Which cape?

I long believed that, sooner or later, my position as Superman-among-the-clouds would be formally acknowledged and applauded.

As it turns out there is a deep and abiding (so far) peace, a profound filling up and out, in assuming the mantle of my imperfect, fated, vulnerable humanity.

I feared that unless I offered everything to everyone, I would be worth nothing to anyone. I never believed for a second that it might be enough to be not a boy superhero, but simply a man.

A man. Rare, imperfect, fallible.

And then to collapse the angels and demons of the world into the rare, imperfect, fallible beings we are, and accept us all as splinters of the human condition.

I love you guys. It’s all that’s left, and the only thing that makes any sense whatsoever.

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Facing the Dragon

I am reading Facing the Dragon by Robert L. Moore.  It is about confronting personal and spiritual grandiosity, and it is blowing my mind.  But I’m not going to give you a book report.  I’m going to talk about me – which is fitting because the book is all about narcissism.

I have learned some things about myself during my intense study since things went south with my ex wife.  One of them has been emerging in the last month around my own narcissistic drives and what my moment-to-moment motivation is.  This book is blowing the doors wide open on it.  Here we go.

We all have a God complex.  We are all narcissistic.  In contemporary Western culture, God is dead and we have a grey sludge of piss-weak, new age spiritual nonsense in lieu of a wonderful, terrifying, omnipotent transpersonal other.

And it is fucking killing us.

We seek the soap box, our time in the sun, to be inflated by adoration and, really, deification.  We deify each other, too.  Put our partners on pedestals.  Our priests.  Our friends.  Here’s the rub: humans cannot reliably or sustainably hold this sort of energy.  We know we’re not God (no matter how much we’re told, or would like to believe it) and so have a secret shame that causes us to act out pathologically when we are over-inflated with God energy.  Or we develop depression to anchor us to the ground so we don’t float away.  Or (Moore’s words) we engage in masturbation marathons to remember our humanity.  Or, if we don’t get enough energy, we circle the drain in apathy.  This God energy is the breath of life.  We do need a constant and reliable supply to live to our fullest potential.  The amount we can hold and manage is personal to the individual, but if we hold our optimal then we live as awesome beings, Moore says.

The only way to achieve a balanced supply, posits Moore, the only way, is to engineer and maintain an optimised, strong connection to a transpersonal divinity (aka God), and give all glory to him.  We take the adoration and pass it up the chain.  It’s his anyway.

Personally, I have realised that to offset my crippling human condition (abject fear and denial that one day I will die, low self esteem, poor self image, etc. – nothing unique to me) I have capitalised on my God-given gifts of intelligence and sensitivity, and optimised my methods of attaining adoration from other humans.  Particularly women – I’m better at this with women, having chased their approval and adoration for much longer given men haven’t made a lot of sense to me with my father dying when I was 10.  I have then been inflated to the point where I struggle to hold the energy and because I can’t manage the inflation, I act poorly.  Unpredictably.  I withdraw, because the energy is too great.  And then I crash.  It’s like Icarus learning to fly.  I’m up in the clouds then a trainwreck in a tree in quick succession, repeat, repeat.

And I’m going to say it.  While I truly believe in God and his splendour and awesome potency, I have also spent many years drinking the Koolade.  I have felt at times not just that I am simply a shard of the divine (like everyone else) but rather that I am “more” God than the next person.  It has helped mask my pathologies and shadow.  It has played its part in destroying all of my previous relationships, and numerous friendships.

So, I am dusting off the cobwebs and starting to relearn how to pray.  And it’s highlighting that I lack humility.  I struggle to speak to God with the respect and awe befitting our relative positions.  I am overfamiliar.  It’s awkward.  It feels strange.  He is humouring me (I haven’t been hit by a lightning bolt yet) as I pass along my thanks for everything I have and am in unfamiliar phrases with fraudulent forelock-tugging while I ask for the strength and guidance to be truly humbled to his splendour.

It might just be that I have found religion again, against all odds.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot

C’est la vie

Fuck me but protracted celibacy coupled with a long night of raunch dreams makes for a heady brew over breakfast.

The situation would be highly comical, if only I didn’t take the absence of a sexual other so damn seriously.

Nah fuck that its pretty funny. We’re generally a funny breed, we humans. This whole drama becomes ridiculous to the point of hilarity when I remember it’s just cheek-to-cheek dancing with the hurricane.

“Ashes work,” Roberts Bly calls it in Iron John. Ashes work. And so it is. As a society we have lost our appreciation of the vital importance and value of ashes work. I’m slowly coming around to the understanding that (wait for it, big reveal…) I’m just the same as everyone else. No more special. No less a manifestation of the divine spark. And this spiritual-/ developmental-/ psychological-/ status-derived-/ materialism that I have (subtly or overtly) used to elevate myself over others, or elevate others over me, are just flip sides of the same coin of fabricated nonsense the exact shape and size of my internal imbalance, projected onto life’s geography.

I believe I have lived in fear that if I wasn’t special then beneath that veneer would be nothing, nothing at all. As it turns out, I was wrong. Beneath it is the primordial soup of God’s love, made manifest by the hair and skin and teeth of organic biology. The muck we have strived our entire history to abstract ourselves from is actually ambrosia.

This is not a call to pre-developed hedonism. Rather it’s a transcendent, expanded moral horizon where hedonism is understood as a pathology born of unconscious drives, and when owned in this way allows you to relate deeply without compromise. “Know thyself” said JC (and every other guru). I have been labouring under the misapprehension that this meant to know my quirks and foibles, values and psychological tics. That’s like trying to memorise every book ever written. Existence is far more elegant than that. Rather it’s a reading of every book you encounter until you realise, having consumed “enough” theory, that the answer is something deeper. Like trying to find an elephant with a microscope, our true nature is the context of our experience.

We are being, lived as humans. Not humans being or human beings.

Well, shit. I didn’t expect a couple of fuck dreams to get me to that. See how funny all this is? I can’t help but laugh. Still horny though 😉

Manifesto of Relating (first ed., subject to revision)

“I miss you.  Do you want to be friends again?  If so, would and could things be different?  Would you work with me to sort out what is my pathology and what is yours, such that we are both stronger and better able to relate to each other and everyone else appropriately?  This would involve a sincere desire to develop and grow for our own and everyone’s sake, a lot of honesty and probably a therapist each.

“I know I ask a lot.  In fact, I ask everything of you.  You know that I also offer everything of me.  There is no rush, and whatever you decide, know that I love you now and always.”

…And we find it again

And it is beautiful each time. The lift and the fall. It’s all poetry. And when we click, and when we snap. And the richness beneath the superficial lust and desire. That bedrock of openness that can only be called spiritual. How when we go deep enough we rediscover our true self within another. And how we confuse them for a key, instead of a mirror.

The Maiden

I knew this girl, beautiful as heroin.

I loved her like gravity.  I feared her like cruelty.  I desired her like Aztec gold.  I miss her like oxygen, and she is gone, gone, gone.  And I feel like I am more for having known her, and hollow for her absence.  I left her dead on the battlefield last week: the idealised childhood notion of my perfect mate.  And now I see unfiltered the entropic chaos of biology and energy, and wonder at the alien splendour of God’s true perfection everywhere I rest my gaze.  Foreign like a sheep farmer lost in Tokyo, but also richer and more grotesquely beautiful than my tiny, fevered mind could ever have imagined.

The Walking Dead

Hmmm.  How to tell this story without sounding overly dramatic.  Eh fuck it, I’ll just dive right in.  This Wednesday past I hit a bereft-of-hope, nothing-left-to-do-but-check-out moment. Let’s just point out that clearly I’m still breathing so there’s no need for any of us to get carried away.

The few people I’ve told about this pleaded with me to call them, admonished me for not calling them, checked and rechecked that I was Ok.  I’ve been struggling to put it into words, but its nothing they could have helped with. It was deeply personal. During it, I vaguely acknowledged all my responsibilities: my son (and the miserable understanding that he would be Ok without me); my friends; the option and rejection of short term pleasure (i.e. make a shitty decision) to appease this unbearable pain; the experiences not yet experienced. I knew then and I know now that nobody could have eased my path that night, and nor would I have wanted them to.  Its a funny thing, that sincerity of purpose to exit. My focus narrowed to a point where I couldn’t see a way out, couldn’t see anything in the future worth living for.  All the rich complexity and wonder of life had collapsed into a singularity of anguish.  Some part of me did die that night.  And it fucking hurt as it died.  As it was dying I implored the creator for help – the last and only hope – while my head and heart split with sorrow.  And then I slept. Since then I have been living in a confused daze, occasionally catching myself reflecting on how it could be that I was still walking around.

Every time I close my eyes since then I see a bare concrete construction site.  Whatever had died had left behind a tabula rasa.  I know it is my privilege now to adorn this mental space with whatever new artefacts I find pleasing, fitting, that will better serve me than the old.  I’m in no rush.  I’m enjoying the peace of oblivion.

A huge part of my crisis moment this week was the hopelessness felt in recognition of my seemingly inescapable romantic attachment patterns.  I choose inappropriate women as partners.  Or I choose appropriate women and end up turning them into shit partners, perhaps (if I listen to my own philosophy) it’s because that’s where I believe it will end up. Manifestation 101. Wherever you go, there you are. Or perhaps it’s due to unconscious recognition of, and attachment to, abusive, neglectful women like my mother – my primary, foundational romantic relationship (Jungian psych, not the creepy variety, though it’s a fucking grey area, looking back).

I don’t know what the new world order will look like for me when it comes to women. But I know it’s not going to work like it used to.  That part of me is now dead.  Oh sure, I’ll no doubt fuck up and make bad choices from time to time in the future – that’s my right as a human. But I’m going to go in with my signature heart-open, loving honesty. And this time I’ll ensure that I clearly communicate my needs and get them met, while also blow her fucking doors down and hold the space so that she can simply be the spark of the divine dance that she is. Where there is a mismatch in ideals we will work it out or we will walk away with love.  I refuse to believe relationships need to be as hard as they have been, especially for a man like me.  I do believe a huge part of all this shit I’ve been through this time around has been a wake-up call to hold more tenaciously to my ideals and not settle. I give so much.  I love so earnestly.  I build so fervently.  I deserve a reflection of the focused, deep, loyal passionate connection that I give. And I know I will get it, because I will settle for nothing less.  The next girl is going to love me with unbridled ferocity. She will drop a boundary around us and defend it fiercely. She will want me, us, over everything else out of the recognition that our sum is far greater than our parts. And I will honour all this by never expecting it, and never calling on it.  And we won’t worry anymore, because we will both relax in love-as-action. We’ll be free to simply love, and build, and nurture, and greet God through each other’s manifest form.

I’m not sure if I’ve said this before but it’s something I’ve known for a long time. Typically people contract, close their hearts, when they are hurting.  It makes sense, right?  You don’t want to be hurt again.  But I’ve found the secret. The key to living a beautiful life is to open your heart more through the pain.  Only love can heal.  Only love can set us free. Contraction is a natural part of the tidal sway of relationships and personal disposition, so honour it if that’s where you’re at.  But for me I’m going to focus on continuing to amplify love, express and connect, push outward and upward in all things as much as I possibly can, even if my heart is covered in scar tissue.

Seemingly Dichotomous Psychological Substates

For the first time in my adult life I find myself grateful to not be in a relationship. It has become apparent through her behaviour that my ex – who, the poor thing, suffered greatly through anxiety and general being-fucking-crazy – is trying desperately to reverse our roles. She got a job, shirking her responsibility as “primary caregiver” to our son (a title she has been beating me over the head with for years, despite him being in care for four days of the week) and for no good reason, as I left the money tap on full tilt. And while we’re talking about money, she is trying to take all of ours for herself. In fact, all my contributions to the family she is trying to claim or steal now. While she attempts to take my roles and contributions on, one by one, she is handing hers over to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no idiot – I’m taking them on consciously as it serves the highest good. My boy will get better care with me and be happier once he adjusts. I believe she is doing this because she is very lost, very jealous, very hurt and actually holds me in remarkably high regard. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. She also wants me to suffer, I believe. To walk in her shoes so that I can truly understand her pain.

The funny thing is that all these roles I’ve assumed that were apparently “so difficult” that I “don’t understand” are either so easy that I can do them in amongst my normal (normal! Ha!) life with zero disruption (even though I’m presently of no fixed address), or are joyous, or both: like playing zany instruments with my boy until he tells me sincerely “remember to love your heart daddy!” Or dancing hard with him to Head That I Hold by Electric Guest until everything fades but our ecstasy of movement and music and he beams at me and flings himself into my arms saying “you make me happy, daddy!” I’ve never witnessed it as clearly as I have in the last couple of months what a little mirror/sponge he is. He perfectly reflects back what he sees. And he sees very clearly.

Now the dichotomy. Despite “the dreaded ex” and this whole situation being so horrible that I feel like I never want a relationship again, there’s this deep heart ache and this trench-weary exhaustion. I’m so tired of being attacked, being under threat, I just want to rest and melt in some gentle, loving arms. To hold and be held. To give and receive the nonverbal message “everything is ok” that only a loving opposite can provide. But I can’t. And that is fucking hard.

Time to get my eyes checked

And so she was dethroned in the haunted court. I was left standing, holding her vacant court finery. I turned to face the ghosts and found the hall transformed. The trappings and fixtures gone, grandiosity fallen, only wreck and ruin remained. The weeds growing through the chipped and lifted flagstones swayed hollowly as if to echo my heart as I came to fully realise my folly.