The Passengers of Life.

At the end of 2010, I vowed that 2011 would be about others, and it certainly has.  This year was full of sting and complex evolution, but mostly it was full of re-connective charge that can only be found in those people left at the crossroads of life.  It makes sense to revisit those push pins in the where-I’ve-been map of life once one finds themselves yet again pinned at a crossroad; how did I get here and where am I going?

While visiting the roadside attractions of my past, I was not without forward movement and formed karmic connections pushing me toward my own dharma path.  Circumstances created by the aforementioned people–who stretched me in directions in which I could have never predicted my own  flexibility–that shaped my human condition.

The reflection of the past year’s floundering , life signs, people, and identity, formed an overarching theme for the upcoming year: 2012 will be devoted to breaking Samsara–the wheel of suffering.

To do this, I look to attain the below:

  • Be fully present.
  • Bond in joy with people versus bonding in misery, pain, and helplessness.
  • Cease activities of disowning myself.
  • Redirect negative thinking.
  • Possess a sense of humor and lightheartedness.
  • Do not attach identity to success or failure.
  • Have the ability to give/receive support from family and friends.
  • Approach life with more fluidity, grace, and peace of mind.

This stems from what someone told me during one of my journeys in life, “It’s your life, I’m just passing through.”


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Days go by…

We compartmentalize time into past, present, and future, where the events of our life (even the uneventful) flow into one of these three buckets; the conventional view of time.  Perhaps this is why we spend so much time mourning the past and awaiting the future, while life happens (present).  I like my symmetry, and with every moment having a turn at the present there was a shot that the past might not be so bad and if it was, then the future gave another chance for a present moment.  This gave me hope, which became freewill’s scapegoat.

We move on, don’t we.  Hands you used to see daily, interlock with someone else.  Moments shared become benchmarks of time remembered solo.  Images in photos are mannequins in disguise. Memories of childhood are more vivid than they were in real time.  Technicolor versus black and white, images are recalled best in both for very different reasons.

I got confused for so long because of death.  There was a past, present, but no future for the deceased.  It wasn’t until I realized that after someone dies, the deceased, they remain only for the loved ones left behind.  Their future is merely in us.  We carry it on with us until our death, then someone else carries us along.  Past and present…what if we’re not afforded a future? Two’s.  Symmetry.

 

Family versus Family

 

About eight years ago I moved to New York from my native land, Oklahoma.  I had spent a good twenty-three years surrounded by my family and their incessant wonderment of my future.

 

“Got any boyfriends,” Uncle Thed would badger me.

 

“No.”
 

 

“Well, got any girlfriends then,” He just wanted an answer.

 

“I got nothing.”

 

“You going to use your college degree or be a hippie forever,” Aunt Glenda joined.

 

“If it all works out, both,” I knew this wasn’t the end of it.

 

“Do you really think that little band of yours will amount to anything,” My grandmother worried.

 

“Yep, otherwise I wouldn’t be going to New York, Granny.”

 

Within minutes the conversation jumped into the latest gossip about some poor soul in our two-hundred folk town.  I know most people long to be known like the theme song to Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name,” but all I wanted to was to be somewhere that not one single soul knew my damn name.  I needed to breathe for a minute and figure out who I was without everyone else projecting it onto me or reminding me where I came from. 

 

Fast-forward eight years and in taking on a new last name, I also inherited an additional family that is ten times larger than my own immediate family.  Theoretically, my wife and I could have plans every single day of the week if each one of her siblings decided to have a dinner.  The only difference between this is that the back-catalogue of my greatest hits and the infinite collection of tear-in-my-beer songs aren’t carried in the in-law format so excuses like “I have to write because an agent wants my manuscript” are just irrelevant eight-track excuses. 

 

I could write books-upon-books (pun intended) on Alisa Ben, but Alisa Olander really is the forever hippie weaving in and out of responsibilities that amount to a whole lot.

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