Archive for love

Letter to my Son on His Third Birthday

Ryland,

You are three years old now. Just three years, so young, and yet you are already so wise. Every day you amaze me with your enlightened perspective on the world. Being able to experience the wonder of parenthood with you has made true for me all the clichés that are spewed about parenting and children; I guess the clichés are clichés for a reason. Suffice it to say, that having you in my life has impacted and changed me in ways that I could never replicated any other way, with the DNA of my very being having been forever altered by your very existence. Thank you for that.

You are an amazing, beautiful, soulful force of light in this world, never let that go. The world is always in need of special people, people who can see the positive, find the joys in the everyday and the mundane, the people who relish waking up to each new day, and conquering it with reckless abandon and love. You do this, while maintaining who you are, and choosing compassion and love over all else.

Of course, you are only three years old and do not realize that you do all, or probably any, of this right now. That is perfectly fine, I see it, mom sees it, and the world sees it. It will become incumbent upon you as you continue to grow, and become more self-realized, to maintain these traits (and expand them further). This will be the real test, the piece that impacts everyone as they journey into adulthood, the mission to maintain the wanderlust and carefree love and joy of a child, and carry it through as it merges into your adult traits and spot in the world.

I was unable to carryover, nearly all adults are in the same situation, it is the sad truth about our society, that we strip away much, if not all, of the amazing traits that children hold, and in exchange swap them out for expectations, misguided notions of success and happiness, conformity, self-doubt, and self-consciousness. We will have plenty of time to discuss and for me to teach you about holding on to this, so no need to belabor the point any further here now.

I want you to know how much you are loved and cherished by mom and me, and by the rest of your family. We love you more deeply than any letter or words could ever even attempt to capture (although I will try anyway). We would do anything for you. Every choice and decision we make in life is tied to you and enriching your life. You are surrounded by love and support, a rarity (unfortunately) in the world today.

What do I want for you, three year old Ryland? I simply want you to continue being you, unencumbered and free. There will be plenty of time, situations, and people who will try to do otherwise. Stay true, remain full of love, continue to be bold, always be silly, and realize you have something magical inside you, a presence and energy that radiates out into the world, making you capable of great things. Be you.

There is so much more to say, so much more to teach. I will save those words and those lessons to be whispered into your ear each and every day that we are together, as I guide you, and you guide me, through life.

Love,

Daddy

Sequence XLVII

{Writer’s Note} a few months back, around the start of the new year, I started a new writing project, one that had tied to it, some of my highest aspirations. That project is not the focus of this piece, but some backstory is required in order to fully understand how this piece starts. This new year project is being written in a journal that was given to me as a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law, adding to the special meaning behind it. I will be divulging more about this project shortly, but for now, I want to share a secondary project, one that came to me amidst my on-and-off writing of the new year project.

 

It has been several days since I last contributed any written thoughts to this project {see writer’s note}. In that time I have discovered a new thought, a plan, a project, a roadmap for the unroadmapable, a way to take singular, yet significant steps towards betterment. Sequence XLVII.

So what is Sequence XLVII? The Sequence is a combination of forty-seven different iterations of actions, projects, activities, and experiences, each specifically selected to better myself, to bring me closer to being a more enlightened and positive being. These forty-seven items, or iterations, called iterations because while they are all unique events, each is bonded as a piece, a segment, that when combined makeup an existence for myself of awareness, and hopefully, just that much closer to enlightenment.

I do not necessarily refer to enlightenment as Buddhahood, or biblical revelation; rather, I use enlightenment simply to refer to an (re)evolution (awakedness) of myself to be a more closely aligned version of myself to a positive and impactful true-being. I acknowledge that it would be grandiose and ego-driven to believe I had any idea on how to realize enlightenment; this is not that, this is betterment, achieving a greater me.

The iterations were intentionally selected and given an initial ordering by myself to act as a roadmap of directional force, propelling me forward in this endeavor. This is a needed experience for me now; I have grown weary, beat-up, so often consumed by terrible feelings of dissatisfaction, muted emotion, lack of meaning and life satisfaction, despair, anger, and regret. I often feel as if I have lost my ability to truly live a happy life. I know I lost it, because I had it, I have had segments of my life that were fulfilled, that left me with overall life satisfaction, joy and wonderment. I have had it, so I can realize now when I do not. This is not a result or fault of anyone outside of myself, no one decision, no one experience did this, it is not about my career, my family, my home, my friends, my experiences around me, it is about me, my self (or non-self) realization, my being, my vision and approach to life. It is on me, and because it is on me, it is open for me to change, to make better, and to regain that spark. I need to and will do this. And for this, I have created the Sequence, Sequence XLVII, within which I have embedded forty-seven iterations of specific actions for me to complete.

Iteration 01, daily appreciation for life, is ready to begin.

 

{Writer’s Note} Iteration 01 and all future iterations will be discussed in detail as the subject of future writings. Each iteration will have its own written piece(s). There is an undertone of darkness and bleakness in the latter portion of this piece as I describe why I need this. That is not the full scope of my feelings on this, and especially on life in general, it is simply how I was feeling in that moment, at that time; it is an honest and naked look at me at a moment in time. Much like each one of us, I am a yin and yang of emotions, outlooks and feelings. Some days light, some days dark. It was my realization that the dark days were outweighing the light days, so the Sequence was created as a sort of spiritual to-do list to rebalance the scales and tip them in the favor of the light. I hope that as the reader you can find some commonalty and inspiration in my journey with the Sequence.

3/22/2016

The complete trust and faith in his father (me) to cure his pain with my kiss…the longing in his eyes as he reaches out his little arm and hand, motioning for me to sooth his injured hand…he hands me the back of his hand…the grief I feel as I kiss his hand over and over, each time he reaches out, and tell him daddy kisses his hand and makes it feel better…but the pain remains, the pain I inflicted earlier that day with the purest of intentions, cutting his thumb nail too short…his pain is accompanied by my emotional hurt…he continues to seek comfort in me, his dad…I console him, all the while both hating myself and being in awe of him, my little man, so pure, so innocent, so loving, and understanding of the simple power of love…a true being, living in the moment, and trusting in the power of people, of life…he is my inspiration, my muse, my purpose, my Buddha-being…Ryland…the awakened one.

Winter Remembrance

The winter rushes in like drops of sweat on a furled brow. The winds cut through the town as razors through air. Windblown mind freezes of collective shivering mind states. When you look back, everything happens so quickly, it is the nature of being. Still, I continue to be amazed by this. The train rolls on and I recount my autumnal now winter remembrance- trying desperately to slow it down, to capture the moments, get it all back (what?), and in the process I remain blind to the truth, an erroneous life mindset of false separations and inconsequential barriers and holdings. The truth swirls all around and within, yet we remain concrete in our views and separation. So many emotions and thoughts, they weigh me down, although I strive to float free. You cannot help but reminisce- it is natural (un?) to want to remember, glorify, romanticize it all, and find special purpose and meaning. The rat scurries past the back alley skid row whino at dawn- what beauty is in recounting that?

The baby is born, the first blooms of spring push through, breaking the earth’s barrier- a child becomes and adult, a hill becomes a mountain- a geriatric ancient wise sad soul is taken into the void, a mighty oak crumbles and becomes one with the earth (again)- between all these expected times of life, there is an infinite stream of bliss and sadness- the truly triumphant, followed by the most wrenching pain and misery- a chaotic beautiful masterpiece that will crush even the brightest soul if we are not careful. I am guilty the same as anyone, I hold too tight and crave too much meaning, allow and falsely create too much control. We wouldn’t be the storytellers, the people that we are, if we did not recount and hold tight to the bosom. It is inherent, yet untrue- realizations of wiping the slate clean, only to realize the slate was never full, and the slate was never a slate- mind weary wanderings.

Things are different now- perhaps they always have been. Looking out over the moving car, only to realize that it is all separation and isolation. Sometimes I look back with fondness, happiness and joy, but more often it is with regret, dissatisfaction, sadness, and an overall blunting of life. Why? Even in this moment of writing flow escape, I stop, tap the pen, pondering the reason- the weight bears down on my chest- the weight of eons of existence and action (no action) to forgo this contemplation is to forgo my truth- no matter how flawed. I turn the page and it is blank, for a moment I want to stop, leave it in its (im)perfect Buddha mind-state and call it my greatest work- instead I scribble this all over it and continue on with my meandering ways.

Taking it all back, what is my remembrance?

It is her- it is mainly her. It is all of them, but above all others, it is her. It is the great times from youth through adulthood that I vividly recall. I remember that which I do not remember. It is feelings, emotions, connections- it is hurt and pain, it is days with my brother and dad sinking model ships at Bode Lake. It is seeing my son’s face for the first time and praying for his safe arrival. It is all that has come, but especially that which has yet to occur. I remember past, present and future. It is that nagging hope and at the same time fear that when I look back on my life as a body of work the story will be incomplete, unrealized. It is hoping to have one moment of pure writerness adventure seeking joy spontaneity. The lone observer immersed in the most interesting of settings, recording it all with hyper-focus. It is the smallest of and the grandest of moments- the moments I did not even realize were moments.

What is my remembrance? Perhaps most importantly, it is my mortal struggle to understand change’s truth- the ever evolving force that binds it all together. Change in its purest most understood form can be a catalyst to set one free, release from mortal confusion and blindness. We hold tight that which we hold dearest, convince ourselves that it can last forever, or at the least never change until it is gone. This is flawed. Family, relationships, careers, possessions- we cling to these and spend energy and waste moments trying to dictate something that we have no control over. To have complete control in life is to let go of and realize you in fact have no control- the illusion of a life in balance. I am reminded often about change’s power and will, including the these first winter moments, where the landscape has changed seemingly in the blink of an eye, into a world almost forgotten. This is my winter remembrance.