Dark Marks on Tall Trees

Standard

I made a big deal about this announcement last Sunday, but, just kidding its happening THIS Sunday. Oops. I had a couple surprise things to get in order.

If you like the blog, you’ll want to tune into my YouTube Channel on Sunday evening. I’ve got a big thing I want to show you.

(Don’t worry, its pretty much 100% G rated.)

I’ve been thinking about my attitude lately. I have been really unappreciative of the things I have been given and the life I am allowed to lead. Reading over some tweets and other various social media posts from people in my life has lent to this realization. There are plenty of old friends populating my Facebook timeline who are having kids, getting married and more wonderful things, on the other hand there are plenty of people who are dragging their knuckles around through the consequences of their own choices, there are those who were dealt a supremely bad hand and have had to fight over their own fists to claw their name in the sand and then… there is me.

I often take for granted the life I lead. I want for nothing. I am able to freely express myself through my writing. I don’t depend on anything to process my emotions, I have a support system that is beyond my imaginable dreams. I have a family and friends who are so wonderful I couldn’t’ ask for better. I have a roof and I have a place to sleep every night, yet…

I still allow past pain to damage me. I think of all the bad things that I have been witness to, the things that have been done to me, even the small unimportant stuff like getting picked on in grade school for being the nerdy fat kid. (I wasn’t even that fat, for the record.) I dwell on these things quietly, when no one is around I kick myself for not standing up and saying something when I should have. Of course, this is all silly. I am a grown man with few enemies, those who have chosen to dislike me or hate me have come from rumors and the fact that those people don’t know me at all. I don’t let rumors of today bother me because I know what I am. I know who I am and I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come and how far I know I am going.

Still, there are dark thoughts that creep into my mind. I worry and panic about decisions I’ve made and things I’ve said or done. These tiny thoughts pile up into a mess within my skull that eventually would crush my focus and my mentality if I let it.

I think all of us have felt this before, we consider actions that have been made against us, torment ourselves over them and lose sleep or forget work, and we are nothing better from it. Just an anxious mess. Of course, there are other scars we bear that are much more serious. Assault, broken hearts, true horrible things that have reached out to slash our flesh and damage us forever. Those scars are much more vicious and real than those of the words that have been thrown at us. Still, we all have scars. We all have marks on our bodies that are damaging us with each moment we focus on them without seeking growth.

The other day I was watching a video on YouTube, I don’t remember the context or the information passed along. I couldn’t pinpoint the actual video to you in a list, but there was one scene that stuck with me and I will likely not forget.

You know, in our youth we always saw videos about kids carving their names into trees? Sometimes they were just the names of the kid. Maybe you carved your initials and your girlfriend of six months into a heart on a sycamore out back, then the girl left you or cheated on you and you’re stuck looking at the carved out heart for the rest of your time in the home. Maybe you carved your abusers name onto a tree in a forest, hoping someone would find it and send help your way. I hope they did, but even if not, that carving remains there. Due to the way trees grow, carvings such as these will likely never be repaired. They will stay on the tree until it is cut down or knocked down by a bolt of lightning or the surge of flame.

The nice thing, however, is that the carving will never stretch or become bold. It will stay on the trunk of that tree and it may never go away, but it will never change size or shape.

The tree however, will.

You and I are like that too. The things that have tormented you or hurt you in the past may stay in your memory forever, but they don’t have to grow with you. They won’t. You’ll get taller. You will cast your shadow on more things, you will become something that others flock to for relief from the heat of the burning sun and they may see those scars, that’s okay.

Those scars on your trunk will tell a story about lost love, but gained insight. They will tell a story of recovery, of hope, of a towering future, resounding through the forest with every single push of the breeze.

You may have scars, but we were built to be like trees. Forever growing, passing through cycles of death and rebirth, and here we are still. Standing strong, towering above the places we were hurt.

If you have collected new scars, or are looking down at your old ones, just take a breath, shake out your branches and look up.

There is so much wonder in the sky.

www.linmtba.com

Advertisements

Sandalwood Skin

Standard

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.