Sunday Sermon (December 21, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody…
So, I finally ventured out after a few days of staying indoors (strep throat, I think), and I went to see The Wrestler, with Mickey Rourke giving one of the most powerful acting performances I’ve seen in quite some time. In fact, I don’t think you’ll see an actor inhabit a role the way Mr. Rourke does in
this film. I caught myself flinching at the utter transparency, the total openness of his performance. The film could’ve easily veered into over sentimentality (as films of this kind often do in Hollywood), but it’s deftly directed with an appreciation for our ability to think and feel for ourselves. Marisa Tomei excels in a smaller supportive role.

The question remains: do we need people, do we crave connection, and what is life without that connection? It’s a little film, but if Rourke doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination, it’s bullshit. The only other performance that comes close is Penn’s Milk, and as great as that performance is, it comes nowhere near the raw nakedness of Rourke’s turn.

I was watching the under-appreciated Shall We Dance (with Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and Jennifer Lopez) this morning and it got me to thinking about whether I should start salsa dance lessons again. I have no passion for dance and the last time I went for lessons it was because I was hot for this Asian chick. LOL There’s a fairly large school right here where I live and work and there really is no excuse. It’s either dance or carving masks for me in 2009. My life is an open book… ::sigh::

* * *

-=[ Living Time ]=-

“The book of love has music in it… in fact, that’s where music comes from.”

Peter Gabriel, The Book of Love


I could very easily fall into a deep depression if I chose to look at life at certain way. Like most, I have problems, experience frustrations, and perhaps like many others, anxious desperation. I think we all suffer these emotions — it’s part of the “full catastrophe” that Zorba the Greek spoke of…

On the other hand, rather than choosing to feel like a small boat in the midst of a perfect storm, I can choose to feel like the ocean itself. In that way, the waves are not as threatening, life isn’t so damned serious.

It’s just a wave; I ride it, feel it, accept it, and let it go.

If I’m feeling especially emotional, I step back and note my gratitude. You can’t be grateful and miserable at the same time, people. Life is hard and to live is to know suffering, but it’s not enough to suffer or just note how much life sucks.” Aren’t we a wee bit long in the tooth to cling to such delinquent notions? You have to be pretty narcissistic to stay stuck on Broadway like that. Life is also about smelling the flowers and loving. And you know what? Suffering is optional. Get the fock outta my face with that pathetic bullshite “life sucks” routine, it’s embarrassing.

And if the shit really hits the fan and I’m all focked up (tragedy!), I simply remind myself that, no matter where myself today, it’s infinitely better than when I was stuck on stupid (aka as “life sucks” mode). For example, today when I woke up and I wasn’t addicted to anything; I woke up in my own bed fully conscious of who and where I was. That wasn’t always the case. In addition, I woke up today a relatively free man. That too wasn’t always the case. Some of my saddest Christmases were spent in prisons — once in solitary confinement.

One of the things I am most proud of is that throughout all of my incarceration, I got into only 2-3 fights. That’s a huge thing. Prison isn’t Oprah Winfrey or getting in touch with your inner child and violence is always seethjing under the surface. One year, out of fear, I had to put someone in the hospital and as a result, I ended up doing a week in solitary confinement. You know what I did there? I meditated. That cell became my sanctuary. So, if I could find some measure of serenity in that extreme situation, what’s your excuse?

::blank stare::

I know, I know you’re probably saying those are low standards, and that you’ve never been addicted nor have you ever been incarcerated, so your frame of reference is different from mine. You are not like me! LOL Blah! Let’s not take this relativity bullshite too far, people — Besides, I happen to think many of you are hopelessly addicted and are prisoners of your minds.

I learned the art of liberation while incarcerated, one of the many paradoxes of this Redemption Song I call my life. I learned that prison is a state of mind, not an actual place. Yes, the state can force you to be in a physical prison but only you can give anyone permission to imprison your mind. Please take note of that because you all freely give that permission on a daily basis. I can guarantee you that much.

There’s a well-known lesson in prisons. It goes something like this: you can do the time, or let the time do you. It’s a reference to the fact that, while the reality is that you’re in prison, you can still work on yourself. I wonder how many so-called free people are allowing the time to do them. In fact, I will do away with the whole paradigm and simply say that some of us are doing time, while others are living it.

As you bemoan your fate today because you don’t have this or that, or because you live in circumstances apart from your wishes, or your parents were focked up, or any other complaint you might have, please know that that time could have been better spent living. Don’t worry, there’s another moment coming right now and you can either celebrate it, or lock yourself up. Which one is it? Keep in mind the next moment isn’t guaranteed. Will you do time, or will you live time?

Love,

Eddie

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