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(1977-1985)

VIII


Once in a wild long time floating down life stream the courses they came sea weed waving floating waters foaming beer sparkling wine rivers in my ocean veins of a foolís gold and liquid rubies glint of jingle of old fartís salts peppered the estuary with dead things smell the distant over sold soul full of himself pants soaked and frayed eelís breath of a James Joyce sensory feast feed the beast within sin grin got a bloody micky fin gives the shark away down town swallow the whole thing mother fucker the blues the tempest gray shy sky rays of light iceberg floating waves awashing up upon the pure deep frozen water ancient body looking out hello mister iceman they said you cometh albatross open up dream light land tortured try to escape into the grave deep fecund mirth spoke softly so whisperedly quiet I guessed it was a ghost concentrate focus remember and doubt not there is rebirth a thousand thousand thousand facets donít lose it you almost got it now arc and dive dip and spin fateful feather the wind brings peace as well as pain deeper you must look beneath the mirrors and skins beneath the waves of pain the stillness welcomes that which is experienced say you want it youíve lost it again be quiet a gift I give to you who are myself Ė the gift of perfect stillness the ice breaks open and begins to melt the fresh fissures gushing, gurgling racing down the iceman steps forth


8/7/79 - It occurs to me that compassion is essential to seeing the imperfectness of one's life, to still accepting it all, fully, and to loving oneself for it, for everything, the "good" and the "bad." No blame.

8/8/79 - Another, and most remarkable, chapter was writ today. For I called Betty to end this ruse of a relationship, once and for all, if she would not now choose to be with me instead of Keith. And she said she did, she had, she would. She asks but a few days to see him and tell him that it is over between them. She said as well that she had been about to do so already, that she loved me, and that in a short while we would be together. Amazing! Still, I'd best be cautious and not get my hopes up too much, but just let Betty be where she naturally is.

8/11/79 - Betty has broken off with Keith, and she mailed me an "I love you" card that arrived later this morning. When I called, she invited me to stop over for Tommy's birthday for a short while. I drove over. She seemed depressed and nervous. But it went really well for Tommy. Everyone seemed to have a good time, though for Betty I think it was a big effort to wear a smile. I arranged to take Tommy tomorrow afternoon to the Zoom Floom Super Splash water park. I continue to feel the best thing is to be sensitive, undemanding, open, warm, helpful, affectionate, and caring, to make Betty feel safe with me, to let her proceed at her pace, and not to cause her to think she has to be spending time with me or acting any other way than is simply where she's at now.

9/19/79 - A lot has occurred since the previous entry. Monday night, I moved out of Betty's place and into a cheap motel, a stopping point till I can get myself a new apartment. It's all over with Betty and me, but for the anger, the tears, and the removal of the rest of my stuff from her place. No use even analyzing it now. Enough!

Last Wednesday, I had the first session (and community client) in my counseling practicum. Got lots of upbeat feedback from those observing. My professor said it was the best beginning (student) therapy session he had ever seen. Wow!

Feeling really at loose ends now in this transitional period, particularly with no place of my own.

My professor also noted that I put myself down a lot and suggested a goal of giving myself more credit for the positive things I do in the counseling sessions, while minimizing their weaknesses. I agreed.

I've resumed my vegetarian diet, but expect not to try to adhere to it in a compulsive way. If I get a little egg or meat in with other foods now and then, this is fine. But generally I'll stick with lacto-vegetarian fare.

I intend also to resume regular meditation and do more of it each day, though in my own way, not trying to fit my method rigidly to a set belief system.

I expect to be broadening contacts, improving my social register, and going out more, both casually and seriously.

And I plan to stay in counseling myself, for now through USC's Psych. Services.

The above paragraphs do not adequately convey what has been going on with me in the most recent weeks. Though I've not even found time to document day to day developments, these have been perhaps among the most dramatic and stressful times in my life to date. Suffice to say, over the past month, I've continued my full-time studies, classes, exams, etc., at the University of South Carolina, have persisted as well with my part-time work (as a grad. assistant IQ, personality, and aptitude tester at the USC Educational Psychology Dept.), have handled the many routine chores of any ordinary existence, kept in touch with friends and relatives (most of whom, unfortunately, are at some distance - could use folks with whom I'm close being a lot nearer, especially when wrestling with all these major issues and decisions!), renewed an on-again-off-again relationship with Betty to the extent that we set a date, were arranging to get married, hurriedly sent out the invitations, and gathered, all in our finery, at Betty's house with the several guests and her kids, to have the ceremony which, even after the photography, gifts opening, punch, cake, and so on (while people waited and we or the guests became gradually more distressed at the little fiasco), did not actually happen because the Justice of the Peace failed to show up and could not be reached at the last minute by phone (with me wondering if Betty had secretly cancelled his visit - she claiming otherwise, of course - and afterward she said we should now indefinitely delay a new date because the JP's being AWOL must mean our getting hitched was "not God's will"), a few nights later was nonetheless with Betty and her children again when she said it was time, we put her oldest daughter in charge of the other two kids, I bundled Betty into my car and nervously rushed her to the hospital, then stayed throughout the medical preparations and new baby delivery, afterward she saying I'd been "great" (and I gradually got the circulation back in a hand she'd held while giving birth), but then we broke up yet anew, and I moved out once more, following new revelations about her continued involvement behind my back with Keith, etc.

9/27/79 - I've now been in my new apartment for several days. Still feeling really lonely and at loose ends. Yet I'm meeting other women. I might ask two or three of them out in the next few days. My heart is not really in it. I think I'll forget about getting married anytime soon and just try to live pretty much in the moment and see what happens for awhile.

I got into a dream group today and so may be recording my nocturnal imaginings when I remember them, then see what they have to tell me about sorting things out and starting over.

Frustrated with the phone company. After a week they still don't have service started.

10/6/79 - It's been nearly three weeks since I was last with Betty and we ended things. I had moved out of her place a few days earlier (after she decided once again to indefinitely postpone our getting married, named her baby after Keith [despite earlier telling me he would have her last name] and decided to see Keith when I was not there, which she'd told me they would not do).

10/19/79 - Just back from seeing Betty and her family. I spent about an hour with them. I merely went over, not calling or waiting for an invitation. We spent a subdued but pleasant time together, kissed briefly, and then she asked me to leave, adding she still had some things to work out and that I must be patient. I realized while there how much I still want this to be my family and Betty my woman. Clearly she does not feel the same way where I'm concerned, either remaining closer to Keith or wishing for greater independence.

I had gone over there realizing that Keith might be with her, that she might not want me there at all, or that in some other way she might simply confirm my feelings of rejection. So, her asking me to leave was not really a big surprise and didn't come as a heavy blow.

10/26/79 - I'm 36 today. I worked all day. Was also mostly sad since getting up this morning. Once back in the apartment, I rested a few minutes, then got ready for a date with Ruthie. Mom called and wished me "Happy Birthday" for she, Dad, and Pete. Before hanging up, she put Pete on the line for a few minutes. Mom gave me the benefit of her views on it being best Betty and I had not married. I really needed that! Fortunately, she did not persist when she got little or no response from me.

Had a fairly comfortable date with Ruthie, dinner at her place and a movie, "The Great Santini," which I felt was a good film. Drove home. Still feeling down. Fantasies of death. At least a mild desire to be out of this world, for the luxury of oblivion. Mild to moderate depression, I guess. Oh well, tomorrow's another day!

10/27/79 - Attended a Columbia Buddhist Meditation Center workshop today, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Met some nice folks. Also checked out a new vegetarian restaurant/club called "The Quarter Moon." Home. Jogging. Rest for a few minutes. Watching TV . Further meditation. Called some people for phone visits and/or dates: nobody home. Fixed supper. Going over tips to feel better after a breakup. Also reviewing journal entries about Betty, from first meeting her to the present.

In discussion at the Columbia Buddhist Meditation Center today, it was pointed out that, instead of spontaneous, clear focus in the present, our characteristic pattern is one of: 1. Clinging, grasping; 2. Rejection; 3. Ignoring. Through meditation we may become more capable of realistic interaction and awareness vs. indulging in delusions and essentially mechanical sleep-walking. But if we see it, the latter lacks at least some of its pay-off. Further, through the meditation we can improve the will, thereby making it still easier to give up less conscious behaviors. There is nothing right or wrong about such indulging. We may find it to our liking. It protects us from the nakedness of our essential self and from the transitory, unstable nature of everything phenomenal. Things can be pretty scary without protective illusions, imposed structure, and filters. Without them, however, we are also free of the constant struggle and conflict that go with protecting a falsehood, the individual self or ego. We keep a delusional world because without it we think anything could happen. Fearing this, we try to order and manipulate existence. But we do not really control much at all. In any case, anything still happens!

11/2/79 - Got to thinking too much and so couldn't sleep. Later, had a dream in which Keith was telling me that my turn would come, that I would get taken and dumped on by Betty the same as he had, and that he would have the last laugh when that happened.

Met a very attractive woman at the Midlands rehab facility today. She works as a social worker out there. I may ask her out if haven't heard from Betty in the next week.

Saw four counseling clients yesterday at that center. These retarded folks are going through hard times I never would have guessed. One was sad because his father had recently had a serious stroke. Several felt rejected by parents or relatives. Some had been in trouble with the law. The young women have often had children yet cannot be with or properly care for them. Some have suffered child abuse. One girl had been horribly burned.

11/4/79 - Went to the Columbia Buddhist Center for meditation this morning.

11/5/79 - The following from A Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment seems apropos:

"Well, what did you think it was that needed to be loved?"

"No resistance."

"Love it the way it is."

"Love as much as you can from wherever you are."

"I love myself for hating this."

"Loving yourself will dissolve your ego: You will feel no need to prove you are superior."


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