Thursday, May 24, 2007

Distinguishing Priorities

Living in Paradise, a place where fortune has placed me within arms reach of all my needs and most pleasures, has a residual effect: That massive excess hanging over my belt and making me short of breath.

It is as if there is a built in accumulating tab with all joy in life. But there is no causal relationship between happiness and payback. Instead, there is wise lifestyle choices and less wise lifestyle choices. But since I have come to equate eating in excess as my preferred activity over exercise, there is in fact a relationship between joy and risk.

There comes a time when daredevil eating needs to be packed in the attic along with extreme sports and psychedelics. At my age I need to know better and to act accordingly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Haunting in Paradise

I calculated the hours I actually work and, including travel and mid-class lunches, I do not work over 30 hours on those full weeks I do work. The actual time is closer to 25. Yet interestingly enough the anxiety and disappointments, the frustrations and residual hard feelings, can last throughout my week... Into my dreams... permeating, even slightly poisoning the food I eat, the feelings I experience, the moods I express.

I feel I am working hard to eradicate these social dysfunctions but the causes are subtle and the cures radical and unpractical... most likely un-achievable transformations of character. Even though the disease itself is life threatening in its persistent blight on the delicate mechanisms of consciousness... What can a body do?

The solution may be a surrender to one side of this persistent duplicity. A loss of income, slipping into the cold hard world of cashless-ness, onto the loser side of this consumer society I seem to enjoy so much. Or a gradual undermining of my sense of self. Feeling that value of spirit, that my opinion matters more than the logistical management of mine and others egos. Is ego and idea permanently entwined, to where there is no hope of grace and dignity without Machiavellian manipulations?

Can I be a genuinely good person and yet still express character and individual flair? Let us hope what flames of pain and pounding one feels now will heat the irons to a greater tensile strength tomorrow. I will continue to try and filter through all these acidic emotions, hoping some clarity awaits down the road. One day, this day, today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

The dichotomy of my days has been growing. On one side are perfected times with family and friends and on the other a troubling time on certain days with passive resistance and lack luster interaction with my students. There has also been the recent car accident, which has reopened old wounds both physical and psychological. There is that run-away train feeling.

A recent trend to increase classroom size, with classes expanding to upwards to 35, and the dumbing down needed as more troubled and lower teared students enter the pool with current demographics shifts... less students born into the school system means more of the bottom placed in previously unattainable schools... But all of this reads like rationale. My job is whatever is placed before me, as well as the emotional adjustment needed to deal with the challenges of both the classroom and administrative challenges of my employment.

The 'run-away train feeling' is a life time of teaching and living catching up with me. Those tail-ends of unresolved emotions, heated up by the layering of new feelings. In affect, my trying to please everyone and not succeeding.

I have made several adjustments, each day to the various needs of my students, in the diverse classroom settings I currently teach. Some of it has been quite successful while other attempts are lost in the numbers. At core, though, is my awareness of my inevitable responsibility to my life situation, i.e. I am in charge; parallel to much is also outside my control, i.e. I am not in charge.

This duplicity, with my will to master my situation on one side, and this observation that so much is outside my ability to control, has me grasping at straws.

An emotional centering is advisable now. I can feel my mind trailing off in distinct directions: relationships, work related, needed transitions for the future, distracting yet essential pleasures, the trials and tribulations of driving, parenting, maintaining this richly diverse lifestyle...

Time to psychologically regroup and set my priorities in order. But there is so very much on my plate and much of it so very delicious. Perhaps the best perspective is slowing down into this moment and managing the particular place I am... Look deeply at this feeling of insecurity and dissatisfaction while tasting the sweetness of all my many many blessings.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cool Morning

I ask myself, "Why was it, I didn't take a walk all weekend, but instead stayed by the computer, and even there hardly did anything constructive?" But no reassuring answer followed. Friday was beautiful, in part, because it included a walk with friends and my son.

Another week has begun, something needs to get me out... I understand this... yet... "Let's find time to take a walk today!" I say, as if making a plan... Insisting it is a plan.

Needing to get my friends involved, to combine this simple task with my strong socializing need; combine my need for affection with motion beyond the expedience of the bedroom.

"Expand my definition of physical pleasure" I reaffirm. Survival by depletion of my copious form is as relevant as the dissemination of semen. Though one is dependent on the other, my lazy nature settles for the path best lubricated. Dark humor aside, exercise is essential for my survival.

I need to internalize this message and get the job done, day after day, after day.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Wicked Wonderment

A deliciously dense cloud covers my mountain home. The patter and ping of rain splattering endlessly on my tin roof comforts me. Even the cool air feels refreshing, safe here in my wooden steel framed castle.

Thankfully the despair and disease that cursed my yesterday has subsided to normalcy, peaking as pleasure in being alive. Life is lovely when your children are safe.

There is such a torrent of collective pain as we watch via accessible media the wars of the world. We understand so much of what can go wrong. This is why I spend so much time lingering in beauty and peaceful pleasures, simple solutions, and sweet gentle affections. I hope to be more and more a beacon of bliss and less detractor and cold-hearted critic.

So deeply ingrained is my ego-based grumpiness. So much more useful would be a likability factor amped-up to max... so much better for me, my family, my students, and all the many who must contend with my cantankerous nature each and every day.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Factoid May=Depression

In the waves of trivia, in which I swim, came the factoid: December, despite the myth, is not the highest for suicide; May is. May comes after a hard sad winter but May's spring brings no relief. Believing in the future is always a risky proposition, when the present doesn't work well. I live in paradise, so, by default, I am an authority on sadness... something to do with comparative perspectives.

Today I see I have these romantic ties to my tools as a symbol of prowess, more than any massive hunger for the creative process. I want the cool factor of being seen as powerful, by operating top-of-the-line cool stuff, though I am not as willing to do the legwork of mastership of these tools.

I suppose mine is a common infliction. A consumer society soldier of conspicuous consumption. Convenience and pragmatic motivation (sugar, salt, and sex) seems more relevant for me to make things. Simple and expedient means more for getting me to do something, than the actual cool state-of-the-arts technology I covet. I like stuff now more than making stuff, objects over action... a toy junkie. But to get the job done, simple and in tune with some motivation is best for me.

I discuss this here after watching myself procrastinate. Procrastinate learning even the simplest of technology, all the while fantasizing ambitious complex projects.

The advent of spring means summer to me, after a hard muggy initiation, total un-productivity. Like life away from a big city, life without a product lacks a rationalization for existence. A city without an art process, a tool without mastership, a spring without vision reaching toward manifestation, are formula for depression.

Process justifies the tool. Depression is the recognition of factors without motivation for appropriate action. A feeling, a feeling that the vision really is meaningless, before giving the action a chance to wash all that self-doubt away, is a May depression and could evolve into a June suicide.

Though these theories might apply to an exaggerated version of reality, they still do not explain my wife's suicide in June 2000, nor why I circle the fire of art creation at such a distance. Am I a moth with a greater destiny than consummation in flames or simply a coward afraid of standing naked in my ordinariness as every man. Was this what Reiko tried to face, Her human ordinariness?

Thankfully I already live in paradise, and all this speculative dancing does not diminish the fact. Truth will triumph by the inevitability of 'what happens will happen' with or without us. Though, some of us will be missed deeply for a very long time. So all that remains is, what do I plan to do with my present symptoms: High Blood Pressure, lock jaw tension, and a perpetual resistance to radical but necessary change.