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These Hands

I don’t remember this myself, but my mother used to tell me that when I was very young I would stand with my hands outstretched trying to touch the Moon. I was convinced that when I got just a little bit bigger I would be able to catch it in my tiny hands.
My favorite toys were marbles and crayons. Colors captivated me of course, it was what I could do with them in my hands that fascinated me. I would spend hours coloring, drawing in new lines. Taking my aggressions out on the page rather than acting them out more physically.

It’s been years … in fact I cannot remember the last time that I balled my hands into fists because of rage. That doesn’t feel like the right thing to do with them.

My hands have felt extreme cold and extreme heat, and have put those feelings onto paper with ink.

My hands have held my son, and my daughters. They birthed all four into this world: Two by catching and two by pulling and guiding. One of them actually wedged herself in by turning her head at the wrong time and jamming her ear. Just for a moment, and then  hands freed her and she came, gasping and angry.

My hands have purposefully ended two (non-human) lives. I took their lives out of Mercy, and I cried bitterly after each. My hands turned off the machine keeping my mother alive, and signed the papers that let her killer go free. My darkest self believes I have a murderer’s hands.

My hands have been broken, bloodied, chained, and cuffed.

They have worn wedding rings and scars. Nail polish tattoos of a broken and false loyalty.

My hands have been trained to fight. My hands have been trained to heal. My hands have done the devil’s work, and they have been thrown to the sky in praise of a God. I stretched them on the boards for self-righteous mock crucifixion. They have been clasped together until they went numb, begging for an end to the pain of heartbreak.

My hands remember the feeling of caressing the face of my lover. The gentle curve of her cheek, the gentle curve of her hip. They recall the silk-smooth skin of her back. They remind me of the pads of our fingers pressing gently together, and the careful moving of a wisp of her hair from her eyes.

My hands let me speak the words of my heart in magic. They wield the instruments of my craft and turn them into art.

My hands have earned everything that I own. They have saved my life, and they have saved the lives of others.
They have made life a little bit better for countless souls.

The gift I have been given is not my hands, rather the gift I have been given is in my hands. My life’s goal is to honor the giver of the gift by using it.
Until it’s gone.

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Redemption

“What’s broken can be mended. What’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again.” ~ Dr. Meredith Grey

The plot line or trope or whatever you would call it that I enjoy most in stories is the redemption narrative. I first encountered it in ‘Watership Down’ via Bigwig. A mild arc, but it spoke to me nonetheless.

Then Vader, and later still Shawshank, and countless others; the most powerful being ‘The Wrestler’. The title character seeks redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, and does not get it. So he pulls it from inside himself.

Redemption: Coming from the dark and finding the light, the love … the redemption of a new and better life.

This speaks to me in my life because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible you are … you can atone.

There is still a road back. It might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. Walking it may take your entire life. You may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. The ascent is still there. Hard is not the same as impossible.

You are never too far gone. You are never beyond saving.

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The Road of the Fool

The Fool is untested potential, neither positive nor negative yet containing the possibility of both. The Fool is the unconditioned soul about to come into manifestation for the first time to start learning the lessons of the world. Though mocked and derided, attention is not paid, and the Fool simply walks on. Perhaps what they say can be justified, since this ignorance of the world can lead the fool to do things that more experienced people would never imagine. But in these things can be found knowledge and enlightenment. The fool does not care what others think or say, because of a galvanized faith that the path followed is absolutely the correct one.

This approach to life is a strange, unconventional one, because the Fool does not always do what is comfortable. This is a viewpoint not often supported in our modern world, in which “do as I say” is the commandment most followed, and the easy path is the road most traveled. To those who have lived their life under this philosophy, the approach of the Fool may be extravagant, shocking, even frightening. But this approach is all that the Fool knows, and because the only approval they require is their own, they will continue to live this way, despite what all others think. There is simply faith in Self.

The Fool does not hide from the light, because the Fool is the light – the wonderful light that shines out of every child before they see the world and are forced to build so many walls and barriers to protect themselves. The innocence of a child, sadly, is something rarely found outside of children, even though a lot of people could use it these days. With this innocence comes perfect trust, fearlessness, and total self-reliance. It allows one to see the world with new eyes and learn new things every day of one’s life.  It’s a shame that only children, and the Fool, see this light.

New beginnings, new experiences and new choices; the first steps along a new road and the first words written onto a blank page.  Where the road and the story lead are not your concern, because when a journey begins no one can know (or should know) what will happen on the way to the destination. Never let another person control your life. Live in the present and trust in your own abilities – this is the road of the Fool.

(Featured image by Rhienna Renée Guedry)

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Failure is Not an Option

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

My Friend, I have some news to share: You are going to fail.

That sounds kind of harsh, but I know you want the truth from me.
It’s a part of the journey we are on. Gird yourself and prepare: it will come along.

Failure will happen to you.

In following  your road, you will make some mistakes along the way, in fact you need too. Some really big ones.

This is how you grow. There can be no creation or growth without some pain. It will shape you, mold you. Like refining silver, you have to purge the impurities. It’s going to be hard, but it’s the only way.

To paraphrase the movie ‘Apollo 13’, ”Failure is not an option.” That’s very true, failure is not optional … in fact, it’s a necessity. Don’t fear failure. Since I’m quoting art, how about this one: “Fear is the little death.” (Dune) To fear failure is to lose the battle before beginning it. Fear tells us to keep ourselves bottled up and protected. It tells us to play it safe. It warns of impending failure. Fear lies to us, deceives us into thinking that if we fail, our dreams are over.

Sorry. It’s just not true.

Failure Brings You Closer to Your Goal

Here’s the truth: Failure helps you succeed. It shows you what not to do or when something doesn’t work. It is the fertilizer for experience. In my career I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, if you want to keep a record. I’ve been fired, mocked and even booed off stage more than once. I’ve had my phone, my lights and my water cut off. I’ve had my car repossessed and evicted from my home. If i hadn’t been to the bottom, I sincerely couldn’t be as grateful as I am. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this to you.

I’ve been robbed, protested, preached against, assaulted. I’ve been cheated, swindled and lied to. I could fill a book with promises that have not been kept. Show biz. Because of my faith, I can say that I’ve forgiven all of these. I believe in the greatness of the human spirit. I’ve failed, and I’ve kept on down the road.

Failure is the potential of success, not yet fully realized.

So Now What?

You need to keep dreaming. Keep moving down your road. What we have is this moment; so treasure what it holds. Keep breathing.

When you stop dreaming, you become afraid. You get paralyzed, and that is where you really fail.

You will mess up. You will fall down. On your face. Hard. It will hurt.

“The righteous man falls seven times but rises again.”

Not once, not twice — but seven times. Getting back up produces character and character produces hope.

With failure comes perseverance. With perseverance comes success.

Keep failing, keep learning. Failing means you’re doing. And if you are doing … you’re growing.

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