Eye of the Storm (#tbt)

How many hurricanes are your fault? Remember when you were on vacation in Jamaica in October of 2012? On the 22nd you were at the beach. You let a silent-but-deadly fart slip out, much to the dismay of the British couple sun bathing to your left, remember? Probably not. Well, turns out that little, farty atmospheric disturbance became Super Storm Sandy.

How many catastrophes resulted from your seemingly innocuous behavior? If everything is unpredictably conditioned on everything else, then why do we place such emphasis on right action? Hell, the worst thing I’ve ever done might save the world a thousand years from now.

If chaos is king, why aren’t we paralyzed by the tremendous risk of our every movement? My errant fingernail clipping might start a chain of events that results in the dismemberment of everyone I love.

Yet somehow we aren’t crippled by fear or consumed by relativistic self interest. There’s truth to the butterfly effect, but my lived experience demonstrates that it isn’t totally random. Our actions seem to ripple out and come back to us in ways that make sense. We reap what we sow.

Our own perspective makes this true, after all we filter and interpret everything we perceive. What’s interesting is that this doesn’t make it any less objectively true. Maybe it’s because we are social creatures, but our emotions and the actions they create are infectious. I have an eight month old son, and it’s dramatically apparent that we react to each other’s states. This causation also holds beyond social interactions. My behavior seems reflected back at me by my environment, like the new word that once learned you suddenly hear everywhere.

Maybe it is precisely because we live in an infinitely interdependent and chaotic universe that the results of our actions and their emotional underpinnings come to make sense. When the possibilities are endless, when the amount of information is unlimited, consciousness necessarily means creation because we must shape our world out of the endless existence which surrounds us. So next time you see a butterfly, decide what you’ve created.

This post is part of my Throwback Thursday series and originally appeared on May 6th, 2016 as part of a #MayBookPrompts series of posts prompts by book titles. The prompt was “Butterfly Effect.”

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The Worst Day of My Life

I love my home and I love my life.
I also love my struggles and my strife
because only friction can sharpen knives.

I love the dark and I love the light.
I love the day and I love the night,
but best of all I love twilight.

I love the rain and thunderstorms.
I love when the sun makes me warm,
and with both together rainbows form.

The sun comes up and then goes down,
but really we’re the ones spinning round.
Differences disappear when we slow down.

There is sunrise and there is sunset,
but you can catch them both in a turbojet.
Differences disappear when you’re fastest.

I love small deaths and I love big life.
I love vastness and the finite.
They hold each other like man and wife
dancing together on the edge of a knife.

Like many of my posts, this piece plays with the paradox of duality. It starts by expressing the common idea that we need the bad to appreciate the good, or, truer still, that a change in perspective can change what was perceived as bad into good; that even the worst day of your life carries benefit. 

The poem pushes this further as it moves from a simple good/bad dichotomy to an analysis including all things. It concludes that difference is largely a choice of scope, and that a broad enough perspective will reveal all things to be integral parts of the same whole. This realization changes what appeared to be conflict into a beautiful dance between life and death on the stage of the infinite absolute. 

Some were confused by the two stanzas about sunrise and sunset, and particularly the line saying that speed dissolves difference. Each stanza in itself says that a change in perspective (slowing down or speeding up) can reveal that seeming opposites (sunrise and sunset) are actually illusions. Taken together the two stanzas also reveal this same truth by showing that fast/slow is another illusion of perspective. 

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Fully Empty (#tbt)

Something wicked this way comes.
Thick, wretched air chokes up my lungs.
A grey-green smog blocks out the sun.

Terror sets in, I start to run.
I fear my time here may be done.
I stumble, fall, now hope there’s none.

Now, staring up at darkened skies,
A thought dawns on me, I realize
that above the smog the sun still shines.

And so, I think, is my life too.
What I thought was one is part of two.
And two is one too, so what is true?

This fear, it’s clear, is the same way
A fleeting feeling that does betray
A greater awareness that underlays

Once you know that, your fear allays
And suddenly all things seem just halfway
Doomsday becomes a grand gateway
to the empty awareness that is always.

This post is part of my throwback thursday series and originally appeared on 5/5/16 as part of #MayBookPrompts day 5 prompt “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

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Light Lunch

If you are what you eat then it should be obvious that we’re all made of starlight, albeit at varying degrees of remove. It’s nearly impossible to see individual flecks of stardust when you’re surrounded by whole whirling worlds of the stuff. So we hork down a pot roast with stewed veggies and all the trimmings, oblivious that we just consumed the better part of the Crown Prince of Bedelgeuse, broke the line of succession, and usurped the throne.

Image is from artist Bedelgeuse, and was found on the blog Electric Objects at https://zine.electricobjects.com/interviews/bedelgeuse.

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Blame Game (#tbt)

What’s wrong with my stars?
It’s like I drew bad cards.

Am I a victim of an inauspicious birth,
cursed from the first to struggle, starve, and thirst?

I look up at night and damn the sight.
I turn on all my lights and hope it might
ease the tight grip of fright
these stars have on me; it’s just not right.

It’s no excuse. No, it’s the truth!
The stars ruin my life, and here’s the proof:
From my last breath to my first tooth,
every step I take is fake, a juke.
Can’t catch a break or make rebukes
as I try to dodge my fate; it ain’t a fluke.

Twinkle twinkle I think I’ll slink till they blink out,
’cause twinkles’ hoodwinks will bring me to the brink now
if I don’t hide out and try to ride out
the stellar fault whose assaults
turn my results into tortured tumults.

This post is part of my Throwback Thursday series and originally appeared in May of 2016 as part of #MayBookPrompts, a series daily writing prompts based on the titles of novels. The title that prompted this post was “The Fault in our Stars.”

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Round Squares

Everything turns, for better or worse, and around again. We see a horizon in the distance, a straight dividing line, yet somehow we return. Perception and experience misalign; two truths both wrong. What’s at the center of all these round squares?

This piece gets at the idea that reality is rotational in nature; limitless spinning cycles all intertwine, and at times seem paradoxical only because we cannot see the whole. Perhaps at the center (or is it past the periphery, or both) is the pure love of kindness, connection, and recognition of oneness. 

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Synthesis (#tbt)

Pride and prejudice, poverty and power, panic and peace, push and pull, thesis and antithesis. A simple model for life. We come up with an idea about how things work, a thesis. Soon thereafter we discover that it’s not the whole story; the opposite of what we thought seems also to exist, the antithesis. We are left with a continuum, a spectrum between these two seemingly divergent points, and we think everything falls within it.

Eventually we might realize that the relationship between our ideas isn’t linear. The farther towards one extreme we move, the closer we get to the other, and round and round we go until we finally realize that there aren’t two poles but an infinite number of points, part of one complete whole, synthesis.

Every time we choose to define something we must confront its opposite, and see that both are only a small part of something much larger. In absolute terms, our reason, which we pride ourselves on so much, will always prejudice us against seeing the whole truth. It will always be a cloying and futile attempt to represent the unknowable, infinite grandeur of life, yet we will always keep trying, cursed with this marvelous gift to create castles in the sand.

This post is part of my Throwback Thursday series and originally appeared in May of 2016. It was part of a #MayBookPrompts series of pieces written using book titles as writing prompts. The prompt in this case was Pride and Prejudice.

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