So long ago now
So long ago I hardly remember
I stood in the tall grass
For the first time
That the world was so large
So large that I could barely see my toes above the sharp blades
That housed the hopping
So large that it could encompass my every dream
Dreams that altered space and time
Dreams that excited me
Now the world is small
Infinitesimal in comparison
And nearly meaningless
Except for those dreams
Of so long ago
Note: I think I will rewrite the end. I was probably not feeling terribly optimistic at that time. If written now it might end something like:
The world is smaller now
Yet filled with meaning
The dreams of so long ago
Only began to reach
Or something like that 🙂
Wasn’t always taken care of
Old as it is
It shows the scars
Of its rough history
Lacks the luster of its early days
Is cracked and stained and torn
Sometimes it requires repair
I have the tools
I do what I can
But some of the work
Is too little too late
And it breaks down
If I could do it again
Start from the beginning
With the skills and knowledge
I have today
I would take better care of it
So it would last longer
It would shine
It would have fewer dents and scars
A better life
But I’d keep the engine from this one
Because I run good
Image: “A Good Find” by J M Greff
along this path of dreams I have walked with feet tenderized
seasoned prime cuts on shards of exquisitely broken memories
laid out in spirals of blues and greens and yellows that
flow up and down the tendrils of my spine
my heart knows
yet reveals to no one
not even my Self
while the shreds of who I was
howl at who I am
meant to be and I
in the middle
heart open always beckoning calling
not this time
I cry in confused tones to an empty stare
not this time
I will the world
for just this moment
this night and join me in ecstatic union
not this time
she replies in coy indifference and self denial
the result of a life of tribunal
not this time
this time I travel alone
Image by Nate Bell
Well, I’m back. Though I’m not sure what that means.
First, let me say that I am extremely relieved and thankful that hurricane Florence did not land as the expected Cat 4 even though it means I have no work because I would not wish that sort of devastation on anyone.
I have tried, unsuccessfully, to write about surrender many times now. It is a subject I have a difficult time with because as strong as my faith is and accepting as I can be I still have a hard time separating “surrender” from “giving up”
I don’t want to give up but I do need to surrender.
I have done my best in this last year to change my life and while I have been undeniably successful in many ways I feel I have utterly failed in others. I knew that changing my life would not be easy, but I did believe it was possible.
Now I’m not so sure.
I made just enough money in the week I was deployed to either hold on for another month or to move on. Moving on, in this case, actually means moving backwards, which is something else I have a difficult time with.
At this moment I am seriously considering taking the little money I made and heading back to the oilfield. Trucking has always been a sure bet for me. I can literally go anywhere and find a job driving. The problem is that I honestly despise that life.
My other option is to stay put, dig in, use what I earned to get me to the next storm. The problem is that there may not be a next storm and when the money is gone I will be left without an option. It will be too late in the year to expect to find work in ND and I won’t have the finances to make the move anyway. I will be left finding a driving job in Mobile, AL, home of the lowest driver rates in the nation. Barely above minimum wage.
So I have a choice between a known that I have been trying to escape for most of my adult life, a known that will pay the bills but likely make me want to withdraw again. Maybe for the last time. Or I can choose the unknown. Continue to place my faith in a desire for something better. Accept the possibility of it all falling apart at the last minute and leaving me without any options at all.
For now, in this moment, the best I can do is wave the white flag, retreat from the battle, accept that there are things beyond my control and maybe tomorrow I will begin to make new plans.
But I will not give up.
There was I time I thought of myself as “Stormchaser”. It was a label I assigned to offset the difficult times that seemed to follow me as a way of reversing the odds.
I saw myself as not only actively engaging those hard times but as pursuing them in a “if life is suffering and suffering brings enlightenment then, for fucks sack, bring it on” mentality.
I was wrong.
Man, was I wrong.
The hard times pursued like a predator on blood scent and I, tough as the wind, really was bleeding, profusely.
I’ve said before how I’m only now rubbing the sleep from my eyes, but I look back with these blurry eyes and see that young man and rather than think “whaddadouche”, my favorite quote when it comes to ignorance, I can say “good start.”
It really was.
Since then I’ve learned that Life is more often concerned with giving lessons than with leading me to them and that the path of life is much more flexible than I thought.
She is the train
I am the rail
Or more like the spike
Or the ground it’s driven into
Or maybe just a house it passes by
That’s my attempt at Zen poetry, which I’m okay with, in a Zen sort of way.
My point is this:
I have felt the storm.
I feel it now inside me.
I’m not sure it ever goes away.
I’m okay with that.
That, by the way, has nothing at all to do with either Zen philosophy or poetry, it’s who I am.
So right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the hell this post is about so I’ll sum it up in six words …
We find what we are looking for.
… okay, seven words.
Audio: “Stormchaser” by J M Greff
The Buddha was once asked if he was a god to which he replied “No.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“Well, are you a man?”
“No” he said.
Confused by his answers they asked “So, what are you?”
The Buddha said, “I am awake.”
I can not claim that I am fully awake yet. I still lay in this bed I made and rub my eyes, trying to make sense of the world around me, but that simple answer, for me, begins to define the answer to my own question:
Who am I?
Over the last few years finding that answer has felt somewhat more critical because of the things I am trying to accomplish in life, and while I admit that I feel like I am no closer than when I began, I have begun to understand that it matters less than I originally thought.
Instead, I am finding that it is who I believe myself to be that is more important and that the expression of those beliefs is an expression of the things inside me that I give life to.
Those beliefs come from experiences and those experiences are interpreted through my previous experiences.
If I believe myself to be compassionate it is because I believe compassion to be of more value than indifference and yet indifference, selective and focused to achieve a positive goal, can have value as well. Much like not caring if I smashed my thumb with a hammer because that happens from time to time and does not mean I deserved it or am a horrible carpenter.
However, I would never describe myself as indifferent. In this way my views of Self are presented as more than expressions of those things I believe myself to be, they are expressions of who I hope to be, who I want to be.
So, who am I?
It really is simple. Much simpler than the explanation.
I am the sum and expression of my experiences, I am who I want to be, and I am who I believe myself to be.
I believe that I am on the right path. Making the right decisions despite their outcome because those decisions are based on faith and hope and love. I believe that everything will be okay. That my life will be everything I want it to be. All of those things require that I believe I am already the person I want to be regardless of how transitional my life may appear because that is how I become that person.
I may not be awake, but I am waking up.
Image: “Awake” by Martina Stipen
I will be swallowed by
the things that threaten
I’ve worked so hard
not to be
that in accomplishing my
I will be left
with the mistakes I’ve made
along the way
that in attempting to
something I will never be
I will become
just a shell
filled with good intentions
that I will
and make their life
in my attempts
to make it better
that in attaining
by accident alone
all that I strive
I will lose the chance
to reach higher
all that I may ever be
and in that dark place
a place I’ve come to know
I find solace
if I reach for it in faith
in the depths
a peace that envelops
with the utterance of
a single word
spoken with firm conviction
who I am
meant to be
I’m supposed to be
going exactly where I need to be
I close my eyes and let go
all will be well
Video: “If I was a Warrior” by Trevor Hall
I often hear the voice of the Divine and find wisdom in unexpected sources. An overheard conversation between a couple in passing. A single line of something I’m reading or a song I’m listening to. The way someone might shoo a mosquito off the shoulder of a complete stranger without their knowing.
Or the old black man with the foul mouth and the fixed smile who writes my load tickets on the dock where I load my truck. He is a lifetime docker, worn and broken. His hard life shows on his face.
We are talking about the long haul I am about to make. The rate I make on this haul is minimal. I am enthusiastic about neither prospect.
Okay, I’m bitching about it.
He just laughs, stops what he is doing, looks me in the eyes and says “Take your time, enjoy the scenery, look at those azaleas, watch the birds and the trees, it pays the same either way, you might as well enjoy it.”
That’s my advice. Those are my words coming from his mouth. I am stopped cold. My frustration dissipates. The Universe has spoken directly to me through this man and I am grateful.
The message received, I take a deep breath and smile with this gift and continue on my way. Taking my time. Enjoying the scenery. The day passes peacefully.
The Universe is always talking to us. Telling us to be patient. To breathe. Telling us it cares. That we are loved.
Image: “Finding” by Mario S Nevado
We all have them:
Days when we want to save the world
Days when we want to see it burn
Days when the lightness in our heart can lift us to the skies
Days when it’s so heavy that the weight threatens to sink us to the core of the earth where we’d gladly lose ourselves in that molten hell
Days when the sun shines and lights our way
Days when the sunshine hurts our eyes and makes us wish we were invisible
Days of love and joy
Days of suffering and pain
We have very little control over the events of our days and sometimes simple things can trigger either incredible happiness or intense sorrow.
What we can control is how we deal with those events. The more aware I am of this and the more I practice mindfulness and meditation the more awake I become and the more better my days are. But its not a cure, it’s a practice. A practice that never ends.
I hope you have a more better day too but if this turns out to be one of “those” days then remember; we all have them. They pass.
And remember to breathe.
Image: “Deep” by Mario S Nevado