On Love and Living

I had embarked on my journey to rid myself of other’s intentions for me

I had to shed the weight placed on me by others

A weight I didn’t know how to prevent

The weight of being constantly misunderstood

 

The paint of another’s color on my wings

Of being taken for granted

Caged and defined

 

They had drafted me letters of goodbye

Some filled with wisdom

Of taking pictures with your heart and mind before your hands

 

Most were laced with expectation

Things to do

Things to experience

Things I was

Definitions

Things I couldn’t stand to read

I used those letters to dry my shoes after a heavy rain

Laughing at their sudden utility

 

I called no one

I sent no postcards

I cast off and into the wind

 

It was a beautiful place

Accentuated by my unfamiliarity with the language

I noticed the nuances of life so commonly overlooked

The unspoken truth in a smile

Echoing eternal joy in a moment

The outstretched hands of children wanting to be picked up

The calm tone of a voice filled with love for its own

 

I saw walls built by generations

For the sake of their generations to follow

Each stone singing from its proper place in the earth out of love

A love for its purpose and place

Cities built on hills

Cities built in the mountains

Birds perched atop buildings touched by time

 

I saw the dawn rise every morning

 

I walked through twilight

With the moon illuminating the fog around me

And heard the promise of water in the valley below

Meeting in love the earth from its fall

 

I held these moments in my heart along the way

 

I opened up to strangers

And spoke about the existence of God

About the utility of wisdom

And the beauty of a life lived deeply

 

In the night I walked

Stepping through the bramble

Down large rocks and boulders

 

In the day I walked

Glancing at the open terrain

At the birds taking to the skies

At the ocean meeting the earth

 

Along the way

I met the challenge of a great climb

The sun shone brightly overhead

The air cool

The wind blew freely

And I entered into the woods at the base of a mountain

Heeding the advice of three women, I took off my shoes

 

I ascended the path feeling everything

I lived with a heart wide open to the day

A heart that would meet the eyes of a deaf woman

A heart to be warmed by her touch

As she looked into my eyes and smiled

 

I heard the galloping horses

And took to the side of the path

To see the look on the young rider’s face

Eyes wide with disbelief that I held my shoes in my hands

Walking barefoot along the path

 

I focused my life on each footfall

I focused my mind in the moment

And shed all of that weight

I shook off the ink on my wings

Those expectations for my love

And lived with my colors exposed

 

I whispered to God as I neared the top of the mountain

And asked who I was

For so long I had been blind to my beauty

And I felt some touch course through my being

As the question flew from my lips

And heard “You are my joy” come to me in song

And I paused to wipe my eyes under a tree

 

A tree that knew best how to catch the light

Its life lived between the darkness and the light

A tree to hold me upright

As it reached up and over the road

Enveloping the path in its shade

A house for birds to share in love

Its roots plunging into the depths of the earth below

Growing up and out of the pains of its past

 

And on I went

 

Eventually the slope evened

And I paced into a small town

I saw the gardens

The life

The small church and statues

It was there that I saw the old man

 

He was bent over looking at the wall

A wall that had crumbled and needed repair

A large stone rest beside him on the rocky road

I approached him and asked if I could help

 

He replied with words I did not understand

So I pointed at the largest rock

The one I thought too heavy for him to lift alone

And gestured to lift it

 

He smiled and motioned me forward

And there atop the mountain

I helped to rebuild the wall

In that city built out of love

 

And having given my love

The way that I wished

On my terms

Freely

I departed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Winter to Spring: Death and Rebirth

There is something about Fall – something in that single moment when the wind takes the leaf from its limb and sends it flying across your field of vision.

Firey reds slowly fade into grey as what had been is cast away.

 

There is something about that moment right before Winter hits, as the cold air reveals the warmth of one’s breath and the forest floor becomes covered by the fabric of a passing season of time.

Something in the breaking of yesterday’s expectations under the footfalls of the new paths we walk.

 

I once walked by a tree during late Fall and its leaves, browned and shriveled by time, were still clinging to the branches.

My love for another was lingering in my heart and so the sight stopped me in my tracks.

It was a particularly windy day and one strong gust struck the tree while I was under it.

The air around me became filled with leaves mid-flight in their liberation.

I pulled a few from the top of my red hat and a smile pursed on my lips beneath my eyes.

For a moment I forgot my loneliness. The heart of the forest had shown me the way to live.

 

The heart of every man is like this tree.

We bloom for the love of Spring.

The rain nurtures our depth of character.

Our roots go deeply into a darkness we don’t understand.

We are warmed by the love of the sun.

Into Summer we burst into life.

Our hearts become homes for the birds who pass from season to season.

Of smiles in conversations over coffee.

Of doors held open for strangers.

Of the laughter of our children.

We thirst, we drink, we grow.

Finally, the Fall hits and the labor of our love is pulled from us by time.

What we knew to be true changes.

What we knew of ourselves changes.

And into Winter’s grasp, we go.

Of life without fulfillment.

Of dreams without a clear path.

Of faith without feeling.

Aye, but the Winter is our sweetest friend,

Though in the loneliness of its grasping cold we would not think it to be so.

Winter loves us to the core of our being.

We are held still in the nakedness of our losses.

We bear withness to the transformation of our pain.

As the rain turns into snow.

And Sleep comes.

And finally,

Rest.

Acceptance.

Hope.

And then again –

From Winter into Spring

We find another reason to love.

 

I am grateful for all of the love that rests on the forest floor of my character.

I am grateful for all of the promises that made my heart open and bloom as the seasons came and went.

I am grateful for the Fall, for dissillusionment, for the scattering away of my expectations.

I am grateful for purifying snows and Winter’s sweet embrace – that I am loved even in my nakedness.

 

Some of us never plant ourselves in the earth. We go from place to place, scattering much like our leaves in the winds of change.

One day my roots will cling to something real.

One day I will look to see snow atop the limbs of my love in our field.

I will watch her bloom in joy.

I will endure the heavy rains and thunder of sadness with her.

I will watch her colors burst.

And our seasons will pass until a forest of those who bloom like we bloom surrounds us.

And time will go and I will watch my loved ones grow around me.

And when I am ready – when I have sufficiently grown enough in the eyes of my God, I will be struck down and my heart’s life will be taken from me.

Everything that I know will be stripped from me by death.

And into God’s hands, the carpenter, I will go.

And the labors of my soul will build the holy city’s walls.

And a smile will purse on my lips beneath my eyes as I am made new in unimaginable ways.

 

 

 

Untitled 45

What kind of man am I?

What kind of lover am I?

What kind of sinner am I? What kind of monster?

Can you love what is under my mask?

 

Do I devour love? – Do I take what I want without recourse?

Do I create my own future without consideration of another’s?

Do I hold my expectations of reality as gospel? Are my opinions truth? Are my self-seeking intentions law?

Will I allow myself to be eclipsed by my ego? Will I lock my heart behind a cast iron fence that I have set around my own understandings?

 

I walked away from you and heard you whisper, “You’re a good man.”

Did I fool you?

Or is it true?

I’ve come to recognize my darker reflection.

Will I allow myself to be loved anyway?

Would I make the sacrifice of my own ego’s comfort to preserve another’s heart?

 

Am I Cain or am I, Abel?

 

An image comes into my mind when I hear this track:

Of the wolf that flings himself off the cliff, lest he devours all he loves. But in the fall he has proven his lover’s whispers to be correct; though she cries after him not understanding that in disappearing he has saved her from himself.

Only around the acknowledgment of one’s flaws can character be developed. Only by killing that which you are not can you become what you are.

Aye.

That’s what this song is about: making the choice.

 

The Psychological Function of Emotion

You are permitted to share my thoughts, print them off, and create your own interpretations of them should you find them valuable as I hope you will.

Emotion is the sea of the soul as it stirs and crashes against the expectations of the heart; a kind of tidal lock between perfection and reality.

I dip a quill into ink, pondering what it means to feel.

Are not all men born into a romance with their own sense of perfection? The perfect lover, the perfect goal, the perfect business objective, the perfect nation, the perfect life, the perfect world…
Constantly we fall victims to the doctrines of our minds which yearn to achieve this idealized state of attaining perfection –

If I only had this one more thing in my life, then life would be properly beautiful.
If I only had this one treasure in my possession, then I would be properly rich.
If only I was without sin, then I would be properly saintly.
If only my lover would say they love me correctly, then I would be properly loved…

Yet, even after we attain that which we most desire, we come to recognize that it is not what we had thought it to be.

Our lover, for whom the passion of our hearts burst forth strikes a discordant chord and we are taken aback; we question their ability to love us before we question how we define love.
Our career, in which we actualize a sense of purpose in being productive for some higher reason, reveals its inability to satisfy that inmost validation that we seek and so we question our jobs before we question our purpose or our higher reasons.

And so, we swim from one emotional shore to the next, adrift in the pursuit of attaining the ideal state that our mind promises will satisfy us; like mice running the wheels of the ego’s desires.

Indeed, the degree to which an individual visualizes perfection and strives to attain it corresponds to the violence they are capable of inflicting upon the world or themselves for the sake of its attainment – zealous radicalism born of narrow-mindedness.

However, there is much to learn from the ideas we all carry and call perfect.
Because that perfection, that dream, that idealized goal – that is the canvas on which an individual’s psyche is projected.

That is to say that the way a person thinks, the way a specific individual houses consciousness is unique to only them. Only they think like they.
All of the schematic underpinnings of their personality which have been honed or allowed to run rampant from youth into adulthood constitute the framework through which they see the world.

In this way, the mind of an individual is quite like its own world.
Memories housed deep within the psyche that were sewn in positive emotion sculpt their mental landscape like a sunlit forest, or the warm waters of a gentle shoreline.
Likewise, memories rooted in pains and fears sculpt the landscape into towering mountains, dark dense forests, and jagged rock.

We all walk ‘in’, ‘through’ and ‘as’ the bearers of these inner worlds every day, and all of the information we receive from the real world influences how we feel. The light from the real world shines forth, casting shadows in some regions of our psyche and illuminating other regions.

Typically, the ego operates as such that we shift our eyes from reality, changing how we see truth so that the light strikes regions we are comfortable with, often leaving the looming hills in shadow – validating the biases which slope our perceptions, deepening the oceans, heightening the mountains.

But as these chasms deepen, as the differences in the landscape grow, we are more prone to instability. Victims of our own neuroticism.

How then are we to reconcile the worlds of our minds with the world we live in without amplifying discord?

We must allow every region of our inner being to be struck by the light of reality.
We must not allow ourselves to hide from the dark parts of our inner psyche. For the darkness only grows when it is not acknowledged.

We cannot thrive if we stay the same and never change.
Some individuals are comfortable living in melancholy for in those dark hills they hear music and art. Others find music and art at the shoreline and so, they too stay comfortable.

But no one changed the world by remaining comfortable.

Who we are fundamentally dictates where we reverberate the inspiration we receive from existence.
It is imperative that we take in the information which challenges us to cast light against our own darkness.
It is vital that we investigate the caverns of our thoughts and liberate ourselves from the binds of our lesser selves which demand we remain distracted and adrift.

Truth is the blade that sculpts the minds of men into houses of art.

I breathe to seek it.

Tomorrow’s Love

Her mind reflects into itself.

I catch her staring out the window contemplating some beautiful thought.

She turns and lifts her coffee to her mouth and a smile flashes in her eyes. And then, like leaves pulled from Fall’s graceful winds it fades.

“What are you thinking about?” I ask genuinely curious.

A smile flashes in my eyes and fades.

The moment is perfect.

 

I open my eyes and see her staring at me.

“What are you looking at?”

I smile widely and touch her face.

Her eyes drop and rise again like dawn shattering the night.

I want to lay there all day beside her.

She loves me too. I can see it.

A little voice calls for us from the room beside us.

The moment is perfect.

 

She breaks in my arms like water against stones.

“It will be alright,” I whisper to her fighting back tears.

My chest is wet from her.

My heart breaks with hers.

“It will be alright,” I promise to her.

I lift her face and kiss her forehead.

The moment is perfect.

 

She points to some obstacle in the distance.

Her words speak of its beauty and the beauty of all the things around it.

“After all of these years, I still marvel at how you think,” I say to her

She looks at me with eyes that reflect a need for more.

I look at the horizon and comment on the beauty that I see in it as well.

Her head falls upon my shoulder.

“Dad!”

I turn and lift our son.

The moment is perfect.

 

And so it passes by.

Time goes on.

Rain, sun, hurricanes and more sun.

And we fought the night like stars the dark.

For you and I always knew the sun would rise again.

 

All of our time together flashes before me.

I can’t control how fast I am breathing.

Our children and grandchildren fill the room and the little one holds my hand.

“Grandpa,” she says to me.

A smile flashes in my eyes and fades.

Then my darling comes to my side and touches my face.

I am seen by her.

I have been known by her.

“I am so grateful – your love was the world I longed for my entire life,” I whisper.

“I love you very much.”

The moment is perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

My Mistaken Mind

Life has taught me just how little I actually ‘know’ to be true.

My greatest intuitions and insights often lead to humbling and jaw-dropping disillusionment.

Like the hero who slays the dragon for the princess only to find that the princess was the dragon the whole time.

What do I slay when I make such grievous strides to comprehend the world with precision?

Truth?

Is not my own scope of understanding but a single perspective in a world of understandings and higher truths?

One thing is certain: we are always learning, about ourselves & about others.

Any relationship with anyone requires that every time you see them you wipe the slate of your expectations and assumptions clean and remain open to the possibility of who they are becoming in that very moment before you.

Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Love thyself enough to allow for mistakes to be made. The past is the substrate of today. Draw strength from it. Draw understanding from it. But don’t let it draw you in – don’t let it convince you how things are. Because it’s only your perspective.