“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
How bright these lights that shine now. Here. In this moment. Blinding us between staccato strikes of darkness that seem to last forever.
Each flash highlighting a simple frame, like a silent movie lit with the phosphorescence of an atomic blast, melting the film it is remembered on and leaving only hallucinogenic traces in the impenetrable darkness that follows, relaying an entire history in the nuclear ashes of our memories over a cup of coffee shared in lament.
Each flash an anchor to any given moment that we revisit again and again until it defines us. Until we use it to define ourselves to others.
A moment of passion. Of fury. Of compassion. Of hunger. Each playing out in fractional tales that seldom, if ever, follow the lines of the acts laid out in steady progression, to ultimately mythologize the story of our lives.
And we, faithful fanatics of Life, believe the tale that plays, act after act, each read after played, and believed as if written by the hand of god itself.
But they are lies.
It is our adherence to these false memories, these golden calf we cow-tow to with learned and obedient humility, that rob the true essence of their meaning.
We are not the sum of our experiences, the memories of which we redirect to fit the image we carry of ourselves, we are the sacred being that stands now at the burning edge of reality, creating life as we wish it to be, or living, true to form, blindly, those maligned memories meant only to keep us beating on the shores of yesterday.
It is always a choice.
We can choose to live in “almost now”, that sleight of mind, the mirage of now we allow to be influenced by the past, as Observer, or we can choose to live on that burning edge of Now, here, mindfully, in each moment, created second by second with an understanding that what we believe to be true is most often contaminated by who we believe ourselves to have been and, instead, to see our Self through the eyes of the Divine as Creators because this, whatever “this” is, has never happened before, whether it be that moment of passion or of fury or of love or simply opening the refrigerator door.
None of it could have happened in any version of the story without you.
I choose Now.
Image by Jana.
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.
Well, I’m back. Though I’m not sure what that means.
First, let me say that I am extremely relieved and thankful that hurricane Florence did not land as the expected Cat 4 even though it means I have no work because I would not wish that sort of devastation on anyone.
I have tried, unsuccessfully, to write about surrender many times now. It is a subject I have a difficult time with because as strong as my faith is and accepting as I can be I still have a hard time separating “surrender” from “giving up”
I don’t want to give up but I do need to surrender.
I have done my best in this last year to change my life and while I have been undeniably successful in many ways I feel I have utterly failed in others. I knew that changing my life would not be easy, but I did believe it was possible.
Now I’m not so sure.
I made just enough money in the week I was deployed to either hold on for another month or to move on. Moving on, in this case, actually means moving backwards, which is something else I have a difficult time with.
At this moment I am seriously considering taking the little money I made and heading back to the oilfield. Trucking has always been a sure bet for me. I can literally go anywhere and find a job driving. The problem is that I honestly despise that life.
My other option is to stay put, dig in, use what I earned to get me to the next storm. The problem is that there may not be a next storm and when the money is gone I will be left without an option. It will be too late in the year to expect to find work in ND and I won’t have the finances to make the move anyway. I will be left finding a driving job in Mobile, AL, home of the lowest driver rates in the nation. Barely above minimum wage.
So I have a choice between a known that I have been trying to escape for most of my adult life, a known that will pay the bills but likely make me want to withdraw again. Maybe for the last time. Or I can choose the unknown. Continue to place my faith in a desire for something better. Accept the possibility of it all falling apart at the last minute and leaving me without any options at all.
For now, in this moment, the best I can do is wave the white flag, retreat from the battle, accept that there are things beyond my control and maybe tomorrow I will begin to make new plans.
But I will not give up.
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.
I will be swallowed by
the things that threaten
I’ve worked so hard
not to be
that in accomplishing my
I will be left
with the mistakes I’ve made
along the way
that in attempting to
something I will never be
I will become
just a shell
filled with good intentions
that I will
and make their life
in my attempts
to make it better
that in attaining
by accident alone
all that I strive
I will lose the chance
to reach higher
all that I may ever be
and in that dark place
a place I’ve come to know
I find solace
if I reach for it in faith
in the depths
a peace that envelops
with the utterance of
a single word
spoken with firm conviction
who I am
meant to be
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
We all have them:
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
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”
– M. Scott Peck
Today I’m working on acceptance. This has always been a difficult one for me because I am capable of so much. I do everything myself; do my own mechanic work, construction, you name it I do it.
But there are things beyond my ability to fix. Things I have no control over. And other things that have resulted from my choices, good or bad, that follow me, linger like specters, haunt my dreams and unbalance me.
Accepting them is not easy but it’s necessary because without acceptance I fall under their control. I am led by them and I suffer and sometimes the pain of those things can be overwhelming.
In accepting my limitations, knowing that my best is always good enough, I render those things powerless. They still exist. They just don’t control me.
This is not always an easy thing to do So today I pray to the Divine Source that I learn to accept those things I can not change, learn from them the lessons I require, and live in peaceful acceptance of them.
I see you there
Withering in the branches of the life you cling to
Withdrawn to your own shade
To protect your roots
Where you wait
For the nourishing rains
And the shining sun
You know will come
To bring you back to life
Like a resurrection fern