Now

Tags

, , , ,

A case for Joy

Joy – the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation

The definition of joy implies action. “The emotion of great delight (not just regular delight) CAUSED by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” At my age, I’ve heard many times over the advice that one must “choose” happiness. The classic example of this is The Diary of Ann Frank. If anyone had reason to be despondent, she would lead a large pack. Happiness, a component of joy, is a choice.

Happiness gets trampled daily if you’ve not noticed. Our politics. Our religions. Our media. Our gossip. The overwhelming collectivity of communication sometimes appears negative beyond repair. How does one choose happiness when they’re surrounded by all these externals of negativity? On top of the macro of negativity, what about the micro? For instance, what if someone is constantly bombarded by negative statements, attacks, and skullduggery? How does one rise above this?

By choice, it would appear. Life gets tiresome when all that’s in front of you looms as potential dismay, sadness, anger, betrayal, cruelty, and a host of other negative players. Many, if not most, people look to find happiness in the very people who will eventually destroy that joy. Wise folk have said for millennia to look inward for happiness and joy with the oft-unspoken advice that others will not do it for you in the long run. For those who get to this point, often the trek stands out as a painful, arduous arrival to a place we should have acknowledged long ago.

I’m still not at the point where I walk away like Kwai Chang Caine from television show Kung Fu. I can do this physically, but mentally and emotionally I fight the battle in my head and my heart. I recognize this robs me of peace. I recognize I must find a way to suffer the slings and arrows of people who know me and those who don’t. The pickle is in the doing. When people load their shit on you, making the choice of joy becomes Mt. Everest with few provisions. Most often, we’re so bombarded by the negativity that we don’t recognize we’re leagues away from joy before we even deal with someone nasty.

The only tool which comes to mind to battle this onslaught is “now.” The power of being in the moment. The power of slipping out of our daydream (or nightmare as the case may be) and into the moment of truth. The bare, unadorned moment. As Eckhart Tolle said, “The Power of Now.” To get to now, I’ve discovered I must step out of everything and focus on something. At this moment its the sunshine outside my window. Or is it the green leaves on the palm fronds? Or is it the blue sky backdrop? None of these matter except that they each offer a way out of the mind-numbing war which rages in my head and heart. The fears which rise up. The anger that can simmer low enough to be nearly undetectable and high enough to boil over given the right (or wrong) conditions.

“Now” can be the lampshade. Something inanimate. Something to draw attention from my inner turmoils and out to a place where I can replace in my mind something better. How often do I practice this? Not often enough I can say with absolute certainty. Just stepping out of turmoil does not bring me to joy. In fact, the act does not necessarily get me out of negativity. Residual thoughts keep knocking at my “now” door, looking for a way in to kill the momentum. I’ve found that negativity thrives on itself. When negativity meets something positive, engulf and devour like a rabid wolf ensues.

I must find a way to fill my “now” moment with something of positive value. Positive thoughts. Goals. Dreams. Aspirations. Yes, as I’m writing this, I’m allowing myself to entertain the thought of being holed up in a mountain cottage, fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate by my recliner, laptop in my lap with snow swirling outside my huge bay window in a dance of pure peace and joy. I feel two things going here. One is excitement. Excitement that I may actually one day do this. I also feel the dogged attacks of negativity screaming I am saddled by life and circumstance and that I’ll never have the time nor the finances to achieve such a thing.

This is where more of us lose it. I’m leading that pack, unfortunately. I’ve come to realize just getting to the dream will not allow me to maintain joy. An action is required. A plan. Actual movement in the direction of achieving the goal. Something to work for. Something to believe in. Something to help me maintain an inner peace and joy in my “now.”

Connecting the dots internally will now be my focus. I’ve got to learn to choose happiness, happiness within me. Happiness within my life. Happiness within my reach. All captured in the moment of “now.” Maintaining this will be the challenge. This is contrary to a life pattern of constantly fighting back negativity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my crazy ex-wife, confronting negativity only drags me into the cesspool. Walking away, as Kwai Chang, truly becomes the only effective route.

The next step is to not only achieve now moments but to put into play and into thought and into practice that each task I accomplish each day brings me one step closer to my dreams and aspirations. When I look at completing a project as a “now moment(s)” action step to my dreams and aspirations, joy may become a component of my working day. I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Good work.

“NOW” work.

Practice. Practice. Practice….

Now

Now
look at your hand
do it
ask yourself why
why is he requesting I look at my hand
what were you thinking about before you looked
do you feel a distance from those thoughts
even if only a small distance

Now
our heads stay stuffed with thoughts
thoughts triggered and placed by others
thoughts triggered and placed by ourselves
the monkey chatter in our heads drowns out most everything else
until we take action
until we give ourselves an option
escape from unreality

Now
look at your hand
your hand is real
your thoughts, all 60,000 of them per day
all 42 thoughts per minute
almost one thought per second
call you back to their cacophony
a siren call we live with every day

Now
look at your hand
seize the second
seize the minute
reign in your thoughts and focus
speed holds not your answer
relaxation
deep breaths
consciousness beyond the noise of our minds
our distractions
our technologies

NOW
look at your hand
look out your window
look at your sky
feel who you are
feel who you aspire to be
make the choice of joy
make the choice to put action to “you”
NOW

Advertisements

Scorched-Earth Princess

Tags

, ,

The one-sentence poem was taught to me by a wonderful poetry workshop leader named Peggy Miller. For years I’d written poetry without justification, study or credentials, barely able to even label the writing as poetry. Peggy taught me that not only did my writing fall within the realm of poetry, the words crafted fell into beauty and insight and passion and emotion. She showed me forms of poetry I did not know existed, case in point the one-sentence poem where you simply write without a period and create a flow. My first poem written as such was Golden Strand Smile which I remember with fondness whenever I’ve reread the piece, I get a strong sense of beauty and accomplishment. As a writer, you seldom know creation’s worth immediately upon completion, yet you possess a euphoria about the writing and a desire to show the world what you built. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not so much, yet the passion in the crafting of the piece is unmistakable. Poetry, as in all creative writing, becomes a purge of the soul if you allow it. Fortunately, this is one aspect of my life, my writing life as well, which escapes the vagaries of life and actually strengthens as the days progress forward.

Scorched-earth Princess

In truth, she invited herself in, a petite, curvy, molded, fluid damsel, princess in waiting, looking for love and finding adoration in spades with someone mired in poverty not only of goods and income but ransacked of hope and positivity and confidence and assertion, yet she discovered a goldmine of caring and giving of everything he possessed but throughout the years, instead of nurturing what could have been a treasure trove of a lifelong relationship, she sought to pillage, one item at a time, all the stores he built, all the good, all the love, all the passon, all the empathy, all the concern, all the willingness to give, all the confidence he grew, careful not to show a scorched-earth landscape, but walls and halls filled with pilfered dreams, hopes stolen in silence, confidence raked cruelly by calculated withdrawal, then, as the end wended its way ever closer, trumped up lies and charges sprinkled to key allies so that she could maintain a clean, untarnished exit, she played her cards as a dish served frozen, revenge for whatever demons haunt her soul, and when the man would not die after his ultimate act of allegiance to her, she pursued his death post mortal blow having raided everything good he had to offer, building a self-fueled anger and bitterness to wage an unsightly war, unnecessary for the caring, but preimmenently critical to her claims of victimhood when it was she who prospered during their years together and he was left with hollowed heart, dreams dashed, and hope a smoldering pile of lies and deceit, the only material remaining for him to rebuild his world, rebuild the shell of his life, rebuild the once giddy and flourishing story of a man who loved with his entire heart, his entire soul, his proverbial shirt off his back despite his poverty, and within that smoldering pile of hope, he picked up one peice at a time, searching for clues and answers as to what led to such cruelty, from a princess who prospered with him, who owned his affection which kept concern for her well-being above his own, with one of the examined articles of hope, glittering in the harsh analysis of day being her statements even in hateful destruction that the years with him had been the best of her life, not enough to assuage the onslaught which only accelerated with more frozen vigor, yet this tiny shard of hope, brushed and polished, showed no damage as all other hopes did, they, all tattered and shattered and burnt and melted into a dark crystalline heap of despair from which he must rebuild a life and find that, being alone needs not be lonely although all he sees within him screams this perspective as truth, just as in the truth of her inviting  herself in, he also welcomed her to himself in total honesty of love and affection and an open emotional storehouse, his truest wealth beyond measure, which she raided beyond simply just stealing his best, she came back after her detonation, searching for anything left lying around of value, then continued her onslaught of dirision and cold-witch cackling lies to help fuel an anger she lost the ability to identify decades before him, when it first blossomed in her core, in the end, no facade princess remains, only a cold, heartless, gold-digging, walking, talking body devoid of soul, who one day will see herself and likely not shed one tear for the damage she dealt others, because she, on her last breath, will not see past her own self-interest, ego, and greed while he discovers scattered slivers of his love in corners and dark places and as he places them with his one glittering truth, the one she tossed aside, the one that even in her darkest destructive decisive blow she could not break or damage, he begins the arduous, painstaking work of revival, knowing full well he will likely never, ever, ever love anyone so deeply, so truely, so completely, because he will never overlook nor tolerate again a woman so selfish and shortsighted.

Nobody There I Really Want to Talk to…

Tags

, , ,

 

Music fun. Sometimes whimsy takes over. A line. A phrase. A poignant calling from evocative feelings storms the castle of your thoughts and heart. You feel there’s nothing to do but write something.

Music embodies deep influence in our lives. Playing with the meters of melody can be fun as a writer, as well as a challenge. Of course, a complex meter like the one in Operator becomes a bear to write, unlike many other songs. But the challenge remains and becomes an enjoyable exercise. While I did not maintain the meter of the song, the writing came out well. Whatever inspires you, right?

If I hadn’t mentioned the song, would you have made the connection? The title likely would have given it away, but there’s also a couple borrowed lines as well. Writing prompts. Gotta love them…

Nobody There I Really Want to Talk to…

Love is a jumble
Could you rest my weary heart
I never thought life would ever see us separated
Life is a tumble
When you least expect the rain
And love never knew its demise would never be sated

Isn’t that the way they say it goes
When your soul falls flat
When you love too deep and blind yourself with trust
The light goes out on the other side then you work to extinguish your glow
You dig around your soul
You learn to fake it well
You only wish your work could just complete itself
But there’s no good way to feel

There’s a day on high
When your heart could really fly
And you long for the moments when words were its primary currency
Now you’re just a ghost
Callously tossed to wind and fog
For whatever reason, no pain should be delivered so cold

There lived a time
When gentleness indeed did reign
You believed the forever stuck in your own eyes
And the regurgitation from her felt like the real thing you’d always desired
You found out otherwise
You know it happens every time
But there’s nobody there now you really want to talk to…

Isn’t that the way they say it goes
When your soul falls flat
When you love too deep and blind yourself with trust
The light goes out on the other side then you work to extinguish your glow
You dig around your soul
You learn to fake it well
You only wish your work could just complete itself
But there’s no good way to feel

Awakening

Awakening

A cold witch’s
Voice of connection
Voice of severance
Voice of destruction

Love crushed by ice
Betrayed by selfishness
Sullied by lies
Defiled by currency

Footprints in emotional ashes
No green-blue world
Only gray-white floating gossamer remnants
In a silent world, a dead world, a world of echoes and destruction…

Awareness
Heartbeat
Longing
Search

So many directions out of pain
So many horizons
So many possibilities
Blinded by scorched-earth tattered hopes

The day must move forward
Desolate landscapes must be explored
Witch voice rings a mournful cadence continuing its haunt
While the heart beats slowly stronger, touched lightly by a lonely midnight breeze…

When You’re so Broke You Don’t Need Fixing…

Only Time to Heal

Cruel
Yes
Cold
Yes
Heartless
Yes
Love in your soul won’t die
Yes
Broken
Yes

Skies
Blue painted wonders
Trees
Hard-barked longevity
Grass
Unkempt as your hair
Heart
Dark. Drenched in sadness
Broken
Until the day you die

You
So valuable. So kind. So loving
You
So intelligent. So giving. So devoted
You
So full of laughter. So much fun. So spontaneous.
You
Deserve so much better than what you got
You
Will never forget the betrayal

Fix
Nothing but your choices
Fix
Nothing but your attitude
Fix
Nothing but the smile you lost
Fix
Upon something better.
Fix
Upon your next step out of pain

You’ll know
Won’t you?
You’ll know
When your mirror becomes clear of the mist of lies
You’ll know
When your breath once again refreshes
You know
There’s nothing to fix
You know
There’s only the time to heal

When you’re so broke you don’t need fixing
When you’re so blind in pain you simply don’t care
When the scar will last forever
There is no fixing

Yes
Only time to heal

Tomorrow Will Have to Wait

Tags

, ,

During the course of our lives, we often place our future in someone else’s hands. Too often we do this from a position of fear. We cannot face the spectacle and specter of death in all its various forms and machinations. We operate from fear and react from fear and live in fear without recognition of fear.

Countless hordes of living beings have trod these paths before and with us. A gagglezillion souls and counting. There’s enormous pressure for those who continue forging their path despite others who share time and breath in this existence. They fight you because they see better, know better, observe better. This is bullshit. You need fortitude.

Their reality, their rules. Your reality requires a trust to keep moving together. Your own personal trust in yourself should be paramount. When all is said and done, you and you alone, own the life path you walk. No other human experiences your life, your love, your passion, your pain, exactly as you.

This becomes problematic in a relationship. Either they trust you and you trust them or all is lost. For what defines a relationship anyway but the ability for two to walk together despite opposing views of the path?

The moments, the vignettes, the joys, the peace, the love, the happiness, the visions in your heart desire companionship. But…when building your legacy of life…its built today, this hour, this minute, this nanosecond, this thought, this feeling, this fear, this decision.

Delay only costs you building material. You may forge wealth, financial security and all the trappings of our modern shallow lives, but when all comes to fruition, will you have traded your life for things or will you purchase larger and higher goals of the intangibles – love, hope, joy, companionship, peace.

The price will always be your time. Your return on investment will always reflect where you place your day, hour, minute, nanosecond, thought, feeling, fear, decision. This is where the best of advice one may ever receive becomes…

Tomorrow Will Have to Wait…

This day comes courtesy of breath
Strength
Willpower
Love
Passion
Determination
Stubbornness
Reconnection

A reason to breathe
From ashes of destruction
From failing heart
From flagging hope

A summoning of strength
From the shell
From the depth
From the Unknown

A marshaling of willpower
From tattered energy
From piecemeal shards of hope
From self-recognition

An ability to love without reservation
From pain
From betrayal
From all that is good within

A passion for life and legacy
From false accusation
From self-reflection
From abundant emotion

A determination to forge a path
From the inner wilderness
From the flaw of expectations
From experience

A stubbornness to hold and adjust course
From mistakes and misrepresentations
From belief in oneself
From abhorrence of apathy

A reconnection of the vital heart
From a wellspring of love
From the inner tainted knight
From all that is good and right within

Rebuild, not from scratch
But from belief in oneself
From knowledge
From kindness in the face of destructive hearts

Build today this dream
A dream of a life path well forged
Despite setbacks
Betrayals
Crushing pain

Build this day the castle of your life
Build it with minutes and seconds and nanoseconds
Not from touchable, material trappings
Build with your moments
Each vignette played out
Each interaction
Each smile
Each touch
Each kiss
Each decision

Build this very instant
This now
This cognitive thought…

Tomorrow will have to wait…

New Fiction by Michael Ray King

Tags

, ,

The Continuing Adventures of …

There come times in our lives when we need to be saved from ourselves. These times tend to be rare when thought about in terms of actual minutes and seconds. Our overall body of work remains forever comprised of working off of the decisions we make in life.

Our legacies, our reputations, our character, all get defined by the hours, days, weeks, months and years we spend working toward something. Most of the time, we don’t have a rat’s chance in hell of even knowing what we work toward.

We place labels and stories and mystique around our journeys in life but in the end, its all a crapshoot. We target something, too often anything, and we run our various flags up the pole touting what we stand for.

When we believe we know, that’s when we’re most vulnerable. When we believe we know, that’s when we make our most major mistakes. When we believe with every fiber of our soul we stand in the limelight of trouble and destruction. Like when I knew I loved her so deeply nothing could ruin my world.

Except her leaving…

Our Own Brand of Crazy

Our Own Brand of Crazy…Just Sayin’

Each of us possess our own brand of crazy. That inner insanity which causes us to whack out. We don’t know why. We don’t know how. We like to think we control this phenomenon but when the beast raises its head, we give over to the absurd.

Absurd only in that we don’t understand ourselves and why we’re driven to this internal place where we feel out of control. Some of us find a lot of success in hiding it or denying it or no acknowledging the intruder even exists. The toughest times we ever seem to go through spring from this stranger exerting his/her influence over our decision making.

Billy Joel wrote about the Stranger. He related the Stranger to relationships, which appears as the breeding ground most of us experience. The Stranger pops up in so many areas of our lives though. Work. Education. Self-esteem. Self-confidence. Self-awareness.

I know this writing comes across quite abstract but isn’t that the nature of the Stranger? When we make up our mind to deal with the Stranger, invariably we do not exert much control. In fact, we give over most often to the Stranger out of fear. We know something is “wrong” with us. We just want whatever it is to go away.

We steel ourselves to decisions which steer us from facing some of the cold, deep truths within us. Only the bravest give battle and dig and delve into what can only be defined as our own brand of crazy. This place within us does not acknowledge reason and logic unless these things serve its manic purposes.

Ultimately, we make decisions based on insanity. This isn’t just you and me. This is everyone. The entire human race. The flavors of each of our Strangers has been written and sung throughout the history of man. As a collective unit, mankind stands as one great psycho-lab. Look at what is going on around us. Do you think you’re immune?

Since we suppress our inner Stranger most of the time, our most effective weapon is denial. Denial the Stranger exists within us and then denial that the Stranger can exist as quite the self-destructive, malevolent entity. We will make drastic, life-changing decisions based on something we cannot fully explore.

Too bad. There’s loads of discovery on the trek to exploration. Funny how we are all on this journey of life and coming up with all kinds of answers. Most work to externalize and blame or give credit to outside experiences. Some dive inward into many forms of spiritualism. We all truly cannot define nor tie down the key, root truth as to who this Stranger is and what motivates the Stranger.

Our own brand of crazy. Many go mad, at least mad as most of us define madness. They do things which cause us to internally jump back in alarm. We see the manifestation of others’ dealings with the Stranger. Most often, we react in horror and a million other emotions when faced with another human being falling prey to their own resident loon.

There’s quite a number of us who spar often with our Stranger. We’re typically labeled “creative artists.” We do not deaden ourselves to our inner crazy, we actually explore pieces, snippets, and dark voices. We walk the moors of our internal chaos, observing, capturing, and placing the results into the world for everyone to see.

None of us grasp the whole. The entire morass. If we did (or possibly do) we go mad. In our modern world, we’ve developed more ways to avoid our own brand of crazy than at any time in history. All our gadgets and whizbangs and glitter and noise only serve to distance each of us from our truths.

Unfortunately, this type of suppression and denial only leads to pressure-cooker conditions which then lead to bizarre decisions based on feelings and motivations we cannot fathom. We give over to stupidity or folly, even in the face of knowing we’d be better off taking the course of challenge and growth.

Did you ever wonder why “control” is so important to humans? Could it be that we’re frustrated because we cannot control our own brand of crazy? Please don’t look for answers here, at least over-arching, life-figuring-out answers. But do consider this: maybe, just maybe, when your inner crazy, Stranger, brand-of-crazy-persona takes over your life, remember you may choose defiance. You may choose a level of control.

This calls for making decisions counter to an emotional, ruthless tsunami which threatens to engulf everything you are if you don’t flee. Maybe, just maybe, standing your ground and making your own decision to pursue a different path from the one on which you’re being swept away is the best course of action.

In the end of life, we’re defined by our ability to maneuver through our own brand of crazy. We each have it. Each of our brands of crazy is different. We can be similar but in the end, we each are unique. This is both the crown and the curse of life.

Thus I acknowledge this day, a partial glimpse of my own brand of crazy. Adjusting to another’s brand of crazy determines our relationship with them. Like Billy Joel said, one day that Stranger will kick you right between the eyes. I say its more than a “one-day” kick, it’s lifelong.

Fight for your best choices in the moments dealing with your personal brand of crazy. Don’t base these decisions on anyone outside of you. Their Stranger will kick you right between the eyes for sure. You will either be brave when faced with what many call our “internal demons,” or you’ll do what humans do most of the time – you’ll duel with the Stranger in a defeatist manner.

You’ll even acknowledge the happiest days of your life and walk away from them, simply because you cannot understand your personal demon. The daring choice is to fight. When faced with walking away from the happiest days of your life because your own brand of crazy is on the fritz, muster your courage and go for happiness. Ultimately, this would be why happiness is a choice – one we far too often ignore.

Lol! My own brand of crazy this morning? I got an email at 4:44 with the title line, “Go Write.” Accessing crazy for the moment complete…

 

Tattooed Heart

Tattooed Heart

Smoke and dust and ash and debris and sorrow and pain and anger

Residue throughout the heart
Clean-up an act unfathomable
Existence a stretch
Hope a mocking concept

Dim light which flickers cluttered, hollowed halls
Reveal poison ink soaking the soul
Portrait etched deep into eternity’s grasp
Undying love with nowhere to go

There, perched in resplendent Princess glory
Mocking life and its labored breath
Never to fade into time’s forgetfulness
Forever carved, forever bleeding, forever loved

Every moment, memories flood
Every moment, anguish, the loss
Every moment, a torture to breathe
Every moment, acid tears fail to wash away the stamp

No recovery from wounds so deep
No recovery on any horizon
Simply endless love left engraved
Stranded. Encased. Nowhere to go…