Love, take it to the mattresses.

There’s a subtle shift that occurs after two people realize they’re standing in the moment of finality. It’s as if the world whispers, “Don’t blink or you’ll lose the last moment where you know who is standing in front of you.” The moment of truth, arrived, and this is what it’s like to not know each other anymore.

She slept on mattress on the floor—the same mattress I had purchased after the heartbreak before her—when I passed by the hallway packing the last of my things. I thought, “She has a place to rest her head even if she sleeps near the ground for now, but she’ll get a frame to lift it back up.” It was that same line of thinking I had after the initial shock of the I’m-going-to-leave-my-marriage realization; I’m doing the right thing for both of us in the long run even if the short run scorches our feet.

I’m sleeping on an air mattress tonight in my renovated shoebox in Alphabet City. It’s been quite some time—5 months to be exact—since I’ve been comfortable in my own space. Despite the obvious disarray from the move, I’m free to be free. Although, if I’m truly being honest, here, that uncomforted space issue started one year and five months ago. While I’m being honest, let’s face it, freedom is never free.

Shopping for mattresses is a lot like soul work; you have to know yourself well enough to know what you like, how much you’re willing to invest in your comfort, and not rush it. I was upsold on the first overpriced mattress, a firm with a pillow top, like many other things during that period in my life. Later, I was also talked into tossing it for a terribly old, piss stained, non-pillow top mattress, by a girlfriend attached to most everything except me. After she hurt me in the most despicable way possible, I was sans mattress, not that one fit into my inherited vagabond lifestyle in the first place; couch surfing required less capital and emotional investment.

Futons, the minimalist way of resting your head, was the way to Zen. Mattresses were heavy and laborious constructs of luxury that I didn’t need. No, out with the old and in with the new. I acquired a different, vibrant, soul enriching, school of thought, and the only way to happiness was through the suffering–and, let me just say this about suffering; there were some painstakingly difficult nights of sleep where my back was concerned. Futon people don’t have significant romantic relationships. They just can’t, really, because a futon person is in a transitory state of living that no one wants to catch.

With the first indication of love interest, I tossed that sucker and bought a new mattress, firm, for her back problems. Solving her problems, giving her comfort, and making certain she never woke up in pain, was how I spent the next four-or-so years. Sleeping on that firm mattress, built to sustain the strength of the spine, it occurred to me that this firm mattress was not mine. I purchased it, yes, but this was not where I was supposed to rest my head.

I left her the firm mattress, which was now on the floor with her. I had my freedom, so I marched into Macy’s listening to the divorce theme song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine and I plopped down on that plush Euro bed mattress.

“Can I help you?”

I smiled, big. “Yes, I’m in the market for a new mattress.”

“Feel like testing out the others?”

I closed my eyes, briefly, and despite being internally sold on the one I was on I shook my head yes.

She led me to different makes and styles of mattresses, and I obliged because I had never taken my time before, until we made a full round and stood in front of the first choice; the queen plush Euro bed. “Do you know the comfort level you want?” She asked.

“I do,” I replied. “I want to sleep in a cloud.”

“So this one seems like the perfect fit.” She pointed.

“Yes.”

We made small talk as I spent an extravagant amount of money on my mattress–MY mattress.

“What’s the reason for the purchase today?” She looked up from entering my credit card information.

“I was married for four years and the trade-off was the firm mattress.” I paused and felt a tremendous amount of fulfillment. “Now that I’m teetering on the brink of divorce, I want to rest my head in the clouds.”

The cloud-like mattress arrives on Thursday, so for now I’m making do with the air mattress. I’d rather be like one with air than two on an old piss stained non-pillowtop, firm, break-my-back-for-love type of mattress. So, while we may be strangers and prefer different mattresses, I know one thing to be true about myself–I prefer plush.

 

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Me, Myself, and Ignorant Ego.

There’s much said about ego, but I really like this Buddhist take on it.

“The ego needs activity in order to exist. Like and dislike, attachment, aversion, greed and hatred are the main overt activities of the ego. The more desire and aversion we have the more alive we feel, the more real and concrete the ego seems. In reality, the ego depends on desire, its life-blood is desire. The ego and desire are like the two sides of a coin — one cannot exist without the other. The ego is projected desire, and desire is projected ego.”

I supposed, with the above, I can’t really delve into ego until I jump into desire.  Desire has many levels of intensity but it’s always about the abandonment issues of ego-identified self.  A grasping for something that will always, more than likely, be just outside attaining.  If it is attained, well, there will be other desires to drive us to the facade of purpose.  Who am I if I am not my desires?  After all, it is desire that pierces through the chatter of the crowded mind and once its gone can you live with the echo?

I’ve been told, on several occasions, that I write a lot about the past and the future.  Certainly, I’ve been known to hide away in those places observing their contrast.  Something as fleeting as a smell can project the liveliest of person from my past onto the white-wall of my mind leaving me to rewrite a riding-into-the-sunset moment where the future is more aligned to the happy ending of today.  The problem becomes that no matter how I approach time with the knowledge that it is not, in fact, linear, my ego constructs linearly against me.   For an intelligent person, I’ve got an ignorant ego. The strength of that ignorance is quite astounding at times, but luckily for me I’m not really the clingy type, which allows me to break free – even for a short while – from the stronghold of “I”.  But, the realization of this division leaves me weak and wanting to prevent ego-death.  Who am “I” without the illusion of “me”?

Even in scanning this post the paragraphs – separation of thoughts and ideas – begin with “I” and ends with “me”.  The muck I must go through on my journey won’t be easy to clean off my boots, but there is a soul at the door of delight that begs to be touched standing on a humorous welcome mat.

“It follows that in this surface or desire-soul there is no true soul-life, but a psychic deformation and wrong reception of the touch of things. The malady of the world is that the individual cannot find his real soul….” -Sri Aurobindo “The Life Divine

Dear Jeffrey, 11 days until you’re 28…

Eleven is my lucky number, do you know this?  I think it may be mom’s as well.  Seven is another.  7-11…perhaps I should be the CEO of that, huh?

Supposedly, the number seven is one of the most significant numbers in the Holy Bible (besides the number one, the number seven is used more than all the others in it).  In music, there are seven notes in the musical scale.  Rolling dice for luck (or gambling), the seven has the highest probability of occurring as an addition.  There are seven colors in the rainbow,seven continents, seven stars in the constellation, seven days in a week, seven rows in the periodic table, and of course the Seven Wonders of The World.  Seven also represents the year of my birth (’77).

As for eleven, well it’s the master number. Eleven is duality when broken down (1+1=2).  You have September 11th (9+1+1 = 11), 11:11 on December 21st, 2012 the Mayan calendar ends (and some people think the world will end), football and soccer are played with 11 players on the field, and in Buddhism there are eleven groups of kindness (a man entered the Way, the two Truths, the three Gates of Delivery, the four Truths of the correct Law, the five faculties, the six Authorities, the seven Members of the Illumination, the eight Members of the Path, the nine Residences of the Being, the ten Forces of the Realized and the eleven Deliverances of the Heart full of love).

More importantly, though, in eleven days we celebrate your remarkably short life.  If love could have kept you alive, Jeffrey, you would have lived forever.

Yours,
Sissy

We are the architects of happiness…

It’s true, karma.  I go round ‘n round with it (no pun intended) because I’m impatient with a short fuse (and very human), but part of my core beliefs are rooted in this basic law of moral causation.  Without getting all metaphysically Kant and breaking down the foundational principle of morals, I’ll be the first to tell you that ‘What I ought to do’ isn’t always what I do and I certainly have reaped what I have sown.  I’ve also, in life, felt a great moral ‘duty’ and made choices that countered my desires or interest for the sake of Karma caching.  Karma can be defined by the cause and effects of any thought, word, or deed of moral and immoral volition.

“If we are to assume that anybody has designedly set this wonderful universe going, it is perfectly clear to me that he is no more entirely benevolent and just in any intelligible sense of the words, than that he is malevolent and unjust.” – Aldous Huxley

Alas, The Law of Karma is merely one of the many conditions of my own personal philosophies and one of the twenty-four in Buddhist philosophy.  Applying this to religion: Being created by an Almighty God who controls our destinies and predetermines our future, or being produced by an irresistible Karma that completely determines our fate and controls our life’s course, independent of any free action on our part, is essentially the same. The only difference lies in the two words God and Karma. One could easily be substituted for the other, because the ultimate operation of both forces would be identical.” (‘The Theory of Karma’ by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw).

I’m not writing this post as a teaching of any particular spirituality no matter how Buddhist-slanting it may come off. I’m merely writing this because this morning I woke up and made a dreadful call to the customer service department of my bank.  When the customer satisfaction representative (as they are now called, but as we all know they should – typically – be called customer dissatisfaction representatives) got on the phone I was fully prepared to launch into my unsatisfied customer diatribe, take down a badge number, and ask to speak to a supervisor, but today didn’t require packing the heat.  In a rare and tingly-happy-believe-in-the-world-again turn of events, he (why is it that we only remember the identifying details of those that wrong us and not those that generate goodwill?) not only satisfied the customer but he went above-and-beyond to set in motion the events of a brilliant day.  He not only took away a nuisance, he took away the entire burden and then wished me a blessed day. This first interaction in my day created a chain reaction of good and the well-wish to be contented and happy truly did generate not only that but also hope and a moral courage to validate these feelings for someone else.

The kind customer VERY-satisfactory representative inspired not only this posting – my writing – but shaped my circuitous thinking about something I read a couple of weeks ago that prompted an immediate reaction from me and in turn proved to be the gospel – Justine Musk’s ‘who is influencing you, and how? – three degrees of influence, your writing, and you.’

Even if you’re not a writer, you can certainly be inspired and THAT is categorically imperative for me to pass around.  (To get all Kant about it).

“All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states.” – Buddha


My Childhood friend named Struggle.

Yesterday an agent rejected my manuscript citing, “I couldn’t get passed the first 50 pages because there is no point.”  As disappointing as this was it wasn’t too surprising because the overarching theme in my life is struggle without any connective purpose.  Might I mention, my manuscript is a memoir.

If I were Alanis Morissette and writing IRONIC, I would write the lyric, “It’s like buying a new house and getting a property tax increase before the first mortgage payment.”  It’s a good thing I didn’t learn the definition of Irony from her, rather I learned it from the movie Reality Bites; a little too ironic, don’t you think?

The cycle of life is fascinating, isn’t it?  Sometimes I hear that George Bernard Shaw quote, “Youth is wasted on the young,” and then I hear some artists wax about the possibility of more stories of youth because as an adult we take fewer chances.  How about spending nine years working on a career to finally arrive just to have the economy boot you back to hourly wages like nine years back. 

The energy you put into life you get back, Karma as it is called.  I believe it, really I do.  I throw more energy balls than many people I know, but lately every time I manifest I just hear my boss’ laugh when I asked her for a promotion.  

Maybe I should have taken my wife up on the offer to move into the rainforest of Maui and just live off our fruit stand?!  As the 25th President (William McKinley) of our broken country said, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California.  It’s Manifest Destiny.” 

“Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce Selfishness,
Have few desires.”
                  Lao-Tzu

 

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