Enlightened Conflict

nights bigger than imagining

June 2nd, 2017

stars and night sky

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“And the nights, bigger than imagining: black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars.”

 

—–

Donna Tartt

 

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“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

 

T.S. Eliot

 

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Well.

 

stars and planets at nightDespite the fact most nights remain the same amount of hours, minutes and seconds day to day a sleepless night can often look bigger than imagined. I have found that sleepless nights are less about restless minds and more about capacity in a squeezed space.

 

Huh?

 

Let me tackle squeezed first.

 

In general the world is a pretty vast place and our lives can seem fairly inconsequential. The good news about this is that within all that vastness there is a lot of room to let some of the more horrible or horribly mundane crap just slip by.

 

The bad news occurs when all of a sudden Life, and the world, shrinks and you feel squeezed. And this can happen a lot easier than one may think.

 

Ponder what I am going to say as “the big squeeze.”

 

Everyday everyone faces some naturally occurring ‘shrinking’ aspects which in and of themselves can’t shrink your Life enough to matter. Let’s just say this is the daily grind of work, chores and family & Life commitments. Some things go well and some things don’t.sometimes the smallest things

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that “don’t” significantly outnumber the things that “do.” because this is day to day shit I view this as getting squeezed from the sides. They kind of suffocate you a little.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you have that ad hoc shit you have to plan to get done … the faucet is dripping, the car engine light is on, someone hit the mailbox, crap like that. 95% of the time this kind of shit never goes as planned. It takes too long or it doesn’t get done right the first time or … well … suffice it to say … the easy stuff never gets done as easily as you would want.

And then, of course, there will be a day or two where the things that never get done as easily as you want actually end up just not going right. This is stupid little shit … but maybe think about it as maybe getting squeezed from underneath – an unexpected aggravating shift on the ground below you.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

And then there will be some days where you turn on the TV or maybe scan the internet news breaks and … well … some shit has hit the fan. Your country has made some monumental decision that seems to shift its place in the world.

Some nutjob terrorist has committed some heinous act to innocent people.

Some “thing” happens that feel like a shift in the bedrock of ‘what is.’ It may not directly affect you but you sense that it is a monumental thing which will most likely affect you <even though you aren’t sure how yet>. This is big shit … this just makes you feel a little like the weight of the world has gotten a little heavier and the world as you have known it has become a little murkier. You are getting squeezed from above.

But set that aside for a moment.

 

life big squeeze

 

Now.

 

I will now get to capacity.

 

Let’s assume on one day all there of things happen … you get squeezed all on one day. Oddly, this becomes a test of your capacity <which implies largeness>. And, yes, maybe it is about largeness. As in how large you can remain as you get squeezed.

 

Some nights it isn’t easy to not get suffocated.

Other nights you find your capacity and push back a little.

Most nights you find just enough largeness to not get … well … too little.

 

But the nights in which all three aspects I outlined squeezed you I would suggest … well … the word ‘forlorn’ comes to mind.

 

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“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

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I use forlorn because I associate it with capacity as I am discussing it today.

Forlorn has a sense of shrinking to it in that the good in Life seems to shrink forlorn bird in a cage squeezeand that which is bad seems to grow and you are left with that wretched forlorn feeling which dogs you throughout a sleepless night. Forlorn seems like it is more appropriate than lonely or lonesome in that it specifically embraces a senses of wretchedness and desertion or abandonment … in my mind … ‘despairing of the arrival of a friend … in this case … a friend called Hope.”

 

To me … all of what I just shared with regard to squeezing and capacity captures the essence of the worst of the worst sleepless nights.

And, if I were a betting man, I would bet we have all had a few of these.

 

Ok.

Here is what I know.

 

Most of us get through these nights. Despite the vast emptiness of a night, more vast than we imagined it should be, we cast about among the chaos of the stars and find some light.

I like to think of it as we clamber through the clouds and exist.

 

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“I will clamber through the clouds and exist.”

 

—-

John Keats

 

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And the outcome of most of these nights, in addition to being tired, is out of the gauntlet of forlornness we seem to come out with a degree of hope. point where too tired despair night get to work

 

Hope for a better day <at minimum> and maybe Hope for something better <at maximum>.

 

In other words, out of the bigness which seems to squeeze us if but for a moment we rummage through a sleepless night … one black and gusty and enormous, disordered and wild with stars … and come out a little less black, a little more calm, a little more ordered and a little more focused on some star.

 

 

is the fault in the stars?

August 21st, 2016

 fault mine

 

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“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

 

—–

Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

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Ok.

 

fault in our stars dear brutus julius caserFate, fault and personal responsibility.

 

John Green made this quasi famous Shakespeare quote famous again to an entirely new generation.

 

John Green made an entirely new generation start thinking philosophically about fate … and how you deal with it.

 

Yeah.

 

I have written about fate and destiny before.

 

Personally I don’t think much about it. Mostly because … well … I kind of figure if there is such a thing as fate it is completely out of my hands <it is in the stars> and I would be better off getting out and doing shit … my shit in particular, seizing fate by the throat as it were, rather than awaiting Fate to stop by and tell me, like an odd little waiter, what I should or shouldn’t do.

 

But … yeah … some things are written in the stars. Some things are out of your control and they happen … even if you do absolutely everything right in your Life <which is, practically speaking, almost impossible>.

 

In his book John Green used cancer as what as written in the stars.

 

I could most likely list a long list of various shit things many people are faced with that … well … they certainly had no desire facing.

 

But the point of the quote is how we respond to what the stars fate us with.

 

Our choice, or non choice, to do something in response.

 

Our choice, or non choice,  to make the best of whatever it is we are faced with in life.

 

Our choice, or non choice, to say it is the fault of the stars or the fault of ourselves in where we go with whatever Fate has handed us.

 

 

fate is a motherfuckerLook.

 

Fate is a motherfucker the majority of the time.

Yeah.

A real bastard.

 

 

Why do I say that?

 

Well.

 

How often do we view Fate with a smile?

 

<not that often>

 

More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with sadness and dismay.

 

More often we view that sonuvabitch Fate with a yearning to be able to better control circumstances.

 

And, on occasion, we ponder Fate as if we actually did something to deserve it.

We reflect & opine upon on our actions and suggest to ourselves “if only”, with regret, thinking that somehow & someway we could have mastered Fate and redirected it.

 

That somehow if we had acted differently Fate would have been different.

 

That somehow we could have rearranged the stars in the sky.

 

Well.

 

Stars are stars.body making a fault in stars

 

And.

 

Fate is fate.

 

And Fate listens to no one but itself.

 

Sometimes fate is fate and you can’t do anything about it.

 

But here is what you can do.

Truly your own acts with regard to fate reside in how you respond not in how you can avoid.

 

Sure.

 

Shakespeare certainly was pretty good about suggesting that your actions, and your decisions to become involved, can impact other’s Fate … and by not taking action you assume some ‘fault.’

 

And I buy that.

 

But.

 

Fate is fate.

 

You can act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.

 

You can not act and something good can happen … and something unintended bad can happen.

 

Acts you take are rarely simple cause & effect.

 

Acts you take are also very difficult to find correlations with <note: cause and correlation are two very different things>.

 

I imagine some people reading the last few things I have written start thinking … well … Life sucks if you cannot be sure that anything you do is right or good.

 

They shouldn’t.

 

Shit.

 

created my own worldNo one shouldn’t.

 

While Fate may reside in the stars … ‘fault’ in Life resides within us.

 

Fate will be fate and will be there regardless of anything we do or don’t do.

 

Let Fate own the stars.

 

But … Life is ours to own.

 

And it is our fault if we do not own it.

 

Enlightened Conflict