compassionate programming


[spoilers always]

Upon recommendation from a friend after letting my initial interest drop, I bolted out of the door just in time to see the film Ex-Machina. I found it less than riveting as a film, but excellent as a question – rich ground for contemplation on the nature of identity and consciousness, evolution and compassion, and what it means and might mean in the future, to be human.

The film introduces the Turing Test as premise for which a gifted hacker is brought to an isolated environment to interact with an AI beyond anything in our current capabilities (yet not beyond our imaginations to simulate in a quite buy-able way), and she, “Eva”, is fluid of movement, seems to have curiosities, and is able to calculate and feel resentment. She is even to imagine a life beyond the one in which she is situated, to desire. Importantly, she also feels herself as a “her” self, able to measure effect on a “him.”

If the Turing Test aims to give a way to access an interaction with an “other mind” – a way to evaluate from the outside whether self-awareness/sentience is present, by all measures Eva passes the test – at an intellectual level. Let loose in the world she will be able to blend, function, manipulate emotions, and be resourceful enough to have her “own life.” However, what I think we learn is that she has an “empathy chip missing.”

Eva has some ground for empathy, because she was shown it by someone else, but either it doesn’t register, or doesn’t register as necessary or efficient. In other words, there is no indication that her self-awareness includes other awareness in a compassionate way. She is largely made up of data gleaned from the internet, down to micro-expressions and human-appropriate emotional responses, yet seems to have bypassed connection as reason for actively expressing them. We aren’t sure whether it is a matter of capacity or of phasing something deemed unnecessary, out.

Is this a flaw in the Turing Test? Is it a question of our time? Does evolution phase out compassion or is it central? If there a war between intellect and (this, figurative) heart, my side is with the Dalai Lama, who has said that compassion is crucial, not from a standpoint of fuzzy emotions, but in terms of survival. And I think we can be somewhat logical about this, making rational arguments and decisions in compassionate directions, without falling into utopian territory.

Another question the film raises is that she is crafted from not only random data, but is particularly tailored to suit the tester’s preferences, gleaned from internet searches mostly. She projects back qualities that he has sought out, particularly considering his searches through porn sites. We might question whether compassion was a quality he projected as attractive, although it is a bit of a stretch because she has other qualities he didn’t necessarily project, including the lack. The question reaches into genetic modification and the ethics around humans selecting for preferences in their offspring, as it is always possible to argue that one is doing what is best for a child by bringing them into the world with qualities particularly favored by the world, rather than trying to change the whole world to be favorable for the child. Although evidence may abound in favor of certain traits, there are sufficient variables that no trait is a guarantee of optimum world-friendliness so we largely avoid this experiment so far.

The maker of the film, Alex Garland, compares the question of AI to the question of nuclear technology, both in its risks and potentialities, and also in the scope of the questions it poses about humankind and coexistence. He would not give up the technology, even seeing the devastation upon Nagasaki and the threat of man-made & unfathomable scale disaster that humanity lives under since that time, because mankind pushes on, evolves in ways that it would not have without that knowledge. I agree with him that each time man has sought a perfect world, totalitarianism has been the result, but a large part of me would like to believe we can do far better than that sort of devastation while engaging in full-hearted discovery.

Which brings me to my main thought: we are only half-aware, ourselves, while giving tests to measure awareness. Much of our own motives and intellect are obscured as we deal with ourselves, much less with other humans, much less with potential AI. Perfection is not in the cards, so any test we give remains highly suspect.




It surprises me to see that I have visitors to this blog-without-purpose, even having intentionally left open the possibility. I enjoy writing here, and seem more integrated when doing so. So I’ll just have to get used to that feeling as a form of self-care, like the skin care routine I’ve picked up in the last few months, inspired by Korean bloggers.

Each night, and sometimes both morning and evening, I engage in a ritual that consists of 5 steps (instead of their 8-12) and has come to feel like a spiritual practice.

It goes: 1) oil make up remover (gentle and needs no scrubbing) >pause for a few minutes< 2) a gentle seaweed scrub or Bichotan sponge (a neat Japanese product I was introduced to by a friend), 3) toner (something I previously stayed away from) >pause for a few more minutes <, 4) essence and eye cream, >pause again<, 5) moisturizer (in this case a French product that is incredibly light, sometimes applying twice). When doing this in the morning, the moisturizer is one with sunscreen or I add a dual foundation/sunscreen. So maybe 5-7 steps. : )

Others have written in detail about the process, so no need for me to do that, but what is funny to me, is how life has brought me to laugh at my previous silliness, judging people who I felt spent too much time and thought on “externals.” I was so wrong… these practices are not necessarily externals. They are basic expressions of tending… caring for the temple and very much internal cultivation as well, carving out restful spaces in an otherwise generally too restless life.

Some of the products are indulgent, but last a long time, and considering the roughly 40-50 minute period in which step by step I relax a little deeper and deeper before bed, something justifiable right now. Add a few glasses of water and peaceful music (tonight I’ve been listening to Ji Sung), and it can have quite a wonderful effect… as spiritual as anything else I’ve engaged with.

Thank You to Myself


A day that may
evoke remembrance –
the mother gone,
the mother un-had,

the mother misunderstood –
measured through
expectations of selflessness,
praised in Hallmark cards.

A day that may
bow in acknowledgement –
to mother-like mentors,

And children who become
mothers for their mothers –
in times of humbling
grief and need.

Mother-like sisters, friends,
Grand and Great Grandmothers
Mother Earth,
And yes –

Also the mother who makes
tea and toast on occasion of
a cruelly broken heart.

Who sings happy birthday into
the phone, inserting a secret
name she long ago reserved.

Who worries too much about
all the wrong things and
struggles to hear her own Voice,
find her own body.

Who eventually relearns to
ask for what is needed, wanted,
even desired.

And even to say
Thank You to Myself
on such a day as this.



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I woke going over ideas that would be taught hours later in a class titled Orderly Chaos and mused that while it may seem a given that time and perception are two sides of a coin, to trade in that needs practice not theory. It is about the way it seems as I trace steps, when I try to notice how perception and time relate – especially during retreats or focused practice.

Orderly Chaos is a term unfolded by Trungpa Rinpoche, within a context called Mandala Principle. His talks on the subject were compiled into a book – the title of which already gives a great deal to work with, presenting the seemingly contradictory energies and relationship. My way with the material is a little different from the rest of the class so far, all of whom are older and more historically invested/trained in the Shambhala lineage – actually a nice situation that I’ve found myself in often.

So my mind first went to considerations between two kinds of time, two ways of relating with phenomena, while reserving what some have called a third, or better, zeroith time.

I have a slight bit more of a background with a tradition that talks more about time itself, and it may be that aspect of the tradition that brought me its way, considering that my interest in science once led my young son to believe, and to tell his classmates that his mother was “someone important with the brain” due to my reading material and the conversations he was surrounded by growing up. There was no background at all, just curiosity.

I like to think in terms of linear, spontaneously arising, and no-time when it comes to mandala principle and samsara/nirvana, but the one comment I made in this direction was met with some confusion, which brought me to reexamine my approach and try to work harder to articulate this process even if only for myself.

For me, time is a tangible daily practice and can present the clearest distinctions, which makes it kind of a treasure house with many openings in: memory, motion, progress, measurement, situatedness, dreaming, etc. It is the effects of time that I see myself wrestling to accept every day (see, can’t get away from time terms), and sometimes the sweet spot I find it hardest to stay in. I’m forever trying to tame it for my own benefit and use.

Or perhaps trying to tame myself for its use, as though something (separate), even realizing it is not.

There are days in which everything productive and “good” happens; the world is smiling, the universe is friendly – one opening follows another to another. On other days nothing much happens – ‘meh’ days feel almost wasted, waiting for the first to occur again, melancholy, suspecting I may have turned a corner at which they might not anymore. The latter I’d call linear days, and the first kind of time. The former I’d call a second kind of time, taking a different view, and can be cultivated, instigated, sparked. The first is as though I’m stuck inside of something and struggling with it – samsara. And the second as more meta, both within and without, and presents more freedom and vision.

Once in a while, first time feels truly oppressive, and there is despair over how little time there seems to rise to various occasions, or how much time has already passed, or is rushing by too quickly. I’m in fear of being left behind and angry that I didn’t know more faster, sooner. I forget the doors.

I don’t think I’m unusual in this. In class they often use the word “panic.”

However, I do keep some reminder as a compass that in actuality there are no good days and bad days, or even meh days. It is mind that moves, not the flag (zen koan).
So on one level you have what is, the way it is, and simultaneously you have the way you experience that – either as something resisted and other, objectified, or in a sense – as self. When things are ‘good’ we expect a change to ‘bad’ or ‘less’, and vice-verse. We make little room for good to good to good, in different forms.

One teacher put it this way: that we are used to thinking in terms of subjects perceiving objects, but what if there are only subjects perceiving subjects? “All the universe is one bright pearl,” wrote Dogen.

It feels like I’m skipping around but I’m going to draw more parallels anyway. In dreaming there are karma dreams and dharma dreams… dreams that are processing the days content and inspired or lucid dreams. In meditation there is shamatha (calm abiding) and vipassana (insight). And waking life becomes like this too. Already there are many people who have opened to this 2nd level way of living, or at least the aspiration, having tasted its enhanced flavors – people from every sort of background and religious tradition. The third is more illusive because it can’t really be touched nor defined even in the vague terms we use for the 2nd level. However, dream yogis use terms like “clear light.”

In terms of Orderly Chaos, and this class, and samsara/nirvana, I think of it like considering a coin with both sides exposed and in hand. Open. Maybe there could even be the additional parallel of hungry ghost vs god realms, with the human fathoming both and manifesting or exhibiting both. One might say that one side of the coin there is the order and on the other there is the chaos, but when another student in the class said something similar, the teacher laughed a little – that it was too pretty of a picture – that she didn’t think CTR would have accepted that simply of an idea so easily. He continually flipped formulas… Socratic in that way. In terms of mandala principle, we are, at various views: the mandala, and are in the mandala, and are part of mandala of others. Which presents a kind of mandala of mandalas – diverse and dynamic.
Yet in zeroith time there is no mandala.

Let me go back to linear and spontaneous time. A few posts ago I wrote about a character whose talents arose spontaneously as she encountered situations. Although she set out in a linear way to prepare for a certain end (there was a stated goal for the character), that goal was like an egg she both abandoned and surpassed after its purpose had been fulfilled. She still had to train in a linear way to have been situated for spontaneity. There was still a pattern, path, process – mandala drawn.

Yet, what bloomed was far more than what was imagined or set out for. The intricacies could not be factored ahead of time, only given place for. To focus only on cultivating a bloom is going after the treasure while ignoring the treasure holder, which can even be a kind of stealing.

Another friend might say it is going after fruits but ignoring the roots.

When you truly awaken,
You have no formal merit.
In the multiplicity of the relative world,
You cannot find such freedom.
Self-centered merit brings the joy of heaven itself,
But it is like shooting an arrow at the sky;
When the force is exhausted, it falls to the earth,
And then everything goes wrong.

Why should this be better
Than the true way of the absolute,
Directly penetrating the ground of Tathagata?

Just take hold of the source
And never mind the branches.
It is like a treasure-moon
Enclosed in a beautiful emerald.
Now I understand this Mani-jewel
And my gain is the gain of everyone endlessly.
– from the Song of Enlightenment

I acknowledge that my tendency is to stay at the bloom level and pursue the shiny thoughts, the insights. Or maybe it used to be. Maybe I’ve changed a little, am a little less shiny.

There is a reason I titled this randomness, introducing a word not introduced in class, but I find myself veering away from making that point. What I’ll say is that from my perspective a lot of confusion might be cleared up about what evolution means, by digging farther into what randomness means. The connections are not mere cause and effect nor can they be traced, honestly, any more than one can remember all the steps of their day and the thoughts that led to each movement.

When people criticize the idea of evolution, it is usually because of a very old and incomplete model of linear progress. Randomness isn’t without purposefulness, anymore than emptiness is without fullness. In that sense evolution as misunderstood is like the linear, first view of time, with randomness a second. It isn’t that the second negates the first, but the first is missing dimensions and is easy to make into a caricature.

A few months ago a friend ‘lost’ her mother. She hadn’t spoken to her mother for many years, nor had she any hope for a relationship with her for the future. Still, she was hit very hard by the seeming permanence of the loss. Following the death, however, came an emotionally rich process, an unpacking and reframing of former views as she learned more about her and began to see from her perspective – there was new permission to do so. She began getting to know her anew, as though a true stranger.

So some might count only the time her mother and she were talking with one another as relationship, or as meaningful time, but really it was ja drop in a bucket. What we can quantify is a sliver of what we can’t pin down, and a reality that can be very painful and confusing, impossible to trace.




It isn’t time to tell my friend how much I am learning from her as she goes through a terrible grieving process – how her proactive receiving feels empowering, seriously cutting through the abundance of cliche’d advice on my path, about how to manage sanity.

She is a lot like me – someone who is social but depleted by too many obligations and needing great swaths of space to cushion islands of chatter, so in some ways I deeply relate to how hard it must be to decide what to let in and keep out. Which doesn’t mean I feel what she feels, or can even understand. Even she can’t, I’m sure. It would be arrogant for me to try.

What has always amazed me about this friend is that she is honest, but without needing to share everything – a balance I will likely wrestle with for my whole life. Even as a child I had the impression that every thought was on the outside, and it still surprises when I learn that those in what I consider my intimate sphere don’t know even the basics of my childhood or history with illness, or even divorce.

I *feel* as though I share everything, but find the opposite over and over again, which I’d blame on social media patterns except they’ve been with me seemingly forever… the work of hiding enough not to get into trouble or be taken away from my home, but sharing enough not to be blamed for things I didn’t choose but nonetheless had to own up to and live with.

Entangled Adaptation


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Having been raised in a pared down family structure and taking little interest in history growing up (possibly related), I never gave much thought to the processes around families joining together nor dreamed of wedding dresses and grand parties where I might be the center of attention. Sometimes I did dream of gowns in general, and of Events. With parents that each married five times before I was 30, marriage was something I only considered important once having children seemed a true possibility for my life, and then became a microcosm of a deep struggle with faith and the notion of tradition.

I think that faith, to me, was something based solely on the individual relationship to the supernatural, rather than I think of it now, as cultivating conditions, moving in a general direction, forming relationships. Marriage too, was a mystical union that “happened.” Life, fate, chance, intervened from outside oneself, and until that happened one was basically in the dark, with beliefs dictating the direction to gaze in as one waited anxiously for that intervention.

In hindsight I can say that it had to do with a small scope of the cultures of world, thus my current ferociousness about considering as many sides of a thing as I can; I realize that I was doing the best I could do at the time with the resources at hand/light available. I extrapolate my society as going through the same sort of struggle, unable to yet visualize what it might mean to move beyond imposing “good and evil” and “fate not fate” upon everything. This and that in relation to a Mary_Tyler_Moore_Show_hugme.

For some reason the image that comes to mind is the last episode of Mary Tyler Moore, where they are entangled in a hug, and move around the room that way. : )

Acceptance of this intertangled reality is where we are headed generally, but I’m concerned about how much time and suffering we put ourselves and each other through to get there. Waging ideological warfare against beliefs seems only to be prolonging the struggle… like fighting against a birth process. Why risk the mother rather than helping her to give way. I think we need to allow for more complexity and let that complexity take care of the beliefs level for ourselves and one another.

My main hypothesis and hope perhaps, is this: that ritual shells are precious and necessary, even though ultimately disregarded. In fact it is that they are ultimately disregarded, ultimately pass away, that makes them all the more to be appreciated and honored in their time, proliferated, shared in a million ways.

It is true that few if any great changes have occurred without violent opposition and bloodshed. There is thinking that deserves to be ridiculed, and there are times to show that nothing positive has come out of various unequal ideologies. What I feel is 90% of the effort should go into conditioning the environment in positive ways.

We are still a world where there are levels of worth and this is thought to be intrinsic to civilization, so I can’t suggest that bloodshed could have been absent nor that competition is a terrible means to new ends. I have accepted that peace on the surface is not always possible.

I’m suggesting attentiveness to the tough work of not abandoning the places we most want to leave behind, and continually checking back with new eyes so as to include it all into new light as emerges. It isn’t easy to understand one another. Or ourselves. But we must act as though that it is possible.

Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I heard about Gwynneth Paltrow experimenting with living off of food stamps for a week – an idea that was scoffed at and which I agree doesn’t touch the actual experience of being perpetually poor and viewed by society as “needy” or a “taker” among productive citizens. Putting aside the question of why someone may not fit or know the pleasure of connection within a society, why should someone who is making some small effort be taken to task so harshly? Journalists have done similar projects and been praised. What her deepest motives are is a territory not given to me, but maybe tiny efforts to relate shouldn’t be dismissed so easily out of hand.

Friends in the disability community tell me that someone blindfolding themselves for a day, something I remember doing as part of church youth group when a teen, is rather offensive, because it could be ground for arrogance of thinking that you ‘know’ what a blind person really experiences. And they’re right. After all, it is just a day, and most people who have tried it have to admit that they cheated several times along the way because the option was always there to them. The grand picture of their life was not defined by having born into a marginalized category. However, my feeling is that the person who at least tried to step into the other shoes for a day, has something more to work with, to expand on, than they would have had otherwise.

This is the main reason a metaphor works better than a lecture. Tasting each others’ worlds is life itself. We do this with beliefs, too. Does it seem too much to impart the whole experience of being raised in another country, way of thinking, cultural mythology? Of course it is, but there can be pleasure in trying. Rituals, like food, are practical ways of stepping into another cultural imagination for a time, even while knowing one will fall short of understanding entirely. If we shed personal permanent belief as a criteria for entry, leaving the door truly open on both sides, beliefs can be shells of a sort. Openings through which to lightly hold one another’s hands.

I’m making it sound simpler than it is. In actuality there needs to be a great deal of confidence in one’s own mind and in knowledge grounded in impermanence (that nothing is fixed). Others might say trust in the universe or G-d. When you go down into a deep well, there is a cord and there are safeties, but it is hard to explore if you worry about those too much. There has to be an intentional forgetting, a suspension. Like an actor forgets her other selves when on stage as a chosen character.

Smoother transitions might occur when people are given tangible ways to hold their beliefs and traditions open-endedly, to share their beauty, show what caught their heart and attention. Invite rather than demand. This would mean letting God/the Universe work out points of detail in others’ hearts and allowing the main struggle to take place within oneself, leaning hard on “let your light shine…”, “turn the light inward…”, and what I’m told is the meaning of jihad, which has to do with keeping one’s own heart pure first (work of a lifetime). Again, 90% of the work as cultivating conditions.

I’m advocating avenues of appreciation where we allow one another in more, to “keep going” beyond the usual points and really step in to experience each other’s unique worlds. That would allow us to know what the ideal vision and special dream is, that the other is protecting so intensely. To midwive one another into bringing these treasures forward into our collective wealth … a collective wealth that does include but is far more than outward monetary accomplishment and trophies.

Diversification and adaptation, given a little space from survival-of-the-fittest in our thinking, is quite a strong idea on its own. Even now, new species seem to be emerging or are newly discovered, some of which are adaptations of former creatures that might have thrived in very different sorts of worlds. They learn to live in darkness or they learn to camouflage in new ways. There are various ways of preservation and invention that don’t include becoming more and more aggressive, taking on bigger and bigger machinery. There should really no need to steal, in an abundant world such as this one, yet that is how we’ve often interpreted survival, in our actions (wall street) if not in our ideals (morals).

Zero-sum is merely an arrow that points us in new directions, so that we move to create new possibilities. We don’t need to take each other over.

I wish I could do more than scratch the surface in describing this aspiration.

making peace upon the altar of this moment


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It was painfully hard, when young, to see that qualities I wrestled in myself with were not weeds in the world’s garden to be plucked as soon as my hands got stronger, but contained their own beauty, their own reasons for being. Perhaps the hardest struggle was desperately wanting to understand and to be understood – which was, friends continually implored me, an impossible endeavor.

But I couldn’t let it go, because the feedback given for the experience I was trying to convey never seemed to apply. I could see myriad dimensions and angles, just couldn’t synthesize them all.

Life was demanding integration, which is still far from me, but now at least I see that there is nothing wrong with holding several viewpoints at once and looking for ways to make peace or beauty between them. That it can be an artistic endeavor rather than a problem. And within that freedom, it is easier to rearrange the pieces. Rather than giving up understanding, I just have to give up the notion of a particular timeline or framework in which understanding should happen.

“Let it be.”

Someone I know describes it as a blind taste test. To question assumptions does not mean that you start completely over; context becomes entirely different when you move other things away from, or add to. And so do you. So you introduce palate cleansers, like pauses (resets), or blind folds, maybe try hearing a bit of advice as if it was coming from a different person, or as though it came at a different time. Suspend judgement. Play. To Feynman, this was “thinking like a martian.” To others it is “losing sight of the shore.”

I’ve written a little about the way abandoned ideas come back through new avenues and become rich ground for connection, and about profound frivolity, which is sort of the same thing. Both processes could fall under a heading of “integration” in the sense that it is only when stepping back or giving up that any pattern can comes together in a restful, open way.

Some days, like today actually, words fall entirely short as an approach. So I began a practice called The Altar of This Moment, named after a poem that I read aloud recently, voice shaking all the while, as part of a group event. There was a time that I wouldn’t have read it at all, wouldn’t have faced the humiliation. And it is named for a wordless response to and appreciation for, a friend who has experienced a devastating loss yet is somehow able to pour out great beauty and comfort to others. I’ve never seen anyone so able to love those around her, by bold acts of receiving.

The practice is an altar mostly emptied of religious connotations and filled with light symbols of particular care. The candle is imprinted with the Heart Sutra.

photo (8)

Spontaneous Mind


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So this is another k-drama post – another ramble that began to stir while I watched most of Jewel in the Palace, which is a fictional account of a woman believed-but-not-proven to be a true Chosun Dynasty historical figure, (maybe true or maybe made up of several smaller true stories – similar to the tale of Fa Mulan).

Jang Geum is thought to have been the first female to have been appointed as a physician to the king, her name appearing in several medical annals. The drama follows her fictionalized character from before birth, with an intrigue around the forced poisoning of a queen that devastates the paths of both her eventual parents separately, through their meeting one another and her birth, their arrest and killing, onto Jang Geum’s arrival to the palace kitchen as a child student who goes on to become a full court lady. Through dramatic ups and downs, eventually she loses her role at the palace, and encounters a female physician mentor, which sets her on the rest of her path.

[spoilers: always spoilers]

With 54 episodes one can imagine that my basic summary leaves out too much, but I want to get to the most interesting thing about her, which is not that she was studious and talented, nor that she struggled and overcame incredible obstacles. It is that she is shown to have a very spontaneous mind not limited to any one role she is placed in.

Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
it is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.
Shape clay into a vessel;

it is the space within that makes it useful.
Carve fine doors and windows,

but the room is useful in it’s emptiness.
The usefulness of what is depends on what is not
-Lao Tzu

What I mean is that rather than Jang Geum being portrayed as a woman who was talented with food or merely good with details, her character is presented as a strongly curious-minded person whose compassion feeds a wellspring of timely practical creativity. Although the options for women were indeed very limited, and even more limited than shown, this character was allowed to find and play many roles, largely because her vision was wider than her personal circumstances.


That is not a new angle for story telling, obviously. There were many women who posed as men during desperate times, or who took care of their families and held their own in the marketplaces. There are still many female writers who alter their names to appear ambiguous at least, as a way not to throw up an automatic barrier for readers who may take them less seriously. Several dramas have that theme, and although the particular story angle doesn’t fit here, the devices are not too different. The writer is looking for a way to allow this female to come into the full dimensionality of her capacity during a time when that was a near impossibility for most people period.

Considering that the 2003 drama is said to be the start of the Hallyu wave due to its enormous ratings in South Korea and internationally, I can’t help but wonder why it seems more well-rounded in its impressions than lots of the more recent shows. There are a several entertaining female characters, just one or two that are over the top, and those provide a good counterbalance to the sometimes too realistic tone that can drag the story down as entertainment. That’s the main reason I admit to skipping through quite a few episodes mid-way through the drama. I almost set it aside. But then the female physician appeared and my interest perked again.

Why did I want to stop? I missed there not being much of a romantic plot until the middle, except that the reason became clearer and clearer. Her love sees her devotion to her work as intrinsic to her happiness, and works to protect that. The stories of her life are painted with her talents, which make up who she is” he tells the king, and the king listens.

Frivolous Grace


Worries were nipping at my heels as I walked to the car, the usual nagging about this or that. “Why haven’t I…”, “Why didn’t I….” “What am I doing, writing about, and does it have substance? Does it matter?”

Which continued, for quite a while. Until a great wave washed the preoccupation away.


The wave said, “Life itself hears you, no matter what you write about. It is never about, the about.”

It felt as though I was looking from the other side of experience, knowing at least for one moment (one I am stretching out now), that content isn’t what matters – that content is just a vehicle that eventually washes away and leaves only an impression. Then came very sorrowful news, from a friend that shot me back in time and brought me to consider our range of moments together at once. How could we have spent our time laughing over silly things and talking about So Ji Sub’s shower scenes?

How could life have ever been normal, if it was going to turn out this way?

And I realized what a miracle memory’s flaws are… that the future isn’t known, that the past is a mirage. The frivolities were the something we made contact through, exchanged unguarded smiles and tears through. Sharing those frivolities over time is the reason I can try to trust that she actually might feel some real sense of love through distance that is so strongly felt today. Maybe she can ask for what is needed… maybe even frivolous things.


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