Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday Morning Journal Ottawa

I’ve awoken early.  I’m on vacation but my iPhone alarm doesn’t seem to know that.  I watched NCIS past midnight with Adell and Graeme and the cockapoos Eva and Pepper.  Weird, because that’s what I’d been doing last month, watching the repetitious, finding solace in the sameness.  So much changing in my work life, overwhelmed with details I’d been coming home to eat in front of the tv and seek out known stories to escape into the sameness. There’s Josephut  Campbell surety to police shows.
Good guy dies and bad guy gets away. Hero arrives and catches bad guy. Nothing is done for the dead guy. It’s not like a medical mystery where the dying guy is resurrected by the hero and science. The morality play of the cop show is that the good triumph and evil  languishes but what of the poor good guy who is sacrificed. It’s Christian in that way.  One could argue that’s the appeal. A sacrifice for the show.  But Joseph Campbell would trace the cop show to where all cultures and religions have existed. It’s universal and deeper in our Jungian collective heritage before that epic narrative of Christian conscious.  It’s revenge and tribal without any of the trappings of foregiveness.
At the end of the day when I hear of politicians giving money away to cronies overseas for later distribution in favours I want the good to prevail.  I want a sheriff or marshall.  I want Gibbs and Siva and Tony and Duckie and Probie and Abby to ride to the rescue as superheroes dishing out justice to the wrong and ‘teaching a lesson’ to the dark. Because the morality play is light prevails over darkness. And at the end of long days of giving  licit drugs to addicts using illicit drugs doing a little to thwart the drug dealers I have little sense that I’m prevailing. Like the army doctor the wounded are piling up at one door even as a dribble are moving forward out from the shadow of death.
The fact is I fear evil.  I know lethargy and despair has coloured my world since my brother died.
I’m sitting in the house he and his beloved created into a home for the boys to grow in.  It’s like my own childhood home.  Yard, basement, bed rooms, kitchen living room.  A lovely domicile for family.  Now the boys are grown and Adell is moving to the home my brother and she began together in the country.  There the flowers he planted are growing.  It doesn’t seem right that he should die and I should live.  But then the good die young and I never knew how much stress he experienced.  He gave his life for his family and their future.
I think my anger at the Liberal government is mostly to do with them being principally his employer.  The bureaucracy sucked his life out of him and he prevailed in the deadness of the idiocy and waste of government solely to support his family. He had so many dreams that I know he let go of because he so loved his wife and children. He was larger than life here.  He was so happy surrounded by children. His wife was his all and he had his hobbies and distraction.  Millions of men like him father the future and love more deeply than can ever be known.  He suffered through the illnesses of children and parents and finally succumbed to his own struggle with the wear and tear disease of cancer.  The daily repair of self failed.  And I wanted him to live another thirty years or more. I wanted him to enjoy his home.  And all he said he wanted was to be longer with his sons and wife.
I am too shallow to know the depths of love that they all shared.
I have kept a safe distance from life.  I have not bound my being to the lives of children and beloveds.  My brother cried each time his children cried.  He laughed when they did.  Together he and Adell were ever working to better the life of family.  I left home at 16, albeit coming and going but he stayed. My father’s son.  He stayed close to home. I roamed far away and so often alone.  Wives came and went.  We lacked the depth and honesty of those who marry and fulfill their promises.
I have thought about reliability a lot these last months. So many things that should have been done were left undone in my office.  Daily routines were broken and letters lost.  Important messages went awry.  I wasn’t able to catch all the mistakes which occurred because of a failure of reliability.  The tortoise and hare played out in my workplace.  My truck didn’t start when I needed it. Repaired it would work amazingly only to die for no apparent reason on a cold morning or a steep hill.  It was unreliable.
So I’ve been rearranging my life settling for less excellence but more reliability.  There’s its own excellence in the dependable and reliable.  My brother was ever so until he died.  I could call him and count on his sage advise. I could trust that he was home with his family. I knew that he was taking care of my dad. I leaned on him. I knew that without him I’d have to pick up the responsibility of care for the elderly and all I did was spend the day in and out with the sick and dying.
I have no safe places. For so many years I could sit cross legged or kneeling and meditate for hours and find some God within. I drew on this infinite source of energy and joy and rose again to vanguish monsters and tyrants in the workplace. I fought countless holy wars against disease and mopping up exercises against the administration.  Those far from the frontline were always tardy and needed constant reminders that their own fat cat existence wasn’t what was needed. Answers were required in moments. In reality in most cases the police arrived late.  I have never known bureaucracy to be on time. Institutions are arrogant after thoughts. They rally to the occasion but the crisis and emergency is on us and humans roll up their sleeves and solve the problems while the administration and those furthest from reality take credit. They have so little substance in their lives they desperately need all the glory and money.
My brother was a roll up your sleeves and get the job done guy like my father and grandfather before him.  I watch his sons and see that in them.  They wrestle with reality and fix broken doors while more and more watch tv and sit back and complain and think that complaining is solving the world’s problems  My nephews are doers like he was a doer.
I miss him.  Here in this house he’s everywhere and I don’t know how his wife has been able to do the job of packing up.  A life time of little things are being put in boxes wrapped in papers. Painters are coming. Her cousins are amazing.  These two loving women have rallied to her side.  I see the momentous wonder of a home being packaged up and remnants of yesterday put into storage.
By contrast I have bits of past marriages that sit in boxes in cold storage lockers that are like radioactive material. I am waiting for them to cool so that perhaps once again I can revisit the past and not feel my heart torn from my chest.  Each time I return to the great failures of my life I  feel the tears flow unwanted continuously down my cheeks.  My brother and sister in law lived ‘till death do us part’.  Now she ‘soldiers’ on.  A great love.  Her cousins, wise and loving, wrap up memories invested with love,  crystal carefully placed  in boxes.  Adell deals with a myriad of details letting go.  Her boys are bricks.
I’m passing through. Always passing through.
My brother’s faith was in the planting of trees and plants. My mother before him did the same. I ‘ve a cactus in my room that may survive but my office plant died after 7 years. The life expectancy of office plants is six months.  Still I grieved the passing.
I’m older now.  I suppose I’m angry with the dead because they are not here to see the mess our government has made of things.  As a psychiatrist I ask if that’s just projection. Is reality really out there or is out there just a perception of what I see. My brother saw flowers. My mother saw flowers as friends. I see them as pretty and am rushing haunted and frantic filled with a lifetime of countless demands daily from morning to night living in a chute of being with angry sad dangerous despairing people while I am the reason in their eyes some that I am for their unhappiness. I don't fix their life and fail.
Everyone family, friends and especially the government blame me because I can’t shut up every single one of the adult babies who are despised by the authorities. The authorities talk mealy mouthed with forked tongue.  They demand money and take taxes galore but never give enough to the insatiable hoards who they have promised cradle to grave welfare and health care.   Like red cross workers doling out food in a place of famine we are being malled.  I walk among the wounded, the psychiatric patients and addicted and stigmatized and daily 12 hours face to face 5 and 6 and 7 days a week for 30 years.  I’ve been with them and more and more I see the government wanting to renege on it’s agreement. They want to take the money and run. Leave the sick and dying.  The adult baby in the group is just one that makes the most noise.
I am out for dinner and all I am thinking about is work and myself.  I’m self absorbed.  I lack the polite and caring concerned nature of my brother who was good with everyone bringing laughter wherever he went. I thought him sometimes quirky as his brother but in retrospect see how others perceived his fun as just that and warmed in his presence.
The dogs are all around comforting and loving. I worry about my own little one anticipating surgery to remove an eye that no longer serves him.
We talked of going to an art gallery last night.
I look forward to passing by parliament hill.
I feel less heavy today than yesterday.  Inside something has fallen and even nature doesn’t seem to lift the cloud.  I remember when my mother died it was at least a year before I carried on but during that time I was attacked and savaged in my weakness. Betrayed  by my own administration and the uncultured I was set upon by a deeply sick soul I find it hard still to pray for.    Now I’m similiarly afflicted and the attacks are on again.  I can be open or closed but closed no healing occurs, inauthentic I serve myself and the machine, open and present, I move the equation closer to life but vulnerable I’m a target.  I’ve likened my work to going down deep holes to pull people back into the light knowing that they can bite and fight to avoid living as they have chosen to escape.  I know escape.
There is no escape now.
Each encounter I have tried to do my very best with all my training. I’ve lived to serve.
Now I don’t know.  I’m reading Carrie Fischer’s book.  Princess Leia.  Debbie Reynolds. Paul Simon. Drugs and alcohol and recovery. Celebrities.  It’s truthful. Wishful Drinking.
My apple watch is being reprogrammed. New software is downloading. I’m surrounded by technology. This computer, The iPhone.
I’ve had a cup of coffee from a programmed machine.
I’m praying daily, going to meetings, talking to friends and family, meeting with priests and psychiatrists and physicians, facing forward.  Every moment is cathected with so much history. Maybe that’s aging. There are layers of memories everywhere. We watch a play and I’m again 16 years old and 8 in my first plays and I wonder why I didn’t stay in TV and theatre.  Instead I’ve done this gig.  The missionary doctor who stayed in Canada rather than going overseas because Jack Hildes convinced me there was as much missionary work to do here.  I'd would be paid. Ye of little faith and the scottish gene that said ‘do good but get paid’ . I’m not been St. Francis.  I like that I have had the illustrious career and been the distinguished clinician even if ever tainted by the latest absurdity of political correctness.  
I’m caught in a loop of self pity though.  I justify my curmudgeoness by grief when it’s just the latest excuse for self pity.
I pray daily to thwart comparison and self pity. Yet I’ve come down into the politics of these last months taking sides and playing the ‘game’ getting caught up in the heady emotion of silliness. It’s all so far about my pay grade.  I’ve been distracted by words like Canadian Values and Islamophobia.  My Christian friends are being persecuted.   I know some of those who are also in the frontline as the battle looms and the war goes on on many fronts.  Then we lose  Leonard Cohen’s who knew ’there is a war’. We are left with the jesters and clowns.
Well I’ve got to do the deeds, shower and change. I’ve shaved. Living with others I don’t like seeing the grizzly white hairs, my vanity offended.  Everyday I remember that I’m under attack.  I can’t relax. The Borg are out there and though there’s nothing I can do but survive, I know their hatred and begin my day praying for my enemy.  “They know not what they do."
I told Thelma that the story of jesus is now a daily tale. There are the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin.
I’m ambivalent.
I suit up and show up. I put on the armor of God. I talked of sailing across the Atlantic to my nephew last night.  I am waylaid by work and a truck. The truck is central to the land based adventure which precedes the sailing dream.  I feel safe in the truck commuting. I’m tempted though to find a corner and write drivel.  I see these journals as Steinbeck did, The precursor to the real work. Like Cameron I write these morning pages as mental calisthenics. I blog as musicians play scales each day.
The courts want my writing in the form of briefs and reports. The administration wants me to write all the life of individuals, a spy for the authorities. I once wrote anxiety or depression and all else was confidential.  Now the administration and lawyers insist the files much be excessively detailed.  "The patient is the enemy," the administrator tells me. "Protect yourself from them always, " he says. He is not a healer.
I imagine plays and novels and poetry and songs. But I’m not beaten down enough to be a poet.  I am still too much of this world, still easily caught up in the Facebook insanity of arguing with random strangers and those who are paid to argue with strangers.  I’ve no dog in the fight. I’m forgetting where I’m going. I’m supposed to focus on the light.  More and more the dark places have no appeal. I’ve been in these circus rooms.  I like the art galleries now.  I long to be camping by the clear running stream.
I wanted once to share the process of mind. I wanted to show that under the finished product of the conscious was this great unconscious. I want to share the ‘stream of consciousness’.    So often i meet officials who fearful for themselves tell me that I must hide and play my cards close to my chest and be closed and safe.  I used to believe there was a hiding place but now I only know this as the Lord
More and more I turn to the spiritual . The good are falling all around me. Death is going through my village like a plague.  I know so many who have died.  It’s medieval.

But death can be a celebration.  I feel the loneliness of the left behind but I can hopefully find a way to laugh and dance and smile while I wait my turn.  The morbid and maudlin are a choice.  It’s a new day.  I’m off to do something with my nephew.

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