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 🙂
The following excerpt is from my latest contribution to Elephant Journal.
When I decided to change my life, the goal was not only to change who I am today but to change who I was yesterday.
I know that sounds a little sketchy, but follow me for a minute.
One of my brothers and I once had an argument about what color a particular car my dad owned was. I said red, he said blue.
That’s a pretty big difference and yet…
You’d be doing me a favor if you finished reading the article HERE.
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
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
“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.
I often talk about “Now” as being the only time we ever have without really addressing the bigger question: How much time do we really have?
That question can be answered in two ways:
Our true Self, the consciousness that resides within these temporary vessels, comes from the Source and returns to it after our time in this form is complete and while whatever happens after that is open for debate it is seldom argued that the Source, The Universe, God, whatever name you choose to call it, is timeless. Infinite. So we too are also infinite.
At least for a time.
Yet, it can not be denied that we, here, now, in our physical form, live in a space of linear time. We are born. We exist for a while. We return to the infinite. Time exists only in that brief existence between birth and death and the time we have is incredibly short.
While in this form we experience a physical reality. We touch, taste, see, smell, think, feel. We age. We laugh. We cry. We love. We experience pain and joy and suffering and gain and loss and, eventually, ultimately, we experience death.
When I look at myself in the mirror I can see the passage of time. The laugh lines and crows feet. The greying. The scars that serve as reminders of who I have been and the things I have done. The man I am becoming day by day. Minute by minute. Second by second.
That man I see is no more “Me” than the boy I saw at ten exploring the world. Or the young man on his own in his teens and twenties finding his way, losing himself, struggling to become. Or the self critical man in his thirties hardened by experience. Or the finally awakened man in his forties.
When I close my eyes I can see that I am all of those previous versions of myself.
And none of them.
I am more, and I am made more by my experiences. All of them.
Like I said, however, this time is short. Too short. Too short to experience all the things I want to experience. Too short to “get over” the negative things that have happened. Too short to learn all the things I want to learn. To laugh as much as I want.
It is long enough to experience amazing things. To learn from all my experiences. To laugh joyfully. To love deeply.
But only if I keep my intentions alive and maintain a balance.
I will never laugh enough if I don’t seek out the company of those who bring me joy or do the things that make me happy. I will never learn enough if I am not constantly aware of how limited my time here is and how important it is to always be learning. I will never love deep enough if I keep the people I love at arms length or withdraw or set myself to fail or if I never truly love myself.
The balance is found in how I live and the best use of my time here, Now, is to live as fully and fearlessly as I can.
Life is for the Living. Live, Now.