Sometimes I forget that I am surrounded by billions of other people on this world.
Many of them are going about their daily grind at this very moment; having their coffee, walking to the store on the corner for toilet paper, taking a pee off their back porch as they look across their families fields of corn or wheat, walking to the mailbox in your underwear, making steam monsters inside a freezing car as the heater does its job; standing at the end of the driveway watching a school bus full of little, squealing ankle biters fading off in the distance, feeling lonely all of a sudden; but don’t tell the wife or she’ll start cooing and call you a “big ol’baby”.
There are millions of others on our world that scream and wet their pants when a car backfires. There are millions of others on our world that are digging thru mountains of debris looking for grandma or grandpa and snakes.
There are millions of others on our world that are cooking stale corn meal over a buffalo shit fire and filtering some drinking water thru an old tee-shirt and sand..There are millions of others on our world that are waiting for the sun to come back, or Jesus, or the mothership…
Fear God, not man…
What a crock of shit.
Lets face reality, people.
There are millions of others on our world that will not have a meal today and tomorrow isn’t looking good either. Maybe the rebel or government troops won’t steal the food from the relief organizations this time. They wonder if cannabalism is really all that bad.
There are others on our world that will wonder what that noise is, right before the building explodes.
There are others on our world , millions of PEOPLE, that are not “blessed” or “lucky” enough to have what millions of us have; like a grocery store that throws away tons of perfectly edible food on a weekly basis.
I’ve witnessed it.
There are others on our world that would be grateful for a spoon of oatmeal or maybe a nice, hot shower or hell, maybe some timely penicillin.
There are others on our world that have never seen a TV, a car, an aspirin, an iPhone or a Kardashian…
I woke up this morning, like millions of others on our world, worrying about my bills, being at work on time, 52 year old aches and pains and a noisy coffee maker; then, I saw this: Sacrifice
I didn’t wake up dead this morning but, I complained about my life.
I cried for a baby and her dead parents this morning, then I remembered.
I reminded myself to be grateful and happy
I stopped what I was doing and began to do my little guilt routine.
As I walked around my bed, making it up, I told myself to be grateful, told myself what I should be happy for and why, to REMIND myself how truly blessed” “lucky” or “providentially gifted” or just in the right place at the right time, stumbling around bleery eyed in this little tiny apartment, in this little bitty city, in this tiny weeny country on this little bitty planet in this big old universe.
I have to remind myself to be grateful.
Think about that for a bit today.
Shouldn’t being grateful come naturally, shouldn’t it be kind of like an instinct?
I have to remind myself to be happy, some days…
Sometimes life gets in the way of living, and we forget the present moment is all we truly have and that each breath is a gift in this, our miracle of existence that defy any explanations or the limitation of human thought or expression.
We forgot how to be ourselves because we did it to ourselves and others.
I will not complain today.
Please remember that everything is impermanent, nothing lasts forever, but this includes all aspects of the human condition or life situation; such as, happy can be happier, best can be better or my coffee can be ready on time.
We are what we think we are, we create our reality or our perception of it.
Don’t even get me started on the treachery of perception.
Do you have to remind yourselves to be grateful or happy?
I will not complain today but, tomorrow…..I’m pretty sure I’ll have to remind myself to be happy and grateful, again.
The Fourth Mindfulness Training:Awareness of Suffering.
I have started on a new life path.
Let me get going with this before I forget the feelings and emotions that I just went thru about 10 minutes ago.
Kinda scary, really….for me at least; or “my type” of scary.
Close freaking call is what it was.
I just barely walked into my little apartment; put up the groceries with shaking hands, poured a glass of lemonade with spasming shoulder muscles; then sat down, sweating, and turned on this lap top to share something with y’all.
I’m an alcoholic, you see; currently, blessedly, dormant.
I wanted a drink, bad this afternoon; drink aka: beer, whiskey, wine, inebriant….buzz
I don’t know what created the urge, craving, desire, longing or the lust.
It came out of nowhere, like a foul smell on an ill breeze.
I will run thru some sadly familiar things y’all probably already know about alcoholics; or have heard or maybe suffered with yourself.
The newest craving came out of nowhere and I have no idea what set it in motion.
I’ve come to, in too many bars wondering how I got there.
Woke up in too many ditches, vacant cars, dumpsters or a bed in a stranger’s home.
I’m enough of an experienced alcohol rehabber to not be set off by feeble beer signs, beer advertisements, beer trucks, liquor stores, etcetera, etcetra…laudy freaking dah
But, there it was; out of nowhere? Or was it in me, in my soul the whole time, just waiting….?
One second I was driving my big truck to Wal-Mart; as a matter of fact I was listening to an audiobook called “The Heart of The Buddha’s Teachings” by Thich Nhat Hanh, because I am always searching for ways to make myself a better person, or maybe to make me feel better about myself or maybe to fill my head with good things and not bad things.
I don’t know why I am always listening and reading these self help books, seminars, different churches and countless other things.
….I don’t know why.
Anyhow, back to the craving.
It came like a hot breath on the back of my neck, it’s broken teeth raking across my skin; shivers and goosebumps up and down my spine.
My mouth started to water as I realized what was happening…
“No” I whispered to myself “No”
And just like that, it was all I could think about.
TA DA!! ABRA-FUCKING-CADABRA!
The battle for my sobriety was joined
Right Trey said “NO, ain’t happening”
Left Trey said “You’re just gonna have a few before bed”
There is no “few” in an alcoholics mind; especially not in this drunks mind.
Right Trey says “I don’t want to feel bad all day tomorrow”
I’m also a newly diagnosed diabetic.
Left Trey says “You’ll get plenty of sleep for it to wear off before you have to get up”
Right Trey says “I don’t want to keep getting up and have to pee a hundred times”
Left Trey says “Oh, it ain’t that bad, you pussy”
Right Trey says “I AM bored, though…..”
First sign of weakness; I have a lot of those.
Left Trey smells blood in the water and continues his attack “Just make sure you make a nice dinner while you can still stand and eat while you drink, that way you won’t get AS drunk or feel AS bad tomorrow”
I can’t believe I still listen to this guy, but….
I am shaking and sweating.
I’m getting so anxious that it’s causing me to get sharp pains in my chest and the inevitable heartburn starts.
Panic attack! Oh, shit! I HATE THOSE!
The beer annex in the Walmart was closed.
Look at me! So full of moxy and blazing with self confidence (I know better) I went to a convenience store next door to the Walmart to get me a lemonade or something…
I had triumphed.
My chest hurt. I needed some Zantac
I blinked my eyes and found myself in front of the beer cooler, looking at the beer.
I was trembling….
I felt sick, I felt nervous, I felt scared and weak….I felt mad.
I know me….
Left Trey said “Ok, don’t get a 12 pack then, just get 2 forties”
Compromise; second line of attack
It was such a terrible craving attack.
Left Trey can be a ruthless bastard! Damn near killed me a few times.
I haven’t had a craving this serious in years.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have “bad” cravings everyday. Little bitty ones but, not like this one was.
This was the kind of craving that ends up with me locked in a motel room for 4 days in the dark, hating myself, looking for the courage to find a way out of my head….
You see? I know me…
It made me physically ill and scared the shit out of me.
Too damn close, man….
Why now, after so long, I wonder? That’s the really scary part.
I’m gonna have to be on alert.
Always fucking there, dude!
Jeez, I don’t need a relapse, man . Not like THIS…
I’m doing soo much better!
I won for the day though.
That’s a good sign, I guess.
I’m still willing to fight for my soul.
I have been for a long time.
“Do not become frustrated or discouraged when starting a new path in your life because eventually you will shake off the dust of the old path” – Me
“The Noble 8 Fold path teaches that through restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, practicing mindfulness and meditation,the enlightened ones can stop their craving, clinging and their karmic accumulations; thus ending their rebirth of suffering.” Wikipedia
Have you ever had a wonderful, beautiful, tragic, romantic, heart-rending dream before?
There is this girl(I don’t know how old we are in my dream) but, if it’s in relation to her age, I should be late 20’s.
All I can remember about her (after waking up 3-4 times at intense moments during the dream, then losing the flow of the dream and then trying to get back to sleep like a crazy person) that she has fair, smooth skin…light hazel eyes, reddish brown or dark strawberry blonde hair pulled back in a low pony-tail, and a smile….
A smile that makes me cry..
She evidently has a recurring role in my psyche somehow, because I have “known” her since I was a teenager; you know….when us boys start dreaming about the fairer sex.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen her but, it’s long enough between episodes that I almost forget about her; then, she reappears.
I don’t know her name yet but, this is what happened last night…
Best that I can remember.
I am sitting on a couch, talking to unknown people, subject unknown.
When a door into the room opens up and “my girl” walks in carrying groceries…
I freeze…..it takes me a second….don’t I know her……….?
(I WAKE UP!!)
She’s seen me just as I see her and she drops the groceries, runs to the couch, crashes down on top of me and wraps her arms around my head. Laying her own beautiful red head down slowly; she’s looking into me; those pale green, sleepy, painful eyes…
Oh…there you are. Now, I remember…
(I WAKE UP!!)
I’m looking at her again…her wet cheek dug into my chest and shoulder, her arm across my chest, her legs across my lap; she says…
(tears in my eyes now in really real)
She say’s…(I can’t see)
“Where have you been?”
So soft, so tenderly….
“Where have you been for soo long?”
Her eyes are glistening now…….accusing…..forgiving…..hating me.
I WAKE UP!!!
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY!!!
I don’t want to be back in the awake place…
No one likes me here….
Guess what now?… I’m thinking…..”I should have stood up when she walked into the room, instead of just sitting there… been a gentleman”
Why that thought? It’s only a…..dream, right?
I must truly respect and cherish this lady; esteem her greatly I must.
Then, smiling to myself like a freaking Cheshire cat, I say to myself…
“Thank God…she’s back.”…then, of course, crying myself to sleep…..still smiling.
Glad that “she’s” back…
I’m fighting to find sleep, trying to find her again.
But’ I couldn’t…
I had left her there…in my…”our” dream…apparently again.
I’ve eft her sitting there beside my spot; haven’t I? Clutching at empty air like a gasping person, be it out of despair or need…terrified that I had faded away from the couch and left HER, once again (Crying again now in this really real; my hands are shaking)
Oh my god…..she’s probably still sitting there holding my empty air.
I flatter myself….
Maybe shes screaming my name!
I am empty air.
What a bastard I must be…in this awake place.
I understand a few things more clearly this day; a true zen moment has occurred in my life; other than the fact that I am empty air in a dream romance….
Maybe it’s real to her….
Maybe…..it’s real to me.
Wanna know why about the zen?
A) I do not know this “lady’s” name
B) I have NEVER had a dirty dream about her
C) I have never kissed her.
But last night…last night…(crying in the really real, again)
I think dreams are real…
Last night was the first time, THE FIRST BLESSED TIME I ever heard her voice!
She actually spoke to me, and I can feel her fingers in my skin as surely as I can hear myself sniffling now!
Maybe thats why I couldn’t stay there….
What a bastard I must be…in this awake place.
If heaven is where dreams come true…then I either came one step closer to it last night, or I saw it on a hill….
I felt heaven there…in a dream…on a dream couch with bad cushions; my dream lady holding me…crying into my shoulder…shaking…Her loving me and me not knowing her…
Be back soon Lady…..
I know it and I can’t wait.
But, what if it’s years, like last time? Will you come? Will it be your turn to forget?
Or, will it be like that one time, where we passed each other on a crowded street and only had a second or two to die inside…..as we brushed by each other, the people shoving us along, keeping us apart?
Adrift on the waves.
Here’s what I promise to the Sandman or God; whomever is in charge of dreams…
I’ll behave and commit no sin, I’ll eat all of my vegetables and pick up my dirty clothes.
I will eat tomatoes…..
I’ll beg the Lord for forgiveness and beg him to let me see you again …maybe I can stay a little longer next time…and we can talk…on our dream couch…
The nice Mormon people sat in the church pews, surreptitiously glancing over their left shoulders as the doors into the chapel opened; breaking the air pressure in the big room, alerting the members of possibly a new investigator or an old crib Mormon coming to worship, and wondering even more so “Why’re they late to church?”
I was a little apprehensive to say the least as I peered thru the doors; the numerous heads turning my way, and the exploring, questioning, judging eyes.
Like walking into a room full of scary baby dolls….at your great grandma’s…
There were some smiles of course; or was the baring of the teeth an act of territorial bravado?
There were mostly frowns and straight, clinched, undecided lips.
A baby cried…
I also noticed that there were some indignance, impatience and irony scattered here and there among the congregant faces.
“Guilt” I think to myself “I feel guilty for getting here late”
That’s a good sign, I guess.
After all, I’d been gone for a long time; from church, I mean.
Definitely lending credibility to the phrase of “Better late than never”
Of course this all took place in the blink of an eye and a simultaneous breath, like most death-defying acts of bravery occur.
I passed thru the door into the chapel, heart thumping.
There was no lightning or burst of hellfire.
No thundering voice yelling “Depart heathen!” or a hissing, demonic “Get. OUT.”
The echoes of my sliding steps across the carpeted floor were mind numbing to me; ringing off every hard surface like insane church bells being jerked up and down by a crazed hunchback!…. I believe I could actually see people wincing as their ear drums busted!
Young mothers screamed, holding their infants up as human shields; old men grabbed their chest and fell to the floor; old women rifled the old mens pockets and the young husbands grunted, opened their eyes, looked around sleepily, dug some Cheerios and Apple Jacks out of a Ziploc bag and munched on them all the while putting the binky back in the baby’s mouth; the preacher leaps over the pulpit, swinging a blinding crucifix around his head, pumping righteous death at me from the barrels of 2 golden revolvers, spitting Gods justice in molten hot lead!!!
Well, it coulda happened…No, wait….
That’s just my imagination. We ain’t got crucifixes in our chapels….or preachers; technically speaking.
The door shut behind me as I slid clumsily into the last seat in the last pew, closest to the aisle.
Peoples heads turned succedently, obediently, back towards the front of the chapel; the room pressure returning back to an optimal church worshipping level.
My ears were buzzing and I realized I had to pee.
“Welcome, Elder Clarke, been a while” came a voice from above…
I looked around the room, scanning various faces that were looking at me again..
I’ve got food on my face, don’t I?
I wipe it off.
Is there an Elder Clarke in here? Weird…
“I’m talking to you, Brother Clarke” said the same all around me voice, followed by a slight microphone squeal.
I’m a Brother Clarke….(I’m still looking around during this time freeze)
Microphone means speakers, speakers mean microphone, microphone MEANS PERSON TALKING TO ME!
Well, technically in the LDS faith, I am an elder but, I don’t consider myself worthy of the title.
I wouldn’t even say I’m a Jack Mormon. I’m more of a…..Doug.
“Yep, Wolf amongst the sheep” I mumble to myself; man, have I gotta pee.
I throw my hand up in a “Howdy y’all” half wave; the kind of greeting you give to a crowd of people when you are late to a meeting or event and gratefully accept the sentence of death pronounced upon you by the goodly town folk.
But, in a nice, Jesus loving way….
“It’s good to have you join us today; welcome back” said the person at the microphone.
He smiled at me and winked.
So, this is how it’s gonna be, huh?
Dirty pool, Bishop.
Note: (That’s what we Mormons call our dirty, rotten, lying, good for nothing, treacherous ward leader)
No, not really. He’s an excellent human being. Ugly kids though….
He promised me yesterday that he wouldn’t call me out in front of the whole ward (that’s what we call our….wait….I don’t know why they call us “ward’s”. You look it up. I’m writing, here)
I threw him a curve ball.
Making a wide, sweeping glance around the chapel, I pronounced “I just got back from my mission, Bishop”
He still smiled but, I saw a look quickly pass over his face.
What was that….intrepidation, fear? Nooo….
The dirty bugger can’t wait to hear what I’m gonna say.
Touché mon ami….
How’d he know…… Dang!
I hate it when people talk to Jesus behind my back and figure me out….
“A mission?” I hear a voice ask; somewhere off to my right, slightly behind me.
I follow the trailing echo of the voice and locate the source.
A teenaged girl. Cute, brown hair, invisi-braces….those questioning, Doubting Thomas green eyes.
Not, the Bishops kid, I surmised.
“You’re too old to go on a mission” the highly astute young girl stated.
I said “You’re never too old to go on a mission” I smiled, sarcastically but, in a loving Jesus way….
She flipped her hair, turned her smug little, snotty face towards the front of the chapel, denouncing my presence in her sphere of supremacy and pronounced the obvious..
“I see you around all of the time, Mr Trey (that’s my name) How can you be on a mission when you never left?”
I hate smart kids; used to beat them up.
**Back and forth banter (I hate having to put ” ” after each quote; bugs me)
“Well, dear, I was on a mission of sorts”
“Did the church call you for your mission?”
“How can they “kinda” call you on a mission?” *snort laugh * Where’d you go on your “mission?” *12-year-olds faint laugh of derision*
……..silence for a few seconds.
Everyone is looking at me.
I feel tears coming.
My face feels hot all of a sudden….
I hear the Bishops voice; not on speakers….right next to me.
I look at him.
He puts his arm around my shoulders and winks at me again.
“Elder…Clarke (he grins) told me this yesterday”
I hear the low rustle of people in church pews paying closer attention. Y’all know that sound.
“Tell them where you served your mission, “Mr Trey”.
Everyone is looking at us, I can tell.
I turn to face them.
Deep breath…. Funny, I was breathing just fine a second ago.
“I went to Hell” I said
…….quiet from the cheap seats.
I think the crying baby was even listening now.
Baby’s are smart.
They talk to angels until they get older and learn how to forget Angel stuff.
Bless his heart…
I know this little boy was sitting somewhere across the aisle, invisible to me; lost among all the big people surrounding him.
“Did you baptize anybody in…you know; where you was at?”
*low snicker* *mom quietly hushing little boy* *grunt, rustle of Ziploc and Apple Jacks*
“Just me” I said
This was too good for all the tweens in my new audience; the missionary scholars…
“You can’t baptize yourself!”
*louder snickers* *quiet slap of a low five*
“You’d be surprised” I said.
My gaze wandered to the front of the chapel, a picture of Christ hung there….
It was the Jesus picture that stares at you, follows you around the room.
I stared back, got dizzy.
How does he DO that?
Once again, hushingly “I was in Hell for 20 years….
I felt the Bishops hand squeeze a little harder on my shoulder; I looked back at the curious people in my ward.
They looked back at me, noticing that my voice had changed, my eyes, my face….
I heard “Mommy, Mr Trey is sad”
“No he’s not, baby….” hushed Mommy. “He’s happy”
I smiled at her.
My voice is husky now….
“I was in Hell for 20 years, here…..and here” I first pointed to my head, then my chest.
*Small voice from cheap seats*
“Is Hell bad?” it said
I sat there for a few seconds before I leaned forward; grabbing onto the top of the pew in front of me; knuckles turning pink, red then white, from my grip….