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

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

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

Lost & Found

All roads lead to the heart; where we plunge unhesitatingly into the river of passions always flowing through life.

“Just on the edge of the forest, rises a mountain, and passed this mountain lies a lake. On this lake rests a village, to the west of the village is an island. On this island sits a blissful sanctuary with endless charming bells,” spoke the lovely woman.

The boy saw she was genuinely dressed with her own eccentricities and wore a veil of light that was covering half of her face. He had never seen her around the town before.

“Have you ever visited the sanctuary?” she asked.  “Go find it. Go tell it on the mountain and tell me what you think of it?”

Captivated by the woman’s beauty, the boy climbed the mountain, and found the village by the lake. He sat down on the rocks next to the alpine lake and stared out at the horizon, but he saw only what he always saw: blue sky, sunshine, and jagged peaks.  

A bit disillusioned, he walked to the nearby fishing village and asked if anyone there knew about a hidden sanctuary with beautifully ringing bells that was once situated on an island?

“That island hasn’t been around for many, many moons, since the years that our ancestors first settled here,” said an elder fisherman. “There was an earthquake, and the island was swallowed up by the mountain under the lake. Although we can no longer see the island, we can still hear the bells from that sanctuary when the lake starts churning from a summer’s wind, and the mountain below starts moaning for air.

The boy went back to the rock by the lake and tried with everything he had to hear those bells. He spent the entire afternoon of a summer’s day there by that lake, but all he heard was the gentle sigh of the waves, the sailing wind, mixed in with buzzing bees and that of an osprey’s cry.

When night fell, he was gone from home for so long that his family came looking for him. They found him on that rock and took him home.

The following morning, he went back to the rock. He was stumped that such a striking woman misled him. He thought that if she ever returned, he would tell her that while he didn’t find the sanctuary, he heard the bells bellow with the waves from the mountain moaning beneath the lake.

Months and months had passed; the woman never returned and the boy forgot all about her. He was now convinced that he needed to discover the treasure buried deep within the submerged sanctuary. If he could ever hear those bells, he would be able to reveal the sanctuary’s whereabouts and salvage what treasure was yet to be swallowed up by the mountain underneath the lake.

He lost interest in his daily routine and even in his friends so dear. He became the laughing stock of the other children’s jokes. They would say: “He’s not like us. He prefers to sit by that lake, gazing into nothing because he’s apprehensive of competing and being beaten in our games of societal influence.”

They all went to the shore to see for themselves. There he was, legs crossed and all, staring into oblivion upon the horizon. They all laughed at his expense and left him to his own devices.

Although he still wasn’t able to hear the sanctuary singing from below with the crashing waves, the boy learned about other things.  He learned how to unlearn himself.  He began to realize that he had become so used to the waves that they were no longer a distraction.  Soon thereafter, he became habituated to the cries of the osprey, the buzzing of the bees and the wind blowing through a wilderness full of trees.  

A year had passed since his conversation with the lovely woman. The boy could now rest mindless of all the other noises and distractions, but he still could not hear the bells ringing from the hidden sanctuary.

The fishermen in the village started to come by and talk to the boy, always insisting they heard the bells daily, while offering their perceived advice on how to hone in on the hope of hearing them.

But the boy never heard them. 

It was some time later, however, the fisherman tainted their tune: “You’re wasting your life away thinking about those bells hidden in the depths of this lake. Forget about them and go back home to where you belong. Perhaps it’s only us fishermen who can hear the bells.”

Another year had passed, when the boy thought: “Perhaps those fishermen were right. Maybe I would do better to grow up and become a fishermen and come down to this rock of mine, because I have come to love it here.” As well he thought: “Perhaps it was just another myth and the sanctuary was destroyed by the quaking earth many moons ago and those bells haven’t truly rung since.

That afternoon, he decided to make his way home.

He walked down to his rock to say goodbye to the lake. He took in the scenery one last time that had surrounded him for so long. Because the bells no longer consumed him, his smile took to shape beneath the shining sun; he heard again the harmony within the buzzing bees, and the cries of the osprey blowing with the wind of a wilderness breeze. Far off in the distance, he heard childlike chatter, and he was glad to be becoming on his way towards his home, where he would resume his childish antics with his friends.

The boy was as happy as happy could be, as only a child can know, as he was grateful for being alive. He, as sure as shit assured himself, that he had not wasted his time.  He had learned the contemplation of nature and he respected it more than himself.  

Then, as he stared into the sun, with the harmony of the bees and the cries of the osprey, and as the childish voices meandered with the wind, as it blew through the forest of trees, he heard the first bell.  And then there was another.

Then they came in sprawls of rhythmic beauty, until, to his great joy, all the bells in the drowned sanctuary were ringing. 

A couple of years later, the boy returned to the village, a grown man. He returned to the rock by the lake. He was no longer consumed by finding the treasure in the sanctuary hidden beneath the lake. Perhaps the treasure had been a byproduct of his imagination after all, and he hadn’t really heard those sanctuary bells ringing, so loud and clear that one lost adolescent afternoon. He decided to sit and contemplate upon his rock as he had always done and listened for the other half of his soul.

Imagine his surprise, when behind him the acoustics of a crackling autumn’s leaf startled him.  He turned with leisure to his wonder. He saw the lovely woman who had spoken to him about the sanctuary and the bells.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I was waiting for you,” she replied.

This time the veil was lifted, and the man felt like a boy again amongst the glow of her timeless beauty, despite the passing years, she was becoming more beautiful; much like her, the light she exuded before had not faded with time.

She handed him a dusty old notebook, filled with blank pages.

“Write: A warrior of love and wisdom values a child’s eyes since they are able to glance at the world without resentment. When he wants to find out if the person beside him can be deemed worthy of his trust, he looks to see him as a child would.”

“What is a warrior of love and wisdom?”

“We both know that you know that already,” she replied with a glowing smile. “He is someone capable of comprehending the miracle of life and its rebirth, of fighting till death for something he believes in—and when hearing the bells that rang from the sanctuary within yourself, you know He is the one who set them ringing from the depths of your soul.”

He had never thought of himself as a warrior. The woman seemed to hear his thoughts. “Everyone is capable of these things. And, though no one thinks of themselves as a warrior, there inside the depths of us, we all are.

The blankness of aromatic redemption canvassed his senses, and as he fanned through the empty pages, the woman beamed again.

“Write for the warrior,” she said.

—BeLove

When a man makes up a story for his child, he becomes a father and a child together, listening.

Creative Clarity

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to see things in a completely different way.

Creativity is a shape shifter. It is something that is not defined with pattern. It carries with it, its own mentality. One moment it takes upon itself this form, the next that. Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to see things in a completely different way. It is this bedazzling spirit that appears to all of us, yet is hard to identify its existence because there is not one of us that can agree upon what we read or saw as far as ourselves or our eyes are concerned.

Are the wielding of colors upon canvas, just as similar as paint chips and wallpaper? Is this evident of its creative existence? What about a pen versus paper, a rosebush bordered along a garden path? Yes and yes. What about the cooking up of love’s revolution? Why the hell not? Is it touching with delicate love the petals of a rose, or pulling off the Big Sweat of the swelling summer, or tying upon your line a pale morning dun because the trout see them better in the morning sun? Yes, yes, and yes. What about finding ones voice, or rearing a child towards adulthood, or better yet helping raise a nation from its prayerful knees? Hell yes.

Creativity is the tending to love like the orchard it is, finding the words that see fit. And when the cosmic thread finds its fabric, you sew the creative life that has been so graciously given to you. All of the above belong to the creative river of life. Creativity is the celestial river beneath the churning river of life, which flows from in and out of our souls.

Some say the creative life is in the living of ideas, some say it’s by doing, I believe it rests in the simplicity of being you. It is the love of something, having so much love for something—whether it be a band, a collection of words, an image, an idea, let alone be it humanity, that touches us in a way nothing else can. All that can be done to satisfy this craving is to create. It is not a matter of wanting or needing to, it is not a singular act of will; one solely must.  

The creative force flows over the spiritual terrain of our soul looking for the natural hollows, the channels that exist within us. We become basins of belief, tributaries of truth; we are the shallow pools, the serene ponds, and most important the sanctuaries of sanity.  The wild creative force flows into whatever garden bed we build for it, those we are born gifted with and those we have to dig with our own bare hands.  We don’t always have to fill them, but first we must build them.  

In lore, there is an idea that if one prepares a special spiritual place, then the creative force, or source of the soul, will hear it, sense its way to it, and call it home. Whether this force is summoned by the prayer of biblical proportions, “go forward and prepare a place for the soul” or, as in the movie Field Of Dreams in which a farmer hears a voice urging him to build a baseball stadium in the middle of midwestern nowhere USA. “If you build it they will come,” is a way of saying to prepare a place for the longevity of the creative force. It induces the soul to take the imagination to places that life could only dream of.

Once the inner river finds the estuaries and branches in our soul, our creative life fills and empties, rises and falls just like the seasons of a wilderness river. These cycles or patterns are responsible for the different climates of spiritual survival. Certain patterns of paths are the ones we must walk to get through the arid desert of the mind. Things are created; thoughts are fed, then fall back and die away, all in their own right time, over and over again. Creating one thing at any certain point in the river feeds those who come to the river, feeds those far downstream, yet even others in the deepest pools of imagination.

Creating is not a solitary moment. This is the clarity of creativity. This is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, whomever tasted its ingredients with the perfect balance, they sense it, they see it, and they are fed by it. This is why beholding someone else’s creative words, imageS, or ideas fills us up, and inspires us to do our own creative work. A single creative deed has the budding potential to feed this starving world. One single creative act can cause a river’s torrent to carve through miles of stubborn stone.

I have always thought of the following song’s inspiration as being that of creativity, more so necessarily than that of female persuasion. See you all soon. Thanks for stopping by.

—BeLove

On The Substance Of Life

Long before the road to hell was paved, man was more than able to find his own way to Heaven through the nature of himself.

It is a befitting attitude to engage amongst any consideration pertaining to the better tasting substances of life, those which intertwine modesty with the miraculous—minus the madness—which might I add is often easiest to find. It is in the nature of our being to cradle with our thoughts, certain testimonies that are measured by the height of our curiosity. This nature, in a way, finagles with the fact that creation has always been the very foundation of our “being,” and from it we must build our existence.

I have often spoke of finding one’s self, but I’ve come to grasp that the meaning of life is to in fact, in the constructive sense, create yourself. It is in the nature of creativeness to offer hints of clarity that help to keep the mind clear of unnecessary debris that must be swept clean. There is no better time than now to clear said debris. Long before the road to hell was paved, man was more than able to find his own way to Heaven through the nature of himself.

 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Matthew 5:41

Into The Mystic

In as much as we are possible, we should strive to resemble the idea that He had of us when He created us. As should we be expected to laugh and smile with our worries as they recover from self-susceptibility. Worries aren’t something that are to be handled with the constant maneuvering of them to and fro, between that of suffering and sentimentality. Worries are to be handled in the sense of all that is lackadaisical. A stumble here and a fumble there, but it is in the delight for life’s spontaneity that leaves the spiritual energy of love forever hiding in plain sight.

Life is too damn rigorous in itself. Let alone should we allow it to leave us left worried all the damned time. Life and its more delicate moments are to be treated to the delicacy of creativity. Life is about creating from the core characteristics of our being, getting more centered with the edge from which we leap, which of course is considered to be love.

How delicate life is when death doesn’t spare a dime of mercy? Time is way too short to worry about what others may think. Death is always right around the corner and as precious as life is, why hide it’s beautiful touches of madness? With that being said, even deeper into a thought let us sink.

“Maybe I was wrong to grow up at my own pace and for feeling underwhelmed at my own choices, to choose what I did when I did. Yet these are the circumstances of who I am today. Nowadays, I’m content with being a child at my core. I’ll be the first to tell you, this is the most beautiful part of “being,” because without our childhood, to us, there would be no core. At our core sits the beauty of childlike chaos; it’s how you handle it as you get older, which will speak volumes of your character and exemplify how you treat and react to others.”

“Is it not up until about nine or ten years old we knew of nothing but that of unconditional love? We are all children at heart, are we not? The heart knows nothing of age. We are just as nurtured and matured by foolishness as we are by goodness, and by all of the random acts of kindness that we have, without thought, accumulated over the span of our lives. Its the simplicity within this wholeheartedness of understanding that keeps those dark days somewhat sunny. These actions even left unseen are eternally adolescent and wild.”

“From my less than critical decision making throughout life, I came to see that by creating from the deepest layers of me that I was beginning to truly feel “free” from me. It was like something was being excavated from the deepest depths of me, uncovering lodes of gold, the kind no “inward” coal miner ever suspected to exist. There is not a thing more romantic than the semantics of the shedding of who we are from the layers of our own and especially that of the societal gold standard”

Sparks Of A Touched Soul.

“It shouldn’t be so hard to imagine that the ten billion inhabitants of this rock we walk upon would set out upon the same sort of self-exploration. But it is, and will continue to become more difficult, but there is hope yet, but first the sun of subversion must set. It is unfortunate these days that thought is being manufactured beneath the shadow of shady tactics leaving most to be worried about what exists within the toxic perception of their own collective ego.”

“So it is rather for now that we are left to just a small army of those who truly hope and pray for Heaven on Earth. It is true that with universal self-understanding, all of humanity would be given backstage access to that of inner bliss, as they come to approach the cliff overlooking the meaning of life. And as I stand now teetering, it is from the edge I jump into the depths of Heaven on Earth.”

“It would be a certain sort of pleasantry to see all of those whom are wrapped up in the elegance of their fur lined egos, lining the streets to have their souls scrutinized. Maybe Heads of State would come out in soft parades to reveal intimate state secrets with the desire to better humanity, all the while confessing their own dreams for the inner improvement of themselves. And we may come to find revolutionaries in the streets preaching the revolution of consciousness, while hearing about the pseudo-Christians who urged the (moral) slaying of each one of themselves so that Christ can indeed succeed their own ego. Hopefully businessmen would surprisingly escape from those venture capitalist ways and run to the emotional stock exchange to trade in their valuable assets for eternal values. Maybe academia would tear up its diploma to board the myth of the ship Argo, while oilmen drill for the eternal black gold that springs from the kingdom of Self.  It is then that may we see converted chemists extract several megatons of spiritual energy from the atomic rubble of war.”

We’re still a long way. However, Heaven on Earth doesn’t only reveal itself in our immediate surroundings—it emigrates.

The Beauty Of Spiritual Energy.

In Closing

Genuine dissent must always keep a human measure upon the height of righteousness. It must be free and spontaneous. Or what the hell? Let us just call it wild. The slighter gestures of spiritual bewilderment are often the most significant, because they are not premeditated.

True, he who dissents alone may confine the element of dissent to words, to inward declarations, to poetic thoughts, to symbolic gestures. He too may fail to act. Gestures are perhaps not enough. Perhaps they are to the eye, a slight of hand, and perhaps to the heart they may fit just right. And perhaps it is to hope that over time these tokens of appreciation will once and for all, force the hand of ego upon its flight of ascension away from that everlasting inner eternal fight. The truth of this is divine in nature, this is when we can truly taste the sweetness of honey in the substance of life.

It is for now must I go on and get to where my sanity has found the perfect fit. Time has grown of the essence. The reality of summer’s looming swell of chaos has beckoned the call of the beast below. We thank you from the bottom of me for taking the time to read. Godspeed.

—Ryan  

Sanity is the beauty that hides behind madness put to good use.