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live.fearlessly

 

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”
– Kevyn Aucoin
I’m back in Mobile after driving 2,000 miles in 2 days. I’m not sure what the hurry was, except to get it over with, and now that I’m here I can’t decide if it’s better to stay a while or get my things and head back to the wastelands. I guess I’ll take a few days to figure it out.

It’s hard not to think about the last year in terms of time lost. Effort and emotion and money that all seem to have been spent pointlessly because I find myself back where I began this journey, working in the oilfields, alone.

While I can’t argue that I gave up a lot in the last year I also can’t argue that I gained much and this situation, however intolerable, is temporary.

Seeing that isn’t easy. I have to look beyond the furnished home I simply gave away to be here. Beyond the debt I created attempting to enter a life I wasn’t born into. Beyond the personal and emotional goals that evaporated like a mist. Beyond the pain.

Beyond all that are the amazing experiences I had along the way. Experiences that opened my eyes to possibilities. Experiences that led me to new friends. Experiences that taught me about love and allowed me to experience it like I never have before. Beyond that is a future I haven’t even imagined yet.

I lost nothing.

Okay, so I’m rebuilding a life from nothing again. I’ve done that before. Experience tells me I’ll be fine. I am lacking direction and goals but I’ll find them or create them. I’m in a sort of free fall and reaching out in a hundred directions but that’s what you do when you fall. That’s how you land on your feet. Leave it to luck and you will almost certainly crash and burn.

But I’ve crashed and burned before and came out just fine. It’s not so bad. Nothing like Hollywood would want you to believe, where the car speeds uncontrolled off the road and invariably explodes.

In real life you never really go up in flames and you don’t “lose” control so much as give it away. Giving up control is a choice. Sometimes it’s even the right choice. Not this time. The crash happens in slow motion in real life. I have time to make decisions. To control the damage. It plays out for weeks, months, even years, but soon enough it will come to an end, I will eject and tumble and roll onto my feet and dust myself off and continue on my way.

Having been here before makes me fearless. It’s scary. It sucks. It’s difficult and time consuming and a real concern at any age but there is nothing for me to fear.

Life is for the living. Not for the worrying about living or the cost of living or the pain of living. Those things just come along for the ride. Life is there to live. For those who live.

Live fearlessly. But wear your seatbelt.

Super moon eclipse – January 20

Here we are at another full moon. It’s also a super moon which means it’s closer to our planet than usual. And tonight there will be a lunar eclipse.

Very cool. Worth watching.

This one is actually the second half of a full moon I described last year. If you made it this far, yay you! If you made it this far with your partner, yay both of you!

Here comes the fun part!

It’s likely that you’ll be fidgety and short tempered and completely lacking patience for anything. Yay!

What’s so damn good about that? Well, not much. But it does get worse so hold on a second.

Remember how last year I talked about the possibility of seeking relationships outside the one you’re currently in? Yup, it’s gonna happen again. And if your relationship lasted through it last time and you think it will again, don’t. It won’t survive a second round. Woo!

So where the hell is the good news I’m so excited about?

If you listened to me when I explained all this last year then I know you took my advice and that means you are waay ahead of the curve on this one. All you need to do now is hold on for the sweet ride, try not to get distracted, and be there for your friends who didn’t head the warning.

My advice this time around: Be aware that impatience and emotional stress and frustration are all impermanent. They stop by for a visit, we say hello, swap tales, and then they go away.

This is a great time to show your friends and family what you’ve learned; patience, understanding, compassion, gratitude, love.

Heavy on the love. It will take you and your loved ones far.

There it is, part two of a season in hell.

It will pass soon and when it does it will feel very much like waking up.

Get outside if you can and take a look. It will be worth seeing. Here’s a good website with times and locations:

https://earthsky.org/tonight/supermoon-lunar-eclipse-january-20-21

Be well!

Home is…

Andrew.Draper-home.is

 

Winter has tightened its grip, choking out the last work days of the season, and I am officially unemployed.

I wrote before how Alabama had come to feel like Home for me. I was looking forward to going back when the season ended but that’s not going to happen.

Instead, I will drive almost 1,900 miles to Mobile not to return home but to retrieve what I left behind. Then I will turn around and come straight back North to wait out winter and put in a full season come spring.

The upside is that I will have some time to write in solitude and after more than a year of having my belongings strewn across three states I will finally have most of it in one place.

I, however, will remain divided for as long as it takes to find that place I call Home.

But what is “Home?”

For me, the answer is simple: Home is where I want to be and it’s where I’m wanted to be.

I try to picture myself in the places I prefer. The places I want to be. Deep in a forest. On the side of a mountain by a stream. In the desert. They are isolated places. Secluded. Desolate. Lonely.

They are places I’ve been before and in many ways they are the places I most belong, but there isn’t anyone in those places that wants me there and being there first makes it difficult for that to ever happen. I’ve tried. It didn’t work. Those places require a joint decision. To go there alone is to remain alone.

My thoughts sometimes turn to places I haven’t been. Uruguay. Patagonia. Corfu. Iceland. Knowing that these are impossible places for me to live, at least in this moment, somehow makes it easier to accept that it will not happen.

I can’t help revisiting the past when I think about home. The places I’ve been. The people I’ve been with. Other than my son, who is now grown and with a son of his own, I can’t think of one person who really wanted me to be there. Me. Not an image of me. Not my income. Not my pain. Not a warm body to share a bed. Me.

I do have friends in Mobile who want me there, but they are going through changes in their lives that put me in the way. So I should add that Home is also a place where I belong.

Right now I belong where I am. It’s where I need to be. Working in the oilfield is my best option to reach my goals. But it’s not where I want to be and other than my employer there isn’t anyone here who wants me here. I’ve sacrificed those aspects of home to fulfill obligations and needs and desires and hopes.

Home. Such a simple concept and yet always seeming to be just out of reach.

I’ll find it yet. Or maybe it will find me. Or maybe I’ll just wake up one day and be there.

Until then, this place, here, where I share my heart and my soul with any who will read, is my home, and my family spans the globe.

I’m good with that.

Welcome home.

 


 

Image by Andrew Draper.

Patience, Old Man

patience.persevere

 

In a field at the edge of nowhere, where endless sky meets infinite horizon, a man troubled by indecision and doubt sits in a borrowed chair inside a borrowed home that is little more than shelter from the freezing wind.

Sometimes he cries. Other times he rages. Most often he berates himself for not reaching his potential all the while aware that judgment and anger are but symptoms and road markers, way signs on his path, that his brain recycles over and over, directing him to the questions that need answering.

He attempts to call up, intellectually, spiritually, mystically, the wisdom that exists all around him. Always there. Always just out of reach. He stretches to touch it, to grasp it as it flits by him, a leaf on the wind, a snowflake, smoke from the incense he burns, a sound from outside, and agonizes with its fleeting nature.

It is in the reach, in the stretch, in the agony that he exists.

It is where he finds his answers.

Sometimes those answers take time to discover, to uncover because, in truth, the answers are always there, waiting to be revealed.

Sometimes I get impatient about those revelations.

Sometimes they never come.

Sometimes.

Some time.

And just like that, there’s my answer: Patience, old man. As long as I continue looking, stretching myself, reaching for the ungraspable, all will be revealed in its own time.

Yes, it’s difficult to maintain balance between actively searching and patiently waiting, but that is the balance. Not to overreach nor to expect the answers to questions I haven’t even formed, but to continue moving forward knowing that all will be revealed in its own time as long as I continue searching.

So I sit in this borrowed chair, in this borrowed home, and reach.

 

 


 

Image by Photo by Thong Vo.

 

 

 

Personal Update – November 8, 2018

Surrender isn’t the same as giving up but it sure can feel like it.

The insurance adjusting never paid off. Thousands of dollars, 6 licenses, 32 certifications, over 600 hours of training, and I never worked a single job. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

I’ll take what I learned there and try to apply it somewhere else but in order for me to do it right and to continue pursuing my goals to turn to writing full time I need to be able to support myself and can’t do that alone on the substandard wages I made in Mobile.

So I came back North to finish out the season hoping I could make enough before freeze to at least pay off the debt I created trying to change careers and bank some to see me through winter, but it’s not happening. Freeze came early. The season is pretty much over.

Unless something unexpected happens I have no choice but to commit to driving truck for the full season next year. The man I am working for in Montana is providing a comfortable trailer rent-free as part of my pay so saving money will be easier.

I’ll head back to Mobile for a few months when I know for sure the work season is over and return in the spring.

I was optimistic and hopeful when I moved to Mobile last year and while I’m not giving up on my goals I can’t help feeling like I failed even if it is just a temporary setback.

But that’s just a feeling and I am neither defined nor controlled by it.

I will make the best of what I am given and keep moving forward no matter what.

We all have them

We all have them:

Good days

Bad days

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

My journey continues

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.

 

 

A change of plans

Laid out with careful consideration
Like cards from Tarot
Each option an action
Each person an archetype
Each possibility an outcome
Each potential interacting
with each laid card
All placed with skilled hands
Read with trained eyes
Aware of interrelation
Accepting of interdependence
Interpreted without influence
and an understanding of consequence
A future is revealed
Under the Seer’s gaze
Considered with attention
Reread with intention
Then shared
Defined
Explained
Discussed
Reshuffled
Re-laid
Reinterpreted
Again and again
Until agreed upon

 

Then carelessly laid aside

ignored

and forgotten

 

Now

deck in hand

I once again shuffle the deck

and place the cards one by one

to reveal

only

the direction of my path

without expectation:

 

Forward.

Always forward.

 


Image: Two of Discs from the Thoth deck.

Timeless

timeless.by.Moe.Shirani.jpg

Time is as often friend as foe. It flows steadily. Never ending. We can tell ourselves that it is an illusion. That only “Now” exists. But that’s a half truth. Now is the only place we exist but we live in a progression of time. In our human form we have a beginning and an end. We are born, we live, we die. What happens in between is a combination of circumstances and events guided by will or careless indifference and interpreted by intention and understanding or misunderstanding.

I chose to embrace that knowledge some time back. To acknowledge that I had a beginning. That this body will at some point fail. That how I live now is entirely up to me. Not everyone gets that choice. Some are born into short and brutal lives. Some never get the chance to live at all.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I see glimpses from time to time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the arms of my Beloved. Compassionate days that flow into passionate nights. A flow of energy between us that builds and shares and expands. Perpetual. Timeless.

I want those things.

Time, however, often chooses the pace and, thus, can affect the quality of Now… if we allow it to. Plans made need to be shuffled again and again before they can be implemented and even then I must remain flexible to last second alterations.

This is where I am now: Making the best of unexpected changes. Unexpected changes making the best of me. Guiding the future with intention and understanding with one difference, mutual desire.

Not the base and often destructive sexual or sensual desire of immature love, though certainly that exists, how can it not? I do desire the physical connection of my lover. Intensely. More than that, however, is the desire to give and receive love. Physical. Emotional. Psychological. Spiritual. To create something together under the guidance of those intentions of compassion, connection, union, care, growth, and so much more that I so often describe as simply “love and gratitude” and through those intentions build something lasting. Eternal. Timeless.

Today the flow of Now across which time passes and at the edge of which I exist is both friend and seeming foe. It prevents immediate satisfaction of our goals. Blocks access to the woman I love. But every second that passes brings me ever closer to her and to Divine Union with her. In this it can only be considered friend.

I could focus on the obstacles or focus on the goal. The choice is made easy by these facts:

The obstacles are temporary.

Love is timeless.

I choose love.

 


 

Image: from the “Timeless” series by Moe Shirani