Posted in How I see the World..., Life

Gratitude!

Happy Thanksgiving, Sisters and Brothers!! I Pray you all, religious or otherwise, celebratory or not, impoverished or well endowed, all of you, are able to spend some time during “this time of year” with Kindred, with Friends, with Family! And may you all do so, as I shall, in the depths of humility and Gratitude, for the opportunity we are given to share these precious, rare, few, cherished moments, one with another!

My to-be-continued(s) will be continued, and I’ve other writings either completed or nearly so, that are also forthcoming. But it is now time for a showing of a bit of Gratitude! So without further adieu…

Sometimes Gratitude for Life is one of the most difficult to learn, at least for me it has been. Sometimes it’s difficult to be Grateful for the pain, the misery, the suffering. My own, as well as that of others. But to be Grateful for these things does not mean I find them pleasant, or like them, or enjoy seeing others so afflicted!

What it means, is that I’m Grateful to be alive, to experience these things, that I may better appreciate the Good things in Life! The Joys, the Happiness, The Love, all these things must have opposites (opposition), or we could not (in our present state of mortality) know them! Light/dark, Cold/Hot, Sweet/Bitter, Wet/Dry, etc. It is in the contrast(s) that we may know a thing, and thereby discern and distinguish, recognize, and “in time” appreciate!!

Life was never promised to be easy, but it was Promised to be rewarding, if we but put forth the effort, do what we know to be Right, and to share what we learn/know/have with others, that they too may flourish, in the Joy that is Living!

And it is this time of year in which we “Westerners” express Gratitude! And I’d like the rest of the World to know, that not all of us yanks celebrate the horrors and atrocities of the past, nor do we all wish these evils to be hid, covered-up, un-talked about, un-learned from, unacknowledged! We should however move on, and not let the past plague us like zombies, instead gain the upper hand against tyranny and the oppression of the Truth, let it be known, publish it upon the roof-tops, that we may NEVER repeat these egregious sins against one another!!

There is so much to Live for, to be Happy about, to be Grateful for, to Love and to Cherish (these last two can only be applied to Living organisms, sorry) each and every moment within the seconds, minutes, and hours of these fragile, beautiful, precious Gifts of Life we’ve been given! It is impossible to physically, or even digitally list all that we have to be Grateful for, for every moment anew, if we are so Blessed, is another to add to the list!!

I am thankful, yea, I am Grateful, for the uncountable Blessings I receive each and every moment, of each and every day! And when I am even more Greatly Blessed, I am able to share a few precious of those moments with some of you!

I am thankful and Grateful for each of you! Those whom I know, and those I do not! We are, all, Sisters and Brothers upon this Planet! We are all worthy, and deserving, of the basic necessities of Life, and more! That the few deny so many, I find appalling!

I am Grateful for all Life!! The birds, the bees, the trees, all the plants and all the animals, all of the organism that is Terra, our Home!

I am Grateful for a shower. I am Grateful for clean clothes. I am Grateful for hot, potable, drinkable water. Something the majority of the people within this Home of ours don’t have access to!

I am Grateful for food. packaged, processed, life stealing chemically altered/enhanced/”preserved” artificial and natural flavors added food, that makes you think you’re nourishing yourself, too expensive, make a wish and hope you don’t die from it food, so “cheap” you can barely afford it, while the fresh fruits and vegetables remain a privilege! Food.

I am Grateful for electricity, the internet, WordPress.com, and all those who are struggling to keep the Gift and Art of Writing alive, by whatever means necessary, even if they do take away our paper and pen!

I am Grateful to be alive, in this day and age! Though our follies are many, our viable options few, and difficulties greater in some instances than ever before, so too are the greatness of Blessings, opportunities for Growth, and Positivity!!! REMEMBER, all things must maintain a balance, so if you’re “seeing” more darkness in the world, then there must be more Light shining upon it!

I am Grateful for having Loved, and lost, and Loved again, and lost again, and… well, that story is still telling itself.

I am Grateful, to be a wordsmith, to know a few wordsmiths, to have read many works by wordsmiths, and for the drive to continue to be better with the skill/talent that wordsmithery is! LOL

I am Grateful, and deeply humbled, by those whom I am able to call/consider/know as Friends! For their presence and undeniable influence in and upon my Life! For their Goodness, Lovingkindness, and tender mercies, and generally bright-Lightedness! 😉 For each and every one of them, near and far, young and old, related or otherwise, Friend made anew, or one that I’ve known for a decade or two, and has stuck with me still, I am Grateful!!

For abundance, I am Grateful! For the Moon and Stars at night, and the Sun by day, and all that in this Universe is (and for all that this Universe is), I am Grateful!!

Aloha! Namaste! As-Salàmu Àlaykum!!

Posted in Deep(er) Thoughts, How I see the World..., Life

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, Life

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 in Life

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, Life

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 in 1, Deep(er) Thoughts, How I see the World..., Life, Poetry

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, How I see the World..., Life

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 in Life

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, Life

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, How I see the World..., Life

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.