Saturday, November 29, 2008
This would be nothing special except that perhaps I have spent my life running from the truth in one of its many forms. It seems the more I discover the truth the more I realize how afraid of it I am, or was, or will be. The truth has never been my friend, whether from the parents who denied me of it, or the childhood spent finding ways to bend it, or adulthood lived ashamed of it. No, I have become so unfamiliar with truth that it seems almost foreign to me, and those things foreign to us seem to scare us the most.
Yet love, if not life, demands nothing but the truth from us all. Whether it be the reality of suffering, the loss of love, the bitter chill of hate and intolerance we are forced at some time in our existence to face truth head on. We may be ugly, we may be fat, we may be mean, we may be short, we may be...
We may be, period. Regardless of what follows that simple grouping of three words, we may be. Truth is those three words, and what follows those words are perception bound in a need to be something else. I may be ugly, depending on the one describing me. I may be fat in in a room of those thin. Yet I may be, or I am, regardless of what follows.
It is this simple truth that helps me cope with such a fear of that truth. If what I am is and what follows irrelevant, is the truth really to be feared? Is the judgment of others that which need concern me at all? Is it just that the I fear not the truth, but that judgment of others? I can see in my life that there were very few times I feared the truth, yet I can see clearly how I fear the consequence and the judgments of others. Perhaps the best way to find truth is to disregard the judgment of others and to just allow what is to be.
Simple enough, let the test begin.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The question quickly became in his mind, "better for who?". The answer was all too evident as time was to pass.
He withdrew to things. In a new home on a busy highway the boy now sat alone where they once were more friends to count. The kids - the only kids he could ever remember knowing - were gone, replaced by trees, his toys, and the many trucks and cars that went zooming by his new home. He learned to hate the people who brought him here. Not really a "hate", but a resentment caused by the fact that they simply would not understand what they had done to him. The fact that they did not care only compounded the issue, children could adapt and overcome anything it seemed. Well, at least those things their parents thought we necessary for them to overcome.
So he created a circle of attachments with his toys he had brought to this new world. He didn't have many at this point, so he struggled to keep them working and close by as to make sure they were not discarded like his life had been. The once busy youth found himself replacing his friends with toys, he loneliness placated only in the times he would share with the only remaining vestiges of a life he wished he could return to. As he saw it, he was not poor in his old life, but he certainly was in this one. Sure, the house was bigger, the food better, and the clothes nicer, but he could not help feeling as if his soul was starving and that he had instantly become poorer the last time he left his old yard. The last time he saw those friends he would never see again was the moment he became the poorest person in his world.
One day his new father explained to him that his old "junk" needed to be cleaned up and thrown away. The boy had been conditioned by his mother to love this man as a sinner loves his savior, that the world would begin and end with this simple man who, nice as he was, was not the savior this boy needed. Sure, he would learn a lot as from this man as time went by, but he never would enjoy a relationship that all boys need with their father. Later in life this boy would question whether or not it was he who kept the relationship from thriving, but such perfect hindsight only confirmed that the lies, the beatings, and the man who stood by and let them happen simply was not worthy of such trust. He was a good man, he was an kind man, but he was not his stepson and his stepson was not him. Such are the ties that bind us through the acts that create us.
The man wished to clean out his new son's "junk". The boy simply had no choice in the matter, even as he was employed to assist in the carnage. With all of the strength he could muster this young man took all those things that bound him to his wealthy existence and threw them into bags. Gone were the things that calmed him in his times of loneliness. Gone was the stuffed pony he had had since his life began. Gone was the wind up radio that played music to him in his infancy. With each toy he played one last time before sending them to their doom. With each toy he held back tears that were months in the making.
Off to the dump they went. Dumps were the benefits to the new farming life his mother had conscripted him to. There, all kinds of things were sent to their graves. Today, a vast chuck of his life was being laid to rest, and with these things the domination of desolation was sure to be complete. With each toss his heart shattered just a bit more. He needed to be brave, this test was one he must not fail, and the tears that were streaming down his face he reasoned were from the bitter cold winds ripping at his soul. Finally, the carnage was complete, although the end had not brought with it the peace he so desperately sought.
One final goodbye to his life was all it took. He saw it instantly under the other debris brought by his new father to this land from the house they have bought. Under the garbage his stuffed blue pony looked back at him as if to say "you betrayed me and are leaving me to die in this hell." Those eyes looked mysteriously sad and disappointed, and the guilt took over this young boy's heart as if fell into the pit alongside his friend. Still, he must remain strong and brave, lest his new father abandon him like all others had before him.
The ride home was a blur. The man was talking to his new son, but the boy simply was walking elsewhere. Somewhere between the dump and home, it became apparent to the boy that his strength was misguided, that it was not in acting complicit to the betrayal he had just committed that there was strength, but standing up to it. The tears from the months of change, the loneliness that change had spawned, and the emptiness that his new life had caused. No one had noticed, no one had cared, but now the boy was going to let it out. And let it out he did.
To the man's credit, he heard the boy and took him back to the dump. Nothing looked the same to the youth, and the pony he could not find. He looked for as long as the man would allow, but saw nothing of the friends he had betrayed without a peep. Perhaps had he just spoken sooner none of this would have happened. Perhaps if the man could feel any sorrow it would not have happened either.
In adulthood, the boy realized that the man took him to a different dump, as to let the boy continue to believe that it was he who had failed his friends. The boy who would become a man realized just how much of an impact that day would have on him, even decades later. This is but one story of a life lived from underneath the greatness that could have been the boy, if only he could have understood sooner the reason for it all.
It is not this night I fear, but the dawn that shall break it. From whence such fears arose I cannot be certain, but fears divine they are in such scope as to shake the very foundation of their end. I walk alone, I think alone, I am alone; such things may or may not be true, but such things are surely the tremors that break the stillness of this night.
One can be lost and yet be found, and truly I am such a man. I look around me and smile brightly at the sights of love’s existence in my own, knowing full well that this breath of emotion is born in the darkest recesses of my being. I can feel this joy born of sorrow, and take notice that they are becoming equals in this tired soul. Such a lofty accomplishment I can bear as not my own, but of that of those who would bother to offer me the precious love that finds me even when all seems lost. I fear my single accomplishment without them would be in being lost, in being left to darkness, in grasping at straw figures who seek to keep me lost. No, anything that I may appear to be or do is me at all, but of those who provide the foundation to this shaky ground we call life.
And to them, I meekly offer you my effort, my heart as it can be given, my soul as it can be shown, and my life as it can be lived.
These feet are heavy as I bear more than the weight of my flesh upon this Earth. I do struggle with the weight at times, full well realizing that I am the stronger for the struggle. A wise man once cracked “That which does not kill me shall only make me stronger” without realizing that it isn’t the death that makes us weak, but the refusal to live with that which could kill us. Perhaps he did realize such things, perhaps he did live with such a weight to bear.
Still, I am left to seek out a stronger version of my self, that which is strength in not being so “strong”, that which finds solace in more than me. It appears to be a big step, likening that to each step on an old, rickety rope bridge stretched across valley to which there is no end. The pulse quickens at the thought of it, and the weight I carry on my back seems to beckon me not to step upon that bridge. Step I will, either toward a new landscape or into the obscurity that comes with the fall.
Greater risks have lesser men taken, but one must surely recognize the challenge of the mind. Leaving such comfort as the Beast finds itself in is an abnormality unto itself. Beasts marks their territory in the attempt to never leave the familiar, and they will fight to the death to remain in such comfort. Yet man must learn to tame his Beast should he seek to reach for that which is beyond him, for as we lift our leg to mark the spot we call our own our eyes always seek that which is beyond it. It is the Beast, our minds, that either ensures our imprisonment to the boundaries we cause or allow us the fortitude to step on that bridge that takes us beyond it.
I choose to step onto the bridge. I would risk the fall in order to seek what I cannot see. My sight has failed me before, many more times than I dare count, so I have learned that I can only trust what I see when what I see feels right to that which the mind does not control. I simply cannot cling to that which I call “me” when in the eyes of those I love the tears form at the sight of me. Me is not all that great, it is what that me can become that may show the full potential of this life. So onward I step, outward I reach, all the while trust the inward part of me that remains when the voices are silent.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Yet it is quite obvious that it is the human endeavor to search for light in darkness, warmth in cold, love in the face of hate. All that does and all that is is contained in the essence of but the smallest sense of light barely visible to those who savor darkness or have more light than they need. Yet each feeds off the other, for we cannot have the joy of warmth without the dismay of coldness. We must suffer if we are to experience the bliss of enlightenment. We must cry to see a smile, we must hate to feel the love, we must die to seek out life.
The essence of life, its purpose, is to experience it. The purpose of life isn't just to love it is to hate. The purpose of life is not just to be happy, it is to experience unbridled despair. The absoluteness of life is not in just the good, it is found in the bad. If you are to take every ounce of the negative in life you surely will find the positive born, the joy created out of despair, the love found in the bounds of hate. Without one you do not have the other, and both must be lived if either is to be found and appreciated.
Embrace both as they are, appreciate them, and accept them. Only in the acceptance can you find the peace for which you search, that tiny spec of light that will help guide your way.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Have I failed?
I am not sure, perhaps time will tell. The truth is that I am not sure I feel a failure here, but I know that what I what I feel is not success either. I know enough to see that I this is but one step in this journey. A small step indeed no matter how big it looks today, or a huge step indeed no matter how small it looks today. The truth is that I am not sure what to call this moment, or the moments that have got me here, or where I am heading. Have I failed? Have I done something so momentous that our lives will have found great significance because of this moment? All I know is that I do not know what to call what I have done or not done, and perhaps that lack of knowledge is what is creating the struggle itself. Perhaps it is not even really a struggle at all, but rather a lack of acceptance that things just are as they must be.
I walked outside tonight under the bright full moon and starlit sky. I am small, no doubt about it. Those stars above shone such light millions of years ago when greater men than me struggled greater struggles than I have seen. That moon has cast shadows on men with more to bear than my small fate. I feel alive in this presence, yet I feel lost in the weight of such small matters as those my mind must bear. I can see that perhaps what seems like failure today might mean the greatest events to those I love tomorrow. I stand in the glow of knowing that the greatest successes of today can mean the height of suffering tomorrow, and that life is like the changing phases of the moon I am standing under - one moment it is full, the other it is not, and there is nothing I can do to change it. I can see clearly that the weight I bear weighs little and that none of this matters, that time and space and love and lost mean little while meaning everything. Such matters of existence are like a waves on a beach, they only matter at the moment they break and are quickly replaced by yet another moment of undulation.
Who am I?
"Timeless question, ageless thought, all that's endless, all for naught." I guess the identity we have in ourselves is the temporary filler to our existence. I have never been able to answer such a question, nor have I been able to answer the sure follow up: "Does it matter?" I honestly don't know who I am or what I am good at. Perhaps I can answer my insecurities at what I do well by understanding all those many things that I don't do well. That list would be just too long to offer those who can barely muster up the will to read even the smallest thoughts I share. Yet I list them in my mind in such repetition as to believe that all those things I don't do well are who I am. In this, is it fair to say that I am all that I do poorly regardless of that which I do well? And if, in fact, this is true, is it the lack of acceptance of who I am that is the cause for my suffering?
Is part of love, life, being and truth the acceptance of who I am regardless of what the judge says is the best or worst of me? Is accepting that which I do that makes you cry as important to happiness as accepting that which puts such a lovely smile on your face? Is accepting those moments of imperfection as important to happiness as embracing those moments of shear and utter perfection? It would seem so, for without the bad there can be no good, and without the pain they can be no contentment. That is not to say that one should be so content in acceptance as to not strive for the best of oneself, it is to say that in dwelling on such matters of imperfection that one cannot see or attest to the perfection. It is in the focusing and dwelling on the armless sight of Aphrodite that one cannot see the perfect beauty that is the rest of her. Perhaps when we focus on such beauty the lack of arms bothers us not at all.
So I am left to wonder, does who I am matter at all to me or to those who wish to know me? Do I submit to the judgments of others whose whims would be so meaningless as to change with the seasons? Or do I just accept that which is and bask in the beauty that this moment provides regardless of the fact there are no arms to embrace me, no lips to caress my own, or no longing in others for that which they see as who I am? It could simply be the armless masterpiece to which I find solace, for the rest of it is shear beauty.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
For such things that test my very best,
Are the very things that set me free.
She came to me in a dream, somehow real, somehow not. She touched me, raised me up, and gave me hope. She showed me all that I am, and all that I am not. She whispered softly in my ear as the breath that cleared my mind, she comforted me as the breeze on a hot summer day, and laid me softly down on a bed of hope as soft as the clouds that scampered by outside my window. I felt a burning love not felt before, a desire in my throat that stifled the cry my lips could not utter. She was me, she was someone else, and she just could not temper the reaction that my ego and mind simply could not stifle.
As this river of time flows by, I see how she cools me and quenches my thirst. I sense nothing but everything around me and I can feel my grip on me letting go, releasing that which is, and what is not. Such light of life cascades around me as the big bright sun burns at my soul, the pain of the heat intense as it scorches those outer layers that time and life has baked on me. She is relentless in her tests, refusing to compromise on what I can be, completely unable to relinquish the me that only she can see.
Such is love, the Lady that has grabbed me the first we met, the chisel which bears down on the me that I am not to uncover the me that I am. When we touch, I can sense the dawning of each new day, a bit different than the day previous, even if only slightly. It is such love the binds us, such love that holds us, and such love that tests us. It is the essence of the we bound not by rings, not by vows, but by something unseen and unknown that was created on the dawn of Creation.
Once I was angry, and you soothed me,
Once I had no hope, and you gave me light,
Once I had no idea, and you showed me the way.
I do beg of you, than in our greatest time of need and in our greatest hour of triumph, you remember not that which I seem to be, but that which I am. Certainly such a muse cannot be left unchallenged, for we are the challenge in each other. In such thought do you bathe in the knowledge that it is me who could grace your old age? Do you bask in the knowledge, as I do, that such thoughts are ours to have beyond our youth? I give you all that I can at this moment, and although certainly not enough in most, can it be more than enough in others? When you see me, do you see only darkness or can you see even the smallest speck of light?
Are not so small indeed,
For in essence they ask all of you,
To love that which is all of me.