A quote that I stumbled across today from Henry Miller, who helped me to see a few things a few decades ago, a quote that feels appropriate to circumstances about which I am reluctant to speak in detail quite yet, from Tropic of Capricorn :
You are perpetually spending your energy in the act of balancing yourself. You are seized with a sort of spiritual vertigo, you totter on the brink, your hair stands on end, you can’t believe that beneath your feet lies an immeasurable abyss. It comes through a passionate desire to embrace people, to show them your love. The more you reach out toward the world the more the world retreats. Nobody wants real love, real hatred. Nobody wants you to put your hand in his sacred entrails — that’s only for the priest in the hour of sacrifice.
While you live, while the blood’s still warm, you are to pretend that there is no such thing as blood and no such thing as a skeleton beneath the covering of the flesh. Keep off the grass! That’s the motto by which people live.
If you continue this balancing at the edge of the abyss long enough you become very very adept: no matter which way you are pushed you always right yourself. Being in constant trim you develop a ferocious gaiety, an unnatural gaeity, I might say.
There are only two peoples in the world today who understand the meaning of such a statement — the Jews and the Chinese. If it happens that you are neither of these you find yourself in a strange predicament. You are always laughing at the wrong moment; you are considered cruel and heartless when in reality you are only tough and durable. But if you would laugh when others laugh and weep when they weep you must be prepared to die as they die and live as they live. That means to be right and to get the worst of it at the same time. It means to be dead while you are alive and alive only when you are dead. In this company the world always wears a normal aspect, even under the most abnormal conditions. Nothing is right or wrong but thinking makes it so. You no longer believe in reality but in thinking. And when you are pushed off the dead end your thoughts go with you and they are of no use to you.
This quote was one of my buddy Rick’s favorites, too.