What a beautiful morning. Most every day I am blessed with a fifteen minute commute to work. This, for me, is a time to reflect and channel my thoughts in a positive direction. Today was no exception. Driving through the vast open country, while admiring the beautiful sunrise, I got to thinking about the message that is being propagated throughout the world today. While clouded a bit by some naivety, I am emotionally drawn to the idea of a world where everything acknowledges the fact that we are all in this together. The reality is that we have always been in this together. As members of this beautiful creation, we have always shared in a collective experience. There have been pandemics and even worse, atrocities against the natural order of being. That being said, I am not appreciating the phrase “our new normal” near as much. Every single day we are changing, especially on a cellular level, so to say there is a “normal” is to limit the creative possibilities and promote a mediocre existence. I believe we are here to explore and express all of the innate potential within. Let us all embrace the fact that we can contribute to the next phase of our creative expression by staying true to who we are instead of naively accepting only a snippet of the wonderful potential within.
Wondering about in the darkest of nights finds me searching deep within for the core of my being. I know there is a light from whence I hale, hidden beneath the layers of my nurtured garments. The endless longing for epiphany in this ontological search often leads to utter physical exhaustion. I cling to my faith for there is no doubt the light is real, because existence would not be possible otherwise. The emotional scars caused by the constant confrontation are formed in a naive effort to protect the purity within. They form a tempered shield which further conceals the glow until the true essence of my creative being is lost in the confines of the dark armor of society’s conceptualization of who I should be. The contemplative nature of my musing serves as an aid to the realization of the brittle nature of this crystallized straight jacket. I take a deep breath and with a hammer and chisel I search for the weakened areas of this armor to create a crack through which a glimmer of the light of my true self can be seen. Like a jolt of lightning I find the charge so essentially necessary for my continuance in the quandary of personal revelation.
I hit a bird today. That moment, when in just a flash its life force seemingly disappeared from in front of my eyes, brought forth a childlike innocent reaction in which I uttered the words I’m sorry. I had been caught up in the enjoyment of a beautiful array of musical splendor and felt almost as if it were a guilty pleasure to be enjoying the morning so much. This brought me an abrupt reality check. As I processed my reaction to it, I contemplated the fact that perhaps these little moments are a pattern found within the brief cycle of life. Considering the brevity of our own lifespan in the context of even the historical timeline of the universe, I wondered if incidents such as this were orchestrated for the intent of revealing the importance of cherishing the present moment. I was able to regain my mindful appreciation for the morning and maintain solace in the knowing that the energy from the life that had just changed in an instant was preserved in the continuum. As I go on with this incredible morning, I am hopeful that the energy of my blessing be communicated to everyone I encounter and beyond.
The warm dry air blowing across my face felt good as I shuffled past the corral on a walk to collect my thoughts. The sound of the already parched and cracking clods of dirt crumbling beneath my boots seemed louder than ever before. I often find solace in the quiet walks in the pasture, and today, it seemed, would be no different. Emotions welled up inside until I was sure a geyser of feelings was about to erupt. I can’t let this happen, I thought to myself. My entire life I had been conditioned to suppress those types of feelings. After all, it was just not acceptable for a man to be vulnerable and let his feelings show. This inner battle between my thoughts and inner feelings continued for what seemed like hours in the desolate prairie. Like giant tidal waves, the emotional questions of “What could I have done?” and “How could we not have seen this coming?” came crashing through my field of consciousness. My thoughts then shifted to observing the time of year and it being Mother’s day added a whole new level of complexity and amplified the intensity of this melancholic and tragic experience. Having lost our mother to cancer several years prior at the young age of fifty-one, this day of celebration had become a bittersweet entanglement of emotions anyway. Now the idea of losing my baby brother to suicide only compounded the struggle. Thus began a lifelong roller coaster ride on the emotional freeway. My thoughts soon shifted from despair and disbelief as I grappled with the concept of him being gone, to thoughts of anger and resentment toward him for being so selfish and adding to the already unbearable agony all six of us were dealing with. He was too intelligent to not realize what this would do to us. How could he be so inconsiderate? These thoughts wreaked havoc on my already fragile state of mind. Just as the scenery through the hills and valleys of a roller coaster ride are in a constant state of change, so too were the prevailing thoughts screaming in my head. The intensity of anger soon subsided as I plunged into the ocean of guilt and anguish for the previous thoughts of ill content as well as the continuous question of “What could I have done to prevent this.” I suddenly recalled someone telling me that there was no correct way to express grief. I peeled off the mask of composure and opened the floodgate to release the pressure of these intense feelings. It seemed certain that this torrent of emotion would most likely produce enough moisture to fill in and heal every cracked square inch of the parched landscape beneath me. I continued stumbling through the grass toward a pond in the North pasture where I could find some solace. All at once I was startled by a jack rabbit bounding out of his hiding spot to escape being trampled by the unobservant wanderer. This glimpse of rebounding life served as yet another trigger to switch the tracks of the emotional express. I began to recall many of the cherished childhood memories I held with my brother and the focus of my feelings shifted toward a grateful acknowledgement of our shared experiences. To my amazement, the sky all of the sudden seemed to take on a brighter hue, the smell of the warm air carrying hints of the prairie swept into my perception, and flowers and colorful grasses now appeared to greet me as I decided to make my way back home and embrace the new normal of my life. This grateful reprieve from the onslaught of this gamut of passionate emotions certainly was not the end of the roller coaster ride, but rather a stretch down a straight and level section of the ride awaiting the next tumultuous frenzy of hills, curves, and loops that too had become a part of my new normal. Looking back at it now I see one key lesson I was blessed to learn through this experience. It is the lesson of how gratitude has the power to shift our perspective and lift us out of the dark vortex of despair. As we pause to look at the world through a lens of appreciation, the energy associated with it provides buoyancy for our being, allowing us to stay afloat in the quagmire of dissolution. Of all of the tools we could impart on our children, siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, this lesson of using awareness to inspire an appreciative acceptance of the world might just be that glimmer of hope that lifts them out of despair. By living from a place of gratitude we emanate and know this energy and by its sharing, we can afford others the tools to illuminate their own path. After all, are we not supposed to be the salt and light of the world? It is my hope that these words connect with someone who is in desperate need of the same gift of gratitude I received on that day and many dark days since. Far too many have given up the seemingly insurmountable challenges, leaving chasms of emotional scars behind. Perhaps implementing some tools of gratitude can help to heal some of these scars and serve to save others who might believe there are no options left. They certainly have served me in escaping moments of despair, and furthermore, catapulted my happiness and contentment to levels unimaginable before.
Halfway through my lunch I am noticing the sensation of getting full. I have often thought it would be easy to maintain my weight if food just didn’t taste so good. As I continue with my delicious lunch past the point of being full, I am watching a video by Jason Silva about not building walls but instead building perspective. What an incredible eye opening narrative about the unity we all share on this planet Earth. I am over-struck with emotion as I realize how incredibly blessed I am to live in the world I live in. With not only adequate food, shelter, and water, but beyond that, a buffet of choices before me, how can I not feel like I am fed with the silver spoon. It is with the most heartfelt gratitude that I continue to finish my plate as to not waste any of it. There have been circumstances in my life where not only were there limited choices in sustenance, but even on occasion an extended period between meals. I am thankful for the perspective of a child at the time, for being able to escape from the hunger and worry by engaging in imaginative playfulness, which shifted the perspective of those memories to a warm, fuzzy, and pleasant time in my life. There is an incredible amount of dramatic strife and division that we are exposed to in the world today through the various intervening agencies. I believe that a shift in perspective may be just what we need to escape the illusion of this competitive hierarchy which fuels this idea of anything or anyone being qualified on any scale. Can you imagine what this world would look like if we shifted our perspective to view life through the lens of our inner child? I truly believe we are all in this together and collaboratively we can make it work like it was intended to.
Gazing out across the sea of humanity, I see a growing populace of the insatiable. People today seem to be racing around in a constant frenzy trying to add more and more to their busy lives in order to satisfy a sense of purpose through accomplishment. It reminds me of tank full of goldfish on a sweltering summer day when the oxygen levels in the water drop to critical levels for survival. Within this dismal and seemingly certain impending doom we find the majority of the goldfish at the surface of the water appearing to gasp for air. They are frantically expending even more energy and consuming more of the precious remaining oxygen as they flail around and use up the oxygen that is being diffused from the air into the water. Amidst this seemingly tragic circumstance, suffering would seem to be an inevitable consequence; however, if you look deeper into the water, you will find a select few goldfish who refuse to get caught up in the panic stricken mindset of the majority. While contentedly gliding along the bottom of the the tank in a restful state of blissful existence, they reduce their need for excess oxygen and patiently await the natural cycle of production from their symbiotic photosynthetic co-inhabitants. With the ever increasing complexities in our society, we could learn a lot from the simple logic of avoiding the herd mentality and getting caught up in the fear of the masses. I think that the source of some of our in-satiety is the lack of relevance in our activities. Without some reflection and self awareness we are often caught up in an endless cycle of overwhelming busyness that just expends our precious energy and leaves us exhausted and wondering why we continue the efforts. I feel like the lack of personal time and re-alignment with our purpose is a major contributor to the widespread pandemic of depression.
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of
meaning and purpose.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
Without reflecting within, we are just going through the motions being guided by society’s agenda. It is when we turn our attention within to discover our true passions that we find activities that not only energize and fulfill us but paint the picture of the world we are intended to create. Regardless of our current circumstances, we have a choice in how we react to the world. The next time you find yourself being sucked into the vortex of what society intends for you, pause and reflect on who you really are. I think you will find your reaction to the circumstance to be much more aligned with your vision and a renewed sense of vigorous passion to stay the course.
While inching my way toward the office this morning I am guided toward thoughts about what and who I am. I chase these thoughts around for a few miles and the song “Who Are You” by The Who pops into my head. I pull to the side of the road and proceed to download this song so I can listen to it.
This seems to be the ultimate question for humanity, and certainly seems to be coming up a lot for me lately. I am constantly wrestling with the labels I have been taught to describe what I am. I have been told since I was born that I am a human being of the male gender, an American citizen, and have been given the name John. I have no reason to dispute any of these labels, nor any others that I have accepted throughout my time here on earth. Today there are a host of characteristic labels that fit my persona. Some of these include father, son, spiritual vessel, brother, cousin, uncle, friend, owner, employee, resident, and a few ethnic labels that I choose not to even name. There are also labels to describe certain personality traits, and even those based on my involvement in certain activities. You would think that with this plethora of descriptive terminology one might be able to ascertain just who and what I am. Fortunately I am not these things. I have accepted each of them to the point of allowing them to be part of my current reality; however, they are only agreements that I have made with this physical universe. The essence of who I am may have prompted me to express myself in some of these ways but should not be constrained to any system of labeling. The best way to describe who I am consists of only two words. I am. I would have to describe myself and all other beings as pure potential just because of their very existence. My mother always told me that I could do or be anything I wanted to if I would just set my mind to it. I look back now and realize that there many instances where she really had an amazing grasp of true nature of our world, and I am so grateful for the seeds of inquisition and appreciation she planted so many years ago. As we begin to shift our awareness toward these higher level thought processes, the cosmic energy begins to change and collectively we are evolving and elevating our physical existence. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the keeper of the stars for the guidance toward this awareness.
Upon the breath of mother earth, the hawk glides over the landscape gazing at the firmament below. The wind sweeps across his face and provides a seemingly effortless lift to his spirit. It’s seems the whole world can sense this exhilarating freedom. It is moments of fearless soaring that express that most revered rite of human existence, freedom to be and live as oneself.
With droopy snow covered branches, the mighty elms carry the burden of the wet heavy snow with a resilience that serves as a lesson to all of creation. The beautiful flakes continue assembling, extracting life sustaining nutrients from the air, and gently glide to the ground to deliver the much needed fertile moisture to the ground of subjective media. This coalescence of nature provides the opportune environment for the seeds which have been deposited to germinate and flourish into the full expression of their being. When the weight of the snow becomes too much for the branch to bear, it breaks away from the trunk, the source of its nourishment and life force, and falls to the ground to enter into a new system of biological processes; whereby it becomes the source of life and nourishment to a microbial world. This world appears to be a state of decline and decay to the higher life forms; however, it is very much alive and busy in its own contribution to the expression of matter in the creation. The composition of the branch is changed to become part of the life sustaining media with some of the gaseous extracts escaping back into the atmosphere where they can be collected and assembled into beautiful flakes of snow and returned to support the continuation of the expression of the creation. Within this subjective media the seeds of spring are deposited and the components of the branch are given another opportunity to unite with and aid in the expression of the elm. Thus is the endless circle of life as it is expressed through this one aspect of creation. Where life begins and ends becomes a much less relevant idea and gets lost in the translation as we humbly admire the continuous flux of matter and energy in the vibrant display of passionate awareness.
Oh the tranquility of sitting beside a mountain stream, listening to the soothing sound of the water as it yields to the confines of it’s trajectory. It doesn’t mind the rocks or fallen trees that appear in it’s path, causing it to change it’s course. It simply envelopes the obstacle as it passes it by, converging on the other side to continue on it’s journey back to the mother ocean. We must not underestimate the power held in this seemingly yielding and passive element, as the artwork created from the carving erosion contributes immensely to the aesthetic wonder of our physical world. There are many lessons we can learn from this life sustaining compound. Concepts of patience, humility, perseverance, and unity being just a few of the many lessons that are so well represented when we pause to reflect and honor the true essence of it’s flow. Imagine if we identified with the water in us to recognize the challenges of our lives as opportunities to embrace the obstacles and patiently await the effect of our presence. I think we would realize that the same oneness that relates the snowflake to the ocean courses through every vessel of our being.