Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Rich Inner Life

Originally posted on May 28, 2014

I’m tempted to think that everyone has a rich inner life, but my wife says that’s not so. She asked me to think about it, so I did. First, I am reminded that what’s true for me is most definitely not so for others. There are many differences in temperament and other variables. My autobiography may be titled: “Isn’t everybody?” (Subtitle: No, hardly anybody.”) So using this, I checked out my inner life.

For starters, let’s see, there are hundreds of folk dances—maybe over a thousand—plus ballroom and round and square dance calls and steps. So that’s dancing. Yep, I feel rich in knowing these. Some I don’t really know so well that I could lead the line when the song comes on, but then I remember, see the step, and can do it. There are a lot of those.

Singing: There are thousands of songs in there, some fully remembered, others more sing-along, but familiar. There’s having sung sets of songs for 17 years in the Sun City Chorus, folk songs, kids’ songs, camp songs, marching and movie songs, and my song-books full of songs. I make up song books and host song fests. Have shelves full of songs. Doesn’t everyone? Hm. No.

Art: I have thousands of drawings, mandalas, little character elves, other critters, tons of these guys, and the worlds they live in, their pals, and not much back story that’s specific, but yet hinted at. Books of my cartoon art. Lectures I’ve given about these. A few published cartoons in college and medical school.

Social: Many groups: Singing, dancing, professional affiliations, extended family, etc. Some of these networks are fading somewhat. Others less interested in me, I become less interested in holding on. Many I’ve just moved away from, literally—sheer distance. I remember keeping some Christmas card exchanges for several years afterwards. But now I’m just counting their memories as blessings.

Meanwhile, other networks are becoming more alive, vigorous. Others are maintaining. The point here is that I’ve been embedded, belonged, moved away, some of them moved away, it’s an organic process, social life. But they exist, more or less, in my “rich inner life.”

There are libraries and librarians, and many magazines I read, and many books I return to, or sections in book-shelves. There are topics I dabble in and leave.

Alas, not so much remains in my inner life of television shows—a few classics—but most more contemporary figures in the mass media seem sort of “all the same” to me, and uninteresting at that. I feel I’ve passed a “window.” Sports, too. So that sector of inner life makes room for other things. But on thinking of it, lots of people I know hang out a lot psychically in these sectors. 

Meanwhile history gradually builds up networks in my mind as I learn about the fathers of the American Revolution, pioneers of railroads and other forms of travel, old movie singers and dancers, other historical figures, cartoonists, pioneers in psychiatry and medicine, philosophers of religion (some) and many other topics. I’ve been doing this all my life and, in retrospect, these matrices create another facet of a rich inner life.

Spiritually, I’ve been interested in religion and philosophy, read a lot, and construct and re-construct my “belief system,” or ongoing “creative mythmaking.” I draw from many sources, including the philosophical works of Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, Ken Wilber, with flashes or spices from the medieval kabbalists, J.L. Moreno, the romantic poets, and many others.

I include here also the fairly superficial but moving blurbs found in Reader’s Digest and other popular magazines. I used to cut these out as a teen-ager, put them in an album. Pageant and Coronet were small magazines like Readers’ Digest and were rich sources of idealistic poems and sayings and photo-essays.

Yeah, I guess I have a rich inner life. Yet what impresses me is how much I turn away from, stuff that seems irrelevant. From this I’m tempted to think myself excessively narrow, almost avoidant. However, Uncle Bud, the name I give to my imagined guardian angel, reviews this scene and says, “Adam, your plate is full. The part that thinks you should be doing more is crazy.”

I apologize. There’s just so much out there I don’t care about much—if at all—, and other stuff that’s way, way behind me, though I appreciate it a bit, and the angels are saying, “Pal, if you can do anything with what you’re interested in, dayenu—a Hebrew word for “It would be sufficient.”

Finally, there are a great many ideals that I’m hoping to advance, either through my own writing efforts, some participation, encouraging others, and telling others about. These have a more core place in my identity. My roots lie in my primary love relationship and peaceful home with Allee. So it’s all good.

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