Destiny awaits. The future is before you. Or perhaps, you are before it. One step. That’s all it takes to get you going. The second one should follow. Put a good stride in now. Time waits for no man. Good, now that you’re moving it should get easier. Or harder. Who really knows. I certainly don’t. But you have to try. What else will you you do. What else would you do. It’s a fiction you know, that old idea that you’ll enjoy it. Or is it a new idea. But you probably won’t. At least not most of it. If you’re lucky, you might just enjoy some of it. Best case scenario, you fumble around till you find someone. Then again. You might not, odds are okay. But guarantees and promises aren’t made. You didn’t pick your looks. You’re probably not so attractive. But maybe you’re lucky. Maybe. Loneliness awaits those who abdicate responsibly. And those below the median. Then you’re at the bottom. Not much you can do about it. Just keep digging. There will probably be rocks. You could either stand on them, or put them on top of you. You’ll probably surprise yourself with your choice. Choices are never simple. Surprises are abound and withheld by the unconscious. Blame others not, seek your answers inside. Not likely. You’ll point the finger. Wave the finger. Raise your chin. Turn a cheek. We all do it. Maybe after a few times you’ll wake. But then again, probably not. Monkeys. Monkeys, full of snakes. Do you know your snakes. Are they familiar, or unknown. They always say you should fear the unknown. Probably smart advice. Although the snake could be a phoenix. Don’t know till you look. Probably a snake. You’re full of snakes. Do you think you’re not. You are most certainly mistaken. The line between good and evil runs through the middle of every human heart. In case you hadn’t herd. But don’t stumble now. The stairs of discontent are steep. Are your legs long enough. Do your muscles burn. Does the ache agonise you. Well you’re not alone. You stand upon the death of a billion men. Don’t falter. The burn will ease. Although, it is easier not to. It is easier to run. To blame. To curse. Some take great pleasure in it. Perhaps you will too. Perhaps you won’t. You think you won’t. Be careful of such thoughts. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. You needn’t remember anything more.
Edwards nose fell upon the table. He barely looked up to give it a despairing look. Perhaps just grateful it didn’t land in his soup. The others at the table fared no better. His mother Margaret had only one ear, a frizzly scraggle of hair and not much else. His father Norman was the worst of the lot, his face had slid off last June when he bent down to pickup the newspaper at the front door, needless to say, the news read no better that day. Edwards younger brother and sister were the only ones who could manage a smile, mostly because they were the only ones still with lips. Youthful ignorance their only friend, but time would come for them as it did for all. The unwelcome knock at the door. You just have to hope it doesn’t come for your good eye, or your preferred hand. Although it was given that what you valued most would be taken first, as if it was some cruel joke. But no one ever heard who was laughing. Perhaps that is the oddest part of all.
The Oracle in The Matrix, hands Neo a cookie after insinuating that a decision will be forced upon him. A situation will be imposed on him in which he will need to take action, to make a decision. A decision that will impact upon the outcome of this hero, the outcome of this hero’s world. A decision that extends so much further past the extent of the hero’s insecurities, vulnerabilities and misfortune. A decision that transcends the hero himself.
I sit watching birds fly around me. Contemplating what I’d use wings for if I had them.
Simply put, the hero sacrifices, the hero uses wings to fly towards his demons. Facing the mirror that reflects himself to himself, his purest of adversities and self-doubt. A hero attempts to save Morpheus, regardless of whether he understands and has learned all he could have about the Matrix beforehand.
A hero learns that he is required to act regardless of whether he has the understanding to do so.
A hero learns that understanding the repricussons of any action they take is out of their grasp. A hero learns that attempting to understand these repricussions leaves an individual hopeless, flailing in a dark void that can only imprison, serving to offer only endless questions to unsolved answers.
In order to live in reality, action needs to be taken. To dissolve fear Neo needed to risk losing against Agent Smith. One needs to risk losing and exposing oneself to further fear. The type of fear that can make you nauseous at the ponder of it. The type if fear that doesn’t ring the doorbell before entering.
Inevitably, there is always a Morpheus that needs to be saved, there are always fears to overcome. Use your wings for heroic purposes.
Faded birch deck. Boards bowing with age as if rejecting the life they were given. Nails protruding up, taking the boards attempt of as escape as a catalyst to their own.
The sun beams down, saturating an inescapable heat over weather boards with flaking white paint. Faded joinery only managing to hint at the once bold colour it once wore in youth. That colour today would be anyones guess.
Inside echoed the strange sounds of an empty house, each foot step a violent reminder of the has-beens that memories collected here had become. Michael stood at the window after walking the hallway to the end, past the kitchen and into the sun room which over looked the ocean.
Outside as the weak winter sun beat down, the wind was calm but the ocean was angry. Furious waves crashed in a messy action as if a toddler was throwing a tantrum in a bath. A storm had recently passed and the ocean was always the last to give up the game.
The view was calming for Michael, his fondest memories were of storms, the sound of the rough ocean would forever be linked to those times. They were welcome thoughts at this time, a time when happy thoughts were too few and far between.
This house once represented a home to Michael, a place where he would rest his battered mind, where he would watch the rain on the windows in winter, and where he would lie on the couch by the window in summer, a book in his hand.
These memories were rocks in his mind, a place to cling to when the current was too strong. This was one of those times.
He walked around the house, touching all the spots that triggered memories, the gash on the lounge doorframe, the chip on the benchtop corner and the faded circular patch of carpet in his old bedroom.
Each one he felt connected to, a soothing sensation followed each texture. Closing his eyes his imagination could take him back. The smells, the weight of the air, everything would rush back. Such action was addictive to Michael. He had been down this road before, being lost unto his mind, the real world became depressing in comparison. He was resolute in his mind not to return, but he didn’t really trust himself.
“I need this”, he whispered to himself, justifying his actions just as an alcoholic would.
Michael was all too aware of his actions and the rationale he adhered to them. It didn’t take long for his mind to over think it and he began to pace up and down the hallway.
Michael had a strange walk, his lanky features didn’t help the situation. It was as though he was an old man with worn slippers who had to walk a certain way to keep them from sliding off his feet, so when he walked his arms and legs would go first and his body would follow. As unusual as his gait was, Michael was a simple and gentle man, his world was self fulfilled. Taking his time, with each part of his life, he wasn’t a self described perfectionist but he knew how he wanted things. This was possibly what bothered him the most, as his life had failed to manifest the ideals he held dear in his mind. Although little of it was to do with his own actions, or lack of.
Two years ago he was in a very different place. His wife and his two young daughters were still alive, so were his parents. The pacing of the latter was what brought him to be in their old house again. He wasn’t sure why he had come back but he figured his unconscious mind knew better how to heal itself than his conscious mind did.
He was wearing a long grey overcoat in which his hands rested in the pockets as though both his arms had gone to sleep. He was hunched over as though he didn’t have the energy to stand up properly. The last two years had sucked the life out of Michael, his skin was devoid of colour and his hair had quickly began turning grey as if trying to blend with his complexion. Even with the great toll the accumulated events had taken on him he still remained quite functional, he was stuck in a sort of auto pilot. As though someone else had taken the controls and he was merely witnessing someone else’s life in first person.
It was all rather surreal when he pondered it, but even thinking had a disconnected feeling to it. At times he would pinch his arm with his fingernails so hard he would bleed, as though the act might kick him out of the seeming other dimension he was trapped within.
In the sun room a large cane chair still remained, he studied it for a moment before deciding to sit in it. He was unsure why it remained when every other piece of furniture was gone. Considering this fact he couldn’t but help but look at it as though it was alien to him. Sitting in the chair wasn’t a comfortable experience, the cushions were gone and the cane had broken in places making parts stick out and stab into him as he applied his weight. He didn’t mind this much, in some sense he found pleasure in it as it reminded him of the age of the chair. He pondered if he had become a little masochistic, but the thought disappeared quickly.
Sitting in the chair and looking outside into the haze of sea spray he drifted into the haziness of his own mind. He thought about the expectation of life, of the human expectation of fairness, of what had been, and of what it had become. It didn’t take him long to realise he related to this chair more than any other human being alive. What he valued in life had been washed away, eroded and faded by time. A line of events that had been, and events which had not yet happened. Everything that he had been was gone, the real Michael laid somewhere in the past. What existed now was the chair. Everything with which he had purpose for was now gone. He no longer served the world in the way he once had, he was broken and parts were sticking out. He was now quasi-real, he quasi-existed. He now knew why the chair remained when everything else was gone, he just hadn’t been taken away yet.
Pain leaps, for joy – for sorrow. It dances upon your grave. What is it to you. This, this that is you. Do you hold and grip, dry are the hands that never close, slippery are the ones that remain closed. You should run. But you shouldn’t. Is the answer right, little does it matter what your mother thought. There are ones who tell you what is so. Denied, but the truth is somewhere down there.
Somewhere a piano plays. Melodies, are they sad or gay. Do you shrink or do you rise. This is not for you to choose, although you must decide. Choice is a bit like never being asked. What is will. You walk alone, a poorly lit street, the bewitching hour has past. Noises, foreign, threatening. Is it sodden mud under foot. Is there a welcoming inn up the street. Does the end of the street meet the end of the road. Does a stone have your last sight written upon it.
Memories. Are they what they appear. If you ponder upon them. Do they become clearer. The path behind more certain. Does the sky change colour. Is there red, is there blue. Are you sure. If you’re not, what will you do about it. Did you wake just now, or do you still sleep. Was that emotion. That lantern, hanging above your row boat. Does it guide your way on the misty lake. Does it’s light shine toward surer water. Does it hide things in shadows. Is this a corner of your mind. The undusted. Is the cutlery blunt. Is this house your own. Do the doors stay open. Or do you close them behind you. Do you check your keys. Is there more than you expected. Are the unknown large or small. Do they jingle a soft tone. Do they make you cringe when they rattle.
If you point. What do you point at. Is that it. Are you sure. Have you checked. You probably should. When you walk. What plays. The violin. The cello. When you fly. Do you fly with birds. Do you fly with beetles. Birds can be vultures. Choices are never what they seem. Cracks and seams. So much darkness can be hidden. It sneaks. It creeps. It stays hidden so you cannot see the light. Contrasts. Distinctions. Names. The separation of the chaos from the order.
Do you know where your foot stands. Does chaos melt your soul. Does order chill your bones. The balance of Yin. Of Yang. Where are your feet. I bet you’re not even sure without careful reflection. Unless they’re both in chaos. Then you know. You know all too well. Bring back something worthy. Don’t waste your chaos. Your life will be spent dancing round it. Make it count when you fall in.
When I lay awake at night, when the long night won’t take me on a short journey so easily, it’s generally because there is too much going round in my mind.
I’m thinking of life, living, being and how to do those things properly, as always. It’s not uncommon for me, I seem to be particularly concerned with such topics, more so the ideas of, rather than the implementation of. It is a topic you can never stop learning on, there is no definitive answer, more a general direction and in a sense, a journey.
The art of living you might call it, a path that if achieved properly will be full of events which topple you, that will throw you down the stairs. But only due to these events will you then climb higher than before. Each stair ascended you’ll realise there is even more steps than previously thought. In a sense this is the journey.
Here are some pointers that I can humbly offer to help you climb.
Make good sacrifices.
A sacrifice is essential to being human. Many thousands of years ago we discovered what a sacrifice was, that is to bargain with the future. While our being is trapped in the eternal now, our being, within this eternal now can project the concept of time to allow us to make choices that benefit this future self. So in a sense this is what allows you to improve yourself. This is why you save money, go to university, skip desert and iron your shirts. While this all seems rather obvious one fact you may overlook is the quality of your sacrifices. Not all sacrifices are successful and we often never understand why, but if you sacrifice what is of value with faith, if you give with truth and honesty it will be repaid. You will see returns worthy of your risk. Try it.
Speaking of truth this is the second pointer I can give
Speak the truth, no matter how much it hurts.
Now this is a kind of obvious but this doesn’t just mean to others, but to yourself as well. Speaking the truth has power that is hard to comprehend till you wield it and use the spoken word to bring forth betterment for you and all others beholden and stranger. This is the logos. The logos, or truth will strike through any problem, it is that powerful. When you speak the truth good things will happen, by that I don’t mean you’ll suddenly end all suffering on Earth. What I do mean is that you can, with your effort and your truth, bring light upon your own little garden. Start speaking the truth to those closest to you. Watch those relationships become stronger, as they will starting speaking the truth back to you. The hardest concept to understand of this is that speaking the truth doesn’t just mean saying things that are true. Discovering what this means will have profound effects, just try it.
Life is suffering.
This is pretty much the first thing you should learn about life. It isn’t simple, easy, kind, compassionate or fair. These are simple facts. The sooner you realise and accept it the easier the whole journey will be. Not because you cannot then be disappointed, but because then you will find value in life. You will see that the suffering you accept and bare burden to, is what makes being human so special. Some will take this and therefore assume it is better to not live at all, this is all too common from those of the twenty first century. I can see how people end up here, but I think this is the wrong conclusion to draw. Suffering adds value to life, it gives a purpose to life. I could give a million examples of how we do this and appreciate it in smaller scale, something gets lost for some in the bigger picture though. I will say one thing, history is market by those who bore immense suffering.
This is a great segway into the next pointer.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
The reality is that life is suffering because your immense vulnerability. From your nakedness and from disease, injury, cancer, heart disease, drowning, suffocating, emotional pain. . . the list is endless. It’s a wonder we all can get out of bed in the morning really, but if you think like that then you are missing a very valuable lesson. To be vulnerable is to be human, to be limited is to be able to strive. To be human is to fight, for life, for survival, for growth, for success, for love, for your fellow man. Without this our emotions would be useless, it would really be pointless, meaningless and devoid of purpose. What good is love without loss, success without effort. Our vulnerability is what moves us to emotion. It is what fills us, it fills us to the point of overflowing, in art, in music, in exploration, of mind, body and world. This is how we create what gives us joy, what gives us drive. This is what gives us purpose! We take what is raw, we take what is cold and we bring it to life because we feel it, we can emote and bring meaning upon it. To be vulnerable is to be alive. Embrace your vulnerability, it is what brings the value to your suffering.
It is late so I must retire, but when you lie in bed awake next, think of your sacrifices, your suffering and your vulnerability. I hope these thoughts fill you with the fulfilment they do for me.
Time passes, moments that could have been spent with you are lost.
Building sandcastles on the beach, so high.
Laughing as sand blows into our lunchtime sandwiches, so gritty.
Dynamic dreams, opening the door onto a world that is closed.
Waiting for the signposts, so intuitive.
Reality dissolving inside a cup of watery subjectivity, so inviting.
Utterly isolated, waiting for what is meant to come to come.
Aching for newness, companionship, love, so eager.
Satisfied and comfortable without however, all too independent.