Aloha, friends! It’s a cold and sunny day here in Oregon, and I’ve been up since six doing my thang, reading, journaling, recording last night’s dreams, writing emails to friends, and this afternoon, watching the last two episodes of Stephen Fry in America, which I’ve been enjoying piecemeal with Scott.
I like Stephen Fry, and have ever since I first encountered him in Jeeves and Wooster (though I vaguely remember him from Black Adder days). I learned a lot about my country from seeing it through his perspective, which was very affectionate and discerning and witty and erudite, of course, this being Stephen Fry. His claim at the beginning of the show was that he had almost been an American; it seems his parents-to-be had the choice of where to live at one point, and chose England instead of here; honestly, I’m glad they did because could you imagine little Stephen not growing up to represent the quintessential modern English gentleman? Inconceivable! I was a little bit disappointed by the shortish shrift he gave Oregon, however, as he focused mostly on tree-hugging, the spotted owl, and, ahem, Bigfoot… but ah well. That’s okay. Those are all elements of life in this beautiful state, and I’m willing to take even misguided passion (sigh, Sasquatch) because passion for something is the best fuel for life. And passion for trees and spotted owls is the type I wholeheartedly support because it saves our ancient forests, which we don’t have many of anymore. One thing the show generated in me was a renewed excitement to explore the westernmost part of the country, the most spectacular, stunning, staggering landscapes in the entire United States, and I include as part of the ‘west,’ Alaska and Hawaii. From North Dakota on down to New Mexico and all the states to the left of those… Scott and I will be planning many motorcycle vacations in future. Then there’s Canada… not to mention Mexico, and South America… I could spend the rest of my days riding two-up across the Americas and die happy.
Actually, I’d die happy today too, not having done those things. Do you ever think about that? If you were given a week to live, or only a day? There truly is nothing I would do differently from what I’m doing now, other than spend a little more time with my family. It’s a wonder to feel this way after a lifetime of vague discontent, of always wanting a sneak peek around the next corner at something, anything, that might be better. I’m very grateful to feel this way now.
So, I’ve been craving bologna sandwiches for about a week. I do this with hot dogs, too. About twice a year I crave the junk meats and eat them every day for as long as it takes to sate my desire and then don’t touch them again until the next time. It’s funny, living here, when it comes to junk meat. In North Carolina, where we lived for eleven years, when my bologna craving hit I could find, literally, a dozen varieties to choose from in any grocery store. We generally shopped at the Food Lion. However, here in the Pacific Northwest, even in giant Safeway, I found only two kinds of bologna. Two! Both the same brand, in ‘regular,’ and ‘light.’ ‘Light’ being lower in calories, or maybe in sawdust content, I don’t know. I chose ‘light.’ Thankfully, Oregon still believes in lots of hot dogs.
On the spiritual front, two things, one tangible and the other, well, tangible in another way. For the longest time I’ve wanted a large buddha for the mantel, not because I’m a buddhist (or adherent to any other religion for that matter), but because the buddha symbolizes peace and the inner journey, finding divinity within, respect for all living creatures, and so many other positive spiritual messages that resonate with me. When I look at a buddha I breathe a little deeper, a little more easily; it calms me. But I decided, rather than spend increasingly stretched funds to buy one, I would make one instead! And what’s the absolute cheapest medium of art? Seriously, the dead-level cheapest? Papier-mache of course! That’s what I’ve done. Unfortunately, it’s my curse that I detest taking photos. I’m forever making excuses like, “Oh, I don’t have a good camera,” or “Oh, I can’t find the charger for it,” or “Oh, I think I broke my index finger” or, “Oh, my eyes hurt,” but the bottom line is that I just really hate taking pictures. So I don’t have a record to show you of what I’ve done so far. Suffice it to say that from an ingredients list that included wadded tissue paper, plastic grocery sacks, old christmas gift wrap, empty cereal boxes, three varieties of masking tape, a length of thin wire, and a completed word puzzle magazine, I created a very likely semblance to a buddha holding up his right hand in the ‘fear not’ mudra. It really is cool, you guys. Instead of using the paper layering method this time, I made a paper pulp out of egg cartons, flour, and glue, and it’s beautiful; it goes on like plaster, and once it dries, I can sand it down and even sculpt it, which I’ll do on the hands, ears, face and even to make his robe. I’m about halfway through the plastering part. The only pesky thing about it is that I hate double hate frosting cakes, and that’s essentially what I’m doing, but it’s worth the pain and bother. When I’m done with it, I promise to endeavor to try to attempt to get up off my reluctant lazy ass and walk across the room and dig out the camera to take a picture…sigh…okay? I want you to see it, anyway.
The second thing is that I’ve been doing TONS of rich and amazing dream work, and am gaining the most wonderful insights from my subconscious nearly every night. I bought a little tiny round-headed halogen lamp to put on my bedside table so I won’t wake Scott up by turning on the larger one, and at least a couple times per night I roll over to scribble down my dreams as soon as I have them. By now I’ve mastered the art of pencil scrawling while half asleep, though occasionally I do miss something.
One morning I saw that one of my notes was simply the word “blue.” That one went with the dream in which I was wearing a turban and was called Mr. Tom Julia (no kidding, laugh if you want, but it actually applied to something I’d been wondering about), but was the turban blue? The sky? Was I feeling blue? Yeah, not a clue.
In the mornings I flesh out the dreams in my journal and jot down whatever comes to mind regarding them. The point to working with dreams, I’ve learned, is not to interpret or analyze them, but to observe and live with them, and take them into active imagination if they’re especially puzzling. “Active imagination” is a Jungian concept wherein you quiet your mind and reenter the dream, in your imagination, consciously interacting with the people and situations you encounter as they unfold. It sounds a little wacky, but it’s remarkable what you can learn from doing it. I won’t get into details in this post, as there are too many of them, but I will tell you that I’ve been dreaming a lot about babies, so many babies, as well as great green gobs of couples in various stages of romance and mature relationship. These two elements reveal this about me, right now, in this particular phase of life: I am entering into a time of fresh new beginnings (the babies), as well as a time in which I am reconciling the masculine and feminine aspects of myself (the couples). It’s the inner work equivalent of Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me.” It’s me taking back the daddy and mommy complexes I’ve projected onto men, and getting in touch with my own little holy family, where I’m mother, father, wife, husband, and child, all wrapped into one beautiful sacred package. This is the surprising, joyful work of the middle years, and I’m so encouraged as I trundle along my path to wholeness. Love, Mr. Tom. xo