The Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything

Eureka: I've Arrived!
Thank God for my brother. Had it not been for him, I would have had no idea that in cosmic, metaphysical terms, this is my big year.

You see, I just turned 42 less than a week ago. Aha, you exclaim, nodding your head. (Or perhaps you're still scratching it like I was). If you've read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy then of course you'll know, as Sir Douglas did, that 42 is THE number. It's the "answer to life, the universe, to everything." Well, finally ~ I've come of age, much like a vintage wine or marinated steak.

Which is good, because the world just keeps getting crazier and more inexplicable. We came home New Year's Eve to the disturbing and shocking news of the Carnation Christmas Eve murder spree, in which six immediate family members were murdered by a psycho woman and her boyfriend, who were living rent-free in a trailer on the property of her parents. Ultimately, it was all about a bit of money and sibling rivalry. The twisted sister familial parallels are rather disturbing to us.

So in a world gone decidedly madder, it's nice to know that I now hold the golden compass in the number of rings of my tree trunk. I shall be the veritable solution - way, truth, life and all this year, rather than the problem or so the theory goes. I have to confess, I much rather like being an even rather than an odd number. I even feel younger and I even feel wiser. Wouldn't that be the grandest of elixers if it really transpired in such fashion - to be younger and wiser.

Resolute Day
That said, in the spirit of bold performative speech acts, I declare 2008 the year of 366 resolute days. It's brilliant really. 3+6+6=15 and 1+5=6 and so does 4+2 and 6 is mad at 7 because 789, and all other manner of things numeric.

I have to admit that this year did not start off with quite the same big bang theory. I was more than happy to shut the door on 2007 an hour early, but alas, Holy Family had other plans for my inclusion in their mandatory fun, which was not altogether fun, I confess, considering I had just spilled burgundy candle wax on our white living room carpet (I'll do anything to justify ripping out said carpet and putting hardwood in although thanks to Holy Hub's tenacity and paper towel and iron home remedies readily available via Google, we will be keeping our carpet for yet another day or two gajillion). So I stayed up, rather unwillingly, another hour, and then happily said sayonara to the year. Slammed the door and locked it and alas, I turned around and another door marked 2008 had opened.

I rather like this notion of turning the page of a book (or opening and closing doors, as the above metaphor illustrates) ~ turning the pages of life, moment by moment, to a fresh, clean page, uninked by life's messiness and candle wax spills.

Which is why I am attracted to the concept of breaking my resolutions down into bite-size, manageable goals. One day at a time.

I stumbled upon a site that sums this notion up nicely. The web author of IResolveTo.com advocates this very thing. She insists that it all begins with a promissory note - "I resolve to achieve my New Year's resolutions, One Resolution, One Day At a Time for One Year," and that it begins and ends with a five-step plan: Dare To Dream, Decide, Define, Develop A Plan, and Do It Daily. Every day is D day.

This, to me, seems far more achievable than setting grandiose goals on January 1st that are summarily broken on the 2nd and long forgotten by the 31st of December.

Waking up with a promise to self is a great way to start a day. Today I resolve to...(insert daily resolution here). But like any bold sailing into unchartered waters such as this might entail, a bit of course correction is necessary from time to time. And that is all well and good. Every day is a page - turn, turn, turn.

Here's a little true confession. I don't know about you, but I'm not Über gut at making and keeping promises to myself. I rather suck at it, actually. So this New Year's, I've changed my language. Instead of wrapping my promises up in futuristic end results that seem so out there and gosh-darn unachievable and then spending the whole time looking over my shoulder at Mount Failure in my rear view mirror, I'm binding it all up in the crumbs of effort I drop along the trail in the momentary journey. Baby steps and little crumbs.

I looked up resolution to be sure I "got" the meaning. I was surprised to learn that "resolution" actually stems from resolutium, which means "the process of reducing things into simpler forms." Breaking the big goals down to bite size pieces. Resolute means to "hold firmly" but in my mind's eye, the word resolute also connotes isolation to me, perhaps because, as a Canadian, I am long familiar with the hamlet of Resolute Bay (gateway to the North Pole), way up yonder in the remote Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Thus, I fancy the thought of making every day a Resolute Day in 2008, in the spirit of ancient mariners, who: "Like one, that on a lonesome road / Doth walk in fear and dread, / And having once turned round walks on, / And turns no more his head; / Because he knows, a frightful fiend /Doth close behind him tread." If I may be so bold as to turn Coleridge's albatross into a burdensome chimeric of my own chagrin: The failed ghosts of New Year's past which haunt me still.

And I fancy the idea of injecting meaning and daily rejuvination into my life this year.

As such, I hereby entitle my 2008 book The Answer to Life, The Universe & Everything: My Calendric Search for the Ultimate Question to the Meaning of Life. It shall be the non-abridged, 366 day version.

Donkey Yotey
And how shall said journey begin? On a donkey, of course. I chose donkey as the icon for my overarching pilgrimage this year because HeHaW is the abbreviation for my theme: Health, Happiness and Harmonic Wealth. And what the heck? It helps to have a sense of humour about such things.

If the visual and sound effects fit and all that.

Yes, the donkey is apropos, methinks. I'm beginning the year leisurely, as I always do, analyzing whether I should really bother with resolutions that I'll only end up breaking anyways. The last (and only) time I actually stuck to my resolution (to quit smoking) was 18 years ago on January 1st, 1990. Then, as now, I was on a mission to achieve something life-changing. And apart from one wee cheat puff three weeks into my born-again non-smoker mission, I've never looked back. I've turned the pages on the smoking book and glued them shut.

And as you just read, I'm braying and generally, balking in my ever-stubborn attempt to stay put and not move forward.

Donkeys also live large in pilgrimage lore - think Jesus riding into Jerusalem, Don Quixote sauntering past windmills, and even Donkey's travels to Far Far Away in Shrek, if you must.

So it's a trusty steed for my travels this year. Most especially because if the truth be told, I'm going to need to ride my ass daily if I hope to accomplish my goals and dreams of harmonic health, wealth and happiness (which now sounds like some kind of tribal greeting - "haheweha" instead of my donkey mating call, but that's OK: it never hurts to have an anagramic theme when embarking on metaphysical quests).

So that's how my story begins this year, and I'm sticking to it. Like flies to a donkey's tail or tale, as this year's story would have it.

Speaking of flies, I'm heading out tomorrow to purchase four healthy Venus Flytrap plants for Holy Son's Science Fair experiment.

He will be measuring the digestion rate of said carniverous plants by feeding each one a different type of bug. And while I'm at this shop, which specializes in exotic plants and indoor sun solutions, I may look into purchasing a sun lamp for myself. Because sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. And happy, happy, joy, joy is where it's at this year.

Dichotomy Lobotomy

I received two books for my birthday that will also figure prominently in my quest for harmony this year. The first, a gift from Holy Bro, is How To See Yourself As You Really Are: A Practical Guide to Self-Knowledge by the Dalai Lama (translated by Jeffrey Hopkins). I look forward to cultivating loving kindness towards myself and those around me and to ridding myself of toxic thought.

The second book, also Eastern in orientation and one I bought for myself with b-day gift card monies, is Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer. I've had the PBS special taped for months but have yet to get around to watching it. I'm looking forward to reading the book and reflecting on the Tao Te Ching, an 81 verse text of chinois philosophie that deconstructs the ebbs and flows of the universe and the nature of all things. I especially relish flirting with polarities in thought and action, as a transformative tool, in accordance with what Lao-tsu instructs in the Tao Te Ching.

Thus, instead of flight in a fight-or-flight scenario, I will try fight. Or instead of action, I will choose wu-wei or non-action (effortless doing). Easier said than done or not done or whatever, but I'm nothing if not totally for the effortless path.

There you go, I took you there, albeit the long round about way, rather like the blind might lead the enlightened (think Pin the Tail on the Donkey). But this is a magical, mystical, inter-galactic tour and I am a kind of hitchhiker's (ie. lurker's) guide this year, after all.

There's only one rule if you're going to follow along on this two-bit donkey yote pilgrimage - no baggage allowed (note to self: no baggage). My ass can only take so much weight and God knows, it's packing enough already. And there's only one safety precaution - to avoid arriving at our unknown destination prior to my ass, I would ask that you remain seated with your seatbelt securely fastened. Any questions? Fire away, 'cuz I've got an answer for everything now.

On that note, happy New Year, fellow time and space beings.

Do you have any resolutions that you'd care to share? Fork 'em over. After all, you know the saying: ass, grass or gas - nobody rides for free.


hatrock said...

Ah, thanks for the h/t, Holy Sis.

2008 already feels different than 2007. In 2007, I set to:

1) Not go to Calgary
2) No calling in sick to work
3) No committed relationships with women

And I accomplished all three.

So far in 2008, I:
1) Went to Calgary to catch a connecting flight
2) Will probably call in sick sometime
3) Will probably commit to someone.

But those aren't goals. More like inevitabilities.

In 2007, I discovered Zen Buddhism and wu wei, but effortless doing can be frustrating when you're waiting around for something to happen, or that you want to happen and doesn't. It's disappointing. Perhaps dishonest with myself.

So I now feel the need to find the counterbalance to that.

Like the square and compasses in Freemasonry, the compasses keep you within circumvention of God's Will, while your own human being is human doing things squarely. Now think Vitruvian Man, but with your spirit.

hatrock said...

Oops. Your link to my blog above no worky.

Try http://hatrocktraveller.blogspot.com

Tanya said...

Happy New Year and Happy belated Birthday!! Hope you have a great 2008.

That is horrible what happened in Carnation - there are some messed up people out there.

Natalie said...

How did you get away with posting this entire thing without even one Capricorn mention? How very Capricornian of you. ;)

Happy Birthday and Happy Sixxer!

Let the ass go... You are of the Year of the HORSE (which only proves that we must, must do that cowgirl thingy)!

Year of Horse - 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038, 2050

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma' (a horse that covers a thousand li a day).

People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are active, clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. They cannot bear too much constraint. However they are interested in only the superficial level of an object, neglecting the essence. Once they suffer from failure, they become pessimistic.

Best match: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit, horse

You are not just any ol' horse; you are of the Red Fire Horse. (I am a Brown Earth Boar... yack!) I'm guessing this means you are a sorrel or possibly a roan. :)

But, according to Wikipedia, you may be a snake, so, I have no idea how to interpret all of this:
Feb 01 1965 - Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood 乙 巳 Snake Jan 29 2025 - Feb 16 2026

It's all in how the Chinese year falls. I'm thinkin' you are a Horse on the cusp of a Snake.

I dunno.

Don't even get me started on your Capricornian virtues... :)

Welcome to the best year of your life.

I was glad to shut the door on 2007, as well. It went out kind of quietly and that was sort of scary. I don't trust quiet.

Here's hoping all of your dreams come true!

Jorge said...

Belated happy birthday! Very clever and erudite piece, but then I would expect no less from your font of talents. Now you made me go back and dig out my old copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide...
As always, be well.

HOLY said...

Holy Bro: Well if I was working, I would have called in sick yesterday and today - sicker dan a dog....caught it from Holy Daughter and of course, she's feeling infinitely better now.

Anyhoo, re: commit to someone - whoohoo, you have my vote....I'm wedding happy - and you need to do it while your niece is still young and cute enough to be a flower girl....:)

Tanya: Thx mon...I can't believe the Carnation story and most especially, I can't believe I didn't hear a thing about it while in Canada - even a friend in China heard about it before me.

Nat Sprat: Yes, I'm a snake apparently....Those born under the sign of the SNAKE are romantic, passionate, charming and well informed (sure, I'll buy that). Snakes are intellectuals, philosophers, and deep thinkers (absasmurfly). They strive to succeed in all that they do (well, duh). They are extremely self-critical (yup). Snake personalities often make their way to the top (isn't that the only position?). They ensure that they are in the right place at the right time, which means when the right people are there as well. Snake people should seek their fortunes as professors, writers, philosophers, or psychiatrists (fortune? philosopher? doesn't that make that sentence oxymoronic?).

Ideal Partner: Dragon, Dog (oops - married to a tiger).

Anyhoo, I'm still latching onto the year of the donkey...Chinese horoscopes don't include it - I may just have to make it up. Because I'm a Capricorn and that's what we do....:)

PS - I've finally signed up for YouTube so I can now come post a comment on your holiday video...

I want to see you playing the banjo next...or maybe singing These Boots Were Made For Walking...

HOLY said...

Jorge: hardly clever and erudite but thank you for saying so..I need to now read Hitchhikers Guide too, I guess.

Jeri said...

Happy numerology day/birthday! I just finished year 42 a couple months ago, it was uneventful.

We watched My Fair Lady on tv this week, and my son looked at the back and said, "This is ancient! It was made in in 1964!" I smacked him and informed him I was made that same year.

Rather than wu-wei I like to think of it as being, rather than doing. Enjoying the journey is so much more important than picking up after it! ;)

Birthday hugs to you...

Mercy said...

I'm reading a Dali Lama book as well that my bro-in-law sent for Xmas.

That tortilla soup recipe is the bomb-digity. May be good for your cold as well. Feel better soon.

I went to yoga night before last for the first time in a month or two...or erm three. I'll be trying to get my lazy resolution ass to go.

Cheyenne thank goodness has plenty of sun, I'm totally digging it compared to Chicago winters. Watch the Venus traps though...man they die easily, my son went through a phase with meat eating plants...don't ask.


Lynn said...

Dangit, I KNOW I left a comment here-
All about how I just turned 42 as well, that I'm also a Snake, how that explained the SoulSistah's thang a little better...
It was a great comment, ding-dangit. I don't have it in me to do it justice again. I'll just have to trust you're feelin' me, through that Snakey twin vibe thang we've got goin' on.

"Ass, grass or gas"...jeezum how I always loved that little saying.

Lynn said...

Oh sure...it took my LAME comment.

Jungle Mama said...

Okay, so I knew there must be something to look forward to after 40 ;) Actually, it is a book my husband has been begging for me to read, but I just haven't gotten around to ever picking it up, let alone watch the movie. I guess I've got a couple more years before it becomes manditory.

Lynn said...

Okay...here's the lowdown on the 'shutdown'.
Remember about a year and a half ago when my good blog buddy Marc died?
Well, he didn't. Hehe.
He just cracked up, decided to kill himself online and go into therapy.
ANd his brother, Josh, went along with it, setting up tributes, writing moving and heartbreaking entries on *his* blog about how much he missed ol' Marc.
Now there's even a question if Marc and Josh are the same person...just a psycho-attention-seeking-douche bag playing games with everyone. Unbelievable that I even stumbled on the truth, but you can't be two people, one who is dead forever and not slip up a little.

So that's that story. And since I found out, I've been getting weird spam comments on entries that had anything to do with Marc and his 'death'. Just not worth it, so private I went.