As Good As It Gets

<March 13/19>

I watched the old movie by that name last night.

(the one with Jack Nicholson & Helen Hunt?)

 

& this morning I thought

“Yeah.

Things are kinda shitty lately.”

 

In the world “at large”

… & in several ways

in my own “little” life.

 

Details not important.

(I suspect many can relate.)

 

Corporate malfeasance is at surely historic levels?

End of world cartoon.jpg

Government shenanigans (far too polite a term, of course) also.

(talk about the Mistress of Understatement!

Whoa.

& Hey. I worked for government agencies in the now-rather-distant past. Don’t get me started...)

 

The weather SUCKS.

 

And climate change continues to gallop apace.

It will morph soon, I think, into climate CHAOS.

(If it hasn’t already??)

 

The issues on which I continue to be an activist

(which btw simply means that I am not passive: I give a shit, & I speak out)

& which, for the record, are nukes & vaccines

 

The corruption/collusion/lies

Are at virtually fever pitch.

(another essay altogether…)

And…

My (apartment building) neighbours are driving me nuts.

Downstairs Dude smokes weed 4-5 times a day

(morning, noon, night, even the middle of the night on occasion)

&, as I have learned

It is not merely hot air that rises

But also, whatever that “hot air” contains.

You see what I’m saying?

 

Listen: I smoked my fair share of weed in my younger days

(Lately? Not so much.)

But just ‘cos my neighbour wants to get stoned

does not mean I want to get stoned.

Or be forced to breathe in his weed-y air.

Shouldn’t I get to have a choice about the matter???

 

Means the windows gotta be wide open

Almost all the darn time.

(& with weather concerns – unseasonable rain & wind, say

& air quality concerns lately – yet another whole topic eh?)

Well geez.

🙁 🙁 🙁

Upstairs neighbour? She likes rocks.

Apparently.

She seems to roll some heavy ones across her floor (my ceiling)

A few times a day.

Very early, then kind of late. (& well, other times too.)

Lately she’s added in having a creature chase a bouncing ball around her apartment. Thump thump thump thump.

 

(just guessing about Ms. Upstairs Person here, ok?

Got my theories.

Might be interesting to be a fly on the wall up there, eh??

But…  I’m not.

I’m just “monkey in the middle” down here.)

 

Last night it was really quite the show, between the two of them.

Holy crap.

🙁🙁🙁🙁

Sigh.

(I ought to add here, I fear this situation is making me a little bit mean. Gotta watch that…)

 

And the weather SUCKS.

Did I already mention that the weather sucks?

(although Tuesday morning, early, was simply brilliantly beautiful!!! 🙂 🙂 Had an utterly wonderful walk down by the lake. 🙂 🙂 )

 

Well. I heard a great interview today on CBC Radio’s Tapestry show.

On grudges.

 

It was a delight! It really was.

Quite enlightening.

I have my fair share of grudges, I reckon – some of which, clearly, based on my new learning

might better have been handled a little bit differently along the way.

(Cool to hear this, actually. Gonna let it percolate a bit.)

& you know what?

The state of the world is making me pretty nearly crazy lately, at times.

Not to mention that a variety of things (both “public” & “personal”) are breaking my heart on a pretty regular basis, too.

 

& you know what I am realizing?

This may be about as good as it gets.

Given the state of everything taking place

on Planet Earth

at this particular point in time.

🙁 🙂

As Kurt Vonnegut might say,

So it goes.

Janet

p.s. I still love that old curmudgeon, Kurt Vonnegut. Been reading, & re-reading, his books for more than 40 years!?

p.p.s. just to be quite clear here, this quotation resonates for me, utterly.

“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” Oliver Sacks, M.D., neurologist, prolific author, in his book Gratitude – essays written during his last 2 years of life

 Listen: I have a shitload of things in life to be grateful for. Believe me, I know! I keep working away all the time at being grateful (except for when I forget. Which I do on occasion). Today it occurred to me to make a list of things I am grateful to my parents for. & you know? It was a pretty seriously dysfunctional childhood. But still. They did some stuff right. & I am grateful. Still. Truly.

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” Cormac McCarthy, Nonconformist Hall of Famer

p.p.p.s. things seem to be getting crazier by the day. (Ya think??). It is taking more & more effort to stay “positive” (though I am not at all attached to the necessity of always being “positive.” I am not a New Ager). I am still reading (OMG thank Goddess for good books!!!!!), walking, raising heck still, & am also a hospice volunteer now. These things are still “working” for me. They keep me tethered to the ground. As it were.

& I am grateful for these nuggets of … well. Sanity. In the midst of its ramping opposite.

 

A Few Quotations that Spring To Mind**

** which btw sometimes just means that these quotations are hanging out close to one another in the 137-page Word document I store some of my collection in – so when I go on a search for a particular one that has percolated to the top of my mind, I wind up finding these other gems along the way, huddling in the same general area

“The philosopher seeks to hear within himself the echoes of the world symphony, and to re-project them in the form of concepts.” – Nietzsche (quoted in Oliver Sacks’ book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales)

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” – Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times ** more Pema here

“4 Rules for Life

Show up.

Pay attention.

Tell the truth.

Don’t be attached to the results.” – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 – ) 

 “So long as I breathe and have the strength to do it, I will not cease philosophizing, exhorting you, indicting whichever of you I happen to meet, telling him in my customary way: Esteemed friend, citizen of Athens, the greatest city in the world, so outstanding in both intelligence and power, aren’t you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige – while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry?” – Socrates, Greek philosopher, 469-399 B.C.

“In helping others we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” – Flora Edwards

“Grace happens when we act with others on behalf of our world.” – Joanna Macy & Molly Young Brown in Coming Back to Life – Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World (New Society Publishers, 1998).

“Yes, it looks bleak. But you are still alive now. You are alive with all the others, in this present moment. And because the truth is speaking in the work, it unlocks the heart. And there’s such a feeling and experience of adventure. It’s like a trumpet call to a great adventure. In all great adventures there comes a time when the little band of heroes feels totally outnumbered and bleak, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. You learn to say ‘It looks bleak. Big deal, it looks bleak.’” ~ Joanna Macy [harvested from this page ]

“Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become character. Character is everything.” – Source unknown (seen on the wall at Scarborough Hospital in December 2011.)

“We are grateful for you,” she said. She meant her words of gratitude toward the man standing in the rain, but she also meant that very often the world is cruel, as he must know, and decorating the world does not disguise its cruelty; it simply digs its foundations deeper.” – a character in the novel A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers

“He was glad to be out of the wind, though, and eventually the claustrophobia passed and instead with the stars and the water’s constant roar came a sense that everyone on earth was irrelevant, that if the world were emptied of people tomorrow they would not be missed at all, not by bird nor beast, or God up in heaven or the devil down in hell. It took a bit of getting used to, but he was surprised how comforting it was to feel that this was so.” – thoughts of the character George in the novel A Shout in the Ruins, by Kevin Powers (mightily worth the read, in my opinion!)

** irrelevantly, perhaps (or maybe just wine-inspired??), more quotations about character here.

** I think I need to go wandering through the postings in my Collections posting. Some about grief. Some about, well, this & that, in these difficult, challenging times. They certainly ARE uniquely difficult & challenging times…