Friday, August 22, 2008

Things I ponder. Or: How to categorize a gorilla.

This question has popped up in a few conversations lately: What is your spirituality?

It strikes me, because I used to work with a guy that would always ask people what their nationality was, when he clearly wanted to know their racial and ethnic category. It used to drive me bonkers. I wanted to explain it to him, but he was beyond help.

So, when people ask me what my spirituality is, I guess they are asking to which religion do I subscribe.

I have given this a great deal of thought lately. I have read many texts. I have sought enlightenment from nearly every talking toad I seem to happen upon. And I guess what I have decided is that you can't put a label on me.

I am an atheist, I suppose. But as one says that, gasps aplenty are heard to charge through the room. To them, morality and goodness MUST be tied to belief in SOMETHING. "How do you decide what's right and wrong?" (Actual question.) "I use my brain." (Actual response.)

I find myself fascinated by the fact that people can't simply except what IS. To me, that which is right there for us to witness is far more amazing and intricate than any one being could ever imagine - let alone build. But still, they seem to think that because I am an atheist, and that I don't believe in a supreme being, that I am simply void of any belief at all. Period. And that couldn't be dumber, to be frank. They'll say, "You must believe in SOMETHING, though, right? Like, doesn't some religion speak to you, at least a little." Yeah, some do. Right up until the parts with magic. Again, the reality, I think, is far more beautiful.

But, still, I've been thinking. And here is some of the fruit of such thought.

Do I believe in a supreme being? Nope. A higher power? Possibly. For, what is nature if it is not a "higher power" to which we all, for real, 100% truly will lose. We are part of it, we effect it, affect it, change it, and try to understand it... but ultimately, we are fodder for it's greatness. So, yeah... okay. I worship the majesty of the Earth.

Do you believe in the afterlife? Kinda. Not in the super pretty, all-white spectacle of Heaven. Or Nirvana or whatever else. But if you look at Anthropology, there is plenty of documentation for the possibilities of afterlife. But before you get all riled up, let me explain further... See, we all have ancestors, and we all have memories. And, really, there is A LOT that we don't know about our subconscious minds. Here is my hypothesis: The afterlife, including ghosts, spirits, angels, entities and whatever else we may name them, do exist. But, and here is the part that would be left out if anyone ever tried to use this quote again' me... They exist somewhere deep in our subconscious. Someplace we don't fully understand where we can remember things with such clarity that they are there and they are very real. Then what about random hauntings when we don't have knowledge of the "person?" Same deal, I think. I think that if a real double-blind study was conducted, we would see that people "see" ghosts only after hearing stories of their existence in a certain locale. Now, undoubtedly, someone reading this is already shaking their head... and that's fine. You're talking to (or reading a monologue by, really) someone that has "seen" and "experienced" unexplained phenomena. But, again, the tangible is so magnificent, that I don't spend a lot of my time with the rest. I am a skeptic... which isn't a bad word. It just means I'm from Missouri.

Can't you at least agree that religion has provided some good things in regards to kindness and morality? Sure. But that stuff pales in comparison to the legion of awful, horrible s**t it has also given us. I love the materials that "Picture a World Without Religion." They say it much better than I.

What if you HAD, like absolutely, to choose a religion or face death? Honestly... Patrick Henry already summed up my feelings on this... but I'll humor you. Probably Buddhism. That's most closely matched with my personal attitudes and feelings about kindness and virtue, and its only real deity is knowledge... I can get onboard for that.

So, what do you believe? A lot.

I believe that the sky is just about infinite, and the way that it makes me feel small is indescribable. Same goes for oceans.

I believe that sunsets in the Sonoran Desert are as close as I have ever come to truly worshipping something.

I believe that the fact that our physiology is basically autonomous and definite is scary, but also very empowering and beautiful.

I believe that knowledge is power. Specialized skill is a super power.

I believe that children are perfect, no matter how they come out.

I believe that the most powerful medicine ever created is love. And I believe that it's sad that saying that has become cheesy and weird.

I believe in personal responsibility, and that being able to cognitively grasp that concept is divine.

I believe that our politics, how we organize ourselves, is meaningless squabble when compared with our need to apply equal parts tolerance and compassion. (And our ability to know the difference.)

I believe that we should all worry a bit less on what others believe, and spend some time thinking about what we, ourselves find important.

Most importantly - and this may require some pondering of your own - I believe that its way okay that I sleep with a stuffed chimpanzee sleepy pal.

Anyway - I felt like writing, I guess. I hope everyone is well.

A bit o' news. We've been ruled out as candidates for home birth with a midwife. We are a bit bummed by that - but we think we have the next best thing.

Love and peaches,


Monday, August 11, 2008

Like opening a clam with a wet bus ticket...

I think it's funny, or weird, or interesting, or something.... that when I express my fears of being a father, people always respond with, "You're gonna do great." Is this the natural response? Is it auto-speech? Like this old thing: "Hey, what's up?" "Pretty good." Raise your hand if you've ever done that.

The other day, I ran into an old family friend and while shaking his hand, said, "Nice to meet you." He was a bit peeved, and said, "I was at your wedding." It sounded really cool with his thick Salvadoran accent... but I think he knew I had made a flub.

I digress.

Why, exactly, do people always hit me with the "you're gonna do great" school of thought? Now, I'm not fishing here, but what is it that makes people think this? Are they actually thinking something else and saying this? Are they actually thinking, "Oh, F**k? That kid's in serious trouble." What qualities have they ever seen in me which might translate into being a good dad? And then I sort of realize, too, that it's so subjective. What's a good dad? It must be totally different to everyone, right? I think my dad is a good dad in many ways. He taught me how to be a hard worker and to be really and truly tough. I wish he'd given me his mustache-growing genes... but other than that, I have no complaints. So, really, I just keep wondering when I'm going to run into someone that's like, "You? Really? Are you sure it's yours?" Or something like that. Maybe that last bit's a little harsh - but...

I can't remember who I was talking to, but they said that they were thinking about trying to have a baby. I responded with something about how the only difference I can feel now that it's real is that I went from being theoretically terrified to tangibly terrified. As an adult, we become relatively comfortable with the idea of our lives. We become comfortable with our thought process and even our emotional responses. I am continually flabbergasted by the way my brain now works... and a little nervous too.

Scenario: 4 months ago - I thought: Man. I really want to go to Nicaragua and learn hot rod super Spanish. That would be awesome. Tracey can come too.

About 7 weeks ago - I thought: Holy F**king S**t. Holy F**king S**t. Holy F**king S**t. (Roughly translated - We're gonna have a what?)

Now - I think: I really want to go live in Australia and learn to harvest the perfect digeridoo. Oh, and learn to play it, like, really really good. That'd be dope. And Tracey can study homeopathic medicine with aborigines. Man, that is gonna be awes- Oh, yeah... baby. Can't.

And I'm not saying that I'm resentful or that I can't really do that, even with a baby... but it's definitely more complicated. And that's taking me a long time to get used to. And what worries me is that I seem to subconsciously forget that our peanut is coming. This is real. I know the peanut is there... but it's like some blurry image at the end of a very dim hallway. And I feel like I'm staggering my way there, arms outstretched, trying to grab one of those water wiggle things.

I believe that learning to ride a bike is a great metaphor for learning in general. As children, and sometimes as adults, we want nothing more than to be able to ride a "big kid's bike." We want to know how so badly that we watch the older kids and we picture ourselves doing it and we ask our parents ad nauseam when they're going to teach us, and finally we get our shot and... Well the story is really different for everyone there. Which is like learning. And for me, I just got fed up with asking and hijacked my brother's HUGE bike... and rode that son-of-a-bitch. And I didn't fall..

So, for me... learning is really a solitary process. I have all the books, and I read them. And I ask questions. I devour anything I can find on the subject... and I know that this too will be like learning to ride a bike. An amazing complicated, levitating, jet-powered bike*, but a bike all the same. I don't spend all my time worrying... but I guess I wish I could jump on the "gonna do great" bandwagon... but there are just too many variables...

*Credit to DK.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sabado de paz

cinnamon rolls.
fresh squeezed orange juice.
weird weekend npr.
dog at my feet.
lazy mountain breeze.
orioles eating week-old sourdough.
goddess to my right.
baby in her womb.
so in debt, but so alive.
no need for capitals.

A cheesy poet still resides in my heart. We have our first midwife appointment on Thursday - turns out we stumbled onto the same midwife that delivered your friend's baby, Emery. The universe is mysterious indeed.

Our lil' guest cottage is being renovated a bit. I am told it will be quite nice. My head still vibrates from sonic nail guns.

Love and luck to all of you.

Riding turbo,