The library is an amazing place where nearly every question can be answered. The smell of paperback novels, memoirs, historical accounts, and fictitious tales of mystical adventures fill the air. The echoes of faint whispers barely fade out behind the lofty carol of the bells playing down the hall. There is hardly a sign of life, yet in some fashion, every life ever lived is represented with an ISBN. The library is a sanctuary where there are no membership fees, no charge to get in; the only requirement is a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for information. The wifi is free, the seats are comfortable, the heat is on, and the possibilities are endless. It is in the confines of this building that I find myself today looking for clarity.
My mind is hungry, my spirit unsettled, and my direction remains uncertain. There is so much in this world that I desire, but at the core of it all I find myself bumping into the metaphorical wall of questions. What is it that I truly desire in life? Is my quest to discover my calling in life ever going to turn up answers? Is it possible to work a job that I have no desire for while pursuing a life I truly want? These are the questions I find myself asking today (and most days). Why I came to a library to find these answers, I am not quite sure.
I wish I could just turn my thoughts off sometimes. The overclocked PC of a brain I have leads me to a repetitive cycle of frustration fueled by passion. I want to be great at whatever I do, but whatever I do must have a great purpose. The allure of money is not something that gets my heart racing and spurs me to action. Helping someone get through a tough time is something I get excited about. I would rather live a simple life and change lives than make a million dollars. This is where the frustration sets in: the treasures I seek come in the form of riches that have no monetary value. One can not simply pay the bills by making karma deposits and that sucks! Money has never brought me true happiness (not that I have ever had an abundance of it to know). There is great irony in the fact that I recently made the most commission I have ever made at my job, yet feel so disconnected from my purpose.
When I get totally honest with myself, I don’t care about selling you a product. I don’t care if the potential to be a millionaire exists. I find little concern with the tax brackets above me and the amount of commas on your check. I believe in living life with purpose and living on purpose. This is quite the conundrum I find myself in however. Life isn’t fair. Money is a necessity. Being a good person doesn’t pay the bills, and having good intentions doesn’t mean the road to finding the answers is any easier, yet here I am lost in a room full of answers.
It is so commonplace to start the day chasing emotions, thoughts, and feelings, left over from the prior day. It is habitual to begin the day in the infinite loop of ruckus and digital pollution, giving no regard to the essence of stillness. I find it bewildering, that before I even take a moment to be present with my self, my consciousness has been hijacked by a story someone else has created. The world we live in is FAST…too fast at times. To slow down and invest in my self and conscious well being, is a deliberate act of discipline. While I find this discipline to be of great reward and joy, to regard it as easy is a fallacy.
I am a deep thinker, it drives me mad at times, and other times I feel as if I have a better grasp on my reality. At this current juncture in life I am finding that it is more a curse than a life hacking skill. There is a good chance that I missed my calling in life as an psychologist. To understand the mind and all it’s intricacies is something that I love to do for myself, so why not try and get paid for it? Besides the obvious student load debt I would have to incur, I think that diving into the minds of others might be a murky pond to wade through. However, when it comes to my own mind I often think that to accept is to understand, and that just could not be farther from the truth.
In the stream of consciousness we call life, I am finding myself in one of the valleys. It is hard to rest here, because if I am down, there must be something wrong. If something is wrong, I would be remiss to simply sit in it and allow it to go unnoticed. Yet, this is where the meditation and mindfulness correct me. To be mindful is to be present in the moment, focusing on the touch of the keyboard, the sound of my breath, or the scents wafting from the Columbian coffee roasting in the distance. There is nothing more and nothing less in this instance, including the “problems” I thought I was having. It is so counter to my standard MO because my overthinking brain tells me that this is just being naive and denying the existence of reality. So much energy can be wrapped up in figuring things out that I completely miss the peace that is the here and now.
I have no point here, and I guess that will just have to be OK. I will try not to over think that!
Bernie…or shrimp ‘cuz he looks kinda like a shrimp, doesn’t he? He is just a little golf ball head (“GB head” to be precise). This little orange feline has been the CATalyst of the emotional undertow that has slowly been sucking me under lately. To even think that when I finally sat down to document my feelings in this moment of clarity, that Bernie (my cat) was the genesis of the thought process is still a bit bewildering. For anyone who knows Berns, they know that entrapped in that dusty tangerine fur lies an incredible little spirit. If there were ever an ambassador for the feline race, Berns is the face. Now…before this gets misconstrued as a love story about a furry friend gone away, it is not (at least not entirely). The story that has been a parallel in my physical and emotional life has been perfectly embodied as the recent events that occurred to the aforementioned feline of mine.
My mans Berns, shattered his femur this weekend, and while I don’t feel the need to dive much into the obvious emotions that come with this, I wanted to try and live the moment through the eyes of the one who was hurting. Over 24 hours passed before we found Bernie in the driveway. As is customary, Bernie likes to wait under the cars, wisely dodging the everlasting heatwave that global warming is DEF NOT causing (wink wink). When he sees his mother or myself, he likes to roll on the rocks – adding to the permanent layer of dirt he likes to carry with him. As Andie reaches down to pick him up, Bernie remains still, raising only his head. It was such a small change but the fear manifested within me. I know my boy and something was off. Bernie is dirty and his greetings require acquiring more dirt; while it annoys me that he is a dirt bag, I wouldn’t change it for the world. As it would turn out his femur was shattered beyond repair. It was the moments between the discovery of the injury, to the physical outcome that caught my attention.
There are qualities in everyone that are magnetic; transcending all prejudices and preconceived notions, these qualities are life changing and vital to the life I know I want to experience. The one that seems to be resonating to me more than ever throughout this whole process is a four letter word (although not my favorite one). LOVE (n): an intense feeling of deep passion. You don’t have to identify with any organization or belief to know that love is the most powerful force in the universe (all you Science nerds who wanna argue – you’re probably right). The interesting observation I have about said emotion, is that I have a very deep need to understand it. There is a part of me that has yet to fully understand that love consists of ups and downs; the accepting of the downs as a part of the process is where my frustration has been hung up. I have this innate desire to dissect and understand everything, even if it is impossible to understand. It is fair to say I have spent over a week wondering why the fuck I am in a funk, instead of accepting the funk and pressing forward. You might be wondering how this relates to the cat…I assure you that while it is a detour, it will come out where it needs to. The subject of the quality of love I am writing about is a wonderful woman in my life. We all have this person in our lives, the nurturer, the comforter, the better half, in my instance she goes by Andie.
To say that Bernie is my cat isn’t a lie, however it isn’t the entire truth. Bernie was the second addition to the family, out of a necessity to have a feline who wouldn’t be so obsessed with yours truly (Fiddy is my dude)! Bernie was a stray who followed us home from a walk last year. We gave him some kibble and the rest was history. We took him to get his chip scanned, there was no chip…and the lost and found pages online found no claimants. It was not long before he found himself “long pawed” out (think Superman in flight) above our heads at night. Bernie would quickly identify as Andie’s boy.
From the minute that Bernie met Andie there was a connection. Andie isn’t the most emotionally charged individual so the way she responded to the news of Bernie blew me away. The impending reality of the thousands of dollars in doctors visits, surgeries, and medications, for the dusty coated stray from the library set in between the tears. I selfishly thought there was no way we would go into debt to fix this (speaking from a financial viewpoint), so when I looked to Andie for the answers there was no hesitation that our wounded comrade was worth every dollar. There are seldom moments that Andie is the one with emotional convictions, this was a major exception. There was no misunderstanding how she felt about her furry lil man. It didn’t matter what it took, she was going to get that boy back in the house…cuddling, licking, and whining, as Berns does so well!
Remember that love thing I was talking about? This is the moment that really brought this all home. At the core of everything, I believe we all want to be loved, through our brokenness, our flaws, our dirty exteriors, and even financial burdens. Lord knows that I have certainly had my share of difficulties far beyond a broken leg. I have stolen, I have lied, I had basically given up on myself and done a tremendous job of trying to push others away. I have been the Bernie of this story, helpless and broken, just in need of someone to love me through it. We all have the power to be the Andie in this story…so fully capable of loving with zero reservations, and zero conditions. We don’t have to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson, to see that a simple act of loving kindness can pull even the most lost souls out of a dark place.
I am blessed to be loved by my family, my girlfriend, my cats, and maybe a few other people. I am one of many people whose past actions are anything but deserving of love, yet somehow I am showered in it today. The Beatles once said “all you need is love”, the Bible refers to God as love, love is a universal language that knows no boundaries and overpowers all forces. It is not easy at times, and loving can be quite emotionally taxing, yet love never runs out. It is my hope that you might find love to give and receive today. You might just help someone get through a funk. Find a Bernie today and remind them that despite their dirty coat, busted teeth, and broken leg, that they are worth being loved.
To the masses of you who take the time to read my award winning blog, you are well aware that my subject matter revolves around a central theme: STRUGGLE.
I don’t have a doctorate (or a masters degree for that mater), I have not written the next great novel, and I am not in conversation for the next Nobel Peace Prize. When I fill out a resume, I still find myself being pretty proud of that “proficient in Microsoft Word, Excell, AND PowerPoint” caption. My accomplishments leave much to be desired so you could say I’m kind of a big deal.
In actuality, I have no credentials that are going to land me a corner office at a major corporation, let alone garner a cult following through my blog by spewing rhetorical psychobabble vomit all over the WordPress page. I have 68 followers on IG and 69 Facebook friends (giggity! giggity!). I get nervous when talking on the phone to customers at my job. I love the smell of new sneakers, and I find cat videos are a great form of therapy. I say this all to illustrate the point that I am just a regular dude in an irregular world, trying to trying to make sense of life. So why on earth would anyone want to listen to me?! If anything I am just hoping that in a world polluted with click bait and instafamous “celebrities” that it’s an element of authenticity that is appealing. I think it is a reasonable assumption that everyone has been through some shit. For some, the shit could be rabbit like, for others maybe a bit more Citgo gas station that requires a key attached to a 12″ piece of pvc pipe; ultimately it is still stinky shit. In no way is mine any more or less important than the next persons, but it serves a purpose (or so I hope).
“Authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.”
If you’re a human being capable of reading this, you have probably encountered the error “404 – file not found”. It’s a computers way of saying “I know what you mean, but I have no clue how to help you.” This is pretty much the message my brain sends to me every time I sit down to write. For some reason I have this notion that every time I write, I am going to have something amazing to say only to encounter a gargantuan mental DeRp! I have yet to figure out why this is…but it be like that sometimes. So here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known (DUN! DUN! DUN!) I wouldn’t consider myself a drifter whom was born with the sole purpose of walking alone. However, I have made up my mind that I ain’t wasting no more time.
If you have never jammed out to “Here I go again” by Whitesnake, you need to come out from underneath the rock you are living under and go do it now…DO IT LOUDLY!
At this point there is an irony bestowed upon me: I am struggling to write something coherent about the topic of struggle. I am beyond annoyed, but this is the purification process I suppose. I had a goal in mind…and it had nothing to do with Whitesnake, yet here we are. I am at work, spitting sunflower seeds into a tall plastic cup, wondering why I even bothered writing this today.