Monday, March 15, 2010

The Whole Catastrophe

You must know the adage," Be Careful What You Wish for, You Just Might Get It." Last week, I admitted that in stepping back from my current situation, I could see that significant changes were in order if I wanted to remain true to my words and myself for that matter. Apparently the Universe agreed with me and now those changes are now unmistakeably underway.I have had my Dog or Landlord moment. To be honest, those changes were a long time coming and if I look back to their genesis, the exact moment keeps retreating to another moment before that ad infinitum. These changes bring to mind another of my shibboleths, The Whole Catastrophe.
This phrase comes from Zorba the Greek, one of my favorite characters of all time. For those of you unfamiliar with Zorba, let me introduce him. We meet Zorba in a harbor waiting for our ship to sail to the small Greek island where our relative has bequeathed a small inheritance. We, at this point, are a rather inhibited teacher from the British Isles who spends way too much of his time with his nose in a book, watching and judging from the sidelines rather than living his own life. Zorba erupts into our life and proceeds to turn everything upside down, spilling all sorts of madness and delight on us. He is everything we are not- supremely confident,a lover of life, a con man, a boozer, a ladies man, a feast or famine sort of fellow. Zorba lives on the edge. He lives from risk to risk, sucking all the marrow out of life. Carpe Diem and all that noise. The Whole Catastrophe is his characterization of life, his recognition that real living means being able to surrender to not only the beatific, ecstatic joys but also the shattering pains and losses. Before we met Zorba, we are a play if safe, always in the middle sort. Life is never too high nor too low. After we meet Zorba, we find ecstasy , agony and all the fine gradations between.
So I find myself disentangling myself from the dire miresome middle, veering,cheering and careering back toward the edge of things where I know the center of all things exists. You can trust that I will keep you apprised of the situation.


  1. Merton's Voice:

    The psychology of crisis and change:

    The fear of change is the fear of disruption, disintegration of one's own inner unit and the unity of one's accustomed world. (These two are inseparable.)

    Merton, Thomas. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. New York: Image Books, 1989, p.208

    Tony -
    It is so strange and wonderful how you seem to put into words what I am (and most likely others are) going through internally - mentally, emotionally. Thank you for sharing your gift - fearlessly.

  2. The apparent meaning of my last name is "start it forward" as in a messenger. Seems appropriate here.