A Fork In The Road

When it comes to forks in the road, your heart will always know the answer, not your mind.

When you return to the path that leads to the fork. Take it and it disappears as the choice lies both ahead and behind. Though both roads lead somewhere, one will take you nowhere.

To stop in the right way is to move on, to spend more of you (not to acquire anything, but to provide more.) To cling to something, to know one has it, to want to use it more, to squeeze all of the enjoyment out of it: to do this conscientiously is to really quit living altogether.

It is to stop fixing one’s attention and one’s thirst on what cannot satisfy it. Though life itself “goes on” and there is no “stopping,” life is forever content with itself, but does not know that it is so.

To leave things alone at the right time: this is the right way to “stop” and the right way to “go on ahead.”

To leave a thing alone before you have had anything to do with it (supposing that you ought to use it, maybe ought to have something to do with it) this is also stopping before you have begun. The less one wants, the more one has got. There is no need to wish for more. Use this philosophy to go on.

MOVING FORWARD

There was a time when we all wanted to make a difference in this fallen world.

It was towards the end of my adolescence when I decided to express only half of what I was feeling through the medium of writing. The reason was simple, but knowing me, one may never know the absolute reason.

This was at which point I discovered that I had turned into a person incapable of expressing more than half of what I felt. So I quit writing altogether.

Then it came again, that desire to to express myself through writing, to maybe exert some spiritual strength again through my rambled thoughts. This was three years ago almost to the day.

This time though it was different, it went deeper, a whole helluva lot deeper. Something grabbed a hold of me, it was as existential as it was ridiculous. It was a need for some kind of purpose that didn’t know the definition of mediocrity.

Was it right of me, to walk away from all that I have known in my life to seek said purpose, to walk my own path, the path in which place I haven’t a clue as to where it leads?

In the end, these are nothing more than open-ended questions that most ask themselves in order to keep life interesting.

And yet, still I continue with writing to this day, years have past, and here I am, employing my consciousness as best as I know how, with my heart on my sleeve, and always something to say, while living in a dream I mean to weave.

A CREATIVE CHOICE

A few posts ago, I had mentioned peeling back the layers of one’s self. And I spoke of the creative masks that some wear as a shield of said self.

Between writing poetry, fine tuning a novel, trying to keep up with a consistent blog, playing a patron of photography, and working as a Chef for a busy little bar and grill—I often feel like I have bit off more than I can chew.

But it is these outlets that help to keep my mind firing on all cylinders. It, being creativity, is instrumental in keeping my soul sane and my spirit unrestrained.

I’ve come to the realization that these outlets are nothing more than creative avenues that I have taken to shed the layers of who I thought I was, whom I was conditioned to be. They are all just the creative pieces that are slowly putting together the puzzle of me.

At the end of today, I’ll admit it, and tomorrow too. I have always been a hopeless romantic, through and through. And men this day and age aren’t conditioned to admit these things. All I am trying to achieve through creativity is to escape from the clutches of life’s cultured conditioning.

I have become more aware that the ends no longer justify the means. Because there are no ends, there are only means. Life means to carry us from unknown to unknown. Each moment filled with marvelous mysteries, and I know from where I came, but yet do I know where I am going. And this is what the creative journey has always been about.

I stare blindly with awe at the surprises that life and creativity have in store for me. It’s true though I often feel afraid all the same, but that is normal when on an unknown expedition through the deepest depths of one’s self. And yes, still I kneel and pray everyday that this may be the day that I finally learn how to get out of my own damn way.

THE TAKEOUT

I know that if I only think of the goal, I am nowhere near able to pay attention to the subtle signs that the universe shares along the way. It is just the same that if I only concentrate on the question, I will not hear the answers that have always been right here ringing within me.

This is why I must surrender myself to the great unknown of creatively weaving my own path. I cannot stop now, or else I may never know where my choice is meant to lead. And that is a “what if” I do not want to ask myself when old and grey.

WHEN THE TIME COMES TO MOVE ON, ONE MUST MOVE ON WITHOUT THE WORRY OF WHAT COMES NEXT.

Sometimes you have to wonder, I mean really wonder. I know we make our own reality and we always have free choice, but how much is fate?

Is there always a fork in the road, and are there two ordained paths that are equally fateful? There are hundreds of paths that one could choose as this way or that—there’s always a chance, and it’s true that chance is the only constant.

It is to choose love with constancy and consistency more than it is anything else, and to make this choice with instinct is the only way that will lead us to the places we are meant to go. And oh, the places we will go…

WHEN IT COMES TO THE FORK IN THE ROAD, YOUR HEART ALWAYS KNOWS THE ANSWER, NOT YOUR MIND”

It is at this critical creative juncture in life, at this fork in the road of me; there is only one question:

What does love do now?

No other question carries any relevance. No other question has any meaning. No, there is never going to be any other question in your life as important to your very own soul.

I’d be the first to guess that we have to go back to where it all began, to remember why I started writing again…

—BeLove

Somewhere To Be

And so it is now, this now is all there is, for in the moment is the only place we are truly meant to live.

Here I am, a sum of the parts of the man I once was, and the man I am to be. In this moment of truth, in these fragments that fall creative and free, I am still somewhat me. Though these words, sometimes construed, they are true, and they do carry me down this delightful path farther into the depths of me.

I’ve been thinking lately about the relationships that have grown on me, the ones I’ve yet to know, and those that have fallen away with time, with distance, and some with the misunderstanding of youthful exuberance, but most importantly the misunderstood parts of me. All of these relationships have played an imperative role in my life, like water saturating the roots of a tree.

I try not to confuse happiness with sadness, nor with regret. As this only confuses the issue even more. After it is all said and done, whether in his shoes, or her shoes, we all have our issues.

It is not the easiest thing to do at times, to not add to the confusion of the issues at hand. I’ll admit it. Though, I do not hold any regret that the uncertainty of things happened the way that they did, because it is the way things were meant to be.

I am more than aware and fully understand that I did have a choice in all of the matters that make up the landscape of me with these trials and tribulations so true. So I chose what I felt was needed to be felt, and I feel as though I acted as I should have acted in those moments that make up me.

And yes maybe I believe in fate a little too much. Perhaps I put too much pressure on the future, while still grasping at the purpose of my past.

It is more than likely not, or still even so, but insofar as I can tell there have been actions as small as the slightest glance of an unknown smile, the delicate laugh of an upset child, or a fleeting thought upon such an event as monumental as my very own death, they have pushed me in different directions oh so intricately. But you must see, all of these instances have placed me perfectly right here, right now, in the awareness of my very own clarity.

There was no other way to get here. This meandering, erratic, and crooked path of creativity has actually been the straightest of lines through my own mind, as I took the plunge into the creative core of me.

Take away these thousands upon thousands of somewhat organized words, thoughts I once thought of as direction, written with mistakes, sometimes poetic, even those with regret, and suddenly I am a different person with a different history, an entirely different future.

Yet to think like this takes away from said clarity. So I would have to hold it steady with the heavy load of regret because it would take away from where I am to be, that being here, in the now, and in the key of me. So instead let us not think of such things.

Still here I still stand, so very thankful for the joys and sorrows of life, because without them, it is here I might not be.

I am just as well blessed to know all of those I’ve known, and was honored to meet, some were mere acquaintances, some just passing by, and some still the best of friends, and for those I’ve yet to meet, I believe it’ll be so very sweet…

Yes it’s true, we never know what joy awaits us unless we believe that it does indeed wait for us somewhere upon shores of believing in yourself wholeheartedly. But we are only human and the sorrows of our past sometimes get the best of us all, and it becomes that much easier for us to fall. Still one must remember to smile when rising back up to stand oh so tall.

THE TAKEOUT

A man who might be full of sadness and regret, who might not give a damn, or who might, just might, remember that the future is inevitable and the past is gone. It is to realize this, wherein waits the joy that comes with not knowing what tomorrow may bring. But tomorrow does not belong anywhere if I’m not here, in this moment as we speak.

This is the meaning of my free. The freedom I have found in the creative waves of my own deep blue sea. The freedom to feel what I feel when I feel it, and to write it down on paper. To be real and stand up somewhat haphazardly yet with stability in a world where the illusion of normalcy is more often than not—awfully foggy.

Still it is my pleasure to share with you what I believe, whether or not, it’s with me you might agree, nor what you might think of me. I am me and that’s all I can be. You are free to see me however it is you please.

And now I see that every experience whether good or bad, has led me, or will lead me to where I need to be—at the very least eventually. Every single victory, every little losing streak and the simplest of mistaken identities have all led me right here to the creative edge of me.

So let us not be afraid to shake things up. And just as well, maybe jump, knowing we should not expect success, and the awakening of our wildest dreams to come to reality overnight. What is meant to be will come when the moment is right. It always does.

For the best things in life only happen when we least expect them. The universe has her ways. And everything you could ever want, or have prayed for, will come to parade before you, if you would only allow it to, without expecting it to.

So go on ahead, get lost, and maybe get lost again. Harness the wild within, and find yourself again, then again and again. Work hard, hustle harder, and don’t quit until you make yourself present with life and proud of who you are, in this now and all the more presently, where life is forever beckoning, and all the while Heaven waits patiently.

And so it is now, this now is all there is, for in the moment is the only place we are truly meant to live.

But for now if you would please excuse me, I have somewhere to be…

—BeLove

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

The Lightness Of You

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

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

But is it?

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

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

But how does one do that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Rebellion is the seed for the transformation within.”

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

—BeLove

Off The Beaten Path

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

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

Yet in reality I started working at the ripe old age of fifteen years old, fell in love numerous times, 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

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

Branching Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time this story begins.

—BeLove

After Life

“In every waking man, death dreams asleep.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In every waking man, death dreams asleep.”

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

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

BeLove

Passing By

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BE YOU

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

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

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

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

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

BE FREE

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

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

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

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

BE REAL

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

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

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

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

-BeLove