Will I be confined by my DNA, or will I define who I am?

This is the central tension of Springsteen on Broadway: the self we feel doomed to be through blood and family versus the self we can—if we have the courage and desire—will into existence. Springsteen, as he reveals here, has spent his entire life wrestling with that question that haunts so many of us: Will I be confined by my DNA, or will I define who I am? … “Yeah…,” Springsteen says when I sit down with him a couple weeks later and tell him it seems the essential question of his show is “Are we bound by what courses through our veins?” He looks off to his left into his dressing-room mirror… It’s into this mirror and toward these talismans that Springsteen often gazes when he is answering my questions. He’s a deep listener and acts with intent. He has a calm nature and possesses a low, soft voice. He has a tendency to be self-deprecating, preemptively labeling certain thoughts “corny.” He smiles easily and likes to sip ginger ale. Sometimes before telling you something personal, he lets out a short, nervous laugh. Above all, he speaks with the unveiledness of a man who has spent more than three decades undergoing analysis—and credits it with saving his life…

Springsteen’s first breakdown came upon him at age thirty- two…On a late- summer night, in remote Texas, they come across a small town where a fair is happening. A band plays. Men and women hold each other and dance lazily, happily, beneath the stars. Children run and laugh. From the distance of the car, Springsteen gazes at all the living and happiness. And then: Something in him cracks open. As he writes, in this moment his lifetime as “an observer . . . away from the normal messiness of living and loving, reveals its cost to me.” All these years later, he still doesn’t exactly know why he fell into an abyss that night. “All I do know is as we age, the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier. . . much heavier. With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. . . . Long ago, the defenses I built to withstand the stress of my childhood, to save what I had of myself, outlived their usefulness, and I’ve become an abuser of their once lifesaving powers. I relied on them wrongly to isolate myself, seal my alienation, cut me off from life, control others, and contain my emotions to a damaging degree. Now the bill collector is knocking, and his payment’ll be in tears.”

~ Michael Hainey, from The Mind is a Terrifying Place. Even for Bruce Springsteen. (Esquire, November 27, 2018)

Before Air-Conditioning*

Later on, in the Depression thirties, the summers seemed even hotter. Out West, it was the time of the red sun and the dust storms, when whole desiccated farms blew away and sent the Okies, whom Steinbeck immortalized, out on their desperate treks toward the Pacific. My father had a small coat factory on Thirty-ninth Street then, with about a dozen men working sewing machines. Just to watch them handling thick woollen winter coats in that heat was, for me, a torture. The cutters were on piecework, paid by the number of seams they finished, so their lunch break was short—fifteen or twenty minutes. They brought their own food: bunches of radishes, a tomato perhaps, cucumbers, and a jar of thick sour cream, which went into a bowl they kept under the machines. A small loaf of pumpernickel also materialized, which they tore apart and used as a spoon to scoop up the cream and vegetables.

~ Arthur Miller, Before Air-Conditioning (The New Yorker, June 22, 1998)


Notes:

  • *Inspired by temperature now in Dallas, TX: 103° F and Rising!
  • Photo: Radishes by El Oso Botas. “Madrid-based, Guatemala-born and raised, photographer, food stylist, chef and digital content creator. I’ve had a keen interest in art, colours, and shapes since I was a child.” More photographs here.

Riding Metro North. With Sunbeam.

You think you might give me a run for it, but you can’t touch me. You can’t come close, not remotely close to my Superiority. Top 1% of the 1% in…

Mood Swings. 

Close your eyes and think bungee jumper, in an infinite loop, who’s boinging up and down in a zone which pulls up short of Bliss and a whisker from Abyss. Not too hot, but hot enough to pinch, and not too cold, but cold enough to feel frost bite, and once in a while tasting Despair, but never lallygagging in Euphoria.

It’s the 5:40 am train. I have the entire seat to myself on Metro North to NYC.

We’re operating on 4.5 hours of sleep, and hauling the wet slushy snow of accumulated sleep deprivation from the prior three days.  Eyes heavy. Shoulders heavy. Words from the morning papers slur together.  I set down the smartphone.

Tired. Sick and tired of being tired, and bored writing about tired. Tired³. [Read more…]

Lightly child, lightly.

sparkler

…We go outside with simple, old-fashioned boxes of sparklers, and give a few sparklers to each child. How magical and otherworldly it is to watch their beautiful round faces lit up by these lights that sparkle for ten to 20 seconds before giving way to the darkness…

It’s easy to see why so many cultures have worshipped the sun. But there is also something beautiful, something humble, about the passing nature of beauty and light in this realm. Something terrestrial and finite, limited and passing. Like the sparklers. It comes on, fluttering, lighting up the face of the beholder and those around for a minute or two, and then gently gives in to the darkness.

What is it about this passing light that so fascinates us? Is it that it reminds us, echoes in us, something of our own finite nature? Are we like this too, coming out of the darkness of nothingness, and then for a moment or two having these brilliant, life-giving, light-giving moments?

The always-lovely Rumi talks about this scattering of light:

We come spinning out of nothingness,

scattering stars like dust.

~  Omid Safi, from “Beauty in a Flash of Light and Life” from On Being, January 7, 2017

 


Notes:

  • Photo: October31th
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly child, lightly.

light

Light splashed this morning…
A curious gladness shook me…
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed …”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

~ Stanley Kunitz, from “The Round” in Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected


Notes:

  • Photo:ben cauchi via mennyfox55. Poem: via readalittlepoetry
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly child, lightly.

hand-ben-cauchi

Our hands full or not:
The same abundance.
Our eyes open or shut:
The same light.

~ Yves BonnefoyThe Curved Planks: Poems


Notes:

  • Photo:ben cauchi via inner optics. Poem: via human voices
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly child, lightly.

hands-light-jpg

I wanted to think it was like a light bulb, life,
dangling in the chest, asking to be switched on.

But it’s not the light that’s even in question,
rather, what’s your brilliant, glaring wattage?

What do you dare to gleam out and reflect?

~ Ada Limón, “The Other Wish,” from Bright Dead Things


Notes:

  • Photo: mennyfox55. Poem: via bostonpoetryslam
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Running. Born Blue to Run.

blue-art-sky

I’m less than mile in, on a planned five-miler. It’s not good. The worm flips the stomach over, and over, and over. Nausea. This will pass, don’t stop, run through it.

It doesn’t pass.

Bile backs up the throat, coats the molars and scurries forward. The gag reflex is triggered. I hunch over, hands clutch the knee caps. OMG. 

I stand upright, soldier-like, arms and hands hang. Eyes shut, tears slide down both cheeks, I make no effort to clear. I need this moment. Just a moment to re-grip. 

I grab the water bottle, gargle, and spew. Most clears, too much does not. A thick stream runs down the zipper line of the coat. Puking, on yourself, nice. 

I re-start. The north wind gusts and makes contact, tear ducts gush water, the track in front is a blur. Whoa. Easy does it. [Read more…]

Trail Therapy: Watch. Just Watch.


Steve Fugate lost both his children–his son committed suicide, and his daughter overdosed. Sixty-four years old, Mr. Fugate has walked across the United States seven times to raise awareness for depression and suicide and to inspire people he meets to “love life.”

Stick with it to the end…This Man is something special.

Come On Ladies. Let it Go!

forgive-forgiveness-study-chart-depression-psychology-health


Notes:

  • Source and read more at: wsj.com: The Healing Power of Forgiveness
  • Post inspired by: “It’s hard to move on if you don’t forgive,” he said. “It’s like trying to dance with a lead weight on your shoulders. The anger can weigh you down forever.” ~ Diane Chamberlain, Pretending to Dance
  • And inspired by: “I have simplified my life to just three principles, which I try to practice. I cannot say I have mastered them. I attempt. I fall, I falter and I attempt. I call my spiritual rowboat Surrender — complete surrender to the will of the Greater Power. The act of surrendering is so important that Who or What you surrender to becomes insignificant. It is the surrender itself that is important. My two oars are instant forgiveness and gratitude — gratitude for the gift of life. I get angry, I get mad, but as soon as I remind myself to put my oars into action, I forgive.” ~ Balbir Mathur

 

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