Purple's Platitudes

nothing but words …

Simply Semantics

11 July 2008

Simply Semantics?

 

Infatuation — completely carried away by unreasoning passion or attraction

Love — (n) a strong affection for or attachment or devotion to a person or persons; a strong, usually passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex

to fall in love — to begin to love, to feel that strong, usually passionate affection

Love — (v) to feel love for, to show love for by embracing, fondling, kissing, to court, to woo, to embrace or kiss as lovers do, to take delight in, to take pleasure in, to feel the emotion of love

Emotion — any specific feeling, complex reactions having both psychical and physical manifestations

Passionate — extreme compelling emotion, intense emotional drive or excitement, strong love or affection, sexual drive, lust

Lust — eagerness to possess or enjoy, a desire to gratify the senses, bodily appetites, to feel an intense sexual desire for someone

Affection — fond or tender feelings, as in for another

Attachment — close affection, devotion, as in to connect, to bond with another, usually meaning an emotional closeness for another

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record or wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 NIV)

Okay, so what’s the point of the dictionary exploration? I don’t think anyone has ever successfully defined what love is, or even what love isn’t. It resists all attempts to define it. We can’t say it is this or that or even not this or not that … not with any certainty. We don’t know where it comes from, when it begins, or sometimes even when it is real or not, after all it could just be hormones or lust or infatuation or something else.

And yet, somehow we do know. At least we think we know. We think we know enough to believe in it, know enough when we think it is "real" for us, despite what everyone else might say even. No one else knows our thoughts, our feelings, so in the end, it is something only we can know — right? And if someone else thinks they know too, obviously if we are mutually attracted and all that, then no one can convince us otherwise. It must be love — well it might be entirely one-sided, unreciprocated, or one of us might be entirely delusional too, but then again … maybe not.

I think the purpose of this today was just to make the age-old point that love defies all logic, all attempts to put it in some box, to define its borders and parameters, even all scientific inquisitional inquiries come up mostly empty. But sometimes, somehow, somewhere inside, we just know … then we have to ask the questions and face the obstacles and choose what to do with our newfound knowledge. There is perhaps nothing else as wonderful as love, and yet nothing else as potentially devastating and disappointing as well, but that digresses into another topic, so for today, I close. In love …

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Vomit Theory | , , | Leave a comment

It started singing

10 July 2008

It started singing

 

"When love first tasted the lips of being human, it started singing." — Rumi

Forgive me this indulgence, but I am beginning to hear singing, a song I wish to share despite everything. I’ve explored this in my journal many times I think. I am ambivalent about many questions surrounding the concept of "love", unfortunately probably still bitter and cynical, angry, hurt, and yes, perhaps even still grieving. And yet, undeniably, I believe I am humming happily to myself, perhaps even singing again.

And yet, love and fear often touch, for anything worthwhile requires risk. Our natural human frailties, such as fear, self-doubt, confusion, despair, and hopelessness — all those things we work so hard not to show in order to achieve, to be successful out there in the world are exactly the opposite of what true love demands from us. It is another paradox, one of many, that demonstrates that being vulnerable, risking transparency and genuineness with someone else is the very bedrock on which truly knowing and being known must begin. Not to garner self-pity or acquire affection by any fraudulent means, but simply to be real with someone, absolutely, unconditionally, and to allow them to be the same in return.

Everyone learns to compartmentalize — to show our strengths, the desirable and socially accepted Self not the inner compartments in which we try to hide all of our fears, weaknesses, and flaws, to say nothing of our self-doubts or our constant stream of inner dialogues that remind us that somehow or other we are ugly or unlovable or a myriad of other self-evident truths that only we seem to hear and believe.

To fall in love demands that we not only go into those deep dark caverns inside of ourselves, but we also let someone else in, openly, honestly, unreservedly, baring our souls to another. And likewise, we hope anyway, they are willing to take their own journeys inward and share themselves with us as well. That is truly what love demands, but the reality is — it is still rare!

I wish I could avoid the metaphysical, but true love, no matter what else it may or may not be, is spiritual. It is the essence (spirit) of one reaching out and connecting with the essence (spirit) of another. True love simply flows, sometimes in both directions, and sometimes, nothing can block or disrupt this, not millions of questions, or worries, or concerns, or obstacles, or anything else. But then again, sometimes all it takes is our ego to not only stifle the flow, but dry it up and end it forever. Love creates flow, naturally; ego creates walls, just as naturally.

(… to be continued)

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Vomit Theory | , , | Leave a comment

Innocuous

09 July 2008

Innocuous

Sometimes, when everything inside is gurgling and in turmoil, I just need to choose an innocuous question to distract me, for the moment anyway!

What lets you sleep soundly at night?

I suppose I should preface any answer with the almost laughable question: sleep? who me? But, I have been more of a nocturnal creature most of my life, preferring the quieter, more productive hours of darkness to the more hurried daylight hours. I also seem to require less sleep than many, getting by on three or four hours most of the time.

However, I do have certain bedtime rituals at the moment that occasionally work. First, music, or rather environmental sounds. I usually listen to nature CDs I have imported into iTunes, such as the sound of ocean waves. Another favorite selection would be crickets and water. I have many choices, but those two seem to lull me more successfully than anything else.

I also have been setting the screen saver to a slideshow of pictures and I have been watching them scroll and fade in and out and across my monitor as I drift off to sleep and they greet me the very first thing on awakening each morning. Either way, there is both an indescribable joy, mixed with an unfulfilled longing, an almost melancholic sadness tinged with a contentment that words fail to ever express fully. My last thought, and my first …

I also have acquired a habit of huddling against the wall, not snuggling or cuddling for those are only possible with someone else. Huddling is the next best thing, a poor substitute I’m afraid, but comforting nonetheless. I also sleep with five pillows at the moment, three under my head, unless I pull one down to hold in my arms and against my chest and body, again, a lonely alternative to the real thing. I also have a smaller pillow I started holding between my knees when I sleep, a makeshift remedy I guess from an earlier time when I was experiencing back pain. I also have a throw pillow that usually is what I hold as I curl up and wait for sleep to come.

Sleep never comes easily for me, even when I am exhausted, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. It has slowly become easier, but that is a intensively long and drawn out chapter or two from my life for another time. For now, let’s just say I can fall asleep, sleep soundly, and only wrestle with dreams and the occasional nightmare once in awhile. Of course, some dreams are good! Some dreams are wonderful in fact and even welcomed. But again, perhaps it is best to leave that thought alone for now.

Sleeping alone takes some getting used to, and to be honest, I don’t like it. But, for now, I have no choice. Perhaps in time, someone will replace a few of those pillows. I’d rather have a warm body next to me any night. (or day for that matter) It’s funny, most people probably think that when you find yourself suddenly alone after spending years of your life with someone that you would miss the sex, and yes, I do, but you know what I miss even more? Just the physical closeness and presence of someone else, the warmth of holding someone near, the comforting nearness of touching someone, not in a sexual way, but just in a physical sense. Whether spooning and falling asleep with my arm comfortably draped over her, perhaps even holding hands as we fall asleep, or even back to back with at least certain parts in contact with the other … yeah! Sigh. I miss falling asleep with someone.

… and this just goes to prove that no subject or topic can ever be innocuous. Everything carries an emotional weight, no matter what it is. Most of the time, I never know what I am going to write or where I will end up. It is simply the path inside of the path.

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Vomit Theory | , , | Leave a comment

Genuinely Love

07 July 2008

Genuinely Love

 

If your success here on earth were based strictly on your ability to genuinely love, how successful would you be?

My mind immediately questions terms, a bad habit I’m afraid, but one that often avoids the pitfalls and dangers of misinterpretation that seems inevitable whenever two or more people try to share their own answers from entirely non-congruent perspectives.

Success — in my opinion, entirely subjective, individual, and nearly impossible to fully agree with anyone else on what this looks like. However, within the parameters of the question, I’d have to define it as mutually satisfying, enjoyable, meaningful, nurturing, understanding, unselfish, and unconditionally accepting the other without trying to change them, mold them into something we envision rather than just who they are.

Genuinely love — would resemble what I wrote above as well. I’d add a few extra thoughts perhaps, for in my mind and heart, I believe love, genuine love, requires trust, acceptance, commitment, and not the kind of commitment that says "if you do this, I will …" or "… as long as … I will …". In other words, genuine love should be unconditional, not based on games and manipulation, or on attempting to fix or change or modify or mold someone else into our vision of what they should be, how they should behave, how they should think, how they should view everything according to our way of seeing, how they should meet our standards, live up to our expectations, etc.

And logically the question becomes: even if I am successful, even if I genuinely love someone else, what if they do not genuinely love me in return, what if they are less than successful at genuinely loving someone else?

Do I fall under condemnation or blame if a relationship, or even a marriage fails? Certainly, I must carry some of the blame and fault for either situation, a "dating" situation where genuine love is proclaimed and declared, but perhaps, never really was the "real" thing, or a marriage, where presumably the commitment is genuine and intended to be "for life" — until death do us part.

Hindsight is a wonderful curse, a useful tool perhaps, but endless introspection and over-analysis leads merely to partial, often one-sided insights, incomplete guesses, which may or may not help heal the past and allow us to begin to move forward once again, to somehow or other start over and face the entire process once again. We become more cautious, guarded, frightened of allowing anyone to get that close to us again, afraid of the pain and the hurt that sent us reeling into such painful darkness and despair.

And yet, it would seem that when we finally find acceptance of what happened, perhaps never truly understanding why it happened, but coming to the place where we can say it is okay, it happened, I cannot dwell there any more, it is time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and believe that I have something still to offer someone, that I can truly genuinely love again, that someone might be out there just as tentatively reaching out, just as scared and guarded and uncertain, but just as willing to risk and try again. But false starts and lessons still await our hearts at every opportunity. We reach sometimes out of need, out of desperation, out of a fear that "it" will never happen for us ever again. We want that genuine love from someone, believing that we are "ready" for it, and we swear and vow we will never settle, ever again, but attention is very hard to resist and we want to believe it, that someone is sincere, and genuinely wants to love us the way we want to be loved and allow us to love them the way we truly want to love another too.

So, we keep reaching, risking, trying, believing … I believe some do find genuine love again, but then I have never allowed myself to accept that there is only one person we can ever love in this life, that there can be only one soul mate (which would be a another topic to explore obviously). I did not say "I do" with any thought of ever not being committed to my wife, the person I had chosen to be with, again, until death. But, here I am, divorced, and painfully single and alone after nearly 19 years together.

Did I genuinely love? Was I successful at my relationship? Apparently the answer would have to be no to both inquiries. I’ve punished myself for nearly two years, asking every conceivable question, looking inward with the most soul-baring honesty I could muster as I contemplated the journey and the choices, both those I made, and those that were made by others, and in the end, under the microscope of asking more "Why?" questions than "How?" ones I know I did fail on both genuinely loving and at being successful by any definition. But, I also learned a lot about myself, about others, about many aspects of relating to another, and if I am ever given another chance to love someone I know some things will be different. Perhaps perfection in loving another is simply unobtainable, but I know I will pay more attention, not take someone for granted, be more genuinely loving, less selfish and self-centered, more nurturing, encouraging, more willing to share and interact and do the little things that, honestly, I quit doing along the way.

I will more genuinely love if I am ever given the chance again. Period. But, I will also be with someone that is willing to genuinely love me in return. It will be a mutual partnership, based on equality and respect and trust and a commitment to do whatever it takes to make the relationship all it can be. Nothing less will ever be satisfying, or even desirable to me.

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Vomit Theory | , , | Leave a comment

Mumbo Jumbo

03 November 2009

 

Sparks have been flying, thoughts synapsing, questions gurgling and bubbling on the surface, so here goes …

Reality – “it is what it is … but once upon a time it was so much more”. I’ve danced around and around with this idea. It implies regret, dissatisfaction with what is, a longing for the way things used to be. It is retro, looking back, wishful thinking, the grass is always greener disease, or more appropriately, the grass used to be greener. I think it is far easier to entertain this outlook, that things were good once, especially when our level of contentment is at low tide and it is hard to see anything good about anything in our current fog.

The key to fixing this scenario is not pining after what used to be and it also is not in trying to ever go back – we cannot, and even if we could, we’ve changed along with everything else and going back is meaningless because of that. Remember the old saying – you can never go home again? We cannot go back and try to reclaim something remembered for many reasons. Oftentimes, the memory is distorted anyway, and so if we did “go back” somehow things rarely mesh with the way we fondly remembered them. Memory is selective, highlighting and perhaps even exaggerating the pretty and the pleasant. We may physically return, but nothing remains the same so our destination must await some other direction, some other place, some other reality.

Forward movement is always possible – in fact, it is our only choice because it is the only directional choice we really have. Stagnation, standing still, remaining in limbo is one possible choice, but even in that, I believe, we are still moving forward in a sense, just not going anywhere. We are moving forward, yet remaining in the same place (by choice … choosing not to choose is still a choice).

When we choose to stay, to spin our wheels, to hope and dream but laugh those things off as silly daydreams, hopeless romanticism, the fairy tale happy endings, we often find it easier to settle for what is, longingly think back to what used to be, all without daring to imagine reality (life, love, fill in the blank with whatever fits) could ever really be any different. It is simply too hard to make any other choices. We surrender, settle, for reasons and excuses and rationalizations that are emotionally valid, maybe even solidly based on apparent evidence!! We simply can’t.

I think somewhere in life, this process does just creep up on you, grows, little by little, until one moment in time you suddenly find yourself staring into the mirror and you’re no longer sure of who is looking back. You stop in the middle of your busyness, in the midst of your living and existing and suddenly (or so it seems) you get a ghostly glimpse of who you are, of what you are doing, of where you are and you discover you have questions, rising up seemingly from out of nowhere, bursting into your awareness as if they just now surfaced and came into view.

Like it or not, whenever we honestly and fully face truth – whether it is the truth about ourselves, who we are behind all of the masks we wear, that image we project for others to see, and sometimes even to avoid seeing ourselves as we truly are, or the truth about the nature of our own reality we live in, by choices made or choices and opportunities ignored – we must make a decision based on that revelation. Revelation requires a response. Once we know, we are responsible for that knowledge. (to whom … is an entirely divergent rabbit trail, but suffice it to say, on a personal level we must do something, make some choice, change, move, something …)

I think much of our task in living is way beyond merely existing. I am a deeply philosophical creature, a questioning animal to the nth degree, seeking not just answers, but wisdom, and understanding of how to apply what I learn about myself and about the life I live and the reality of everything around me. Know yourself is still the ultimate advice in my opinion, followed closely by “the unexamined life is not worth living” which sort of expands the inner journey into the outer reality as well.

But, I also recognize the fact that facing truth is a frightening, disheartening experience sometimes. Our Ego development, from a young age, teaches us survival techniques that are more often than not counterproductive as adults. We learn to avoid, to gloss over reality, to only see and hear those truths about ourselves, about our realities that are warm and safe and familiar and comfortable. It is acceptable to dream, to reminisce, to juggle “what if’s” endlessly as long as we do not step away from our own reality.

But the struggle intensifies usually until we can no longer ignore it, we become “conscious” and aware. We see and hear and feel and it just becomes too much to just shrug off or sweep under the rug. We’ve been electrified and made alive. And in that moment, perhaps, we turn a corner and choose, decide, change and nothing can stop us from moving on, from no longer accepting what used to be or even what is. Perhaps this only happens within. Perhaps it happens on a grander scale, overflowing into life. But it happens. If we are lucky.

And if not, we chase away the dreams and the hopes and the truth we have seen and allow our fears to still the rocking boat and swelling waves of discontentment we allowed to move us slightly off course. We readjust, rationalize the sense of staying the same, of settling in and riding the storm out, after all, it will pass, eventually, just like every other time it has attempted to get your attention.

Naturally, we choose the path of least resistance – change is scary, hard, unknown. Sometimes the changes we need to make, the ones we can, are miniscule. Sometimes they mean redefining essentially everything about ourselves and our lives. No one can tell you what choices to make or not make. No one can tell you who you are. Unfortunately, I believe, this is your journey and only you can choose to be who you are and do what you believe you need to do.

Regrets are baggage, nothing more. I think we only have regrets because we are unwilling to assume responsibility for our own choices. Obviously, there are external variables we simply cannot control, but we always can choose our reactions to anything and everything that happens and in that is greater wisdom than most of us ever learn. It takes determination, courage, and yes, even faith and hope to be honest with ourselves about who we are, about where we are, about what we are doing, where we are heading … it takes even more of those qualities to dare to ask questions and patiently listen for the answers when they come.

Do we ever fully arrive? I certainly hope not! Life is characterized by paradox – every answer morphs into another question, every attainment becomes the beginning of another journey, every truth becomes one more stone in the foundation we must continue to build. Sometimes the Fool knows nothing more than that step over the edge into the next unknown.

One last reiteration: I am personally and wholly responsible for me, for my choices, my behavior, and the consequences and results of these things in my life. Yes, there are external factors and outside forces, some of which I simply do not exert any control over, but by and large, who I am and where I am in life is up to me. Life is what I make it! I can moan and complain and gripe and scream and try to be a martyr in the eyes of others and the world, or I can accept that who I am right now, where I am right now, has been entirely because of me and the choices I have made. Likewise, who I will be, where I will be in the next moment is also entirely up to me. I choose. Period. I can make excuses for not choosing differently or to justify the choices I have made up until now, but attempting to blame others, environment, circumstances, outside influences, society as a whole, religion, churches, even God, no matter who or what I try to shift the blame onto the truth is it is all just me.

If I don’t like who I see in the mirror – I either change that person (me) or I don’t, usually wallowing back into that transference issue and blame. If I am dissatisfied with any component of my life, same choices: change them, or not. Is it easy? Hell no!! But that is the essence, boiled down to the bone. Life and all its responsibilities complicates the picture and seems to limit our choices, but deep down, I am convinced that this is just another guise of rationalizing and making excuses. We are experts at this. But in the end, all choices and all change are possible if we face the truth and truly desire things to be different.

By the way, not every change has to be drastic and dramatic or severe. I also fully believe it is possible to change things within any situation without having to necessarily remove oneself from the situation. In other words, running away or fleeing or leaving or changing the stage is not always necessary to embrace real change. However, having said that, I also fully believe that changing yourself or your reality in even the smallest manner will ultimately mean someone else faces the same choices – accept the changes in you or choose differently too. That’s just the nature of the beast. Change is a constant, within and without. It is up to us to choose and control our reactions to it, both on a personal level, as well as an interpersonal one.

ok somebody duct tape my fingers together so I can’t write these overly long, drawn-out, philosophical mumbo-jumbo-ings (English is a living language, I just made that word up) that I am not even sure I understand. Maybe I should just write limericks or haiku or something? Maybe I can boil it ALL down to this: know yourself and be yourself, no matter what!

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Humpty Dumpty

19 October 2009

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master — that’s all."

Ever since the beginning, I have wondered who is the master and who is the slave. November 2nd 1979 … I wrote ten pages by hand, many years before I would ever have the luxury of a computer word processor, to chronicle a series of events in my life. It was an innocent, austere beginning. I believe I birthed something — but sometimes I suspect I was merely an amanuensis, although I have never dared look over my shoulder and seek out the source.

Nearly 29 years later, here I am …still sitting down and looking inward, allowing something to come out from deep within … always amazed, sometimes unsettled or even frightened. Words …

I do not often accept the praise and opinions of others, for I alone face the cavernous interior, exploring, seeking the unnamed and undiscovered, excavating both worthless dross and priceless treasure from the same caves and unmapped chambers. And yet, it would appear that the things I consider ordinary and unimportant might be enjoyed and perhaps even valued by others.

So, once again, I think am gaining the courage to go spelunking, to crawl through darkness and claustrophobic passageways and explore my own thoughts and feelings in a way that I have neglected lately, at least I stopped that process of journaling that I once considered my legacy. Yes, I am guilty of that one self-indulgent conceit — thinking my words had enough value to outlive me somehow!

Being online has effectively seduced me away from the commitment I used to never question, for writing has been my life blood for most of my life. I know in the early years, as a teenager, I used my journal as a surrogate, as a vehicle for intimacy. It has always been so much easier for me to write and allow someone inside of me and to view my world through words. I have never judged that, but I have pondered it many times throughout the years, understanding it, exploring it, and almost, but not quite accepting it.

At this point in my life, there is one defining element, one absolutely essential ingredient that I will no longer settle for doing without out, no matter who I relate to or on what level, from the simplest to the most sublime, and that is communication! I don’t care anymore if it is words written or even the intimacy of actual one-on-one conversation, on the phone, or in person, but I refuse to accept anything less than open, honest communication!

If I were to have the proverbial shopping list, at the very top would be communication. I want and need someone I can just be myself with, no masks, no pretensions, no games … I want the freedom to say whatever I need to say without being fearful that something I say might tip the balance somehow and cause an irreparable rift in the fabric of the relationship. I want someone who will listen to me, even as I process raw thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I want someone who is not afraid to listen without prejudice, without preconceived notions and attitudes and perhaps most of all, someone who does not have to be right above everything else. Sometimes, for the good of “us” both must compromise, sacrifice, and find that happy medium in between.

And equally important to me, the other person must also have the same freedom to express themselves to me, the same desire to communicate. I do not consider myself superior in any way, but I do know I am articulate, very good with words, at expressing my thoughts, at being in touch with my feelings and even easily recognizing and identifying what others are thinking (sometimes) and feeling. I do not expect someone to be as equally masterful at sharing, but the willingness to share and keep working at it, no matter what, MUST be there. If not, don’t waste my time and yours.

I am not afraid of any real, genuine sharing. Truth can never harm me. Anything short of that is an entirely different story. But, unfortunately, the physiological and psychological dynamics of interpersonal communication, infinitely complicated by the emotional attachment and investment that necessarily comes with a relationship, will always lend themselves to misinterpretation, misperception, and all of those tricky interweavings that come with the very thing that Humpty Dumpty and Alice were contemplating … semantics. What words mean when we use them and what they mean when someone else hears them.

Forgive the lengthy, circular diatribe, but I have decided, to simplify it to its most quintessential, I need someone that I can talk to and someone that desires to talk to me too. Lay the foundation and everything else builds solidly on that. Without communication … words mean whatever we want them to mean and no two hearts will ever truly meet or connect. I’ve grown weary of that, learned those lessons the hard way, paid a pyrrhic price and quite simply … never again. I either be myself and share all of me and get the same in return or never mind. I cannot, and I will not compromise on this anymore. I choose. It’s up to you to do the same.

23 March, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment