Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Today

I am focusing on being happy and content with my life. For too long, I have been focused on aloneness, thinking about how no one shares my life, or I theirs, daily noticing my going home alone and to bed alone.

I'm returning to experiencing my life as an adventure. It's my adventure. I am doing my own things. Others are welcome and (yes, this is somewhat arrogant) lucky if they get to be a part of that activity, but I'm not waiting for them. If they don't call or show up, I'm going to go ahead and enjoy my magical evenings of music and incense, of attending art receptions and poetry readings, of wine tasting, of hiking and creating art, etc.

Like back in Boston where I always filled my time with interesting activities and curious adventures, I can do this in ABQ. But, like in Boston, my phone is now often turned off because I spend too much time wondering if someone will call when it is on. They will get through if they really want to connect.

Besides, I've got things to do and experience. I'm focused on my own happiness and contentment. I choose to fill my own life and not wait for others to add meaning to my day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Think Again

Awoke this morning determined to focus on what I have, not what I don't have. The latter, for now, brings sadness and loneliness, so I will use each minute as it comes by to notice what I do have in that moment.

It's like Grandfather said in the Tom Brown "Tracker" books:
"You feel hot because you want it to be cold. You feel cold because you want it to be hot."
With all of this in mind, I thought it ironic that when I turned on the Pandora tunes on my computer (that are randomly generated), the first tune to blast out was "He's Gonna Step on You Again". That turned my thoughts briefly again to the poem I previously posted.

But I digress and now return to appreciating what I do have in my life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Office Guest

I'm housesitting until the 27th at a house with a wonderful dog. This morning I brought Maddie to work with me. She's a Briard...remember Dennis the Menace's dog?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Dash of Honesty

“If you truly want honesty, don't ask questions you don't really want the answer to.”
“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
“Sex is full of lies. The body tries to tell the truth. But, it's usually too battered with rules to be heard, and bound with pretenses so it can hardly move. We cripple ourselves with lies.”
“The man who cannot endure to have his errors and shortcomings brought to the surface and made known, but tries to hide them, is unfit to walk the highway of truth.”
“The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.”
“I just think it's important to be direct and honest with people about why...and what you're doing. After all, you are taking some of their soul.”
“It pays to be honest, but it's slow pay.”

(Sources: proverb, Socrates, Jim Morrison, James Allen, Robert E. Lee, Mary Ellen Mark, proverb. Image: Sam Brown.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thoughts

I continue to be amazed at the power of the mind. Over the weekend, I ran one situation through my mind about 10 different ways and each way produced strong, clear emotions, some even diametrically opposed. Intellectually fascinating; emotionally exhausting. It would be fun only if I could turn it off and on at will.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

General Update


Four housesitting offers for this week. I'm taking just two, one just for a couple of days down the street from home. I'm there right now, enjoying wireless access and taking care of the cat while I do some laundry.

Yesterday I finished submitting a grant proposal to United Way. I'm asking for $160,500 and hope to get $80,000; last year we got $60,000 from them. I also completed the proposal that I mentioned on Tuesday for $50,000. I think we'll get that one.

Attended meetings all day yesterday. One was particularly engaging. It was about strategizing for a city-wide respite and recuperative care system for persons who are experiencing homelessness. Here's an interesting statistic we discussed: 40-50% of persons at UNM Hospital awaiting discharge are persons who are homeless (they can't be discharged unless they have some place to go). Even more interesting is that the number of persons who enter the hospital homelss is less than the number who leave...meaning that these people become homeless while in the hospital (eviction, high medical costs, etc.)!

I'll have dinner this evening with Brian (my landlord) and Bishop Gayle Harris from Massachusetts. I haven't seen her since I left MA. It would be even better if it were Barbara Harris from MA, with whom I was really close.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cool Poem

A poem by Camillo Sbarbaro:


I WAKE ALONE

From sleep I wake alone in dead of night,
the house a soundless void. Out there,
a harbor glitters, silent, with its lamps.
But so far removed, so frigid are those lights,
and so immense the stillness of these rooms,
that I raise myself in bed to listen.
And am seized, then, with a fear that stops my breath
and makes my eyes enlarge:
divided from all else within the house,
divided from all else that is on earth,
my life and I are utterly alone.

The though, then, of the familiar streets
and of the daily names and faces
reasserts itself.
And, smiling for my own absurdity, I settle down.
Yet, even so, when fear dissolves in sleep,
at heart an icy residue persists,
because in trught I walk among my fellow-men
as an observer.
And have not one within whose hands to place
my own simple trust,
or with whom I can forget myself.
So much so, that were it not
for Nature, for the waters and the trees
and all the speechless world of things
that bears me company through this existence,
I think that I would die of solitude.
For this journey undertaken among strangers,
encompassed by a void,
arouses dread,
and the certainty that it will be forever.

Most cruelly of all,
my eyes are dry.


(Translated, from the Italian, by Shirley Hazzard; published in The New Yorker on November 19, 1990.
It is interesting to me that--almost exactly 17 years to the publishing date--I just this week uncovered a copy of the poem.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I’ve skipped work yesterday and today, too emotional and angry to work for fear that I might fire someone just to vent the emotions. ☺ Mostly it’s just that I feel too agitated to sit at my desk, answer calls and chat with visitors because there is so much on my mind. The new therapy must be kicking in.

I’m using the two days to walk, to read and to meet friends for coffee…anything to stay busy without having to think or feel. It’s odd that, for right now, staying with the moment seems more like trying not to think about others. That’s not the healthiest form of being present, I know. But when I think of others, it plunges me into feeling all that isn’t, of noticing too strongly my desires and that pulls me into a swirl of wanting a future that isn’t. And that hurts.

So I return to the precise moment of now, sitting alone in my back yard, turning the page of a thriller fiction. I notice the sunlight, the taste of a sip of tea, the chirping of birds and the prickle of goose flesh on my skin as the warmth of the morning sun sharply contrasts with the chilled air. And I try hard not to think or to feel.

This just in:
To keep me distracted today, I just got a call from the city that $50,000 is available for the shelter...if I can come up with a proposal by 4 PM. Back to work, at least via my laptop.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tentatively

Well, the site is secure. Given that I am working very deeply on some strong emotions, you'd think that this post would then be juicy and interesting.

Nope.

Instead, just this observation: a piece of mail came today from the offices of Sutin, Thayer and Browne. Under their names, it states "A Professional Corporation."

That strikes me as funny. Do they think recipients might infer an "Unprofessional Corporation?"

Maybe so, since the letter was addressed to my office (right street address) but identifies the homeless shelter as being the "African American Cultural Assocation"!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Money, Money, Money

The national debt has hit $9 trillion for the first time.

The Treasury Department, which issues a daily accounting of the debt, said Wednesday that the debt subject to limit was at $9 trillion on Tuesday. It was $8.996 trillion on Monday.

Last month, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law an increase in the government's borrowing ceiling to $9.815 trillion. It was the fifth debt limit increase since Bush took office in January 2001. Those increases have totaled $3.865 trillion.
(Source: Albuquerque Journal, November 8, 2007)

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the budget balanced before Bush took office? And remind me again how much money we spend daily on the war in Iraq?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why the Secrecy?

Well, it's not really secrecy and it's only temporary. But my being gay seems to have provoked some conservative emotions and I got tired of deleting numerous hate e-mail comments. It got so bad that yesterday I had to contact another Web site and ask that they delete hate comments posted on there site about me (they did).

Perhaps being a little less open for a bit will help calm the anti-gay hate rhetoric.

Thanks for understanding. I'm glad that you are visiting my site!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Community

Reading Jean Vanier's Community and Growth this morning, the following quotation jumped out at me:
"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. But the reverse is also true, let him who is not in community beware of being alone."
The quote is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together, published in 1976.

It jumped out at me because I remember writing something similar during my walk across the country. Then I said that walking alone for days teaches someone who is independent about his need for others, and that it teaches he who is overly needy of others something of his own independence.

Vanier prefaces a different quotation from someone named Therese by writing, "the availability of some single people could be a mysterious commitment."

Therese's writing was this prayer:
We who are not committed to you Jesus, in either a consecrated celibacy or marriage, we who are not committed to our brothers in a community, are coming to renew our covenant with you.

We are still on the road to which you have called us, but whose name you haven't given us; we are carrying the poverty of not knowing where you are leading us.

On this road, there is the pain of not being chosen, not being loved, not being waited for, not being touched. There is the pain of not choosing, not loving, not waiting, not touching. We don't belong. Our house is not a home; we have nowhere to lay our head.

Even though we have become impatient and depressed when faced with the choice of others, unhappy when faced with their efficiency, we still say "yes" to our road. We believe that it is the road of our fecundity, the road we must take to grow in you.

Because our hearts are poor and empty, they are available. We make them a place of welcome for our brothers. Because our hearts are poor and empty, they are wounded. We let the cry of our thirst rise to you.
That prayer feels right to me. I relate especially to the middle paragraph. Therese closes the prayer by thanking God for this road. That feels right, too.