Outside I’m cleansing my palate of all the isolation and bitterness I see. From watching the news and social media, that fills my mind with the poison of fear and division. But now that I’m in the backyard, where even the joshing of the EMC crews is a welcome distraction between what is real and what is fake. Why do we allow a handful of bitter souls dictate our thoughts? When it is clear the real world simply operates like a clunky, but we’ll oiled machine.
Listening to a combination of chatter, truck back-up buzzers, and the occasional songbird bird. I am surrounded by everything but the mindless clutter of well-worn rhetoric that spews from the screen. I marvel at the balance of the antenna tower next to my home, while the same time I am amazed by the complexity and balance of the sycamore trees. Why do we so enjoy the superficial? The talking clans of ignorance that believes they can explain away the randomness of it all.
I sit here in the mid-afternoon, while cars and utility trucks pass by. Seemingly unconcerned with the breeze blowing the remaining leaves that wave it me on this picture-perfect day. An elderly neighbor walks by, with two or three kids in tow as she does three times a day. With a walking stick in hand, her name brand track shoes that look out of place, with her button-up sweater and long skirt. Yet this is what’s real, this is what I cling too, in these seemingly fearful and stressful times.
The water spickets are dripping waiting for tonight’s freeze. It’s been a colder than usual December around here. We usually don’t get this cold a weather till late January or February. But I got the sun to my back, so it doesn’t feel as cold as it is. My mind dances around thoughts between what I want to do and what I’m capable of doing. Sometimes it’s a bitter chain tied around your neck, when you dream dreams and are yet acutely aware.
So I dance this dance with myself. Doling out advice and encouragement to others, like penny candy from Grandma’s purse. Not that I don’t like penny candy, it’s just sometimes I feel a bit hypocritical saying those things. When I’m sitting here in a stationary position. Maybe I remind myself that each situation is different. That one man’s medicine can be other man’s poison. Then again, maybe I’m just making up for all those cynical and insulting words that flowed from my mouth.
Whatever the reason, I sit here and little like John Lennon “Watching the Wheels”. Working on what I can, and accepting what I can’t. I know that may sound defeatist, but at least it’s honest. The road to perfection is a slippery slope, especially when you place so much pressure on yourself to win. So that eventually when you do stumble, it knocks you down so far, you may never get up again. So I’ve learned to just breathe, then accept, and continue on my journey.
It’s funny, how I don’t talk about dreams much anymore. I mean I had dreams, things like business ventures and goals to achieve. Even after my major health scares, I dreamed of creating this new life. Now I just seem to meander through each day without much thought of tomorrow. I wonder, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I haven’t put much thought into it recently. I'm just simply “float through life”.
It’s almost like it was decades ago when I would have some awesome idea and never see it through. Although back then I was held back by a sense of fear and inadequacy. Today it just feels different. At the moment I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s mental, maybe it’s physical, or maybe a little of both. I mean I’m laying here with my heart fluttering a bit. Causing me to pause for a moment and take some deep breaths.
Whatever it is, I suppose it’s good that I’m thinking about it. Instead of just sitting here like a stump rotting from the inside out. So many people just give up. They drone through life bitter and angry. I mean most work simply to survive, but the fire of life has long burned out. I hope that’s not what is going on with me. I mean to come as far as I have to just fade away would seem tragic. But then again, simply living day by day focused on the here and now. Is that such a bad thing? Living to encourage others and to observe life at its simplest, is that such a bad way to float through?
Left to explore ghost, I struggle through nights in implosive dreams. Digging through a boneyard of a triumphs and failures. Where faces nearly forgotten, come to life to comfort or settle old scores. Paralyzed by dreams, I sift through the sands of memory. Like cleaning a litterbox long forgotten.
I ask myself why, I ask myself how? All those buried and left for dead, keep coming back. Are they here to remind me of where I am? Or are they simply here to take me back to where I been? I breathe deeply through the fog of memories, only to find myself in this place. Living in duality, not between light and dark. But between who I am and the person I pretend to be.
We open our eyes to the selfishness around us. Planted firmly in our own ambition and goals. Yet within that paradigm of self-preservation, there are those that are helpless. Recently a friend was thrust into a situation where they had to take custody of two of their grandchildren. The circumstances can either be seen as selfish or tragic for the children’s parents. Whatever your judgement of them, the children are innocent and caught in the crossfire.
For my friend it seems to be a no-win situation. The children, basically dropped off at their door step by the authorities. Left my friend and their spouse to fend for themselves as far as supplies. Thankfully, they have received some help from their community. But still, you have two fifty-somethings in poor health dealing with sick baby and special needs preschooler during a pandemic. I’ve been thinking a lot about them and their situation. Wishing I could be more than a cheerleader on the sidelines.
As I toss and turn on this unseasonable warm December night, I think about my own selfish pursuits. About how I love to complain when dealing with my own children’s silly little problems. Then I think about my friend. I have no doubt my friend will make it through this situation, they always do. But then I think about how we as a people, a nation, and a world; treat the innocent. Those thrust into situations not of their own doing. Do we continue look at them with indifference? With no concern for their future or wellbeing? Or do we finally crawl out of our own comfort zones and make a difference.
It’s a crisp 52° this morning, I’m sitting here in my scared space I suppose. I broke down and listened to Thich Nhat Hanh book “Making Space” last night. It’s basically a rundown of creating a meditative space for yourself. Going over the basics of mediation and the value of mindfulness. It’s a short listen, but it’s well worth the time. Reminding me that one’s sacred space can pretty much be anywhere you can find or create.
I suppose you already know my scared space is outside in my backyard, next to the busy EMC maintenance shop, next to a major US Highway, down the street from the county courthouse. Not exactly the quietest place in town, but with focus and awareness, any place can become a scared space. For mediation is basically ones way of getting out of one’s head and focusing on the here and now.
I watch my children living their lives threatening over bills, mortgage payments, and their own family problems. Maybe I just seem lazy to them, but I totally understand. For the better part of my adult life, I worried the same about them. Even to this day I am responsible for two disabled adults in my home, along with my crippled ass old self.
But their lives are spinning too fast to listen to an old fool like me. Especially when I tell them life’s eventually going to catch-up with them. We all need a scared space, rather it’s a unused room, the garage, or a quiet garden space. It is important to just let go. Even for those of you with religious sensitivities. You have church or better yet prayer. Take time for yourself, the world demands much, but you demand more.
The suns at my back, it’s unseasonable warm at 73° for Christmas time. The world says we’re in trouble but not in my backyard. Still, that doesn’t make me lackadaisical or ignorant, I mean, I got my mask and hand sanitizer. Even though the world looks peaceful from here.
Everyone say it’s time for revolution, but I think it’s time for a good dose of reality and respect. Not only for your side, but for mine as well. All or nothing is a dangerous stand to take, even jf you’re right. Because at some point someone’s going to disagree, then all hell going break loose.
But if you’re not going to be happy till you become someone’s master, then go ahead. Because you’ll never win an enemy by killing his children. So don’t even think you can win without respect. Don’t believe you’re winning with that “see all, know all” attitude, without listening to the other side.
Like a restless fool, I pushed it a little hard today. Even though my body was giving me all the signs to slow it down. As usual I ignored all the symptoms and now, I’m paying the price. Oh, don’t worry it’s nothing too serious. It’s just when I push myself like this, it always ruins the rest of my day. That’s because as far as how I treat myself, I’d give me a “D-”, definitely below average.
But when you’ve been schooled your whole life that you are worthless. You end up believing those damning words of abuse. To the point that where you don’t even need anyone else around to abuse you. Often I get so miserable that I am just piss poor company to be around. I’m loud, verbally abusive, and simply turn into a rotten person. It’s not that I have the inside straight on shitty behavior, but I am honest enough to admit it when it’s here.
I guess at the moment, I’m on some plateau. Where I’m sorta tired of riding this rollercoaster of up and down emotions. Today should have been an enjoyable little outing. Instead, I went out totally unprepared physically, which in turn shot me to hell mentally. At the moment my body’s recovering from a very overactive digestive system. Which in turn brings on a total lack of hydration. That eventually drains my blood sugar, to the point that I over compensate to recover.
But don’t worry, it’s all on me. I’ve spent years working on this poor soul. But don’t worry, this wasn’t my first screw up, and it most certainly won’t be my last. For the moment, I’ll just lick my wounds. I won’t worry about this being a teaching moment or even a cautionary tale. I’ll just toss it up to over enthusiasm, under preparedness, and piss-poor timing.
Sitting back on this rainy night, listening to some old AM tunes. I’m taking back to afternoons spent sitting in the car, while Mom and Sister shopped at the dress shop. While Dad would piddle around the Western Auto with Matthew. I would get Dad leave me the keys so I could switch the car radio to 1290 WTOC. In the early ‘70’s TOC was the AM rock station before FM got popular.
Paul McCartney & Wings, The Electric Light Orchestra, The Eagles, and Stevie Wonder ruled the airways. Listening now to McCartney and George Harrison remind me of simpler days. When the world wasn’t so panicked and stressed out. Where a 13-year-old could still dream, without being reminded of what a fat, four-eyed weirdo he was. While these days aren’t much different, at least I’ve grown a thicker skin. But the stains of ridicule remain the same.
But as always, I have my music, the one thing that has never let me down. Oh there where some dark years when I lost my songs. But over the last ten years the music and emotion have come rushing home. So I lay here with “Band on the Run” pouring through my buds. Forever telling me I’ll never be satisfied with the status quo. That “All Things Must Past” and to live is to grow beyond what I know.
Wet colorful leaves circle around my feet. The ground damp from the midnight rain. The temperature has dropped at least 25° since yesterday. But at least a breath of sun is shining through. I write all this even before I the dawn breaks. But the anticipation of a brighter day has already formed in my dreams.
Hoping for better days is more than just a pipe dream. I am a man ruled by his elements. I don’t try and push away feelings of sadness or dread. I welcome them, embrace them as a part of who I am. Since I began travelling this road of mindfulness. I am not a perfect student of any particular sect. Just a man looking for peace.
Recently I was berated publicly, for my emotions on FB. Basically, telling me to find my way “back to the Lord”. I guess I could have gotten upset or posted a clever rebuttal. I just kinda laughed about it and give ‘em a “Like”. For over twenty years I’ve searched for peace. First going to my Christian upbringing, then exploring subliminal messaging and binomial therapy. For the last decade or so, I’ve settled into mindfulness, mediation, and awareness. I suppose the point here is, never settle for something that gives you half-truths. Greet each day with a degree of anticipation. Good or Bad, take it and learn from each experience as it comes.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.