The Lightness Of You

To shine bright in the darkness of this world you must be who you truly are.

“Just be yourself” isn’t that what they always say? To be completely honest this sometimes seems like the most corrupt piece of advice we could ever be given, or for that matter, project upon a person.

But is it?

Most of us have no idea who we really are. And yet if we somehow succeed in weaving this somewhat simple skillset into that of who we truly are below the surface, it’s almost guaranteed that everything will evolve for the better.

There is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that has been simmering with me over the past few weeks. He said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you be someone else is the greatest accomplishment.”

But how does one do that?

Who ought I be? Should I be the chivalrous gentleman my mother raised me to be? How about the smart student that all of my teachers knew I could be? Or should I be the funny, caring, compassionate father that my friends and family have always seen in me? What about the romantic poet that’s always been hidden inside of me?

To tell someone who is confused and stressed out about the direction of his or her life, “just be you” is, at best, a heavy-handed piece of advice.

Yet we hear or offer it up to someone else every single day.

Now I am not writing this to claim an advantage over others in this particular arena of life. I am not here to compete, far from it, I’m just trying to be better than I was yesterday.

But I have learned through my own discrepancies that it is hard work, and at times it has been borderline brutal, realizing that self-awareness is a skillset never perfected. Self-awareness is not a privilege; it is only earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of life.

Self-awareness is often heard through the head-splitting wake up calls that ring through our ears whenever we chase what we think is important for our growth, especially when we become so disillusioned by it that we ignore how painful the process really is.

“Self-awareness is not a privilege; it is only earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of life.”

For myself, that means that I have to fully let go of the person I think I am to truly be me. This is an infinite process, and at times it is extremely dark and lonely, but it has been worth it. I had to peel back the layers of myself. And in the solitude of me, I’m beginning to see the sweetness at the core of my true being.

And by doing so, I am beginning to experience something I haven’t felt in a long time. I am confident. I am growing happier, more content with me, more and more with every new day. This is something that even as recent as a few weeks ago, I thought I might never genuinely feel again.

This newfangled awareness has made me a better boss, a more patient father, a more attentive friend, and it’s quite possible, a more mentally organized and sympathetic writer. At least that’s what I think. And again I am probably getting ahead of myself.

It is no easy task to discard all the masks that life has demanded we wear. To become our true selves takes years of strenuous self-labor, excruciating self-reflective questions, and an infinite look in the mirror of said self. But the end result looks to promise the grand prize of you and that alone makes it worth every effort.

“You understand that to shine bright in the darkness of this world you must be who you truly are.”

When you embrace the inner work of becoming yourself, you start to see the path take shape along the perpetual pursuit for authenticity. You start to taste upon the palette of your soul, the flavor of true freedom. You understand that to shine bright in the darkness of this world you must be who you truly are.

We begin to experience a lightness of ourselves that cannot be weighed down by the heaviness of external achievement or so and so’s validation.

And then one day you wake up, and just like that, boom, you are as comfortable as you’ve ever been in your own skin. One could go so far as to call it, “The Lightness Of You.”

Yet to come to grips with this lightness, one must remove things from the routine of one’s self instead of adding things. Things like negative thoughts, self-doubt, forced relationships, and so forth. It demands a complete inner rebellion of sorts.

Over the past few years I have been putting forth the effort into the building of my own little creative garden. I’ve built everything from an IG page (www.instagram.com/promising_poet) to a few different blogs, and now I am in the process of putting together a photography website, so to share my passionate eye for photography.

But let’s be real here, these are just more creative masks. And while I think they are laying the creative foundation of who I truly am, do they really make up me?

Yes and no, or better yet, maybe. But more on me next week. For now I would like to wrap this post up by touching on the radical effects of inner rebellion.

“Rebellion is the seed for the transformation within.”

There have been great people in the world, but even the greatest of them are very small in comparison to the authentic rebel I am talking about, because they all, in some way or other, come to compromise with the establishment. And that’s where the true rebel differs from them all.

They were wise, they were creative artists, they were musicians, dancers, poets, all kinds of people, the past has produced many luminous figures; but something was missing in them. One basic thing missing is: they all lived in compromise with conditioned interests. They compromised by trying to be an image of habituated beliefs. None of them knew totality in their rebelliousness, well except for One.

Yes, partial rebels have existed, but a partial rebel is not enough. Man needs to rebel within the habit of what he has been, who he was taught to be before he can ever truly be free. Before he can make a difference he must bleed.

No, this world needs wholly authentic rebels to change the destiny of mankind from digging its own grave, to turn the direction back towards the Garden of Eden.

And if you take absolutely anything away from this post, I hope it is you.

To be continued…

—BeLove

Off The Beaten Path

When the path ignites a soul, there’s no remaining in place. The foot touches the ground, but not for long.

Most people—by which I mean most of us who grew up on the outskirts of the American Dream—grow up, get an education, find a steady job, and then after time has passed, maybe fall in love and get married.

Yet in reality I started working at the ripe old age of fifteen years old, fell in love numerous times, married twice, partied like a cliché, and never managed to graduate.

In other words, the order I have chosen to live my life is well on the opposite end of normal and most, more than likely, consider crazy.

Since my adolescent years, even before surrendering my childhood to puberty, I’ve despised the idea of working a stagnant, nine-to-five, cubicle ridden job.

I mean hell, I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up. I found it fitting for my personality, all winded and flown. Maybe that is why I have come to admire writing so much, because these words often carry my mind away with them, while giving flight to my soul.

In my late teens and early twenties, after I had managed to burn a few bridges with some that were close to me, as well as the local law enforcement, I was eager to find my way elsewhere, and I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see me on my way.

So after much deliberation as to what I wanted to be at the age of twenty-three, I decided to head west to try and figure it all out. I went in search of a place where I could find and be myself tried and true. I went looking for me.

It was a simple, rather happy-go-lucky sort of idea: running away from all that you know, on the prowl for a freedom that had its roots firmly embedded beneath a dream bound by a white-picketed fence with a few beautiful children running wild, all the while living a life so carefree.

But I didn’t necessarily want the security of mediocrity, or at least that was what I told myself. I found that I was at ease on the road. Something about it felt like home. I was relaxed, readily patient to find my niche, no matter what it took.

It was then that I found myself forty-two hundred miles away from my home. The first leg of the search for myself had led me to Denali, AK. I had one friend at my side, only to be surprised as I stumbled upon the lifelong kind of friends when I arrived.

Still I was sort of terrified, yet somewhat excited about having not any idea as to what my future held, or what I might find. That summer is still etched with perfection amongst the canyons of my mind. The winds of life had carried me to the place I was supposed to be. I was at home not knowing where I was going next, and it was an ecstatic feeling.

There was nowhere to go but everywhere to be, so I just kept rolling right along through life like a star shooting through the night. Little did I know though that I would soon find a place where my restless carbon dusted bones could settle down for awhile. It was soon thereafter my time in Alaska, I found my way to the place I have called home for almost eighteen years now, that being Lake Tahoe.

There was a budding counterculture vibe taking root in Tahoe back then, still is, and probably was long before I arrived. It was a vibe that vibrated deep in the depths of my magnetic soul. I felt like a cicada longing for the light of paradise in the night, I couldn’t contain myself. It was my kind of place and I didn’t want to leave.

I managed to lockdown a steady job playing Chef at a little off the beaten path ski resort, just south of Tahoe, nestled away in the beautifully serrated Sierra Nevada.

Even back then, not so long ago, at the turn of the century, a place like Lake Tahoe cost a lot less to live than it does today, though it was quite easy to exceed the cost of any given liver on any given day. Life was wild, livable and lackadaisical, always on the go just to slow it down.

But I was always broke, working like a slave on a snow farm, all so I could afford to stay comfortably alive, while wetting my whistle with the blowing winds of adrenaline, if you know what I mean? Man is quite the universally thirsty race. Always thirsting for something one doesn’t need.

Lost souls like my own were running from all corners of the country to this metaphoric fountain of youth, on the hunt for just a hint of never-ending bliss.

My newfound friends and I were hellbent and determined to live a not so ordinary life far and away from any attachment, for a life we could call our own.

Yes indeed, life was headed in the right direction of love and light. I had found my niche. Yet even still, knee deep in myself and paradise, something was missing.

I soon began to realize that no journey carries one as far unless, as it extends into the wild around us, and that is as far as it goes into the wilderness within.

Before I continue the journey, now is the time that off the beaten path these written thoughts of mine must go…

All throughout time, yet not so much as of late, man has been eagerly pursuing, ever so curious at the precise whereabouts of “Heaven on Earth.” This exact curiosity could, and should be applied to ole Christopher Columbus. When he set sail upon the ocean blue, he went looking for bliss, in search of a different kind of freedom, and by God, he found it.

While the pilgrims brought with them bits and pieces of purity, scattered about spirituality, they also brought with them violence and supremacy. Let’s be honest, Plymouth Rock stood as promised with the poise of paradise and the white man was going to call it his own at whatever cost. And to make sure to institutionalize paradise, they, of course, quickly created a bank and a university.

Still spiritual men and sacred clerics throughout history believed without knowledge—even warning those on the hunt for something else—that to be aware of a certain inner kingdom was the foundation of freedom long built in a man’s heart. And to find that freedom, man had to travel to all ends of the earth just to find himself. And just as Augustine spoke of the path, “it is not with steps, but with yearnings,” to truly find one’s self.

See the journey has always been about moving away from one’s “fallen” condition. The condition in which we are not free to be who we are to be without the need to please. You see, freedom is about the journey and not the arrival. And to finally come to understand that after all this time…

Paradise simply exists in you, the person, the self, the untethered soul, but mind you, it is the radical self in its uninhibited freedom. It’s the beast, stripped of pride, no longer weighed down by the winter clothes of ego, call it a spiritual and enlightened nakedness if you’d like.

It’s instinct unleashed. It’s the soul set free from one’s own stupendous ways. It’s a light within that rises with the sun upon the land of milk and honey. It’s an inner salvation that shivers ticklish up the spine.

Yet how I came to the realization of all of this took thousands of petty mistakes along this journey through the depths of myself. And if I may be exact, it was up until this precise moment. Better late than never one would guess.

Til the next time…

—BeLove

Soul Education

Could there be a greater miracle than for all of us to look through with consistency, the eyes of all others?

Life resides in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous and footloose. To do this one must recognize what is one’s own—to be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is, and learning what one has to contribute to the growth of this fashionable world, and then learning how to make that contribution valid.

The purpose of creating is to show us how to define ourselves with authentic spontaneity in relation to the world around us. Though it is no longer authentic if one tries to impose a prefabricated definition of the world, as anything less than the capricious definition of the individual themselves.

The world is filled up with folks who are fully alive in it: that is, of the people who can be fully themselves in it and can enter into a living and cultivating relationship with each other in it.

The world is, therefore, more genuine in proportion as the people in it are able to be more humane and alive; that is to say, better able to make a lucid and conscious decision of what freedom truly is. This freedom must first of all coexist with the capacity to choose our own lives, by finding ourselves on the deepest possible level.

It is a superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to get a taste of this or that, to make the choice of certain distractions. This two-dimensional freedom is simply a sham.

It all claims to be a freedom of “choice” when in fact it evades the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses. It is not freedom because it is unwilling to run the risk of facing self-discovery.

The function of creating is, then, first of all to help the individual to educate and discover themselves: to recognize themselves, and to identify with whom it is that they choose.

This descriptive aspect of creativity will at once be seen as unconventional and, in fact, simple to most of society. To go further past the terms of outrageous, the function of creating is to help one’s own, as well as, maybe help other men and women save their souls and, and in so doing, maybe save something of society from itself.

From what you may ask? From the hell of meaningless arguments, of obsession, of complex artifice, of systematic lying, of criminal evasions and neglects, of self-destructive futilities.

It is now my hope that it is evident, to you the reader, that from my context above, I mean the following:

That the business of “saving” one’s soul means more than saving that of an imaginary object; and entrusting it to some institutional bank for deposit until we recover it with interest in Heaven. 

And that in speaking on the terms of a somewhat Christian existentialist, I mean by “soul” not as simply as the overthought Greek essential form but the mature personal identity, the creative fruit of an authentic, organic, and lucid discovery, the “self” that is found after other partial and exterior selves have finally been discarded as metaphoric masks.

This metaphor must not mislead: this inner identity is not “found” as an object, but is the very self that finds. It is lost when it forgets to find, when it does not know how to seek. Or when one seeks his soul as a material object. (Such a search via external avenues is futile and self-contradictory.)

Hence the paradox that we find when we stop seeking: and this is the point of creating. It is that when one learns to let his mind sit still and be what one has become, which is one that one does not know and never will he need to know.

This is when the miracle happens, when the paradox of life has reached maturity, we understand that to love is nothing more than a simple gesture of compassionate communication. Could there be a greater miracle than for all of us to look through with consistency, the eyes of all others?

It is when the imaginary “debts” are paid, one no longer seeks something else. One no longer looks to be told by another who one is. One no longer demands validation. One just does what they do and smiles at everything they love. After all, man is but a byproduct of everything he’s ever loved.

But there is the whole and infinite depth of what is remaining soon to be revealed. And it is not revealed to those who seek it from others. It is only revealed in the truth via self-discovery.

BeLove

The Good Fight

Instead of casting blame and hate, let’s cast shadows of our hands in figurines of hearts on all the walls that were meant to be broken down for the revolution of love.

My animated imagination may not neccesarily be relied upon for certain guidance here today. I am too excited, I must admit, by these currents of joy. I feel the need to laugh rising, mounting, which has always been a sign of my weakness for the extraordinary. My creative blood has a hankering for high stimuli, absurdities and extremes. Yes be aware, my soul is awakened.

Sometimes I am ashamed at the way that I have come to trust the light in my own darkness more than the light radiated by others. How have I come to be so captured by this kind of neurotic creativity? All of these pictures and words with their rhyme like sentences; they have me wrapped around this little pen. Lest we forget about this lens and through writing! Though I do not mind it, it keeps me on my toes.

The light that shines in this darkness from within myself is nothing more than a sacred glow that spills from the solar plexus. It’s true that I have, too often, found it nourishing and liberating to fathom what a fiend I am beneath all this business that has to do with biological cells and creative contemplation, which is more than likely, only divine in appearance and upon the surface, but oh so lit up and infinite below.

Over the past few years, the incubation of these words has become an exchange between my heart and soul. Writing these words is nothing more than a thread that has woven my head with that of my heart, by way of my soul.

Now I must struggle with the contradiction that I have to live with, in appearing before you with what I deem a disguise, because I hardly ever wear both my heart and my mind on my sleeve like this in my day-to-day routine. What I typically wear are a pair of chef pants and a tee shirt.

Which brings me to a few questions that folks have recently been asking me to great extent?  Whom do you represent?  Which religion do you embody?  Which political party do you represent?  My response is often the same, which is does it really matter? 

All in all, these aren’t difficult questions to answer, because at the end of the day, I represent me. I choose to represent love in all arenas of life. I choose to believe in the moral good of society, as a whole and that alone should grant you the knowledge as to what side of the fence I lean on. I could come with the notion of perhaps speaking on the grounds of a starving artist. Even though I may not seem like one.

In speaking for artists I really am speaking for a very eccentric kind of person, a marginal personal, because the starving artist in this modern world is no longer an established person with an established place in society. Most of society realizes with keen sense today that the artist stands outside the boundaries of establishment. But is anyone really established, and if so, under what pretext?

We are marginal people who withdraw deliberately from the margins of society with a purpose that pertains to expanding the essence of human experience. From the consequence as being one of these “strange” people, I speak to you as a self-appointed representative on the periphery of people who have done this sort of thing with or without consideration of consequence.

Thus I now find myself representing the artists, perhaps the hippies, the so-called liberals, and perhaps even the poets among you. And let us be honest, all the term liberal stands for nowadays, is a more politically charged way of calling someone a hippy. More on the freedom and liberation of things down the road.

But we are the people, regardless of what anyone says, who are seeking in all different directions the way to a better day, and who have no established absolute status in this confused world whatsoever. So yes, maybe in an underhanded philosophical way, I speak for everyone, including you.

So instead of casting blame and hate, let’s cast shadows of our hands in figurines of hearts on all the walls that were meant to be broken down for the revolution of love. Because in the end, love will save us all.

And now I must ask you to do me a favor of considering me not as a figure representing any certain institution, but as an insignificant person who comes to the table now asking for nothing but your charitable patience while I say one or two things that has nothing to do with where my head was headed when I started writing today. If you are interested, then good, it is here for you to read. But there is probably a whole mess of other things you’d be better wise to spend your time doing.

Are we as hippies, artists, and poets relevant? No, we are deliberately irrelevant. We live in the shadows of an ingrained irrelevance that is appropriate to every human being. The marginal man accepts the basic irrelevance of the human condition, an irrelevance that is manifested by the reality of death.

The marginal person, the artist, the poet, the displaced person, the prisoner, every last one of us lives in the presence of death, which will eventually make us call into question, the meaning of life.

We struggle with the fact that death will one day happen to us, so we instead seek something deeper than death, and the purpose of the artist, the marginal person, or the poet is to go beyond death even in this short-lived life. And it is the purpose of “we the people” to go beyond the opposition within, and amongst that of ourselves, including life and death, and to be, therefore a first-hand witness to that of the light of love and life.

And now here we are moments from morning, the birds start to sing. The bells begin to ring, and in the distance, the whistle of a train sings. I stand up without much thought. The light creeping through the curtain could not have come at a better time. I adjust my mentality to grab the thoughts from a box I wrapped in prayer beside my bed last night.

There is a freshness to this morning I haven’t felt in a long time. My mind is finally cleansed.

It’s time we fight the good fight.  

—BeLove

A Little Light

Writing is, in effect, the act of validating the distance between us and the things surrounding us.

It was early in the morning, on a day long past, when I finally pushed away from self-doubt and started fighting with lead and words against this paper again. That morning I was triggered by a memory of something an old friend said to me some time ago. Like some refrigerated light of inspiration flickering in the dark, and as a shiver ran up my spine, I somehow managed to remember his advice word for word.

He said, “Writing is, in effect, the act of validating the distance between us and the things surrounding us. What we need is not necessarily sympathy, but more along the lines of a measuring stick.”

It was that morning I began scanning the world around me with measured intensity. This was almost three years ago. It was the year this so-called creative crisis began—three years spent abandoning one thing after another, all because of the elephant in the room.

Like a train plowing full steam ahead upon a burnt out bridge, I started casting out the freight, then the benches, then finally the poor old conductor, getting rid of the weight of everything while taking on nothing substantial at all.

Was this the right way? How and the hell I am supposed to know! Sure life is more or less abrasive like this, maybe more heroic, but I tend to get anxious when I envision what it will be like to be old and facing the task that waits beyond this life.

I mean, what may be left of me after they bury, or better yet, cremate my old and withering corpse? Either a box of bones I become, or not even a chard of bone. Maybe it is just specks of dust I am to be?

My friend used to say, “People with dark hearts have dark dreams.  Those whose hearts are darker, don’t know how to dream at all.”

The day I heard he had committed suicide, the first thing I did was look to the sun splattered sky and I closed my eyes. It hit me in that moment as I prayed; all the dreams he’d spoke of and saw in his sleep for thirty some odd years had vanished into thin air. Without a sound—poof—they were gone like an afternoon rain on some midsummer’s pavement. Why had he given up on his dreams and himself? Were his dreams still floating around, lost in the ethereal sense? I think so.

I have one last little thing to say about writing, before I walk deeper into my own wildest dream.

I find the act of writing very excruciating. I can go a whole month without coughing up a few beautiful words, or I go on a spree and write four nights and five days straight, only to realize that the whole purpose missed the mark.

All at the same time though, I adore the tenderness of writing, maybe more than I should. Scribbling poetic meaning to the inconsistencies in this life is a piece of cake compared to actually living it.

I think if I remember correctly, I was in my late teens when I discovered the delight of writing by way of poetry. In the sense of completeness, it blew my mind wide open. I barely spoke to anyone for weeks. If I could just keep my amusing thoughts about me, I felt, I could convince the whole damn world to fall in love with love again, while digging up and discarding intact systems of standards, and maybe even revise the movement of time.

Unfortunately for me, it took me twenty years to see that this was indeed, all the more me, deceiving me. Had I really let my emotions control and fool me for so damn long?

When at last, in recent days, I gathered something from the weight upon my shoulders. I took a blank notebook and drew a line smack dab down the middle of the page; then I listed all that I had gained from this standard on the left-hand side and all that I had lost on the right.

It turned out that I had lost so much more—things long abandoned, trampled under foot, sacrificed, betrayed—I had to turn the page to write them all down, even then, I ran out of empty space.   The only word found written on the left hand side was also written amongst the lost on the right hand side, with the simplicity of, “Me.”  And that in it self doesn’t sound as simple as it really is. 

There is a gulf that separates what we attempt to perceive from what we are actually able to perceive. It is so deep that it can never be measured, no matter how long our measuring stick is. But when in doubt, one must either shorten or lengthen the stick however they see fit.

What I can put down on this paper is nothing more than a list. It’s nowhere yet near a novel or even literature, nor is it necessarily art. It is just a notebook with a line drawn down the middle of it. Though it may contain suggestions of something moral, if you look hard enough.

But if it’s art or literature you’re interested in, I suggest you look to the Renaissance period, or that of the ancient Greeks. Pure art exists only in slave-owning societies. The romantics of old had slaves to till the fields, prepare their lunches and row their boats while they lay amongst sun-stamped atriums, composing poetry while being besieged by geometrical theories. At least that’s what they say art is.

I am starting to lean in to the belief that art and creativity are just us giving ourselves away to the slavery of our own soul. Which is not, by any means a terrible thing.

But if you’re the sort of person who raids the refrigerators of silent kitchens looking for something to snack on, or even just a little light in the dark, at three o’clock in the morning, then you can only write as appropriately as is seen fit.

That’s who I am and who I aim to be, just as soon as We can get control of this damned old train.

—BeLove

Branching Out

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

“There’s no such thing as a perfect piece of writing or poetry for that matter. Just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” So said a poet friend of mine I knew back in my adolescent years. He’s no longer with us on this spun little sphere. Well not in the physical sense. I miss him, more now than I did then. He was awfully real in a forsaken world full of fake.

It wasn’t until recently that I could grasp his full meaning, but even back then I found solace in his advice—there is no such thing as writing with perfection. 

All the same, I quailed whenever I sat down to write. The scope of what I could handle was just too limited. I could write all day about the elephant in the room, so to say, but when it came to the elephant’s trainer, I was prone to draw a blank. Writing needs that kind of built-in accessory of a subplot, wouldn’t you think?

I have been caught in the web of this particular writing bind for quite sometime—twenty plus years to be exact. Now color me crazy all you would like, but that is a very long time.

If one operates on the principle that everything that happens to us can be considered a learning experience, then of course life needn’t be so damned painful. That’s what they tell us, anyway. Life though, has a way of letting pain dictate the steps in which we take.

From the day since I have picked up this pen, time and time again, I have done my best to live according to that philosophy. As I result, I have been swindled and misjudged, used and abused, day in and day out. I am though, one hundred percent guilty of doing the same, if not worse, to others. I have also done my fair share of returning these favors, in my own shameful way.

And yet still, it has brought about many strange, distorted, and wonderful experiences. All sorts of people have told me their stories, some I’ve tried to figure out on my own accord. Then they left, never to return, as if I were no more than a bridge they were crawling across to get to where they were so desperate to go.

I, however, have kept my mouth sealed shut.  And so these stories have stayed with me over the years until I have found myself sitting here today, walking out, not necessarily wound free, but happily, from my very own existential crisis.  

The time though, has come to shake it all off and tell my story.

This doesn’t mean, by any means, that I have resolved even a single one of my problems, or that I will be somehow different when I finish. There is a very good chance I haven’t changed at all.

In the end, writing is not always an overeager step toward self-healing, it is in my opinion, an infinitesimal step, a very exploratory move in said direction of promise. But in order to get to where I am to be—with writing I must lean into honesty.

All the same, writing with the bittersweet taste of honesty is very grim. The more I start to write honest with myself and my words, the farther we may slip into darkness, but of the dark, it is true, the only way out is through.

Don’t take this as an excuse. I promise you—I’ve been telling the story as best I have known how, and this I will continue to do. But there will always be more to add to it.

A story, like life, is much like a tree. Branches grow, and branches must be cleared. They keep growing and you must keep trimming. Some will branch out farther than you could imagine, and those are sometimes better off left to grow.

I can’t help thinking with hints of confidence—if all goes well, a time may come, years or even decades from now, when I will come to discover that my self was somehow salvaged and redeemed from these articles of my life.

The elephant in the room will then return to the veldt, and it is of my hope, that I may tell the story of the world through my very own eyes with words far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  

So with that being said, sit back, relax, and settle on in.

It’s time this story begins.

—BeLove

After Life

“In every waking man, death dreams asleep.”

At this particular moment I must, almost in the delivery of a confession, without conviction, say that I do not consider that my birth began my original existence. Not yours. Not anyone’s. 

On creative grounds, if on nothing else alone, I cannot accept the view of death taken by most everyone, and taken by myself for most of this life—on creative grounds I am therefore obligated to oppose that something so extraordinary as a human soul can be wiped away forever.

No, our dead are about us, shut off only by our metaphysical denial of them. It is as we lie nightly in our own little astral hemispheres asleep by the billions, our dead approach us in our dreams, sharing certain ideas upon the spectrum of our souls. It is possible that the dead may consider these ideas to be their nourishment.

And maybe, just maybe, it is that by seeing these ideas in our dreams come to life is all they really want in the realm of Eternity.  And just like this particular idea of mine, all of our ideas could be considered as these sort of fallen leaves that maturity transforms within us as we approach the autumn of our lives.  

Our souls are fields of fallen leaves that cover this life with layers of metaphor and spirituality. And there are times when we may find ourselves barren with boredom, and instead of getting creative to pass the time, we starve these ideas of our dreams with the aridity of our own doubt. We let them dry up and wither away, which yields our dead from ever harvesting the sweetness of life again, and this our dead do not like.

And for some of us, the time comes in our life that we burn a lamp upon our fields of ideas so that our dreams may set our soul ablaze.  It is damn near dreadful to think of waiting for our dreams to illuminate our natural lives with all that is love and light. Especially when time has become of the essence of all that is oh so precious. So instead of think, one must light the flame in the cavern of their soul and see what shows itself.

It is by setting fire to our souls we see that the flames of divine love burn on the pyre of fervor, as our wildest dreams come to life. This is the ethereal eagerness of creative development, that burning of the mind that wipes the slate clean kind of thing.

But to take a seat and watch this short little life pass us by without looking to leave behind some kind of mark is to invite death on our way to rock bottom, only to shorten the timing of its demanding pursuit.

Don’t kid yourself though; the dead are with us, protecting us, living with us in our dreams, and within our hearts they live through us.  They are always watching over us on this spun little sphere, which is our institute of freedom.  In the next frontier, things are much more cosmic and clear; the kind of wide-open clarity that eats into freedom with a certain balance of bliss.

We are free on this earth because of cloudiness, because of human error, and because of marvelous contradiction of law and limitation. It is as much because of beauty and goodness as it is because of the blindness of evil. These have always gone hand and hand with freedom. Good and evil, like life and death, are two sides of a coin placed long ago in the mouth of the Departed.

If we lived only one of our days to the fullest, filled with consciousness and goodness, we would find the density of an entire lifetime in the simplicity of one day.  But we have become so intricately dispersed with our distracted recreations that natural life must allow us tens of thousands of days so that we may finally come to understand…

“In every waking man, death dreams asleep.”

But there is hope for us yet, and it sleeps in the possibility to be more profound than we were long before and way beyond that of good and evil. 

For now though that is all I have to say about this matter. The songbirds are rustling in the distance, the sun soon to waken. Besides, all of these thoughts about a dream of death are likely to be nothing but a waste of breath, and now the time has found me in a hurry, under such pressure—all this unfinished business.

BeLove

Passing By

The best thing to do with solitude is to play it cool, but today something is heating mine up.

The sky is silver and warm. There is a patch of bare aspen at the bottom of the valley.  The dying limbs sing their song with the wind that can be heard even up here. I hear a machine, a bird, and a clock. The clouds bloom astronomical and cosmic.  Through them the inevitable airliner passes.  It’s undoubtedly full of commuters from San Francisco to Salt Lake.  

What kind of commuters? This I have no need to decide. They are out of my world, way up there, sitting busy in their isolated, arbitrary lounge that doesn’t even seem to be on the move—the lounge that somehow picked them up off the earth in California to suspend them for awhile with instant coffee and timeless cocktails just to bring them back down to earth in sunny Utah.   It’s mere and marvelous, the suspension of contemporary life in contemplation that delivers you somewhere. 

There are other worlds high above me.  Other planes pass over, with more contemplation and complex modalities of concentration.  

I see the armed plane, the warship of the sky with the bomb in it.  It flies lower than the rest.  I look up from the wild, in the direction of the closed bay.  It’s but a pewter-steeled crow pregnant with eggs of destruction below its breast.  A womb easily and instinctively opened by lack of patience!  I do not consider this technological beast to be related to anything I believe in. Much like everyone else, I live in the shadows of these apocalyptic cherubs.

 It is more or less likely that we are being surveyed by it, on an impersonal level.  Its number distinguishes my number.  Are our numbers preparing at some point to correspond in the benign mind of a supercomputer?  Should this concern me, though I live in the solitude of my own soul, out here in the wild, as a reminder that I am free enough to not be given a number?

This is, and there always has been, in fact, a choice.

BE YOU

In an age where there is so much conversation about “being yourself” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is a very vague chance of my being anyone else.  Rather it begins to seem to me that when I am too intent on “being myself” I run the risk of impersonating my own shadow.

Still I cannot pride myself on the freedom of being me, simply because I am living in my own wild.  Should I come to be accused of living in the wild like John Muir, instead of living in the desert like John The Baptist, all I would be able to answer is that I choose not to live “like anyone.” Or “unlike anyone.”  We all love somehow or the other and that is that. It has become a compelled necessity for me to be free to embrace the necessity of the soul of my wild, or in other words, my very own nature. 

I exist under the canopy of a forest wild.  I walk through the woods of myself out of necessity. I am both prisoner and escapee of my own prison. I cannot necessarily tell you why, born in Mississippi, my journey has led me to the foothills just east of Lake Tahoe in western Nevada, the perfected beautiful fusion of both desert and wilderness. I have considered going further, but it is not certainly practical.  It makes no difference.  

Do I have a “day?” Do I spend said “day” in a “place?”  I know these trees here.  I know the birds here.  I know the birds in fact very well; there are precise pairs of a dozen different species chirping in the immediate surroundings of my own expanse.  I share this expanse with them, forming this landscape of ecological balance.  The harmony alone from this gives inspiration to the idea of “home” as a new pattern. 

As to the crows, they form part of a different pattern.  They are strident and self-justifying, like man.  They are not two, they are many, and they are brash with vulgarity.  They fight amongst each other and the other birds in a constant state of war.

BE FREE

There is a mental ecological expanse, too, a living balance of spirits in this corner of my wild. There is room here for so many more songs besides those of the birds.  Of compassion, for instance, or hope, energy, maybe essence, or a newfound delight, or it may just be the dry confusing voice of myself, a half-assed poet with windy promise.   

There is also love, whose climate is perhaps most suited for the climate in this corner of my woods, hot and humid, damn near smothering at times.   It is a climate though that doesn’t warrant a need for explanation.  

It is a good thing to find these feelings deep in these woods, to hear these songs in my own wild, but they also choose themselves to be here in the present in my silence.  In any case, there is no lack of feelings. 

Solitude is cool.  It is a self-sufficient feeling of low definition in which there is little to decide, in which transactions are few and far between, if not non-existent. There are no packages to be delivered, nor do I bundle up packages and deliver them to myself.  There is no intensity.  There is no give and take of questions and answers, problems and solution.  Only prayer.  Problems begin down the hill.  Over there under the waterfall at the fork in the path you will find the solutions.  

BE REAL

Here there are woods, and wolves. Here there is no need for rose-colored glasses.  “Here” does not look to warm itself up with references to “there.”  It is just a “here” for which there is no “there.”  Solitude is cool, calm, and collected.

Community as a whole is a fiery core.  Fiery with words like “must,” “ought,” and “should.”  Community is devoted to high definition projects—“making it all so clear!” The clearer it gets the more clarity must be had.  It branches out.  You have to keep clearing out the branches.  The more branches you clear out the more branches grow.  For each one you cut, back grow four or five more.  On the end of each branch is a big bright-eyed and bushytailed question mark.  

People are running all around with branches of meaning everywhere.  Each to their own is very concerned and anxious to know whether all of the others have received the latest message.  Has someone else received a message that he has not received? Will they be able to pass it on to him? Will he understand it when passed on? Will it be necessary to argue about it? Will he be expected to clear his throat and stand up and say, “Well the way I look at it is my…. way?”  

The best thing to do with solitude is to play it cool, but today something is heating mine up.  They keep thinking that you have a unique message. When they find out you haven’t…Well, that’s up to their interpretation and worry.  Not mine.  I’ve got my own war to win inside.

-BeLove

Wisdom’s Will

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.

In what a way does this valley awake today?  At four-fifty in the morning there is not a single noise except in this sleepy head of mine—the bells ring, thoughts begin.  Outside, nothing, except perhaps the cicadas, singing songs of yin and yang. The surreptitious and ceaseless whooping of a whippoorwill begins about five-fifteen; some mornings she is not always near.  Sometimes there are two whooping together, a mile a way in the wild just west of here.  The sun will soon wake without a worry. 

The first chirps of the waking birds mark the point of that blind, sweet spot of a new day, under a dark and deep sky that is yet to fathom light, except that of the distant sparkles of Heaven.  There is a twinkling of reverence and inexpressible innocence in this moment, when Heaven in perfect silence opens its eyes.  The night sky begins to fill bright with pastels of purple and purpose. 

The birds tweet towards Heaven, not with any kind of fluent song, but with an awakening question that is their dawn, their state at that virgin point of creation.   By the sounds of their condition, they are asking if it is time for them to “be.”  He answers “yes.”  One by one they wake up.  They manifest themselves as what they are, birds, and they begin to sing.  In the present, they will be wholly themselves, and they will fly. 

In the meantime, the most delightful part of the day fast approaches.  That moment when creation thrives in its innocence and asks permission to just “be” once again, as it had to have done on the first day that ever was.

Wisdom has always sought to collect and manifest itself at that blind, sweet spot. That point of innocent creation.  

My wisdom though does not always succeed, for I have fallen into a shoving match with self-mastery and do not seek the permission of anyone.  I have too often faced these mornings with a lost and fearless purpose.  And still I am not entirely sure what that purpose is, but I am breathing, and that means there is still time.  

I know that time is what I have, to often, used as a method to dictate my own necessary terms. I suppose I was born with a inward ticker within my chest that has proven this to me from the very start.  I know what the time is and isn’t important.  I am more than in touch this morning than most days with the inward universal and divine law.  I talk to myself out loud as to what I wish to lay with the day ahead. And if necessary I must maneuver my steps with the necessary adjustments to make me meet whatever it needs.

As for the birds there is not a time that they are aware of, or I’m not aware if they are. But it is at that virgin point between darkness and light, between nonbeing and being, when they awaken.  

I tell myself the time by their waking, this from my experience of timing.  This folly though is left to my own undertaking, and not theirs.  What’s worse than said folly is that I think these birds and this rising sun are telling me something I consider to be useful, for example, it’s six o’clock in the morning. I’ve got to start getting ready for work.

So the birds awake: first the stellar jays and some that I do not know.  Later come the song filled sparrows and pacific wrens.  At last, come the doves and the crows. The waking of crows is most like the waking of myself—querulous, boisterous, fresh, and a little raw.

I listen to the silence of the wild. In the silence I hear an unspeakable secret, spoken with the sun and through the whippoorwill. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. 

Heaven is all around us and we do not understand.  We cannot see, because with love we do not listen.  It is as wide open and free as this sun saturated valley.  

The blade of reverence is being ripped from our hands, and we do not know it.  Each and every one of us are off, “each to our job and another to their merchandise.” 

Lights on.  Clocks tick. Thermostats rise.  Ovens cook.  Cash registers cha-ching. Smartphones fill the universal radio with static. Reverence for life suffers.

“Wisdom,” cries the morning sun and the birds beacon, though we choose to ignore them.

“But should we?”

—BeLove