My Education as a Human Being Continues

The mind is very difficult to see,
Very delicate and subtle;
It moves and lands wherever it pleases.
The wise one should guard his mind,
For a guarded mind brings happiness.

~ Dhammapada ~


When she writes her rare posts, the Canadian woman (with whom I feel I share a certain kind of approach to emotional obstacles that I find impossible to articulate) seems to capture emotions I cannot articulate. “But I know it when I see it.” Her struggles are radically different than mine ever have been and they are, by and large, far bigger and more difficult to overcome. But for some reason, when I read her posts, I feel an overwhelming sense of kinship with and compassion for her. She has been through a mastectomy for breast cancer and, more recently, made the decision to remove her other breast. She has been in therapy for severe depression for a long time. Yet she perseveres. She and her husband enjoy time with their grandchildren and the kids’ parents, though COVID has drastically reduced opportunities to visit. In other words, her challenges are dramatically different from and generally more difficult than mine. But, still, I feel a strong sense of kinship with her.

Finally, in a flash this morning, I think I understand why. It’s not similarities in our experiences that produce my sense of affinity with her. It’s the fact that she so openly shares her predicaments and the challenges she faces. Even though hers are far more daunting than mine, the mere fact that she writes about them appeals to me. I’m not alone in dealing with emotional issues by writing my way through them. She does the same thing. And her emotional obstacles, though very different from those I sometimes face, have some of the same character; they mine depths of my psyche in ways that seem familiar to me because I’ve read about what they do to her. My description of how her writing makes me feel a shared sense of experience will be inadequate to most people who read these words. But I understand it now. And that understanding helps me better understand why I write my way through depression or fear or anger or whatever other emotion that has grown too big and intimidating to deal with otherwise.

Hope/Cheryl, if ever you read this, know I appreciate your revelations and your willingness to expose the hardest and softest pieces of your life to a sometimes unkind world. I hope doing that does for you what my writing does for me.

My education as a human being continues.


Life is moving along at lightning speed. My intimate companion sold her house yesterday, after only two or three full days on the market. Well, there’s still an inspection and paperwork and all the preliminaries, but unless an unexpected issue arises, the closing will take place in about two weeks. Two weeks later, her occupancy of the house is slotted to end. By then, we need to sell or otherwise dispose of some of her furniture and mine so that we can merge our households into one.

While this was taking place, a house down the street from me hit the market at a price of $429K. Even before a sign was in the yard, the house sold—above asking price. The online listing showed no photos inside the house. But the one or two photos that showed the view to the back, behind the house, showed that my house has a better view. This big-dollar sale is pushing me ever harder to consider selling at what I think is likely to be the very top of the market. Yet the resurgence of COVID and the possibility of a monstrous new variant puts everything in a state of limbo. Here’s something, dated July 31, 2021,  from Infection Control Today:

Investigators in Chile conclude that the lambda COVID-19 variant is not only more infectious than standard SARS-CoV-2, but could also possibly shrug off vaccines. The first case in the United States has been spotted at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Last night, my IC and I discussed the possibility (that seems increasingly likely) that we will once again be confined to the home in an attempt to outwit the virus. That might mean no restaurants, no grocery store visits, no gatherings with friends—the same thing we did last year. The same thing that drove so many up the wall.  Yet, still, millions of baboons dressed up like people refuse to get the vaccinations, refuse to wear masks, and openly flout the advice of scientists who have spent their entire careers studying infectious diseases. These moronic subhuman scum-sucking bastards base their arrogance, in part, on the fact that the experts “change their advice,” which these pieces of rotted rat-flesh take as evidence the experts do not know anything, failing to grasp that a brand-new infectious virus that mutates at the speed of time may be something of a challenge to fully understand. My anger is showing, isn’t it? Pardon me while I take a breath and try to compose myself in the traditions of Zen.

That’s better. I am calm, composed, and way-chill-to-the-nth-degree now. I will not allow myself to wish I had magical powers that could allow me to cause the arrogant COVID deniers to spontaneously burst into flames. Nope. Won’t go there.  Whew! I think I deviated from my though-path. I’m back on track, to the extent that a track exists and I’m somewhere in its vicinity.


Even irrevocable decisions can be rescinded. Even steadfast commitments can be broken. Even the most staunchly defended lies can be revealed as deceits. Even truth can be undone and turned into falsehood and fiction.  In other words, nothing is truly permanent. And if nothing is permanent, nothing is real; at least not real as we understand it to be. A stone placed on a mountain top ten thousand years ago can roll down the slope when an earthquake today wages war against a long-dead volcano. Nothing is permanent. Not even life. Not even death. We do not know the cycle; we only assume it exists. And time may have no end and no beginning and may never repeat itself. Cycles do not necessarily repeat themselves; they simply continue on an eternal journey, seeking a repetitive pattern that may not reveal itself until long after all the observers are gone. So, no one can bear witness to the cycle beginning anew.


I vow that, today, I will be happy. I will not allow myself to slide into depression over little things. I will exercise control over my emotions, whether that means making difficult decisions or simply allowing the day to flow over me. I will engage in a happy battle with the world. And I will win.

My education as a human being continues.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to My Education as a Human Being Continues

  1. Mick, you make a very good point; it’s one about which we’ve been giving a lot of thought. Ultimately, it boils down to which place is more appealing and seems to hold more long-term promise. And thanks for the congrats!

  2. Mick says:

    Point to ponder….in this housing market, if you sell high you’ll buy high

    P.S. Congrats on IC’s house sale. And, the ‘merge’.

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