Depths Of Discovery

Without leaving himself, one grows with the vastness of the cosmic scope within; and yet: the farther one goes, the less he knows.

“Backwards and downwards,” the laughter and then the deep breaths, for long durations there had been nothing else. These were the only pieces of me left intact, or that I was able to find in my animated demeanor.

I sometimes felt like a memory of three words, carried by a broken down glory on the back of an empty pack of cigarettes. But it sufficed. The experience of life has been both essential and delightful in regards to the growth of me.

Over in the corner, on the fringe of awareness, the light still lingers; and in a flash of two memories colliding, my sensitivity to the light has somehow improved. 

In the beginning brightness had been all over the place and everywhere the same. It was a shining spectrum of silence, boundless but uniform. Essentially, it was without flaw, still indeterminate. And yet, while It remains all that It has forever been, it was as though the gentleness of bliss had been limited by the interpretation of an activity.

Poetry. 

The first time I finagled with the rhythm of rhyme, I felt like my soul was bouncing all over the place. Funny enough, it was when I first stepped off a plane in Colorado with the deepest cut by my side some twenty years ago. It’s true—every movement in genuine love is poetic, if not hallucinoginec.

This is how I behaved over the next few years. I was determined to stabilize myself from this exercise in spiritual growth and self-recollection from the grip of an adolescent lesson layered with love and loss, all the while doing it with a smile. I felt that the aim of poetry would saturate the deserted depths of my arid soul, only to revive the active connection between my self and the divine powers that Be. I felt that it helped to heal. I realized that it was, as it is that follows.

Poetry is an activity that is at the same time a pattern, a kind of living lattice of discovery; universal, infinitely complex, and exquisitely delicate.  A vast web of knots and divergences, of parallels and spirals, of intricate figures and their curiously distorted projections—all shining, active, and most importantly alive.

It was from then on, that first written poem, that I wanted to drape the world in the radiance of poetry, but I didn’t have enough material, nor the confidence to boot. My first attempt ended somewhere back in my twenties between my head and my heart. Sure poetry was lovely and generous, with its fields of gold. Still its goodness was the sort of goodness society had long considered out of date, so I gave it all up.

Besides, the radiance I wanted to deal in was an antiquated kind and in short supply throughout this shallow world. What I needed was a newfound radiance altogether, something a little more gorgeous and chivalrous that wouldn’t allow my imagination the time to pine away in the darkness of me. My imagination had to assert itself so that the art manifested the inner powers of my own nature, that which is love.

Without leaving himself, one grows with the vastness of the cosmic scope within; and yet: the farther one goes, the less he knows.

Then I found it again, that need for poetry, out west, a few years ago, this time it hit pretty close to home.

Does poetry have the power to pick you up in California and land you in sunny Salt Lake City a few hours later? Could it validate the distance between ourselves, and that, which lies ahead of us? Some think it has no such power. And nowadays public interest only grew wherever power did.

In the days of old, poetry was a force to be reckoned with. The poet had real romantic strength in the material world. Of course, the material was different then. Souls were still being wrapped in the fabric of divine magic, right up until the Industrial age slithered its greed around the heart and soul of mankind.

The romantic poets of society’s influence have always done what they were expected to do, they sprinkle beauty amongst the chaos, only to eventually give in to the pursuit. They chase ruin and death harder than they chase women. They set their talent ablaze, followed by a mental decline just before they reach home, and they dive headfirst down a slippery slope that slides upon a watery grave.

No, society is proud of its dead poets. Most everyone takes tremendous satisfaction in the poet’s self-taught testimony that reality is too tough, too big, too damn much; too awfully rigid with an expectation that bounces off the emotional checks and balances of a soul.

It is often thought that to be a poet is a school thing, a skirt thing, a church thing. The weakness of an unhinged spiritual prowess was proved in the childishness, madness, drunkenness, and despair of such marvelous martyrs.

So poets are loved, but loved because they just can’t make it here in the real world. We exist to loosen the grip on the feelings of experience by unraveling the tangled knots of life. We justify the cynicism of the hard-hearted men who say, “If I weren’t such a corrupt, unemotional piece of work, I couldn’t get through these times either. Look at these good, tenderhearted men, the best of us. The poor bastards perished by their own weakness, crazy sons of bitches.”

All the same, the desire of a poet will at times intersect at the corner of contradiction within himself. Maybe it’s an urge to be magical and cosmically expressive, shadowed articulate; to be able to approximate anything. Maybe it’s to be wise, philosophical, to find that common ground between the beauty of words, spirituality, love, and science, to prove that the animated emotions of the spiritual imagination are just as potent as any well-oiled war machine. Maybe it’s to believe in an ability to free and bless humankind with an unconditional love that spills from the light in the sky above.

But all the same, there in the shadows of his drive and desire, hides an inkling of expectation to be famous, and in this expectation of fame, there always hides a muse, a woman, there was always a woman behind the scenes.

Of course, it always came down to women. Freud himself believed that fame was pursued for the sake of the women. But the women were pursuing something else.

Everyone of us, both man and woman alike, are always looking for the real thing after being had and had by all the phonies. So we pray for the real thing and we rejoice when the real thing comes along. That’s why the world will always romanticize its love for poets. This is the bittersweet truth of poetry.

“Upwards and forwards,” I say silent to myself shadowed by a sudden glorified onslaught of distant laughter.

Once more a few lit fragments of self fall back to me—the same as they always were, but in some way associated, this time, with a particular light in the bright lattice of an intricate relationship, located somewhere in between what is right and what is wrong in the middle of me. It situates itself approximately on one of those little infinite nodes of intersecting alignment that shines from the core of all souls. I believe we can all agree from where in which I believe this light shines.

This pattern of intersection projects itself from another pattern, and within the other pattern I find another, larger fragment of me—a long lost memoir as a boy, scrambling out of the puddles of an adolescent ditch, wet and muddy to my knees in childlike poetry.  I shout at the shadow of a man above, “jump you chicken shit, just jump.” And as the shadow jumps, I hear a faint howl echo with laughter.

An indeterminable voice within my immediate surroundings introduces itself as gentle as possible to my contemplative state, startling both me, and my thought process awake.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated and fasten your seatbelts, flight attendants please see that all tray tables are folded forward and seat backs are in the upright position, and that all overhead baggage is put away and bins are secure. We are clear for takeoff.”

Yes, it is true that a poet cannot perform societal open heart surgery, nor can he heave a bird of pewter steel thirty thousand feet in the air at seven hundred and seventy seven miles per hour, only to land soft, gentle and safe in good ole sunny Utah.

But he can damn sure die trying.

—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, got married then divorced, 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

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

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.