One of my favorite quotes I discovered during the 2 plus years I spent writing my memoir, is by Nietzsche:
And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
I looked up an explanation of the quote on Yahoo! Answers, and found one that seemed logical. “From a literal standpoint, it’s very clear. Imagine you were deaf. You look around and see people moving oddly, jerking around, acting crazy. You’d think they were insane because you couldn’t hear the music. Figuratively, it means that if people don’t understand you, your motivations, or your background, they may consider your behavior or judgment to be irrational. Another way of thinking about it: People who don’t understand things tend to reject them.”
A friend posted this quote on Facebook with a fascinating picture in the background.
I examined the picture carefully for a few minutes. The illustration reminded me of my friend Rose and I dancing together at Grateful Dead concerts. The small female figures dancing back-to-back on the table, along with the circular, mandala pattern radiating outward, and the rainforest-themed images brought back memories of the warm, summer nights we spent dancing and twirling to our favorite Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir songs.
Rose and I went to Grateful Dead concerts when we were in our early twenties. At the time, this quote captures how I felt. We went to see the Grateful Dead to have fun, and Dead shows were all about the music, the peace movement leftover from the sixties, and the drugs concertgoers chose to bring along. For me, Grateful Dead shows were also about the counterculture and viable alternatives to the capitalist, anti-environment, money-making machine that was (and still is) the U.S. economy. In college, I believed that if everyone listened to the Grateful Dead and dropped acid, then our problems as a society would be solved, and people in general would be equipped with a greater understanding of human nature. Of course, this never happened. Eventually, I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and left for the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer.
In my mind, this Nietzsche quote (along with the picture) symbolize the free spirit and individuality of us all. It is as the explanation above states: “People who don’t understand things tend to reject them.” When we don’t understand another person’s language, culture, sexual orientation, or anything viewed as “different,” we often react with fear. Instead we should respect each other’s individuality.
I like to think I still possess a little of this spirit Nietzsche speaks of. The free spirit of a child, the wild spirit of an animal, the imagination and creativity to write whatever I desire. And most importantly of all, the ability to accept people for who they are.
I’ve found that it’s very difficult to resolve a problem without clear and direct communication. It’s also very difficult to solve a problem by completely ignoring it. This nightmarish set of circumstances surrounding the insane group of criminals who persist in harassing me has created a vast array of problems for every single person who has been affected. In my memoir, I describe these people as a cancer or a toxic, highly contagious disease. Due to my schizophrenia diagnosis and the criminals themselves, I was unable to warn anyone of their true nature and intent.
I hate to write on such a negative note, but what these people (and I hesitate to call them people) have created is a true disaster, and it is unforgivable. It is a disaster created by the U.S. government, and it is a disaster for the U.S. government. It is a disaster for the FBI and the CIA. It has been a complete nightmare for every city, state and country that has been forced to deal with this seemingly never-ending insanity. It has been a nightmare for my family, for my in-laws, and for both my husband and myself.
My hope, my determination is that every single person who was involved in the perpetration of this wretched and miserable series of events is brought to justice immediately. The twelve years this has taken out of my life is long enough, and there is no excuse. I hope that changes will made in the U.S. government – both the FBI and the CIA – so that this level of corruption and criminal activity never happens again. It truly is a sorry state of affairs.
My husband is out of town this week on a business trip, so it’s just me and the dog. We have never been apart for this length of time, so it’s quite an adjustment. He didn’t want to go, and the house is very quiet without him. I’ve had a decent week so far except for some negativity and a bad headache yesterday. I’ve been trying to chant more for my own happiness in an effort to counter my negative thoughts, but sometimes they still get through. I had planned to visit my mother-in-law yesterday to learn her recipe for chile relleno, but I think my negativity got the better of me, and I stayed home with a headache that gradually worsened throughout the course of the day. I rescheduled with my mother-in-law for Friday, so I plan to carry through with my plans as well as write down the recipe and take a few pictures of the cooking process.
I chant daily to have faith for absolute victory. I believe this nightmare with the “voices,” my stalkers, persecutors, and tormentors will end soon. I still believe there was no reason not to discuss this issue with me (purportedly until it’s over). This never made sense to me, and it never will. It is nothing more than a constant source of anger and frustration. I look forward to the day when the matter is taken care of, and these people are gone from my life forever.
In the meantime, I signed up for another soccer league and am planning on attending a TEDx event in Santa Cruz to promote my children’s press. This will definitely be both a fun and challenging evening, and I will need some time to prepare. Networking and socializing are not my strong points, but this will be a great opportunity to meet people and pitch my TEDx Santa Cruz theme ideas. Wow!
I finished the first draft of my children’s story titled “The Pillow Thief.” I’m looking for an illustrator and it will be translated into Spanish. This story will be the first book published under my new children’s press, SundanceKid Press.
This week has been a long week. It gets frustrating and depressing with the yelling, stalking and harassment – not to mention the fear for my own life. I continue to chant for victory, happiness and justice. The situation as it stands today is definitely not justice. I keep praying, and hope for the best possible outcome. This Sunday will be my soccer team’s last game. If we win, we’ll definitely be in first place. I have the most fun when I’m playing soccer, so I hope we’re not rained out!
I haven’t spent quite as much time writing lately. I should probably get back to writing on a more regular basis. I think I’m going to continue writing about my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I started another memoir on this subject last year, but I didn’t get very far. I’ve only written a few pages. I have a lot of great memories from my Peace Corps experience, so I think this will be a great topic to write about. I even had a cover designed!
Right now, I’m focusing on staying positive. It really takes a lot of effort on some days for me to shift my thoughts away from negative or angry thinking. With the help of my husband, I’ve developed a variety of different strategies to shift my focus when my thinking gets really negative. I’ll chant, watch a funny YouTube video, listen to music, think of a happy memory, call or text a friend, read something encouraging in one of my Buddhist publications, or think of everything in my life I have to be thankful for. A couple of days ago, I really determined to live each day with joy and appreciation. When life or other people get me down, I really need to think about how fortunate I really am. I have so much in my life that many others don’t.
All the same, I still have the desire to accomplish my goals in life, so I know that I can’t give up.
When We Find Ourselves In the Company of Wolves
I ran across a unique website the week I spent visiting my parents in Colorado. I clicked on a Facebook ad titled Company of Wolves, and found myself staring directly into the huge eyes of a hungry wolf at the water’s edge, marveling at a curious, wide-eyed little owl in the forest, and gazing fondly at a dog caressed by the sunshine and an afternoon breeze. The website belongs to a German freelance artist and illustrator named Marie Beschorner, and I found her illustrations and artwork fascinating. I’ve always been interested in wolves, and I spent quite a bit of time studying and writing about them in college. I feel it’s hard for artists to capture their real beauty, and I look forward to the day when I can take my own pictures of wolves in the wild.
Centuries ago, wolves were merely a terrifying wild animal to be afraid of. Wolves were completely eradicated in the lower 48 states during the 19th Century – poisoned with strychnine and shot by ranchers who were afraid of losing their cattle and sheep to marauding wolf packs. Now wolves are thriving again in the wilderness areas surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana thanks to a wolf reintroduction program sponsored by the U.S. government.
To me, wolves represent the wild. They are the wilderness itself and possess a wild spirit. Wolves are also shy, elusive animals, and they seem to inhabit the part of our imagination we rarely visit: our wild nature. Although I don’t strongly believe in or practice Native American spirituality, I do believe that my life has an invisible connection to wolves. The Native American idea of an animal spirit guide or spirit totem teaches that when an individual sees or dreams of a particular animal, there is a specific meaning attached or a lesson to be learned. For example:
Wolf power or spirit animals point to an appetite for freedom and living life powerfully, guided by instincts. When a wolf manifests its presence as a guide in your life, it could be a call to live your life more freely, to bring the intensity of passion in your everyday endeavors.
Wolves are wild animals that are not easily domesticated and when they appear as spirit guides, they could be an invitation to look at what supports your authentic self and the true expression of yourself. The wolf totem is a reminder to keep your spirit alive and trust your instincts to find the way that will best suit you.
Lately, I have really been praying to challenge my fear of talking to other people and my dislike of spending time in public places. In addition to chanting about this problem, one idea I’ve had to help me challenge my fear is to tap into my wolf spirit. I feel that if I can tap into my wolf-like nature, the part of myself that is strong, fierce and totally unafraid, then I will be able to overcome my fear. I like this idea because I’ve always enjoyed wolves, and I like thinking of myself as part wolf. It’s as if I’ve found a way to protect myself from whatever criticism or ill will I might face during my daily interactions with other people – a way of dealing with other people’s negativity so that I don’t take it personally or get down on myself. As long as I am a wolf, I can growl, snarl, snap or even bite back if the need arises – figuratively speaking that is.
When I finished grad school and moved to Washington, DC to look for a job, my sister-in-law told me I needed to be “thick-skinned,” so as not to get discouraged by rejection from potential employers. I knew she was right, but I have never been that type of person. Now, I think my wolf spirit guide will help me.