Death.

In the spirit of the holiday of Halloween, I wanted to turn my attention to the topic of death. Know this will be a bit darker than normal.

Death.  I’ve honestly been thinking about it lately.  The idea of death, what it would mean to die.  Now, I’ve never seriously entertained the thought of speeding up the process; I’m too Catholic for that. I have felt, though, as if I have wanted to die.  As if I wanted my existence to end,  and the suffering involved with pressing on to cease. Those moments, where it seems as if I’ve already messed up too much and it’s not going to get any better from here.  Where the world just looks like it’s against me, death becomes a choice.

Death is a self-involved choice, something that would be done without anyone else in mind, because the results of death effects not only but the people around you. The only reason I would do it to add a bookend to my life, to see the culmination of my life put together.   I would love to attend my funeral; it’s in the way to get the review of the book  that authors put on the back cover,  taking who I am and compressing it into something that some that understandable. The only problem with that plan is that I would have to be alive, and you can’t have a funeral for someone who hasn’t died yet. The question stands, when do we really die.  Is it when we give up on our last breath or is when we give up on our last dream.  Is it when our brain stops functioning or when we stop being remembered.

Whatever happens after death is for the living.  Funerals, burials, and rituals all stand to give that closure to those who are left behind.  Each culture giving some credence and someway to remember those who have come before us.  It’s then, on the day after Halloween, All Saints and All Souls day that we take a moment to remember all those who have perished. We all have our own way, but is something calls to be dealt with whether we like it or not.

What does death mean then, as it has no intrinsic meaning to it, it can only be given meaning. Unfortunately, the people around you can only really give you the answer.  With each different belief, we can only speculate as why someone lived and died in the first place.  Whether or not you believe in an afterlife or sorts, death is a very final act on show that is your life.

As of now, I can only say that death is a motivator to make sure the book of my life has a happy ending, and that it may be worth a read along the way.

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The Forlorn Day Dream

I saw it clear as day, as if I had just woken up. There was single spotlight beaming down, illuminating my arms and legs which were attached to wires extending into the infinite above me.
I was hanging in a black void, dangling from thread unable to move. The strings seem to pull, and my body starts to animate.  My limbs moved more like clockwork, with an unnatural flow and began reaching into the nothingness in front of me.
Suspended from these strings, I started getting used to my motion and after a time the spotlight dimmed.  I found myself in front of the world that was like a small orb that exuded light.
This world that looked and moved very much like our own.  All around it were small strings jutting from this blue-green globe. I sat there observing as days and nights seem to pass, and I grew to admire this world.  I wanted to reach out and pull strings, to influence the world in front of me. My hands moved as if on their own, reached down and started to pull these strings.  Each time is affecting a little bit more of this world in between my hands. With time, I learned what each string did, learned all the ways to use them to make what I wanted to happen. But every time I pulled strings they became more and more entangled in my fingertips.
That’s when the spotlight came back, my fingers all tangled up in string.  I was just an actor in a much larger system,  I was a just marionette who learned to puppeteer but, truth be told, I never knew who was pulling my strings. I wanted to know why, and for what purpose did I have to learn that no matter what strings I pull that someone was pulling mine.

Misappropriation

The best way I can explain this is through the analogy of cooking. Imagine preparing a meal, and you are craving a particular flavor in the dish. Now, if you’re following a recipe, it’s easy to recreate any food with the taste you want. Without it, unless you’re a chef, you have to season and cook based on an educated guess. It’s one of those times when you taste and you say you need salt, but it comes to actually eating the meal you realize you needed pepper.

That’s how I have been feeling about life recently. I have all these ingredients which I’m trying to make a good meal with, the problem is, I keep putting the wrong ingredients in. I’ll feel like it needs spice, but actually need sweet. I’ll look to put in something exotic, but I’ll want a homely taste. It’s the inability to pinpoint what I want and needs that’s getting to me. I can’t seem to put my finger on the pieces that will satisfy me.  I seem out of sync with what I want, and my cravings aren’t going away.

Now, in the realm of feelings, this gets a little bit more involved.  The formula of life events seems lost to me, and a lot of the time I don’t know what I need until I am experiencing it first hand. I had a recipe that I was following, but I am out on my own now, having to learn which pieces I need without having them provided to me.
I’m an observer, a tester of sorts, one who likes to learn information about the world and myself from the way life unfolds in front of me.  So it’s infuriating when I can’t figure out the pattern, learn how to adapt to the problem.  I keep thinking the answer is one thing and I am proven wrong time and time again.
I need a solution, and brute force isn’t much of a method.  I need to start writing things down, keeping a closer eye on what makes me happy and what is draining.  I find that it’s an information problem, one that can be solved if I am willing to take note and be aware of myself.  That is to say, as long as all the thinking doesn’t get in the way of what I am trying to achieve, happiness.
I think too much and feel too little; I need to use my feelings as a kind of compass, to let me know whether or not I am on the right path.  They need to work hand and hand with one another, but I am a feeling skeptic, I don’t accept my feelings at face value.  I need something more tangible, instead of a notion of how I might want things to be.  It’s this balance within myself that I need to strike, instead of guessing of what I may need I need to learn to talk within my “heart” so I can stop guessing.  I will make things work, one way or another, that’s just who I am.

Love.

I wanted to make a post about love, about the love in the world and how it accents the moments around us to make life beautiful.  I wanted to do this by sitting in front of a computer and thinking about all the way I think I feel about love, and in which way I can remember love.  Inspiration didn’t come to me, stuck with the blinking line after a bad opening paragraph and a couple catchy sentences I figured that maybe if I wait the words would come to me.  It didn’t make sense, though, the idea of thinking about feelings to express how they are leads us nowhere. I could no better explain a sunset to someone who has never seen one, the only way to understand love is to experience it. So I wanted to try my hand at describing how I experience love, maybe then it will make sense.

I have no control over love, of all the emotions that I can deny, put off, it’s the one that’s loudest in my heart. It shouts if I am ignoring it, so loud that until I take the time to recognize it, I can’t think of anything else. It’s a feeling that extends through me, electrifies me, and gives me strength to tackle anything the world throws at me.

Love keeps the light on in my soul. A light which illuminates the dark and the sometimes cruel world. It allows me to see what the creatures are in the darkness; hurt souls looking for closure.
Love is the part of me that provides a safe haven from the dark.

Love is in the hand I extend, the one that bandages the wounds, guides the way, and offers aid.  It’s cut, scarred, and bruised but is always is extended waiting for someone who needs it.
Love is the part of me that feels compassion and wants to raise the world up.

Love is the well settling in my chest, one that’s full to the brim with pure water on the cusp of spilling over.  All it takes is an ounce of love, and the water will pour out onto the world around me.  It’s the smiles, laughs, and tender moments between people that have filled it to the brim, and wants to help share it with the world.
Love is the part of me that wants to share the wonders of the world.

Love is my eyes that see the world and its beauty. It sees the clouds coalesce in the sky making magnificent portraits that last for a moment. It sees the smiles on people faces, the light in their eyes, the silent moments between two that can only be expressed if you know what it is like for the whole world to disappear.
Love is the part of me that sees all that is good and holds out hope.

Love is in my grin, the one that I can’t help to have. It forms without me knowing or against my stern demeanor. It’s the smile that extends out from me touching the world around it. It’s love that gives me boundless energy to live life to the fullest.
Love is the part of me that is happy and spreads joy and zeal.

Love is in the wrenching feeling that I get in my gut when I see someone in pain or having a hard time.
Love is the voice that calls out and wants to know if they are okay. It’s in the words that speak the truth in that I would do anything to stop their pain, even if just for a moment to reignite the flame in their heart.
Love is the part of me that feels empathy for others and drives me to action.

Love is the intense feeling of wanting to connect, to wash away the pains of the world, to start each moment anew.
Love is what crushes me, compels me, and cages me.  It’s a feeling that is complex, with each iteration of it feeling slightly different than the last.  Of all my feelings its the one that wants to walk beside me.
It hurts, and it heals, that is love, a contradiction.I think about love.

I reflect on love; I consider whether or not it is real, or just some organic byproduct or if that even matters.
I know love is great and horrible. I know love is a catalyst for these intense feelings, and crazy notions.  It’s a big part of me; I can’t explain what compels me to love.

I love the world and people in it and I would do anything for love.

Vignette, 1

the sky that lifts over the far off horizon casting a royal blue backdrop against strips of clouds.

a dusty car that travels down a dark road in smooth silence as it hugs the curves around a city that is sleeping.

a cool wind that seems to blow through though everything you are.

a concrete path baking in the sun as it stretches into the horizon, only a few know its unrelenting strength.

the stillness of a warm afternoon that requires nothing from you.

a stiffness of body that grips someone who spent a little too much time in bed.

the cloudiness the comes to us all when the night presses on a little too long but the conversation seems to keep going.

a heavy back pack that hugs your shoulders trying its hardest to pull you down to the ground.

the cripsness and friction of new paper as it touchs hands for the first time.

a small break and breath of air in the midst of a cloudy and chaotic day.

the satisfying first gulp of water after seemingly endless exersizes.

the dust as it settles on objects that remain ever viglenent for use.

a park doused in water from sprinklers in the dead of night leaving only traces of dew for those who touch the grass in the morning.

a bustling room of people that feels both warm and distant at the same time.

the way the light bounces around a room even though it only creeps in through the cracks in the curtains.

the the small unabiding smile and glint in the eye of someone who is utterly and incandecently happy.

A person sitting at a computer, reflecting on life as the thing he needs to do keep stacking up… whoops…

The Art Of Trying Something New

Tilt. It’s the word I’ve been reflecting on for the last week. Tilt in swordplay is the action of thrusting forward, leaning in and opening yourself up to attack.  The only way to attack is to open yourself up the possibility of the counter.  Back and forth, fencers will clash, parry, and dodge waiting for the moment to lunge forward for the attack, to strike without a moment’s hesitation. To tilt, even though you are facing the blade.

I’m a slow starter; I like to mull things over. Generally, the result is the lack of spontaneity in my actions, but I can’t help myself, I like being right.  I’ll think about the cost and benefit, or if there was anything else I a forgetting, or simply an opportunity I am awaiting .

What it is, is ridiculousness. I am afraid of attacking life, leaving myself open for the counter.  I’ve grown good at defense; I think a lot of us have, I can take the pain but once hurt you worry about being hurt again. To attack, you must open yourself up; it feels uncomfortable and bare. I need to work on that, make it, so I become used to the lunge, to the blade, to being open for the counter.

Life is not always a battle;  it can be a lesson or a break. Taking the time to learn when to counter, or parry, and forging the relationships of the people who will help you in your fight.  There is style and grace that each person brings to their battles, we have to learn our own and without trying something different and new, we could never know our full potential.

I must learn to tilt, to lean in and strike when the opportunity arises.  Once I get better at the fight, I can learn to create my opportunities, to learn with every battle comes a lesson.  I need open myself so I learn to thrust tried and true, to take advantage of any opening I can perceive. I want to learn, how to strike without hesitation and face the blade without fear. All in the sake of trying something new.

grit.

Sometimes all I can do is sigh in the intervening days between where I am and where I want to be. I sigh in frustration, and in exhaustion, because these days seem to be spiced with flavors I don’t like.

My life is in no counts bad, quite honestly I count my blessings daily.  The problem lies with the issue I have of when my plans will finally gain some traction, and I can move to the next level in life.  I work towards my goals, in my way, though a lot of the time I don’t feel like I am doing enough because I am not getting the results I want.  I am attempting to see the big picture in it all; it’s still difficult to see the forest for the trees.

I find that perseverance is the only way to deal with the hand I have. Again it’s not a bad hand; it’s just not a winning one.  I lay somewhere in the middle, having a hand that if no one at the table has anything I have nothing to worry about, but it wouldn’t take much to top.  In these types of games, it’s about waiting for the opportune moment.  Looking at my bets and investments, hoping my card come up but having a plan for when it doesn’t.  I have to keep playing, know the table, make strategic moves and know that even I lose in a round the game is not over.

This is my the great lesson of this year, grit. The ability to keep at something no matter what comes my way. Its to get an understanding of the bitter flavors the world has to offer but not losing heart.

It’s hard, bouncing back after each blow, luckily after I’ve taken a lot of them I’ve gotten used to it.  Standing up after each hit is hard work, at points I want to break down, forget it all, and leave what I have accomplished at the table.  I keep going until it becomes more habit than thought.   I know what I want, and at the moment,  I need to keep working at it if I even hope to stand a chance.  Life is a tough opponent, but I am fighting back.

Grit is something that I am learning, and I will keep at it. Changing my life is about doing, not talking about what I should do. I will make sure that my blood, sweat, and tears are working toward the future I want and towards shaping the person I will become.   It’s hard work, but sometimes the best thing to do is to grit your teeth. It will get better, I’ll make sure of it.