Granted

A Parting in the SeamI know we all die.

That jarring reality came early in life. The world, the cultures, everything is designed so that you aren’t supposed to think about it, but if you manage to fit into one of those cracks – the widening cracks – you realize the finality of mortality. Poets, authors… have written so much about it. Religions offer sanctuary from it. Maybe you’ll come back, maybe you’ll go to a better place.

But isn’t there always a better place? Someone always trying to sell you real estate of some form or another? Cash is easy, tears are real.

I’m intelligent. I’m not supposed to be confused. I’m the one people come to when they are confused. I have no faith that reaches further than the tips of my fingers, my toes, and where my mind can go.

I’m confused. The anger has come and went, as it’s supposed to. But it’s not so much ‘went’. There’s a surprising amount of anger there below acceptance.

One woman loved me more than I was comfortable with, and she’s gone. Another woman fought with me because… she loved me more than I was comfortable with. And she, too, is gone.

There is a rhythm there. A pulse, a silent rage that thwacks at reality now and then despite my best efforts. It’s cynical. It’s sarcastic. It seems to feel no pain, and yet it cannot exist without it.

I know we all die.

I plan for it – the unmentionables that people do not discuss. I planned for it years ago, and I may end up planning it years into the future.

But I did not plan for them to die. I should have, I suppose, since I know we all die.

Yet I failed to plan for them to die. One even told me, told me how, and I nodded my head quietly, thinking she was venting. Hoping she was venting.

She wasn’t venting. I failed. It haunts me.

Another died of the flu. How? Had I been there would something else have happened?

There is no solace here. But there is a silent rage at the world, at myself, and those who take it for granted.

 

Except Billionaires.

Captive SkyYesterday, I wrote a post on my other site that challenged a World Economic Forum post – as people should. Part of that post dealt with this thing we call freedom.

I love freedom, yet every time I become slightly more free I am reminded that I am not allowed to be in one way or the other. Breathing is a compromise of freedom. We Americans that dominate the social media and social networks in our own vacuums tend to believe that the United States is the only nation with ‘freedom’, when really most of the world has it and some nations are arguably more free (step out of your vacuum). As a multicultural, I get to see the world a little differently – but in the end, we know what freedom is and what freedom isn’t.

We know that in a capitalist society – and this is no smear against capitalism, it’s all I really know – that if you have more, you have to protect it. If you have something of value that you want to keep, you have to fence it, protect it, have an army of lawyers to protect your intellectual property, have a firewall on your systems (or better, air-gap them). Suddenly, by simply having more than someone else, you are less free.

Around the world, while there may be less poverty, there are more clear striations between haves and have-nots. In the Global Income Inequality post(which, oddly enough has the same citation as the optimistic post on the World Economic Forum I originally responded to: Max Roser), data seems to indicate it’s on the decline but is still high.

Who is more free, the person that has and needs to protect it or the person who does not have and cannot get it legally? Where is the freedom?

Around the world, people do what they can to be free. As individuals, we all have seen the people who plod and plod without getting ahead, those stable people that society depends on to keep us from sliding into the abyss of our own humanity and lack of it. We see those aspiring to do better, maybe working their way through college – maybe getting a job afterwards to pay off any debt incurred, maybe not. We see members of the military sign up to defend ‘freedom’ come back with lost limbs, or worse, with the scars that cannot be seen – and how much more freedom does anyone have, and how much freedom would someone have lost?

The chains of yesteryear became the financial chains after the abolishment of slavery – indentured servitude being the start, and de facto indentured servitude continues. To become more free, we collectively believe that we should accrue more financially, and when we do so we are limited by the very thing we thought would set us free.

“Except billionaires”, we might think, and yet how free are they?

Whole

Beware Pinheaded Smurfs with CoffeeLet that feeling
Born in shadow
Let it make you
Make you strong

Let the demons
You got to carry
Carry you on and on and on

‘Cause all these things, all these things are yours
All these things, all these things are yours
Oh oh, all these things, all these things are yours

– “All These Things Are Yours”, Dopamine,
Third Eye Blind (Jenkins Stephan Douglas),  June 16 2015

That anger, that sadness – all those things you feel and do not understand are a part of you, for better and worse. They are tools in a world that defies the definitions others have given the world long before you were born.

There are truths. Then there is society. Sometimes they’re incompatible – not all the time, and some of the rules are pretty good – not killing, not stealing, (violence is generally a bad idea) etc – and even when others do it legally, ‘within the rules’, you can see the cracks in society – the lies.

And all you can do is apply truth vigorously, live it… and the first part of that is being true to yourself, to who you are.

To allow yourself to be whole. To recognize your flaws, your faults, and fix them as best you can as you own them even when the world might suggest otherwise.

Change

Black Hole Sun

They paint their world full of shadows and then they tell their children to stay close to the light.

Their Light. Their reasons, Their judgments.

Because in the darkness there be dragons. But it isn’t true. 
We can prove that it isn’t true.

In the ‘dark’, there is discovery, there is possibility, there is freedom in the dark once someone has illuminated it.’
– Flint, “Black Sails”, Season 4, Episode XXXVIII

There’s a difference between growing up in the dark and growing up in the light. The results of growing up in the light are plain and are hinted at above. Beaten paths are chosen, and yet when the dark is somewhere they depend on someone else to light the path, to hold their hand and guide them.

But no one has been to the dark places, or those that have are victims of popular thought – the outliers, those that don’t play by the rules of their Light, their Reasons, their Judgement. And yet to push back that darkness takes people who are willing to go to the dark places and make light of them – to walk through the brush and feel the land under their feet, creating an echo of it in their minds. The explorers. The discoverers. Those unfettered from the popular Lights, the popular Reasons, the popular Judgements.

And people who grew up in the dark learned not to fear it but to embrace it, to taste of the dark brownian motion of the soul and master the unknown, to make sense out of nonsense, to find the order in what others see as chaos or be doomed to the chaos.

There’s a branch of people growing up in the dark who never find the illuminations, for whatever reasons. Then there’s the branch you can drop some others off with no more than a knife and some rope to find a civilization in a few decades.

Fear is the master of all of this – and mastering fear determines how people deal with the world. If they only know the black and white, they do not truly appreciate the dusk of sunset and the colors of the pre-dawn, where the light bounces through the atmosphere and it’s contents to give the brightest of colors that those waiting for the light will never see.

In 2018, we see the world changing. Storms in Europe, temperatures in Canada that make Antarctica a tropical paradise, flooding, earthquakes – some Lights call these acts of God, other Lights self-flagellate for all of humanity calling it climate change. We see things faster with technology and watch how weak our civilizations have always been, only now able to see how slow and cumbersome they have become as our ability to see it has improved. Resources once plentiful are now more scarce, geopolitical lines that were greying become more black and white. Statesmanship morphs into a reflection of our systems – those that rise to power know how to game the systems, they have become parts of the systems. People are blamed because, implicitly, ‘it couldn’t possibly be the systems‘. Of course it’s the systems. People are inherently flawed, every one of us, and systems are simply agreed upon designs of flawed humans.

People live in fear of crimes the systems allow for, people have shifted their ethics to what they can get away with by Law and Law abandons Ethics.

Meanwhile, we have more humans arriving like Earth’s sexually transmitted diseases, with no natural predators other than ourselves.

The world is darker as the false lights fail one by one, under their own weight. This scares people tied to how it is, how it was, how they think it has always been.

To those used to the dark, there’s a freedom there – a cascade of colors of a pre-dawn sunset to come, an opportunity to look at things anew and do better.

The world is changing and it scares people, often for the wrong reasons.

 

Emotional Bandwidth

Full Moon MeditationIt’s been a rough week, between my mother’s death and keeping myself busy as a way of dealing with it, pushing a vision of a future on a canvas of land. I know she wanted all of her children to sculpt parts of the world leaving bits of their poetry of achievements as pillows in our lives to cushion us from the pains of living.

I am familiar with how I grieve all too well, and I know that I would need the emotional bandwidth to deal with it. There have been plenty of relationships I’ve been in that have not had reciprocation, that were one-sided, and that needed to be addressed – as we all have at some point, perhaps giving us a false sense of comfort until we figure out how toxic they are. Until we realize how much they distract us from things that are of worth, of value. They rob us of time, of energy, of emotional bandwidth… they rob us of life, for what else is life but time, energy and emotion? And so I ended some toxic relationships.

In such times, with the death of someone, you find out who is really of worth in your life. You treasure them and keep them.

And you find those that you were there for but couldn’t be bothered. You let those go.

Bridges cannot be burned if they do not exist, and if a bridge doesn’t work for you it does not exist.

‘Strong’

Scenes from Laguna Mar (Blanchisseuse)They call you strong so that they do not have to support you, where your own strength makes you an island.

A rock. Self-contained.

When things go wrong, they come to you, and with a good heart you board the boat, make it to their shores and pitch a tent – and they leave garbage around you, which you sort through with a good heart. And then when it’s clear they are done with you, you board your boat and go back to your island. You have acted with empathy, put up with slights and being ignored – the sign for you to go – and you push out past the waves to return to your island.

There is a comfort to the island, an easy familiarity, a distance from the problems of others as you weather your own storms as you always have – as you have always had to, your fire a lighthouse of sorts for those that venture onto the beach.

It takes time, but you learn that there is no reciprocation – that the relationship itself is toxic.

Embargo.

There are other ports.

Unfettered

the weakest linkAs reality sets in about my mother’s passing, I sit considering over my morning coffee how much I felt I could not write about – the unspokens – because I knew that my mother would read some things and think that they were about her, or that they would make her feel sad or even angry.

We censor ourselves – some of us, anyway – and with the understanding that anything on the Internet must exist in it’s own context, it’s difficult to predict how something will be read, if it is read at all.

There’s some humor there; the majority of my family do not read things much longer than a headline, status update or text message. My mother, on the other hand, would read everything and stew. She could be eerily good at reading intent, or reading underlying meaning – and denying things she was right about would be not only dishonest, but an insult. I come by it naturally.

Sitting here, I realize she was the last reason I censored anything. I did so for my father as well. Despite the grief and sorrow, I am unfettered. Free. A final gift from her, of sorts, an accidental good in a bad situation.