Over the Hill

“I got a mind full of aggravation. I can take it if I just relax. I say a prayer for the motivation. Keep me solid so I stay on track. But there’s a monkey on my back and it don’t know how to act, got me climbin’ up and down the walls. Now I gotta make a choice, maybe then I can rejoice ‘cause I’m sick of all the same withdrawals.
I got a mind full of inspiration and I ain’t livin’ in the past no more.” Shinedown

For the longest time, I perceived life as a race. There’s only so much time to accomplish missions in life and the only way to successfully complete a mission, is to run the race as hard as humanly possible.

After running for the majority of my life, the race became an exhausting endeavor. I was tired of running from this unseen and formidable enemy called, time.

Time is mean. It’s a cruel and heartless foe. It laughs, mocks and scorns. Time can bring you down, beat you up and make you feel small.

I experienced that mostly through my thirties. My thirties were such a struggle. I questioned if I’d ever find a finish line to this unending and seemingly pointless race. The finish line kept moving, and no matter how hard I sprinted, I could never reach it. Most of the time, I couldn’t even see the finish line and even doubted its existence, but I ran regardless.

Most would call it, The Rat Race.

Goal setting was an impossible feat. I’d attempt to set a goal or two, but the race was in constant flux, abruptly changing day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year and the main road branched off to another, and multiple forks appeared and dark dusty trails popped up and the paths splintered and continued branching and I eventually got to the point where I said, “Yup. This is the way life is supposed to be. None of these roads make any sense.”

“Life is destined to be nothing but pure chaos.”

I had to consider the idea, at one point along the journey that theoretically, from chaos, comes order. Unfortunately the order of life was hidden from sight. I was bombarded with a slew of constant negative energy. Yes… I speak often on energy. Positive energy yields positive results. Negative energy spawns negative results. As simple as that. This was a lesson learned hard.

At the time, I saw the negative as normal. Don’t we all? We become accustomed to it after awhile. Numb. Hypnotized. Caught in its snare. Then we change and transform into something that contradicts who we originally were, and what was once a positive mentality, becomes the antithesis.

The negative can be disguised as something positive. Ain’t that a humdinger. Life is sneaky and underhanded sometimes.

In my case, the variables are too many to count. The negative took on multiple forms and over time, I felt normal as a result of the full time exposure. I floated and drifted through reality like a zombie and spent a good number of years not fully being aware of what I had become.

I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted to do, how I wanted to live or how to run my race. I was living my life for other people and the priorities of life was dictated by others.

It affected everything: My job, my children, my friendships and my self esteem. My state of mind and my sense of purpose. Trudging through the day to day operations in a constant fog of “whatever” and not really caring.

That was the majority of my thirties.

Then one day, even though I had been watching it from afar and growing on the horizon, a storm of unprecedented power and energy tore through. As if a tornado formed overhead and the funnel shot straight down, swirled violently around my universe; ripping me away from my foundations. An awakening of sorts. My eyes opened wide and I allowed the storm to take me to places unknown and unexplored.

Everything changed after that.

I had to become familiar with the New Life. The Old Life was all I knew and understood. That in and of itself was a challenge all its own. New rules. New priorities. New outlooks.

It was the outlooks that set me on a different path. Potential. An unfamiliar path to be certain, but the scenery started to grow on me after a time. I saw new colors, shapes and patterns. The Old Life was gray and cloudy and the vibrancy of the new setting was a difficult pill to swallow… at first. Like a blind man seeing light for the first time.

It wasn’t until I reached my forties did I consider how awesome life truly is. At this age, we encounter truths. We know who our true friends are. We make decisions based on priorities and truth. We don’t allow for impulse, and our decisions are carefully plotted as opposed to acting willy nilly and carelessly. Relationships are easier to maintain and we tend to steer clear of selfish people. We discard and ignore the negative components of life. The friendships may be fewer, but they’re the ones to cherish and focus on.

As I crest over the hill, I know who I am, what I want and where I want to go. I don’t see the rat race anymore. In fact, I walked off the race track some time ago and never once looked back. That lifestyle doesn’t make sense to me and I now focus on what I deem as important.

So with that said, I’m announcing something I told myself long ago I would never do again.

Yeah… like I mentioned a couple of installments ago, some vows are destined to be broken.

This summer I’m getting married.

My children are over the moon about it. They love Nancy to pieces and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend the rest of my days with.

I guess once you start over the hill, life truly does change for the better.

To my father I say, “Good things come to those who wait. And sometimes we don’t have to wait too long.”

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

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Pyramid Power

“In the pursuit of any passion, confidence is paramount. Without confidence, passion dies.” JSM

 

When I said I disappeared into nature with Nancy, a few years back, it wasn’t exactly what might be envisioned. It wasn’t as though we were tenting out in the middle of nowhere, living off the land, sleeping out under the stars and filtering water from a nearby stream; catching fish with a pole, huddled around a bonfire for warmth.

No. We rented a suite at the base of a mountain in early October and had access to a hot-tub and our own private deck. I was desperate for a vacation and the urge to “get away” and as far away as possible tugged at my heart and soul until I couldn’t take it anymore.

The resort was out of season and it seemed as if we were the only ones there. In fact, when it was time for our massages, the masseuse had to be called in by a special request. I made sure to tip her well for traveling all that way, for two people.

However, despite the fact it was a resort, I was indeed ensconced by the majesty of nature.

It was quiet. I was finally away from it all. Serene and peaceful. Only the pair of us and we had free reign of everything circling our little corner of the world.

The mountain was shaped like a towering pyramid and it exuded a magnetism that drew me to the base and pulled my eyes skyward. No snow had yet capped its peak, but it was enveloped by a thick ominous mist. Like some Lovecraftian beast of nature staring down, daring me to trek to its peak. The top of the pyramid mountain was hidden from view and it called to me.

I frothed to climb to the summit.

I’ve always had a strange fascination with pyramids. From Egypt, to the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico nestled within the City of the Gods. The one recently discovered along the Antarctica ice, to the Ziggurats in Iran and Iraq.

I love the mysteries of these colossal structures. How they’re supposedly constructed along geographical ley lines around the world. The pseudo-scientific speculation of their purposes and why they were built in the first place. Going beyond the idea they were created exclusively to house the dead in preparation for the afterlife.

The unfounded concept that if one places a dulled razor inside a pyramid, it can be reused, as the structure appears to re-sharpen the blade’s edge. Allegedly, the razor can be used for months even after dulled. Critters diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses that are seemingly healed, after spending time inside a pyramidal structure. The idea that a pyramid harnesses and distributes energy.

All the abstract notions that are easily dismissed as pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo.

Despite the mumbo jumbo, and guessing, I still feel its influence. In fact, even today, the pyramid displays power and importance, and at times easily overlooked and ignored.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is shaped liked a pyramid. The base and foundation is comprised of our basic needs. The physiological needs are represented first: Water, shelter, food. Half way up the pyramid are sections on psychological requirements: Safety, belongingness and feelings of accomplishment. At the top of the pyramid design, is self-actualization and the yearning to discover our true potential.

The food pyramid also comes to mind, as well as the Advertising Pyramid. Even company logos such as Citgo, Google Play, AOL, Bass, Delta Airlines and Hyundai Engineering (among many others) are all shaped like a pyramid.

An unfinished pyramid is even depicted on our dollar bill. But that’s a rabbit hole all in it’s own.

The mountain before me may not have been a man made structure comprised of hundreds of tons of hand carved rocks, but it was undeniably shaped like one, and beckoned me from afar. There’s something about pyramids that seem supernatural, and fill me with wonder.

Even though it’s illegal to climb one, I envy the gentleman who scaled to the top of the Pyramid of Khufu and was promptly arrested after his descent. I don’t particularly envy being handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a cruiser and charged with trespassing, but I envy the climb, and the view from the top. It must have been exhilarating.

For some reason, I need to climb.

***

“Where are we going?” She asked as we started across the dampened landscape.

I smirked and looked over my shoulder to Nancy, who was slowing her stride behind me. “We’re climbing to the top.” I replied, picking up the pace.

“Um, no. We can’t climb that. It’ll be dark soon. Look at that thing.”

“Then we better get a move on.”

“Hold on. Hold on. Of all the things we can do around here, why exactly are we climbing that?”

“Because it needs to be climbed.” I responded.

“That doesn’t really answer the question.” She crossed her arms and stared me down.

I looked to the top and sighed. “Mountains need to be scaled. They’re destined to be conquered. It taunts me. It’s telling me I can’t do it. I aim to prove otherwise.”

“Listen.” She joined my side and looked up into the swirling undulating fog high above us. “Maybe another time. Let’s go for a bike ride instead. Let’s soak in the hot tub. Let’s walk a trail. Let’s make some coffee and watch a funny movie. There’s so much more to do. We’ll never reach the top. At least not today.”

What happened next is the first time I’ve ever raised my voice to her. I didn’t necessarily speak at her, but instead screamed at the ground below my feet, the palms of my shaking hands pressed into my temples.

“I’M TIRED OF BEING TOLD I CAN’T DO IT!”

She didn’t even flinch at my outburst. She closed the distance and placed her hand on my shoulder. “No one’s saying it can’t be done, but we should consider the variables. It’ll be dark soon. It’s been raining. It’s cold. It could be muddy. We could lose our way. We don’t have any water. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it should be tackled immediately. We gotta think this through. You really want to do this, don’t you? I can see it in your eyes.”

I resigned to defeat. “No. You’re right. It can’t be done today. I was being impulsive.” I smiled and looked to the sky. “I’m sorry I yelled. I’ve just been told repeatedly that I can’t do something or I shouldn’t do something. My ideas and dreams are foolish. It gets tiring after awhile.”

“I know how you feel.”

“Do you?”

“Oh yeah.”

“There. Something else we have in common.”

She kicked a rock across the grass and stuffed her hands in her jacket pockets. “Other than climbing a mountain, what is it you want to do? You say you’ve been told your dreams are foolish and ignore the things you want to do. What is it? What do you want to do?”

I stopped and blinked away a welling tear. I had to turn away and avoid her persistent gaze. “To be honest, I have no idea right now.” I swallowed hard and met her eyes. “Hopefully someday it comes to me.”

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

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Deconstruction

I haven’t written anything in quite some time. It’s been close to a month since I put words and thoughts on paper and after an online chat with a friend this morning, I decided it was time to climb back on the saddle and continue the ride. Sometimes all we need is a push.

Unfortunately, I needed a shove.

I had my reasons for taking another hiatus, but now I’ve run out of excuses.

I can’t overthink things anymore and I found myself doing it quite frequently as of late. Overthinking only leads to gray and cloudy areas. Those gray areas only intensify the chaos currently residing in the brain. I had to again bring my focus to black and white exclusively. Life is easier to manage that way. Overthinking gets me nowhere, fast.

It was back to another deconstruction.

I feel as though I may have gotten ahead of myself along this blog journey, bouncing back and forth through time. I’ve never had the pleasure of living a linear existence, so as a result, I bounce and move around a lot, which is indicative of my life. We can only portray and communicate about ourselves based on our life experiences.

Our experiences through this world dictate who we are as people. We are, who we are, because of what we’ve experienced though our five senses, what we’ve endured, conquered and witnessed. I can say I’ve had my fair share of all of it.

“Big deal. So haven’t we all.”

This is true. My suffering is no greater or worse than anyone else. I am no more or less special than any other person walking their path. Merely different.

Because I classify myself as “different” I’m forced to be different. I only wish to be who I am, come Hell or high water. If I tried to be like someone else, I would no longer be myself. I can’t accept that.

Deconstructing life is a tricky thing. Figuring out what one can do without and balancing it with what can’t be lived without. Taking stock and inventory of everything and whittling a lifestyle down to the core basics.

Just after the Old Life, I had to seriously consider what it was I was trying to accomplish and at the time, I had no clue. Only fragments of bizarre synchronicity, repeated numbers, coincidences and strange feelings that didn’t make any sense. Occurrences which made me scratch my head and kept me awake at night. When I was finally able to find a place of restful slumber, I was bombarded and plagued with dreams that furthered the overall confusion.

Because life didn’t make sense, I was “forced” to make sense of it. I had to tear down my life and see it from the ground up. Chiseling away at my mind to formulate something tangible. I had to experience out of body moments to visualize what it was I wanted to see.

Sometimes personal truth is a paradigm shattering cataclysm and we can’t be fully prepared for it. That’s why we find ourselves hiding from our truth. Keeping the eyes pressed shut and never daring to sneak a peek. Enjoying the reality with which we’re presented and finding comfort in routine. Any deviation of that routine causes discomfort and anxiety. We question self development, because it’s what we’re trained to do.

I suppose I was sick of that trap. Living in a reality designed around me and forcing me to abide by specific rules and regulations. Others telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my life. Trying to convince me of what they believe my truth should be. I still don’t know the truth, yet I work on it as often as I can. I continue to explore the parameters of self discovery and attempt to be better than I was yesterday but I do it now of my own accord. I test my boundaries and limitations.

I have to be careful though. Oh, the things I wish I could share in an open forum. All the stories I could tell. The things I could say about people and my feelings on specific matters.

Right after the Old Life ended, I made vows to myself which I promised to uphold until my final breath: I would never love again. I would never date again. I would exist as a singular entity and not allow anyone to interfere with my life. I refused to share my baggage with any other person. I promised to keep my feelings under lock and key and not allow others to experience my pain. I vowed to carry out my life as I was supposed to. Eat, work, sleep, rinse and repeat. If moments of fun were possible, I would indulge accordingly but it would be on my terms.

They were vows destined to be broken.

Deconstructing life is not for the faint of heart. It takes a strength which one has to dig deep for. Sometimes all we have to start the dig, is a spoon.

But regardless of the tool, if one is determined to start, it’s worth it in the long run.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Labyrinth

The past week and a half has been excruciating.

March was difficult enough. Through the tail end of March I allowed the world to get to me, in a way I should’ve never permitted in the first place. Hey. I’m human.

Down in the dumps. Depressive. A general feeling of malaise. Zoning out. Ignoring and escaping.

Luckily, I snapped out of it and started feeling like a million bucks again.

Then, out of the blue, something else occurred which I never saw coming.

Most of my issues in life stem from being trapped within my own mind. Letting external powers calcify in my consciousness and dictate how I live my day to day life. I create prisons in my head. I eventually dig out of the cell, but it takes a while when warranted.

This time around however, while it may have been all in my head, it was a physical situation instead.

My life is fairly routine. I have to abide by a schedule in order to accomplish my goals and get my stuff done. At 2:30 pm, I take the trash outside to the dumpster at work. Pretty much like clockwork. Roughly one hundred feet from the front door across the parking lot. It gives me a chance to escape my office for a minute or two and take a quick break.

Two weeks ago, while abiding to the daily routine, giving myself a moment to stretch my legs and breathe in some fresh cool air, I opened the dumpster lid, tossed the bags inside, closed it tight and proceeded to turn around and walk back to the building.

An activity I do every work day.

The moment I spun around to return to my duties, my balance left my body.

My head tipped to the side as if it was filled with lead and I ended up walking a complete half circle around the parking area. My head was leading me to the right and my legs were moving left. If anyone was watching me at the time, I must have looked the fool. Regaining control was impossible.

I haven’t had alcohol in many years, but at that exact moment, I was “hammered”.

No balance. Vision mostly gone and what I could retain for sight was tunneled out and fuzzy. The building was moving and shifting side to side and appeared to be a mile away and the dirt below my feet was seemingly made of liquid.

I never fell down (knock on wood). I managed to make it to the front door, but from that moment forward, for the next solid week, I was afflicted with full blown Labyrinthitis. I was told it could last for a couple of weeks, but was hoping it wouldn’t take that long.

Absolutely terrifying. I’ve been through some “stuff” in life, but this was by far one of the worst.

No warning. No pain. No sensation of the affliction. Just spontaneous instantaneous overwhelming vertigo that destroyed me for almost two weeks.

I left work and initially didn’t leave my couch for five days.

Even with eyes pressed shut, the dizzy never subsided.

I had to crawl to the outlying rooms in my house and it was minutes before I could struggle to standing. I had to position my head on a pillow in a certain fashion to keep the disorientation at bay. Stair cases stretched up and up and up and I refused to climb or descend the porch. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t go outside. I couldn’t stand up. I was incapable of driving. The only thing I was capable of, was lying flat on my back and listening to background noise, waiting for it to eventually vanish.

My eyes were closed so often, I was scared to open them. Lying on my side, I’d manage to crack one eyelid and test my surroundings and the window blinds danced around the room, the curtains fluttered without wind and my recliner seemed to be rocking on its own. My alarm would go off and the second my eyes snapped open in response, the television set and the decorations sitting to either side of it was all over the room; the floor, the ceiling. Positioning itself in various spots along the wall and never returning to its original place.

Everything moved, undulated, fluctuated and was out of control. A psychedelic head trip most people would pay for.

On the good days, my home felt like it was tipped to the side. I was forced to hug the walls and grasp the door frames when I attempted to walk from one point to another. I couldn’t watch TV, look at a computer monitor or scroll through anything on my phone. I couldn’t cook a meal and had to be catered to. My world was an unending fun- house mirror around every corner. I attempted to read a book or write something down, and the words were jumbled combinations of incoherent confusion.

At the worst of it, I questioned if life would ever be normal again. I couldn’t ground myself. I couldn’t find my center or balance.

The second week was more tolerable than the first, but the one attempt at reintegrating into work, to try and regain a sense of normalcy, I couldn’t sit and do my job. I stood as straight as a board, eyes wide open, back flat against my office wall as rigid as a statue. Both palms firm to either side of me to ensure I didn’t fly off the floor.

I’ve never experienced anything like it. I hope to never experience it again.

I probably will some day in the future. I can’t guarantee I’ll never have to endure something like that again. Luckily, I know what to expect now and have the key to leaving that hallucinogenic maze of madness.

A co-worker sent me an exercise routine. The instructions were simple and should be done in fifteen minute increments until the dizzy disappears. I applied the technique twice and it all vanished. I rose my head slow, hesitantly fluttered open my eyes and I was magically transformed back to me.

All the wicked vertigo. All the off kilter, tipped to the side, wall grabbing, furniture holding, spinning and spiraling, nausea inducing labyrinth of misery, disappeared as fast as it arrived.

One small key.

I still get a slight bout of disorientation when I look between my feet and stare at one spot for too long, or when I scrub my hair in the shower with my eyes pressed closed, but it is now safe to say, it’s 90% gone back from whence it came. I snapped right back to my life, like I never had it to begin with.

I never would have thought to use that key or seek it out. The way to escape appeared out of nowhere, by a source I didn’t expect. The light peeked through again.

When I escaped to nature a few years back, I was seeking a key I couldn’t find. A different dizzying labyrinth I was forced to navigate. Reality was bringing me down and nature called my name.

On the second day of my escape far far away, I was finally able to see life through a different lens. A personal epiphany of sorts. I found it in me to smile more. What I didn’t know, was I was actually allowing myself to see the walls and halls of the labyrinth surrounding me, as less of a prison, and more of a journey. I was still trapped and wandering aimlessly throughout it, but I found the hidden beauty within the maze. I didn’t have the key to escape it yet. Nancy was the key holder. I just wouldn’t know it until it was almost too late.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

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Roadkill

On my way to work this morning I drove over a squirrel. A sickening bone crunching squish under my tires. Poor bastard. Didn’t even know what hit him.

Ordinarily I swerve, slam on the breaks, dodge and weave and try to avoid all lane crossing critters, and at times I’ve put myself in the dirt or the side of the road, but this morning I couldn’t find it in me to make the attempt.

It bolted across the tar, and I stayed on course. I didn’t speed up… come on now… that would be sadistic, cruel and heartless and my daughters would never forgive me.

Yet, I never decelerated. The squirrel was on it’s own, and it had a 50/50 chance of successfully navigating four moving car tires.

Typically, I go through a mourning period after an accidental kill. I slink low in the seat. I lock up my arms, grip the steering wheel tight and feel waves of self loathing and guilt. I hang my head to my chest at stop lights or when stuck behind school buses and I stew and brew and mull it over. It really hits me where I live.

But not today.

Today, it wasn’t until a few hours into my work shift, perhaps even close to half the day gone, did I even realize what I had done. It was as though a light bulb flickered on from out of the blue in the back of my mind and I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards.

I can’t believe I didn’t even try.

What the hell is wrong with you??

Then I think of birds and other animals feeding off it’s mangled corpse. The multitude of cars running over it’s body until it’s flattened and eventually merged with the pavement. I question how long it endured pain and suffering, or was it a quick and instantaneous death; always hoping for the latter.

I really beat myself up over it and today wasn’t any different. However, it took some time for me to find that guilt. I buried it somewhere deep inside. If not for a momentary catalyst that reawakened the memory of the kill, I’d probably still have no recollection of the incident.

The thing I can’t quite seem to fully iron out, is why I lost that will to care. But I believe now I know some of the source.

I’ve been walking around in a haze for the past couple of weeks and it wasn’t until today, did I realize how thick the fog really was.

Perhaps it’s the weather. Its almost April and the snowbanks are still five feet high, with another half a foot in the forecast and whatever grass might be showing through in places, is still brown. I love me a good Maine winter, but something about this one season, almost did me in.

My last installment speaks on “taking the time to smell the roses,” but all my surroundings are gray, brown, and fields of endless white. My universe is currently devoid of color. Spring, and the flowers that accompany it, have not yet sprung.

I find myself coming home from work after a day of staring at a computer screen, changing into my pajamas, catering to the few needed chores, then slide into my bathrobe, curl up on the couch, throw a blanket over me and zone out to reruns of Star Trek shows on Netflix. I could do a hundred other things, things I love engaging in, but couldn’t find the gumption to engage.

I don’t even know if I’m actually watching the shows or not. Sometimes, the next thing I hear is the end credits music or the beginning to another episode. Nancy would walk by me and ask, “Is there anything you want to do?”

“I’m doing exactly want I want to be doing.” And I believe I truly believed that.

I’d get online, scroll through the endless emails, check out the notifications, respond, and then turn it all back off. Tossing the phone beside me on the floor not caring where it lands. Going through the motions and the bare minimum to complete the social media criteria.

“Zoning out” has been the norm as of late.

Something happened to me two weeks ago, that led to a systematic withdrawal or shut down of some kind. The only thing I can recall that would put me into such a state of mind, is a never ending onslaught of negative energy. I’d go through social media, read articles, browse comments and go through the process of “being informed” and it was all so depressing, and oozed of negative vibes. Almost unbearable.

The hate and anger. Sadness. The discontent and division. The rapid fire, up in your face, garbage filled cesspool of depression.

I suppose it got me down. As a result, I disconnected from it all and ignored it as best I could. I stopped following certain sites, networks and people. Drifted off into la la land. Making ardent strides to avoid any and all negativity. It can’t get me down if I don’t know it’s there.

Two weeks later, (after reconnecting and reintegrating slowly back into it all) its not any different. Only the variables have changed slightly. The same hate, the same discontent. The same cesspools and garbage. The same depression. And it took four hours after creating roadkill, to come to the conclusion that it wasn’t the world that was the problem, it was all me. I was molting into something again that I spent many years trying to unravel and shed.

I was blaming external forces for my feelings. My rut was a direct result of outside interference finding a space to hide and fester inside me. I had to come to grips with the fact that the only thing I truly have control over is self change, and how I harness the negativity I’m exposed to.

Transforming cold hard truths into positives. Somehow, someway.

Reconnecting with the light inside the darkness.

I found myself lying down in bed this afternoon watching Breaking Bad (top five favorite shows) and realized I was allowing the world to drag me down. And if you allow it to drag you, it most certainly will. The world doesn’t care. I thought it might have been possible to ignore it all, but this world isn’t something that can be ignored. The only thing I can control is me, how I react, and how I feel.

The essence of who I am started slipping away and I had to find it again. I was drowning in my own negativity and all the lifeboats seemed so far away.

There seems to be a darkness on the horizon. A stifling oppressive feeling of doom and gloom and it permeates thoughts and emotions. In fact, I’d decided to take a break from everything I enjoy doing, because that overwhelming sensation was so thick. The comfort of the misery captivated me in it’s mystical spell.

After an innocent death, two weeks of wallowing and making excuses, I feel as though the veil has once again lifted. I’m feeling more motivated again, and at peace with this world.

Despite the fact it’s a cruel and unforgiving place to be.

What does this have to do with anything?

Nothing. But if you find the world beating you to a bloody pulp, it is possible to fight back. You just have to be willing to fight.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like, if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.

 

 

 

 

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Purgatory’s Waiting Room

“It waits and stares just out of sight wanting to be seen. Whispering a song which tugs at the heart. The melody warm; pristine. I hear the sounds, yet the words are faint, it’s a summons beckoning! I crawl to the pit, gaze into the abyss, terrified of what I’d see. My mind wanders off down into the void, I dance with the shadows of night. The frigid rush of their ethereal touch fills my soul with delight. 

In the darkest dark, a tiny spark, a flickering moment of light. Eyes open wide I reach deep inside to distinguish wrong from right. I extend my hand through the murky black, then pull it back in haste. Clenching my fist then cursing the sky because time is too short to waste. I shall not be taunted, lured or led, this path is the one for me. Don’t lead me astray into the light of day, my pain is what I need.

I swim back to the surface, shaking my head, the shadows following. Behind their wall of despair,  pulsing in the air, the spark is hovering. Brushing the dust from my hands and knees, I retreat from the edge of gloom. I return to my chair, continuing solitaire, in Purgatory’s Waiting Room.” JSM

Winter was almost upon us and preparations needed to be made. I took it upon myself to be involved in laborious activities. Cutting, splitting and stacking wood seemed to be my new outlet in life. Life didn’t make much sense. My dreams were even more confusing, therefore I found plunging a sharpened ax into a thick log therapeutic at the time.

I worked hard that season and eventually broke a wooden handle off a splitting wedge. It was time to go into town and replace the tool. There was still more work to do.

That afternoon after my purchases, I was walking through the state’s capital, window shopping, and I stumbled across a perfect view of the Kennebec River. The leaves of Autumn were at their peak of color and it was as though I was staring at an oil painting from afar. That moment was the first time in more than six months, I was able to close my eyes, breathe, and feel momentary peace. Nature’s colors seem to come to life.

An elderly woman approached me and sat down hard on a bench. She placed her walking cane onto the wooden seat beside her, buttoned her long blue overcoat and said, “Isn’t it beautiful?”

I had my hands stuffed deep in my jacket pockets and her voice startled me from my moment. I looked to her and attempted a smile. “It is nice. I haven’t stopped to smell the roses in quite some time.”

“Oh. Oh dear. You need to cut that out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Always stop and smell the roses, always. Everyday.”

I looked back to the water. “I try. It’s just been tough lately. Too much to do and not enough time to do it.”

“Come over here and sit down. I want to show you something.”

Typically, I don’t engage with strangers. I’m not much for small talk. Surface conversations make me uneasy. Yet, her presence seemed welcoming, and I didn’t feel like going home to an empty house. I sat down beside her while she reached into a small purse.

“This is, Edward.” She handed me a faded Polaroid. “We were married for three months.”

I glanced at the photo and handing the picture back.

“I was married five times through my life,” She tucked the picture back into her handbag in an inside pocket. “Four times, before Edward making five. I swore with each marriage, it would be better than the one before. Each time I said, ‘I do’, I was convinced that man was the right one for me. It wasn’t until Edward swept me off my feet, did I understand the meaning of true love. I was fifty five years old when we met.”

“Three months?” I asked.

“I had him for three months.”

“I’m sorry.” I leaned forward and looked to my feet.

She snapped her head and locked her eyes with mine. “NO. Don’t be sorry. It was the greatest three months of my life. A perfect three months. In fact, I knew he was the right one for me, and no one else could ever replace him. I knew we were meant to be together and I could never see myself with any other partner after his passing. I had to be true to myself and come to grips with the fact, that Edward was the only one.”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because even today, I feel him. I hear him. I see him. His spirit guides me and keeps me strong. He’s the one who told me long ago, I needed to slow down and stop to smell the roses. Stop looking at life at face value. Explore and discover.”

“Its easier said than done. When everything seems piled up against you, it becomes less about exploring, and more about surviving.”

“You’re preaching to the choir, my boy. But it’s all about choice. If you decide to stay in Purgatory, then there you will always remain. I don’t know anything about you. I don’t even know your name. But you need to shed yourself of whatever demon is weighing you down and look at life for what it is. Living. Edward taught me that. You can easily find and dwell on all the bad that’s happened, the challenge is finding something pure to focus on.”

“Easy as that huh?” I chuckled and fidgeted on the bench.

“Easy as pie.”

I shot my attention to her and swallowed hard. Something wasn’t right.

She smiled and popped a stick of gum in her mouth. I couldn’t stop staring.

Turning to the side, she snatched up her cane. “Now, listen to me carefully. What you need to do, young man, is stay right here and think good and hard about what it is you want to do. It’s you against the world, right? That means you can make your own rules. You’re in charge. I want you to concentrate on what it is you want to do. Doesn’t matter what it is. If you want it, you need to do it. Tomorrow. Tonight. Pick a time. Pick something. But stop thinking about it and go with the flow. It’s no longer about merely survival. Its something more than that now. If I can do it, so can you.”

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin. The choices…”

She waved her hand close to my face and scowled, “No, no. You’re thinking too much. Stop thinking about it. Your mind is stupid. Your gut, and this right here,” she tapped my chest, “are what you need to pay attention to. Everything that has led to this moment, has happened in the way it was intended. Edward would ask you, ‘if you could do anything right now. Anything you wanted. What would that be?'”

I didn’t give it a second thought, “Escape.”

“Then escape.”

“Where? I don’t have anywhere to go.”

“Again, if you could escape to anywhere right now, anywhere at all, where would that be? Don’t think. Feel.”

My mind was whisked away to a thousand places, but only one place called my name. I nodded my agreement and offered my hand to help her to standing.

“Do you have it?” She asked pulling her body to the edge of the bench.

It was my turn to smile, “Yeah. I have it.”

She shuffled away from me and looked once over her shoulder, “Now, don’t ignore it. You focus on that place and stop thinking about anything else. The sooner the better. Edward would say regret leads to the greatest guilt. Don’t live a life of regret. You’ll never forgive yourself and guilt will eat away at you until you’re nothing but bones in the soil.” She stopped and turned around. “He’d also say, escape is best, when you have someone to share it with.”

The following weekend, accompanied by Nancy, I disappeared from the face of the planet.

No internet. No phone signal. No other human beings. The world was mine. The time I was gone, was when I found the key to leaving Purgatory’s waiting room.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like, if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.
Peace!

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Anniversary

The year slipped by in the span of a heartbeat, yet, so much has happened.

Two days ago I started this entry. March 14th was the 365th day since posting the first installment of, Tales of the Chronicles and to this second, even after eighty something entries, I still get nervous when I post.

I would have posted this installment on the first year anniversary date, but I was engaged in other matters and believe I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer to complete it.

What a crazy ride it’s been. A roller coaster of experiences. Things I could’ve never believed were possible. New friends. New opportunities. New dialogue. New collaborative ideas. New connections. New networks. Re-connections with old friends.

Finding courage when I was convinced none existed. Taking a peek outside my box, having a look around and saying, “yeah, this is cool. I like it here.” Swimming freely in open ocean, when before, I had barely dared to dip my toes in the water to check the temperature. The mere thought of wading out to my knees caused panic and anxiety.

I made a commitment to myself, one day, to be myself. In order to allow that to happen I had to stop being who I was during those days of the Old Life.

Who I was before, is not a reflection of who I am today. I lived a fake me. I was never myself or the best version of who I wanted to be. I was someone else.

I was someone else, because I believed that’s who I was supposed to be at the time. Boy was I wrong.

I once followed the rules to the letter. Keeping my focus and thoughts trained exclusively on the priorities of life. Once I dug deep enough, I found it mandatory (and possible) to break those rules. Letting the focus wander throughout the aether for a time and eventually redesign my universe in my own image.

If there’s one thing you’ve probably figured out by now, is that I live in a fantasy world. A perpetual dream state. My subconscious guides my journey. It rules my mind, and I allow it to conquer. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve trapped myself willingly in that place between places and I refuse to look for an exit.

Eyebrows have been raised once or twice on occasion because this is classified as, “A blog of autobiographical fiction.”

OK… is it an autobiography, or is it a work of fiction? It’s one or the other.

It’s both. You see, there are multiple facets of my life I cannot openly share. Things I refuse to speak about, unless it’s with my confidants or Nancy. Because I will not “go there,” I’ve had to reconstruct and redesign my life in a manner that suits me exclusively.

I had to bend, break, twist, warp and manipulate my perceived normalcy. Being normal didn’t do it for me anymore. I live in the real world, but exist somewhere else.

It’s so much fun.

The fictional components that make up the Chronicles, are the truth… to me. Coping mechanisms if you will. Therefore, it’s simultaneously a fictional work and an autobiography. Truth wrapped up in the suspension of disbelief. Those who were close to me, when the crap hit the fan, were witness to the external pain. No one was inside my head, and dealt with the internal, but me.

I also enjoy the unique. Peeking outside the box has allowed me to view the world in a way I never could before. In order for me to start a blog and enjoy it, I had to be unique in my own little way.

Hence, multiple layers of the Chronicles and the tales that accompany them, were conceived and born.

On my one year anniversary of this ongoing adventure, I can also admit I’ve learned quite a bit about humility and being humble. Taking pride in what I’ve accomplished even though I don’t feel deserving of it. I never once considered that what I was doing with my redesigned universe could be anything other than a coping device, or a tool for peace of mind. So with that said, I smile as I declare the following.

I’ve written a series of books. My pilot project (Volume One) is undergoing some repairs, some developmental edits and restructuring, and will hopefully be complete within a handful of months. I plan on traveling the route of independent publishing and working hard to bring it to completion. I still have hoops to jump through and plenty to learn, but it’s safe to say, I have never been more excited about anything in my adult life.

I’ve had plenty of help along the way. Sometimes it does take a village to raise a child and to those good Samaritans out there who helped pick me back up when I stumbled and fell, again, I say thank you. Without that help, kind words, persistent encouragement, and ongoing support, I wouldn’t be where I am today and it will never be forgotten.

I still have work ahead of me and lots of it. I’m still laboring through my issues among the process, but today I can say with pride, it’s no longer a matter of if… but when.

If not for Joseph Everett and his dying wife bleeding out on the floor of the refuge, I don’t think I would’ve ever come this far.

***

I wiped the blood from the blade across her pink bathrobe. She convulsed and twitched and turned her head to her husband who was standing casually at the open door.

Joseph crossed his arms and smiled. “See that wasn’t all that bad. Felt good didn’t it?”

I looked into her glossy eyes and burst into tears. Keeping my attention on the hole in her chest, I screamed into the palm of my hand, “WHY!? Why did you make me do this?”

He strolled towards us and cocked his head to the side, “Because I couldn’t do it myself. You did good. That was only the first step. As a token of my appreciation, you can keep the sword.”

Her crimson life force seeped into the carpet and she struggled to lift her head. I whispered, and attempted a smile, “I’m sorry. If I had known…”

A quivering hand rose from the floor and grabbed the front of my shirt. Before passing onto the next realm, Jessica managed to speak to me through garbled words. “You don’t know what you’ve done.” She pulled me close enough so I could feel her breath on my skin and Joseph dropped to his haunches to observe her final words. “You’ve only made things worse.”

I dropped the blade beside her and whispered, “I don’t understand.”

Turning her focus to the timbers crisscrossing the ceiling above us, she closed her eyes and laughed through the reply. “You’ll understand soon enough.”

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts by email. Please give it a like, if you like it, feel free to share with others or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.
Peace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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