Exploring the Human Condition: altered states of consciousness

Posts tagged ‘Beauty’

On Losing Heart

Once my writing was criticized for the excessive use of the pronoun “I.”  And indeed, it was a solid and helpful observation.  But sometimes, you might feel compelled to make statements from the first person, for without that “I,” there is no you.

To leave something behind of significance certainly drives me.  And yet my logical mind tells me over and over again, that all things are impermanent, and my Buddhist training tells me that much suffering is born of my Earthly attachments.  And no truer statement has ever been made.  This is a magical, incredible place!  And we can “be” anything we want to be!

To live in pure self-acceptance is the most difficult thing I have ever sought to do.  Apparently, I am firmly attached to the outcome of my story, and the final chapters seem to be looming dangerously ahead.  Like any really good book, you dread those final hours, and you mourn the goodbyes you will ultimately have to make.

We are social creatures, born of attachments.  How ironic and cruel that we must train ourselves to be so austere, so stoic, and so detached from it all.  It literally breaks me apart to realize that I might be one of only a very small few people who would remember my family, my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my brother.  And me, of course.  No one will likely ever remember me.  Like my most admired friend has told me, nobody cares.

So yes, it might be easy to lose heart.  Is tragedy inevitable?  Is the most dire of circumstances always just right around the next corner?  Over the years, I have learned a great insight.  When you can see a middle ground, something between one side or the other, a place where stark realities and harsh decisions are left for another day, a place where you can be free to imagine beautiful things again…  you just might find your heart again!  Whatso!?…  if a few tears might stain your cheeks in the process!  Take it and know that you are alive and that you have worth and value, and YOU ARE HUMAN!

There are one thousand billion crows, maybe a few billion cats.  They come in and they go out at a fairly quick pace, and we are left to view these things, and to ponder our place in all of it.  There is always much talk of souls, and what is left of us when out ticket is called, and we have no choice but to venture forth into whatever it is that awaits us after this.  I do not want to go, I tell you.  If there is one thing that frightens me more than anything else, it is the leaving.  It is having to go away, into another place apart from this.

It is also the leaving of the body that hurts my heart.  I love this person.  I have been with her since she can remember.  I look in the mirror now, and I see my mother, my grandmother, and traces of my families, both sides.  And with all the great qualities and talents I possess, the one true compass all along, has been my heart.  Sometimes I want to scream out – “She’s a GOOD heart!”  But people are too busy now, mostly…

If I die alone, and leave nothing behind that can’t be quickly erased, then maybe there are other things we might actually leave behind once we’re gone, that still have value, and make a difference.  That’s one reason I work so hard on my tiny patch of land in central Texas.  If I make it better, or more healthy and happy, more productive, more beautiful, for even a short time, that’s something.  If I feed animals, as much and as often as I humanly can, then that’s something.

The simple fact that I care so much, means something.  I think it leaves behind a kind of mark, an indelible effect, and even if people don’t remember my family, or my farm, or me, after so many years, I know in my heart, there are many crows, and many kittens, and there is every reason to believe we might come back.

One of the most horrifying and shocking movies I ever watched was Braveheart.  It’s about a Scottish warrior of some centuries ago, who lead his people against oppression.  In the final scenes, which I could not watch, Mel Gibson’s character is caught and finally killed, in a most unthinkable manner.  That character, and that movie, has bothered me an infinite number of times, somehow validating that indeed, tragedy is our destiny.

Well, then, if that’s the case, at least we know the ending, right?  With that in mind, it seems a good bet that one could also opt out for that middle of the road, unassuming, quiet and kind sort of life, and forego some of this intense struggle and suffering.  That’s my plan anyway.  It doesn’t mean we don’t see the problems, or want to help.  It only means that acceptance of things we cannot change opens up a little free time on the board to do things we might prefer to do, rather than have to.

And as for sharing, that’s always a good thing.  But when you feel private, and serene, and you have paid things forward plenty, and now is the time for small pleasures, make no apologies for it.  Take what is before you in like a feast, because it truly is.  Wherever you look, the bounty is given.  You bet I cry sometimes.  Just like a baby!  Like Mel Gibson when all was lost!  But today, things are calm.  Right now, this minute in time, is mine.  And the feast is abundant with every breath, with every blink of my eye!

Don’t lose heart!  Nourish your soul through the emotions that flow through your veins!  Be an incredible source of love and light, no matter what images or sounds you encounter.  It is true, although it may take a good deal of time and investment of effort, you can be a wonderful person and have a wonderful life.  Just don’t lose heart!  Look for that safe middle ground you can run to.

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The Flower in the Junkyard

Most times, the thing you think you really want, is elusive.  Sometimes, what you have, doesn’t seem enough, or even exactly right.  Life is a succession of opportunities, challenges, and choices.  It is also hardship, and struggle.  Just when you feel a little comfortable, something, or someone, can come along and blow all that right out of the water.  All the hope, even all of the planning in the world, will only take you so far. Seems like people always want guarantees.  And as I have viewed this world, there are no guarantees.

One time when my little car was limping along on three used tires, and one losing air real fast, I drove it 10 miles on a wing and a prayer, to the only junkyard in the county, in hopes they might have a tire for me, better than I had.  One I might afford.

I pulled in, over to the yard area, where piles of metal junk covered the landscape.  And in between all this rusty twisted metal, were cars, all abandoned, being parted out, in different stages of deconstruction, just like any junkyard.  But something happened in that moment, as I looked out over the strange image before me, like the sun suddenly shined brighter, and everything else was obscured.  Somehow diminished.

A young man came running toward my car.  As he approached, I could see the sweat pouring off his arms.  Summer in Texas is brutal, and this day was no exception.  He came up to my side and and looked in my window, and said, “Hi!  What can I do for you?”  And I said, “Uh….  uh….  Oh!  I just need a tire.  I have a front tire on the other side going flat.”

In life, there are certain defining moments.  And sometimes, there are just moments in time, that happen randomly.  Unexpectedly.  Moments that you will always remember. That change your life.  Beautiful moments, that years later, you never forget.  This moment, was the moment I saw Charlie.

In the midst of all that nasty junk, out in the hottest of suns, with sweat in pools all over his forehead, on his neck, and in his eyes, I was struck.  Like a lightning bolt from above, I was surely struck.  I will never forget his eyes, as long as I live, and probably beyond. He was grinning from ear to ear, just like he won the lottery, and the water from his eyebrows was dripping all down into his eyes, eyes as green as irisdescent emeralds, so green and sparkling, it caught my breath.  And his eyelashes were thick and long, and all completely spiked around those beautiful green eyes, like nothing I had ever seen before, or likely ever will again.  Those spiked lashes, formed from the sweat of his own brow, captured the beauty and intensity of these eyes, and frankly, I have a hard time remembering what happened next, or how I even got back home.

Life is funny like that.  Absolutely no guarantees will you find.  And if you do, they are false.  But it seems that when you least expect it, beauty, simplicity and grace, will show itself, if only you have the eyes to see.  Life is difficult for most of us, if not all.  It can throw you down, and stomp on your heart.  You can feel lost, forgotten, even broken.  But in those unexpected moments, a light from above comes down and strikes your old heart.  Like a jumpstart.  And suddenly you see that flower in the junkyard. You don’t have to have any one set of beliefs, or adhere to a strict guideline of behavior for this to happen.  It is a direct and unshakeable knowing.  A place without fear or doubts.  And like all things, it may be fleeting.  You might wake up one morning with green eyes sleeping beside you, and the next, reading a stark and unembellished obituary.  The beautiful light from those green eyes has been removed, taken away, lost from the view of earthly concerns.  And it will tear you up inside.  It will rock your very being.  And you will walk alone through a world that does not care.  No guarantees.

Maybe we all look for a ray of hope in this crazy world.  We all come from nothing, and that is surely where we return.  But once, maybe even twice, in a lifetime, you see a flower growing in a junkyard.  Amidst all the sharp edges and harsh realities of life, you find an exquisite and perfect blossom, growing each minute, each second, just for the sheer opportunity to reach for the sun.  In this world we find ourselves in today, it’s important to look for flowers, and when we find them, admire and remember all that they give us.  It’s important when we feel broken and so sad, to remember these flowers, and how they had no regrets, not for their struggle, and not for their eventual death. Their life was made for the one tiny instant they brought beauty and joy into this world, and nothing more.  Life is simple like that.

And if you can’t find such a flower, be the flower.  If everything around you seems in ruins, and your health is failing you, and you have more loss than love, you be the flower.  You be the gorgeous delicate blossom, unique and forever innocent.  You be that flower in the junkyard.  And if God does shine down on you, maybe the right person will happen along and notice you, and be forever changed in that moment.

Be a flower in the junkyard.  Just be that!

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