Wednesday, March 23, 2011

God's Big Flashlight in the Sky

It was extremely overcast in Los Angeles last weekend, so I was not able to see the Super Full Moon.

But I liked the idea of it, particularly given the current state of the world.

That Moon, brighter and bigger than usual, had a lot to shine on.

In Japan.

In Libya.

Where you are.

Where I am.

It’s impossible to address the current state of the world in one short essay. There are the actions of nature, which can be blamed on no one. There are the dangers of cultivating nuclear energy, which reflect taking calculated risks in an effort to meet the world’s complex needs. There is the chain reaction of unprecedented activism throughout the Middle East and North Africa – a man-made tsunami of social discontent.

… When I was in my 20’s, a boyfriend introduced me to the writings of Henry Miller, and I quickly devoured Tropic of Capricorn and Sexus. I used to joke that I’d read Miller with a dictionary in one hand and a vibrator in the other. Seriously – his erotic passages were as raw as they get. But that wasn’t the content that kept me reading. Miller’s writing climbs to amazing levels, eloquently reflecting his keen sense of the metaphysical, his passion for life and living, and his acknowledgment that the world is a precarious place, making every moment all the more valuable.

I have many favorite passages from both of those books, but the one that has remained in my head is this one, from Sexus:

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

… I find the concept of God fascinating. I am, as they say on match dot com, “spiritual but not religious.” In fact, I’m so spiritual that I haven’t even told me what I believe. Bottom line is that I am utterly humbled by what I know for sure, and that is this: we’re all living on a big round thing that’s spinning so fast we don’t fall off.

Talk about imagination! Talk about daring! Anyway, acknowledging that little bit of proved science is pretty much all I can handle. If I think about it for more than a few minutes, I have to lie down.

And these days, it seems that this big round thing we’re all living on is really pissed off.

I don’t blame it.

And populations around the globe are upset by their societal circumstances.

I don’t blame them either.

Part of me thinks it’s damned remarkable we’ve come this far.

… I decided to dig into my old copy of Sexus to see what preceded that line that’s stayed with me. Interesting. Among other things, I love what it says about personal power:

The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring…

Yes, the powers within us are infinite, but only as long as we are alive.

That’s the catch; life is finite.

What we owe to the creative, imaginative, daring force that put us here is this: to embrace the blessing of every moment; to pursue our dreams; to do what is good.

That’s all we’ve got time for.


BECKY said...

Katie, I really need to come up with a new word when I comment on your posts....but, as usual, all I can think of at this very moment is...WOW! So many of your posts truly give me goose-bumps. I loved this! You and I have many of the same thoughts and beliefs. Someday, I just gotta "go west" and meet you!

Martha Gates-Mawson said...

Funny, before I clicked on comment and saw Becky's post, I kept thinking that there must be a word other than Wow! But I'm not sure there is a word that describes how this and so many of your posts make me feel. Humbled by your writing talent, surely. But beyond that - a sense that when I read your words, they open up paths of thought that I am sometimes, sadly, unaware of. This post is thoughtful and brilliant. I love it and leave it feeling enlightened, seriously. Brava, my dear one.

Sioux said...

" do what is good."

All the problems in our world would disappear if we all did that.

Fluid Idleness said...

I loved this post so much. I've been restless and want to "pursue our (my) dreams; to do what is good." Thank you.

Kimberli said...

I think I missed a SITS day in there somewhere. I'm sorry. I'm weeding through my emails now and trying to catch up. I'm following you too.

Linda Medrano said...

Katie, this post is magical. You have expressed so eloquently what I have felt for so long. Brava!

Deb Shucka said...

This is a beautiful piece, Katie. The wisdom you offer here is a comfort during these dark days.

Jules said...

Lord Katie, what a power piece. I think our deep thoughts must travel the same stream. Life is finite but our good will live on forever if done right.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Anonymous said...

You say, "a man-made tsunami of social discontent." I love that description - how apt. "Spiritual rather than religious" - me too, though God and I know one another quite well. Reading your Monday re-runs I note a definite progression from those earlier posts to the more recents ones. It is as though your voice has grown.
A wise and thoughtful post Katie ;-)

Kristy said...

Lots of people around these here parts have been talking about super moon too!

Classy Career Girl said...

I didn't see the Full moon in San Diego either. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Have a great day!

Green Monkey said...

your post was powerful, thought provoking and I dare say it...... more impressive than the super moon, which I saw clearly, and it seemed so ...ordinary. Something YOU my dear blogger friend never are.

big difference between religion and spirituality. I'm with you on that!

Lisa said...

I love this post.

C... said...

It is amazing that we are grounded while the world is spinning so fast. But we also rooted by our fears and biases. Good post.

Lauren said...


Absolutely wonderful post. Loved this line (among others): I used to joke that I’d read Miller with a dictionary in one hand and a vibrator in the other.

I agree with both you and Miller that there is nothing more powerful than imagination. Being bombarded with bad news, can suck the color from our dreams. We can't let that happen. Our dreams are what makes us human and gives us the ability to add color to a cold, gray landscape.

Your post is so inspiring. It was just the boost I needed.

cj Schlottman said...


"God's Big Flashlight in the Sky." That image keeps crossing my mind. It is so beautiful and inspiring. I was one of the lucky ones, as you know. I saw the Super Moon as it rose over the Atlantic Ocean. I'm with you one the spiritual/religious conundrum. I don't think I'll ever know the answer but I'm still searching.


PS - This morning, I downloaded Tropic of Cancer!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

What a beautiful piece!!

Paul C said...

Wonderful reflection. The powers within us are infinite... but life is finite...what are we going to do about our potential...daily?

carina said...

It's true, we are truly blessed. Even in the midst of hardship, there are things to be thankful for.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Alec is pretty dapper, no? ;)

Jayne Martin said...

I'm not sure I agree with you that life is finite. I tend to believe that all spiritual planes exist simultaneously and it's just our perception that's limited. But maybe that's just my imagination...

I, too, describe myself as spiritual, not religious. I've always felt that religion is of man and the spiritual is of God. And why go through a middle-man when you can just go to the head guy anytime, anywhere.

A beautifully-written, thoughtful post, my friend. It's Sunday and I consider this my visit to "church." ;)