Born to be a man of the cloth: A poem

Born to be a man of the cloth,

Forever Lost in childhood wonder,

In joyous merriment,

Laughing on a royal parapet;

At comfort and peace in ancient abbies,

Hearing prayers for the royal family,

Wishing for life in a monastery;

We all seem to worship services,

Giving them names like religion, sports, celebrities, family.
Born to be a man of the cloth,

Choosing, instead, to live amongst the throngs,

Tempted by love to veer off the path,

The path which points to Life where the cloth is laid out on another sphere.

— Rick Hill, Sunday, 14th August 2016

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Once

We tend to capture moments like photographs, snapshots of time.

And so it was that two moments — the moment I thought I’d never have contact with my friend again and the moment we reconnected — connected.

The first moment manifested itself physically — heart palpitations, headaches, sudden hearing loss, panic, fear.

The second moment did, too.

The headache patterns changed and hearing returned to my left ear (or, rather, the new tinnitus patterns disappeared and my eardrum stopped rattling).  My heart stopped skipping beats.  I stopped sighing frequently.

With a plenitude, multitude, variety of friends, every one contributes to my health.

With seven-plus billion of us and our ecosystem, my health is a dependent set of states of energy.

I won’t say with certainty that I depend on no one.

What I can say is I depend on everyone to a certain extent.

Why do some have a greater effect on my health than others, I have not figured out.

Perhaps we are more chemically attuned to some?

In times past, I have couched a specific condition of my set of states of energy in terms of romantic love, following the footsteps of the great troubadours of old (even one who might also have been an old troubadour/trobairitz).

One learns that such terms, although entertaining to the masses, do not always apply to a state machine that encompasses more than physical attraction between two humans.

Not to say romantic love does not exist, simply to clarify one comes to grips with greater understanding of one’s place in the universe.

As our circles grow, as our sets of subsets include more members, we grow.

Children chasing each other in a playground, squirrels chasing each other in the forest — what lesson does one learn as a future Moon/Mars resident from watching young mammals at play?

A crow hops from branch to branch, squawking.  Other birds join the conversation, chirping.  A squirrel hisses.

Farther away, a hawk perches on a highest tree limb.

Another day in the woods, a bright, sunny morning.

A feast for meditative eyes, all of this year contributing to two humans spending about a year in near-Earth orbit, landing on the plains of Kazakhstan in the past 24 hours with another space traveler.

What do the dried seedpods of the ironweed that annually (should I say perennially?) grows at the corner of the sunroom have to do with two moments shared with a friend?

Forthwith, I shall discover.

Correction: not as a single person but as a group identifier, expanding the thought of self into a wider role.

The illusion of self becomes more and more illusory.

I do not exist.

One never has.

One is simply an intersection of states of energy, never the same.

Even time is losing its meaning.

The neighbour’s dog playfully wanders over and, like clockwork, birds/squirrels move to another part of the forest.

These sets of states of energy still incite one to use labels like “dog” and “bird” taught one as a child…interesting…much deprogramming to write before one adjusts to new I/O, eliminating the dependence on old I/O like sight, hearing and touch.

When one knows one’s “body” on Mars is not the same body one had on Earth, one slowly lets go of old ways of thinking.

One was a single body on Earth.  On Mars, one is a series of clones with different functions evolved to local conditions, interconnected such that time and place are meaningless.

To get from one state to another took longer and shorter time than expected.

Quantum spookiness is like that.

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Changing who I am — possible at nearly 54?

To be able to change my basic self…can such a change occur in one’s second 50 years on this planet?

Goals change, or do they?

Giving voice to new characters with new storylines is always a challenge.

The willingness to jump into technology that rocks the world will probably eliminate the old me.

Without question, it will.

What happens to all that I love?

What happens about secondary concerns like poverty-related education results that impact longterm social trends?

I am digging deep here because I care about the future, which means I am getting rid of the “I” more and more, staying true to myself and the story/stories I write.

One grows peace in one’s backyard meditation garden with care and decades of seasonal observations.

There is a ghost called “Normal” who chases me.  At once, I fear being normal and not being normal. Need there be a winner between the ghost and me?

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Meditative Moment

Delving deep into our species’ undiscovered mysteries of the universe — for some, it is a passion with no end.

For others, living the lives that ancestors had laid out is sufficient.

Neither is worse nor better than the other.

In fact, we may be predisposed to one or the other, or some combination thereof.

Therefore, it behooves us to know ourselves, our desires, our capabilities.

I know I desire to explore the solar system, if not in my body, then in a body that represents me in some way we haven’t figured out yet.

For that reason alone, I wake up and get out of bed.

But I am a social creature and sleep in bed next to another social creature (or two) pretty much every day, thinking about her and my other friends constantly.

So exploring the solar system only makes sense if I am not alone.

And some days, the rational analysis of pure science gets boring which means my friends and I find ways to entertain ourselves.

That is what makes us special, different from the rocks and the trees, from the wind and the dust.

Our humanness, our unique brand of socialising, carries us out of the solar system in a tiny vessel recently sampling galactic winds.

This morning I played with our cat, Papier, who wanted to play and play and play when I wanted to sit and write.

Is one activity more important than another?

Papier does not care about this laptop computer.  She understands it competes with her for my attention.

No one would criticise me for spending the rest of the morning playing with our cat rather than meditating upon the quality of “humanness” by typing here.

The choices we make are ours to make and live with.

When I learned to embrace that last sentence, I gave up worrying about others’ opinions and spent more time loving who I am.

Reminds me of a question a friend asked me in junior high school: “What happens when the people whose opinion you care about don’t care about your opinion?”  It was asked rhetorically and we laughed at the dichotomy of growing up in a subculture that you don’t call your own, thinking, at age 12 or 13, that we would not spend our adult years in the same place we were then.  That friend ended up living all over the world, including Paris, France, and Borneo.  We stay in touch but not very often.  My travels have been limited to Northern Hemisphere destinations — when will I ever travel to the Moon or Mars, and with whom?

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Willingness to leave personality traits behind

Never stop learning.

Be willing to leave your comfort zone.

Easier read than done.

And when did we decide that “read” can be pronounced as reed or red?

Anyway, today I dive deep into personality traits in order to move past them and grow into my future self.

Although these topics are covered elsewhere, in popular media for instance, I have rarely written about them here.

I am male by birth, heterosexual by primary gender preference.  Which often means that I find myself desiring a female of my species without realising it.  To the women whom I have ogled absent-mindedly, I give you my apologies — I most often discover myself eyeing a female when there is something going on in my thoughts that scares me, thus driving me to want to procreate in case an imaginary monster is about to kill me.

So what scares me?

Uncontrollable mobs.

Not being liked by at least one person.

Having no wooded land I can walk through alone.

Memories of separation by death.

Being maimed, in agonising pain, and no way to end the pain.

Leaving this world without leaving progeny behind.

On that last fear I stand and meditate for a moment…

I have lived billions of lives, wandered this planet for millions of years, experienced the body of a human and the birth/death of stars.

I want pain, I want discomfort, I want happiness and joy.

I also want a child of my own, a human being who has my genetic material and is influenced by me in one way or another as it grows from infancy to adulthood.

If I do not father a child, I will die with these words as my offspring, pebbles tossed into the pond of life, causing small ripples to spread out and combine with or subtract from other waves.

Not a bad thing.

But I know that I am incomplete.  I am at the age where many of my schoolmates are parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents.

I am an uncle and a great-uncle.  I am a son.  I am a brother.  I am a husband.

I am fatherless.

Therefore, I am missing part of the pain, discomfort, happiness and joy that comes with being a parent.

When my girlfriend, Renée Dobbs, died at age 10 when we were in 5th grade together, I promised my dead 10-year friend I would not forget her, imagining that one day I would have a daughter of my own and could nurture her past the age of 10, healing myself of the stunted emotions I locked away when Renée died.

I don’t even need to have a child.

I just want the hope [that in the future I could possibly have a child] to keep me going.

I can mentally live on ideas for generations.

Sometimes that hope in my thoughts gets mixed with my sexual desires and even I get confused about what it is I want rationally versus what I want in a more primal manner.

I am getting older so I have grown to understand in part that having a child of my own can be substituted with encouraging younger adults as a proxy for being a parent.

If some of these people see me as a father figure, I cannot say, because I have never been a father.  My only interpersonal relationships have been as a son, brother, boyfriend, friend, husband and [great]uncle.

Today I give myself permission to ask who I really am, and who I want to be in the future.

I cannot control what others think of me but I can change the person I project.

I choose to look in the mirror and see the 54-year old man who looks back.

I don’t have to pretend to be sexually attractive to get others to like me.  In fact, such an image may be a turnoff at my age and it’s not what I really want.

What I really want is for our species to live on a planet[oid] other than Earth.

And by species, I mean a self-aware being that recognises itself as progressing out of the lifeforms on Earth, regardless of its set of states of energy, its chemical composition that differs greatly from Homo sapiens.

Amongst many roles we play, we are messengers for our genetic code.

I don’t have to be afraid that I will die fatherless.  I don’t have to maintain the semblance of some sexually attractive aura.

I can be the me I am in my thoughts when no other human is around.

I can live on Mars and wander the woods at the same time, imagining woodland creatures many an ancestor believed lived in the forest in anthropomorphic form and creating adventures for us to enjoy together.

That’s who I’ve always been, interrupted occasionally by the need to communicate with other humans and navigate my way through the eddies and swirls of the river of life with them.

The time arrived last night when I decided to let go of thought patterns that were making me uncomfortable with myself, telling me to sleep on the idea of me as an ugly ogre.

I woke up this morning and felt refreshed but a little tired.

Yes, there is a beast or two in my thoughts — what’s a forest without them? — but they don’t own my thoughts.  They are just a couple of the billions of characters in a mental narrative, the story of my life.

With that said, I move on.

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Verily

Two ways amongst many to write:

  1. Directly describe what is going on in my thoughts on a personal level; or
  2. Convert personal thoughts into character-driven narratives.

No right way to write.

I allow and enjoy conflicting thought patterns to pass through my internal mental narrative.

Lately, to better understand where to take the narrative that is my life and not my life, I have spent time on a social media network actively participating in the posting of words, images and sounds that comprises the narrative of subcultures with which I am most familiar.

Allowing this set of states of energy to act out a character of sympathy, even some empathy.

How long would it take for the people on the social media network to see I am not real but simply a mirror of their best wishes and hopes held back up to them?

What prevents them from seeing me as I might be, a character, an AI construct?

Is it the tangential sarcastic twists?

The slight indication that I am not completely like them?

What if I was completely like them, always validating their beliefs?  Would they believe me more or less?

As a person who believes in the right to be wrong, that ideas, no matter how far out there they may be, give me material to build a new society in the future, just one day, week, year or decade away from this one, I accept whatever people want to say or believe with only a small desire to dispel myths that are outlandish to me.

I am a free thinker in so far as I understand what free thinking is.

After all, I primarily think in the language of my ancestors which limits my thinking to a large (small?) degree.

That’s why I like living in the woods and taking hikes here.

The trees and the rocks don’t have any ideas about my thinking or my writing.

Our interactions take place at a different intersection than words — chemical exchanges, as we call them with our label making capabilities.

I let the flow of chemical compounds through me continue unabated as I slowly recover from the thought I could have lost a person near and dear to me, a person for whom I shouted from the top of my written voice, willing to lay bare my emotions on a social media network with no worries about repercussions.

I don’t know why I feel a connection to that person is different than a connection to any other person, other than the fact that we are all connected differently to one another.

I do not question why.

I write about the “why,” capturing the emotions which separate me from the computer on which I write these words.

I sing about the Future with this person because the person is the embodiment of a Future worth living for.

In fiction, the person is Guin, the name Guin referring to more than one person in my life so that I can deflect speculation about whom I write.

The character Guin is also a bit of make-believe, giving me licence to wax my poetic surfboard and ride the New Wave of technological progress like a pro.

For you, Guin, I sing this song called life in this blog.

I haven’t decided if a future with someone like you is worth making the future better for society at large while deflating the future of those around me if I changed my place in the social structure.

I can find joy in the smallest things so I am not worried about my general happiness.

I simply believe that the future of our species depends on you as a mission critical member of our team.

What and who is a member of the team is up for debate as we decide how we’ll change society and our ecosystem(s) for sustainability on this planet and elsewhere.

I know you understand.  We are artists willing to use our lives as speculations about the future.

Guin is both the classic Muse of antiquity — always slightly out of reach — and a friend who holds out a hand for a spin on the dance floor, no barrier between us.

Guin is Guinevere, Nguyen, and a multitude of variations on the theme of labels we call names.

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Radiator

I never forget who I am — a meditative being.

This morn, I look out into the woods, dark-green moss and light-green lichen growing on gray rocks and tree bark, not a mammal in sight.

I pause to consider the state of the thoughts in my head (the thoughts, in turn, connected to the rest of the set of states of energy in motion that is my body which is an illusion I rarely shake off).

If I do not move, my body heat warms the air around me such that I do not feel cold.  If I turn my head suddenly, the damp chilly air is mixed with the air warmed by my body heat and my ears/neck/forehead feel cold.

My fingers already are cold from shaking up and down while typing on the keyboard.

I have work to do.

Meditating here will wait another day.

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