Abundance

Week 6 of the Artist’s Way is about abundance/money. One of AA’s promises is ‘the fear of money & economic insecurity will leave us’ – the trick being the word ‘fear’  as ‘economic insecurity’ never leaves us – just ask Trump about his tax returns & his fear flares up instantly. I’ve rarely heard anyone say they have too much money or that the money that they have makes them all that secure. Money can’t buy you happiness but it can get you a decent therapist.

As with the other weeks there are lots of lists to make. Here’s one of mine: silver cloud rolls royce; spaniel; lilacs; maple pecan ices cream; kiwi; cauliflower; bbq ribs & bake potato; endless list; red. Can you guess what this is a list of? In some ways this list a challenge because some of the items where areas of my life I that aren’t very relevant.

The artists dates have not been going someplace but cleaning neglected nooks & closets in my house & making discoveries. Caches of photos from 1973; rough drafts of early novels; old notebooks; boxes old bandages (do they expire? I tossed them regardless). An abundance memory, dust & paper-clips. Letting go of that stuff has become easier creating an abundance of space, space I’ll not to refill.

The Way doesn’t really address the culture of materialism – in which having enough is seen settling for less. Compulsive consumers are seen as the key to progress – so one wants to be unblocked creatively in order to make more money to keep the wheels of progress turning. In the USA now there are people who see social distancing impeding progress. I guess money $ for the funeral industry is actually a good thing.

One thing I did do that created an instant sense of too much & wow! was indulging in a sale that Brick Books is having – a box of 50 poetry books for $30. Mine arrived this past week & I was amazed. The books average at 18.00 each – which is $900.00 worth of books. Then I reflected on the nature of becoming a published poet & was saddened. https://www.brickbooks.ca/30-for-a-box-of-books-sale/ . But what won’t keep me from enjoying the books. Guess what my friends are getting for Christmas 🙂

My Luck

when I tell people

I’m lucky to be alive today

they react as if I’m over-reacting

because in many ways

my life has been a breeze

I didn’t suffer any physical 

sexual 

emotional 

abuse growing up

never went hungry

my parents never divorced

so what do I have to complain about

 

it’s not that I’m complaining

merely making a statement of fact

I’m lucky to alive

that was a time

when gay teens 

were put into institutions 

to be cured

given shock treatment

lobotomies

behaviour modification

so they could be normal 

gender conforming

boys & girls

 

what saved my life 

was music

music never judged you

never waited outside school 

to beat you up

didn’t tell on you

didn’t turn away

when you searched album covers

for inspiration in words

in the tight pants of lead guitarists

or the sturdy arms of drummers

mooning over Keith Moon

 

never knowing anything 

about their lives

maybe if I had known 

Jim Morrison 

was really a backdoor man

Moon was a bi guy

I might have had a glimmer

of hope 

 

but even though they had talent

fame 

that allowed them freedom

but not enough to be out

careers would have been ruined

and when the music was over

they self-destructed

I was lucky to be alive

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

nothing thanks to covid19 😦

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Picky Picky

Picky

as you said

I am picky

not that I didn’t appreciate your offer

I’ve learned

that just because I can

doesn’t mean I have to

 

I’ve learned by past experience

time after time

of saying yes

to please someone

who wants to gratify some need of mine

doesn’t result in satisfaction

 

so when I say no

it is because I don’t want to

not that I’m not interested

or that it isn’t something I might enjoy

but because I know better

in fact

I’d rather have you think

I’m picky

than explain why I say no

and calling me picky

isn’t going to change my mind

This is a concept that took me a long time to realize: “because I can/ doesn’t mean I have to.” It fights out consumer culture’s push of more more more  in which there is no such thing as too much – having enough is seen a settling for less – enough is passive, more is productive. In some areas (ie music) I suffer from this addiction to ‘too much.’ In posting about my collection on Fridays I sometimes find things that I had forgotten I had 🙂

This piece is also another reflection on people pleasing. Some people will take someone turning down a drink, a toke, a line of coke personally. As if they are being told they aren’t good enough, their booze or drugs aren’t good enough – they feel judged. Too often trust is based on mutual enjoyments, friendships are built over passing joints around. In the queer world saying no to drugs is seen as saying to to sex. But that’s another post.

A large part of the 227 Rules for monks deals with their comportment in public – mostly ways of not calling attention to themselves. Not that they encourage people pleasing but at the same time they encourage the diminishment of self – the rules for clothes make one robe indistinguishable from that of another monk. Which goes against our culture … or is that cult of identity.

 

I’m not going to become a monk but I do like being less confined by the need to prove identity or to surrender identity to please someone else. “because I can/ doesn’t mean I have to” is a balance of not letting opportunity taken or declined become definition. 


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Simplicity

Simplicity

I can’t remember

the last time I owned

just one of anything

such simplicity 

was never allowed me

 

I try as best I can

to possess less

to be less owned by what I own

when something new comes in

something old must leave

by leave I mean

must be gone

not merely stored away

but donated shared given away

thrown away

reduced slowly

 

but becoming less attached to things

isn’t the way of this world

even though we’re told

things don’t matter

we get judged

by things we acquire

told that if the house burns 

be grateful to be alive

you can’t take it with you

but

you might as well enjoy it while you can

We live in a wasteful culture in which to say you have enough is admitting defeat. Not to want more means one is settling for less than they deserve. This constant seeking is so subtly supported one often doesn’t know where the messages are coming from.

 

Watch any TV show & notice how often the same outfit is worn? In some shows the leads never wear the same clothing from episode to episode. Yet we rarely see the characters shopping for clothes. I recently saw a headline to the effect that so-and-so big-name-star was seen wearing the same outfit they had on last week. Clearly someone’s career is down the tubes.

One of the things that runs through the 227 Rules is a strong anti-capitalistic stance. The perfection of a spiritual path lies in not allowing things to control one but allowing for the need for things i.e. the robe. The push isn’t to transcend but to limit how things constrain us. Sounds easy in theory but in practice it isn’t so easy.

If it weren’t for these 227 prompts some of these thoughts would probably enter my head. I am, like most people, numbed by the constant urging for more to even notice the constant urging for more. Worse yet numb to the consequences, to the fear of being judged, left behind, in the wake of those spending their way to identity & satisfaction. My consumerism is controlled by my finances. I can’t pretend that when I win Lotto Max I won’t indulge in some mindless, foolish, spending. Sometimes Daddy likes a new pair of shoes.

 

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