Toronto's Dennis Battler says he's a "Seq Worker". But what does he mean?
Dennis Battler on how staying sane takes work
Asked recently how I spend my time, a clear simple answer was hardly suitable. Yet to offer an accurate statement would take the entire evening.
Spending the next few days pondering a succinct reply, irony speaks most loudly in my ear. Ready for the next time this question comes up, "Seq Worker" will be the response. Confusing and throwing the inquirer off balance – off balance because, firstly they would have to admit they know the term; secondly because they would be astonished to be in the presence of one; Thirdly because I would not suit their image; Fourthly because they would have to compute and recognize they have an image firmly embedded in their mind.
To clarify "Seq Worker" . . . no my false teeth (not) did not slip. It would be the most concise and most accurate response: Seeker, Explorer, Questing. Worker because it is work.
Alternately, I could say I work on puzzles, hardly a statement to ignite curiousity since everyone, consciously or unconsciously, is puzzled to fatigue by every day life. Enough!
Looking closer at this personal phenomenon, the dark side of curiosity revealed itself. Darker than “Curiouser and curiouser” ("Alice in Wonderland" 1865) curiosity has (as could be expected in this world of duality) two sides. From Word Origin & History:
curious mid-14c., "eager to know" (often in a bad sense), from L. curiosus "careful, diligent, curious," akin to cura "care." The objective sense of "exciting curiosity" is 1715. In booksellers' catalogues, the word means "erotic, pornographic."
In this North American atmosphere decrying intellectualism, popular attitudes have assumed the negative aspects of curiousity: “prying, peeping, meddling, snoopy, interfering, meddlesome”, over the higher ground of, “inquisitive, interested, analytical, disquisitive, examining, impertinent, inquiring, inspecting, investigative, prurient, puzzled, questioning, scrutinizing, searching.“
Puzzlement began early. Especially when a group of people believed to be obligated, constructed and construed to be supportive are not. Cast as gay, learning the paradox of life starts early. Prior to the gay-straight anomaly, questions popped up. “Who are these people?” followed by “Why am I in this family?” Questions partially answered some 40 years later in the process of a Past Life Regression Session.
Being human made up of Body Mind and Spirit, a Seq Worker must pursue all avenues when seeking to find one’s place. Hard work with an abiding sense of being an outsider to any and all outsiders encountered. Aptly described by Fiona Stafford:
“So perspective matters when it comes to place. Recently, cultural geographers have challenged assumptions about the apparent difference between insider and outsider perspectives, because of the less desirable implications of dividing people into those who "belong" and others who "do not belong." The excluded might come from another region or race, or merely fail to conform to local norms: the homeless, the homosexual and the handicapped have each been grouped by some societies as "out of place." This has led to new readings of place in terms of stasis and mobility. Instead of regarding "place" as stable and ultimately knowable to those who belong there, it might be understood as a much more mobile space, open to numerous experiences and characterized also by its confluence of passing people.” by Fiona Stafford
Fitting in most fully occurred in the workplace. Without the forced anchor of a job, my daily effort is to remain sane. Termed senior by the gay community, outcast by virtue of being positive, poor by outcome of being positive, curious by nature, remaining sane has become a full time job requiring an immense commitment. Often I forget that's what I do, it’s become second nature.
For a keenly aware mind the means to staying sane are fairly broad. Last year began with no set plan, yet if finished with
- Daily Taoist Breathing Meditation
- Bi-weekly Calls with Taoist Group in New York
- Yoga 3 x week
- Monthly Meditation Group
- Monthly BodtyTalk Sessions
- Massage & Reiki Sessions
- 60+ Acupuncture Appointments
- Three Performance Workshops
- Six Writing WorkshopThis year mundane and broader activities continue, encompassing:
Health therapies: Five-point acupuncture clinic; massage clinic; acupuncture clinic; Reiki; Esoteric Acupucnture; monthly BodtyTalk Session
- A year long programme "Manifesting Intention" (completes mid March)
- Online C. J. Jung programme: "The Collective Unconscious & Archetypes"
- Four week Creative Arts Wkshp this week (at PWA)
- Monthly Creative Writing Workshop starts again this month at my co-op
- Monthly HIV+ Meditation group at Mt. Sinai (third six month segment)
- Yoga Five x / week ~ U of T and YMCA research programme "Fitness & HIV" (sidelined with my dog's operation and care for the month of January)
- Putting into my schedule a One Day White Tantric Yoga Meditation Workshop / Sat. May 6 (would like to pay for it to not miss out however my budget is not ready for it until the "Manifesting Intention" programme completes next month)
- Do laundry, tidy up and clean the apt., feed myself and my furry kids,
- Care for my dog and cat
- Walk a neighbour's dog 1x / day
- Keep abreast of moment to moment shifts in the collective unconscious as played out in American politics.
- Keep my attention on finances: Ponder what I can possibly sell to bring in a bit of money. A few items on consignment at a consignment shop currently
- Most importantly, keep myself as motivated as is appropriate and possible without beating myself up to do more. And better.
- Provide Design Consultation to my niece and her husband for their basement renovation, as needed
- Ponder what colour to paint my bathroom and kitchen ... waiting for appropriate inspiration.
Time out to satisfy the sweet tooth.
Out of place, with needs unmet, no immediate or distant indication is on the horizon heralding the arrival of usually believed redemptions to alight with belonging, stability, of being wanted and included. No Cupid either, to pull back his bow to aim his arrow at this out of range target.
Being positive seems to be the trump card of labels. Labels proven to be restrictive more than entry into wonderful worlds of unfolding mysteries, freedom and fulfillment, this label is certainly not The Card of Cards. With persistence of curiosity, this may not be the last nail.
The battle is not over.