Of Passion

Peace is a lie, there is only passion. – The Sith Code

I find myself at odds with my passions often enough these days. Not so much that I have them, but that I subject others to them.

I once subdued them, and it made me miserable. I didn’t write. I didn’t play. I didn’t create. I didn’t express. I kept my feelings to myself, kept my mouth closed, and kept everything inside. The only one that ever knew what was going on inside was me, and even then, I sometimes forgot it because I simply buried it so deep. And it nearly undid me. On a spiritual level, it killed me. I was miserable. I was angry all the time. I was betraying myself, and who I wanted to be. And in my misery I was making others miserable.

Eventually I gave in and let myself out. It’s been an almost unstoppable flood of emotion and expression and passion since. It’s like all the years of restraint have been being made up for. Not that that’s always been a good thing. I think it’s good in the sense that I’m being much more true to myself, even if it means others are uncomfortable or disapproving of me and my expressions and emotions. I fully recognize that sometimes others are hurt by the ways I allow myself to express my Self; it hurts me too, since I try very hard not to cause harm to others with my words or emotions (though admittedly I can be very caustic at times). But the fact is, it happens. And it hurts me when it happens. It’s a thing I struggle with, and probably always will, at least as much as I struggle with finding the balance that temperance brings.

Temperance… that’s a thing. Or it’s supposed to be, at least in the language of the ideals I tend to value. But it’s also a thing I struggle with. I think that some people, in particular those who know me best would argue that I’m not the most temperate person around, and some would probably even call me intemperate–hell, I’ve been called dangerous, toxic, unstable, and accused of having “flipped my lid” and being “fucking crazy”, so I think intemperance is almost a compliment at this point. To me though, temperance isn’t about being some eternally calm zen master, it’s about knowing when enough is enough and stopping there before it becomes too much (in other words, excess). And that is a thing I also struggle with. Sometimes I get carried away and driven by a mind set on fire by a heart that burns too hot for the soul it carries.

I’m not one of those people that thumps my chest and believes in the “You have to accept me as I am!” nonsense. No one has to accept anyone as they are. When two (or more) people want each other in their lives, concessions must be made on both sides, which includes sometimes reevaluating aspects of themselves and making changes that accommodate the other person. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. We only have to accept ourselves, and if we can’t, then we need to change. We can choose to accept someone else or not, just like they can choose to accept us, and the choice is only right or wrong for the person making the decision. We can’t make others accept us, but neither should we try and force someone to change themselves to accept us. In the end though, anyone chiming the tired old bell of “Take me as I am or fuck off!” is simply taking another route at demanding acceptance, and odds are, they won’t find it. They’re also the same people who are most likely to fail utterly at understanding social mechanisms and will be the first to complain when they find themselves at odds with the conventions of the social circles around them.

I feel like I’ve gotten off track here, and maybe I have, but honestly, I’m not really sure where this thought process is wandering, so I’m just going with it. If you’re still here, cool. If not, that’s okay too. I’m doing this for myself anyway. I just feel like sharing. Or something.

In some ways, I envy people that live passionless lives. The thought of living in a black-and-white numbers based world where restraint is the measure of life makes me cringe. The world–we–are so full of color that I can’t imagine subduing it. Sure, there are neutral tones in life, and they too are a necessity of being, but they’re only part of the painting. And they aren’t lines, they’re shadows and shapes that give life texture and depth and perspective and focus. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a box, and the problem with anyone that tries is that they are often trying to fit the entire world into their box.

I can’t imagine at this point in my life living without surrendering to my most primal instincts and emotions on a regular basis. I can’t imagine not painting life with the entire spectrum of colors available to us, while still allowing the black and white and grey to be part of it. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? That’s where that balance comes from, and ultimately, it’s an issue of balance: riding that edge is when I produce my best work, but it’s also when I do the most damage to others. But there again, to me, balance isn’t about remaining still and calm in an unmoving state, it’s about keeping one foot on either side of the line, and allowing a dialogue between the heart and mind that is most beneficial for each other.

In the end, I’d rather be overly passionate and prone to giving in to those passions that subdued and restrained in a box of my own or worse, someone else’s, making. It means that often enough I weather the storm, but I’m okay with that.

Because I am the storm.

The Fallacy of Order

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Just hours ago, in dusk’s fading, I could see the end of forever, but now I see its beginning…

Time is a curious thing while not being a thing at all. It exists because we perceive it to, and while it is measurable and observable, and from our natural perspective, stable and constant, it also none of those things. It doesn’t exist. It is wholly a construct of our perception, one that is mutually shared by every person on the planet. It is a construct of consensual reality, born and bred of our need to order the chaos of the world both that we might understand it and control it. And while we have found convenient ways to order Nature through measurement, we can’t control it.

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On Muses

onmuses“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson

A chill washed over him, like icy fingers dancing their way up and down his spine, followed by a sudden emptiness. It was like the world had just left him, like his spirit had just vacated his body. He felt dead. Numb. He could have said he wasn’t feeling any emotions, but despair, utter, hopeless despair is definitely an emotion. If he was dead, then he probably shouldn’t be feeling anything. And he was feeling something. Though he wished he wasn’t.

All that remained now were memories. Cold, distant memories that hung on to him, leaving their marks on his soul even as he tried to push them out.

His soul…

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Musings From The Porch: The Storm & The Vigil

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“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

A year ago I wrote about sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Chicago, watching stories of the world unfold. The organized chaos of that day is starkly contrasted by the disorganized calm I experience now, sitting on my porch in the Indiana countryside, not so much watching the world go by, but rather -feeling- it go by. The occasional car, truck, or tractor rumbles along our ragged stretch of cracked and worn asphalt, but other than that, it’s a fairly sedate existence out here. To say it’s quiet is both an understatement and a falsehood, illustrating the contradictory nature of life.

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Resignation & Resolve – A Moment’s Notice

We reach points in our life where we are forced to choose new paths. Choosing a new path very often means resignation of the old, and often of the life that went with it, for the sake of the new. Sometimes, we can hold on to aspects of the old path, the old life, if nothing else as reminders of where we have been, what we have done, and that we are otherwise the sum of the moments we have experienced up to and including the moment we presently exist in.

But that’s just it:

We exist only in the present moment. All of eternity exists here, now, in you, in me, and only in this moment, the one that you are experiencing now, the one that you are creating simply by observing it. The future exists only as we wish it to, and never as anything but some dream beyond reach.

The interesting thing… every moment we experience is the point where the past and the future meet, where what was and what isn’t become what is, and in every moment we are faced with taking a step forward into the unknown.

But to do so requires resignation-the willingness to let go of the old. It also requires resolve. The resolve to embrace the unknown, and to find out what’s out there.

Resignation.

Resolve.

And a moment passes.

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And quietly, the silence ensues,
hanging over us like rain,
vengeful in its persistence
and allowing only thoughts
of shade to consume;
and in it’s being I turn
as only I can, to that place
where the only answers offered
are the ones that I hide inside–
and in the void
I find the nothing I was looking for,
because here,
and there,
I have only myself.

It’s A Dog’s Life

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~3 million stories, each unique, no matter how similar to another. 3 million lives that interact and affect each other, most without ever realizing it or understanding that though they are but one drop in an ocean, there would be no ocean without every single one of them, and that each ripple caused by each drop causes waves that affect the entire ocean.

Thanks to the generosity of some friends, I’m sitting this morning in a bookstore cafe in downtown Chicago, watching momentary glimpses of each of these stories –

The businessman in his neatly pressed suit a table over from me, anxiously watching his phone, watch, and the door; who’s he waiting for? What’s got him anxious?

The guy that just walked by, stopped in the middle of his stride to dance and turn to the music in his headphones, oblivious to the world around him, or the attention (and lack thereof); I wonder if he knows that he caused a couple people to smile, and for just a moment, he made their day a little brighter?

The young woman who looks a bit lost while seemingly trying to fit in with the rush around her. Is she new to the city, trying to make a life here? Or has the eagerness of youth been swept away by an overwhelming cityscape that doesn’t seem to care that she’s even there? Maybe she just hasn’t had her ritual cup of coffee this morning, or is already on her way out of the city this afternoon to her weekend plans?

The photographer with his expensive camera and vest, himself capturing moments of life that will forever keep the secrets of the moment while betraying to later viewers that in that moment, there was life happening, there were stories unfolding, writing and rewriting themselves, and the grand play that is life was carrying itself out. Maybe I’ll come across one of his pictures someday, and recognize the moment he captured? Maybe, and perhaps more importantly, someone else will see those pictures, and be inspired to create their own stories in their minds, inspired by a moment stolen and shared…

I suppose, as a poet, a writer, an observer of people, and a traveler that I am inclined to watch the world around me a little more than some others and wonder about all the stories being written, all the stories that are yet to be told, and in some way, even if at least in my head, craft my own version of them based on a moment. Moreover though, I not only wonder about the stories of the people I encounter, but I often wonder at how my own interaction with those people in their moments changes their story.

How do the ripples I create as I wander through life affect the rest of the ocean?

How do yours?

We are each of our own making, and yet… we have all made each other.

Every story fascinates me – especially the ones that I will never hear, nor ever write.