Did it begin with this blog, did it begin ten years ago? What moment of what decision can I state unequivocally that the new narrative began? Or is it yet to begin even still? I could suggest that the new narrative begins each time I sit down to write inside a fresh, white WYSIWYG box. Maybe it will begin with my newborn son arriving in the world.
My new narrative definitely doesn’t include bellyaching about the past. Whining about the way others mistreated me, or what someone said or did fifteen years ago that hurt my feelings and was just plain wrong, is an activity for some other blog, but not this one. I have to apologize if that whining has come up on this blog, because it’s not supposed to.
More recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that my new narrative isn’t about making plans, predictions and prophecies, either. Of course, I have a sense of the future, and that sense is always one of hard times. But, I thought for sure that the passing of the Patriot Act would end my life as I knew it, and that the Iraq War would turn Bush into a dictator. I was just plain wrong about this. So, when I hear people go on and on about how terrible Obama is, I tend to think that he’s probably not much better or worse than Bush was. Which is to say, that overall, both did what they had to do, and it hasn’t always looked like what your or I would have done if we were in the driver’s seat. I think I will be okay with the next President being Rand Paul or being Hillary Clinton. I’d be a little concerned if the President were Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, but I’m okay with Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. Frankly, I just don’t care as much as I used to about any of it.
My new narrative isn’t about me as a political man, or me as a man with an overarching plan to one day publish the Great American Novel, or one day finally realize my dream of running a marathon or having people stop by my tent at an art fair and purchase my paintings. I don’t want to make plans that I know I can’t keep. No more schedules, and reporting back on what I did in the last hour. But, my new narrative isn’t about me going back to sleep, either. Far from it.
I want to always be on, all the time, even when I’m physically sleeping. I want to be perpetually stuck in a mode of creating, writing, pushing outward instead of living the role of the passive consumer. Even when I’m watching a movie or reading a book, I want my mind to be actively engaged–turned on, pushing outward, making stuff, even if it’s not very good stuff. Does this mean I will start to appear to be a graphomaniac? Probably, but probably only slightly more so than I already do.
The vision is one of me, the true me, the core incorruptible Self, being this spirit from a greater Universe of higher dimensions infused and trapped inside a corrupt body and corrupt, limited world. I’m here to get an education, but I’m also here to leave something behind. As much as I possibly can, I must leave behind my scratching evidence on the walls of the dark cave, but also leave as much of an imprint of this place etched upon my incorruptible Self–a Self that is but a tiny point of light immersed in the sea of the Great Light that is the Lord. In the process, I must cease all thoughts related to harming others. No matter what others do to me, I can’t create negative, destructive energy. I only act in violence to defend my family, and I do this impartially, without malice to the other human being, whose acts of violence impinging upon me and my family are either born out of a purely animal nature, or born out of a demonic presence. If it’s the former, then carrying more than the minimal amount of self defense in my violent response will turn me into an animal as well. If it’s the latter, then I will be sucked into the ways of the demonic, which I know of all too well, when vengeance courses through my head and heart.
But in all honesty, I hope to never be tested or tried in such a situation. Rather, it’s simply stated as part of this pseudo-manifesto so that it is clear that while I’m a man with a wife and child I can’t act as a completely pacific monk.
The new narrative is largely about none of this, thank God. The new narrative is about being more awake. Each moment contains the will and effort to become more awake than the last. The new narrative is about accepting God’s grace and appreciating it, and also accepting God’s will if it must mean that I am not living my life precisely as I envisioned. The new narrative sees the conscious Self acting like a gestural artist, constantly scratching with the mind against the surface of this 3Dspace+1Dtime universe, while allowing for generous canvas space to reside inside to actively etch upon the soul the lessons that must be learned from living out my life as a human being, and a man of the 21st century.
The new narrative is a fusion of art, writing, existence and consciousness to become an almost new sort of being, a being unlike the one I was yesterday or years gone by. In those years, existence was simply carried out on autopilot, and oftentimes actions took place simply to gratify the flesh or make me feel good while believing I was doing God’s will. The new narrative is full of gratitude and prayer. The activities I will be doing a year from now will hopefully look quite different–I will not longer be employed in a relationship that is mostly one that sees me as a commodity in the modern capitalist marketplace. But if I am still generating an income as such, I will accept my role humbly, instead of waking up each Monday morning to scream at God for a better profession.
I refuse to make a one-year plan, and certainly not a five-year plan, because I have come to the conclusion that such activity fits me poorly, like a bad suit. Planning and goal-setting may be essential for others, and work wonders for them, but for me, these things only lead to unhappiness and guilt over everything I am not doing to contribute toward realization of the plan. When I die, the things I want to leave behind are mostly made of words, and not the things my children would want to sell in an estate sale. Such things can be created and realized at any time of day or night, and require very little in the way of income to make them appear.
I don’t seek to increase my vocabulary, or write beyond what is my level of education and intelligence. If I use a word, it means I am over 80% sure of the meaning, and would feel comfortable using the word in conversation with a stranger. I don’t need to embark upon a specialized path of study and writing. I think the value of my words, if there is any, will come from me speaking plainly and clearly, rather than seeing me attempt to emulate some great, dead philosopher.
The new narrative may not have begun yet, or perhaps it began with this post. Maybe it will begin on the day I am no longer employed in a full-time role, which will be a first in fifteen years. In spite of my lack of certainty about what the new narrative is or when it will begin, I am dead serious about bringing it forth, and using it to shape and mold me to make me a better person. The lack of structure is most decidedly not an indication that this is simply a hobby or a man in a mid-life crisis “playing around with words.” The lack of structure is there to maximize the amount of words that will come forth, and reduce the friction created by too many arbitrary boundaries.
The intense focus will be, if it’s not already crystal clear, on my own self and its movement in this world. The usefulness of this new narrative to others in the sense of the time-honored self help manual, may be limited or non-existent. This is not an accident. The time of taking my own personal struggles and character flaws and trying to turn them into a universal human condition where I recall flawed individuals I knew or create straw men to knock down–that time is pretty much over. Others are living their lives the way they see fit, doing with their time what they will, and so shall I.