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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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

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.