It is with the lightest of hearts and sunniest of dispositions I must inform you of the drastic decision I’ve reached – I’m going to take my life. I’ve made my decision and no one can stop me. I’m going to take my life…..To a new level! Yes dear, I’ll stop at nothing to burst the chains of ego and dissolve back into my source code. I don’t need me anymore. No one needs such extravagant manifestation, so I’m going back to where it all began. By the time you read this letter I’ll already be cosmically conscious and will only answer to the name Yaweh. Please recognize that in my zeal for personal extinguishment and collective enlightenment I’ll stop at nothing to render myself indistinguishable from God. Although I may have nothing to lose but my chains, I’m no cosmic commie. Rather, I commit myself to subordination in order to transcend the supposed station I’ve arrived at and to zero myself out as a karma producing entity.
Right now I’m a stinking little karma factory – and this olfactory reeks to high heaven. I’m done with it. So I’m temporarily leaving this world to merge with the indescribable stratocumulus standing lenticular forms that birthed me. Incidentally dear, on a less grandiose note, you may now rearrange our NetFlix cue, though for the life of me I don’t know why you’d want to watch ‘Finnegan, Begin Again.’ See you on the other side sweetie. Wear a tie so I‘ll know you.”
And this was just one of the innumerable life affirming notes Joseph Coleslaw left for his beloved Julienne whenever he was about to go off on a cosmic bender. These “opposite of suicide notes” presaged him embracing life so hard he left it beautifully bruised. He was always threatening to live life to the fullest by tracing his silver chord back to the Godhead or to whatever head it happened to extend from. Maybe it was PT Barnum’s head where a sucker was reincarnated every minute. Coleslaw, sensing this ineluctable pattern, was no longer going to content himself with the earthly circus of 3 card monte. He knew that by sublimating personal expression and immersing himself in what he termed “the public reservoir of spirituality” (unlike the copyrighted version religions used), he would lose himself and yet gain everything. It was all very romantic in an onanistic way. Drawing from this community well of creation slaked his spiritual thirst and to a lesser extent lowered his cholesterol.
Julienne knew if one of these affirmation notes was left on her dresser she could expect anything from 3 hours of exquisite lovemaking to a sublime interpretive dance – sometimes simultaneously. Coleslaw reflected God in ways that enlightened, led and sanctified rather than coerced, benumbed or deluded; and public domain truth was the agent of his expansivity.
Julienne Coleslaw celebrated her husband’s travels into inner space. She knew that after this transcendent event he’d invariably suffer from PTWD (Post Traumatic Wisdom Disorder). Whereby drawing from the insightful residue of his illuminating peregrinations, he was able to convey the wondrous splendor of heaven to even the coarsest soul and even find some great internet deals on airfares. No amount of earthly entanglements could stay the sleek beatitudes radiating from inside him. He just naturally exalted those around him. So when Julienne sensed an impending episode she’d encourage him to phone the opposite of a suicide prevention hotline known as a soul travel promotion hotline, where waiting spiritual counselors would promise to whisk him away to a world without timeshares or blackout dates. To a world where father’s raise their children in barns so years later, if that child left a door open and someone complained, “What; were you brought up in a barn?” they could smugly answer, “As a matter of fact I was.” Not only was this spiritual community off the charts, it was off the time-space continuum existing at the still point of creation where it’s eternity all the time so no one is ever late. Of course the downside is houseguests never go home either. These avatars of agency, these catalysts of spiritual clodhopping would strongly persuade Coleslaw to take his own life – to a new level! All he had to lose were his chains. An intake session might go something like this:
Ayn: Mr. Coleslaw my name is Ayn and I’ll be your cosmic facilitator this evening. First of all, are you in a safe place?
JC: Yes. I’m lying above my sheets – 4 feet above my sheets.
Ayn: Good. I think you called us just in time. And for how long now have you wanted to leave your body?
JC: Since I first got into it 50 years ago.
Ayn: OK. Are you out of your body now?
JC: No, but my pants are off and I’m burning incense.
Ayn: Are you sure you dialed the right hotline?
JC: Yes. Yes.
Ayn: Alright. Are there any scripture or Dr. Wayne Dyer books nearby?
JC: No. Not exactly – but I am reading The Purpose Driven Land Rover.
Ayn: Mr. Coleslaw, do not be coy with us.
JC: Us? There’s anus? I mean there’s an us? I thought there was just a you.
Ayn: Mr. Coleslaw, do you really want to leave your body?
JC: Yes, of course I want to leave my body and experience the ecstatic states.
The call would go on like this for a while and usually end when he freed himself from the surly bonds of earth and muttered, “Uncle Fester? Is that you?” After that the line would go silent.
Any event could trigger this upward spiral. Sometimes it was activated by something obscure like finalizing an eBay purchase of a jaunty Mitzi Gaynor ALS (autographed letter signed) written to Sandy Duncan whose contents read:
“Dear Sandy, The pixie baton has been passed to a new generation of perkiness. Enthuse wisely my fellow sprite. Ciao, Mitzi.” Another time, while in the downward dog position, he had an epiphany that launched him on a powerful cosmic jag. In 2007 an all egg yolk omelet prompted a beatific three day binge in the nether worlds in which his body appeared to radiate cholesterol. Motivation was motivation and its provenance mattered not for once launched into his “commune with pre-differentiated form,” he could peaceably absorb the entire spectrum of experience – from the divine to the vulgar – and revel in its design which he thought really smart but not too intelligent. Coleslaw was living what we all knew to be true in the deep recesses of our hearts despite what his right ventricle had to say on the matter. Nothing – not even a TiVoed episode of “Lost” – could distract him from “The call of the Source.”
Buffeted by Julienne’s Philistinism (you’ll recall her unwarranted interest in “Finnegan, Begin Again”) and deterred by his own roiling desires, Joseph Coleslaw sometimes found it difficult to dissolve back into his origins. So he made a conscious effort to swaddle himself in the comfortable clothes of god’s Technicolor dreamcoat. He draped himself in its luminous raiment and wore it very well; once even making the cover of GQ – God Quarterly
Julienne would notice the telltale signs Joseph was considering a mad dash for God Incognita. Often he’d develop that vacant stare so common to men of the cloth and his vacuity was further buttressed by cryptic yearnings for exploration like, “Dearest Helpmate, The Northwest Passage is no longer ice choked. If I can locate it we’ll be rich, rich with spices dear. Do you hear me? Spices Julienne! Imagine us awash in cardamom, turmeric and saffron. And I’m just mad about saffron.” After such an outburst he’d abruptly grow silent and slowly settle back into his Tempurpedic Mattress where he followed through on his menacing ascendancy with excelsior results. He had refined the adage “Be here now” to an economically instructive “Less me, more it.” Less truly was more and the call of the Source became his siren song.
In another “beginning of the world missive” he threatened to once again eclipse himself, but not his nature:
Dear Julienne: It is with limitless joy I inform you of my decision to rid myself of me and commune with my source once again. Dearest one, don’t take this personally for there is no ‘I’ where I’m going. In fact there aren’t any vowels at all which is consonant for a man of letters. When I’m cosmically conscious 3 way bulbs, 2 way streets and 1 way mirrors have no meaning. It’s all The Way. Words cannot express this vibratory level although it is hinted at by the ’69 Mets, Muhammad Ali and the Marx Brothers. My time has come again and I must take leave of myself and the predictability of human experience. I’m not going anywhere and yet I’m going everywhere. When you behold the vacant expression in my eyes you’ll realize there’s nobody home but there’s a party going on inside. Remember that even in my persistent vegetative state, I’m still a carnivore. BTW, if my persistent vegetative state lasts for more than 4 hours, call a doctor. By dropping all pretense of the time-space continuum we can transcend our bodies, touch the face of God and perhaps qualify for that home equity loan we talked about. Incidentally I’ve left Costco money on the dresser for those 480 rolls of paper towels you wanted.
I’ve said it before and now I’m following through. We’re all little centers of the universe (especially women), full of hopes, fears and genitals. And I’ve been full of it since I can remember. However the most lasting and virtuous experience is the opposite of this. The opposite of individuality. The way we feel so good when we know we’ve done right for others. This is not to be confused with the martyrdom of duty. Julienne I must apologize to you. Often I’m way too immersed in my me-ness to the exclusion of our we-ness which is always trumped by my pe-ness. Check back with me about 7 and wear something off the shoulder.”
WWCD – (What Would Coleslaw Do)
As you can tell, Coleslaw marauded the spiritual landscape with a ferocity bridled only by the earthly husk in which he dwelled. He was liberated without pretense. That’s why everyone was attracted to him. He was liberated by the wisdom of detachment, but if you asked for an explanation he’d laugh with the conviction of the initiated. When Coleslaw was in this state everyone flocked to his irresistible force – the convicted and the feckless; the drizzled and the dipped, the hydrated and the wizened. Of course most people live in between these colorful extremes and they loved him too. They gravitated to what he exuded, but it was like the opposite of a mania. There was no display, no legacy, no following. It wasn’t so much that he was Christ-like, it’s that he was Coleslaw-like with his wife serving to julienne him. Just amazing. What’s even more amazing is that her name wasn’t Grace.
Although Coleslaw toyed with earthly distractions, he saw through them and listened carefully to the call of the Source. Obviously this was a man for whom artisanal cheeses held no fascination. After a particularly profound spiritual journey, as he was reentering his body he murmured these numinous thoughts; “Please go and be your own center of the universe. The Northwest Passage is always open. It’s guarded by a few female sperm whales, but once you solve that riddle you’re in.”