Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Your Pal, Love



"My life amounts to nothing more than one drop in a limitless ocean. 
Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

-David Mitchell, Clouds Atlas

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       Just yesterday I was driving down Hollywood Blvd. marveling at the sidewalks lined with stars filled with the names of entertainment legends.  They seemed almost to never end as our car dodged traffic down the busy street.  A part of me wanted to see my handprints in a star.  A part of me wanted to see my name written on the walk of fame.  Yet what is a name?  A name is really just an organized and stylized arrangement of sounds and lines if you really think about it.  If that is all that I live for, then that is all that I will ever be.  I will be but a name.  Maybe  if I worked hard enough I could be remembered in text, but I would nevertheless be contained on flat, lifeless screens or pages of books forever.  What if we could live forever?  What if we could be more than just a name?  What if by losing, we can find?












      What really struck me was that these names that zoomed just outside of my window represented those who have made it and succeeded in their careers.  These stars symbolized dreams coming true toward ‘eternal fame’.  I instantly couldn’t help but remember the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To be great is to be misunderstood,” as the stars kept whizzing by.  They seemed to be yearning to fly.  They seemed to long to dance amongst the galaxies they stare up at.  They looked oh so lonely embedded motionless on the ground.  Is this what it looks like to gain the whole world and yet lose your soul?  What does it really mean to succeed in life?  Can we be more?







 
 
       Have we gone astray attempting to pretending that the mortal can become immortal in our eyes?  Have we traded our love of lights, sounds and outward beauty for something far less tangible?  Are we missing the point?  For these stars, they have made it.  They have succeeded in their careers at advancing to the greatest depths of recognition.  Yet today they are just names on a sidewalk.  Many of the names, I hadn’t even ever heard of.  No doubt they had made a lasting footprint with their life on the history of mankind with their careers yet those of the distant past I personally felt no connection to.  I hadn’t seen them in a movie, heard them their commentary, and haven’t laughed at their comedy show.  To me, they are just organized dents in the sidewalk.  To me they are just a combination of letters to be pronounced.  What if I was born 300 or 400 years from now?  Would I even care about the famous names and stars of today who I exalt in my head?  Perhaps it’s not that I wouldn’t care about them, but that they aren’t alive to me.  I can’t call them up on the phone and have a casual conversation.  I can’t flip on my television and see them acting out one of my favorite characters. 











        Looking deep into future it’s not hard to realize that trophies rust, awards are forgotten, records are broken and titles fade.  It seems that even the brightest stars can dim and flicker out in the larger picture of mankind history.  That doesn't mean don't chase your dreams, pursue what you are longing for or even work endlessly toward the hope of having your name one day written on the walk of fame.  It is merely meant as a reminder, that it doesn't matter what your goals are or where life takes you, you can always live for more wherever you are.  Life is what you make it.  Maybe seeing isn't believing, but believing is seeing.  Maybe you don't have to be a star to shine.  











      No matter how successful you become, your career or financial achievements are of lesser importance in comparison to the impact that you have left in the lives of others around you.  Perhaps we will all realize one day that the big things of life, are really small things that we too often get lost and passed by in our daily routines.  Perhaps instead of aiming to do big things we should instead choose to do big things in the lives of those around us.  You change the world each day you're alive through the choices you make. “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future,” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.  So why live for just ourselves?  In fact, I believe that one of the best ways to help yourself with any issue is to help out others with theirs.  Perhaps every tragedy and bump in the road has given you the necessary wisdom and strength to help someone else out in a similar situation.  Maybe everything in your life has lead you to this very moment.  A choice.  A crossroad.  There is a world out there waiting for you're help.  There is a world out there waiting for you're arrival.  There is a world out there longing for you to become a superhero.











                Call me crazy, but I don’t want to die.  Call me crazy but I don't think that we have to.  Call me crazy but I believe we can wash ashore of salvation.  Call me crazy but I want people hundred years from now to know, feel and see part of me just as much as those do around me now.  Would you think I was insane if I told you that I believe there is a way to do just that?  What if it meant taking the hard road?  What if it meant not obtaining instant gratification?  What if it meant fighting to become an idea?  Ideas do not bleed.  They do not feel pain.  Ideas do not die.  Ideas are bulletproof.  Ideas have always been and will always be.  So I thought to myself, what if I became an idea?  What if I lived my life to attach myself to something that will never perish?  What if I lived my life for something that will always be felt and seen in all cultures around the world, with any type of person and at any time?  What if I could live to actually become Love in the lives of others? 











    So first of all what exactly is Love?





      Love is so hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, but when you see it in an everyday moment it takes your breath away.  It is beauty divine.  It’s that dad who works three jobs just to give his kids a better future.  It’s when a soldier jumps on a grenade to save his comrades.  It’s when a grandma buys something her grandkids may never use just because she wants to see a smile on their face.  It’s a boyfriend letting go just because he wants what is best for who he loves.  Love isn’t easy.  It exists in ordinary moments lived out through ordinary people turned extraordinary simply by a choice of sacrifice expressed as Love.  When you see Love, you see billions of lives inside of it.  You may not know their names.  You may not know what they look like.  But you know them far better than anyone else, for to you they are alive, in the ocean of Love.  Ultimately the best definition of Love is that it is the very essence of who God is (1 John 4:8).  But how can you become Love?  How can you attach yourself to an idea?  That’s an intriguing idea but no doubt abstract and impossible.  For me, thanks to project ‘Your Pal, Love’ I believe it is quite more than probable.



 
 

 
 



                If you’re honest, chances are you aren’t completely satisfied and happy with who you are.  Am I mind reader?  Do I know you better than yourself?  Not in the slightest, it’s just that we all wear our insecurities wherever we go.  They are the masks that we put on when we step out the front door.  They are the fake smiles and cocky, overconfident attitudes.  It’s the makeup that we cake our faces with, the bodies we trim down and the muscles that we build.  It's seen in the shallow, money and sex-driven rap music that we bob our heads to.  It's the constant status updates, smiling selfies and social media newsfeed overloads.  It’s the sporty cars that we drive and it’s the need of bullies to put down others.  We all are trying to convince ourselves to love who we are, exactly how we are.  I want to propose a wild idea that each one of us are just as insecure as the next guy, yet we just express it in different ways.  Some of us constantly need someone to love us because we find it so hard to do it ourselves.  Some of us need to be praised and commended as better than others to feel as though we have worth.  While still others find their value entirely from the body that they are enclosed in, or in the money that they flaunt throughout their lifestyle.  Maybe we are all on a one way road through a tunnel crossing our fingers that the light at the end of the tunnel is a beautiful sunrise rather than a train.  Maybe we are just distracting ourselves from the root of the issue.  The issue of our need to learn how to love ourselves.  And for me, I have come so far in learning how to love myself, through the strength that Love empowers me with.    










                I started project ‘Your Pal, Love’ for myself one year ago to attempt the impossible.  A project with an underlying mission for myself to learn how to love exactly who I am, not needing to change a single thing about myself.  It started with making hearts.  A universal symbol of love.  A superhero symbol that I hope one day others will join me in using.  I needed a symbol that could be easily connected with by anyone in any culture and one that represented what this project was really about, the heart.  ‘Symbols are given power by people.  Alone a symbol is meaningless but with enough people, they can change the world.’  I had no idea where this project would lead me.  I had no idea if anyone else would ever see this project the same as me and give power to the chosen heart.  I didn’t know if it would work for myself.  But I had to try to fight my depression somehow.  So often, I can easily find what I don’t like about myself whether that be a physical, mental, sexual, spiritual, or personality attribute.  Yet I find it so difficult, nearly impossible to find what I love about myself.  And so a year ago, I started out on a journey to fight to learn how to see the world anew.

 
 



[The trademark heart is a very specific heart with no curve lines. 
I would later figure out that if you rearrange the lines you get a Y,P, and L
which can stand for ‘Your Pal, Love’.  It was as if it was meant to be.]




 
 
 


 
 




                What is ‘Your Pal, Love’? Well, its mission is to inspire the world to do anonymous acts of kindness for others under the alias ‘Your Pal, Love’.  So let’s say your neighbor is going away on vacation for a week and you know that they always work extremely hard on their lawn but will be gone. You could cut their lawn, pull out some weeds, and who knows even water those dying plants.  But instead of letting them know that you did that act of kindness, you could just leave a note ‘Hope the grass is greener on all sides for you!  From Your Pal, Love’.  Let’s say you are walking through a local park and you see a homeless person huddled covered in blankets in the bitter cold.  You could take off your sweatshirt (you have four or five others back at your apartment) and leave it by them to find when they wake up with a note ‘Hope this helps.  Your Pal, Love’.  Why?  Think about it.  Become an idea?  Attach to Love?  These are but abstract thoughts and dreams, yet ‘Your Pal, Love’ makes this very abstract idea a reality.  To that neighbor, to that homeless person, you ARE love.  They don't know who did it.  They don't know why you did it.  They only know that someone anonymously going by the name of ‘Love’ left them a sweatshirt or mowed their lawn.  To them, you became their pal, Love.  You attached yourself for that very moment to an idea that will exist for all of eternity.  Live a life of Love, and forever a part of you will be seen in Love. 












                Now so back to why I created this project.  How does this help with learning how to love who I am?  How does this change what I am insecure about myself or how I look at myself?  Each time you do an act of kindness under the alias ‘Your Pal, Love’ (or just in everyday act of kindness without the alias) write it down in a journal that only you read.  When you are insecure, page through the journal.  Look at all that Love has been able to do through you.  Look with wondrous eyes at what God has been able to accomplish using you.   I sometimes am still be insecure in who I am, or what I look like, but in Love I have found enough security to last me for eternity.  I am confident in what I stand for.  And in what I hope to show the world.  I am not shy in Love.  I am not scared in Love.  It gives me strength when I am weak.  It gives me hope when I am surrounded by the shadow of despair.  It gives me confidence to do what is impossible.  To become something more.  To learn to love myself for who I am.  To become in the end, my own pal, Love.   








                I’ve created over 800 hearts in the past year using nearly anything I could get my hands on (Instagram: @yourpalsean).  It started out as a fun little project and it turned into a way hopefully to get the world’s attention.  It kept my mind busy and off of my issues effectively.  I want others to think I’m crazy.  I want others to ask me...why?  I want to captivate the attention of others and use their intrigue to share the vision of this project with them.  I trust in God that I am on the right track.  And I give him all the glory because He is what this project is built upon.  So why hearts?  Outside of the fact that they are the most recognizable shape that represents love in the world, I believe that the heart is what God is really after.  Too often we play God and judge others.  Too often we become prideful in our own good deeds. 












                ‘Your Pal, Love’ is really all about working on the condition of what your heart is after.  To perform acts of kindness anonymously, you are keeping your heart and pride in check.  The acts of kindness that you perform are between you and God.  Sure you get that great feeling of doing the right thing, but there is something even more meaningful and pure when you do good….for the sake of doing good.  (Matthew 6:6) Frank A Clark said, "Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who’ll never find out."  I believe the true superheroes are those who do good not to be celebrated or praised by others for their acts of courage, strength, bravery,  sacrifice and love (http://writing89.blogspot.com/2013/06/man.html).  God is longing for hearts that are after himself.  God is longing for hearts that are after Love itself.  For this reason the focus of this project is both my heart and yours. 












In lots of ways, we as a human species have had a terrible past.  One that comes back in our deepest and darkest of nightmares.  And yet it seems we are still fighting the same battles today just on different fronts.  We have justified slavery by God.  We have suppressed and abused LGBT individuals in the name of God.  We have lead crusades in the name of Christ, in the name of Love.  We have used God's word to preach that women should remain submissive to their husbands.  So where do we go from here?  Are we finally going to learn?  Are we finally going to evolve?  Or are we endlessly going to allow history to repeat itself never taking the time to look outside of our non-accepting views?  I remember back in the days of algebra when I would solve a problem.  We would then ‘check’ it by plugging our values of the answer in to see if it worked out.  I look at Love that same way.  Is Love at work when African Americans are enslaved and abused?  No.  Is Love at work when LGBT individuals have to cry themselves to sleep and punish themselves for something they never chose?  No.  Is Love at work when we kill and destroy the families of others through wars and crusades in the name of Christ?  No.  It’s time that we see past the issues and look at the bigger story of life.  It’s time that we check our choices and opinions with what Love would want and do.  It’s time that we get on the right path.  It’s time that we turn onto Love’s road.  For Love is the way, the truth and the life.  Love saves.  Love wins.  And Love never fails. (http://writing89.blogspot.com/2014/07/falling-ashore.html)











                While so many in life are fighting to create a name for themselves and to always be remembered, I am attempting to lose my name, to only be remembered in the ocean of love.  Whether it’s an email, letter, card or note I sign everything ‘Your Pal, Sean’.  Why?  I want my name ‘Sean’ to become synonymous with ‘love’ to others.  And I hope that others see it the same way.  Whether you're ‘your pal, Monica’ or ‘your pal, Anisha’ or ‘your pal, Jesse’ we can all be seen and felt as ‘your pal, love’ when we use the alias.  It’s like being able to sign as our individual selves in our everyday lives yet also we can become a massive chain of undercover superheroes across the globe under the alias ‘Your Pal, Love’.  I may be crazy but I am willing to die for Love.  I put my trust, faith and hope in it.  I know that while I am broken and at my core is sin, I will one day break clean in the ocean of love. 












                   When I die, I wish to be cremated and put into the ocean.  Why?  Symbolism.  Because I don’t want to be remembered as a gravestone.  I don’t want to be remembered as gone.  For part of me is never going to die.  We all live in the ideals that we lived for, forever.  I want to be remembered in those moments where I was love to others.  Those moments when I went out of my way to make a personal sacrifice for their betterment.  Those moments where I became something more.  Those moments where I didn't put myself first but saw a need and fulfilled it with God himself.  With Love.  I like to look at the idea of love existing as an ocean.  An endless and bountiful sea of love.  This illustration was brought about by Owl City’s ‘How I Became the Sea’.  I believe that we can crash clean.  We can break anew in the ocean of Love and wash ashore of salvation.   (http://writing89.blogspot.com/2013/07/fio.html)












                I firmly believe that hundreds of years from now people can still know you and I after our short time is up.  Not physically.  Not face to face.  But in the ocean of Love that we can choose to live fighting to become.  So join me.  Grab a set of new eyes to look at the wonderful world around you.  Lend a hand to those who need one.  Look for those who need a friend.  Go out of your way to give until you can give no more.  Love until your heart hurts.  Learn to love who you are by seeing what Love has done through you.  You are beautiful just the way you have been created.  Let your insecurities of who you are slip through your fingers, and grasp tightly to the infinite value that Love brings when it works through you.  Relish its beauty.  Marvel at its perfection.  Feel like you’ve never felt.  See how you’ve never seen.  Dance like you've never danced before.  Join me and the billions of lives of the past who sacrificed for others.  Join me in becoming an idea. 

Join me in becoming ‘Your Pal, Love’.





                                                 
   
I don't want to live for myself.  I don't want to live to be remembered as a name.

(http://writing89.blogspot.com/2012/03/will.html)

 
I want to become ... Your Pal, Sean
 
                                ...................................

I want to become ... Your Pal, Love
 
 




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“We’re on your shore again
I can feel the ocean
I can feel your open arms”

-Switchfoot, Saltwater Heart
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What are you living for? 

For your career?  For money? 
For reputation? For cars?  For your name?
 
Or for something more?  For Love?

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Those who choose to live for Love,
will forever be seen in the ocean of love…



Can you sea it?



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Falling Ashore

 

"Now it’s an abstract thought but I’ve been thinking non-stop
'bout the fact that my body’s made most out of raindrops..."


-Switchfoot, Saltwater Heart
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Welcome to the stormy skies.  Say hello to jagged lightning, a familiar friend, 
Do you feel the turbulent gusts abound and see the swirling clouds, darkened?
 
You, as do I, cling to the moment knowing that our immediate course is out of our control,
Something isn’t quite right.  Everything’s unsettled.  We aren’t home and it’s starting to take a toll.
 
Take the time to look closely within.  Do you feel what I feel?  Do you see what I see?
A particle of imperfection.  A core of rebellion.  The very human nature of both you and me.
 
Fight each day but to no avail will the dust be removed.  Tight fisted we hang in the balance and wait,
We are but raindrops floating in the sky, a collection of beautiful tragedies destined to fall toward fate.
 
We shiver high above earth chattering amongst ourselves insecure and longing for a glimpse of the sun,
Fight hard for grace, yet it can’t be earned. Only when a selfish pride dissolves can our legs birth a run.
 
When our final breath has been taken, and we drop from the sky, where will we fall?
Through a life of love, we can descend toward a swirling blue surface, its hope calls.
 
Weightlessly and effortlessly we streak downward, gravity pulling us toward home faster and faster,
So close to redemption.  So close to salvation.  Away from the storm of life, and eternal disaster.
 
Yet this isn’t just any ocean.  This is the ocean of Love.  Its very essence is clear for all to see,
The ocean of Love has been felt since the beginning of time and will forever be.
 
Upon contact, our identities are washed away.  Our past mistakes sink to the ocean floor,
Now only to be seen as one with Love.  With a splash we have become something far more.
 
A salty coolness and calming peace washes over the soul.
Drifting free from the storm overhead, thunder now but a distant roll.
 
For a second you look up and see a luscious jungle full of fruit and bright greens ahead,
But in the next moment you are crashing down surrounded by white foam instead.
 
Your vision is clouded as you are thrust forward at great speed.
You look down no dust remains, its foundation has no need.
 
“You are now with Me,
A part of My endless sea.
 
You have crashed anew in My sacrifice.  In My Love, you have broken clean.
For all of eternity in my ocean of love, forever will you be seen.
 
Look up child, for you have arrived.  Say goodbye to the stormy skies.
Say farewell to your flaws.  Welcome to paradise, now... just open your eyes…”
 
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 How I see us:
 
We are all like raindrops.  Every raindrop that is formed is centered and shaped around a particle, a defectiveness.   We are all like raindrops.  At our very core.  Within the nakedness of our human nature, lies a speck of dust.  A seed of imperfection.  A rebellious and callous side.  It is our rise and our fall.  It is our private battles, we tell no one.  It is our mistakes in full.  From the bite of an apple, it burst into existence.  It’s after taste sour and pungent.  No matter how ‘good’ we are or what life we live, it will never be enough to rid us from that particle.  But that doesn’t mean that there remains no hope.
 
As our life progresses, so do we.  We get fuller and fuller, and heavier and heavier of problems, issues and tiredness of living in a home that was never meant to be treated as our final destination.  Unlike the raindrops that fall across this earth, we each have a choice of where we fall.  Some will fall on the dirt and be swallowed up.  Some will fall in the desert and evaporate before even reaching the barren ground.  Those of the latter will earn their reward in full here on earth, in the storm cloud of Life.  They have become so absorbed in themselves and in the storm that will only last but a short time, that they lose sight of the larger picture of what life is all about. 
 
And then there are yet other raindrops who will fall into the ocean.
 
The ocean of Love.  Sure it’s just a metaphor.  An illustration of an idea.  A painting of abstraction.  Yet it is so much more.  Throughout time Love has always been and will always be.  People have died fighting for it.  People have sacrificed everything for the sake of Love.  Fighting against injustice.    Laying down their life for family and friends.  Feeding the hungry.  Sheltering the homeless.  Standing up against a bully.  Walking the extra mile just to carry the burden of another.
 
I believe that when I see Love in its purest, unconditional form in my everyday life, I am seeing billions upon billions of lives.  I am seeing all of those, since the origin of mankind, who have decided to live for Love.  People who have attached themselves to Love itself.  Through His Life.  When I see an act of kindness, I see those who have fought so hard to become love to others and done the impossible in the lives around them.  I may never know their names, see a full glimpse of what they looked like or know their story, but in a way I feel as though I know them better, see them more clearly, and understand their life stories better than most.  For these people, I believe that part of them will forever be seen whenever Love is displayed, no matter when and where in the future of mankind Love exists.  In the ocean of love they will forever live.  They have lived to become an idea and within that idea they will forever live. 
 
That is the choice that we all have.  To live a life after Christ’s.  To live a life after Love.  For God is love.  Love is the way, the truth and the life.  Sure, it isn’t an easy life.  It’s not a comfortable one.  Yet the pain of a short time for eternal bliss far outweighs simple pleasures in exchange for regret. 
 
So what happens to the raindrop that falls into the ocean?  The ocean of love?  Upon contact with it, the dust is removed.  It sinks to the bottom of the ocean blue, completely forgotten.  The single identity of that raindrop is no longer seen but now as just the ocean. 
 
I believe we can break clean.  I believe that we can crash in the waves of the ocean of Love anew.  I believe that we can forever been seen and felt in the idea of Love.  As the very character of who God is.  That by His grace, the ‘dust particle’ within us can be removed by the sacrifice Christ made, through his life of Love. 
 
One day, each of us can break clean.  Our mistakes and identity can be washed away, and we can be seen as the ocean of love for eternity.  Each of us can wash upon the shore of salvation, perfected by Love.  And until we find the shore, we live each day fighting to make the ocean just one drop larger.  For the ocean of love can never be too big.  Too deep.  Or too strong. 
 
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"My life amounts to nothing more than one drop in a limitless ocean. 
Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
 
-David Mitchell, Clouds Atlas

 
 
"Maybe I could wash clean
Yea maybe I could wash clean
all my land-locked dreams
And maybe I could believe

We’re on your shore again
I can feel the ocean
I can feel your open arms
That pure emotion
I’m finally free again
Like my own explosion
We’re on your shore again
I can feel the ocean"
 
-Switchfoot, Saltwater Heart
 
 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why Wait?

 

"We are always getting ready to live,
but never living."
 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
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Why?
Why wait?
 
Why wait to show the world your true colors?
Why wait to spread your wings?
 
Why wait to make your dreams become reality?
Why wait to open your mouth and sing?
 
Why wait to give yourself a chance to breathe?
Why wait to make the most of each moment?
 
Why wait to run and dance anew?
Why wait to befriend yourself; to stop being your own opponent?
 
Why wait to fight to crash in the sea of Love?
Why wait, holding back all that you are longing to say?
 
Why wait until tomorrow to be the all you know you can be?
There is no better time than now; tomorrow is just an extension of today.
 
Why Wait?
Why?
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Don't.  You have not a moment to lose.  Life is too short.
 
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"Dream as if you'll live forever.  Live as if you'll die today."
 
-James Dean
 

 
 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#NSEM

 
“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”  
 
-Arnold Bennett
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
" I'm going through changes...I'm going through changes...
 Lately I really, feel like I'm rolling for delph like Philly,
I feel like I'm losing control of myself, I sincerely,
Apologize if all that I sound like is I'm complaining,
But life keeps on complicating, an' I'm debating,
On leaving this world..." *
 
---
 
   As my vision slowly transforms from a blackness to a blur and then finally into a somewhat focused image, my brain is throbbing in my skull.  My hands ache instantly and I feel as though I have just broken ever bone in my entire body.  I feebly bring my right hand up to my right temple and as it departs from my forehead blood streaks down it.  I close my eyes for a moment.  Why am I back here again?  Yet again, I have made the same mistake and yet again here I lay broken, searching for light.  Maybe I’m not meant to get up this time.  Everything seems to be spinning as my eyes are still closed and suddenly a rush of nausea washes over my stomach.  I force the feeling down as something in my chest flutters unexpectedly.  I snap my eyes open and look ahead.  A white jagged outline above surrounded by clouds overshadows me.  The peak.  My goal.  I wanted so badly to just be there.  I wanted so badly to stand at the top, reach my hands as high toward the heavens as possible and scream at the top of my lungs for all to hear.  I wanted so badly to put my hands on my hips and look out over the world below, admiring all that I had overcome.  I wanted so badly to….ouch.  As I stretched my leg out, pain pulsed from within.  Bruises were forming across my arms.  My body seemed to be putting up an argument against the wants that my heart yearned to see fulfilled.  Maybe I was foolish to ever think that I, out of all people, could reach the summit so high above.  I don’t know if my body can take it anymore.  I laid down bringing my head to look over the cliff ledge that I had fallen onto.  Hundreds if not thousands of feet of jagged rocks, snowy caves and grassy hillsides lay below me.  Look at how far you have come.  Look at how much you have overcome.  Look.  As I watched like a hawk from above down at the once treacherous valley below me, the memories came rushing back.  Falling.  Scraping.  Swinging.  Screams.  Cuts.  Nervous slips.  Crying.  Yes, keep going.  Searing pain.  Ripped clothes.  Starving.  Yes, keep going, what else?  Bruises.  Sprains.  Depression.  Shyness.  Despair.  Yes, but then what?  Standing up.  Cleaning off.  Bandaging.  Healing.  Strength.  Growth.  Lessons learned.  Hope… There was that word.  I rolled over from looking at my past climbing path and once again let my vision focus on the peak.  I was going to get there.  I didn’t care what it took.  I looked at my scars on my arms, they didn’t look so much like failure anymore but rather reminders of my resilience and strength.  I moaned as I got to my feet and my legs wobbled like a fawn attempting to walk for its first time.  I walked back to my rope.  I readied my harness and made sure that my carabiner and belay device were in excellent condition.  I grabbed a tainted white rag from my pocket and swiped at the blood from my forehead.  I was going to conquer this mountain.  I was going to conquer the beast.  My eyes looked straight upward at the peak as I nailed my anchor as far above me as I could reach.  I stepped onto my familiar foothold and then whispered confidently to myself, “Here I go.”
 
                And just like that I was off.  My thoughts were now focused and there was no looking back.  My eyes darted across the surface ahead of me quickly searching for any possible crevice that I could dig my fingers into for a grip.  There.  No sooner had I spotted one, than my fingers were giving it company.  I smiled to myself.  Why hadn’t I seen that spot last time?  Before I knew it I was halfway up the sheer rock wall as my hands worked feverishly to ensure that I was always well anchored at all times in case of another misstep.  I felt like a well oiled and functioning machine.  My body, mind and soul were acting as one as I scaled foot and foot of rocky terrain.  I was finally getting somewhere.  A pride bubbled up like a spring from within.  I felt as though I was flying, set free from a self-created cage.  I felt as though I was a man, crippled from birth running for the first time across a field.  I felt as though my eyes were opening for the first time and color flooded my understanding.  I look a deep breath and the coolness of the mountain air dug deep into my lungs.  My past is history.  Buried and forgotten about.  I was going to make it this time, I knew it.  Once again, I had to find a spot for my left hand.  I looked around and for the first time I decided to really take in the details of my surroundings.  I was going to enjoy this moment.  A bird flew in the distance creating a small eclipse with the low evening sun.  A small plant grew from the side of a nearby rock crevice and seemed to be reaching all about for even a hint of a green friend to keep company with.  A small trickle flowed from a small hole to my left and the stream crept down the rocks creating a glaze.  My eyes followed the trick upward and my eyes found another gap where I could take hold of.  I thrust my body upward and to my left as my hand slid into place.  The transfer of my weight threw me off guard and soon most of my weight was hanging on my left hand.  My fingers dug into their chosen spot but the trickle of water made it impossible for a good grip.  My heart sank as I felt my fingers fall free from their position.  Everything was happening in slow motion.  I twisted my body around as I fanatically grabbed at my coarse rope.  I felt my fingers burning as gravity pulled me downward.  I let out a scream as I grasped tighter and tighter to a rope and saw my fingers bleeding from the friction.  I couldn’t hold anymore.  I let completely go.  My stomach found its way to my head as I sped toward the ledge below.  I looked up and saw the peak quickly getting further and further away.  The clouds looked as if they were gates, protecting the summit from anyone who dared get too close.  The corners of my vision started to darken and I knew it couldn’t be long before I hit the rocky base again.  So I guess this is what it feels like to die?  I guess this is what it feels like to utterly and entirely fail?  I closed my eyes.  A scream from within.  I could hear it for sure, yet I was numb to its sensation.  A pain erupted throughout my body and everything went black.
 
 ---
 
"Standing in the flames
And it's a beautiful kind of pain
Setting fire to yesterday
Find a light, find a light, find a light" **
 
---
 
      Electricity coursed throughout in the sky around me, flashing and booming showing off its power.  I shivered from the coldness that swept through the atmosphere around me.  Darkness lurked every which way I looked.  I was held in place in the air, just a speck of dust.  At my very core I was dirty and destined for desolation.  I had no heart.  Soon enough water droplets started to form around me and I found myself getting heavier.  Every bit of me longed to leave this place.  To be spared from chaos and depression.  Lightning sprinted in front of me mocking me and reminding me of the brokenness and disarray of the world I was born into.  I hung in the balance, seemingly frozen in time, watching drops slowly fall from around me.  Oh when would my time ever come?  Surely I could get away from this raucous and unstable environment for something better.  I felt my perfect form take shape and soon I found myself slowly lowering out of the position that I thought I would be trapped in forever.  I was falling.  It was first slow but then it gradually increased in speed.  I felt like a bullet plunging into a target below.  I felt like a parent searching for a lost child in a crowd.  I was on a mission and nothing was going to stand in my way.  I looked around.  My friends who I had once been silently hanging in the air with were speeding down with me.  I smiled.  I was free.  I was running.  Above me grey and dark clouds rolled maliciously as if angry that I found a way to get away from its realm.  I zoomed swaying myself back and forth enjoying the feeling of falling.  I was on a roller coaster ride of my life and I had never felt anything like this before.  Lightning streaked down to the earth below as if reaching out to grab me but it no longer had power over me.  I have weathered this storm.  No looking back.  I focused my eyes on where I was going to land below.  Nerves sprang into action within.  What if I landed on dirt?  What if I landed in a dirty city?  What if I landed in polluted stream?  What if I landed in…?  And there it was before me.  My heart leapt.  The one place that I had always hoped and dreamed of landing.  The ocean spread out for miles underneath me.  It’s foams splashed playfully in the winds of the current storm.  My soul rejoiced and a smile spread from one side of my droplet to the other.  I knew it.  I always knew it.  I chuckled to myself.  I was going to become the ocean.  This dust and dirty center was going to be washed away and forgotten.  I was only going to be remembered in the ocean of Love.  As the ocean of Love.  I was going to break clean in the waves of Love’s sacrifice.  I was going to crash anew in His grace and sacrifice.   Fio.  I was going to make it.  As I neared the ocean, I could feel its spray and my nose tingled with salty tenderness.  I was ready for redemption.  I was ready for salvation.  I was ready to attach to Love.  It's beauty nearly took my breath away but before it completely did I whispered confidently to myself, “Here I go.”
 
      As my vision slowly transforms from a blackness to a blur and then finally into a somewhat focused image, my brain is throbbing in my skull.  My hands ache instantly and I feel as though I have just broken ever bone in my entire body.  I feebly bring my right hand up to my right temple and as it departs from my forehead blood streaks down it.  I close my eyes for a moment.  Why am I back here again?  Yet again, I have made the same mistake and drowning in the same issues.  I am running in circles and yet again lay broken having fallen, searching for a light.  Maybe I’m not meant to get up this time.  Everything seems to be spinning as my eyes are still closed and suddenly a rush of nausea washes over my stomach.  I force the feeling down as my chest flutters unexpectedly.  I snap my eyes open and look ahead.  A white jagged outline above surrounded by clouds overshadows me.  The peak.  My goal.  I wanted so badly to just be there.  I wanted so badly to stand at the top, reach my hands as high toward the heavens as possible and scream at the top of my lungs for all to hear.  I wanted so badly to put my hands on my hips and look out over the world below, admiring all that I had overcome.  I wanted so badly to….ouch.  As I stretched my leg out, pain pulsed from within.  Bruises were forming across my arms.  My body seemed to be putting up an argument against the wants that my heart yearned to see fulfilled.  Maybe I was foolish to ever think that I, out of all people, could reach the summit so high above.  I don't know if my body can take it anymore.  I laid down bringing my head to look over the cliff ledge that I had fallen down onto.  Hundreds if not thousands of feet of jagged rocks, snowy caves and grassy hillsides lay below me.  Look at how far you have come.  Look at how much you have overcome.  Look.  As I watched like a hawk above down at the once treacherous valley below me, the memories came rushing back.  Falling.  Scraping.  Swinging.  Screams.  Cuts.  Nervous slips.  Crying.  Yes, keep going.  Searing pain.  Ripped clothes.  Starving.  Yes, keep going, what else?  Bruises.  Sprains.  Depression.  Shyness.  Despair.  Yes, but then what?  Standing up.  Cleaning off.  Bandaging.  Healing.  Strength.  Growth.  Lessons learned.  Hope… There was that word.  I rolled over from looking at my past climbing path and once again let my vision focus on the peak.  I was going to get there.  I didn’t care what it took.  I looked at my scars on my arms, they didn’t look so much like failure anymore but rather reminders of my resilience and strength.  I moaned as I got to my feet and my legs wobbled like a fawn attempting to walk for its first time.  I walked back to my rope.  I readied my harness and made sure that my carabiner and belay device were in excellent condition.  I grabbed a tainted white rag from my pocket and swiped at the blood from my forehead.  I was going to conquer this mountain.  I was going to conquer the beast.  My eyes looked straight upward at the peak as I nailed my anchor as far above me as I could reach...  
 
Wait.  Not again.  Not this time.  I looked to my right and began to walk around the ledge that I had fallen onto.  I had never even considered this route up the mountainside before.  I had never even considered a different route than the one that I had grown accustomed to taking.  I smiled to myself.  Let's try something different.  Let's try a new path.  Let's try again and then again and then again and never stop until we've made it.  Let's be the all you can be.  Let's start again in this moment anew.  Let's forget everything and accept this clean beginning of the now.  A chance for change.  Nothing ever felt so right as I stepped onto an unfamiliar foothold and whispered confidently to myself, “Now where was I, oh yea....
 
Here I go.”
 
 ---
 
 "Yesterday was the tornado warning, today is like the morning after
Your world is torn in half.
You wake and let's wait to start the morning process
Rebuilding and you're still a work in progress.
Today is a whole new chapter..."**
 
---
 
#NSEM
 
 
"And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, I'ma face my demons
I'm manning up, I'ma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now!" ***
 
-----
 
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
-----
 
"Each moment births a hope and a chance for a new start.
Change is ever present just within reach, just a prospective away, 
but too often we resort to a comfortable and numbing reality. 
Maybe we make the shekels that we fight so hard to break free from...
Freedom exists now in the New Start Every Moment brings..."
 
 
Start making them count. #NSEM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
* Eminem, Going Through Changes
** Eminem, Beautiful Pain
*** Eminem, Not Afraid

------------------------------
 

"Although today you may weep because you're weak and
Everything seems so bleek and hopeless
The light that you're seeking, it begins to seep in
....
And I'm pulling for you to push through this feeling" **

#NSEM