October 25, 2016

Working my way back.

I drove all day and just got back. It’s Sunday as I write this.

Earlier today, I was in Louisville, KY. A lovely city from what little I saw. We were there for a funeral. A college friend of my wife’s who passed too young — suddenly and without warning. Always a reminder, these things. My wife looked at airfare costs and hemmed and hawed over if we should go. Too much, right now. I said, let’s go. We'll take the car. I’ll drive. It’s what you do. Not only to honor the dead but, more so, to comfort the living.

Yesterday was the funeral. I dropped of Bethany at the church. Beatrix and I opted not to attend the service but to explore Louisville a bit. It was a stunning day. We went downtown. Along the river. Watched the Belle of Louisville launch from its berth full of waving tourists. We watched the tail end of a marathon. Runners exhausted and shaking wrapped in foil blankets. I wondered how many took advantage of the bourbon festival happening, strategically, mere yards from the finish line. Surely in Louisville it qualifies as a recovery drink. Later, we met up with Bethany and participated in the rolling wake of her college friends. There was drinking and remembering and updating and crying and laughing and food. It’s what you do.

I finished reading Familiar by J. Robert Lennon. It’s a wonderful book. He’s a good writer. I find the best fiction leaves empty spaces. Room for the reader to fill in the blanks. This is one of those books. It doesn’t answer every question. It leaves you guessing. It really spoke to where I am right now.

The day before. Friday. We drove to Indianapolis first. One of Bethany’s best friends lives there with her husband. It’s only a couple of hours further to Louisville. We thought, why not make a quick visit and stay the night there with them? We had a lovely dinner and some ice cream. We watched the Hamilton documentary on PBS. We chatted a bit and relished our too short time together.

I didn’t sleep. Not well. I haven’t been sleeping well. It takes me forever to fall asleep in the first place. Always has. But, lately, it’s been horrible. I remain on the edge of sleep. Between sleep and wake. But don’t wake up feeling rested or like I ever truly slept. I’m barely functioning. Fighting my way through each day. Made driving such long distances a difficult.

Last Thursday I had lunch with a Sleep Specialist. It’s a thing. Who knew. An expert on sleep. She’s lovely. Someone who selflessly cares. She says she can help me. I hope so.

Later that day, I spoke to my eldest son for the first time since his incarceration. He’s been transferred to the Minnesota Security Hospital in Saint Peter, MN. They need to see if he’s mentally fit enough to stand trial. He told me he’s there as punishment for all that’s wrong in the world. Cancer, cigarettes, war. He’s God, after all, and should have stopped it. It’s OK though, he tells me over the phone, he knew this was going to come because he has devices that help him listen to the future.

I remind him that this is likely a conversation better had in person. The lines are likely monitored. He agrees. He asks if I use Google to search for things. I tell him no, I use something else. Duck, Duck, Go. I route it through Tor. He tells me I’m smart. We hang up and I spend no small amount of time wondering if Paranoid Schizophrenia simply means you can see through the thin layer of bullshit that covers our world. Perhaps, it’s seeing the truth so clearly that drives us mad. Who, then, are the crazy ones?

I want to call him back and say, of course they are listening and watching and tracking and monitoring and of course they are manipulating and scheming and using the media to do so and of course the game is rigged and the poor get poor and the rich get rich but seeing that does not make me crazy or you, or any of the other half dozen personalities you’ve fractured into, God. It just makes us realists. Doch…

(My friend Garrick tells me that “doch” is one of those German words that carries much meaning and is eminently useful but does not have a direct English equivalent. It’s used to contradict a negative statement. To turn it back in on itself. The closest translation and common usage my be, “And yet…”)

I determine trying to explain all of that wouldn’t help. Why do anything unless it helps? If you don’t know what will help just sit, in silence, and be. Be-ing is a verb. It’s active. It’s doing something.

On Wednesday I looked up local therapists. Psychology Today has a shrink finder that helps you find mental health professionals that meet your specific needs and desires. I opened seven tabs of promising looking therapists. I’ve made zero calls. No reason why. Overwhelmed. This week, perhaps.

I spent Tuesday meeting with folks and working on Surviving Bananas. I’m still not sure what it is or how it works in practice. I have some ideas that I’m getting feedback on. Trusted people. Some with deep experience in non-profits and mental health. I have a mission and the values. I just need a vision. I’m trying to form that. Being tired isn’t helping.

Last Monday, I let the world in on some web moves I’ve been making in an attempt to streamline my online places. What I write and where. I laid out that philosophy and methodology briefly at Rhoneisms.

At the end of a recent yoga and meditation class, the instructor told us to assume any pose. One that feels most comfortable right now. Be it sitting or standing or laying. To find the most pleasant, gentle, and peaceful form for us that moment. Then, she said, “Don’t hold the pose. Be the pose.”

I’m calling this pose Life.


Sincerely, me.