The Taming of Everything

The Uptown Fair on Lawrence Street

Every dwelling place requires periodic cleaning.  Our hearts are the apartments in which we dwell.  They need cleaning too.

King David did some terrible things.  He saw Bathsheba bathing, and she was (hmm) inspiring.   David sent her soldier husband out on a suicide mission, so he could have her for a wife and still look magnanimous for taking in a widow.  When his lust subsided enough for him to realize what an awful thing he had done, David begged God to change him, with these words:

 “Create in me a clean heart.”

One of the most beloved of Welsh hymns concerns this idea.  I sang it as a solo in church a few weeks back.  It’s called “Calon Lân“.


Nid wy’n gofyn bywyd moethus,
Aur y byd na’i berlau mân:
Gofyn wyf am galon hapus,
Calon onest, calon lân.


I’d not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean.

The summer festival season is in full swing, and this year I have had time to enjoy it.  When there were no patients at the clinic, I dropped by the annual Uptown Festival.  As I arrived I heard the ululations of belly dancers.  Women are better at it than men.  The sound carries for blocks!

There was plenty of bad art, good music, locally grown food, and many kinds of crafts.  My pal Larry and I watched people from husband-sitting areas, while our wives joyfully perused clothes at the boutique tents.Driftwood Art Objects

Sarah Chrisman writes, prints and hand-binds her own books.

Tiny homes, just right for Gnomes.

Spikes, made from the teeth of big fish.

All-purpose trophies – Everybody’s a winner!

I was called back to take an x-ray of a patient who turned out to definitely need some serious heart cleaning.  We sent him to the hospital.

Congestive heart failure, caused by chronic hypertension.

I’ve begun believing there’s an inevitable trend toward gentleness.  Not every kind of problem improves with time, but anger and fear and the violent actions stemming from them do get better.  I came to this conclusion not through an academic or historical examination of crimes and wars, though that research also supports my theory.  I just began to notice that all the monsters identifiable in my own childhood have been domesticated or reborn in less-threatening forms.

Vampires used to be bestial, powerful, remorseless, demonic beings.

Now, vampires are lonesome hotties in need of understanding.

When I was a boy, all dinosaurs were assumed to have been vicious lizards.

This dinosaur has a code of ethics, and you can achieve an alliance with him.

This dinosaur is cuddly, and likes bad music (like me!)

Wild animals respond defensively if you act like the kind of insensitive, aggressive predator they sense humans are able to be.  But individuals on both sides can and do choose to tame each other, or themselves.  Grey whales used to be nicknamed “devil fish” in the days when they fought back while being hunted.  Now, in the lagoons of Baja Sur, they urge their new calves up to the tourist boats to be stroked and admired.

There were lots of versions of “the enemy” when I was a kid.  The grownups in my neighborhood talked about the enemies they had fought overseas.  I was scared of foreign enemies then.  I’m not any more.  If they come here, so what?  It’s much harder for bad guys to hide here than in their own countries.  I’m not convinced they are really up to the task.  Very few people are willing to blow themselves up compared to how many are willing to defend against it.  Also, bad guys become easier to make fun of as you get to know them better.  Humor can be very empowering.  Laughter is an under-employed weapon in the “war on terror”.

Horrible, Scary Nazi

Inept, Silly Nazis

Cybernetic Nazis? 

Some of the adults in my hometown were racists, and were bigoted toward those who professed religions different from theirs.  That hasn’t gone away, but those biases are more occult overall than they were 50 years ago.  I still consider it evidence of the taming trend.

My parents had been violent monsters when they got angry.  They became different animals through personal losses and disease.  I was the same way as a young man.  The practice of music and the love offered by friends and strangers remade me.  I wasn’t particularly interested in being tamed.  I used to deride people who aspired to be “nice”.  I did not equate niceness with compassion, as I do now.  Despite my resistance, I changed anyway.  It merely took longer than if I had been willing.

We’re getting a puppy to begin training toward being a guide dog in three weeks.  I have the information, the equipment and the regimen to follow.  I want to make sure my heart is clean and prepared.  This little girl dog will need to be tamed and shaped very quickly.  The sooner you start, and the more consistently you reinforce the right behavior, the better chance you give them of completing the training successfully.  I’m excited to face the new challenge.



Filed under Metaphysics

19 responses to “The Taming of Everything

  1. Oh my gosh, that’s her? What a sweet face! I’m a cat person, but who couldn’t want to keep her?! (Well of course I’d want her to be a guide dog but you know what I mean).I always have the urge to take a baseball bat to
    barney, but that’s normal! Just joking!
    I still have photos from July 4th I should post. Your fair looks like great fun. I miss seeing you around. I’m glad you are back.

    Quick question. Do you hate my newer site? I’m having fun messing w/ it, but I value your opinion highly.
    Great post!

    • Actually, that’s what she WILL look like in 3 weeks when she’s the age of the one in the photo. They all look pretty much alike at 8 weeks.

      I just looked, and your new site is fine, Lisa. It’s like “Lisa’s Notebooks” in form, but really, the content is similar to your WP site. Unfortunately I have no time to visit any more sites regularly right now. I haven’t been able to keep up on the ones I am subscribed to now. I’m about ready to post a “Best of” series, since I haven’t got time to blog next month.

      • If you disliked it I’d have stopped writing it. Besides i always write on my old blog if i have something on my new blog. I hate to hear you will be busy next month but will happily read the best of. I was slightly anxious you were mad at me ( I worry all the time that I’ve offended people- it’s one of those little mental midget things of mine).

        • I understand. I’m not angry with anyone, or offended etc. I have to take some classes to be able to renew my Radiologic Technologist license. Anybody in health care has to do continuing education every couple of years.

  2. lifewith4cats

    The original daleks used to frighten me a lot with their voices and approaching salt and pepper shaker bodies. LoL I often wished all bad guys realy did wear black cowboys hats, it would make it so much easier to know who they were.
    I can’t agree with the Barney thing, but I confess: the Wiggles hold some kind of strange fascination for me. I don’t know if its their lyrics, their joy, or their strange star trek outfits. Have you ever watched them perform ‘mashed potato?’
    This concept of taming all monsters. I find myself resistant to the idea. Like you used to be. Im still pondering it.

    • I’ve seen The Wiggles. Truly awful, which means good in my universe. I’m all for bad art and music if it has attitude. That’s what I like about Barney. Gloppy, fake sentiment.

      Are you mellower than you used to be? All monsters originate from the primitive energies already inside us, and what we learn as we grow tames them. That’s the theory, anyway. It is a view diametrically opposed to positions used in politics though, where there must be an ever-increasing number of monsters to fear so we will rely on “leaders” to save us. I still love monsters, even if they act like they don’t want to be loved 🙂

      • lifewith4cats

        You asked, “Are you mellower than you used to be?”
        With this one sentence, your words have been quietly haunting me all week. Asking me to consider the long views in an introspective way.
        You stand at a higher lever, you reach, beckon me and say.. “come up here.” But doing so means letting go of prejudice and illusion. makes me to both hate you, and love you. (though love wins)

        I say it not because of the simple act of youthfull fears loosing power to maturity, but more in a world interpetation kind of way. The human race as a whole.

        • I worried about losing my edge for a long time. Turns out I’m as edgy as I ever was. I only use the blade when it’s necessary. That is the difference. No more cutting to prove I can do it. Working harder wasn’t working. I learned to work softer instead.

          You have also been writing about a social justice issue lately in your series on vet care. That stuff does amp up the blood.

  3. Aw….

    I’ve always felt a kinship with King David.

  4. Yikes, please whisper the word “wiggles” .. even from the written ext only my kids might overhear it LOL.
    The Wiggles is the fix of the addiction that my kids discovered via New Zealand TV,, they got weaned off it once we returned home because it’s not shown here and their other adoration (“K-3″= 3x Belgium singing dancing women pretending to be girls) lured them back to their usual “fix” from the DVD case.
    Not that they watch excessively. Our TV is now almost 20 years old, it hasn’t died of overuse LOL.
    For the rest… many many thoughts.. I will be back!

  5. I am so grateful my little brood missed the Wiggles – I knew too many men like them in real life and they always gave me the creeps. Sesame St was so much more fun. Seriously though, I remember the fear of God and communism, praying to one that the other would not come with bayoneted rifles to get me in the middle of the night. As for parents . . . Mike, your fabulous post has brought back so many memories, memories which once upon a time might have had me screaming with rage – you get the picture, you sing the hymns, I listen and enjoy. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome, Patti. I see you have experienced the taming trend yourself. I forgot to include my reaction to the cliche I hear often in media, when an impassioned speaker pleads, “Where is the outrage?!”
      My answer would be “It’s been converted to inner peace.”

      Everything’s renewable, especially beings made of spirit.

  6. I remember someone saying when I was a kid, “Religion gets credit for a lot of things age takes care of naturally.” I think this is often true as we naturally mellow and change perspective and become almost completely new people as we get older.

    Great post as always.

  7. Pie

    Reading this post enabled me to recognise that we are getting better as a species, although there’s plenty going on out there to tell us otherwise. Although my beloved (and maddening) London was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons because of the riots, it gave me heart to see that many more people were working positively to make things better for now and the future. I hope I can remember your ‘taming of everything’ in the moments when everything would appear to be going off the rails.

  8. Pingback: The Taming of Everything and What that Means to Me… « Local Heart, Global Soul

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