We Are All Complex

The topic of synchronicity, not new to this blog, is on my mind. It occurs to me that synchronous occurrences are not always positive. They just as easily can be negative. When events take place in different places, involving people who have some connection, they may seem “designed” to illustrate a connection. Typically, it seems only positive events trigger thoughts about the connection. Yet negative circumstances, too, can spark realizations of the connection, though the connection itself may be entirely positive. I realize this paragraph may seem incoherent to most people—perhaps all people—who read it. Fortunately, I know what I’m thinking. It’s just too convoluted to chronicle in detail.


Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

~ Franz Kafka ~


The Associated Press sometimes seems to me a hybrid between news organization, cultural preservationist, historian, and keeper of wisdom and hope. This morning, in its AP Morning Wire, a link beneath an intriguing photo caught my attention: AP Photos: Beast-like ‘Carantoñas’ return to Spanish town. I followed the link and discovered a town I’d never heard of, Acehuche, a little town with roughly 900 inhabitants in Spain’s western Extremadura region. Through a combination of text and photos, the linked article revealed an intriguing story about a three-day festival celebrating the town’s patron saint, St. Sebastian. The festival involves men dressing up as fur-covered beasts called Carantoñas and women dressing up as “Regaoras.” There’s much more to the story, including fireworks, confetti, celebratory processions, and references to the pagan and early-Christian origins of the festival. I love stumbling across such fascinating stuff, about which I knew absolutely nothing before seeing the photos, reading the photo captions, and skimming the accompanying story. Just another reason I find The Associated Press such a valuable organization. The AP does not just report on society’s overnight progress in tearing itself apart; it offers a glimpse into reasons we ought not to allow that to happen.


I cannot bring myself to write much this morning about the travails of dealing with the failure of our society’s healthcare safety net. The circumstances are too raw and painful for me, yet I probably am among the least-effected by them. Today, more than ever, I realize how important it is to find a source of medications that, in a pinch, could allow me to end my life if ever I were to find myself in a hopeless quagmire of a heartless, bureaucratically-infused governmental labyrinth. Our “solons” at both the national and state levels should be hung by their tongues over a pond full of ravenously hungry alligators until the lawmakers complete the task of permanently remaking our healthcare safety net into the compassionate social system it should be.


Today, one or more highly paid electricians will install new lighting in our eventual-to-be home. Yesterday, my sweetheart returned to the paint store the paint we had ordered. She returned with replacement pails of paint that replicate the color of paint we had mistakenly been given. Because I had applied an entire gallon of the “wrong” color and was By God not willing to redo all the work I had done, we decided to use the “wrong” color instead of the paint colors we had selected. As it turned out, we actually preferred the color the store gave us, so it worked out just fine. But between discovering the paint-store’s mistake and getting the replacement paint, there was a period of distinct displeasure. By the way, it was impossible to be certain, before I opened a second, improperly-labeled, second can, that the “wrong” color was, indeed, wrong. But the difference between the color we picked and the color we were given was sufficient to create some ennui. All better now.  Next, aside from new lighting, we soon will move on to another couple of projects: uncovering what lies beneath the vinyl tile on the floors and installation of gutter guards. We  hope to salvage very nice wood flooring and install some new tile and carpet (where wood flooring was not used, originally). If that is not possible, we will have new, higher quality, vinyl tile professionally installed to dramatically improve the looks of the place. The gutter guards will save me many dangerous hours of cleaning leaves from the gutters for seven or eight months out of the year. Then, at some point, we will get doors that do not latch (or even close properly) repaired. And we will deep clean both inside and out. Some day, we will move in to the other house. And, then, the ownership of my current home will change. How that will play out remains to be seen.


As usual, I made a cup of coffee right after I got up this morning. And, as usual, I have allowed it to cool enough that it’s no longer sufficiently hot to be drinkable. Well, I suppose I could drink it, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. So, I’ll need to brew another after I finish spilling my thoughts onto the computer screen. Of course, I could forego another cup of coffee. But that seems a senseless punishment for something so trivial as letting one’s coffee cool.


I wonder whether it would surprise people to learn how often they are on the minds of other people? Would casual acquaintances think it odd that thoughts about sometimes frolic through my consciousness? Would friends be astonished at how frequently they come to my mind? Would followers of this blog be stunned to learn how frequently I think about them (or, in some cases, how infrequently)?

These questions naturally lead to considerations about the opposite: how often or infrequently do other people think of me? How frequently or rarely am I on the minds of friends or acquaintances? Do my blog followers ever think of me?

Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” That’s probably true. But it doesn’t really resolve the questions. We do not allow ourselves the luxury of dismissing our roles in others’ lives, nor their roles in ours.

I think quite often of Janet and Loren and Deanna and Lana and Rhonda and Ducky and Mel and Terry and Meg and Patty and Jim and Carol and Kim and Becky (and, of course, Colleen)…I could go on and on and on…there are so many others.  I don’t necessarily dwell on my thoughts about any one of them, but they flit in and out of my thoughts with surprising regularity. I suspect others experience the same thing. But unless we permit our introspection to focus on those thoughts for a bit, I doubt we even realize they are “there.” Until I began listing people about whom I’ve had thoughts lately, I would have been surprised that there were more than a tiny handful of people “in my brain.” But reality says they’re all “there.”


Kafka was right. When I write with the knowledge that what I write will never been seen by another set of human eyes, I descend into that cold abyss of myself. I peel away the layers designed to protect me from others’ opinions of me. I write with brutal honesty, not just about  myself, but about the world as I know it and the people in that world.  With every word, the people in that world come into clearer and more positive focus, while often I seem to wither and fade in comparison with them. The cold abyss of oneself. When I think of it, I would not wish it upon any other human being, yet I acknowledge it exists for me. The cold abyss of oneself. Why choose to reflect on that, though? Why not the words of Sørren Kierkegaard?

Don’t forget to love yourself.

~ Søren Kierkegaard ~

About John Swinburn

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