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

 

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.

Life is a Journey

 

“People are hypocrites” she proclaims. “No one lives the life they want.”

I have said those same words myself, or something similar, though it probably contained expletives and self pity.

How do I tell her what I have learned in a single online conversation? How do I tell her that there was a time in my life that I shared that view? How do I explain that my change of view was both instantaneous and took many years?

I had the four bedroom house on an acre of land with a six car garage, a cabin on a private lake, a boat, motorcycles, off road 4×4, a recording studio in my basement, my own construction company, everything I thought I needed to be happy, and in a moment of human failure I lost everything.

Even though it initially brought with it a physical, as well was emotional, pain it also brought a proclamation of “FREEDOM!”, shouted in big screen fashion, it took many more years to understand that none of the stuff I gathered and lost over the years ever really mattered.

At the time of the “loss” it felt like I had been robbed of my entire world. Like I was condemned. Cursed.

Now, looking back with unclouded eyes, I can see that I was most miserable when I had everything I thought I wanted.

It took many miles to discover that what I was missing couldn’t be found on a piece of land or in a store or online or was anything I could carry in my pocket or drive or use in any way.

What I was missing was found inside and I found it only by enduring, surviving, and exploring with gratitude the journey that my life became.

I discovered is that the journey itself is life.

Not the prescribed “this will make you happy” copywriting on a box of sugar sweetened cereal or the dictated image of perfection programmed by hours in front of a screen that insisted I couldn’t be happy unless I owned the latest fashion or drove the newest car or smelled a certain way or walked a certain way or looked a certain way or spoke a certain way.

The struggles and joys and passions and pains and heartbreaks are each but a single step along the paths of our lives.

Today my journey brings me back to the acquisition of “stuff”, but not in the way it did back then. Today my intentions guide both my needs and desires as they apply to others. They tell me that the life I have led these past years, paying off old debt, finding myself and being true to that Self, exposing my underbelly to the entire world, ready to feast on it, without fear, was necessary. Essential.

Each step I have made has led me here to this place of love and gratitude.

Now, in complete surrender to, and acceptance of, a grace that I work to prove my worth of receiving, I push forward with plans left by the roadside long ago.

Plans to live. Fully. One step at a time.

Because life isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.

Travel far.

No tears for Big Brother

CA3DB13A-8A06-4EA2-BE60-ABA87FFBB554.jpeg

You see that black box in my truck window with the red light? That’s a dual facing camera. It captures nearly everything I do. We’re supposed to believe it protects us as well as the company but it rarely feels like it. It mostly feels like an unwelcome intrusion.

Especially on days like today because today I am feeling overwhelmed and would like to yell and cry a little but, with Big Brother observing everything I do, including tapping this out on my phone, I find myself holding it in instead.

You see that green outhouse in the picture? That’s where I’ll go to shed a few silent tears for now. The yelling will have to wait until later because it can raise eyebrows in an outhouse.

There’s no particular reason I feel like this. Just life in general. I sometimes feel like I set myself up to fail. Or that for all my good intentions I keep missing the mark. Or that the changes I’ve made in my life after awakening are just too little too late. Or that my body is betraying me. Or that I will never be “good enough”.

Today I feel a combination of all those and more. I know it will pass, and I’m grateful for the insights I gain from exploring these feelings, I just wish I didn’t have to hide in an outhouse to do it.

I’m looking for the gratitude but…

There’s a stupid ringing in my ears
My left one mostly
The drum I blew out listening to god knows what
Far louder than anyone should
That made it sound like everyone was talking through wax paper
On a comb
Mister Effin Roboto style
Now it rings
Sometimes loud
Sometimes not so loud
Today it is a raging storm
Like a siren
And just now
Like it wasn’t bothersome enough
It kicked up a notch
Compensating
I suppose
For tones I no longer hear
And those I’ve temporarily lost
Due to sinus problems
That leave the world smelling like
Like
Like something foul
And nasty
And gives me a headache behind my eye
My left eye of course
The same one I get styes on once in a while
The one with macular degeneration
Scar tissue
From damage caused by welding
And grinding
And all sorts of other jobs
I did to pay the bills
For things I no longer own
Jobs that left my hands susceptible to cold
Like my whole left arm
Which I can’t stick in a bucket of ice without wincing
Ever since I burned it so bad
I needed a skin graft
But that’s another story
Stupid ringing in my ears

🙂

It’s funny how just writing about it seemed to make it fade some. Probably endorphins released by laughing at myself sounding like an old codger in his rocking chair yelling at the newspaper boy missing the front door by a foot. “Dammit, kid! Develop your arm already! Try throwing a football once in a while or lifting some weights or some enthusiastic masturbation! Next time I’ll throw it back at you. Right between your eyes!”

Call it practice for old age.

As if all my years will ever make me old.

Now there’s something to be grateful for.

Diablo Canyon

Diablo.Canyon.by.Christopher.Wieck

The night is cool and the slight breeze carries the scent of dusty jasmine, it is a welcome relief from the hot days filled with sweat. It holds a promise and a secret.

The promise reveals itself in the mating flight of two eagles that call my name as if to give me cause to look towards the edge of the volcanic cliff they glide dangerously above.

As I glance upwards I see in the stone wall a carving I have become familiar with though it is something most people miss despite its size. It is Malice, Fear, it is the summoning of a guardian to keep those at a distance who have no business being close. This is Diablo Canyon. The carving is of el Diablo himself though I am certain the name it first carried is long lost.

When the railroad passed through here many years ago the Superintendent ordered the demolition of the carving. It frightened the workers. “A bad omen”, they would say, “We are not wanted here”.

They were right.

The railroad failed. The only remnants are the beds upon which the rails once lay and even those have nearly disappeared, swallowed by a landscape that has rejected civilization and its monuments.

This is a sacred place. A place shared by the Jacarilla and Mescalero Apache, and possibly the Anasazi, the “Evil Ones” who inhabited this area long before anyone else.

It is protected by skinwalkers, shape shifters who gave up their humanity in order to live as protectors and warriors, keepers of the secrets it hides.

I once managed to track a skinwalker to its den near here, a vile and dark place that reaked of carnage, purely by accident. Later I found the ring of stones on a butte close by where the rituals were performed to bring about the transformation.

His den was only two ravines away from my own makeshift den, a 1964 International Harvestor with a massive camper built on its extended frame.

64IH

I had the permission of the BLM officer, a kind and gracious man nearing retirement, to stay there in exchange for my useless efforts to return the area to a semblance of its natural state. More importantly, I had, I hoped dearly every night, struck the same bargain with the skinwalker.

Many times as I raked the broken glass and gathered the rusted metal, victims of gunfire and carelessnes, I felt his presence and once, while hiking the ravines, careful to steer clear of his den, I saw him in the thick brush beside me, a huge dark form like a wolf but the eyes that stared back at me were the eyes of a man. Or what used to be a man.

I stood still and repeated my vow with my arms out as I did every night, hoping to please or, at least, placate him. “I am here to help. If you do not want me here you need only tell me now and I will leave”.

His heavy breathing, rich with the smell of blood and age and warm on my skin he was so close, paused while I spoke. Then, in a blur of nearly soundless motion, he leapt off and in a second was gone.

I never saw him so clearly, or so surely, again, until this night.

The eagles again called my name as if to pull me from the trance I spent four days acquiring. I was on a vision quest and the vision had begun, but it was unlike any I’d ever experienced before.

More?


Image: “Diablo Canyon” by Christopher Wieck