For What It’s Worth

A warrior does not give up what he loves, instead, he finds love in what he does.

The warrior stands rebellious, graphite sword in hand, contemplating over a cosmic plain.  Below him or her is a spinning sphere full of trials, tribulations, threatening adversaries, and tempting shortcuts.  Across the plain rises a mountain called mentality, full of promise but harboring a myriad of challenges. 

On the other side of the mountain awaits something of which they are not exactly sure.  Could it be valor, transcendence, illumination, possibly even enlightenment?  Or perhaps something more sinister hides behind the mountain in the shallow shadowed valleys below.     

All he or she knows is that they must carve a chivalrous path through life’s uneven landscape and scale the mountain, leading the way for those who seek something better on the other side.  They must guide with empathy and compassion through the shades of peril that lay ahead. 

They know that death is an option from which they cannot opt out of.  They are very aware that survival could escape them, but they are prepared and are capable of leading those they love to safety regardless of their own well-being.  And yet, they are also confident and their spirits can barely contain themselves.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART

The warrior wears their heart as a shield, protecting what they love from the evil that lurks in the dusk of fear.  They defy the nightmares of deceit, false beliefs, and the judgments that create suffering and false happiness.  It is a war that once was waged within their own hearts and minds. 

They stare fear in the eye with an awareness that the inner conflict of adversity has already taught them.  They know that truth, divinity, and unconditional love are what lie ahead on the other side of fear.  They know what is at stake and it is more important than anything else to them.  It is Freedom.  Or call it cerebral liberty if you will.

The warrior breathes benevolence for what they wish to protect, in this case, the reverence of love, and freedom of the mind. Their tears are hidden behind their eyes, for it is love, not hate, in which motivates them to create. They acknowledge that bravery comes in the presence of fear and not in its absence.

Afraid or not, they keep emotional arousal at bay and instead use its energy to finish the task at hand. They are confident in their skills of struggle and that conceit is an exploitable weakness. They feel everything that everyone does, but answer otherwise. Their commitment to peace and harmony is deeper than any river they have ever crossed. It is what they live, love, fight, die, and write for.

The warrior knows that in order to win the war against fear, requires awareness, valor, discipline, and a promise in order to transform the emotional body of the whole.  They know their inner strength is a weapon but how it is used depends on their hearts and minds, and of course their soul. 

BE AWARE

Awareness is the most vital tool of a warrior.  We often think we are aware but to be purely aware does not involve thinking whatsoever.  Awareness is unpolluted because there is no interpretation to the thinking process.  To be aware means that we perceive with clarity the truth of what is happening in the present without opinion. 

In the moment of pure awareness the dialogue in our mind stops.  We see from a point of view separate from the scrutiny of our mind.  It is in the awareness of an epiphany that balance finds its way beneath the warrior’s footing.

Awareness is essential because it is a state of consciousness that allows us to discern between the facts and the truth, and between the story and the lies in our mind.  Our mind is filled with false perceptions and false beliefs.  The mind is crafty, but it is also full of assumptions and limited patterns of perception, it is easily fed with distraction. 

Self-awareness is the clarity to know who and what you are, and not become so entangled in the image of yourself.  Your self-image that is your utmost distraction will often misrepresent the sense of who you really are.  False internal images can lead you to lower self-esteem and self-confidence.  They can even lead to being self-centered. 

MIND YOUR HEAD

If you have an idea of who you are, then contemplate that you are not that idea in your mind.  You are the one creating and discerning it.  When you become aware that the images of self that you hold in your mind are nothing but illusion, you recognize the essence of freeing yourself from self-importance.

The warrior has the courage to question his or her own beliefs.  By challenging their own beliefs, they begin to recognize the lies that cause their own suffering.  To challenge their own beliefs requires courage because it is a means to the end of the illusion of safety.  A warrior learns not to defend what they believe, but to challenge those very beliefs themselves.  It is in this way that they are able to sort the truth from illusion.

Discipline is of the utmost importance in the spirit of a warrior.  Discipline is stringent upon staying the course when faced with the inward challenges of the mind.  A warrior must have the discipline to continue to practice against his or her own mind, without any outside motivation. 

They must exercise their own free will at the command of their heart without outward representation.  This often means going against the fearful opinions in our minds that allure us with patterned illusions of both punishment and reward.  They must also carry close the discipline to follow their heart when tempted by judgment.

LOVE YOURSELF

The warrior must commit to self-love.  They can then extend that love to others that they care for, as well as humanity.  Self-love is required because along the journey we are certain to fall many times.  It is with love and a strong commitment that the warrior gets back up, again.  As it is common to fall upon the fleeting judgment of others. 

It is easy to love some people, particularly those who treat us with mutual respect.  However, it requires an incredible commitment to love in the face of those who reject us.  This commitment will challenge us.  It will challenge our beliefs about our own judgments, while teaching us that pure compassion is the only defense required. 

The warrior is committed to love beyond their own self-serving interests and what it will bring them.  This is how we become happy past our own paradigm of longing.  Over time, we become committed to love for the sheer enjoyment of expressing love.  This is what the spirit of a warrior lives for, to love.  They nourish themselves with the love they express.  A warrior will always express their love, even when challenged. 

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

The warrior always expects the best from themselves.  They may not always overcome everything they are faced with, but it is with certainty that they will give it their all to rise above failure.  They will make the best of every situation and seek to unleash their greatest potential even if they do have to dip into the madness of their own mind. 

They expect to set the example of what it takes to lead and inspire others, no matter how close to the edge they take themselves.  Therefore, they must be ready, willing, and able to carry the burden, even when lost in the arid desert of their mind.   

A warrior understands that they only have one life, so they treat it with reverence and fill it with those peculiar moments that make life worth living and with those they find meaningful.  Sometimes a warrior must walk away from everything he was to find out where he truly belongs.

THE TRUTH IS

But what do I know? I am not necessarily a warrior, I am just some guy who likes to write, but I believe in something much more greater and graceful than the good we are promised.  I have a vision and I believe in it with such passion, I will seek it out until the day I die. 

The funny thing is that it’s right here within me.  It always has been, somewhere deep, and probably hidden somewhere pretty damn dark.  Though it is true, there is a light of faith in the darkness that will always shine through.

It is in these moments when I write that I find meaning.  The means of myself seem to meet with pen and paper.  For some odd reason, I associate words with leaving a mark on the world.  I’m not sure why.  And I do know, now, from firsthand experience, that it is flat out brutal to be an open book in a world that barely reads anymore. 

Yet, still, writing does allow my soul to saunter hand and hand with creative experience, instead of withering away to the misuse of boredom’s mediocrity.  I guess it allows my mind its daily serenity.  And by treating every minute as a gift—with a gift—is a great way to align my life the way that I see fit. 

THE TAKEOUT

So, let us stop wasting these precious minutes, and start running towards those dreams.  Starting with today, go get whatever it is you wish to deserve from this life.  Or you could just continue to put it off until tomorrow, but eventually, you will have to either walk away from what it is the spiritual path demands of you.  Or, you can stare it in the eyes and give everything last bit that you have left in the creative tank to get to the results that Heaven and the One Upstairs desire. 

And for what it’s worth, the warrior knows that he doesn’t have a lot to offer, but what he truly believes in—things like love, freedom, and all else in between—they are worth fighting for.  And he knows he can only get to where it is he is meant to be by staying out of his own damn way.

—Ryan Love

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