Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one…

–  John Lennon, Imagine

I have found myself again seeking a clear definition of my own beliefs. I am evaluating my stance, the pillars of my faith, measuring the scales of my own morality. And everything I have come to know has only been reaffirmed; There is no truth, but what you make the truth. There is no right or wrong, only the consequences of our actions. And it is because I have sought to throw myself out of the cogs I have spun around for years that I have been to able to see with new found sight, that all that I have been brought to believe, is a lie.

And for years now, my beliefs on God have been transparent in design. Flawed to countless discovered contradictions. I have weighed the words that have rang so heavy in my heart. Riddled with guilt and self doubt. Knowing full well that I wasn’t as the church said I should be. Fighting a spiritual war that was really going on between my ears. For in all sense of spirituality, it has all rung untrue to my own spirit. And the scales tip towards irrational thought. This idea that man has so solemnly sold his soul to, the idea of a higher being presiding over us, purchases nothing for me. And I can breathe easy now…and what a tremendous sigh of relief. Because for years I wanted to sell myself to the notion that even a wretch like me could be saved. If not from the world, then maybe, from myself. But the feeling of love I so yearned for was lost upon me. This is me letting go. I have come to terms with our Father.

And in terms of a father, God is indeed cruel, is he not? For millions speak testimony of this unconditional love and understanding, acceptance and care, but where is it to be found? We must seek him out? Our creator? Our own Dr. Frankenstein. Giving birth to this wondrous monstrosity we call humanity and then fleeing in horror when greeted with the reality of his creation. I sought him out. Playing the role as the prodigal monster. I truly did. I read the bible and tried to know Christ. I got on a stage and sang in front of a congregation about his love,  just so that I might one day feel that same requited affection I so desired to taste. And up there, looking down on the closed eyes and raised hands of my former church, I felt no sense of truth. Only an ever growing sense of unease. The only truth was that it wasn’t true to me. But I couldn’t accept that then. I couldn’t even fathom the possibility that God wasn’t to be found because God might not exist. I felt only the jubilation I received moving people through the power of music and this internal dialogue within myself. I was a hypocrite, singing of a love I never knew. But I told myself, it’s enough for God, if I can but only get these people to feel what I cannot.

In the real world (because we are ALL of this world, contrary to what any decal or mainstream christian apparel company would have you believe…) had I a father who created me, loved me, revered me, but stayed completely out of my life until the years brought me to a place where I wanted to know him, I would have nothing to do with him. I would curse him and loathe him for giving me life so carelessly only to abandon me. And that is how I feel at the pinnacle of my self loathing and aggression; that I am God’s unwanted orphan. I am his bastard son.

__________________________________________

According to Christian dogma, in order to purchase a seat in heaven one must live a life dedicated to the fundamentals of love and acceptance and come to herald the martyr that was Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior. That being sad, the “Christian” God didn’t come into existence until about 4,000 years ago…so, in the hundreds and thousands of years before what became of those poor souls who didn’t get to know this neo God?

Who is to say that the gods of our ancestors were no less than real? No less of an illusion? As a species, we have chalked all that we could not understand to superstitions. Human’s called the sun a god, for how else could they even come to understand the warmth and life it brings? They worshiped the moon, revered stars as holes in the fabric of the universe revealing the true nature of an outer space they saw as the heavens; for they were all visible and miraculous things that were completely unfathomable in the scopes of their limited perceptions.

And now, science has given birth to the revolutionary concepts and theories that have begun to unravel the mysteries of the universe and has shown what foolish creatures our ancestors were to exalt a massive ball of hydrogen as a God. This all leads me to wonder what future generations will think of our own God’s when they have gone well beyond the scopes of our own understandings.

And I believe some people believe simply because it’s all they have known. When do people ever truly evaluate their stance in life? Do you ask yourself what’s real? Or do you just accept what’s being fed to you? Fed to you from a book that is thousands of years old?  The real question shouldn’t be, is the bible true? It should be, why are people following an institution constructed from testaments that have long since grown outdated.  The question should be, what has religion truly given man kind as a whole?

How many were slain to inquisitions? Crusades? How many people have died for the same God worshiped only by a different tongue? Religion has only introduced mankind to a new sense of depravity and moral ambiguity. A new way to distance and close ourselves off from one another and limit our growth as human beings. Have you seen how fanatical people become over an insult to one’s belief’s? People have died, very recently, for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. We are killing each other over our beliefs! Over a joke. And you cannot ever, ever openly advocate the possibility to a believer that God doesn’t exist. It’s an instant attack on their person and everything they stand for.

“How dare you mock my God?”

No sir, I mock you. I mock you and your fear and inability to question. I mock “oh, ye of little faith” for having such a faulty unconditional belief system that could be easily shaken from some poised phrases spewed from some prodigal stray. I mock you and the countless hypocrites that lay claim to the title of a Christian and segregate themselves, judge others, and instead of preaching of love only seek to damn we, the non believers. When I know full well the God and Christ you fail so splendidly to follow would have you “do unto others”.

You are such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.” – A Perfect Circle, Judith.

My whole life I was always told, it’s in the Bible. It’s in the Bible! And people use that damned book like a rifle. It is in the weapon of choice for a new breed of salesman. Men who would tell you can be saved! If you only pay. Cause Jesus, he wants you to pay. He wants those called to serve! To serve their hard earned cash, their offering, to line the thousand dollar pockets of these twisted evangelists. He wants you to throw money at these institutions so that they can build massive monuments (Idols, are they not?) to let people know, this here, this here is God’s country. And this weapon, this bible is simply a series of proverbs and fairy tales! It speaks of great floods, physically purging away the human stain the same way that the martyrdom of Jesus Christ would eradicate mortal sin. It would have us believe that the sin we all indulge in was brought unto us because a woman ate of a forbidden apple…a regular Snow White. And her seven dwarves became our seven sins that would doom us unto hell. Am I the only one who seeks the joke in all of this?

We want to believe God exists as an individual. People want to be told how to live, what to think, how to feel, because it’s how we are raised by our parents. And is God not the metaphor of a father? We want to have a name to hide behind. A face to blame when all is lost. For do we not blame our own creators for the flaws we cannot accept and failing us in matters beyond their own capacities of reason? And God has given us this, we can curse his name or find love in him. We can give him blessings and thanks for the abundance of good we have found in our lives, we can curse him for what or who he has taken from our lives…but it’s all in our head. For God, god is indifferent.

“When I found out about the Lord I wanted more but I never could believe. That there was something that had so much love for us. That could sit and let us bleed, to death” – Circa Survive, Phantasmagoria.

I believe now, with utmost certainty, that God does not exist. That he does not exist in the matter with which the Bible, in all it’s glorious, self righteous and outdated contradictions would paint him as. He is not a loving and merciful father. He is not the God who wiped all the world away like a bad etch a sketch when the human race revealed unto him the horrors of his own creation. And did he not create us in his image? If this is true, then God himself is flawed beyond reason. He is not the architect of your failures or successes. God does not bend the world to his will. He does not take life, nor create it. He is the author and finisher of none. For “HE”, is not a being.

God, is a state of being.

I believe now, that God is simply another word for love. A true and perfect form of love that is accepting, unconditional and without surrender. And in this regard, I do believe in Love. I believe in it wholeheartedly and it’s infinite capacity for good. I believe that human beings are all connected through some shared communal unseen and intricate string that I am still trying to discover. And maybe it is God, this love. This love we do not see and are wary to accept, because we are, in our minds, undeserving. Our lives are conditioned to believe that love or rather the cheap mockery so many try to reproduce is something to be solicited for some sort of gain. Not a freely given thing. But I see God, I see love. In the faces of children, the look on people’s faces when surrounded with their inner most desires, that look that just says, ‘This is it‘. It’s there. It surrounds us. The choice is, and has been all along, if it’s something you want in life.

I have no god. My prayers, if any, are simply thought, willed to the universe. My life has led me to have little faith in human beings for I understand them far too well. But that isn’t to say, I still don’t seek God in some sense. That isn’t to say, I still don’t hope for the better of humanity. I still seek love. And the truest foundations of religion are outstanding pursuits that could push the capacities of the human condition. However, you do not need to surrender to a higher power for this pursuit to be underway. You need not be born again to save yourself. For what is there to save yourself from that you do not have the power to overcome? Are you admitting to weakness? Then become strong.

Love, acceptance, understanding, those equations equal a perfect formula…As Bill Hicks said, let’s just ditch the dogma. It has done nothing for mankind. The stories, the guilt, the fear and ultimate consequence of hell…religion is nothing short of a blight upon mankind. It gives you a reason to seek truth, yes! But there is no freedom. Only the ultimatums of damnation or salvation…how is that even a choice? How is that free will? Seeking love…out of fear?

Survey says… incomprehensible!

But what of an afterlife? There has to be something after this! This all has to mean something! I am meant to be here! God put me here. Right?!

No, you are merely life, squirted into existence. The result of a chemical and physical reaction between two animals. There is no miracle in birth. It is only a reaction. Cause and effect. The stars didn’t part and planet’s didn’t align on the day of your birth. Your life here is without purpose until you make a purpose for yourself. As I have said before, you are only recognized by the scars you leave on the surface of this wonderful planet. Or you can be a stain on the earth, consume precious resources and live on in mindless self indulgence, glued to the television, another brick in the wall, till your death and there…there you will have your answer. And it may be the silence of the grave or it may be the sweetest source of affection you will ever attain.

I have only heard stories, of people returning back to their mortal vessels after passing into this beyond where all it is, is love. Just love. And there is nothing else. For nothing else matters. I want to believe in a place where all conflicts and resentments we harbor are lifted and our anchors are dropped forever. A place where the vessels of our spirits can soar as intended. Haunting the heavens. Weightless, floating on in the ever after that is infinity as happy ghosts.

But, more than anything, I want to believe that heaven can be attained now. In this place. For I only know that I am here.

-HOWl

Wolves

It’s become too much. How can I possibly retain all of this? Everyday I swear, it’s like I am experiencing some profound revelation. And it gets to a point where sometimes it’s as if I am on the very brink of some spiritual awakening. I am on the cusp, about to fall over into the unknown. Like the secret of the whole universe is right in front of me! But my reach is just shy of it. And my words fail me. But I can try. I can try to make sense of all of this.

My youthful, inexperienced and still budding mind can only fathom so much. But because I choose to constantly grow, because I choose to strive to better not only myself, but the people around me, I will always grow. But that’s it. That’s what life is; all it is, is a choice. A series of choices we make. And every choice has a consequence. And every consequence, either rewarding or otherwise, echoes into what we perceive to be our futures. And every future branches off into an eternity of infinty. An endless possibility of all that could ever be. But our choices dictate and define who we are. Our futures are never set in stone. How can they be? When at any moment a simple choice we make can change the outcome of our entire existence.

Time does not flow in one direction like a river. It is not a straight line. But it’s how we perceive it. It’s almost frightening, how the thought of a reaction can change the course of everything. But once again I think I have only misinterpreted my emerging emotions. It isn’t fear, but excitement! Not knowing what will come next. What new choices I will be faced with and where my decisions will take me. We have no set paths. Only choice. There is no fate. No destiny. There is no “meant to be“. There is only what you have willed to be, through choice. Reaction. Cause and effect. There truly is no fate but what you make.

But people do not often comprehend the power of their choices. It’s a principle fundamental in elementary physics that every action in the universe has a consequence. We have choice. It’s a gift. But I do not think most people understand or do not have the ability to fathom that our choices not only effect our possible outcomes but others’ as well. The people we choose to recognize in our life, who we choose to allow to recognize us, they are all affected too. Much like a kind gesture can be payed forward to person to person in gratitude, so can a hateful one be passed to an innocent out of pain.

Until very recently, I never really understood the magnitude of how much my own choices affect other people, but I am becoming aware of it now. I thought it was enough to look forward and see how my choices would effect my outcomes. But it isn’t. So long as you choose to let others love you and know you, they are affected too. Some people, they never learn to think this way, even on a minute scale. Because no one holds them accountable for their mistakes or their transgressions or calls to light these faults that need to be identified and repaired. If there exists no immediate consequence to our actions and choices, how will we learn? If you touch fire, you get burned. Cause and effect. Some people, don’t get shown any effect. They stop at cause because they are not shown the effect reacted in the wake of their actions. Eventually, time will make them aware of their singed skin.

Some people can only think of themselves cause we are conditioned as people of a consumerist society to be self centered and think only of what we think we want and what we think would better ourselves. Our communal identities as a species never develops properly in this place. So our relationships generally become purely superficial. Only take and take. Never truly selflessly giving and giving only when it is in our best interest to do so. We aren’t born this way. And I want to truly believe in my heart now that this isn’t the natural tendency of human beings. Although a scope into the world of modern man would, more often than not, prove otherwise. Still, I have faith in human beings and their capacity for good. But it’s a voice many are growing silent to. Even myself. The ways of the world can sometimes harden even the best hearts of men . But it’s a choice, not to let the transgressions of the world wound us to the point of scars. If you do not tend to a broken bone properly, it will calcify incorrectly and the limb will never be used properly again. The same could be said of anything in need of healing. Physical or otherwise.

A quick glance at any pack in the animal kingdom can show how nature intended us to live. I have a deep love and admiration for Wolves and how they live; individuals operating as a communal unit to survive. But it’s more than that. They have love. They show affection and devotion. They even mate for life. These “savage beasts” have a concept of loyalty spreading even to monogamy. And they are cognitive enough as a species to not mate when resources are scarce. And I wonder why it is so hard for us to achieve the same near perfect social order of a pack…Am I really comparing us to animals? Yes. Because, at the core, we are animals. We just have an advanced ability for retention and communication. You would think as a species that these abilities would give us an advantage…

We are now raised to be almost inherently selfish. Maybe that particular word in this case is too absolute. We simply do not often consider other people. We solidify ourselves in our perspectives. Rarely taking into account another’s points of view. We may think we are putting ourselves in their “shoes” but, think about it; that’s all you are doing; placing YOURSELF in their position. YOU think as YOU would think in the place they are in. And while that gives YOURSELF an advantage to understanding a certain scenario, YOU are not truly gaining THEIR perspective. It is then merely YOUR own perspective in THEIR own position. It’s in these places where we have to deeply, truly, desire to want to understand someone else. So that we can understand how others feel or will feel in the wake of our decisions. And, in recognizing someone else in your life, you are acknowledging their existence. By choosing to want to understand them, you are showing them, in one of the kindest displays of human interaction, that you want them in your life. To be a part of your existence.

You, in a universally understood gesture, are showing them love.

In the past, my choices and the choices others made brought me to many dark places in life. And, had I chose to, I could have allowed myself to be deeply, horribly affected by them. The overwhelming, polluted, atmospheric pressure I attributed to with my anger, hatred, and confusion would have weighed down so great on my vessel that my growth as an individual would have been crippled and contorted just from sheer force of that gravity. I could have become a person who had a very negative outlook on both people and life, and, once upon a time, I did. It’s hard sometimes not to when you really look at the way the world is. You want to become angry. It validates you and your position in life. You want to withdraw into yourself. But that’s just giving up. I could have become a very calloused individual, a product of my very broken and unstable environment. Calcified and cemented in all my despairs. Fueled by the fires of my own hatred. But, the world has enough of those cliche’s and I have chosen not to be shackled to transgressions and events that were beyond my capacity to control. To not be defined by the past, but instead by the choices I make to better myself now.

I choose hope over despair. I have chosen to be better. I recognized my pain and I hold it dear to me, as to not forget. As to not seek to pass on the same injustices done to me unto someone else. I acknowledge the horrible choices both I and the people whose choices affected me have made. But I am not a person shackled and bound by history’s mistakes. I have chosen to look within myself and find ways to forgive. And I have moved on from that dreadful place. I choose to not become a statistic. And now, the darker parts of my past don’t seem as dismal. And when I look back now, those memories seem like a movie of someone else’s life who feels very familiar to me, but it’s a memory I cannot seem to grasp. The boy I was is no longer the man I am now. My choices now have so greatly altered who I have become, that in a sense, my own past feels altered. And the possibility of what could have become of me is a wasted thought. Because the eventuality didn’t come to pass. Because I chose to not make that my reality.

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There is a story I heard once. One evening an old Comanche told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said,

My Son, there is a battle between two Wolves living inside us allOne wolf is evil. It is anger, fear, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret. It is greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and ego.

“The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, perseverance, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The Grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

Which Wolf wins?”

The old Comanche replied simply,

The one you feed.

Illustration by Mikaela Ritter.

You must strive to fight against the evils and frailties of your own heart. For no man is free from fault. First, you need to recognize that as a human being we have the capacity for great things, both great evil and greater good. That balance wrestles insides of all us. You cannot simply ignore the hatred and all the ill feelings you harbor. Recognize them. Acknowledge them. For they exist within all of us. They are the consequences and the penalties of our greatest risks. The lingering scars our vessels obtained from a failed expedition or a reaction stemming from loss. But the idea is to control them, not to let them control you. Understand where they come from. Dive deep within yourself and ask why these wolves howl within you. What is it they are saying? When you recognize and understand your feelings, you are now in control. It is a matter of choosing the correct wolf to feed and nurture. And this battle that goes on inside of ourselves; it will never end. Not until you do.

Life can be a great and beautiful thing, but you have to chose to believe that it can be. You have to believe that happiness, love and understanding is something you deserve, regardless of any excuse you try to conjure up to deny yourself of it; your past, your present, or your future. No one has the right to deny you of your happiness and we all have a right and the freedoms to choose to pursue it. But in order to fully recognize happiness, you must first come to acknowledge, understand and love yourself. Choose to learn who you really are. A positive outlook will cause good things to attract to you. And I cannot promise you life will not become harsh sometimes. It can be downright cruel. But how you choose to react to those events that transpire outside the norm of your existence is what will define you as an individual. Adversity introduces a man to himself. And I think some people are long over due for an introduction.

But where is this introduction to take place if we continually hide ourselves away?

So turn off your television. The screens you find yourself behind. Kill your radio. The incessant chatter must cease. Close your computer. Open a book. Read a story. Feed the dying embers of your imagination. Expand the small world you live in. Allow yourself to dream as these authors dreamt, and realized. Turn off your phone. Leave it somewhere so that no one may reach and you pull you back into that digital bath. Then grab that copper handle by the balls and open that door to the infinite possibilities that await you. Lose yourself. On the road. In a bar. In the sky. In the sea. The eyes of strangers. The company of friends. Inside of a woman or in the arms of a man. Lose yourself to find yourself. And don’t come back till you’ve found something. Even if it is yourself. Something to remind you, that you are here. Something that will inspire to prove that same fact to the rest of the world. I. Am. Here.

All any of us are looking for is meaning. Purpose. Love. And in this age where these words have all but lost their meaning, all we can do is find meaning for ourselves.

And remember that life wasn’t meant to be like this! Life was meant to be lived, explored, tasted, remembered, not observed from behind high definition screens on our couches in our big houses that house our big cars and our empty lives! Walk out that fucking door, unplugged, unhinged and awake and I promise you, you will feel strange. As if you are seeing things for the first time. As if you have just woken up.

And when that fog lifts…that stupor you have been sitting in for years and years completely unaware that you have been sedated by television, the media, FOX and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and all those legalized, taxed, and government regulated substances wear off, and you are left in the complete and utter silence of your own mind for the first time since forever, with only your shadow for companionship; don’t be afraid!

Cause you are discovering your self.

Listen for the wolf.

– HOWl

Counting Stars

The sand gave way to me. The minuscule grains slipped between my naked toes like so many grains in an hour glass as I walked across the dunes of Newport and the coast of my childhood. The clouds above me scatter shot from the breeze that carries with it that perfumed aroma. That perfect blend of salt and nostalgia. My Dog could always smell if from miles and miles away. His excitement was something to be admired. I recall the text I’d just received when I’d arrived. It’s nice to know you are in someone’s thoughts. It’s nice to be thought of at all.

All these thoughts run rampant in my mind as I shift my way towards my destination; an empty tower looking out towards the end of the world…

My world, anyway.

I climb up the ladder, up towards that platform, and it’s as if the wood itself is still alive. A living thing, breathing out all that I breathe in. I keep reminding myself to take hit after hit of that intoxicating scent emanating from the tempestuous mistress that is my Pacific. Before I know it, I am stoned. I sit down on the still wet surface, paying it no mind. My book in hand. Ready to take in what sun light there is left of this day as the sun itself  begins it’s descent into the ever inviting waters of the western sea.

Here is my sanctuary. My temple. You can keep to your own churches. Here is where I go for that calm I can’t find much place else. It’s here I spent the happiest days of my childhood with my brother as the boys of summer. Overcome by sun and surf. Completely fearless and unafraid of the waves that towered over our small frames. Digging up palaces out of sand only to rejoice in the destruction of it by our tiny limbs. I would ditch school, hop on the bus and haunt these shores in the winter of my teenage years. It was this place where I took the most hopeful few of candidates to revel in the magic with me. Yeah, it’s all really quite romantic. Shivering there, pretending the cold doesn’t bother you. Trying to see which story from your life is going to impress this one this time while reminding yourself to stop chattering your teeth when you speak. Giving your coat to some lucky dame while you freeze to death.

At this rate, I will die long before chivalry does…

Needless to say, but I will say it anyway; the Pacific and her shimmering waters have been a constant backdrop to the scenes of my life and even it’s near death. It’s impossible to imagine my existence without those waters being ever reachable.

The tide is low. The waves are high. Higher than I have seen in a long time. And that tumultuous chorus reverberates in my ears so sweetly. I think to myself, if I could hear but a whisper of this song for the rest of my life, I will be just fine. If I could just walk these shores everyday with the sweet, salty chill nipping at the nakedness of my bare feet, it’ll be enough.

I wonder.

I open the pages. It’s hard to focus. I am a man prone to distractions. No offense to Kerouac, his words aren’t going anywhere. He has made damn sure of that. I just wanted to read the sky instead. To see the fire painted across the ever changing canvas of that polluted horizon. It’s these perfect little scenes that remind me how beautiful California can be, in all her glorious smog and majesty.

I read my book till it’s curtain call for the sun and this beautiful scene all fades to black. Till my eyes strain from the focus and I can’t see the pages anymore. In that ever growing darkness I look up to the sky to count the stars. And man, it’s pathetic. I can all but count the flickering little ghosts on one hand. And half of them, they are  probably just airplanes. Red and white fire flies lighting up the night. Their flickering sirens reflecting off the surface of the black waters like so many temporary artificial moons.

I continue to wonder…

What brought me here again to this place? What is it that is driving me to seek the calm?

And it’s there on that tower that I remind myself that nothing is changing. Life is as it has always been. Deliciously chaotic. The only thing changing, is me. In the long absence from my post at this tower, I have become something far more than I was before. Each day has brought new lessons and new faces to my life. While some lessons were learned in the hardest of ways, true to my nature, and some faces were temporary stand in’s, I take from them all what I can. Not to illuminate myself as a creature of egocentric qualities, I just rather like the man I am becoming.  It is quite a departure from the self loathing ghost in a shell that haunted these shores so many years ago. And more people should validate the people they love with such soothing comments. Heaven knows the world could use more of it.

It was there on that weathered tower, or rather now on this far too comfortable couch, that I remind myself that life and it’s vexations won’t stop. My summer is over. Life will not always be sunshine and rainbows. People are prone to selfish inclinations of the heart and I have never claimed to be a saint or absolved from parading in my own selfish antics, but I try to be better. Aware. People will misunderstand me and my intentions. Even if I tell myself they are the best. And no one knows the effect we have on one and other until you realize those tears in their eyes, knowingly or otherwise, are your doing. And I have known enough hurt in my life to know that I would never want to put another human soul I care for through that. But I can’t say I will never hurt anyone. I am perfectly imperfect and flawed in ways that would make most shrinks blush. It’s a constant struggle to want be better. And you have to want that for you. Not for anyone else. Each day I learn something new about myself and life and it’s all hidden secrets. The thing is, they are not hidden. They are right in front of your face if you’d only look up from the cracks.

Sometimes I just need to make time for myself and put an ear to the discord going on inside of myself and sort it out. Because other times, I lose myself to the lesser demons of my nature and the greater distractions of life. The youth of this generation as a whole seems to share in this communal desire to constantly seek the next state of intoxication. Whether we realize it or not, I think realizing it at least puts you back in the drivers seat.

You can’t outrun yourself. You can’t drown all your innards with excess.

Believe me, I have tried.

For now, the thing to take away from this is to every now and again take some time for yourself. Take that knife to your own soul. As my father told me recently, [sometimes] you have to make yourself the priority. I’d like to take others into account but sometimes, that’s just not a luxury you can afford. How can you know anyone without knowing yourself? Replace know with love, and it has an even greater consequence.

And in that selfish state of meditation I have discovered I love the friends I have found. And that’s it’s okay to love.  While I feel that word friend is thrown around far too casually, I hold those who have earned that title in my life near and dear to me. I love the places I have been and the places I have yet to go. And all the fruit I have yet to taste in the still budding garden of my youth.

And I hope all of you find some semblance of calm and quiet. Shelter from the storms you must endure in this ever temperamental climate of life. A way to soothe the beast.

Enjoy the silence.

-HOWl