Residual | Part 1

residual | part 1

joy

sunrise sanctuary

joy: it’s a funny thing. you think at first
it’s meant to burst
like fireworks in the velvet sky

but it looks more like a mountain stretching high,
cracking the air we breathe –

and it’s we who choose to stay in its midst
or to leave.

it’s happiness that’s the hummingbird,
purring with its whizzing wings,
self-satisfied with the nectar it brings,
but never sits and never sings —
just flees, sans a word.

joy. it’s a path which must be chosen. it is steady, it is frozen
between all that the monkeymind desires.
those choices common man (you, I) admires.

how could a soul ever deviate?
we’ve got to look beyond
our past — our fate.

else we’ll die as potted plants do : staring at a wall.

because

while cognition oft wants to kill,
it’s love
that conquers
all.

*

joy_collage1

If one pattern of thinking has ever kept me from moving on, it’s that of how something was supposed to be or feel.  And never more so than when everlasting happiness was supposed to be the result.

I’m not trying to be a curmudgeon here. I like bliss. I like euphoria. They are not purposeless. Yet how sudden they are in their ebb and flow; it’s borderline cruel.

And I’ve found it to be particularly more so when it comes to putting the weight of expectation on how achievements should deliver those feelings. The ecstasy that’s supposed to be there — if success and recognition are the only end goals, and doing the thing that leads you there for its own sake is not enough — does not come.

Is ecstasy what any of us really wants most, though? What I mean is, the ‘buzz’ — the ‘rev’ — is fun. But maybe it’s not necessarily supposed to last.

I’ve decided, personally, it’s a gentle sense of well-being I actually crave: something slower in coming, and less dependent on circumstance. Yet somehow, maybe, it is more meaningful.

Maybe I’m not alone in that?

And I could call what makes it flow by its chemical name, sure, but sometimes I wonder if it — if joy — runs deeper than that.

*

Changes, mayhaps

bythewater

The name of this blog has always, to me, been about living in the balance between planning and improvisation—about finding a harmony between practicality and spontaneity. I’m not always good at marrying the two (really, it rarely happens, I fall more into the former camp in both instances), but I’ve seen a lot of magic happen when the two approaches are allowed to exist together, for me and for others.

So I’m using that as justification for attempting to steer this site in a different direction. Only a slightly different one, mind, but I thought doing so deserved a post (assuming, lol, that anyone is reading this).

What is it we are trying to do when we write? What is it we want? To express ourselves? To tell stories? To seek connection, or some semblance of immortality, or something deeper? Or is it all of the above?

Does it matter what avenue we take to sate this craving? And what is the purpose of sharing the words that flow from us? This thing we call the Internet is a bona fide means of doing so every second—a fountain of letters and numbers and words upon words upon words. Why, with this in mind, does anyone write at all?

(and hasn’t that particular question been asked and answered thousands of times?)

There are ideas and thoughts to be shared, to be sure. There is information to be distributed. There are opinions to be stated.

And yet, with all of this filtering out through every paragraph that is displayed on a screen or printed on a page, I find that there is still not enough understanding in the world. Of ourselves, and of one another. Talk of worldly and cultural divides is sort of a daily phenomenon lately. Yet there are, too, many divides within us.

How do we begin to bridge those gaps? It seems an impossible task. Yet there is no shortage of ways, most of them involving, yes, words. Stories. Poetry. Movies. Video. Music. Podcasts. Theatre.

Maybe these outlets are where we go to escape, but they are also where we end up confronted with ourselves, if we are so open to the possibility. This is not a profound idea; it’s probably spoken to much more eloquently at the Oscars and/or in AP English classes. But it’s still valid, and it still means something, and I would like this space to be one that has such purpose and possibility. One that features not only my own work of that nature, but also that of others’, and of their unique perspectives.

Hence this change. I have a renewed certainty that the only enemy in the world is neither the self nor the other, but rather, fear. And when we work to eradicate it, we do more than we realize. We make it possible for new stories to be told, and create a sense of hope and light—of understanding and of possibility.

So, all this is to say: creative hope that navigates the chaos. That’s what I want Mayhaps to mean. Mayhaps it will, sooner than later.

[And all that said: first project soon to come!]

A sense of place

We moved a few weeks ago. Moving, to me, is exciting – in spite of the obvious stress I let it breed. Moving, to me, is yet another chance to start over. Even moving a half-mile offered this feeling of newness, this electric sense of change. Even if, as they say, no matter where you go, there you are.

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Walking through my new neighborhood lately has left me with a new perspective on this. What I mean is: there has been a constant thread in my life of wanting to be somewhere other than I am. I’ve dreamt of it, been thrilled to anticipate it. You could call it wanderlust, or a rabid desire to reclaim a wasted youth, or anything else that is probably is.

Problem is, occasionally this has even happened while living somewhere gorgeous, unreal, and enviable. Even there, somehow I allow the sense of new, of now, of appreciation to slip away.

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To an extent, this is simply the way of familiarity. The Pinterest-led desire to find the next shiny new spot, and the Instagram-soaked sense of wanderlust, are deceptive. It is easy to want to see an entire city or town through the eyes a single snapshot tends to lend. But as you know, if you’ve even once been a tourist or encountered one, snapshots are only windows – mere second-long slices of yearlong realities.

But there’s a way of looking at an old city with new eyes. Richmond, with its old age and new, youthful pulse, has its own personality, but is also a kindred spirit to many other blossoming places in this country. (Both Portlands, for sure.) The houses hearken to another time, I think as I walk down Ellwood Avenue, but there is activity that brings us all to this time, and there is promise, and potential.img_0710

There is an open vegetable garden nearby. It’s part of a local community gardening initiative, and people – neighbors, really – maintain its plots year-round. It reminds me that beauty can be found in what is so usual if one only chooses to look.

Richmond is, maybe, teaching me to see all things as they are, and to see the city in its many different colors, in both its beauty and ugliness and history and present and what’s-next. Maybe it is similar to Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine, and Louisville, Kentucky, and so on.

But maybe it is also uniquely itself, and I can appreciate and bask in that for now.

All this is to say – thanks for being you, Richmond.