Category Archives: Short Stories

I’d Like to Know

A cloudy morning morphs into a hazy mind, and I sit still staring into the abyss around me. So many things fill that space, so many barriers between my heart and what I truly want from this life.

My thoughts often get cloudy when wondering about my purpose. Sometimes I feel like a wayward ship left helpless, only floating where the purpose of currents and winds shall take me.  I once fought so hard against the flow that I had little energy to see where it had brought me. Distractions are, as they will always be, what the mind sees as saviors saving us from a certain truth.

Even when the storms come I can be left distracted by the waves buffeting me about. I rarely pay homage to the winds, or the crashing thunder, or the waves that bruise my ego. Those things are there to be honored, for they awaken in me the truth of who I am. I often press those wounds just to be reminded that they are there, for no greater gift do they offer than the reminder that it is I who bangs my head against the wall, and it is me who continually puts his heart to the fire, then writing the story that best suits the occasion.

That leads me to this now. The moment where the morning chill arrives, and the divide between us seems so insurmountable.

The lesson is, of course, that this is all my doing. I gaze at the prose on my wall and the symbols I use to remind me that when the winds blow hardest it is not time to hide, it is time to face the storm. The storm is, after all, rarely out there but rather is always in here.

In here. That spot that ceases to be a place, but rather becomes an action. Nouns do not exist in here, only verbs. In here is where vibrations exist in questions asked, and in answers offered. It is like a heaven where everything is action, the observation ceases as a thing, as does the observer, as does the messages that echo from its walls. So it is in here I go, to write a question on my heaven’s walls and to wait for a response.

“I’d like to know….”

Perhaps more a statement than a question, but in here grammar does not exist. Every question and statement has the power of intention behind it, and it is that power that is seen, felt, and understood. The words are irrelevant, only the formless sense of intent is recognized.

What comes is formless and wordless, but I will try to explain in the best way I can while being limited by my human imperfections.

I see a face, her beauty expressed by the waves of surrender that course through my soul. Rose petals flow around her, gracefully surrendering their sweet fragrance as they sacrifice their own existence to her moment. There is a golden thread that I cannot see, yet can feel, between us. I can feel her smile, and her scent, and trust the recognition.

“Yes, I know…”

I want to grab her face and kiss her. A rush of heat fills my serenity. Yet, there is nothing there to grab. There is nothing I need hold on to. There is only her, and me, swirling in a wind of essence. So beautiful is she that I lose all strength, and yet I have never been stronger.

She beckons me forward, and I follow.

There is a mountain whose purple majesty is capped in a beautiful white crown. While no path is made clear I am drawn to its peak, and I need to be there. I hear her voice beg me to follow, yet I cannot see her now. It’s almost as if she is the mountain itself.

I hear her laughing as I make my way up. When I stumble on the loosest rocks, she lifts me. I can feel her help me up, yet still cannot see her. I want to tell her that I should be the one helping her, but she silences me with a “shhhhhh” that sounds like a breeze rustling through the trees. I let go of my ego and stand, and continue upward on our way.

Finally, we are sitting on the summit, gazing at the valley below. There, the vision of small cottages with white smoke billowing from their chimneys meshes with the colorful mixture of snow and earthly life. There are souls keeping warm in their shelter, and I am keeping warm next to mine.  Comfort has never been my way, but this is something different.

An overwhelming feeling of contentment and peace flow over me. There is nothing out there for me. All I have found in the moment is still in here, as much a part of me as I am of it.

“Yes, I know…”

No matter the distance, we are near. No matter the space, we are never empty. No matter the storm, we can always find peace.

I can feel her smile, for she is love recognized by my soul for who she is. I need not see it. It’s always there.

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” ~Rumi.

As surely as I am in stillness, I dance and swirl to the truth I know within me. I can see the walls I’ve built, my soulful desire to be challenged. I can hear the rivers of milk and honey just on the other side of one of the walls I’ve built, and can feel the laughter of my lover on the other side of another. I can hear her gasps of ecstasy, and feel my own, just over the traverse. Another Rumi quote comes to me as if written in a gold, neon sign.

“Our task is not to seek for love, but to break down the barriers we have built against it.”

The same can be said for peace. Or abundance. Or health. Or purpose.

Or purpose…

Fuck….yes! The answer I’ve been searching for won’t come from out there. Rather, it is just on the other side of the wall I’ve built against it!

“Yes, I know…”

My eyes have opened, albeit not gently this time. I laugh at myself, and I wonder if she gets it, too. I wonder if our hands will start tearing away at the wall that divides us until, finally, our fingertips touch. Our names are written in the sky in one cloud, in one sky, by one wind. It is up to us to master it, and write the words we wish to see.

Yes, I know…

photo by:

It’s There

I know you are hurting. I know you are weak even in the strength you have described. I know you are afraid despite your protests of fearlessness. I know you feel alone despite the throngs of people around you.
 
You are never alone, my love. Within you resides a voice, a voice that is begging to be heard. Go within to hear it. It’s there, singing a song you need to hear. It’s there, hitting notes that you, yourself, have written long before you were born. It’s there, offering a harmony that you, yourself, have composed.
 
You feel that fear. It travels through you like a jolt of selfish electricity, yet within you there is a flame. Go within to find it. It’s there, warming up the coldest reaches of your heart. It’s there, crackling and raging while lighting up the pathways that you seek. It’s there, consuming all the debris and lies that fear will leave scattered about your mind. Let it burn, and let it burn freely.
 
You know that weakness. It leaves you dizzy in the high places you wish to climb, and leaves you paralyzed along the valley trails when you wish to see the greatest heights. Go within to find your courage, it’s there just waiting to be awakened. It’s there dancing among the demons you think you see, and the dreams you hide beneath your veil. It there, growling at the lies you tell yourself, howling at the pretense you have chosen to make your own.
 
I know you are hurting, my love, but know that you are loved. Know that all you ever have been and ever will be is neatly kept within you. Know that when you decide the time is right your song will be sung, your fire will burn brightly, and your beast will rise above the ashes. Choose wisely, and know that I am with you.
 
Peace.
 
~TG
 

To the Ledge and Back

I remember once sitting on a cliff, overlooking the vast expanse of land and sky before me. I felt so alone, yet so alive. There was life, and death, before me in a sea of rest and commotion. I sat in stillness, completely active as a breeze gently rustled the autumn leaves around me.
 
Thoughts went back to moments that seem an eternity ago, before my own death and resurrection. There seemed to be a simplicity in the anger, and a comfort in the darkness. I was born into a sea of black, scourged by the mindless and conceived by a mind lost in the chaos. I believed the fault of their sin was all my own, and took their misguided thoughts as some gospel to which I owed my sanity.
 
Great loss and pain cascaded over me like a cocoon. I became but an infant, a chrysalis hung to a branch. Though I fought and struggled, the confines of my prison tightened around me. There was no escape as the blessings of fate’s love embraced me whole, with the very blessings that I cursed, the very blessings that would save me.
 
I smiled at the recollection. There was no simplicity or comfort in those memories. I had adapted, and in a way adopted complexity as my simplicity, and suffering as my comfort. I remembered the instances where the beast would rear its ugly head, and I laughed in the instant. I would remember the moments of despair, and offer love to the boy as he cried. I would remember the times when the darkness was all I had to share, and I offered forgiveness to a heart left broken.
 
On the cliff I pray we all will sit one day, remembering the ledges of windows and rooftops we once stood, wondering if to jump was to live again. One the ledge we seek our own redemption, and we search our own inner peace. On the cliff we recognize them both. On the ledge we choose our own eternity, and on the cliff we pay homage to time that ceases to exist. We can learn so much from the ledge, and the climb we take to get there.
 
Today I sit with the vision of you, I want to feel your soul as your arms wrap tenderly around me and your lips gently kiss my shoulder. I want to feel a smile crest my lips as you call my name, and a tingle shoot down my spine as you take my hand in yours. I know I can endure your absence for a little while more. I been to the ledge and survived, now a lion with a forceful purr, a beast with a heart whose roar cannot be ignored.
 
I have fallen and risen; forgotten and learned to walk again. I have loved and lost and lost and loved and discovered who I am. I have been left alone to die in burning room of fear and found life anew in the smoking embers. What else is there? What else but fire can temper the strongest steel? That I do not know, but I long for the challenge sure to follow the Sun above my life’s horizon.
 
One day I’ll hear a sound come from behind me, and feel that shiver roll down my back. I’ll feel your hand brace itself on my shoulder, and watch you sit besides me on the cliff. There, we’ll think about the ledges we have stood, and when that scene is over in our minds we’ll turn, look in each other’s eyes, and kiss as lovers often do.
 
That will be a purpose of our journey. Each step, each climb, each fall, each forgotten moment will have brought us to each other on a cliff. There could be nothing wrong with any of it, and we’ll sit and stare across the vast expanse of land and sky and point to moving things that capture our attention. We’ll tell stories that excite us in the moment of our resurrection, and laugh at our own remarkable will to arrive. We’ll make love in the mountain grass, lost in the profundity of the moment. Then we’ll wash the grass stains off our knees, and walk quietly back to the cliff where it all began. Where it all continued. Where, on day, it will all end.
 
~TG
photo by:

7 Keys to My Happiness

Truth be told, life isn’t always happy. It isn’t meant to be. Sometimes we need guideposts that point us in the right direction. Sometimes those signs are lit softly by beautiful street lamps that coax us in a particular direction. Others are lit by unpredictable torches that flare as we approach them, the resulting fear and blisters send us on another way. A hot stove will always point our hand in the proper direction.

Here are 7 keys (outside of the Four Agreements) that I’ve found that have led me to a pretty happy life.

  1.  Accept the emotional state you are in. Embrace your emotional state, whatever it may be, and cherish it. Resistance to a negative emotion often gives it greater power, while embracing it weakens its grasp. You will then be better prepared to act should you choose to change it.  I’ve actually started laughing, when in the throes of negative emotions, simply by saying “I love you” to that emotion while envisioning hugging it like a long-lost love.
  2. You can’t do everything. Accept it, or you will always live in a state of disappointment. There are wondrous limitations in being human. For example, you can’t fly and you can’t breathe under water unassisted. Those boundaries exist to keep us focused on those miracles we can create, and those acts that make us the wonderful beings that we are. Stop focusing on those things you cannot do, and stay attentive to the things you can. Within those things, you can be a wondrous creator.
  3. Discover what makes you happy. The path toward enjoying this life is walking a path filled with happiness and joy. This is accomplished not just by being happy, but by experiencing those things that are contrary to that objective. Remember, you may often find what makes you happy in the shadows of things that don’t. Don’t be afraid of being unhappy, there is great value there.
  4. Your first act of service must be to yourself. I know, this sounds selfish. That’s because it is. Everything we do is rooted in selfishness, even the most selfless-seeming acts ever done. We react, or act, based on who we are in the moment. This means our the desires of our own self motivate our actions or reactions. Even when we do stuff we think we have to do, and not necessarily want to, is rooted in a selfish desire to be something. So, we must first be kind to ourselves if we want to be kind to others. We must first care for ourselves if we wish to be of care to others. We must first take into account our own needs before addressing the needs of others. Failure to do so will result in resentment, frustration, and self-loathing.
  5. Be prepared to succeed. This is essential to fulfilling our purpose. We all know what we want to do, what we find great joy and passion in doing. We don’t often fear failure or cherish success when we are doing something we love, because there is an underlying realization that there is great success already in doing what we love. The results are secondary to the activity, and the activity usually results in great success, regardless of how we define such success. However, for those of us not doing what we love, we often ignore our calling because we are afraid to fail.
  6. Don’t be afraid of burning bridges. There are certain roads we should never go down again, and we all know which ones they are. Don’t be afraid to burn the bridges that lead us back to those roads. Burn those fuckers right down to fine ash, and let those remnants scatter in the wind. That way, if you get tempted to go that way again, you’ll find a raging river of common sense impeding you in your moment of temporary insanity. You’ll be thankful for the discussion, and for the fact that you have no choice but to turn around and walk in a different direction.
  7. Don’t pay attention to what others think. This is pretty vital to my own happiness. I once tried the other way, believing that my own sense of happiness was dependent on others being happy with me. That never worked out so well, so I used that flaming torch (and the many blisters it created) to change my direction. Now, I seek to make myself happy, and I don’t listen to others who may have a different version of what I should be doing. That creates a condition where those who don’t like my version leave, and those who do come flocking to fill that space. See, a win/win for everyone!

The Fledgling

I know how a fledgling feels, bound to the nest yet knowing it can fly. Uncertainty at what lies beyond the safety of that space counters the natural desire to leave, and I will never know the safety of the skies until I jump from my earthen prison.
 
How I wish to taste that which I have never tasted, to see that which I have never seen. How I wish to hear you whisper in the cover of darkness, and awaken me as the Sun crests though our unveiled window! How I peak over the edge, wondering what life breathes out there! JUMP! I hear the echoes shout. If only I was brave enough to listen.
 
How I wish to feel your sweat on my flesh, hear your moans in the dance, and taste your nectar each and every night. There, the wind will take me by my wings, and I will soar high above the mountaintops! I shall land upon you, my perch, and nestle nicely in your arms once the flight is through.
 
I have known the nest for so long, I now want to know the wind. I have been in this tree my entire life, and now I wish to see the horizon as it is. I have seen the Sun from a distance, and now I wish to touch the face of Light herself. Then I want to kiss her, and then I want to feel her enter me.
 
The somber life is not for me. I want to risk my life and limb to fly. I want to cherish the times I land face first upon the ground, and honor the moments I rise, dust myself off, and take to flight again. I want to hear her say my name with loving admiration, with a singular devotion to truth of what we share within. I want our hands searching for each other’s in the night, discovering the sacred space that does not divide us, but binds us in our sacred oath.
 
Thus, the fledgling in me waits for you, my wind, my sky. The heavens abound and surround me, opening those moments when you will show me what I’m made of. There will be a song of praise as unused wings accept your grace and our union takes us to places we may have never known apart.
 
Such an intention surely cannot go unnoticed by the moment that is no longer forgotten in a litany of moments, but known intensely for its holy purpose. Surely such a bond between that which flies and the wind cannot be ignored by those who wish to soar. Surely it takes but a single act of courage and devotion to the voice that lives within us. I will meet you there.
 
Now JUMP!
 
~TG

The Morning After

There she is, walking past me in our room, her beautiful eyes smiling with her lips in tow, my heart beating for her touch.

A slight breeze makes its way through our slightly open window, carrying with it the smell of jasmine emanating from the incense stick burning in the corner of the room. I hear you humming to the song playing softly in the background, and I just sit embracing every morsel of this moment.

You need to know where I’m standin’ now
That I’m right on the edge of givin’ in to ya
Baby it’s a long way down…

I reach for you, grabbing your hand as you pass. I stand to face you, with a tear streaming down my face I’ll surely blame on the ragweed. Yet, you know better, and you lean in to kiss me, taking with me every bit of fear created in the moments I spent waiting for you. You have been so worth the wait.

My mind drifts to the moments when I’d dream of times like this, of scenes played out like the night before. I’d think about those kisses, of feeling your skin against mine. I’d imagine what it would feel like to have you leaning on my shoulder, sometimes holding me up and at others being held up yourself. I’d see the images of our foreplay, of our friendship never-ending, of our moments a testament to the resurrection of romance eternal.

“You will never need to search for love again,” I vow silently, you somehow getting the message in my eyes. Another kiss, deep and passionate, as I take you to the bed we had left disheveled the night before. Another moment realized, another promise fulfilled.

In each morning after I give thanks to the stars for you, as I had the many mornings before you finally fell for me. In each morning after I touch you in honor of the mornings before I could only hope for such a thing. In each morning after I kiss you tenderly, knowing this great blessing absent the mornings before.  There is no question in this love. There never was.

The thing about life is that it is a rhythm of moderation sandwiched between a series of extremes. Those moments without give life to those moments with, with a truth established through the myriad of experience. A man who’s nearly died of thirst will always remain grateful for a drink, and as I look into your eyes I will be reminded of the moments without you and be born within a glow of gratitude.

Just like the Sun rising on the morning after.

photo by: JohnnyLCY

I love her. I can’t help myself, and in the whimsical way I see her I dance and twirl in this love I have discovered. I’m like a lost boy, and I frantically search for calmness within the chaos that calls her name. Try as I might to escape her gravity, I feel like a wayward star that cannot help but orbit her entirely.

I’m not a boy. I’m not a sapling cowering in a pinewood forest, hiding from the storm among the giants. I stand tall within the winds, and hold my own against the ravages of a wild, wild world. I growl harshly at the malcontents, while purring softly in the arms of the truest love. I fight fiercely the demons that once wreaked havoc on my mind, and smile a radiance unfiltered when I hear her softly call my name. I am a warrior in this world, and surrender only to the notion that one day, soon, my lips will be what she searches for in the darkness.

I am not lonely, even in the deepest silences of my aloneness. I thrive in the miracle of my own sunrise, never lost in the depths of darkness that enshroud my breaking dawn. See, right there, in the darkest part of the horizon lays that single ray of light; the one that breaks the darkness, that slight hum that softly ends the silence. It is there I whisper her name, hoping one day I’ll hear her answer in reply.

We all know the toughest parts of unrequited love. It’s the longing kiss that never comes, the needy moans of desire that never echo in the night. It’s the moments when those lips seem to be calling, yet all we hear is the silence wandering aimlessly in the space between. It’s the moments when her taste overwhelms the senses, yet there is no spring from which to drink. It’s the waiting, the unanswered question, that seems to send shivers through the soul when you realize there is no other choice. You will be patient, even in your tantrums. You will surrender, even as you fight the bravest battle. You will not drink until she bends her cup to your lips, or the thirst takes your life away.

You have found yourself in the softness of her eyes, and discovered something else as you dance in her sweet embrace. Your dreams can see her writhe in pleasure, as your body responds to the illusion of her sweat pooling on your chest. You awaken all your senses as you dive in unconscious revelry, feeling her hips locked within your grip, her flesh taking all that you can give her. You find life in her salty taste, and purpose in the pleasure of her body and her soul. You were born to be her ship, and she was born to be your sea.

The dreams are sure to end, and you curse your open eyes. The Sun rising in the space just outside your window gives you hope. Perhaps today will be the day. Perhaps before the Sun rises again you will awaken from your dreams and plunge into her waiting soul. Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day the question will be answered and you can begin the story you’ve always felt being written in your heart. She will know you in your most vulnerable, and you will honor her in hers.

That is how I dream of her, and how I live to find that truth. Though a mist she may be today, perhaps tonight she’ll be a reality. The fog does not last forever, especially when the Sun decides it has had enough of such folly. Hands unite in their time, lips kiss at the appointed hour, bodies unite when the Moon sings her passion.

If she never comes, I have had her in my dreams. I cannot bend my heart to the whims of minds far beyond my own control. Rather, I trust the wind that unfurls my wrinkled sails, and the stars that guide my trusting rudder. I trust the compass that points me to the place I’m sure to go, and the path I chosen to get me to my destination. What the fog says I leave to the gods, for the footprints are mine, and mine alone, to make. Trust, to me, the process of my living. Just as an artist trusts his brush, though he knows it is his hand alone that guides it.

In that, I say good night.

What If…

What if we both said “fuck it”, and dove in together? What if all of the thoughts, and experiences, and fantasies all led us to a single space, beer in hand, lips ready to touch?
 
What if the funny, odd jokes we tell are preludes to the moments when lay exhausted and breathless besides each other, waiting to relive the dance again?
 
What if I just forgot it all and kissed your lips with all of my heart and soul? It’s funny how beautiful a space can look when you clear out the cobwebs, sweep up the dirt, and wash away the dust. It’s wonderful how lush a seeded knoll can be when watered from time-to-time.
 
What if I just left the blankets on the bed, left crumbled by a story we told each other the night before, certain to be disturbed again by the stories we are writing during the day? What if we promised to let the sweat barely dry, and the water in the tub never get cold?
 
What if we lived in a perpetual soreness that match our eternal ache? What if a glance is all it took, a whisper was all we needed, to relive the promise we never had to make?
 
Yeah…what if?
photo by: Stefan Baudy

Life is Like the Breath

I had a feeling something would be up during my morning meditation. A wave of joyful dread cascaded throughout the light I allow to enter, and I heard a noisy hum that seemed to emanate from the light around me. Physical life is, if nothing else, a series of contrasts.
 
I say “joyful dread” because I’ve learned to take such a thing in stride. Loss, grief, misunderstanding…they are all part of the wondrous cycle that allow gain, joy, and connection to thrive. So, when I experience the dread of those things, I am joyful knowing that the opposite is just around the corner.
 
The lesson of the morning, for me, was that life is like a breath. It sucks sometimes, and it is great others. When we breathe, we have to suck (inhale) in order to release (exhale). Otherwise, we’d have nothing to draw from, and nothing to give back.
 
My body must expand to contract, and this process is as involuntary to life as the flow is to living.
 
With this perspective, I am able to do many things in my life. I am able to accept myself for who I am, and seek no change in me for another. I am able to sit alone as the Sun rises and feel the energies within me that give me an understanding of myself within a crowd. I am able to forgive others for the pain I know I inflict upon myself, for their wisdom is sometimes not in line with my own. I am also able to walk away when I know its right, and not look back even if I can feel the heat from the bridge I may be burning to the ground.
 
Sometimes you don’t need a fallback position. Sometimes you need a cliff. Sometimes there is no reverse selection on your gear shift. Rivers don’t often flow backwards, even if they will often change direction. I realize that I’ve never flowed in reverse either, because contraction is not a reversal, it’s a simple change in direction. We are all always moving forward.
 
So remember, take a breath. Watch your body change direction. Watch your flow cycle, and appreciate that without that exhalation you will die, and without the inhalation you will cease to be. There is nothing wrong with a change in direction unless you say there is, and you are always free to change your mind.
 
~TG
photo by: +gAbY+

Life is a Participation Trophy

I have learned to not seek for comfort outside of my condition, but to find comfort within it. There is no escaping the things we see as difficult, or challenging, or hard. Those things are there, and the more ready we are to embrace them, the less challenging they appear.
 
Somewhere, someone once taught me that challenges were “hard”, and that they should be faced with a concern that gave them some sort of special meaning, and therefore should create in me a sense of special purpose. I can say they were wrong, that each experience in life should be faced with the same joy and expectation as every other experience in life, and that a chore can be as joyous as opening a birthday gift, if you see them both as opportunities to receive.
 
Perspective, I’ve learned, is the key. When you see that life is nothing but a series of contrasting experiences, each born in order for the other to be, you can see the joy that unites them both. Yes, in each tragedy there is love, and in each challenge a triumph. I can prove that if you dare me, it’s all just a matter of perspective.
 
Despite what I write, I can find equal comfort in aloneness as I do in companionship. Sure, each can be a challenge. Sometimes I want to be alone when in company, and sometimes I want company when alone, but ultimately I am equally happy either way. I’ve learned in my life to carry myself, to stand up on my own, and that nothing can truly beat me but me. Even if I fail some standard, or to meet some goal, I am never beaten. Unless I believe that I am.
 
Contrary to what some may think, life does give participation trophies. We call them memories. Or experiences. We are not all carved out to meet someone else’s definition of “winner”, but winners we are nonetheless. We live this life, we survive many challenges thrown our way until, one day, we jump through the mist of death into some great unknown.
 
Death is that moment when we realize that we were never really in control; that no matter how hard we struggled or resisted we always had no choice but to go with the flow. That flow brings us, finally, to the moment of ultimate surrender, that moment when we realize that perhaps we never really existed in the first place, and that all there was the experience, that participation trophy that says, “I was here, I did something.”
 
No matter what we have done, or not done, we all participate in this thing called life. We all have impacted someone at some point, and done something meaningful for someone even if we’ve never met them. Enjoy that power of you, that power that suggests that no matter what you are doing, you are impactful and necessary to the flow over which we have no control. Sure we can swim, or float, or dive, or fight that tide, but we will have no choice but to ride the flow. We have no choice but to participate in the journey, a journey that will always transform but may never end.
 
Happy Thursday, and what a Thursday it will be.
 
~TG
 
photo by: AlicePopkorn