Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paths of Desire

Not every thought deserves to be developed.  Here are some thoughts during my day -

A restless night, woke early. That doesn't mean I have to have a bad day.  It does make me think I am on screens too much. And that memoir of addiction I finished at 11 pm was too sad and disturbing.  Now I know what crack does to people. No more of those needed.
There is a part of our experience we are not aware of. This is not the same as attributing unconscious motivation to misplacing the pulleys I use for PT on my arm. Just rattling around not fully aware will do that. In fact, it's amazing how much trouble you can get into in one second (say, running a light, or kissing someone).
I am surprised by how easy it's been to get back in the habit of morning meditation. It was a habit, and the well-trodden path seems to be there still. I want to add evening meditation. This should be easy, to make it the thing I do when the alarm goes off for my 9 pm pills. I want to research why Zen teachers recommend 25 minutes.
Now.  Went to the foot doctor this morning, and on the way, took this

picture from the parking lot.  You are supposed to walk around to the right, down to the sidewalk, then up the doctor's sidewalk, which you see toward the top of the picture.  But what has everyone done? Taken the direct path. Architects call this by the most wonderfully evocative name, "the path of desire."  It is the way people want to get there, and they will.  You see these all over the OSU campus, which has an elegantly designed quadrant and sidewalks many people ignore.
 If an ordinary unbeautiful picture isn't enough for you, you can do this, to the left, in a few minutes. Neonized, tiny pixels, voila, you're an abstract artist. In fact, I have seen something much like this done in neon and LEDs in an art exhibit.
Or you just might want to use an app designed to do to the picture what a famous photographer does.  I admit, it looks better.  Ah, some days anything looks better than reality. That's pretty much the case with my painful foot, which has arthritis or chronic gout, or both, and may be treatable, depending on what the kidney doc thinks of adding yet another medication. The only good thing about this new diagnosis is that yet another part of my body is entitling me to pain medication. Not that I would abuse it, not after that memoir. I think I know about paths of desire.

(If you are curious, I'm referring to I am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. It is a very tough book, and I could only continue with it because I knew he survived - somehow without getting HIV - and is happy now. I am not saying I recommend it, unless you want insight into the way alcohol and drug addictions can hold a person.)


  1. Path of desire, hmm? Seems to me that it might be more like the path free of desire, free of the attachment to the convention of taking the sidewalk. Also, it would be very Taoist, wouldn't it, to take the direct route following the least resistance?

    Provocative term, though! Definitely provocative. Bob P

  2. Yes, it's a good metaphor, maybe a koan - What is your desire path? I read that good landscape architecture lays out trails in line with user desires. It looks like that idea would have served the doctor's office better than the idea of entering from the front sidewalk, since everyone parks to the side and back.

  3. Oh good post Jeanne! I like the direct path we all seek that you spoke of. It happens all the time. In this park where I walked through to school, people always cut straight up, but they tried to make a new path with a curving sidewalk. Still, there's a dirt path beside it. I'll have to ponder this for a while. There seems to be a path set out before us, but we can resist it and make our own. There. That's my optimistic interpretation for the day.

    Gout is NOT GOOD. I've been reading about it lately in my home remedies book. I'll read it again and see if there's anything useful in there for you!

    1. My meager understanding is that cherries (or cherry juice) are supposed to decrease the gout inflammation, YMMV. Also Alfalfa. With the kidney situation any potential remedy may need a second look from that perspective to make sure it won't complicate matters further. Hope it's helpful.

  4. There's another thing about the desire path - often it began in America with explorers taking what looked like the most efficient way. Once that way is opened up a little, it looks most efficient to the next person. So, who has been here before me? As right now I am reading a book I've talked about, How to Be Sick, by someone who's been sicker than me for longer, and has learned some things.