FAST LANE
Butter, cheese, Cheetos, white bread
Haagen-Dazs coffee and strawberry
Reubens and Hot Beef Sandwiches
Chili con Carne, Bacon and ham
Chicken and Turkey pot pie
Chocolate e’clares and maple bars
Chocolate mints, York mint, Butterfinger, Almond joy
A FEAST FOR THE EYES
Every shop, store, and 7-Eleven I’ve been in is a museum of art.
The connoisseur’s choice of color, dazzling products, spacing of aisles and customers,
And the perfectly enamelled smiles and greetings of clerks.
The swiftness of card swipes–“You don’t want my signature? I.D.?”
And out the door and into the street
Where cars stop two blocks away
To allow you to safely cross the street.
Hot Beef Sandwich and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream 8 quarts
Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream 2 quarts
Monterrey Jack cheese
Almond Joy (4), Andes Mints (120 pieces/567 grams)
5 maple bars, 4 donuts, 2 cinnamon rolls
One pound of bacon
6. Was it seeing a magical cloudscape of light and dark on that brilliant day in Oregon, or that huge sourdough loaf stuffed with things from the garden, or the family get together in which I saw all the children’s children grown and alive and happy? How often we need to be grateful, for everything, for seeing the joy and light of this world and of the next. Let us bow our heads (burp!) and pray.
7. Forgotten movie, remembered line, spoken very fast: “Gabriel, I love you, I really do, but this fucking whiney white guy shit has got to stop.”
Maybe it was seeing the world’s largest rubber ball made out of rubber bands, or maybe it was reading The New Yorker for the first time in 35 years (describing football players who enter dementia and dog-fighting), or who knows what, I had a dream:
Watching a guy do cartwheels atop a revolving rubber ball as it orbited earth at 30,000 feet. He would cart a wheel far out to the front and the ball would catch up to him. Once he went too far and went head first down the side of the ball into what should have been freefall, but he unexpectedly and luckily worked a maneuver that brought him back to the top of the ball. On the replay we watched it again, and even saw his white toy rabbit come loose and fall towards earth.
9. Why I don’t like cell-phones:
1. People cut you off in mid-sentence to answer.
2. The same person expects you to wait around until he’s finished talking.
3. People alway say they’re sorry for the interruption.
4. People expect you to “pick-up” every time they call you, and complain when you don’t.
5. If you carry a cell-phone you are never free from interruptions.
6. Just as you’re pulling into the rendevous, you get a call saying they can’t make it.
7. People standing in line at the bank, bored, will get out their cell-phone and call you.
8. As you wait for someone who is late for an appointment, they’ll call you from across the street saying they have arrived. (True).
10. A bit smarmy and you probably already know it.
Emerson and ‘Abdu’l-Baha were like-minded in saying every individual must throw off the shackles of all previous learning, all previous prejudices, all previous assumptions, all previous ways of thinking, and thus independent of all love or hate or personal opinions and the collective “wisdom” of your society, look at new ideas and discoveries with fresh eyes and independently decide if it co-incides with reality. This is the “independent investigation of truth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said you must first discard everything you learned from your parents, teachers, and priests if you want to search for truth. He made this statement (and others) speaking to a church congregation and he wasn’t invited back for forty years.
“The first sign of faith is love.” –‘Abdu’l-Baha