Life Hacks, Novels and Creative Writing, politics, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Unfinished Symphony

Chapter Three: Flavours of God

God has a flavour, and everyone’s is different. The God I grew up with was a bitter and cruel taskmaster, who played favourites (of course he loved the Israelites best) and killed people on a whim (Sodom and Gomorah, anyone?). The God I live with now is an altogether different affair. 

My flavour of God likes women. It likes men too. It thinks that the true expression of our natures is the most important thing. The God I live with now thinks that it’s OK to want things, to set goals, and to socialise and share life with all sorts of other people.

And every-now-and-again I get the flavour of God so strongly in my body it’s like magic flowing through me; transformational moments; ecstasy.

My favourite religious word comes from East of Eden by John Steinbeck and it’s Timshel.

I’ll tell you Steinbeck’s story.

Some guys are sitting around drinking whiskey and reading Bible. Fair enough.

They read Cain and Abel:

Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain farms vegetables, and Abel farms sheep. Both brothers give God a share of their produce. God likes Abel’s gift and blesses his produce. But God spurns Cain’s gift.

Cain gets jealous of Abel, and they fight, and Cain kills Abel.

God is Mad.

He banishes Cain from the land and sends him out to live amongst strangers. Then he puts a mark on Cain’s face to show that Cain’s done the wrong thing. Finally he says “sin lieth at thy door, and thou shalt rule over him”.

One of the guys drinking whiskey, thinks this is a strange thing to say. He thinks this is a story that sticks very close to human nature, and those words “thou shalt rule over sin” are lies. Because humans have never ruled over sin, or not enough.

So this guy, Lee, gets out another bible and reads the same story.

This time God says “sin lieth at thy door, and do thou rule over him”.

Well, Lee thinks this is a bit strange as well. Because why would God make human nature what it is, and then command us to change it? Those words, “do thou” are orders, instructions, not to be what we are.

So, being a learned man, he goes back to the original Aramaic.

The original Aramaic word (according to Steinbeck) is Timshel. Lee’s translation of this is “thou mayest”.

I like this.

I like it because God is saying it’s your job. It’s my job to work on myself. It’s my job to get better. It’s my job to do better. And, if I do that, and I’m lucky, I May just create a good life. If I put in effort, and I grow, and I live wholly and fully, I May just have a chance to experience goodness.

And this is truth.

A typical day with the God of my childhood: My Dad’s wearing his green jumper and nothing else. The green is almost exactly the colour that Mazdas were in 2009. The wool that it’s made of is softer than most acrylic. My Mum made it for him in the 1970’s. It’s beautiful; fair-isle.

I’ve got my small feet on his feet, and my hands are in his hands, and we’re walking across the lounge room. He’s singing a song that’s my name over-and-over again. I can see his balls level with my face. I like putting my mouth on them. They taste kind-of salty and kind-of strange. He’s not very good at washing them. They’re hairy and I like pulling the hair a little with my mouth.

Remembering is like the jolt of a sudden fall. Like walking over an uneven area and tripping and landing on my hands and knees. The dizzying terrifying chaos of the earth that seems so firm and stable abruptly disappearing. The reliable steps I’ve taken a million times before, my body that knows how to be upright, suddenly akimbo, askew.

What should we do with Gods such as this?

Isaiah Chapter 2 is God saying to the Israelites: if you’re nice to me and worship me, and treat me well, I’ll be nice to you. But if you’re mean to me, I’ll kill you. This is the bible’s brand of domestic violence.

What do we owe the people who love us? What do we owe the people who hurt us?

To whom do I owe my silence?

There’s a tiny ball of hurt in my heart. It aches. My jaw is tight. My teeth hurt. There’s a bitterness there. I’m ashamed of being cast in the role of slut, and I’m ashamed of embodying that role in my life. I’m ashamed of the parts of me that embody that role now. Also of the parts of me that torment my own body now, belittling, cutting, burning; killing me. 

And then there’s that life-force, yearning– yearning to create. As much as I want to die, I want to give, to appreciate, to nurture. To be acceptable as I am, where I am, whoever I am. To be accepted as human, and to be given the courtesy and respect that humans are given by virtue of their humanity alone.  

Chapter One

Chapter Two

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By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping

Life Hacks, Novels and Creative Writing, Trigger Warning!, Uncategorised, Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony, A Novel Chapter Two- My Life as a Dog

Well, Hi Everyone.

I finished Chapter Two!

This is the plain text version.

If you like this work, want to download a prettier version, or you want to support writers and artists, or have a chance to write yourself, remember to donate to my patreon.

Note: the pretty version is available for free download on patreon.

Thank you! Even if you’re just reading it, thank you.

Gill.

Chapter Two: My Life as a Dog

My parents have given me a lot of words: terms for nature, for colours, for laughter, expressions for threats and anger, even words of reconciliation; my education has given me a lot of names for emotions, and power structures, for the art of living life as it’s meant to be lived. My parents gave me the ability to notice things that are things. And learning has given me the ability to critically analyse them.

What I lack is the ability to maintain hope and optimism throughout the darkest of judgements, voices and thoughts.

I want to live.

But how? How?

Meditation is my  lifeline. Every morning that I get up and I’m not in absolute suicidal despair I sit myself down quietly and lovingly and rehearse my day.

I start with my heart—I do it a little different every day, but I follow a similar structure. I open my heart in my imagination, and watch the green plants inside. There’s a light that swirls and streams, and I feel gratitude and kindness and happiness inside.

At these times, I know that the essence of me is just like the essence of every sentient being and the green and growing light in me is OK.

Next I do a few prana-yamas; then mindfulness for around 20mins-30mins.

After that I start to rehearse things I want to create: good health in my body, good things happening in my life, tiny moments of gladness and content. Things like holding a baby, cooking healthy food, improving at work or my university results getting better, social situations. I rehearse being in a garden with other people and working together towards a common goal. I rehearse other people’s health and happiness—Peter Cundall, Bob Brown, members of my friends and family, Julia Gillard, the Greek lady in the fish-and-chip shop. Gratitude.

I rehearse my reasons to live.

I have to say, whenever I do this, I feel good.

The good feelings pour out of my body and into my life.

And, for a while, I’m OK.

Some meditations are like a bump to my mid-section. They take my breath away.

Some ideas become sensations.

I love the feeling of life-force flowing through me with the force of a river and the will of a being that loves me intensely and wants good things for me… that feeling is like someone putting a finger on my solar-plexus and making my whole body convulse into bliss.

It may only be a thought—but it causes deep joy.

Strange, isn’t it?

Then suddenly the shames are back again. Mythical dark beings who come to my wire door to be fed but won’t let me trim their hair or de-louse them, or pet them or make friends with them. And if I get too close—their jaws clamp into my mid-section. And oh Lord do those bites hurt.

When I was growing up, we had a dog. We didn’t plan on getting a dog. A traumatised, thin, limping creature with brindled fur and soft silken ears turned up on our front step one day. My parents took him in. They paid for his food, they let my sister and I take him for walks, they even resentfully loved him. They got someone to mind him when we went away. He was microchipped according to council requirements. Occasionally he was bathed.

In summer, the flies would attack his ears. He would have 10 flies on each ear, and he’d flick his ears back, and flick them away, but the flies had learned he couldn’t do anything. In madness he’d rub his head in the dirt, but every summer he had open wounds on his ears.

I made my parents take him to the vet. I made my mother apply the cream. It didn’t help.

In winter, his fur started falling out. He had a rash on his body. His skin was red and raw and painful.

Again, I made my mother take him to the vet. He had an allergy to fleas. They gave us tablets, and frontline, and other things. It didn’t help.

He died an unhappy dog. 

To whom do I owe my silence?

What do we owe the people who love us? What do we owe the people who hurt us?

My husband’s family had a dog too. Siobhan. They bought Siobhan at a pet shop. She had an allergy to fleas, too. One day my husband and I were talking, and he enumerated the steps that his family had taken to get rid of Siobhan’s fleas. What I noticed was that someone in his family had a problem, and the whole family had gotten together and made sure that Siobhan wasn’t suffering. What I noticed was that they cared.

My husband’s family takes good care of their things. My husband’s family takes good care of their lives. My husband’s family takes good care of each other.

Who is in charge of making sure that the sentient beings we live with are healthy and protected and loved?

When I was nine or ten, I started harming myself. I’m not really sure exactly what year it was, though I remember the moments vividly. I remember my Mother finding out about it when I was around twelve. She was shocked. She was worried. She was dismayed. For three days there was distress in our house. Then she accepted it and moved on.

And twelve-year-old me was left with a razor blade and my Dad’s words ringing in my ears “let her get on with it”. 

…………………………………………………………………

By reading this blog, you agree that you read it under your own risk, and Gill’s Practical Bookkeeping is in no way responsible for any harm or prejudice to yourself, your business, or any fictional examples above.

I am not a financial advisor. I do not have an AFSL. I am a chick who likes to read, think, write, and has access to google. You should treat this blog with the same seriousness that you would treat anyone whose main qualification is access to google. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. It’s a little like watching Big Bang Theory for nerds or artists.

Anything you take from this blog is your responsibility. Nothing in this blog, even if you are mentioned by name, address, and telephone number, pertains to your personal situation. Anything you agree with, or disagree with, you are welcome to comment on, but your opinions belong to you. You are responsible for your comments. If they are offensive, I will remove them.

http://www.nuancedtruths.com

https://www.patreon.com/gillspracticalbookkeeping