Last May (after being dapperly drunk for the previous 8 years) novelist David Von Behren endeavored to go 40 days sans sipping an alcoholic beverage...he made it 38.5 days before gloriously capitulating in craft beer defeat...this January he's giving up a lot more...
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Day 31: Anahata… Paryushana water fast day 4…. Christ was crucified because he said I and the Father are one…
It was exactly 12 years ago earlier this month when
the pulsating physical attire of my father left us. He died suddenly. He had
just turned 54. He was teaching fourth graders at Hollis Grade school and
performed as the protagonist in THE LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE at first Baptist
church in Pekin just six weeks earlier. At the time none of us, in the wildest
scattering hopscotch of our imagination could possibly fathom that he would be
diagnosed with cancer before inexplicably being taken from us six weeks later.
In their performance dad played (well) the dad, and
the daughter (whose real name was Destiny) found out a secret pertaining to
After the performance I went to find dad. He was all
alone, in the back room, holding a cup of coffee looking distinguished, wearing
a derby cap, he was standing all by himself, in his solitude. After Christmas
he started subtly complaining about stomach. I don’t know if Dad realized
something was internally wrong, if cancer was adorning the organs like bulbs of
the ubiquitous holiday trees. I don’t know if he realized it would be his last Christmas.
If he did, in that moment, standing all alone in the
basement room at a Baptist church in Pekin, Illinois, he looked dapper, he
looked humble and quiet, his kindness and benevolence exuding from the glisten
of his forehead like a halo.
In that moment when he was standing all by himself,
I saw my father’s grace.
The man I was privileged to have known as my father.
Day four of the Paryushana water fast is completely
nerve-enervating. I’ve been flopping. My gait is rattled. The room keeps
tilting sideways like I’m back in third grade and it is recess and I’ve just
surmounted the center of the teeter-totter trying to gain a pinch of
equilibrium only the level plane I’ve victoriously surmounted keeps vacillating
in its wooden linearity.
I can drink beer and party for three days straight
and still not crash, still recite Shakespearean sonnets backwards, still be,
(well, as we all know) perspicuous and yet feasting on nothing but oxygen and a
double shot of hydrogen and air is neurologically disconcerting. I don’t feel
acute when it comes to language. I lack the same incendiary snap at the
keyboard. I long for a cup of coffee to keep the floor from oscillating.
I’m more petulant than pedantic
I nod off
when meditating. Even crazier I haven’t taken a dump in four days (liquid comes
out at both ends, when it trickles out of my ass it looks like a bowl of lipton
soup, which I know is way too much information but hey if you want a writer who
is all frilly in her narrative faux pas’ read something by that bitch who wrote
EAT PRAY LOVE and failed to scribe an original sentence in her life ).
yesterday my entire skin was a tad blue, as if I’d been sipping codfish oil out
of a cannery row tin. My forearms and inner thighs looked like damp cigarette
paper. I had been living off of water for three days and my whole entire
anatomy felt like the glass contours to an aquarium, my stomach still
intermittently purring,I swear, there was something sloshing around my lower
intestines bearing fins.
The vagaries of the body.
In 28 days I
have lost 21 pounds. Still nine pounds from the rockstar weight (means I could
wear my tattered rock star jeans) that I was at the punctuation of the initial
Succulent Sobriety, day 38.1, when I foundered, when I just couldn’t deal with
the duress of paying student loans without having a beer in paw.
I’m also Aye-dee-deeing out of control. It’s hard to
sew together a few sentences without focus dithering, spinning like a classroom
Reset your watch after reading Emille Rosseau cause
I Kant concentrate worth shit, Immanuel.
all three of these lower chakras are of the modes of man’s living in the world
in his naïve state, outward turned: the modes of the lovers, the fighters, the
builders, the accomplishers. Joys and sorrows on these levels are functions of achievements
of the world, ‘out there’ what people think of one, what has been gained, what
lost. And throughout the history of our species, people functioning only on
these levels, (who of course have been in the majority) have had to be tamed
and brought to heel through the inculcation of a controlling sense of social
duty and shared social values, enforced not only by secular authority but also
by all those grandiose myths of an unchallengeable divine authority to which
every social order—each in its own way—has had to lay claim….and now so we
ascend to chakra four, at the level of the heart, what Dante called La Vita
Nuova, ‘The New Life,’ begins. And the name of this center is Anahata ‘Not
Struck’ for it is a place where the sound is heard, “that is not made by any
two things striking together.”
--Joseph Campbell, the Mythic Image
The fourth Charka is Anahata and as Campbell writes
so eloquently, “is the sound Aum not made
by any two things striking together and floating as if it were in a setting of
silence, is the seed sound of creation, heard when the rising Kundalini reaches
the level of the heart. For there, as they say, the Great Self abides and
portals open to the void.” It is an opening of the heart, a realization
that you and the other are one, or, as my boy Dante avows the moment he first
espied the aria (sic)-espial scent of his eternal Beatrice:
“At that moment I say truly, the spirit of life,
which dwells in the most secret chamber of the heart began to tremble with such
violence that it appeared fearfully in the least pulses, and, trembling, said
these words, ‘Behold a god stronger than I, who coming shall rule over me.”
At that instant the spirits of the soul, which
dwells in the high chamber to which all the spirits of the senses carry their
perceptions began to marvel greatly and speaking especially to the spirit of
the sight, said these words: ‘Now has appeared your bless.”
The chakra can be seen as a transcendent wound, the
welt inflicted by the arrowhead of Eros inadvertently plucking himself, falling
dastardly, uncontrollably, in love."
Yesterday the sexy red-headed mermaid and I went for
drive. We left at about 5:30 and she took an epic snapshot of the balring winter sunrise outside the small rural hamlet of Fiatt, Il. We have christened Mason County as our own. We’ll stop at Willet’s
winery in Manito can pick up a few bottles of Cranberry Frost before camping
out at Sand Ridge, drinking wine, holding each other lost under the yawping
penumbra of the stars.When the
sexy-red-headed girl was in sixth grade she ironically had my father as her
teacher. She would stay after and help him out. She went outside and clapped
the erasers together, an applause of chalk rise in bulbs outside the sixth
grade classroom at Beverly Manor school. Sometimes they would play chess. When
I met her she stated that he was her favorite teacher and that she always felt
special when he paid attention to her and that she was emotionally distraught
when she heard of his untimely passing.
Since I (literally) can’t walk in straight line I ha
the sexy red head drop me off to my mom’s house to dry out, even though the
only thing I’m abstaining from is chewing.
At my mom’s house I wrote the Anahata on my water
bottle for the day. Instead of meditating I found myself standing in front of a
picture of my father. In almost a traditional linear narrative ‘sun-shining-through-the
clouds-ricocheting-into the café-window-protagonist
life’ catharsis I realized that I had now lived one/third of my life without
the demure presence the overhead shadow I have referred to as my daddy.
I was looking at my father’s picture chanting the
greatest Holy name sipping the Anahata H20 when I could feel his presence, a
golden cloak seem to caped over me, and I could palpably feel his presence next
to me, could feel his gruff whiskers and his peppermint breath, subtle
finger-tip callous of his Sunday school guitar strumming fingernails holding me
close, lifting me up, dandling my shoulders as if I were a new born once again.
Eternity is much closer than we think.
When I was eight years old I used go jogging with my
father around Moss Avnue. We had a Pirate house on the corner where Moss and
barker form a penissula and we would turn at the pirate house and head home. Dad
always wore socks on his head instead of gloves. We would sprint down Moss
avenue near the finish line at Jumers before walking home to our resident on
One thing father would tell me over and over again
after we had turned at the half-way mark Pirate’s house is that, “every step
you take now takes you closer to home.”
I think like Holden Caulfied if you really want to
hear about it when I’ve been eating water for four days that perhaps our bodies our only avatars finger
puppets with genital door knobs being simultaneously oriented by our eternal
self, watching yourself as if from a snow globe or video game screen, laughing
at our peccadillos trying to walk horizontal due to our propensity of our innate foibles.
I think about what my father once told me about
every step taking you closer to home and how, even during a self-imposed
water-fast,horizonatlly flapping from one imprisoned calendar square to the
next it feels like we are scratching in poetic pecks of longing dutifully
awaiting the moment we will finally hatch free and fly….