To improvise aimlessly and creatively on an instrument, that’s noodling around. I play no instrument unless you count a laptop. I write to keep a grip on sanity, I think, and to entertain myself. Apparently it’s working since folks who are shaky in their mental health come to see me for help. Some tension builds in my guts and soul, and the next thing you know I am writing something. It’s therapy for one by one. If anyone else shares in my noodling, hooray. I believe creativity is a good insurance policy for mental health. Even if it’s just playing three chords on a guitar, something good happens as you create, regardless of the product. The process is like jogging for your soul.
The right side of the brain is associated with creativity. I must be right brained. Given a choice between solving a problem or writing about a problem, I’ll go with writing. I enjoy problem solving, but creativity is sexy, attractive, and wild. I like that. Knowing a geometry theorem can be helpful, I guess. I haven’t found math to be very helpful in my 57 years, however. Creative speaking and writing, on the other hand, have been my lifeblood. I pay others to do my billing and taxes, my plumbing and car repairs, my electric and HVAC issues. And I’m cool with that. I don’t put down these craftsmen and their logical, hands-on worlds of work. But others pay me to walk through fog with them. I just live in a world of invisible stuff with funny rules. My world is mocked and ridiculed in television shows. Therapy is for crazy or weak folks and eccentric therapists, so the Frazier Crane myth goes. Somehow I manage to pay the bills all around by being true to myself and my clients, stomping around in the invisible world of thoughts and feelings. We make psychic wine together. I’m proud of that fact.
Here it is, 4:30 on a Monday, and most folks are driving home from work. I am just getting ready for the heavy part of my day, the evening crowd who make up the bulk of my practice. “I’m not sure if I should get married.”
“I hate my mother but I’m stuck with her guilt-inducing presence till death parts us.” “My parents have always favored my brother. Now they’re mad at me because he’s getting divorced. Somehow my stubborn stability is hurting him.” Yeah, the grist of counseling sessions ground into fine flour that can be used somewhere, somehow. I add the yeast of perspective. Sometimes a loaf of understanding and acceptance rises. I have to believe in the process, the steady grinding, mixing, waiting and the value of the product… or else go mad.
People are not logical. I don’t care who is under consideration, he/she is not thoroughly logical. We all do things that make no sense, little sense, or not enough sense. We get angry and yell at our spouses or kids. We jump to wrong conclusions. We judge and hate being judged. We expect mercy but resist giving it. People suck. It’s that simple. Just ask General David Petraeus. Fortunately for all of us, God is good. He looks beyond our suckiness and loves us anyway, the way you love a bad dog. And it is no coincidence that God is called Creator, the maker of all things. I think His mental health is solid, by the way. Well, ever since He worked through the Holy Trinity thing. Now don’t go getting all holy on me. God must have an enormous sense of humor, I believe, the largest ever known.
I think we get in trouble when we expect others to be logical all the time. Bloggistas, have you been logical all day? How about just in the last hour? If you expected logic from me and a methodical narrative, you’re likely exasperated already and I have 400 words to go. Did I pledge to be logical? Did I imply a logical narrative at any point? No. So where did you get this expectation? Yo Mama, that’s where.
Lately I’ve been reading two unrelated books. One is about the horrible treatment of indigenous peoples by White/Christian/Europeans– the conquistadors, the colonists, the gold and land grabbers, the slavers, who practiced genocide in the name of God. It’s not news to me, but the predetermined pattern of holocaust is. The author proposes individualistic materialism veiled in arrogant Christian hostility as the core issue that led to the annihilation of Mexican, Incan, Tasmananian, African and American Indian peoples by these “civilized” invaders. The conquerors tampered with evidence of civilization among these people, like bad cops who put guns in the hands of folks they unjustly killed. Defining the natives as subhuman savages justified unleashing refined European savagery on them. It’s an old trick of blaming the victim for causing his own death. I don’t think much has changed in the past 500 years of “civilization’s advance”. We still covet others’ gold, water, forests, farmland, minerals, food, oil, etc. We invade via corporations nowadays and only bring in the armed forces when litigation and bribery fail.
The other book is a very unsatisfying one called Proof Of Heaven. The author is a neurosurgeon who seems to feel that because he went to good colleges and practiced medicine, the readers should just believe what he proposes was a near death experience wherein he floated about heaven for a few timeless days. He over-insists on proving his point and thereby undermines himself. I do not doubt that he had a near death experience. What I doubt is his fevered mission to be a modern day Saul who has no body of work to support his brief extraordinary experience. It felt to me like Mr. Science was now gonna be Mr. Faith based on one experience, a self chosen missionary who wants to unite these two fields. It rang pretty hollow for me. Buddy, just tell your story well and let the reader decide what’s true.
As I analyze these two works, I see a well researched and well written tome about horrible human truths. Author A cuts through the fog of time and warfare. And I admire that work as I condemn the depravity of mankind. The other work is a poorly written tract about a beautiful divine truth. Where precision and clarity would help define this experience, the author serves up rhetoric and obfuscating fog. So I wind up with one tragedy and one travesty. Whether it’s science or art or religion, cutting through the fog is the goal. Otherwise we’re all just noodling around.