Monday, March 15, 2010


Processing is hard...

Chewing, churning and digesting all that life throws at us is icky, gooey, invasive and often painful.

First my beloved kitty deteriorated over the course of a cancerous month, and finally died in my arms. I had resolved early on that I would not let her die in a vet's office, if she had suffered too much I would have brought someone home to give her the injection, no matter the cost.

In the end, I was glad that wasn't necessary, but am still haunted by her final moments, the traumatic yelp when her heart stopped. Still I second-guess how successful I was at calming her....

But I shouldn't. It's over; let it go.

Or so I kept telling myself.

Then a few weeks later, a great soulmate friend who had been a big brother to me for nearly 25 years, Dave Nolan, a giant in the NY audio archive/underground music scene, died at 48 of a massive coronary heading downtown on the subway, en route to pick up his daughter from afterschool.

Dave the Audio God

My mind, brain, psyche were chewing (read: bawling my face off) furiously on these events (leaving little room for much else) when a few days later, I learned some scumsucker snagged my Amex card and was running up charges.

And then my hard drive, loaded with pictures of Chloe and other friends and family (feline, human and otherwise) and travels from Egypt to California, went kaput.

Nervous about the sliver of disk space remaining, I'd started uninstalling programs, rebooting each time to make sure the stuff was gone (or, rather, reallocated to be "free"), and suddenly, it refused to start up past the DOS screen.

More frantic about the drive than the Amex, I decided to deal with the card first -- and was surprisingly calm on the phone, and they agreed to waive the suspect charges (they haven't yet, by the way).

Things didn't go so well with the laptop.

So with great sighs of despair, I brought the ailing disc to our crack Desktop team who, at first, told me that the entire drive may be irretrievable because of the PGP software we use. (Eek.)

But the laptop specialist assured me that, with my password and the correct PGP version -- even running off another machine -- the data could be retrievable.

Four days later, data is still pawing its way up to a network server, and every once in a while I swing by the desk where it's hooked up like a wafer-thin heart, and lean in close to hear it purr -- a concerned mom looking after her baby -- and ask if there's anything I can do. (There isn't.)

But the Desktop guys indulge me, partly because they like me and partly because I've leaped to their rescue a good share of times. I never forget a kindness, and apparently neither do they. :-) (I will have to get them something nice when this is all over .... something chocolate??? Hmmmm..)

Anyway. My new backup drive arrived this evening, my salvation of silicon.

In all the misery and madness of these past few months, grappling with loss and feeling my own mortality, and the elusiveness of anything I become attached to... well, it's given me a great big honking headache.

There are so many different ways to process experiences like these.

My Buddhists friends say "attachment leads to suffering" -- but it also leads to joy, when the attachment is fulfilled.

My pragmatist friends tell me "that's life, kiddo" (actually, that's probably what Dave would have said ...)

And my narcissistic friends tell me to get over it.

Well, they aren't really my friends.

But I'm not a "get over it" kind of person.

Things get inside of me, because I let them, because I can't seem to keep them out.

And I've come to appreciate that -- even though it can hurt more -- my life is better, my experience is richer, for that porousness.

So when an attachment is ripped away, it hurts like hell.

And the handy-dandy get-over-it aphorisms people like to toss at me (usually because they are uncomfortable with any expression of strong emotion) don't work.

Crying works.

Feeling the pain works.

There is a lot of wisdom in our psyches that our intellect doesn't comprehend at all, because the intellect can only articulate, and much of raw emotional experience can't be articulated. It can only be felt.

But when it's felt, it is doing work -- important work -- processing work.

So as long as I can function, get my daily work done, I will always prefer to step aside and let my psyche do its thing, and have faith that it will resolve on its own over time.

Feeling good is overrated.