I Like

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A kiss on the cheek
Soft and sweet
Or tongues deep
In secret communion
A hand to hold
While walking down the street
Or tightly between the sheets
Or gently
While watching movies
A shoulder to lean on
A shoulder to offer
For whatever reason
Or none at all
Light cool rain
On a warm summer day
The way you glitter and shine
Any weather that keeps me in
Next to you
Tracing the curve of your spine
That sexy “Ssss”
With fingers or tongue
To places made for pleasure
Those incredible exotic spots
That cover you in constellations
Like a leopard
Sweet Kitten
Your random mewl always makes me smile
And your purrrrr
Man I love your purr
There’s no question what you were
In a past life
Long nights in rockers
Chattering about rock stars
Rabbits
Poetry
Dogs with sirens on their heads
Things profound
Or silly
Or necessary
There is no limit to the chatter
No rules
No end
That
Is freedom
Planting flowers
Hanging lights
Making love all through the night
The scent it leaves on skin
Warmed by touch that never fades
Locked in eyes that never age
Held by love I freely offer
But my favorite thing of all
Is the place I keep
[With love]
For you


Image by Pille-Riin Priske

A note about my recent posts

I know the reason most of you follow my posts here is because I unfailingly find good in even the most dire situations and that some of my more recent posts have been less than positive. This is done with intention.

I don’t talk as often about the difficulty and pain that comes before reaching those positive conclusions and in doing so I may be misleading or least sugar coating the pain that leads to those ends  but I don’t want to give others the impression that living a life of faith and hope, love and gratitude, is some sort of magic pill that makes everything easy.

There is no magic pill. No amount of meditation or breathwork or metta or exercise or healthy eating or yoga can change that. Life holds suffering for everyone. That is an inescapable fact. Nor would I want to escape it. There is a lot to be learned from suffering.

This is not to say that I actively pursue it. Just that I refuse to allow it to make decisions for me.

Having a positive outlook, living in faith, finding gratitude in even the most unbearable situations, are things that are cultured and nurtured. It isn’t natural instinct for any of us.

So here I am, in dire straights, and rather than share only the positive thoughts that are always there, even in the worst times, I have decided to take the opportunity in what I knew would be an extremely difficult and stressful situation and share those other things we all have in common and maybe in doing so I will be able to convey the methods I use to reach those positive ends.

I do feel pain. Fear. Anger. Self doubt. I am no different than you.

So stick it out with me on this journey. Stay tuned, as they say, and let’s find out together where this chapter leads. I have no doubt it will be someplace better!

Be well and know that you are loved.

James

Home

I left Mobile with a smile late in the afternoon yesterday after a last reshuffling of plans and unpacking/repacking of the car.

The original plan, based entirely on cautious habits acquired over the years, was to bring everything with me in case things didn’t work out.

I’ve gotten very good at eliminating all but the essentials. When I left ND to come here I left a fully furnished, down to silverware, toilet paper, and made bed house behind.

This time something had changed. I found myself wanting to load up everything and that wasn’t going to happen because it seems that when the wiring harness in my SUV melted down a few months ago it took out my trailer lights and I wasn’t about to risk another meltdown by attempting to repair them, which meant I couldn’t rent a U-Haul.

There was no way I was going to take everything with and that bothered me.

It wasn’t until a friend stopped by to send me off with a hug and a smoothie (Thank you, Professor!) and began pointing out things that I shouldn’t bother bringing with that it all began to make sense.

I was attempting to pack up something that is impossible to get into a box or a bag and I could spend the rest of my life trying to squeeze it into every available space I could find and never get it all in because its is larger than a $20 blanket or a rug I picked up from the curb:

Home.

I’ve spent so many years without a home that I forgot what it felt like. I even developed this inner philosophy that said wherever I go I’m always going home because the only sense of home I had for so long was the one I carried with me.

Over the last dozen years every time I’ve headed off to a job in the oilfield it eventually lead to another. Then another. And another. Until I ended up alone and isolated.

These things I’ve felt over the last week, the things that have kept me up at night, that frustrated and irritated, aren’t there because I feel alone.

I am not alone.

I have made strong friendships and have the support of people who love me as much as I love them.

The feeling isn’t that of being alone but of becoming alone, again, which is something that scares the crap out of me and keeps me up at night.

I had forgotten what it feels like to belong somewhere. I never would have guessed that place would be Mobile, Alabama and maybe it won’t be forever, but there it is, home.

So I unpacked everything and moved it all to the attic of the mansion I rent rooms in, much to the delight of the owners who were so honestly relieved and happy to know I would be coming back that they hurried to help me.

I left later in the day than I wanted but made it to Missouri around midnight.

When I looked in the back of my little Rodeo I saw that I brought so few things I had room to arrange a makeshift bed. I walked Brown Dog, the best traveling partner I could ever ask for, offered gratitude to the powers that be, shifted a few things to make enough room to stretch out in, then lay down and slept better than I have in days.

so close i can taste

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a light rain
more a mist
a wet veil
cools the humid air
that clutches
and claws
suffocating
like some silent
assailant that cant be escaped
it swirls
in slight eddies
like cool water
in a warm pool
sweat runs off me
in a stream
still it feels like spring
life constantly flows here
something always in bloom
mushrooms sprout and die
sprout and die
the resurrection fern
mostly green
sleeping only hours at a time
the rain seems to never stop
yet does nothing
to subdue the humidity
giving life
to all this glorious green
even I
suffocating in the heavy air
grow


Image by Johannes Hofmann

Life

Almost a year ago I chose to move to Mobile to pursue the possibility of a committed relationship.

I learned quite a bit about love from that relationship and from the bond that remains.

Almost three months ago I made a decision to stay in Mobile to accelerate my training as an independent insurance adjuster instead of heading back North to earn enough money to carry me through until I get deployed.

In those three months I have learned ten times as much as I’ve learned in the last year and I have gained numerous certifications, but I have not worked a single day.

As I write this I lay alone in bed in the rooms I pay for through barter. I don’t know when, or even if, I will get deployed. I don’t know if my car, which I repaired with tape and a prayer after it started on fire due to faulty wiring, will last another month, or a week, or even through tomorrow. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep gas in it. I don’t know if I will ever reach my next goal of turning of writing full time.

While these things and more can and certainly do cause me some stress they do not represent my future nor do they rule how I feel today.

Those decisions I made, to move here and to stay, were based on hope and faith and love and a strong desire and the will to create positive change in my life and because of this they were the right choices regardless of how they turn out.

So all those things I don’t know are really no different than not knowing if I will get struck by a meteor tomorrow, and I don’t see any reason to worry about it.

If I could share just one thing I’ve learned in life it would be this:

I am not defined by the things that happen to me but by how I respond to them.

Am I stressed? Yes.

Will I get through this? Absolutely.

Is this my life? Well, yes. It is.

Am I grateful? Always.

 

 

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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

 

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She makes notes

Annie.Spratt

 

She makes notes
To write her poems
To keep my story straight
I didn’t know I had a story
She pays attention
Wants to know it all
Shares in the gathering
She writes them in a shorthand
I can barely read
Recites them like a prayer
What I drink
Where I go
What I do
Nothing at all about who I know
Or where I’ve been
Or done
Only where and who I am now
She taps them out with her fingers
On my skin
Makes a rhythm with them
That she keeps while making love
With everything she does
In the morning she leaves them behind
They are hard to read
But their meaning is clear
I touch the pen she wrote with
The warmth of her remains
I trace the impressions in the paper
Like the lines in my palm
and find her there

 


 

Image by Annie Spratt