Turbulence and Talismans

Reading some of my own writing in the evening gives me a brief respite from the chaos. The turbulence of the past eighteen months continues to twist my gut and make my neck and shoulders ache as if acidic poison fills the spaces between muscle cells. But I can escape with my own words. For example, I read a piece I wrote just over a year ago, near the end of September,  in which I invited readers (and myself) to ponder on the life experience of an ingredient in a recipe. More specifically, I suggested pondering on the experience of an ingredient that moved of its own volition. I recommended a shrimp. Reading that piece took away the anxiety that dogs me most days, thrusting me into a different vortex of turbulence.

That different vortex of turbulence is the one I’ve found fascinating my entire life: the nature of existence and experience. And I’ve found that certain things that have meaning to me can change my mood or my belief in the likelihood of an event occurring. Talismans. You know, like a rabbit’s foot. But in my case, it’s my pocket knife. Not just any pocket knife; only the one that reminds me of the one my father carried. I’ve written about that before, haven’t I? No need to bore my reader nor myself with another recollection. But my memory of my talisman makes me wonder: do other people (people like me who do typically believe only in the real world) assign meaning and power of some sort to inanimate objects? I bet I’m not alone. I bet I’m not alone in my deep embarrassment at admitting that fact, either.

Last night, when I wrote the temptation and promise I never fulfilled (I can be an absolute asshole, and I know it), I expected I’d be able to get over my juvenile attitudes for that post. But, apparently, I haven’t. So I’ll end this diatribe by saying something I really mean, with all my heart and soul and every fiber of my being:

I want nothing more in the world than for people to be compassionate and to act with compassion. Literally, that’s my final wish. That goodness will somehow flow over us like a wave and we will be compassionate and understanding and tolerant of every person, regardless of belief, experience, characteristic, or plan.

With this knife I hold so dear, I pledge myself to trying to live up to my expectations of myself. This is so damn hard. My final Facebook post may have been yesterday. And my final blog post may be today. We can never know, can we? Regardless, may we all dwell in compassion and peace. I care about what we’ve done to ourselves. I hope we can find the cure. And, by the way, I love you. I will continue to write what I think and feel. It’s the only way I can stop myself from using that treasured knife to slit someone’s throat, maybe my own.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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