Parrot Tulips, 1988
“I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes!'” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
A bit better today. It’s amazing what 12 hours of sleep will do for a person. Of course, if that were 12 uninterrupted hours of sleep it might be a different story, but in my case, it’s an hour here, and hour there. Very strange dreams last night: something about painting the kitchen, stepping into a puddle of paint on the floor, driving, getting pulled over by state troopers, and Corey having to take a Rorschach test, you know, the ink blots? Have no idea what any of that meant.
Yesterday was such a hard day; I even had two anxiety attacks, something that hasn’t happened in years. My heart began to beat rapidly, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I just felt as if the entire day was an out-of-body experience that I would have much rather avoided. I ended up picking an argument with Corey in the evening that left him thoroughly confused and which resulted in my feeling even worse than before I posted. If only such days had a rewind button, or maybe even an erase button.
I’m beginning to move into the predictable regret stage after cutting my hair. It’s too short in the front, and as a result, it’s doing this curly thing that looks absolutely ridiculous. The end result is that I’m just pulling it back into a pony tail again. But it doesn’t really matter as the only people who see my hair are my family and the dogs, and the dogs wouldn’t care if I were bald.
“It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when its not pretty every day . . .” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Anyway, reading the news today felt a bit like peering through the looking glass:
- People who are depressed eat more chocolate. But which comes first—the depression, which leads to craving chocolate, or the chocolate, which causes depression?
- Medications that treat depression can sometimes cause significant weight gain. Really? You’re kidding. I’m so surprised.
- A British woman who suffered from a severe migraine awoke with a Chinese accent. Apparently it’s a phenomenon called Foreign Accent Syndrome. After my next migraine, I’d like to have Marlene Dietrich’s accent.
- But the most horrific story concerns a homeless man who came to the aid of a woman in NYC. Apparently the homeless man was walking behind a couple who began arguing. The homeless man tried to intervene and was stabbed by the man who had been arguing with the woman. The injured man then chased his attacker for a few feet before he fell to the sidewalk. He lay there for over an hour while 25 people walked by. One man took a picture with his cell phone. Another lifted the victim’s body, revealing a pool of blood beneath him, then dropped the body and walked away. The 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant was dead by the time emergency workers arrived. But wait. There’s a psychological explanation for this as well: the Bystander Effect in which the more people who are present, the less likely it is that someone will intervene because everyone believes that someone else will do something. I think that it’s just more of the inhumanity that prevails in today’s society.
“I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Outside, I can hear an approaching thunderstorm. Just a few minutes ago, the background noise was coming from the park. For me, that noise is indiscernible; I no longer notice it. But now, there is the sound of a hard rain and distant thunder. It is a good sound, a calming sound.
Yesterday, I felt as if I was immersed in a storm, a pelting, loud storm. Today, there is a storm, but I feel none of the turmoil.
The entire Oriah Mountain Dreamer passage from which today’s quotes are drawn is called “The Invitation,” and it is much longer and very lovely. Some parts of “The Invitation” do read like something written by a Native American mystic. However, Oriah is not—as many people have mistakenly claimed—a Native American elder. She is a writer who took the name Oriah after she had a dream in which several elderly women told her to take the new name. Mountain Dreamer is the name a shamanic mystic gave her after a healing. Personally, I find it to be a very poetic name and don’t really care about its origins.
I wonder if I renamed myself Lola Proceeds with Pain, if I could sell books and be labeled a visionary . . . Probably not.
More later. Peace.
All images are photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, from his less controversial images of flowers.
“Cry,” by James Blunt