Life Is But A Dream

The reality of things is not something you convey to people but something you create.

It is this that gives birth to its meaning.

I wake up from my slumber well before dawn, not doing a damn thing but lying in bed thinking.  At roughly six o’clock I decide to get up.  I make myself some coffee.  Having nothing else to do, I go on ahead with some light exercising and start getting breakfast ready before the boy wakes up.

Not half an hour later, he’s up. 

“You’re up awfully early,” I say to him.

“Mmmhmm,” he mumbles.  “I was dreaming about blueberry pancakes and bacon.”

“Well kid, sometimes dreams do come true.  Here eat up.”

After pretty much a wordless breakfast, we do the dishes, tidy up the kitchen, and wash our hands.  

As we have done when washing our hands since he was just a tadpole of a toddler, we sing along to the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  You know the one.

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.  Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”  We sang it three times over with the harmony of an eternal bond.

Shortly thereafter, after a bit of silence, came a question that just might change one’s life forever.  Especially mine, as I feel quite the rippling effect creating waves throughout me.  

A SIMPLE QUESTION

His questions, they often range from the semantics of all that is silly to some that are downright mind-blowing.  And as he looked up to me, the look in his eyes meant I better buckle up for one helluva ride. 

“Dad, I am the boat?”

At first, I can only smile astounded.  Astounded at his modest cross-examination of a children’s lullaby, which leaves me wondering if said lullaby, now carries with it, the deepest meaning of any song.  Ever! 

After a few moments of unforeseen deep thought, I did what I do best.  I spoke without much resolve.  

“Absolutely kid!”

“Why Dad?” He asks with genuine curiosity.

“Because I said so, and because you are.  It’s like this.”

ROW YOUR BOAT

By rowing your boat you are aware that you must take control of your own life and nobody else’s.  And besides, our bodies are made up of 75% water.  So yes, of course, your body could be considered a vessel of sorts, or even better, a boat.  But you are the captain of your own boat and you choose your own journey.  Just as everyone else is the captain of their own life, or boat.

This is super important for you you to remember.  Never try to take control of anyone else’s boat, nor should you even try to take their paddles.  You may offer them direction if they are lost.  You may even offer them your paddles if you feel the need to help them.  But never try to take control of anybody’s boat.  It’s their boat to sail, and they must set the sails for their own journey however they see fit. 

GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM

And throughout this sea of life we must remember to row so gently, and not so forcefully.  By rowing gently we go with the flow of things, with the way our life is meant to go.  We must not keep going against the currents of whatever negative approach reality decides to throw at us. 

When you try and maneuver against the natural flow of things, your boat, or life, will struggle mightily to get through the angry, choppy waters of reality.  So don’t go about rowing angrily.  Nothing is worse than struggling through life when mad.  Because when you argue against reality, you’ll lose every damn time kid.  And who knows, but your boat may wind up upside down, and then you could sink, and maybe even drown.  

“Dad, I know how to swim.”  

“Besides the point kid.  Are you listening to me?  And what if there’s sharks?  Did you ever think of that?  Now, where were we?” 

“Good point,” he said aware.

See rowing gently through life represents the fact that we must row with finesse down the stream. It could even be considered that the stream, is but a stream of consciousness. Of being aware of all that is good in life.

You know, just go with the flow of consciousness.  Do this, instead of struggling against the flow, or going against the currents of the way things are.  However bad they go, just remember to row with hope.  Because struggling against the flow makes things really, really, uncomfortable.  So just go with the flow.  Whatever is meant for you will find it’s way to you without forcing it too, even the truth.

MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY

And also, by rowing merrily, we are confident and aware of all the happiness that waits out there in life’s endless sea, but we must not always take everything so damn seriously.  It is a lot better to see things through the eyes of silliness, instead of such seriousness.  Sometimes acting silly is all we really need to be happy.  Because, even though life can get uncomfortable at times, there is always something to smile about.  You can always smile and laugh at the little things that make you happy. 

“So don’t walk through life like you have a finger up your butthole all the time, and just laugh and smile instead,” he interrupts.

“Exactly!” I laugh back at him, spitting out the swallow of water I just took all over the place.

See, when we row the boat through life merrily, we must remember to try and smile, even at all the uncomfortable things.  There is no difference in the way that anxiety and excitement flare up in our mind.  They fire on the same cylinder, so to speak.  The difference is how we interpret and react to what’s happening around us.  After all, it is Shakespeare who said that a tragedy is nothing more than a comedy misunderstood.

“Who’s Spearshaker, Dad?”

“Don’t worry about him just yet.”

AN OPTIMISTIC APPROACH

And we must always row with endless amounts of optimism, without trying to force ourselves in the wrong direction, or force our way into someone else’s flow.

Just because reality doesn’t always go the way we planned, doesn’t entitle us to force our own overbearing expectations of how things should be upon anyone.

And if I might add, never afford the future the cost of misconception, or else, against your heart, your mind has found it’s greatest weapon.

“What?”

“Pay no mind to that one for now,” I say with a shit-eating grin.

Though, it is said, that 75% of success, whether in regards to your coming education, or my ongoing career, is predicated by your optimistic levels.  By how much optimism you consistently operate with, or row with, if you would. And by how “healthily” confident we are about where we are headed and how we are rowing through life in the process.

By rowing happily—or, merrily for that matter—through life is proven, by both doctors and philosophers alike, to keep us healthy, both mentally and physically. 

So not only is rowing through life optimistic, healthier for us, but it also tends to keep us from getting sick so easily.  It is just as well, that if we do get sick, remaining optimistic helps us to recover much more quickly from any illness and we may even go on and live longer than expected.  That’s a fact, Jack.

LIFE IS BUT A DREAM

And yes, in the end kid, life is but a dream.  It’s absolutely a dream, and it’s a dream worth living to the fullest.

“So are we dreaming right now, Dad?”

“Boy, you are on one this morning. Aren’t you?”

I guess, in a way, yes.  Life is but a passing dream.  So it’s your duty to wake up to the truth.  You must wake up to the truth that every morning you believe that you are a more powerful being than you sometimes feel. And that you are given the freedom to choose how you see life.  You have the ability to manifest your dreams. To choose what you wish to do.  To view the things the way you do.  To say what you want to. How you live your life is up to you. This kiddo, is the God to honest truth.

But do not, I repeat, do not ever force anything upon the way others view life, or how they wish to row their own boat.  All you can do, is offer them direction, if they feel they need it, or even better, if they come looking for it themselves, on their own.  If they wish to climb aboard your boat because they want to join your journey, then let them.

All you can really do for anyone, including yourself, is offer consistent and unconditional love and support them wholeheartedly along their journey.  If they do not need it, or do not wish for it, then let them go about their own way, merrily.  Do not try to force them in the direction in which you want them to go.  And just move along with your own creative flow.

This my child—I will be 100% honest—is one of the hardest thing to realize when rowing through life.  So it’s imperative, you remember this, and start practicing it now, as your personality is being well put together and rounded out.

And you must understand that the reality of things is not something you convey to people, but something you create.

This is what gives birth to its meaning.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

So you’ll see, that every morning when you wake up.  You have two choices.  You can either say, “good morning God, it’s going to be the most amazing day ever, no matter what.”  Or you can say, “good God, not another day full of misery, what on earth can possibly go wrong today.” 

“You, my son, have the power and freedom to manifest the life you want, and how you wish to row through it. You’ll see for yourself, that it is entirely up to you and must be seen through your own point of view. Okay.”

“Sure Dad.  Whatever you say. But hey, so is God camouflage because I can’t see him?” 

“That’s enough questions for now kid.  And plus, we have art class in a few.”

“Heard, Dad. But I have two more questions pretty please.”  

“Shoot for the moon, kid!”

“Can we listen to my new favorite song first?  And what happens if there is a flood?

“Sure thing kiddo. And I’d be the first to guess, that we are going to need a bigger boat.”

Love,

Dad

 

 

 

         

     

Perhaps, Maybe

“So much for the past and present. The future is maybe called ‘perhaps,’ which is the only possible thing to call the future.”

I had retraced the path that had led me to the moment in which I was.  I put the record “Teaser & The Firecat” by Cat Stevens upon the turntable and set the needle to a certain song. I made myself some coffee and sat there beneath a sliver of morning light.  I watched the rest of a long-winded grey Sunday passover outside my window.  It was an April Sunday that would be rained out due to a tranquility that made it seem that everything would soon be crystal clear.

Tennessee Williams once wrote: “So much for the past and present.  The future is maybe called ‘perhaps,’ which is the only possible thing to call the future.”

Yet I must look back on the journey before I can move forward. I can only see in terms of a nebulous perhaps. But all I can perceive is in this moment I call the present, and even this moment is nothing more than what passes through me.

The clouds scurried across an afternoon moon like a flocking squadron of B-52’s, the thickets of a wild forest to the west sat on the fog like a fish-shaped paper weight, the stars seem to be reborn, one by one, like little glimmers of hope scattered about here and there…you get the idea.

Anyways, my thoughts were now attuned to the sights and sounds of a world I had yet to see to a splendid degree.  It was as if a veil had been stripped away.  I could hear things taking place miles away from where I was: the hooting song of a night owl, people shutting their windows, others talking of love, and even a baseball game. 

“What a relief,” I thought to myself.

LETTING GO OF ME

The hum of a metaphoric mental machine had vanished from me. Ditto to the thoughts left with no place to go.  Perhaps, there would be no fireworks displayed today in the fashion of a grand finale in the far off distance.  

From now on, I vowed, when my mind was exhausted, my sword seemingly broken, and the chinks in my armor rusted, I would lay myself down upon a meadow of worn out carpet and listen to the wind of my soul and let it take me where I was meant to go.  And I would follow that path, as I should follow it wherever it took me, whether that be to the bottom of the goodness left in me, or possibly further into the depths of insanity’s quarantine.  But either way, my heart and soul would find its way to where it was meant to be, probably perched somewhere upon my sleeve.

I know this brief prelude to the point of this post, will perhaps seem trivial to some of you, for there is no greater circumstance of triviality when dancing through the rain of one’s imagination.

But enough thinking. Enough of it altogether.  Instead I remember, perhaps, as to why I ever thought I was able to write. 

THE FIRST INKLING

The field was just as I remembered, the same shaved ice lime green, delicately mowed against the opposite pattern of a wilderness green, when which the two were combined, they spoke astoundingly of Spring.  The sunshine was as crisp as I can remember as I almost feel the scorching upon my skin, it was quite hot and biting for a mid April day.  I poured the peanuts into my coke and stood for the anthem.

The gentle, naked wind spoke soundlessly, as if it were slowly swinging an invisible shaft of light through the dark wheelhouse of my soul. And why was my mind racing through the darkness? Was it to allow the light, an opportunity to keep up with my fast paced imagination? Perhaps, maybe. But this was when the dream was a dream without my own applied substance.

So here I found myself between two glorious places at once, a memory and my reality, both on their way to a long lost dream.  And is there any meaning in the glory that will someday be lost, as passing glory is not true glory at all, so it’s best left to be. But this memory, it is something that passes through me in this precise moment of my reality.

A LONG LOST MEMORY

It was a sunny Spring day in April 1998, almost twenty-two years to the day.  I was in attendance of a Braves’ baseball game at Turner Field, in Atlanta, Georgia, you know the one, in which they built haphazardly for the ’96 Olympics.  It was not a long haul from where I grew up, a hundred and one miles to be exact.  It was against the Chicago Cubs, first pitch 2:10 PM.  I was a diehard Braves’ fan way back then, and I still am, thought not as rabid about the outcome as I once was. It is just a game after all, much like the creativity of writing has come to be.

But every so often, my buddy and I would drive the quick little jaunt into Atlanta to take in the sights and sounds of a game nurtured in the womb of the American Dream.  A game that spoke to the spirit of both mine and America’s personality.

Back then the Braves’ were a perennial powerhouse, year in and year out, with a pitching trifecta unlike any the game has still yet to see.  It was the rubber match of a three game series, Greg Maddux was pitted against Kerry Wood.  It was a pitching matchup for the ages.

So I sat back, finished my southern childhood snack of peanuts soaked in a coca-cola, and stretched out my soul with what I still consider the most refreshing beer I have ever tasted.  The stadium slowly filled with the leisurely approach of a Sunday afternoon, but I could hear nothing but the sound of the game slowly warming up, the leather being whipped around, the crack of wooden bats bouncing in echoes around the stadium.  It all reminded me so much of my childhood, that I felt like a kid again. It was all touching my soul in a way I had never known my soul could be touched.  That was when it all happened.

I noticed the sky sparkling in different depths of blue, the draft beer was colder than even cold knew to be, the ball strikingly white, outlined with with little red curvatures that spun in the shape of a heart if seen in the right angle of light.  Everything was so vibrant amongst the canvassing greens of Spring.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Then up to the plate stepped Andruw Jones, a young newcomer who had first showed up on the scene a few years prior.  The kid was a six-tooled phenom who took the league by storm in the World Series against the Yankees in ’96.  After Wood had pitched 9 straight fastballs in a 1-2-3 inning in the second half of the first frame, up came Jones to leadoff the second half of the second frame. 

On the first pitch, we all knew what was coming, and so did Jones, as he sent a high fastball into the bowels of the outfield bleachers for what would be the Braves’ only run of the game. It was a towering solo shot that the entire stadium knew was gone the second it left the bat.  The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded through the stadium as well as me that one Sunday afternoon.  As the roar of applause echoed around me, I spilled half of the best tasting beer I have ever known due to the excitement that poured into parts of me, that I’m still not sure exist. Yet to this day, I consider it the best twelve bucks I’ve ever spent, as it is the most memorable beer of my life.

In that instant, for absolutely no reason at all, and based on no grounds whatsoever, it struck me unlike anything ever had.  I thought perhaps, maybe I could write after all.

BACK TO REALITY

As I lay here now, I can somewhat recall the exact sensation.  It felt as if something, like an angel disguised as a little white baseball, came down from the heavens with fluttering red wings, only to fall cleanly into my hands, minus half a beer mind you.  But I had no idea until that day, that chance could just fall into one’s grasp so easily, but that day it did.  I didn’t know then the power of chance, and perhaps, I will never know.

Whatever it was, it had taken place for a reason I have yet to fathom.  Maybe it was a revelation, or perhaps the word “epiphany” might be better suited for said situation.  All I can say is that something changed who I was that day in ways so dramatic that my perception of life was permanently altered in an instant—when Andruw Jones belted that towering, beautiful, soul-cracking home run into the left field bleachers on a perfect April day.

The Braves’ won that day due to Maddux throwing a gem of an 88-pitch shutout.  As we were about to get up and head for the exits, a flowering patch of fireworks burst onto the scene in the pattern of a perfect day amongst the backdrop of an afternoon twilight.

As I found my way back home that evening. I promptly grabbed my dusty old notebook and a fountain pen.  Smartphones weren’t a thing back then, and the computer was probably taken, which meant that the ink had to be spilled from a pen, each character, each word, each thought, had to all creatively spill away from my soul.  The sensation of creativity washed over me, writing felt so very fresh, as I saw my surroundings, so vibrant and new.

From then on I knew, I would never be the same.  I knew that each day I would have to write something, anything, whatever did not matter.  So I sat and I wrote.  And then I wrote some more. I wrote whenever I was free, perhaps in order to feel free from me.  Over the few months that followed I wrote practically and frantically about everything I could and could not see. 

And then along a came a girl in whose beauty, I saw things that went way deeper than even me.  Things a man like me should’ve never been supposed to see.  I was like a deer caught in the headlights of something more mesmerizing than even writing.  I saw poetry.  And the rest they say is history.

IN RETROSPECT

In retrospect, as I venture back from a memory into reality, it is only natural that I wasn’t able to produce anything good back then, and perhaps this is still true to this day.  Perhaps, it is a mistake to assume that someone like me who had never written anything in his life could spin the pitch of something so beautiful right off the bat into the bleachers of his wildest dreams.  And was I still swinging too hard to accomplish the impossible?

Then came the voice again, the one in which since that day in 1998 has led this pen.  And this is what it said.

Let go of trying to write with such sophistication, forget about all the little self-imposed spiritually prescribed ideas that meander through your mind on a daily basis, as they only force your thoughts into what they sometimes are not.

Write down your feelings and thoughts as they come to you, freely, and in the ways that you remember how good happiness felt, and the things you like, and especially remember those moments that touched your soul when you were exactly where you were meant to be, here with Me.

And so I wonder, as I stand from the floor from which I wasted away this lazy Sunday afternoon.  Could I rise with the winds of my soul, above all the parasitic thoughts, the accidental rhymes and phrases of so-called follow through, the mistakes of my misjudgment, the mere phenomena of my own poetic touch, the sometimes wasteful and randomly human words that spilled away in my writing, and finally be fit to maybe find my own little piece of Heaven on earth?  Or would I, could I perhaps, at the very least, hit the game winning home run that my wildest dreams were made of?

In the end, who really knows?

But perhaps, maybe.

—Ryan

 

Origins Of Love

I’m not interested in just being a lover, I’m interested in just being love.

To truly understand the origin of love and compassion means to understand the interdependence of all living beings. It means to understand that we are all part of one another.

On one hand, to know the origin of something gives one a better understanding of it.  On the other hand, ignorance to the origin of anything will give way to its inevitable abuse, and love is far from the exception. 

To know love and its origins, we must look to the book of beginnings—where it all began.  To know, that love came from eternity and will eventually make its way back to eternity. Love is a spirit and it dwells in eternity.  Before time, love was, and after time, it will still be.  Love is the same, yesterday, today, and forever too.  

It is apparent that love came into being by divine intervention.  Love fell upon our reality to fulfill a purpose.  So of course, it was left no choice but to manifest itself at that sweet blind spot of creation when it came onto the scene amidst the cosmic chaos. 

LOVE’S PURPOSE

You see everything, even all of us, on this earthly realm are here for a purpose.  If we did not have a purpose, we would not have been manifested in the eyes of divine timing.  It’s the same reason that we are not simply here just to be a living being, but are here for a more clear-cut and unique purpose. That purpose is to create love.

That is why we are here now, as a manifestation of love. Love was created for us and we were created to love. We were created from One’s certain image, and I am damn near positive that image was layered with shards of love.

The wisdom of love is within us all and it is infinite. But love has its seasons of which we must also be aware, and which is why it comes with its unique nature, outlook, demand, and gratuitous levels of graveness.

The difficult adjustments of life and love to these said seasons and their deaths are what better allow us to see love’s unconditional worth. This worth of course, makes it easier to undertake a creative activity that help love’s creation fulfill its purpose.

The misunderstanding of love and its seasons will ultimately result in its abuse. The abuse of something, such as love, impairs its purpose, and for this reason, the importance of divine intervention can never be stressed enough in every little situation.

A TIME TO LOVE

Because timing, and time itself, help to repair the purpose of healing ourselves and the landscape in which we are surrounded in the holistic sense.

Appreciating the importance of the little things that love and its celestial timing bring to the table, could be the most crucial aspect that distinguish our purpose on this earth. The nature of love operates with a remarkable sense of timing, which reveals the mystery of love’s essence.

And this essence of love is in fact, God. The sun knows when to rise and when to set, just as the birds and the bees know when to be wherever, whenever they need to be. For they see that love is not about the destination, as much as it is about its endless journey. A journey long, winding, and to be honest, often confusing as hell.

But we as human beings are essentially one with everything. And this we see in all the lovely little intricate and infinite signs that life shares with us every single day. In the nature of everything we find the essence of ourselves, every fawn, every blossom; every bird and wilting flower. These are all metaphors meant to address the nature of our soul.

METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING

These metaphors with their symbolic demeanor try to reach us by teaching us a fundamental truth of life.  That we are part of an external exchange, that we are infinite transformations of pure beauty.  They teach us that love and growth are all a part of the journey on the road to what we are meant to be.

They also tell us is that there is a season for everything.  And that seasons change and blend together. But there is a path, unaffected by these seasons that lead our mentality in every which way but loose, yet sometimes haphazardly in the direction of that what is within you, that being love.

There are times to be, and times not to be. It is how we see the world around us which teaches us that the only way to make things better, is to see things within yourself better. Then you will start to see everything else as, better. Maybe you’ll fall in love with yourself all over again. And once you look at yourself from the standpoint of your soul, you’ll become addicted to bettering you, and you’ll start to see that love is all around you.

Though love, like life, is a daunting path through the seasons of the soul, its summer, autumn, winter, and spring, or as in the desert, arid and hot, then damp and cold. But to come to understand these seasons enables us to prepare ourselves for the gardening of surprise conditions, while love grazes in the barren pastures of our hearts, with only the intent to feed the soul.

TO UNDERSTAND LOVE

Understanding that the timing of love is infinite is the springboard for finding our true purpose.

In the gardens of Psalm it says that we are all created for a purpose and we’re given an exact time to fulfill that purpose. When this time is not used for its manifested purpose, it is wasted and lost forever. What makes the issue at hand so critical is that at the end of our lives, we will all have to stand before the pearly gates and give an account of our time on earth.

But what if….?

All we can account for is what we’ve given. Because we only take with us what we give and all we can give is the sacrifice of ourselves.

Yes, we are all stewards of love, and love, much like time, does not belong to anyone, as we belong to it. As it with life, time begins when we are born and ends when we die. And though we may pass and time no longer exists, love keeps giving itself away.

But to waste time in the sense of idleness is suicidal to the creative spirit of love. Love is something that sets time and the spirit ablaze, burning it all away, as to shed a little creative light on the darkest corners of the mind.

IN CLOSING

We are all given twenty four hours in a day, with seven days, making up a week. What distinguishes love from the other things is the premium one places on their purpose and how tall they rise amongst the confusing illusion that it takes to see that the journey is never-ending.

It’s about loving life every step on the way, it’s about finding and creating inspiration in the things that feed your soul. Its about getting back to you, and finding the love that grows within you, by spreading it far and wide.

And It Spread.

In the end, our purpose and our being constitutes the very essence of love, and the only way for this purpose to truly be is to be proud of who you are, as you are love in the infinite sense of all that is considered as pure and unconditional.

The origins of love implies that you are dividing yourself between the lover and the beloved. But if you find that place inside of you that is love, you will no longer just love yourself, you will just be love.

You just have to remember who you are, and where you came from, which is what the confusing journey through the creative wild has always been about.

—BeLove