Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If You Know What I Mean

Sometimes I think it is more important to have a great friend than a great lover. This doesn't apply to the people who are lucky enough to have both of course. Terry Robinson of New Zealand is such a friend for me. I am also close to other people on the interwebz and am lucky to have a family I love more than my own life, and a few friends left in Arizona and elsewhere that I have known in the past and present who haven't abandoned the Good Ship Devin as he has taken on a bit of water in the last few years. But for this article and others to come, hopefully, I would like to just say a little about what I have learned from Mr. Robinson through his writings. He has changed my outlook on life tremendously when I needed it most. Tonights article about him and his thoughts will be short. I need to re-charge my insomnia addled brain before I say more!

Terry Robinson is the handsome fellow in the second image from the top and the pretty young ladies are members of his family. The images are from his new book of poetry which he was kind enough to send me along with a beautiful short letter that was in perfect synch with some thoughts I had as I was struggling to fall asleep this morning. I received the book today and was actually shocked at how much both some of his poems (I haven't had the chance to read all of them, but am enjoying the ones I have immensely) and his letter were in step with some thoughts I had about human existence, and the enormous beauty and wonder of our ephemeral lives.

Terry Robinson is also the author of A Walk With An Irishman published in 2008 by Moonshine Press. It was this book which provided me with a sort of lifeline to sanity a matter of nights ago. Those of you who know me, know that the last few years-2009 in particular have been rough ones for me. God only knows I have bitched about and moaned about things enough to fill a balloon with hot air-(hopefully this balloon would not be one belonging to the horrible Heene "I want my 15 minutes of fame to turn into an hour" parents!) This is one aspect of my personality I hope to change and work on immediately-and this desire to change in a positive manner came from reading Terry's book. Thanks by the way to those of you who have stood by me through my various meltdowns-this past year especially! Good think I'm not a nuclear reactor eh? I woulda Chernobyl'd us all by now!

A Walk With An Irishman is about Terry's life. One might think -ok a book about one of us regular workaday people with no murders, no vast accumuations of fortunes gained and lost etcetera-how interesting could that be? My answer-extremely interesting! Terry Robinson has a great gift -a way-of talking about the events and people in his life that makes you want to turn the next page.

Terry had a breakdown at the age of 53 that lasted quite some time. But what he couldn't have imagined at this point in his life-this nadir and bottomless pit of hopelessness, was that he was to emerge like the mythical Phoenix triumphantly after a series of globetrotting adventures. Terry describes perfectly the way I was feeling a matter of nights (and well into the early am) ago. That night I was in a state of desperation. Getting the paperwork together for my disability case was turning into something that felt like being in a Woody Allen movie directed by David Lynch! I don't know how many of you will have seen "Inland Empire"-but at one point when I was talking to one of the people who were supposed to help me I wouldn't have been surprised if the soundtrack to that movie started in the background along with the dancing girls and rabbits. I truly felt on this night that after the day I had had, that I might be having a mental breakdown. Not only that but my body felt like the proverbial wet dishrag. I was in pain and had barely enough energy to make it to the bathroom

I had this thought- "I know we aren't supposed to kill ourselves but what if one truly feels that they have nothing left to give to others-and at the same time feel like an enormous mountain -sized burden on the people that you love. Would it be such a horrible thing to do? Would it be such a karma- soaked basket of consequences in the next world (if there is one) or another human existence (if there is one)?" Then I remembered the struggles of Terry Robinson. I remembered he had an awful time and had come through his difficulties and strife with a beautiful new outlook on life. I went to the page where he describes his initial breakdown: "I woke up one morning feeling as though my body had completely given up on me. It was the most horrible feeling of hopelessness to ever touch my being. I could hardly move my limbs and my body felt as if all the blood had been drawn from it...Later in the day I dragged myself out to the back door steps and sat there completely demoralized. I felt as if I was living in a void. In my shattered state of mind I found it hard to relate to anything except anxiety."

Terry's words describe my own state of a few nights ago perfectly. However, even though I was still in quite a state-questioning the value of continuing on -somehow I knew I would find something in his words and thoughts to get me through the most "nightus horribilus" of my life. Sorry for the lame take on QE2's "annus horribilus"! And Terry Robinson being the treasure he is, provided me with a lifeline-a rope to lift myself up-whereas before I might have found an object to hang myself with! So obviously I can't understate the value of his friendship and his books (2 of them now-A Walk With An Irishman is about his life (with some wonderful poetry from the soul thrown in! and the book pictured above is a book of poetry) to me!

I will close with a poem by Terry from his latest book. I hope to return in the future to some thoughts Terry has shared in his book, poetry and correspondence that resonate with everything from Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions and philosophies to certain modern (and ancient) seekers of truth.

To Guide:

The word educator comes from
the Latin educare meaning to guide, to lead,
but I have to ask who's guiding who, where,
and who's leading who, where?

I will never be able to thank you enough Terry! Sending love and hugs to you and your wonderful family from Arizona to New Zealand!


Autumnforest said...

Fantastic post! What a wise man. We really can't finish the trek unless we learn and grow. You are very inquisitive person and highly intelligent. If you don't get something out of what you go through, you're missing the point of why we live and aren't inanimate objects (an upcoming post soon about "why life" which I started about 3 days ago...hmm, I wonder what inspired me?) Well, we all know that feeling, at least most of us do. The only truly trying moments aren't when you come up against something, they're when life asks you to evolve to the next level because something happened. Adaptability is a sign of a long-lived life and also a life that has substance. Things happen and sometimes we have to rethink who we are, what our purpose is. Some folks, like John Walsh, lose a child and then turn down a path with such passion that their life takes on a meaning that extends beyond their own life and affects everyone. I suspect that he never went to bed at night thinking "I'm going to be a crusader for the good guys by catching the bad guys." He just realized his circumstances changed and he must decide what was of importance and pursue it. For you, I definitely see acquiring and sharing knowledge as a purpose that is bigger than you, just like John Walsh's purpose was bigger than just working 9-5. You're fighting your metamorphesis. There's no need to. One of the things life teaches us is that you can't repeat the same day. A year and a half ago, would you have thought you'd meet someone like me to "got" you and really enjoys your company online and finds you a ray of sunshine? You don't know what happens each day. Each one is like Christmas with gifts from unknown givers. I've had more than my share of times in the self-pity pit, but I have to tell you, for every "why me?" there's a sliver of power. If I pout because I got ignored by someone I loved, then shame on me for not saying I needed help. If I want to lose a few pounds and the scale isn't budging, shame on me, I know I need to keep a food diary. There is always a control in every situation. People who feel helpless feel so because the ultimate question is "can I handle this?" If you believe deep inside you can't, you become a victim and helpless. If you believe deep inside that no matter what happens, I'm a bright person, I can find resources, I can ask for help, I can learn more, I can find the one little thing I can control...then you'll pull right out of the self-pity pit. I've gone down there so many times that when I do, I now shake myself up and say "stupid, you're in the hole again." There's a great story I used to tell the anxiety self help group. A man walks through the woods, falls in a hole and goes, "where am I? What happened?" He remains until he figures out it's a hole and climbs out. The next time the man walks through the woods, he falls in the hole again, but this time he goes "oh yeah, the hole." Then he climbs out. The third time he walks through the woods he sees the hole but keeps walking and falls in. "Oh, I guess I shouldn't have gone this way." Then, the next time, he walks a different way. That's what helplessness is like. You fall in a few times before you realize that you can climb out. For every shitty day you've ever had, you and an equally happy day another time, maybe a day later, maybe a week later. The fact is, this too shall pass. Love you, Dev. You keep your head up and ask for help when you need it. Feel free to email me. I've counseled/sponsored more people on anxiety/depression/panic than you can imagine. Oh yeah, you might enjoy reading the halloween short about the pantry invader--the character is named after you.

Devin said...

Thanks for this beautiful comment Autumnforest!!! I often think that I am not very smart myself but know who to look to for advice that is!!! I can't wait to read your post and will do in just a minute -hey thanks for naming a character after me too!!! I might just need that counseling someday maybe soon -right now I am much better -just thinking of how fortunate I truly am whatever happens in my life -but i need something -like an internal warning meter haha-that lets me know i am about to start in with the self pity and negativity towards myself and others -I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comment and look forward to the story-thanks again so much-very wise words from you also about life situations that come up now and then -all the best and love to you also my friend!!!

X. Dell said...

Be careful what you write. I was near Chernobyl when it blew. My glowing in the dark has kept me awake for the past twenty-three years.

My glowing almost turned one of my girlfriends into an alcoholic--she was getting lit up to keep me company.

Devin said...

As always Xdell I appreciate your insights, comments, humor and everything !! wow -I would almost want to ask how near you were to Chernobyl when it went up/or down as the case might be!?
Of course if I remember correctly people all over not just east and central europe were getting some rads -but people in Sweden-thanks as always for your comments!! Hope to get to the next one in just a sec-my puter says it wants to re start in 15 mins for updates -so i will just do it now-all the best!!