Journal Entry: Thursday, October 4, 2018

 

When I left Alabama I was smiling because I felt like I have a home to go back to and I like that feeling.

When I got to North Dakota it was snowing. The work I will be doing in Montana is at the mercy of the weather. An early winter means less work. The smile began to fade.

When I was forced to settle for a less than optimal camper to be “base camp” while I’m working because the camper I’d lined up was sold to someone who offered more money in cash the smile faded more. That happens. I don’t blame them for getting as much as they could but it left me without options. The only other camp trailer I could find in my price range (read: cheap) was half the size (a mere 12 feet long), missing windows from hail damage long enough that there was mold and mildew and some of the wood was getting soft, it had neither cushions nor mattress nor bathroom nor propane tanks (not that they’d be of any use since neither the fridge nor the heater worked anyway), and no title. Yep, less than, and it cost more than the complete trailer I had lined up.

When I got to Montana, where I’ll be working, it snowed some more and I was told to expect at least one rain day. It is day two up here and I just got off the phone with my new employer. We are in for an early freeze. All work is canceled until or unless the weather breaks but the forecast for the next week is heavy snow and sub-freezing temperatures.

The smile is gone.

I took a gamble and lost. I should never gamble. Being homeless in Austin, TX is one thing. Being homeless in Fairview, MT is something else entirely so I can’t let that happen. I pretty much depleted my funds getting here. All my cards were maxed months ago, that’s one of the reasons I decided to take the risk, I need to catch up.

The man I’m supposed to be working for feels horrible about it and is making some calls to see if he can line me up with some work. There are plenty of panicked farmers around here working around the clock to get their sugar beet harvest in and he knows many of them. There’s a good chance I can get on with one of them and earn enough to either get me by until the weather breaks, at which point the rock haulers will be in a panic to fulfill their contracts and be working around the clock too, or move to Williston or Watford City and pick up a water or oil hauling job. Not even the worst weather stops production.

If faith was food I’d be fat but I’ll need more than faith to pull this off. A little good luck would go a long way right now.

Note to Self

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:

“Fraud!”

“Charlatan!”

“Liar!”

“Pretender!”

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.

This house of Love

Solitude.by.Stellaire.Studio.jpg

Truth
Hope
Faith
Honesty
Courage
Vulnerability
Compassion
Care
Passion
All intentions of Love
Gratitude realized
They are the foundation
Upon which we build
Each supports the other
Builds upon each other
Seamless
The mortar between
Made from their union
A blending
Truthful hope
Hopeful faith
Faithful honesty
Courageous vulnerability
Vulnerable compassion
Compassionate care
Careful Passion
Passionate love
Each stone with deep roots
Based in experience and understanding
All firm
None are loosened by illusion
Or fantasy
Each floor laid
With deliberation and purpose
With careful design
The plan determined
By each preceding
It grows
Stone by stone
Board by board
With every loving action
Every caring word
Touch
Kiss
Passion
Floor upon floor
Rising endlessly
The walls form
Where floors end
Yet have no limit
Rooms without walls
Walls without ceilings
One with Gaia and the Universe
It is a house of Love

 


 

Image: “Solitude” by Christine Lantz

 

 

 

 

 

Change

1280-CATERS_TORNADO_RAINBOW_01_0.jpg

Change is the only constant. Change happens. Which is just a nice way of saying shit happens. But change itself is neither “good” nor “bad”. It is simply change.

Sometimes that change is small, easy to deal with; a fender bender, a missed appointment. Other times it is larger and affects us in unforeseen ways; the work season, already too slow, comes to a sudden halt leaving us worried, possibly near panic, about how we will survive. Sitll other times it is dramatic, profound; our home is blown away in a hurricane so massive it clears the land, burned in a wildfire so out of control that the smoke covers 5 states.

Though change itself is often out of our hands, where those changes lead us is almost always up to us.

Do I give in to the panic? The rage? The fear? Do we rebuild our homes? These are choices. The choices lead to decisions. The decisions, if based on intentions of love and gratitude rather than fear and panic, can lead to unexpected new places. New lives. New love. All of them of our choosing.

It’s okay to be angry with the Universe for these things, She’s used to it. No one wants their home destroyed or to lose their job after barely scraping by, but it’s important to look beyond those events to the possibilities and opportunities they open. New choices. New paths.

I am leaving North Dakota soon. Change has opened new doors for me. Opened my heart and my mind to a new life. I’ll be damned if I sit here and worry about what I don’t have when what I can have is so much more.

Know that whatever change you are facing, we all face it at some level, all of us. In that simple knowledge you are assured that you are not alone. Know also that no matter how insurmountable that change may feel it is simply the Universe saying “I love you. Time for something new.”

What that something is, is entirely up to you.

This change will be good because I will make it good.

 

What you deserve

Life has been hard on you. It has given you challenges you never expected. Pushed you to do things you never thought you would do. It has kicked you when you were down. Stomped on you. At some point it convinced you that you are unworthy. Less than perfect.

Yet here you are, embracing those imperfections. Finding strength in courage and hope. You are authentic. Unafraid to be vulnerable. Honest with others and with yourself. Compassionate. When life knocks you down you simply get back up and proclaim, “You hit like a bitch.”

You have uncaged your wild nature and embraced the divine feminine.

You are a goddess.

You deserve the worship and love of a warrior. A god.

He will support you. Go out of his way to show his appreciation and his love in every way he can. He will dance with you while doing dishes. Kiss you long and deep without reason. Ride the stupid spirit wagon with you at your kids football game just because you are on it.

He will caringly touch and lovingly kiss all those areas, physical, mental, spiritual, that are hard for you to reach or uncomfortable for you to touch alone.

When you are down he will help you up. When you are up he will raise you higher. When life hands you shit he will make fertilizer from it, plant seeds in it, wash it from you, and put you to bed with soft words and hard passion.

He will reflect those things in you that make you a goddess without fear. You will see yourself in him and you will like what you see. You can be vulnerable around him because he will never take advantage of you. Never use your vulnerability against you. Because he is also vulnerable.

He will bring out the best in you by being his best. Only his best is good enough for you.

He will encourage and help you to grow and in doing so grow with you. Not separately. Not as competition. Together. As One.

He will do these things because he wants to. Not because he needs to. Not because he feels obligated. Because he wants to. He wants to because he loves you.

You are a goddess, you deserve to be loved like one.

 

 

 

Image: “The Fountain of Love” by Jean Honoré Fragonard, c. 1785

A Promised View

Gentrys.Sky.jpg

She sits at the edge of the world
Unconcerned with my silent inquiry
In peaceful examen
Contemplating All
Serene in her surrender
To the known and unknown
Welcoming a future
She creates with intention
Every thought with purpose
Every movement decided
Every word chosen
Mindful and accepting
She gazes out upon her world
Created with the meaning she gives it
Surveying beyond the smoky skies
To a place where a promised view
Of the Milky Way
Conforming to her vision
Overlays the grey-blue background
With colors of her choosing
Where eagles glide
On winds that whisper the Sopurkh
While harmonizing
With the mystic forest below
Home to true magick
Where compassion is spoken
Not only when needed
Because compassion is always needed
But with consistent care and kindness
Where passion is more than a line in book
Or a poem
But resides in every touch
Every look
Every kiss
Because passion belongs everywhere
In everything
To everyone
Where Love is tangible
Something she can see
Touch
Smell
Taste
Drink
Something to be shared
.
I see her world merge with my own
It is a world
Where the promise of a view of the Milky Way
Is kept
If only in her heart
and in a picture I take of her unaware
.
.
.
.
.
.
If you’re not familiar with the So Purkh a good explanation and recording can be found here: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/so-purkh/

One person at a time

 

homeless-man-833017_640

As published in Elephant Journal 8/5/17

 

I see a young woman punished by a mind that differs from my own pushing a shopping cart through the dregs of society.

The aisles of humanity staggered randomly like blockades of sheeple that spite or ignore or pretend she does not even exist.

She winds carefully through the labyrinth. A test of the gods. A test of her worthiness that she believes she failed long ago.

I wonder: What test? What god would be so cruel to allow this woman, who carries the spark of the divine itself within her breast, to live like this? Why threaten to extinguish the gift of that spark?

I step in front of this woman, only occasionally glancing behind, and part the cascade of ignorance like Moses in a sea of flesh so she can make her way to the hovel that is her home.

I see a man on a corner with a worn sign that says “will work for food” and I know, without a doubt, that he has neither worked nor eaten in far too long. I watch the constant flow of people pass by like a river of wealth that is just beyond his reach while he slowly dies from dehydration.

I wonder: Why should he work for what the planet gives freely? Why should he be reduced to begging for that which comes naturally?

I step into the closest convenience store, a place convenient only to those with means, and spend what little is left on my debit card to ensure that he will not go another day without that which is his right, and I bring it to him with one request—that if he knows another who has not eaten, he share it. He looks at me and offers a portion, and I gently refuse because I have a job.

I see an old man struggling to carry his meager supplies to his humble home. He staggers under the weight of the few small bags that are his sole source of sustenance for the next month. His “retirement” is barely enough to pay for the two rooms in an ancient building that could, at any time, be condemned and leave him homeless.

I cross the street, add my own bags to his, and carry them all to the crumbling facade which represents the dreams of his youth. Without a word, I leave all the bags, including my own, at his door and walk away in silence as he speaks the only word we shared in those six blocks, “Why?”

I wonder: Where did he work so hard that I can see the memories of his past etched deeply into his face? Why did the system he paid into for so long leave him with not so much as cab fare to transfer a true month’s worth of food? Why would my actions, which seem so natural to me, leave him questioning my motives?

When I return home, I see myself in the mirror: this man that proclaims love, who shares it freely with the hungry, who widens the aisle with his imposing figure and intimidates the sheeple with a glance so the meek can pass, who carries the bags for those who are too weak to carry them, and leaves them with more than they started with—where would he be if not for the love and care of the one person who first offered the very same compassion that he feels for others: his Self.

I see their faces in my reflection. I feel their pain, know their suffering, and, in fact, share it.

Where would I be? Exactly where I am now—with them.

I quietly acknowledge my gratitude to a universe that gave me the gift of this vision and know that I am home.

If you want to change the world, begin with yourself, and then carry that change into the world one person at a time.

~

~

~

Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay/quinntheislander
Editor: Travis May

While I Wait for You

 

bed empty room

 

I don’t know you
not yet
but while I wait for you
alone
not abandoned
not incomplete
not unworthy
but deserving
hopeful
prepared
I will love myself
like I want to be loved

it is in my desire to be loved
that I have learned to love
so I will embrace my desire
to be loved by you

I will build my home
my life
my work
around your arrival
knowing that you
will one day join me

I will sing my song
at the top of my voice
from the highest perch I can find
like a solitary bird
in the highest limb
of the most dead tree
in an empty field
trebles its enticing
and inviting song
in search of harmony
hoping
you will hear

I will touch myself
in those places that need healing
through those cracks
and crevices
in my armor
that protect the deep wounds
and empower my Self
and in doing so
I will become the best
Me
that complete body
and soul
and mind
that I can possibly become
knowing that you
are doing the same
while you wait for me

I will write of my passion
and fury
and great love of you
because in doing so
I will remind you that I am here
waiting
knowing that you will see my will in my words
my strength
my courage
my love
and you
my Beloved
will have so many stories to share
that Our Book
that divinely inspired chorus
written over the years
is but an introduction to volumes

I will practice Love on myself
until the day you arrive
knowing that you
will need me to love myself
as much as I
will need you to love yourself
only through loving ourselves
can we ever love another completely

if that day never comes
if I spend the rest of my time
writing about the passion
and unconditional love
I have for you
a love that threatens
to devour me
from inside
should it never find release
it will yet shine so brightly
that it shames the sun
should it never find a home in your heart
I will know
that I have loved you
as best I can
and I will still have spent my life
loving you

 

 

You should have been there

Snapseed

I carried you in my heart, as a part of my soul, as I always do, but you should have been there.

You should have been with me as I travelled from place to place searching for my Self.

Should have been there as I raged and cried. As I laughed and sang and danced and tried to sleep.

You should have been there holding my hand as the fear and tension grew and subsided, raised and fell, like waves.

Should have shared my joy at reaching the summit of that long trail and my sorrow at finding it empty. Should have held me close as the tears flowed. A river of emotion. Like the rain that refused to fall.

Should have been there so we could have made love on that high stoney peak. Or in the lush green valley below. Or along the miles of trail leading there. On the side of the road while I decided which direction to go next. In the parking lot of those places I had no real interest in being. Not without you you. Not without you.

You should have been there when I found myself, there by that hidden lake in the middle of nowhere. There as my eyes cleared and my inner turmoil subsided. There as I found my feet exactly where they should be; below me on the path I chose so long ago. No longer trying to outrun me. No longer leading me to those distant places.

You should have been there but you weren’t because we are not together. Not a “thing”.

Never have been.

May never be

May be

For now I am the man you want but are, for good reasons, afraid to have and you are the woman I do not deserve. Not yet

But you should have been there.

I wanted you there.

I know you wanted that too.