T’was Christmas Day at the Waffle House; a Time for such Connections, Discoveries, and Eventual Ponderings (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 222)

I went to the Waffle House (WH) for brunch on X-mas Day and ended up sitting at the highbar. Normally, I read while caffeinating and ingesting my scattered, smothered, diced, peppered, and capped, along with my meat choice du jour, but on this day I happened to make a joke with a couple as they sat down next to me, and that easily lead to our conversation over the next hour.

Though the conversation rotated between the three of us, I spoke more often and more directly with the man because he was seated adjacent to me, while his wife sat on the other side of him. I cannot say for sure, but it seemed to me like we were all in the same general age range.

They had heard an indirect comment that I had made with a good friend who happens to be a WH staff member, which intrigued them to ask me about my vocation. (Under normal circumstances, I tend to guard that info from casual public knowledge for multiple reasons.) After I had explained that I was a veterinarian, the other man responded that pre-vet had been his first love, his first focus in school, but that after he had been seriously advised on how hard it was to get in and then through such a program, he had given up on it and gone in another direction. I believe that direction was a business degree, but I cannot state so definitely. We talked for a little while after that about being animal lovers, and then, about some of the challenges currently bombarding independent veterinarians and the whole spectrum of veterinary medicine.

Our conversation moved on naturally and comfortably towards the principle of retaining independence in our lives, living in less populated areas while still appreciating Atlanta for what it does offer, and a passionate love for all outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking.

At some point mutually agreed upon about also appreciating the outside in warmer weather, it came up that this couple, was headed down to their beach house, which they had personally built on some island in the vicinity of Gulf Shores and/or Orange beach. From the way they described it, it sounded glorious and heavenly in regard to my beach preferences. I was happy for them and felt that they deserved to be so successful to be able to afford and enjoy such a piece of property.

Soon, the conversation turned around a switchback once more and together we stumbled into the wilderness area of the Cohutta (GA), home of Jacks River Trail, the Conasauga River Trail, and Bear Creek MTN Bike Trail, amongst other treasures. Our knowledge rivaled one another about the entire area, but his definitely bested mine a bit. We talked about the trails, hiking and biking, the crashes, getting lost miles off of the map, unknowingly stumbling into the Mountaintown floodplain basin, and the bigass Poplar tree that serves as a sentinel for those riding on the Bear Creek Trail.

Eventually, my new friend(s) revealed that he actually owned a cabin in the Cohutta in an area that I am familiar with and truthfully very fond of. And then, he revealed that he also owned a second cabin that stood in a different, more remote and secluded region of that wilderness area. The second cabin is harder to get to than the first and its location does not even allow him access to an electrical connection, but nonetheless, it is still a second cabin and land that he happens to own in one of the most beautiful and feral areas of Georgia. He more than graciously offered to let me use either of the cabins and before parting, we exchanged numbers and emails. They seem like very genuine, extremely cool people, who just get it. We even discussed maybe getting together to force ourselves to ride our mountain bikes again. I like the idea. I like their spirit. I loved the conversation and the happenstance of spontaneously meeting people like that in one improbable moment or strand of theoretical time, space, and reality. T’was Christmas Day and a time for such connections, discoveries, and eventual ponderings.

I would be lying though, if I didn’t also say that I did experience a smidgen of irony and jealousy in this communion and our shared tale of choices and the consequences those choices had brought about. A lifetime ago, my newfound friend turned away from veterinary school because it was too hard and difficult to gain admittance and then to survive the tribulation associated with earning such a degree, but it would appear his financial gains related to such a decision, have far, far surpassed anything that comes even remotely close to my own. I can barely take a vacation and I am essentially homeless, while he (and his wife) owns a primary house with considerable acreage, a beach house, and at least two other cabins in a pristine Wilderness Area.

I accept the choices and the associated consequences related to such that I have made. I also do not wish ill will upon these new friends of mine. I am happy for them. If I had to hedge a bet, I would guess the world is better with them in it. But I wonder, I really do wonder, about our world and the reward system of business that people have fostered and caused to thrive.

I imagined once I was accepted into veterinary school, I would be the one making a little extra money, the one having a little extra family time, the one with maybe an extra house or two, both modest of course. I never imagined or conceived in my wildest dreams, that financial reward could work inversely upon someone who competed and survived in a challenging professional atmosphere, and who also just wanted to put his vocational expertise and responsibility foremost over revenue and salary. I never imagined that was a real possibility for the longest time.

I wonder if I was presented with the real option of switching places with my newfound friends what I might do. I have to admit that I’m very tired of suffering for trying to honorable, noble, and skillful in my profession. Those houses and getaways are quite alluring to me. I also wonder if they might switch places with me? Would that first love of interest and desired accomplishment hold over the material assets and accumulations that resulted from less of a challenge, if he knew, knew, he could attain the title of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the associated responsibility of such?

Jeff Cribb , Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Lover of the Great Outdoors

2017

Hyper-Emotional Addiction versus Love (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 221)

My love, instead of growing, had come to a standstill, and a new sensation of restlessness gradually invaded my spirit. Loving was not enough for me after the happiness I had known falling in love. I longed for activity, instead of an even flow of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to renounce self for the sake of my love. I was conscious of a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life. I had bouts of depression, which I tried to hide, as something to be ashamed of, and transports of violent affection and gaiety which alarmed him. He notice my state of mind before I did, and proposed a visit to Petersburg; but I begged him to give this idea up, not to change our mode of life, not to spoil our happiness. And I really was happy, but it tormented me that this happiness cost me no effort and sacrifice consumed me. I loved him and saw that I was all to him; but I wanted everyone to see our love and put obstacles in its way, so that I could love him in spite of everything. My mind, and even my senses, were occupied, but there was another feeling — the feeling of youth and a craving for activity — which found no scope in our quiet life. Why had he told me we could move to town whenever I wanted to? If he had not said that, I might have realized that the feeling which oppressed me was pernicious nonsense, for which I was to blame; that the very sacrifice I sought lay right in front of me — in the suppression of that feeling. The idea that escape from my depression could be found merely by moving to town haunted me, yet at the same time it seemed a shame and a pity for selfish motives to drag him away from all he cared for. So time went by, the snow piled higher and higher around the house, and there we remained together, always and for ever alone and just the same in each other’s eyes; while somewhere far away amidst glitter and noise multitudes of people thrilled, suffered and rejoiced, without one thought of us and our existence which was ebbing away. Worst of all, I felt that every day that past riveted another link to the chain of habit which was binding our life into a fixed shape, that our emotions, ceasing to be spontaneous, were being subordinated to the even, passionless flow of time. In the morning we were bright and cheerful, at dinner polite, in the evening affectionate. ‘It’s all very well . . .’ I thought, ‘it’s all very well to do good and lead upright lives, as he says, but we’ll have plenty of time for that later, and there are other things for which the time is now or never.’ I wanted, not what I had got, but a life of challenge; I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to be the guide of feeling. If only I could go with him to the edge of a precipice and say, ‘One more step, and I shall be over; one more movement and I die!’, and then, pale with fear, he would catch me in his strong arms and hold me over the edge till my blood froze, and carry me off whither he pleased.

My state of mind affected my health, and I began to suffer from nerves.

I fancied he did not want to talk because he thought me a child who could not understand his preoccupations.

But no, he must needs suppose I shouldn’t understand, must needs humiliate me by his lofty composure and always be in the right against me.

I eventually said to him, ‘Why do you suppose I can never help you with anything?’

‘Not help me?’ he said, throwing down his pen. ‘Why, I believe that without you I couldn’t live. You not only help me in everything I do — everything — you do it yourself! However could you get such an idea! he exclaimed with a laugh. ‘You are my life. All’s well with the world simply because you are here, because I need you. . .’

‘Yes, I know all that: I’m a delightful child who must be humoured and kept quiet,’ I said in a tone which made him look up in surprise as if he were seeing something for the first time. ‘I don’t want quiet — there’s enough of that and to spare with you,’ I added.

I was now finding it very pleasant to disturb his equanimity. It annoyed me that he should be all serene and calm, whereas I was full of vexation and a feeling akin to remorse.

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

 

The Energy of Interaction (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 220)

The energy that flows back and forth in a genuine interaction between two souls is much different that the nervous energy of delusion, distraction, and pretend, which spins, flutters, flies, and reels, awkwardly and uncomfortably, between those who are too fearfully embedded within their own projected personas to even consider the genuine cores that exist within themselves and within others. The numbed avatars playing their assumed roles of acceptance, comradery, and understanding, as if on stage in a poorly directed play, continuously falter, stamer, and miss their ques of expressive devout attentive interest, perceptual awareness, and empathetic and contemplative exchange. It’s more like two dogs barking at each other, sometimes in competition, sometimes in alternation, and sometimes in seeming unison, but all the while, each dog only barking and barking and barking his own reflexive deafening distraction of avoidance, never actually listening, never actually perceiving, never actually contemplating, only barking relentlessly like everyone else, like everyone else, like everyone else. And woe be unto whomever strays from such noise and barking, because non-conformity to such collective delusional herd behavior cannot be tolerated. It’s a threat to the bosom of non-contemplative barking and the satiating numbness of an unquestioned pseudo-plausible existence. The nervous energy erupts and writhes from the instability of the illusion which centrally governs all such behavior. Negation of the individual souls, of their core interactive existence, is what I perceive as the product of that infectious and unstable nervous energy of illusion. That negation yields a unified imperceptive herd which can only effectively serve one purpose. That is its own destruction.

The energy of a genuine interaction is composed of an unmistakably different nature.

Cribb          2017

Judge Others Lest You Might Judge Yourself (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 219)

 

If you believe

the alcoholic,

the pill popper,

the meth head,

the cigarette smoker,

and

the sex addict,

all to be

intolerable, insufferable, and pitiful,

in their contribution

to all of humanity

due to their inability

to function in any meaningful way

without their “god-crutch” obsession,

try putting down your wallet for an hour or a day;

stop spending money and purchasing shit relentlessly;

take a good hard clear look at what,

if anything,

contentedly remains of yourself and your relationship with those you supposedly love,

after you remove your “god-crutch” obsession from your routine.

Cribb

2017

No Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 218)

Mama said the stars are the universe’s eyes.
I can feel them watching over me most of the time.
We grew up believing we could learn how to fly.
We came from the earth, but we belong to the sky.
I saw your soul without the skin attached,
and you’ve got the guts of a coyote pack.
We’ve been kissed, we’ve been cut, but we do what needs the doing.
We’re just rainbows dreaming we are human.
Please excuse the lights shooting out of my head.
I keep them in a cage, but they come out when they see a friend (you must be a friend).
You’re never really gonna have control of it all,
so you best get cool with where your chips gonna fall.
We are the sun and mother’s milk and cuss words and poetry.

There’s no use in running, unless you run like heck.
The best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck.
Jesus coming back as a woman this time,
handing out hugs in the clinic line.
Someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell.
We’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves.

As kids we believed that the angels talked.
Everything is magic, til you think it’s not.
It’s easy to be thankful for the things you’ve got.
It takes guts to give thanks for the things you’ve lost
We grew up believing good wins over bad,
So you gave away your heart but the wolves attacked.
(But then a bigger heart grew back)
Please excuse the words coming out of my mouth,
I’m a happy man, but there are some things I need to get out…

There’s no use in running, unless you run like heck.
The best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck.
Jesus coming back as a woman this time,
handing out hugs in the clinic line.
Someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell.
We’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves.

Cloud Cult – Lyrics*

*You should check out the song if you are not familiar with it.

Everybody in this Space (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 217)

The truth is that we are so used to a one false move God, that we do not consider and appreciate the no matter whatness of God, the God who is just plain ole too busy loving us to be disappointed in us. That is the hardest thing to believe, but everybody in this space knows it’s the truest thing you can say about God.

Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit Priest famous for his decades long gang intervention efforts in Los Angeles.

This is an excerpt from an On Being interview w Krista Tippett.

 

That Oh So Subtle Fucking Hint (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 216)

To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at that moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naive or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something, which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play, something that the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand. Something which even the outsiders in your own profession are not apt to make a fuss about, but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face—that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face—turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.

The Inner Ring

C. S. Lewis          1944