Tag Archives: love

(Post)modern obsessions

Standard

Have you noticed how the following themes keep popping up, almost obsessively, in contemporary discourse – in the media, in the public sphere and increasingly in ourselves?

This obsession with sex – and complete devaluation of love and tenderness and commitment.

This obsession with doing – and complete devaluation of being.

This obsession with the intensity of fragmented experience – and complete devaluation of profoundness and resilience and eternity.

This obsession with work and maximization – and complete devaluation of contemplation and spirituality. Of the time it takes to realize that you have a soul, that you are a human being capable of transcendence, not a machine plugged in to churn out as many objects as possible per unit of time.

We treat ourselves and each other as equipment, as products. We apply to beings the logic of machines. We have transferred the maximum efficiency mantra of the technological sector to human life. We have internalized the algebraic depersonalisation, the callous disregard, the flattening subjugation of being to efficiency and utility present in our discourses. We find it OK to behave and to be treated increasingly like predictable robots or like working animals. Like mammals, all dapper and happy to be allowed to act out their basest instincts.

This obsession with Darwinism, with us as little more than physical organisms in biological evolution, this bench-marking against apes, not against angels or saints? This devaluation of angels and saints as melodrama and cheap esoteric – or, even, as oppression. This talk of our “natural instincts”. Nature, our nature, as a new goddess. But should we always make way for our natural instincts? Will that improve us? What will build more character and more goodness and a deeper path to the absolute we secretly yearn for?

(Is something good or legitimate simply because we were born with it? Because we acquired it? Because it is fun? Because it brings pleasure or monetary value? Are we not supposed to transcend ourselves?)

This frenzy of devaluation… No religion, but brand religion. The branding iron.

What is slavery for theoretically free individuals? According to Simone Weil, the disconnect between one’s efforts and their life’s work. (We work, but we no longer have a life’s work, an opus, an oeuvre. We expect our work to be the foundation of our identity, but in fact, so many of us no longer feel like creators. We no longer develop our being in the process of our work. Work all too often feels like odd life-draining tasks under excruciating time pressure, away from the ones we love. It no longer feels like purpose. Just endless busyness. Our work has control over us, but we no longer have much control over it.)

What else is slavery? In Gravity and Grace, S. Weil goes on to say it is the coercion to accept that “reading” of yourself, that interpretation of yourself, which others stamp on you. Having no choice or having only wrong choices. Allowing yourself to be devoured by exhausting activities, and making all this daily effort simply to stay in your current condition – no horizon, no finality, mere survival. Day to day to day. The arbitrariness of how you are treated. The dependency. The addiction.

Any illusion begins to feel real when enough people accept it and internalize it as “the thing to do”. Repeated, it reproduces, it propagates.

This destruction of the human soul…

We no longer recognize the sacredness of our own and each other’s being.

Will the human spirit ever rise against this flattening iron?…

 

 

The Remains of The Day

Standard

timid spring.

the careless beauty of my children romping in the woods today,

sharp, colorful, against the greening gray backdrop,

gathering twigs for a “bonfire” but first washing them in the tumbles of water or

stacking them one upon another and into bridges

alongside the brook where they were leaping, looking for frogs;

huge stones splashing in that murky fluid, one foot deep, and up bursting fountains of light,

their voices rippling across the clearings,

their giggles, their eyes flickering – light, love

shooting out of them like glittering spearheads through the trees, shouting, climbing, jumping!

what sweet, suffocating melancholy; soft warm fluff settling heavy on my soul,

my soul – itself by now the peaceful glowing aftermath of a fire,

dilated and silent, with only the crackling of cooling cinder

and water trickling on nearby, my soul

suffused with nothing but

clarity

yes, the quiet serenity of the desire to embrace life, the world,

the sizzling beauty of raw earth sprouting, of budding leaves and yellow and pink flowers,

of young lives so thick with promise, of souls so nimble, of days so limpid!

my children. my gift. my promise – to them:

a love so full, so simple, so complete.

a love absolute.

don’t hold me. you’ll lull me back into nothingness.

don’t hold me…

Aborted Fetuses

Standard

I have aborted myself to feed my children.

my love, my thoughts, my writing – all of them, aborted fetuses,

because my children needed to eat regular

meals.

but behold! –

my children are not necrophagous.

they do not thrive on the smell of death and destruction.

theirs are the souls

enraptured by the seed of light

theirs are the hands

that carry the torch.

 

Loss of faith

Standard

i swam like a fish to the bottom of my being.

at the bottom of that sea of sand i swam into yesterday.

i drilled softly for the pearls to collect in my little necklace of happiness.

i flapped my little fish tail around and stirred up the sand at the bottom of the sea

to drill for more depth.

to bury myself completely on this side and emerge all the more alive on the other.

to find a shell still intact, a crustacean, a remnant of the great continent’s air fleet, now sunk.

but no. the love had petrified and become

this hard sepulchral distance between us

between me and everything.

insurmountable. and i knew

that happiness was for fish.

all i could hope for was a sparkling bead here and there at the bottom, like a shard of light,

where the ocean just happened to smile on that day.

My Roommate

Standard

It’s morning.

A spider has just rappelled down on my desk,

where I was writing a goodbye letter.

He stopped an inch short of touching it

and is hanging there, by his own thread,

suspended,

like me.

I cannot breathe.

I’m watching him wrap the whole room up in sticky wordless webs,

so nimble, like an eight-fingered pianist’s hand,

tapping the table,

waiting for a thought or waiting for

prey.

He’s off. He scurried speechless.

They say it’s bad luck to see a spider in the morning.

Soaked in flames

Standard

it’s raining.

it’s raining damp juicy rock ballads into my soul

in through my lips out through my mouth

like cradles for the coiling vapors of my vast, feisty melancholy.

i want to burn

i want to open my lips and spit out the flames that will char

the tips of your long, chestnut-brown mane

i want to emanate the kind of heat that pushes your wings up through the crowds of dead birds

up in the sky, on a thermal

i want you to see the beauty gliding on my warm breeze and i want to tear your clothes and give you blisters until you

remember how alive you are, we are;

i want to set myself ablaze with the joy of being so godlike

so full of love

so equal to myself

so free through the knowledge

that the sky stretches on forever.

and i am not afraid of the sun, i welcome its searing plasma

i welcome the scars i get from all the sharp beaks plunging from the clouds

i will swim through a sea of razors

i will shout at the top of my lungs, “i exist!!!!”

i’m not over yet, i keep the flame burning, i keep the candles on in my temple of animal passion where angels

come to drink voraciously out of these puddles

because it’s raining.

the hell with this. it’s always raining.

it always has and it always will.

so what?

what does that have to do with keeping the flame alive?

it’s the rain that makes it all worthwhile.

keep trying.

keep dreaming

the most absurd dreams writhing like worms in a tomb

let them eat their way through you

never give up

until you are

eaten alive.

you’ll never burn better than when you are soaked.

Life is a cucumber salad

Standard

I’m into natural beauty. I hear people are giving their daughters nose jobs for their 18th birthday. I love my daughter’s nose, and I’d much rather cut up anybody who comes near it. It is perfect just the way it is. Who would want a mass-produced Barbie for a daughter?!..

But that’s another story. This is about me. I’m beginning to grow old. Time forgives no one, bla bla… well, the thing is, I keep noticing these gray hairs here and there, these new wrinkles and pores and spots on my face, and I realize the time has come when my skin just needs additional support systems. I figure nature always has the perfect remedy, so what I do is use a cucumber mask.

It went from a little thin slice now and then, stolen from the kids’ dinner, to hoarding enormous reserves of cucumber in the vegetables storage compartment of my fridge.

And let me tell you, life is full of cucumber moments. Every time I cry at cartoons, every time I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep at night (which is almost every night…), I place a slice of raw cucumber on my face. Whether I’m happy or sad, in love or in the middle of a fight, watching my kids sleep or watching a sentimental movie, feeling elated or despondent, the moment tears start dripping down, I lunge for that refrigerated cucumber. I feel a tear coming and bells start going off in my head: uh oh, cucumber material! And I dart.

So when my husband of 12 years decided – for no apparent reason – to declare his love spontaneously for the very first time (and – may I add – quite convincingly, too) while we were driving the kids to the lake the other day, I looked at him with all the shock and disbelief of someone just awakened from the dead and I almost begged him to stop.

But then I thought, ‘it’s cucumber times like this that we are living for’, and I let the floodgates open. Tears started flowing like tap water. In his eyes too. We just had one of those moments. We kissed, and my son grumbled “Oh, not agaaaain…” and life sort of made real sense. I may have bulging red eyes and a lot of wrinkles, but I feel like someone whose missing child has just been found safe and sound and is on his way home again.

So, next time when life gives me cucumber, I’ll just make a salad.

Paradox of our existence

Standard

That you cannot keep any of it. That is the most sadistic part of life, its sardonic grin. That you cannot keep that which you hang on to the most, that which you love the most, that which is most said to be yours. You cannot keep that which you are held most responsible for, and you cannot keep it no matter how hard you try. That you are just a vessel for a fluid, but forced to act your part in life’s charade like the most individualized and concrete of selves, to love and to hurt and to save other illusory selves who are nothing but vessels for the same fluid, and whose only significantly different feature is their outer shell.

And then comes Jesus, and this man is suddenly no shell, but the concentrated, godly, glittering fluid itself. And even then the world spins round the same as before, and you cannot hold on to anything, not even a corpse, longer than three days, and yet you are made responsible to love and to save.

That you aren’t even aware what goes on behind you or inside you; that you were born with a legacy you don’t know and don’t get to choose; that you can’t even explain why people do things to you and you to them, and that you have to feel your way in the dark and stand judgement for even the slightest misstep. That this obsession with judgement leads to an obsession with control – control yourself, control your environment, control other people – and all this horrible stress of not actually being able to control anything builds up into an explosive heap of even more bad deeds…

That you don’t really own yourself. That as much as you would like to, it would be wrong. You cannot own that which you did not create.  It was given to you. You did not exist and then, suddenly, one day you were. You just were. Your life isn’t essentially yours. Your life does belong to other people, annoying as that may seem, your life is interconnected and interwoven with a million fine threads with the life of who knows what stranger in the street. Your life is the fluid you received from above, and which is essentially just a lease on life, never full ownership, and most of the time you lose the weightless glitter along the way.

That you are a short-lived butterfly, a leaden butterfly at times, but a butterfly nevertheless, and one which used to be full of color and full of beauty and waft in the sun. That all these “horrible” people around you used to be pure and smell like milk. That we make each other horrible.

That your spirit often feels heavier than your body.

 

It’s time

Standard

There comes a time when you look at the person next to you – your spouse – and you don’t know them anymore. And the really sad thing is you look at them and you don’t know yourself anymore. You look at him and you ask yourself: “Who is this person?” But you look at yourself and say: “What am I? What have I become? Little more than furniture, to make the inside of his hollow life a little cozier? Why is my love not good enough for him anymore? No, why is my love not worth anything to him anymore? When have my tender caresses become so unimportant? When has our love, our marriage, our life together morphed into this gigantic tumor that spreads its arteries through my life like writhing snakes, like a million thirsty black ticks? Why is this person metastasizing all his inabilities, fears and weaknesses in me? How come he never misses an opportunity to scorch my pastures, my smiles, my sky? Where has that brook of explosive joy, telepathic warmth, and requited passion gone – trickled down into the earth and disappeared through the hidden cracks of the all-encompassing desert? When has this happened? Where and why?” For all you know, you’ve given your best, you were always present, aware, and struggling. And now? You touch yourself and you think you’re still alive, but you can’t feel life anymore. So you slap yourself to feel anything at all. And you slap yourself because you deserve to be punished for the failure of something so beautiful, for all the mistakes you have made along the way. Maybe, if you had been perfect, if you had been a saint, he would have loved you. He never takes chances on less than perfect. He never takes chances on human emotions.

There comes a time when his indifference is more painful than a cut. There comes a time when your “relationship” no longer is one. No togetherness, no communication, no shared dreams or paths. You don’t trust him anymore, and worst of all, you do not trust yourself to be lovable anymore. And still you squat there in your living room, and you hug your knees and you cry yourself to sleep, convincing yourself that if only you did something more, did something better, did something different, it might still work. You are so fundamentally alone in all of this, and yet you force yourself to love him. You want to see this story through, though every cell will scream out that it’s useless. You will never be happy again with him. Never. You don’t even love him for the sake of reciprocation. You love, because you know how precious that is. How hard to come by, how miraculous to even feel love. And you hope, because you love. Little by little, you come to perceive your love like a stillborn baby that you are desperately trying to resuscitate. You cry some more, you try some more. You think, (like Pink), perhaps all we need is a ” less sporadic pace”. You take over most of his chores, his responsibilities, you buy him time and you fool yourself that if he has it, he will choose to maybe spend some of it with you. That time will buy you life. A little.

And then there comes a time when you were just plain wrong. When love is so dead, it has begun to smell. That’s when you fake it. You fake it in front of your mother, you fake it in front of his mother. You fake it in front of your friends, and, oh, what a lovely couple you make, pretty as candy. You want to salvage the outer shell of it, at least. Being with each other has become a habit you still want to preserve. Pretty soon that facade will break down, too; the plastering will come off little by little, the colors will fade. Pretty soon all your scars will show in plain view, for everybody to gape at. By now, your soul is a rainbow of every shade of humiliation and your home is a walled-in prison full of screams.

There comes a time when all you want is a door. There comes a time to kick the sucker in the groin and run for your life. So long, sperm donor! Kiss my ass and eat my dust.

Love and let go

Standard

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for love. I live for love. I used to consider it the single most splendid reason to be alive.  I have been known to plunge into it deeply, passionately, voluptuously. I have delved into its mystique. And I have given up an enormous amount of myself for love (not just the romantic type, either), barely stopping short of complete self-annihilation.

But there is a time for love, and there is a time for LIFE, people.

Love is a gigantic part of life, the most beautiful, enthralling part, because it creates life in its turn. It enhances and it multiplies life. When a love story goes sour, by all means try to fix it. Try to rekindle the flame – not only of passion, but first and foremost of trust, empathy, tenderness, friendship. But when love dies, DO NOT die with it. It takes two to tango. You can’t fix it all on your own, and once it gets past the point of no repair, don’t waste too much time mourning the faded beauty of what once was, or what once might have been. Don’t get caught up in its dead past. Don’t be trapped by its morbid fake future. Don’t become a victim of unbreakable habits and false pretenses. Why invite daily humiliation? It will destroy your spirit.

All that glitters is not gold, they say, and one butterfly in the stomach does not a soulmate make. Don’t let your love ensnare you, imprison you, incarcerate you.  There is plenty more out there that’s authentic and energizing. For instance, the promise of another love (…just to keep you and chubby little Eros going, you junkie 🙂 ).

So you loved and lost, where is the disaster? Quite often it can be a beneficial step forward, a long overdue measure of personal hygiene. You can sulk and become your worst enemy, or you can move on and be your own best friend. Dwell in your sorrow just long enough to heal and learn from your mistakes, but not a minute longer. Remember you were born free. You were born free, and meaningful, and worthy of beauty. You are a materialized state of grace, not a doormat, not an accessoire. Don’t allow unreciprocated love to suck you in like a quagmire that drags you back down everytime you come up for air until you drown – one big mummified corpse fatally entangled in slimy submarine roots, stinky algae, and venomous nettle fish.

There is LIFE after love. So live and let die. Love and let go.