Dying to Live

Lights of the Soul

I die every day.

Every day, I die… just a little, letting go of pieces of me which no longer serve a purpose. I must die daily if I am to make room for more. I suppose the “finale” is somewhat the same. This life, this plane of existence, concludes with a shedding of that which is no longer necessary for the evolution of self. What is the point of being, if not to evolve?

While parts are fragile, not all of them can be easily discarded. Some fight to survive, no matter what the costs. Such is the bane of humanity. We are what we are… because of what we don’t let go of. We can become so much more… because of our freedom to choose to let go.

Therein lies the concept of “life comes from death” … not burial, though, but cremation. When we bury what we no longer need, it eventually rises again to haunt us, to chase us down and overcome us when we least expect. Burial is a covering up. But to give the spirit power to set flames to the proverbial flesh and singe out the lesser self… well, that is how life transcends, when ashes begin to transform into fruit..

Let me clean this up a bit. “Death” and “cremation” sound like a finite ending to existing, but that is not my meaning. I am only speaking of an ending in perspective, in self-realization, in world truth as it pertains to the elevation of thought, emotion, and nature. Outside of that prescript, nothing truly dies. Energy transfers from one form to another. We are energy. And when we release that which drains us…that which takes up significant space with insignificant matters… and that which muddies the waters of our fluid, ever-evolving design; we provide room for growth, expansion… transcendence.

Living is this process. It is the active engagement of all of our senses striving to realize the divinity of our higher selves. My son views life as planes of existence which compose the whole of the universal God (whatever you may call Divinity). Depending on where you started, where you’ve been, and how quickly you evolve (and we all have differing capacities at various stages of the spectrum); you occupy part of the universal body of Divinity, either closer to the feet (flesh-based) or closer to the head (spirit-based), for simplicity’s sake. He has an engineering mind, so I find his conceptual outlook rather intriguing. He views physical death as neither a fixed occurrence nor a rebirth experience, but rather a transferring of energy from one form to another, and whether you transfer higher, lower, or make a lateral move simply depends on your level of conscious development at the time your current reality ceases and becomes your next reality. As such, death is not an end, but a means for moving on.

Taking Inventory

I am infinitely more than flesh and bones.
I am infinitely more…

Deeply valuing the energies which compose me; I hold myself to a high standard. But mainly, I just hold myself. For, as much as I am infinitely more than flesh and bones; I am still flesh and bones… and they are a heavy load.

Flesh and bones tempt me to live as “I am,” to carry the weight of merely existing until this life passes. Living as “I am” fosters a – putting up with – perspective which prods the soul to get by via any feasible means until the end is realized. But to live as “more than I am” is to utilize this life as a means to elevate myself and others. It charges the soul with facilitating growth toward transitioning to a higher existence. Walking the jagged path between living as “I am” and living as “more than I am” makes for a rigorous journey. Choosing to be more is a formidable choice. In as much as I strive to keep it all together, I must occasionally fall apart. I must be reminded that I am still in progress. I must stay connected to my mortality, but be careful not to lose myself to it. Taking inventory is necessary.

I check in regularly to ask myself, “Am I living to die or dying to live?” Which is in control at any given moment, the flesh or the spirit? Am I maintaining the desired balance? The answer is never straightforward. How can it be? … as I am flawed from breath to breath, and to achieve progress in this process requires labor on every level. Still, I try. I try intently to see beyond the chaos. I try intensely to feel past the reaction. I try diligently to transfer negative energy into positive energy. I try wholeheartedly to nurture this very basis of ascension. I try quite earnestly to show up as a constant in the ebb and flow – a constant in dying to truly realize living: dying to self to uplift others; dying to fear to embrace freedom; dying to temptation to reinforce integrity; dying to lust to exalt love… In short, I endeavor to die to my lower self in order to empower my higher self.

To empower the higher self is to reflect a depth of truth, light, freedom, genuineness, love, and power which expands without end and permeates everyone and everything around us. The universe as a whole is elevated when we empower our higher selves.

The Deeper Dichotomy

Be divinely human.

Dying to live is not hard. The soul is impassioned by our desire to be more, by our need to manifest purpose, by our hope to live altruistically, by our longing to be love and experience love in its highest form. When we are spiritually motivated, every struggle is worthwhile and contributes to achieving ultimate fulfillment. Dying to live nurtures our divinity and is deeply fulfilling.

Dying to live is not easy. The soul is challenged by our aptitude to settle for less, by our willingness to submit to circumstance, by our craving for immediate gratification, by our tendency to live in fear and attribute love to everything it is not. When we constantly gravitate toward our carnal natures, temptations appear more satisfying than any eternal growth. Dying to live ostracizes our humanity and is quite lonely.

The journey is not the same for any two of us; and yet, we are all affected by these threads in some form or fashion, directly or indirectly, for better or for worse – we are all connected in our divinity, in our humanity, and in our unique paths of development. How we manage the dichotomy of our existence is paramount in defining our lives, as well as the progression of collective mankind.

Finding Balance

I am flawed from breath to breath.
Breathing is significant.

Managing this existence is about finding the right balance internally. It requires breathing in what is needed and breathing out what is not. Maintaining the proper flow of energy is crucial to being centered and focused. However, the balance between inhaling and exhaling can be tricky… if I remember to breathe at all.

Often, when circumstances get intense, I forget to exhale. I draw in deeply and hold. One would think so… but breathing doesn’t always come naturally. Our complex biological design gets tripped up by the esoteric, and the “in and out” reflex becomes stifled. The floodgates open to receive all the stuff… the endless waves of stuff… and failing to employ tributary exits can cause a drowning out of healthy responses and spiritual connections. The spirit must breathe to survive; not physically breathe, but constantly manage the transfer of energy.

We take in so much. The volume is so massive that our hearts and minds become entwined in continuously assessing, judging, feeling, comparing, defending, and ultimately fostering unilateral perspectives; which, in turn, cause us to lose objectivity, understanding, tolerance, forgiveness, and the ability to consider that all perspectives reflect personal realities that differ from our own. Only through such consideration can we even begin to relate to one another.

But, we take in so much. We become consumed in the processing, paranoid in the vetting. We measure morality with our hearts; what feels good and what feels bad shape our compass for navigating life on our own terms. Our minds analyze and break down everything based on these persuasions. When something wondrous or tragic overcomes our circumstance, the common response is an accelerated pulse of emotions; a flood of thoughts and reactions; and an overwhelming sense of anxiousness. When we inhale too much, whether quickly and all at once or slowly over time, and do not allow ourselves to properly manage the intake and release; our ability to thrive freezes up. And, our capacity for destruction multiplies. We start living to survive each moment. In other words, we start living to die.

All of it matters.
Therefore, none of it matters.

How, then, can we manage to experience life as more than a sentence to survive when life hurls so many conditions our way? How can we live without seizing up in so many moments that our journey reads like a lifetime practice of suffocating? The soul must be groomed in altruistic indifference.

Indifference is not a dirty word if it is applied to the relativity of all things. There are a universal place and purpose for everything which exists, regardless of what we think, feel, or believe. If something were not meant to be, it wouldn’t be. Whether we comprehend the reason for any person or condition taking up any portion of time or space, is irrelevant. It all matters. It all generates cause and effect toward an unknown end, but – ideally – a greater one. Therefore, the truest form of understanding is indifference.

I am not referring to the stereotype of indifference, which is marked by stoicism, and often cynicism. What I am referring to is the recognition of life as ebb and flow… a rise and fall of extremes, and everything in between… a consciousness of all that is subjectively fleshed out by the influences of humanity’s singular self-vision. The soul must be trained to see outward and inward simultaneously, embracing the relevance of all and accepting that the only “control” one has is over the energy one personally projects throughout existence. This energy defines one’s quality of life and how one’s life will impact others. Accordingly, we are compelled to think, feel, and believe to play our parts; but we can do so far more effectively once we recognize the relevance of all parts in the grander scheme and free ourselves from suffocating under the misnomer that we have power over anything other than ourselves.

When we know and understand what we can and cannot control, we develop the potential to become a positive force of life.

Sustaining Peace

Be the eye of the storm.

We are surrounded by chaos – worldwide, nationally, regionally, locally, personally, and spiritually. Each of our lives is affected by the storms of existence in one way or another, by a few or many. How we live and how we leave this life depends on how we relate to these storms.

My life, for one, has the advantage of having been infused with all aspects of the storm throughout my journey. I was born into the storm: lost in it; judged by it; controlled by it; abused and abandoned by its many twists and turns, faces and places, truths and lies; and so, I know its suffering well. I have been the storm: unleashing my powerful spin; outpouring my drops of fury; devouring that which has blocked my path; and so, I know its temper, as well.

Having experienced both the aftermath of suffering through storms and the discontent of affecting them; I’ve learned to attain peace by keeping the highs high and the lows low while navigating my spirit through the center. It isn’t a matter of numbing myself to the fluctuations, but rather completely encompassing them all, so that I can become the balance… so that I can be the eye of the storm – the quiet, watchful place which embodies security, strength, and stability, regardless of the surrounding circumstances.

A Complex Choice

Interestingly, the seldom occupied eye of the storm tends to be the most envied; the least understood; the space both desired and rejected at once; and the very center of attraction for everything it is not. It is a complex position to hold.

To be the eye of the storm in life, exhaling is imperative. Chaos and destruction must be released into the periphery. Calming, embracing, loving energy must be retained at the core. Living this life with universal purpose requires constant breathing in and breathing out to facilitate a deeper awareness of self and others.

Dying daily to the unnecessary is crucial to spiritual peace, relevancy, and growth. I choose to live and die and live this way… in hopes that my soul and all that it touches rises in the body of Divinity.

Image credit – http://www.serraphim.com

I AM…

Truth revealed through a tender heart
The hands shaping wounds into works of art
Eyes that see beauty in the deepest of flaws
Who gives hope to every hopeless cause
Foundation when everything trembles around
What lifts your spirit when you’ve lost ground
The Rock of Ages in your sinking sands
A quiet still voice against the world’s demands
Maker of ways when there’s no way out
Reason for believing when filled with doubt
The light of salvation when you’ve given up
The end of thirst when you drink from my cup
Everything good beneath your broken view
Love, the Creator, and I dwell within you

This is more than a declaration of my spiritual beliefs. Each statement above represents each individual’s capacity to receive and give and BE love. There is a way to convey truth that isn’t harmful, threatening or hurtful in its delivery and intent. While some express an ease in living in denial or ignorance; this perspective is disingenuous to one’s true being. Truth isn’t always welcome, and it often travels on airs of subjectivity, causing the hearer to tune out. However, whether the hearer is someone else or you, learning to deliver and receive and BE truth is necessary to realizing a life of integrity.

Everyone is wounded. Everyone has hidden parts. Often, we sacrifice the fullness of life by constantly licking those wounds or hiding behind those secret places of hurt and insecurity. Overcoming isn’t about ignoring or forgetting; it’s about learning, reshaping and offering a testimony. What good is any pain if you do not grow from it? What good are your past experiences, if they are not used to help others going through similar trials? The key word being “good”… what “good” can come of the bad you’ve known?

Love is blind. No, it is not! Love sees all, and accepts all for what it is. Yes, we want the best for and of ourselves and those we care about… some of us even want the best for and of the world at large. But let’s be honest, nothing in this life is perfect (whatever perfect means). Criticism reigns within and without on so many levels, as this world dictates a clone mentality… look like this… think like that… measure your being up against the skew of a few. Beautiful is what makes you – YOU. What makes you special… physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually… is that which defines your unique contribution to the universe. Sameness is like listening to an orchestra and hearing only one note.

Who or what is your “go to” when you feel defeated? They say misery loves company. Well, I know nothing draws out darkness like light; it draws it and drowns it with hope and stability, pouring out a reassurance which lets you know that you will survive the sinking ship. Some are blessed to have others in their lives who serve as a rock; others are blessed to be that rock; and, many can only find the source of comfort they need beyond humanity’s angels. If you don’t have a source of uplifting… reach out, because there is ALWAYS someone willing to share joy with another’s heart.

Be still my aching heart. There is holiness in being still, in bringing peace to all the beating impulses of the mind and body. We often want to run, act, react, force, move, control… and in those desires, we lose our center. Rashness and anxiousness take over and master our wills and senses as we stand in defensiveness against the world. But in the stillness… in the calm… in the meditation… in the prayer… in the soothing whisper of a loved one, we can regain composure, perspective and presence. We must remember to carry a stillness within to balance the chaos among us.

Some believe in karma, while others see no consequence. Some believe everything happens for a reason, while others believe in chance. Some believe in free will, while others believe in destiny. Some believe in judgment. Some believe in nothing at all. Most, I think, believe in some combination of these. My faith rests in the guidance and protection of my God, Yahweh, while others define the Creator in other ways, if they, in fact, believe in a Creator. Even for the non-spiritual, however, there has to be a driving force internally or externally which prods one to persevere. Perhaps it is the human condition for them. I know, for me, too many miracles have occurred… too many paths have been uncovered… too many chances have been bestowed… too many tragedies have been survived… too many endings have been avoided… and too many unimaginable blessings have adorned my life for me to not believe in something greater than myself… greater than humanity… greater than this world.

This world confines, speaks doubt and negativity, and finds ways to extinguish the spirit of innocence and altruism. And yet, here we are. You and I, he and she, us and them… constantly fighting to reveal something beautiful, engaging, inspiring, and evolving… something so much more than what exists on the surface of existence. In as much as God is here for me, I am here for you, and you are here for someone else. We are all capable of leading someone else somewhere better; and, through the process, will find ourselves improved.

Everlasting life in His cup… the salvation of His sacrifice… the goodness He creates from our falls and failures… yes, these are my beliefs… my mantras… my “self-talk.” How similar or dissimilar these are from other faiths, I do not know. I do know that LOVE in and of itself is life giving. I do know that sharing LOVE with others is contagious and has brought many souls out of isolation and suffering. I do know that LOVE has seen through the dark, ugly and hateful, and has transformed hardened hearts and vexatious minds into completely new spirits of joy and abundance. I do know the power of LOVE… in God… in myself… and in you.

Challenge for Growth Prompt #5: I Am Love

Averted

Crushing this rushing of desire; this
thirst of a heart on fire… running renegade,
compromising empires where altruistic gains
fall lame to crippling wants; where
the weight of sacrificial tithes daunt ’til
all feelings become numb.
Suppressing the stressing of the
center of one, when grounded loses to
dumbfounded in the fog of disheveled sun –
no longer shining in the twining of rays
misdirected, beams affected by the
neutralizing force of energy’s first clause;
there’s no applause for lost place.
Course correct to brace oneself for the
race of all time; floating soul against
sprinting mind, with pace car labeled
“I want mine” always perpetrating its cause.
How will eternity define one’s presence;
the cost analysis of one’s essence…
Captured in the rapture of self set high, or
Freed upon the wings of an angel’s uprise?
There’s no surprise in tempered living; only
seeing and forgiving; only
ends and new beginnings inside
this perpetual cocoon, where soon is
relative to temperament and doom is
realized through sentiment and formidable truth is
the echo no one wants to hear.
No more fear masked in its vices, wearing
shades of our own devices, hoping
next time ’round the will won’t be averted.
In and out these breaths are measured,
holding fast to spirit’s treasures; knowing
life by way of desire leaves much deserted.

For Dungeon Prompts: Desire.  I’m a week late on this one (sorry). I’ve been traveling (still am), but had a window of down time at the airport. 🙂

The Other

And then there were four…
maybe more.

An angel dipped in vixen’s smile
A pixie lodged in Heaven’s meanwhile
When I am we and
we are she, and
all these truths are simply me,
fighting pasts so future’s free

A hidden heart upon my sleeve
This wounded soul without reprieve
Baring little and
giving all, and
smiling as the guillotines fall,
turning oft’ from the wretches’ call

A fallen spirit which bounces back,
still laying low neath doubt’s attack
Letting go and
holding tight, and
though I’ve won, I lose this fight;
a day’s victory that weeps at night

Looking out to go which way
I mustn’t pause, and yet I stay
One foot out and
one foot in, and
every end is where I begin,
losing sight of enemy and friend

I cannot measure; I am no judge,
but at this core is always a nudge
I know right and
I know wrong, and
still I question this depth of song;
an ego so weak, a passion so strong

Quietly pacing sophistication’s floor
Clinging to beats ‘til sound plays no more
Shish this mind and
scream this soul, and
bite this tongue to shield my core,
while spirit runs wild forevermore

For Dungeon Prompts: Introducing the Alter Ego

I have a rather diverse personality, and am not one to necessarily “hide” who I am, other than for the relevance of context. I won’t be the dancing wild child at work or the rigid supervisor during service or the reclusive loner in a close relationship or the sensual partner without a betrothed… and, still, I am all of these and many more dichotomies. Perhaps the thing I always am is a nurturer… a fixer… the one who wants to make all things right; but I even tire of that innate calling, at times. Sometimes, my “kum ba ya” becomes “go over there… please!” Ha-ha. Well, I don’t know if I’m necessarily revealing much. As an all or nothing person, my “all” isn’t necessarily everything and my “nothing” is far from empty… so, make of it what you will. 🙂

Teeter

teeter_n2pub_credit

This silly world of ups and downs,
grasping for earth and clouds
in disproportionate measure;
fiening for frivolous work and
intensified pleasures.
Where is the weight of existence
when hearts are heavier than
the feathery disposition of mind-kind?
Man is but thought and flesh,
losing soul in the center,
casting out his Inventor for the
adulteration of both.
Full scope narrows as the
cascading of false joys smother;
tethering one lie to another, and so
we suffocate in the smokescreen
that holds our baited breath.
Drawing in deeply upon the
staleness of – this is all –
and there life falls into the void.
Who is left annoyed by this
emptiness of being, this
looking without seeing, this
thinking without knowing, this
taking without needing, this
acting without feeling?
Treachery is breeding, while
balance flees its cause, leaving
today’s teeter in the shadow
of tomorrow’s cost.

Image credit: n2pub.com

This Labor

Heart to the grindstone…
There’s no void to fill,
only the struggle of human will.
Levitation is heavy in this
soul-dropping plane of existence.
Beyond any repentance –
the unforgiving gavel of
the daily unravel.
Sizing up situations with the
skins I tailor:
dressing down victories and
dressing up failures, but these
shoes never change.
The tread is long and light.
I wear this fight
in the ease of my stride, while the
bleed of my tears tell me
I’m still alive.
From the gritty beginnings, to the
forums of scholars; from
praying for ends, to the
giving of dollars; from the
shelter of nana and her teachings
of Zion, to the
innocence of love lost in the
dens of the lions…
This rounding out of “here”
drives my spirit to “there” and
I feel, but don’t flinch anymore.
What’s more, my falls don’t sink,
even when death seems like
more than a blink –
I linger in the quiet place,
‘til rise reintroduces itself by grace.
I work hard at this balance;
this artful toil of being present
where my body belongs, but
the rest of me doesn’t.
Lowly peasant teetering
beneath this diadem of glory;
like Hephzibah’s story –
Desolate form lost in this world;
evoking a light only God can unfurl.
Wielding His beacon, as darkness I roam;
this labor of life paves the way to my home.

In response to Dungeon Prompts: Hard Work, What Does It Mean To You?

To me… physical labor, service to others, motherhood, spiritual growth, career development, and living with integrity… are all necessary, valuable, “doable” elements of life. And by “doable” I mean… very manageable for me, without too much difficulty, given my natural inclinations toward each area. The “hard work” comes in when one must balance everything meaningful to one’s life without cracking under the pressure and breaking into pieces of uselessness that no one else can be held accountable for because… well… all the pressure came from myself; my own desire to excel at everything and let no one down. We measure ourselves constantly… in our minds, in our circles, in our societies. We size up our intellect, cleverness, humor, brawn, adeptness, victories, failures, likability, uniqueness, sameness, and so on. Even the lazy have a slothful scale of comparison. No matter how much or how little you do; how much or how little you have; and how much or how little you care, I believe life is contextually challenging. Life itself is the hard work; the adding and subtracting of the relevance and impact of experiences and circumstances through the tunnel vision of human eyes. And for those of us who relish in spiritual elevation; life is all the more intense, but in a peacefully centered way. I have been fortunate enough to walk down many trails in this lifetime. The culmination of societal extremes rests squarely in my mind’s eye and my heart’s understanding; and I would be a lesser person if I didn’t embrace this blessing. So, while I do complain often about the injustice within my bubble… it is only dust babbling. My soul can’t count high enough to tally all the good I have known. I am ever grateful for this labor of life.