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April 30th (2021)

The virgin snow wanders from carefree clouds. It’s on the earth where worries turn fresh slates into a muddy mess. Sounds cynical; I know this. But the overtly positive run the risk of burnout. Keep your warmth inside you, protective thoughts like a shield to lousy weather. And you shall endure all the world has to offer—good, bad or neutral. 

In this blizzard, he thinks, “What’s the point?” The severity of this storm calls one to question our motivations. Why do we get out of bed every morning? What’s the use in going after what you truly want? The chasm has played us all for fools—once, twice, maybe thrice. The difference between go-getters and flow-drifters is that the latter chooses to give up when the former refuses to quit. 

Cliches are riddled with truth, but we’re reluctant to realize that because we’re programmed to defy what we’re told to do. But how is it possible most of the world’s population worships their ancient scriptures, laborious cultures, and limiting beliefs? Well, that’s simple, really. It’s because they’re defying their true self. Rather than questioning the outside world and putting that rebel spirit to good use, they got the whole thing backwards and spat right in the face of creative-conscious energy.

Obviously, our true self has no face; that’s why this temporal experience is the greatest challenge we’ve ever encountered. To be isolated in these heaps of flesh, antagonized by our memories and desires. How do we break free, you ask? How do we cast aside our earthbound shackles and spread our energetic wings soaring to higher, more liberated levels of consciousness? Well, easier said than done, love.

First and foremost, you must analyze your current way of life. What about it is cumbersome? A little too clumsy for you to handle; maybe it bogs you down. Examples include but are not limited to: Eating animals, drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, having any addiction/compulsion to do anything when you otherwise know better. And you do, I promise you—you know everything you need to know. It’s in you. Deep down under the layers of earth & emotion—under the trauma—beyond everything you presume about yourself and the universe. You are powerful and have the ability to make anything you want happen.    

April 29th (2021)

The uproarious laughter of an unseen audience echoes down a corridor—their clapping & stomping, cracks & thunders into her increasing awareness. Her head throbs, her visions blurred. A cheerful, feminine voice chirps, “You’re up next, Reika.” The statement might as well have been a complex math problem. She squints, rubbing her right temple, groggily uttering, “Huh? Reika? Who? What is going on? Next at what?” Reika looks over to the strange woman— her improper smile, and indifferent silence substitutes an answer. Reika’s right eye winces while her mouth stretches up to it; she combs her hair with tense fingers. 

The unnamed woman brings attention to a pile of folded-up clothes that she’s holding in her right hand. She states, “These are for you, make sure you change before stepping out onto the stage. (She gives them to Reika) Alright, buh-bye.” Reika lets out a lonesome sigh. She unfolds the top garment; it’s a dark blue novelty T-shirt with a tasteless, white font that reads, “I went to Earth, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” Reika makes the lopsided face again, the one where she looks as if she’s trying to decide if this is all a joke or something much more troubling. 

Suddenly amid audience-cacophony and generic announcements, she hears “Reika…” from the announcer’s voice. She reiterates, “Reika…” Her curious gaze peers down the long hallway; at the end of it, bright lights conceal any revelation. Her hesitant legs begin to follow her mind’s many questions. Again, the announcer’s voice states, “Up next, we have Reika!” The rumble of a surrounding audience pounding down on her already throbbing head. She stops, clutching her temples, this time fingers on the left and thumb on the right. She clenches her jaw and exhales a whisper of agony. The clothes crumple on the dusty, concrete floor as she leans on the cool, cement wall. Hobbling into the blinding glare at the end of the corridor, she raises her left hand to protect her adjusting pupils.      

The stinging brightness begins to fade from behind her organic visor. She allows some light to escape as she forces her eyes to adjust. The environment is oddly calm, quieter than it’s been thus far. Her heart races as she walks into the unknown. The announcer exhorts, “There she is, ladies & gents! Reika! A round of applause for her.” The audience immediately bursts into a monotonous smacking of palm skins. She walks up to a stage, turning her back to the programmed audience. Reika couldn’t help but notice that each one had the same generic facial expression and perfectly calibrated clap. She travelled past cameras with no operators and a crewless sound engineering station. 

A whimsical man, dressed in a tattered lime green suit, eagerly awaits her up on stage. His giddiness spikes as she steps up the stairs. Once she touches the same surface as him, he cheers into the microphone, “Finally, she’s here! Reika!” Reika’s mouth opens, her brow slightly furrowed, she exclaims, “What is this?! Who are you!? How did I get here!?” The announcer mimics her expression, tilting his head to one side. His mouth pouts and complains, “Aw, you’re not wearing the shirt.” The announcer snaps his arms to his sides, and he mockingly decrees, “That’s no fun.” Reika stares, struggling to figure out whether this is some elaborate joke or not. She thinks to herself, “Maybe I have gone insane. Or I’m on drugs. That’s it. Maybe at some point, somebody slipped me a mickey or something.” The announcer’s juvenile facial expressions taunt Reika.

The announcer laments from boredom, “Are you ready to play or not?” Reika shrieks, “Play what?!” He looks at her like she’s an eight-week-old puppy and softly speaks, “Oh, honey… (he jumps up and shouts) Play the game of life!” She stammers, “W-w-what? Game of life? This is life.” He laughs and consoles, “No, this is the arcade.” Her face twists once again, conflicted, struggling, juggling thoughts and emotions. Predominately the frustration of not knowing what’s happening. Suddenly, an authoritative voice booms through the television studio, “Enough, Patrick, give her back her memories.” The audience is unreactive. Patrick’s face loses all enthusiasm as his posture slumps down; he mumbles, “Aw man, I love messing with you.” Reika’s eyes bounce back & forth between Patrick and where she believes the voice originated.

Patrick shakes off his snarl and sighs, “Oh well, let’s get this over with.” He raises his arm to a silver box clipped on a chain; it lowers into his hand. He sarcastically smiles and passive-aggressively cries, “Are you ready, sis?” Reika’s eyebrows raise, and she gasps, “Wha-” He pushes the shiny red button sitting in the middle of the silver box. Her perplexed face replaces with a crawling blank stare blending into an emotionless eye roll. She emotes with an entirely different essence; in an annoyed tone, she quips, “I hope you had your fun because next time when the roles are reversed, I’m going to make you drench your unmentionables.” Patrick gulps.                                      

April 28th (2021)

In this musty cabin, she’s been fending for herself—a conspiracy theorist, a master manifester, a dangerous dreamer. The air is hard to breathe, smelling like the inside of a well-worn shoe. “You get used to it,” is what she would say if anyone visited. But that’s what you get when you’re a recluse. She pushed everyone away before she set on this quest, to live off the grid, to “ignore humanity’s mess.” Her words, not mine. I’m merely the narrator, Alex, and I’m the one who stumbled upon her in the woods.

I remember that day vividly—blue skies, chirping birds, and a hermit living in a forest. Hmmm, I wonder what her name is? She looks like a Margaret. That’s it! From now on, I’ll refer to her as Margaret. So, there I was, minding my own business, walking my dog, Peppo, in the woods behind my house.

Alex and Peppo stepped over the fallen leaves of last autumn. Peppo began incessantly sniffing the ground. Smelling, snorting, snuffing until the entranced little Pembroke Welsh Corgi ventured off on his own. Alex looked up from his phone and reacted, “Peppo!” The dog’s stubby legs scampered further into the woods. His whereabouts were increasing to the territory of a lost dog, and Alex lamented, “Aw man, I don’t want to have to make posters!” 

So long story short, I chased down my dog. The nipper was snooping around outside of some strange house in the woods. At that time, I didn’t know Margaret, well, whatever her name actually is. When I realized there was a lady inside, I’ll admit, it stirred me up a bit. I tip-toed to get my dog. I scooped him up in my arms, but as I was turning, she called to me, “Are you curious, boy?” Her voice sent a chill down my spine; I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hansel & Gretel. She continued speaking, “Relax, boy, I mean you no harm.” My whole body was frozen; I could barely breathe, and when I eventually unthawed myself & reluctantly entered her home, I wished I didn’t have to inhale that terrible scent. The whole thing was a bit of a blur, from her greeting me to sitting at what seemed to be her only table. It was filthy and cluttered—covered in crumbs & paperwork. I’m not sure what kind of work a hermit in the wood does, but it was copious and disorganized.  

I reached for a sheet from an untidy pile of pages; she hissed, “leave those be!” I gulped and petted the top of Peppo’s head. He sat, panting, between my legs. Somehow the floor was dirtier in here than it was outside. How is that even possible? Her home was like the origin of dirt. She was fiddling around with something in the back of her house. After a few moments, she returned to the table with some sort of hot water & sour plant concoction that she had the nerve to call “tea.” I have always loved tea; everyone in my family fancies a good cup. But let me tell you, that was my least favourite thing I have ever drank. The thought causes me to cringe. She must have noticed my wincing because she said, “I guess it’s a bit of an acquired taste.”         

April 27th (2021)

Tatiana brushed her long umber-coloured hair. Seated on a stool in front of a mirrored vanity, she blew a kiss towards her reflection. Her nose wrinkled, and her upper lip raised. A shouting, effeminate man’s voice called out, “Tatiana! (singsongy) Tatiana!” Her narrowed eyes shift from staring through herself to her bedroom door. Garson sauntered in, announcing, “Tatiana, you’ll never guess who I just finished speaking to.” Her eyes rolled as pouted lips carelessly discharged, “Who?” She didn’t care because she knew everyone that he knew, and no matter whose Garson revealed, it was just another disappointment. 

Francois Oriolus!” Garson rejoiced, his mouth remained open, and his eyes smirked. Tatiana began applying her mauve lip liner, saying with zero enthusiasm, “Oh yeah?” Garson deflates, his arms flailed down to his hips, snapping, “Did you hear me?” Tatiana’s gaze forfeited its focus on her reflection’s pupil—the mesmerizing black, captivated with the mysteries of her forgotten youth. She sat motionless, her posture radiating poise & elegance. Garson clicked his tongue, motioning his hands in a way that conveyed he had enough of her attitude. “What is this? The silent treatment? I say something, you respond. That’s how it works, honey.” His snarled face lingered for a brief moment. He was waiting for an apology, or even a weak excuse, anything to receive her attention. “Pffff…” Garson expressed his annoyance and stormed out of the room. His exiting voice echoed down the hallway, “You’re unbelievable sometimes, Tatiana, un-bel-ievable!” 

She examined herself—reflecting on all she did to play this part, to support this cast. Her husband was a man in denial and used her to be his shield. Especially sensitive to the cruelties of Earth, Garson constructed a barrier of fantasy where he got to have his cake and eat it too. Tatiana’s role wore her out—the smiles she faked, the lies she concocted, all to maintain an exhausting charade. It was as if Garson offered her comfort within his prison, and all she had to do was willingly incarcerate herself for free meals prepared without love and a warm bed that was only hot from the furnace.

Keeping up appearances jeopardizes our connection to oneness and individuality. If we insinuate to others that we are thriving, when really, we are struggling, deep down, we will subjugate our true self; when we commit to superficial actions, our souls empty. We must live a life of substance, inspiration, peace, benevolence, and sustainability. In these moments of discontentment, it can feel as if our souls are set on fire by frustration. We may experience inner nudges to escape or obscure angst. That is your true self guiding you to spend some quality time alone. When the problems are outside of you, the solutions are within. It’s time to look inward.    

April 26th (2021)

Most people live a limited life; their beliefs and doubts restrict them. We should be flowing like a tranquil river. However, eventually, we all encounter blockages. The universe tests us because it’s a mirage—a crafted illusion. This realization is where most people are divided. There are always more than two sides to any issue because there is negativity, positivity, and neutrality. The majority is split, opposing one another, unknowingly competing. When we turn our backs to the system, we find inner peace. Our beliefs, habits, routines are all disabling advancement.

Look at our relationships; what happens when things become repetitive and predictable? We take them for granted. We can force ourselves to be optimistic and grateful, but that never corrects the problem. 

Helena wipes the dust from a picture of her & Tom. Her lopsided smile quickly fades, she puts it down into a box. It was one of many boxes, some taped up and ready to be moved, others left open to receive odds and ends. Tom was outside with the movers, doing what he usually did, bossing people around. Helena overhears his muffled commands through the bedroom window. She wanders over to look outside; Tom is directing a young, twig-armed man to stack the boxes properly. Another sharper, more robust mover barks, “Sir, we appreciate your concern, but this is our job. Trust us. Jacob, I need you to clear out the rest of the bedroom upstairs.” The younger, less experienced mover gazes upward, meeting eyes with Helena; she turns her head away, stepping back. 

Helena scans the empty bedroom, well except for the mattress & boxspring leaning on the wall and a few boxes; it was hollow. She hears Jacob, the scrawny mover creaking up the stairs as she tapes up the last box. “Oh, sorry, ma’am, I didn’t know you were up here,” Jacob squirms; he’s as awkward as he’s lanky. The back of his hand wipes the sweat away before it hits his eyes. Helena rips the tape, patting down the box, and looks up at Jacob, affirming, “These boxes are good to go.” Jacob nods and bends down to pick up the box nearest to the door. Helena apologizes, “I’m sorry for Tom; he’s a bit of a micromanager.” Jacob laughs, “That’s putting it lightly.” His smirk washes away, lips flexing into a frown; he regrets, “I mean, I’m sure he’s a great guy, probably knows how to get things done, I’m sure he’s professional.” Helena giggles at the boy’s nervousness; she settles, “Relax, I know he’s been hard on you. But you can’t take it personally; it’s just the way he is.” 

Jacob smiles and laughs, but it’s an attempt to purge his nervous energy. His face lowers, and he says, “I hope that this move brings you both positive changes in your lives.” Helena simpers, reflecting for a brief moment. She cheers, “Aw, you’re so sweet! Thank you.” Jacob chuckles, “Well, I better get this down to the truck.” Helena concurs, “Oh, yes, let me help you with that.” They each carry a box down the stairs. On the way to the door, Jacob notices that most of the living room is still intact. He spouts, “We still have a lot of work to do down here!” Helena clarifies, “No, those are not Tom’s.” Jacob’s eyebrows furrow, and as he walks outside, he hears the box placed on the doorstep behind him, “That’s the last of his things,” Helena declares. “Alright, well, thank you, doll, enjoy the rest of your time with Tom.”                   

April 25th (2021)

Griffin strums his guitar in an unlighted room. Black paint covers the walls, and some scattered sun rays sneak around the heavy velvet curtains. Sitting on the edge of his messy bed, he’s hunched over. There are crumpled-up balls of paper sprinkled across the laminate flooring. He plucks the strings and begins to sing along—stopping to scribble down the lyrics and melody. His eyes open wide like a kid on Christmas. He savours the verse, holding up his notebook and praising his breakthrough.

He stands up and removes his phone from his pocket. Scrolling through his contacts, Griffin pauses. His reluctant thumb is hovering over Veronica’s name. Griffin snickers, “No way she’s wants to hear from me. Not after what I did.” Yet he stares at her display picture, reminiscing of their fading warm memories, especially when they went on that road trip together. They were laughing, licking their ice creams. In these moments, when you look back, nostalgia plays tricks. It has a way of zoning in on the absence and digging a hole deep down inside of you. 

His thumb quivers over Veronica’s face on his phone. She was the personification of something he believed himself to lack, zest for life. Even in his memories of her, she was always smiling, that is until she had enough of him. Her essence is like a dove in spring, flying through the morning dewdrops sliding from the flourishing oak leaves. She motivated him to get out of his comfort zone, open the curtains, and shed some light on his inhibition. Veronica is a go-getter, a spark of inspiration to a struggling writer. He didn’t know what was worse, knowing her and losing her or letting these painful reminders slip away. “How long can you cage a bird before you feel guilty?” Griffin ponders aloud.

He remembers her, and that’s his only connection—the warped mental images that soak up all of his imagination. And he’s a musician; that energy is precious. You wouldn’t give away your paints if you were a painter. Why do the creators sacrifice their most incredible resource?

April 24th (2021)

Theresa stares at the blank canvas—focused, anticipating her elusive muse. A painting studio surrounds her, embracing her erratic bursts of creativity. The warm colours of wooden cabinets and hardwood flooring bask in the golden sunlight—every inch of these walls; covered by art—her art. The private gallery is her attempt to encompass herself with beauty and the opposite of what she truly feels.

Paints splattered and stained into the flooring beneath her easel; she taps her restless foot. The canvas is taunting her; it’s maddening. Inside she yearns to create, yet her body opposes. She proclaims with the utmost of frustration, “Oh! I am drawing a blank. (she groans) C’mon Theresa; you can do this. Give the canvas what it wants.” She forcibly exhales, calmly stating, “The canvas and the paints are old friends looking to reconnect over a warm tea at a lovely bistro.” She glares at the beckoning white sheet, humming the melody that hopeful men and women sing when striving for a breakthrough. She hums, stroking her chin, tapping her foot, then sighing from the fervour.

Today is just not my day.” Theresa laments with a hint of humour. Truth be told, it hasn’t been her day in years. She knew that, though, hence her whims of slight self-deprecation. She often reflected on modesty & arrogance and where she stood in the mix. Amongst her social circle, she was the most likely to encourage others. The truth is that she was constantly raising the spirits of her friends & family. She is a lover of life and a champion of individuality. Yet her creeping doubts & insecurities often went unaddressed—progress abated—stagnant like a beaver dam in the middle of a river. No matter how many times she inferred, hinted, or beat around the bush about her problems, people didn’t care. They seldomly considered beyond their routines, and social media feeds. They were predictable and popular. For both of these things, Theresa was not. She was capricious and an acquired taste—like sky diving or peanut butter & onion sandwiches, she wasn’t for everyone. Which they were quick to remind her. But Theresa was okay with that; she had made her peace long ago. Well, with that aspect of her life, at least. 

The weather’s always the most beautiful when you have nothing to do,” Theresa speaks softly to herself as she puts the paints away. She climbs into a blue velvet chaise lounge, sunbathing. Her curious gaze outshines the sun. “Moments for memories are like trading money for receipts,” she recites her favourite poet and laughs. Distracting herself from the looming commotion within her psyche and laughter is like an exorcist that keeps her demons at bay. “But they want to come out and play,” a childish female voice sings from inside Theresa’s mind. Theresa shudders, humming the old song of hope, with a hint of sweeping melancholy. “You’re there for everyone, but who’s here for you?” The girl bluntly challenges.

I am,” Theresa affirms.                               

April 23rd (2021)

Adesh & Harjit were born and raised in New Delhi. They did everything together, so much so that most people thought they were brothers. From inciting laugh riots in austere classrooms to playing innocuous pranks on the people in their neighbourhood, they were inseparable. They would pop up and show their smirking faces; an elderly woman cheered, “Jigri dost.” Adesh & Harjit were essentially the same souls in two different bodies. That is until they grew up.

It was Adesh’s idea to move away and start a new life in California. Harjit was reluctant, insisting, “What do we need with that life, man? We have it all, right here.” But Adesh wasn’t satisfied with his current life. He craved something else. Through the years, Harjit was always uneager to embrace the gradual life changes. When Adesh started dating, Harjit scowled in protest. When Adesh introduced a new musician, Harjit reminded him how great the artists they used to listen to were. When Adesh did anything for the first time, Harjit ridiculed it—this was their process, their friendship, and it wasn’t perfect, but they considered each other family. 

They both scrimped and saved, amassing what they deemed “Enough.” Adesh’s mother clings to his arm, tears running down her face. Her husband consoling and pulls, prying her off Adesh. Adesh and his father nod at one another and shake hands. Harjit hugs and kisses his parents. He puts his little sister in a loving headlock, petting the top of her head. Harjit says in her ear, “It’s up to you now to keep the fun alive in this neighbourhood.” He kisses her one last time and walks beside Adesh. Both of them wave and turn their backpacks to everyone watching them. Before leaving, the elderly woman’s smiling face strolls between them and their departing rickshaw. She chortles, “Jigri Dost. Be happy, be together. Enjoy your life.” She hands two beaded bracelets to them; she grins, “Friendship bracelets.”

Adesh reflects on his farewells to friends, family and his neighbours while Harjit’s snoring interrupts. The flight attendant bell dings and the person sitting in front of them asks for water. Time marches on; they move in with Adesh’s cousin. He’s a jolly man with unruly facial hair, kind of like a sloppy Indian Santa Claus. His apartment is small for him alone, but it’s not the size of the heart; it’s how much love do you have to give. 

They forage through classified sections in newspapers, circling with a black magic marker. Adesh’s cousin opens up the fridge in the background and holds up an empty milk jug. He showcases it like a soiled carpet to a puppy, hoping to inspire a lesson. Adesh & Harjit shake hands with a restaurant owner. They’re washing dishes; Adesh looks out as Harjit sneaks food into his backpack. Days pass, fading into one another; Adesh is pointing with excitement. Harjit is sulking behind—this was their routine, their brotherhood, it wasn’t perfect, and it was starting to irritate Harjit.

A new day, the invigorating sun gleams through the living room window. The sound of daytime tv fills the space, “Tyrese…you are not the father.” Faint excitement muffles into the room from outside. “Harjit!” Adesh bursts through the door like he’s won a million dollars. Harjit barely pays him any attention, maintaining his focus on the television. Adesh stumbles and pries, “Aren’t you gonna ask me what I’m excited about?”

Harjit watches tv with a blank stare. Adesh entices, “It’s good news.” The television noise fills the awkward silence. Adesh turns off the tv, and Harjit jumps to his feet, snapping, “I don’t want your good news or your bad. I just want things to go back to the way they were…before.” He loses strength and slips back into his seat. Adesh looks like he’s about to tell a little boy that his dog passed away. He sits in the chair adjacent to Harjit. The silence swells, springs in the chair creak as Adesh leans forward. Harjit’s eyes water. 

Adesh contends, “I know you want to go back, but I’m moving forward, and I think you should listen to what I have to say; it may change your mind.” Harjit’s nostrils flare as if he’s breathed in sulphur. He cries, “You think I should. That’s it, man. You’re always pushing me to do these things, and you know what?! I’m done with it. I don’t need you, and I don’t need anything you have to offer.” Adesh freezes. Harjit is pacing around in the dark side of the partially lit living room. Adesh questions, “You’re sure about this? You want to go back? To India? To struggle?” Harjit shouts, “This is struggle!” He chokes up, tears stream down his cheeks, dropping to his knees. He confesses, “I feel like a loser… Like we’re both losers.” Adesh shoots up, interjecting, “I’m a winner!” Harjit stares up at Adesh with a specific look; it’s the look of defeat. It’s the look a man offers when he has nothing left to give at the end of a battle. It’s humility. 

Harjit returns to his feet; he demands, “Give me your bracelet.” His staring intensifies. Adesh considers for a moment—remembering their childhood. He fights back the tears, removing the bracelet and handing it to Harjit. Adesh recalled this day for many months; it repeated like syndicated television. Harjit returned to India, Adesh wonders what he’s up to within his imagination. “Adesh Ahuja,” A mousy female voice calls. Adesh’s head pops up, and he looks over at the secretary. She smiles, “She’s ready to see you now.” Adesh stands up in a navy blue slim-fit suit. He straightens his red silk tie, taking a deep breath, the double doors glide open, their Bocote wood glorified by the sun’s radiance. A sharp-dressed woman marches forth, extending her arm. Adesh steps closer, shaking her hand. She announces, “I’ve been looking forward to meeting with you, I’ve heard great things, and I have a proposal I want to run by you today.”   

Conflict Is A Choice.

When We Abandon Struggle, We Increase Our Aptitude.

Liberate Yourself With The Realization Of Your True Identity.     

April 22nd (2021)

Competition is an unconscious issue deriving from a belief that we project onto the world. 

The ground beneath him is frigid and damp, yet he awakens under the scorching sun. His arm feels like it’s kissed flame. From the ignorant darkness to the blinding light, his eyes adjust, using his hands like a visor. There is nothing around him. He muffles to himself, “A desert?” Glancing about, his frustration crescendos, and he kicks up dust. The wavy horizon blurs the line between blue sky and cracked dirt. He notices a quiet vulture studying him. Flashes of memories flicker behind his eyes. He questions, “How did I get here?” A cocktail of emotions intoxicates, he falls to his knees, pounding the earth with eroded power. 

Wake up, John.” A mysterious feminine voice prompts. John’s head snaps like a whip from side to side. He searches for any indication of a person. Vultures yapping catches his eye; two are clashing, while one sits sinisterly, its black beady eyes following John’s every move. The inexplicable voice continues, “Oh, you’re already up…Well, this is awkward but not entirely unexpected. All of your life, you were a fighter, John. And it will be no different here.” John snaps, “What is this! Who are you?” His head sinks, and he mudders to himself, “Who am I? John? Is that even my name?” The voice cuts, “Now’s not the time for questions, John. Focus on surviving.” John interrupts, “Surviving?! What is this? Some kind of sick joke? You’ve seen too many movies.” He stammers and shouts, “This is my life!” 

There is no immediate response. John anticipates one, but all he hears is the yapping of two more vultures on his other side. He looks across from them, and now the three vultures sit in perfect silence, their black eyes shining in the smouldering sun. John paces back and forth; it’s a tantrum, but also understandable. He gazes up and pauses, wincing from the stinging brightness. The voice returns, “Are you done? Let me get this straight; if you continue to interrupt me, you will be left alone to your own devices. And I promise you, your chances of survival will be nonexistent.” 

John wipes his sweaty hair out of his face and affirms, “Yes. I’m done. Uh… Sorry.” The temperature is rising. The voice carries on, “Good. There are four other people with you. But there are only enough supplies for one. And you are the first one to wake up. Make use of your head start.” John has a silent outburst. He is trying his best not to insult the voice again. She concludes, “All you need to know is that there are provisions at the top of that mountain.” John’s gaze turns to the summit in the skyline. He responds, “The mountain? Four other people?” He winces like someone squirts lemon juice in his eyes. 

He awaits further instructions, but it seems that she said everything she intended to. John removes his suit jacket and wraps it around his head like a turban. He begins trekking towards the faraway mountain, wandering from the yapping vultures. Time passes, John walks, the sun blazes and travels. Suddenly he sees something. It appears to be a river. Excitement simmers to the surface; now, he can afford to run. His feet are hammering into the cracked earth as he races to the river. He was exhausted before he even started running, spitting out the salty sweat that drips in his mouth. Something’s off—His optimism turns rancid. The dried-up riverbed is full of the glimmery skin of slithering snakes. He pants in disgust. John knows he needs to keep moving; the beating sun devours his sense of vigour. Bending forward with his hands on his knees, he digs deep, searching for a second wind.    

Greater time passes, sweat stinging, steps smearing into one another. The sun migrates to an early afternoon position. He looks up for the first time in hours and sees he’s not too far from the mountain. The time-lapse of the sky shows not much difference at all—no clouds to drift, not even a blemish—only a nagging sun, reminding him how dehydrated he is. He hears people arguing and sprawls down, ducking behind a boulder. Three people are standing in a circle, all facing one another. There seems to be only one way up the mountain; an unnatural path etched through the rock. The three are bickering, having a heated debate in a sauna—The distance muffles their dialogue. John peaks his head from behind the boulder, witnessing the fourth person creeping in from the outskirts of the mountain. Without much choice, John reluctantly crawls closer. As he slinks towards them, their words become clearer. 

The boisterous voice of a man soars, “You must think, I’m pretty stupid!” Another voice, this one of a much younger man, reasons, “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. How can we even trust that woman? She’s just pitting us all against each other.” The third person remains quiet, and the fourth person sneaks nearer. The Boisterous Man shouts, “Enough of these riddles & fabrications! I’ve been told what I must do, and it’s simple as that.” The Boisterous Man looks over his brawny shoulder and basks in the sight of an arsenal of melee weapons. There are five morningstars, five swords, five battleaxes, five cups of water, and five sets of handcuffs. They obstruct the beginning of the mountain path. The Boisterous Man turns his back to The Young Man & the third person; he strolls over to the weapons. The Boisterous Man taunts, “Do you have a preferred way to die?” The Young Man argues, “She never said anything about killing, only that there were enough supplies for one person.” The Boisterous Man insists, “This is a fight for survival, and I’m not taking any chances. I let my guard down, and then you’re the one doing me in. I don’t think so. I’m two steps ahead of ye’.” John gets a better look at the third person; she’s a young woman. The Young Man and The Young Woman exchange glances like they’re at a funeral.

The Boisterous Man slides a sword from the rack, metal against metal screeches; he puffs his chest, sneering forward, growling, “Who’s first? The dingus?” He locks eyes with the unwilling younger man. The Boisterous man grumbles, “Or the dame?” The Young Woman’s eyes open wide; she retreats a few steps. “Hey! Stop it!” John hollers. Rocks slide down from his slight vantage point. He descends the slope, joining The Young Man & Woman—they are both startled and relieved. John’s eyes slip to track the fourth person without moving his head. 

The Boisterous Man guffaws, “Well, well, well, look who’s finally ready to play with the big boys.” John takes a moment to analyze the situation. He scans every available tool and determines, “Why don’t you have the water?” The Boisterous Man stumbles; John clarifies, “There are five cups of water; you take all five. No need to fight us for them. You’re a big guy, probably pretty thirsty. I know I am, and I’m about half your size.” John briefly surveys the three other people, especially the two beside him. He is mostly hoping that they won’t overreact or agitate The Boisterous Man. John settles, “Plus, you still have to climb the mountain, and that’ll make you plenty thirstier” The Boisterous Man snarls, “I was planning on drinking all of the water anyways!” 

John stares down and sighs, “Okay, well, why not have it now then? If you plan on killing us, and taking the supplies at the top of the mountain, might as well quench your thirst before you even get started.” The Boisterous Man wonders for a moment, staring at John like someone who’s fooled him once before. The Boisterous Man switches the sword to his left hand, grabbing one of the cups, watching them as he brings it to his lips. Smirking, The Boisterous Man goads, “If only you had a pair…” He sips the water, swishing it around in his mouth before swallowing. He exhales smugly, tossing the steel cup into the mountainside; it clanks and clatters along the way down. 

The Young Man concernedly probes John, “Now what?” The Boisterous Man is preoccupied drinking up the remaining water. John explains, “We wait.” The Young Man’s forehead scrunches up, discrediting, “We wait?! Wait for what exactly? To be slain by this madman?” John peers forward, motionless, confident. His eyes fixed on The Boisterous Man. John persists, “We wait for him to die.” The Young Man & Woman stare at each other like they’re struggling to solve a puzzle. John continues, “I believe that water to be poisoned. Or at least it contains some type of sedative.” The Young Man questions, “What makes you think that?” John responds, “Because this whole thing is a game, meant to test the kind of person we are. They want us to fight for survival, to be panicked, and conflicted. The weapons are to test our competitiveness, and the water our greed. It was never meant for all five of us, just the survivor.” The Young Man solves, “So then that would mean that everybody dies.” John affirms, “Exactly. I don’t know what’s at the top of that mountain, but whatever it is, it’s unexpected.”       

Rather than believing there’s a limitation of resources, focus on what it is that you want. The world is abundant for those willing to be generous and benevolent. However, the same world can be a cruel, unyielding place for the greedy and fearful. To climb the mountain, we must first lay down our sword, our pointed wit—This includes our sarcastic inferences that we hide behind. After relinquishing the hostile assumptions and opting to elevate our consciousness, we transcend these treacherous waters.

Every plateau presents its unique challenge and vantage point above the lower levels. To thrive at the mountain’s top requires tremendous grit, discipline and a sense of purpose. And there’s no greater purpose than from knowing thyself.   

April 21st (2021)

When we avoid conflicts within our homes, we enable them. We must focus on what brings us joy to overcome petty squabbles. Resolving issues at the root cause is the only way to move forward. We must love and support our self to establish strong intuition and beneficial relationships. From there, we will cultivate benevolence to become abundant, healthy, and prosperous.

Home for many of us is a paragon—an out-of-reach goal like a small child stretching from tip-toes to their fingers for a distant cookie jar. Since we were born, these animal bodies and the world conditioned us to yearn for a warm home. We strive for it each day, making the supreme sacrifice (potential) in exchange for the unyielding tyranny of mundanity. If you question it, take a look around. Many television programs persuade us to believe how a family or home should be. There are talk shows, and social media feeds, all causing conflicts within us. There is a fundamental emptiness to their efforts if we don’t consider it as entertainment or with a grain of salt. The systems in place would love for us to contribute in the same way we unconsciously strive for a temporal home. There is a physiological need to belong and an unconscious program related to what home is.

The programming that compels you to belong, feel “safe,” and accepted is the same one that overrides your freedom to express your personal desires. Home is about balance, support, peace and love. It is the place that nurtures you, here on earth. But it shouldn’t be limited to a location. Find it inside of you. If everything is energy and returning to its source, then you were never actually born at all. It’s an illusion, and the truth is that your home is not anywhere in this world.

There needs to be a balance between what we do for others and our self-care. The difference between homes and houses is the conditions of love and support. Houses are structures built on a focus to sustain themselves, while a home nurtures the individuals. A house is an institution concerned about its future and successors. It has rigid rules and traditions; all meant to test you and challenge your belief in yourself. When we break free from limitations and comfort zones, we begin to live and travel the world. However, homes support those freedoms and even encourage creative self-expression. Most of us will never know what it’s like to have a physical home, but we can always love and nurture ourselves.

When we turn our once blinded mind’s eye to our origin, we cultivate that feeling we’ve been striving for in the world.

April 20th (2021)

Crimson rinses in the sink’s whirlpool. Down the pipe, like the days seem to feel for Adam. He stares forward blankly into the mirror he’s not thanking. Rush some more, be a good sport. He hurdles forth, scrummaging for keys behind a swinging door—his version of Indiana Jones and the boulder. After all, it’s the little things that offer us the most constant source of joy.

The winter wind lures the warmth away. They are stripping the brave into the fearless. These icy voices whisper and shriek, no telling when they’ll raise their volume. Perfect snow, beside the beaten path, somehow maintaining its purity despite our recklessness. We line up, but not on purpose—a single file like willing prisoners, funnelled into our funerals. 

We are looking forward to after-hours, mocking the other co-workers who aren’t cowards. “Please, don’t be different.” Our ego begs. “We can be as we always have been.” We’ve seen the horse treated like a donkey and vice versa. We’ve accepted ridicule and tolerated impatience. We’ve wrestled with thoughts of promotion as our restless legs caused a commotion. We’ve drummed our fingers on the breakroom tables as we were unable to manifest our ideals. Bitterness sweeps to the surface like the dusty wind kicking around a tumbleweed. Eventually, even random things can make it to the same place a person strived to be. 

This cubicle is our cocoon. It’s time we shed our complacency and smashed the clock open—exposing the true hidden value of time. We are destined to get what we want. Moments are bubbles blown by a formless entity. This demiurge fills each one with our offering; squander it or saunter into the unknown. Every second is a new bubble. Three hundred sixty degrees to turn each time. Yet, we assume it’s set in stone.

April 19th (2021)

We want to be released from this sleep, but we fall back in the creases every time we dream. “Speak your truth, boy!” A nasty voice cuts like machine noise. “This is my choice!” He explains again, draining, straining, training ourselves to hold up our heads. Pride is fine, but an artist wants more inside, like desire & design, to transpire & entwine. Wrapped up, some tap out, if only there were a map to scout. 

Riddled by doubt, the blind beggar spouts, “Nice day, ain’t it a blessing to a question that undresses your mind?” His cooky laugh, reeking of moonshine. The porch boards creaking under your weight, the only store in this forsaken place. Under its natural patina, time forgot about these souls. Stuck & slandered by what they know, like holes in blueprints, and their instinct kills their vision. Succinct sentiments heading our way, brace for impact or distract the madness with a charm that gladdens. “I’ve been disarming bizarre madmen since before you were even born.” He adorns your ears with his southern accent and pulls out a churchkey for the cans of corn the shopkeeper’s taxing. 

That’s enough action for one day.” A carful of laughter on a road trip to a sold-out concert. “Onward!” Hollers the fat shoulder to cry on, swallowing his confidence and feelings in the form of Funyuns and soft drinks. The Royal Pine air freshener clinks against some rosary beads—swinging over a sticker-covered dashboard. “Man, these roads are trash here.” The driver peers forward as the passenger cheers, “At least we’re not bored!” Cooky laughter like that beggar on the porch back there. Backpacker with a thumbs up, “I would never pick up a hitchhiker; I’ve seen too much.” The driver rips. “Yeah, movies, but you’ve never truly lived!” The passenger quips. “Why would I take an unnecessary risk?” The driver kicks. The passenger listens and licks her smiling lips; they glisten. 

Silence is golden and holding the impatient person’s peace, fidgeting, pacing fingers in a seat. The steering wheel is a drum set, tapping on it like the driver’s deaf. “Something needs to give.” A still silent car, everyone seems so far away. He stares at her, sure she’s wrong, but maybe he’s been singing the same song all along. Gas is full, plenty of snacks, but he needs a reason to stop. “That coffee’s got to me; up here is a spot.” The driver plots. Where is the destination of a cocky fixation? He can’t take the quiet; it’s a means to try prying open his commotion. “I’m not broken.” He mopes, forgetting he’s in a car full of folks. 

The trees thin, and the light beckons a breathtaking sight to behold. A better reason to pullover, soak in this majestic exposure. The driver’s a poseur. In a world of shoulders, he’s a boulder—the need to speak, swelled by the urge to purge. Not everything happens at once, but the dunce wants it now. You require a commitment to the original intention, not the human inventions, but a connection beyond subliminal prevention. Your unconscious is an ocean, full of sentient creations under your initial volition. Holistic analysis deciphers the maliciousness and hidden deceptions. Be selful, help yourself to sell fulfilling services or products to a playful world. Shed the stale worries, and work well with yourself and on yourself. Balance the oneness and individuality, and all of your relationships will succeed!

April 18th (2021)

Shundy draped her hands over burning eyes. The clock ticks and the following tocks rattled her deteriorating peace of mind. Papers stacked and shadows caged. The dim desk lamp whispered into the shouting darkness, a slight buzzing from the bulb that commands Shundy’s attention. Her tired eyes are not impressed. 

The office is empty; it’s been this way for days. Long, loveless days that melted into sleepless nights. She recalls the moment she made this decision, viewing her memory like watching an old home movie. She remembers her once confident voice, declaring, “I’m ready to do this. I have everything it takes to run a business on my own.” She scoffs to the memory, “What was I thinking?” Her head plops on the cluttered desk, causing paper towers to collapse. 

She hasn’t been counting the days, but the years have spilled together. Shundy wasn’t wrong. She possessed the tools required to get this job done and the skills to use them. The light and shadow meet in the place where our unconscious sings. Speaking in riddles, obsessed with mystery like a good friend who puzzles us, or a forgotten victory. She squints as if in pain, or maybe she’s about to cry. How long has it been since these caged feelings were released? How long will she pretend everything’s “fine.” She’s using that word more and more these days. “I’m fine.” Her murky response was going unnoticed. “I’m doing well too.” They were more concerned about their responses than reading between her lines.

The landscape soared as far as the eye could see. Like a bird set free, the eyes thrived at this sight, this glimpse into unlimited potential. That’s the way he felt upon meeting Shundy. She was a river of knowledge that some beavers selfishly dammed. What is more natural? The flow of water, or the shelter of the life it enables. Life is ebb & flow, give and take, but Jickshesh knew that sometimes we need to roll up our sleeves and undam ourselves. 

He enters the mostly dark office with a collection of Tupperware containers—three transparent containers stacked on each other like a pyramid. They’re sweating from still being warm. He walks into the faint glow of the thin light. Jickshesh announces, “Hey sweetie, I brought you some dinner.” Shundy’s sunken head lifts slightly, and a hint of joy shines through her sluggish gaze. She smiles, “I want to eat at home with you.” Lifting herself like a bear from hibernation, they eventually leave the office. 

The dinner was brief—to the point like a business meeting. Shundy and Jickshesh’s home was lovely, “good enough for now,” was how they both referred to it. He washes the dishes as she makes her way upstairs. Shundy intends to sleep but stops in her home office. Something lures her in—a burning desire to redeem her recent struggle. Her sleepy stare turns serious, focus inspired by a general urge to work. Tapping on the keyboard, drawers opening and clanging shut, work cleansed the angst; it pacified the unknowing—like calamine lotion slathered over a petulant mosquito bite. 

The ability to delegate tasks is what separates daydreamers from manifesters. We can learn a lot from studying soil microbiology and how plants and their rooting structures work. I see that business is natural. It is a balance of intention and implementation. The world is full of energy exchanges on multiple scales, from insect-to-plant to man-to-world. The difference is that we’re the creators of our life. And with that comes the power to not just go with the flow but to create beneficial change. 

When we change our minds, we change our lives.   

April 17th (2021)

Maggie’s young, oval face peered up at the giant portrait of her Great Grandmother. The tarnished frame slinked around the greying-painted canvas. Her mother, Anna, startles her, “Sophia!” Anna’s voice reverberates through the undusted mansion. Anna complains to herself, “Oh, where are you?” Maggie returns her gaze to the famished painting of her Great Grandmother; she begins thinking to herself in a sweet, innocent voice, “I wonder what kind of life you lived.” She pauses, pulls something out of her frilly, purple dress, staring down at an old pocket watch, equally as tarnished as the portrait’s frame. 

Maggie’s stare meets with the elderly woman’s painted eyes, pondering in a way that was both genuinely curious and loving, “They told me all about you. But, I’m only seven, and I know that people have their secrets.” Anna’s voice derails Maggie’s train of thought, “Sophia!? Come to me, this instance!” Anna’s once singsongy request now abandoned all grace and conveyed her irritation. Maggie apathetically gleams toward her mother, mentioning, “I believe she’s out by the woodshed, mother. I saw her earlier this morning.” Anna snips, “The woodshed? What would she be doing out by there?” Anna’s face crinkles from the question but quickly turns to a slightly annoyed poker face when she addresses Maggie, “And you…I thought I told you to get cleaned up.” Maggie takes a look at herself, flailing her arms and objecting with an adorable standoffishness, “I did get cleaned up. I even put on my favourite colour dress.” Anna makes her peace with her less challenging daughter, sighs heavily, and jaunts away.

The day is drab, but the autumn-induced redding of the Shumard oaks contrasts the bleached sky. The family estate was vast since day one but endured its last owners’ neglect. Recently, Anna and her two daughters inherited the home, as her Grandmother put it, “To keep it in the family.” Anna also challenged the word, “Inherited, more like encumbered.” Needless to say, she wasn’t the least bit thrilled with the way things went. You may be wondering where Anna’s mother stood in all of this, and that’s what Anna wanted to know too. She hadn’t seen her mother in years, and the last time she heard from her was a collect-call from Barbados.

The crack of wood splitting by an axe echoes through the surrounding reddened oak trees. A tall, athletic teen girl chops wood. Anna crushes through a blanket of fallen leaves. The girl continues swinging her axe as Anna stares, almost impressed with her daughter’s level of concentration. Anna pauses, her mouth open, ready to cast words at her daughter’s AirPod filled ears. The faint sounds of “The Donnas – Take It Off” overflow out in the world—Anna’s world, and for her: it’s a personal attack. She bites her lip slightly, brows angling towards her bridge, shouting at the perfectly chosen level to penetrate stubborn teenage ears, “Sophia!” Sophia glances at her furious mother, she can barely hear her, but that’s the way she preferred it. Anna’s muffled attempts to captivate Sophia’s attention turn Anna’s honest anger into Sophia’s entertainment. Sophia removes an AirPod. Her face scrunches up as she grapples, “What!? What is it?” 

Anna is tired, plain and simple—has been for a while now. She notices it more and more each day, building up like a layer of silt over a portrait. Maybe it was the fact she’s a single mother of two or dealing with the creeping trauma of her yesteryear, but at that moment, she had nothing left in her tank. Anna caves, her pensive glare, now defeated. She sighs away her strength from anger, slouching forward. Anna replies, “Listen, I just want to spend the day with you and Maggie. I love you, Sophia. I love both of you, girls. I hope you always know that.” Anna quickly wipes away a tear.

It’s exhausting for Anna to keep this up. Her rendition of both mother and father. But abandonment wasn’t anything new in Anna’s life. Not only did she make lemonade, but she also stopped adding sugar altogether. Sucking lemons was Anna’s specialty; happiness wasn’t a goal in her life. Life was more a scramble to raise her daughters to be “Better than her, in every which way.” Those were her words, her daily mantra. Part of that reminded her to be a better mother than her’s. It also meant to be something she had no real notion of, a proper parent. She was raised partly by her reluctant Grandmother. The other half of her upbringing was made possible by a rambunctious group of women who claimed to be a punk rock band. But they mainly caused chaos together at bars and spent their nights apart in jails or one-night stands. Anna reiterated, “Better than her, in every which way.”                    

April 16th (2021)

Amelia was the youngest in a house of struggle and worry. It wasn’t always like this. She remembered a different time when her father was alive. He had a unique way of piquing her interest and getting her out of her shell. Otherwise, Amelia sat up in the dank, drafty attic, cradling her favourite stuffed animal. A soft, off-white rabbit with floppy ears that seemed almost too long, she referred to him as “Mr. Bertrand.” Lost in aimless thoughts and painful memories of her father. Her eyes fascinated by the lonesome light that sliced through the nearly-barricaded attic window. 

The attic was a long-forgotten place in her home. None of her siblings would ever think to find her there. Not even her mother, who was often overworked and cranky, would be too tired to climb the rope ladder up into Amelia’s “Secret Place.” She was quiet and often lost in thought. Her teacher complained to her mother, “She’s so quiet, she needs to participate in class more, or I’ll have no choice but to hold her back.” Amelia didn’t enjoy being in other people’s way, but that’s how they made her feel, like a hindrance to their joy. 

Her older sister rushed to the kitchen and stripped the cereal box from Amelia’s betrayed grip; her sister snickered. Her older brother pushed Amelia to the side as he opened the fridge door; he grunted, “Move it, twerp!” Amelia’s exhausted mother stumbled forth; again, it was debatable if she slept at all. Her brother shouted, “We need more toast!” Her sister jeered, “It’s called bread, stupid!” Amelia remembered the quiet & calm attic—it beckoned her presence as she slipped away from her family. Her mother declared, “Amelia, I want to have a word with you.” Amelia stopped walking towards the attic. She stared at a photo of her father and mother, relishing their smiles. “It’s about your school and why you’re not speaking up in class. Your teacher wants you to raise your hand and contribute.” Amelia’s eyes flickered with momentary intensity. She sighed and dropped her head, ran up to her mom, hugged her, and affirmed, “Okay, mommy.” 

Amelia shared her room with her sister. She never considered it her own, this is where she merely slept, and Mr. Bertrand sat, but it was the attic where they both rested. The silence took precedence over food this mourning. Her will to speak in class, or rejoice with friends at recess, was the same as her appetite, diminished. Amelia pulled herself up the rope ladder into the cob-web infested attic. Dust covered everything except her footprints and the one box she employed as her seat. She confided in her cherished rabbit, “It’s not that I want to lie to mommy, Mr. Bertrand; it’s that I don’t think that she’ll understand.” Amelia gazed through the clutter blocking the window. She pretended to have a conversation with her inanimate companion, “You’re right, Mr. Bertrand, you always know what to say.” 

They tried forcing Amelia to participate, which caused her to withdrawal even further. Her teacher fueled Amelia’s feelings of being ostracized. Amelia’s mother failed to connect with her daughter but succeeded in the opposite. All of Amelia’s relationships were estranged and challenging, except for her and Mr. Bertrand. The struggle raged on for many months until The Principal brought up the idea of a psychologist. “We’ve done all we can do with her, she’s unreasonable, but maybe there’s someone who can help.” The Principal’s impotent tone ransacked her mother’s confidence in herself as a parent.

Amelia held Mr. Bertrand in her left arm as her mother led her into a bright, colourful waiting room. Her mother heads to the receptionist as Amelia ran off to the play section. There were mountains of toys and games piled up on each other. She says to Mr. Bertrand, “We’ll let her take care of the grown-up stuff while we have all of the fun.” She played and basked in the intense sunshine blazing through the east-facing window. 

Suddenly, she recognized a voice. It was a strange but familiar voice speaking with her mother. She got up and walked closer to the source of it. It was a man’s voice, gentle and pleasant to her ears, like a long, lost family member returning home. Amelia asked with the most earnest of curiosity, “Mr. Bertrand?” Her mother chuckled awkwardly, “Amelia…” She looked at the person she was talking to, but a wall blocked him from Amelia’s perspective. Her mother continued, “This is Dr. Atifa; he will be speaking with you today.” Amelia walked a few steps closer to get a better look. His big smiling face welcomed her in; Dr. Atifa’s sweet voice sounded, “Hello, Amelia, how are you today.” She is shocked; Amelia confesses, “Your voice, it’s how I imagined it would be for my teddy rabbit, Mr. Bertrand.” Dr. Atifa laughs, “I’m honoured.” Amelia’s baffled daze faded into a joyful assuredness; she felt the same as when it was just her and Mr. Bertrand above the rope ladder.          

April 15th (2021)

He peered through the hotel’s vertical blinds like prison bars as they separated the gleaming sunrise. A girly voice yawned, “Are you leaving soon?” His head slowly turned to her; she was half-cozy in the rented bed and awaited his reply. He thought for a second and responded, “I just want to get this over with.” She sprang from her midway comfort to embrace her husband. “I’m here to help you get through it—together,” she affirmed as she squeezed him harder. “I love you, Cat; you’re the best thing to ever happen to me,” he told her before resting his fretful head between her neck and shoulder. She welcomed him and reinforced, “You’re like a superhero, David; anything you put your mind to, you can do.” David met eyes with Cat, and she giggled before their inevitable kiss.          

He savours the morning during this taxing car ride. David grips the steering wheel, almost choking it. Emotions and memories are escalating as he fidgets with the radio. His eyes glance at the empty passenger seat, and he remembers telling Cat, “I’m sure. I need to do this on my own.” She wept, her big, glistening eyes conveyed that they understood him, as she nodded, hugged him, and he went on his way. The memory was recent, minutes old, but it felt distant; in a sense, it was warm then and there in Cat’s arms, but as he approaches his sister’s cold uncertainty, he already misses her. David resists the temptation to cry, cranking up the music and singing along, “Stop the clocks, it’s amazing. You should see the way the light dances off your head. A million colours of hazel, golden and red.”

His rented Honda Accord pulls into a neglected harbour with one main rundown cabin; the sign reads, “Shantyburg Marina.” The car door slamming echoes, and the sound of him walking on the gravel parking lot fills the surrounding silence. “Over here, David!” A faraway woman shouts. David’s forehead crumples, and he talks under his breath, “Let’s get this over with.” Walking down the main dock, behind the disturbing cabin, he has highlights of his childhood flash in his mind. Memories of his father teaching him to swim, as his sister mocked his struggle. Father and daughter are laughing together, simultaneously taunting a young David. There she is, a few footsteps away; blonde turned to grey, promise and potential ravaged—her once ebullient skin, now haggard and creased. “What took you so long, ya big dummy?” She joshed. David’s eyes roll, and he insists on a proper reunion, “How have you been, Denice?” “Better than you, by the looks of it,” she quips. David sighs, “Alright, let’s just get this done.”

They walk to the edge of the pier; Denice pulls out a turquoise urn from her tattered backpack. She beholds the beauty of the river—gleaming blue waters, encompassed by flourishing Red Maples. She pauses, glancing down at the urn, and utters in a surprisingly sincere tone, “You know, he really loved this place.” David stares for a second like a deer in headlights. He agrees, “Yeah, it was always special coming out here with him.” Denice begins to bawl, “You left us, David; you abandoned him. He needed you, and you were nowhere to be found.” He lets the accusation, and his reactions to it stew, boiling under his collected surface. 

He drives down the lonesome highway into a bittersweet sunset. The recent memory of him and his sister—spreading their father’s ashes in the river, is playing on repeat. He thinks to himself, “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, but I owe it to myself to be with the people that innately understand me.” The hotel door opens, and David returns to Cat’s devout embrace. He smiles for the first time in a long time, realizing, “you’re my family.” 

No matter what has happened in our pasts, it always benefits us to forgive. We must protect our individual needs and ensure we are healthy, happy, creative, and mindful. Prioritizing others before ourselves is a form of compromise, and when the soul depletes from the inevitable resentment of imbalanced living, we then show signs of ageing. When we focus on what we want to create, it becomes apparent what we must do to manifest those visions.                

April 14th (2021)

The days have been dreary and disheartening toward Austin—he broods on his parent’s veranda overlooking the expansive but drizzly countryside. He appears to be in his mid-thirties, clean-cut and sharp-dressed; his depression seems out of character. The home is a modern farmhouse, with bright white siding fitted to vaulted ceilings. It’s meticulously landscaped; sunflowers are welcoming you from the driveway up to the front door. Usually, the sun beamed down here, empowering deep greens of endless lawn and encompassing trees. Today is different; the absent songbirds leave room for a graceless silence.

Abruptly, the patio door slides open, Austin remains motionless, his eyes fixed onward at no particular point. His wife, Mayla, steps out and sensibly puts her hand on his shoulder. Her eyes attempt to match the spot that captivates Austin, softly speaking, “Have you made your decision?” He exhales, and his brows furrow when he stares into Mayla’s eyes. “I think I have,” he affirms. 

At first glance, Austin’s childhood home was a place of sunshine, sunflowers, and singing songbirds. However, within the confines of its cheery shell, obscure anguish lurked. Recently, after enduring the loss of both parents, the decision of what to do with their home fell upon Austin’s shoulders. Mayla recalls the earlier incident, where Austin turned white as a ghost and ran outside to right here, right now. 

The house wasn’t worth millions on its own; it was the land that bolstered its value. Over one thousand acres of tillable soil passed from generation to generation. Expanding its border as it absorbed neighbouring farms, amassing a coveted family fortune and sense of identity. Austin’s father, Emitt, readily embraced the imposed lifestyle, no questions asked; that is why it bothered Emitt when Austin turned his back on it. Austin remembered the moment when he told his old man that he wanted to go to college. And telling Emitt anything that didn’t fit into his plan for you was a risky endeavour. Austin’s father wasn’t only a bully; he was a mastermind of misery. “Don’t you got no pride, boy? What you gonna do without my safety net? You gon’ to fail, and come crawlin’ back!” Emitt’s voice thundered through Austin’s mind. The memory was abusive, then and now. It felt as if his father was resurrected, smothering the serenity and endangering Austin’s mind, body and emotions. He touched his face, where Emitt left bruises and began to choke all over again. Austin ran to the veranda.  

I’m ready to let this place go. Everything, every part of it,” Austin confirms. Mayla smiles and supports her husband’s decision. They spend a moment with each other, then rejoin another couple waiting in the kitchen. They are delighted by the return of Austin as he walks up to them, and they continue negotiating the house’s sale. 

Opportunities can come in the form of anything physical. When we “lose” something, it’s a form of transformation. For instance, we don’t lose a caterpillar; we gain a butterfly. There is always a silver lining written in the fine print of life’s contracts, be diligent and disciplined enough to be aware of all the energies present. Some things are more challenging to let go of than others, especially for families, trauma, and sentimental value. Remember to focus on your foundation and what brings you joy. Despite new beginnings and old issues, what can you do right now to help you manifest your visions?                

April 13th (2021)

A bony woman with hair tied back tighter than her skin combs through a wardrobe of former selves. Determined and lost in thought simultaneously, she lonesomely strolls through this walk-in closet. The environment is sleek, with ambient lighting that energizes, but feels foreign from any home, lacking warmth and impairing comfort. Gutted skins drape from hangers, images of yesterday suspended in this jarring place. She kisses each one with her fingertips, snippets of memories rekindle and fade, blurring into one another. As her fingers leave one, she takes a moment, noticing something new. 

Origins blemished by presumptuousness. Quarrels arise, and rewarding questions diminish. The woman squints at her traumatic history. She grabs her former shell at the wrist, revealing an age: 7; the triggered memories vanish as she releases her former self. She laments, “That was the year it happened.” Wiping her tears and preparing herself with a deep exhalation, the woman prepares to reconnect with her seven-year-old self. Her driven eyes fix on the lifeless mask that she once wore.

The woman embraces her inner child, weeping as a crescendo of emotions and scenes with her father flood to the surface. The fallacy she’s been living, now unguarded and exposed to the flow of realization. She cringes under the irradiance of the projected memories. Daughter and Father, holding hands in a backyard, both disappear into a garden shed. The woman collapses, her bony knees meet the cold stone flooring. Sobbing in a child’s pose, cupped hands pooling tears. 

The sunlight is blinding over a boisterous city scene. Taxis are honking, foot traffic rushing, hustle & bustle as far as the eye can see within the shadows of this concrete jungle. An umber-coloured brick building with a red door opens. The bony woman exits and nonchalantly blends into the heavy sidewalk movement. 

A flowing river hugs the road as the once bony woman drives a brand new metallic blue Mercedes Benz C-class. The rural landscape is vibrant, with luscious apple orchards and a curving mountain range. She appears healthy now with glowing skin and confidence. The backseat contains all she needs to start a new life, not entirely from scratch, but where she left off all those years ago. The city was a distraction, another mask of pain. However, today she knows that past is finally behind her. No longer denying or repressing the truth, she accepts all of herself.    

It can be comfortless to release trauma. The experience can feel like reliving everything all over again. Bear in mind that it’s one last time. After releasing negativity, we create space for our modern dreams and rekindle our old hopes. Remember, you are a powerful creator; you can manifest anything you imagine.              

April 12th (2021)

The sunlight brightens a rustic corridor in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The clattering of tourists and traffic battles with the natural serenity offered by the sea. People come and go, and through all of their thrilling arrivals and reluctant departures, he sipped his coffee, scanned the newspaper, and did his best to ignore them. Mr. Everest was an older man, but I wouldn’t describe him as elderly. He was gray but not feeble, retired, but competent. This bistro, where Everest sits, was his sanctuary.      

When he first arrived, was he thrilled? Not really. His general disposition always seems to favour a joyless disregard for others. Over these insipid years, he never once acknowledged the reasons to smile in a picturesque destination. Instead, he buried his head in the daily printed terror and further fueled his tormented heart with caffeine. 

A cluster of children roars through the outdoor cafe. One child bumps into Mr. Everest; his coffee spills over his lap. Without even looking up and blotting his pants with a napkin, Everest growls, “Don’t you have any respect?” The quake of Mr. Everest’s voice mortifies the child; his innocent, blue eyes nearly brought to tears. The other children slowly withdrawal as one tiny voice outcries, “let’s get out of here!” Everest grumbles in disgust as he returns to reading. Suddenly, a woman’s voice (like desired rain in a desert) quips, “Well, you certainly have a way with kids.” Mr. Everest’s focus endures on the paper. The voice continues, “Is this seat taken?” Everest pauses, his eyes rise from the newspaper to meet with the woman. 

Her essence is enchanting, and Everest was intrigued. She was much younger than him; it seems suspicious. He thought to himself, “Golddigger.” The problem with that was Mr. Everest didn’t seem rich, he knew he was, but his wardrobe meant to dissuade the public from that realization. He pretends to be not interested and groans, “Who do you think you are?” Without skipping a beat, she counters his tone and replies, “My name is Tula.” Her confident smile rhetorically shines forth. Everest keeps pretending to read. He imagines her without using his eyes. “Just ignore her, and she’ll go,” his inner voice claims. The empty chair screeches across the cafe’s patio stones. It’s disrupting others’ meals and moments. Mr. Everest guffaws, “What was that?” his inner voice questions. To the newcomers of Everest’s story, a laugh may be insignificant. We all laugh, but Everest doesn’t even smile. He sits, reads, sips, and repeats. Everest locks eyes with Tula; she smirks, and his fair complexion reddens. 

When opportunities for love, beauty and harmony present themself, we must be willing to take a risk. Everest put his trust issues aside and welcomed Tula into his life. Enanourmed with his confidence and ability to manifest wealth into their lives, it was love at first sight for Tula. She repeats to this day, “It felt like you were my family like I already had known you all along.” There is a balance to be achieved in this world—an equilibrium of oneness and individuality. It was on that day, the asymmetry of Everest’s life began to heal. Tula was more than beautiful; she is full of beauty. And from that reserve, she offered it to Everest, radiating grace and casting away his darkness. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and neither is a stellar relationship, but first, we need to be willing to take risks outside of our comfort zones.                      

April 11th (2021)

The struggling artist discourages others out of jealousy and disappointment because they yearn for satisfaction.

When life disrupts an artist’s expectations, frustration boils to the surface. Their behaviours strain relationships, not all, but most. Especially if the other is impartial to living in an artist’s dreamy world. Years of searching for corporeal answers while swimming through doubts have exhausted our imaginations. Yet, an artist maintains their creative stamina. They opt to envision rather than set their sights—a potential cause of dissonance between friends, family, and lovers. When society orders us to conform and contribute, the artist protests in many forms. Some are silently sulking; others are blatantly defiant. The level of audacity is the only real difference; they all agree on expressing and releasing their frustrations.

After what has felt like a decade of struggle, most wave the white flag. Returning to the chain-linked fence of the institution they once opposed. Humbled and unrested, prepared to reconcile their differences with a rigid dream-crushing system. The smog over the cityscape smiles contemptuously, welcoming their surrender. Their defeated stance reluctantly marches forth into the dreary haze—a dull sense of melancholic droning through every bone as doubt triumphs over dreams. 

His days contained office chaos, cubicle confinement, resentful employers, nagging coworkers, lonesome lunches, sluggish minute hands, prolonged impatience, typical traffic jams, depressing dinners, televised escapism, striving to sleep, anticipating the alarm, and repetition. It was supposed to be just another Tuesday, but The Resentful Employer introduced Luke—a new hire for The Struggling Artist to train. Luke was younger, his face had no wrinkles, and his eyes still possessed optimism. The S.A. couldn’t help himself as he scanned for reasons to justify his initial annoyance. “What, you don’t own a hairbrush?” S.A. sneered as he made room for Luke to enter his cubicle. Luke winced and brushed his hair back with his hand, “Oh, I guess I was so nervous about my first day, I forgot.” The Struggling Artist stared, uninterested in Luke’s existence.  

The day went on until it was time for S.A. to eat lunch alone in his car, which he did while enjoying the radio. Well, if you can call angrily criticizing modern music with a mouthful of P.B. & J “enjoying,” then that’s what he did. Luke was drawing on the back of the tax forms he was supposed to fill out. Before The Struggling Artist could even scold him, he felt something familiar but estranged. Similar to the tickling-sensation of a foot that had fallen asleep, S.A. experienced an inspirational jolt to his system. He wanted to articulate his usual contempt, but surprisingly Luke’s drawing was impressive. It unearthed The Struggling Artist’s buried dreams. As Luke continued drawing, The Struggling Artist fought the urge to express jealousy and frustration. He wanted to discourage Luke as life had hindered him. S.A. experienced an amalgam of ego defence mechanisms, reactions, and realizations.               

The struggling artist needs to support, inspire, and nurture others. They need to be happy for the people living their dreams. 

Happiness is a choice that we can create right now. 

April 10th (2021)

Edana was a young, confident woman who always knew what she needed to do, or at least that’s the rehearsed dialogue looped in her mind. It’s impossible never to stumble. Nevertheless, some hold themselves to unsustainable standards. When she was naive, the people in her life enjoyed taking advantage of her and using that naivety for laughs and personal pleasure. Hardly healed, however sure she had, embarking on a quest fueled by passion and pride. Her curiosity towards the world prospered, but her habits were hard to break. Gaining insight is no easy challenge when the audiences are ready to receive. They were witnesses, enamoured and witless. The spell cast was potent and aromatic, like an apple pie cooling on a window sill or the smell of a departed loved one’s clothes. It was somehow nostalgic, familiar in a securing way. She made them feel safe and comfortable because, above all else, that’s what she nurtured the most.

Comfort like a cocoon and the curiosity is ready to evolve. The ability to manage anxiety was not Edana’s strong suit, yet she began to notice that by focusing on her dreams, passion warmed cold feet. Self-Love is more rewarding than pride, but it was easier to soar in the sun than to hug her shadow. How she viewed her home as a broken concept, left shrapnel in a wounded heart. Her stage presence beckoned the lonely, desperate and in need of nurturing, which was problematic for her private life. Disillusioned fans sought after her attention, and it became so common, Edana required the services of a bodyguard. No matter how much she yearned for freedom, there she was again, in her comfort zone. It seemed as if the need for security used up all of her creativity, and now that she was complacent, the freedom she yearned for was merely a taunting figment of her imagination.

It was unnatural for her to blame others. Even if they were at fault, Edana forgave as much as she buried the hatchet in herself—this became evident on her 27th birthday. An elegant rooftop party turned into a disappointing no-show. Friends, family, and some lucky fans waited until the anti-climactic announcement that “Edana would not be arriving tonight.” The vague declaration incited a stir of groaning protests and smirking remarks. Jaunting from backstage, warming her vocals and briefly reviewing her make-up in the reflection of an unplugged monitor. In mere seconds she had planned to emerge from behind these curtains and grace her eager party-goers. Yet, before she could do anything, a glimpse of nostalgia struck a vigorous blow to her already injured heart. Behind her reflection and the monitor, on a computer screen, was an old family photo. It seemed that unbeknownst to her, someone created a slideshow for celebrating Edana’s life and birthday.

Her hand on the mouse, while her eyes glare at forgotten photographs. A befuddled mind wandering through the sensations of childhood. Tears spattered on the keyboard. Suddenly the excitement of a party seemed more like an unnerving commotion. Not here, but eventually, after the overwhelming upset subsided, she realized why her love has limitations. The string of one-night-stands and her tough exterior was all a mask to protect that naive little girl. The turmoil muffled as the limo’s door shut. In her cocoon again, will she ever stomach the butterflies?

April 9th (2021)

There she was, sprawled out in the mud, covering her concerns with commotion. It did soothe within this pit of moist earth, but little did she know, old woes lurked while new troubles were emerging—the desperation for returning to a version of being cradled merely frustrated and paled in comparison. When she finally rose from the swamp, in her place, a lotus bloomed.  

The swamp waters also rose and swept her along with its unrelenting momentum. Panicked and helpless, the situation had taken her hostage. As the force of the current diminished, she sensed the return of her plundered competence. Many low-hanging twigs and vines were dangling above the river, but only some were reachable. She knew to conserve the last of her strength on a promising branch guaranteeing survival. 

I am patient with myself during this time of change and rearrangement. 

She rarely allowed negative thoughts to jeopardize her mission, focusing on her life-saving performance. Fear never even tempted, for she was a wild child; nothing could tame her, including the world’s standard trepidation. Yet, she did yearn for a piece considered missing, the love that only a mother could offer. 

The river slowed as per request, but first, it needed to deliver her here. The sequence was liberating her innermost desires to the real world. However, nature believes the end justifies the means; it leaves our search for a nurturing touch unfulfilled. How long would it have taken to come to this place on her accord? Quite possibly never, I see now why gratitude for all of our experiences is a precursor for improving our mentality. 

I am nurturing myself and others with all of my thoughts, feelings, actions and beliefs.  

  1. I enjoy being compassionate to myself, as growth is something I encourage in everyone. 
  2. I realize that all loss creates space to gain even more than what was there before.
  3. When I remember something that causes me discomfort, I choose to love myself now regardless of what happened.
  4. I am able to forgive with ease because I respect all life and realize everyone was once a beautiful child.  
  5. I am the creator of my inspiration, and I constantly develop great new ideas and solutions.
  6. I choose to embrace my unconscious changes as I nurture my progress.
  7. It’s easy for me to reflect on my thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs; I realize what is working for me and what I am ready to change. 
  8. I am building the most successful version of myself, I respect my values, and I share them with society for a profit. 
  9. I am kind with myself and my needs; at any given moment, I understand my thoughts and feelings and am willing to make beneficial adjustments. 

April 8th (2021)

Vapid anguish, the daily ritual and reluctance to drudge forward, hoping for a dismantling-miracle against routine’s mechanism. I am truth, yet the lies shield me from realization. Protected by denial or isolated by struggle, either way, I will remember what’s important. Communication is the original artform, how we transcended tolerance and began having honest conversations. Most people become an audience and extras for our personal movies, the foundation for creative-self expression. Inspiration strikes like a goldrush, beckoning panhandlers and causing the diaspora of muse seekers. Unrest welcomes you in, confusing at first, but then it starts to make sense. The world accommodates our beliefs, even the things we’re trying to repress.

Our intention meets with resistance and forms an individual as priorities change. Energy exchanges of old & new provide the sinew of experiences, stringing them together, one after the other. Can a real purpose survive this dream state? Or were we always dependant on the fail-safe? I must utilize my free time to analyze and reflect. Avoiding negativity catches up with us; rather than indulging in any form of ignorance, I choose to transmute with awareness’s power. A washing machine of experiences, turning soiled memories into fresh slates. Although I can stomach more than most, I still prefer the highest quality of life, often opting for my unlimited potential.

Between the inspired and discouraging words, I retreat inward. No one can defeat the formless—nothing to tear apart that which is rich with creativity and risen above vicious tendencies. Don’t look down, cheer up, be vigilant, keeping our world free of imprisonment. Be minimal, letting go of everything that hinders your peace of mind.

April 7th (2021)

I am releasing all repressed emotions.
I am harmonizing my mind with my true self.

I see beyond the clouds of doubt.
My sky is clear, blue and unlimited.
Anything is possible for me as I focus on what brings me the utmost joy.
The uncertainty within is dissipating, and the sun is radiating a warm and comforting sense of knowing.
I am looking inward and liberating myself from perceived mental wounds.
Slowly but surely, these splinters remove from my mind.
Healing is natural, and bliss is the reward of returning to balance.
When expressing myself, it’s obvious where growth is possible.
I am confident in my identity as the creator of my life and this experience.
All is one, and harmony is essential for knowing which path is most beneficial.
Indecision is the result of repressed emotions and other aspects of our internal worlds.
Feeling free to journey inward is a superpower, as there is an infinite potential waiting within us all.
I am welcoming my inner entanglement to the surface, to be revealed and organized.

Giving a voice to my inner trauma may empower it, so I express myself to learn where I can progress.
Overcoming doubts is easy for me; after all, I focus on my inner knowing and connection to source.
Depression and indecision clear when I am ready to let go of what doesn’t serve me.

The blindfold of confusion is slipping away as I know which path to take.
Doubt stems from thinking while knowing is a connection to my origin.

I am a powerful source creator, playing a mind game.
It’s clear to me that these doubts vanish when I radiate my inner knowing.
Transformation is the result of readiness to work on one’s self.
Looking inward is a simple answer to all of my life’s problems.
I am incredible at using my creativity to craft solutions.
Being honest and open with myself leads to getting what I want.
Recognize that all is one and that it’s time to let go of grief.
Reasons lead to grieving, like losing a loved one, but our true purpose trumps loss because it realizes that everything is energy.
I am conscious-creativity; anything I believe becomes possible, I am the fabricator of my reality.
Dreaming is an effective tool to change your life, and it’s time to dream with open eyes.
Rain is part of a system we refer to as nature, and it’s natural to suffer during perceived loss.
The tears water the plants we don’t want; instead, contribute to your earnest desires, it’s time to get out of your head, routine, and travel / have new experiences.
I am focused on what I want to make a reality.

I am letting go of the past traumas and future goals.
I am happy right here, right now.
I am cultivating the persistence to thrive, regardless of life circumstances.

April 6th (2021)

Born together, but their paths polarized them. Twin brothers with flagrant diversity, Mark and Peter, lived different lives, belonged to separate social circles, and had opposite reputations. By one minute and forty seconds, Mark the first-born never failed to mention his seniority. He took it upon himself to be overbearing to his slightly younger twin. Mark was loud-mouthed, offensive, and driven by a tainted ambition: to be loved and praised more than his brother. Peter was athletic, fierce and collected. He rarely questioned himself or his abilities, and if he did, his loyal friends supported him. He was the kind of person who readily embraced the harsh responsibilities of life, not flinching from discomfort. All through school, Mark went unseen in the light of Peter. A rivalry grew between them, mainly from the repressed jealousy of Mark.

Mark was spiteful. He outwardly scorned the admiration declared for his brother, while deep down, his jealousy boiled as he ignored the damage. It was easier for him to deny his inner world and distract himself with food, money, or sex. The potential of what he could be, taunted, in the form of his cherished twin.

Peter had an uplifting colour palette in the film of his life. The hues were bright and vibrant. He would wake up early with enthusiasm, exercising before football and wrestling practice. The zest for life that Peter exuberated was a constant nuisance for Mark. The movie about Mark’s life was dark and rich with shadows. Not for lack of skill, but an overcharge of negativity. He had all of the knowledge to prevail within this world. However, first, we need to acknowledge ourselves.

Their rivalry persisted through college and entry-level positions. It continued to use and abuse other people like pawns in their twisted game. First, Peter legitimately fell in love and had a family of his own. Then, Mark constructed a comparable life, even though it was a facade. Mark didn’t love other people because he neglected himself. All he could offer in exchange for his family’s attempts to connect with him was financial support and verbal distractions. Still, there was a fundamental sense of emptiness within Mark’s family.

Love, admiration, praise, respect are all energies, and we get what we give. It originates from within us, and it’s essential to see the oneness in all life. We are all one. Mark never accepted that about himself, and he squandered his life on a silly fraternal competition. On the other hand, Peter lived and embraced himself, never making room for others’ criticisms or denying his flaws. He welcomed every aspect of himself and lived a long, fruitful and fulfilled life.

April 5th (2021)

The sun rises over an abundant wonderland. There are various trees as far as eyes can see. Grass that’s greener than you would even believe, and in the distance, mountains are reaching for blue skies. A surging river cuts through the land dividing it in two. On one side, the soil is prosperous. On the other, it slowly became a desert. Everything dried up, and most people quit trying to make things work. That is everyone except for Frank. Frank always marched to the rhythm of his own percussion, which was usually the clanging of something he has thrown against something-made-a-target. He was hot-tempered and quick to fly off the handle, but he wasn’t quick to do anything when it came to change, which is why he was still there, holding on to his tiny, fenced-off piece of nothing, in a dusty, forsaken wasteland.

He said his farewells several times. First, people left as clusters, then as stragglers. Every departure agitated the man. Judging from his surface, he didn’t seem very sensitive; however, this isn’t about getting a read on Frank; this is about learning from his shortcomings. People come and go in life, but for him, they’ve only ever gone. There’s nothing new, and even if there was, now there’s nobody to share it with; needless to say, the excitement dried up too. They told him, “C’mon, Frank, it’s time to move on, let go of what was, and make room for what will be.” But Frank isn’t just hard-headed; he’s soft-hearted and secretly attached to this land by sentimental roots. Everything he’s been through happened here, and even though it’s depleted-dirt now, this place was once a wonderland too (allegedly).

It’s been eight months since the sun stopped showing its face around these parts. The dust keeps getting swept up by the gusts of wind, manifesting Frank’s inner obscurities into surrounding sandstorms. It’s like when a dog stops playing with his favourite ball. Then you decide to hold it. Now, that dog wants the ball, and this mangey mutt is not letting go of it this time. Because it’s afraid to lose what it has, and also it doesn’t know any better. We love to judge people for their insecurities, but we’re a little more sympathetic when it comes to dogs. I think we’re also a bit more unkind to men that look like Frank because we expect them to fend for themselves; they don’t need us or our pity.

There have been many opportunities for Frank to get the hint. He questioned his friends leaving and tried to force his family to stay. He tailored his life around duststorms as he slipped further into malnourishment and dehydration. Despite the sense everyone seems to make, we need to listen to ourselves. Which, of course, he didn’t do either.

April 4th (2021)

She was grasping the beast by prying apart its gnarly maw. Her heart was beating calmly as her eyes see through deceiving appearances. She is firm with all creatures, speaking with an unbridled authority, bringing lions to the ground with her benevolent will. Most doubt, as would I if I hadn’t witnessed it. This level of self-confidence exists only in stories, or so I thought. The inspiration struck me like a thunderbolt, and I knew that truth in words evokes a sense of nostalgia, like hearing the whispering advice of an old friend or the hint of spring in March winds. Her essence transported me to another place, not synonymous with this world. It was as if I had finally awakened after a series of teasing and taunting dreams.

Before this moment, I kept recalling a distant memory that was so elusive; I couldn’t remember if it happened or was just a thought. Things seemed familiar in this foreign place; as I completed the sentences of its citizens. I was positive that I met them for the first time, but I couldn’t shake this feeling of deja vu. I began noticing that they expected my responses, contributing to their comfort but sacrificing my progress. The new realization, or forgotten knowledge, energized my heart like a jolt from a defibrillator. I endured the trauma of rebirth, naked and exposed to the cold unknown, the warmth of comfort was tempting, but deep down, I knew what I required was both out in the wilderness and within my mind.

I recalled my fading past, yet my current mentality had no use for sentiment or roots. I had plucked myself out of my first birth’s limited dirt and entered a new realm of rich fertile soil. The difference is flow. Humanity is a medium, a tool for the creator to experience its creation. Without the right mindset, the soil turns to dirt. Time is constantly flowing, whether it’s through a stagnant mind or an abundant one. But it’s only damaging to the settlement, like a river cutting through a bed of stone; nature shows us the importance of circulation. When the media (humans) have the right intention, it becomes evident that anything is possible as we break out of the amniotic sac of comfort. Another form of birth or awakening that upgrades our awareness is the shedding of convenience. The next plateau of this climb seems out of reach and highly unlikely. Still, we yearn even more for it, and that is the trick in this mind game. The burning of wants and desires keeps the object of our affections away. That is a secret of inner strength, taming the beast, overcoming people-pleasing and focusing on our soul’s journey.

April 3rd (2021)

Balancing business and independence shines a light on the ways we neglect our emotions. 

The apathetic:

Wounded and confounded, the memories ring louder than right now does. Their bodies are abandoned in the present as their minds avoid the sunshine—maneuvering dancing exposure to embrace the shadows. At first glance, though, it appears they enjoy being here. But make no mistake, joy is a fruitless tree to these bewildered souls. Their speed is more solemn, like pledges to sacrifice in imbalanced exchanges. The quest is endless, depleting their zest for life. How do we get it back? How do we turn our obligations into likes? Choose to do what promotes our progress, from getting out of bed to stepping on a new path—walking in a forest, drawing ourselves a bath in nature, soaking up the sun and natural wonder. The apathetic are self-neglected. Their attitudes stem from years of misdirected anger. War wages on, inside of them, even after all the smoke has settled and the surface calms. They remain in battle with themselves and require an inner extinguisher for their bonfires.

The awareness:

The impartial happenings, artificial experiences fascinating, captivating you to either wander or squander. Waddle like a penguin into the unknown; each step could be an icy slip or a sure-footed wholesome advancement. In this world, it’s not about chances; connected to your stances and understanding; I am not understating discipline. Romancing, planning as the world parades forward in your dome again, only the unconscious television flipping through history channels. Imagination layers upon the canvas, never striving to replace it. Building synergy with our innermost truth and harmonious desires. Inspiring us all, but don’t fall to promote it. Be steadfast, Enjoy the way there, stay aware, float boldly and emit greatness. 

The abundant:

All is well in my world. I flourish in every which way possible; I am prosperous as I pace myself. Day by day, I am gaining a further appreciation for this life. I am gracious and nice to all I pass, for I know it’s fleeting and can be brash. I stand on my legs, and I let all troubles dash. As in flee, for in the victory’s recipe, we must not add the past. A beggar asks a better-suited person how to match their cash, yet they’re trying to wrestle from a stash. The untapped satchel is always fashionable, a classic masterpiece like living in a bubble above pitiful actions. On the level of greatness radiated by suns in your favour, each day a new saviour—a unique flavour to witness, as you describe it all to the limitless. 

April 2nd (2021)

Rebellion demands arrogance.

Rise up, from thy chosen stupor. The bliss is wearing thin because this is a bait and switch. Your bravado ran out of gas as the track is a design of exacerbation. Patience is mandatory to see the clearing beyond those trees, in a distance that a person rarely perceives. Forsaking the train of thought that brought you here and stepping onto the path less travelled.
Flashes of trauma attempt to discourage, like poking a bear, the fight is never fair. But why wrestle with the pressure when you can simply reassure your needy mind. The lessons you’ve learned, you’re leaving behind the reasons why—awkward little kid, asking questions, stolen from your lips, spitting televisions drip potent cocktails of conflict, truth and emotion. All of this is nonsense, common commotion; only the formless know the notion is shared, and it’s scary that these fairytales are more real than the way it makes you feel.

Are you running away or gunning forward? Either way, the lull will make you bored until you’re on board with the sport of keeping concord and cutting the cords like fetal support. You are reborn with every breath; in the same sense, you are beyond death. Rather than investing so much of your energy in impressing your friends, tell them you’re busy on weekends. Learn to spend time alone—yearning for their flesh to cover your bones. Are you cold or turning your back on the inner source. What put’s dinner on the table, junior? Is it the work you’re doing, or does the abundance come sooner? It’s fun to believe in chance and dream of romanticized plans. But the reality never touches this place; it’s just another name science sentenced in vain.

Icarus smells like hickory smoke as we make our charred-black jokes. Some will call it a hoax and go to war like it’s another chore as silts and soaps—rules, duty, distractions, blocking the view of these distant trees.
Forbidden victories that lead to disease, and chemically ridden factories, that spoil the breeze. Tyrants and rebels, with the sun in the middle. The parent says no, and the child fiddles. Spilling oil in oceans and foiling soothing sounds of harmony. How often are these plans corrupted by a few of us who are up to no good? I hope all is understood and that your reasons for fighting will bring you the focus to zoom in on the locus of your hubris. Cease taking a side, and neutralize your bias.

April 1st (2021)

Focusing inward, maintaining a full, healthy soul, and imagining the things that bring us joy lead to us manifesting our dreams.

Stay inspired, keep climbing higher, never tired, or dispirited by the mirror’s images. As soon as you squint to fit it in your mind’s eye, you become blind to the neglected wonders inside of you. They are a lying mind denying the truth. And they’re ruthlessly uncertain, picking at unhealing scabs on wounded trees because they’re addicted to the syrup. Mistrustful, but predictable in that, wearing hats to hide the fact we’re unwrapped, opened, exposed to the ocean of currents surrounding your bread & butter. You don’t want to share your care with another, so you smother it. If a forgetful thought blubbers it like an insensitive whale, all hail the brave; we admire them with our shame.

I am not a thought, but that which realizes the not. I am not the reaction to the antagonizing style of choice. Voice your concern, but don’t hoist yourself up on the pedestal. No one endures the pressure for long, say so long to the once strong, that sang songs of triumph. For in the face of truth, all lies drip away. August, midday, high noon, the sweat drips from his chin down on this kneeling person beneath him. They revel and delve into the bevels between, intending to smooth the transition from striving to thriving. His chin upward, his head adorned with a wreathe. They sing his name, like something we can all finally agree upon, a herald of peace, a beacon of hope; he’s the one you see, feel relieved, and begin to cope.

I was soaking up a potion provided by earth and sky. The sun shines through my dining room window, and I know all is well. The nutrition is abundant. Ripe plums and dishes of sweet natural candy. Just the thought of these, and a healthy mouth waters, ready to digest the benefits of honest exchange. You give me sustenance, and I’ll arrange for your lineage to carry on, spending days in ample light and nights in the moon’s embrace. You and your’s are spreading your branches and reaching towards the open sky. Free from pollution and limited minds. I appreciate nature like it’s nobody’s business, and that’s part of why I am fortunate. Nourishment is a gift, and it often comes without the ribbon, yet we lose sight of what’s hidden in the plains—chained to the soil and loyal. Like a small child whose parents adore, it’s apparent I have been loved everywhere and forevermore.

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