Friday, May 13, 2016


Blood, sweat, tears, rain, the surface ripples just the same.

The word became my mantra during a rough patch last year.



When the water's surface is torn, rhythmic rings carry the impact outward. Diluting it? Magnifying it? The wound is healed, the pierced place mended.

Still, the rings keep moving. Growing. Meeting and intersecting with others in their path.

I used to picture my life as a line. With inevitable ups and downs, always headed in one direction. (No, I really did, as this graph in my journal illustrates.) We thought in linear terms, cause-and-effect, formulas. Up was blessed and morally good; down was wrong, when God stopped smiling.

Melodramatic self-analysis at age 15

These days my life feels far too rich to be summed up in a single line. Lately, I've been imagining a dynamic pattern of concentric circles.

Each time my calm is pierced, whether the disturbance comes from without or within, my response sets a new set of ripples in motion. They collide and connect, change direction and color, and it's all unpredictably beautiful. And amazing to trace the ripples back to the choices I made that got them started.

If I hadn't tried v, I would have avoided w, but then I would have missed out on x entirely and it was x that intersected with y, introducing me to z...

In our days of quoting the Bible, we would say, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good",  and "We know that all things work together for good". Ripples are another way of tracing healing in trauma's wake, deficits that become assets, flowers that bloom in compost, happiness wrung from sorrow, loss that somehow leads to unanticipated abundance.

"Ripples in still water... " It's one of my favorite songs now, but this time last year I'd never heard the Grateful Dead. It took a while for the rings of one friendship to extend far enough to introduce me to their music. That friendship faded, triggering a new series of ripples that led to other friendships and different music and new discoveries and adventures, but the song was a ripple that is mine to keep.

Maybe I like to imagine ripples because they appeal to my driving curiosity and my interest in integrating past experiences with present realities. As I make choices that reflect my values, I no longer feel at the mercy of "evil" or "God's plan". I am just eager to see what happens in the next chapter.


  1. Robert Hunter wrote “Ripple”. He was the first of his social circle (including Jerry Garcia) to try LSD.

    He had no idea that it was a part of the MKULTRA project until many years later.

    "He was paid to take LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline and report on his experiences, which were creatively formative for him: "Sit back picture yourself swooping up a shell of purple with foam crests of crystal drops soft nigh they fall unto the sea of morning creep-very-softly mist...and then sort of cascade tinkley-bell like (must I take you by the hand, every so slowly type) and then conglomerate suddenly into a peal of silver vibrant uncomprehendingly, blood singingly, joyously resoundingbells....By my faith if this be insanity, then for the love of God permit me to remain insane." [McNally 42–43]"

  2. Wonderfully said.

    I would love to hear about your great rebellion at ATIA ;)

  3. Wonderfully said.

    I would love to hear about your great rebellion at ATIA ;)