Have you ever heard “You’re never too old.” I know I am for some things: No Forbes 30 Under 30 or no professional sports for me! However, age has no bearing on following the heart.
No one is ever too old to stop seeking, especially if it is seeking the positive of how to live your true Self. That never grows old. It is possible, though, to seek negatives and to live in negative vibrations of life.
Famous people die all too frequently because of negative vibrations from things like drugs, things that they seek to help them alleviate pain of some sort or another. I have often wondered How does someone with talent and ability and wealth get so unhappy? A former student — not famous — just died this weekend from a drug overdose — heroin. Prince — famous — died, too. Just the most recent.
I truly believe that the process of life is the purpose. Now, some goals attend the process, but an ultimate goal doesn’t exist — IF we are going to continue a vital, significant, fulfilling life. I think that’s what happens to celebrities or athletes sometimes. They don’t keep seeking to discover — discover more beauty and more ways to express that deepest core Self. Sometimes the expressed talents, skills, or abilities of the famous and not-so famous are only temporary ways of living true Self. The process and journey of life continues; sometimes, we do not.
We all hesitate, falter, or completely fail at times. For serious issues, wonderful, caring professionals exist to live their life purpose and help us. Other times, the answer, actually always the answer, is in our own hearts. Professionals can help guide us back to those inner solutions — the only ones that really work.
Since it is still National Poetry Month, I would like to share one of my poems that deals with this topic.
Seeking my kingdom,
Seeking my legend,
Seeking my purpose,
I journey on.
Engaging the enemy,
Engaging the challenges,
Engaging the hardship,
I journey on.
I seek not the past;
I seek not the future;
I seek not some ethereal throne.
The seeking, engaging, and journeying onward --
Now, this is my present;
This is my kingdom;
This is the living path that I choose.
Seeking provides the wealth I require;
Passion, enthusiasm driving me on;
Engaging creates a legend of hope;
Labor and love embraced daily by me;
Journeying forward allows revelation;
Vision embracing, expanding I see.
My name is Discovery, and I journey on.
Questions and Thoughts
How do I give flesh and bones to my true heart’s identity?
What is important enough for me to engage forces that oppose the expression of core Self, the enemy, sometimes the enemy being our own ego?
Seeking implies future discovery and also present occupation, which yields its own discovery. How clear is my vision that I am seeking?
What am I discovering as I engage in my heart’s journey?
What passion can enlighten me every day and energize me to joyfully and enthusiastically journey day to day?
We have to seek in order to discover. Retreating, escaping, running — whether with drugs, irrational behaviors, or any number of other things — cannot provide any true solutions nor more than illusory happiness.
When I have those stumbling, doubting, faltering times, I know that I just need to start writing. What do you need to do to get going in a positive direction? Maybe, just maybe, that has something to do with your life purpose.
Getting high, drunk, shopping excessively, etc. does not signify a positive direction. They might feel good for awhile, but the key to recognizing the positive is how you feel afterwards. Do you feel more significant or like you have done something that matters to others or expresses love to others? That might help you distinguish!
Happy trails to You!
Yesterday, on William Shakespeare’s birthday/death day, I referred to a passage in which Hamlet tells his friends about the awesomeness of human beings, but I stopped short. He goes on to tell them that even though the earth and mankind is so fantastic, he finds “no delight in man.” He felt disconnected from all the intricate beauty surrounding him, even though before these declarations he had told the same friends that “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet could have arisen from his depression, but he shut himself off from all connections except for one friend.
My point? One of the basic energies of life is an energy of connections. I am thankful for one variety of connections that can be made through social media. Some have maligned it, having witnessed examples of face-to-face interactions being disrupted by it. True, sometimes, but social media just provides a way for someone who may be already dysfunctional to express that. It’s not good or bad unless “thinking makes it so.”
In fact, social gives opportunity for connections in a new way. We have always sought ways to connect beyond face-to-face encounters. Ancient “social media” can be seen on cave walls or in petroglyphs etched into stone — for instance, in the Valley of Fire outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, which is the focus of the poem that I am sharing today.
I rather doubt that Facebook, Medium, Instagram, or Snapchat will be around for 3,000 years like the petroglyphs on the walls of the Valley of Fire!
Valley of Fire
What is all of life but this Valley of Fire?
Not a fire of destruction, but
A fire, perhaps, that has smelted some of
These stones and helped to create,
A fire not of burning wood
But one that has burned deep within
Earth’s bowels or perhaps deep within
And in so doing — whether wood, rock, or soul --
Beauty has been created:
Beauty of wind- and water-carved landscapes
Beauty of created minerals and rock formations
Beauty of lives that actively engage in the blaze of
Creative energy, borne of connections with all around, a
Life that can be fire or water or earth or air,
Whatever I make it or need it to be
To mold and create my own life-scape.
Today, it is the fiery red color revealed
In these rocks that I walk on,
Climb up, observe intently, study thoughtfully; I
Feel their spirit, at least spirit imbued by all those
Past observers and dwellers and walkers and souls
Who have been here before me. I
See their mark, these petroglyph etchings
That tell their life, their fires of creation, their travels,
Their hunts, their ways --
The zipper glyphs marking distance and topography
The animal glyphs marking game types and sources
The crosses with internal lines marking directions and positions
The concentric circles marking celestial locations
The wavy lines marking waterways and sources
The handprints and footprints marking, well, who knows what --
None of these incisions, chippings, peckings, pickings, or hammerings
Anything for sure
But marking something most surely,
Marking lives that were led,
Marking spirit of life forces still operative
Marking roots and identities
Of individuals, shamans and tribe historians, perhaps
Of nations, tribes past, perhaps
Of humankind, all of us, perhaps
Of our wanderings and life directions
Of our desires to view and know more of the cosmos
Of our need to understand, remember, and live from our roots
Connections to generations
Connections to life
Connections to Universe
Connections to me.
Yes, much of life a Valley of Fire
Contributing to the creation and connections of Us.
William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, and UsI have no intention of trying to summarize the life and works of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, in a dinky, little post. However, being a fan and teaching a few of his works over the course of fifteen years or so, I will share how I interacted with my students as we approached Shakespeare’s work.
Before my students knew what we were headed into, I would ask them to write a poem in iambic pentameter. “Oh, and I would like it to contain a word that you invent, one that is used so perfectly in context that no explanation is needed.” I would let them play around with that for a few minutes. “Oh, yeah, and I would like it to be such a great word that it is in common use five years from now. Or do you think you could create a word that will still be used ten years from now? a 100? 400?” Of course, they knew that I was making a point, and that point was that William Shakespeare introduced right at 2,000 unknown words into our language, as well as new phrases — combinations of words never before used in that way.
“Like what words?” they would ask.
“Well, many common words, and they were words of life, not technology, which accounts for most of the new words today. No one individual even comes close to this. When we talk about the brightness of the sun, we refer to its…”
“Radiance,” someone would shout out. “You mean he made up radiance?”
“Yes, and words like obscene, frugal, countless, hurry, excellent, lonely, hint, gust…”
“What about phrases? What do you mean?”
“Did you ever hear about a relative being your ‘flesh and blood’? Or can you picture something in your ‘mind’s eye’? Has something disappeared quickly and you say that it ‘vanished into thin air’? Or that someone is so stubborn that they won’t ‘budge an inch’?” (Thanks to Bill Bryson’s book The Mother Tongue: English & How It Got That Way.)
They were impressed but doubtful of their ability to understand the English.
“Okay, in what period of the English language did he write: Old, Middle, or Modern?”
Not one time did they get it right on the first guess. Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote in Early Modern English. “So, get it out of your head that it’s impossible to understand.” I would recite some lines of Middle English just so they could hear how reasonable the Bard’s English is.
I would also explain to them the beauty of his use of the language in capturing the many characters and shades of human personalities. Primarily, literature conveys insight into who and what we are as human beings — how we think, act, react in all relationships that represent humanity. And Shakespeare did that in plays that were one long poem of blank verse iambic pentameter. That really blew students’ minds.
Then, we would be off and running to engage in Romeo and Juliet, The Tragedy of Macbeth, or The Tragedy of Hamlet, not to mention looking at a few of his sonnets.
Personally, Hamlet is one of my favorites. Wait, so is Othello, Lear, …never mind. But let me leave you with a bit of Hamlet.
Even in the throes of depression and feigned madness, Hamlet recognizes this: “What a piece of work is a man! how noble / in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and / moving how express and admirable! in action how / like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the / beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!”
Another character, Polonius, a controlling, manipulating but respected man, says a bit earlier in an uncharacteristic fit of wisdom to his son who was leaving, “This above all: to thine ownself be true,…”
Polonius voiced the words; Hamlet understood the words; my hope is that we will live those words today as we consider the amazing creatures that we are and the amazing ways in which William Shakespeare portrayed us.
Earth Day 2016! The celebration of Earth Day started in 1970, and that led to the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts being passed within the next few years. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring initiated the environmental awakening in 1962, and near the end of her seminal work, she says this: “The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.”
During the 100 years and more before her time, foul, polluted air and water were regarded by industrialists as the signs of prosperity and sold that way to everyone else. Fortunately, not everyone bought the bullshit. It should have been stopped when it started, but when people won’t listen to their own hearts, they live their ego and they want, want, want. Those who believe that “nature is for the convenience of man” are fools and are not living with nature; they are living against her.
When we are living with nature, we realize, as Carson said, that we are “sharing our earth with other creatures” and we have “the awareness that we are dealing with life.” Anyone who takes stands for destroying any element of nature—underground reservoirs, soil, rivers, lakes, seas, any species—that person is broken.
Native Americans understood this; they got it. Oh, if you ask me would I like to live like the peoples of past centuries — hell, no. But science and nature and progress are not incompatible. The decision to listen to your heart or to listen to your ego, however, is, and when profit is the sole motive, ego is the motivator. A Cree proverb says, “Only when the last tree has died, the last river been poisoned, and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
We can eliminate enough of Nature that we could eventually eliminate us. Another Native American proverb says goes something like this: “The frog doesn’t drink up the lake in which he lives.”
Since it is still National Poetry Month, I could not possibly leave out the wisdom of Walt Whitman on this issue. How fitting for today is “A Song of the Rolling Earth!” God, the whole poem, but I’ll pick the parts that deal with the relationship of our hearts and earth. “A song of the rolling earth, and of words according,/…the substantial words are in the ground and sea, / They are in the air, they are in you.” We are integrally linked with the earth in the expression of self.
“Air, soil, water, fire — those are words, / I myself am a word with them…The workmanship of souls is by those inaudible words of the earth.” We need to see self reflected and spoken in the earth. What would Mother Earth speak of us today?
Whitman goes on to say, “I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete, / The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.”
How we personally treat the earth reveals the extent of our jaggedness and brokenness, at least partially. If we have not discovered Self, we are, indeed, in need of becoming whole, in need of repair. If we are in tune with our own heart, if we have awakened to Self, then we are whole and the wholeness of this earth and universe are ours.
May you be whole and healthy this Earth Day and add to the health and wholeness of this earth.
In Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, she brought to light the problems of environmental destruction. She was scorned by the scientific community, even though she was a marine biologist — no PhD, though. She methodically laid out the processes of pollution that were occurring, and her book essentially changed the way most Americans thought about using chemicals in a wholesale manner to deal with inconveniences. Enough attention accrued that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed by Congress, almost unanimously, virtually the direct result of Carson’s work.
Yet, today we come back to issues that refute the spirit of Carson’s work. Fracking dumps dozens of chemicals into the earth, chemicals that destroy life beyond renewability. Some are harmful and even fatal to us. If we are too stupid or too rapacious to take the time to develop alternatives — for which extensive work has been and is being done — if we can’t wait for that or if the profit motive is just not great enough to bring safe technologies to the point of viability, then we and nature will pay the price. If nature goes, we go. The imagination and knowledge exists; the problem is not enough profit. If the motivation is the bottom line at the expense of life, that is insanity, stupidity. Oh, I know the arguments, and my counter will always be the same: if Nature is destroyed beyond renewability, then we should not benefit by any products, processes, or methods that destroy her.
Large corporations and their scientists are engaged in the same sort of practices today that Carson’s work exposed as deadly to the environment and humans over 50 years ago. How can this be? Convenience? Profit? Pseudo-humanitarian claims (Isn’t it pseudo- if they ultimately destroy humanity)? Carson said in Silent Spring, “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”
Practices like fracking today are the very sort of situations that Carson examined: dumping immense quantities of poisons into the environment, especially polluting underground waters, that cause currently unmeasured consequences.
We have options. We need to use them. Capitalism unchecked by Nature and the Heart is worthless, destructive shit. Framed within those parameters, though, no problem! Can we do it?
Here is the related poem that I published in two parts the last two posts. It’s all together now!
The Moon at Half-Mast
I offer a long poem today, written immediately after viewing the devastation of the deep well Horizon oil spill.
(June 22, 2010, Pensacola, Florida)
Nearly full moon viewed in azure blue sky
Before sun had set — all Moon’s features
Clearly visible, clearly weeping.
The flag, our flag, flown at half staff
(half mast on a ship — which is the position
From which I viewed the moon
As I looked up past a sailboat mast)
A symbol of sorrow, mourning,
Community recognition of someone passing
Someone of significance, importance --
More so than the common man,
For those who have served their country, our country.
The moon, our moon — not just America’s — grieved
This day as she stared in horror, mouth agape,
At her waters she so faithfully controls,
Waters of the Gulf of Mexico,
Waters of Southern coastal United States, our states,
Appropriately salty waters, now being raped,
The vicious, belching, bellowing, black gush of
Appropriately named crude oil
Spewing, violently forcing its destructive blobs and blankets
Of life-destroying gunk on this majestic milieu
Of marine flora and fauna.
She, Moon, could not respond with frenetic action,
Like that which she viewed with her silvery face
Of the buzzing clean-up engaged in by tiny man.
She could only do three things --
Two of which she performs rather flawlessly
And the third she awkwardly and silently conveys;
Faithfully, she uses her mass and orbit
To keep this globe, our globe,
On its crucial twenty-three-and-a-half degree axis,
And she then uses those same attributes, her attributes,
To steadily, faithfully, and effortlessly urge the sea tides
To ebb and flow.
Neither natural nor effortless, though,
Are the silent sobs with which she now convulses,
Expressing the destruction and loss which people, we people,
Have caused her to witness;
She now wails and laments:
Wails over the brown unsightly blobs
Bobbing over the face of the surging blue sea;
Laments the answering, oily sheen
To the flawless silver radiation she casts in beauty;
Wails for the tiny shelled creatures and wavy, curly sea grasses
Now gasping poisoned breaths;
Laments the powdery white shores
Now pock-marked brown and gummy;
Wails over the majestic pelicans, gulls, osprey, heron
And every sea bird that gently communes with her --
All those, threatened now with a greasy, flightless end
Or a perplexing, gnawing hunger;
Laments the little fish, the dolphins, the turtles,
The rays, the crustaceans — so many creatures --
Puzzled at the noxious, smothering net
Now enclosing and settling upon them, around them --
The cycle of life disrupted by this unnatural death.
And through the salty and now oily tears
Of her devastated domain she cries with the undulating sea surface,
“Not I, Not I, Not I, Not I
Did this, Did this, Did this, Did this!”
And the waves answer,
“Who did, Who did, Who did, Who did?”
And what do we, we humans, say?
Moon glows at half mast over the sea.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!