Life Is Change

I stood next to my mentor. On the beach. It was bitterly cold. The wind was rushing in from the ocean. Lifting waves of loose sand, blowing them toward the dunes. The waves crashed into the shore, the wind adding catching a fine mist of water, blending it with the sand. The wind stripped away any body head I had. Leaving me even colder. My hands were numb. My ears ached. I found myself wishing I could go inside. Or back to the car. Anywhere that was out of the wind. “You wonder why you are here, yes?” He spoke. Always, he started with a question that he already knew the answer to. I merely nodded. Then he began the lesson of the day. He began walking toward the dunes. Along the way, he stopped, picking up a handful of dried, dead sea grass. It had that dull, gray-brown color. “Everything changes, young one. This is something you must learn.” He walked back toward the ocean. Right into the wind, with it’s sand, and ocean mist. Stopping just short of the waves. He made a fist, crushing the dead, dry grass he’d collected. Leaving only pieces, shards, fragments. Collected in his hand. Protected from the wind. “The people of this life collect up a few things. A career. A home. A car. A spouse. Children. All the things they believe define success. Much as I hold this dead grass in my hand.” He looked into the wind. “But the wind of life. It blows. The ocean of life. It’s waves come and go. It’s tide rises, and falls.” He looked up and down the beach, motioning that I should do the same. “As the wind blows. As the ocean’s waves come and go. The beach changes. It does not stay the same. It lets go of old things. Old forms. And welcomes new things. New forms.” “I can make what’s in my hand stay the same,” he explained. “So long as I keep it all within my closed hand. Where the wind can not blow it away. Where the ocean can not carry it to sea.” He smiled at me. “ I nodded my head. Then he continued. “I can interfere. I can block the wind. I can block the ocean. And keep what I have in my hand.” He looked at me. “But this is like me being able to stop, or control the weather. It would stop the flow of life.” He faced the wind, holding his hand out in front of himself. Opening his palm. And watching as their crushed, brown fragments blew away on the breeze. “Or, I can let the wind, and the water, do what they want to do. I can let them change what is in my hand.” I watched the fragments as the wind moved them from his hand. “Do you understand, young one?” I answered honestly, as I knew he would know if I were to lie. “No.” He smiled, then spoke. “Over the coming 6 months, you will spend the time required to come here. To this beach. Once a week. And you will stand here. And take pictures of the beach, both to the North and South. Examine each picture. Compare it to the other pictures. Remember what I have said and done here today. Then you will understand.” I did what he had asked of me. And as the six months came to an end, we reviewed my pictures. It was very clear what he’d said. The pictures showed how the beach changed, every week. How it was not static., always changing. He’d tried to warn me about the trap of losing my awareness of life, becoming defeated by always trying to prevent change. For as the sands of the beach changed each time I was there, with each picture I took. I realized that change simply is. And that static, and unchanging, is not. I spoke with my mentor then. About the pictures. He spoke. “Change is natural. It is part of the order of life. Static is not. It is part of the way of death. Where everything becomes stagnant. And slowly dies.” I remember his words to this day. Even now I can see him as he spoke those words. Life is not constant. Not static. It changes. And to prevent change is to prevent life. Gradually killing the very life you attempt to capture, and protect. It has been a difficult lesson to learn.

She Stepped On The Tripwire

I told my doctor,
Friday,
That I understood.
That I knew what had happened.
With her.

That she’d just been
In the right place.
At the right time.
To step on the tripwire.
That woke me up.

That it could have been anyone.
Other than her.
If it hadn’t been her,
It would have been
Someone else.
Maybe months,
Maybe years
Later.

She’d just been
In the right place.
At the right time.
To step on the wire.
That woke me up.

And because of that.
Because she was that person.
I’d never forget her.
I’d always remember
Her name.
Her smile.
The magic that I saw
In her eyes.
The music of her laughter.

That I’d been sitting there.
Static.
Unchanging.
In life.
For decades.
Waiting for someone to come along.
And wake me up.

And just by being who she was.
In that place.
And in that time.
She was the one
That stepped on the wire
That woke me up.

That I understood
If she had not been there.
Someone else
Would have come along.
Eventually.
And stepped on that wire.
And then that someone else
Would have woke me up.
And I’d remember them.
Not her.

I told my doctor
That I understood.
What had happened.
Two years earlier.
When my entire life
Changed.

All at once.

We spoke once again
Of how I can’t return
To the life I once had.
How I’ve evolved.
How I’ve grown.
Like a butterfly.
Escaping from its cocoon.
Not a caterpillar any more.

Leaving everything that was
Behind.
Able to take flight
On silken wings.

And at the same time,
Able to see everything
That was.
And to feel
My heart ache.
And unashamed
Of the tears
That my soul cries.

For the people I once knew.
That will never understand
What happened to me.
That will never see
The static world
That they live in.

My soul’s tears
Are for those I see
That are still there.
In the dark.
Static and unchanging.
That will never spread their wings.
And take flight.

That will do
Everything they can
To remain
In their cocoons.

Safe.
From the big world outside.
That frightens them.

My doctor and I both know
That I speak a language now
That the people I once knew
Just can’t understand.
And they don’t want to.

They’ll stay in their world
Where they believe
They are safe.
And sound.
And happy.

And never know the truth
Of the lives they lead.
And deny
Any of the words I write
That they may one day read.

For in the world
That they live in.
I didn’t evolve.
I didn’t grow.
I didn’t change.

In their view
I became broken.
And had to be removed.
So that they could be safe
From me.

In their view,
The journey that began
Two years ago
Is a very sad thing.
And rather than
Live with the hurt.
And the sadness
That they felt
At what happened to me.

They shut the doors
To the worlds inside
Of their cocoons.

And stayed
Where they are safe.
And every now and then,
When one of them remembers
Me.
I know they feel regret
At the way my time with them
Came to it’s end.

And they’ll never understand
What happened.

I told my Doctor,
Friday.
That I understood.
She was just that person
In the right place,
At the right time.
To step on the tripwire.

That woke me up.

Dreams : Shaya

The next dream I had
Just the other night
Was of a woman named
Shaya.

And as the dream played out
While I was asleep that night,
I heard another song,
By the name of Dark Star,
By Tarja Turunen.

Shaya had put everything
Into the life she had.
A life she had worked hard
To make.

She had a job
That paid her very well.
So that she could purchase
Anything she wanted to.
With the money
That she made.

To her
It was just a job.
She liked the people
That she worked with
40 hours a week.
They made the work
More worthwhile to her.

But they were not
Part of he life.
They were just people
That she worked with.
And when she was not at work
Those same people
Did not exist.

There was a barrier
She had made
To keep her working life
Separate
From her real life.
Things worked better for her
That way.

When she’d had
Her battle with
Lukemia,
Her job
Had meant a lot to her.
That she could go there
Every day
And do something normal.
And be treated
As if nothing was wrong.
As if she were OK.
That meant a lot to her.

She had a church
That she went to
Every Sunday.
And on Wednesdays too.
And when the church
Had an event
That she could go to.
She did just that.

She knew a lot of people
At her church.
And she could visit them
Every time
That she was there.

But like the people
She worked with.
When she was not at church
Those people
Were not there.

At church,
She prayed for those
That were going through hard times.
Just like they’d prayed for her
When she’d been so very ill.

It had helped her
A great deal
Just to know
That there were people
That asked God
To take care of her.

That had helped her
Keep going
When she’d been fighting
Lukemia.

She had a family.
A husband.
And two sons.
And she loved them
Very much.

Her first marriage
Hadn’t worked out well.
She’d thought he was the one.
And had married him.
And they’d had a son.

But he’d had an affair
With a blonde down the road.
And they’d had
A lot of fights.
That lead to a divorce.
And it had been
An ugly thing.

Her life was not supposed
To have worked that way.
So, she’d had to try again
To find someone
To love.

It had taken several years
But she’d found the man for her.
And she had married him.
He’d had dreams
Like hers.
Of things he’d wanted
In this life.
It had worked out well
For the two of them.
Because they’d been able
To help each other
Pursue
The dreams they’d had.

She’d had a second son
With her second husband.
She felt more like
They were a single family
After that.

Everything in life
Was as she wanted it.
Everything was in its place.
Controlled.
And safe.

She knew what each day
Would bring to her.
She knew what to expect
Every single day.
She knew everyone
Within the life she had.
A life she’d worked
So very hard
To get.
To make into
Exactly what she wanted it
To be.

And as I watched her
In her perfect life.
Where everything was known.
And controlled.
And safe.
Exactly like she wanted it.

I heard Tarja sing these words.

“Where are you now?
Are you proud of the life you wasted?
Wearing the crown of illusion you created
You’ll never know what it feels like to shine
You’re the master in your own mind
But a slave to all
You are a dark star”

When one of her friends
In the place she worked
Had been diagnosed
With pancreatic cancer,
She’d done exactly
What she was supposed to do.

She’d carried on at work
Just like nothing was wrong.
She had work to do.
And she knew
That it meant so much
To her friend at work
To be able to
Have stability
In the life he lead.
That work could not change.
It had to be the same
Every single day.
To help him cope
With the hell
That he was going through.

Just like everyone
Had helped her.

But when she was at home
With her family
Or when she was at church
Her friend from work
Did not exist.
Sure, she wished
He would be OK.
Sure, she asked
God to take care of him.
And his family to.
But that’s all
That she could do.
All the she would do.
To care for him.

After all
He was just someone
She worked with.
And if he lost his fight
With the cancer
Threatening his life.

Well…
Sometimes life
Just works that way.
She knew that she
Would be OK.
She’d still have her life.
And it would still work
In just the way
She wanted it to.

And I heard the words
That Tarja sang
Once more.

“Where are you now?
Are you proud of the life you wasted?
Wearing the crown of illusion you created
You’ll never know what it feels like to shine
You’re the master in your own mind
But a slave to all
You are a dark star”

And when the dream was done
I said a prayer to God.

Thank you, God,
For not letting me
Be like her.
Someone that cares
Only for those people
That she wishes
To care for.

Thank you, God,
For giving me
Different experiences
Every day.
So that the life
You have given me
Is not static.
Not the same.
Endlessly.

Thank you, God,
For giving me
People to care for.
People I can help
When they need help
From me.
And that will help me
When I need help
From them.

Thank you, God,
For showing me
And teaching me
That the people I know
Are people.
Even those I work with.
And those at my church.
And those in my family.
All of them are people.
Each one a gift
From you to me.

Thank you, God,
For the tears I cry,
And the way that my heart aches
When someone around me
Is hurt,
Or injured,
Or very sick.

Thank you, God,
For teaching me
That having my life
My way.
Completely controlled.
With everything
Being the same
Every single day.

Turns my heart
To frozen stone.
So that I can’t really care
For anyone.

Not even me.

And I heard the words
That Tarja sang
Once more.

“Where are you now?
Are you proud of the life you wasted?
Wearing the crown of illusion you created
You’ll never know what it feels like to shine
You’re the master in your own mind
But a slave to all
You are a dark star”