The Unseen

It has been a while since I have sat down to write anything. The pressure is terrific. I haven’t left enough space to create. I have too many competing ideas. I am blocked and overwhelmed to bursting.

 

I am not sure where to start so I’ll start at the beginning.  I have been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. I have spent a lot of time outside in nature. Thinking about it now I spend a lot of time talking (whether out loud, on paper, in thought) but not a lot of time listening. 

 

Some months ago I made an impassioned prayer to the universe. I don’t want to live in a world without magic. In other words I don’t want to live my whole life limited by the perceptions of my ego. I never imagined what that would actually mean. I realized that reality has many layers/dimensions. What we usually take for reality is derived from our senses, experiences, values, beliefs etc. This is the reality which is more or less agreed upon by the society we live in and yet each person still possesses a reality unique to them. You will never find two identical versions of reality. But there is more to reality than the content of our senses and our upbringing. Technology allows us to see some of that unseen world. Education expands imagination/awareness but it can also block our intuition when we use it to confirm the limited views of our egos (think of all the outdated/debunked information you learned in school!). The best minds are flexible, open, curious, and humble. So much still remains unknown to us. The universe is full of mysteries, of unanswerable questions, of flux. Unknown and unreal are two very different things and yet we often allow our limited and limiting ego to fill in these gaps with fear and doubt. The ego insists that there can be only one right answer to a question/only one right of being/doing/seeing. The ego requires confirmation even at the expense of other people. The ego cannot live and let live. The ego manipulates, separates, and judges. Lizard-brain. Little god. Child.

 

Often we forget that dreams constitute a huge portion of our reality. We spend around ⅓ of our lives asleep, part of that time we are dreaming. We also dream when we are awake. Dreams are vital and they too are reality.

 

It said that we have a second brain in our stomach. “The enteric nervous system is often referred to as our body’s second brain. There are hundreds of millions of neurons connecting the brain to the enteric nervous system, the part of the nervous system that is tasked with controlling the gastrointestinal system. This vast web of connections monitors the entire digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus. The enteric nervous system is so extensive that it can operate as an independent entity without input from our central nervous system, although they are in regular communication.”

 

The bacteria in our gut can actually send signals to our brains! We can’t see bacteria with the naked eye and when all is properly working we don’t even think much about them. Yet there they are alive within us, communicating with us, essential to our life/health. If we abuse ourselves they can even make us sick. Nature too has a delicate balance. We’ve seen what happens when we try to beat nature into submission. We often forget that we are a part of nature. We are connected to every living thing on the planet. The planet/our planet is alive. I believe in a collective unconscious. This is why so many of our philosophies and religions end up saying essentially the same thing even though the creators of the original stories had no “ego to ego” interaction.

 

I have been fascinated lately by the unseen world as you can see. There is an anime called Mushishi that I am currently rewatching. Here is a basic plot summary.

 

Mushi are the most primitive form of life. They have no goals/no agenda aside from being. They are neither good or bad. They can exist in countless forms and are capable of mimicking things in the natural world. They can even mimic disease. Most people cannot see them in their original form but they do have the ability to affect humans (altered perception, disease, unusual abilities). They appear in the show as ethereal, sort of like floaters, except that they are light instead of dark.

 

“Floaters are little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.”

 

I am not trying to convince you that mushi exist (we didn’t always know about viruses and bacteria haha). The point is I believe there is much unseen in this world. Just because something is unknown or unseen doesn’t make it inconsequential. Just because we don’t know how something works doesn’t mean it is broken. Just because we don’t understand someone’s point of view doesn’t mean that they are disposable, wrong, a threat, an obstacle to our success/happiness. Why give someone else all your power? Life is sacred.

 

I haven’t even begun to touch upon my beliefs on the afterlife, spirits and such but I will save it for another time.

 

I wanted to share a story with you.

 

“There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stonecutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!”

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.”

Sometimes we forget how powerful we are. Reality is shaped by our perception which means it can be changed. We are actively creating the world we live in, let your beliefs reflect the type of world you want to live in and reality will follow. When we act from a place of gratitude and abundance there is always enough. Enough time. Enough love. Enough money. Enough resources. The ego’s constant sense of scarcity is what leads us to the selfish actions that deplete the earth and our relationships with other people. The ego will never feel whole, full, or connected. Honor the ego’s service (it has a function, it is after all connected to our survival instinct!), honor your emotions (knowing that like weather they pass), but don’t buy into the story line, don’t cling to outcomes which are a small part of our experience (the journey is the vast majority of our experience). Imagine if you chose to enjoy the embarkation, the journey, and the destination? Your life would be so much more rewarding then if you allow yourself only the few seconds of ecstasy you get from the completion of a task/goal. Remember how good anticipation feels. How exciting life is when you allow it to flow. Write your own story. Dare to be a mystery, to go a day without needing to define everything. Dare to look inside of yourself, even at the darkness within, dare to love the places that hurt.  When you look out at the ocean or up in the sky, at the vastness of it all you see potential, power, beauty, and enigma. Our bodies may be small/finite but the spirit is infinite, beautiful, mysterious, and full of potential. We create truth by becoming expressions of truth, by honoring our inner cycles, by following our intuitive knowing. Choose freedom.

The Uncarved Block

I feel like a snake who continues to wear its old skin. Even though it no longer fits. Even though it smells. Even though it hurts to breathe. Even though it’s bulging, tearing, and completely unflattering. Even though the soft, new skin is being rubbed raw by the husk of my former self. There is nothing wrong with my life except that it is no longer a reflection of who I am/who I am becoming. I have been struggling to write for the last few weeks. It’s not for a lack of inspiration and it is certainly not for lack of emotion. If anything my emotions might be too big right now. I just can’t process them into convenient bite-sized pieces. It is like trying to eat the whole apple tree, when each apple is in and of itself a fully realized poem. 

I am trying to learn to ride a bike. Yes I am an adult. No, I didn’t learn as a child. My first memory of learning to ride a bike was when I was 5. I got a bike for Christmas. I was super excited. My dad took me out to the street in front of our house to practice. He was drunk. He tried for a few minutes. I don’t remember much of what happened during that short lesson. Both my parents were screaming. At me. At each other. At themselves deep down. When I didn’t catch on after a few minutes my parents decided to sell the bike. It was a waste of money. I was unteachable. They sold the bike.

When I was 10 my aunt’s boyfriend decided to teach me to ride a bike. We had never met before that moment but he was very patient/kind. My cousin decided it would be fun to unscrew the handlebars in secret so the lesson started out with a not so pleasant surprise. I managed to get over that little incident and continued with my practice (handlebars secure). My aunt lived in a very hilly area. The bike started to pick up a lot of speed while going down a brutal hill. I got scared and hit the brakes unexpectedly. The man teaching me flew over the handlebars and rolled down the hill and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to stop him. I remember running down that hill, blood dripping down my legs, scared that he might be seriously injured or worse. He was all crumpled up. He was okay but it scared the shit out of me. He wasn’t upset and luckily he wasn’t seriously hurt. He was as worried about me as I was about him. After that I never seemed to be able to get on a bike without intense fear.

A few days ago I started. Short sessions. 2 days into my own lessons and my daughter was riding her bike down the driveway and hit a car (a moving car). She was going pretty fast because of the intense incline on the driveway. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. All summer she has been inside playing video games so I was happy that she wanted to do something active. A few minutes after she left a woman rang the doorbell and asked me if I had a daughter. She then told me my daughter had been hit by a car. I have no idea what I felt. I have no idea what I said, if anything. She broke her collarbone and has various bruises and scrapes. It could have been much, much worse. She could have hit her head. She has informed me that she will never ride a bike again, that she has learned her lesson. The next day I went out and practiced some more. I knew I had to go out as soon as possible because if I didn’t then the fear would likely immobilize me. Hopefully by learning to ride a bike, my daughter will have the courage to try again.

I am so tired of living in fear. Happiness, authentic happiness only occurs when you step outside of your comfort zone.

I don’t have the greatest attitude when it comes to learning new things. As a kid learning new things often corresponded with abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual) so I tend to get defensive. I can’t change what happened in the past but I can change my attitude going forward. I have decided to adopt more of an “Uncarved Block” approach to life. Life is an adventure. I am a student and the obstacles I encounter along the way are for the benefit of my growth and development. I can be grateful while still taking responsibility for my own happiness. I can be grateful while still releasing what needs to be released. I don’t have to hang on to beliefs that do not serve me. I don’t have to devote all my energy into becoming a round peg. I don’t even want to be a round peg. Society rarely measures success in healthy/compassionate ways. So why should I adopt societies’ standards of beauty? They don’t reflect my standards. Why should I adopt any belief system or way of being that makes me miserable/cripples me/sucks me dry/causes harm to myself and those I love? I am starting to realize more and more that we create our own lives/experiences and that if nothing else we can always change our perspective. I have spent so much of my life struggling and fighting. When I am practicing on the bike. I fight it. I don’t let the bike do what it was designed to do. I come in thinking that somehow I can outwit the basic principles of physics and mechanics. Sometimes though I forget all that, I forget my fear, my pride, and just for a moment I think “Weee!”. I want to have more fun with my life, whatever shape my life takes, whoever comes along for the ride.

There are a lot of changes taking place both within me and in my life right now. My very identity is being re-written. Maybe even my fucking DNA. I don’t know. All I know is that I want to be on this journey.

I never really learned how to deal with the fact that someone might someday love me back. I have spent so much effort in protecting/destroying/redefining my ego. What the ego perceives is not reality, it is illusion. Yet I invest all my efforts into supporting a view of life/reality which is not only false but incredibly fucking limiting and unpleasant. My ego was shaped in tragedy by people who were themselves deeply traumatized. If I accept my ego as the sole component of my identity it is the same thing as letting my traumas define me. Don’t get my wrong ego has its place/its function but the ego doesn’t speak from a place of love and compassion, it speaks from a place of fear. The ego seeks only to justify itself at the expense of others. You see there are no absolutes, no one-size fits all philosophies, no living being that does not evolve. We each create our own truths. We bring those truths with us to every situation and it evolves with us because it has to, because we are not static, because we are not dead. Everyone of us is gifted with intuition. Instinctively we know where we belong. We know when we have acted or spoken in a way which is not consistent with our truth. Our bodies react to it. We know when we first encounter someone if we want to get closer by the way we feel because we feel something which wakes us up/because they challenge the limited perceptions imposed by our egos. The ego screams danger, danger, whenever anyone or anything challenges the status quo and when we let ego dictate our lives entirely we limit love. We limit our creativity. We limit abundance. We limit our ability to grow spiritually and emotionally. The ego will always choose addiction over love.

Sunday Writing Prompt #235 “New Years Resolutions”

I wasn’t planning on writing anything. I have talked at length about my feelings on self-improvement. Mine is certainly not the most popular stance. I believe 90% of all self-improvement efforts come from a place of self-hatred rather than from a place self-acceptance. We often disguise acts of self-harm/self-abuse with pretty and placatory rhetoric but when the ultimate goal is erasure or truth distortion the outcome is never favorable long-term. All of our various qualities are essential to who we are and while degrees of said qualities vary, we are all human. I have found great sources of strength in my so-called flaws. Stubbornness = Determination. Impatience = Enthusiasm. You simply can’t possess one without the other, they are two sides of the same coin. So be careful what you wish for when building the new you and remember that you can never escape yourself no matter how much shit and/or glitter you adorn.

We waste so much effort in trying to control and micromanage every aspect of our lives. We even attempt to control one another in an effort to maintain a very limiting ego view! I have seen so many people push away friends and family when on a self-improvement kick all because their friends and family refuse to conform to their very limited world view. Obviously some relationships are truly abusive/unhealthy but I am not talking about those relationships. I am talking about your garden variety relationship. No relationship is perfect. There are no perfect people. And there is no magical state of homeostasis that occurs once you reach a goal that does not have to be maintained through continuous and conscientious effort. I work very hard to maintain my weight. In order to maintain my weight I have to exercise, I have to eat regular/balanced meals. If there is a magical stage where I can eat whatever I want and sit around on the sofa all day and still maintain my health and physique I have yet to enter it. Years of healthy eating have not released me from my cravings. Some people say that after they have been eating clean X number of months/years that their cravings subside. I can’t speak for them but for me this has not been the case. I crave bad food sometimes. I also crave vegetables sometimes. As I get older I am less attracted to certain desserts but what I never seem to do is lose my appetite. I have a voracious appetite and a passionate love of food. What’s the point of starving myself on a bland diet? What’s the point of killing my passion for food? Can’t this passion be harnessed? Cannot this not too be a strength?

I hated exercise when I was a child. As an adult I have learned to look forward to my workouts. I still hate running but there are lots of other styles of training that I genuinely enjoy. Has exercise gotten easier? Yes and no. I have certainly gotten into the habit of regular exercise. I have seen the benefits of regular exercise. I have to continually challenge my body. I have to sweat and struggle otherwise it’s not really exercise is it? Without opposition there can be no growth. Weight-loss though should just be a byproduct, a side-effect because once weight-loss is achieved most people either loss motivation and revert to their previous behaviors or they continue to starve themselves into horrific caricatures. Goals are important but goals that devalue you are more harmful than helpful.

Anyone can be more peaceful if they move to Buddhist retreat and live a simple, monotonous lifestyle where everyone around them more or less adheres to the same system of values and there is probably benefit in going on the occasional retreat but in the end growth comes from being challenged. My daughter often says I will be more positive when life goes my way, when I get my perfect moment. Every moment has its truth. We are never going to get our shit together, that’s not actually the point though is it? The fun is in the process. Life is in the process.

Doing things you hate to improve the quality of your life simply doesn’t work long-term. Embrace new experiences, fall in love with life and all those shallow imitations of happiness/fulfillment will naturally loosen their grip. If you think of change as a natural and organic process and you accept yourself (warts and all) you will get to a point where you start to make better choices, choices that promote mental/physical/spiritual health. Fuck the mold. Be like water.

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/sunday-writing-prompt-235-new-years-resolutions/

Connection

Why is blindness a prerequisite of faith?

The truth can withstand deliberation

and if it cannot then can it be called absolute?

Neither proof nor patent, neither clutch nor crutch,

I am not without horror, without shape or contrast.

I live among others in the isolating patterns

of my perceptual field. This is the price of self,

the feeling of loneliness that comes

from being misunderstood and the callousness

of maintaining one’s discriminations

whatever the cost to others.

The ego cannot be discarded,

the trick is in recognizing

that the identity is fluid,

a process rather than a product.

 

By maintaining rigid boundaries

everything and everyone becomes

an enemy to be subdued or vanquished.

But if we regard others as aspects

of a vast and benevolent universe

then they become teachers, nuances

of our very own being with a purpose

unique and yet inseparable from our own.

Wordle #273

273

I burn and bless.
I conceal my loses
behind a facade of red.

In anger we convalesce,
the cost of maintaining
the ego is our freedom.

In the end the only vote
that counts is the one cast.
To choose or not to choose
makes one no less culpable.

I am stumped by
the black and blue striations
that swarm around
each and every heart.

Distortions and delusions of fame.
If not for greed is there really
anything left inside of us?

Stupid and sick,
we haven’t the slightest inclination
of what it means to stick
with the breath.

We are all locked within
our self-imposed dimensions.
We grab whatever we can
but return empty nonetheless.

Photo Challenge # 98: February 2, 2016

Chess
“Mate” by Anne Worner CC BY-SA 2.0

 

In the inconstant ravages of midday

I drink of your succulent greys,

of your endless repetitions.

Winning accounts for only a fraction

of our experiences, we lose everyday.

I stand here challenging my failures,

the pawn of my genius watered down.

I will not be made palatable.

I will not be made to adhere.

The only geometry worth the commute

is the human heart. Those slovenly angles

really get me going, even now

in this wrangling heat, the muse seizes hold

shaking me free of my rumpled dress.

We were young once, too young

to appreciate the distress of bones

huddled beneath orgasmic flesh.

Too young to know the intimacy

imposed by silence. I love you

in ways both innocuous and forbidden.

I’d kill for you, an oath not undertaken lightly.

We only seem casual, ordinary

but on the inside we are slicks

of versicolored gasoline, ready to ride

the circuitous waves of our ever deepening

sense of self. To truly understand life

you’ve got to jettison your identity entirely.

I will not be tagged, stacked, and sequestered

by your quadratic pretenses, the I before am

is completely unnecessary, be for nothing

else matters, not even the reward.

cutting it close time-wise barely managed a quick poem.

Photo Challenge #75 Trapped and Wordle #213

none_but_my_own_by_vishstudio1

– vishstudio

 

A lucid wine saturates your lips,

A kiss that stains my hollows, luminous.

Is it captivity I crave or imprisonment?

A moment devoid of everything save

My own feckless, habitual ravings.

There are no winners here,

There is only commitment,

A crippled attempt at being human

(Though that implies so little these days).

I would rather be foreign,

A puzzle chiseled through bone and sinew.

My choices are my own,

They come of temptation

They come like honey through

My interchangeable veins.

However, superior the pursuit

There are always those

Who would designate less.

I cannot find a way of escaping the confines

Of my own dumb sentience, the singular gift

Transfusing and exasperating my sorrows.

A man is nothing if not a scavenger of egos.

For

banner

and

MLMM Tree

Wordle #137 “Decoy”

137

To what do I owe this plight?

Do my crises depend upon

The attainment of some

Dogged sense of perfection

If they are to resolve themselves?

Do my borders keep

The forces within from spilling out

Or do they merely suppress insight?

Is the issue a matter of

Presentation or presentiment?

Am I a Lego or a man?

Must I manufacture myself

Or is it enough to give thanks

For that which is of itself so?

The fires in hell do not compare

To those trouncing my words,

My heart, my road weary legs

Nothing compares to the hate

One can muster in defense of self

Even if that self is only a decoy.

Music Prompt #1 “Saint Lawrence River” and Wordle #143

The storm in my heart

Dissolves in yours.

How precious these words

Haunting our borders

Lifeless after impact.

The price was too high

My need too intermittent

To justify the litter

Of your exclusion.

Nothing illuminates

Like your smile.

Remote beneath my own

Impossibility succumbs

To conscious delusion

We can still belong

If only…

Behind the scenes

Our masks freeze

Into place and I wonder

What it would feel like

To become you

In the absence of self

We might succeed

One unholy entity

Purified by the pools

Swelling beneath

Your impassive eyes.

143

For

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/music-prompt-1/

The subject matter is different but this is what came to me when listening to the song

Wordle #145 (Audio)

145

Audio here

I juggle my ferocity,

The writing which facilitates

And tames my delirium.

Scraps of aspect sent,

Belligerent in foreign countries

But familiar when embraced.

I haven’t the time

For my human failings,

For tyrants who reach

Into my enormity

And underestimate my plans.

I haven’t time for the mask,

For the strands of elastic

Which sustain a more prosaic state.

A discretion long

Past scolding

I know who I am

And what it means

To be imperfect in perfect bliss.

I may not be the paradigm

Of my virtue, likely nothing,

But it is my nothingness to fill.

I fill myself with alphabets,

And the fragments of bones

Sucked to vacancy.

I am transparent, inarticulate,

A disease without remission.

I haven’t done audio for a while but as I am home alone I thought why not. The sinus infection may be affecting my voice at least I think I sound more nasal than usual (my ear is also blocked up so it’s hard to say).