Step out from behind your insecurities. You are here to shine. You were born to give to the world. To serve the world. To create an empire of boundless love and acceptance.
There is a truth to this that you will only comprehend when you leave this place. But with all the courage-love-compassion you can muster – serve. Be kind. Give people the opportunity, the comfort ability to be their selves. Do so by being your self. Unapologetically. You come from a good place. Do not doubt your value and worth in this world. Never Hide. Shine like the beacon of light that you are.
It is easy to say that you are not ready. It is easy to crawl under a rock and to keep the eyes from you, but that is not your task. Your task is to stand in your truth. Strong and firm. Any challenge to you is only meant to strengthen you. Choose to show up. Again, and again, and again. Even when you can no longer physically stand you can choose to show up, to the reality as it is. Do not be afraid of your truth.
Speak without the filter of negativity and doubt. Open your mind to the possibility of wild success. Success in being your self in truth.
You have an education in matters of the soul. You have spent time in darkness and in such now are able to serve the light. Your life is a compendium. It is a legacy of art and inspiration that you have come to give. Please do not doubt that. Come out from behind your cloud and shine.
Dwelling on the earth but hailing from the distant reaches of the universe. Beyond conceptual space and time you are a product of the sublime. Heaven exists within and we are here to provide maps. Expressions. Descriptive audio of the promise land. A world where you are in perfect freedom and liberty. A place where you are fully expressed in the reality of the infinite eternal.
Part of you is of the earth, and part of you is from the stars.
Leave your journals for those who wish to travel. From the heavens, reach down into me and fill me with purpose. Allow me to live with such grace. I will stand on the podium, or the pedestal, wherever you choose to place me, but not for me. No I will stand for you, to glorify you. The eternal spirit, the prime mover of all things.
I will work to gather those who are called. To bring examples of open hearted loving without expectation or agenda. Simply to gather those who love and revere life. To offer a haven for those who seek peace. To hold space for those who are moving toward the light.
I pray that my mind remains open – that I continue to understand the motives of men and women. I pray that my life brings clarity and levity to the people of this Earth.
I yearn to be of service. To create a legacy of love. To cultivate leaders over and again who in turn cultivate lovers who cultivate leaders.
I recognize my role as one in a succession of many. As I am a pupil becoming a master, I become a pupil again. I humble myself in the presence of the awakened ones and the masters of reality. With this as my end, I vow to ‘Never Hide’.
I embrace the challenge. To be a human being who values truth, who embodies integrity, who fails publicly in order to succeed privately.
I step up to the plate. I swing.
Faith, I practice faith daily by showing up. I know that my worth can not be determined by anyone other than me. Only I can decide what the measure of my worth is. And today, right now I know that my mission is to be real. To be honest with myself and others. To choose the path which leads to peace. To hold others up, to support the growth of the garden.
I acknowledge the power of the collective and I serve the community as best I can by being an example.
I have work to do. I have realities to realize, but in my heart I know that my purpose is to serve through love. To encourage the growth of the garden, to worship the sun and revere the rain. To enjoy the fruits of the Earth in the presence of the divine.
I will not hide. I will put myself on display. I will stand trial.
Journal Entry: March 6, 2022
It’s March 6th now. The last week has been pretty brutal. I was physically ill, for the first time since the pandemic began. For the first time I think I may have had covid. That alone is not a big deal. But it was accompanied by a pretty severe depression. The sadness was a combination of factors. Not any one thing, but several compounded.
I had been doing my self-care routine consistently, but as soon as I got ill I fell off completely. The bed-ridden attitude was justified and I dove deeply into it. Anyhow, here I am a week later and my motivation seems to be returning. Today I may very well go 9 for 9 on the self care, here writing being the 7th or eighth to cross off the list.
Anyhow, it is what it is. There are silver linings if one cares to look for them, and those alone can aid in trend reversals. What do I choose to focus on?
Purpose is still powerful. I find myself pretty unemployed and feeling kinda worthless. I know, I know. I see how broken that thinking is, but a part of me must really believe it, or really want to make a difference, because the idea of not-enoughness is crippling. It is very hard to enjoy the lack of motivation I experienced. I laid in bed watching Netflix for ungodly hours, and I hated myself for it. But still I continued. But here I am, on the other side of something. So I return to a question of purpose. Of looking for a point. Of wanting to add real value to the world. And not knowing how or if I’m even capable.
This document is called, What To Do in 2022? And I’m still unsure, here now in the third month and it may be just the same in month 12. Undoubtedly some things will happen, but the difference is if I just let things happen, or if I make them happen. I wonder about fate and destiny. What of it? I lean more towards the things I make happen, rather than remove my own will from the equation. And so I return to the question of what. Perhaps I should start with why.
Why? Because life really is precious. Even though I experience a depression which disables me, I still have hope for the world. I still believe that life is worth living, even if I can’t feel it, there is some part of me that just knows. Even if I don’t have the power to act on it, I still know. But I lay in that jaded apathy. But still, I know. I know that the wind, the sea, the fish, the people, the trees, the sun- they are just simply being. May that be for me too. May I just simply be, and remove the depression from the thoughts.
I close my eyes and breathe, that is a just-beingness that is both a means and an end.
A few days ago I felt a deep surrender. Feeling the weight of sadness I felt the willingness to just let go of all the pain. No reason to hold onto it. Not serving me in the slightest, not apparently, and so I felt the great desire to let go. I looked up to the open sky and offered all of it to God. Everything. A letting go. I open my hands , palms up and fingers out-stretched, an act of surrender. I give up all of it. The pains and sufferings and attachments- I give them back to the creator.
It was a moment of levity.
Each day I’m feeling a bit better. Mentally and physically. I have a little bit of work lined up this week. But still, the desire for purpose consumes me. What purpose?
I’ve often felt an inner-criticism for the self- help area. Not believing that convincing other people of their purpose was purpose enough for me. Something that I felt so called to but I categorically denied. Perhaps that is the irony of my life. Is it jealousy, for those individuals who have decided to go down that path and perhaps even help people with what may be a brilliant purpose. Perhaps. But regardless, here I am, another day, another question of what. So I’ll return to why.
Why- because life is worth living. Life has moments of beauty. And I can get bogged down by the mundane, the elusive joy, but life is worth living.
A Decision to be Happy
I was 18. I would sleep, a lot. I liked the darkness. I felt unseen, unheard. And that was what I desired. I would walk down the street and avoid eye contact. The reason, I did not want to subject others to my pain. I did not want them to see how much sadness was in my eyes. I did not want to be a burden on the world. I did not want to make others lives more miserable and because of that I pretended not to exist. I became more quiet. More reclusive. More un-opinionated.
It was a difficult time. My ability to relate to others was at an all time low. I had no one to talk to and nothing to talk about. I harboured a lot of pain. A lot of sadness. I call is depression. I had no idea how to exist in the world. Or why. It was crippling. I can still feel the tears. The misery. The anger. I think they are a part of who I am.
It was because of them. Because of the darkness I experienced that I imagined its opposite. The pain was so real, so prominent, that there must have been something that developed in its opposition. Isn’t there necessarily a peace that exists? A happiness? A bliss that contrasts what ever this ugly unwillingness is?
It was in that consideration that I decided to pursue happy, or at lease make a serious attempt at discovering this opposite.
There was a very critical moment where I committed to a path to happiness. No matter how childish, or stupid, or whatever other critique I might have used to shut it down, I decided that I would make a serious effort, because I was tired of the misery, and there was no future in it. I desperately wanted a reason to live.
As any good person on a quest in the 21st century would do, I turned to google. “How to be happy” was my search. I was quickly directed to a simple list of ten steps that would gradually transform my life into the person I am today.
I wish I could remember all ten points, but I will list the ones that have stuck with me, over ten years later. Each of them opened new doors for me and brought me new skills. They offered tricks to redirect the mind and keep it stable.
Move like you’re grateful for the gift of your body
- KEEP A GRATITUDE LOG
My gratitude log became a book that I wrote any happy memory in. Literally anything. I remember a couple. One was a concert I went to in Montreal. I went to see Rush with Kevin, a school mate that I played in a band with. Another memory was me smiling and talking with a girl at my work.
These, seemingly insignificant events, were anchors. They took me to an emotional place where I was happy. And the journal would grow.
Anytime I could feel my mind starting to slip into darkness. I could open this gratitude log and reflect on these memories. They helped me to refocus.
I started to look at classic fiction. I became obsessed with Fydor Dostoevsky. Although I felt like I didn’t have a friend in the world, I was able to identify with his characters. With the sadness and struggle that they felt.
Fiction led me to philosophy. I started to look at the Greeks. Socrates. Plato. Aristotle. I remember discovering Nichomacean Ethics which was a major turning point in my life. I had been searching for meaning. A reason to live. And hear Aristotle is speaking of virtue. Of a life well lived. It gave me something to live for. A virtuous life seemed worthy of living.
Philosophy of the Greeks led me to the philosophy of the Buddha. I remember coming across the idea of meditation and being immediately drawn to it. I was convinced that this was an idea worth exploring.
I went to the book store and purchased Balancing the Mind: A Tibetan Buddhist Approach to Refining Attention. I studied this book. I was committed to learning and incorporating the skill set. I kept a journal as I read, which is really the only way that I seriously retain information from a book.
The book really pointed to the importance of quiescence and developing Samadhi. I read, I practiced, I learned and I incorporated the lessons. This lead to a meditation practice, which was a critical step in my self-development.
Another book I picked up, once turned onto self-help and self-inquiry was Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. This book was very impactful in my development for two main reasons. One, I remember reading this book and being so thrilled to see ideas that had been floating around in my head written down on paper. None the less, by a published author and notable public figure. This gave credence and validation to my developing mind set. No longer was I so alone, but I was beginning to discover that other people were having similar experiences to me. So enlivened by this discovery I sought out a reading club that was discussing this book and found one in my neighbouring city.
I remember my first time attending the club. It was in the basement of a retirement home. I entered the room, as the young 18 year old I was, to find myself surrounded by a room of adults. I mean 40-50 years in age. I talked passionately about the ideas I was having, the ideas in the book, the meditation practice I had been cultivating. It was in the company of these people that I realized I was not anti-social, that I just did not have the right group of people to speak with. Once I had found the subject the flood gates were open and I found myself speaking more, sharing more than I ever had before.
Reading really did open such a door for me. I discovered ideas that brought comfort and made me feel less alone in the world. I would go on to read a lot of books in the field of spirituality and self-awareness. I spent years studying ancient spiritual traditions. Notable texts include the Hua Hu Ching: The Later Teachings of Lao Tzu, The I Ching, Bhagavad Gita, Power vs. Force, The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharishi, and Teachings of the Buddha.
This one is simple. Curl your lips. If you dare, chuckle. Laugh a little. Doesn’t even need to be about anything in particular. What this does is deepen your commitment to the uncomfortable. As a severely depressed child, smiling is not something that came naturally. [My dad nicknamed me ‘chuckles’ because of how miserable I walked around. He also told me I needed an attitude adjustment. (Not really the way to reach me at the time)] But this simple act became intrinsically tied to my commitment to the process. It symbolized dedication. And it actually made me feel better too!
4. MOVE LIKE YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR THE GIFT OF YOUR BODY
This point challenged me to live in my body in whole new way. It asked me to reevaluate the way I moved. The way I walked and talked. What did it mean to be grateful for motion? How does that look? How does that feel?
This is such a strong practice because it acts as another anchor that was constantly being triggered. The body is almost always engaged in motion, and to tie that to gratitude, ties gratitude into your entire day.
I found myself exploring dance. I found myself walking lighter, and eventually beginning to explore physical affection as an act of gratitude.
And She Touched the Stars
When she woke, she realized that the dream was not a dream. That all she had perceived to be real, was in fact real. In her bed she lay, the soft sheets hugged her body. Her eyes slowly opening into the haven that was her home. In her heart she felt the pulse of the planet, the breath of life flowing into her open mind. She was a dreamer who had dreamt of life, and she carried her love into the world.
Her heart shone to those with eyes to see the Real. A super nova, letting go of her pain and suffering, she shone with the greatness of the sun. She radiated warmth, kindness, loving compassion to the world. She was aware of her heritage. A child of the cosmos she made every effort to remember this truth.
The realities that once made up her world began to dissolve. She now knew the truth. The infinite and absolute had made a home within her heart and now she spoke on its behalf. She insisted on the unity. She insisted on the incessant harmony, for those are what the eyes learn to see. The underpinnings of our projections. The universe outside of our senses.
And so she touched the stars. She caressed the miracle like a newborn in her arms. She cared for and nurtured the life growing within her – the reverence she held for the all. Her work became clear, to be the star. To shine the light. To know the truth beyond doubt. To emanate the magic.
Inside this womb, the ground that the earth provides, god makes itself manifest. The power of the creative cosmos on a scale much smaller. She now knew the commonalities. She now knew the divine that resided within. She bowed to the majesty of the creative eternal. She vowed to use her life for good. In the quiet of her bedroom she invented the world anew. A world aligned with the divinity of truth. A world which honoured the devotion for life. A world which celebrated the simple, and brought laughter and joy. She was a beacon for the Real.
This Earth is a womb. It gives birth to a life that is precious and sacred. This earth is an Eden. A garden of delights that exists beneath the rubble of fallen civilizations. The truth is simple, and it will remain once all the structures have fallen. The truth will outlast the planet. For the truth is beyond space and time. And this she knew in her heart.
She caressed the eternal. She cuddled the sublime. Feeling herself in the embrace of the Mother she knew beyond doubt what it means to care – to nurture. She embraced the laws of nature. She was coming into understanding. To see the symmetry within the womb.
Symbiotic biology, bright and shiny truths, chromosomes proof.
She is within the womb when she reawakens, when she realizes how she touches infinity and pure creativity. She sees the solar origins, how she comes from the Father, an admission of light. And she is nurtured by the moon. The Mother creates a pool where life can grow, and flourish, fertile, free child, be according to the laws of god.
She awoke in a world which was different. There were different laws – different rules as to what she could and could not do. Like chess pieces, moving in different paths and patterns. In this world she was very much a Queen, moving whichever way she please, but a new sense of scale, as to the complexity of the universe. She becomes a beacon of light. She understands her star. Her Solarity. The same solar blast that birthed her.
Soularity. And polarity divides one into two, into three, to 10 000. All her stories now point back towards this singularity.
The truth of existence, the ladders, the DNA which lead to existence, and those which lead to extinction.
In the womb we have a star. A star seed. She carries the innate wisdom of the mother. There is no trying in her. In the same way a flower doesn’t try to be a flower, it just follows its code, so she follows her own evolving program which makes her what she is.
She is bowed down to the brilliance of nature. To let nature have its way with her. To be like a feather that blows with the breeze.
What is my Goal? What Motivates me?
I want to make great art. If art is the expression of one’s soul what I really want is to lead a great life. But what is a great life?
One which leaves the world better than it came into it. But what is better? One which is a constant reminder that love is health.
So then acceptance and forgiveness a plenty.
But why art?
It’s my truth made public. My interpretation of events.
How can art actually affect the world? The culture? The society?
How has it affected my life? (Dostoevsky, Frusciante, Aristotle)
I want to give birth to ideas that grow and develop in the minds of those that witness.
I want to bring reverence back to life.
On Nature, and the Natural
Roses are red, violets are blue…
The Earth is a pretty magical place, isn’t it?
Really though. A seed breaks free and reaches towards the sun.
Colour, scent, biological complexity,
to be seen and sensed by me.
To smell, to feel…
Einstein says there are two ways to live: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is.
From here you can tread lightly or dive deep,
because right now we are just at the knees.
But knowledge is power and this is a need to know.
Like dough, knead to know.
Roll around with this,
pin it to your pre-frontal cortex.
Takes these proofs and know them as truths:
soil, sand, water and land, bugs and trees, wind, feet, hearts and teeth.
The intelligence required to get us to where we find ourselves today is so incredibly vast and complex.
The amount of individual parts working together. Feeding each other.
Eating each other. Trading birth for death.
Coexisting in an ever-expanding inexorable contract.
And it blows my mind to think that my story, our story,
as a collection of consciousness,
stems back millions, if not billions of years,
and sometimes I can barely wait in traffic.
How distracted my mind can become.
But truth is forever, beyond time.
The eternal and unconditioned from which this world stems.
Like a flower: birth, growth, blossom, decay.
Learning to play within the boundaries of this field.
Conscious vs Unconscious Process
There are works of art that start from a strong visual concept. Some of these drawings are imitations of reality and some of them are mental images, existing first in the imagination, that are brought to the page. What they have in common is that they both begin from recognizable forms. For example, the idea of a human body, or the idea of a tree – both symbols that we recognize from our environment.
The ability to produce these images is dependent on my ability to translate images from my mind onto the page. This is a process that involves precision, technique, and planning. It is calculated. This is the world of realism and impressionism. Of portraits and landscapes. This is what I refer to as conscious process. There is some kind of visual fore thought that directs the artwork.
This is contrasted by what I deem unconscious process. These are the works called the abstract and the expressionist. They are driven by the emotion and not the intellect. Often times I am just creating markings on a page that are driven by the emotional energy I’m currently holding. They are ‘easier’ for me to accomplish because I am not trying to create anything specific. They simply, or sometimes with great complexity, exist to represent my emotional landscape. There is no trying, no striving.
I think it is interesting to note that some people find the unconscious process to be more difficult to create. I hear them say, “It is easy to copy reality. The choices have been made. I only need to copy what I see. I don’t need to create anything new.”
I suppose this can be credited to the idea that people have different processes, left brain versus right brain ways of living. To this I respond that the unconscious process is only difficult if the mind is still trying to achieve something. If you are caught up in the idea of creating something new, or something at all, you are blocking the natural emotional instinctual drive.
For me, the unconscious process is not a pursuit at all. It is what happens when the doors of ration and reason are opened. It is a brave acceptance of whatever will be, purely as the truth of this moment and your being. It is not concerned with being good. It is best when it is honest.
This process is not only reserved for visual art. Another popular idea is automatic writing. It is an exercise where you write whatever comes to mind. It is not a carefully selected narrative. But an open door which allows the mental contents to flow through unfiltered.
Often times, my works are a combination of the two different processes. They start as expressionist pieces, but as recognizable forms start to develop they morph into impressionist pieces. Often times weaving back and forth, drawing the conscious and unconscious nearer together.
I don’t believe that one process is superior to another. To me they are two different tools in a tool belt, each appropriate at different times, and both necessary to ‘get the job done’. They require different skill sets that will both serve you in art, and in your daily life.
Journal Entry: January 2019
Here I sit. January twenty-something. I’m in a corner at a cafe near my house eating a giant macaroon. I think it is comfort food. I feel, a kind of paralysis in life. I see relationships that are presenting challenges. My instinct is to run. Instead I freeze. Look at it. Understand why. And how to move. But I am not moving. I am still.
I feel uncertain. I feel lethargic. The desire to sleep is real.
I think I need to discover, and deeply know, my worth. I feel over extended in some ways. Learning what is means to be appreciated. How to appreciate.
People have told me time and time again how soothing my voice is. How it calms them. I think the calm is a gift.
–I am a peaceful individual– –I am a creative individual– –I am a courageous individual–
I wonder about my motivations. To truly know and be honest with myself why I do what I do is important.
I am learning. Daily I am faced with the necessary unfolding of my karma. My egoic tendencies.
Slumber. Buckle down. Hold on. Bumpy things happen. Stationed at home. Home = Centre = Peaceful. I want to be free so I take the steps to do so. Iron out wrinkles. Heat. Things get hot. And I sit in the pool. Bubbling. Boiling. At first I feel fine, but there is a time to get out. Not to burn. But to feel the warmth. I like to feel worthy.
Am I broken? Maybe. It might be necessary for what I will become. My will to succeed. Let that prevail. Let that win. Be full. Know your heart. Know how full you feel in great compassion. Love yourself. Freedom to be me. I offer the world myself. I have to give no more and no less. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love. I deserve to be happy. I smile internally. Like a balloon with breathe I fill with exuberant joy. My eyes spell radiance. But the overflowing cup stays wet.
There is night to each day. But know the cycle of the seasons. The swing that brings the poles apart. Starts and ends. Happy friends.
Fill my heart with love. Be full in yourself. As I am. Love. Fill wide chasms with the certainty of life. Celebrate the chance to be. Find great joy in each day. Glorious gains. Games of life and death. Oh magnificent eternal. Let me hear your name. Let me serve though pain. Let pain and pleasure be seen as passing points on the ocean of infinity. I celebrate the ups and downs because life has no ends.
Let me simply love the life I have.
May all beings be happy.
Journal Entry: October 11, 2019
How time flies, most notably when one is enjoying one’s self. But here I find myself writing, in the slowness. I’ve experienced so much joy, in my life, in the last few days. Anto’s birthday party was so filled with love. I felt so received. SO high on the vibes. And now, perhaps this is the come down. Again I find myself doubting the very things that have once given me strength. I feel lost and uncertain about how I’m supposed to contribute in this world. I am so thirsty for validation that I feel starved without it. But at the same time I know it’s not what I really want, but it also is. It satisfies me.
If I’m here to play, and that is the way it seems, it is almost too easy, and I have been craving the difficulties. My life seems like a dream. Maybe higher than ‘art’ my goal is just to love. To love myself. Maybe that is it. Maybe that’s all it takes.
The blessings bestowed on me are countless. I have been given so much. Life is a gift, and then my status, my country, my claims. I have. I am grateful, to tears.
I want to serve. I pray for guidance. I beseech you Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and the host of heavenly angels. Please, please show the way. Please indicate my purpose. And I know, I know that I can determine, I can choose. I don’t want to render myself helpless and incapable of making my own decisions. But I feel lost. I pray that my life may serve in its highest purpose. That I can bring peace and joy. Please, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Show the way. Show me how. Allow me to love to the greatest extent. May my life serve the world. Bring reverence to life.
Daniel, you are supremely beautiful. You are like the angels you speak with. You are fortunate, and you deserve it. Do not worry. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Please smile at the world. Please hold your own hand. You are capable, and necessary. You provide a platform that is unordinary. Please shine. Do not be afraid to shine. The world needs you. You are a being of great depth and love. Please, please continue to shine.
Okay. I will try. Please though, I really want to serve. Maybe this is me facing the illusion that work, work for the man, is not real work. Please continue to serve god. Serve with love. Pray for the well being of all. Offer your heart again and again and again. Do not fear. Your life is on track. You will get to where you need to be in time. The truth is beyond the immediate. Continue to cultivate the truth within your heart. You are worthy. You are loved. You are a gift. Please shine. You are so dearly loved. So dearly.
A Melbourne Night
I sit by the fire. Gas, but fire none the less. I remember memories of the good life I’m leading. And those who lead to and from me. Two hundred feet away a great shrine towers. It is solid, so strong, a testament to the courage and strength of people. Sometimes we have no other choice. Remembering the sacrifices of the noble, and those less than, who united for the vague idea of justice and righteousness. I sit, remembering. It is dark. Night has fallen and this shrine stands away from the city. Nestled into a royal garden. The fire burns. All night. I sit silently. Accompanied by my memories. By the chill in the air. By a yellow flower I found fallen on the path. And a monument to the sacrifices of the many.
A man approaches. He takes his spot by the fire. He holds a book in his hand. I imagine all the things it might be: his own words or someone else’s. We exchange no looks, no words, but I hear what he is saying. We did not come here to be talked to. We came to reflect. We are together in our separation.
Desperate for meaning. Desperate that my sacrifice be for a greater good, I take note of the process. I leave bread crumbs so that the weary can find their way to safety. To the warmth of a fire.
Earlier I sat in a church, a temple built for god. At the front doors they post a sign asking visitors to purchase a permit if they wish to take photos. It is a spectacle. Beautifully designed tiles. High Arches. Stained glass. It towers. On stage, along with the crucified Christ, an image I compare with a serenely sitting Buddha, is a choir of boys and men. They are rehearsing. Their harmonies are enchanting. Their conductor demands more. A Tighter performance. Again. And again. From the top.
I contemplate the technical aspects verses the devotional. I think of friends who fly in and out of key, but sing with passion and purpose. Not judging, just noticing. I remember Mr Lee who performs on the street, blending beautifully these two poles of the spectrum.
On my knees, I pray. “Dear Lord. Please allow me to serve you. To be a vehicle of your divine love. And a channel for your will.” A prayer that I learnt in a book years ago. One of my favourites. I know it matters because it has stuck. I have uttered these words, more often internally, many times before. And likely, many more will come.
I pray, “May all beings be happy. May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be liberated.” A church makes sense as a place to worship, but it can also feel like an amusement park.
I wander out the door and see the Sikh devotees serving food and water to the public. Free, no charge. I had eaten one of their meals before I entered the church. It reminds me of my adventures with Kodiak, we had visited Gudwars before in search of a meal.
A church, a mosque, a temple, a fire. The place of worship is not so important. The people I worship with, or the scripture that they follow, does not concern me. I seek only the refuge of compassionate hearts, less I dwell alone.
I wander into the garden and compose a poem. More a free range journal entry than a technical masterpiece. I suppose I play out of key as well.
Some people pass me. I wear my hood and carry my duffel bag. My cuffs are ripped. My shoes are odd and have holes in them. My jeans are scuffed with markers and reminders of my creativity. At least, that is what I see. I understand why I read fear on their faces. I may appear scary to those that are scared. Little do they know the prayers I hold. I give them space.
In the distance I see a fire. It pulls me in. Walking towards it, i see a shrine. Columns support beautifully carved stones. It is a structure that demands your admiration. I walk up it’s steps and around it. Reading the inscriptions on its walls, my heart fills with a devotion and strength.
A man and woman are standing close by, he looks at me and wishes me well. I smile and carry on. I walk to the fire and take a seat beside it.
I think of Rumi, ‘just once, at least once, stay woke through the night in honour of gods majesty. Greet the rising sun.’ I don’t know that I’ll make it to the morning, but the moon in this moment has my unconditional surrender.
I return to sitting by the fire.
Beneath the Winter Snow
It’s a deep prayer. It is faith. That in the most troubling, the most trying of times, we can know that levity will come.
It is hard to see out of a ditch when you are in it. But you cannot lose hope. You must believe that there is a way out –that spring will follow the winter.
No matter how cold, how barren the Earth, you must know that the birds will sing and the buds will spring forth.
I have been there. In the darkness. I have been born from there.
It is in that deep silence that there is deep reflection. It is in the isolation and quietude that I dream of a brighter future.
Beneath the winter snow lies the promise of spring.
I pray that you persevere. I pray that you live with foresight. I pray that you do not give up hope. That you know the inevitable cycle of the seasons. Know that your trials will lead to victory. Believe in the power of love. Believe in the karmic justice of the universe.
I understand that the weight can feel too much to bear. I understand that giving up feels like the only option sometimes. But you are not alone. I would love to see you overcome.
I would love to see you emerge as a champion. Victorious in courage and compassion.
I have been buried. But I have also risen to see the glory of life. The spring blossoms and the joys of summer. I have seen the light, and I pray that you have the strength, no matter how dark, to choose to remember the light.
We all face challenges. But you are made stronger as you overcome them. As you push past the limits of what you thought was possible. As you develop your resiliency.
Nobody lives without pain. Choose life. Choose love when it is the hardest thing to do. Especially when it is the hardest thing to do.
In your sadness, I pray that you have the courage to dream of happiness. Please know that you are not alone.
I do believe that everything has it’s place in our lives, and it is up to us to determine how to proceed. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. I hope that you choose to let your challenges strengthen you.
I understand that that is easier said than done. I know that some challenges seem insurmountable, but you must believe. You must not give up hope. You must speak, again, and again, and again.
It is in the periods of quiet reflection, when we are alone and abandoned, that we are preparing for new life.
This life we live teeters between heaven and hell. We experience ecstatic joy and debilitating miseries. If we are able to face the pain, but keep our eyes towards the heavens, I believe we will overcome the greatest challenges.
As the sun sets, and it will, time and time again, we experience the darkness. The contrast makes it all the more unbearable. The sweet highs lead to the bitter lows. And that is the dualistic nature of life.
So in times of the highs and lows, it’s important to remember the flux and flow of life. It’s important to remember that we are destined to face both of these situations. And to not be to attached to them as we experience them.
It takes incredible strength to move through pain and not turn it into suffering. But I believe it can be done. And I believe that it starts with the acknowledgment that relief will come. It will not be easy to sit patiently as the darkness seems to only deepen, but I have been through it enough times to know that the sun will again shine.
I know that my suffering is temporary, and I allow it to change by not making it mine. I see the suffering that wants me to own it. I see how it wants to be written into my story. But I choose to accept it as a necessary evil. That it reveals to me what I truly do want. And to realize what I do want, I accept, may take hard work. But it is revealed to me in the struggle that appears.
I pray that you believe me.
I pray that you find the strength in yourself to continue when it is the most challenging. Because that challenge will be directly proportional to the exuberance of your victory.
I believe that greatness awaits us all. I want to arrive there with you. I want to smile, and laugh, and hold you as we celebrate the precious journeys that we’ve had.
I know that life is hard. Please know that you are not alone. Please know that winter will most certainly be followed by spring. And it will be beautiful. It will make sense of the seasons.
My heart goes out to you. Please continue. Please, with great courage and resilience, continue.