Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things Fall Apart

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

- WB Yeats, The Second Coming

* * *

Desperation, no matter how dire your circumstance, always yields the same result: failure. You know you're fucked when you recognize the stale, sulfurous whiff of desperation clinging to your thoughts and actions. The desperate are as weak swimmers in the rip tide of their own mind and flail against the current which only hurries their drowning.

To be desperate is to lose control of the one thing you have control over: your thoughts.

It is a tic of the desperate to imagine that life cannot exist on the other side of their troubles, cannot imagine ever getting to the other side. The world contracts to the small, tarry spit of their despair. Their center does not hold and their life falls apart.

Having been so in my life, I will not be so again. I suggest the same for you.

The only way to recover from this dissolution is to rebuild your life a piece at a time through the way you think about your life, and Life in general. It is quite possible that whatever rough beast is slouching your way will consume you, will destroy your plans, harm those you love - and there is no avoiding it or pandering to it to be gentle with you. But remember this one thing: you created that beast, that despair, that dissolution. Even in the most unjust circumstance, where you are blameless in the fucking you are getting you own that beast if you allow it to own you.

Natan Sharansky, in his book Fear No Evil, described the moment he DECIDED to survive the brutalization of the Soviet gulags. He chose to keep control over the one thing the KGB could not get to: his own sense of self. No matter how many strip searches, cavity searches, threats against his wife, misinformation and psychological games to break him he realized that only he could humiliate himself, that the humiliating and brutalizing circumstances he lived in for eight years were outside of his control and he would not yield his selfhood to those circumstances.

And yes, he created that beast by agitating and protesting against his government. Had he shut up he'd have been left alone. Actions have consequences, and doing nothing has the worst outcome of all: despair.

* * *

What is unjust, unfair and senseless is the crucible of living. The question before each of us is: now what?

I believe in the power of life over death;
I believe love is our saving grace;
I believe we are free to choose our fate;
I believe the only sin is to give up.

My advice to you is to live unbruised, live unconquered no matter the beating you may take. In the long run, and only in the long run, will your life find its meaning, will the purpose in your suffering have the gift of meaning.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

If You Read

If you read enough certain passages become part of you; they fold themselves into your DNA and it seems as if they have always been there for their beauty or truth is so pervasive you cannot remember a time when that beauty, that truth did not define part of your soul.

Do I have to say it? If you do not read, if you have not found solace or courage in the words of those who've walked where you are now walking, then you are seriously fucked.

Language, written language is unique among the various ways we communicate, for here we surely commune with the dead, here we know minds unknown to us, here we touch the breadth of human experience and find, in the end, that all that wanderlust is solely about love.

I remember listening to George Harrison as a kid and being blown away - blown away, I say! - that his lyrics could be read as a love song to God or a woman. Genius, I thought, pure genius. In time I learned there was no distinction - they were the same.

* * *

I shall never forget how I awoke from the deep sleep of exhaustion on my second night in Auschwitz - roused by music. The senior warden of the hut had some kind of celebration in his room, which was near the entrance of the hut. Tipsy voices bawled some hackneyed tunes. Suddenly there was a silence and into the night a violin sang a desperately sad tango, an unusual tune not spoiled by frequent playing. The violin wept and a part of me wept with it, for on that same day someone had a twenty-fourth birthday. That someone lay in another part of the Auschwitz camp, possibly only a few hundred or a thousand yards away, and yet completely out of reach. That someone was my wife.

- Viktor Frankl, Man's Search For Meaning

* * *

How could I have lived over 40 years and not known this? What else have I missed?

The question begs only one answer - everything. The fucked life misses, doesn't recognize the gifts and markers that litter the road, offering their measure of comfort, solace, encouragement and yes, love, to see you through.

I kept waiting for someone, anyone, to put the User's Manual in my hands so I would know how to live. Religion did not stir me, but instead felt like a prison. The occult seemed like wish fulfillment. Cynicism was smug and superior and lifeless. And always I read, hoping to find THE book. But it does not exist as a sole book. It is comprised of thousands and thousands of stories told across the entire span of human experience. It is the task of each life to learn those stories that echo inside them, that draw them closer to their own story.

The fucked life doesn't know how to tell a story or take a joke or recognize when the story is written as if only for them.

* * *

I came indoors. I made up my mind I would write this very night what have happened to me today. I have never written so much at one go. It is near on midnight, and I am writing yet; but now it is death and what come after I am thinking of. There is no after; it will only be now. I don't believe, I don't believe in the harps and the big fire, and the wheat and the tares, and the sheep and the goats; for the Day of Judgment is the Day of Forgiveness, and the repentant and the unrepentant sinner are with Christ in Paradise. I hear Christine singing:

O Love, that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee!

Sing, Christine, sing! Be not bitter, as Lot's wife was. Forgive them, forgive them; for they have loved much!...I wish I could live my life again. I wish I could write my story again. I have judged people. I do not want to judge people. I want to bless. I want to bless every soul who have ever lived and laughed and suffered on this whore of an island, this island in the sun, this island in God's sea!

I am on the last page of the last of my three big books. Who will ever believe I have written these three big books? I want to write another. Next time I go to Town, I will buy another from the Press. I want to write down in it all the good thoughts I have left out in this. Now it is high time I thought of going to bed. I musn't forget to wind the clock; and I will turn the lamp down, but not right out. I don't like it in the dark. I like to be able to see my two china dogs while I am falling asleep. Damme, I am tired, me! I will sleep well tonight, I know. Ah, well that is all for now. A la prochaine!

- GB Edwards, The Book of Ebeneezer LePage

* * *

It is only, and always about one thing: love.

If you don't get that, then you're fucked because the answer is all around you. Just walk into a library. Just listen when the guards play the music. It is there, right there. I walked by it for years and years, but now know love is something more than desire; it is also surrender to that which illuminates your life, and provides meaning to your death.

Or not, and you just stay as you are: fucked.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We Are What

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.

- The Dhammapada

* * *

I hate to use that opening passage from The Dhammapada again, but there is nothing else as apt that I can think of to get this started today.

Another marker of the fucked life is a life willing to fill in the blanks of any given situation with its worst fears and doubts. This tendency to provide a narrative where there is none, or where there is an incomplete one is part and parcel of what I do here, of what other writers do in every sort of work they do. But when this habit, this very human need to provide context to the gaps and voids in our lives takes on the flavor of our fears, our self doubt, our meanest proclivities, then we are fucked and it has all been done with smoke and mirrors.

Our minds conjure reality and we follow. The life you are living is the life you have imagined. Feed yourself thoughts of fear and defeat and betrayal and you are defeated, betrayed, and a'feared.

Think about the last time you placed a call to a friend, your lover, someone you want something from, or expect something from or hope to get something from. The call goes out and if the call isn't returned quickly, or isn't as important to them as it is to you, or whatever hinders your hopes and expectations from being fulfilled what story do you write to fill in the blanks? Does your mind run to ruin? Do you imagine the worst, that you've been mistaken about your previous desire because they didn't give you what you wanted when you wanted it?

As a child I imagined car crashes when my parents weren't home when they said they would be. As a teenager I imagined laughter behind my back when I screwed up enough courage to ask a girl on a date. As an adult I imagined my work was unappreciated and it became so.

All such thoughts are limiting. All such thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies. All such thoughts are born out of nothing, except the need to craft a story out of the bits and pieces of information at hand. The downfall is that information is filtered through our worst fears.

Now imagine the reverse.

Just as the negative thoughts dictate the effects of your life, so too its opposite. There comes a point where you must let go of filling in the gaps of any given narrative with what is smallest in you. Let it go. Admit you don't know everything and when you feel the urge to color in the missing parts with your darkest aspects let an alarm go off. Stop yourself. There is nothing but sorrow and a further fucking ahead. Imagine who you would be without this habit. On the whole, it's a better deal than stretching your metaphoric dick so that it's long enough to fuck yourself.

* * *

It is a paucity of faith to imagine only the worst - a rejection of all that is possible in your life. We settle for what is small because we are small, afraid to be the giants we could be if only we had the balls to embrace our lives instead of always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Shoes drop. It is how it goes. Knowing this how can you delay even another second before you shake the dust of your wings and the sleep out of your eyes?

Live. Be unfucked. Death awaits us all, but Life is only for those willing to live it out loud.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

If You Don't

If you don't have the Beloved
why aren't you looking for Him?
If you have the Beloved
why aren't you rejoicing?

- Rumi, "Wood For His Fire"

* * *

Let me paraphrase the great Rumi: If your life is fucked, why aren't you unfucking it? If you life is unfucked, why aren't you using it to its fullest?

Got it?


Always these questions are waiting to be answered. Always. Everyday. Rumi's Beloved, the one he calls out to in all of his poetry, calls out to as his lover, calls out to as the source of his drunkenness, his love, is God. Rumi was no drunk, but the aptness of the metaphor captured him - how else to describe the wooziness of connecting to the mystery behind the mystery? This is why Rumi should be read: he is an exemplar of the unfucked life.

I am not asking you to become a member of the dervishes, but to find the dervish inside you, to exult in your life, your capacity to DO and do so completely.

Viktor Frankl admonishes: "Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run - in the long run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it."

Perhaps I am simply an ass and I don't understand a single thing about any of this. My yammering is just that: yammering. If that is the case, then so be it, for I would rather know nothing than to pretend to be in the know. This is my surrender; this is my cause, my Beloved.

What is yours, my fucked friend? Can you set aside your misery, your fears, your doubt and simply let go into the mystery of your life, your consciousness? The longer you wait, the longer you wait and the time spent on the shore can never be replaced. A friend posted this on Facebook: "I'm here for a good time, not a long time."

Why are you waiting? Love your life enough to insist on something other than work, taxes, mediocrity and death. Were you born to fail? No, you were simply born - everything else is up to you. So, ask yourself: what have I wrought? For as surely as night follows day, you have created every detail of your life by your own hand - intentionally or not. If you don't have the Beloved, why aren't you looking for Him? If you do have the Beloved, why aren't you rejoicing?

The Beloved is you.

Now get to it.

* * *

O seeker,
These thoughts have such power over you.
From nothing you become sad.
From nothing you become happy.

You are burning in the flames
But I will not let you out
until you are fully baked,
fully wise,
and fully yourself.

- Rumi


Monday, August 23, 2010

Live Unbruised We

Live unbruised
We are friends

- "Sigh No More" Mumford and Sons

* * *

Like the formulation of the word unfucked, I, too, like the word unbruised. It sits in my ear and suggests that the battering we take in this life is all self-inflicted. It is a choice we make. You could live unbruised, unlost, unlonely, unfucked by making the decision to do so, by living with benevolent disregard for the welts, contusions and lacerations that you'll acquire simply by waking. If you pay your wounds and losses no mind, then they don't exist for you.

I'm not suggesting denial or self-delusion. No. Quite the opposite. I am saying that to live unbruised is to focus on what matters. The realm of nursing wounds and pointing out scars keeps you trapped, locked onto those wounds and scars and your life comes to a halt. To live unbruised is to be beyond caring about wounds and scars, is to be awake, is to lean into your life and meet it as it emerges.

Clinging to the inevitable bruising we all take will fuck you good and tight. There is nothing special about being hurt. It is our baseline, our foundational experience. And most stay right there. There's nothing special about being hurt, but there is something liberating about living unbruised. You are free of petty grievances, free of your vicitimhood, free, at last, to breathe, to realize the potential that has been thwarted by your love of your wounds.

* * *

A hundred years ago I slept through a marriage and divorce to a remarkable woman. Afterward I saw the pounding I had taken - not from her, but from myself. I limped for several years - always keeping the wounds fresh, always hoping someone would notice my nobility in bearing up under the strain of a love lost. See, I used the cover of the divorce to hide from myself, my family, my friends the fact that it was good and right for my young bride to leave. I did not love her at all, but instead loved being a wounded man, a misunderstood man, a man bearing up under his copious burdens at the burdensome age of 26.

It is easier to hide than to live, easier to lie to yourself than accept the responsibility of living out the fullness of your name. It is easier to quit than to try.

We drift toward protecting ourselves from the wounds and losses that stagger us. We build walls, don protective gear and hole up while life whizzes right by. There is danger in living. You could get killed out there, but living behind walls, living bruised, affronted by the stream of circumstance is to live an awful half-life.

That's not living. That's fucked.

We all get hurt. If you breathe you will be hurt, but if that is what you use to define your life you miss the rest of the equation: if you breathe you have the chance to know love, to know how to love.

All it takes is to live unbruised.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

In All Things

In all things be a master
Of what you do say and think.
Be free.

The Dhammapada

* * *

If I could have I would have used a different image, but none came to mind. When I was a young fool I chafed under the placid eyes of the Buddha. Fuck him. Glad he got the enlightenment thing all worked out for himself, but I'm still working here. You read enough of that shit and you come to hate it, or least I did.

Still do, in some ways.

But what is hated is a mis-reading, a misunderstanding, a fuck up. Those placid eyes, the thousand year stare, the imperturbability of it all isn't the Buddha or enlightenment or any of that. It is a symbol, a metaphor of what is being offered. The soul of Buddhism is this: if you meet the Buddha - kill him. You cannot be a follower. If you do follow another's precepts you have ceded your soul to them, ceded your authority over your own life to them, to those precepts. No. That is the way of delusion, false gods and wearying sorrow.

It is the way of the fucked.

To be a master in all you say, do and think requires one thing from you: to be who you are - entirely. There are libraries full of self-help books, pseudo celebrities hawking their latest innovation helping you become a better you. Fuck that. It is not betterment that you or I need, but completeness, being exactly who you are.

If there is a sense that something is missing in your life, it is probably you. The fucked life is incomplete, a fraction of what you are capable of. And you'll never quite get to happy because you give away the authority over your life to others: to your employers who dictate so much of your time, to your lovers who occupy your desire, to your religion which occupies your higher self. Yes, you must earn a living, and love your best beloved and pray to the god inside you, but it has to move from the inside out, not the other way around.

The master is one who lives thus and the trials and failings and setbacks and sorrows of this life do stop him/her because they know who they are and just like in the Hokey-Pokey, that's what it's all about.

* * *

A mastered life, one that knows its thoughts, words and deeds is an unfucked life - no matter what else occurs externally. Now that I think of it there are lots of images to include here.

Well, you get the idea.

Own your life. It is the only way.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is What

This is what a migraine looks like. Knowing only that you were looking at a human brain, you would guess: migraine. I've been wallowing through one since last night and I have to say it alters perception to such a degree that anyone who commits a crime while riding the back of a migraine has a strong case to make for temporary insanity.

I know this feeling will ebb at some point, but I can recall parts of my life where there was no such promise of eventual relief. If the fucked life had a mascot it would be a migraine.

Look at that image again. Anger and frustration seem to ripple off it. But worse than the emotions is its effect. It stymies. It debilitates. It stops all save itself. This is what it means to be fucked. This is what the fucked life is: angry and immobile.

* * *

"You are not an isolated entity, but a unique, irreplaceable part of the cosmos. Don't forget this. You are an essential piece of the puzzle of humanity." - Epitetus

The soul's migraine, the fucked life, imagines itself to be utterly alone. Hence, the anger, the frustration, the pain. We are not meant to be alone. We may choose to be solitary, but not alone. I require great swaths of time to be left to my own devices, and I equally require a re-entry into the fabric of my close society: friends, family, my best beloved. Forgetting to come back, remaining in isolation longer than needed is the same as this morning's migraine: painfully useless.

No man is an island, yet we retreat at exactly the moment we should move forward, move outward from our misery and engage what's next. Our retreat can become habit and without so much as a whimper we are fucked. No outside act, no external circumstance can save you, make you happy or banish the black dog of your desolation. It is solely in your hands.

And that sucks. For at that moment when you decide enough is enough, when you want something other than being alone in your fucked life, you have no foothold, no practice in being unlonely, in unfucking your life. It is here where you finally understand what a leap of faith is.

You've got to let go of the past, let go of the misery, the victimhood, the sense that you've been wronged by Chance. Let it go. Just shit it out and start walking away. Doesn't matter what direction - just not back. One foot in front of the other. Standing still is being fucked. It is a rejection of all that life is: change.

Rilke asks:

If drinking is bitter change your self into wine

Easy to say, but hard to practice when you've been alone too much with your fucked self. Give yourself away. The relief you seek is found when you love something other than your misery.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Mysterious Cruelty

"What mysterious cruelty in the human soul, to have invented despair as a sin!" - Joyce Carol Oates, NY Times, July 25, 1993, "The One Unforgivable Sin"

* * *

In her article, Ms. Oates defends despair against the totalitarianism of the Catholic Church. Despair is "inward, and thus independent" of the strictures of the Church's power structure.

She goes on to speak of the literature of despair - Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville and Franz Kafka all appear and she points to their works as proof of the illuminating power of despair, the transcendence of despair.

Except she misses the underlying truth: though their works were despairing, though their lives may have been frought with despair, each of these writers took up a pen against that despair. They may have chronicled the arc of human desperation, but they worked, they created, they pushed back against their despair and said, "Enough."

The fucked life is one that does not push back, that does not create, that does not use the raw material of despair, or longing, or love, or joy, or fatigue or anything that a human can feel and transform it, make it into something new, convert it into meaning. If only for themselves.

When I speak of creation I do not mean the arts, though that is one expression of it. No, creation, creating, the act of making something is not limited to the ghetto of artistic expression. Anything that you do can be made meaningful by your approach to it, by your willingness to provide meaning - even in those places, especially in those places where there is none.

* * *

Many years ago I cobbled together a short film - about 4 minutes long. I knew nothing of how to do it, but it was done, and from that moment to this I have counted those four minutes as the most precious in my life. I pushed myself four minutes away from meaninglessness, helplessness and hopelessness. Those four minutes got me work in the film industry where I worked for almost 10 years. It is where I met a woman who would become my wife, and through her I now am the father of four children and the owner of a divorce so craven it curdles milk inside cows. Four minutes were the push back against nothingness and the ripeness of life was my reward.

What mysterious cruelty in the human soul that accepts despair and counts it an honor.

No, despair must be used to build meaning. Frankl asked if he and his fellow inmates in the Nazi concentration camps were worthy of their suffering. To be worthy of your suffering is the transformation of despair into meaning, of death into life.

Find that thing, your four minutes, and push away from the wasteland. Every act of resistance, every act of creation is a repudiation of despair. My four minutes are now counted with each word.

Unfuck your life. Build and see what follows.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Every Day Said

"Every day," said Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav, "the glory is ready to emerge from its debasement." From Annie Dillard's, For The Time Being

How can it be otherwise?

* * *

The glory is you. Let me say that again, the glory is you. Every day that you draw breath, every moment you live, the glory that is solely you, waits, is ready to emerge from the dark comedy of your debasement. And what is that debasement? Being anything other than who you are.

Laziness, materialism, the impulse to go along to get along, the imperceptible eroding of integrity as the days slam like waves against rock and you find one day that you are significantly less than you were at the beginning - all this is the darkest of comedies. Joseph Campbell says regrets are illuminations come too late. I say the joke is on us. By trading integrity for ease, or at least the avoidance of conflict, by letting slip the central logos, the meaning of your life (or never bothering to imagine it in the first place) your life becomes a weak parody of what was possible only by your hand.

Every day you postpone accepting, embracing, living and dying by that logos you impoverish not only your life, but the lives of those whom you encounter and so on outward until the entire world is poorer because you lack the faith or courage to be exactly who you are.

On behalf of the world, fuck you and yours.

How dare you quit.
How dare you not try.
How dare you fade into meaninglessness.

Again, fuck you.

* * *

This is the poverty of our days.
This is the challenge of living.

* * *

Pollyanna religiosity is as dangerous as cynicism. It is a question of faith - not in God or religion or science or whatever else is worshiped - but in something more basic than any of that: faith in meaning, faith in our ability to create, carve and build meaning into the mere biology of existence.

Every day the glory is ready to emerge from its debasement.

Living for something larger than your self, for something other than yourself - your best beloved, your work (not simply your employment, but that thing that fills you with life), your children, a cause, anything that opens up your life to something than other than your private miseries and joys is how you unfuck your life, is how the debasement is cleansed.

* * *

We live in dark and dangerous times, just as every generation before us has. We toy with our unthinking capacity to destroy the way a cat will toy with a mouse before consuming it. We are fools. We are lost. We are seduced by pleasure, rootless pleasure - hook ups, consumerism, gluttony - any good thing turned sour by its limited, selfish reach and we have become incapable of sacrifice, of building anything because we want what we want right now with no thought as to the waste we leave behind.

Looked at in this light it is hard to live your name, hard to have the glory emerge from the prison of its debasement. So very hard. So blank and bleak. But that, too, is a false god. Ennui is the face of a life without effort, the gray dolor of cowardice. No, the dolor and debasement have no quarter in a life lived out loud, in a life lived engaged with the demands of living. Such a life, no matter the religion, no matter the origin, no matter the outward circumstance, is a life lived in the glory of emergence, of becoming, of being. It is lived moment to moment and is never fully achieved because there is always one more day until there are no more days.

I can say all this because I have lived poorly, been shabby in my efforts, complained of the demands in my life. I have lived fucked and been fucked by my own laziness, my own sorrow.

Saying all this is how I unfuck my life.

What are you here for?


Friday, August 6, 2010

Love Is Exactly

"Love is exactly as strong as life." - Joseph Campbell

* * *

It strikes me that the fucked life is one without love. It is this absence, more than anything else, that fucks you. Strength of character, the sure sense of knowing who you are, of what you are capable of, is impossible without love. Love isn't something added to life, a topical ointment to soothe the days - it is life itself.

Do you not know that already?

Love is exactly as strong as life. If your life is fucked, if it is a weak sister, a parody of what you'd intended ask yourself about the love in your life. Not the kind you receive, but rather what you give away.

I saw a bumper sticker that made me laugh with its concise formulation of the above:
Love isn't about finding the right person - its about being the right person.

But the love of your partner, your husband, your wife, your lover, the love the two of you share is only one aspect of the love I am talking about. For some the love of another redeems their lives, makes them whole, makes them strive to be who they are, allows them to see love, in its larger sense, as pervasive. For others, like me, that river flows in a different direction.

When I see and know and am part of this larger current, this pervasive, universal mystery - consciousness, desire, being awake - when I recognize it as love, then I am able to my love offer to those close beside me. I am unfucked.

Listen to Campbell again: Love is exactly as strong as life.

The stronger your life, which is your fullest self, the complete expression of your desire and knowledge and presence, the stronger the love in your life. Cheat your life and cheat your love. It is all the same.

* * *

The afflictions of life - physical calamity, emotional betrayal, the capricious thieving of chance - are matched, are over matched by love. If your life is fucked it is because you have not loved your life well enough to fight for it. It is one thing to know there is something wrong, something missing, and another thing entirely to do something about it. The fucked become snails on a salt lick - all shriveled up and dead on the inside.

Love is exactly as strong as life, and strength is not measured by how much you can lift, how much you can carry, but by how much you give away.

Theodore Roethke in his poem I Knew A Woman asks: What is love for?

The answer, unwritten, is still clear: to give it away.

* * *

You want to unfuck your life? Then love it. Love it beyond all thought of being loved. Love it beyond the reach of outside circumstance.

Love is exactly as strong as life.

How strong are you?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

For The Fucked

For the fucked, time is forever a thief, a lay-about, a waste. Their awareness of it is constant. It harps and hectors their consciousness: "I don't have enough time." "There aren't enough hours in the day." "This is taking forever." "You are wasting my time." Etc., etc.

The hyperbole is illuminating as it reveals the defining character of the fucked life: a lack of control over those things that can be controlled and a focus on what is beyond all control. With the first clock made 600 years ago, man has assumed he is in control of time. From that moment to this the fucked are all rabbits pulling out watches from their waistcoats running late to tea. Whenever my father was pitying himself he would say, "I'm late. I'm late for a very important date."

Because the ground floor of being human is that we are a finite experience it is easy to worry excessively, unduly, to the point of fucking ourselves to stupefaction, about time. But the unfucked have no such worries. It isn't that the unfucked life is untroubled by death, but that the unfucked concentrate their resources on things they can actually influence, change or build. The promise of death is a call to NOT waste time, not an excuse to indulge in it.

* * *

The past few weeks have seen a tripling of the work coming through the door and I am a leaking boat in a storm: swamped. Work awaits me at every turn and I have yet to master it all. I am flying by the seat of my pants because that is all I can do right now, and I started in on the self-pity for not getting it all done "on time." It is a deep, dark hole to bitch about having an excess of work when just a few weeks ago I spent my days trying to find it. Once I heard the echo of whining in my voice I let it go. I have nothing to bitch about. I have work that I am good at.

I am coming up on 50 years as a work in progress. It is a seminal number - often mistakenly assumed to be the mid-point of life - but if insurance actuaries are to be believed is closer to the 2/3's mark, and yet I can muster no foreboding, no sense of gloom, no deep tissue regret. Like you, I have lived some. In my time I have known great joy, great loss, great loves, great foolishness, great emptiness. My life is thus marked by greatness. And I am still standing with an over-abundance of work to do, of work yet to be imagined, of love yet to give.

I promised myself when I was a younger man that I would live so death would have to hit a moving target. I have waxed and waned on that promise to myself, but it persists, it whispers in my ear: there's only here, there's only now. This is how life gets unfucked: LIVE NOW.

* * *

Salvidor Dali's droopy clock face is emblematic of the fucked life.

A body in motion - used while it can be used - is the emblem of the unfucked life.

Now get going.