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.

 

 

 

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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.

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.

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?

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