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

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

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 in Deep(er) Thoughts, Life

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 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 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, 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.

Posted in Deep(er) Thoughts, Life

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.