the universe


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I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not young enough to be absolutely certain I know the truth. The shades of grey multiply with each year. But that’s okay. The things that important are beyond those kinds of thought processes. We can feel around their edges, if we try real hard and remember they’re always changing shape anyway.

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I’ve been sick for the last few months, all sorts of unusual gastrointestinal and stomach issues, about every two weeks, interspersed with bouts of feeling absolutely fine. I finally went to the doctor last Friday. He thought it might be pancreatitis brought on by a medication he prescribed just about two months ago, because that’s one of the rare possible side effects. I’m not sure about that because people are usually hospitalized for pancreatitis and he didn’t suggest that. True, I resisted going to the doctor all that time–because that’s just what I do. I finally took myself off that medicine in late June. I’ve been gradually improving, sort of, although I’ve been sick again for the last 4 days. Each bout of this is milder than the last, but I am definitely sick of being sick. I think doc was mostly baffled by my symptoms but agreed with my decision to take myself off the medicine. He is having blood and other tests done, but no results yet.

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Today’s Google doodle is quite wonderful–and quite emotional for me. Maybe it’s because the moon landing was one of the seminal events of my young life; maybe it’s because we had hope then that the world might come together now that we could see how tiny and fragile our Earth was. I’ve never had that kind of hope again–well, maybe for a short time when the Berlin wall came down. Hope is as fragile as our Earth suspended in the immense blackness of space.

I should also add that I had that kind of crazy hope again when President Obama was elected. But.

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I bet the phone answering system in Heaven is Hell.

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Great article by Maria Popova at Brainpickings: The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt on the Normalization of Human Wickedness and Our Only Effective Antidote to It

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Best fortune cookie fortune I ever got? After a long dinner conversation with my artist friend about whether we should continue to pursue our art or give up: “Art is your fate, don’t debate.” My friend got the same fortune. We told a mutual artist friend about it and went back to the same restaurant, partially because of the food but partially because of the fortune. We got the usual run-of-the-mill fortunes but our other friend, who had also been questioning whether to give up the art, got “Art is your fate, don’t debate.” #Synchronicity

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That feeling when you listen to a piece of music you loved in your youth that you haven’t listened to for a long time…but it no longer works. #NotOdeToJoy

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The Universe is infinite, yet small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

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SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Someone on Twitter posted, “If you come across this tweet, reply with the grade you were in when you had your first nonwhite teacher.” Oh God. I can’t remember even one, even in college. THIS IS SO BAD.

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People are surprised that a large segment of the public are credulous and strenuously resist logic. Even a casual reading of history shows this has always been so. The difference now is that we have entire news outlets and social media sites promoting the lack of critical thinking.

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Everyone is a conflicted human being. We have to admit that to ourselves or risk getting ourselves into a lot of trouble.

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It’s interesting: Because I just write and push through without editing to get words on the page, my first drafts always have a lot more of my working class origins in them. I leave some of that language in if it suits the character, refine it if not.

Random quote of the day:

“In my youth I regarded the Universe as an open book, printed in the language of physical equations, whereas now it appears to me as a text written in invisible ink, of which, in our rare moments of grace, we are able to decipher a small fragment.”

—Arthur Koestler, The Invisible Writing

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Laurel and Hardy, Ariana Grande, or the Salvation Army Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself the last couple of days for various reasons. Just this morning I was lying in bed doing a “poor me” routine in my head. I eventually told myself to put a sock in it and get over myself. As I swung my legs out of bed I noticed a stamped envelope sitting on the floor next to the bed that I’d swear wasn’t there before.

Let me back up a bit first before going there.

A few nights ago, I had a dream about my cousin S. We had a “misunderstanding” not quite a year and a half ago and haven’t spoken since. I love her and regretted things were that way but I didn’t know if I should contact her. I didn’t know if she’d welcome contact. So, I took the easy way out and stayed silent. It’s not as if I have a lot of relatives left in this world. I’ve got really good friends, for which I’m very grateful, but not that many relatives left that I’m close to. Oh, there are legions of cousins and even a niece or nephew or two but I hardly know them. They’re virtually strangers. But S. has been in my life most of my life. This dream reminded me of that.

When I got up the morning after the dream I did a lot of thinking. I very much believe in dreams as messages, both from the deeper core of who we are and from that part of us that is connected to the larger universe. I thought this dream might be something of the latter. I thought I had to reach out, but I wasn’t brave enough for an email and most especially not a call. I texted S. and asked how she was doing. She texted me back and we chatted a bit. No mention was made of the misunderstanding (for which I am grateful—not that brave) but at least we talked and were friendly.

I really don’t want to lose contact with her. I really want her to know that she means a lot to me. Maybe I’ll work up the courage to say/do more later, but for now I’ve done what I could.

So, that envelope on the floor this morning. I recognized it before I picked it up and it did startle me to see it. Inside was a letter from my aunt, S.’s mother, who died of breast cancer some years ago. She wrote it while going through chemo and although she did have a lot to say about how miserable she felt, her pluck and sense of humor also came through strongly. She faced that trial with courage. It did give me some much-needed perspective.

The thing is, as I said, I don’t remember it being there the night before. And coming as it did so closely on the heels of that dream about S.…It was too much of a coincidence for me to pass it off as coincidence. I had pulled some books out of the bookshelf near the bed yesterday that hadn’t been moved in quite some time, so maybe the letter had been tucked in with them—although I can’t imagine why I would put it there. It was a precious letter to me. And, anyway, I only put that information here in the spirit of full disclosure and for those who need the comfort of coincidence to get them through the day. For me, it was no coincidence.

Now, what was my aunt or the universe was trying to tell me? That’s a bit murkier. Was it a rebuke for not contacting S. before, for the misunderstanding, for not having the courage to communicate more? Was it a thank you for doing what I had done? Was it reinforcing the “get over yourself” for feeling self-pity? Was it a reminder that I needed to finish that story based on my aunt? Or was it just a general “hey there”?

I’m afraid figuring that out is beyond me at this point, though I’ll work on it. That’s the thing about “communications.” They are often quite murky. It’s part of our process to figure them out on our own, I think. We learn more that way, I guess. But dang.

Maybe the message is as simple as don’t take things for granted. Don’t take this life for granted. Get on with what you’re meant to do in this life and be good to the people you care for because it and they can be taken from you at any moment. Use the gifts you have been given. That’s the true mission for any of us in this world. That, I believe, is what the Universe truly requires of us: use it or lose it.

Random quote of the day:

“The closest you will ever come in this life to an orderly universe is a good library.”

—Ashleigh Brilliant, Pot-Shots

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The arc of the moral universe retreats and advances like a samba.”

—Teju Cole, Twitterfeed, June 26, 2013

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”

—attributed to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.

—Albert Einstein, letter of condolence to Robert S. Marcus, February 2, 1950

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts, we have to be open.”

—Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people. Whenever it begins is the right time. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. And when it’s over, it’s over.”

—Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, “But how can it be like that?” which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. . . .Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, “But how can it be like that?” because you will get “down the drain,” into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped.”

—Richard Feynman, “Quantum Mechanics,” The Messenger Lectures, MIT, 1964

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

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