Waving the White Flag

white-flag

 

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.

 

Storm


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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
Sleeping

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

 

Who am I?

The Buddha was once asked if he was a god to which he replied “No.”
“Are you a wizard, then?”
“No.”
“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

 

sb-donate-button

Fierce grace/fruitful darkness

 

I fear
one day
I will be swallowed by
the things that threaten
to annihilate
and obliterate
the man
I’ve worked so hard
not to be

that in accomplishing my
intentions
I will be left
only
with the mistakes I’ve made
along the way

that in attempting to
achieve
something I will never be
I will become
just a shell
filled with good intentions

that I will
through misdirection
mislead another
and make their life
worse
in my attempts
to make it better

that in attaining
by accident alone
all that I strive
to become
I will lose the chance
to reach higher
never becoming
all that I may ever be

and in that dark place
a place I’ve come to know
too well
I find solace
if I reach for it in faith
comfort
in the depths
a peace that envelops
with the utterance of
a single word
spoken with firm conviction
“Surrender”

I am
exactly
who I am
meant to be
exactly where
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

Unexpected Wisdom

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.

Listen.

 


Image: “Finding” by Mario S Nevado

We all have them

We all have them:

Good days

Bad days

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

Acceptance

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”

– M. Scott Peck

Today I’m working on acceptance. This has always been a difficult one for me because I am capable of so much. I do everything myself; do my own mechanic work, construction, you name it I do it.

But there are things beyond my ability to fix. Things I have no control over. And other things that have resulted from my choices, good or bad, that follow me, linger like specters, haunt my dreams and unbalance me.

Accepting them is not easy but it’s necessary because without acceptance I fall under their control. I am led by them and I suffer and sometimes the pain of those things can be overwhelming.

In accepting my limitations, knowing that my best is always good enough, I render those things powerless. They still exist. They just don’t control me.

This is not always an easy thing to do So today I pray to the Divine Source that I learn to accept those things I can not change, learn from them the lessons I require, and live in peaceful acceptance of them.