…looking for the right word to hold inside your focus.

Love. Heart. Joy. Springing up. Feedback loop from smile to eyes to head to solar plexus to heart to smile. Removing distracting thoughts and chaos from the mental picture. You must expand the sphere, the loop, to radiate out more and more. If you keep it tightly contained, you will hate everything you encounter tomorrow, because everything will be outside of it. Everything will be a distraction.

Be mellow. Stop worrying. Stop making money the focus of your attention. How to obtain more. What of life is terrible for lack of money. Why people who deserve money less than you do have more of it. Money is a terrible thing to spend time obsessing over until you are tearing up your insides over it, and lashing out at others.

You don’t need to worry about how far or little you’ve progressed in some area of your life. If you have the right kind of Love, you will be okay. You shouldn’t keep replaying past events as if you could suddenly travel back in time and fix them. This sort of thing makes you very unhappy.

The world is a wretched place if you’re stuck in a state of mind that compels you to want to control everything. You will never get to your core state of being, and find an exquisite equilibrium, if you are constantly trying to smooth out the rough edges on people who just don’t care.

The world has enough angry people complaining about politics and the government, how would the addition of you make any sort of difference? If your ultimate goal was once to find one good thing you could do that nobody else could do better than you, then you certainly haven’t tried very hard if you’ve spent all your time trying to be average in order to fit in with the largest group of people who think they know all that is right and true.

You either deem that words have more power than being simply arbitrary symbols representing an utterly material reality, or you don’t. But, you should.

Perhaps your problem wasn’t one of being incapable of connecting all of your beautiful words with beautiful actions, but your problem was one of not writing enough beautiful words loudly enough and often enough.

…struggling to maintain the will to be human.

the will to be human includes the will to be meaningful and relEt. to have a reason to live, you must fine some kind of meaning in life. you can’t be content with finding meaning in solitude, you must share your insights with an other, or it doesn’t continue to hold value to you as being truthful.

it’s almost impossible to retain any sense of originality once you embark upon this quest to find an other or others who will validate your thoughts. for surely, they will break you down. you will be told that your ideas are, in fact, not original, because someone else has thought them before you. never mind if you came to them of your own accord. once someone points out the one society says originated your idea, you will quickly come to see that you must try harder to find something original to say.

then, these people will laugh at your ideas for being implausible, and demand that you prove their value and worth in practicable terms. if they are not so sophisticated, perhaps they will simply spurn your ideas for being foreign to what the group has decided are the ideas that matter.

you will likely be more satisfied with the comfort and security of being unoriginal, but accepted by the group, than you would ever be with continuing to return to your solitude in search of contributing something that is uniquely yours.

this is how we break you, so that you can refrain from building bombs in your basement or inciting mob riots in your town square. we do not have a need at this time for a maverick, for an innovator, for a unique american son to invent the next big thing. we do not even want you to suggest out-of-the-box experiments with childrens’ education or with making healthcare better. you are put here to work and keep us fed and safe, and only the occasional chosen son of an elite scion will get to bring something new to the table.

we want you to be prepared to accept things as they are, and cease to question how they could be made better. the system as it is serves us exceptionally well, and we are rich enough to throw you a few tasty morsels to content yourself if you let your rebellious streak flare up for an extra long period of time. if you decide to be a cliche and get a tattoo and play guitar in a band, why, we’ve got a safe, bland culture of happily fed cows grazing at the troughs of chain restaurants where they’ve parked their supersize harleys to be your audience.

is the system really all that bad, anyway? we do our best to keep the pictures of disease and mutilation that affect 80% of the globe from your eyes–the global population of serfs we’ve enslaved to provide you with the shiny things you gush over each year. you can live your entire life and die guilt-free knowing that you were born into a God-blessed world, and that nothing you did caused some poor slob to get beaten to a pulp in a factory thousands of miles away.

we love it when you get excited over new shiny gadgets or show that angelic passion for your favorite sports team or celebrity. you are so busy worshipping your favorite idols, that you can’t even begin to form the framework of thought required to see how your love of material things and human beings parallels the love of idols worshipped in places like babylon thousands of years ago.

get excited about becoming a home beer crafter, or a knitter, or a steam punk lover, a furry, a creative anachronist–get happy about whatever subculture you like, we don’t care. as long as you aren’t mixed up in anything too nasty that’s going to completely expose the awful side of satan to the world–do what you will.

the thing is, we know that your brain was made to think about ways of being and concepts so far advanced in sophistication from anything we think you’ll ever learn in school. if you do get a hankerin for learnin past college, we can throw you some random book by guys like gladwell or ted talks to give you the impression that you’re continuing to use all of the brain that God gave you. meanwhile, you’ll fall into this lovely cycle of downwardly spiraling toward atheism, and then you’ll start worshiping random humans and objects in your quest to be real and authentic.

we don’t care, we love it. hell, if you like, forego the complete descent and set up camp inside some insidious little world of playing at being a satanist, and practice witchcraft while telling everyone that you’re a good witch, as if you could become some kind of hogwarts school graduate and save the world from evil that way. we love it. we love how you’ve embraced a form of evil with a saccharine sweet coating to take the edge off. we don’t care how you choose to swallow our razor blades.

the thing that you can’t even begin to comprehend is that there is an utter and total war going on. a war that makes all of the wars of the past hundred years look like child’s play. it is the final war for all of the remaining souls who’ve yet to slide off into complete evil, or completely embrace the Christ. they say that in war men bury their sons, and in peace sons bury their fathers. look around you, and tell me which is which. your children are dying sickly sweet deaths of a potent, raging inferno that shows no mercy for them. keep feeding them the lies you think are so cute and harmless, we are happy to assist you with your work.

…from dreams of Gus.

your oldest brother gus has been dead for fifteen years. but, you still have dreams with him in them, having returned home, and displaying his kinder personality as you remember it. you remember the goodness of his soul, and the fact that he was probably more troubled by the demons early life had put in him, than troubled by some true dark stain of evil that could not be eradicated. you expected he would return home one day and get the troubles out of him, and settle down with a family, and write western novels or country music songs. you dreamed about him last night, having come home to the old childhood home, and garry was there, and you knew that roy was there, too, and it was like you were all about the ages you’d have been about ten years ago, had nobody died and everything had been rectified. you were trying to impress gus with the guitar playing you’d learned, and it was late, and you knew that you’d have to go to bed soon or dad would be yelling up at you to keep it down.

sometimes dreams make more sense, they resolve all that has been shattered in life, more readily than these waking hours do.

you hit life with expectations that everything life would throw at you would be filled with some kind of meaning, would resolve itself to being there for a reason. the older you get, the less patient you grow with God to give you some sense of resolution for why life can’t seem to resolve itself more neatly. you’ve long been okay with things not turning out perfectly, as long as there can be some point where you can look back and say, yes, that is why this thing had to happen. it couldn’t be any other way, because the greater plan that spans eons of time is a perfect plan, though this microcosm may appear to be constantly flawed.

but, the greater plan, even a slight outline or shadow of it, appears at times to be just as flawed and meaningless to your eyes. there is no shining city of God waiting for you in which all who’ve gone before will be reunited. you find some days are much harder to hold onto the cross than others.

you could never become like the men around you who have resigned themselves to extracting what little meaning they can from gadgets, sports and poker games, but you often wonder if your own fierce resistance to that way of life is simply prolonging the inevitable, and making you a more lonely, empty soul than you have to be. perhaps you really are just walking in blank oblivion while your atheist friends derive some small nuggets of truth from their trifling life pursuits.

a vision persists inside of you that will not be corrupted by time and all of your mortal shortcomings. a vision of you being great, doing great things, within the walls of a great, immortal city. a city full of treasures that are all of the lost and destroyed books of man as well as all of the other sentient beings from infinite variations on this universe and various other-dimensional planes of being. all of the thoughts and words and histories stored up as treasure for perusal, though God may destroy all that does not glorify him.

you are great in this city for being an entity that persists, and believes, long after other beings have given up their quests and their faith. you expect that one day your dna will be re-worked to be made perfect, and you will be re-assembled as in youth, forever shining and full of grace, but completely empty of the lusts of the flesh that have corrupted you.

you think that maybe sometimes you’ve created the people that pass through your life. a story that you write in your head, fully-fleshed, about you as a winner or you as a loser–and suddenly, there appears this guy on the stage to play that role. he’s not you, but he’s busy saying all the lines and playing all the parts that you were going to. where did this guy come from? he appears all of a sudden, right when you’re on the cusp of securing your place among a new group of friends.

to this day, you retain him as a friend on facebook to see what will become of him. likely nothing, you think, because he was formed out of the nothing of your brain. but, he’s loved for doing nothing, being nothing–all he has to do is post some mopey-eyed instagram picture of himself on his wall, and he’s got a couple dozen likes. you wonder if he came from the devil, a golem sent to taunt you for not completely becoming the image of yourself you created. almost like a kind of punishment–if you refuse to completely turn your back on God after fantasizing about you successfully negotiating a world of man without God, then the devil will create this loopy-brained, non-entity of a man to come and stand in your place and tease you for your cowardice.

you watched him appear out of nowhere, and suddenly rack up hundreds and hundreds of friends. they say he spent a couple years in china, and could speak fluent chinese. he told everyone he was so over that, and wanted to learn web development. the few times you saw him try to make something on the web, he broke it and was woefully inadequate as far as you could tell. but, he knew how to purse his lips and hang his eyes just right to get everyone, guys and girls, on his side. he knew how to throw little jabs at you about your masculinity when no one else was listening. he knew how to mess with your head to try to get you to boil up into a rage and demand what the hell was going on, so he could goofily laugh and deny there being anything wrong, and have everyone else hate you even more than they already did.

he hung out with all the hip twentysomethings in town, though he was only two years younger than you. his name was gus, too, just like your brother’s, but he was nothing like your brother–any of your brothers. he was the epitome of someone you would freely call douche, unless you yourself got to be that someone–the big man on campus, the glib, stealer of hearts and clinker of mugs with various men about town involved in the hippest art and music scenes.

you are thankful to God that you never got the opportunity to be like gus, the magic hipster, that you knew more about life and had more interesting, tragic friends in your twenties than this guy probably ever would. you are finished with knowing any group of people who would be incapable of including those who are very poor, old, mentally feeble or radically different than them in their beliefs. you’d rather be alone than be among the ones who are so exclusive.

…and, autumn clutches you again.

you don’t like walking out there any more in the evenings, though the temperatures are now lovely. your walks were once dream-laden excursions, full of promise and hope of things to come. each lady running by without a ring on her finger could be the one. those hearty, all-american males busy bonding over baseball could be your buddies next week, your colleagues up at the computer factory.

walks became heavy with shards of memories rich and full. you can’t write like you used to, because memories are all like that, now. you catch a whiff of something from the past, and you can smell the mildew on the windowsill of the old college library and trace your finger in dust, feeling the ice chill from the poorly weatherproofed vanes reach you and make you want to sleep.

you can catch a lung full of potent, cheap cigarette smoke from the one you’ve bummed off of andrea or karen or dennis, and feel the stab of a grand glass of bourbon swirling around with the nicotene that promises profound thoughts and discussions that will take you places like new york city.

if you concentrate hard enough, you can feel the missouri chill cut deeper into than austin ever did and smell rotting leaves in abundance in the air while boys and girls scream over football, and you pretend you’ll one day toss back an errant ball with a coach declaring you’ve got the best arm of anyone he’s ever seen. you can feel the polyester of your band pants chafing your thighs, and catch a sideways, hateful glance of gillian stendall who seemed more repulsed by your acne than even the mean kids on the bus.

you don’t like to walk outside in autumn, because autumn is the season your life is fast approaching. you might be on the threshold of a grand, extended indian summer, but you don’t know.

you don’t like to walk outside in autumn for the same reason you avoid mirrors as much as you can these days, and don’t spend a lot of time looking down at yourself and wondering what you’ve become. you like the thought of being other people in other places, in times far removed from this one.

people of your time and place seem to have no selves bigger than their fleshy representations. they don’t reel in vast seas of pleasant and disturbing memories and dreams, and possess simple, realistic goals–goals you, too are learning to set, because nobody can really achieve the immortal goals of being and knowing almost everything.

who are you? you ask a man or woman when you meet them. you ask it again and again, and you let their words and words between words tell you what you need to know. a scant few have eyes that say they see so much more than what is before them, but these are very few. who are you? you’ve asked your own self too many times to count, and gotten back nothing more or less than a quiet boy saying goodbye to his neighborhood cat friend one late summer day back in 1982 in colorado. a quiet youth happy to feed, water and exercise horses and clean their stables. a sad young man trying to find a way out of his grief through endless nights of bars and liquor stores, hating the dark, but hating the light for no longer letting his little brother live in it.

who are you? a face that nobody responds well to. a voice that cracks and mutters. a pair of red eyes thick with burning from staring too intently at a world they once saw.

when will time travel be possible? are you disobeying God’s own will by craving to reach back with your entire being and insert yourself into a much younger you in a much different world, and change things around? of course, you’d change millions of lives. the butterfly effect, perhaps, but then maybe you’d warn the world of 9/11. radically altered lives. babies born from the courses of millions of lives set by world patterns, and then babies who would never exist, were you to change these patterns.

you might inadvertently take the life of someone you love, causing them to be on the road ten minutes sooner or later than they should have been. who knows?

it’s a pretty selfish thing to want to go back in time and try to change yourself, to make yourself more wonderful and successful, and avoid so much of the awful friendships and relationships that dragged you into mucky pits of self hatred.

you might try to date susan parker. what if she rejects you utterly and completely, and you find your life is only different by degree, with maybe a few exceptions?

you want some kind of superpower, though. you want to have some special ability that makes you greater than the b+ average student you’ve always been, that makes you a rockstar, a leader, a hero. you want to invent something, or save an important person’s life, or solve an intractable math problem, or discover a combination of mantra chanting, breathing, natural supplements and writing that send your brain soaring into supergenius levels. you want to be like matt damon in good will hunting.

you want famous and important people to call upon you.

you want to be llike harry potter–everyone declares with awe and reverence your name when you are introduced, but you didn’t have to do a damn thing to earn it, except be born, be chosen, be special.

but, of course, you’ll settle.

you’ll settle for the illusion of being someone great–just a couple of kids and a wife who think you’re all right. maybe a footnote in a textbook with your name and a link to more information about you. heck, you’ll skip the recognition if you alone can receive the vision, and live the vision, possess the vision, be the vision.

and autumn reminds you that you are too old for all of that. that you are among the gray-painted slobs too fearful to stand out, too ready to play it safe, too scared to stick around and push the envelope and walk out on the ledge. you have secured a safe, pleasant sort of life, and you can hope to build collections of things and memories, and squirrel away a trove of books and papers, but you can’t hope to know the famous and the chosen, much less be one of them.