You don’t need money to help out.
“Why are you a writer?” he asked across the table.
“I needed to find my lover,” came the reply.
A sigh, a moment, and then the letting go.
She came to me in words, in the music that flowed from somewhere out there, into me, and out through my fingers. She’d whisper to me in songs that set my mind to dancing, and in music that set my body into motions I have never known. She’d wake me from my sleep with rays of light peeking above my life’s horizon.
She blinded me with love so that I would always, always, see. I write to paint the pictures of her that my open eyes now see. I use words to beat a path through the underbrush, a path that leads to me. I share bits of me that I leave laying on the ground, hoping she’ll follow that trail into my open arms.
She came to me a million moments before I met her, and I’ve loved her from the first. There is no rhyme or reason, or words set to page that can tell you how I really feel. Yet my words are not for you, they’re for her. She knows, and one day she will be, and my story will be complete.
“Wow,” said he, “that’s amazing. How do you know she’ll come?”
Because she has to. She can’t help herself. Be it in this life or some other, she will come. Until then, I set my pen to page, my heart to beating, my soul to searching, and I love her just the same.
I’ll never need to let her go because I will never have ever trapped her. She is, as we speak, flying freely and bathing in the choices of her design. When she comes, we’ll be ready. Until then, there is a life to live and a space that needs preparing. Love is, or should be, like that. We don’t find each other suddenly, we’re in each other all along.
“I wish you well,” said he. “Sounds like a fairy tale to me.”
Perhaps it is. One that ends, “and they lived happily ever after.” We all live in stories, I wish mine to end like that.
“Me too,” said he. “I never thought of it like that. Thank you. I don’t feel so bad about being single.”
We laughed, we toasted, and set to waiting once again.
You don’t know me. Well, you do, but you don’t. I’m the one you barely notice in the sunlight, barely speak to in the rain. I’m the one you brush by on the sidewalk, the one you hardly see in your hurry to move along.
I’m the one who comments on your beauty, who makes whimsical remarks about your day. I’m the one who notices the soft lines around your eyes when you smile, and the way the sun reflects off the softness there. I see the tempered curves of your lips and the beauty of your lines before I even see the beauty that surrounds you.
I’m the man who loves your comments, who sees the wisdom of your words and the comedy of your ways. I listen to what you offer about your day without any effort, and know what parts of you need my attention before you’ve ever uttered the request.
I’m the person who would become an oak if you’d only lean in his direction. I’m the man who would become a crystal clear stream if only you’d bend your thirsty lips his way. The world would hear me roar and feel my bite if only you needed my protection.
I’m him. I’m the one you’ve been hoping for. I’m the one who answers your prayers in the night, who holds your hand in your moments of need. I’m the one whose embrace reminds you of some great sanctuary, of whose words take you to treasured places where no darkness can reside.
I’m the one who calls your name when the silence becomes too great for me to bear. I’m the one who’d never let you walk alone, even if that meant walking far behind you. I’m the one whose waited his entire life just to hear you say his name.
If only you knew me. If only you would know. If only I could tell you.
No greater pain hath man wrought on himself as the one of unrequited love. It’s there, upon the iron throne where the armor of fantasy and the sword of reality mesh, where flesh is pierced and prayers are answered. It is there I become the Master of myself, and it is there that I wait heaven’s great promise, either in this lifetime or the next.
I write, with an open heart and peaceful mind, waiting.
He felt it, around, in everything, in everywhere. In the sounds of a passing airplane making waves in the blue, spring sky. In the songs of birds enjoying a respite from the cold, harsh winter.
He felt it. Everywhere. He felt her.
He doubted she thought much of him, yet he didn’t care. The sparkle in her eyes set his mind ablaze, and the coolness of her thoughts rose his heart to joy. There was little in the flames of this passion that burned him, and there was little in the space between them that offered him much comfort.
There, the loner felt his aloneness, and the thinker felt the weight of his very soul.
There was little he could say about the youthful golden locks that brightened up his day. There was little he could offer in prayer to the green pools of beauty that saw things he wished he could see. There was nothing of her form he could touch, and he simply sighed his way to the gaps between them, the space between their stars.
The thinker sighed, the lover lamented, the man resigned himself to folly.
Somewhere, outside the vestiges of thought, lied the man about his life. He could not offer himself up to such a sacrifice, where love’s torment is met by utter silence. He could not spread his wings in the vacuum between those heartbeats. How could such an angel be left with nothing to raise him up to heaven’s gate, when love’s sails have no wind to give him flight?
Sometimes, that bird is left safely on its perch. Sometimes, feet planted firmly on the ground provide the only clouds a hapless man could ever hope to feel.
So play the tune And watch me go, Forever lost, I shall not know. Yet truth be told, I'm happy still, Where this compass points, Is where I will.
He’d hum his mantra when he felt her. He’d whistle at the very sight of her, imagining her voice whispering to him as the Sun set, her body nestled nicely upon his lap. He’d brush her hair aside, casually tasting her skin even when there was nothing casual about it. He’d show her love. Pure. Unapologetic. Love.
He could only dream. This dream. Countless nights torn between the song he sang and the music coursing through his soul. Maybe one day he’d get lucky, and his muse would set their world on edge with a simple, enduring harmony. Maybe, one day, she’d know him beyond the mere boundaries of mind, of body, of things that never were before.
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” ~Rumi
I think I fell in love with you, he said.
When? came her reply.
Before I met you. I was staring into space, with nothing going on around me, and I smiled. It was then that I fell in love with you.
You knew me?
Yes, in the subtle ways the breeze comforted my sweaty brow. In the Sun’s rays as they woke me through my bedroom window. In the way I knew that one day you’d fill the empty space beside me. Yes, I knew you.
A smile crossed her moistened lips.
I fell in love with you, too, she said.
When? came his reply.
Before I met you. I was walking alone through a trail in the woods. It started storming, and yet despite the lightning and thunder crashing all around me, I felt at ease. I felt safe as the wind bent the trees to prayer, and I felt comfort in the way the rain washed away my tears. It was in that moment that I fell in love with you.
Their eyes met, their hearts embraced, and they kissed a lover’s paradise.
In the early morning muse that sets their tones ablaze…
They fall in love.
Lovers fall in love in the way their body surrenders, in the way their eyes meet, in the way the throb resonates with all around them. They grasp at nothing as they hold on to everything, and they dance to a rhythm created when he enters her, when she surrounds his Being.
They fall in love in the way his mind rises to her occasion, in the way her’s embraces his passion. The make love in their words as subtle tones mesh with overt attention, in the way their thoughts ooze from loving depths to bubble at the surface of their spring. It’s as if the mind has fingers that caress the naked truth, creating bumps as testaments to something only lovers know. Lovers know nakedness, they know vulnerability, and they know each other through the throbbing gauge of their courageous desire.
Oh, that throb. We all know it. We know it in the strong hand that is pulling at her hair, in the soft touch that is guiding him in. We feel it in the screams of ecstasy when he hits that spot, in the groans of his passion as her tongue holds firm at the place he loves the most.
It’s in that throb that they love, and it is in their love that the pulsing begins. No mortal man has ever known the heaven that true lovers know. Only gods and goddesses alike can visit those spaces where fucking becomes love and love becomes fucking. Only the brave can let go enough to allow entrance through those gates, and only worthy warriors need arrive to the place where lovers play and life begins anew.
You may have been there before. If not, tread lightly there, for you will never be the same again. It’s not for the feeble, or the faint-of-heart. It’s not for those children who play well at being adult, or for the hills who play mountain in the theater of this life.
One must have known suffering, anguish, and true despair to really know this place. One must know these things if only to realize the value in letting go of them. In the vacuum of suffering’s escape comes Love, and in the departure of physical servitude comes the passion we all were born with, but have forgotten. In the presence of truth the lies will flee, and in the presence of courage fear knows itself as a true friend to Love. Upon this altar you will worship your wounds, and in this church you will caress the scars of your lover. Those scars will lead you to her promised land, and there you will dwell in the oasis left plush by rivers of love invading spaces rendered bare by retreating fear and pain.
It is there his mouth with have her screaming prayers of pure delight while her hands grasp at the relics of a life well lived. Her mind will know true focus as he takes her to his sanctuary, his tongue issuing silent mantras of his Love. The Lovers’ minds will meet at her holy place, and their skin will melt together as two hearts beat one true testament to Nature’s pure design.
Her mouth will take him in, and his manhood will jump for joy. She will take him to heights of holy pleasure, and he will surrender to the prayers she issues in her muffled moans. There, nothing exists but the two of them, and nothing diverts their focus from the present. The two are there, as One, where nothing else can be.
He will enter her, and she will be filled. Her gasps will guide his thrusts deep and hard within her, and her fingers will paint loving marks upon his back. Her legs will grasp at him, her insides will tighten around him as his pulsing sword demands more of her, and takes her just the same. There will be no silence here, only the limitless banter of two souls swirling into one, climaxing as the creation of life itself abounds in the art of making love.
Even in the passion of orgasm there is that throb, reminding them of who they are as they lay silently intertwined. Making love never ends, it simply transforms on the lover’s stage. They make love in a glance, in a touch, in the words they choose to grace each other with. Even their battles are of pure and holy sex. They know the places where their tongues should travel, and the spots they must never leave forgotten in their trance.
It was there they fell in love, each and every time.
I once was so lost I needed a faith. I once was so scared I needed a god. I once was so forgetful I needed a book. I once was so helpless I needed a priest. I once was so uncertain I needed a Word. I once was so blind I need your cause. I once was so lonely I needed your church. I once was so mistaken I created it all.
“Leave me alone!” I screamed from beneath my layered blankets. “Just go away!”
They wouldn’t. They just kept pounding at that door, never giving me a moment’s peace.
The Voices are maddening. I want to fly. They tell me it’s too high up there. I want to sing. They tell me I’m way off-key. I want to smile. They tell me there is nothing to smile about.
Fuck them. When the hell did I give them control, anyway? I don’t remember, but everywhere I look there are signs of who’s boss. The clothes I wear, the way I talk, the words I choose, each of which I’ve pretended to choose for me while really doing so for them. Even the walls and doors are methods of their control. They own me, and I’m just starting to see it.
I hide under the thick blankets I pretend are parts of me. I relish in their warmth, in their thickness. Here, the sounds are muffled and the light dimmed. The darkness rules, and sometimes we are fooled into believing that there is great security when we simply cannot see a thing.
Yet, those layers I heap upon my fearful self for protection are nothing more than shackles to hold me down. Some may judge the clouds a place where fools play, but I find the very ideas that holds us firm to something nothing more than a prison. Some may find my notes and words much to their dislike, but I find heaven in that release. They may find my smile reminds them of a long-lost friend, but I surely have no need to pretend I am saddened in the departure.
Thus it goes, on and on. The Voices pound away at the door over and over again. I’m beginning to think they don’t want me to open it, they want it shut. Maybe they don’t want me out from under my cocoon. Maybe they want me to add even more layers to the shroud.
I laugh hard as I somehow see the walls to the layers I’ve embraced. How limiting they are! They’re weighty, almost suffocating in their pressure, and I marvel at how I never have seen them this way before. I could feel their weight and struggle under their pressure without ever truly seeing them. I sit and stare at nothing in amazement.
I reach out to push outward, and get pushed back. I thrash and flail against these surly confines only to get more entangled in the mess. I feel the rush of anger as I scream and yell, only to be deafened by the noise of my own turmoil.
Finally, I become exhausted, and have no choice but to sit there, still. I have no choice but to breathe. I have no choice but to stop the fight.
In the stillness, I finally stop focusing on the nasty shroud I have entangled myself in. I just want to rest, to sleep, to let my dreams take me somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I want to be, there, with you – the absent traveler who may be entangled in a prison of her own.
Someday, love, but for now I have some work to do. That work looks much like nothing. A realized man’s virtue is that he never, ever, stops.
In the dark hell of my own design I surrender. My fight has left me no choice, and the war is over even if the battle has only just begun.
My eyes open again, and I only see the darkness that has befallen me. I move nothing, and I just sit with three eyes open, at peace with what I see. Perhaps this is the end of me, perhaps it is only the beginning. Maybe, it is both happening at the very same instant.
Somehow, I see a light. Like a beacon on heaven’s shore, it’s there. My eyes are brought to focus on this star, intensely feeding on its promise, completely open to the cause of its design. Was it always there? How did I miss it? Could I have been so focused on the drama, on the chaos of my stormy seas, that I overlooked the very method of my own rescue?
A flash, a crack, and the sound of rolling thunder.
“How sweet the sound…was blind and now I see…”
The twinkling light grows larger with each peaceful breath I take.
“Do nothing,” something inside me says, “just do nothing.”
I listen. I sit. I breathe. I watch. I allow. I do, nothing.
The light continues to grow. Bit by bit the darkness surrenders too. I wonder if the darkness could fight back, if it could overwhelm the light just in its size and experience. It seems, though, the both the darkness and the light are not experienced curses by which we are enslaved, but wonderful teachers of which we must experience. Neither exists without the other, and neither was born or dies to suit a need of human ego. They are in perfect harmony, allowing us all to focus on which we want to experience.
In our focus they grow. In our observations, they live. In our dedication, they thrive. Neither grows on its own but exists in the power of our own attention, in our own intention. Love the light, and find it difficult to see the darkness. Worship the past, and miss the present moment.
Do the opposite, well, you know. You may have your doubts, but it’s hard to argue this truth.
Finally, I am ready. One deep sigh and I stand, shaking the cobwebs from my legs and letting the blood flow once again. Another deep breath and a chuckle, and it is time to leave this place.
Wait. Where have all the layers gone? I hadn’t noticed their departure. I look around and see tiny remnants of them strewn about my sacred space, but nothing of real substance. Somehow, and some point, they have gone.
I notice the voices again, somewhere outside the door. I laugh at the knowledge that I had almost forgotten about those pesky intrusions on my holy moments. I notice they aren’t silent, but they are now murmurs and not shouts. Those last vestiges of a past that’s still a part of me, but not me, have surrendered themselves. They now work for me, not I for them.
Just as I’ve seen the kinship between the darkness and the light, I now see the friendship I have with my voices. I’ve given them names in our relationship. Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Anger. Love. Kindness. Joy. Desire. Revulsion. Guilt. Acceptance. Each of them has a value, and has led me someplace wonderful. Each is worth listening to, yet none are my master. Instead, I’ve mastered them, understanding that in accepting their advice I am going to learn a lesson only warriors are able to learn.
Everyone receives these lessons, but only warriors sharpen their swords with the textbook.
I’m gone now. If you are looking for me there, I apologize for my absence. Follow the signs you see until you find me here. If you care to look, offer me your hand to dance. Or lend me your voice to sing. Or kneel with me in the hallowed spaces of a lover’s church. Whichever you choose, be free about it, and leave your layers at the door.
I sit, wandering around the trails of my own mind. What am I searching for? Where can I find it?
Lost, perhaps, but maybe not lost at all. Sometimes it helps to be a rudderless ship on the open sea, just allowing the wind to take you where you need to go. Sometimes it helps just to breathe when the stress of resistance becomes too great to bear.
The Art of Doing Nothing is not doing nothing at all. It is the active work of the enlightened, and it takes serious practice. It takes active participation in surrender. It takes fucking balls.
I’ve found that I was once way too afraid to practice the Art of Doing Nothing. I believed I had to act out, to be actively engaged in creating the life I thought I wanted. The problem is that I never really knew what I wanted. I just thought I knew.
Where once I sought security through strength and violence I now find them in peace and love.
Where once I sought happiness in wealth and materialism, I now find them in myself and in simplicity.
Where once I sought love in your approval, I now find it in my own sense of joy.
Where I once thought I knew what would define me, I now know I am beyond definition.
There is such a peace in that place of surrender. You watch the little things fall away, then the big things until, finally, you reach the place you were always destined to be. You find your home, your palace, your place of peace, and you find that it looks very little like you imagined it would.
Yes, there still is fear. When you have something to lose you fear its departure. Yet, when that thing is taken by the Great Wind you realize that nothing worth holding on to truly wants to be held on to. You realize how awkwardly irrelevant your fear was, and how beautifully constructed things are in your surrender. Things seem natural, pleasant, and happy.
How often did I resist this change? How much suffering did I create in this resistance? How much joy have I found in surrendering, in letting go, in the mere observation of a process to which I participate by Doing Nothing?
How often was I consumed by the fear of standing in the very space I now call “home”?
Yes, it seems silly to me now. I am at home in a place I once feared, happy in a space I once thought hopeless, consumed by joy in a place I once fought hard never to visit. I can only guess the fear I feel now in where I may be going is equally silly. I know this, yet embrace the experience as a matter of personal growth, not personal criticism. There is no need to criticize that which was created perfect, a Sequoia was not born an earthly giant, but a small seed. The small seed was not, however, imperfect just because it had not yet reached its full potential.
It was perfectly a seed. It was perfectly a sapling. It is, now, perfectly itself as a tree.
We are all works in progress, but we have to surrender in order to become works of progress. Sometimes progress is in the realization that we need to stop grasping and need to start letting go, that we need to stop resisting and divert our energy toward the commitment to surrender.
You will have to work very hard to surrender. You will have to develop strength you never knew you had. You will suddenly see how little you actually accomplished before, and you will see how much you get done when you simply stay out of the way.
You will be afraid. You will be very afraid. Old voices and conditioned behaviors will arise, and you will fear what happens when you let go of them. You will start judging yourself as they judged you, and you will feel shame in the act. Pay attention here, for you will learn a lot of how little you love yourself. You will understand your own self-loathing and the poison you swallow that makes you feel abandoned in your glory, and lonely in your suffering.
You will not like this at all. If you discover that you don’t love yourself here, you have to admit that those you need to love you must not have truly loved you either. You learned this self-loathing from them, you didn’t create it on your own.
Forgive them, for they knew not what they did. They loved you in the way there were taught how to love you, and you learned to love you in the same manner. Perhaps that’s the original sin, that we are born to learn love from those who likely never learned to love at all.
Believe me, it is easy just to embrace the status quo. It’s easy to just be like everyone else, both creating your own drama and becoming absorbed in the drama of others. There is nothing I’ve ever done as hard as this transformation has been, but I can promise you it’s been worth it. Where I once spent hours actively engaged in the life I thought I wanted, I now spend that time actively letting go, in active surrender. Where once I tried to do everything, now I Do Nothing.
I still hear the voices judging me. I still hear their voices telling me what to do, how to do it, and that “failure” is not an option, albeit something that is easily attained in their judgment. Then, I sit still, and Do Nothing. Invariably I realize I cannot answer to them any more, that my own life and health are at stake, as is my own sense of sanity. I must remain resolved to my own journey, to the symphony of music I dance to, and to the absolute love I have discovered in the process.
So, to that end, I let go. I love you, and wish you could let go, too. Maybe, someday, you will see.
Don’t get confused. The Art of Doing Nothing does not mean you just give up. Surrender is not an act capitulating to the whims of magic outside of the Universe that is you. It’s just the opposite. It’s finding your true path and sticking to it. It’s in removing the brush that clogs your route. It’s in knowing what brings you joy, and Doing Nothing to get in its way.
It’s in love. Complete and utterly in love. It is in being in a relationship not only with yourself, but with your joy. It’s about putting your joy first, in whatever version that looks like now, and in being aware of the slight deviations that will take you off course. Love, that awesome Wind that, once filling your sails, will never let you down. You’ll see…one day I promise you will see.