Storm


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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

 

Something Lost

Something Lost

With one foot
Mostly
In front of the other
He shuffles
Back and forth
Left to right
Trying to follow
A boulevard
That keeps moving
Disappearing
One
Retracted
Step
At a time
His eyes
His mind
Blinded
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
Horns wailing
Cautioning
Cursing
He is seeking
Something
Something he has lost
I think
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

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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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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A kiss

With a promise
Of ecstasy
You press softly
Against my cheek
Your dewy nectar
Enchanted potion
Sweet and musky
Fills my senses
Drives me on
To higher pleasure
Fingers touch and probe
To unfold the petals of the flower
Revealed before me
A delicate treasure
Open and inviting
Whispering delight
In carnal sighs
Escaping parted lips
Honeyed tears flow
Urging me on
Demanding “More!”
Burning with desire
Our lips touch
Tiny sparks of living passion
Arc between us
To light the secret space
That only we can travel
This night is ours
You pull me tight
Then
With a shudder
You let go
The promise
But one of many
Fulfilled
The rest will follow


Picture taken at Bellingrath Gardens.

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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Control

ship.at.sea
Life regularly spins out of control, beyond my ability to keep it in check. Road blocks appear from nowhere or I look around my self and realize that I have no idea where it is that I am going.

The truth is that I am so deep on my path that much of my future is already decided no matter what I do. Knowing that will not prevent me from continuing to alter that path by taking careful steps that improve life. Not just my life, yours, and truly, all life.

Maybe that’s expecting too much from myself but it is what I am working, and most often failing, at.

How easy it is for some people to do those things. Some seem born into it. Gifted from birth and then guided through life while I seem to always be restricted. Prevented. Partly because of decisions I’ve made in the past and partly because I was simply born into a world that lacked proper guidance. Most of the guidance I have received has been either internal, and therefore slow to process, or divine and therefore impossible to interpret.

But maybe that’s the plan. Maybe I’m supposed to learn slowly and to exert myself rather than have it made easy, to focus my efforts in the wrong places along the way in order to learn by mistake rather than by success.

I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t care.

Why should I?

Life is a steady progression of difficult decisions for everyone. It would be delusional for me to think that I might be exempt from that fact and it would be a loss of faith to believe that I will ever be let down or led astray by the Divine. She has never done either, something I am always grateful for, so I have no loss of faith.

I’m human. So I am bound to doubt myself from time to time or feel completely unworthy of the goals I have set for myself or have fears. Human. Go figure.

In the end I know, despite the fact that I have very little control over what happens, everything will work out exactly as it should and I will guide positive change as much as I possibly can and accept whatever it is that is beyond my sphere of influence.

I may not control the ocean that heaves this ship with waves the size of mountains to force it in new directions, but I man the rudder.

I will always steer towards home.