Feb 27, 2006

Weighing and waiting

Sometimes I feel as if there are far too many decisions to make ... and that's when possessing a higher conscious truly feels like a curse. Life for an intelligent being is mostly about weighing and waiting. Mentally weighing the benefits or sacrifices involved with one possibility versus those of one or more alternatives. Constantly. And waiting, how much of our lives do we spend waiting for something? Waiting for work to end, waiting in line to buy something, waiting for a call or a calling, waiting for a reward of some kind, waiting to eat or drink or sleep or get up and stretch or have sex. Waiting to experience the outcomes of our decisions, all results of weighing.

I enjoy sleep because it takes me away from the pressures and pain associated with weighing and waiting. And I cherish mental shifts, for that is when things become basic enough to make sense. My urges are primal and my objectives are simple and clearly defined, just as my human side wishes they could always be. In a shift, an altered state of being, everything that matters and should matter is in perfect focus, and that which deserves only to be ignored and avoided is so out of focus I feel no urge to attempt to comprehend any of it. The phrases "in the wild" versus "in civilisation" lose all meaning, because I become the wild no matter where I am. I become everything surrounding me; everything that isn't superficial, yet still remain myself. Everything is so gorgeously basic and interconnected. Humans are overly complex, but the world isn't. When one is freed from the captivity of the human mind in such a fashion and spends time in a feral condition, he or she may finally realise this. The world makes perfect sense, all objectives are clear, and all the useless luggage is discarded long before the adventure begins. No more weighing, no more waiting. Just acting on instinct and living for the moment.

One of my goals for personal advancement? Shift into wolven form more often. Maybe I should put that down on my resume, since I can't really think of much else.

Feb 17, 2006

Oh my god...

...I love Tariq.


I swear Tariq isn't me. My long lost twin brother, perhaps, but no, I didn't write that. Wow, this makes me so happy and that much less alone in the world.

A castle in the sky.

There is something exceptionally magical about Kohala Mountain, especially by moonlight.

It has its special features that distinguish it from the other four volcanoes on the island, such as very pronounced windward and leeward sections. When studied on a map, it appears to be almost symmetrically divided between "wet" side and "dry" side. A series of deep, lush amphitheater valleys are carved into the soggy, rainforested windward side, while the leeward side is home to keawe trees and shrubby grasses (which very frequently and effectively fuel brush fires), and plenty of dust and bare, crumbly rock. It's like two separate worlds.

The mountain road, a truly magnificent drive, leads through the green pasturelands near the zone of transition from wet to dry. I travel this route quite often, and happened to be doing so early Thursday morning, no earlier than 1:00 in the morning. At this time of day, the road was desolate. I encountered not a single car. The sky overhead was mostly clear, so the pale, naked moon above was gloriously exposed. I was on my way home, but felt that home could wait awhile, especially since I was feeling restless. My body was yearning to be exercised and treated to fresh air, and my spirit longed to be sprung free from the track.

My penchant for night wandering is still as strong as ever. That's why I found myself trudging up a path leading up steep grass and cacti-laden slopes. I'm not sure why, but I just felt like climbing higher and higher into the rolling hills that seemed to hold so much delightful mystery and intrigue in the moonlight. As I gained elevation, I noticed the thick layer of mist that obscured the distant slopes above me. And when I turned around to gaze back downslope, I could see the lights of several towns and resorts a great many miles away, as well as three other mountains taller than the one I stood upon. The view was marvelous enough to take anyone's breath away, and the higher I climbed, the more spectacular it became.

The air was cool, but not uncomfortably chilly, and a brisk wind rolling down the mountain was strong enough to turn my hair in to a mess and make climbing uphill even more difficult. Looking up into the band of clouds looming above the rolling verdant slopes, my imagination decided to start having a ball. After all, reality would be quite bland and tasteless were it not for the spice of imagination.

I envisioned a castle. A large, majestic structure of stone standing tall somewhere up in these hills, cloaked in heavy mist at least half the time. I could not help but gaze upon the landscape and imagine where I would build it. What an extraordinary place to live it would be, for the farther I ascended, the more it began to feel like another world. Some medieval fantasy world of dark mist and fog and rolling green hills. Depending on the weather, I would either have a stunning view of much of the island from my castle, or be comfortably and cozily wrapped up in heavy fog, an insulator from the rest of the planet. And even when the sun was shining, the air would always be pleasantly cool, the wind keeping all winged pests at bay. It would be a silent retreat, but of course, being so far away from anyone, I could play music within my castle as loud as I want.

After ascending a certain distance, I arrived at a point where I could look up and see the patches of white mist soaring speedily by just above my head and simply vanishing into the zone of warmer air not far away. It was quite a remarkable thing to behold. Even more incredible was almost immediately being completely immersed in fog, brightly lit by the moon somewhere above, the view I had previously had down the mountain disappearing instantly. I could see no more than 10 metres ahead of me in every direction. At this point, I truly felt as if I had teleported to some floating island, and the fog was simply obscuring the edges, which I might plummet over if I was not careful. This was such a breathtaking sensation I actually found myself murring in delight. As I walked a bit farther, a lone tree suddenly materialised, its limbs twisted and gnarled, and my ears picked up the cries of nightingales nearby. I felt like I was involved in some phantasmal lucid dream. This, I determined, would be the ideal place to build my castle. I could just feel the magic in the air, and sensed the enchantment surrounding me. I was on the edge of the world, and it made me shiver.

I kept climbing slowly, noticing more and more trees appearing as the road skirted along a deep gorge. Eventually, it simply ended at the edge of a rainforest, what all of the terrain I just wandered over had been before it was converted to pastureland. If nothing else, my muddy bare feet attested to how much wetter it was at this elevation. A wooden stepladder crossed the cattle fence that separated the forest from the pastureland, but I felt a little too weary to lose myself in the woods that morning. I simply savoured the ghastly nocturnal atmosphere at 5,000 feet for awhile before finally heading back down ... just so I could be home before the rudely revealing sun caught up to me.

Feb 16, 2006


Recently, someone inquired as to why I keep "so many journals" online. While it's true I have gone through quite a few journaling services (**suddenly recalls Diary-X**) the reality is that I use only two with any dependable regularity. I still use a third to keep in touch with a particular friend from time to time, but rarely post entries there anymore. It is mostly for commenting.

Online, I keep a blog and a journal. The most significant difference between the two is that the former is used for public-oriented entries of greater substance, and the latter I use for more personal entries I don't care to leave viewable for every stalker or lurker who watches and gathers information but never comments or makes any attempt to communicate with me (and I know you're out there). I once had a third journal, Reflections of Resplendency, which was a blog solely for posting random photography of mine. I deleted it a few months ago, since I was never motivated enough to keep it updated and it seemed excessive ever since I invested in a Smugmug account.

I feel it is a very good thing that I have been maintaining journals since 2001 or 2002. Reading many of my entries from that time period provides me some incredible insight as to how greatly I have changed over four or five years. Admittedly, though, such entries are often extremely difficult to read. It's hard not to harbour a fair amount of contempt for the way I used to act, and some of the things I have done. I often feel like traveling back in time and visiting my past self to beat some sense into him.

A review of entries several years old provides me a fine glimpse of how hopelessly naive and ignorant I was about such things as relationships and college-related matters in contrast to the present. There is evidence of my having gone through a "rebellious punk" phase, where I purchased a few t-shirts with punk-related messages on them (anarchy, anyone? protolol) and a spiked collar, and started acting like a total misanthrope online. I really have no clue what that was all about, but I'm certainly glad it didn't last. Of course, it came and went while I was in Phoenix, so I can always blame that horrible place for having such a bad influence on me.

It apparently made me fairly depressed, as well. That's about all I see in most of my old entries: depression, estrangement, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, even suicidal tendencies. I won't lie, though; there were some very difficult times I endured from 2001-2003. When I look back on the overall tone and persona I was conveying in my entries then as opposed to now, though, I am simply astonished. I feel like I have matured one-hundredfold, and now seem almost perfectly content and at peace relative to how I used to be. The extreme turbulence of the past seems to have evolved into mostly smooth sailing. Even in a few years I have apparently gained much more wisdom through experience, education, and training of the mind.

The thrust of all this musing and reflection is that I truly feel as if all the pieces are coming together. At this point in time, I feel like I have a very firm grasp on life, and am in complete control. Things simply make sense; as much sense as they can make for me in this bewildering realm of innumerable sensory distractions. I have discovered a very comfortable niche for myself, a lifestyle and state of mind, body, and spirit in which I feel I truly belong. I have discovered and recognised what I now know myself to be, and I love and cherish who and what I am. Anyone who knows me probably knows what I am referring to. I once felt many times like I was losing myself, or already had, but I no longer feel that way.

And of course, things are going to change again, for better or worse, but at the moment, I feel quite optimistic. I am two days away from starting my full-time job, I have nearly successfully completed university, and as usual, I seem to be in excellent physical and mental health. My sense of beauty has not faded in the slightest. Several years from now, it should be interesting to re-read this entry, wherever I am, whoever I am with, and however successful I may be.

Feb 13, 2006

Mall dreams

I experienced another "mall dream" last night ... and it seemed to endure for hours.

Strangely, I have had numerous dreams within the past month that have taken place in enclosed shopping malls. Everything is mall-like about the atmosphere in said dreams. What is always present are a variety of outlet stores (both real stores and store names my mind conjured up), busy shoppers, bad mall music and many of the sounds one simply associates with a mall, the unmistakable smells of commerce one is bombarded with, the confusing maze-like layout designed to make it more difficult to find the exit so you are likely to pass by more shopping opportunities that are difficult to resist.

Come to think of it, in mall dreams, I'm always searching for the exit, but something or someone is always distracting me from my goal. I feel much like a rat in a maze who will surely perish if he does not soon reach the exit, but is tempted with food offers left and right. I never reach anything resembling an exit before I awaken.

I am also usually aware that I possess very little in the way of money, which reflects my current financial status in reality quite accurately. Yet another reason to search for the exit in a shopping mall, no? Of course, being that it's a dream where anything can happen, it is often the case that I reach into my wallet and pull out a $50 bill I didn't know I had or discover that someone had accidentally dropped a wad of $20's in Spencer's. If only reality could be like that.

The prices in these malls are usually either outrageously high or unrealistically low; there isn't much room for moderation. In last night's dream I passed by a small store that sells nothing but exotic towels from Greece, piled from the floor to the ceiling. The cheapest towel costed $613, the most expensive $600,000. Even in my dream I had the cognizance to inquire, "what kind of crazy shit would buy such things?"

Products that capture my interest in dreams are usually products I have been meaning to attain or desiring to possess in reality. If I need a new digital camera, it's highly likely I will have a mall dream and glaze over quite a few digital cameras. I'm not quite sure what I wanted this time, though I was distracted by a Valentine's Day store, full of hearts, chocolates and other sweet things. A simple hug on V-Day would leave me satisfied, thank you.

There is quite a feeling of alienation, though, when I find myself in the lingerie department, or a steakhouse. I avoid such places in reality, but tend to show up in them in my dreams. What is so interesting is that people are almost always passive. I am aware of their presence, but pay hardly any attention to them in contrast to the objects I am examining. Yet another accurate reflection of real life. I may not have been spoken to once in this latest dream; or perhaps the overwhelming amount of other stimuli was simply capturing all my attention.

My dreams are highly geographical as it is. I am very spatially as opposed to socially minded. I spend my time examining the boundaries and orientation of physical landscapes rather than most of the occupants inhabiting it. My mall dreams do not pivot around social interactions, but rather, my personal interaction with the mall space. Generally, malls in my dreams become more and more queer in structure and design as the dream proceeds, until it barely makes sense and is hardly recogniseable as a mall- my mind simply has me convinced that I am still in a mall.

In last night's dream I felt I was in my local mall, and as I strolled along the tiles nothing seemed different about it. Awhile later, though, I noticed a large open dining area with huge, ornate glass windows assembled on the far wall. The ceiling seemed to rise up into the sky at a 45 degree angle, resting on giant pillars. The atmosphere was incredibly exotic and airy ... enlightening, even. There were a few other souls there dining and loitering. I would have loved to take a nice lunch and a good book there and sit down at one of the tables, nourished by the natural light that filtered in through the glass windows. If only malls could realistically evoke such sensations from me.

Then it got weird. I continued strolling into an open courtyard surrounded by the entrances of more outlet stores, but before I could reach any of them, the tide came in and I found myself standing in waist-deep water. I lifted my two bags of soaked merchandise up above the surface and looked around in confusion, noticing that everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, as if they expected it. This was cool, foamy, ripply water, as if it had just rolled in from the sea. I paced about, somewhat irate, until I found an elevated concrete path I could stand upon the left me standing in only a foot or so of water. I pushed my shopping cart (yes, I magically ended up with a shopping cart- isn't that the way dreams work?) back into the actual mall, which was still dry as a bone. No one paid much mind to my wet clothes, because I wasn't any. Dun dun DUN! Return of the naked dream!

One other thing I should note is that food always plays a major role in mall dreams. Hey, food is one of the main reasons I venture off to malls in the first place. If I don't indulge in the good eats, at the very least I can treat my muzzle to the wonderful smells. In dreams I usually end up in some sort of restaurant, ice cream parlor, or snack joint, pouring over the menus on the wall and trying to decide what I want. I rarely ever decide, despite the pressure I feel to make up my mind on the double. I usually become quite frustrated, in fact. I'm not certain, but I do think this is symbolic of my indecision in my conscious life, and the inconfidence and discomfort I can experience as a result of such indecision. That it relates to such a basic need in my dream demonstrates how seriously I take such an issue, or how seriously it should be taken. Then, I wake up hungry and desiring whatever food item I had been trying so hard to obtain in my dream.

So what could explain my dreaming of malls so frequently? A sub-conscious infatuation with materialism? Maybe I have been watching too many movies like The Terminal or Mallrats. Perhaps malls simply fascinate and attract me more than I realise.

That, and my mind really does an excellent job at toying with me.

Something I have been considering: how frightening would it be if a device was invented that allowed others to 'see' the subconscious images in your brain as they occur? No longer would you have to struggle to recall and describe your dreams... the observer could simply show you his notes. Personally, I would not appreciate such a compromise of privacy. *shudder*

Feb 8, 2006

I stumbled into a profoundly introspective state of mind this evening. This is worth noting because I haven't felt quite so deeply reflective in several weeks. The routine of everyday living, to phrase it so dreadfully, has been full of distractions and obligations that have demanded my attention to thrash about upon the surface. The hullabaloo of job hunting and adjusting to a changing lifestyle has left relatively few opportunities for me to dive below the superficial layers into more extraordinary depths of self-discovery and spiritual awareness. A mentally productive stroll beneath the moon tonight, though, roused the deeply contemplative side of me from its slumber.

I remember when the occasion wasn't so rare that I would write multi-page journal entries recalling an outdoor adventure of mine or personal discovery in exquisite detail, or ranting passionately about one subject or another. I poured my heart and soul into composing such entries.

Nowadays, my journal contributions generally seem so much more "matter-of-fact" and less... speculative and questioning. I am not certain what to attribute this to. Perhaps I sub-consciously write much more for an audience than for myself, as I used to. I know plain facts interest most readers, but maybe not so much extended ramblings about what my deepest ponderings. I perceive such entries as radiating heavy conceit, as in, "this wingnut just can't stop going on and on about himself and what he thinks, can he?" After all, what does it matter what I think? The issue of self-worth may be coming into play here.

I really feel as if I have something interesting and substantial to say to the world, but I am often unsure as to whether I should go out on a limb and say it. Much less effort is required in simply keeping it to myself, but many things I simply yearn to share, be it a beautiful photograph or a deeply personal story. Maybe I'm just not sure how far I should go in expressing myself. How much is the reader willing and able to understand?

I simply feel as if I don't put enough of my heart into my entries, these days. Then again, I could say the same for most other people whose journals I keep up with, and I have realised I -am- influenced by them to some significant degree. I suppose for most an online journal is just a place to inform their friends, acquaintances, and family about recent events in their lives and keep them updated, but I have always viewed my writing space as something more than that.

A great irony is this: I am usually so quiet, yet am always so full of words begging to be spoken or written down in speech or poetry or prose. My mind is usually pulling in several different directions at once, and my train of thought has no caboose and is like a speeding bullet. Considering how I seem to think and feel on such an incredibly deep level, it's a wonder I handle the world and all its bewildering stimuli as well as I do... I will admit that it drags me out to the realm of emotional breakdowns at times, but that's nothing unique. They have to happen. They are all part of the balance.

It's so easy to make convictive statements that turn out to be entirely untrue. The mind is never made up for long when it comes to most things. The light of contentedness is nearly impossible to be seen in a period of deep depression, yet it may be witnessed again in a matter of hours. We are trained to view things through continuity, when time is nothing but another human contrivance. Perceptions of the dazzling stimuli presented by the world are viewed through so many cognitive filters, and mental and emotional states that are constantly fluctuating, that The Truth is undoubtedly much too simple for any of us to comprehend. I can hardly see past my own mind, but then, that's where the entire world I perceive exists. Row, row, row your boat, life is but a dream.

Words are so easily minced, interpreted, and turned against the speaker for one purpose or another. The best drug for you is the drug you don't consume. That could be applied metaphorically to an illimitable amount of situations. In a way, my quietness is my defense. After all, what do I know? Absolutely nothing. Yet, finding a way to shape these complicated reflections into words is one of the greatest forms of release. There's no doubt in my mind all of existence is built on a paradox. **Shakes his head and whimpers** "To know, is to know that you know nothing." How am I expected to keep my brain from fizzling out over a statement like that? That's why I didn't want to major in philosophy. I would have pulled all my fur out in anguish by the time I had earned my degree.

Sorry, I just had to let all that out. So, how about them fax machine anthems?