Mystic Me

Yesterday, I learned much about who I am. I am always learning, though. It seems that I am not simply a Gnostic, but am a mystic. I believe in so much more than simply the inner journey.

For those of you who do not understand mysticism and mystics, let me give you a short list of our beliefs.

As a mystic:

1. YOU VALUE EXPERIENCES ABOVE ALL ELSE

2. YOU QUESTION EXISTENCE

3. YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY

4. YOU VALUE INTUITION

5. YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES

6. YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SET OF RULES

7. YOU VALUE INTERNAL GROWTH

8. YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE A CONDUIT FOR POWER, NOT THE SOURCE

9. YOU BELIEVE LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE

10. YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

(source of list: Gaia.com)

I am not comfortable with rites and rituals, or physical pursuits associated with “belief”. I feel that belief is based upon inexorable truth that is not necessarily a tangent quantity, but adds quality to one’s life. Belief has nothing to do with deeds, nor do deeds have anything to do with belief. Someone who does, with expectations of return, do not believe in anything except self.

Life is about experience, nothing else. One must experience every aspect to understand or gain wisdom and insight. Until one experiences, they cannot understand or fathom the fullness of what is around us. In order to experience, you must question existence. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? And most of all, you must value intuition. This does not means that you make the best choices every time (oh, God no), but you know that you often pay the price for second guessing that intuition.

Life is uncertain. It has only been recently, the last 10-15 years, that I have been able to fully become comfortable with this fact. Tomorrow is never promised to us, only today. We must do all that we can, all the positive we can (never negative), within that one day. And even that single day is an uncertainty.

I had to walk away from organized religion for two reasons. The first was the rigid dogma, which states that one must physically follow a certain path (without explaining that one must first change the inner self so that the walk is more pure) in order to be something. My discomfort with hierarchy/rites and rituals made it impossible to sit in a church.

The second reason I walked away was because I had to set my own rules. I do this through exploring the truth and implementing it in my life, which leads to internal growth. I see everyone as being sent to us as an example of what we, as individuals, must change within ourselves. We cannot change those around us, but we can change ourselves.

beyond this, I have always believed that humanity, of and by itself, has no power of its own. We are a collective that is connected to one another through nature and are powered by the universal power to do good and to better the world we are born into. We cannot better the world through condemning it, but through serving as examples and positive forces within it.

I also believe that love is the source of life. Without love, we are empty and dead, though we physically exist. By love, I do not mean the physical attraction to the opposite gender (or same gender as per preference) but rather the love that leads us to understand, accept, and have true compassion upon all without expectations. Without this love, we are nothing.

Finally, I do not know everything. I am always learning. And what I learn, I tend to share with you. I work toward a better understanding of the world and the universe…and ultimately, the meaning of life and our purpose here. After all, life is about learning and growing, not about sitting in place and staying the same. Progress can only be found by moving forward, not going in reverse. Enlightenment is found through diligence and realizing that we cannot remain in ignorance if we seek to be wise.

And, as always, I remain your humble friend. Until the very end.

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Living With Tinnitus

Imagine hearing a low hum constantly. Even in an empty room where there is complete silence.  This is the lower end of the tinnitus spectrum. A constant, almost unnoticeable hum. That never goes away.

Now imagine what I can only describe as having a jet engine’s high pitched whine in one, the other, or both ears. Or, maybe, a tornado. Although this is not an accurate description, it is as close as I can get.

Now imagine going through this on a daily basis at varying degrees. Most days could be at the low end of the spectrum, but the high end could strike at any moment, caused by any sound…or just the wind blowing in your ear. Or nothing at all. Onset can be heralded by a sudden case of vertigo or even a sudden loss of balance for no apparent reason.

Tinnitus, by definition, is the excessive vibration in the inner ear, causing a buzzing or humming sound that can only be heard by the sufferer. Even definitions cannot define or describe the attacks accurately. These minimally descriptive definitions mislead the majority of people into believing that tinnitus and its effects are “imagined” by the sufferer, even though it is very real and very devastating and debilitating to the one who suffers from it.

Side effects include vertigo, migraines, and temporary (sometimes for hours) deafness. Of course, all of this depends on the severity of the attack.  At the very least, someone speaking to a person suffering from an attack will seem muffled. At the very worst, the person will not be heard. Some attacks can make the sufferer physically ill or double over in pain. One famous sufferer, Vincent Van Gogh,  even cut off his ear and eventually went insane.

Upon hearing that one of my heroes, Eric Clapton, has come forward and admitted that he also suffers from it and is going deaf has caused me to reflect back on my own experience with this maddening problem. It also reminds me what can cause the problem. Yet, mine was not caused by fantastically loud guitars and concerts. Mine was caused by something much more mundane and yet, much more abusive.

When I was five, I had to have fluid drained from my middle ear. When it was through, I had extremely acute hearing. The doctor did warn my parents that I would probably have occasional bouts of tinnitus, but he thought it would clear up after my ears got used to not being full of fluid.He also warned them that there should be no loud noises or there could be the possibility that there could be nerve damage or permanent tinnitus.

So acute that I could hear a mousetrap being dropped five rooms away! My father, thinking himself clever, delighted in waiting until I was nearby, then dropping a mousetrap just to watch me jump because of the loud noise. And, as the doc had warned, I began suffering tinnitus. At first, it was the low  hum. But as my dad continued to persecute me with the traps, the tinnitus began to rise in pitch and severity.

It reached a peak when I was in my teens. I did not know when it would hit or at what decibel I would be enjoying my next bout.  People thought it was weird that I would lose my balance for what they thought was absolutely no reason (one of the reasons I never went pro as a boxer) or would have to stop and wait for “the colors” to go away so I could see. Some couldn’t even understand the connection between my migraines and my “inner ear problem”.

Over nearly 40 years (I am only three years short of the 40 year mark), I have staggered, lost balance, nearly fallen down stairs, winced in pain, had to cover my ears, had to stop for no apparent reason, or sit down for a few minutes simply because I was hit by a sudden barrage of sound that no one else can hear. I have gotten sick to my stomach, had to go lay down, had to brace myself, and had to suffer through migraines that caused me to vomit. I have had more times than I care to count where I had to embarrass myself and ask someone to repeat themselves because the tinnitus had started up and I did not hear a thing they had said.

I can attest that, at its worst, tinnitus is enough to make the one who suffers from it want to commit suicide. And yes, the thought had crossed my mind a few times about chopping off my ear just to find a little quiet. Both were never truly options to me, though. A buzz is bearable enough to stagger through life with and I can handle having that 747 take off in my ear from time to time as well. And though I don’t feel comfortable with asking people to repeat themselves, I will patiently do so as long as they are as patient with me as I am with them.

I was lucky enough for three and a half years, to be relatively free of much of the worst of my tinnitus. While Kelly was alive, my tinnitus had died down to a barely noticeable hum. The migraines and vertigo were almost nonexistent. I had stability and someone who understood my problems and was patient with me.

Now, my tinnitus is back with a vengeance. And I have nothing. No way to keep it at a minimum. If you remember, I told you at the beginning that tinnitus does not need a trigger. silent rooms can shriek louder than noisy ones. The irony is, with tinnitus, one learns that the old adage “silence is deafening” is very true because in silence, the plague that is that infernal hum of tinnitus can grow to a deafening roar.

Cataloguing Pain

I supposed I should give a rundown of my history of pain so some might understand why I am not depressed when I say that I am tired. While depression can cause pain, my pain has been ever-present from early in my life.

1975/76(?): I recently had my mother confess that I’d had a horse step on me while I was still a baby. More precisely, on my chest. My first dance with that beautiful lady known as death, though I knew her not. This is probably the origin of some of the pain I now suffer, though I cannot be sure.

1977/78(?): I nearly drown. My second dance with that wonderful lady called death. Had my mother’s friend not found me when he did, I would have been dead. If he had found me just minutes later, I would not be talking to you

I can also note that between 1975 and 1978, I also suffered from nearly every childhood illness that children are now vaccinated for.

1980: Though I suffered from the chicken pox this point, I also had to have ear surgery to drain fluid. was pushed off the top of a playground slide. had to be carried off the playground. (was later told that I was lucky to be alive.)

1980-present: I suffer from tinnitus and occasional bouts of vertigo brought on by the tinnitus. In some ways, my migraines have also been closely tied to these problems. If you have never suffered from tinnitus, imagine id someone were to install a gadget in your ear that could create inner ear noise that could range from a mildly annoying “distant” buzz to a noise that can only be described as multiple jet engines all running at the same time. At its worst, it can be debilitating and paralyzing. Blinding. The vertigo attached to this happens somewhere near the midpoint of the tinnitus scale. recently, my tinnitus made a resounding comeback, leading to an increase in my migraines.

1983: my sister molested me. destroys my innocence and causes me more problems than she should. She spends her life denying my existence and accusing mom of abuse…despite the fact that she also spends her teen years and young adult life being a “run around Sue” and gaining a rep as an easy lay.

1984/85: I survived a case of massive heat stroke coupled with possible heat exhaustion. I still think that I should have died, and they did almost lose me. From that point on, I have been unable to handle extreme heat. I slap suffer my first bout of frostbite waiting on a school bus.

1985/86-1993: I suffer several subsequent bouts, each worse than the last, of frostbite from having to walk to school in sub-zero temps. I also suffer numerous bouts of “Respiratory Infection” that are also more serious and less fixable with each round. By the end, I am immune to nearly all antibiotics used to treat the “infection”.

1988: A cousin, a distant cousin, almost runs me over.

1992: I went to summer camp. Had a canoe come down across my neck and shoulders after slipping during a portage trip. Should have died, but ended up paralyzed for what seemed to be an eternity (about 15 minutes).

1992/93: had “falling dream” where I hit bottom. Was told that I shouldn’t have survived.

1993: had my own father point a gun at me. had it been working and loaded, I know I would have been dead. His expression said it all.

1994: I am involved in a collision (I rear ended a van) after trying to avoid being hit. note to self: never wear slick bottom shoes while driving.

1995-2001: My first marriage. my first wife attempted, several different times, in several different ways (last being trying to drive me crazy), to kill me.  My health begins its decline when I turn 27. I balloon out to well over 220, nearly die hitchhiking back from Tulsa, and become an outcast for trying to start life over.

1998: I have an accident while working as a landscaper in Alabama, accidentally driving a work truck 40 ft off an 80 ft drop. This is the final straw where my back is concerned. I am unable to stand, sit, or lay down for nearly a week. Note to self: It’s not smart to smoke and drive.

2001: I mess up my feet by wearing worn out shoes on the job, working as a gutter-tech. Nearly fall from a 50 ft scaffolding. nearly fall off a tar-shingle roof where the temps are well over 110 (99 in the shade), and suffer yet another bout of heat exhaustion. All while my soon-to-be-ex is in the mental hospital. In June, I am advised by the psychiatrist (who had noticed my flagging health) that I should get a divorce before my wife takes me down with her. I follow Dr’s orders.

2004: My father tries to beat the shit out of me. He fails. Messes up my thumbs. We both scare the shit out of my niece. Later, I go to Omaha as a tutor for a friend’s son only to be sent packing after the hubby gets jealous. (it had a lot to do with lies being told by a cousin who was also staying with that friend.) I returned and worked briefly for a shipping dock. the pain I had to bear was excruciating, though it never went away all the time I was there.

2006-2011: My second marriage. Another round of having someone trying to kill me. this time, it is through keeping me smoking even though I am trying my damnedest to stop. I almost die from complications with my gallbladder. Again, I have another dance with death. I would have my teeth pulled (probably more a symptom of a bad gallbladder than what the dentist attributed my rotten teeth to) and find out that I was extremely close to having a heart attack. (would take statins, at first, to combat this until they damaged my muscles; then would be put on fish oil tabs). In the latter part of the marriage, I would end up on migraine meds that ended up altering my behavior (and I would wean myself off of them as quick as possible).

2011: Gallbladder attacks! I had been suffering from some “intestinal” symptoms for a few years, but had thought nothing of it. I had started college in 2009, after I had initially split from my second wife. Being the forgiving kind, I took her back under one condition. she would move with me to Council Bluffs so I could be closer to classes. In late 2010, my symptoms became much worse and I began to undergo testing to see what was wrong. In December/January, I had gallbladder surgery. After I woke, I was shown just how “bad” it had been. The doctor explained that he could not tell how long it had been dead. He also told me that he could not see how I was still alive, that people who wait that long usually die. My only reply was that I had been in pain all my life, so I could not always tell what was hurting or how bad. AS stated above, I had another tango with death. That lady must love me.

2012-present: still suffer from many of the side effects that I was told would go away after gallbladder surgery. My health has been in a steady decline, the pain I live in has worsened, and I rarely get enough sleep. I have had occasional chest pains since 2001, but these have gotten more frequent. I can’t always breathe, finding myself gasping at times, and I am concerned. I have also had a nervous shake, more noticeable in my right hand than the left, in my hands that has worsened each time it has appeared. Each time my back has slipped out, the effects have been more devastating (the last time, I was paralyzed and had to be helped to the bed by Kelly…just a couple of weeks before she died), leaving me concerned about what’s going to happen if it goes out and I am alone. (Will I be able to drag myself out of the bathroom? Or will I die in there, unable to call for help?)

I no longer have the strength left to fight. I no longer have the energy. The pain, the physical pain, I have had to go through for the entirety of my life has sapped it all out of me. It isn’t out of depression that I desire an end, it is out of a desperate need for rest. A desperate need for peace from the war I have had to fight my whole life. While Kelly was alive, I had a bit of that peace, a bit of that rest. But not enough.

My tinnitus has come back with a vengeance. Now, it is almost as if I have a whole fucking jet in my head, the high pitched whine often growing to a roar without warning. Vertigo hits with irregularity still, but the migraines-often after a bout of tinnitus-are getting worse. As they do so, I only wish for one thing: an end to it all.

 

 

Yet another update

So I have been going over the scripts for RTZ. Once again, I have cut the pilot. Now I have 4 episodes, not three. Basically, I have cut the last scenes and made a new episode with them. Later, after I work a bit on adapting a client’s book to script, I will work on redoing the scene/act placement in the first episode, then go and work on #3 or #4 (whichever needs worked on). I have already finished #2, so am pretty sure that I can get the rest done.

Update # ?

Ok, so I found that my Script was a bit long. OK, Waaaaay too long. Like hours TOO long. So I have split the original episode up into the first three episodes, making this already at 3 and going on 4.

That was the negative. The positive is that I can be more mindful on another script I am working on and not go over the 60 page max. Which reminds me, I need to go take a look and see.

The Current episodes are as follows:

  1. Pilot (A Return to Zero)
  2. The Beginning of the End
  3. And So It Begins

I need to do a little tweaking, like removing the “acts”, but everything is basically the same…including the screwy way Google Docs converts everything and messes with format. Still, I will be finishing out “Act 3” (just remember that it is now “episode 3”) as is. Afterward, I will be starting “episode 4”, so don’t get confused.

RTZ: Act 3, Scene 3

Scene 3: On the platform waiting for the train. John and Abercrombie are talking as they wait for John’s train.

 

John/William

I know that I have no right to ask, but I have a request where my son is concerned.

 

Abercrombie

And that would be?

 

John/William

Rather than separating him from the main population, Keep him in public schools.

 

Abercrombie

(raising an eyebrow, impressed)

Very well. We will teach him how to play nice.

(smiles)

I would have done so anyway. Teaches how to be a humble leader.

 

John/William

(gracious)

Thank you, Uncle.

 

Abercrombie

(smiles)

Nothing doing! I would have done the same for you if you were my boy!

The train arrives and passengers disembark. After a brief refueling, The call begins for passengers to get aboard.

 

Porter

(calling loudly over the bustle)

All aboard! Calling all who are headed for Massachusetts. Boston, Massachusetts! All aboard for Boston Mass and all points north!

 

Abercrombie

Just so you know. This really isn’t about the girl. I, personally, think you make a great couple.

 

John/William

(in shock)

Then, why–?

 

Abercrombie

(smiling)

I wanted to see how decided you were on the girl. I must say that you have the Sparrow rebelliousness. Don’t worry. I won’t go through your mail. And don’t worry. I will make sure she is still waiting for you when you return…if it is within my abilities to do so.

I had this planned when you first wrote me telling me that you were coming to Gloucester. Now get on that train and make me–and your dead father–proud.

 

John/William

Yes, sir!

 

John goes and boards the train, finding a window seat. Moments later, as the train pulls away from the station, he waves at his uncle from the window and Abercrombie waves back. He watches as his uncle becomes a speck on the platform, then disappears. He turns his attention to his new surroundings. 

He is one of several passengers in the car. these passengers range from families to elderly men and women. The porter begins making his way back.

 

Porter

(calling out)

Tickets, please!

 

John/William

(when the porter stops and takes his ticket to punch)

Excuse me, which way to the club car?

 

Porter

(pointing the direction he is headed)

Right back that-a-way.

 

John/William

(graciously)

Thank you, sir.

 

Porter

My pleasure.

(holding his hand out)

Ticket?

 

John/William

(handing him his ticket)

Oh. Here.

(porter punches his ticket and hands it back to him)

 

Porter

Enjoy your trip, Sir.

 

John/William

(smiles)

Thank you.

 

John makes his way back to the club car. As he goes, he listens to the buzz of conversation around him, picking up a little news here and there. He enters the club car and sits at the bar. 

 

Bartender

What’ll it be?

 

John/William

What do you have?

 

Bartender

As long as you don’t squeal, I have whiskey. I also have martinis.

 

John/William

(smiles knowingly)

No worries here. I’ll take a glass of your finest wine. Never been one for whiskey.

 

Bartender

(trying to start a conversation)

You know, this may be the last train to offer drinks. the law changed at the beginning of the year.

 

John/William

Yes, I know. Prohibition has begun. Don’t think it’ll take. Too many things going against it. Will cost too much as a law to remain in effect.

 

Bartender

Hope yer right.

 

John/William

When’s dinner served in the dining car?

 

Bartender

(hands him a menu)

Here. this’ll do a better job than me.

 

John/William

(takes the menu)

Thanks.

 

Bartender

(setting down the flue of wine in front of John)

My pleasure. Enjoy.

 

John sits and drinks his wine, reading the menu. When he is finished, he gets up and fishes in his pocket for the cost of the wine. Setting down the payment, he takes his leave and heads back to his seat.

Once back at his seat, John settles in. It is going to be a long ride. He might as well sleep a little. Fade to black. new scene. John has awakened.

 

Porter

(calling out)

Baltimore, Maryland! Next stop is Baltimore, Maryland! All passengers getting off at Baltimore please be ready to disembark when we stop!

 

Passenger

(sitting in front of John)

Where you headed?

 

John/William

Boston.

 

Passenger

Then you got a while.

 

John/William

(nodding)

Yes.

 

Passenger

College bound?

 

John/William

Yup. And you?

 

Passenger

Golly, no! I get off at the next stop. Going visiting.

 

John/William

Always a good thing, right?

 

Passenger

(smiles)

I suppose.

 

John/William

(perplexed)

I take it, this is not something you chose.

 

Passenger

(shaking their head)

No, not really.

John/William

I see.

 

Passenger

My mom and dad died and I am headed to my aunt and uncle’s.

 

John/William

How old are you?

 

Passenger

Eighteen.

(then realizing that they haven’t introduced themselves and offering John their hand)

Oh. Sorry. I’m Sarah Molfey.

 

John/William

(shaking her hand)

Hello, Sarah. I am William Sparrow.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(eyes growing wide in surprise)

Nephew of Abercrombie Sparrow? that William Sparrow?

 

John/William

(with a smile)

Yes, last time I checked.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(excitedly)

Golly! I wouldn’t have known! Could you look me up if you’re ever in Baltimore?

 

John/William

I’ll see what I can do. Not sure when I will be back this way. Perhaps you should look me up if you’re in Boston. I’ll be around, since I am headed for Harvard.

 

Passenger/Sarah

(excitedly)

If my aunt and uncle don’t want me ’round, I definitely will!!!

 

John/William

Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck.

The train pulls into Baltimore station and Sarah rises to go. He notices just how beautiful she is. He smiles. 

I hope your aunt and uncle know how lucky they are to have a niece like you.

 

Passenger/Sarah

Th-thank you.

 

She turns and leaves. The porter comes by and stops at John’s side.

 

Porter

Mr. Sparrow, sir.

 

John/William

(looking up at the porter)

Yes?

 

Porter

That was right kind of you to talk to the young miss.

 

John/William

Yes, yes it was.

 

Porter

(shaking his head)

Poor child. Lost everything. I doubt her aunt and uncle will keep her long. Sad thing is she’s too old for an orphanage.

 

The porter walks on. John looks out the window in time to see Sarah;s uncle point at the train and force her back aboard. he hails the porter.

 

John/William

Porter! Porter!

 

Porter

(coming to where he is)

Yes, Mr. Sparrow?

 

John/William

How much is her fare?

 

Porter

Depends on the destination.

 

John/William

I will pay her fare to Boston. From there, we will decide where she will go…or if she will stay.

 

fade. End of scene.

 

 

RTZ…Or Not to RTZ

OK, so I returned to the original title. Seems to be a better fit. Take Me Back seemed to fit better as the episode title….Since we are going back in time only to walk forward 80 years through the whole series.  We are now exploring the year 1920. Next up, after this episode, is 1921. Like The Morrow Family Saga, We are covering a huge period of history year by year, rather the daily grind. May actually do a historical fiction series as a daily thing if this takes off. Don’t know yet.

So How did we like the end of the last “scene”? OK, I admit. I am being a very naughty boy. But I have never shied away from sexual content. Ever. I even have a flair for including food in my stories (and plays) for a reason. Food and sex are the two ways to a man’s heart. At least that is what I have been told. Not that I would know. I am one of those men who also knows that food and sex also helps win other hearts…at times.