Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas at 4AM last night, unfathomably/gloriously stoned
"Whither Shermy?" by Ivan Brunetti, from McSweeney's and his oversized and wonderful Schizo #4.
The letters column entitled "Dear Asshole" from Schizo #3 (1998) includes this letter to Ivan Brunetti:
"While Jim Woodring predicts you will move on to do amazing humanist work, I predict you will fade away like the mediocre shit you are! Pathetic losers like you piss me off becauase your rants steal all the attention away from folks out there who are honestly trying to say something interesting and wondrous about life. You suck.
P.S. Please kill yourself."
Jim Woodring was right. Ivan Brunetti is living proof that the time you spend in your emotional gutter is as important as the summer evenings on your porch, sippin' on gin and juice.
What is aversion? What is attraction? Is aversion to "external" stimuli really an arrow aimed at the parts of ourselves we label undesirable?
What causes you to label people good or bad? Are there pieces of yourself you are proud of? Other pieces you wish did not exist?
You were not made or born to pick and choose elements of yourself as "correct" and discard others. You were born with irises to open, nostrils to open, ears to open, hands to open (even legs to open). I have obstructed natural motion by curling, folding into myself, making a shell, building a Berlin Wall around my heart. It's time to knock it down. The pure heart (called bodhichitta in the Buddhist tradition) we've tried to bury is not in danger of being damaged. It is only our fear of pain or intrusion that has caused us to truly suffer.
Have you ever noticed the difference when you just sit up straight and breathe? When you stop talking? Did you remember how it felt when you asked someone to listen, and they quickly deposited their own advice and their own experiences?
I am learning to go to a movie or read a comic book without wondering if I like it or if the quality of the work is poor or strong. All my life I have been unable to do this. This was an externalizing of the way I looked in the mirror. I wonder where I learned it. It was easy to do but hard on me, as I'm sure it's been hard for you when you have turned that harsh eye on yourself.
Your loneliness, fear, anger, pride, crazed feelings, lust, confusion -- they are your good friends in disguise. See them for who they are: pals pointing the way to discover the softness of your heart and its power to connect you with the suffering of others.
You are all geniuses, kind and warm and hurt geniuses. (Abby kept calling her friends geniuses and I picked up on it. I believe she is more on than she even knows.)
I count myself as very blessed to be around you, even for a moment or a day. I am blessed that you are reading this writing, and that very real human beings read my comics.
Your perceptions do more than color your world; they shape it. For real, too. The energy you send out returns to you tenfold.
Just relax and be where you are.
Further reading: Pema Chödrön