If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chapter VII.4

The FROG (prince) Ruminates…on Love…and Other Things

All these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside without her…I should be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life.” ~Mark Twain, Adam’s Diary 

It’s funny the things you used to know, forgot, and remember—romance is s’posed to be fun.  Who’dve thunk it?

The pit is still there in my stomach today, but not nearly so deep—but still all the little reminders, every time something makes you think of her, of all the little dreams that have been lost.

Thinking while reading this morning…right now, there is nothing I can do to influence the situation on my behalf; however, I can certainly make things worse.  There is freedom and frustration in knowing this.

Finished Illusions yesterday and was digging through my boxes of books looking for Bach’s The Bridge Across Forever, which, for the life of me, I could not find.

I am of the mind that some books have been placed in my path of late.  Was looking for one of my books of Haiku and came across Gibran’s The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart, which was incredible—I didn’t even know I owned the thing— also came across Illusions, which I read next.  So, looking for The Bridge Across Forever, which I cannot, for the life of me, find, even though I swear I saw it two days earlier, I come across C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, which my sister gave me back in ’93.  I have no recollection of what the book is about or even if I enjoyed it, but there it is and damned if I don’t feel compelled to pick it up and set it aside.

Started reading it today while at my Lasik appointment; was really hoping for something uplifting, something that would give me some hope.  Holy shit that was not what I got but a growing sense of fear and dread—seeing aspects of my (old?) self all too clearly and wanting to throw the damned book away; fearing, much like a new psych student, the onset of the very things I was reading/remembering.

            “The parting between her and me seemed to cost her so little.[1]

“…as she spoke I felt, amid all my love, a bitterness.  Though the things she was saying gave her (that was plain enough) courage and comfort, I grudged her that courage and comfort.  It was as if someone or something else had come in between us.”[2]

Both of these describe how I felt back in ’98-9, as well as the last couple of days.  Even now, there is that feeling that I mean nothing to her, that whatever we had was of no value, and by her being the one to leave, she walks away smiling and scot-free, the stronger for it while I have been somehow diminished.

It is an unreasonable thought.  For starters, I have NO idea what she is thinking or how she is feeling.  Secondly, even if it were true that she placed no value on me or us, that does not diminish me in any way and to think so is faulty logic.

“And in truth (as I now see) I had the wish to put off my journey as long as I could.  Not for any labor or peril it might cost, but because I could see nothing in the whole world for me to do once it was accomplished.  As long as this act lay before me, there was, as it were, some barrier between me and the dead desert which the rest of my life must be.”[3] 

Autumn Quietly
And he waited
for her there
     long after she had gone
     long after he knew that
     that she would not
Till one day,
   brown and orange
   leaves crumbling
   dry in his hands,
   he could no longer
   see her
   hear her
   or remember
   the words she had written
   to him.
And he slowly stood up
  with a sad little sigh
and quietly walked
towards the bittersweet
burning up the western

This was me in ’99 and I don’t want to be that way again—this is not the end of my world and, actually, I don’t feel that way at all this time.  But still…

“And now, finding my heart-shattered for Psyche’s sake, they (the gods) made it the common burden of all my fantasies that Psyche was my greatest enemy.  All my sense of intolerable wrong was directed against her.  It was she who hated me; it was on her that I wanted to be revenged.”[4]

Here again are the results of when that “voice” (of denial) starts talking—the erection of barriers, the creation of insurmountable space where there used to be none, the genesis of a sense of confrontation where there used to be togetherness and friendship.  All of this you can see in my 13JAN98 letter to Gwen  And, having just reread it, I am (actually) surprised to find that things I said back then are things I’m saying now, at least in regards to our relationship—and I have to wonder, what/who hasn’t changed over the years… and likely won’t?

“’She is happy,’ said my heart.  ‘Whether it’s madness, or a god, or a monster, or whatever it is, she is happy.  You have seen that for yourself.  She is ten times happier, there in the mountain, than you could ever make her.  Leave her along.  Don’t spoil it.  Don’t mar what you’ve learnt you can’t make.’”[5]

And the thing that I want, though it seems more so than normal, these days, is to “be wanted”, for someone to desire me.

Still reading Till We Have Faces, should finish today.

The whole story, at least right up to the beginning of Pt II, was Kim and I in a microcosm, with Kim as Psyche and me as Orual.  In another sense, it is the story of my life since then with my heart as Psyche and my mind/ego as Orual—the book so far might as well have been narrated by my ego.  It has been weird yet enlightening to watch both of these very similar stories played out in myth while looking on as an observer rather than a participant.

For a while, there were some parallels with Gwen and, but now, think the connections are far less strong there.  And although there are some similarities, and it could (maybe) have gone that way, I did nothing to Gwen like I did to Kim and myself.  And the more  I think on it, the more I am inclined to think that I hurt Gwen far, far less back then (’98-9) than I have always suspected I did; that I was not nearly the monster to her that I have long feared.

So, she will love me in her own way and time or not at all; and there is nothing I can do about that—and even if I could, I don’t know what it would be.

Butterflies today—little ones—but this time a sense of expectation/excitement.  This whole thing has opened doors, and some feel big, I just don’t have a clue what any of them could be.

“You are indeed teaching me about kinds of love I did not know.  It is like looking into a deep pit.  I am not sure that I like your kind better than hatred.”[6]

“I did badly last night…I was wrong to weep and beg and try to force you by our love.  Love is not a thing to be used.”[7]

When the fear of abandonment sets in, love (or its facsimile) is used as a tool, as leverage, to try to bind that other person to you all the tighter.  It (the love) becomes a bitter, hateful thing that places the two individuals across from each other, against each other—at least in the mind of the one infected with the panic.  However, at certain times of lucidness, it is seen for the mockery of love that it has become, that nothing good can from furthering down this road.  Yet you are unable to see how to go back (because you can’t) and you certainly cannot see that the only way to proceed, in the path of true love, is to do the thing that you are terrified of most and let the other go.  Anything else is to kill what you love and poison yourself.

“But most of all, I think it was this.  My love for Bardia had become to me a sickening thing.  I had been up and out onto such heights and precipices of truth, that I came into an air where it could not live.  It stank; a gnawing greed for one to whom I could give nothing, of whom I craved all.”[8]

I initially misread this paragraph and it reminded me of the manner in which I alternately placed Gwen on a pedestal, made a symbol out of her—something beyond/other than her—or tried to use her as a lifejacket, a way of saving myself, assuaging my own fear and pain.  Have rewritten the quote below as I initially read/saw it.

“But most of all, I think it was this.  My love for Bardia (not Bardia himself) had become to me a sickening thing.  I(t) had been up and out onto such heights and precipices of truth, that I(t) came into an air where it could not live.  It stank; a gnawing greed for one to whom I could give nothing, of whom I craved all.”

“And this is a strange folly.  That what seemed to me worst of all was that Bardia had died without ever hearing what it would have shamed him to hear.  It seemed to me that all would have been bearable if, only once, I could have gone to him and whispered in his ear, ‘Bardia, I loved you.’”[9]

How many never sent, after the fact letters to Gwen do I have?  A few more, no doubt than I did for Kim.  What word(s) am I trying/dying to say to her that I can’t/won’t?  “I love you” springs to mind, but seems too trite, too easy.  So much unsaid; lost, swamped in the words, trying to find my way to just those words, seemingly unknown to either of us, that will clarify everything, one way or another.  Arrgghh….

“‘…the gods have been accused by you.  Now it’s their turn.’
‘I cannot hope for mercy.’
‘Intimate hopes—and fears—may both be yours.  Be sure that, whatever else you get, you will not get justice.’
‘Are the gods not just?’
‘Oh no, child.  What would become of us if they were?’”[10]

Having finished Till We Have Faces I am naturally drawn to the parallels between this myth and Gwen and myself.  Kim and I are probably a more apt parallel as actually said, more or less, many of those things to her, or at least I think I did.  With Gwen, I felt very similarly, but managed to say little to none of it—though I’ve suffered hell for it—my sins much less than I thought.

My behavior this go round, a few stumblings aside, has been almost impeccable, at least in as much as it could be.  And yet, ironically, I find myself again in pretty much the exact same place…with her leaving (shakes head, sighs, looks for bar).  There is no panic this time though and I have done the right things.  I know that the only thing I can do is let her go…and even that is a misnomer as she was never mine in the first place.

So, I find myself, not trapped, but betwixt: believing that my heart would never lead me to something I could not enjoy and a much calmer head, which is wondering how long I wait around to see what happens before I start looking (and acting) pathetic.  I cannot, and will not, put my life on hold forever, even though I know my heart will stand watch for her till my dying breath.  Funnily enough, having asked the question, I already know the answer—simply, and frustratingly, I will know when it’s time—sheesh.  What a maddening, crazy, wonderful mess.

Lasik surgery today.

In the shower this morning and this thought just bubbles up into my conscious—what if it wasn’t so strange for Gwen because of me (and Ivan) but exactly because of me (and Ivan)—that I was a proxy, a symbol, a way to reach back and hold onto something gone,  something lost?

I said I wasn’t going to think on the whole thing too much ‘cause I am just plain confused and have been wrong more times than I have been right when ‘guessing’.  However, this one felt like it had a (better than the others) sense of truth to it.

If there were an attraction to me as well as a tie to Ivan, it would explain a lot of her behavior, especially the parts that don’t seem to make any sense at all.

Woke up this morning…not blind, not in pain, but feeling the tail-end groggy of the Valium, Flexeril, and Gosling’s Family Reserve (finest rum in the world) from yesterday.  Holy shit!  The first four or five hours after the surgery hurt like hell. 

My Archetypal Nightmare
So anyway, there was another passage from Till We Have Faces that I wanted to get to:

“So back to my writing.  And the continual labor of mind to which it put me began to overflow into my sleep.  It was a labor of sifting and sorting, separating motive from motive and both from pretext; and this same sorting went on every night in my dreams, but in a changed fashion.  I thought I had before me a huge, hopeless pile of seeds, wheat, barley, poppy, rye, millet, what not?  And I must sort them out and make separate piles, each all of one kind.  Why I must do it, I did not know; but infinite punishment would fall upon me if I rested a moment from my labor, or if, when all was done, a single seed were in the wrong pile.  In waking life a man would know the task impossible.  The torment of the dream was that, there, it could conceivably be done…and so to it:  searching, peering, picking up each seed between finger and thumb.”[11]

This is highly interesting to me, not because of my current writings, but because I used to have damn near this exact dream as a nightmare when I was younger.

The first version was that I had to pick up all (millions) of these small objects (pins and needles), only I had the thumb and fingers of a giant (always my right hand) and could not do it.  The frustration would lead to the terror that would end with me waking up screaming.

http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs27/f/2008/104/3/1/Labyrinth_by_Shortgreenpigg.jpgThe other variations were when I got a little older (high school) and would have to dribble a basketball along a dotted line in the gym.  Things would be fine till I looked up and would see that the line pretty much snaked over every square inch of the gym floor and went on for millions of miles—I had to follow the line and there was no way in hell that I would ever get to the fucking end.  Again, it was the sense of extreme/total frustration and helplessness that would lead to an incredible sense of terror (or that were the terror).  The variation of this (same time-frame) was a combination of the above two, where I had to set up dominoes on end along a line.  Again, I had fat fingers but would be making some progress, if slowly, only to look up and see that the line on which I had to set the dominoes up on extended pretty much all the way to eternity…and then the frustration, powerlessness and panic would set in.

The key component here is the frustration: a feeling of such incredible helplessness and no way to fix it or get around it, a complete lack or loss of control.  In each there would be an almost impossible task, but things were as fine as they could be until I looked up and realized what I had to do and that there was no way in hell that I would ever be able to, that it would never end, that I would always be in the middle.  That’s when the panic sets in.  I had my task before me and I am undertaking it in the only manner that I know how, only it is the utterly, completely wrong way to do it—I can’t change till I get to the end, but I can’t get to the end if I don’t change, a classic double-bind. 

In many ways, though I’ve never thought of it before, this dream (and variations) seems eerily similar to the myth of Sisyphus.

But the point of all this is that I find it a little odd, and interesting, that I have shared a dream, or at least some salient points, that is in essence, thousands of years old—makes me wonder what it means or if it is an archetype of Jung’s collective unconscious.

What’s Love Got to Do with it?
So, have been thinking a great deal about what love is.  Funnily enough, I did the same thing back in early ’98, when I first fell for Gwen—trying to make the argument that since I didn’t know what “it” was that I couldn’t be in “it”.  Back then, I didn’t see how anything good could come from it and just tried to deny it in the whole—understandable.  But now?

I am still unclear on exactly what love is, though I now believe that it can’t be nailed down and will vary from one person to the next.  But yet, I believe that I am in love with Gwen—how can that be?

As I said, I will tell you, or anyone, that I don’t have a textbook definition/understanding of love.  All I know is what I know; and that is that I want to spend every waking, hell, every second of my remaining life with her; that before that day (Valentine’s) in ’98, I was asleep and, after, half-awake; and that prior to my trip to see her (in San Diego), I was dead—to love, the world, myself, everything.  And afterwards…I have never been so alive in my whole life; every day that I am away from her is a lifetime of living hell.

And so, coincidentally enough, I happen to pick up my copy of Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By, which just happens to have a chapter on love:

“To him who suffers but not for love, to suffer is suffering and hard to bear.  But one who suffers for love suffers not, and his suffering is fruitful in God’s sight.” (Meister Eckhart)[12]

There is no “voice” of panic this time, at least now, though the whole thing is not without its pain; but I see it as grieving for something lost rather than trying to manipulate something to stay.  I love her yet, and it is hard for me to explain why because I don’t know how/why, only that I do, and now, she is gone from me and all I can do is let go.

“The liberation thus taught is, paradoxically, not of escape from the vortex, but of full participation voluntarily in its sorrows—moved by compassion; for indeed, through selflessness one is released from self, and with release from self there is release from desire and fear.”[13]

How many years have I postponed and waited till I though I could be everything, a match for my love?  So much time lost, wasted, holding back, afraid to jump in, come what may.

“So, through the eyes love attains the heart: for the eyes are the scouts of the heart, and the eyes go reconnoitering for what it would please the heart to possess.  And when they are in full accord and firm, all three, in the one resolve, at that time, perfect love is born from what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.  Nor otherwise can love be born or have commencement than by this birth and commencement moved by inclination.”[14]

“The unflinching eye detects, the intellect names, the heart goes out in compassion; and the life-force of every life-loving heart will finally be tested, challenged, and measured by its capacity to regard with such compassion whatever has been by the eye perceived and the intellect named.”[15]

When I turned around (that day in KW) and saw Gwen for the first time, it had to have been—if only because I am unable to see any other way—a love that could not be fulfilled at that time.  Yet, oh how I longed; longed for her touch, her recognition, her compassion. 

“Love as passion; love as compassion:  these are the two extreme poles of our subject.  They have been represented as absolutely opposed—physical, respectively, and spiritual; yet in both the individual is torn out of himself and opened to an experience of rediscovered identity in a larger, more abiding format.”[16]

So that about exactly sums up what has been going on for me of late.  And the crazy thing is that Gwen, I have to believe, has no knowledge of any of this and is in no way actively involved.  And yet, without her, none of it would be possible.  And in truth, it could have been any woman, or nearly any woman, and yet it was her.  No one has made me crazy like this since that day.

So, is Gwen merely (although not merely) the door for me to other things or is she, at least in regards to her, the objective?  The mind, trying to protect me, says one thing and my heart says the other.

Started (re)reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which I haven’t touched (I think) since I read it back in ‘91-2 after Colleen’s suicide, Twenty2 the Hard Way, and all this mess started in earnest.

“Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known.  The hero is the one who comes to know.  As he progresses in the slow initiation which is life, the form of the goddess undergoes for him a series of transfigurations:  she can never be greater than himself, though she can always promise more than he is yet capable of comprehending.  She lures, she guides, she bids him burst his fetters.  And if he can match her import, the two, the knower and the known, will be released from every limitation.”[17]

“The mystical marriage with the queen goddess of the world represents the hero’s total mastery of life; for the woman is life, the hero its knower and master.  And the testings of the hero, which were preliminary to his ultimate experience and deed, were symbolical of those crises of realization by means of which the consciousness came to be amplified and made capable of enduring the full possession of the mother-destroyer, his inevitable bride.”[18]

The things that I have been working through the last week are things that need to be identified, realized, and dealt with if I am to have a meaningful, healthy relationship with anyone.

“The encounter and separation, for all its wildness, is typical of the sufferings of love.  For when a heart insists on its destiny, resisting the general blandishment, then the agony is great; so too the danger.  Forces, however, well have been set in motion beyond the reckoning of the senses.  Sequences of events from the corners of the world will draw gradually together, and miracles of coincidence bring the inevitable to pass.”[19]

And it just hits me, even though I’d already read it, as I’m copying this down, that this is exactly me and Gwen  You can easily draw parallels between us being together and now finding ourselves separated by several thousand miles, or even that day in KW when my eyes (and heart) were jerked open.

A Brief Glimpse of Things to Come:

“And always, after the first thrills of getting underway, the adventure develops into a journey of darkness, horror, disgust, and phantasmagoric fears.”[20]

“It is in this ordeal that the hero may derive hope and assurance from the helpful female figure, by whose magic (pollen charms or power of intercession) he is protected through all the frightening experiences of the father’s ego-shattering initiation.”[21]

“And in both cases it is found (or rather, recollected) that the hero himself is that which he had come to find.”[22]

“The meaning is very clear; it is the meaning of all religious practice.  The individual, through prolonged psychological disciplines, gives up completely all attachments to his personal limitations, idiosyncrasies, hopes, and fears, no longer resists the self-annihilation that is prerequisite to rebirth in the realization of truth, and so become ripe, at least, for the great at-one-ment.  His personal ambitions, being totally dissolved, he no longer tries to live but willingly relaxes to whatever may come to pass in him; he becomes, that is to say, an anonymity” [23]

When I started this quest back in ‘92 the impetus for it was a realization that I was not who I was s’posed to be.  Looking at old writings and vague memories, I had been unhappy/dissatisfied since high school; at least, I just didn’t know it.  So, ironically enough, I didn’t set out to find my “other”, split-off, half, but to discern the cause of the split in the first place.  I never found that cause, only the me that I wasn’t looking for.

Like Parzival, I asked the wrong question; and so spent the next thirteen years aimlessly wandering, trying to earn back my chance at redemption, only I didn’t really see/know that either.  Young(er), and on fire, I didn’t see how I could go forward a single day till I knew the Truth.  Time stopped and I died with the thought, my life becoming a Wasteland through which I wandered, seeking sanctuary where I could, gaining a lot of knowledge but not much understanding…or wisdom…and taking a beating.

Years later, in Denver, I realized I was I a rut, unhappy and, surprisingly, that the Truth which I had so long struggled after all those years really didn’t mean that much to me anymore.  I don’t know that I could say exactly when I came to this point, but would have to guess that it was after Iraq, which was, coincidentally, the physical manifestation of my soul/soul-state.

Having returned from that place, alive but scared and wounded, I wanted nothing more than my own place (to live) and was, for the first time, in a place (financially) where I could do something about it.  Almost immediately after getting my new place, I left for Afghanistan—a three month contract that somehow turned into a year—an altogether different kind of place than Iraq—Gilligan-esqe like.  And although similar in some ways, it was much less “wasted” and was an ideal place to wean myself away from Iraq and move back to something resembling “normalcy”—a stupid word/idea/concept if ever there was one.  ‘Astan was a middle place, a transition.

Tore up the carpet in my room today—what a pain in the ass.  Office tomorrow.

“The hegemony wrested from the enemy, the freedom won from the malice of the monster, the life energy released from the toils of the tyrant Holdfast—is symbolized as a woman.  She is the maiden of innumerable dragon slayings, the bride abducted from the jealous father, the virgin rescued from the unholy lover.  She is the “other portion” of the hero himself—for “each is both”: if his stature is that of the world monarch she is the world, and if he is a warrior she is fame.  She is the image of his destiny which he is to release from the prison of enveloping circumstance.  But where he is ignorant of his destiny, or deluded by false considerations, no effort on his part will overcome the obstacle.”[24]

Looking back in light of the above passage it becomes obvious to me that I was not in a place to do anything when my eyes and heart were first opened to Gwen.  Of course, she was married at the time, which isn’t what I meant.  I knew, although it has become clearer with time, as soon as I turned around, that she was my soul mate and I also knew, even though I couldn’t see how, that if I just played it cool, it would all work out.

However, it was all too much for me at the time.  I did about the best I could with what I had, but it wasn’t up to the task, although it was a far better effort than how I handled the whole situation with Kim.  With Gwen though, I just didn’t know enough, didn’t have the required maturity; it was more than I was capable of.  This time though, I don’t know that I played it perfectly but have certainly done a better job than any other time.

As to the last part, I don’t think I am currently “deluded” by anything and was going to write that I—and I didn’t want to admit it—am not sure what my destiny is; never have been, have just trusted “the way”.  However, as I started writing the last paragraph, it strikes me that my destiny is Gwen, which ties into the beginning of above passage as well as the one below.

“The motif of the difficult task as a prerequisite to the bridal bed has spun the hero-deeds of all times and all the worlds…The tests imposed are difficult beyond measure.  They seem to represent an absolute refusal…Nevertheless, when a fit candidate appears, no task in the world is beyond his skill.  Unpredicted helpers, miracles of time and space, further his project; destiny itself (the maiden) lends a hand and betrays a weak spot…Barriers, fetters, chasms, fronts of every kind dissolve before the authoritative presence of the hero.”[25]

Given the place in the myth-cycle I am at, it occurs to me that there may been more energies involved in this negative “voice” of denial than I originally thought.  Back on 04MAY06 I initially covered where I thought this thing had most likely come from and, although not minimizing the effect it had on me, largely dismissed it as a minor force who played a role larger than its true size/capability.

However, now I have to reassess.  Although the initial “realizations” started on the flight to Denver, they really started with the recognition of the “voice/monster”, the fighting with and banishing of it.  But now I am more curious as to what this was as it now strikes me that this was a threshold guardian, or more aptly, a guardian of the treasure.  Having not given it too much though, I’d hazard that the non-present/unresponsive father (figure) and/or the clinging mother would be most representative of this “voice”; makes me think of stealing the key in Iron John.

And so it begins…
Pulled the carpet out of the office today; thank god that is finished, what a pain in the ass.  Hopefully they can get these floors in next week and I can be done with it.

Started Parzival today.  The style takes some getting used to and am not far enough along in it to have any opinions.  However, I find that I am looking for direct parallels between it and my situation and I don’t know if that is a good thing or not.

Dreamt last night.  They say you do it every night, but this is the first time I remember doing it in a very long time (last remembered dream).

Dream #1- The Symbol
0400-ish All I remember of this one, which was vague in every way but the message/feeling, was that it was kinda 3-tiered— that I was dreaming that I was dreaming that I was dreaming…

There was a symbol, of a hero’s awakening, rebirth.  I don’t remember what it was or what it looked like, only that the symbol was shown to me and I actually knew what it was (first time I can ever remember that happening).

As if to make sure, something gave me what basically amounted to a library/textbook definition of what the symbol was/meant.

I knew that the symbol represented me, or more aptly, where I am or am about to be at— that I was undergoing a reawakening/rebirth.

Dream#2- Ladder wells and Dirty Dishes
I am back in the Navy, or at least back on a CV.  I was going down this exceedingly deep/long ladder well that went down 4-6 decks just so I could get to the bottom and immediately start up another ladder well to my right.  Wherever I was going this was the only (and somewhat ludicrous) way to get to there from wherever I had come from.

As I said, the two ladder wells were ridiculously long— you’d never find them on a ship— and they descended down in the bowels of the ship, where it was both darker and warmer than normal.

As I am walking down the one ladder well I almost stumble and fall on some dishes and trays that have been set on the steps.  Some of the dishes are kicked off the steps in my stumbling.  As I try to lower myself over another patch of dishes/trays some more fall on their own and I yell out that those weren’t my fault.  To my right, going up the next ladder well, and also struggling through patches of dishes/trays, is some guy, to whom I say something like, “Can you believe this crap?”

I finally get to the bottom and to the left of the ladder well I just came down is a scullery or something similar.  All of the dishes have been brought down here to be cleaned.  Women, minority women— Afghan I think for some reason— are working in the scullery.  Somehow I know that they are considered less, second-class but I don’t know why.  It would seem that all the food prep is also conducted down here as well.

There is an American woman down here, supervising the others.  I don’t remember what she looked like, only that I thought she was moderately attractive.

I am a little pissed about the dishes/trays in the ladder wells— an obvious safety risk— and snap as much to the American woman.

She says something in return by way of explanation, that, while ostensibly correct, isn’t actually relevant to what I said, like, “Well, no one cares about these women down here and they are treated like crap.”  I am a little annoyed at her ruse…and the fact that I know she is correct.

As I grab the handrail to start heading back up the right-most ladder well I say, “Look at this place, do they even have an evacuation plan?”  Her non-reply is answer enough and I add, “If you want, I’ll help you write one up.”  I’m fumbling around looking for a business card with my phone number on it.  I have a new Navy cell phone and haven’t memorized the number yet and I don’t have the phone with me to check and I don’t even have a pen or anything to write on— I am a mess!

She tells me to call her, and, though I don’t know why, I know that I will be able to.

There was one last image.  They were testing the freshwater wash-down/decon system and I’m trying to climb over the sprinklers/sprayers to get around getting totally soaked.  At the same time, they are testing some maneuver where the CV basically does a wheelie in the ocean— the whole flight deck tilted up at at least a forty-five degree angle.

The final image is that of the ship silhouetted against a mountain behind which the full burnt-orange sun hangs, and on top of the mountain, also silhouetted against the sun, is a camel (possibly with an Arab sitting on it, not sure).  The whole image had a very Mid-Eastern feel.

In light of the first dream, this also seems to be a showing of moving to a reawakening/rebirth; but yet takes place below, where the unseen servants/slaves/helpers (?) have left a mess, which has annoyed me.  Also, there is a woman who, though attractive, seems downtrodden, worn out, and not happy—like she has a non-rewarding, thankless job, yet carries it out to the best of her abilities.

I feel bad for her and ask if I can help make her situation a little better, or at least safer if something should happen.  However, I can’t find anything with which to ID myself for future contact.  Instead she says for me to contact her and I know that I will be able to.  For some reason, this makes me think of emailing Gwen last SEP on her birthday.

Wondering When the Patheticness Would Set in, Now We Know
Awake stupid early—damn near everything I will be writing is yesterday’s thoughts.

For starters, and I don’t know how or why, I felt Gwen yesterday.  Again, I don’t know how, but I definitely could feel her ??unintelligible.

Woke up still drunk this morning; didn’t set out to do this, but what is is what is.  That wasn’t my plan but how it worked out.  I don’t remember leaving Kayte’s because it was time to go and the next thing I know I’m waking up no my sofa, the big one, and it is something like 2030.  Spend damn near two hours talking to ??unintelligible—god.  Surprisingly, end up talking to Cathy M. for about 2 hours and end up talking about Gwen

Too drunk, don’t remember Cathy’s advice, other than, “be bold”.  Somehow, and it was only for a couple of seconds, almost 2300 western time, I called Gwen—Cathy must have put something in my mind.  It seems that I hung up immediately/almost immediately.

I never meant to call her; understood why I couldn’t.  And now I don’t know, hoping that this phone call is a good thing and fearing that I lost much more tonight.

As you can see, tried to write last night, er, this morning, with little success.  And, sadly, am not going to do much better tonight.

What I wanted to say last night was, that on Friday I felt Gwen—close, like she was here.  Now, today, she feels far, far away and I don’t think that she will ever call me.

The other thing with Friday night was that I ended up talking to Cathy about Gwen.  On one hand, that strikes me as sad; but conversely, I’m thinking that much about her.  In any case, Cathy gave me some advice, which I don’t remember, at least specifically, other than, “be bold”.

Too much tequila about that time, though it was never planned; and when I checked my phone log SAT AM I see that I had dialed Gwen around 11-something her time, though there was no call length so it must have been very short.  And I wonder, did I try to call her on Cathy’s advice and hang up or did I misdial. I honestly don’t know.  If it was the former, I wish to god that I could remember what I thought I was going to say to her because I can’t even imagine what I would have said without sounding pathetic.

And there is a part of me that is angry that she didn’t call back to see what I wanted—though it likely would have come to no good end—because I want to feel important to her, hell, to anyone.

I said it before, Gwen is strong and stubborn—I don’t “think” she’s ever going to call me.


Little Fin,
My love,
Heart of my heart,
Soul mate…
you were wrenched away
from me
and I was left
Not a day goes by
that I don’t feel that
in a million—
seemingly infinitesimally small—
Where are you
lying tonight
and why aren’t I
How long must I
  go on
    separated from
from my own soul?
The agonies of Hell—
at least as I have
heard them described—
have nothing on the pain
I feel every morning
   to awake
   not at your side.
How do I find
  my way to your
when it is I
who am lost
to you?

Have been reading Parzival the last several days and it has got me down-ish—as far as I  have read it has not been uplifting if you will.

As always, my mind is looking for parallels, for something to grab onto, and I was left with the inexplicable feeling yesterday as I was driving home in Mr. Zeep that Parzival’s story was similar to my own in that I missed a/my chance to ask a question of Gwen and therefore messed things up.  This feeling was further added to with her emails from around 20DEC05 where she thought that I was trying to ask her something.

It occurs to me that all of this is, to some extent true, however, I am not sure what the “question” would be.

In my defense, my job in ‘Astan was demanding and distracting.  In regards to Gwen, I played things a little more cautiously because of the newness of everything and didn’t want to really mess things up by being too aggressive.  Going back and reading her emails from that time I can now see what could have been missed opportunities to find out how she felt, not so much about me, but how she was doing.

I feel bad; but I didn’t know then what I do now.  And again, the job made it so hard to focus on other things.  I wanted to “talk deeper” but just didn’t know how or how to go about it.  I wonder now, as I write this, how much I missed while in San Diego?

If there is a (Parzival) question, what is it?
            Where are you?
            Where are you hurt?
            Are you hurt?
            How can I help?
            I love you.

The Parzival tale could just as easily have started in FEB ’98, when I couldn’t do anything and didn’t handle myself as well as I would have liked to.  That could have been my first chance at the Gral of Gwen, though given that nothing could have come of it other than my correct action (denial), it doesn’t quite fit.

And I have to wonder, looking at the larger myth-cycle if, for me, Gwen or something else is truly the Gral.  Have I come all this way to win her, or something else?  The journey has largely made me who I am, shaped me, without which I would not be the man I am today. I could certainly see it where the purpose of the journey was to become the person who would deserve her.  I could also see it where our two paths meet and join as we struggle against/for other things.  And then, does it even matter?

Have found some comfort, and maybe a better parallel, in the story of Gawan and Orgeluse, Duchess of Logroys, which starts in chapter ten.  Below are some quotes that stood out:

“’However much it irks you, you have locked me in your heart!  Now lose or bind!’”[26]

“’I am engaged in your service, whether I have joy or trouble of it, for your love told me to wait on you, riding or walking.’”[27]

“A man of worth should not fend off love, if only because love must help to save him.”[28]

“For in all his life, when as sometimes his love had been requited, or love had been denied him, no woman had ever moved his heart so deeply.”[29]

“’My lord, I never deserved the hardships I asked you to undergo,’ she said.  ‘Truly, your trials afflicted me with such heartfelt suffering as a faithful woman must feel for her dear friend.’”[30]

“’My lord, if I have used you ill it was because I wished to put to the test whether you were of such worth that I should offer you my love.  I am well aware that I said things which offended you; yet it was to try you out.  Now graciously set aside your anger and pardon me once and for all like the very gallant knight you are.  I compare you to gold that has been purified in the fire—your spirit has been purged.”[31]


Last week, and this week so far, have been the hardest— with the damn work going on with the (bamboo) flooring I have been completely taken out of my routine, which provided some comfort and enough to do but not too much.  And because of that—being trapped in my place—it seems like I think of Gwen more, missing her like hell, feeling the lack.  Such sweet suffering.

“Now in the army it had come about that Arthur had obtained a truce from the Duchess.  She now had ample recompense for the loss of Cidegast, whom she had mourned so intensely, so that her anger was all but overlaid—Gawan’s embraces had brought her to life, and her hostility had ebbed away.”[32]

Woke up this AM thinking, for some reason, that maybe Gwen was dating someone when I visited her in San Diego; that would explain some of her behavior.

Honestly, I don’t know why I do this to myself.  Well, actually, probably because I want to understand; but I have gone out of my way to avoid thinking about it too much because I just don’t have enough info to do anything but speculate—which doesn’t do me a whole hell of a lot of good.

Just finished chapter 16 of Parzival and could not wait till later to write my thoughts.

I was initially struck when Parzival met, fought, and was reunited with his heathen half-brother, Feirefiz, who was wealthy beyond compare.  Compare that to my old, pre-Iraq self meeting my post ‘Astan self (wealthy beyond my expectations) and it immediately made me think of my revelations/realizations en route to Denver of being reunited with the part of me that I realized was missing in ’92.

It would have been back sometime before then that I would have failed to ask the Question; and the realization of that possibly being the equivalent of when Cundrie la Surziere cursed Parzival in front of the knights of the Round Table, which led to him departing alone and poor to try to win back a chance to right his unwitting wrong.

Also, Parzival’s second chance does not come about due to any specific feat, but by the sorrow he carries within him, his desire to discover the truth, and the journey itself… the final precursor being the reunion with his heathen/darker half-brother.

The parallels here, though not perfect, are simply amazing and I am brought much hope, renewed courage, and happiness.

“Although destined to the Gral from on high, Parzival also had to achieve it by effort…though Anfortas is here to remind us that even if one is born and elected to the Gral one can lose it…Leaving his first paradise, Parzival inevitably failed at his first attempt to ender the second from a state of mind engendered by inexperience and ignorance: but so do we all…”[33]

“What did place Parzival’s soul in eternal jeopardy was his general state of mind.”[34]

How many years did Parzival seek out the Gral?  5?

The Count of Monte Christo spent thirteen years in Chateau d’lf.

For me it will have been about 13 ¾ years to the Denver Trip.

“’Your sorrow is doomed to pass away—greed alone can deny you your portion.  You raised a brood of cares in tender years; but the happiness which is on its way to you has dashed their expectations.  You have won through to peace of soul and outlived cares to have joy of your body.’”[35]

I am struck, for no good reason really, that almost all this journey for me has been unwitnessed by any save myself.  There have certainly been friends along the way:  Nerd, Chris, Sandor, Gwen, Tom…but none of them have seen it from start to finish or know but small, separate parts of the story, or have a true understanding of the magnitude of this—nothing less than my very soul was at stake here and it has somehow managed to have been saved.  And how shall I share it?  Want so badly to tell Gwen everything but can’t now.

Reading this book, coupled with the last eight days has been hard, heavy on my heart, and, taking it as a parallel between Gwen and myself, could see no good outcome from any of it.  It was a huge relief to see the closer parallel to my longer running journey.

Sitting here in my bedroom, floors completed and empty except for my blue chair and the installer’s table saw.  Once again, I find a heaviness on my heart—looking at my pic of Denver (maybe not such a good idea now) and thought about Pike’s Peak (which isn’t shown).  That, for some reason, was always Gwen’s mountain in my mind.  I had to drive down to the Springs once for something—god only knows what—and had just recently picked up Cold Play’s Parachutes.  Was listening to that as I drove down—crossing the pass—and now the first three or four songs are forever associated with her…as well as Pike’s Peak.

The things today were a great realization and relief, only…joy still eludes me…for two reason—one greater than the other:  I feel so terribly far away from Gwen, who I wish I could share this with (she’d understand I think); this isn’t over yet—the one thing still eludes me.  What is my Gral?

I went looking for something and found someone—myself—and Gwen in the process.  I, by no means, feel greedy here—that would be enough for most people, and me.  But I want to make sure that I get it ALL right this time.  I smile as I write that.  Life has and will take me where I need to go; hopefully I will not be found lacking this time as I have in others.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Until We Have Faces, p. 71
[2] Ibid, p. 75
[3] Ibid, p. 89
[4] Ibid, p. 89
[5] Ibid, p. 138
[6] Ibid, p. 165
[7] Ibid, p. 204
[8] Ibid, p. 267
[9] Ibid, p. 257-8
[10] Ibid, p. 297
[11] Ibid, p. 255-6 (?)
[12] Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By, p. 154
[13] Ibid, p. 155
[14] Ibid, p. 158
[15] Ibid, p. 168
[16] Ibid, p. 155-6
[17] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, p. 116
[18] Ibid, p. 120-1
[19] Ibid, p. 228
[20] Ibid, p. 121
[21] Ibid, p. 130-1
[22] Ibid, p. 163
[23] Ibid, p. 236-7
[24] Ibid, p. 342
[25] Ibid, p. 344
[26] Wolfram Von Eschenbach, Parzival (A. T. Hatto translation), p. 259
[27] Ibid, p. 269
[28] Ibid, p. 271
[29] Ibid, p. 293
[30] Ibid, p. 307
[31] Ibid, p. 308
[32] Ibid, p. 360
[33] Ibid, p. 414
[34] Ibid, p. 416
[35] Ibid, p. 388

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