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Monday, March 11, 2002

Synchronicity Blues

In the rush of getting involved in blogging, I've been letting some things slide. Unpleasant stuff like taxes, spring yard work, the usual litany.

I wake up in the middle of the night with a very clear message. This kind of thing doesn't happen to me very often--especially the nature of this particular message. I lay there, sweat-soaked, with a very clear sense that it's useless to try to get myself to do any of this stuff, or to find a way to compartmentalize my activities so that more gets done. I've been through that a million times. It never works.

What usually works--the only thing that ever seems to work--is when I surrender--give up the illusion that I control anything.

"God, Nature, The Infinite, Whatever, controls everything," I remind myself "Therefore, I'm just going to turn the day over to the Deity and see what happens."

Now I'm not a very religious guy, and I'm sure as hell not the type who goes around intoning aphorisms like, "let go and let God." Nevertheless, this experience is very real as I confront the day ahead. If the past is any guide, I usually have more results when I'm in this frame of mind than when I'm seeking to be the honcho who makes it all happen.

It's now mid-morning. Things have been going quite well, but I notice myself beginning to slip, falling into the familiar knee-jerk assumptions that the free ride is over; it's going to be a struggle to keep myself on track; I had better find a way to whip myself back into the groove; etc.

I then remind myself of the frame with which I began the day. The experience returns--the very vivid experience--that I had had earlier when I had put the day in God's hands. I smile again, spirits lifted.

Immediately following, a horrific racket on the front porch. A vicious, attack-type dog has grabbed our sweet cat of ten years by the abdomen! He has her in a death vise. The owners, who were walking the dog but obviously not controlling it, and myself, are beating on the dog desparately, trying to make it let go. No force seems to be able to loosen the grip. I step inside to make a frantic call to Animal Control. The owners and dog--cat still attached--split into thin air. I drive frantically around the neighborhood. Cops come and join the search. Animal Control goes door to door.

Nothing. Not a trace.

It all happens in a flash. No chance to experience any feelings other than blinding grief and outrage. Later, the thoughts start to gel. Like the beleaguered Job, I start to question the Heavens. What's going on here? I thought when you got yourself connected with the Deity, beauty and wonder emerged. Synchronicity of the serendipitous kind. Is this some kind of joke? This is my reward for surrendering my ego and deferring to the Almighty?

Yes, of course, shit happens, but not, presumably, when you've got your spiritual ducks lined up--as I thought I had today. Don' t the Zen Buddhists say that the Infinite sometimes plays tricks on you in order to reveal Itself?

"Well," I ask myself, "what's the lesson here? There must be a lesson here that I'm supposed to learn. Why else would something so terrible be happening?"

Not necessarily. Event A happens, then event B, then C. They're either connected by some narrative or they're stand-alones. They contain a lesson or they don't. No way to prove it either way. So it all comes down to personal choice. Do I choose that there's a lesson here or not? If I choose in the affirmative, how do I know what the lesson is? Once again, it falls on my shoulders. Create the lesson myself or forfeit it.

An hour later I step out on the deck to water the plants. Unbelievable! My cat, to whom I've already said my good-byes, is lying there, half-alive. Somehow, she's crawled back to be with us at the end. But maybe it's not the end? Got to get her over to the vet to see if there's any chance.

"Yep," the vet says, after x-rays. "We can do extensive surgery with 90% odds that she'll make it."

I don't even think about the money. "Do it."

Two days and $1,700 later, the cat dies. The trauma was too much for her to survive. Now I really want to punch the walls. Eric Norlin, you wrote a beautiful piece about God and your dog, Norman, when he was almost a goner. I can't access your archives. Help me out here. I'd like to re-read that. It might be helpful.

I had resolved not to incur any debts this year. So no plastic to the vet. I fork over the green that I had saved for our spring vacation.

Lesson One: what's a vacation for? To unwind; to re-connect with my wife; to experience new dimensions of myself. I don't have to get on an airplane and go to an exotic destination for that. It helps, but we can drive for an hour, spend the day at the seashore, and get the same result, if we're willing to allow it to serve that purpose.

Lesson Two: I ask Jill if ten years of a sweet cat's love is worth the sacrifice of one vacation trip. "Definitely," is her reply, and mine.

Lesson Three: the most powerful feeling that I'm left with after all the intense trauma, the anger, and the overwhelm, is the simple feeling of love--and the unimportance of money--that washed over me when I gathered the cat in my arms and rushed her to the vet.

Love over Money. A pretty prosaic lesson. God over Ego. Dirt simple, but "Oh so easy to forget," I remind myself as I reflect on all the psychic and spiritual energy that I've let drain into Mere-Matters-of-Mammon since the high-tech and marcom bust around these parts.


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