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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of the World

“To feel bereft of purpose is the greatest struggle.

To find personal merit among madness, regardless of outcome, is the greatest accomplishment of all.” JSM

Someone close to me once died a painful death. A violent death. Unnecessary suffering. A death that makes one question why the brain allows such agony.

Such a good person. A tranquil soul with a heart full of love. Someone who gave selflessly and helped others through their time(s) of need. Why was the passing from this realm to the next, so brutal?

I can’t answer my own question(s), though not for a lack of trying. I ponder on it, and then I’m forced to stop. I intermix religion, ancient stories and spirituality, scientific musings and theories, personal research, life lessons, testimonials, mythology, then go off the rails and run circles around my mind, struggling to line up the pieces and connect the dots…

and ultimately run head on into solid walls at warp speed.

Some realms are shrouded in mystery and not all questions can be answered. I suppose that’s where faith comes into play.

Faith isn’t for everyone. I’m fully aware of that.

Despite that, I see life and living as a series of necessary balances. Speculation and truth. Good and evil. Heat and cold. Yin and Yang. Darkness and light. Sun and moon. Time and timeless. Positive and negative. Struggles and triumphs. Happiness and sadness. Elation and pain. The proper balance of nutrients for the body and mind to work at peak optimization. The required time for sleep and rejuvenation. Solid and liquid. Right and wrong. Up and down. Life and death. Earth and sky.

Because I see everything as balanced, and balance is essential to the natural world, death is therefore natural and should somehow have a positive purpose. In some way or fashion.

Without darkness, light will never shine. Without good, evil reigns supreme. Without living, there is no death.

Unfortunately, what happens after death is a mystery to me. But I have to continue to believe that even though I may not know, death still must serve a positive purpose.

Even if it’s just raising awareness. Passing on a story and helping someone else navigate their personal struggles. Allowing a legacy to live on through others. Turning a hard negative into something positive. Somehow, someway.

Finding reasoning where there shouldn’t be.

Forcing clarity from senselessness.

There must be a purpose and balance to everything. Even death. I refuse to believe otherwise.

That’s not the religious upbringing in me coming out. I don’t enjoy discussing religion in an open forum. I do however, enjoy spirituality.

In my opinion, without spirit, there is no purpose. Being bereft of purpose and devoid of spirit is the end of the world as far as I’m concerned. To wander through life not understanding and having an inability to see the truth of self is maddening.

The truth of self isn’t always apparent. The variables are sometimes hidden. At times we have to dig deep to find those buried truths. Sometimes we have to devise and construct our purpose, and create something from nothing to make those ultimate discoveries about ourselves. To mold and form perceptiveness, from all the senselessness.

Keep digging.

Creation of purpose, and the unveiling of personal truth, is an ongoing challenge. I’ll never fully know what my purpose is, but I’ll keep digging and searching until it makes itself known and obvious.

One of my personal core truths I’ve discovered over the last six years among all the endless digging, is patience.

That… and literally everything happens for a reason. Everything.

***

I had reached the end of my sanity. My ship had sailed right to the end of the world.

At this point in life, I was good at three things. Working my forty hour week, applying a fake smile while in the presence of others, and feeling sorry for myself. My existence didn’t make any sense and I made it obvious to everyone who would listen. Because of the situation at hand and all the negative variables, I felt destined to live a life of hardship and struggling. I foresaw nothing but pain and misery, and misery prefers the company of others more often than not.

I yelled frequently. I spoke unkindly to who I felt deserving of my verbal lashings, and I didn’t hold back. I isolated. I withdrew. I hated. I brought people down into my abyss and forced them to stay. I couldn’t let go of my burden. The balance was off so drastically, I couldn’t see any light.

What comprised my spirit was darkened and dead and swirled around as disembodied specters looking for a way inside. A shadowy mist floating and undulating, mocking and taunting. An icy cold snake slithering around my shoulders whispering words I cared not to hear.

I paced. I allowed the formulation of negativity to ensconce my soul and wrap me up in a cocoon of limitless anger.

I purged all the positive and discarded all potential purpose.

When Joseph met me at the front door of the refuge, he wouldn’t allow me entry right away. I had a task to complete first. A job I didn’t want to do, but my hand was forced.

Before I crossed the threshold, he placed a tool in my grip to get the job done. Instructing me that it would make everything easier and I’d feel better once completed. I didn’t believe him and I hated him for it. What he wanted me to do didn’t make sense, and is the opposite of who I am, but he was adamant.

With tears streaming down my cheeks I approached the center of the room, sword in hand, and killed Jessica Everett.

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!

Baked

“Ice is forming on the tips of my wings. Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything. No navigator to guide my way home. Unladened, empty and turned to stone. A soul in tension that’s learning to fly. Condition grounded but determined to try. Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies. Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I.” Pink Floyd

I’ve forced myself to rest for a spell and have decided to take a break. It won’t be a long break. It never really is. In fact, I’ve been on said break for awhile now, and should be ending the hiatus soon. When I’m idle, I drive myself crazy.

The funny thing about participating in what we love, is the intent to fully immerse ourselves; regardless of how good we are at the activity. Regardless if we’re merely starting out and learning, or locked somewhere in between. If we enjoy it, we engage in it. We’ll never reach a certain level or attain our goals, unless we do it consistently. Practice, commitment, time management, unwavering focus. Allowing it to partially consume us. Doesn’t matter what it is. If we love it, we’ll do it.

I can say with a fair amount of confidence, I’m not truly “good” at anything, or any one thing, or excel at any skill. And I love that about myself. I’ve tried the higher education route, and was fairly adept during those times in attendance. Decent grades. Areas and topics I wished to pursue and subject matter that caught my interests. But was never able to take it to completion (for reasons I can’t discuss here). I found niches I could slide into over the years where I climbed employment ladders and considered myself accomplished at a jobby job and praised for my labor, but outside the work arena, I’ve never considered myself “good” at anything.

I was also never inclined to try during those days of the Old Life. Too many obstacles. Too many walls to break down. Too many distractions. Too much bullshit.

I can say I’m good at specifics. I can navigate a computer fairly easy. I have an immaculate driving record. I listen well to those I consider important to my life and pay attention to those with greater wisdom, knowledge or experience.

I classify myself as a good parent, a decent friend and a loving partner. I have a preparation and survivalist way about me. But as far as skills are concerned… yeah… no.

Quite possibly the greatest thing I have going for me, is knowing I have no skills. Such a freeing mentality. Never locked into a concrete mindset. The focus can branch off, fly and explore without boundaries.

I made a decision, once upon a time, to try and follow in the footsteps of others. I wanted what “they” had. I had radically changed and adapted my thinking to try and transform into someone else, so I too could feel the same way as them. A sense of accomplishment. A sense of completion. Hands reaching for the sky as the finish line is finally crossed.

But the more I paid attention and the more I saw… the less I wanted. It’s one thing to profess accomplishment, smile and take pride in it, but to witness and experience the negativity, sadness, and gloom that’s accompanied with that accomplishment, turned me right off. If we love something, sadness should never be a dominant factor. Ever.

I then decided I will never allow sadness to interfere with what I love doing. I’ve discarded all the jealousy and coveting. I no longer want what others have.

My mind’s eye allowed me to understand one core basic concept. And I only speak for myself. The moment I try to be something I’m not, is the moment I become something that contradicts who I am.

I love who I am. I love what I do.

I can never be like someone else, or other people, because it will change who I am as a person. Unacceptable. All I can do is learn from others and try and make it applicable to my own life, in my own way.

Having a conversation with a close friend last night I made it a point to say, “I was this close to giving up. I almost quit. The weight was too heavy to carry.”

“But I didn’t. If I had quit, I wouldn’t be where I am at this exact moment. And life is about moments. The moments are what we should live for.”

The difference between failure and quitting is permanence. If we fail during our challenges, or experience failure in some fashion we can pick ourselves up, dust off the debris, learn from the experience and move forward hoping to do better. Quitting is permanent. Can’t experience failure once quitting.

They say, “It’s not work if you love what you do.”

I say, “What a load of malarkey.” It’s work. Lots and lots and lots of work.

Busy work. Work that challenges confidence. Demanding and time consuming work. Mind numbing at times.

Because I can’t quit what I love, I’m forced to take breaks. Not as a result of failure, but because my mind requires another reboot. I need to re-change my thinking again. I have more clutter to clear up and more dust to sweep away. Suggestions by others that demand integration. Some breakage in the structure, and cracks discovered in the foundation, that’s now in desperate need of repair and attention.

Can’t make a decent apple pie without a solid crust.

I learned that the hard way.

***

There it was. My first attempt to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. What a disaster. An epic embarrassment. I was so glad I was alone in the house at the time. I wanted a baked pie, and got exactly what I asked for. Baked beyond recognition. The dream led me to the store, I followed the instructions to the letter, complied all the ingredients needed, and created a monster.

The smoke alarm was the first clue. I dashed into the kitchen and smoke poured from the stove. I ripped open the oven door, yanked the plate from within with two pot holders, and tossed my creation onto the counter top.

A steaming, blackened, bubbling pile of burnt mess. I wouldn’t have fed it to Shelby and that mutt eats anything. The stink was overwhelming, an assault on the senses, and it was a good guess I’d be scrubbing the pie plate for at least an hour with a Brillo Pad to remove the burned edges.

Once it was cooled off and the mess cleaned up, I threw the pie in the trash. No one was seeing that awful concoction. I wouldn’t even venture a taste. I couldn’t in good conscious subject anyone else to it. It had to disappear.

Where did I go wrong? I followed the rules to a tee. It should have appeared just like the pictures. 

What variable did I miss?

The tragic part of being lost in life, is having the inability to see variables. It’s easy to follow a compass or a bright star home, but if the compass leads to the edge of a ravine, or a mighty raging chaotic river, the variables change. Unforeseen anomalies that just create another obstacle. We’re always fighting to tear down the walls, and dodge the overwhelming anomalies, but without the right tools and the correct mindset, the walls never move. The obstacles will always remain.

Luckily the next visit to the refuge with Joseph, provided me with one singular tool. I didn’t want it at first, but it was handed to me with a solemn promise that it would make everything better.

I wish I had believed him right away.

“I drag a heavy hammer. An instrument to break down walls. A weapon to destroy barriers that stretch up to the heavens and to either side as far as the eyes can wander. It’s a burdensome weight to be sure. Calloused and bloodied hands. Sore muscles. Endless fatigue. Yet, without that hammer, those walls would never fall.” JSM

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Peace!

Heart and Soul

Things have happened recently that make me question my reality. Things that go beyond the realm of what I’ve always considered normal. Moments where I really have to stop and ponder, think it through, and be grateful. Recent paradigm shifting situations that make my eyes open wide, and to be honest, a tear may well to the surface from time to time.

I’m a big boy. I can shed a tear or two if it’s warranted. 😉

I don’t deserve this.

I can’t believe this is happening to me!!

Are those TV shows/networks truly following me on Twitter? No…way… you only have thirty five followers… how is this possible? There must be some kind of mistake.

To quote, the Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!”

My brain has difficulties processing it all sometimes. The beginning of all this, to where I am today. In fact, it’s a little overwhelming at times and I find myself catching my breath as I try to wrap my mind around it. Because I can’t fathom the evolution of what’s occurring around me, I merely smile, and follow the journey’s path regardless and try to push on. I just have to continue as though I’m doing what “I” believe is the right thing for me.

And, with hopes it helps someone or two along the way.

Even as I compose this entry, I shake my head in disbelief and absolute bewilderment.

How is this possible…

So, before I continue, I must take a moment and say, thank you. From the bottom of my heart and soul. From the deepest places within me.

To the casual readers and browsers. The quick material skimmers. The subscribers. My Facebook friends who support me and have supported me since day one. My new Twitter family. Thank you. When I started this adventure, I never in a hundred trillion years could’ve believed it would ever have reached this point. I am humbled and honored beyond words. 🙂

Time is a precious commodity to me and I attempt to use it wisely. I keep to myself with social media. I don’t share much about my personal life and my feelings about things. However, I live inside the Chronicles Project and this is where I do my sharing. I allow my heart and soul to guide me now, and this is where I put it all.

It takes a lot to catch me off guard now-a-days or make me stop dead in my tracks. All I can provide in the moment is a heartfelt thank you, to each and every one of you. All of you make my soul smile.

***

Joseph Everett was right about one thing. I needed to look beyond the literal. To drop the wall of blatant intentional ignorance I had constructed around me, and see beyond the darkened veil.

Life had been moving so fast in such a brief period of time, by default, I couldn’t see beyond that wall. The veil was so high and thick, the literal was all I could visualize and the only thing in my life that made sense. I had the inability to see anything more than five feet away. I lived within my own bubble.

The next morning, after that visit to the refuge, I sat in my office chair in my small living space and questioned concepts such as synchronicity. Signs and symbols. Things which could be construed as coincidence and happenstance, but also quite possibly have a higher or different meaning.

Dream interpretation(s). Visions. Contemplation of the mystical.

I didn’t act on any of these thoughts. I only sat in my swivel chair, fingers laced behind my head, spinning in one place while staring at the ceiling.

No. Wait! What are you doing?!

I have to know…

Like the clue found in the linen closet, there could possibly be another one. The ball of yarn still had a home resting comfortably on top of my desk’s pencil holder. I knew the answers could be buried deep within the bowels of the internet somewhere, yet I wouldn’t know unless I tried looking for them. Can’t allow a series of dreams to make me go crazy without at least exploring all avenues first. These visits to “Joe’s world,” where I was nothing more than a guest, were growing cumbersome without receiving any concrete answers in return. To completely ignore it all would be careless. At least that’s what I believed at the time.

I dug and searched. I poked, prodded and perused. I turned over some stones and read some stuff. I researched a bit and scrolled through various articles. After about forty five minutes of looking and seeking out those hiding answers, I found myself on one final page.

There it was. As plain as day. The literal answer. The only thing that made any sense to my fractured mind. I reached into my bottom desk drawer and removed a notebook. If my printer didn’t need more ink, I would have just printed all the information out instead.

After copying all the material from the computer screen, I double checked my words, looked it over a couple of times to ensure I had it all correct and everything was legible. I’ve never had the best penmanship, so I really have to reread my hand written words and when all was said and done, I closed the laptop, left the house and fired up the car.

I felt relieved with my decision. My feelings on the interpretation of the events I witnessed the night before. I allowed my heart to guide me to the destination and I didn’t think twice on the matter.

An hour later, and after triple checking my grocery basket, I had all the ingredients needed to make an apple pie.

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Peace!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eleventh Hour

“Tick, tock, tick, tock. Time is a fleeting thing. It can kill the spirit, dull the mind, or help the heart to sing. I can no longer speak about yesterday, or see what tomorrow will bring. All I know for sure, is that one closed door, which could be hiding everything.” JSM

“Well, well, Jeremy. I see you’ve decided to return. What took so long?”

“I had things to do.”

“That’s what they all say. That’s what they all say. Everyone is so, so busy.” Joseph used his one free hand and raised the table back on all fours. “You want some pie?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Of course you are. Hunger is what brings you here. Hunger is what brings everyone here.”

“I said I’m not hungry. I want some answers, not food.”

“Answers you seek. Some you may find. Depends on how far you dig into the mind.”

“Listen, Joe,” I crossed my arms high on the chest. “I don’t want Jessica’s food. I don’t want your cryptic rhymes and messages and dance routines around my questions. Just shoot me straight, OK? Can you do that one simple thing for me? I don’t ask for a lot.”

The old man smiled. “First help me clean up a little, then we’ll see if we can find some answers to your questions. Can you give me a hand?”

I picked up large broken lobster shells from the carpet and placed them on a cracked plate along with other crumbs, silverware and debris. The walls of the refuge felt cramped and closed in this time. Less of a wide open area, and more congested. I’ve always had bouts of claustrophobia in my youth and tried my best to ignore the uncomfortable sensations.

Jessica exited the kitchen. The scowl I was accustomed to was smeared across her face and she continued to avoid my eyes. Instead of her silver wheeled cart, she dragged a vacuum cleaner out the door, and the power cord bounced and slid across the floor behind her like a dead orange snake.

She plugged it into the wall, flipped the switch and it was silent. No high whirring hum. No pieces sucking up into the machine. Only Mrs. Everett moving the floor cleaner across the carpet in quick strokes. When she completed the chore, she dragged the vacuum away and returned to the kitchen.

Joe was back to sitting at the table. “Are you going to join me? Or just stand there all day looking like someone killed your dog.”

I found a chair at the head of the long table, placed it across from him and sat down hard. Shelby curled into a ball at my feet. I refused to speak. I wanted something from him, but I couldn’t formulate what that something was. Instead of talking, I sat quiet, my hands folded on the surface of the table.

Joe slid the pie between us and it’s smell watered my mouth. He grabbed a long knife and cut into it’s steaming center, “What most people don’t understand, Jeremy, is without an absolute perfect balance, and the right timing, an apple pie fails across the board in all categories. The crust has to be perfect. The apples cooked to perfection. What happens if the apples are under cooked?”

“The texture’s off. There’s nothing worse than crunchy apples in a baked pie.”

“That’s my thought as well. Though, some are happy with that outcome, and content to eat it anyway. They don’t care about the texture or the flavor. The thickness of the crust or the perfect sweetness. They don’t care if it falls apart or crumbles into pieces on their plate, or it doesn’t maintain its shape. They ignore the warm liquid center oozing and dripping from the middle or the noticeable imperfections. Others however, take their time when making a pie. Over the course of time, trials by fire, struggles and failures, they continue to strive to make it as perfect as possible. Something they can take pride in. The Missus takes great pride in her ability to make it perfect. Look at this beauty.”

I had to admit. The pie was indeed perfect. The crust was designed with weaving lattice work across the top. The filling was solid and smelled delightful. As though Mrs. Everett belonged on her own cooking show.

Joseph continued as he placed a slice on a small plate, “The difference between those who strive to be perfect, and those who don’t, is time and commitment. It takes time to blend, mix, roll, and place a perfect crust. It takes time to cook the ingredients, test the flavors and find the balance. It takes time to slice and dice the apples. It takes time in the oven to bake to perfection. Jessica would say the key to a perfect apple pie, is patience, consistency and time. Time is always the determining factor.”

I leaned over the table and pointed to the old man, “And just what in the hell, does any of this nonsense, have to do with me?”

“Everything.”

“Excuse me? I don’t want to bake a pie. I don’t even care about making pies.”

“I understand that.”

“So why even bring it up?”

“Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy. You have the inability to see the bigger picture. I use a pie as a example. Stop being so literal.”

“I can’t help it. When you’ve been through what I’ve been through…”

Joseph rose from the table and my heart skipped a beat. I sucked in a breath and held it as his voice rose loud enough to shake the windows. “NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME! THIS IS MY WORLD! MY REALM AND YOU ARE A GUEST HERE, AND DON’T EVER FORGET THAT! FROM THIS POINT FORWARD YOU MUST LOOK BEYOND THE LITERAL. DROP THIS WALL OF BLATANT INTENTIONAL IGNORANCE AND OPEN YOUR EYES! I AM NOT YOUR ENEMY! I AM HERE TO HELP YOU!

Leaning back in my chair, a smug smile grew across my lips, “So you’re going to teach me how to make an apple pie. If that be the case, I’ll just show myself out. Thanks, Joe, but no thanks.”

“Wait.” He replied raising his hand as I grabbed Shelby’s leash and made my way to the door. “You can’t leave yet.”

I glanced back to him over my shoulder. “Why is that? It’s apparent I’m not going to get the help I need here. I have to seek it elsewhere.”

“No. You can’t leave. Not until you understand.”

As I reached for the double doors, a magical force bolted them shut and a long wooden timber dropped down from the ceiling to cover the exit. I reached for the handle and tugged with all my strength. I was trapped inside the refuge.

“Sit down!” He commanded.

I returned to my chair.

“I know you don’t want to cook pies and I understand your need to leave. But what it is you don’t understand, is what I’m trying to show you. This pie… is you, and your life.”

I laughed. A belly clutching chuckle that poured tears down my face.

“You may laugh for the moment, but you won’t in a minute.”

I wiped my eyes, “Try me.”

“You lack something.”

I was my turn to be stern, “Now you listen to me, Joseph. I’m lacking in a lot of things and I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m a big boy and can own up to my ineptitude. Have you ever felt safe and secure in life, only to have it ripped away from you against your will? Have you ever built up something from scratch, only to have it torn down and obliterated into powder? Have you ever had your foundations shaken so violently, you can’t distinguish the difference between reality and fantasy? When you hit that point, you let me know, then we can talk.”

Joe stuck his fork into the warm dessert and placed a chunk into his mouth. He chewed with his mouth open and mocked me. Crumbs trickled from his lips. “Oh, boo hoo. Jeremy’s been though some crap. Jeremy’s reality was shifted. Jeremy feels lost and hopeless. Join the club, buddy boy. Everyone feels that at one point or another. You think you’re the first to feel betrayed by the world? What makes you so special? Why is your pain greater than that of anyone else? What you do with this crumbling life and those broken foundations is what makes all the difference. You’re still upright and breathing, right? That is your foundation. You are alive.”

“I suppose. But it’s all stagnant, suffocating and abysmal. Life doesn’t make sense. If we’re discussing apple pies, then it’s safe to say, my ingredients are off balance.”

“Ah… now you see it. The ingredients are off balance. In fact, my guess is you haven’t even been shopping for the ingredients yet. You currently lack the components to bake a good apple pie. Or even something edible.”

I paused my rant and relaxed into the seat cushion.

Joseph continued. “You have a foundation from which to rebuild, but it’s made of dirt. You have walls for protection, but they’re thin and lacking strength. You have a roof overhead but it’s leaking and full of holes. You struggle, because you choose to struggle. If you’re unhappy with the situation at hand, you must change it. Only you can take care of you. Before making the perfect pie, you must first have the perfect crust. The foundation from which the rest of the pie is constructed upon. You need to find that balance you seek.”

“I seek what I can’t find.”

“But you must continue to seek it out. Don’t give up. Don’t stop looking. See the forest for the trees. Seek out opportunities among madness. Stop looking for perfection right now. Perfection is never perfect. Seek out ideal instead. What defines ideal for you?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s the first question to answer. Start small. Look for something else. Stop seeking that which can’t be found.”

“I don’t even know where to start.”

“Start at the beginning. It’s time to go shopping. You have a pie to make.”

When my eyes ripped open from the vivid dream, I threw my blankets off my sweating skin and lurched from the bed. My breathing choppy and erratic. My face was red, my hands shook and when I splashed water in my face and looked into the mirror in the bathroom, I had to stop and stare.

Seek ideal. Stop seeking perfection. Perfection is a pipe dream.

All of this is happening for a reason.

Time to go back to the basics.

It was time to continue the hunt. The hunt for the invisible. The hunt for something, which was trying it’s best to hide from me.

I enjoy puzzles. I like games of all kinds. The one thing I despise, however, is mind games. I was locked into a mind game and the only player was myself. And the clock continued to tick away.

>Thank you for reading and following along. If you happen to be new to my blog, Tales of the Chronicles, here is the link to the beginning. Please subscribe in the provided area to receive a notification of new posts through email. Please give it a like (if you like it), share with others, or leave a comment if you wish. See you at the next one.