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.
Recently, I was introduced to the term “imposter syndrome” which is defined as “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
Since I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything yet I argued that it really doesn’t apply to me (“that’s the point” she replied in silence). I am, however, quite intimate with the “fraud” part.
There’s so much I want to say. So many things I want to write about. I have a passion in me that has been ignited in a way that is impossible to extinguish. Nor would I want to extinguish it.
But the words won’t come.
Instead all I hear is:
How can I write about those things I feel and the lessons I have to share if I am unable to create and maintain them in my own life? Why should anyone listen to me? Why do the people I know continue to come to me for advice? I have had no success in love (or in life, really) to point at as an example and what I have learned I have learned painfully.
Rather than expose myself as that fraud I have written nothing but in doing so I prove that sense of failure because what I write about most often is hope and gratitude.
Some time back I read an article in the Buddhist review “Tricycle” by the Zen monk, Shozan Jack Haubner, who says:
“The only thing worse than trying to look younger than you are is trying to look wiser than you are.”
So I remind myself that my only failure is in thinking I’d be wiser by now and forgetting that I am only as wise as I allow my experiences to make me.
It is the suffering that has taught me the things I write about and though I don’t write about them in a “woe is me” manner does not mean I am pretending, it simply means I am learning.
Today I recommit myself to sharing what I have learned and to expressing the fire that burns in my soul because to hide it, or to hide from it, would truly make me a fraud.
As Shozan says, “…we all must commit wholeheartedly, moment after moment, to the life we have…”
This is my life. I will live it to the fullest. Even if that means pretending a little.
I can’t believe I’ve been on Word Press for seven years!
My first blog here was just your basic online diary and it has gone through some changes over the years before I decided to take my writing a little more serious just last year and started the Caravan.
I sincerely hope the Wayback Machine didn’t archive any of my previous blogs. I hate to admit it but my very first post on A Caravan of One was about how I decided to go with pack goats instead of mules. Change is good.
I never did get the goats and I immediately changed format to what you read now at the insistence of friends who thought people might actually like to read about the things we would talk about. I’m glad I listened.
I imagine the site will continue to change as the years progress but I think I have found my niche and I’m glad to have such caring and insightful readers.
Here’s to the last seven and to the next!
On October 8th of 2017 I drove 1,774 miles straight into hurricane Nate to find out if my Beloved and I had a future together. It appears that answer is “no”.
She is an extraordinary woman. Extremely intelligent. Highly creative. Spiritually evolved. She has a great career and is upwardly mobile. She is vibrant and alive. Sensual and sexual. Healthy and active. Has great kids. In short, she is everything I hope to find in a partner.
Almost everything. She would tell you the same about me.
Because I love her and have a deep respect for her no matter what, and because we are making the effort to remain friends, we spoke quite a bit before making this post.
What follows applies to everyone, including myself.
The two things I address most often when talking about relationships is our ability to manifest love through faith in action and our obligation to be as prepared as we can be.
Being prepared starts by knowing yourself and your needs. No one can ever truly know you if you don’t know yourself.
It means we acknowledge and address whatever issues we have as best we can. That we understand that we are complete as we are and that we embrace our wholeness.
It means we have a pretty good idea of what we want, and do not want, in a Lover. What type of person are they? What do we expect from them and what do we offer in return? How might our lives affect each other? Are we able to commit to the effort it takes to build a relationship? Are they?
It is so much more than “I want to be loved”. That sort of open ended desire leads to suffering. How do you want to be loved? What does it look like? What actions are involved? What do you bring to the table? What expectations do you have of your partner? Have you made room for them in your life?
I will not point to any of these examples and say “this is why we are not together” because the simple truth is that neither of us was fully prepared. Not in the way we needed to be. We are both worthy and deserving and I have no doubt that we will both find ourselves in incredible loving relationships. Just not with each other.
We do not see this as a “failure” and neither of us have any regrets. Making the move to be close to her was the right thing to do, there was no way for us to learn these things from a distance, and the opportunity to find real love is always worth the risk.
Our last day together as a couple was sweet. We went for a walk. Set up her porch swing. Did a little arts and crafts shopping. We sat close and talked and laughed. We kissed.
Two days later we mutually called an end to it and offered each other metta, a spoken intention and meditation of loving kindness: “May you be loved. Be happy. Be healthy. Live with ease.”
That is what I will always want for her, and for myself, because even though the relationship has ended, the love remains. We continue to communicate regularly and do our best to carry these intentions of loving kindness into action. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, we are worth it.
I am grateful for our time together and will continue to learn from the experience as I do from everything that happens in my life. It was good to love and be loved, even if only for a little while. Love is a gift and loving her was a privilege.
I am not sure where to go from here, I guess I’ll discover that along the way, all I know for sure is that my journey continues.
Early this morning we had one of those ultra rare cosmic incidents: the second full moon in a month, known as a Blue Moon, also happened to be a Supermoon, which means its particularly close to earth, and we had a full lunar eclipse, known as a Blood Moon.
Thanks to contemporary fiction people tend to think of the Blood Moon as a bad omen (as if omens could be either good or bad) but it really isn’t because blood is life.
I could go on for hours regarding the symbolism of this extraordinary event but instead I’m just going to relay my own experience of it and mostly let you draw your own conclusions or refer to other people’s opinions on the subject. There are many.
I woke late, thanks to a slight case of bronchitis, the reminder of a nasty case of flu I didn’t actually get having only suffered mildly unlike so many others here, that keeps me coughing through the night. I saw a doctor yesterday about it and got a couple prescriptions that should help but I can’t afford to fill them until after work tomorrow.
Being late meant I got to witness Selene, the goddess of the Moon in all her magnificent fullness on the way to work and then arrived at my truck just as the eclipse began.
I gazed in silent prayer as my truck warmed up and then watched intently as I first drove North cutting through town and then Northeast as I left the metropolitan area.
A lunar eclipse happens pretty quickly so by the time I was mostly heading East the moon was half eclipsed and dropping below the tree line as the sun rose.
I would lose sight of it and then catch a glimpse in my mirror or see it reflected in my windows.
I could see the red haze begin to form as it pales from view as if hidden behind a colored veil.
I lost it again for a dozen or so miles as I headed East and then caught it in all its glory as I crossed over the twin bridges on I10 affectionately refered to as the “Dolly Parton” bridges. If you’re curious why they earned that name you can look up some images.
So there I am on top of the twins and behind me on my left is the pale red ghost of the moon while ahead of me on my right is the sun while I crossed over the rivers.
Behind me lay Mobile. My destination was towards the rising sun. Then I descended the bridge and both were again lost from view. By the time I made it over the next rise the moon was gone and the sun shone brightly.
In those few seconds when I was caught between the two, the sun raging as if to catch the moon while the moon reflected that rage as beautifully as she could, I experienced eternity. It was for just a fraction of a fraction of a second but even a fraction of a second in eternity lasts forever.
I continue my day and my journey in awed gratitude.
I live a simple life.
I have spent years disincorporating the trappings that most people suffer from. I have no bills. No material needs. No responsibilities except to my dog, my self, and to those that I love. Because of this I have been able to live without judgment or expectation or hurry. To focus only on those things that matter most to me; love and gratitude. And I am free to love. Completely.
While this may sound ideal, even Utopian, and so long as I was single I must admit that it was, these traits, the very same traits that attracted the woman I love, can be detrimental in a relationship.
Example: I have no credit. Until very recently I literally had a non-existent credit score. Not a bad score. None at all. I paid cash or bartered for everything I owned. Before making my move South I owned all the same things anyone else might own; a boat, camper, motorcycle, car. All without credit. More than others, I owned my home. Yes, it was a cheap home, but it was mine, debt-free. I created sacred space there. Free from all negative influence. It was comfortable. Peaceful. It was my retreat.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is. Very. So long as I was single. Now, not so much.
Living like that has it’s benefits but it is not an easy way to live. It left very little room for savings and none at all for mistakes or accidents. It is a way of life that is very hand-to-mouth.
In the last few months I have rejoined the world, as far as is necessary to be in a committed relationship, and I now have the credit score of a teenager. Not bad for a couple months effort but not so easy to buy property like that. Less easy to reassure my Beloved of my financial responsibility when I can’t even afford to take her out for dinner.
How strange to find myself diving back into the material world after spending so much time dissociating from it. Especially so late in life.
Things will change. They must change if I am to have a successful relationship. So I am back on the grid again. Doing so has taken much time and effort and caused more than a little stress and is the main reason I haven’t written much lately. This is not a bad thing. Not at all.
I will maintain balance in this change. I will never become attached to material things but I know that I must admit them into my life if I am to coexist with my Beloved. I will push myself to those limits I know exceed others because I know that in doing so I will provide a life that my Beloved deserves. Desire, other than the desire to make my Beloveds life better, plays no part in this decision. That is how balance is maintained. What I do, I do for Love. Same as ever.
So now I am like a horse that spent it’s life at the gate, ready to run but without a race to run in. There, at the gate, I lived quite comfortably. I had nothing to prove. Nowhere to go. One might grow fat and lazy living like that but I never lost sight of that gate. I remained prepared, I learned the course and the wind and the best days to run behind the sun or chasing the moon because I always knew that one day the gates would open and I would have to run like the wind. I have never doubted for a second that I would place.
Such faith and hope, the same I so often try to convey here, is also utopian. It is beautiful in word. Passionate in poem. But in real life it requires that my Lover also have faith and hope, and in the world she lives in, the world you live in, faith and hope are things experienced only briefly in flashes or desperation. They are ephemeral. Intangible.
For me, they are a way of life.
So I will run.
I hope it’s fast enough.
Image: “What’s Left of Utopia” by Julien Mauve