The Pursuit

How do people measure self worth and the worth of others? Is it measured by how much one has contributed to their community or to society as a whole? Number of friends? The amount of money in a bank account? The number of languages one can speak? The number of beautiful, traveled places one has seen? Perhaps, the amount of love and understanding one has given?

Happiness, success, peace; together these ideas become a framework for greatness. Individually, each have different meanings for different people. Are they something to strive for in a way as to attain an overall state of being when we reach a certain age? Or are they feelings we experience from single moment to moment spanning the timeline that is our life? Combination of both?

What does greatness mean to me? Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I find myself worrying that I’m not doing the right things, or the right things quick enough in order to achieve my greatness; greatness always being a vague concept with no legitimate target at which to aim my arrow. As if one day I’m supposed to wake up and feel like I’ve made it—*Opens eyes, sits up in bed, raises fist in the air, exclaims: I am finally the person I’ve been working my entire life to be! Sounds silly doesn’t it?

The older I get, the more often I feel as if I’m starting over. Like if my life were a novel, as my story progresses, there are increasingly more and more chapters. More beginnings and endings. More answers, but always the uncovering of more questions. I have a very strong sense of self and yet I feel as if I’m destined [or doomed—if you’re a glass half empty guy or gal] to walk a path of self discovery for the remainder of my days. Can greatness be achieved by someone like me? Is it within my wide eyed wandering that I find it?

I have been taught, I have been guided and I have been molded. But I have learned with my head in a book, I have carved my own walking stick and I have picked clay from beneath my finger nails. I cannot be anything other than what I am. I do not choose to be. I choose to grow. Let me be me. Let me be orange and yellow and red, but let me brighten my petals. Let me catch fire. At the end of this life, the only thing I take with me is my soul. Let my soul be vivid.

-CS

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The Spirit of a Redhead

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At times I am so angry I lose my ability to put letters into words, words into sentences.
And when I can’t write, I run.
I run until I can no longer breathe, a reminder of all the times you sucked the life out of me.
I run until my limbs go numb in the hope that my emotions might do the same.
I run until my head can think only of the way my body feels working underneath me.
I feel the science of it, a brilliant machine with parts designed perfectly and purposefully for this unique action.
I feel the beauty in my self inflicted suffering, the satisfying thrill of seeing what I’m capable of.

I run because I am desperately trying to chase down the girl I let you take from me.
I know she is there.
Her spirit burns proud and unyielding as the Olympic flame, for not even the Greek gods could extinguish it.
I run until my feet catch fire on the pavement, swallowing me up.
Wholly engulfed, that is where I find her again.

-CS

An Enchanted Elixir Named Purpose

Hey there, it’s me
I recognize your beautiful face, those sparkling eyes brimming with fire and lightning
How striking you are when your spaces are filled
Overflowing, bubbling with a magic potion you can’t supply from a bottle
Self-made liquid
Let it flow, let it pour from your mouth, your eyes, your ears
Soak it up with that healthy, vibrant brain and feel it sink in
Feel it sink down into your skin, to your muscles, your bones
You feel it?
Tell me, do you feel it?

Remember this feeling
Hold on to the memory of what it looks like, feels like, tastes like

Dip your weary hands and your tired feet and when you are ready
Submerge yourself
Every aching limb, every last remnant of scar tissue
Be bathed in it
Surrender to its supernatural healing powers
Own the rippling reflection staring back at you
Purpose looks divine on you

 

***
New purpose has the ability to fill your empty spaces. Even if only for a moment, you can feel freed from pain, freed from worry, freed from grief. Your heart and soul swelled up like a hot air balloon just before flight, you begin to recognize yourself again.

-CS

Masterpiece

Weaving together
Woven together
Your deep brown eyes fixated, your obsessive mind completely immersed
Desperately trying to etch to memory the feel of each curving string
Your trembling hands tracing and gliding over every single fiber
Will you think of me when your fingers brush across those red-inked strands?

A brilliantly camouflaged framework sat perfectly positioned
Looming beneath my blinded vision

Why did you take those broken threads I severed with my shaky handed scissors and weave them into a new tapestry, hung so magnificently exposed on my castle wall?

Before minds could appreciate the beauty of such a work of art
You silently replaced the old fabric with the new
Before there was ever a chance of laying it to rest
Your everlasting treasure left for me to find
Without warning
Without words

Your masterpiece

-CS

Beauty Before Me

Sitting with my arms resting upon my folded knees in front of me I can feel the gravel digging into the flesh underneath me. I’ve lost weight.

In my panoramic view I see the makings of a handmade patchwork quilt; countless shades of green, the land broken into various squares and rectangles by lines of wire fencing and grids of farmers fields. I am a humbled spectator watching the sun and clouds work together to create an impressive show featuring their cast favorites, shadows and light.

One rectangle in particular hosts a tribe of mules, their shining golden tails forever dancing in an effort to keep the summer flies at bay. I chuckle because I can’t contain my joy and appreciation for seeing something so impossibly wonderful; this picture that’s been so artfully crafted and laid out on a canvas before me.

I think about moments that have led me here. Flashes of my existence flutter through my brain; the past catching up to the future and landing me in the present. This present moment.

Behind a big beautiful house on a hill, sitting in the gravel drive, I’m seeing for the first time the product of ten years ago, three days ago, yesterday and one moment ago.

The canvas laid out for me, I proudly pick up my brush, stare down my demons and dare them to keep me from painting.

-CS

Game Over

I remember all the ups and downs of playing Super Mario Brothers Deluxe on my purple Gameboy Color when I was just a wee little redhead. I recall the excitement I felt each time I surpassed an obstacle that had stopped me on previous attempts. I also recall the moments of frustration as I watched the screen fade to black and those two dreaded words appeared across my screen. In a video game it’s called Game Over, however in real life we prefer to call it starting fresh.

Life is a series of trial and error, starting and restarting. With practice–the idea is to get further ahead than the last. We spend our lives inching closer and closer to attaining the things we believe will make us happy. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we couldn’t be more wrong.

We suffer the most heartbreak on those occasions we get the closest we’ve ever been, but in the process we become the strongest us we’ve ever been.

Maybe Game Over isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maybe in actuality it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

-CS

 

 

 

 

Yellow Springs

Yesterday I spent time walking in a technicolor dream. A town so colorful that half its name occupies a stripe in the rainbow. A place where creativity and hard working passion seem to crash through every street corner like a tidal wave of prismatic pigments. The energy hits you with a force so irresistible that you find yourself craving to be caught in its kaleidoscope of rolling currents.

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I couldn’t help but be drawn to the line of shops painted tuscan yellow, lavender and teal. Catty-corner sat a turquoise, wooden bench decorated with groovy, white and pink flowers inviting any well-worn traveler.

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Inside the Village Artisans, an awe-inspiring boutique showcasing local artists work, a simple hand painted piece captured my attention. At the check out counter I took part in  a conversation that I won’t easily forget.

“Are you an artist?” I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came. She continued, “You look like you’re into the arts.” Bashfully I answered, “Yea, I mean I love art… But I enjoy writing, writing is more my thing.” Matter of factly the woman replied, “Writing is art.”

Smiling I said, “I suppose it is.”

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-CS

Thank you MRA, for adventuring with me. Also thanks to @foxglovefollies for letting me capture that moment in time.