The Anatomy lesson

This is a review of a book by the same title by Philip Roth.  It is a big-hearted book exploring a myriad of themes written in an almost stream of consciousness style.

Roth writes in the third person form of Nathan Zuckerman, a best-selling author who is practically incapacitated from chronic pain.  He has been enduring debilitating pain for 18 months when the book begins – with him literally lying on a children’s plastic playmat on the floor (the only position that somewhat relieves the ache).   All apparent avenues of healing having been explored:  the dozens of doctors, diagnoses and contraptions, the lovers and girlfriend-nurses, the why’s and where-to-for’s and doubts endured and discarded, along with a Doctor of Dolorology who offers him  the best looking “way out of pain”, yet it requires a surrender to a care and state Nathan refuses to submit to.  In ballsy independence he declares his pain not real to him and resolves to apply for medical school.  After cussing out his biggest literary critic (who is also sick at home) he arms himself with a volley of pain-killers and makes off by plane from Newark to Chicago, and to a meeting with his college roommate turned Doctor, Bobby.  He wills to convince his friend to go along with his determined fate.

He ends up riding around in his alma mater’s town inside of a limousine (his driver is female).  Along with checking out his old stomping grounds, he unleashes the force of his pent-up rage  by calling himself Milton Appel (his literary critic nemesis) and improvising a narrative of his life as a pornographer of the taboo- with heavy emphasis on his service to the common man and woman and a dollop of self-righteousness for having the courage to piss off and everyone who disapproves of him.  Is this persona his cure? he seems to inquire.

Add to this mix the reflections on his controversial fourth novel – a best-selling fiction that practically desecrates the values his parents and his parents parents appear to hold (the former only recently deceased, the latter, having had no where near the amount of opportunities of Nathan) -, the daily grind of the writer’s life – which appears more and more distasteful, though familiar,  and his three marriages lost to the lifestyle, all within a backdrop of Jewish heritage , with emphasis on, one would say, the universal themes of lineage, genes, expectations, sense of right and wrong, both pride and disgust of nationalistic movements near and far and the old way versus new ways of being in the world and we see:

He’s in pain.  He’s full of drugs.  Nathan has exhausted his resource.  His mother is dead, his brother is not speaking with him after the blasphemous best-seller, and his father’s last words to him were a curse.  He senses a new freedom on the horizon if he can  balance his desire to thrust forth in his new and euphoric rootlessness with his growing longing, yearning and even demand for a relationship with himself and connection with others outside of previously assigned roles.

Commentary:  There are so many moments of keen insite, phantastic compassion, dazzling humor and depth of connection in these pages of fiction that I find a lovely companion in all that it mirrors for me.  Having had bouts of chronic pain and knowing that the message they contain cannot be felt anywhere but within – and then living their truth as a route to freedom, this is the adventure story of being fully human.  Blasphemy is no longer blasphemous, the cross of christ can be alluded to as the flip side of the coin of living fully: to one’s own life an offering of endurance, understanding and essentially immortal orientation.  Then, and only then, to return to the work of the day.  For thus are we armed with the weightless realization of time within no-time.  As to Nathan, Roth has us leave him in while in a state of awe and wondrous renewal.  As a patient, now, still with a sick body yet visiting other sick bodies while making the rounds with doctors in a Chicago hospital.

 

On Writing

When I want to write, I slip into an awareness of my heartspace.  There my intention lives wordlessly:  I AM.  This intention fuels me in ways that are subtle and surprising.  I find myself making my way “in the world” with lightness of step.  It is my real life.

As soon as I light the fire inside – with the fuel of awareness, I feel a sense of flow.  I am okay with the unknown, because it is all me, and it is essentially benevolent.  I find that concepts of write and wrong (or right and “rong”), have no thing to hold onto; cannot take root.  So, rootless, they flow away.

What remains?  an upwelling.  It feels nurturing and expanding.  It asks for nothing.  It allows for everything, without judgement.

I’m going to take a moment to ask my heart what it might like to “say” or have “amplified”:

“This is meditation.  Looking within, feeling, taking the time to sort out what is real and what is not, letting the mind go, this is stillness.”

And this is the place from which I want to live my life.  From a place of inner poise and stillness.  This is why I write this morning, and why I publish.  To nourish this strain which sings from stillness and to amplify it.  It is my choice, it is my life, today and always.

Singer and Cat

So, Sam became my side-kick.  An unusual one since he wasn’t fond of my chosen profession of singing.  He had a loud, formidable voice that he used liberally.  He did not appreciate the talents of others, though, and would often complain with great vocal persistence when I would rehearse at home.  Funny, as I write this, I notice he came to a quiet acceptance of my singing in his last years – often choosing to sleep in the room where I would practice.

There were the many layers of mental and emotional impressions to work through as I brought personality up to speed with my life-stage and its attendant requirements and opportunities.  I enlisted the help of a therapist, and of course, Sam.

Fearless and dauntless, Sam attended to every size bruise.  Laying on the couch of my apartment, exploring the wounds of my psyche, I had the best of navigators with me.  He would lay on my heart and belly, and then the purring would begin.  Soft and rumbling, he would “lean in” and press his body and heart center close to my body and heart center.

Did this create a resonance?  A field?  Perhaps.  I was a scientist of health and wellness, though, and my requisite  findings would need to be practical.  How did it feel?  It felt loving and present, warm and fear-less.  Sam did not ask questions.  He did not ask if the pain was worthy of being felt.  He assumed, assumedly, that it was his job, simply, to love.   He loved me in those moments without fear or reservation or question or any intellectual content at all.

Sam, or BFF

Yesterday my beloved Pet Sam crossed the threshold that appears to separate the visible and invisible.

appearances can be very convincing, can’t they?  Yet I feel my beloved pet’s love for me in my heart – moment’s after he passed, I experienced a knowing, a feeling that is more intuitive than rational, that seemed to say “I’m here!  I made it to the realm of the One Heart, do you feel me now?”

Why do I consider my cat, feeble and immobile in his last  days, my best friend forever?   He never spoke a “word” to me in his whole life, and yet we were in constant communication.  He arrived in my life at the dawn of a new chapter:  I left my home-state of Michigan to live in Cincinnati, where I was a scholarship student in Voice and Opera.  I brought with me from Michigan a lot of baggage.  Some would say lifetimes of baggage.  And I brought a bed and a lamp and a futon.  Eventually I would get a television/vcr combo.

Sam, and later his “sister”, Gracie, made his home on that bed in my single bedroom apartment.  He warmed the sheets with his love and drooled his affection there, as well.  My first lover.   He and his sister became my “yes men”.  I would merely have to think “ok, nap-time, guys”, and they would be there to be with me.

LIke I said, I brought a lot of baggage with me to Cincinnati.  I was wearing a 24 year-old body, yet my emotional life was quite stunted.  I chose, per pre-birth agreements, to endure the maze of confusion that comes when one is cut off from one’s own inner source-of well-being and happiness.  i saw through a film of lack, loss, agitation, depression, whatever you want to call it.  I wanted to experience the beauty in life that I sensed when I opened myself up to my music and lived in its expression.  I wanted my music to become my life.

Here enters Sam.  He is an adopted cat with black fur and a strong personality.  The nursing staff know him by name and intimate that I’m in for a ride.  I walk past the cages and a cat sticks out his paw and tries to catch some of my shirt’s fabric:  “Here I am!  I’m here, don’t you want me?”

Yes, I do, as a matter of fact.  He comes home and his food dish and toilet in place, he makes his home on my bed and in my heart.  Thus began our work together:  Singer and Cat.

More To Come . . .

no shame

Did you know the words “significance” and “diarrhea” have the same amount of syllables?

 

They have other things in common, too, like making messes in what can otherwise be described as “the neutral pants of life”.

 

There is a silly (to me) song about the effect of loose bowels while playing the game of baseball called, without shame, “Diarrhea”.

Replacing some words here and there, the poem of the song can read:

 

When you’re sitting in your room and nasty thoughts begin to bloom, Significance!  Significance!

When your key chain doesn’t show and your plans are “no go”, Significance!  Significance!

When your mate is ten minutes late or your kids run out of the gate, Significance!  Significance!

When you write a blog post and there’s no one there to toast (you), Significance!  Significance!

 

(and here I thought I wanted to talk about snow and the baby Jesus)

 

Wordplay

It’s been several months since my last blog post.  A wild ride of expansion as I re-learn how to play the staring role in my own life.  I’ve always known how to be myself in all situations, I just preferred, for a short while, to see what it was like to allow the momentum of mass consensus drive my motivation.  Wanting to feel successful in the way that others appeared to want to feel successful:  through career, romance, clothing and even children.  All of these themes and concepts are now up for grabs as I combine them into one swirling tumble of, well, conscious energy.  As I drink from this tumbler of conscious energy, I can re-absorb, knowingly, what is true for me at the level of my Divine blueprint.  My DNA.

It is a fattening drink, I say, as It coats my throat and nourishes my belly, my solar plexus.

As the energy of conscious consensus tumbles in my tumbler, I drink the sun of I AM.

 

(and here I thought I wanted to write about last nights snowfall and the baby Jesus!   Maybe next post, and maybe not . . .!)

full circle

My attraction to The Church has

meandered a bit.

As a youth, it was a curiositypeople go inside of a building to hear words and play music and they call this holy or meaningful or special?

All I knew was the joy of the wind in my hair, the sand under my feet and the natural sense of awe at the setting sun.

As a teenager, it was an anchorI will cling to the church, its beliefs-rituals-assurances and thus take a moral high ground.

My family, as I had known it, imploded and scattered to the wind.

In my twenties, it didn’t existf*ck yoU-there-is-no-god-for-me-but-me-and-I’ll-do-as-I-please-thank-you-not:

I wanted experience, and I wanted it hard and fast – until I didn’t.

In my thirties,  it provided useful contrast: I want peace, not promises built on the words of others.  What am I?  what is knowable and what is unknowable? What is freedom?

Am I coming full circle?  Are we as a species coming full circle?

All I can know is my experience.  Experience such as the wind in my hair, the sand under my feet and the joy of the setting sun.Lighthouse

DamesBond or Inner bonding?

I attended a conference yesterday geared towards helping women in business (Damesbond).  While I was there I heard several speakers and some lovely oration.  One speaker with whom I resonated is named Suzanne Roberts of Womengenerating.com.  Her work in polarity therapy and somatic trauma resolution has allowed her to be an effective coach for anyone wanting to feel safety and support within their own body.  She also defined the word Confidence as meaning “not wanting an outcome.”

What? Did I hear her right?  not wanting an outcome?  I was taught early on to portray confidence to appear like I don’t care about outcomes, when in fact, I cared very much (Don’t let them see you sweat – a popular deodorant advertises).  And yet this definition feels like entering into the benevolent grounds of loving detachment.   How often do I want an outcome for myself or my children, for example?  especially when in the process, I judge it all as “messy”.  I heard a teacher once say that the soul prefers things messy.  Perhaps it is because it is more honest?

 

\

Baby steps

Baby steps

Babies may ask you to hold thier hands

while they find their footing.

Is it uncomfortable

to go slow?

To know

that I am falling forward

again and again –

embracing the unknown with each step?

I become tranquil

as I slow down

enough

to be aware

of where my attention

is focused.

“Don’t be a baby”, “She’s a bit slow”, “hurry up!”, “Go for it!”, “Get with the game” and so on and so on

the familiar din goes.

There is nothing inherently

wrong

with time, or speed, or taking big steps.

And yet,

babies’ faltering steps

are full of lightness and the gift of spontanaeity.

There is the joy of movement, the excitement of

risk, the experience of strength from taking a fall and

it being okay afterall.

So much heart in a baby’s step.

Example of a Recital Program

Songs of Recognition Ki Empowerment Center, 933 High Street, Suite 120B, Worthington, OH 43085 December 19, 7pm Love donation accepted

This recital of original compositions narrates Katie’s  journey as she blends her musical training with her awareness of the I AM presence within.  It begins with original settings of popular religious texts, then explores original texts and music and ends with a group soul song portrait that is composed intuitively.

Songs by soprano Kathryn Hart Teixeira

Om Ma (chant and invocation)

Ave Maria 23rd Psalm

* Fontana di aqua viva (Fountain of the living water)  Text:  oh heart, oh soul.  Fountain of the living water, I thirst no more.  Italian: O Cuore, Anima mia.  Fontana di aqua viva, ho sete non di piu.

Let your soul take flight~

Let there be peace on earth/Dona Nobis Pacem

It is well with my soul

I AM

This is what it is to be me, as I AM (featured on Utube below)

Dissolving in the heart (or “devotion”)*

Intuitive music to bless the group (aka Group Soul Song)

* denotes a brief pause in the program

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LmLDwqKpoNM