Bricolage

February 19th, 2013 by Tim Categories: Introducing, Otters of the Universe - Tim's Blog 9 Responses

As stated when I began this blog, this space is my laboratory, the place in which I, as an “otter of the universe,” as a “pure research man,” follow my fascinations, peer into boxes that intrigue me, and step down paths that call to me, following whatever fairy is singing, or whatever distant tower gleams in the morning sun. I am, as I have also said before, both by intention and proclivity, a mosaicist, a bricoleur, a term for which I thank Daniel Quinn. I gather pieces together – found widgets, flotsam and jetsam, radar tracings, unidentified fascinating objects, and hailstones left behind by brainstorms – and weave them together, searching for meaning and guidance as though I were pawing through entrails or casting bones. I do this mostly because it grounds, guides, goads, and delights me, but also because I believe, or trust, or hope, that my doing so will help my tribe.  I do this as a means of transcending and augmenting my analytical, rational, scientific mind.  I do this because it feels like the path I must take to becoming someone I can only now vaguely imagine.  And I do this because, in this time and on this planet, when the world shakes underfoot and all that I thought I knew has fallen into bankruptcy and disrepute, it feels right and useful, to me, to do something else.

One thing I try to intentionally interrupt is my White Guy™ need or training to “sew it all up.”  My days of pretending that I can wrap it all tightly with a bow, that I can present the unassailable case, that I can know and teach and be Right™, have largely ended, crossed off my life’s calendar with a thick permanent marker.  I go slowly here.  I leave loose ends dangling.  I stop before I am finished because I no longer think there is a finished.  I make connections, proffer suggestions, raise questions, and log reactions.  I let things slide and ride and glide, leaving them to sit on my lab tables and gather dust when something else arises to demand my attention.  As an otter, I’m more interested in slipping playfully down the river than in stopping on the shore to build an edifice.  As a pure research man, I allow myself to walk without knowing where I am headed.  My intention, simply, is to notice what I am noticing, feel what I am feeling, think what I am thinking, and speak what is in my mouth to speak, trusting that, as I move through time, my weaving will form a fabric of some sort, that the bits of broken tile will one day form the picture of my being here.

My intention this morning is to continue my exploration of “ranting and raging,” but only by adding more bits for the bricolage, bits only to be gathered together and pondered, with no hope for resolution, whatever that is.

-It has been notable to me, to see how many, in response to my recent explorations, have felt the need to defend the rightfulness or utility of “ranting and raging,” as though I were questioning their right to be angry, or to express their anger.

-It has also been interesting, as I’ve walked the streets of Facebook City and ventured weekly into Blogland, how peoples’ responses fall into predictable categories, and how I react to those responses.  I find myself largely disinterested in anything that feels like a) advice, b) cheering up, or c) sympathy.  Responses that fall into these categories tend to confuse me.  I do find, however, that I’m really digging responses that fall into a fourth category:  empathy and resonance.

-There are a few people I bump into regularly in Facebook City who seem to be always cussing and judging, muttering complaint, displeasure, or anger in short and sometimes indecipherable bursts.  I find myself walking away from these people as quickly as I can.

-This came across my radar this week and has stuck to the glass:

The Holy Longing by Goethe

Tell a wise person or else keep silent
For the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
And what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm waters of the love nights
Where you were begotten,
Where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught in this obsession with darkness
And a desire for higher lovemaking sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter.
And now, arriving in magic, flying
and finally, insane for the light
You are the butterfly.
And you are gone.

And so long as you haven’t experienced this,
To die and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest on a dark earth.

-This also came across my radar, and resonates deeply:

There is Nothing Wrong by Jeff Foster

Sadness is not wrong. Fear is not wrong.
Confusion is not wrong.
Our pain is not wrong.
Resisting our pain is what makes everything seem wrong.
And yet here is a deeper truth, for those who are open:
Even our resistance of pain is not wrong.
If that’s what’s happening, it cannot be wrong.
It is a valid expression of life in the moment.
Beyond ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
This love even embraces resistance.
This Now is vast, and forgiving.

Yet even ‘resistance’ is just another concept.
Another judgement.
Another way to make ourselves wrong.
“Resistance bad. Acceptance good.” That’s what we learn.

It’s not that we “resist” our pain.
We just never learned how to be with it.
How to sit with it. Stay with it. Have a cup of tea with it.
See it as a beloved friend, at home in the vastness.
Our ignorance is our innocence.
We just never learned.

Our pain is not wrong.
It is an invitation.
An ancient teaching.
Universal. Free.

Life invites us to come closer…

Falling through imagined layers…
Into great mystery…

-This feels like an important piece, a poster taped to a wall in Facebook City, attributed to Courtney A. Walsh:

“Dear Human:  You’ve got it all wrong.  You didn’t come here to master unconditional love.  That is where you came from and where you’ll return.  You came here to learn personal love.  Universal love.  Messy love.  Sweaty love.  Crazy love.  Broken love.  Whole love.  Infused with divinity.  Lived through the grace of stumbling.  Demonstrated through the beauty of … messing up.  Often.  You didn’t come here to be perfect.  You already are.  You came here to be gorgeously human.  Flawed and fabulous.  And then to rise again into remembering.”

-And this Eckhart Tolle quote feels important to hold:  ”Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.”

-As does this article about Sinead O’Connor and the Magdalene laundry.

-And this graphic:

Enough.  Flotsam and jetsam.  Bric-a-brac and bricolage.  Widgets and tracings and hailstones.  Perhaps one day the picture will emerge.  For now, the sun shines.  The crow calls.  And I’ve a trip to the post office to make.

Pax, all,
T