Find Me

Find me!
Find me where you left me
Where you found me before

On the side of a trail
Near a lake
Under the stars
In a field
On a mountain

In the sweet scent of spring
The blistering heat
Of endless summer
In the autumn mist
That that hides the shadows
The frozen plains
That bind and blind

In the pecan
And oak

In the evergreen
And cactus

In the stone
And sand
And rolling hill
And rain
And endless sky
And raging sun

Find me!

Find me!

Find me!

 

Find your Self!

 


Image by J M Greff

 

Viewpoint

I’m at a roadside park just off I-94 overlooking a part of the Badlands called Painted Canyon.

The sun is setting to my left. It highlights the layered colors of the sprawling valley below me in intense blues, fiery reds, bruised purpled, living greens and a hundred shades of grey and brown.

The clouds are lit from within on a background that slowly shifts from pale blue to a deep violet capturing all the colors of my imagination.

Just past the edge of this vantage is an ancient juniper with dark berries. Balancing on the edge of its sparse limbs a meadowlark sings. In the distance a red tailed hawk circles.

At my feet are perfect yellow flowers that iridescent green bees suckle at. Ants clamber in the deep grass, carrying supplies to stock their underground metropolis.

A child’s balloon floats by me. A red island drifting on a cool breeze. Dancing with the invisible.

In the distance a child cries. Another laughs. The incessant sounds of man, the murmuring chatterous monotony of high and low and hushed and shouted tones and nearby traffic and all their smells, sweet and masked and dirty, are all broken, drowned in a profound silence that has no name.

Standing at the fence that keeps humanity at bay, separate from the world we were born into, is a young couple, giddy with love, arms wrapped around each other, smiling, content, joyous. Their love shines so brightly that it adds to the glow of the setting sun. A stranger takes their picture, hands the camera back to them with a “You’re welcome” and with no more than a quick glance into eternity and a shrug, walks quickly back to their car. They have someplace to be. An itinerary. A plan. They will miss so much. Too much.

I take in the sight and am filled with a deep peace, with the miracle of this moment. It is captured within me and I am captured within it and it lives forever.

Not in the past. Not as a memory, now, because Now is all that ever exists.


Image by J M Greff

Be still

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Be still now
Let your breath slow
Listen to your heart
It knows you
Knows your needs
Fears
Desires
Listen closely
And you will hear it whisper
Be still now
Let the fire within you glow
Listen to your soul
It speaks to with love
Compassion
Tender care
It wants only the best for you
Only ever the best
Be still now
Let the world you know
Pass by without you
Just for now
Just for this moment
Here
Now
Be still
And let Love in

 


Why I rewrote the narrative of my life

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.

A good heart

a_good_find

My vehicle
Wasn’t always taken care of
Old as it is
It shows the scars
Of its rough history
It’s paint
Lacks the luster of its early days
The interior
Is cracked and stained and torn
Sometimes it requires repair
I have the tools
The ability
Patience
I do what I can
But some of the work
Is too little too late
And it breaks down
If I could do it again
Start from the beginning
With the skills and knowledge
I have today
I would take better care of it
So it would last longer
It would shine
Be clean
It would have fewer dents and scars
A better life
But I’d keep the engine from this one
Because I run good

 


 

Image: “A Good Find” by J M Greff

 

 

 

Storm


.
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
Sleeping

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

 

Captured

misty.veil

Arms out touching phantom limbs and ephemeral vine.
Closed eyes focused on aery chimera that plays like
faded film, enshrouding me in palpable memory like a mist.
August oaks and resurrection fern and aged buildings
replaced by towering cypress, snow wreath,
rhododendron tall as the homes lining these neglected streets
broken by root allowing the very least of natures
determination to reclaim, one minuscule stem, one straggling stalk,
one unnoticed flower at a time, its verdant refuge,
once sanctuary to boundless existence long since
consumed by distressed homes, distressed economies,
distressed people.

Not now. Not in this moment. In this moment I am alone in
ancient woods making my way along a secret trail
winding through prehistoric marsh fed by countless miles of
free flowing rivers giving life to this lush alluvium filled with
musky smells of decayed wood and stale water and something
sweetly familiar I can’t put a name to.

If you saw me there, on that canted sidewalk, you might think
I was mad or lost or wandering under the influence of
something other than my imagination. If you looked
closer you would see a smile. If you noticed me at all.

More likely you would pass by without second glance
accelerating to whatever urgent appointment or function or task you
scurry to. “Nevermind the crazy man”, mother says to
daughter, ears stopped with buds to obstruct the uninvited,
eyes adjusted to the screen of the tiny world she holds in her
hands while thumbs impulsively tap out affirmations or declarations or
insinuations with inherent indifference to a faceless complicant
selected as benefant, marginally amused at mother’s dumb
mouth, assigning words consistent with expectations in place
of those overridden by disapproved music. “Are you listening to me?”

Mother chatters voicelessly. A silent movie. A mime.
Daughter sneers. Fires a message of discontent into the void.
Co-conspirators.

You have missed far too much.
Where are you going
that you have no time to look?
To see.
What horizon are you fixed upon
that blinds you to miracles?
To live.
How can you occupy the same space
without sharing it?
To love.

I see you drive by as in a dream, intruder, trespasser to my vision.
Out of place and time. The vision is disrupted.
The winding path is replaced by
fractured concrete.
Smells of sacred land replaced by
exhaust fumes and humanity.
Rhododendron to azalea.
Snow wreath to palm.
Cypress to oak.
Marsh to asphalt.
The veil lifts.

The image remains.

Captured.


Image: “Misty Veil” by JMGreff

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Fierce grace/fruitful darkness

 

I fear
one day
I will be swallowed by
the things that threaten
to annihilate
and obliterate
the man
I’ve worked so hard
not to be

that in accomplishing my
intentions
I will be left
only
with the mistakes I’ve made
along the way

that in attempting to
achieve
something I will never be
I will become
just a shell
filled with good intentions

that I will
through misdirection
mislead another
and make their life
worse
in my attempts
to make it better

that in attaining
by accident alone
all that I strive
to become
I will lose the chance
to reach higher
never becoming
all that I may ever be

and in that dark place
a place I’ve come to know
too well
I find solace
if I reach for it in faith
comfort
in the depths
a peace that envelops
with the utterance of
a single word
spoken with firm conviction
“Surrender”

I am
exactly
who I am
meant to be
exactly where
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

Metta

In order that I may understand the path to peace:

Let me be able, upright, and authentic, impeccable with my word, gentle and caring.

Let me be content and easily satisfied, without pride.

Let me cultivate a boundless, limitless, unconditional love and compassion for all beings and all things in the world.

Let my prayer be:

“May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large, great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,

Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,

Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.

Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”

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