How To Save Lives

Why do you want to talk about this?

Because I am not happy about it. I just killed a fly and now I feel bad.

Is it really a big deal? I mean it is just a fly.

But I think it is a big deal. It is a living creature. It has life in it and what right do I have to take a life, no matter what kind of form that life may take?

Well, humans and every other creature take lives all the time. Animals do not even think of it. They kill instinctually. It is just what they do. Humans do the same.

Yes, but I think humans have more evolved brains. We have the ability to have empathy and compassion. We have the ability to value and respect certain things.

Don’t you think animals have this same ability?

Yes, I think they do. I just do not fully understand it but when I see animals getting along with creatures that are a different species, this means they must have some ability to value life.

Yes.

So if animals can do it, I should be able to do it.

Yes, but an animal will try to eat a fly that is bothering it. You have seen your dogs continually hunt down and eat flies.

Yes. But still I am not happy about taking a life. I don’t think it is a good idea. My dogs do it because it is just what they instinctually do. They can’t really stop and think, “Hey, this is a living creature. I should try to value and respect it.”

This is true.

I have that ability. This is what differentiates humans from all other creatures. We do have the ability to say to ourselves, “Hey wait. This is a living creature and maybe I should respect and value all forms of life.”

What a different world it would be if we all could do this.

Yes, but humans tend to get bored and angry. When angry and bored humans can be the most uncaring, self-centered and malicous creature on the earth. Boredom mixed with anger and/or fear is a dangerous mixture.

Yes. You could say that the cause of most killings, wars, genocides, religious persecutions is boredom.

Boredom mixed with and anger and/or fear.

Yes. Humans tend to be terrified of boredom. It makes them feel like they are dissolving into nothingness. They lose interest in everything. They feel like they serve no purpose. Everything lacks meaning. Humans are terrified of this. Killing, war, genocides, religious persecutions and all forms of distraction are really just ways to feel fully alive again. They are defenses against boredom.

Humans kill, persecute, wage wars and distract themselves to defend themselves against boredom. Interesting. I have never thought of it like this before but I think you are right.

So if when you see flies buzzing around your writing studio, if you can just learn to tolerate them. You may not get the jolt of being fully alive that comes from hunting down and killing a fly but at least you will be respecting life. You will learn how to tolerate the annoyance that may come from the frenetic activity of the fly. You will value life, rather than taking a life so that you can feel more fully alive.

And not just that. When I kill a fly I feel better because flies really do bother me. They are very annoying.

Yes, but the annoyance of a fly creates the same inner frustration and discomfort that say a Muslim Fundamentalist feels when they think about Westerners. The annoyance caused by a fly is similar to the annoyance that say a Trump supporter feels when they think of a liberal or a democrat. The only way that you will be able to differentiate yourself from all the insanity of human beings who are killing and hating each other, is to learn how to tolerate and respect the annoyance that a fly creates in you. As long as you kill a fly because it bothers you, you are no different from say an American fighter pilot who blows people up because they are a threat to his sense of security and calm. You become just like everyone else you abhor.

By just killing a fly in my writing studio?

Yes. It is the same psychological mechanism at work. You not valuing a life because it bothers you in your writing studio is the same as a Muslim Fundamentalist blowing people up in an airport because they are bothered by their way of life.

Ok. Makes sense. I need to stop killing flies. I see how world change begins at a microcosmic level. It begins in my writing studio. It begins with my very small actions. Even though I believe a massive upheaval is coming, where humans will take the lives of massive amounts of other humans because they are annoyed with one another, I can at least not be a participant in this by respecting and valuing all life.

Yes. If you can respect and value all life in your small, backyard writing studio, maybe this will have a larger effect in the outside world. Maybe not killing that next fly that bothers you, you will be saving the lives of your wife and everyone else you love. Maybe you will also be saving the lives of thousands of people you have never met and will never know.

Just by not killing a fly?

Yes. Just by not participating in the epidemic of killing. Possibly this way you can bring about some sort of change.

Ok. Will give it a shot. Even though there is a fly buzzing around my writing studio and driving me nuts right now, I will leave it alone.

Good. It will be gone soon enough.

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Survival Of The Fittest?

Are you going to complain again?

I don’t see this as complaining. I am just talking about particular issues in my life. I think it is important to do.

Why?

Just helps to create more clarity and understanding within. It allows me to sort out various things I am thinking and feeling.

So what are you dealing with now?

I’m a bit frustrated. I was just sitting in my living room with my wife. We were reading our books and drinking our morning cup of coffee. I then told my wife that I was up all night worrying about my business failing. Worrying about not being able to make enough money to get by.

Wasn’t she trying to read and enjoy her morning coffee?

Yes.

So why did you put this on her then? Isn’t it a bit early in the morning for such heaviness?

Maybe so. I just wanted to talk about what I was feeling. Maybe I said too much.

What did you say?

I was just telling her how I was thinking about how unfair it is that there are a lot of people in the world making a lot of money doing the thing that they want to do. Artists, writers, musicians, architects, business people and on and on all making an excellent living doing the thing they presumably love to do. I on the other hand am not making very much money doing the thing that I do not really want to be doing. Just doesn’t seem fair, even though I know life is not fair and it is the way it goes.

Why do you not want to be doing what you are doing for work?

It is just not what I would ideally be doing if I had a choice. I feel like I am doing it because it is the easiest and most secure thing for me to do at the moment. Maybe I am doing it because fear keeps me from doing anything else. It is not so bad what I do. I do not hate it but it is hard and not a lot of fun. I am trying to get into it. Trying to embrace it but now that my business is beginning to fail I feel like I need to devote more time, energy and effort trying to get my business up and running again. I need to put more energy into doing the thing that I do not really want to be doing in the first place because I need the money.

So now that you are not making much money at doing the thing that you do not want to be doing you have to spend a lot more time and energy building back up the thing that you do not really want to be doing?

Yes. And I also need to be worrying about not being able to make money doing the thing that I do not really want to be doing. Now all of a sudden I really want to be doing more of the thing that I do not want to be doing so that I can make more money doing it and have more financial security as a result.

I see. So now you need the thing that you do not want to be doing because if you do not have the thing that you do not want to be doing you will lose your financial security and possibly your social status as a result.

Yes. And then I may have to go work another job, which will just be a thing that I do not want to be doing even more so and then the thing that I do not want to be doing now will become something that I wish that I was still doing because it is better than the thing I have to do now.

I get it. So it is almost like you are lucky to be doing the thing that you are doing now even though it is not the thing you want to be doing. Like a prisoner who is lucky to be in his cell because he could be seriously harmed if he was allowed to roam free.

Yes. I suppose that is accurate. I am lucky to be imprisoned in the way that I am because there are so many worse forms of imprisonment out there. But I still do not enjoy or like being imprisoned.

Yes. And now that you feel like you could lose your jail cell you are feeling like you should be more grateful for the safety and security that your cell provides?

Yes. I feel like I may have taken it for granted and now I am paying the price and also have to work harder to get my cell back!

How messed up! So what happened when you tried to talk with your wife about all of this?

She listened for a few minutes but then said she had to go to the bathroom and that put an end to our conversation.

She did not want to hear it?

No. Obviosuly not. Probably gave her anxiety. Also she is a therapist and listens to people all day talking about their problems. I have noticed that she has little tolerance for my problems.

Yes. But you also always talk about your problems. That is most of what you talk about. Because you have no one else to talk too, she has to listen to all of it. She is probably just tired of hearing you talk about your problems.

Possibly. But I feel like she should still try and make an effort to listen. I realize I talk about problems a lot. I realize I worry a lot. But this is the person I am. I need someone to talk with about it. My wife just seems to have little interest in talking with me about these things.

How do you know?

Because when you start talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings, you can tell pretty immediately if they are interested or just want to get the conversation over with.

And you feel like your wife just wants to get the conversation over with?

Yes! Always. She is continually trying to fix my problems, telling me what I should do rather than just listening and talking with me about stuff.

Maybe you should take her advice rather than thinking that what she says is not possible. Maybe you should really try and take some of the solutions she offers.

Maybe. I always feel like things are not as easy as she makes them out to be! I have real problems that need to be worried about and understood. I feel like her solutions are often not practical.

So you want her to worry more?

No. I guess I just want her to be more aware of the problems and less easy going or less care free about everything. I need her to realize that us not having enough money is serious! She should cut back on spending. She should figure out how she could potentially make more money. She should be more worried!

So maybe you do want her to worry more?

Maybe so. Maybe worry is not always such a bad thing. Maybe worry is what can sometimes keep things from falling apart. I just want her to see the severity of this situation and be a bit more concerned rather than telling me things like “since you are working less you should take more time to write a book.” What???

I just think that you want her to be as upset and concerned as you are. This will make you feel more comfortable knowing that she is aware of these various threats. As a result of being aware of these various threats she will exercise more caution.

Exactly!

But this is not how she is. She is an easy going, non-worrying, “it is all good” kind of person.

It drives me nuts sometimes.

I am sure. It drives you nuts because…….

Because I feel like she should be more threatened. It is always the creatures who feel threatened and worried who tend to survive. Those walking around thinking “its all good” tend to be the ones who are eaten.

Survival of the fittest?

Yes. I suppose that the worriers are often the fittest.

They are the ones who survive?

Yes.

I don’t know man. I think the worriers stress themselves out immensely and can as a result cut their existence short. But it is true that someone who does not worry, is not really stressed about much and does not take many precautions could also cut their existence short. It is hard to say if the worrier is more likely to survive than the non-worrier. But I will say that the non-worrier, even if they do not survive for as long, will have a much more pleasurable time living.

This is probably true.

No one lives forever. Everyone must go. Wether it is at 90 or 40, it always feels like it has ended too soon. So if the non-worrier passes away at 40 at least they lived a more pleasurable life than the worrier who make it to 90 and still has to pass away anyways.

I think I see what you are saying. You mean it is about quality over quantity?

Yeah. I guess you could say that. It is all relative right. Whether you are 40 or 90 when you pass away, it will still be right now. It will still feel like it is too soon. The quantity will be irrelevant if the quality was not good. If the quality was good than the quantity does not matter nearly as much.

I see.

So your wife is more concerned about the quality. When you bring up all these problems and worries of yours you are interfering with the quality of her life. She is just trying to sit there and enjoy her book and morning coffee and all of a sudden you spoil that for her. You corrupt the quality of her morning. It upsets her so much that it causes her to have to go have a bowel movement. You need to go easy. Her constitution is not designed to deal with all the worries and problems that are a daily part of your life. You need to really try and keep a lot of your issues to yourself. It’s not fair to her because she just wants you both to be able to enjoy your lives together. That is her priority. Money and all that stuff is secondary.

I see. I guess that is why I started this blog.

Yes. Exactly. You have me to talk too. Stop putting it on her all the time. Your negativity can wear away at a person like her over time. She is not designed to handle such a continual onslaught of negativity, worry, problems, conflicts. Stop putting it on her.

You are right. You are right. I do need to knock it off. I need to really try and be more mindful about this. (Sigh.)

Take her advice. Take the time to try and improve your business. Work on your creative endeavors. Read your books. Stop worrying so much.

Ok.

Got it?

I do. Thanks.

 

 

The Woody Allen Syndrome

“The chief patient I am preoccupied with is myself.”-Freud

How are you doing this morning?

I am doing fine thank you. However, I think I have the weight of the day and the coming week hanging from my shoulders and head.

What do you mean?

What I mean is that I feel like I have a lot to do and not much time to do it. I also feel like I have a lot infront of me that I do not want to do.

Like what?

Like go to work. Like pay bills. Like talk to other people. Like make money. Like worry about not making money. Like having to be in the world. Stuff like that. I realize it sounds ridiculous.

It does a bit, yes.

I just really do not enjoy my work and having to interact with people the way that I have to interact with them as a psychotherapist. There are good things about it but overall I find it troubling. I hate having to do the scheduling with other people. I hate having to worry about getting new clients. I hate having to worry that I do not have enough clients and as a result will not make much money. I hate the worry. I hate the hate. It is just all troubling.

I see. Well, maybe you need to change the way that you think about things.

What do you mean?

Maybe you should just try relaxing. Don’t care so much. Just let go. Let what happens, happen. Trust that everything will be fine. Stay present. In a hundred years no one will even remember who you are now. No one will know who you were, so why worry about the future so much? You are just a blink in time. Life is short. Take what comes. Deal with what comes. Let go of everything else.

Wise words. You are right. You are absolutely right. I know this intellectually and theoretically. Seems like my brain is hard-wired to worry and be in a highly aroused state.

It is. Didn’t you just read about that research study that showed that Jewish men suffer from depression and anxiety at rates higher than men in other ethnic groups?

I did, yes.

And you realize, the reason why is because Jewish men are much more prone to self-examination. This is what creates their chronic neurosis. It is called “The Woody Allen Syndrome.”

Hmmm.

Yes.

I wonder why Jewish men are prone to this sort of thing?

Probably because of centuries of persecution and having to continually be hypervigilant about finding ways to survive. When you have so many people trying to persecute you and hunt you down, over time you become more intelligent about how to stay alive but you also become more frightened that someone or something is going to take you down at any second.

Yes this is probably true. I am always worrying about something taking me down. Something ending the event that I call “me.” Something coming along and taking away what little power and control I have. It is contsnat. But I still do not want to go to work. I still do not want to deal with the day ahead.

You just do not like the work you do. It is that simple. Maybe some other time we can talk about why this is. I do not think you have ever liked any job that you have had to do. Another time we will discuss this. For now, don’t worry about the day or week ahead. Leave it alone. Just be present right now. Try not to think about it. Just let it all go. Take it moment by moment rather than looking forward at the entire day and week.

Alright, I will give it a shot. But I seem to be afraid of two main things- not having enough money and unconsciousness.

Yeah, I agree.

Yes.

So what are you going to do now?

I will go water the backyard garden. I will go for a walk. I will take care of some business stuff I have to deal with. I will do a bit of work on my website. Maybe I will get some reading time in. I might masturbate. Then I will dress and get ready for work.

Take things moment by moment. Don’t care about anything in the future.

Yes.

You should meditate as well. You really need to meditate. If you don’t, your mind will over power you. It will dominate you with all kinds of judgements, anger and worry.

Ok, I will meditate now. Once we finish this conversation.

Don’t let me keep you.

Ok. Thanks for your guidance.

No problem.

I still don’t want to go to work. I really don’t want to have to do this.

Please. Just sit down and meditate.

Ok.

Conversations With A Celery

 

What is it like being a celery?

It is not so bad. Takes me a long time to grow but I do not mind that so much. Gives me the ability to be patient, kind and calm while knowing that soon I will be eaten.

Yes! That does not give you any anxiety? Knowing that soon I am going to eat you?

No not really. I had almost a year to prepare for this. That year was spent being very still. I took in my surroundings. I lived fully, so I do not feel like I have anything to lose. I do not feel a need to have more of what I have already had.

But what about the pain of being eaten? I will be chewing you up into many pieces in my mouth. This does not cause you any concern?

No not really. Us celery do not really feel any pain. After such a slow growth process, and so much time spent being still, our ability to react to feeling things has been greatly diminished. From what I have heard from other celeries, being chewed up and eaten is not that big of a deal. I have accepted my fate. When I was growing up I was educated by older celeries who prepared me for my eventual end. All of the celeries that I grew up around knew that one day soon they would end up serving the purpose of being something for human consumption.

Wow. This is a very noble and calm way of looking at things.

Yes. I had good teachers. Don’t you notice that you have already eaten half of me and I am fine? I am not at all bothered that I missing my other part. I hope that it was good for you.

It was good, yes. Especially with the peanut butter that I put on top.

I never understood this. I do not know why you humans need to put peanut butter on the celery. I feel like we are good enough as we are. But I know that humans are a very complex species, who often need a lot more than we do in order to be satisfied.

Yes, this is true. We do need a lot of things to be satisfied.

Yes. Celeries are not the same way. We are content spending our lives just slowly growing in the same place. Spending our days and nights standing still, going nowhere is very satisfying for us. We just love our lives and we love being surrounded by other celeries.

This is nice.

Yes. We also are happy knowing that one day we will be ingested by humans and that by eating us we will be able to benefit human health.

What do you mean?

It gives us meaning knowing that when we are eaten we will be beneficial for treating high blood pressure, digestive issues and heart rate regulation. It is such an honor to be able to help someone else in this way!

What? Are you kidding me? You are grateful that you will be chewed up, swallowed and digested?

Yes. Celeries love self-sacrifice. It gives us meaning.

Ok. This is hard for me to understand since most humans are the opposite. We want what we can get for ourselves. We hate self-sacrifice and are miserable when we have to do so. We want to make something of ourselves and do not care about anyone else in the process (unless they make us feel good). Self-sacrifice for other people’s benefit is a very foreign concept for most humans.

Yes. I know. This is why your civilizations are on the brink of complete collapse.

Yes. It is true. We have made a mess of things.

You are a very messy species. But we celeries are happy to help in whatever small way we can.

So do you mind if I go ahead and eat you now?

I don’t mind. Go ahead. This is the moment I have been growing for.

Ok, well thank you celery. It was a pleasure to get to know you a little better before eating you.

The pleasure was all mine. I am glad I can serve you.

Chew…chew…chew…chew….chew…chew…chew…chew….chew….chew…chew…swallow.

The Marijuana Experiment, Part 2.

You are back so soon.

Yes.

Why?

Well I just felt a rush of anxiety. Phew…. now it has gone down. I think I am ok now, but thought I might freak out.

Really?

Yes. It was like a shot of adrenaline.

Interesting.

Yes.

Paranoia maybe?

Could of been. What I notice is that when any slight stressor seems to arise, I feel more anxious.

What do you mean?

Well I got a text from my father and I immediately noticed my anxiety levels go up. My father drives me nuts. He is a complete nutball. Not only does he compulsively lie to me all the time but all he can do is talk about how great he is (which, is another lie because he is such a miserable man).

So you noticed that you became anxious when reading his text?

Yes. Anxious and angry. I won’t bother you with the situation because there is always a situation with him. I will just say that I know when he is messing with me. When he is lying and bragging and it really bothers me. I just don’t like the man at all and any interaction with him sets me off. This is why I try hard to avoid him.

Yes.

Yes.

What else caused your anxiety?

I went on Facebook.

And that made you anxious?

It did. Strange. I suppose it brought up some of my social anxiety. Maybe the mixture between the text from my dad and going on Facebook put a spike in my anxiety. I noticed my heart rate go up. I felt like I could panic but told myself to relax. Told myself everything is fine. Now I feel better.

Good.

I know that the paranoia and anxiety lessens over time. A person has to go through the initial uncomfortable stage. I am prepared for some discomfort.

Ok. Maybe you should do some relaxation right now?

Yes. That is a good idea. Just wanted to report this new data from my marijuana experiment.

Thanks. Glad you did. Now go hang out with your wife who is naked in the sun and watering the garden.

I will.

 

 

The Marijuana Experiment, Part 1.

You really wan to start using it again?

It is Sunday. I would like to see how it feels. Maybe it can help me to have more energy and interest in things.

But you know that once you start using marijuana again, you can become quickly dependent.

Yes.

How do you feel about that?

I am not thrilled about being dependent on anything, but if it helps me to feel better in my life, it is ok with me.

How will you know if it is helping you feel better?

I will know. I have not been using marijuana for months and I feel like I have been reactive, unhappy, depressed, anxious, stressed out, with some good moments in between. I mean maybe I need the help. I think it can be a helpful weed/plant/drug/medication if used wisely. I am not talking about getting completely high (although I am sure I will sometimes). I am just going to experiment with using it at a lower dosage level.

What does that mean?

Small hits from the vaporizer, throughout the day.

Doesn’t that mean you will start using it on a daily basis?

If the experiment goes well, yes.

Slippery slope.

Yes, but like I said, I do not use it to get “baked.” I use it to help my brain be a more focused and creative space.

So you want to feel more focused and creative?

Yes. And I would also like to have less anger, depression, fatigue, unhappiness, boredom, sex drive….

And you think marijuana can do this for you?

It has the potential if done right, I think. If I start back up with regular marijuana use I must meditate everyday. That is the deal. This will help me to self-regulate more effectively. If I can’t meditate everyday I can not use marijuana.

Sounds smart. Ok, well you ready to start?

Yes. I have my vaporizer and some marijuana right beside me. Give me a second while I get everything ready.

Ok.

Getting it ready.

So how do you feel pre-marijuana? I feel fine. It is 9:45am on Sunday morning. I feel slightly fatigued. Tired. This is strange since I had coffee this morning. I feel relaxed. Calm. Slightly restless.

Ok. Ready to take a hit?

Yes.

Go ahead then.

Now I just wait for the vaporizer to heat up. I do not want to use too much at first. Just a moderate hit. At low doses marijuana has been found to be very helpful for depression and anxiety.

Yes. I have heard. Feel anything yet?

Not really.

Maybe take another hit?

Sure.

Anything?

I hear flies flying around my writing studio. Flies drive me nuts. I do not like to kill bugs, but I don’t mind killing flies. There are just so many of them and they make the most annoying sounds. Plus they have so much frenetic energy, which bothers me. I get easily annoyed with anything that is high energy.

Feel anything yet?

I do. I feel slightly stimulated. I feel………maybe a bit happier. I notice a small amount of anxiety but not much at all. It is just in response to initial stimulation.

Anything else?

I notice that the fatigue or tiredness is gone. My senses feel slightly less dulled. Maybe I have a bit more clarity, but hard to tell.

Maybe want to take one more hit?

Ok. I turned my vaporizer back on. What it does is very gradually heat the marijuana so that it creates a vapor. This is better than using a flame because it creates much less smoke, which is obviously better for the lungs. Some people much prefer using a flame and smoking it.

Yes. Ready?

Yes.

You do it?

I did.

Anything?

I am waiting.

In the meantime, how is your morning going?

It is going well. Just a very easy-going Sunday morning. Listening to birds. Reading a book on the life and work of Bob Cobbing. Was sitting in my garden reading. I always have this nagging feeling that I should be being more productive, so I stopped reading and here I am doing this.

Feel anything now?

Very subtle, but nice. I feel like I have more clarity. Less tired. I feel good other than the slight feeling of burn in my chest. It is very subtle, but feels nice. Better. I am not going to use any more marijuana right now. Want to see how this goes. But I will use moderatly throughout the day and then report back later.

Ok, sounds good.

Cobwebs

Why do cobwebs piss you off so much?

I don’t like them?

Why?

They are ugly. Messy.

Yes.

….

Why else?

They are symbolic of mortality. The passage of time.

What do you mean?

I mean that when we are not here, cobwebs will be here. There is nothing that we can do about them. Our attempts to stop them are temporary and transitory. It is a futile effort. Cobwebs will out live all of us.

So then why even bother taking up the fight against cobwebs? Why not just accept and embrace them?

Because that is not what humans do. Us humans battle against time. Us humans like to deny time. Pretend like time is not happening. We want to keep our bodies and living environments as unaffected by time as possible. We must create this dream for ourselves in order to deny our mortality. It is what keeps us sane.

Denying our mortality keeps us sane?

In a sense. But it also makes us insane. We are trying to hold back something that can not be held back. We are trying to push aside the inevitable and I believe it was Freud who basically said this is the root of all neurosis.

Trying to push aside time?

Yes.

Is that why you are so neurotic?

What do you mean?

Are you neurotic because you try so hard to deny the passage of time?

What are you talking about?

You think that you are content with the passing of time. You see yourself as this evolved and aware human being. But the truth is you struggle just like all the rest. You refuse to grow up, which in itself is a denial of time. You are continually trying to keep your house perfectly clean and free of cobwebs. This also is a denial of time. You live in your head, which is a huge way of denying the passing of time and your inevitable mortality. You have a wife who is much younger than you. Plus you are trying so hard to keep everything else together (body, bank balance). You my friend are a huge denier of the passing of time.

Yes. Maybe this is what causes a lot of my anxiety and restlessness. But I would not think of myself as a neurotic.

You are a complete neurotic.

What?

Just ask your wife.

Ok. Maybe I am.

This is why you hate cobwebs so much! This is why if you come home at say 2am and notice a cobweb, even if you are extremely tired, you will go out of your way to get rid of it! People who are not neurotic would not do this! The would not care nearly as much about needing to get rid of cobwebs as you do.

Ok. Maybe this is true. You are saying that the reason why I hate cobwebs as much as I do is because I am neurotic?

That is exactly what I am saying.

(I am moving my head up and down. Stroking my beard. Pondering.)