…delighted that most of your resistance to others has gone.

Over time, it had accrued in you until it was aging you rapidly every time you had to stop and converse with someone for any amount of time. Any communication that wasn’t strictly transaction-based or professional would see you tensing up and sweating nervously. For most of your life, you thought this was because you are a shy person, but really, it has nothing to do with that at all. It’s because you have resisted for so long the possibility that you must open up yourself and let it leak out into the world, thereby possibly losing some of it along the way. It also means that other selves may very well leak in.

Of course, it makes perfect sense. It wasn’t simply a selfish measure taken, but probably once upon a childhood, it was a self preservation mechanism. The more you closed up, walled off, and protected all that was you, the less likely someone out there could take advantage of you and the less likely anyone could steal your soul.

But, now that you are a grown-up man, there are very few people out there who are actively trying to do you in. Or so you think, anyway.

…and sleep departs easily from you.

You don’t heed the siren’s call of sleep and dreams, don’t feel the need to linger in the bed. The frozen up pieces of your face that take longer now to unlock are simply to be doused with water and scrunched and stretched until they snap back into place. They leave behind frightening bags under the eyes, but you don’t feel the need to linger long at the mirror.

Sleep doesn’t come around again until you’ve been awake into the night, not once during the day does it try to take you when you’re at your desk. Maybe it’s these new pills you’re taking, or perhaps you have an acute understanding of just how much caffeine to load up on before becoming so hyper and jittery that the caffeination process backfires.

Sleep is no longer your lover, but these days she’s just a colleague. She’s needed for you to do what you do, but you don’t love her like you used to.

This has something to do with the fact that you are more and more aware each year of your own mortality. Your time is finite, and giving it over to sleep is a luxury you no longer possess.

…when the spell is over.

To take the time to recreate all of the variables that contributed to the moment in which the spell was cast would require you to hire several teams of crime scene investigators paired with acting troupes, and ask them to endlessly rehearse their performances, adding in intricate nuances to produce subtle shifts in the very fabric of your physical reality, creating a myriad of butterfly effects swelling out from the epicenters of all the thoughts, words and deeds that coursed in and out of your life; leading up to the moment in which the spell was cast.

You might have resisted the spell or not even noticed the spell at all–had X, Y, Z, etc. been taking place off to the side of the stage of your mind.

But, you did not resist the spell. In fact, you woke up many mornings throughout the spell, feeling absolutely fine and completely of a sound mind.

You wake up and walk around the room viewing the aftermath of the cast spell, seeing all of the objects it brought and changes it wrought for the first time. Nothing is unfamiliar, but nothing seems to be quite of you, either. The same goes for the face you view in the mirror: by some liberal definition of what your face must look like, you can clearly see that it is you. But, beyond this general, fuzzy recognition, there is nothing there that you can lay claim to.

You kind of feel like you do in those dreams where you walk into a room of strangers who inhabit your home, and they all appear to recognize you, so you go along with it, and feel as if you are communicating through the mouth of another human. As you stand inside your boss’s office this Monday morning, you can rely on a bank of well-rehearsed scripts and oft-consulted tutorials to yield the right responses to the words and body language she is forming in front of you. But, each thought signal you send down to your facial muscles feels like a puppet master’s string pulling.

You can always plead that you’ve had too little or too much coffee if anyone calls you out on your behavior, and lets you know that you seem…just a little off this morning. By now, you’ve played this role long enough that you know not to be too incredibly forceful, animated, spirited or intense. But, at the same time, you have to engage your facial muscles appropriately and conscientiously modulate your voice to prevent anyone from thinking you are incapable of emoting.

With the spell now no longer cast, you understand that your time is up for sitting in the back row under the shadows of the balcony above you, hiding from the certain moment when someone in the theater will spot you and demand that you participate. You are up on the stage now, prepared to make your entrance, and the only way off of it would be to keep on walking out of the theater if you were so inclined to disappoint everyone insight by excusing yourself and declaring that this particular play doesn’t require your participation.

Not many are in the theater, but the ones who are are the only ones that matter.

You wake up seeking other kinds of spells to be cast upon you. It doesn’t feel right, to be this naked and unadorned with some kind of immediate sense of purpose, a vision whose gratification is only slightly delayed. You feel incapable of even so much as existing if you are not spellbound.

There are plenty of prospects. You could take up the study of the classics, and read only Greek and Roman playwrights, poets and philosophers. Your spell could be a longing to reconnect with the ancient world–the world that the modernization of the 20th Century thoroughly destroyed. You could live as if no art has mattered after Monet’s Water Lillies. This approach has its merits, even if you opt for a spell of hard bopping jazz, refusing to believe that any other kind of jazz was made.

The spell of being immortal ended many years ago, and it renders seeking after new spells almost impossible. Your time is finite.

Maybe this is how all the other grown-ups your age have been living for the past fifteen years or more–spell-free and facing the here and now, taking life day by day.
But, you can’t live this way–spell free, and holding no illusions about your future.

…and begin again a day of trying to define you.

You’ve only scratched the surface of the things about your life that you can control, because you’ve been too damn busy trying to control all of the variables that you can not control.

Almost any instance of an individual treating you a certain way stems from things you do or say that in your case often come from a reckless mind detached from its core self.

Better to be a man who spends the day laboring outside with little thanks or attention paid to him and have yourself completely grounded, than to be a man making millions at selling “products” that exist only in the schemes of accountants and marketers.

Better to have a million nobodies love you for being you than a single movie starlet stop to send you a smile.

What you thought for many years was that you could give God his glory due behind closed doors or out walking alone in urban nature trails. Then, it was understood that God would go back to his house, and you yours, and each of you would do your business separately as you saw fit.

Maybe you never verbalized as much, because to do so would be to admit what a damn fool you were. Your waking worldly life isn’t like being in prison in Goodfellas, where you do what you have to do to survive, but then you abandon such activity when you decide to meet up with God again.

Mankind has always had countless demons whispering in our ears. We’ve simply decided in the past 100 years to listen more to what these demons have to say, and amplify their words. Were people brutal, stupid and cruel before 1900? All the time. But, they had no media platforms to showcase their inhumanity.
To be certain, with having the likelihood of the really nasty deeds exposed, the media can act as a disinfectant for things like racism, spousal abuse and child molestation. But, the media can also showcase endless idol worship, and the perpetual notion that the path to happiness lies in gratifying and aggrandizing the self at all times. In the glare of the media eye, the deviant and evil become even more cunning and creepy, and some are glamorized in view of the entire world under the guise of it being performance art.

The worst kind of demonic suggestion is the one that now reigns supreme: anything you do that takes you further away from God is a good thing. Spending all of your time pursuing a career, a spouse and material things–devoting hours to obsessing over sports and music and film–wherever you have your eyes and mind fixated, so likely is your heart, too.

And at that point, you are so easily set up to be knocked down. The slightest threat to the cozy existence that you’ve built up is enough to make you want to cry for more help from politicians and betray your own integrity to keep your lifestyle.

Today, you could begin with a renewed desire to practice intent in all that comes out of your mouth. To calmly weigh what you are about to say, and say nothing at all if you are so flustered you think that you will end up letting the demons speak for you.

…and it is with some consternation you realize that you’ve strayed from your mission.

It’s so easy to forget, when you’re caught up in another oppressive wave of nostalgia (as if nostalgia alone could be your time machine).

You swore a long time ago that you would cease to write unless it was writing that DID something.

Each time you sit down to write you must approach the activity thus:
– my writing will change me, if just a little.
– my writing will reshape the landscape of the collective unconscious, if just a little.
– my writing does rather than is.

You will commence to construct a passageway with your words, visualize a door through which you move and leave behind all pieces of you that are no longer worth carrying around.

Your eternal goal is to reach the summit of Heaven, and embrace your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and reunite with your loved ones. Any activity here in this space of words that doesn’t contribute to this should be abandoned.

Your crystal clear goal in this earthly life is to stand before the world a completely realized man, no longer burdened by ages old griEces, sorrows, desires, etc. You will write things that build this man up, not tear him down. You will take care not to over analyze his mistakes when he acts as one inferior to the ideal, because no amount of critique is worth anything if it doesn’t make the object of its criticism better.

Your primary palpable goal on this earth is to one day have your profession match your calling and your passion. If this activity of writing is it, as it almost certainly appears to be, then you must endeavor even more at your labors until your work is recognized enough to become your daily profession.

Your secondary palpable goal on this earth is to successfully raise a family, giving your children as many of the good gifts you’ve received as possible. Gifts of right and true living, gifts of guiding the development of their moral character, gifts of providing them with as many opportunities as possible to see the world in a more liberal, enlightened fashion than you ever did. This goal includes having an unwaivering fidelity and loyalty to your wife, and resisting all temptation to send your heart elsewhere.

Your tertiary palpable goal on this earth is to remain awake at all times throughout the day, alert and ready to hear God’s voice and see the abundance of opportunities that come your way. You need to remain awake and sensible to the needs of others, and have a keen eye for when to lend a hand and when to keep your mouth shut. You need to be on the lookout for the forces and agents that would pull you back into wistful nostalgia, which is the sad, escapist alternative to truly communing with the past.

Finally, if you have kept yourself true to all of the above goals, you may devote time to thinking deeply about how to change the way your mind interfaces with this so-called reality, with an eye to gaining a greater understanding of the underpinnings that power this universe and offer possibilities for access to alternate universes and alternate versions of this universe.

…from a dream where you lashed out as if you were still eight years old.

You were up to no good in the old family home. Doing bad stuff in the kitchen, and peeking out the window to see if the old neighbor lady could catch a glimpse of you by looking out her window into yours. Everything looked different outside. You weren’t even sure at first which neighbor’s house you were looking at. It had a carport painted sea foam green, and looked more like one of the old one story houses you see in neighborhoods around here in East Austin.

But, in the dream you knew it to be the old lady’s house, and you were convinced that she couldn’t see you as you participated in some juvenile self gratification by the kitchen window.

It was also understood that it was the present in the dream, and only your dad lived in the house. Then, a voice inside your head posed a question to you, “What would you do if your dad died today?”

This is when you started shrieking and crying like a little kid who has been told his daddy’s going to die. In the dream, you were convinced that this is the real you, underneath the adult suit that you don when you wake up.

It required you actually waking up an eyeing the memory of the dream with an odd look, and mouthing the words you were shrieking just to make sure that your voice hadn’t suddenly flipped to being a nasally, whiny brat’s voice.

This got you thinking about all of the pieces of you that are scattered throughout your self. When you go into a meeting with colleagues you hope to impress, when you’re speaking to a beautiful girl, when a boisterous, hearty fellow passes you in the men’s room, when you’re zapped of any extra energy, when you’ve spent too much time away from humans and hate making eye contact, when you are playing with your dog. There are probably a million little pieces of you that don’t quite line up–all embedded in your psyche and waiting for the perfect opportunity to rise up and become you.

This is why you walk away from so many of life’s encounters, disappointed with yourself and certain that the other person is disappointed with you, too. You want to run back to them and shout, “wait a minute, can I get a re-do–that really wasn’t me, that was some kind of code fragments lingering from Version 0.5 of me.”

But, you’d probably require approximately eight or more re-do’s, as this seems to be the number it takes to get something right. Then, when you did get it right, and could finally feel good about walking away from the encounter satisfactorily, you’d be on to the next scene–and how many more takes will it take?

…with the seeds of realization that you are merely renting your identity.

Any higher Truths must be considered with an eye to them being in a constant state of flux. No reality is static. The verb “to be” should always imply movement through Time. A view of this universe from a higher dimension should be conceived as an infinite number of eyes constantly viewing everything from all spatiotemporal angles.

“You” as an entity encompasses a broad number of competing possibilities of identity. Your struggle is to carve one true identity from this constantly eroding block of self. You fail in your endeavors because you see yourself as being some type of static entity; a two-dimensional, static picture.

You might posit that your true identity exists in the here and now, or a slightly younger you with more hair. You might see your true identity as you at the peak of your career and time on earth as a family man. But, none of these identities are you.

The most fatal mistake that you make, though, is that you earnestly believe that you own yourself. You think that your consciousness, will and identity are yours to use as you see fit. This is why you often so violently react to people who speak of God and the afterlife. You are a renter of the singular identity, though, not an owner. Identity itself, pure, everlasting and without bondage to another or being chained to fire–this kind of identity is God’s and God’s alone.

It’s probably best if you simply don’t believe that you as you knew him ever really existed at all, and that the you you see in front of the mirror today isn’t all that real, either.