Rivers

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“Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers till I reach you.” – The Head and The Heart; Rivers and Roads

For years this blog has been about memories and lessons, the way the world shifts beneath our feet and twists our ankles, the way we hit the ground… the way we get back up.

This week one of my best friends moved away from home. I don’t know when I will see him again, I know I certainly will, but I have no way of knowing when. This is another instability of life.

When I was a younger man I had this dream that me + all of my best friends would wind up in the same place. Despite the fact that we all wanted different things, teaching, theatre, engineering, photography, writing, it’s all the same, really. We all have these things that call to us and beg us to move forward step by step, even when we don’t know where to go there is always something pulling at us until our bones shake. Some small voice in the back of our minds begging us deep down to steel our shoulders and wrap the rope around our hands, to begin dragging the slabs of sandstone up long and shallow ramps.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago that this dream of mine had truly shown itself for what it was, a sham. Not that it is a bad thing at all. I’m so endlessly excited to see where each of the boys go, what they do, who they become. I’m so excited to evolve from Alan the Novelist to Uncle Alan, or Dyzygy on a Guest Stream, or even Alva Tobias, celebrity guest at a grand reveal of a play or movie. All of these things seem silly, I’m sure, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized that if we do not have these dreams, if we do not have these passions, we are lost completely. Each one of us, you and I, are bound together by one everlasting and powerful link that groups us together and cinches us tight.

Purpose.

I sat this week with someone who I hold extremely dear to my heart and talked with him about his novels, our jobs, his future and mine alike. We laughed like we always do, we joked like we always do, and we sat in the same dingy booth in the same shitty casino restaurant that we had frequented for years now and just experienced life together.

I ramble fairly frequently, if you think the blog is bad you should speak to me in real life. I have a hard time getting to the point, because I’ve never believed that the point is where we should be getting. We should be getting onward, guys like me don’t define ourselves by early or late. We don’t think about the end of the story, I know damn well that the end will come when the end comes and I have no intention of rushing or delaying anything. That being said, it is important that we must continue moving.

My life pulls me in a dramatically different way than everyone else’s. My best friends and I may not see each other forever, but they will always be a part of my pyramid. The bottom blocks, the biggest ones, that hold this entire wonder up. I would not be the man that I am today without the constant love and support of these men and watching them grow and change, evolve and struggle to overcome things is nearly greater than the joy I see in them when they have successes and we can share laughter over those small victories.

I love watching their stories unfold because I see all of us as these wondrous characters, grafted and designed with innumerable purpose, fleeting as our lives may be at the end of time, we can still stand at the gate of change or death or life and scream to the world that we were here, we exited and we lived, we loved with everything we can.

It is this way too, when friends and family pass on.

I talk so much about purpose, because I don’t think many people truly find their purpose. I stumbled around for the majority of my life, only recently discovering that I am here to inspire, to tell stories, to help others in some manner. I forget that sometimes. I forget too, that our lives aren’t meant to be rushed through. We have to take things one day at a time, thought is not a matter of moments it is an expanse of time.

Though thorough we may be to seek out our next step, it will come when it is ready. It is up to us to be ready for what comes next.

If you have to say goodbye, for the moment, or for forever, remember that it is all part of the purpose we are searching for. Each of us are destined to find our own way. Our friends may not live in the same city forever, but it never hurts to put yourself and your family in a boat and float down the river for a while, just to say hello every once and a while.

There are many things about my past that I don’t look to for inspiration. There are many facets of my own personality that I can’t stand to admit and yet, I was blessed with men and women who love me unconditionally through everything. Despite how horrid I believe myself to be inside some days.

I welcome change, I welcome the twists and turns of the earth. I know that my friends and I are in the same boat together and they will never be too far for me to paddle towards. I know they will paddle towards me in return. I am in no hurry and I am not one to wait around either. Everything happens, all good and bad, when the world wills it to happen. I cannot control it, so until the end I will enjoy every step, every laugh, every chest pain and every last splash of water into my boat, no matter who is sitting beside me.

Friends who love like that are hard to find, but they are out there and it can make you feel like the world will shake beneath your feet, and if you feel it…

You’re right.

Here is something that I did with my friend, I hope you enjoy it.

Doki Doki Literature Club: [Ep. 1] – Let’s Play a horror inducing dating simulator.

Not into video games? How about this then?

14 Wolves

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If we were to consider every single problem and frustration that roots into our daily lives, rotten berry bushes pruned by the people that say things about you that aren’t true, the fruit of gossip being the easiest fruit to swallow but the hardest to digest, it feeds the deer and the bears that transfer the messages they hear to the world. Bears, obviously know better, (because duh.) and they move to the rivers that run through our lives, the rivers that waver and shift with collapsing banks, unable to be supported by the destruction of the forest in your heart. Deer and Elk feasting on bushes and foliage as they run the mill in the valleys and the gorges of your soul. These deer people might say terrible things they heard at the berry bushes, they might believe the signs that the tree branches painted with their dying limbs and spread those messages forward. Hearing this, the other animals have a tendency to run away from your soul and eventually, the park will die.

If you haven’t ever noticed through this blog, I am passionate about two things. English and Science. One of my favorite scientific concepts is seen in Ecology. The trophic cascade. (I added a link to Wikipedia so you can research more.) In case you don’t know I’ll drop the layman’s explanation, it is something that occurs when the top predator in a food web changes the behavior of the rest of the web. (In this instance, I am referring to a top down trophic cascade, however it can occur in the reverse as well.) Seeing as I am no master of the topic, I encourage you to investigate yourself if you have interest.

Consider checking out the viral YouTube video “How Wolves Change Rivers”

In 1995, 14 Grey Wolves were taken from Canada and reintroduced to Yellowstone Park, where their species had been vacant for some 70 years. The ripple effect of this one small change impacted the very geography of the park. 14 wolves entering the habitat changed the way the rivers flowed. This happened because of the aforementioned cascade. The wolves hunted elk, which were devouring the flora of the park due to a large population, they had eliminated habitats for a myriad of creatures that once made the place their home. The wolves hunted the elk, killing them, which was a start, but the elk began to migrate differently. Staying out of valleys and this allowed plants to grow back. The plants growing once more attracted birds and bears, the birds made homes in trees which had begun growing again, many of them multiplying in height within a few short years. This brought beavers, which built dams and brought in hosts of new creatures to live there. Fish, bugs, and more. Because they coyotes were being hunted, more rodents lived which brought about more predatory birds like hawks, creatures devoured the carrion of the hunted beasts and the ecosystem regenerated in a few years, then, most importantly to what I am bringing to you today, the new trees which had grown, strengthened the river banks, keeping them from collapsing and actually changing the way that the rivers flowed. They stayed their course, which helped the ecosystem thrive. The park was brought back to life all by the introduction of 14 wolves.

Consider this today, as you think about your place in life, where you are, what your park is like. Is your soul overrun with elk, devouring the plant life, keeping the homes from the ravens and bears that your soul needs to thrive?

Consider changing the way you perceive your day, I have been thinking on this topic a great deal because we are not that different from the complicated ecosystems around us. We thrive when all of us are working in cooperation, our body, mind and soul must be healthy and thriving for us to truly be healthy ourselves.

For me to be truly alive, I cannot focus on the lives of the deer and elk who are impeding the growth of my own personal ecosystem. I have sought out the assistance of 14 wolves, through their numbers small, I have found something that will kill the thoughts of laziness and sorrow within my mind. I brought about a change, and because I have seen it before I will watch as the wolves I create with my mind change the patterns of every other part of me. My body will stand stronger, fed off of food and love. My mind will grow stronger, because my body is healthy I will find myself willing to learn, to fight for what I love and know, I will be willing to gain wisdom and utilize it day to day, and through that, my soul will flourish, because the very rivers of my heart will find structure and meaning in my life.

If you are battling today, fighting to secure the park within your mind, I suggest that you introduce something new to your ecosystem. It need not be large or powerful, it only need be present and what you need it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.

Read a good book. Go to the gym. Cook food. Meditate. Pray. Go for a run. Find a new job. Dress up.

Write a book.

Kiss your love.

Adopt some wolves.

An announcement is coming on Sunday about the future of my books + such! make sure to follow me on social media to see it when it drops!

www.linmbta.com

Sandalwood Skin

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Last year I had the chance to spend time all over the country. I went to Oregon, to Georgia, Kansas and Alabama. I experienced so many beautiful things and I learned so much. I wish that I had been in a better place on those trips. I’m not saying they were a waste, but I am saying that I didn’t use all of my time available while I was there.

I know that because I ran out of sandalwood oil.

See, I have these little bottles of fragrance oil that I use after I smoke or before I go to work etc. Just to make sure I don’t actually smell like I spend all of my time at a desk in a den with two pups. On my trip to AL/GA/KS, I spent all of my oil because I was stressed. In OR I used it every thirty minutes to keep my cool or to remember all the lessons and the things I try to teach myself and those around me. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you know that I often lose sight of things. I think a part of that stems from my levels of “Oh shit I have so much to do today/thisweek/thismonth/thislifetime etc.”

It is pretty easy to lose your grasp on things, even if they are sacred to you. The last blog post was about sacred things, and monsters. I focused more on the latter and didn’t really get to the meat of how I’ve been feeling lately. My birthday is right around the corner and I take a lot of time at the end of March to look at my life + who I am. Am I happy with who I’m becoming?

Not for most of last year, no.

That’s because I spent all of my oil on things I didn’t need to worry about. I used it every time I was even a tiny bit stressed. When big things came around I was helpless to them. All I could do to survive was cling to an empty bottle and watch the world around me.

The reason I brought up those trips is because they were the two moments last year when my life changed the most dramatically. My best friend was married in OR and I met one of my oldest friends for the first time in AL. Those were huge moments that affected me dramatically. Good things and bad things came from them both, due to various situations. No, don’t get the idea that my best friend getting married was bad, it was magical. His wife his beautiful inside and out and seeing them in love gives me immeasurable hope for my own life and the future of all of us.

I thought about my business and the way I write and work in AL, I considered that I potentially do too much. I’m a guy who likes organization. Even if it is messy, I know where all of my projects stand and I know what I need to do to accomplish them. I might get a bit delayed, but my work is never lost on me. I know what and where I need to put in effort. That isn’t always said for my personal relationships.

In OR I sat outside the trailer on my last day and had a heart to heart with two friends where we spoke on relationships and love, what it meant to grow and how we were all changing as time passed. We talked about drama and about life for a long time around a dying camp fire. I went to sleep that night full of peace.

The next day on the drive home I was still present, but distracted. I wasn’t giving attention where I needed it. Instinctively I reached for my bottle of oil.

It was empty.

So I continued going on, still smelling the familiar stink of stress loft around my sinuses.

We returned and continued life, things went up and went down and I lost control of my relationships outside of my circle of friends. I was slipping. There was nothing inside of my mind stopping me from snapping or getting on peoples asses for silly things. I felt that anger and tension vividly in my day to day life.

Eventually it became clear to me that I needed to purchase a new bottle of oil. I needed an escape. The trip to KS/AL/GA was much the same. I was so impacted from meeting my friend that my mind was in the clouds for the following days. I desperately needed oil then. I needed to be brought back to the real world.

I can’t tell you what has happened from then till now, but I realized that I wasn’t invested in anything other than my own projects and matters. That’s so wack. I build this whole thing based on the happiness and importance of others, so I can’t give up on them.

We will run into many monsters, but our blessings outnumber them. I was reminded last month that I have a place to live, food to eat, friends who love me, family who would go to the end of the earth for me. I have so many things. Honestly, I have everything that I could need. I take that for granted so frequently, all these hot spots that I can pull oil from.

So I sunk my teeth in. I wedged myself into those blessings and remembered.

How we smell is important, but it isn’t everything. Oil won’t always sustain us, but it will cover up our foul scent until we can manage to get things under control.

Don’t worry if your bottle is empty, I’m sure that you can wash your broken heart and your various hurts inside the pools of others. Don’t hide your stains. Let them show. Don’t cover them with oils and fragrances. Wounds smell so terrible so that we will attend to them and clean them. Not so that we can cover them up.

If your oil bottle is empty today, toss it out, find a new one if you need, but don’t use it as a mask to cover the hurt you might be feeling. Get somewhere to think and figure out the next step. Find bandages in friendship, find cleaning solution in your job or your hobbies, find what you need to heal…

And scrub the layers of sandalwood from your skin.

Make sure to keep your eyes on www.linmtba.com + my social media profiles to see all the cool shit I’m gonna be giving you for my birthday.