meds & bed impede the (writing) head


The rantress sometimes thinks she can do more than she can. The truth is that she’s usually realistic about what she can and does accomplish.

But having surgery to remove the three aliens living in her breast for the last 5.5 years [see happy anniversary, you tumors you!], those aliens who have taught her many necessary, beautiful, twisted, traumatic, tender, ancient, skin scorching things—about herself and about others, well, in their departure they have left three last lessons for her:

1. How to let others do for her in ways she would normally have resisted: cooking meals, cleaning the house, driving her when she couldn’t use her arm, bathing her, watering her gardens, feeding her cats, fish and chickens. And some events she never thought: allowing the quasi-spouse to floss her teeth. Stop there.

2. That she cannot write to her satisfaction any cohesive, fun, ranty sentences with sass and music in the lines while on meds. Never fear, the list of coming observations is growing daily; scrutiny of our culture doesn’t end, Hydros or not.

3. Others are not who they believe themselves to be. Delusion can and does run the day, week, years. Funny how close the words “run” and “ruin” are.

The rantress will be back in real writing action soon.

there is no there there, and i’m not talking about oakland—or, how not to be delusional


DELUSION: “An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality…”

Many believe the religious are delusional. That’s understandable given that the nature of religion is to traverse the sphere of the imperceptible. But most of us do experience love, beauty, truth, spirit: ‘things’ without form. We know they exist even though they can’t be dissected or factually proven.

Yet science can be delusional, too. First, by trying to dismiss the ineffable because it cannot be ‘proven,’ but also by subconsciously projecting subjective beliefs on ‘impartial’ hypotheses. If something doesn’t present like a human, then what’s objectively looked for doesn’t exist. Example: deciding that animals—and until 1987, babies!!!—don’t experience pain, mainly because animals’ faces aren’t expressive like us humans and many animals/insects don’t vocalize pain when suffering or, more likely, not on wave lengths that we hear.

My point is delusional subjectivity is found in every area of life, not confined to the realms of religion or science, the seen or the unseen. It’s not an either/or world.

Delusional Disorder is one thing, but “benign” delusion’s a social irritant that just keeps growing.

I realize that wishing for change, yet continuing doing the learned is common. There’s a name for an aspect of that: cognitive dissonance. Think of the many people who desire to jettison extra weight, quit a soul-sucking  job, get in shape, learn a language or instrument but just somehow…don’t.

Wishing is a start that used to translate into genuine want, which would transform into actual action and then and only then did the possibility of arriving at the aspiration begin. Catch that? That’s the START, not the conclusion.

It’s not enough to retrieve a wish from the ‘land of possibilities’—where one may desire many conflicting things simultaneously but never truly choose anything—and convert it into a genuine want. But to actually arrive at reality, effort must be taken.* You have to pick up the instrument, literally look for a different job, work out… Reasonable, right?

This last, often unrealized, step is the place of fantasy that I’m seeing more often. In young children, make-believe is developmentally appropriate, but adults? Uh…no. Yet many Generation X-ers—30s to mid 40s—(Doug Coupland said they have no allegiances to anyone or anything, and get no allegiances in return) carry the irrational belief that to just want something is magically sufficient enough work to obtain it. Business owner friends say that half of their employees see work as a noun, not a verb.

The land of possibilities reveals no inner core, no chosen life rudder, no morés. Having everything ‘open’ means there’s no sound footing. True freedom comes from responsibility, not lack. Responsibility—ability to respond—occurs from an integrated, discerning Self. Reaction, impulsiveness, compulsion happen when there’s no “there there,” as Gertrude Stein wrote. Stimulation is not inspiration.

Heart & logic, ethereal & empirical are simultaneously essential components to a fully realized choice, to deeper evolution. The polarization of “all or none” must alchemize into “and & both” if we want to inhabit an authentic, non-delusional life.

*See: “do you believe what you’re sayin’? yeah right now, but not that often.”

help me, I think I’m falling…in “distraction” again


Nowadays, we commonly denounce addiction to substances: drugs, alcohol, coffee, tobacco, pot, food and some compulsive activities: excessive gaming, gambling, sex addiction, FB, shopping, watching TV, texting, etc. Then some excessive behaviors are rewarded and considered virtuous: work, running, sports, religion, spiritual materialism or groups, for examples. But as my brother Ralph says: You can’t blame the weapon for the murder.

Research shows that substance abusers and compulsive behaviorists possess a similar dependency on the brain’s pleasure-center neurotransmitter, dopamine. We avoid uneasiness by seeking special states of mind. When we take refuge in any one of these things/activities—favored or not—we’re doomed to disappointment. I didn’t say ever participate in, but “take refuge in.”

The most hidden-in-plain-sight addiction, the most dopamine-filled action is falling in love. And it’s not just rewarded by our society, it’s held as the apex. I’m not against falling in love—I mean it’s the instinctual biological cocktail to ensure we keep our species going—I’m against the mania of it. Even the phrase, “fall in love,” reveals its lack of choice, intention, forethought.

Being in love may be our biggest mega-distraction and certainly the mega-delusion that kills many a potentially fine working human relationship. It distracts from the real work of partnering, which IMHO is why we’re attracted to certain people in the first place: we have esoteric, complex connective work to do on ourSelves. We come together for deeper reasons than just the biological imperative. I believe every relationship is a “spiritual” or profound one and that includes not only our mates but our kids, parents, siblings, friends and our cat or dog.

An old friend of mine has gone through many a delightful woman because he’s addicted to the feeling of being in love and carries the fallacy that the reason it doesn’t last is that he’s with the “wrong” woman. But after about 40 years, I’d say, Look deeper within, Bub. [see: why women don’t date nice (entitled) guys]. I also knew a woman who would hang out with a friend three times a week doing all sorts of fab things only to verbally dishonor this connection by remarking, “I need to find a relationship.” Really? Blind spot!

C.S. Lewis defines four loves:

  • affection/companion/familial
  • friendship/freely chosen
  • romantic/being in love
  • agape/charitable/divine

Romantic love is elevated beyond its superficial power. It differs very little from crack cocaine—and ultimately lasts about as long—before the fantasy starts destroying you and your mate prior to the discovery that you love their companionship as well as their kisses.

In my 35 years of work, I’ve often suggested to clients that if they want to find their raison d’être they should try to “overcome their biology.” William Blake suggested we’re half human, half angel. Time to focus more on the “divine” part of ourselves and generate our own bliss, joy, “love” within and stop exclusively thinking we can only find “it” in others, activities or substances. Let’s start elevating the relationships we do enjoy beyond the romantic sort and honor all our loves equally.