With one foot
In front of the other
Back and forth
Left to right
Trying to follow
That keeps moving
At a time
By whatever poison
He has chosen
To end his life
I watch him a while
As he stumbles
Up the stairs
Of a nearby school
To empty his bladder
Then into traffic
He is seeking
Something he has lost
You won’t find it there
You won’t find it there
But I hope you do
Image: “Anywhere you lay your head” by Bill S. 99
In the Tarot the Hermit stand alone on the top of a mountain with lantern held out to see and to illuminate. He is both student and teacher and he tells us that the answers we seek can be found within.
The card has two basic meanings;
First; the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself.
Second; the return from isolation to share knowledge with others.
Several years ago I decided to withdraw from the world. There were many reasons for doing this. Some of them were valid. Most were not.
One of the biggest reasons I did this is because being alone hurt. It hurt so much that I became a hermit. Funny animals us humans; we withdraw when we feel alone.
I’d like to tell you that in those years I became wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, but I did not. What I did do is learn much about myself. Where I came from and how that affected who I am. How to reconcile my life experiences with where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
When I raised my lantern on those things that shaped me, there were things that came into focus that made me uncomfortable and though they initially made me want to remain in isolation they also became the things that drew me out of it. By examining each act of rage or insolence or passion or love or joy or whatever, without passing judgment, neither good nor bad, but simply as a thing that happened or that I did, I was able to gain a clearer image of who I was and, more importantly, who I was not.
In that process I learned one simple truth: If you want to be who you are meant to be you must first stop being who you are.
Once I gained that clearer view I began the excruciating and liberating job of dismantling who I was and recreating who I was meant to be. I say “recreating” because I have come to believe that we are born exactly who we are meant to be and life, doing what it does best, getting in the way of living, rewrites that person. We may be raised or live in a way that is destructive and damaging or make mistakes or have experiences that reshape that person, but that original person, the ego-free infant with no concept of time or space or tragedy or love or hate or pain, remains at our core. Always there vying for our attention. Waiting to be realized.
This process is never ending. I am complete and whole but my work, examining and re-examining and freeing those parts of myself locked away and learning to become a better person, will never be done.
I chose to release myself from the isolation last fall. For me the process took seven years. It was long and painful and lonelier than I can possibly express but it was worth it. I am beginning to realize that person I was born as. Become the person you see now. I like this person.
This is not the only way to become a fully realized human. Not even close. It was my way and the methods I chose ran a high risk of failure so I won’t share those methods but for me they were worth the risk.
What I will tell you is that it came down to this one thing: Courage.
If you are not who you want to be all it takes is the courage to forget who you have pretended to be. There is nothing more liberating than being yourself.
I hope your own journey brings you home.
Like ice slides
On warm water
Is my mind
My shattered house
No longer a home
Stands on crumbled foundations
No room here remains
No place here sustained
Yet within this house
The solitary tenant
Image: “Zeitrads” by Cameron Gray
Tomorrow I will be the mistake
Happy not to have been made
And it will change nothing
Is this my lot?
Is this your great plan for me?
The eternal mistake?
The passing phase?
If this is who I am
Who I am meant to be
Then take from me Faith and Hope
Fill my heart with Apathy
Remove from me Desire
Or let me rejoice in Anguish
Find peace in Chaos
And satisfaction in an empty soul
I was awoken last night
From the deepest of sleep
Devoid of dream
By a strong feminine presence
With ears sharpened by the dullness of slumber
The softest of footsteps outside my door
Light and lithe yet hesitant with uncertainty
She stopped at my door and waited, listening
As I listened and waited
Her raised hand lingered and lowered, lingered and lowered
As if arguing the rationality of knocking on a sleeping mans door
With the most irrational of senses
She turned to leave
Then gave in to the rational and left more quickly
As a reward for giving in to her fears, she silently tripped on the mudflap I leave leaned against the pallets that are my porch to prevent the dogs leash from becoming entangled
(“If I were to move it” I ask myself now “to a more welcome position, would it then only provide further entanglement?” And so decide to leave it alone)
She hurriedly straightened it in a form
(I discovered this morning)
More apt to trip and to catch up the dog
(Which evidence I now offer
As proof of her arrival)
Then quietly as she arrived
Moments later I heard a car door close stealthily in the distance
As if that argument continued into the darkness that finally drove her home
Yet for an hour or so after she’d gone
I could still feel her presence
A gentle reminder
That I am alone