The Vulture

Benjamin walked toward the podium to the applause of the crowd, one hand raised out of appreciation.

He paused for a moment, lifting the microphone to meet his stature, and calmly looked out until we quieted.

I was a boy then and recall my eagerness and anticipation for his words still today.

 

He began, “The Island of Fate was for a long time hidden from us. As you all now know, this is no longer the case. I was fortunate enough to partake in the expedition that led to its discovery and, subsequently, was the one to discover the body of the vulture and the scroll.”

Clearing his throat, he gave some details that bored me as a child. Details regarding the integrity of the paper, estimates of its age and antiquity, a hypothesis about the plants used as ink, and finally he began to talk about how he came to discover the enormous bird that they had found and of the scroll itself.

“With my pistol drawn I entered into a narrow passageway carved into the rock. I only discovered it because I went to tie my shoe and saw it behind the vines.”

He chuckled and continued, “At the end of the passage there was a circular room with seven stars engraved in the stone. There, in the center, was the corpse of the vulture lurched over and decayed on the floor. I almost shot it honestly.  At a glance, the bird’s corpse looked like it was some sort of living horror, especially in the torchlight. As you surely know from the pictures, it is an oddly shaped specimen, massive, and cloaked in black feathers. Clutched in its talons was the scroll.”

We applauded then.

 

Graciously he raised his hand, “It is an absolute honor to read to you, today, the translation of the scroll.”

I recall the look in my mother’s eyes as she watched Benjamin, my father, deliver the speech. They were filled with the kind of light that only a love of immeasurable depth can begin to reflect. All of the years of him away had amounted to this moment.

 

We stopped applauding and he began to read,

“On this island of warring nations life and death battle one another. Every year each nation offers a warrior to the clearing. It is there that they fight.

One year, an elk was chased into the clearing by wolves at the time of war. There, it was slaughtered in front of the eyes of the two warriors.

Wolves are sacred to the tribe of death and elk are sacred to the tribe of life.

The warrior of death shouted, “Don’t you see, our god is stronger than your god! Death always wins. Give up your foolish ways and embrace us once and for all.

The warrior of life shouted back, “Don’t you see – our god has given your god life in the sacrifice of itself. Lay down your weapons and honor us in gratitude”.

We are the judges of their contradiction.”

 

When he finished reading the translation, the hall was silent. I looked at my mother and recall the look of confusion on her face.

I too was confused and recall thinking, ‘All of those years away for that?’

 

 

 

 

 

Narcissus and the reflective pool

There once was a boy who very much wanted to be loved and to fall in love. He was always chasing after the affirmations he would find burning in the smiling eyes of those he encountered when he spoke to them. And, those who showed him no favor, he dismissed.

But he was gravely flawed, for in himself he saw nothing worth loving. It was only in the eyes of others that he could find comfort.

He became so fascinated by love that its pursuit became the reason for his existence. It blinded him. He couldn’t help it of course, and oh, how sweet the prose of his youthful pining.

He grew older and in living this way broke the hearts of many others who also wanted very much to be loved and to fall in love. For the way he looked at them inspired in them the same sense of that ‘being loved’ which he had sought.

And so he would appear, flashing his smile and saying his words. He would look for love, attention, and admiration and then satisfied; he would walk away.

 

I once watched him as a young man approach a piano in a busy college cafeteria. He played, well I might add, and standing from the piano smiled at a beautiful young woman in a green coat.

She smiled back at him and leaned forward to engage him in conversation, but he walked away. He loved the chase too much. He knew not how to approach love honestly.

Her face frowned at his departure as she leaned back in her chair.

 

He was so in love with being in love that he failed to love honestly and eventually, the young man met his match. For he fell in love with a young woman who was very similar to himself.

She too adorned herself in light in order to cover the unruly darkness that swirled below her mask. She too wore love on her sleeve to hide her own inability to love herself. She too flashed smiles of warmth from a cold heart and embodied joys so as to quiet her fears and sins.

It was with great interest that I watched their encounter.

 

When the young man smiled at her and she smiled back, he was captivated – for in her smile there was a similar light – dangling atop the void neither of them could see.

He became obsessed with her smile, and gave of himself in ways he had never given anyone in order to be rewarded with it again and again; he gave himself fully.

Writing letters, sending poetry, giving flowers…the brokenness of their smiles aligned and brought forth a love like one that he had never known before.

The words he had given to others to captivate their hearts she spoke to his. The touch he gave to others to nourish their love she gave to him. His cold heart ignited in ways he had never known before. It was a relationship of endless beauty painted atop a timebomb of heartbreak. I still remember his smiling at her. The poor lad was clueless.

Clueless because a poetic love of such depth can only be described as impossible. No smile lasts forever on an honest face. No unreconciled darkness stays forever behind the light.

I watched him lay beside her under the stars. I heard their laughter and I straightened the collar of my overcoat as I walked away in the growing cold.

He had reached the top of love’s mountain. Had found her pool and had stared into it. He had soared to the heights of his dreams, indeed, he had held his very dreams in his arms and looked into her eyes.

And, oh, he would fall.

 

One day she lifted her mask and revealed to him a cold light. The cold light he had hidden within himself in his pursuit of love. Her face became distant to him, frozen.

I watched him then, as everything he knew about love, as his very dreams were pulled from his eyes into that cold light. Like a star devoured by a black hole – his passions, poems, dreams, hopes, memories, values, faith and everything else that he had been was pulled from him.

I heard him cry out in a dissillusionment so traumatizing that it could only be described as death. And, when he awoke, he found himself on his knees staring into a once reflective pool now frozen by winter’s honest grasp.

My poor Narcissus.

 

He wanted to be loved so badly and that he had to be blinded by his own beauty in order to see himself as beautiful.

The darkness he had run from, his inability to love himself, had deceived him in a relfection atop shallow water.

It was only a matter of time.

You should hear him sing now though. And the way he speaks of love is actually grounded in reality.

My young man has grown up well.

I love watching him.

I love being his muse.

Where will he go now?

A Moment Through My Eyes

I once was on a plane during an intense thunderstorm. Lightning was striking around us, the plane rocked, the woman to my left nervously clung to her husband’s arm and looked about the cabin frantically. The chaos was palpable, but not yet out of hand.

It’s a rather funny thing to observe – how people communicate when they are afraid. Anyways, an odd thing happened then, more likely a product of my imagination than a spiritual encounter, but regardless, I felt the presence of a woman holding me from behind. This voice asked me gently, “Can you accept it – death – without fighting? Would you still love God if you died right now?”

Thoughts of my then girlfriend ran through my mind. I did not ike the notion of losing everything at all. Indeed, I was actually on my way to visit her, but the question was so pointed – so honest and possible – that it demanded an answer in my mind and I answered, “Yes. It would be ok.”

I smiled after answering the question, felt my anxiety and fears evaporate, and then began speaking to the frightened woman to my left to calm her.

She told me I looked familiar to her.

We landed shortly after.

I walked to grab my luggage, saw my girlfriend and it seemed ethereal, not real. She kissed me passionately but my mind was lingering on what had just happened. I’m also not fond of public affection but I digress.

We spent a couple of days together. We walked about an old antique mall. There was this lovely painting that I very much wanted. I recall that the artist had a very unique style, the way they painted horses and men walking down the street was ‘free’ rather than controlled. Colorful flares and bursts of life – I wanted it but had no means of transporting it home.

Eventually my time with her ended, I looked her in the eyes, kissed her and got on a van that was to take me to the airport. I thought of her the whole way there, the whole way home, and as I opened the door to my house.

I loved her, kind of like how I loved the brush strokes of that artist – she was free in her nature, chaotically but beautifully so. You could sit back and watch her and rest in the sight.

About two days later she called me to break up with me.

The ‘death’ I was embraced by on the plane came in the form disillusionment and heartbreak. But that is neither here nor there anymore.

One of the hardest things in life is to find someone to rest in and have them leave. You lose sleep. You can’t think. Tomorrow becomes a promise of more pain and sleeplessness. But the challenge remains in-flight; in the question and answering amidst rain and lightning.

I don’t really know where I’m going with my life. Actually, I believe that those who tell themselves that they know where they are going kill a great deal of life’s mystery in the announcement.

But I do know this – there is nothing better in all of human history to do than to fall in love. And I mean fall. The breaking of our expectations creates new worlds. The acceptance of this shattering strengthens us over time.

It allows us to be the smiling face of comfort on someone else’s ride from hell.

So, I ask you –

You’re on a plane, and it might go down.

What are you on your way to? What matters to you? Can you let it go?

Would you still love God if everything you loved was taken from you?

 

To the heartbroken I would say this:

I never wish to forget beautiful moments. It’s not as if I hold people still in the past I share with them – I just love the beauty of an honest memory. I draw music from it. Do not hate yourself for not forgetting. Find yourself strong for remembering and carrying on.

Indeed, so far my life has been a sequence of joys and heartaches and music to correspond.

Encore.

I know it aches now, but if you could only hear how lovely the strings of it sound.

-N

The garden of our mind

Today I looked out my window to find that the willow tree I had planted about oh, six months ago, had fallen over and was atop the grass at a deadly 90 degree angle.

My awareness of the situation was followed with a few expletives of surprise and an immediate departure outside to rescue it.

The garden in my backyard is finally taking shape and Willy the Willow is my pride and joy. He’s the first thing that I planted, lasted all winter, and I’ll be damned if the bastard quits on me now simply because he lacks the spinal resilience to go on.

Gently I pulled it upright, grabbed a rope, tied it to the bamboo stick that was bracing it, and drove off to work.

 

In life, we surround ourselves with psychological familiarities that reflect pieces of ourselves. They reflect the underpinnings of our personalities. The hoarder’s house is full of clutter, as is their mind. The preacher’s house is full of religious symbols and paintings. My garden is full of things that can either flourish or wither – things that are beautiful.

I didn’t get a hearty maple tree. I got a weeping willow, a drooping, sad, beautiful bastard of a tree that requires constant support and rescuing while it grows in my windy yard. I love it the most for those reasons.

Constantly I sip on my coffee and look out my window at my tree. When I go into the garden, I look at my tree first.

It is the potential within it in spite of the its current state of weakness that I love to reinforce.

 

Gardening is one of the most rewarding things we can do with life. Why? Because it it requires leaving the things we wish to tend to; it requires the releasing of that which we care for and the faith that they will continue to grow without our observation.

I had a pumpkin seedling that was withered so I put it in new soil, watered it and went to bed. When I got back up and returned from work the next day I found that it was completely fine. It’s stronger than I would have expected. The realization gave me a bit of joy. It surprised me. This surprise is what life is all about.

 

How does the garden of your mind look?

Do you let things go overnight in acceptance? Do you allow that which you have cared for to die so that it might flourish and surprise you?

Often, we tend to forget about the things we plant, the memories that exist, the fallen things of old expectations – but they are still growing even when we drive away from them.

 

Be vigilant in regards to what is growing in your own mind, and never restrain yourself from rescuing beautiful thoughts.

-Noah

holding a beautiful stone, I contemplate what it means to be successful at art

What is success with art?

For the past four weeks I’ve been listening back to different mixes of my upcoming album, “Seafarer” (release date TBA soon). At moments I’ve literally danced in the bathroom brimming with a kind of manic enthusiasm, at other moments I’ve stared out the window calculating the music’s chance in today’s climate with a kind of morose acceptance.

I suppose only one question actually matters – what is success when it comes to art? What is success when it comes to expression?

Society would tell us, with the popularity of attractive individuals on Instagram that success is how beautiful you are and how large your ripple spreads into the environment. How many followers do you have? What’s your reach?

I look at it differently.

Yesterday I paced by a river and threw a stick into the water. The stick floated and went downstream.

I then skipped a rock, and it sank into the depths below.

I like to imagine, and perhaps its only a consequence of my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to self-promotion on social media, that success with music is not about the size of the ripple, but rather it is about how deep below the surface the music goes. Anything can influence the surface of the water. Bugs dart to and fro atop the water all the time. Aye, but what goes below? What sinks to the bottom and rests there beside all of the other things we fail to express? What comforts the deep? And harmonizes with the unseen?

In this crazy world, where information inundates us and pummels our beliefs into ash, where love comes and goes in rapid succession, where societal norms are constantly fluctuating and talent and skill are programmed to succeed perhaps below the surface is where I’d like to stay.

I had a dream once that I was walking in a river and came across an absolutely beautiful stone.

Perhaps this is real success with art: To give what you are and not what you wish to be seen as. To be loved by those who stumble upon you. Not to force your way before them. To be held by those who wish to reach.

Aye, this is success.

Keep creating friends.

Best,

Noah

The Lady of Shalott – Rebirth

Dreams are “ifs”- as are delusions.

 

My muse:

Within her character resides the eyes of one who sees but does not hold still. Looks but does not see. She hears but does not listen. She is a functioning archetype – both the great mother and the evil mother. She is the manifestation of chaos and order. A walking contradiction of everything you need, and everything that will kill you. She is both the virginal woman worth fighting for, and the dragon whom devours you. She is the romantic’s siren, the grave’s muse. She is the comfort found in the hurricane’s eye and the violent winds of her stirring passions that follow and destroy. She is the promise of what is impossible. She is an internal battle that wages with the weight of a thousand chains and yet somehow, she soars. She is the innocent murderer. She is the executioner’s kindest smile.  She is the heart’s fire; the ignition of the sun. She is lethal joy. The promise of Icarus.

 

But she is more than this.

She is a lovely star trying hard to shine against the darkened sky of her own mind. She is the smile that comforts the guilty. She is the touch that warms the killer’s cold heart. She is the eternal contemplation of the romantic. She is the guardian of feminine virtue. She is the torturer of her own soul, the lady of Shalott. She is the tear of rage on her own face, which poured out against her own tyranny. She is the absent hand of a mercy gripping to stop its own bleeding.

 

And I

I am the one to bear witness to all of these things. The one to watch her smash the keys of her piano in a fit of childish anger and yet somehow retain an impossible air of lovely sophistication. The one to feel her distant tone reverberate in my open heart. I am the one to lead her home and to leave her in the hands of a love divine. I am her greatest friend in that despite all of that blackness that I saw in her, I still believe in her light. For I can’t help but to see it in her many faces. I am the muse of all the love that she does not wish to experience. I am eternally humbled by her before God. I am the stalk cracked in half in the strong winds of her changing passions. The town erased by her gale. The story sung on the lips of a seafarer lost at sea. I am the nothing that gave way to her current existence.

I am my own story. Armored and new. Reborn. Sailing into the tallest of crushing waves with a smile adorning my face.

The downfall of the romantic: ourselves

A lot of people like to imagine themselves as romantic people – “I bought her flowers last Tuesday and left them for her on the table and a letter…” or, “He took me to a movie and then we walked in the park it was so romantic.”

*sets Facebook profile to himself kissing his girlfriend on the cheek*

*shakes with delight at the likes and hearts*

But what does it mean to be a romantic?

For as long as I can remember I have had a pattern of loving people. First, I would catch a glimpse of them smiling and would be struck by their beauty.

Then, I’d talk with them and would find myself lost in the conversation; able to rest in my wondering just how they could be so very lovely with every word they spoke.

Pretty soon I would find myself thinking about them, writing songs about them or poems, and being tugged steadily onward by the gravity of my desire for them in my life.

If the feeling was mutual and we entered a relationship, this idea of them would manifest itself into projections of the future.

I would live each day in the relationship with them in a kind of tragically deluded but artistically lovely codependent burst of poetry and beauty –  with the projection of perfection onto them. Sometimes this image would last months, sometimes it would only last weeks.

Eventually though, the grand vision would collapse and I’d write another song about heartbreak.

That was pretty much how relationships worked for me as a young romantic man.

The hard fall, the hand-in-hand future sight of us together forever, and finally the collapse of my inflated ideas under the weight of what was actually substantial between us.

In the summer of last year I went over to my brothers to drink a beer and vent about another failed relationship. I told him how difficult it was to carry the visions of that “perfect someone” whom had gotten away with me everyday.

He listened and told me, “That will never stop.” Which was sobering information to say the least.

But why would it not go away? What was I in love with?

“It’s your muse.”

Psychologist Carl Jung described the phenomena as the “Anima” – man’s projection of the feminine archetype within his psyche based off of all of his experiences with women and the perfection he sees in them. It is the thing that lures romantics to their grave; the siren’s call.

For some its the thrill of falling in love and not necessarily the idea of love that they chase.

All of us love that feeling, the thrill of new love – the heart racing moment when everything is on the line because everything is being built and destroyed right then and there between the two of you; the frothy chemistry of love bubbling into your heart.

We love the mystery, the sweetness and beauty of those whom we fall for. It captivates us, it imprints memories into our minds that seem absolutely perfect in nature.

I can remember clearly standing still atop the water fall and looking at my then girlfriend in July’s sunlight so many years ago. The way she smiled is impossible to erase from my mind – listen to my song, “Rest” and you can hear the image manifest itself in the chorus – but why is this?

This is what it means to be a romantic – you are so in love with the archetype of ‘perfect love’ that when it shines forth through anyone’s eyes, when anyone manifests anything beautiful that reminds you of it, it leaves a kind of imprint on your soul.

But, that is not love – it is romance.

Love is also psychological archetype and one that is higher than romance (romance is a part of love but is not love) – and in being so, love supersedes our ability to understand it wholly.

Like romance, we can catch glimpses of it, atop waterfalls, in the hills of Spain or even on the train when our eyes meet a strangers; but it is not ours to have permanently. In fact, it’s impossible to have it permanently.

I fell very hard for a girl once – I thought we shared perfect love. Kissing a new woman after we fell apart was an act of exposure therapy through the PTSD of my collapsed and very dead dreams of her.

But as I look back now at how I felt in our relationship, I can clearly remember that I allowed my own heart to be undermined for that “light” I saw in her – for that romantic pursuit.

This is when things get deadly in relationships; when the idea of what someone is to you romantically supersedes your desire to stand up for yourself. If that happens, you’re doomed to suffer life changing heartbreak or to suffer a lifetime of resentment in being ‘stuck’ in a relationship with them.

Human beings are far from perfect. To demand perfection from them is folly.

Many of us still strive to be valiant lovers despite all of this.

Plenty of myths talk about the hero who slays the beast to win the heart of the perfect woman. In that relationship, I was the hero whom slayed himself only to discover that the woman he had fought to defend was a monster and was then subsequently devoured by her.

A beautiful, soul crushing irony.

Who is to blame? What is to blame?

Ourselves.

Why?

We love romance more than we love ourselves. Or, we love romance more than we love those whom we claim to love.

I once sat by an ex girlfriend and played an instrumental song I had recorded for her on piano. She cried and I was moved by her display of emotion. I convinced myself at that moment that she was emotionally ‘deep’ and mutually artistic. Again, I projected my desires and heart’s expectations onto her at seeing her cry.

I realized after everything ended that her tears were most likely not because she was moved by the beauty of the song – but rather because she too was overwhelmed by her romantic desires all being validated in that moment. It had after all been a lovely date.

So, in an honest sense, it really didn’t matter that it was me sitting next to her playing the song – anyone reflecting her desires would have done the trick. This also, is a sobering and humbling notion.

Our desires absolutely mess with our emotions.

I am always leery when people tell me they love me; especially if I know I haven’t shown the darker parts of my psyche to them.

Love is the understanding of and acceptance of the monster within our partners and them our monster. Likewise, it is also the hand holding and snuggling on a cold winter’s night. But its not all warmth and cozy moments; Hallmark movies be damned.

At some point the poet must look at himself in the mirror and ask, what is my desire? And then, why?

Love itself?

Everlasting romance?

This will never be fulfilled by a single relationship. Not even a healthy relationship and a life lived in a community of like-minded individuals all facilitating one anthers’ success can stifle that longing in our hearts for perfect love.

Romantics then, in some lovely and yet tragic way, are witnesses of beauty itself as an archetype and, unless if we embody humility and allow the beauty of the sun to set and rise naturally, the thing we long for most will devour us.

It’s better to look for the monster in your partner and show them yours, rather than to fall in love with pretense.

 

Humanity is not owned – it is embodied

Humanity is not owned – it is embodied.

To have our humanity threatened is to have our lives threatened.

As the Hindenburg burned down the reporters said, “Oh the humanity.”

Our humanity is therefore our very life. It is not simply our identity as I recently heard a professor say in an interview. Humanity gives rise to identity. Identity is rooted in the ego, humanity is rooted in being itself.

To confuse this is to give power to those whom do not have it – only we have the power to own who we are and live our identity; others cannot prevent this.

What is embodied therefore in your identity should be honored and worn humbly and beautifully, but not glorified to the level that your humanity is – for your humanity is your life and all of our lives are still tragically bound to death in the end.

Take courage then and be yourself. Don’t demand respect for how you identify yourself, embody what is beautiful and good in yourself and you will find that you are respected by those whose opinions have real substance.

*Sighs and smiles*

There is an uncanny desire in me to sit and ponder the greater things of existence, and a real passion within me to begin to convey in detail my understandings about the things that matter to us as human beings.

What then matters?

Sorting out the jumbled hierarchy of meaningful ideas in this information age – that matters.

Let’s talk about purpose for a moment.

After suffering isolation in the chaotic aftermath of a shattered relationship, my sister brought me to a gathering of like minded individuals whom were grouped to discuss the “sparking of their purpose”.

It was an introductory meeting to “Purpose Spark” in which several gregarious and highly spirited individuals conveyed to the crowd the benefits of attending their course.

Being in a place of complete chaos, both morally and intrinsically, I was open to any understanding which would counter the nihilistic arguments in my head; that life is innately meaningless. (For anyone whom is prone to the darkest of thoughts such as these knows that if they linger for too long their corruption results in the abandonment of hope).

And so I joined a small group of individuals and we opened up to one another. We spoke about the deep pains and trails that we all faced as well as the triumphs we embodied at different moments in our lives. It was beautiful. It was human.

The promised goal or prize for attending such a course was an understanding of your purpose and therefore an understanding of your life’s mission. You would then be able to go forth into the world and set fire to all of the obstacles in your way with the vigor of knowing that you are living your fundamental truth or potential.

I still don’t know what my fundamental truth is. But I can say that I gained an invaluable group of friends and am immensely grateful to know all of them.

This notion though, that we can ever genuinely know our purpose is unfortunately philosophically wrong.

*Mic drop, picks it up, grins*

Now, my saying this might bring to a great deal of my friends a feeling of deep dissonance, but I think everyone can comprehend what I mean and where I am coming from…so, here I go.

The psychological archetype of ‘purpose’ has several subcategories: the purpose of mankind, the purpose of groups of men, the purpose of objects and the purpose of the individual.

To claim that one can attain an understanding of the archetype itself, which is the abstract/complex over-arching governing concept that combines all possible branches, is simply false. We can’t understand the nature of reality itself; we can come to an understanding about our own nature, but even then we can only illuminate so much before we have to shift our gaze and lose sight of all of it.

One can never know the purpose of anything to the fullness of truth, especially if it is a conscious being as complex as a human.

I know the purpose of a hammer. But I don’t really know what the purpose of my cat is – I just love the little bastard immensely. So to know my own purpose in its entirety? Good luck.

This doesn’t stop us from guessing though or making claims about our purpose. And to a certain extent, I think it is healthy and beneficial for us to try to acknowledge/guess at our purpose. Otherwise we feel like we have no value or mission in life.

The danger comes when we claim to know our purpose or the purposes of our neighbors completely – because then we judge ourselves and them for their shortcomings. It is good to be accountable for your faults, but it is not good to hate yourself or others for their faults.

Again, we can know what is healthy or not healthy and hold others and ourselves accountable as friends, “You’ve been drunk for three nights in a row, what’s up?” but we are in no position to judge the entirety of their character.

One individual for example might take a religious purpose to heart so much so that they make it their own purpose. Another individual might reject religious purposes and attempt to generate their own concept of purpose – who then is right and who is wrong?

The answer of course is neither of them. The fact remains the same – no one knows their purpose because:

Purpose is the application of our actions for the sake of life’s meaning as we know it.

Living your purpose “well” therefore is living open to the changing needs of others and the world and being willing to sacrifice your understanding/comfort in order to comfort those whom are genuinely in a state of affliction.

Clinging fast to an ideology and condemning others for not living up to your ideology is nothing more than pride and self righteousness. Claiming no ideology in order to shed the responsibility of your consciousness is nothing more than cowardice.

Balance is key and balance demands that we re-position constantly; that our purpose shift.

I once knew an individual who was obsessed with the end. She wanted to know how her story ended before she lived her story.

I found this mindset rather tragic – she robbed herself of the present for a future ideal. Her purpose was to live so as to be in heaven tomorrow – rather than to live so as to bring heaven to others today.

You will never know which of the memories or ideas people hold onto of you, and indeed, you should look to create new more meaningful memories with others – not cling to a comfortable past. For there is no more growth in observing the good in what has passed. And there is nothing comfortable about holding on to what is fundamentally gone.

We are constantly delving into subjects and topics searching desperately for an understanding of why we exist at all. We ask our friends to post memories to our Facebook walls.

Why?

*Shrugs*

Welcome to thoughts of my average Tuesday night.

Just add a spinning record of Winston Churchill, a cup of tea, an image of me pacing the floor slowly and there I am.

The Psychologist

 An author’s note:
These are the untrammeled thoughts, dark and deep, of my imagination. A kind of psychological sojourn into how I think and what I think to be true. It’s not light-hearted content, but its raw and hopefully will prove to be entertaining to ingest. Best served with black coffee.
The man spoke,
“I look around at the broken glass on the floor, the blood on my hands and the body which lay there crumpled and think little.
There is no thinking loud enough to silence a thundering heart. And yet, I still hear the question within myself somehow as I look at the scene before me.
Why?
What about the moments leading up to the action resulted in such death?
And who is it lying still before me?
I can feel it, like some threaded needle pulled until it escapes the eye, I can feel it my mind starting to break down.
How?
The scene changes before me in an instant.
Now I am holding the hand of a child, she is mine to protect and to love.
We make our way up a hill in the sunlight and she runs ahead before me. Someone beautiful is atop the hill. She smiles widely and I am struck still. I stare at her while the child runs to her.
The sun is high above us.
I look down at my hands and the image reverts.
There again before me, lying on the floor is the body.
The walls, white are aged are darkened by time and the movement of life between them. Side one area of the wall which is splattered in the red signature of death.
I blink and fall to my knees in a heap before the body.
“Take me back to the sunlit hill! Far from this place!”
But there is no sunlight. Only the body before me.
My shoulders tremble and I advance upon the slain man to investigate.
“What have I done? Oh God what have I done?”
I walk toward him and stare at his face, and it is my face that I see. I shudder, scream, and wake up.”
Benjamin looked up from his notebook and glanced at his patient who, having just shared his dream let out a sigh. “Last week we spoke in great detail about your recent concerns.”
The patient nodded, “Yes.”
“Do you see any connection between those concerns and this dream?” he asked twirling his pen between his fingers.
The man brought a hand up to his face and sighed, “I don’t know. I can’t really see a connection.”
“The thing about dreams is that man likes to associate his recent memories with his dreams. He likes to interpret a dream relative to his recent experiences. It’s important though to come to an understanding of all of the potential meanings within each symbol that you see. Only then can the resolution of the dream be actualized.”
Benjamin filled a cup of coffee on the table, “Coffee?”
“Sure.” The man sat up in his seat and looked briefly at the time piece which rest on his wrist, “I don’t want to go over my limit.”
“You’re a friend Thomas. My wife will understand. Sugar?”
“No, I’ll take it black.”
Benjamin nodded and handed him the cup.
“Do you think there’s something to that – in the taking of coffee black?”
“I think you have poor taste, but I highly doubt there is some horrid shadow looming in your psyche demanding you take your coffee black.”
Benjamin smiled at him. It was the kind of smile that held him perfectly still in his being. It reinforced to him that no matter what was shared between them, Benjamin would always have faith in him.
Thomas grinned, “Yeah you’re probably right” and taking the cup of coffee from him returned to his seat; this time sitting upright.
“So, let’s start at the very beginning of this dream,” began Benjamin, “What was the first image that you remember seeing?”
“Blood.”
“What is blood? Educate me.”
“Blood is life.”
“Or the signature of death, as you had mentioned.”
Thomas nodded, “Yes. It is a symbol of humanity and sacrifice.”
“And where did you see this symbol?”
“On my hands. It was everywhere on my hands.”
“What else was there?”
“Glass.”
“And what is glass to you?”
“A window. The barrier between the outside world and the inside world.”
“And these panes were in what condition?” asked Benjamin.
“Shattered on the floor.”
“Tell it to me again…the beginning of your dream,” lead Benjamin.
“I somehow find myself in a room, familiar to me but I can’t place its exact location. On the floor is shattered glass and my hands are covered in blood. I stare at my hands for a while and then –“
“I find it interesting that the blood is on your hands. Are you guilty of some crime that you have not shared with me?”
Thomas grinned, “No. You know all of my sins.”
“Then why your hands – what do you do with your hands?”
“I feel. I play music with my hands…I create things, move things.”
“Do you feel as though you are guilty of something?” asked Benjamin clicking his pen and taking a note.
“No, I…well I know my faults.”
Benjamin smiled at him again, “Do you?”
Thomas shook his head with a grin, “Oh shove off it.”
“So you walk into a familiar room, noticing that the barrier between what is outside and in is shattered on the floor. Then you notice that on your hands, the instruments through which you feel the world, are coated in blood, coated in life and death. Sound about right?”
Thomas nodded. “Aye.”
“Carry on, what else is in that room?”
“My body.”
“Well it’s not your body yet though correct? We find that out at the end of the dream?”
“Yes, the body is on the floor.”
“What did it look like?”
“Crumpled up, balled up…like murder”
“And then what?” asked Benjamin.
“Then it suddenly changes.” Thomas let out a sigh of relief at saying this. Benjamin noted the sigh.
“How does it change?”
“It was like awakening into a different scene for a brief moment. Having that child, my child there with me.”
“And we both know you do not yet have children. So what does a child represent to you?”
“A child is the progression of the best qualities I could ever hope to give. Its new life, love.”
“And the hill, tell me about it.”
“It was a typical hill, steep.”
“And the woman atop it. Tell me about her.”
Thomas brought his hand above his head and pushed back his hair.
“She was lovely. I don’t remember her face, I just remember the feeling that came over me in the dream. Like being wrapped in an all-encompassing blanket of love just by looking at her.”
Benjamin’s lips pursed a bit in a grin and he wrote, “Romantic,” on his notepad. “And then what?”
“Then I was back it that hell hole of a room, staring at the murdered body and yeah…I approach it to find that it’s my face.”
“What do you make of it?”
“I don’t really know, that’s why I brought it up to you.”
Benjamin nodded, “I once read this book about a man lost at sea. Every morning he would pray to God for land and it didn’t come. Well, one day he stopped praying for the land and guess what happened?”
“It came?”
“No, a storm came and destroyed his ship.”
“That sounds like an awful book.”
“Well the story didn’t end there. Now the man was adrift without any resources, no sails, nothing. Just the wreckage of his vessel.”
“What kind of author would write something like that? About a man who drowns in seeking salvation…”
“One would expect him to drown. Indeed, one would expect that his prayers die out completely after the storm. But not this man. This man was different, instead his prayers changed. Instead he accepted the storm and smiled to the sky the morning after. He was grateful for having been able to live through the harrowing experience of the storm, even if it meant that he would most certainly die after it.”
“So then he drowned?”
“The author leaves that up to the reader. It was written that the man got weaker and weaker as a day or two passed.”
Thomas looked interested and Benjamin continued, “The man looked up on the last day, in the last paragraph of the book, and he smiled for he had washed ashore on paradise.”
“So he died?”
“If that’s how you interpret the narrative then yes, he died.”
“Why did you tell me that story?”
“You want to know what I make of your dream?” asked Benjamin setting his pen atop his pad of paper.
“Yes.”
“The barrier of your expectations has been shattered, and you feel guilty about it for some reason. And that reason whatever it might be robs you of your paradise. It robs you of what you actually want in life. Because what you want you know. You see it and hold it in the hand of that child. You know it to be true in her smile atop the hill. And then, for some reason, you are cast back into your fears.”
Thomas nodded, “Perhaps you’re right. But what do we do about it?”
“Perhaps I’m wrong. That is how I see it, knowing you.”
“What do we do?”
“We identify your fears.”
Thomas looked at his watch. “Same time next week?”
Benjamin nodded, “What dreams may come?”

Dreams – Wedding Hall and the Tree

Some of my dreams are vivid. Here’s one that has many lessons within it.

The man paced the floor of the wedding hall nervously. His eyes kept darting around the room scanning the faces of the people there. He was worried about seeing a specific individual but didn’t want to show it and so did his best to restrain revealing his emotions.

Every man is capable of wearing a mask; the eyes can hold a reflection of emotions known but not currently held; and so that’s what he did.

After a couple of seconds scanning the wedding party he saw her – the woman that he had loved, and, just like last time, she paid him no attention. Not wanting to pace about pathetically, he instead started to walk away from the wedding entirely.

It wasn’t his wedding, and he certainly didn’t feel as though he belonged.

Suddenly, the groom of the wedding approached him and took a moment to introduce him to the party; explaining to them all that his company was appreciated solely because he was the newest member of the family.

Shortly after this introduction though, the man returned to his initial plan of escaping the wedding.

Seeing the woman there was like seeing a contradiction of heart and he couldn’t bear it.

Like a moth that wishes to see a spider up close but doesn’t want to be caught in its web; she was both his death and still somehow his life’s purpose.

His steps were slow and controlled as he passed near her. It was as if the strides he took as he passed her provided a gain of emotional distance too.

Having made it to the end of the wedding hall, an empty glass was in hand, he escaped out the back entrance and walked outside.

There was a lake in the yard that was shallow and the man began to wade through it away from the party.

He paced slowly through the water for a long time. And, finally rid of the wedding party, his face reflected his honest emotion;
weariness.

His eyes held a kind of stillness in them as he continued walking away.

It was foggy, and the height of the water around his waist wasn’t increasing, so he continued with his steps for a long time without concern. He could always go back.

Eventually the man came to an area of the lake that was elevated – like a kind of hovering island, but it too as covered in water somehow.

He swam to the top of it and saw two trees; one moldy and clearly drowned.
The other large and sturdy; only the water would surely drown it soon if it didn’t subside.

The man knew that there was no logical reason for this island to be covered in water, for it was higher than the lake below it.
͞
“If I could only free the water so that it might drain” he said aloud.
The man glanced into the shallow depths and saw a door buried in the earth of the island just underneath the water.
He grabbed the handle and pulled it upright and sure enough, the water started to drain.
It was then that he realized that the land was filled with riches.

Objects of immense value were all over the place; old coins and pendants of immense history and worth were right there for him to fill his pockets should he wish.

And that sturdy tree would not drown; he knew that now.