Bring ’em all in, Mike Scott, Rumi and maybe more

Sometimes, for no reason that I can pin down, I have these nightmares.

Maybe when it is too hot in the room.  Not sure.  If that is the case, then I will sleep with the windows open in the dead of Vancouver winter.

It is like I am just under the surface of consciousness but I can’t wake up.  And that can’t waking up, comes terror.  In early this morning’s case, it was that in the nightmare I was frantically trying to call 911 to get help but my arms wouldn’t move because I wouldn’t wake up.  I’d try to go to people for help.  I’d end up in the dark side of town where people stared at me and attacked other people violently.

This went on for a long time but in real time I have no idea how long.

One day I swear it will give me a heart attack because my body reacts, my nervous system, my heart flies around.  I am in the terror.

I finally, finally, wake up and it takes quite a long time – sometimes the whole day – to overcome the surrealism of it all. Because my body, my mind, are so primed for fear, it can be like a day long panic attack.

I was thinking about this just now in the shower.

“Bring ’em all in,” wrote Mike Scott in his much covered song.

“Welcome and entertain them all,” wrote Rumi centuries ago, “Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.”

The water poured down on my head and I cried a bit, thinking that I could greet the terror at the door, laughing, beaming.

Invite it all in, said the Sufi poet.

Bring the little fishes
Bring the sharks
Bring em from the brightness
Bring em from the dark, writes Mike Scott.

Bring the unforgiven
Bring the unredeemed
Bring the lost and nameless
Let ’em all be seen

A glimpse, a flash – yes, yes, what relief.
Welcome at the door the terror, the gnawing anxiety, the job hopelessness, the loneliness, the constant ramming of myself – come in!  Take a seat, have some food.
Bring my shame
My fear of being out of control.
My emergency room self.
My over coughed self.
My hated self.
Bring it in.
Welcome it all at the door laughing.
Every moment of my life I can’t stop thinking about how I don’t have a job.
Bring it in.
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight, wrote Rumi.
“You torture yourself a lot,” noted Jesus the Christ.
“That’s tough, that is a tough way to live.”
And then he went and got himself resurrected.
Radical grace is what the mystics understand.
Welcome in the grief and the race track oval that doesn’t seem to end.
And the shame because you can’t stop haunting the Mormons.
And because your body tenses all up into contortions
and breathing becomes hyperventilating.
That can come in too.
And the unbelief.
Welcome it, laughing.
Get in here.
This isn’t real, says the unbelief, the torture shall continue.
Come on in and bring your people.
Your voices.
Your ways.
Radical acceptance, say the Buddhists.
God delights in you and your love of the Costco hotdog.
The terror can come in, have a seat and be with the others.
Luci Shaw wrote this:
Doubt padlocked one door and
Memory put her back to the other.
Still the damp draught seeped in
though Fear chinked all the cracks and
Blindness boarded up the window.
In the darkness that was left
Defeat crouched in his cold corner.
Then Jesus came
(all the doors being shut)
and stood among them.

Frustration, Christmas, and the like.

Hmmm.  I bought a battery charger for my phone since the battery dies after an hour, but the it stopped working after five minutes.  Frustrating and back to Future Shop another day.  Good thing I kept the receipt.  Was a student where I was subbing that suggested I get one of these.  A great idea, once I get one that works.

Yep, been doing a very, very small amount of subbing at the downtown school although that is about to end on Christmas Eve.  “I guarantee you that we have absolutely no work for you for the next while,” I was told and it’s true, they are even having to lay off their long term teachers.  This has seemingly caused no small amount of bitterness amongst said laid off teachers, who have no qualms about complaining about it in the teachers’ room.  Really bitterly complaining, like not even eating the lovely baked treat baked by one of the lay-offers.  “Oooh, no way,” said the person.

Okay then.

I’ve been through all of that – the great (and now basically defunct as it was) school that I worked at for seven years had a seniority system and a great rate of pay.  I’d finally worked my way into the no lay off safe zone when the school went all to heck.

But that is 3.5 year old news.

Since then, I’ve been wandering aimlessly through the work world, often not working, sometimes getting a short term contract, and even wading a bit into administrative work (oy).  UBC has usually had some short programs in Feb.-March and then in summer.  This year, there will be nothing in Feb-March and who knows about the summer.  So I am left again in the what the %$^&%% am I going to do?  No one is hiring, everyone is laying off and on and on.

This is enough, obviously.   I’ve been kicked around enough.  Which is fine to say and I can even go out on the street corner and shout such but no one is going to do anything about it.

Some folks marvel at my ability to keep afloat (like an apartment in the expensive part of town;  well, it’s tiny!) but to be honest, that isn’t happening anymore.  Let the Titanicing begin.  Or continue, I should say.

All of the ways that I think I am talented don’t matter out there in the working world of today, tonight, Saturday, early Sunday morning, Friday midnights.  No one wants my writing skills or my teaching skills and no one will pay me to stand around and make funny comments under my breath that take them by surprise so they laugh whether or not they meant to.


Listening to the downtown school woman complaining and over-complaining and feeling the room tense up and some people roll their eyes helped me to see just how fundamentally exhausting my own complaining can be to others.

Fair enough.

The thing is, here is the thing.  Hey, what is the thing, are you going to tell us the thing?

The thing is, I don’t know how to stop beating myself up with this unemployed knowledge 24/7 – like how to let it go and maybe enjoy looking at Christmas lights or something.  I mean, I know I’d feel better – physically and emotionally – if I could let up once in awhile.

Not really happening.

The no February-March thing stirred it all up again.  I maybe should have waited for that knowledge until, hmmm, no, probably better to know right away.  Well, some say.

Oh and if you are unemployed but have a partner who is employed – yeah, that’s easier I think.  I mean it may not feel easier but at least you know you won’t be out on the $%^%$ street.  And you can chat with them when they get home.  So let us not compare.

Okay, rant over.

Well, then the lovely A.T. writes me a really nice e-mail about grief and my mom and the death-anniversary and what not and I write back something generally nice and heartfelt and then a bit of aggravated stuff that really had nothing to do with her.  So I wrote again, ooops, that really had nothing to do with you.  This is a vague step up in maturity for me as before I may not have noticed my misplaced $%#%#%#%#.

Tomorrow I’m having some hair cut and removed and then have as of yet undefined plans with a couple of different people, so that’s good.  Sunday there’s some nice carol singing over at Canadian Memorial and then winter solstice. somewhere.  Monday, Tuesday, Wed. is the final subbing of the year and then I’m off to Surrey for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then to East Van. for a Boxing Day potluck.  So that’s all good.  I’m trying to get myself to not be so $%^&%$ until at least Dec. 27th.  I am not counting on that working out really.

On a positive note, it isn’t snowing here yet so that’s kind of good.  Also, I now know about portable battery cell phone chargers even though the one I bought doesn’t work.  And etc.