Is this who I am now?

Have I backed myself into a corner?

Is this who I am now?

Is this the end of me?

I am a changeling,

A hypocrite.

Found a path,

I am free,

Chose another,

Now I’m free,

Fly away,

Am I free?

Show up

Keep digging

Disappear

Go within…

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Ren, and the battle between good and evil

I have enjoyed music throughout my life, but the past 5 years or so, my interest in the artistic expression of music has come and gone as I go through various phases. Lately, I have been listening to music again, and yesterday I saw this video featuring the music artist, Ren.

I have never heard anything like it or been impacted by a song to this degree in a long time. It’s more than a mere performance of an original song, it is the emotional expulsion of a story depicting the internal struggle of a young man, one that blurred the lines of imagination and reality, and his journey towards healing. It is very different than the struggles I have faced in life, but at the same time it is relatable. At the end of the video he tells a little bit of his story, but if you scroll down in the comment section he gives a further explanation.

Ren explains in his comment that as a young child he had a voice inside his head that was not his own. I cannot imagine having to deal with such a thing. Sure, I have a voice inside my head that is not very nice sometimes, but it never feels like it’s something or someone else.  It is still me, talking to me. Sounds like Ren has some sort of auto immune condition, which is likely contributing to his mental struggles, but it is scary to think that this sort of thing is possible, to have to live with another entity inside of you.

When Ren was nine years old, he screamed at the voice inside his head, over and over again, to go away. And it did. But that was not the end of Ren’s struggles. The battle he faced became a psychological warfare within his own mind, a battle between good and evil, between the light and the dark. As this battle waged on there were many victories, but the momentum of these victories always swung back to the dark. He says, “… it was a pendulum eternally swaying from the dark to the light, and the more intensely that the light shone, the darker the shadow it cast.”

At whatever point I emerged from the innocence of childhood, to face the real and unreal struggles of reality, I have fought a similar battle to a much lesser degree. I would always arrive at moments in time where I thought I had finally found the peace I’d been searching for. Surely this time it would stay. This time I had it all figured out. But inevitably something would trigger the suffering again. Much of the time, it was all too easy to pull back the curtain concealing some corner of my mind, exposing the reason to feel sad and hopeless again. And then, the battle ensued. The fight for peace. But if that peace is won through a bitter fight, is it ever really lasting, is it ever truly real?

Ren says, “It was never really a battle for me to win, it was an eternal dance, and like a dance, the more rigid I became, the harder it got…. so I learned to relax, I learned to soften, and the dance got easier.”

So perhaps the greatest struggle is not in the coming and going of peace of mind, but it is in the fight itself. The fight which results from the belief that we are supposed to be a certain way, supposed to arrive on the mountain top of victory, never again to slip and fall, to follow the wrong path. I’ve come to realize that willpower and self discipline is important, but it is helpful to combine it with acceptance and forgiveness. To constantly fight one’s demons only makes them more powerful.

But is it sometimes necessary to fight? Is fighting with all our might sometimes the right course of action? I would say so. Just as it was necessary for Ren to scream at his psychological invader to go away and never come back. But I think when we discover the place of light, we should give up the fight, rest there, breathe it in, and be grateful. Then, when we sense the darkness coming back, we can be forgiving and kind, easing the momentum of the pendulum, finding balance in the gentle acceptance of who we are, whether we fully comprehend it or not.

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(Visions) And so I stayed

I stood up and felt pain in my knees and ankles. I was so stiff. The bones in my spine cracked and adjusted themselves against the force of contracting muscles. I stumbled toward the doorway and caught myself on the dresser. I caught myself… with hands and fingers. My body became steady, and I made my way into the living room. Light was pouring in from the back doorway with the paleness of the winter sky. I followed it and was outside. It was cold and exhilarating. I stepped into the grass and felt the warmth of the ground against my skin. The blades of grass were itchy as my toes grabbed on to them. I dropped to my knees and fell to the ground, rolling onto my back. The wind blew around me. The earth sucked me in. I lay there, looking up at the clouds. One with the rotation of the planet I took long breaths, absorbing life force. There was no time. And so I stayed, until the earth released me.

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The Girl with the Curly Hair

One night in college, I was at a party. It may have been Halloween, and I may or may not have been dressed up as a ninja. I can’t remember. I started talking to this girl. She had dark, curly hair. She paid me a compliment, and I told her that she was beautiful. She looked at me the way you always hoped that a beautiful girl might look at you.

A friend of the girl came up to her and whispered something in her ear. I tried to introduce myself to the friend, but she ignored me. The girl with the curly hair looked at me again, but the expression had changed. They both turned around and walked away. I always thought that I would see her again sometime, somewhere. I never did.

I didn’t know the friend. But I had seen her one time before. She was alone, tripping on acid down by a stream.

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Why does anything exist all?

When I was a kid, I used to lay in bed at night and think myself to sleep. I enjoyed it. Letting my thoughts drift here and there, working out problems and anxieties I was facing until a solution that made me feel good arose from the turbulence. I would continue this process in various veins of pursuit, until that moment came, which I could never remember no matter how hard I tried, where my thoughts became nonsensical and morphed into a dream state slumber.

During this nightly ritual, I became philosophical at times, wondering about God and existence. One of my favorite questions to ask myself was, “Why does anything exist at all?” I would dive into this question, first letting it simmer on the surface, then sinking to the next layer, and then deeper and deeper I would go, further and further until the vast mystery of what I was asking would weigh me down and surround me like a black hole sending a shiver down my spine. It frightened me, but at the same time I reveled in it. In finding that place that was so mysterious and so vast, that my process of the mind could no longer handle it.

Why does anything exist at all? Why isn’t there just nothing? But not even nothing, because nothing is actually something. Just emptiness, but not even that, because emptiness represents a lack of something. No, just… Why does anything exist at all?

When I ask myself these questions as an adult, I often find the same familiar place, where the darkness overwhelms me and a chill runs through my veins, but as the strange and mysterious darkness disappears, I am left with an enlightened thought. The fact that anything exists at all is truly a miracle. To look around and observe existence, to breathe in and out and realize that I exist, is astounding. I will never truly know with my mind what it all means, where it all comes from and why, but I can look at it, experience it, and be utterly amazed at it all.

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On the edge of change

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Mindful Roll-about

One of my favorite spiritual exercises is to cruise around and practice mindful awareness. To do this I simply observe my surroundings without any judgments. When I look at a tree, I do not say, “That is a tree, look at those green leaves, look at the trunk. I wonder why the branches look like that?” I cease all internal thinking about the subject matter. I silence the mind and just look.

When I accomplish this successfully, it is quite a powerful experience. The world around me becomes fresh and new. There is a contrast to everything, and clarity of sight. I go in and out of this state of course. When the silence is interrupted with thoughts and judgments, I try and just notice it and go back to the silence. Sometimes the thoughts become too loud and I must observe them without judgment as well.

Here in my most recent video I attempt to capture some of my silent observations…

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Spooky Vibes

“Hannah wasn’t sure which had awakened her – the brittle crackling sounds or the bright yellow flames.

She sat straight up in bed and stared in wide-eyed horror at the fire that surrounded her.

Flames rippled across her dresser. The burning wallpaper curled and then melted. The door of her closet had burned away, and she could see the fire leaping from shelf to shelf.

Even the mirror was on fire. Hannah could see her reflection, dark behind the wall of flickering flames.

The fire moved quickly to fill the room.

Hannah began to choke on the thick, sour smoke.

It was too late to scream.

But she screamed anyway.”

-RL Stine

Whenever Halloween comes around, I get in the mood to watch scary movies. Problem is, I don’t like scary movies, you know, because they’re scary. Nevertheless, I still want to watch them.

This year I was wondering why it is that I have this urge. Could just be because it is Halloween and I feel like getting in the spirit, but I also remembered that when I was a kid, I used to love reading books by R.L. Stine. Maybe that’s why the need for spooky vibes is imprinted in my mental emotional make up?

I went to my closet and with a little help, found several RL Stine books from my childhood. I started reading the one book I had from his Goosebumps collection, “The Ghost Next Door.” These books are targeted for 9 to 12-year-olds I believe. It was a satisfyingly nostalgic read I must say, and even though I solved the mystery early on, I flew through the pages as each chapter left me with a cliffhanger that I couldn’t walk away from.

It’s about a girl who realizes that a new family with a boy her age has moved in next-door. Problem is she never saw them move-in. Impossible for her not to notice since she is currently undergoing the most boring summer ever. And how is it that her and the boy have been going to the same school, but she doesn’t know him? Not only that, but she doesn’t know any of his friends either. Very strange indeed, and after some very bizarre occurrences she decides that she must solve this mystery and put her questions and fears to rest.

It was a simple story, innocent but spooky, mysterious and fun, just perfect to satisfy my Halloween mood. I’m looking forward to reading some more Stine books. I will let you all know how it goes. 😮 🙂

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A taste of summer in the fall

I think my back garden is picking up on my vibrations and hanging onto summer. I have a sunflower blooming in October! The chipmunk saved it for me.

The fall flowers aren’t too bad either…

Aster and muhly grass
Aster

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Just Life

On the wave of momentum we ride,

The power is there, though it loves to hide,

In plain sight, it waits to be found,

An open secret, we can find it in the sound,

In the wind and rain and birds and trees,

In the hustle and bustle, and the people we see,

It’s in the air, in the sun,

The emotions we bear and the paths yet run,

If we could just be silent, observe and wait,

We would feel it, we would know it, it is our fate,

No more doubt, no more fear, no more trouble, no more tears,

Just us, just everything, just life so clear.

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