Archive for February, 2013

I was doing last minute grocery shopping getting some healthy stuff at Stater Brothers. There were only a few items in the basket when I proceeded to check counter no. 2. The cashier was filling some form and I waited. Shortly she turned to me and apologized and I smiled. She told me the figure and I used my credit card. And as I was trying to take hold of all those bags she said, “Have a good day Mr. Sorajjakool.” She turned, smiled and said, “Did I get that right.” “You are close, very close,” I responded with a big smile. For the very first time in my life a cashier actually acknowledged me by my name. What a very pleasant surprise. I felt very special. Thanks Tiffany.

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Life just isn’t easy. I remember thinking how as we grow older things should get easier, life becomes smoother, and easy is the descriptive word in the progression of life. Reality shows me a very different side to life and it is hard and complexed. I have been thrown into an alchemical journey taking life to the center of the existence of that which is meaningful. The poets understand the paradox of life. In Jewel’s words,

I’d sit on logs like pulpits

listen to the sermon

of sparrows

and find god in simplicity,

there amongst the dandelion

and thorn

In Afterword to A Night Without Armor she writes, “As a child watching television and reading magazines, I felt separate from what seemed to be a race of people who were born extraordinary, with no problems, no hate, no abuse, no hurt. Reading Neruda and Bukowski showed me humans who were good, but also struggling. I could learn from their honesty about their vanity, envy, and self-pity, as well as their hopes for goodness.” I so resonate with her description as I wonder through life and suddenly being placed in the middle of life’s difficult complexity. And things about me start emerging…fear, anxiety, obsession, envy, selfishness, indecisiveness. Life pulls us toward the middle and invites us to stay in the middle befriending elements of the soul that emerge or rather, that reveal themselves to us. In a way, it is that which takes us to a more authentic path of self-discovery. I am learning to be in the center and deal with the anxiety. Learning to hold on so dearly and passionately and yet finding the courage to let go. Learning to feel deeply and not allowing it to destroy me, seeing the world through tears with a smile on my lips. Learning about parts of self that I do not quite appreciate and embracing while moving on. Staying in the center is a lot harder than I thought but it is a place to be. I do feel stronger, not all the time, but a gradual progression with dips in between inching to the center.  I know where I am heading but where it ends, that is beyond me. And that’s where I am going with the strength to move on. I am getting stronger every day and more determined and in the midst of the journey is the place where holding firm is also at the very same time letting go in the flow of my finiteness. The Infinite of heart’s longing may not always belong within the reach of one’s humanity. But fighting to the last breath seems the only possible path of living life at the center…..

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Roller coasters are definitely not my favorite. I remember when a group of friends visited Disneyland and every one wanted to ride Space Mountain. I had to act brave but held on to the handle so tightly and uttered a few non-sensible syllables to calm myself down. I often tried to look for smaller ones in order to increase my courage. Perhaps it was helpful but certainly a not cured. What a metaphor for life when internally one swings in the extremes in between…joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment, high and low, smiles and tears, fun and pain…and the ride keeps going. Perhaps one way to deal with this roller coaster is to stop and a get out of it so that you can remove yourself and watch the ride. The other way is perhap to just enjoy the ride…taking them all in…the high and the low, the fear and the thrill, and believe that in the end, the very end end of all…one will always come out all right.

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A Song for V-Day, 2013

Alanis Morissette’s Head Over Feet….

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We create meaning through story telling. We tell stories by weaving events into a pattern that conveys a sense of who we are in the configuration of the “happenings” in our lives. Perhaps at the core of each story lies a desire for validation through plots and circumstances of life, or  of being thrown into life itself. However, how is story to be told in the face of trauma. Where is the place of validation of value in traumatic events especially when the trauma takes on a very personal nature. The life of Pi takes trauma to a different level, the level where transcendence is required to be able to even tell stories. And there he was in a small boat after the sinking of a commercial ship with a tiger, a hyena, an orangutan, and a zebra survived to see the hyena killed the zebra and the orangutan. And most importantly, hyena being killed by Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger. And the rest of the story was just him and the tiger on the boat trying to survive, trying to tame the tiger, trying to negotiate with the tiger, trying to live with the tiger, trying to survive with the tiger on the same boat. How does one tell validating stories in witnessing events of violence? When the evil cook (hyena) murdered his mother (orangutan) and a sailor (zebra) and in anger and through survival mode he killed the cook. He, Pi, was Richard Parker. It is one thing to witness violence. It is another when violence emerges from within oneself. So Pi told stories of how he came to term with Richard Parker and how, finally upon landing on the shore, Richard Parker just disappeared into the forest. When trauma is too damaging, one has to turn to metaphor to convey meaning because facing raw reality of one’s internal violence, especially for a boy, is just too destructive. The story of Pi is the story that helps to sustain a person in the face of deep trauma. It is metaphoric process of meaning making. It is externalizing internal violence into a fantasy that is manageable for the soul.

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Sequences in Time

Things we do, action we take create events in life. And accumulation of events form sequences that write our stories. These sequences become our biographical narrative and sequences come with consequences. And there are times when our immature unthoughtful actions emerging from our humanity and pre-detremined psyche cause sequences that have such deep impact, so deep that the reversal becomes an uphill battle. And one sits in time. And one realizes that sequences are locked in time. Time fixes the order of sequences in chronological events. How I wish time is fluid and sequences can be reshuffled and consequences can be reordered in a new order. I wish I could reach my hands into time and rearrange things so that my humanity and my vulnerability become assets instead of liabilities. For now only time can tell if those sequences can be redeemed and life, though tarnished, flourishing and reemerging strong and beautiful.

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