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Closing and Opening Doors

by Dr. David, Editor /Publisher

I look at life as a puzzle, a somewhat mystical endeavor with multiple levels of meaning. I have the persistent, perhaps neurotic, conviction that there is a solution eluding me, a key, a missing piece. This is especially disturbing when I don't have a particular problem before me, when I don't know what it is that I am trying to figure out.

I use writing as an aid to revelation. It is for me a kind of therapeutic conjuring. I am creating a written work, but, more importantly, I am weaving together the strands of my experience. The interpretation involved very much determines my sense of reality. And this week I had trouble getting to it.

I made five or six attempts at drafting this week's article:
one was too sad; "I am alone too much. Normally I find my solitude very meditative. But sometimes I get a bit buggy."
one was too scientific: "Following the science once meant surrendering to the idea that the entire universe is just a bunch of random billiard ball atoms bumping into each other."
one was too technical; "Facebook and other social networks trick us by simulating belonging and community."
one was too critical; "San Miguel is a river and most of us are just floating along."

Yesterday, I took Veronica to the bank. She volunteered to act as treasurer for the ongoing continuing education conference she attends in Mexico City, and needed to withdraw a large sum of that money to take with her on the bus today. After that I brought her to immigration and waited for her next door in Distrito SOMA's large gravel parking lot under a tree with the dog. I did my yoga, ate my breakfast and tried to compose a poem.

I was disappointed that a tentative meeting with a prominent member of the community, who is "committed" to Lokkal, didn't manifest the day before. I was uncomfortable because of a pain in my lower back. I was in a gravel parking lot midday in May. The theme of the poem, which never got written, went from concluding and finishing to quitting and failing. I advise my patients that it is better to interact with their negativity, than it is to act it out... and I take my own advice. I'm all for the power of positive thinking, but sometimes that's just not an option. Anyway, that's how I was feeling; alone, over-worked, disappointed, let down.

Vero eventually came out and we drove to Atotonilco, where we had lunch at a roadside stand, and I dropped her off at school (Waldorf Arbol de Vida) where she works.

That evening, last night, I rode my bicycle, with the dog trotting along by my side, up to Vero's to deliver the money, which had been in my keeping. I intended to do this and ride back home. But Veronica invited me to dinner and then, when thundering and lightning joined the cuetes of Valle del Maiz, to pass the night.

After washing the dishes, answering nature's call, and rooting around through the pile of literature in the bathroom, I came up with a slender volume of Borges later poems, Elogio de la sombra (Praise of Shadow). A feather pressed among the pages opened the book to a poem titled The Unending Gift. I was surprised to find my Spanish adequate to understand 95% of the poem, my intuition filling in the rest. Yesterday was May 18th, so I was struck by the coincidence when I turned the page and saw that the next poem was titled Mayo 20, 1928.

Sitting here on May 19th, writing this, my sixth or seventh article this week, I consider how I discovered Borges in my early teens, and how the master, with his idea of life being a labyrinth to walk or a library to be discovered, has had such a profound influence on me. Borges contends that we look at life, ourselves and our world, as if in a mirror, another of the author's favorite metaphors. We see a framed view, a piece of an elusive whole, a similitude, something that is only a reflection, but not the thing itself.

In Mayo 20, 1928, the aged Borges wrote a poem about finishing, about ending his life, the life of a poet. It begins:

Ahora es invulnerable como los dioses.
Nadie en la tierra puede herirlo, no el desamor de una mujer, ni la tesis, ni la ansiedead del verso, ni esa coas blanca, la luna, que no tienes que fijar en palabras.

(He is now invulnerable like the gods.
No one on earth can hurt him, not the heartbreak of a woman, not the thesis, not the anxiety of the verse, not that white thing, the moon, that doesn't have to put into words.)

I have been working alone on the puzzle of life, and I have concluded that, in many, many respects, the solution is community. Further, as that is where the focus is today, I am convinced that the fight for this community must begin online. That's why I've spent a lot of time and money building Lokkal, a local platform that builds community, resisting the flattening effects of globalism. Think, Instagram (or Facebook) meets the Yellow Pages.

As Borges became free of "the anxiety of the verse," so I have become free of the anxiety of development, because Lokkal, SMA's local social network, our digital town square, is now ready to launch.

In reading Borges' poem and in struggling to create this article, I reframe my "failure" of yesterday into a "conclusion," a quitting of one phase and an entry into another, a new phase where the demands are different. As another poet, T.S. Eliot wondered: "And I would do it again, but set down / This set down / This: were we led all that way for / Birth or Death?" Sometimes it's hard to tell.

The prominent, committed community member messaged me her apologies today, along with a news clipping that more than justified her inability to schedule our last meeting. Everything is on track in that regard. I have learned from my back pain to get up from the desk more frequently, to stretch, to do my yoga throughout the day, instead of all at once in the morning.

We'll see what next week brings.


Please watch the 30-second video below. It's really cool how you can scroll through all posts made in SMA on a community Wall, and get more information on any post that interest you just by clicking on it. Lokkal's Wall is a table of contents to a magazine that is SMA online.


Dr. David presents Lokkal, the social network, the prettiest, most-efficient way to see San Miguel online. Our Wall shows it all. Join and add your point of view.


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