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Self Delusion

Dreary cold rain like this for the past three days. The cascade of muddy water soaks through my sneakers. It's a long hike up this rustic staircase. I'm tired, and irritable.

Mostly I'm annoyed because Vittoria has not yet come to visit me, as she promised she would. She told me she'd had the tickets, but something very important came up. You understand, don't you? Maybe next month. This is the third or fourth delay.

To fend off my bad mood I'm reading William James. He says the source of a religious or spiritual enlightenment is irrelevant. God or the subconscious, it doesn't matter. What's important is the serenity that comes when you suddenly realize you are saved, or are in the loving care of some Higher Being. That’s the thing.

I do not want to be mad at her. Because love is patient, love is kind, Paul told the Corinthians. Didn't he?

Better to imagine Vittoria is here right now. Yes. She and I hike these steps together. We're not far from the top, dear. And then we'll be on a charming dirt path that will give us a view of the village far below, and of the sea, and the bright blue sky. Just like the road along the island's coast in the movie Il Postino. Remember?

It occurs to me that the pleasant feelings elicited by pretending Vittoria's presence are in the same general category as the spiritual experiences James describes.

All right, focus. I am holding her hand. She moves her face toward mine and I inhale her scent of lavender. She kisses me lightly, softly. Ah. In moments like this suffering and death are impossible.

Oh, yes. The great utility of self-delusion: If you aren't lucky enough to get struck by a flash of light on the road to Damascus, then you might as well become a true believer in a world of your own making.

* * *

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"It just occurs to me that the pleasant feelings brought on by pretending Vittoria is here are in the same general category as the spiritual experiences James describes. "

That line says a lot

But since you posted, it has been revised, thus:

"It occurs to me that the pleasant feelings elicited by pretending Vittoria's presence are in the same general category as the spiritual experiences James describes."

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Thank you, nice of you to say.

It made me weep...

Happy birthday, John! Cento di questi giorni!

Thanks, and welcome back! At my age expectations of tens rather than hundreds are the most I can manage. But then I've always been an optimist.

yes.. I simply must get to a place like that. I adore your photos and writing. I hope this birthday is one of your happiest.

Thank you both for the birthday greetings and the generous comment. I'm glad you find these posts interesting...

I love this picture and that last paragraph, well, I identified with it a bit more than I'd like.

Happy Birthday, John! ~ Lori

Thanks for your comments, and especially thanks for the birthday greetings. And there's nothing wrong with making your own world. Better that than the ones others might wish to impose on you!

Happy birthday to you!.... I've been captivated by that photo ever since it came up; it's wonderful. Am hoping to become a true believer in the world of my own making this year....thanks for the inspiration!

You're welcome, and many thanks for the birthday greeting!

I read your journal to take me away for a few seconds instead I started crying. I'm sorry papa for everything. I wish i was there but as you can see i'm not. My father took a turn for the worse. At this point i'm tired of everything. Buon compleanno, per sempre tua sweetpea.

Please hang in there. In the end all will be well, because it's part of His plan.

This is one of the three or four most amazing pictures I've ever seen in my entire life. As simple as that. Looks like some dream we all must have had being recaptured. I'm glad I've added you.

Glad you liked it, and welcome aboard!

It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance -- although your image and words are familiar to me through some comments made to our mutual friends, I feel as though I've just "discovered" you through Atomicpetals. I'm in there, too, as the fellow who wrote the poem "Thunderhead."

I look forward to getting to know your work. Perhaps our paths will cross again.

(Places her dashingly unconversative and bright petal red sun hat atop her head.) Yoo hoo, can I come aboard too? I've been peeking at your journal for quite some time, in the shadows.

OK, drop yer dime in the box, and take a seat. BTW, yesterday was Il Carnavale here on the island and I saw quite a few bright petal hats on folks, only they were flourescent green.

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