Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 293 or 365

Thoughts are things.

Did you know that?

This all crystalized for me as I was chatting with a close and trusted friend last night. I realized that my path has led me to a place where I am very open. Open to the infinite possibilities that this life has to offer. Open to the paradigm that we create our own reality, and not the other way around. And definitely open to the concept that my thoughts, those invisible brain waves generated from within, can, and do, shape my destiny.

So what does this all mean?

I have learned that when my thoughts are centered on the beautiful things I intend to create in my life (a kick ass job, a great home, this novel, true love) those things find their respective ways into my journey. 

If, however, my internal dialog is focused on past transgressions, old hurts, and things I cannot change, well, I get more of that crap showing up. Yuck.

The moral of the story? What I focus on has a funny way of manifesting in my life…so I have been pretty careful about what I focus on. It's that simple.

So with only 72 days to go, do I believe that there is still enough in me to complete and publish MJWL on time? If you have been following this blog at all, you already know the answer.

I do, and I will.

Going back to the concept of being careful about what you dwell on, allow me to share a little about Leo and one of his dark times. His soul was aching and his thoughts were trapped in the past. The more he dwelled on how much his heart hurt, the more agony he attracted into his life. He needed help, and he needed it fast.

Leo didn’t take on new clients for nearly two years. It just wasn’t in him anymore. The gentle demeanor, the knowing grin, the desire to help an owner and horse connect, it was all gone. All he had left was the ability to take care of his own herd, and he barely had that.

Then one day, as if heaven could no longer stand to watch the wasting away of a man’s soul, a child unwittingly saved Leo Ciotte from himself.

Leo was in the barn shoveling manure, filling water buckets, and throwing fresh flakes of hay into the newly cleaned paddocks. Just as he closed the latch on Sahara’s stall he turned and noticed, incredulously, a boy of about 12 standing in the entrance of the barn hall. Leo wiped the sweat from his eyes with his shirt sleeves and looked again. The kid was still there.

The youngster’s plaid shirt was well worn and his blue overalls were probably two sizes too big for his body. He had dirty blond, matted hair, hazel eyes, and a defiant, freckled face.

Never one for pleasantries, Leo barked out “What do you want?” The boy said nothing, but seemed to be driving his determined feet deeper into the clay floor.

“Who are you boy? What do you want?”

Leo took one frustrated step towards the intruder, letting his pitchfork fall noisily on the barn floor. The boy never budged, his clenched fists pressed tightly against his sides, his eyes staring holes into the bewildered expression of the older, taller, stronger farmer. Finally the words poured out in rapid succession, as if the pressure of keeping them inside had shattered the fragile container that was attempting to hold them.

“I’m Steven,” the kid shouted. “Steven Hill. And I need you to train my horse!”

Leo took in a long, deep breath, his shoulders sagging, suppressing his desire to run the kid off of his property immediately. “Rachel wouldn’t have wanted that” he sighed. He took one more cautious step towards the young man, removing his gloves and shaking his head.

“Sorry, boy. I don’t train horses anymore. Now run along home and talk to your folks. I’m sure they can help you.”

Steven didn’t budge, refusing to break eye contact with Leo. He needed to be heard, and his steadfast determination made it impossible for Leo to do anything but listen.

“Something’s wrong with my horse sir, and if I can’t fix it my parents are taking him to the shed. I’m not letting anyone take Chase to the shed! I’ll run away with him if I need to! I will! I’m not afraid of nothing. So I need you to train my horse mister.”

Steven paused for a second, inadvertently allowing Leo to hear the heartache beneath the resolve, as he choked out his final plea, his voice cracking.

“You just have to.” 

Will Leo help Steven save his horse? The answer is clear, if you…

Believe in forever.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day 280 of 365

Time is an illusion. 

I am completely and utterly convinced of this

It was only a few days ago that I wrote the February 14th entry of this blog, and yet, according to the calendar, my cell phone, and the local news, nearly three months have passed. Impossible!

Of course, a myriad of events have filled in those fictitious weeks between now and our last meeting. I pleasantly, joyfully, and successfully closed out my career at sea, waving farewell to two years of enriching experiences, places, and especially people. The memories will endure forever, and I know many of the relationships will as well. Thank you Mother Ocean, you majestic beauty! Life as a seafarer was brilliant.

During those illusive weeks I also opened a new chapter of my life, entering back into the world of operations, leadership, and contributing to the “big picture”. My mind and body are alive every time I approach the building where I now work, and every new conversation makes me feel like a kid in a candy store, my senses vibrating and my thoughts firing in rapid succession. I know that I am in the right place at the right time.

And thanks to some new friends and exposure to a wider variety of writers and philosophers the soul that is my true essence has also stretched during this interval, expanding towards the future, while fully embracing the notion that the past is the past is the past. My heart is filled with joy, warmth, and gratitude, and my spirit is alive and smiling. 

What does all of this mean for MJWL? 

Like a trusted friend who knows when to intervene, and when to step aside and allow life to play out, Rachel and Leo, Alex and Lea, my faithful and valued allies in this quest, have patiently waited for the dust of life settle, for big chapters to close, and for others to open. They knew they were not abandoned. They knew their story was, and is, alive and well. I thank them (and those readers who have been checking in) for their collective patience.

So here I am again, feeling the flow of creativity streaming though my fingers, ready to complete the soul stretching story that lies within. Speaking of stories, one day on the mountaintop Leo opened up to Rachel and shared one of his own…

I was only ten years old when we moved to the plateau, but I remember falling in love with it immediately. The space, the summer breeze, the view, it was all incredibly peaceful. Chief Dan George used to say “The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass speaks to me.” Growing up in the dust covered village I never understood what he meant. But Rachel, darlin, when I walked the property for the first time with my father, the Chief’s words echoed in my ears with great clarity. The plateau spoke to both of us.

We bought a stretch of acreage right at the peak of the mountain, close enough to town to find the supplies we needed, and far enough away to give us the peace my parents were both looking for. The land we purchased was, at first, nothing but blunt rocks, a bunch of random trees, and layers of twisted scrub brush. The man who sold it to us thought we were a bit odd for choosing that location over all the others. But my father had vision, and where others could not see past the wild bushes and acres of weeds he could picture paddocks, and a barn, and beautiful pastures with horses grazing on sweet grass. He saw paradise. He saw our home.

Leo never left that beautiful land that spoke to him at age 10.  He was home, and always would be.  For you see, deep in his soul, Leo did, and always  would,

Believe in forever.