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This time I took a left

It has now been over a year since I began this … you know, I am not quite sure what to call it anymore.

Hmmmm

It started off as an adventure. Gradually it morphed in walk-about. Then it shifted into a whole new realm … maybe the world of dreams. But as a I ramble about this, I am clarifying for myself. What I am doing is simply LIVING LIFE.

Finally.

That said, part of the lack of posting about life recently is being too busy living it, part of it is living said life in the woods far from any communications capabilities other than smoke signals. Fortunately, I am momentarily pretending to be civilized, so time for a bit of an update. Team Idiot finally escaped the dangerous jungles of suburban Cleveland, managing to make it all the way to the safety of the Spiritual Way Station known as Damascus, VA. Unfortunately, the spiritual world is both of light AND shadow. It seems this past winter shadow seeped in deep, and instead of the bright greeting we were hoping to find, we were instead met with the worst of the human spirit. Apparently free and happy spirits are not welcome to the spiteful spirits that actually try to dominate this otherwise beautiful haven.

But I digress. Back in part of the heart of Appalachia, the team intends to hang here until the Bacchanalian Fest known as Trail Days is over, then decide where to wander to next. Gonna find a place to sit down, do artsy stuff, sell said artsy stuff, hopefully rendering financial issues less of a P.I.T.A.  I will personally try to actually finish one or three of the ever growing number of projects I keep creating.

That was an awful lot of words to get to my ultimate point, that I have gone and started yet ANOTHER blog, kind of spin-off from this blog. Our newest member of Team Idiot is Brown Dog, who has left the city for the first time to explore the wonders of nature. It’s a work in project, but check out …

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF BROWN DOG.

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Digging out of the snow

With the advancement of technology, the concept of exploring the world has vastly changed. Actually much about how humans interact with the world … and each other … has drastically changed since the pre-internet years. It is debatable (and a personal choice) how good or bad these changes are. I for one find them both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because we all can now directly experience much that was practically legend before, without ever having to get up from our chair. On the other hand, the terrifying part is that we don’t get up from our chair. And we believe digital “truth” too easily.

But, once again thanks to advances in technology, we have plenty of things to fear in this world, so I will conveniently ignore that part and focus on the positive. This whole journey, that started as a digital escape from a cave, became a plan for a couple of dreamers to take over the world (at least THEIR world), and ended up with a slew of unexpected tales that were not in any way expected … is far from over. However as some doors shut and others opened, a maze of choices became apparent. I have been so busy wandering this maze lately that I have neglected actually documenting the journey, which has not only increased my own confusion, but left a few interested parties hanging. In other, less long-winded words … time for an update!

Of the original idiots, THE Idiot is now an artist of note. He has shifted his talent as a writer into equally amazing talent as a painter, and the only thing that really stops his works from becoming invaluable masterpieces is that he is … in fact … still alive and painting. He has evolved from Notable Idiot to a man with a superpower. Shelbygrl has reemerged, doing her best to live a happy life despite the various roadblocks obstacles some trickster deities keep tossing in front of her. My newer hiking companions have all continued on with there lives, though Grey Wolf may be starting the trail fresh. And then there is me, myself, and I.

Ironically, I seem to know the less about where the three of US are going then my companions.

My physical journey with a destination turned into a mental journey with multiple destinations, and now it is a spiritual journey where not only is the destination unclear, but I am not even sure of the path I am ON. I now have THREE manuscripts in the work, NINE pseudo active blogs (and several more I have a hand in), two of them theoretically to earn money, one to consolidate, one to save the world, and the rest to entertain or at least generate a thought or three. I am physically sort of stranded in Ohio at the moment, which was not on ANY path that I envisioned taking.

Despite the multiple projects, lack of direction, occasional battles with dark lords, and horrible diet, I oddly feel I am right where I need to be.

This blog will get a bit of an overhall in the near future, as I have been doing with the others. I am working on pulling all the parts of me into a coherent whole. I don’t know what the final product (or products) will be, but if anyone is still curious … stay tuned!

The beginning of the pulling together ...

The beginning of the pulling together …

Return of a footsore Idiot

As I think I have said before, I am not sure one can really go walk-about if they are not doing too much walking. Now that I have survived the most recent pass through the forge as I turn myself into whatever tool I will be, I decided to start taking some control back. Winter is approaching, which means that it is a good time for nomads to stay put for a while. Plus it would be good to replenish the coffers. Gotta start paying back money I owe, resupply, and ensure I actually survive the winter. Since me becoming a wealthy award-winning author seems a very slow process, this means some temporary work. I consulted the digital genies and immediately found a new bar opening up only a couple of miles away. Walk-able, and in many ways ideal. Food service is good for flexibility of schedule and occasional cash in hand.

Being the excellent planner that I am not, I checked routes on Google. To the bar; from THAT bar to “MY” bar … er … um … office. Filled out an online application, got an email saying come in for a talk, and the process was started. Of course in my usual perfect timing, this day it decided to snow. Oh well. Walking in a light snow can actually be quite refreshing. I walked to he potential job site, actually FOUND it with only slight difficulty, had my ten minute canned interview (stay tuned for results), then began the walk to the office to get some REAL work done.

Pause for sarcastic laughter.

deep-snowIt is one of the many ironies that govern my life that the more “civilized” and area is, the less capable I am of navigating it. Put me in the woods, and I will rarely get lost. Put me in something man-made, like say a city or a mall, and I will be lost for hours. I am glad (?) to say yesterday was no different. I apparently totally misread the map for my return journey. Add to that the lowering temperature, the increasing snow, and my tendency to go into the “zone” when conditions become less than comfortable, in no time I was … completely unsure where I was.

I am one who travels by landmarks. Like trees and rocks. Stock buildings, highways and advertising signs completely baffle me, especially when they keep repeating themselves. After a few, “I’ll turn here, it is bound to take me somewhere,” mishaps, I finally ended up somewhere that there was potential for warmth and better yet … directions. I shed what remained of my pride and … dun dun dun … asked. I may be remembering incorrectly at this point, but I am pretty sure the answer was, “You are in the wrong state.”

Finally I figured out where I needed to be, roughly 5 miles That-a-way. Fortunately it was now getting darker, colder, and snowier, ensuring I didn’t settle down in someone’s yard for a nap. So after a walking only about nine miles out of my way, I finally made it to the “office”, I stayed long enough to thaw out before I skied back to my room to crash for the night.

So basically I walked roughly 13 miles and got slightly hypothermic for a ten minute interview for a job I may or may not get. All in all a rather productive day.

Walk a mile in my shoes … or better yet in my mind

It is odd how a journey that was supposed to be of the feet has recently entered the realm of the metaphysical. This is part of the reason I have not shared much recently. My physical walk-about has temporarily stalled in Ohio (still not quite sure how I ended up here), but my mental … or rather spiritual walk-about has entered realms that I never even imagined before. This adventure has gone so far from my original image to something out of the realm of dreams … including nightmares.

If I didn’t believe it before, I sure do now. What we NEED and what we WANT are rarely the same thing. Maybe true understanding will come when they are.

I have learned so much in recent weeks, ironically much of it in the last few days. I expected to face physical and mental challenges on this adventure … what I did NOT expect is to come face to face with my deepest fears; to stare despair directly in the face. I recently posted this in the Social Media world:

Achieving the heights means looking deeply into the depths, and going the other way. A true test of character – how we deal with despair.

This particular lesson I learned in a very direct and painful way. I have had a VERY rough few days. Anyone who actually bothers to follow me online in any way may have noticed a trend in my recent status updates … this was all part of my new lesson. Without getting repetitive, I will just list a few things that I have most recently learned (or re-learned yet again). Maybe others will take something out of it … maybe no one will even see the list. Either way, putting it in words ensures the lessons, taking it from the realm of ephemeral to the solid state. Maybe I will actually benefit this time?

Life lesson time:

  • This is really a reminder that I seem to keep needing … EVERYTHING in life is based on choice. Love, hate, happy, sad, pain, pleasure … EVERYTHING. The image we see in the mirror is perceived ENTIRELY how we CHOOSE to. You don’t like it, change your perception.
  • Ultimately, the only person we can rely on to make our lives what we want is ourselves. Others will come along who will help or hinder, but only WE can make ourselves into the person we want to be. The moment we relinquish this power to another we have basically failed ourselves.
  • A sense of humor may be even more important than a sense of hope.
  • Life is ALWAYS precious. ALL life. Anyone who does not recognize this fact has seriously missed the point.
  • Barring some drastic cosmic event, tomorrow will always be another day. Which means that WHATEVER may have happened today will now be the past. Instead of living life as if today would be our last, maybe we should live it as if today is our first; as if we were just born. Maybe if we choose to experience life with the wonder of discovery instead of in a desperate effort to not miss anything, we would have fewer difficulties.
  • Happiness is not really my ultimate goal. ALL emotions have value. The key is to incorporate them all into the Ideal Me, to own them, not to let them own me. The simple truth is sometimes there really is nothing to be happy about. Pretending it does not make the “bad” things go away. But if we just remember that difficulties are ALWAYS temporary, and do our best to do what we NEED to do, happiness will return.

This list could go on and on. Like I said, I got slammed with a barrage of epiphanies recently. But I guess the rest of the lessons have to wait for the proverbial book. Which is one of the things I need to complete to finally make me the me I wanna be.

Stay tuned. Maybe I will start getting it right this time around.

A morality tale

Once upon a time there was this man who was feeling mighty lost. Unsure how to deal with the hollow feeling that was plaguing him, he locked himself in a nowhere room for a couple of nights … but found the company very lacking. Since hiding from … whatever it was he was hiding from … seemed ineffective, he decided to start walking. He put his bag on his back, left the nowhere room, and walked to the end of the street. Here, something told him to go right. He walked to the end of THAT street, and something told him to go left. He didn’t really know where he was going, just that forward motion was needed.

He walked. And walked. And walked. Then walked some more. As he walked, worlds were created and destroyed. Thoughts paraded in an endless stream, and then were no more. Sadness opened the floodgates, anger beat holes in the walls, and curiosity did its show and tell. And the man continued to walk.

Sometimes the little voice inside the man, the voice of wisdom … the voice of censure … the voice of creativity … the still small voice that should be heard but is so often ignored … spoke to him. It said that maybe he should ask for directions. The man answered his voice, “How can I ask directions when I don’t know where I am going?” The voice then said that there were people wondering where he was … maybe even concerned about him. Again the man flippantly answered, “I’d tell them where I was if I actually knew.”

In the midst of ugliness ... beauty. Or is it the other way around?

In the midst of ugliness … beauty. Or is it the other way around?

The man walked on.

The still small voice, not to be deterred, got wily. It appealed to the one thing the man rarely ignored … his hunger. With this backup, the man decided that he would stop walking … at least for the moment. He found the nearest place to sit and eat (at this point no longer so near), and stopped his feet for a bit. The still small voice took advantage of the pause, and finally got the lost man’s attention.

After eating, the man considered what the voice had been telling him. He also considered maybe actually picking a destination. As these thoughts bounced around the emptiness inside, a couple with a cute young girl came in to order some food. Shortly thereafter, a woman came in with an equally cute and young boy. As far as the man could tell, these people did not know each other.

This did not deter the young girl. She was so excited to see the young boy, that they were immediately friends. For several minutes they interacted on a level of pure joy, giggling and laughing. It was a pure, innocent moment. It made everyone there, including the lost man, smile with the simple love and happiness of the moment. The man thought to himself, “Yes, that’s it.” The still small voice agreed.

Suddenly the persistent shadows; the enemies of innocence, came rushing into the room. It dawned on the man that his enjoyment of the moment would so easily mark him as something not to be trusted in this world gone mad. He was a nameless wanderer; a stranger. If ANYTHING happened to these children in the immediate future he would be the automatic scapegoat, the demon in the room.

The moment was made. The moment was lost.

Shortly after this stark and ugly thought, the little boy left, and the little girl slipped into a screaming tantrum. The man, always alert for lessons to be learned, wondered what the moral of THIS story was.

Even the still small voice has not answered him yet.