Live Like a Warrior

 My microscope these days zooms in and out with the speed of my unsatiable van’s fuel tank. I feel everything. See everything. The blue jay that feeds from Monet’s dog bowl, the bushy tail of the red fox weaving in and out of the damp, Oregonesque fauna here at Camp Site 60 .

Strange things are happening in the silence, in the aloneness. I crave discussion the same as I crave sitting in the hushed morning rain in my pajamas, on a Tuesday, sipping my cooling cup of Trader Joe’s java.

What will happen on this grey Tuesday that will somehow change my life?  

I’ve lived so many other lives. And here I sit in the warmth of my van feeling like I’m in a Dream with No Agenda. What truths will this wide, open space reveal? Will Walt Whitman sit across from me, gift me his walking stick, and recite my favorite passage, I know not what it is, but I know it is within me?  Will Mary Oliver take my hand as we walk across the creek and remind me of The Other Kingdoms

Consider the other kingdoms. The trees,

for example, with their mellow-sounding titles:

oak, aspen, willow.

Or the snow,

for which the peoples of the north

have dozens of words to describe its

different arrivals. Or the creatures, with their

thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze. 

Their infallible sense of what their lives

are meant to be. Thus the world

grows rich, grows wild, and you too,

grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too

were born to be.  

How does one get there, to this wild and authentic place?  Like refinishing a piece of old furniture, I suspect that one must strip away the layers, accepting the fact that the process is likely to get uncomfortable.

Accept the messy, that’s what I’m discovering. The confusion. The uncertainty. The possibility that you might be making a mistake, yet something inside you tells you, “It’s time.”  

And then, on the other side, which is where I’m at now, I’m learning to trust the process and give myself time and space to just be. No TV. No Internet. No friends. No sugar. Just healthy stuff to cook. For moi.

No one but me, and the Lord above, can stop the noise, the chatter, the restlessness. 

It’s a challenge. I constantly flee my thoughts because they almost always require work, be it a change of heart, direction, even a sense of purpose.

Recently, as in the last few days of solitude, I’ve experienced what’s on the other side of uncertainty: love.  

My entire life I’ve been taught/told/constantly reminded that there was something wrong with me. The way I think. The way I look. My choices. My trunk load of naysayers are right: I am mighty flawed, just like the sloping, stretching oak tree that I’m looking at right now, an easy-to-ignore landscape accoutrement that refuses to stand straight in its quest for the sun. 

This tree is me. And you. And our children, each of us cravers of acceptance and love. When things don’t go exactly our way, it’s crushing, stunting. Truth is, shattered limbs can’t be duct-taped back into place, but their brokenness does provide a canopy and sun-nutrients to the saplings below.  The tree reminds me that my brokenness can lead to growth. I wish it weren’t true. I really do. Because feeling not good enough, unworthy, is debilitating.

There’s something immensely freeing to embracing my entirety, including my clumsy parts.

Changing subjects, but not really, my girlfriend Julie and I were talking the other day and realized—out loud—that as kids we were both fixers. I channeled my Fixerism toward wounded animals and guys I dated. Julie, God bless her, tried to fix her bruised family. Going forward, we both agreed, it’s time to work on ourselves by making better, healthier choices. One day at a time, as they say.  Grand plans are important. But it’s the small steps that get us there.  

And where is there?  Here: Camping in Cambria with my devoted pup, having a cup of honey-sweetened mint tea, in a warm van, sheltered from the rain, reading a book, glancing up at the tumbling ocean and feeling humbled and grateful. In a week and a half, I will celebrate my 67th birthday. How lucky am I to grow older, wiser, and have this golden time to reflect? I get to put the pieces together and move on.  

I started today’s journal entry sensing that somehow my life would change. Visiting with my friend of 57 years, astounded by her grace and the way in which she’s conducted her life, being in Nature, hanging out with my teacher-dog, is changing–present tense–my life. I’m an evolving, shaping, like a mound of clay. 

An old song I used to listen to popped up on my iTunes, “Live Like a Warrior” by Matisyahu.

Your heart is too heavy from things you carry a long time
Been up you been down, tired and you don’t know why
But you’re never gonna go back, you only live one life

Let go, let go, let goooo
Let go, let go, let goooo

Today, today, live like you wanna
Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire, in a fire, in a fire
Live like a warrior

Take a listen to the entire song. Maybe it will be your new anthem too!

One Comment on “Live Like a Warrior

  1. What a wonderful trip through your thoughts and feelings! I LOVE the photo at the top. Makes me long for my childhood (age 10 or so) when I used to sit on the bank of the river in front of our house, watching the water, listening to the racket from the marsh grass, trying to write a little poetry, and have My Own Life! Cheers from the sidelines!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: