Equinoxes, Eclipses and the Madness of March

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“A lot of you cared, just not enough.” ~ Jay Asher

I’ll keep this short…

Something is in the air.

Something that comes riding the dry wind.

It is a mist of petrichor that lives among the dust, following the wind, though this wind swarms the Earth; dark at times, though it holds light.

This wind consumes our sphere, and today the sphere is volatile, tilting its way to the Vernal equinox, for just a few moments sharing equal light and equal night over the world. What is in the mind of the world today? This month? When most people are sorting out the madness of their March brackets, peering into the chaos that random chance plays, the eyes of the world see a multitude of sorrow, a heap of strife and struggle. Darkness is alive with madness, in this month of moons and eclipses.

We find ourselves in the midst of the Tetrad, mirroring the last days in the life of Jesus. Blood moons wax and wane in our conscious sphere. It is the talk of the year in some circles and a solar eclipse marks the beginning of Spring today, with a full Lunar eclipse pending just a short spell away. Synchronicity is found in many cycles, especially this year. But what else is new? What is this madness of March?

Yesterday, just a mere half-hour south of my Mother’s home, a black man was found hanging from a tree in the woods. Plastered all over the news, this incident already has residents angered, though they know not yet why or how this happened. Injustice rules the land far and wide. Police brutality against minorities is at an all time high, being reported across the country with hashtags and retweets ruling the digital frontier.

What else?

A woman answers an ad for baby clothes for sale on Craigslist, and then hours later has her fetus brutally cut from her stomach. A shooting leaves both dead and wounded in Arizona, and a museum in Tunisia is attacked by IS killing and wounding several. Today in Yemen, nearly 150 people are dead after another subsequent attack. What is this madness of March?

Is this our current paradigm; the destructive pattern of humanity? Is this what we are to expect for the future? A world of hearltessness teeming with disconcerned people with no compassion or respect for life? Are we to walk in a world of vain selfishness and horror, to say to our children: Hark, here is the world.. Go forth and live, if you dare?

Personally, I find this time to be clearly special, yet the light I feel from the world is subtracted by its equal darkness. Truth is… I suppose you cannot have light without darkness, and on the Equinox, the equal night, we see just how beautiful the world is, and correspondingly just how horrific it can be.

I could go on for a day writing of all the horror reported locally, nationally or from across the globe. But, what is the point? I only wish for equal peace, a total eclipse of altruism and compassion; a day when consciousness shifts beyond the self and toward the divine light. I wish for equal light.

If a day of light will shine on us all, just once.. This will be a day of reckoning. It will be the apocalypse of the heart; the emanation of truth without selfish desire.

Until then, my prayers will be for the world. My meditation will always hold the truth. I hope that more would do the same and spread the fire of love once again into the world, for the sake of those with us now, and for the future of life and freedom.

Be humble for the day that is now, for it may become darker. Just hold the fire in your heart, and carry its light always.

Remember, No amount of darkness can extinguish true light.

Namaste

Remember the Carnival

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“You can only lose what you cling to.” ~ Buddha

In Latin, the word “Carnival” means “Farewell to the Flesh.” It is within this form of thought that we find the earliest pre-fast celebration. It is on this day, Fat Tuesday, that we celebrate, remember and look forward to a time of fasting, a time of Lent. We look for things that we must relinquish, let go of and move on from. It is on this position that I find myself here, in this sphere, remembering and giving thanks.

I remember the first post I wrote on this blog. It was three years ago yesterday. My first post was about a river; not just any river, but the river that flowed behind my house in New York. I recall at the time it was frozen over, but it was still beautiful as I walked along its bank, thick with ice and snow. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since that day. Since that time I’ve walked along a few more rivers, and through many spheres, exploring and pondering, contemplating and understanding. Today I find myself within a new sphere, one that begs my intuition to listen.

Life is interesting, containing a great assortment of colorful spheres, miracles and wonder. Life is also about change, containing choice, and accepting change. As most human beings seem resilient to change, I’ve found that it is within embracing these changes where we find the most growth.

Change occurs as and where it must, whether these changes are inviting or not matters little. It is how we accept and move forward that makes the difference.

During the past three years I’ve moved and changed more than I’d originally realized until today. It wasn’t so long ago that I found myself in a tiny hamlet in upstate New York, a place where I never thought I’d live. But it was how things happened. I found myself there without hesitation and without anywhere else to go at the time. It was there that I found my voice, reached into myself and understood why I was there. For me, it was my time for solitude, to become intimate with myself, to find my muse and to take a step back, look at life and contemplate my own path. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for New York, these words may never be written.

It was barely a year later that I found myself moving again, this time back home to the deep south; a place that I will always call home. It was there that I again found myself in the midst of change, having to make a decision once again. I then moved to the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, commuting back and forth to New Orleans where I stayed for another year and a half. It was a good time, a time for work, growth and play. But as all things change, nearly a year ago they changed once more.

Last spring, I then found myself here where I sit now, here at over a mile above sea level in Colorado. Here I’ve learned valuable lessons, lessons about time and change. I’ve learned that a time for a return is necessary, a time for a new change and a new solitude. No matter how I came here, it is a time for letting go and returning to my roots.

We all know when we hear our inner voice, though sometimes it is ignored. Then we all feel the winds of change. These winds call to us to hear not only their trumpet, but to listen to our own voice as well; the inner voice that we often ignore. Sometimes this voice shouts at us from within when we fail to listen. Sometimes it is loud, and other times it is relentless. This voice begs us to stop, look and listen. It begs us to heed the call, a call to something greater than ourselves.

No matter all of my moving, my changing, my attempts at understanding life and the path I choose, I’m called back to one absolute that I hold true. If not for the sake of love and family, my path would not exist. Despite all of the changes, the decisions or dreams, goals and aspirations, we are only here a short while. It is the time we take to make our voices heard that truly matters. It is the choices we make that do not include ourselves that speak to the ages. These are the actions of those we remember.

In this sphere of life and constant change, I choose to be remembered. If not for my written words or art, but for the actions I’ve taken, decisions I’ve made and for the life that I’ve lived. We can’t all have our busts chiseled into the annals of history, be great in the eyes of the world or have our name etched into stone walls, but our memories live on in those who we inspire, love and help. These are great things.

The past three years have taught me well. I’ve grown, learned and lived. But I’m not finished. Not by far. So, on this day of celebration, whether or not Mardi Gras is on your agenda, thank you all for joining me, reading, commenting and listening for the past few years. This has been my sphere, my sphere of life that I walk through graciously and humbly, and I’m happy to be a part of such wonderful and inspiring company.

We should all remember our own carnival, our own farewell to the flesh. It is in understanding this time of change, celebration and letting go that we become our true selves.

Namaste, Godspeed and Happy Mardi Gras.

On Purpose

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“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.” ~ Criss Jami

The heart is a source. It is a source of power and light. This source that we have beating deep within our bodies is more powerful than we give credit. It allows us to feel, to love, grow and change. Without this divine source emanating from us, we may not ever know life. But what is it to know life?

Through a sphere of purpose we explore these thoughts.

It’s always interesting to ponder the thought of how we ended up where we now stand, how we became the person that we are. What drives us? What is the set of conditions that brought us here? Where are these conditions born? Through what spheres must we travel to find these elusive answers?

We must travel through all spheres to live, to awaken and to become.

We must learn our hearts before we can choose our desires, our callings and our kismet.

This being said, I often wonder what drives a man to do what he does, to do what he thinks he should, to accept or pursue his calling in life. Though this is different for all men, through my own questions I find my own answers.

What is a calling? What is the feeling that overwhelms the heart and mind to know this calling is real?

Is it a feeling of acceptance, belonging? Is it a sense of duty? Is it a sphere of desire, or is it a sphere of purpose?

Is it both?

For answers, I look at the stock broker.

What drives a man to become a stock broker? Is it the money? Is it a sense of purpose? Does he simply love statistics, math and numbers? What fruits does this profession bring spiritually? Do fruits of spiritual awareness matter to this man?

No matter the answers, the man chose what he wanted in life and pursued it until it was his. Regardless of motivation, he became what he wanted to become through effort, perseverance and hard work. Maybe it was all chance, or maybe it wasn’t. Still, he sits where he sits, doing what he does.

It’s easy to argue that this man’s driving force is money. But instead, what if it’s something that he truly loves? What if this motivation is simply to live happy, to provide for a family? What if this is all?

For me, so long as one is kind and compassionate about his life and fellow neighbors, there is nothing wrong with a profession, no matter the driving force. It is his to do with as he pleases, and for no one else to herald judgment.

Perhaps this is his life’s goal, a goal he’s held since a small child.

On that note, I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

This answer changed over the years of course. At first, it was a paleontologist. I had a love for dinosaurs just as every other child probably did. It then turned into being an archaeologist. I had a fascination with Indiana Jones and other stories of explorers hunting treasures around the globe.

As the years ticked by, I thought of being an architect, an astronaut, pilot, psychologist, teacher and even an FBI agent. Then at one point I think I even wanted to be a musician, though my singing voice would certainly shred eardrums.

What I realized though, I was only good at a few things.

Then I realized further, I was only interested in a few things completely in my heart and mind.

I was good at drawing and writing. I had a wild imagination, and I could harness it and put it into words and colors; I could breathe life into my imagination, though still on such a small scale.

This became my passion, my calling and I pursue it still.

Though many bumps have been felt along the way, I still look at my life with little regret. I’d love to say that I have nothing in the way of regret, and often I’m reminded that I shouldn’t, but it is a human condition to think back to a point and to wonder; what if?

What if I didn’t join the Marines? What if I took that job working offshore in the gulf oil industry? What if I left home for college like I’d planned so many years ago and never returned?

Well, then at this tender young age of mine, just a couple of short years before the big 40, I probably wouldn’t have so many beautiful blessings in life. In fact, even if one simple thing was changed, then I probably wouldn’t have been sitting where I was at that precise moment when I met my daughter’s mother.

I cannot imagine a life without my little girl, so I choose not to regret. All my decisions and choices were full of purpose, just so that she could be.

No matter what we do in life, no matter our profession or whatever label we’re given, it is up to us to pursue what we feel is our life’s work, our masterpiece; our grand symphony to the universe.

Even if nobody ever reads our great work, stares at our artful masterpiece, or hears our orchestra of life, we are the ones who see, hear and feel it all. It is ours to carry and ours to bear. This sphere is inescapable. We must embrace this.

Like the stock broker, the baseball player, the prostitute and the elected congressman, we are all living our lives the only way we know how. Some may be more spiritual than others. Some are more respected than others, but no matter, we are all neighbors. We are all living, looking and striving to be our best in this life.

Walk with awareness in the sphere of purpose. Understand that it is different for everyone. Keep a close eye on what matters most, and a warm hand on your heart. Only through our passions can we find our peace.

It is within the knowledge of the self, the gnosis of our hearts, and through our attunement of these that will one day open our eyes to our own true greatness.

A Parting Moment

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“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“What does?”
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason

Worlds away, far gone, beyond that which is knowable. Words to describe the soul, or to describe this:

I often think about travel. I do it often. Without much hesitation or thought, I’ll take off at the drop of a hat. Perhaps it’s my Roma roots, my true gypsy blood. Nevertheless it is an act I’m all too familiar with; the act of parting.

Here in the sphere of the departed, I look closely at my own will, into my own longing, and at my own footprints. Where do I go, and where do I stand?

What is it to part from loved ones? Why does this feeling crash into the heart with sudden ferocity? While on the precipice of departing once again, my heart is heavy though my mind is clear.

This isn’t the first time I’ve held bags in my hand, ready to go. I learned this from a very young age. First by coming from a family spread far across the country, then from service in the Marine Corps.

We are all travelers in this family here, and always will be.

I’ve traveled far and wide, away from friends and loved ones my whole life it seems, yet, the feeling persists; a daunting heartbreak looms before the act of leaving. Before my feet set upon my journey I am reminded of where I stand. My mind sees the destination, but my heart longs to stay.

It is a true enigma at times, this act of parting. We all say our goodbyes, hug tightly to the necks of our loves, then as a tear jerks free we turn our backs and set forth our longview gaze.

We do this because it is part of who we are. We take stride onto the path of life, despite any resounding echo to stay, we push on. We do this because our soul knows the way. It leads us to tomorrow, always aware of the final destination.

Though I know this as my truth, I am beckoned by the echo once more.

I’ve recently spent the better part of two months here at my mother’s home in the deep south. I decided a trip for the holiday season was in order and now it comes to a close, life is waiting for me back in Colorado. Though I’m ready to get back and sink myself back into business as usual, I am not yet ready to leave; not willing to part.

Parting from here is always a difficult task, but, my feet know where to take me and my reluctant body listens to my soul.

It will be another long trip, miles across a cold countryside once again. This parting is familiar, bittersweet, but full of love.

I long for the day when I no longer have to part from family, for the day when all my hello and goodbyes are done. This day that seems so far ahead is still readily close, possibly much closer than I can see. It will come in the moment that continues still, this moment. This moment that effortlessly unfolds around us and within us all. It is all within this one singularity, this moment, that we part and return, and part again. We see not the finish, the beginning or the end of this moment, but only the hour. One day at a time we witness this moment change, shift, darken and lighten. We feel it shade our heads and brighten our hearts and minds. We all grow within it, this eternal moment.

The moment is not escapable, only livable. It is the life we live, this one continuous constantly changing moment.

Within the sphere of the departed, I witness this moment of life. I witness this and realize that only now is now, not ever changing; only moving and evolving. And no matter how far I travel, I am still here, now, in this moment.

No matter the distance, no matter where I live or how often I leave, in just a simple thought my time of parting and returning become one, and I am happy knowing that I am never too far from home; never too far from love, always close to this sacred bond that commands my heart.

Should we all realize that it is here, now where we all dwell, in a singular eternal moment of love; this will be the day when we all truly see one another, and we will never be apart again.

Only then will we finally greet each other as one, here, in this moment

Je Suis Paris

photo“Do you think a society is good, or that people are good? We are only as good as the artists and writers can make us appear.” ~ Anonymous

It’s difficult for me to sit back and say nothing about the events of the past few days in Paris, France. But as the bloodshed continues headlining every news channel and permeating my mind, I cannot help but to voice my thoughts of this insidious sphere. I cannot help but be saddened for the loss of all lives, yet I’m reminded of a simple time in my life, one that seems so long ago, but one that solidified my duty in life long before I was ever aware of it.

I’m reminded of my love for creation.

What is it to be creative? What does it mean to spend hours creating, crafting and working only to step back and breathe life into a work of art or words? What is this feeling of muse, this desire to create? What does it mean?

As I am both an artist and a writer, I must express my opinion and answer these questions as only I can. Though it is different for all, the reasons for why remain true. The centrality of the answer is of one sphere; one common bond shared in the creative spirit.

We are the voices of the world. We paint bare walls of lifeless concrete and brick with color and depth, giving them life, freeing them from the grey; the blankness, the void of feeling.

We make a wall happy, we make a sidewalk bright. We make the books that children hate to read tolerable and interesting. We see color where there is no light. We see shades where only blackness exists. We paint life into lifelessness.

We burn the tongues with flavor and steep the mind with wonder. We give our hearts to the world, only to be creative and we ask nothing in return.

We only exist to speak, brush and brighten.

Speaking of brightness. I remember the age of twelve. This was the time where my world consisted only of artwork and stories; my stories, stories I wrote just because I could. I never shared these stories.

These stories were of people, places and ideas, yet they never saw the light of any eyes beyond my own. They lived only in my room, never traveling beyond my desk drawer. Even more lived only in my mind, never free, never birthing from my heart; never to grace another.

Then there were my drawings. Drawings so simple that I dared show them to anyone; scribbles with pen and pencil, pastel and charcoal. Figures that I saw in my head, things that I imagined. All of these things lived in my room, in my notebook, my sketchbook and folder. These creations never would wake. They would never reveal their power and they would never receive ridicule, criticism, promise or praise.

My world was my creation, my interpretation of the world around me, my assimilation of the things I was told and taught, of what I heard, spoke and thought. These simple expressions of my sensory world would flow back through my eyes, through my hands and then through the pen or the brush to land on a page where they would touch nobody but me, where they were safe.

But this was the age of twelve.

Shortly after this time still living within my own world of lines and letters, portraits and paragraphs, near the age of thirteen, I remember sitting at my cousin’s house. I remember it clearly, as it would be a day that changed my distinction of the world of Art.

We were to spend the summer together. That night I sat up doodling on my sketchpad which was full of every drawing one could think of. Everything from cartoons to stick figures, from comic book characters to my first attempts at abstract art or impressionism. But mostly…. It was full of drawings of Spider-Man.

On the eve before we were to make the 600 mile journey from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico where my grandparents resided, her boyfriend, a man named Charles, came over the night before we would depart.

I remember it clearly:

“What are you drawing over there bud?”

“Nothing.” I mumbled.

“Well, let’s see!”

Before I could really defend my sketchpad from the eyes of someone else it had been taken from me, though gently.

As Charles and my cousin looked through my sketchbook they kept looking back at me with gaping mouths. I could only imagine what they thought. But only words of praise came from their lips.

As the show and tell progressed, Charles asked me what my friends thought about them. I responded by saying that I never had shown anyone. Nobody had ever read my stories and nobody had ever seen my artwork.

He asked why.

I said with an interrogative tone, “Because what if they hate them?”

He looked at me and laughed, then grabbed a newspaper. Pointing to the comic strips, he said,

“Do you think these guys were afraid of being hated, probably, but now everyone gets to appreciate their effort.”

“It’s a risk you’ll have to take one day bud.”

And with that simple statement, my world was invaded. My private world was shattered with the words of logic and reason that was so sound in my young mind that I could not dispute it. The validity of the moment was what I felt, and I can say without any question that in that particular moment, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted nothing more than to be a writer and artist.

This is why we write, paint, draw, sculpt, dance and sing. Because we can. Because it makes a distinct impression on the world around us. Because it reflects our culture, our lives and our world. We express the form of what we see through a myriad of mediums. This is a part of being human. We bring the human condition to the forefront, telling stories and carving busts that last throughout time, some lasting thousands upon thousands of years.

We etch images and phrase into the stone tablets of history simply because we can. We need no commissions for this, no compensation at all. We gladly create and leave it there for all to know about, wonder about, smile and imagine.

For those who believe that they can silence the artisans of the world in the place of religious or political rhetoric, these people will fail. We are the hands of the world, creating what we perceive as life, exercising our divine right of the freedom of self-expression.

Particularly for those who attempt to punish artists for making religious statements in the name of God, these people are fools. We will drag their images into the annals of history and leave nothing but the stain of their pathetic vengeance and disregard for human life as their legacy.

Should we all cower under the blanket as those with malicious agendas attempt to censor and terrorize our inalienable God given rights? I shall not.

Should we all be twelve years old? Afraid to show the beauty, humor, sadness or glory of our work simply because someone may hate it?

I never will again.

This is the sphere of judgment, and Judgment is not the place or duty or right of ANY man, no matter their religion, ideology or philosophy; and certainly not for those who do so while proclaiming the love and greatness of God.

How dare anyone use God as a scapegoat for the slaughter and violence we’ve seen in the past few days. Whether or not you agree with political or religious satire matters little. These are opinions, and this is the expression of the world in which we live.

Live and love righteously and then perhaps we’ll paint a better picture of life; expressing a life of even more beauty than could possibly be realized.

It saddens my heart, as I feel and know that I’ve lost brothers.

If we are to live among one another, we must love one another; opinions and expressions alike. It is this simple.

Je Suis Charlie

 

 

 

Happy New Life

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“The Art of Living Well and The Art of Dying Well are One.” ~ Epicurus

Here we are again…

The end becomes the beginning, and the beginning is heralded by the end.

The cycle of one Gregorian year culminates here in the sphere of circles; the great precession of seasons ends and begins here; here in the sphere of spheres. This sphere once again falls, dropping down to end the current paradigm, and beginning the next to come.

What is in a year anyway? What does one annual return, or any return hold for the human being? Why are people so infatuated with cyclical endings and beginnings? What purpose does this ingrained fascination serve us?

I believe there is much more to it than simply a completed series of checked boxes. Our intrigue and celebration of these events suggests much more than the simple acknowledgement of the passage of time, or for the coming of a new era. This is a deep chasm, one to be wary of when traveled.

I’ve often thought of endings and beginnings as being synonymous. It only makes sense to me. One thing cannot end without something beginning, transforming or becoming. It is here where we must view the cycle as it should be viewed; as ongoing, never broken but instead artfully creating the illusion of the passage; the finishing, the end.

A very ancient philosophical view takes form in the art of death; the ultimate end, the sure passage of finite life into ether. This view is found in many cultures across time and geography. One can find the source of our celebration in these thoughts, so long as he looks closely so as not to miss the simplicity.

It is upon the precipice of death that we live our greatest moment, find our greatest strength and glean our first view at our own true reflections. In the moment where all is sure to be lost, we will defy the logic of our own minds and of the world in strides of saving ourselves or another.

Dying is the celebration. Death is the celebration, for death is no more an ending than a grand beginning; the point where we transcend the physical, become one with space and time; where we then move beyond the boundaries of human thought.

This is the universal craft; the art of death.

The art of dying, of becoming aware of your death, knowing that at any moment you will no longer be is acknowledged throughout time. This is a cornerstone of philosophical thought found throughout ancient Greece. Bruce Lee spoke of this art when facing an opponent. The ancient Roma looked upon remembering death as a form of magic.

In Latin, the phrase “Memento Mori” reminds us that we are already dead, just not yet. This forms the basis for the practice of relinquishing earthly and worldly chains, desires and wishes. It is the quickening, the recognition that frees the spirit from becoming hardened by the world, from drowning under pleasures which afflict the body, mind and spirit. It’s the thought that whispers in our ear, begging us for the remembrance of home; to remember where we truly belong.

It is no wonder that we celebrate our endings and our beginnings, for we have long known that our lives are to become more than dust. These returns of cycles represent the singularity; the archetype of the grand death, the great transformation; the resurrection and the ascent of pure spirit.

Here in our celebration and revelry, we find the flight of the soul, the beginning of the true journey.

In our travels throughout life, we walk toward a light, we travel toward home, and ultimately we know that our death will bring us closer to that place of peace, that home of homes waiting in the presence of the divine.

Enjoy the end of this year, and be happy as the new cycle begins. Celebrate, give thanks and praise each other’s company. It is within this sphere that we all truly dwell; aware yet avoiding the realization of what our celebration truly represents. And the celebration is well deserved.

For one day, in the end, we will all become.

Parallel 12

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“Your redemption is at the gate of your conscience. You have been granted the power of a choice.” ~ Todd D. Boddy

On Christmas day I was given the gift of a silver crucifix by my mother. This is why….

You may be wondering what this is all about. What will be different? What does the title mean? Well, this is much more than a simple collection of words, more than a simple post about parallels, and it has even less to do with the number twelve.

This is about a moment; a moment of clarity. It’s about a woman’s words, a woman whom I’ve never met, yet her words etched in digitized media rang loud to me early one morning. This is about a sphere that I cannot yet describe; one that I’ve stayed cautiously away from for nearly twenty years, but it is also the same sphere that I’ve looked upon for far too long without action.

This is the sphere of salvation.

Many say that paths have more than one parallel, running straight, uninterrupted; side-by-side. Some believe these paths are but winding roads with bumps and turns and drops, dimly lit on occasion, or vibrantly colored elsewhere.

I believe both paths are true, existing for all to find if the desire to seek beckons the heart.

Sometime paths cross, true. Sometimes paths end, also true. But sometimes, regardless of faith, philosophy or life, paths become one, even if these paths are polar opposites, far removed from the other in every way, shape and form. This is the traveler’s true path, the singular spoke of the grand wheel of life that leads to the center; to the divine presence that pervades all existence.

This is how I learned where my path had been hiding, in plain sight, parallel to my where my feet were currently placed, opposite though completely entwined with all I had thought.

The day made sense to me, and so did the time. At the stroke of the clock, midnight, Thursday became Friday, and the date of 12-12 began. I was laying on the couch at my mother’s, home for the holidays wasting time, eyes becoming heavy. I was scrolling through Facebook looking for something interesting to read. I came upon a post from a woman I’ve never met. Her post was asking for advent music ideas for her playlist. The time was 12:12 am.

As it happens, this woman’s name is Leah Darrow. Former model now turned author, speaker and Catholic advocate for women. I wouldn’t have ever even known who she was had it not been for the fact that her husband, Rick, was a friend of mine during high school. Though Rick and I haven’t seen or spoke since graduation nearly 20 years ago, I finally clicked on her picture and read her profile. Then I became curious, and read her story.

I came upon an article which featured an interview with Leah. In this article she told the story of how, when in New York City she was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. It further told of how one day during a photo shoot she had a moment of grace; a moment where she realized she wasn’t being authentic to her faith.

“She pictured herself before God after her death and had nothing to show for her life.”

As I read these words, my throat tightened. Tears began to roll down my cheeks and I was astonished. I didn’t know why I felt this way, or even if I was sad. But my heart instantly felt warmth; as if a lost yet all too familiar embrace had found me again. I was now the one having a moment of grace. I sat weeping, feeling as I suspect how Leah did years before.

You see, my family is Roman Catholic, but I hadn’t stepped foot inside a church to pray since age nineteen more than twice. In fact, the first time was during Marine Corps Bootcamp after a fellow recruit was killed in combat training. The last time was to deliver my grandfather’s eulogy after he passed away almost 3 years ago. Twice in twenty years, that’s it.

Since that time, since my late teens, organized religion had dwindled from my interests. Though I’ve remained spiritually aware, and an avid reader and student of all religion and philosophy, the idea of having my thoughts regarding God and faith somehow directed didn’t appeal to me. I thought it controlled more than it helped. I was certain that the answers I could find on my own would be blocked by dogmatic rhetoric, tradition or the so-called “word.”

It had been so long; too long to remember, too long to know where to start. I hadn’t even thought that maybe, just maybe, I was being missed. Maybe I was being called upon to remember, to remember the father and the son; the love of the world.

It was in these moments where I realized I hadn’t been home in almost two decades.

So, what is the sphere of salvation?

It is the realization that no matter where you stand, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you still have a conscious choice; a choice to look at your feet and notice your path. It is in this moment of realization, this moment of absolute clarity, when we fully know that the divine is with us, and that God is all that exists; that God is never apart from us, and that it is God, the divine source that calls us home, to stand and face our reflection; to become exactly who we are and who we were always meant to be.

With God, we are capable of such love that the sheer mountain of its greatness is indescribable. We are born to know this, and as children we live in this world with full gnosis, yet as we grow, we move from this place of innocence into the void of dreams; into the realm of the world, we grow worldly eyes and develop worldly wants. With worldly eyes and hearts we grow older, yet blind.

In this dream we travel, doing as others do, as we think we should do, intrepidly moving with ambition and drive, but to where? Where do we travel if not for the sake of God and love? What have we done if we cannot stand before God with a life lived for the sake of love; for the sake of others placed first, before our own wishes? What is life if we do not lift up the weak, and inspire the hopeless?

We are never so far removed from this place of peace that we can’t realize, retract and find our hearts again.

This past Christmas morning the first in twenty years that I’ve attended mass, and prayed. And just as it is nice to have a friend visit in my house, so it was just as nice to visit the Lord in his, as if coming home from a journey that took me further than words could describe. Though my beliefs will always transcend what I find within the Catholic faith, it is essential to hold these lessons close; lessons that formed the platform for my understanding of God and salvation. These are the tools that helped carve the path, and set my feet upon this journey of truth.

My journey is far from over, my sphere of salvation is upon my life once again, and I am thankful for the words that I read; the words that came just at the perfect moment to bring me here; here where I’ve always been but never had the eyes to see. Here all along was my path, right under my feet, right in my heart.

I shall not stand before the divine and show nothing of my life; this precious gift. My path is and always was to help and uplift others, and I can only be thankful for the parallel to be shown, at the moment of 12, by the woman I’ve never met.

We are all truly just walking, simply walking; trying to find our way home. Find your lighthouse, find your parallel. Home is near.

The Acquainted Heart

 

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“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”~ Anita Desai

I’m often reminded of the places I’ve lived, visited. I revisit them in my mind, through the stories they’ve written upon my life and the experience they’ve imparted in my heart.

I can’t help but to think how a certain place leaves its mark upon the heart and mind. Subtle beauty, nuance, the smell of the air and the taste of the wind, good times, bad times, pain, loss, joy and ecstasy. These all breathe drops of life into a soul, my soul; touching me and allowing my growth. No matter how far from these places I roam, they remain familiar, forming my gestalt; my dynamic. Here in this sphere of the intimate, I become acquainted with my soul.

These places are never forgotten, no matter how far we travel from them. Whether they’ve written good stories or bad, we all take them with us in our book of life; etched upon the stone of the mind, and forever burned into our hearts

I can vividly recall growing up in the plains of Oklahoma, near the rolling hills of the east. The green lands were all around me and I was their intrepid explorer. Numerous streams, ponds and large creeks were always a part of my backyard. They gave me my first glance at the natural world, though most of them have been hidden under concrete now, or overgrown; covered with time. The great Arkansas River we crossed often, high above the current formed sandbars that showed its force. This place was my kingdom for many years.

I then remember when I placed my eyes on the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, the Mississippi sound. I recall easily the smell of salt and brine in the air; the smell of shrimp and spiced crab boil. The live oaks lurched high above the beachfront, hanging their hearty branches low; covering the lavish azalea laden grounds of nearby antebellum homes. The Spanish moss hung from these large, hearty Oak boughs, drooping to the ground, waving in the wind among the scent of Magnolia blossoms. This land I explored for many years, and though scarred from Katrina, it still waives a friendly hello every time I return.

I recall the many places I’ve traveled. Too many to name, but none ever forgotten.

I recall my feet, touching for the first time the cold waters of the Pacific along the Oregon and California coast; the smell of the Manzanita trees; the crisp morning air of San Diego and the song of its resident parrots.

I remember the humid air along the coast of North and South Carolina, its southern charm just as welcoming, just as familiar as that of home; wherever home is.

I still feel the heat of the high desert plateau and my many travels to Arizona and New Mexico; the scent of the juniper wood as it burns under blankets of stars, chilled by the high desert winds. My love for these places is never waning, never dulled. These images hang in special places; my hall pictures; the decorations of my heart and mind.

I miss many places often as well.

I miss the cold nights of Upstate New York, the white blanket of constant snow, and the great rift; the Milky Way, that massive, blurred cloud of stars that I could see from my porch every night. I miss the St. Regis River that flowed behind our home and the fields of dandelion that sprang forth in the spring.

I miss the stench of New Orleans, the French Quarter and the garden district. I miss the bumpy roads; the street fairing precession of tourists and locals along St. Charles Avenue. I miss the Tickfaw River of Southeastern Louisiana; the brackish bayous and salt laden lakes; the Ponchatoula strawberry festival and all the unique folk that make the south home.

Yesterday I sat with a new view, near the base of Pike’s Peak. Red Mountain stood proudly outside my window. I dwelt among the soda springs, a place where the natives of centuries past came to refresh and replenish their weary, traveled bodies. I sat among a mound of history, rich in culture and steeped in mystery.

No matter where I’ve been. This is where I am, now. Here. No matter where, all of these places are a part of me, my gestalt; my sphere of the intimate.

In our lives we travel far, we live fast and we rarely look back. We should all take the time to reflect on the places we’ve visited, to reacquire the harmony of these lands as they’ve been given gracefully to us as gifts of life. Our home is all around, and it should be loved, remembered and cherished.

Go forth and discover your backyard. Take in more than just the view… Remember your homes, your visits and your loves of past days, and sit in peace with life. Enjoy your intimate sphere, your acquainted soul.

These places and these experiences are the decorations of our hearts, and when placed upon the wall of the mind they will remain engrained in the soul; forever a part of our time here.

Eight Billion.. and One

positive-thinking

People are more connected to each other than they could possibly imagine.

According to people who count the heads on this sphere, apparently over eight billion human beings–people–are living and breathing, waking and feeling, suffering and loving on this little blue sphere of ours; billions of sentient creatures all scurrying about, staking their claims on the world and in life. With these billions of souls comes not only billions, but trillions of thoughts and ideas.

Where do these thoughts come from, from what mystic well do they spring? From within? From above? Perhaps from beyond that which lives even further beyond the boundaries of human thought, comprehension and reason?

This seems worthy of exploration.

It amazes me to know that I can create, that everyone can create. We are all creators, innately divine yet not realized; all a part of the grandness of the universe. We are created to create, to learn and feel harmony, love, anger, hardship and all other sensations which breath life into an otherwise inanimate sack of flesh. We are eight billion creators, intertwined with one another, yet this remains unknown, unrealized by far too many.

We should strive to think with the heart, with love; to feel and bless our world and each other by making it more beautiful, by harmonizing with all life.

Of all thoughts swirling around, above the firmament, what is a thought without action? What is action without being? Life begins before thoughts are known, so it begs to question where thought originates.

Perhaps, born into us are our own personal thoughts. Perhaps these thoughts find us on their own. Perhaps all thought is known, known by all yet unrealized, shared by all eight billion souls; just one soul fragmented, thinking one thought, fragmented. We may just be a fractal of one, a sliver of divinity.

Thought solves riddles and saves lives. It creates new and useful tools, games and art. Thought generates the world; a silent engine of sentient life. Thought may be truly born as we are born, and live longer than any of our finite minds and bodies could imagine. Thought is powerful. It is truth, it is lies, it is our world; our conscious and waking perception of reality. Thought manifests, and creates.

What if all eight billion had the same thought, at exactly the same moment? Imagine this:

A resounding bell of thought ringing in unison in all hearts and minds; one of consciousness and compassion, shifting our paradigm to new heights, to a new definition of living; living for love and love alone. The only thought and the only reality being absolute, pure, unconditional love. This thought would change the world forever.

For now, as time moves in its illusory way, thought remains. It was there before time, and exists forever in unison with eight billion souls. It will remain and prevail, forever as the soul does.

Know there is One. Know there are Many.

Marcus Aurelius once said, “The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”  Let’s take this in…

In the end there is the one thought. One soul, one fractal, one sliver. One singularity of eight billion thoughts.

Namaste

 

Best Week Ever

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“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around — and why his parents will always wave back.” ~ William D. Tammeus

People are capable of so much, and yet.. so much goes unsaid, unheard or unrealized. We are capable of such greatness, only if we live above our hearts and proceed with good intention. We are capable of such love, and only every great once in a while does a moment come along to make you see and feel just how great that love is; how powerful it is, and how we cannot live without it.

Nothing exists in the world that is greater than love. In particular, nothing can measure a child’s love for his mother or father, and the same can be said of a mother or father’s love for their children. This is a simple realization for many parents, but sometimes this love is felt beyond the heart; in a place where eternal bonds are forged.

Sometimes this love is shown in a smile, in an embrace, or just in the gleam of the eye. And for those of us who know the pain of being away from our loved ones for long periods of time, saying hello and goodbye brings both the joy and pain of love all at once, in a fraction of a moment; like a sledgehammer to the chest. It is a sensation, without doubt that pulls at the heart, wrenches the mind and changes our lives each and every time.

I recently spent the best week of my life with my daughter. It was a long week, including a 2600 mile road trip, time spent well with laughter, conversation, late nights and early mornings. We saw sights, talked endlessly, made plans for the future, and hugged each other more than I could possibly count. We had eyes and smiles on us from across many rooms, whether it be at a gas station or sitting in a diner waiting on a meal. People noticed us, and smiled. She was complimented many times by several people, as was I.

Perhaps it was the joy we exuded by simply being together, maybe it was an energy, maybe it was the way my daughter braided her hair. No matter, it was there and it was noticeable. The whole week was spent this way, and I can safely say that not a moment of this precious time was wasted. But, as all good things seem to go.. it was eventually time to say goodbye.

We could embrace each other for eternity, as time is always still in these moments; these moments where the lucidity of the situation becomes very real. As people grow, as time tears away at the fabric of age, it always remains.. When two beating hearts share the same pure, unconditional love for each other, the universe seems to stop. Motion is mute, and silence becomes louder.

Saying goodbye for us is never easy. It is filled with raw emotion, a choked throat, tears and the trembling of a last embrace. It is in this moment where the truth can be found; where love is felt and leaves its mark upon the heart and mind. For me, it is in the first embrace and the last that I feel the most alive, the most rewarded, and the most loved.

We must all seek out these moments, and realize the truth that they bring to us. To feel such love is a blessing, and is the greatest gift of all in this gorgeous world. I thank God and the universe for the gift of such a beautiful loving daughter. For if not for her, my life would never be..

Namaste