Saturday, January 28, 2006


The sky is winter-pale, but bright. It is damp and cold, but I see the signs of spring... my primroses are in flower, the osmanthus is shooting, the christmas box outside the dining room window is blooming. It smells so clean outside and the air is refreshing. The mist clung to my eyelashes as I walked down to the river this morning and fed old bread to the birds.

Geese are such pushy creatures, and today they called up memories of that summer with Grandmother, in Santa Cruz, when I went to feed the geese and they charged me. They were so tall--their eyes looked directly into mine--and I fell backwards, clutching the paper bag of stale bread. Of course they dove for it, and of course, I was terrified by all those birds surrounding me, their wings flapping, their beaks diving for me. I got up and ran to the car and they followed me -- I still held the bag. I remember them surrounding the car, looking in at me, their beaks opening and closing...

Today I know to toss the bread away from me and keep it coming fast enough that they don't come after me. And I am done, I walk quickly away, and watch them from a distance.

I think sometimes that I react to people the way I do to geese.

Since childhood, I was overwhelmed by people, by their apparent desire for what I had, and it seemed that they pursued me, even to the point of delving inside me, pecking and pulling at my soul. I would huddle in that saferoom of my mind, relying on glass to protect me from what frightened me.

Today, I am still on my guard with people, but I try to give willingly what I think they want. Sometimes I give until I am empty, and then I distance myself, and observe. Will they want more, I wonder, even when I have nothing left to give?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Reconsiling with Desire

(preface to the audio)

In the past year I have read an exhaustive collection of books, articles and texts, from western psychologists like Freud, Jung, Mark Epstein, DW Winnicot, and Jessica Benjamin, to the Pali Cannon's version of the life and teachings of Buddha. Of great interest and insight were Miranda Shaw's book on women in tantric buddhism, as well as John Steven's book Lust for Enlightenment: Buddhism and Sex. Otto Kernberg's book on love relationships contained an analysis of a Hindu text known as the Ramayana, which struck me and resonated within me for days: "...the beloved presents himself or herself simultaneously as a body which can be penetrated and a consciousness which is impenetrable. Love is the revelation of the other person's freedom. The contradictory nature of love is that desire aspires to be fulfilled by the destruction of the desired object, and love discovers that this object is indestructable and cannot be substituted." He implied that a healthy anger at this seemingly irreconsilable duality is required to keep loving relationships alive, and partners seeking each other out, even after years together. All of my reading has progressively re-oriented my relationship to desire, particularly as I examined my dissociation of emotion and sex as members of the erotic subset of desire. The synthesis of all that I have read is represented as an essay-poem. While incomplete, it is what I have grokked, the distilled essence of my slow (and ongoing) reconciliation with Desire.
this is an audio post - click to play

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