For me. For you. The blue overlays the white, but we fight for clarity as we march toward destiny—an everchanging, growing evolution of experience. We won’t settle, except for slow times when recharging is necessary. An hour on the couch to zone out or laugh, be amazed, or afraid. Two chapters in a chair to feed the soul. Music—always music—in the kitchen, the office, the cars. There’s not much time left, but all the time in the world. Our fortune grows every day. Through kindness and good deeds and doing the best we can for us—all the living and undead—encapsulated within this space. So, we monitor the surface but go deep as necessary to retrieve treasures. One of us will stay watch while the other finds what others are afraid to discover. We will wrestle it free, hold it tight, and rise to show the world. Because that’s what we’re here for. That’s what we’re meant to do. There’s magic everywhere and the finest finds are not always hidden. They are within the depths of simplicity. The underside of the leaf. The tips of earthworms. The sound of swans as they sail through the air. We can’t give up or sleep too long because there is always this work that needs to be done. For me. For you. For the sake of clarity.
That attitude may provide comfort, stability—a way for you to look around at your walls, your possessions, and say—Boy, I’ve got it good. But this is only temporary. And your comfort level can quickly erode if you walk out into the real world believing you have the answers, or worse yet—that you can provide answers. From that, anxiety and frustration can grow.
This is natural. We don’t like to feel that we don’t have control. We don’t want to believe that our happiness can be affected by others. But it can. It is. And we let it happen. If our lives are defined by the expectations and roles of others, we will not be happy. Hard-lined views on adhering to structure and following the rules create turmoil. That’s probably why there’s so much unrest in the world.
Of course, there’s more goodness. More beauty, calm, and peace than most will ever recognize.
A sparrow lands behind me in the driveway as I brush snow from my car. It looks at me. Moves closer. I look at it. Move closer. Soon, we meet. As incredible as it sounds, I pet the bird, then pick it up. We speak silently to each other. It is perfectly fine, it says. It is not sick. It is only a bird. Being brave. It knows when to fly, when to stay. I’ll learn this lesson too, it says. Then it is gone. I look over my shoulder and there is my wife, watching through the big old window. I’m not sure how much she has seen, but it doesn’t matter. Nobody understands what is happening. And it is the scariest thing in the world.
Oh, what a mistake to assume. People don’t understand me. Nobody gets me.
As if I’m the only one that has clarity. Has special moments in this wide, wide world.
It’s just not true.
How many times have we dismissed them? And how much of that dismissal—ignorance—is because we’re not meant to know? If we knew what kept one’s blood red, imagine the power we would have. Consider the chaos. The love. Anything could happen.
But wait. Anything can and does and will continue to happen. That’s why it’s important to avoid the trickery of comfort. The quiet stifling nature of roles and expectations that prop up the structure we move within. It’s important to keep questioning. To watch, listen, and observe. To get out into the world on your own and with others. You will never have the same moment as another person, not even if you are in the same place at the same time, within the same experience. Because you are you. So, to expect others to understand you, to believe you, to know you is a tall task. And, it’s not fair.
They want to be heard and recognized. And they’re scared too. Maybe not all the time, but this moving from day to day isn’t always easy. Shit, indeed, does happen. And it’s important to remember others are at it as well. Doing whatever it takes to figure it out, get through, and be as prepared as possible for whatever, whenever it comes.
So, be happy with what you have but strive to be happy without it. Revel in the fact that loved ones and strangers are around you. Keeping watch. Closer than you think. More often than you know.
Maybe even looking out a big window on another a cold, winter day, having a bird moment of her own.
Feed your brain and body better ingredients and better experiences.
Don’t lose sight of stars. The horizon. The patience and magic that rolls a cloud into a whale, a penguin, a buffalo.
Pick up a book. Dedicate yourself to one page a day. Remove yourself from the narrative you’ve created and discover another.
Remember, there are invisible curative properties in autumn’s early morning air. So, get out. Walk your neighborhood, your property, a trail. Look at the ground—always there, holding you. Waiting. Even when you have risen thousands of feet thinking you’ve conquered gravity.
There’s danger in getting too far ahead. In thought. In action. In words. Even if you know something deep in your core, sometimes it’s best to wait to make mention of it.
Time may not exist, but it’s in control.
Desire for the physical is fading. There’s an appeal from within for a slower pace. Walks. Books. Learning. It could be the change of seasons. Could be a change of life. Whatever it is, I’m here to welcome it. There’s no sense fighting much anymore. Most fighting is due to a lack of understanding. And, I lived many years holed up in my own mind. Wrapped up in my own feelings. Concentrating on what I thought. What I wanted. What I didn’t want. All of it was good, even if it was bad, because it’s led me to this part of life.
I like it.
I woke up thinking about all I could do. All I’m not doing. All I want to do. But then, I took comfort in knowing that I will do as I do. What’s important now is the now. Yes, there’s a beautiful future. Certainly, there is the past—all it’s wandering, the bright spots, the darkness. But what matters most is today.
Turning on the lights. Making coffee. Letting the dogs outside. Letting the dogs inside. Talking to the cats. And getting here. To my friends. The keys.
The moon’s still out. High above Eddie’s place across the street. I saw it while putting cat shit in the garbage can. This morning, I don’t feel I’m missing out on—or missing—anything. Life is fine. There’s a comfortable lull of contentedness wrapping up all around me this morning. I don’t feel guilty about it, either.
We’ve come a long way. And now, it’s time to rest. Just a little while. To consider those steps that led us here and plan some steps forward. You see, I have been living all this while, but for many reasons—some yet to be discovered—I just didn’t realize it. It is about taking life one day at a time. Moment by moment, actually. And if you can get yourself to a place of less stress internally, the external world is much easier to experience.
I didn’t stray too far. Just enough to know when it was time to start coming back. And now that I’m feeling good and confident, without the cockiness that comes from insecurity, I believe we’ll go places and have experiences that we were meant to have.
Oh, the steps. Missteps. The energy poured into efforts out of fear. I can see that now. Looking back. And deep down I knew that fear was the driver back then. But life is funny. It takes time. Ups and downs. The right combination to get you to a place like this. Standing at the window, sipping coffee, looking at the road, the sky, and wondering—where to next?
Some mornings I want to wake slowly. Watch myself in the mirror as I brush my teeth and give myself the benefit of the doubt. Some forgiveness.
Overall, we’ve done well. We’re not finished by any means. There’s still so much more living to do. But there are days—like this Summer Sunday morning, feeling closer to Autumn than Spring—that we’re thankful, calm. Peaceful and happy because we’re just fine with the being we’ve become.
Learning hasn’t been easy. For years, I forced myself into the hardest path. Rarely taking advice. Choosing to find my own way, rather than take directions from someone claiming to know what was going to happen. Sure, they got here too—to their mornings of silent recognition. Satisfaction. A willingness to let the day fall where it may. Do nothing. Do something. Do everything. It’s hard to tell, right now. Too early in the morning and the coffee hasn’t hit the bloodstream.
In any case, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t chosen my path. I do regret bad decisions. The parts I played that negatively affected others. But I’m learning to accept those decisions, realize they are part of me, and I’m getting better at not getting hung up on regret. People that don’t rise, that never really reach their potential, spend too much time beating themselves up for moments that have passed. There’s always a way toward salvation. A way to accept yourself. To live with your demons. But you have to cut yourself some slack.
We have skeletons in our closets. Secrets we’ll take to the grave. We shape our story each day with every moment. Action. Non-action. Love. Hate. Fun. Boredom. Generosity. Greed. Acts of kindness. Fights. The key is to focus on the good. Look for the light.
Like a fuzzy caterpillar on the sidewalk as you enjoy a sunshine morning stroll with your wife. A tiny thing of intricacy. Doing whatever it does. Thirty feet from the big lake. In a moment of time and space. Sharing existence and energy on this—our big trip—round and round the sun.
You know how you wake up with a song in your head and it sticks there while? What if you put on the headphones and played that song? And what if you did it every time you woke with a song in your brain?
Would it change the course of your day?
I think the name of the song in my mind is Save Your Tears by The Weekend. I’m not a pop music guy, but I don’t turn off a decent tune when I hear one. This one is catchy. It must be. It’s been in the background all morning.
I’d certainly like to run away sometimes. Just long enough to regroup. Center. Appreciate—really appreciate coming home.
My restlessness has changed. It no longer propels me into bouts of self-destruction. I don’t need to tear apart the world, break it down and find the pieces that matter. I’ve done that enough times and have enough pieces. It’s time I examine them. Explore where they came from—the moments, what they might mean—and begin piecing them together.
All that destruction.
It’s amazing what we’ll do to escape the simple truths of life.
You know, like the fact that it hurts like hell some days. And other days, you’re animally happy. Blissful, even.
The breaking down is important though. It helped me distill, over time, what matters most. There’s plenty that does, by the way. And those pieces can all be glued together by one power, premise, energy, theme, if you will.
As corny, Hallmarky, or diary-like it may sound, love is the key. It’s the key, the lock, the door, the house, the block, the neighborhood, the town, the county, the state, the country, the region, the hemisphere, the world.
Funny. The song is still in my head. I’ll give it a listen in a bit. It might be a good release. A couple minutes of escape from expectations so I can revel in the now. Just being. A person able to think and feel and share and reach.
And I continue to do it the only way I know how. From the inside to the outside. Distilling this reality. Fingers to the keys.
Early Sunday morning. A car stops on State Street because a flock of geese crosses the road. They are doing what they’ve been doing for millions of years. Moving from Point A to Point B. They’ve experienced disease, drought, famine, and legitimate predators—not the weekend gun-jockeys that pop them off in parks during three-day hunts sanctioned by the city—and they have survived. But this driver doesn’t give a shit. Agitated, they honk their horn.
They’ve got someplace important to be.
McDonald’s for breakfast.
The Marathon station for smokes.
Their weekly dose of righteousness.
When the oncoming lane clears, the driver swerves over the center line and races down the street.
I get it. We have lives to live. Roles to fulfill and expectations to meet. There’s pressure, real or not, that we feel on a daily basis. And when we don’t address it, it builds. And it can get ugly. We get irritated. We put up walls. Or worse yet, we reach out to other frustrated fucks and commiserate. Strengthening negativity and feeding the ignorance that grows as a result of blindly following like-mindedness.
Pick your party.
We all want to be heard. But nobody wants to listen.
Food affects mood. So does sleep. Not doing what we want, or being what we’re meant to be. That kills us too.
But all of us are dying.
The sun’s gonna eat us alive in 6.5 billion years. Or maybe tonight, in dreams. I suppose that’s when Jesus will walk again. Or ride in on a Brontosaurus. He and Donald Trump. Maybe Jane Fonda. Twisted Uncle Ted. Drunken sister, Sarah. And J.J. from Good Times. I hope to meet Eddie Vedder then. He and Hemingway drinking wine. Vedder calling Papa a misogynist. Papa standing up, ready to fight, when Gandhi steps in.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
We’ll all come together again. Just wait and see. After all, that’s what we do.
For another day. Another moment. Another chance. Because they keep coming. We put off the changes, don’t take advantage of opportunities, and don’t live up to our potential because we’re under the impression that there’ll be another day.
And if not, that’s okay. We’ve done what we were supposed to do. It was fate. It’s been predetermined. Even if we fight, pushing headfirst into battle, that’s the way it was meant to be.
So say we the sheep. Not of the United States, China, The Bahamas, or whatever boundary we choose to define ourselves. But of the world.
Whatever happened to raging against machines, warm-bodied love in the morning, and skipping stones to see how many times an object can defy gravity?
Why don’t we run like we did when we were kids? Barefoot through the grass, sun blessing us with light and heat and freckles, fast and free into days without end.
Bodies in motion staying in motion at constant velocity with no concern for acts made by external forces.