Tag Archives: spirituality

Leaving the center empty for God


downloadI’m still reading Maggie Nelson’s memoir The Argonauts. This story about Nelson’s relationship with her “fluidly gendered partner” Harry takes a look at the hot button topics of sexuality, gender and what it means to be a family.

It’s been taking me longer than usual to get through this slim book of less than 150 pages. It’s a heavy read, packed with thoughts and insights that seem best suited for slow, meditative pondering.

In the pages I read last night, Nelson writes about a lecture she attended given by poet and professor Anne Carson in which Carson spoke about the concept of leaving a space empty so God can rush in.

imagesNelson said she had heard about this concept from a boyfriend who was into bonsai. In bonsai, people often plant a tree off-center in the pot to allow space for the divine.

“But that night Carson made the concept literary,” Nelson writes. “I went home fastened to the concept of leaving the center empty for God. It was like stumbling into a tarot reading or AA meeting and hearing the one thing that will keep you going, in heart or art, for years.”

That’s what I’m thinking about these days. Leaving the center empty for God in my writing and in my life.

The Argonauts is a terrific read. Dense and intense but worth the effort.

P.S. I’ve been sleeping better.

I find that when I’m focused on social media and the news, I have a bad day,” I told W yesterday at dinner.

“And when I stay away from social media and the news, I have a better day,” I told her.

“Then stay away from social media and the news,” she said like a Sapphic sage.


Night, night, you big butch.

That’s been helping, plus W has been rubbing my face with lavender butter before bedtime. She rubs the thick cream on her hands and then smooths it on my forehead, my temples, the back of my neck and a little under my nose.

It smooths over the jagged edges of the day. I have been sleeping like a baby these days.

Plus, it makes me feel like I’m being taken care of, which is a nice feeling right before bed.

We just ordered a new batch of butter. Check out Renaissance Lavender on etsy if you are in need of a magic sleeping potion.

My depression told me to eat a box of Little Debbie snack cakes

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I could tell you that I’ve been busy with way more important things like baking cookies in the shape of Olivia Newton-John to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy or teaching homeless kittens to read.

But, I’m a terrible liar.  Actually, I’m not.  But, now you’re not so sure, are you?

Anyway, I find myself engaged in a battle of wills within myself.  My head is telling me a different story than my heart, which has led to low-grade depression (is there any other kind?) and general malaise.  It’s like trying to pull open a door when someone is pulling it shut.  In a word, I’m stuck.  Trapped.  Caught.  Ensnared.

That whole door scenario ended in bloodshed when I was a kid.  My brother was trying to get into the bathroom while I was pulling the door shut.  Our little game of sibling tug-of-war continued until I decided to let go of the door.  My brother’s face slammed into the doorknob, which narrowly missed his eye.  He was fine until he looked into the mirror and saw the blood streaming down his face.  I ran to my room because I was 15 or so and really only concerned about my own well being and ensuing punishment.  I mean Helen Keller got along just fine with no eyes.

So, I’m thinking that this inner game of tug of war can only end badly.

“What is your depression telling you?” my therapist asks.

This is what my depression tells me:

  • Get lots and lots of rest.  Put your feet up.  Take it easy.  Breathing takes a lot out of a person.
  • Use that hood on your hoodie to block out the light.  That’s why God made hoodies.
  • Eat Little Debbie’s Holiday Snack Cakes for they are delicious and only $1.79 for a pack of 10 enrobed cakes.  And, nachos.  Yes, nachos.
  • There’s an eight-hour Shipping Wars marathon on A&E that has your name written all over it.

Ah, the siren song of depression.

In my previous post, I wrote about the No Ceiling Theory.  Basically, this theory stands for the belief that a person can achieve and live without limits.

SapphoSpeaks commented about the No Basement Theory, which she said would allow a person to delve without limit to his or her  inner depths.

Yeah, not too fond of this idea, Sappho.  I mean, you never know what you might find in a basement.

Quick, off-the-top-of-my-head random list of things that reside in our basement: One non-functioning toilet; instruction booklets and warranties for household purchases, many of which we no longer own; mold spores; one rusted out paper cutter and a musty odor that’s resistant to air deodorizers.

Quite frankly, nothing very useful and lots of gross stuff.

So, why make the trip down the rickety stairs.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole No Ceilings and No Basement thing.  W says the No Basement thing isn’t that scary because eventually you bottom out when you hit the earth.

I’m not so sure she’s right.  I think that if you do the No Ceilings thing and the No Basement Thing simultaneously you’ll find that the two eventually connect.  Just a big giant cosmic hula-hoop.

But I don’t watch much Big Bang Theory, so I’m not real sure of the physics of it all.