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Posted by: Elron Mings | 6November2019

…Of Gratitude

Thank you Mother for cradling me! How Thou dost nourish me!

Thank you Father for singing to me! How Thou dost soothe me!

Cradle me Mother!?

Sing to me Father!?

1300(ish) 03OCT2019 James Elron Mings

Posted by: Elron Mings | 15October2019

Part II : Communication

It’s amazing, how difficult communicating is these days!

We LITERALLY have more words than we know what to do with!!

WHY???? To confuse the tongue!?

If Speech is a form of Communication, why is it so difficult to express how we feel!? Because NO amount of “words” CAN express, what I’m Feeling!!!

Are you alive?!?! How does that feel?! I couldn’t possibly, begin to use sign nor symbol, that makes sense to you as to how I feel about the Joy felt “Knowing” you are alive!!!!

And I say that to all 7 + billion of You, who are my Mother and Father, Aunt or Uncle, Grandma/pa, Brothers and Sisters, Daughters and Sons. To every bird, and cat, and dog, extra terrestrial living organism upon this Planet! Because, by Your Being Alive, I have Learned the Joy of Living! And I wish NOTHING more, than to Live with and to Love you, every moment of Your Life, Now and Forever!

I don’t “have” to know you, to Love you! Why? You are alive, I Love Life! That shouldn’t be confusing. Is it?

With all of the uncountable symbols “we” have created (which we have not! We’ve not yet had an “original” thought…), we’ve lost our sense!! A talent we all “innately” possess, to feel the Life around us, to sense how it’s feeling, to know how to help It Grow! And we all have the Capacity to do so. And to feel this sense of belonging, connectedness, and self-sacrificing obligation to want to watch it Grow, to nurture It, that by so doing, we ourselves might experience the Joy of Living!

We are not capable of Creating Life yet, we’re not that smart! We can (and do) participate from time to time, but It is NOT our doing!! A force Greater than ourselves determines Life and death!! We are merely spectators and participants! We could be that smart, but we’re to “stuck on silly” to STOP harming ourselves, and each other! Even though we desperately need each other to survive. “No man is an island.” (By someone smarter, and before me.)

We are ALL in this thing called Life together!!!! IT IS WITHIN OUR OWN BEST INTERESTS TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL OF ALL LIFE ON EARTH!

HURRY! NOW!! MOST LIFE ON EARTH WILL COME TO AN UGLY DEMISE IF WE DON’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE TOGETHER!

GOOD MORNING!! IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP!!! TIME FOR ACTION(S). NO MORE WORDS! “THEY” ARE DEAD, AND NO LONGER BEAR THE MEANING THEY ONCE IMPLIED. SYMBOLS MEAN NOTHING, IF THEY DO NOT EXPRESS HOW YOU FEEL, WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU, AND/OR WHY YOU FEEL THAT WAY. WE MUST SHOW EACH OTHER HOW MUCH WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, BECAUSE THE “words” DON’T MATCH THE INTENT ANY LONGER!! THEY NO LONGER MAKE SENSE!

Count what you will, it matters not. Unless you are counting the number of Lives (or Forms of Life) you have Saved!!! THAT’s what I want to here! Please, tell me too, I’d like to help however I may! Even if just listening is all I can do, and might help! Maybe I’ll have an idea you can use!

I’m not saying don’t speak, communication and understanding are designed to help us express ourselves. Personally, I Believe the ability to communicate is an Gift of our Divine Creators! Whomever/Whatever They are, or “It Is”, that continue(s) to Make Life possible for us here on this planet! It is a force far Greater than “I”, that’s for sure!

Call that Energy and Divine Life/Light/Love whatever you will, but They Give us Life! What harm can be done, in expressing Gratitude to our Creators by the simple act of acknowledging the Life/Energy around us, how, when, and where we will? If we choose to at all?? Why is “devotion” of any type even an issue? Life is Divinely/Mystically Given, why not increase our efforts to acknowledge and appreciate it!? It’s a form of Communicating with the Life around you that you are alive, and a means by which the Life around us can do the same… you Know, like bearing fruit and stuff!!! Light begets Light. Life Acknowledged begets Life Acknowledged!

My Good Friend Steve says (like his Dad used to say), “Communicating/ion [words] are the seeds of Life!”

Let’s use our “words” wisely. Let’s let our Actions speak for us, louder than “words”. Let’s “Be the change(s) we wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Let’s let the world know how passionate we are about Living, by Living passionately, doing as we will, harming none!! Let’s express our Gratitude for being alive by Living a Life promoting Life, and cease the race towards a death that’s coming for us all anyway! Let’s make death wait, for ALL of our sake!!!

Peace!

Aloha! Namaste! As-Salamu Alaykum!

03OCT2019 (13:00ish) James Elron Mings

Posted by: Elron Mings | 3October2019

Part I : The “Secret”

You want to know “the Secret”? It’s Life! There is no more important part of our existence, than Life! To acknowledge, to accept, to nurture, it’s a symbiotic relationship! When we thrive, when we grow, so does the Life which surrounds us! When we’re not choking it off, covering it up, pretending it’s not there, encroaching upon OUR busy lives, that is!

But it’s everywhere! We can’t kill it fast enough, it just keeps coming back!

…That’s Life. And our most Sacred, and Loving Mother is dying! She’s SCREAMING at with adverse weather patterns in divers places! Our Father is SCREAMING at us! Pick a religion, pick a priest, teacher, Profit… They’re all shouting His words; STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!! YOU’RE DESTROYING WHAT I GAVE YOU!!!! STOOOOP!

{Our Mother Nurtures us, despite the fact we continue to RAPE and pillage Her!! She still nourishes us with all we Need to survive… until we’ve finished killing Her!

Our Father has Given us the intellect we continue to abuse, and the knowledge we’ve forsaken, and use against our Brothers and Sisters (Yes, all 7+ billion of us are related)!! And we, the “smartest” bi-ped creatures upon Terra, Earth, Home, however you call this place we live on, are the only ones destroying/killing HER, and ourselves!}

So much for being “so much more intelligent” than the rest of the Life on this planet. Where’s that gotten us?

This is it, Sisters and Brothers! If we don’t “get” Living here, with all of the Life Our Divine Creators have Given/Gifted us, we ALL lose!!!!

Time to STOP playing around, bullying, dominating, and destroying each other and the ONLY Planet we have to Live on, and time to START bringing each other back to LIFE!! All species, all breeds, all Living, functioning, Life sustaining organisms have a God/dess Given RIGHT to be here!! Let it Live, and it will help you Live! Let them Live, and they will help you Live!

ANYONE KILLING ANYTHING MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY, THAT LIFE MAY CONTINUE TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET!! WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE! WE NEED THEM, THEY NEED US!! And we NEED each other!

Please? If we don’t, most of us are going to die.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 3October2019

Elemental Love

the Breeze caresses

the leaves shiver

the Planet exhales

One more breath of Life

As all Lovers

they laugh, they play

forever connected

forever apart

as One

the Flames dance

the Wood moans

intimacy palpable

rebirth from the ashes

As all Lovers

They’re entwined

unyielding

unrelenting

as One

the Earth quakes

the Water rushes

with destructive force

they move ’round the Sun

through gentleness, Life blooms

As all Lovers

they meet, and part,

and meet again

always forgiving,always giving

as One!

16SEP2019 James Elron MINGS

Posted by: Elron Mings | 31July2019

Displaced Intentions

  We are living in an age of technology.  We are also living in an age of information.  We are inundated by them.  And they are growing and multiplying together at staggering rates.  And we are more disconnected from Life, and each other, than we’ve ever been.

  In the 1995 film Powder, Albert Einstein is attributed with the phrase, “It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.”  Whether he said it or not (and personally, I think it likely he did), it is becoming more and more true every day.

  How is it we can download terabytes of information on to a drive the size of my thumb, but struggle ceaselessly to express, honestly and clearly, how we feel to “Loved Ones”??  We’re not only losing touch with our fellow human beings, but with our Mother Earth, who sustains us continually, despite the atrocities we’re committing to/upon her!  And our Heavenly Father, who Inspires us to greatness in every moment, regardless of the impurity of  our minds?

  We are losing touch with all that is important, and filling our Lives, and the space(s) we live in with things that matter not at all to our survival!  In fact, nearly ALL that we are presently about, is destructive to our well being, and a detriment to the survival of our children, and if we are not quick to change, the very existence of humanity.

  Have we become so narrowly focused on the acquisition of “stuff” that we cannot see the damage we are doing?  Have we been so far removed from our emotions that we are numb to the pain and suffering our inaction is causing at alarming rates?  And not just to ourselves, but to BILLIONS of our sisters, mothers, daughters, brothers, fathers, and sons?

  what Good is there in tracking the “time” we spend working, when we fail to treasure the moments we share with each other (physically, not digitally)?

  Our moral compass has been shattered.  Our values misaligned.  We are losing more quickly than we are gaining, our sense of right and wrong, and the very basic desire to see things done rightly!

  What happened?  I’m not yet that old, and not yet too old to remember, when -Deity- came first, then of the Earth Family(ies), then Friends, then all else!  Swear and curse words were not heard on television, and vile/crude jokes weren’t the standard for “comedic discourse”.

  We are losing track of what matters most.  Love!  And from it, Life!  And in losing them, we’re losing every bit of happiness we used to sing about, in Praise and in delight.  In the war against apathy/evil, we are not just losing, we’re giving up!  How can this be??

  Life is so precious, so fragile, so fleeting, and we’re wasting it!  Constantly looking for “new and improved” ways in which to take it, to make others miserable through it.  How many trillions in currency are we spending on saving our planet?  On saving the human race?  We’re spending that much on its destruction!

  How many people have you complained to today, about some aspect of your existence?  How many people have you hugged, and told them you Love them?  Have you hugged a tree today, in gratitude for the air you breathe, because of it?  Or the shade it offers?  Or the fruit?  When’s the last time you smiled and greeted a stranger passing you by, just because?

  There isn’t much any of us need during these short lived mortal experiences.  Love, Sustenance, shelter.  That’s it.  And there’s PLENTY of each,  for each and every one of us, if we are but willing to share!

  We cannot, we will not survive, if we don’t do it together!  As yet another old saying goes, “Together we stand!  Divided we fall!”  We’re all in this together.  If we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we will continue to repeat them!  Only this time, we’ll be eliminating our future as well!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 30May2019

Dietary Choices…. How I started Choosing The Right!

  Good Morning!  And Good day to thee all!  A new post, for a new beginning.  The beginning of the future.  Of the more open, transparent me.  Of the me I’ve always been, yet continue to try to be better at…

  One of the first things I did (have done), in my efforts to become a Life-conscious Human-being, was ceasing to eat chocolate that was not, IS not, fair-trade.  Some 20 plus years ago, in a land far, far away, in the middle of a Life lived long ago, with someone no longer present therein, I discovered (and, to be fair and honest, it was my ex- who brought this knowledge to my attention), that 90% of the worlds chocolate was produced by, and the direct resultant product of slavery, and/or slave labor!

  Processed on the Ivory Coast, everything from milk chocolate to coco-butter (used in many things, including the making of “white chocolate”).  The other 10%, known as fair-trade, is the only kind of chocolate I now eat, and the only kind I’ve eaten since that day so long ago!

  The real tragedy is, is that in all the years I’ve known of it, talked of it/about it, I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) the number of people who have joined me in my crusade to combat this wrong, including those whom I’ve told that one might expect to have more interest in changing this ongoing wrong than others!!  {I speak of those whose skin is darker than my own, and only bring it up as a writer, providing a detail that cannot be gleaned without a reference…  This fact is NOT something that matters to me particularly, but for context.  Not because there is any more relevance to one human-being versus another… at least there shouldn’t be!!!}  The fact that so few have shown they care, in over 20 years of relating this information, has been an eye opener, if not disheartening, heartbreaking, and a cause of many tears having been shed, as I consider the wretched state of us all!  We are near ripe for destruction, save we repent!

  But this is not new information.  It is ages old, prophesied of and about many times, recorded time and again, by prophets both revered and hunted!  When profit margins are worth more to us than the people(s) whose labor, blood, sweat and tears it is gained from, we are ready for destruction.  When, for the sake of “ease”, Good people do NOTHING, despite knowing of injustice(s) being done, inhumane practices, direct slavery even, then is when the adversary gains his victory!  There is probably not much I could tell you of our wrong doing(s) that you are not already aware of, and yet it continues.  Because the “Good” people do nothing, and the adversary becomes stronger.

  What can we do to change this?  DO SOMETHING!!  STOP eating chocolate that isn’t fair trade!  STOP ignoring the homeless!  STOP enabling slave/sex traders by ignoring their existence!  STOP being complacent in the face of tyranny!  STOP letting other people choose leaders for you by not voting!!  Exercise your God-given, constitutionally protected rights, while you still can, while you still have them!  Repent ye ends of the earth, lest destruction swiftly comes upon us all!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 15April2019

Too Much, or, Not Enough?

  Good day to thee all!  Yet more time has passed, much more than desired for a blogger, since last I posted.  I’ve been suffering a bit from “writer’s block” if you will.  So I will do my best to make up for it with quality, as quantity does not seem to be forthcoming!  LOL

  My Birthday was not that long ago, and as I am wont to do on my Birthday, I spent the day evaluating my present, comparing it with the past (only for the sake of -hopefully- measuring growth), and plotting a course for the future!  This blog of course, having a part therein.

  And my current “trap”, or “time-suck” if you will, has been digital in nature, the many venues by which we “connect” with our fellow humans these days, as “personal”, face-to-face relationships are on the decline!

  And thus my question, is it a case of  “Too much…” digital input, ease in access, accessibility to the ‘fake’, and therefore free of real obligation or commitment?  Or is it “Not enough…” time, Positive feed back, ‘real people’, allowing for a desire for something “digital”, knowing it is more than likely not original, not real, not personal, not committal in any manner?

  One could add any number of adjective/verb combinations to the above list or lists, but the results wouldn’t vary much.  We’ve gotten so far away from personal, real, in-Life interactions, that it’s simply too easy, too desirable, too alluring, too safe to bother with the time-tested, time-proven, time-based, long lasting relationships of yesteryore!  It’s time for the new, the fake, the ever changeable, ever replaceable, short-term, non-committal, non-proven, non-existent relationships of the future!  Today it’s all about the be as fake (or as real) as you want, never mind the risk (’cause there’s so little chance of it mattering), it’ll all be over in the morning so you can try it all again with someone new at light speed whoever you want to pretend to be reality!

  Have we really come so far in our technology?  Have we really digressed so much from our humanity?  How ironic that a character in a movie (played by Jeff Goldblum) quoted so prophetically more than 20 years ago (in the film Powder), “It’s become appallingly clear, that our technology has surpassed our humanity!”  Guess what?  It was said originally by Albert Einstein, nearly (if not more than) 100 years ago!!!  What’s it say about us, that this has not only NOT improved, but gotten worse, and become more true since then!?!?

  Heaven help us if AI ever does decide to wipe out the virus that is humanity, in an attempt to save ourselves from ourselves!  We’ve already put most of our Lives into a digital box to “escape” the harsh reality(ies) of the “real world”, would we even notice if some AI decided we’d wasted enough of this planet away, and started systematically removing us from our USB charged ports??  I wonder…

  We, the human race, face a plethora of Life-threatening issues!  From Global Warming/Climate Change, to Genocide en mass, to the decay of moral values and Family ties, to our very ability to relate/communicate one-with-another without a digital interface!  Technology is a great tool, and has many Positive possible applications for the betterment of our species.The problem is, we’ve become not only dependent upon it, we’ve begun replacing RL with it!  THIS MUST STOP!!

  If it doesn’t, there’s little chance that we as a human organism upon the planet Terra, will see even the devastation our own practices of waste, pollution, and stripping of our natural resources will cause!  And something akin to the Matrix will “shelter” us all from the Real World we’ve enabled!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 7March2019

Individual Truths…

  There are not enough ways in which to apologize to those of you who have been faithfully following a non-prolific blogger as myself, so instead I will thank you that you do, and have, and -hopefully- continue to do so!

  Thank you!!  Life allows us to make so many choices as to seem overwhelming at times, though I know that to be not true!  However, it is true that we (I especially) tend to be creatures of habit!  And it is more difficult (for me) to break bad habits than good, and twice that to set good habits in the place of bad!  But I continue to endeavor to do so, for, despite the roller-coaster that is Living, There are things I wish/want to do more than others, regardless of their place in my “habit scale”, and so long as I have a voice (…and/or fingers with which to type), I choose to share it, so long as there are people willing, wanting to listen!

  It is humbling, and remains to be so to me, that we are so Loved, and so Blessed, with each and every moment we are given.  In spite of our foibles, faults, and sinful nature(s)!  And so it is in humility that I now do my best, to share the God-given talent with which I’ve been Blessed, and put my voice on “the page”!

  Life has indeed been full of the challenges, presented to us all, to see the silver-lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, and many other worthy clichés  used to express the sentiment “There’s always something Good to see, and always a reason why!”  In other words, it’s been a challenge for me to so do, even though I know it to be true (there’s that poet in me again)!  Which is weird, because, if you know something to be true, shouldn’t it be easy to see, acknowledge, recognize???

  At any rate, here we are, you there, me here, separated by time, space, yet co-existing on the same planet, in the same time and space, though not logistically (you’ll not be reading this until at least I’m done typing it, perhaps a bit longer… unless of course you’re clairvoyant, in which case you may well have read it some time before I wrote it!, but still remains that separation)!  A paradox!  But something we know to be true!

  So, I seem to be stuck on “truth” thus far in the post, so let’s run with it, shall we?  What is “true”, and contrariwise, what is “false”?  As both are defined by perception, does that not make them both imaginary?

  And yet, we are so eager to stake our Lives upon our definitions of such imaginings.  Are they really “our” Lives to begin with?  Kind of hard to lay claim to something you had no hand in the Creation of, or lasting of, isn’t it?  As previously posted, We are “in control” only of our choices , all else is in the hands of a Higher Power!  So why are struggling so hard to inflict other people with what we think to be true?  We would be much better off worrying about our own choices, and let others make theirs, we’ll know in the end who was “right”!  Let us not strive to inflict others with what “we believe”, and instead struggle with all of our might to be as we believe (… or know) we should be!

  Where is “all this” coming from?  Well, I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately, to the messages my Universe has been providing!  Among other things, “Don’t forsake your talents!”  They are Gifts, which we are ALL given, whether we choose to use them or not.  They are not the same for us all, for some it is in athleticism, others in oration, others still in reasoning, but in ALL it comes as an art!  And beautifully at that!  Do you look at shapes and see beauty?  Or a playing field?  Or numbers?  Or words?  Or colors?  Patterns maybe, or perhaps even in the simple joy of learning??  Where you see beauty, therein lies your talent(s)!  This is a multiversal truth!  Second only to my own personal favorite, “Omnia vincit Amor!” (“Love conquers all!”, basically!)

  Seek ye therefore Love (Charity), and Beauty, therein will you find the truth about Life, the common thread(s) which we all share, though we all do not share the same vision!  Therein might we ALL find, together, Peace, and Harmony, and if together, Charity (Love)!  No greater “truths” can we know, and anything else, though not necessarily “false”, is certainly superfluous by comparison!  Life is too short to worry about being right, let’s just do right, and our “truths” will not only become deeper, more personal, but more shared by those whom we invite into our Lives!

  Blesséd be all!  Until next time…

  Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 5February2019

Choices…

  Life is a series of choices.  Moment by moment, second by second, minute by minute…

  We choose to act, or not.  To Live, or not.  On the micro-scale, these choices become infinite.  Do we greet the stranger as we walk past, or pretend they aren’t there?  do we pick up the garbage -plastic, styrofoam- toxic to our planet, or step over/around it?  Do we offer a smile, a frown, a grimace, to a Friend, Loved One, acquaintance, co-worker, -again- stranger, or look the other way?  Do we offer assistance to the beggar, with the Prayer they will get better, or scorn them for their plight, assuming the worst possible reasons for it, and that they are totally responsible for their predicament?

  These are but a few of the myriad choices we make, not even scratching the surface of their entirety.  Yet they are some of the more poignant, the more character driven, those that -to others as well as ourselves- define us, and determine the example(s) we make for those who are and/or maybe watching.  And we never know who may be watching at any given time… safer to assume we always are.

  As we get older, the “legacy” which we leave behind becomes ever-more prevalent in our thoughts, and additionally, if we care, in our deeds.  And it is all based upon the choices we make.  Go to Church, or stay home.  Write that letter to a Friend, or watch the next episode of “X”, “Y”, or “Z” that we’ve DVR’d, downloaded, or subscribed to (who watches cable any more?)?

  Of course these choices are not always so “black or white”…  or are they?  Can everything really be so neatly packaged into a set of “right” or “wrong” boxes?  Is there not an endless field of gray?  I guess that depends upon your values, your morals, and what and/or how much you are willing to take responsibility for.

  Better people have said before me, “Be the change you wish to see in the world!”, and “I’m starting with the [wo]man in the mirror!  I’m asking [her]him to make that change!  If you want to make the world, a better place, take a look at yourself, and make that… change!

  It is amazing to me, that we have come so far technologically, and yet have digressed so humanitarianly!  It’s been less than my recollected lifetime since we were a MUCH more Family-oriented, neighborly, and kind peoples.  It was in my youth that We Are the World and Hands Across America were launched, and quite successfully for their time!  The youth of that time were alive with curiosity, a desire to reach out, to feel, and to be connected, figuratively as well as literally, to the world around them, and to step out of the “box” that surrounded the mindset(s) of our U.S. citizen parents, and their rampant “hands off” policy following the Vietnam tragedy(ies).  We wanted to be involved, and to make a difference, not just in the U.S. (and neither excluding it), but to/for all of humanity!

  And then “personal computing” happened… a boon to our ability to communicate globally, a bane to our ability to be connected!  Thirty-some years later, we are more disconnected than ever before, while simultaneously being fed more information about the globe and those 7+ billion brothers and sisters of ours than any one city of humans can keep up with!  iGen is the new and upcoming 20 somethings, and they’ve not known a time without the internet, mass-social media, and instant-connectivity, and are perhaps some of the most instant-gratification seeking individuals the world has known!  And we, their 40-something parents, have let it happen.  we’ve allowed TV programs (our generation’s single-parent baby-sitter), movies and video games to desensitize us,  to influence our decisions, our viewpoints, our choices, to the extent that many don’t recognize any longer the evil it has brought!  Family values are nearly non-existent, discipline (not to be confused with abuse!) found only from armed “enforcers” of the law, and banned from the home!

  Our choices to be more “individual”, less responsible, have changed the very landscape of our social makeup!  The right to choose is a sacred one, and one that should be afforded to all in much greater abundance than is presently the case in these “United” States, but it does not come without consequence!  With the right, the freedom to choose, comes great responsibility!  It is, in and of itself, not ‘free’, but that is how it’s meant to be!

  No one can take away our right to choose!  We may not like the consequences, or the responsibility, but it is the only thing that CANNOT be taken from us!  And yet, ironically, it is the “little things” that make the biggest impact, that have the most meaning!  Ever given a random hug, and seen the person’s face light up because of it?  Every afforded an unexpected compliment, and seen the person, at first bewildered, walk away more confident, happier, and full of good cheer, they then turned around and shared?  Ever help someone out, who fell, or tripped, or was down on their luck, then walked away without expectation of reward or praise?  Ever voted according to your conscience, regardless of the “popularity contest” that went on outside of the ballot box?

  It is a proven fact that random acts of kindness, generosity, and doing what’s right for the simple fact that it was right to do so, are contagious!  When we set this example, when we choose to act, instead of being acted upon, we can make a difference!  But we must want to… we must choose to.  Those choices can be major, or minor.  We don’t usually know which they are, or the impact they may have, ’til after the fact.  Sometimes not at all.  But they are always important, the choices we make.  Because they will inevitably have an effect on someone, whether we ever see it, or know it, or not.

  Choose wisely.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 16January2019

A Life Too Short

  In memoriam of the lost, the fallen, the Loved ones left behind.

  I’m not entirely sure if it’s ’cause I’m getting older, or because of my views, or the death I’ve seen (not as much as some… many even, too many more…), or just an innate longing to see Life flourish, as opposed to seeing it squelched.  Regardless of the reason, it effects me to see death!  It rends my heart to see Life’s  senseless destruction!

  And such is what transpired on the night of 10JAN2019, here in Davis, CA.  To be sure, in a societal, or even global context (most unfortunately), this is not an uncommon occurrence.  But it happened here, in Davis, where it is uncommon, and where I was able to be present (geographically) as it transpired, aware of it, and, as noted, effected by it!

  22 year old Davis Police Officer Natalie CORONA was shot and killed by a (reportedly) crazed gunman, who showed up on a bicycle where she was responding to an (unrelated to the shooter, as far as we know) accident involving 3 vehicles in downtown Davis.

  I’m still soul searching to figure out why exactly this has had such an impact on me… I’ve come up with a few possibilities, but none of them -on their own anyway- seem to fit.  Perhaps it is just a combination of factors in my Life… my sensitivity, my Love for Life, beauty, and all things natural… perhaps it’s my poetic nature, and a “Life interrupted” in such a cruel manor is anything but “natural”.  Perhaps it’s because she was young enough to be my own daughter, and, not having any children of my own (though I dearly, painfully want them), I “adopted” her as a “soul daughter”, a surrogate, not so much unlike the premature death(s) of my own unborn children.

  Whatever the reason, I’ve a strong emotional attachment to this young woman, as “crazy” as it may seem, and the deepest of sympathies for her parents, having -even if only fractionally- a small modicum of understanding the pain of losing a child, being a surviving parent of two separate miscarriages of 3 children… a pain I wish upon no parent.  The world is worse off, with her absence.  By all accounts given, she was a caring, giving, gentle, strong, passionate, determined, upright server and protector of the city!  One who was destined for greatness in her chosen career, had she been allowed the opportunity to grow with it!

  I know I’ve spoken before of Life, it’s importance and meaning to me (poetically, at the very least), what I believe it means to be a part of so wonderful a Creation as human beings are!  The thing is, is that “my views” are not necessarily “your views”, and, quite obviously, there are those that have no regard for Life at all.  And that in-and-of itself hurts me deeply.

  My one time therapist told me I was a romantic.  I nearly laughed, for I know no poet who is otherwise!  But for me, this entails an optimism, an idealism, about what Life should/could be!  And a desire to see a shift in/towards that direction in ALL of us!  We are capable, as sentient human-beings, of growing, of becoming better than we are!  We are able, to be the “best” “us” we can be, if we but choose to do so!  And therein lies the crux of the matter.  Choice.  An indelible condition of our mortality!  I would not have it any other way!!  Yet there are so many of us, for some reason, who are choosing death over Life!  I don’t understand this!  There is not one out of 7 billion (plus) of us Human Beings, our brothers and sisters, that has any need that is different from our own!  Love, Food, Shelter.  That’s it!  So why are we continuing to refuse/deny our brothers and sisters of the very things we ourselves want?

  Are we not supposed to Love our neighbors as ourselves (EVERY major religion has a form of the Golden Rule, whether they follow it or not…)!?!?  Therefore, if we want it, shouldn’t we help them to have it too?  Who doesn’t want help obtaining a perfect “trifecta”, a balance of all that is necessary, with just a hint of what we want thrown in as the cherry on top, to keep us striving for better???

  As this is a COMMON goal among us all, why are we getting in each others way, and our own, to prevent it?  Ask anyone, and most people will tell you they’d rather live in Peace, than discord!  They’d rather face Love, than apathy.  They’d rather Live, than die.  Why then, are we so stuck on destruction?  Why do we continue to act not for the Greater Good (which, ironically, would indeed serve ourselves as well… especially if everybody was doing the same), but for the narrow, itty-bitty self-serving “now” and instant gratification we know cannot last, and will benefit not one of our progeny!?

  No one with more than most others will seriously or honestly tell you there Lives are better, or simpler with the abundance they have!  Easier, maybe, but their quality of Life is actually much lower than that of someone of the “blue collar” class, for, as “we” have less, we appreciate what we do have more!

  It is a shame, then, that there are so many out there, so hurting, so lost, that they feel the only way they can improve their own lives is by taking an other’s.  It’s false.  It solves nothing, and only increases the hurt that is felt.  And yet we allow it, by our own inaction.  By our neglect of that which we know to be right, versus what we are willing to do that is right.  Evil cannot win unless Good people do nothing.

  This, therefore, is a call to action!  To all those Good people out there, who have been convinced -falsely- that there’s “…nothing I can do”, STOP BELIEVING THIS LIE!!  Great things are accomplished by small acts!  You don’t have to move a mountain, just a pebble!  So that someone else’s journey through this Life might be a little smoother!  We all must climb that hill, that mountain, take those switchbacks, like it or not!  But if we take the time, and make the effort to help out another, by so simple a means as moving a pebble out of the way to make the path a little more smooth, can you imagine how easy that climb would be, for ALL of us, if we ALL chipped in in like manner????

  Who knows… by a simple random act of kindness, you might just be changing someones mood just enough, by putting a smile on their face, or in their heart, that they don’t feel that an other’s Life is worth being lost.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 2January2019

Happy New Year!

 

The New year is always a time of new beginnings!  Yule has just past (the longest night), and we now move towards the Vernal Equinox, and the longest day!  As the days grow colder, we find and/or seek warmth from our companions… our Kindred, our Friends, our Loved Ones!

            It is a time of regrowth, of birth, of Life begun anew, as with the dawn.

            And so  we move towards the Light, the brighter days, towards the pleasant things we like to do outdoors, even as we hunker down for the cold, winter days ahead.

            Some make plans, set goals, “resolutions”, from every perspective and angle, newness is in the air.

            Embrace this energy, turn it to the Good, make the most of the year to come, starting with you!  Pick some “thing” you wish to improve, some “flaw” that needs work, and better your self.  Better your self-image, your self-Love, your self-talk.  Be the change you wish to see in the world! 

Let the world know you’re coming, and you won’t be held back!  And most importantly, don’t hold yourself back!!  We can accomplish ANYTHING if we set our minds to it!  Love all of Life to the fullest, and all that you are!  Or change that which you don’t Love about yourself so that you can!

            Follow the Golden Rule, and the Universe will pour upon you all the Blessings of Life!  Do good works, and cheerfully accept each challenge as a precious gift!  For it is, and they are!  How else are we to grow?

            May you find in the New Year all your heart’s desire, much success, and all the Love you put out into the world be returned to you an hundred fold!

            Aloha! Namaste! As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 14November2018

My Crazy Life… Or the Last Decade Thereof [Part IV]

Herein lies the long awaited final chapter.  I must apologize, for I don’t know that the congruity I had hoped for exists.  If not, please let me know where and why not, and I’ll correct as I’m able.  I’ve been away from my writing too long, and it’s looonnng past time that I get back to it.  Life is funny that way.  It’ll get in the way of whatever it is you want to do, if you let it.  And we usually do, then try to blame some outside source for the distraction.  The fault is my own.  I have failed to budget my time appropriately, and the one thing I want to/like to do most, is the thing that suffered.  No one ever says they want to fail, yet we let Life’s distractions dictate to us our actions, instead of the other way around.  This is what I’ve done.  But I know I am to blame.  It’s all too easy to do.  And “ease” is the gold-standard these days.  If it’s “hard“, we want little or nothing to do with it.  Well, guess what?  Nothing of the best things in Life are easy, if they were, they wouldn’t be the best!  They’d be (as so much is today) mediocre.

I am no fan of mediocrity.  It doesn’t appeal to me, I don’t think “…It’ll do!”  We are all meant to shine, and why wouldn’t we want to shine as brightly as we are able, for as long as we’re able??  I do!  And that’s how I choose to Live my Life!  When I blunder, it is by no small degree!  Contrariwise, I hope to begin adding to that very long list of failures, some absolutely amazing successes!  One day, one hour, one minute, one second, one moment at a time, that is just what I’ll endeavor to do!

Ready?  Grab a comfy spot, it’s not short!  LOL  Here it is…

The incarceration experience itself, was -again- as close as I ever want to come to a “living hell”.  I was more “out of my element” than I’ve ever been in my Life.  And I’m used to being the odd man out!

I was more alone than I’ve ever been, with but a handful of people (over the course of the entire imprisonment) that I would and/or want to socialize with.  I had nothing in common with 95% of the other “inmates” (…inmates is one of two distinctions made “in there”;  “Inmates” are those (now the majority) who took a plea bargain at some point, avoiding trial.  Mostly the youngsters, void of any sense of responsibility or ownership for/of their action(s).  A “convict” was one who had gone to trial and been convicted),the older generations,  -generally- taking ownership of their action(s), and took care of their own business.  Convicts tend(ed) to be more responsible, less meddling, more mindful of and considerate of others and other’s spaces.  So, though I remained friendly, I did not socialize much, if at all.  Had it not been for the previously mentioned programs, I would have completely isolated myself, and at times, I did.  The only exception to the commonality, was of course, our mutual incarceration.

My first 7 months were spent in “the hole”, a predicament, I was told (by the Sergeant in charge only after the fact) that was inflicted upon me because they (the C.O.’s) were concerned about my “mental state”…  Mind you, they had no cause  to have this concern, but this was the excuse proffered.  This was how my incarceration was to begin, and truth be told, it was more damaging to my “mental state” than being sent straight to the “GP” (General Population) would have been.  But I did not make an issue of this fact, because I wanted as little to do with the “governing body” as possible!  A truth I learned while in the military:  The fewer [of those in charge] who know your name after you’re gone, the better off you were!  And in fact, the similarities between prison life and the military are staggering {Sorry military, but it’s true!}.  But again I digress….

Being in “the hole”, you are completely isolated from all human physical contact, and most interaction(s) therewith!  You get (at Yolo County Jail, others may do things slightly differently… such as give you not an hour a day, but 7 hours divided among two or three instead, for the “time out” you’re given is mandated, not how they give it to you) one hour per day, to shave/shower, make a phone call, and spend time in/on the yard (an octagon shape it took me 43 steps to walk completely around)!

Obviously, you usually didn’t get it all done in your time, so you scheduled your time per day.  One day shower and make a phone call, next day walk and phone call (if you had someone available, and willing to take a collect call at whatever your time out was).  At Yolo County Jail, those times rotated throughout the week, and weren’t the same twice in a month.  This too was a tactic, employed to keep you off balance, unrested, “penalized” for whatever offense “they” perceived as a “just” reason for putting/keeping you in the hole.

Truly and completely out of my element, I turned to the one and only escape I had available to me;  Books!  Throughout my incarceration, I read in excess of 370 books, of varying genres and styles.  Scriptures, poetry, autobiographies, self-help, fiction, narrative non-fiction, biographies, sci-fi/fantasy (one of my favorite), tech manuals, I even read -and studied- college text books, with and without the accompanying course(s)!

Until I arrived at San Quentin, and actually spent a greater portion of my time “programming” (anything that is considered/conducive of self-improvement is called this), it’s just about all I did.  From the time I got up, ‘til the moment I went to bed (which was at random times of the day/evening depending on my dictated schedule), I had my nose in a book, and my brain far far away!

It may be the only thing that kept me from losing it!  I’ve always enjoyed reading, and being given such an immense amount of “time” in which to do so, I did!  LOL

It hid me from, and/or gave me an excuse to pretend I was hidden from, all the evils that went on around me.  And there were many.  violence was a common occurrence,  often one inmate against another.  Rarely, someone tweaking hard enough would brave acting out against a C.O., and that never went well for them!

Drugs of course, and plenty of them.  Food bought either through a quarterly package, or from the “canteen” was a favorite currency.  And cell phones aplenty!

We’ll discuss the sources another time, when I’m a little more at liberty to say…  By and large though, prison is a great place to go if you’re looking to hone your skills in criminality, or, more likely, learn/hear from another inmate the way they did it, or should have done it.  Then when you get out you have something new to try!!  Well, sort of.  It is rarely spoken (ironically), but it is the very act(s) that landed them there that they talk about most.  So, if it didn’t work for them, why do you think it would work for you??  Hmmm…

But logic is all but lost on the majority of the incarcerated (and too many of those in charge).  The entire system is rigged against them, often for little more cause than having been born/raised in an impoverished state, and has become so effective at keeping them there, that many of them are convinced that there is either no way out, or no better way!!  Seriously!!

The average education level in prison is 5th grade!!  That’s an average, which means that everyone with a 6th grade education or greater (about 1% of the prison population has a 12th grade or higher level of education), are actually raising the average to that level!!  The problem is systemic!  The entire system from the bottom up, and top down needs fixing, and public opinion right along with it!

Once more I digress, but it actually adds some context for you.  I have had a “13+” level of education for… more than half my life at this point.  So “relating” to the “General Population” was, for me, difficult to the extreme.  Ethically and Morally, as well as “educationally”.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying that all or even a majority of the uneducated are morally bankrupt, or “bad”, but what I am saying is that lack of education is one of the most serious problems in the United States, and it’s only getting worse, and the repercussions more numerous.  Poverty is the next most serious problem here in the U.S., and it too is only getting worse, and the -negative- repercussions more numerous.

Therein lies the heart of the problem.  The (majority of the…) wealthy don’t care.  The prison industrial complex is one of the biggest cash cows on the market, and everyone at the top is getting the biggest piece(s) of that shepherd’s pie!

Again with my digression(s)…

The horrors I witnessed are things that the “average” law abiding citizen only sees on t.v., and each one drove me a little deeper into my shell.  Had to!  No “sane” person can take such an abundance of illegality and violence, and not crack, one way or the other.  And by-and-large, the majority succumb.  Even some of the most God-fearing, religious, spiritual people I knew “in there”, had either participated in and/or supported it at some point or another.

Scripture(s) and books, primarily, were my salvation.  Scripture reading helped to deepen a Faith that had already been given a mega-boost during my Journey, and “regular” reading kept my mind busy on all things non-religion related.  Although, I could argue that religion is related to all things, I won’t… not here anyway.

My Faith, above all else, was my saving grace.  While I was in County Jail, and then at reception (D.V.I., Tracy), I had no source other than my own studies (possible by the fervent efforts of the -then- Bishop of the Davis 1st Ward [Thank you again, Travis!  All that you did meant, and means the world to me!!]), and this was invaluable to me!  I spent much of my time reading, rereading, pondering, and Praying about what I’d read.  I came to know the Book of Mormon better than ever before, and it Inspired me to continue to push through, regardless of what happened.

Once I got to Avenal, I was able to (re)establish services there, but for the duration of my time there (a little more than 5 months), I was the only attendee (I had met a couple of members on “my” yard, but they were usually busy doing other things… like working out).  This was fine by me, as I was able to get “alone” time I hadn’t had in more than 2 years, and study the scriptures in relative peace and quiet!

Upon my arrival at San Quentin however, I  had a community of people, fellow members, and outside volunteers, who truly enriched not only my study, but my Life, and they are a continuing and active part in my Life now (Thank you!  You know who you are!)

Reading “fun” books (not for school or religion) was my other go-to sanity saver, a good way for me to escape the world around me.  Many authors’ worlds consumed my attention, among them J.D. ROBB, Jim BUTCHER, Patrick ROTHFUSS, Brandon SANDERSON, LIU Cixin.  These author’s worlds transported me away from it all, and enabled me to be where I wanted to be… anywhere but there.

Despite it all, and by the Grace of God, the lions were kept at bay, and the only thing left of that time for me is the fading memory, the few Good people I want to keep in touch with, and the mental (social) issues that arose from (almost) 7 years of incarceration.

 

And now I’m on the outside.  My Life (and rightly so) will never be the same.  One cannot come from so long a stay in such an institution and remain the same, unless they have no desire to change.  And though I’d already had an appreciation for Life, for “liberty”, for ALL the beauty that surrounds us, it is exponentially more so now!  When forced to witness such ugliness, and having no other options for your time and attention, the yearning to make a difference, to show the world that a rose CAN grow amid a world of concrete, asphalt, and concertina wire!

I don’t know how well I’ve told this chapter of my Life.  I have plenty of room for improvement… as a writer I will always seek to improve.  To be more, to do more, to Live and to share that Living with more!  In some regards, the last ten years have been a blur.  In others, especially during that time of incarceration, it is/was the longest of my Life.  And I am Grateful. And humbled to the extreme.  That I sit now, on “the other side”, typing/writing this to you all, to say, I am here!  I am alive, and I Love all of my 7 + billion brothers and sisters, whether we see eye to eye or not!  And if not, let’s talk.  Let’s discover what it is about our differences that may cause conflict, and avoid that conflict, for our differences are what make us individuals.  And it is our individuality that unites us all, all seven billion of us, for it is what makes us human!  It is the single factor that does not change, but, that if appreciated, and not scorned, can help us all to grow in the midst of concrete, into the blossoming flowers we were all intended to be!  For we are more similar than not, we all have the same three basic needs; Love, Food, Shelter.  And in that order!  We all want Peace, and the freedom to live out our lives in harmony with our Loved ones, our kin, our Friends.

Adversity is but a teacher, and if we so choose to learn from it, instead of fighting against it, we can all appreciate the ease a little more when it comes.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 29October2018

Interruptions…

Hello world!  I know there’s been a long pause already in my multi-part Blog (“My Crazy Life…” Parts I, II, and III respectively, so far), and a huge gap in time since my last post (for which I apologize), but I’m a Wordsmith, and as such, I gotta get what’s in my head out, or it hurts!  LOL  The irony is that this too is variable, as with “My Crazy Life…”, which, remains a niggle in the back of my mind, but is not (yet) screaming for release.  It’s the screamers that you have to take care of right away, or everything else just gets jumbled, which can lead to a plethora of other issues.  In “Real Life” as well as in your (my) writing!  LOL

So here is what’s screaming at me now…  As “fate” would have it, it’s not completely unrelated to “My Crazy Life…”, so hang on to your gents, your ladies, your hats, it may get turbulent ahead…

It is astounding to me, that we (as a society) have developed (not just created, but developed, over several hundred years) a system that says publicly, openly, and often, its goal/priority is to correct, rehabilitate, “fix” even, those members of said society that act criminally, with full public support!  And yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only is that not their goal/priority, but in fact they do/practice just the opposite.  The entire system is set up to demoralize, humiliate, ostracize, and increase the number of recidivists for a maximum of profit.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in whole or in part before, but I say it now because of “the system’s” effect on me, one who doesn’t fit in to their neat little (or large) classification(s) of criminals they have.  Who, because of my “unique” situation/self/mentality, was able to take in what I saw, and instead of becoming yet another categorical example for them to neatly file under “This is why we must do what we do, and continue doing it!”, I now cringe at just how unjust it really is/has become!  I reel at the thought that, they, unbeknownst to me until now (“now” being relative to the time since my release), were able to so completely brain wash me I am struggling to reintegrate into the society I left being whole.

And it of course does not help that society itself has its own set of stigmata for “convicted felons”, regardless of whether or not you “rehabilitated” or not.  Once so labeled, nearly everything becomes more difficult!  Getting a job, a car and/or loan, a house/apartment… anything that has or requires in its path to acquisition a background check.

I am now damaged goods.  Not at all who or where I want to be in Life, with bigger obstacles in my way now than there were when I was simply homeless.

Please don’t mistake my stating of the situation as a sign of an ill-mood, or one of shame or regret.  It is not!  As I so often like to say/point out, I am, have been, and continue to be so very very Blessed!  The reality of my situation is not (for me) a detractor from my demeanor, but something I’ve observed (am observing) of the challenge(s) that I now face in attempting to again be the me I have so long wanted to become.

And these external influences in lieu of an inaccurate labeling is frustrating, to say the least.

Let me also make the detraction that, I stand in my own way as well.  Old habits (such as procrastination) linger on, and when the task ahead looms so daunting, it’s all too easy to want to put it off.

Enough with the digression.  I was being pissed at the system…  LOL

It’s bad enough being stuck in a “box” of a space physically, but even worse when it is discovered that box encompasses the mind!  And this is something “the powers that be” don’t even consider.  They do nothing but the minimum to care for the body, they certainly aren’t going to delve into the costly arena of ensuring ones mental health (so long as it’s not negatively impacting them or others…)!  It is but by the grace of God that I have maintained the faculties of mind I do have…  I shutter to think where I might be, mentally and physically were it otherwise.

But just being aware of the problem by no means fixes it.  I still must get up each day, deal with the situation I’ve been given, and attempt to make progress towards my goals.  Making the time to do it all is my biggest issue.  Routines I’d developed over the course of 36 years of Life have been all but completely removed from my psyche by (almost) 7 years of incarceration.  Now there is just a memory that I once had been able to task myself efficiently enough to survive in the “real world”, and compare it to my “now”, where it seems more of a challenge than it’s ever been.  Where before I could manage my distractions, now they impose themselves upon me as traffic signals!  Red lights when you’re trying to progress, green when you need a break!

Yet, this is Life, is it not?  We all face the difficulties of trying to make time to do all we’d like, while dealing with the reality(ies) that keep us from it/them.  Perhaps I’m just more painfully aware of the constraints than I once was, as, after having been incarcerated for so long, I value my time so much more than I had before.  So much of the “rat race” seems a waste to me now… but those things I’d rather fill my time with are also farther, and further, away.

But there you have it.  A rant, about not much in particular, or everything, I suppose, from a different perspective.  I still feel stuck, but I know there’s a way out.  My mind dump is nearly complete for this installation, so be prepared for the continuation of “my Crazy Life…”, where I know I’ll be talking a bit more about the “me” I’ve observed in lieu of post “lock up”.

Until next time I write/type…

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Salàmu Àlaykum!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 29September2018

Intermission II

Good Morning and Good Day to thee all!  I will get back to “My Crazy Life…” soon, but I have a lot of considering to do in its authorship.  What exactly do I tell, and how, to convey both the Blessing(s) and the nightmare(s)??  It was a turbulent time in my head, though Spiritually I’d not before been stronger {… and I’d like to think that growth continues!  🙂 }!

But today I am simply sharing a few random thoughts, to let everyone know I’m still about, though the “what” portion has been fluctuating greatly.  LOL  I’ve been steadily working full time with NCCT for 8 or 9 weeks, and have actually found myself enjoying the job I have!  It feels good being able to help keep our Earth Mother clean, and assisting her in healthy growth, thinning out choking scrub trees and bushes.

Recently I had to take a couple of days off for Doctor’s appointments, where they informed me I have “Tennis elbow”.  It hurts when I use it, doesn’t when I don’t, but, it is my Right hand -and I’m Right handed-, and I live an active Life, so non-use is not an option, as taking off a couple of weeks to let it heal is not an option either… at least not a viable one.  I must be able to support myself, and no job for two weeks is the loss of a pay check, and we all know what society thinks of those who have no money/income!

I’ve been feeding my gaming addiction as of late too… I’m not so happy about that.  But it’s “fun”, and I can fill in the “downtime” gaps to an otherwise “monotonous” routine.  I like routine, but not monotony (if that makes any sense at all)!

As I prepare mentally for my upcoming bicycle ride to the Temple here in Sac (I’m baby-sitting young ones while their parents perform Ordinances), I reflect on all that Truly matters to me…  and what doesn’t.  Life, first and foremost, and the host of things that go with that, primarily Love!  For we can get by with out much, if we have but that single ingredient!

I miss you all, and if I haven’t met you yet, perhaps some day soon we shall (…it would be pretty amazing to meet someone who’s read my blog, that I didn’t know!  LOL)!

Blesséd be my Friends!

 

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Alàmu Àlaykum!

 

~Elron

Posted by: Elron Mings | 21September2018

Good Morning!!

Well, somebody had to say it!  LOL  You can’t see me, you’re reading this!  So it is important that I describe to you all that is going on around me, that you may understand.

Life.  Life is going on, all around me!  And I want so much to be a part of it!  But you won’t let me.  You keep the door(s) locked.  I can’t get in {“What if I’m (he’s) a “criminal”??}  Well, the cat’s out of the bag.  I am.

By “societies” standards, and definition.  In truth, I’m not.  I try, every day to be the Best me I can be, every day.

By “Best”, I mean, non-violent, Peace Loving, Love wanting, me that I can be.  I don’t condone violence, of ANY SORT, but I continue to be subjected to it, literally and figuratively.

My Name is Elron!  What’s your name?  How are you??  Simple greetings, to be shared or ignored as you please.  I have only my words, all else has left me.!

And so I return.  Again and again!  Gladly, for YOU!  Will you have me?

If so, I’ve made the means and the ways for you to contact me when you Wish, available on as many “sharing” “medias” as I’m willing to tolerate.  To be honest, I grow tired of all the technology, the data, it’s all so superfluous!  What MATTERS, IS LIFE!!!!  And the Living of it.

And the people you know, that you invite into your space, matters.  What you do with them, how you do it, Why you do it!

If I’ve confused you, please start from the top, and read it again.  Everything else, is so much fluff!!

I could sit here typing to/at/for you all about what I’ve gone through in this Life, or others, but I do not wish to spend every waking moment typing, or reading, though I enjoy both!  And yet, how else do we share?  I’d rather be Living, alive, feeling, experiencing, all that Life has to offer.  For it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, just so long as you are harming none in doing so.  That includes YOURSELF!

The TRUTH is out there, in every language.  And if that’s what you’re lookin’ for, you’ve found It!  If not, look else where.  I’ll tire eventually of repeating it, but I’ll say it again, perhaps with more words, so you can more easily Understand.

I Love you ALL, that I’ll NEVER tire of saying, to you as an individual, or as a Group.  For THAT is what matters, nothing more, nothing less.  If You’d like to Hear more, feel free to ask (in “person”, in RL preferably), but I’ll respond digitally if you want [you can’t like it or Love it, it’s not “alive”!]!

Aloha!  Namaste!  As-Alámu Álaykum!

~Me~  {~Elron~}

Posted by: Elron Mings | 14September2018

Intermission

I’m going to interrupt the regularly scheduled continuation of “My Crazy Life…“, to tell you all of the last week (well, technically the last 6 days), as, it has certainly altered my perceptions, and to some extent, my reality.

Last Saturday (08SEP2018), I had decided I would ride my bicycle to Sac.  It’s a nice ride, and one I haven’t done in quite some time.  And too, I wanted to test my slowly rebuilding strength as, as many of you are aware, I hadn’t been as physically active the last -nearly- 7 years.

It began that Morning, and was actually going really well!  I wasn’t experiencing any of the fatigue I’d been expecting, and got to West Sac. in just under an hour (between 45-54 minutes, I wasn’t using a stop watch).  I was feeling pretty good about the trip!

I stopped at the Arco for some Glaceau Vitamin Water (a refreshing source of electrolytes… I think), and a couple of bananas.  Quaffed and eaten, I went to carry on to Sac, just a few minutes away from where the I-80 bypass bike trail ends.

I waited a minute or so for traffic, until a nice woman driver of a truck stopped to let me cross.  I checked traffic once more, and started across… no sooner had I passed the woman in her truck, when another woman in her Mini-Cooper took out the front tire of my bicycle!

I am fine, I suffered only a little shock, an equivalent to a “rug-burn” just above my left elbow where I rolled across her right-front quarter panel, and a couple of bruises just above the knee on either leg.  My bike however, roles no more.

Even there, the damage was “minimal”, though total, and I had to wheelie the bike to the curb where she followed, on the opposite side of the street.

I ended up back in Sac later that afternoon (this occurred around 1145), not deterred from the endeavor to which I’d set out on that morning.  And it was while sitting in Capitol Park that I had the time, and the “quiet”, to really think about my Life, its directions, where I am and where I want to be.  You know, the light stuff…  LOL

And I decided that I was taking too much of my present “situation” too seriously.  I’d really been “down” about it as of late.  Not that it was actually bothering me, but it had become an irritant, like the fly that keeps doing circles around your head, no matter how oft you swat at it.  Not so much that you’ll get up and grab the fly-swatter, but enough to be annoying, and keep you from really focusing on your work!  (Similarly to how the flies are beginning to annoy me now as I sit in my Friend’s back yard, typing this…)

If I had started out a fraction of a second earlier, it would have been me that got mangled up, and not the front part of my bicycle.  A FRACTION.  Not an entire second, but an infinitesimal portion of a second.  Such (if you’ll excuse the extremity of the word…) brutal, “in-your-face” reminders of our temporary status in this existence, can (and will) really make you aware of how precious, how fleeting, how fragile these Lives we live are, and cause -at least for me- a deeper appreciation of Divinity and Their presence in our Lives!  No matter where you are at in your Life, such things will indelibly alter your perception(s), and cause any sentient being to evaluate her/his position(s)/stance(s) on the Lives we are presently engaged in!

And so I did.  And I realized that regardless of how much appreciation I had for the “freedom” I’d re-aqcuired, I was being ungrateful for and towards those who were (are) allowing me to stay in their facility, because of pride.  Because things weren’t as I wanted them to be, and they weren’t willing to let me have it just as I wanted it.  I’d been acting like a spoiled rotten brat.

I had (have) been spoiled, by my ideals, by the minute experience of a past Life, in which I was in charge, and didn’t have to abide by rules someone else had set (for my benefit, whether I agree(d) or not), nor to answer to if I failed to comply.  (I am of course referring to “my” Life before incarceration.)

And so, I decided it was time for (yet another/more) change in my behavior.  It matters not what I want, but what I have, and what I’m willing to do with it.  If we do not make the most of the opportunities we are given, we might well lose them.

And that was/is the (greater portion) of what has been on my mind this week.  Gratitude.  Gratitude for what I have, and for those providing me with it.  And to them I say, “Thank you!”, and “Namaste!”

And to all of you, I say “Thank you!”, for having a part in my Life, for allowing me to share in the moments that make up this reality, and for hanging with me, despite my stubborn and relentless desire to be right, instead of simply doing right!

Namaste!

Posted by: Elron Mings | 5September2018

My Crazy Life… Or, the Last Decade Thereof [Part III]

Part III is not that exciting… it can’t be.  It’s of the loneliest and darkest part of my Life.  Not because of my own personal feeling(s) per se regarding the time/situation, but more so because of my surroundings.  There hadn’t been a time in my Life where I identified so much with “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” as while I was incarcerated.  Though some of the greatest Blessings I received were being able to avoid the darkest of men’s hearts during this time, I was constantly aware that my situation could have gone from bad to worse in a moment’s time, without warning.  There is little happiness behind those concertina wire lined fences, concrete walls and asphalt.  And one who is perpetually happy with the fact of being alive could have made a very easy target.

This part in particular is more of an overview of my activity(ies), while the next will be more of the emotion(s), the events, the personal trauma(s), and so one.  Brace yourselves, the ride’s going to be bumpy!  LOL

Ready to go down ‘the Rabbit Hole’??

—-

 

Herein is where Life takes a turn I did not see coming.  For several months at this point, I had been befriending a guy not far from where I’d been camping, a long-time Friend of the guy whom I’d shared a room and being “kicked out” together.

To spare the legalities, we’ll call the former roommate/Friend Bob, and the one I was getting to know Joe (The “facts” are a matter of public record, but to avoid unnecessary problems and potential grief, pseudo-names suffice).

Bob was spending much of his free time at Joe’s, and Joe would occasionally invite me over (through Bob) to spend the day/afternoon.  We seemed to be hitting it off!  In fact, Joe and I had much in common (or so I perceived it to be… in hindsight, I’m not sure how much, if any of our “relationship” was real), and were quite like minded in serious philosophical/metaphysical matters.  Our Friendship (again, from my perspective) grew rapidly, and I came to respect him for his knowledge, insight, and Life experience(s).

Joe was deathly ill.  Every day, the pain he suffered got worse.  He required more and more assistance in taking care of “simple” things, like getting off the bed, getting in to/out of his chair.  He felt he had no quality of Life, and even that was diminishing.

One evening, I was at Joe’s apartment, preparing to write his biography.  We’d agreed he had an amazing story to tell, and, being the “up-and-coming” wordsmith, he was happy to let me write it.  We had only just begun, and he -quite literally- out of the blue, asked me to help him end his suffering.  I was in shock, and “the world” blurred around us.  In my numbness at what he’d asked, I attempted to comply.

 

I paid the price for (what I consider(ed) to be an act of compassion) it.  6 years, 9 months, and 11 days of imprisonment.  It does not make sense to me (as a sentient, empathetic human-being) that we can show such mercy to a horse who broke its leg, or our dogs and cats, and other farm animals, for great deal less suffering on their behalf.  But when a fellow human-being is suffering unfathomably, and begs for mercy, the law says we must not only allow them to continue to suffer, but prolong their suffering as long as pharmaceutical and insurance companies and doctors stand to make a profit!!

That time was a living hell for me.  I have no doubt some will think it just.  I reserve my opinion on what it was for another blog…

Yet while for me personally it was hell, having next to nothing in common with those around me, little to add to their dialogue(s) of belittling and degrading women, I continued to be Blessed daily!

Every aspect of that time could have been worse, but wasn’t.  I was provided opportunities I would not have had on the streets, opportunities that in “real Life” had eluded me for one reason or another.  Such as learning HTML/CSS and JavaScript, in a program called Code.7370, a joint venture between PIA and TLM (Prison Industrial Authority and The Last Mile, respectively)!  It’s a fantastic program, that’s really starting to take off, and become available at more facilities, teaching inmates real and marketable career skills that can improve their odds of, if not guarantee, they do not remain caught up in the cyclic lifestyles that ushered them in to the prison industrial complex.

While at San Quentin I also participated in the Insight Garden Program, another wonderful program, designed to teach gardening as a metaphor, as a method of self-improvement as well as a “real world” skill set, which also has a high success rate of preventing recidivism!

Of the programs I attended, one of the best (they were all good, and I very much liked them all) was attending Patten University via P.U.P. (Prison University Project)!  What made (makes) this program -offered at present, solely at San Quentin- so great, was the learning environment.  98 percent of those attending (a guesstimate, so please don’t quote me) actually wanted to learn, and the instructors were all volunteers from surrounding/nearby Universities!  On top of this, there was a minimum of 2 instructors per course, so you had a classroom (capped at 25 students) of people who wanted to learn, teachers, who by the very nature of the fact they were volunteering were passionate about education/learning, and you have an environment unlike any other for the betterment and enrichment of your Life through higher education!  It was (is) phenomenal!

Then there was Yoga!  Offered through what’s called the Prison Yoga Project, this program offers inmates and inmates who are Vet’s a time and place to practice the Art of Yoga!  When I first arrived at S. Q., I was able to do both the Veterans Healing Veterans Yoga as well as the Hatha Yoga down in/on the H-unit yard, which was awesome (Once I got a job though I could only attend the latter, as the VHV Yoga was [is] in the mornings… so only for about the first 6 months)!  The primary instructor down on the H-Unit yard was Zain SYED, and with him we practiced the Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga, and it was (is), a fantastic practice!  I still prefer this style, though I’ve not yet found a local guru such as Zain with whom I may continue my own practice.  I’m still working on making the time also…

Last but certainly not least, was my Creative Writing class Finding Your Voice on the Page, by authors Keith and Kent Zimmerman.  Twins, and successful co-authors of more than 20 books (and counting), they brought to us an outlet that I was much in need of, a place where I could write, and express myself, even if only in short bursts of written text.  Shortly before I arrived at S.Q., they actually published a book titled H-Unit, a compilation of pieces written by the students of the class.

These programs (during the last 4 years [approximately] of my incarceration) helped me to maintain my sanity.  The “me” I couldn’t be when in the dorm, surrounded by upwards of 80 other guys, was able to come out and stretch for brief moments of those longest years, months, and days of my Life.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 25August2018

My Crazy Life… Or, the Last Decade Thereof [Part II]

Here is the second part of this essay.  It looks like it’ll be about 4 parts… or maybe the next will be a little longer, depending on how I summarize/explain certain items.  we will see.

I’ve found myself working a job in/with nature in a way I hadn’t previously anticipated, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.  I’m working with (not for) CalTrans, cleaning up the roadways/highways/bi-ways in the surrounding areas of Yolo and Sacramento County(ies) and it feels good to be back in the work force.

But my “time” allocation/management is all messed up, so please forgive any great lags in my posting.  It is not for lack of content, but for lack of adjustment to this thing we call the “real world”, and the numerous pulls for my time/attention.  It really shouldn’t be this difficult, but, apparently, it is a common affliction of the formerly incarcerated.  So please bear with me!?  I’m still working on me, and eventually I’ll have something that resembles “acceptable”, I hope.  LOL

Keep the Faith, and know there’s yet more to come, should I (we) continue to be Blessed with additional days to our fragile and under-lived Lives!  😉

—-

I’d found a shelter to stay at in Woodland (formerly known as the Wayfarer), CA (I should say, I was Directed to…) the day I arrived, and there found hospitality, and a few new Friendships that remain to this day (Thank you Caleb, Steve, Rosie, Fritz)!  True Friendships.  Approximately 4 months later, after my allowed time at the Wayfarer had expired, I moved on to Davis, CA, and Davis Community Meals became my new place of residence.  More good people, more assistance getting me to where I thought I needed to be, to get my Life on the long overdue track I’d always wanted it to be on!

For the last 2 ½ years, I’d been steadily looking for full time employment, often putting in 40 hrs. plus in the search thereof.  As previously mentioned, the “bad economy” had become my shadow.  During those latter months of my time in Illinois, it had the highest unemployment rate in the U.S.  Then, while in New Mexico, it had the highest unemployment rate in the states.  Now (circa February/March, 2011), California had the highest unemployment rate.  All I wanted was a full time job, with -acceptable, not even necessarily good– benefits, so I didn’t have to worry about my health, and to get some much needed dental insurance, something that low income/poverty level finances cannot afford without.

And I finally found it!  Where I least expected it, and in a field of work I’d not been in before, I found myself now as a full time employee of the Davis Food Co-Op!  Perhaps the best job I’ve ever had, not because of the pay, but because of the people, the environment, the message(s) which it represents, and good benefits!  All things I believe(d) in, all things I’d supported in spirit, if not literally, I was now an active part of!  With insurance!!

As they say (though I don’t wholly believe), all good things come to an end.  I had been working for the Co-Op a little more than 4 months, and had literally just got my medical/dental insurance cards in the mail.  I’d received them on Thursday or Friday, and was working, and then Saturday when I showed up for work, they told me they didn’t need me to work that day, but asked me to come in on Monday (one of my days off) to talk to management.

No explanation, just, “…come in Monday afternoon and we’ll explain it to you then.”  I had the entire weekend to fret, to wonder, not knowing what was going on or why.

They were laying me off.  I found out shortly after my “meeting” with HR, from a fellow co-worker (I hadn’t even got out of the parking lot) that I wasn’t the only one; they’d laid her off as well, about ten of us in all.  Each of us working full-time hours, and replaced us with several “college kids” as part-time employees.

And here is where my “Life” started to unravel.  {Timeline note: it was now towards the end of July, beginning of August, 2011.}

I didn’t “go crazy”, or “lose it”, I had come too far along the path of a Positive perspective on Life.  I knew (and know still) that all things happen for a Reason, and though my “situation” seemed precarious, I remained optimistic, if not disappointed.

However, my “case manager” didn’t share my optimism.  I still don’t know for sure what his reasoning/thinking was about my having been laid-off… if he thought I was covering up a termination or something, I just don’t know.  But that Wednesday, when I met with him for our weekly “check-in”, he dismissed me from the house.  He too provided no explanation (quite similarly to the way I’d been laid-off from the Co-Op), said only that it wasn’t any one thing, but “…a bunch of little things”, but that I’d be welcome to try and come back to DCM, to try for residency again in a month.

I was crushed.  Not only had I lost the first full-time job I’d had in 2 ½ years, for the fact that I was working full-time, but the only stable residence in town I could afford (free), where I’d planned to launch my career as a writer.

Jobless again, -literally- homeless again, I took what few possessions I could and with a roommate (who also “got the boot” from DCM that same morning) lugged it all down the road a bit, to a spot beside the railroad tracks where we would make a “camp” for ourselves.  All was not lost, I still had my laptop (the very one I am now writing/typing upon), a Positive outlook on Life, and a strong desire, a will to succeed!  I had been on the “down-side of Life” (as a perspective) for far too much of my Life already, and I was tired of failure(s) being the end result.

To be continued…

Posted by: Elron Mings | 17August2018

My Crazy Life… Or, the Last Decade Thereof [Part I]

person wearing blue jeans sitting on bench

Photo by Bas Masseus on Pexels.com

 

There is something to losing all your worldly possessions… it brings (or can bring) a level of humility unique, in that it causes an awareness of just how temporary material possessions are, and if you reflect on it a bit, Life, similarly.

My “ex” and I separated in September of 2008, and the only possession of “value” that I got was the car.  She kept the dog, the house (note: I didn’t say home), all but 8 books of our Library of 100s, and a few clothes I was able to swap/change/wash on the weekends, supervised (more or less).  Immediately following my departure from where she lived, two or our “mutual” Friends moved in with her, and the very night I left, there was another man sleeping in “my” bed.

I was vainly attempting to be a salesman, and failing miserably.  I was selling (what I believe to be, and with good reason) the best product in the world, and am Blessed that my Life didn’t depend upon it, or I’d not be here today.  My monetary status did depend on it however, and regardless of 12-16 hour days in the attempt thereof, I couldn’t sell “them” at all.  If memory serves, over the course of the next 7 months, I sold a total of eight, and the profit I gained from that was not enough to survive on.

Through the kindness and generosity of my Boss, the owner of the franchise, I was able to get gas money usually by being a driver for a crew, and a few odd-ends jobs.  I lived on a dollar a day diet, usually Taco Bell’s dollar menu.  Occasionally I’d splurge and get a “Blue” Mt. Dew on refill, but it was usually too late for that, the dining room was closed (…the other reason it was usually Taco Bell, they were the only ones in proximity to where I worked and the location of where I parked the car and slept, and still open).  Those long hours were 6 days a week sometimes, 7 days a week mostly, and despite my passion about/for the product, it wasn’t selling.  At least not for me.

To be fair, the economy had tanked, and at that time Illinois had the worst unemployment rate in the nation (this is a key note…), so it wasn’t just me, though it felt like it at times.  Bottom line, I’m no salesman.  LOL

So, towards the end of those first 7 months, I was having a conversation with my brother, and my living situation came up.  He, at the time, was still in the Air Force, stationed in Albuquerque, and I, if not sleeping in my car, was “living” (existing, really) out of it, staying on a temporary basis with various Friends.  To them (they know who they are), I again wish to express my gratitude!  If not for them, my situation would have/could have been much worse.  They tolerated my presence (in most cases) more than many would, and I consider every night of their grace a Blessing!

He (Walter, “Walt” for short) was at some point in the conversation Inspired to invite me to come stay with him (and at the time, his wife, and our Mom) rent free, and even offered to wire me some money for the trip.  I considered my options (few), and my situation (bleak, at best), and humbly accepted the offer.  A few days later, I made the 18 hour drive, stopping only once for a couple hours -literally- of rest.

And so marked a major turning point in my Life.  I was out of the state where my “ex” lived, freed from the pull of what had become (for me) a “black hole”.  I said adieu to the Friends I still had (and would like to think I still do have… I remain in touch with most of them), and drove off into the proverbial sunset.

Here is where my Life would take a drastic turn, and set me upon a path I continue today.  A journey of a thousand miles was but the first step…  The growth, primarily Spiritual in nature (but not solely) has been monumental, but costly.  And, if I’m honest about it, worth it.  In spite of the challenges, the losses, the Spiritual and mental growths have magnified exponentially!  I’ve always considered myself to be a “man” of Faith, but the Faith which I gained during that Journey made it seem as though I’d had none before!  So great were the Blessings during that 75 day trek, and the quantity and richness of the Blessings received have only increased since then!

And yes, I include the last 7 years (minus a couple months and change) of incarceration in that statement as well!  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Here is where (when) I walked from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Woodland, California.  Here is where I suffered the greatest lost I’ve ever known.  Before the walk actually began, a year before in fact, I had attempted (only briefly) the Journey of a thousand miles, and knew within hours my effort(s) at that time would be futile, and quite likely fatal.  I was ill prepared, and lacked the fortitude (mentally as well as physically, though it would be a few more months before I was aware of the mental “issues” from which I still suffered…) necessary to survive the journey, and the mental strength to fully “be me” in the desired/expected relationship(s).

I had a lot of baggage still, left over from the separation, shadows of me I didn’t yet know needed to be excised.  Bad habits and ideas that I knew didn’t belong in my repertoire, but hung around after 13 + years of not great marriage.  And thusly, upon my first “attempt” at my journey (for context, JUL2009), though I got there, it was not under the pretext it should have been (completing the Journey of a Thousand Miles), and though I had the three best months of my Life, it was just that… short lived, and it did not at all become what was (had been) intended to be.  After the miscarriage of our twins, what threads had bound us together seemed now to be frayed and withered away.

The following year, in the same month, I began the Journey in earnest!  It was, and remains to be a major highlight in my Life, one of the most significant events, and stories I have to tell!  At that moment in my Life, I had nearly nothing.  Most of what I considered “my” possessions, remained in Illinois.  The anticipated divorce was finalized 3 days after my Journey began (the “beginning” of the journey was 20JUL2010, I received notification of the finalized divorce 23JUL2010), and what I had in my 80 litre pack was the majority of what was now “legally” mine.  Many many pairs of socks, a small variety of shirts/cargo-shorts, 4 three-litre CamelBak®’s for my water supply, which (if rationed properly) would (and did) give me 4 days worth of water (the greatest distance between locations where I could refill them), about 60% of my food supply(ies) (Clif Bars®), a tent, a sleeping bag, and the will to succeed.

Though it began as a journey for Love, it ended up becoming a journey of Love!  I had just about given up on people, on Life (not in a suicidal manner), on relationships.  The drive to be, to remain a “man of my word” however pushed me forward, and over the course of those 75 days, Miraculously, if I had spoken with anyone, they were the kindest, most sincere people one could ever Hope/Pray to meet, and I met them randomly, spread across 3 states and 1200+ miles.

And so I changed.  I grew.  Spiritually above all else, mentally through experience, and now I found I had a more clear vision of Life, of Love, of who I was, and wanted to be.  Of where I saw my Life going, and I began to enjoy more fully the freedom my homelessness now presented.  My heart still ached.  It still does.  But it no longer consumed(s) me.  My loneliness is more a point of reference, rather than an all-consuming tragedy.  Life, when Lived, provides a myriad of countless, beautiful points of Light, from within, from without, under hill and over dale, it bursts from and through every point of reference!  Expression becomes difficult, if not impossible, for there is so much to be shared!  I was seeing it now, every day, around every corner, through amazing people, and amazing circumstances.  Materiality was fading away, and Spirituality and the Love of and for Life was growing immeasurably!

To be continued…

Posted by: Elron Mings | 12August2018

Precious Moments: Share A Long Hug!

I seem to be posting a lot on this subject lately, but it’s something that continues to be on my mind, and thus the only way I know of to get it out, is to write about it…

There are so many moments in each and every second, and those moments are what matter most in the make up of our being.  They not only define us, but they are what we remember, what triggers our emotions, what drives us to action.  And it’s the “small” things, those fractions of measured time that have the greatest impact on our lives, that inevitably mean the most to us, for Good or ill.

Yet we’ve become so caught up in the day-to-day routine, the digital connection, that we’re missing what’s most important, the “RL” connection(s).  Real Life.  Where those precious moments are not just experienced, but shared!

Life is fragile, and quick, and we don’t have the time to waste forgoing the meaningful, quality time that leads to deeply personal, intimate relationships.  Whether forming Friendships, connecting with Family, or creating a bond with a potential partner for Life, these things take time.  They take effort.  And social media sights are not about building those relationships, they’re about the instant gratification.  Their results are short term, and shallow in comparison.  Yet we’re turning to them more and more for that very reason!  “We don’t have the time to invest!”, “It’s safer, and we’re less likely to suffer heartbreak.”  These excuses sound good, but they are the root of the problem, and in the end, just an excuse, one that will leave us feeling hollow, and terribly alone.

If we don’t take the time to form the bonds of Friendship, that lead to the more meaningful “levels” of True Love (if you’ve read my blog, you know I’m referring to Charity), which can be shared with Friends, Family, and Loved Ones, then we miss out on those bonds that are most likely to keep us alive!  It takes time.  Any thing of value does.  Any thing worth our time, is worth the effort that must be included.  Otherwise we are short changing ourselves, and denying ourselves the opportunity(ies) to experience the greatest moments of our Lives!

There is NO replacement for “face-to-face” time, and NO comparison to the quality of relationship that stems from a serious investment of that time!  Sure, the “instant gratification” method produces those “free” endorphins of stimulation, but they also create a dependency that detracts from our ability to experience that same “rush” in RL situations.  And too, a trend has taken shape towards the digital because we’re less vulnerable…  Perhaps, but at what cost?  We are none of us “safe” in this world, and we are not promised -at least not us typical mortals- the next day, or even the next moment!  We have but a Hope…  we have but this one moment to live, this one Life’s worth of memories to build upon (again, typically), and if we don’t maximize our efforts for building relationships, we are denying ourselves many (if not most) of the greatest of successes in Life!  To hear, and to be heard, to feel, and to be felt, to see, and to be seen.

There is a bonding hormone and neurotransmitter (oxytocin) that is released after a twenty second hug, and it’s a natural antidepressant (…among other things)!  I’ve been a “huggy” kind of guy most of my Life, and I don’t often invest that much time in a hug… what are missing out on???  And why???  I can think of nothing more valuable, nor worthwhile, than Family and Friends!  Don’t we owe it to each other to be “present” enough in our relationships to give more 20 second hugs????  I know I plan on giving more of them, and maybe I’ll get a few in return (…be sure the person is willing, of course)!

Life is too short.  It is fragile, and fleeting.  We do ourselves no favors by shortchanging the time we spend with those we care about, or are interested in spending time with, perhaps leading to a deeper more caring relationship with them.  We are in fact doing ourselves a great disservice.  We are denying ourselves, and others, the opportunity(ies) to develop fundamental and core relationships, that can not only improve our quality of Life, but the length thereof as well!  And who doesn’t want that?

The rest of the “civilized” (…okay, the 1%) world seems to be on the fast-track to destroying the only home planet we have, and all of the Life thereon as quickly as they’re able.  Let us not give in by shortening our own lives for them, they’re trying hard enough.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 5August2018

A Writer’s Frustration(s)…

Hello world! It may seem to you (the reader) as though it’s been a long time (several days) since last I posted, but in reality (at least in my reality), I actually DID make a post 3 nights ago…mornings. Anyway, as it was about to complete, two things occurred… My battery died, and I lost the internet connection! Nearly simultaneously, and to the effect that, though the site “completed” the post enough to remove all drafts, it didn’t ever make it to the “posted” realm! Grrrr!
So here we are, I more frustrated than if I hadn’t written at all (Yes, many of us writers/wordsmiths actually get anxious if we haven’t written in awhile… or go a little insane… or a lot, depending), and you poor reader(s) haven’t had anything from me in nearly a week. The battery is my fault, the ether problem… well, anyway.
Sadly, I’ve had a lot going on this week, and I only recall vaguely what it was about… I recall that I’d made reference to Sherry TURKLE, and her book Alone Together.
Which means I was saying something about how vital our ability to relate is, and how we are becoming entirely too consumed by our gadgets/devices.
You cannot get from an emoji the level of detail the brain processes while physically, personally communicating with someone, to include facial expressions, body language, tonal qualities and inflection(s), all the little nuances that make up our day-to-day, face-to-face interactions, and make them so rich, so animated, and so meaningful!!
I was referencing (among other things) the time spent with “J” and “C”, and how much that “physical”, personal time meant, and how much more that time means/meant than a thousand “likes” on a social media platform!
There is nothing more important, no gift more precious, than Life! And how Beautiful the gesture, of being invited to share even brief moments of “time”, making them allthemore purposeful, special, and memorable in the process!
A Life shared is one full of Joy, and a Life in seclusion one full of misery. All of the worlds most miserable people are alone, and the ones filled with Joy, surrounded by Friends, Family, and precious moments shared with them and Loved Ones.
It’s not hard, it’s not meant to be. But we continue to complicate our lives, fill the “time” with meaningless “fluff”, gadgetry and greed, and we’re missing the point of it all together! There are people half starving in much of the worlds ‘3rd world’ nations, and most of them are HAPPY compared to the majority of the “civilized” world, for the simple fact that they have each other!! They don’t expend their energy(ies) worrying about keeping up with the Jones’, or making the most of a “9 to 5”, They simply Live Life to the fullest, and spend more of it amongst Friends/Family/Loved Ones, while “we” spend most of our time worrying about paying bills, getting/having more, and maximizing the 2 out of 7 days a week we get off in order to remain “productive”.
Then you have those such as myself, who are working diligently (or trying to) at what we’re passionate about, hoping “…One day…” it’ll pay off, while in the meantime doing whatever we can to make ends meet, usually doing something we enjoy much less. Why must there be a trade off?? Isn’t the “American Dream” doing what one enjoys to the fullest, and being able to make a “living wage” while doing so? And if not, why not???
The quick, and most accurate answer is simple: greed. Capitalism. We’ve sacrificed the “American Dream” for comfort, for ease and laziness and glut. There’s more to it of course, but that’s a fair, short assessment, if we’re honest about it.
And we’re losing the very “cure” that we are all so desperately in need of… each other! Through our devices, and their apps, and the instant gratification that comes from a “like” or a “heart” or a “tweet”, feeding off the adrenaline rush of a quick response of approval, while forsaking the immeasurable benefits of the long term investments that produce relationships that last a lifetime.
And now I’ve got to go… I’ve much to do, and not a lot of “time” to accomplish it all in before an early bedtime so I can get up and begin my own “9 to 5” tomorrow.
Blesséd be all! Take the time to spend some time away from your devices and gadgets and games on the go, and enjoy the building of a foundation of a long-term relationship with Loved Ones, Family, and Friends! You’ll be stronger for it, more connected for it, and happier for it… in the long run.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 28July2018

A Room of One’s Own: Part II

Greetings world! Over the course of the last two days/nights, I have had the opportunity to enjoy a room of my own… kinda.
Once a month, the transitional house I am staying at allows us (its residents/clients) to take two nights out, in which we have total “freedom” from obligation, minus the expectant cup we must fill upon our return. A small (haha) price to pay for two nights out and about, and worth every moment!
My day(s) out began with me rushing around the “house” like a chicken with my head cut off, checking, re-checking, re-re-checking, and re-re-re-checking to make sure I had all I would want/need with me before I left. I then got on the bus, came to the motel where I’d be staying to check in (they were nice enough to let me check in early so I wouldn’t have to cart my “baggage” with me all over the place ’til later in the day!), and then getting back on the bus (same route, one hour later) to Sac.
There I met up with a wonderful young woman (whom we’ll call “J”) who my Friend Caleb had introduced me to about a week ago, to spend some time together in the city. She met me at the bus stop, and we walked back to her place of residence, where we spent the next hour deciding what we were going to do.
We started by going to one of J’s favorite thrift shops, where she gleefully showed me some of the more interesting pieces of glass-ware she so enjoys, when she got a call from a another Friend (whom we’ll call “C”) who was coming by to visit as well. So we walked back to her place, and met up with C.
From there, it didn’t take us long to decide to go to the river. It was getting hot, and it sounded like a “cool” place to go, and we even took J’s dog Buddy with us.
The three of us connected better and faster than a 5G network! It was amazing! To have so much in common philosophically is a rare, and tanfastic Blessing, one for which I am immensely Grateful! (Of course, Caleb and I have a very Spiritual connection as well, and so it didn’t surprise me that J and I found a similar connection, as Caleb is typically a great judge of character… he’s a natural at it!)
For me, the day was incredible! Such connections, and the ability/opportunity to do so is something I had been severely lacking during the 6 years, 9 months, and 11 days of my incarceration. A treasure for which no monetary amount could ever replace! In today’s fast pace world (as I am learning, and had suspected was becoming the case in my “absence”), we are so caught up in the digital stream that there seems to be less and less time for the quality of relationship building that can ONLY come from face-to-face interaction, being so readily replaced with the tweet, the “share”, the f-book update and like, ad nauseum.
And though I cannot say there wasn’t at least one moment when we all three had our devices out, they were limited, and we spent most of the time together sharing our thoughts/feelings on the minutiae of Life, and our reflections thereupon. It was truly wonderful!!
It is so refreshing, to meet young(er) minds, who though removed by a decade or so, have, hold, and share so many of the same values that are so uncommon in a society that is degradating the very core of relation(ship)s at every turn.
The day together came to a close with some card games back at J’s place, and then my time ran out, and I had to catch the last bus back to Davis and my hotel room.
“My” room. A room of one’s own. Sort of. Though I am in possession of it, it is not “mine”. I’m simply renting it for a couple of nights. But it is private, and quiet. I have not once so much as picked up the TV remote. It has remained off, its blaring advertisements locked safely behind a black screen that will not emit one nano-watt of energy while I reside herein (yes, I am saying light is energy…)! It has been very peaceful, and quite nice enjoying the sound of my own thoughts as opposed to the din of others constantly present. (No offense to those with whom I live/coexist, they are each of them good people!)
I did have a class I had to attend this morning, but the rest of the day has been mine. I even took a nap, something I haven’t done (in private) for a very long time. It has not yet ceased to amaze me, how such simple things can bring such delight! Given my experience(s) of the last “7 years” (it’s just easier to go with the upward “estimate”, for if I get specific, I’ll have to constantly say “the 2444 days in which I was incarcerated”… The estimation is just quicker), I’ve found such joy in so many “simplistic” things! Having/Making time to spend engaged with Friends, the color of the leaves on the tree as the morning sun shines through them,, the sound of “om” as it resonates in the back yard of the “house” as I chant it four times at the start of each new day.
I’m still working on re-developing those “common” habits of old… feeding myself, making time to read, scheduling my time… all things I once took for granted. And even during my incarceration, I did not imagine I would one day have trouble doing them again. Apparently, “7 years” of being told when to eat, sleep, when and what I could do and for how long, and only as long as a C.O. was present and/or nearby, was enough to break the ones I’d developed over a short 36 year lifespan.
Such pleasure(s) to be found in being able to touch/hug people, freely and openly, and of the opposite sex! LOL So many small details, that once made up the whole of me, left at a gate of stone, chain-link fences and concertina wire, and nobody told me I wouldn’t be getting them back as soon as I was released. Are they now still mine to have?? And what of the pieces I’ll never get back?
I used to be able to trace linearly the “me” that I was, to the me that I am… now there is this gap that has no connection point to either end. Though I remember where I was, and know where I am, and even how I got here, too many of those missing “pieces” bear unrecognizable shadows that, though they should have context, just don’t fit, and I don’t know how, or if, they will and can again.
In some regards, I understand (conceptually) that it is the mere passage of time, that elusive substance which none of us own, and are yet irrevocably bound to. It changes us, whether we like it or not, and in the process of reinventing ourselves some things must be relearned. But why, though I remember being able to do so before, are so many things almost foreign now? If I’d simply moved away, I’d still be in the habit of feeding myself. My routine(s) would still be second-nature, instead of a constant struggle.
To be fair, I suppose it is a good thing that I am learning again to be me. I am certainly more dedicated now than I ever thought possible to making every moment count, alone or in the company of others. I don’t believe one can ever value what time we are granted too much.
Before I saw myself as simply unique. Now I am distinctly different! A label has been given me that has no place in the TRUTH of who I am, and yet it is -already- causing judgment against me, a bane to the progress I have always sought, though perhaps not so fervently (I speak presently about “gainful” employment). More than once, construction and its relevant sub-categories of jobs have not only been suggested to me, but implied that that may be -for me- the only thing going! I have no issue with that(those) trade(s), and I do enjoy manual labor, but if it is not what I want to do, why should I have to do it? Because someone else gave me a label I don’t deserve?? What about the fact that I’m willing and wanting to work, to even simply wash dishes, makes me unqualified for the job because of the title “convicted felon”? That is not who I am, but the result of an single act that was done out of compassion, NOT malice. It does not define me, it is merely a subtext of the events that lead to the shaping of who I am.
It is a stone I must carry though, and one that gains more weight with each denial of employment I receive, for a label, not a definition.
Can I honestly say I am “free”, while I continue to be judged and oppressed by a system designed to keep me in thrall to it, so that it will continue to flourish? What sense does that make, and what part of such a system have the words “correction” and “rehabilitation”, if that is not TRULY their goal, nor the result thereof???
And here I sit… alone, in a “room of my own”, in many ways more free than I’ve been in years. And in many others, more imprisoned than I’ve ever been.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 21July2018

A Room of One’s Own

As I am not about to try to plagiarize the wonderful essay by Virginia Woolf, but wish to speak somewhat on a (somewhat) related topic, I thought an ode to the great writer would be apt. She was a fantastic author, who died too young… And though her essay was more specific to women, the center theme is one that I feel is universally important.
As I am personally aware of not only the importance, but the limitations of not having “A Room of One’s Own”, I thought it relevant to borrow her wonderful title, and use it to simultaneously honor her and put forth my own thoughts on the topic to which I so completely concur, and so deeply desire.
Virginia’s essay was not so much about the physical space, but more importantly, of the oppression(s) she and every woman suffered (or was suffering) at the early part of the 20th century. It is something too many women today are still afflicted by, and were it only one woman it would still be too many! I Pray I am alive to see a serious and meaningful change in -if not the end of- the way women are treated in this world! They deserve better, and are better than their more hairy and “masculine” counterparts, and their continued oppression and mistreatment by a misogynistic “majority” (of men) must STOP!!
But I digress… that will be an essay I write in much greater detail at another time. This particular post is more about SPACE. That all too precious commodity that is becoming increasingly difficult for [us] to find, make, or invent for ourselves, in which we may be without concern more (or most) truly ourselves, without fear of repercussion, or observation, or interruption, or any one of a dozen and more disturbances of our most precious form of expression; self-expression.
I refer not just to privacy (though that is indeed a major “bullet point” for this writing), but to the freedom to act! Without feeling the need to be concerned about what any other might say/do/think/feel about it, without having to censor ones self in any manner, to simply be, in the moment, in that space, YOU in the truest sense! It is a luxury, that instead should be a given, but our society has not made that easy, and in too many cases, even possible!
So sacred a habitat (dwelling, if you prefer) is not so far removed from the memory(ies) of the older generation(s). It was, in fact, a way of Life. Beyond the threshold was a place one could find solitude, rest, freedom from intrusion, and a modicum of control over the environment therein. Though such realms do still exist, they are not the bastions of freedom they once were, as society (via technology) has found 100s (working towards 1000s) of ways in which to intrude, and worse yet, for you to invite the intrusion! Our phones, desktops, and laptops are being watched, as well as watching us, as are our T.V.s, our temperature control(s), our audio devices… the more “tech” the dwelling, the less likely you are to have any “real” freedom from observation, and the more likely it is you are being observed, in one form another, or many!
And this is but a single example. The ability to obtain these spaces is becoming increasingly elitist, as prices for housing, even rental and apartments, continues to rise, while the living wage remains woefully stagnant, and homelessness is on the rise around the globe in lieu thereof!! This trend is not new, nor the situation(s) putting us there, but we are becoming increasingly numb to the evidences, and blind/deaf to the signals that they’re only getting worse!
As a resident in a “transitional housing” facility, I am afforded a bed, in a room I share with a maximum of three other people. Currently it’s two. This house holds (a maximum) of 8 men, and 4 women. We are allowed to be at the house (with access to our rooms) between 1800 (6 p.m.) and 0800 (8 a.m.), in which time we have chores to do, meals to eat, clothes to wash, showers to take, and lights out at 2300 (11 p.m.). It means our living is structured (not necessarily a bad thing), and we must be adaptable to the personality(ies) of all those in residence, as well as the staff who facilitate our Living circumstances.
It is a wonderful program! The people involved (on both sides) are Good people, the staff are genuine, caring, and more than willing to go the extra mile (or a dozen) to help you succeed in getting back on your feet, to the extent that we are capable of subsistence on our own. It is an 18 month program, and their are “rules” that must be followed (such as doing our chores before “lights out”, not cooking after 2030 [so the person who has the “main” kitchen to clean can get it done), but, for basically rent free living (one might consider our “chores” “rent”), it’s a sweet deal!
But there is no such thing as “privacy”. Though I am MUCH more free here than where I came from, and 12 people (at max, not including staff) is NOTHING compared to 100+ (again, not including staff), this (for me) takes its toll. I have been nearly non-stop in the presence of other people (…people not “Family” or “Friends” or “Loved Ones”) for more than 8 years. I Love people, but I also value privacy. The chance to “get away”. The circumstances of my Life have not allowed this for some time, and won’t for some time yet. I’m okay with that, I accept it, and, again, I am quite Blessed to be where I am! It is amazing to me that I have been (and continue to be) so very Blessed with my present living conditions. But they run contrary to the ideal that we “all” pursue. That personal space to call “your own”. To do “as you please”. To work when you want, goof off as you please (or not), come and go as you wish, have company (or not)…
(Hour long tangent deleted… LOL)
Space is precious. It is a commodity. And to co-exist in today’s “modern” society, we must be willing to pay for it, ’cause we can’t get it -legally- for free. And there are a myriad of associated costs (that also continue to rise) which we must also pay for. Where does it end? To what length are we willing to go to secure this illusive “freedom”? And how much -space- do we truly need?
This post is leaving with more questions than answers, but it is important we consider them. For we, as a societal whole, determine the answers to many of them. So long as we are residing in these United States, we have the RIGHT to choose our elected officials, who determine the outcome of many of the variables that structure our livelihood(s), and so should be concerned with WHO we want representing us, and what regulations/allowances are to be made to govern us. If we want to have the option to obtain “A Room of One’s Own”, we should be willing to ensure we are “led” by those whose interests align with our own. If not, we will very quickly find ourselves without the option(s) we once found and took “for granted”, and have no one but ourselves to blame.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 19July2018

Getting Back To Being Me…

I’ve been back in the “real world” now for 37 days, and the effects of my incarceration have yet to abate themselves from my psyche. After 6 years, 9 months, 11 days (2444 days total… yes, I counted them all), I find that regardless of how hard I tried to prevent becoming “institutionalized”, I accomplished just the opposite. I am more institutionalized than I imagined possible.
I avoided some of the more common related “issues”, because I didn’t allow myself to be roped in to the “games” being played and the petty violence that was rampant. I refused to “politic”, and though there were many who did not appreciate this, I was not seriously beaten for my refusal, in part because of my age, in part because I simply avoided most “social” settings, in part because I professed and stuck to/with my religious beliefs about such senseless and destructive behavior(s).
There is MUCH that could be told about the situation(s) which I witnessed, and tried to avoid. But others have popularized them, even glorified them plenty, and that’s not the topic at hand… Ironically, because of the very reason of my avoidance(s), I created a little bubble in my head, and denied my surroundings to get in. It worked! Except that now, I’m having trouble getting “me” back out.
The mental, or inner “connection” is still there, I am still “me”, and in some regards, more so… but inwardly, much more than outwardly. Not in some seriously debilitating way, per se, but in so many little ways!
To explain, let me first relate some of the “mental” goings-on I’ve experienced as of late.
The first two days “out”, were about the worst. I was in a state of shell shock, in lieu of some very extreme sensory overload!! It’s amazing to me (still) how fast the “free” (U.S.) world moves, and things literally happened and went by in a blur, as I stood still (or so it seemed). Not only had I been left behind technologically, but I’d left myself behind emotionally. Not that I didn’t feel on the “inside”, indeed, I became almost hyper sensitive. But INTERNALLY. Externally, I did my best to keep my emotional self tucked away, and displayed them only within the confines of my “rack” or “bunk”, where, if I cried, those who walked by either didn’t notice, or pretended not to. Both, to be sure, and I’d say more of the former than the latter, but simply because I avoided the recognition of most. I can count on a single hand the number of people I “socialized” with during that -nearly- 7 year period.
Those of you who know me personally, know how much of a deviation that is from my “norm”. I remained “Friendly”, on a purely superficial level, but COULD NOT risk, or afford, to be “me” in a very real sense, except in small and controlled amounts, being ever mindful of those by whom I was surrounded.
There were a few instances where I came close to “cracking”, but I sheltered my self well enough that by the time those occasions took place I was already considered by most to be “weird” at best, and who knows what other thoughts of me “they” may have had. I didn’t, and couldn’t care. I avoided their “world”, and they avoided “mine” for the most part.
The problem with this approach of mine (I am now discovering), though it kept me (for the most part) physically safe, and preserved my mental “self”, is that I developed a habit of almost 7 years of non-interaction, and non-expression, and guardedness, that is spilling over into THIS reality.
I remember how to “act” in this reality, but my body is at times slow to act. Things that should readily be at the forefront of my mind, are swimming in a whirlwind of mush that isn’t sure how to, or even if it should, congeal. I know that I have to abide by the “curfew” I have at the transitional housing I’m residing in, but instead of getting that internal alarm saying “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere soon?”, it doesn’t dawn on me until I’m walking through the door…
My vocabulary is another (and, for me) disturbing example. I had, before quitting my incarceration, developed a vocabulary I was nearly comfortable with (…again, those that know me know that I’ve been working on increasing/improving my vocabulary since my departure from the mid-west. Uuggghhhh), after so many years of struggling to build upon it! Simple pronouns escape me now!! LOL It’s ridiculous how much “simple” conversation is baffling me, though the situation is (and has been) improving!
Routine… Who’d have thought, that coming from such a FORCED and structured environment, not to mention {… I SO dislike that phraseology… because you’re always using it as a preface to what’s “not” being mentioned…} the fact that I’m a foul creature of habit, that having one of my “own” design would prove so difficult!!! LOL It’s as if I’m moving in “slow motion”, and even though I’m aware of the passage of time, I simply am not accomplishing what I set out to do! There are exceptions, and things I AM getting done in a “timely” manner, but I feel lost if I don’t have my newly purchased day planner inches from me and easily accessible. (An extreme example that doesn’t quite fit the reality, but… see “lack of vocabulary” above.)
Things are not aligning as they should, or at least not as I think they should. Memory and reality are NOT mixing together well. I hold no illusion(s) that ANYthing should, or would be as it was. Too much time has past. But it seems to be taking more effort on my part to make simple connections, like grabbing the water bottle that was VISIBLY on the outside seat -closest to the isle- of the bus I was on (I of course was sitting on the “inside” seat), but no. I got up and left it there like it was its own passenger, and I simply had to get around it to get off the bus. It didn’t occur to me that I’d left it behind until I was already back at the “house”, and went to grab it from the holder on my bicycle.
These snippets sound (perhaps) more extreme than what the reality is. Not that I’m embellishing, but they are only parts of a whole. Again, I am functioning, and am (I believe) completely capable of being IN the “real” world, or I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post. But I can see, in so many minute details, my own incompleteness. I guess the best analogy is looking at a puzzle, and seeing a “complete” picture, even KNOWING that there are pieces missing. And I don’t know where some of those pieces went.
Make no mistake, I am in NO WAY claiming to be any less Blessed than I KNOW I am! In fact, that I am where I am, and have had the people I have as my contacts, my base, is a testament to that!! I couldn’t be, and truly wouldn’t be doing as well as I am without the Blessing(s) of so many Good people being in my Life right now, that are NOTHING but supportive, and (to the best of their ability) understanding of my situation, willing to do whatever they’re able to assist!
But I am no longer whole. And I don’t know which neurons aren’t firing, or why. I’m in no danger of acting out, or doing something I KNOW I shouldn’t, yet I’m no longer the me I was, and the me I “am” hasn’t yet found the me I left behind. Or where I hid him.
In some regards that’s a good thing! I’ve certainly grown through my period of incarceration. My Spirituality is stronger and more than it’s ever been! I’ve taken several (college) classes in English, and coding, I read almost 370 books while “down”, I neglected my “physical” health though… I’ve got about 20 pounds to shed. But I was keeping my mind strong, where -most- others were keeping their bodies strong. I steadfastly avoided doing anything “they” considered normal. I didn’t get into trouble, or bad-mouth the C.O.’s, or discuss women as though they were property or slabs of meat (which nearly drove me NUTS, for my inability to escape such demeaning and WRONG dialogue(s)).
And now I’m finding it difficult to be the me I KNOW I am, the one that’s hiding somewhere in my head. It’s not that he (I) doesn’t (don’t) want to be the me I KNOW I should be and am, I’m just not sure how.

Posted by: Elron Mings | 19July2018

Ever More

I wrote this Poem for an assignment in the Creative Writing class I was taking while at San Quentin. We’d been locked down for more than a month, and my Hope was, that by writing this preemptively, I’d spark the Universe into action. We were still locked down that week, but the following week it was lifted. 🙂
It’s the first of its type that I’ve written in a number of years. Enjoy! Critique! Let me know your thoughts…

Ever More

Time moves on
tick tock tick tock
So much gained
so much lost
Life goes on
tick tock tick tock
Bitter and sweet
sweat and frost
Wheel turns ’round
tick tock tick tock
the good the bad
the pass the fail
Arms circle ’round
tick tock tick tock
Grapes to wine
Apples to ale
Cycles they spin
tick tock tick tock
Pride & Joy
sorrow & loss
Watch hands spin
tick tock tick tock
The Star the Hand
the Crescent the Cross
Worlds without end
tick tock tick tock
Rain that falls
wind that blows
What starts must end
tick tock tick tock
What’s it really mean
who of us really knows
So the sands flow
tick tock tick tock
One man’s trash
one man’s treasure
As the waters flow
tick tock tick tock
Life without Love
pain without measure
Time moves on
tick tock tick tock

Posted by: Elron Mings | 28June2018

Alive and Well!

Today has been a good day!  Yesterday(s) were better, yesterday(s) were worse, but in each moment there is Joy to be found, if we but care enough to look.  So much of our Lives are taken for granted, when, in fact, they are not.

Life isn’t often easy.  It’s not supposed to be.  It is in those rare and beautiful moments after a struggle, when we are on top, that it is all made worth while!  Were it not for the effort necessary to achieve “it”, what value would “it” hold?  Whatever the success, it is meaningless without the effort put forth to achieve it!

Life is full of small victories, and grand failures.  But that is how we learn, and how we grow.

If we then choose to see the beauty of and in each of our trials, then it is when Life becomes truly full of Joy.  For then we have achieved the clarity of purpose that allows us to deny our suffering.  Then do we see that in order to Live, to Enjoy, to survive, we MUST struggle.  Nothing worth while is cheap, and Life, couldn’t be more worth every toil and struggle we face!  It’s what makes those rare moments so very precious.

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