The Redeemer

I feel anxious for the future tonight, as if I ought to be working on a story or my business; yet, it’s late Saturday night and I’ll be working tomorrow – besides, Kitty and I stopped by the dispensary earlier and we are laying in bed watching Radical Something videos (“One Soul”). To add to this, our youngest Jack Russel, Felix, is laying across me. 

In short, I’m chilling hard; however, the muse being restless, I am called here – to the place where I come to commune with my soul and program my consciousness. 

It’s a rarity, in fact, that I ever open this app with an idea or specific thought; mostly, the muse just calls and I answer: ready to receive. 

Perhaps the muse is my anima: after all, Jung viewed the anima as one of the sources of creative ability (Thanks Wikipedia); although, it should be said, when it comes to depth psychology, I am much more versed in the shadow, which I confronted post Bunny, post Mousie. 

Why I’ve given my long-term girlfriends animal monikers, I know not. I suppose it is something of a projection of zoomorphic traits upon them, something in the face and the personality that allows me to transcend the limitations of my love for otherwise mortal humans; for more than once I have found something worth really loving. I am quite a lucky duck. 

Ironically, I just remembered, Bunny would call me that [duck]. And I was [a lucky duck] – always have been – I just didn’t always know it. 

Life’s like that though: we waste much of it lost in comparison, wishing on another star, aware of neither the power of wishes nor the toxicity of comparison, the great thief of joy.

I just want to be here now. 

That reminds me of something said on Johnathan Nolan’s Westworld to that effect, something along the lines of: ‘You all want to escape and come here and I just want to be here, right now, where I am.’

Because that’s really the finest art of life: being comfortable with the now. 

As I posted to Facebook a few days ago:

I am:
Calm
Comfortable
Capable
Confident 
-with –
Change
Challenge
Choice

The seven C’s in life. 

Isn’t that happiness? That calm, comfortable, capable, confident feeling of ease, which all healthy  adults are capable of experiencing. 

Life happens entirely internally, doesn’t it; it’s all inside, and that’s ultimately what counts, and particularly to the Stoic, who knows that only her own thoughts are under her control, all else being as free and wild as the seven seas. 

I’ve had the great benefit of losing love – some of it I longed for years for after, while some, I didn’t began to long for till years after. 

But we have only now. And that’s really the key to life: abiding to the now, living in something like a state of grace – I just didn’t imagine it would take 30 years for that state to be an abiding presence in my life; but, of course, it’s nothing religious or magical, just rational: the product of years and mistakes and the long goodbyes paid to bunny, mousie. 

Imagine if we knew our relationships would end, surely we would appreciate them more; although, I am not sure I could live that way – this despite the fact that at 31 I am well acquainted with the temorary nature of life. 

I guess I’ve just always tried to live a fairy tale, a never-ending story. 

I suppose, however, my desire for forever belongs to my anima and does not accurately reflect the nature of reality, which is everchanging and impermanent. 

But, letting my self come through, I recognize that impermanence is precisely what the full-depth of gratitude requires; however, like everything in life, it is in the tension of opposites that we achieve perfection: yin and yang, masculine and feminine, puer and senex, balance and excess, confidence and humility, light and dark, forever and now – in all, and in all I try to achieve balance, asking myself what forms, archetypes, or energies are being expressed, and how each may exist within myself beside the other, within the whole. 

Because this is what I am: a whole man, comfortable in my light and my dark – and these are not sides: yes, they begin as such; however, once integrated (Accepted) into your being, they become parts in the machine – a machine controlled by something higher and more powerful than its parts – but not altogether independent from them – not a ghost in the machine but a higher purpose, something between Fredrich Nietzsche’s will to power and Victor Frankl’s will to meaning – something between psychology and philosophy, science and spirituality. The over-soul, as Emerson called it. 

From his 1841 essay of the same title:

“Of this pure nature every man is at some time sensible. Language cannot paint it with his colors. It is too subtile. It is undefinable, unmeasurable, but we know that it pervades and contains us. We know that all spiritual being is in man. A wise old proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell”; that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so is there no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God. Justice we see and know, Love, Freedom, Power. These natures no man ever got above, but they tower over us, and most in the moment when our interests tempt us to wound them.”

While this may seem esoteric, new-age, or spiritual, to me it is a concrete reality: my life is divine. 

di·vine

adjective

1. of, from, or like God or a god.

“heroes with divine powers”

synonyms: godly, angelic, seraphic, saintly, beatific.

That is to say, according to the divine, and in my view, man is not an archetype for God, but, rather, God is an archetype (model) for man. Frankly, I loathe religion and I am as concerned with life after death as I am with reincarnation or anything else entirely irrelevant to the remaining time I have left before I will vanish entirely from earth and everyone I love on it – myself included. 

Ultimately, I’ve got to live and care for my own soul, my own wellbeing, and I write to connect with the soul (The inner, quiet, still self), to marry the higher and lower elements of myself into something I can love and admire. Because that’s what I really want in life: dignity – the ability to live a human life as well and as meaningfully as it may be lived, meeting joy and sorrow with equal poise, and remaining as calm, comfortable, and as confident as I may ever be in each possible moment. 

It’s not difficult for me to imagine a worse life: I’ve lived one. I’m reminded of something Jung wrote about the shadow being confronted either early in life or showing up later. I am fortunate to have spent my time in the wilderness of life early on. Now I can accept myself wholly. And I am now loved wholly as well. 

As I read somewhere today, ‘maintaining a personality is tiring’.

How true: it is much easier to be whole (versus good), making no apologies nor feeling any guilt for who I am. 

The business of life for me at thirty-one is much more one of being and doing than it is becoming. 

I’m reminded of the expression, life is not an act of discovery but one of creation.

In trying to find a source for that I came across the following, which I love:

“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek therefore, not to find out Who You Are, but seek to determine Who You Want to Be.”

– Neale Donald Walsch

And in the words of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz:

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

And this is why I felt anxious about the future earlier: because I know exactly who I want to be, who I am, and I am excited: I am anxious to be Lawrence Black. 

That said, I am going to rest and sleep now; for tomorrow is a chance to grow nearer the life I want, the evolution and progression of the life I have, which I love, because I am me: and I more than a lucky duck – I am a hunter of life, a wolf, and the redeemer of a once lost soul.

 Casting Spells

Thinking about the future; using goals as gamification (reward): asking myself exactly what it is I want out of life. 

My artistic goals are set in stone; however, I am a renaissance man: thus the breadth of my interests and desires begs more than artistic success. 

And regardless of my writing goals, it would be senseless of me to disregard the years of experience I have as a ux-designer, marketer, and front-end dev. I am humbly proud to say, I am fucking good at what I do. Besides, I am already working on three businesses that leverage those skills and it would be foolish not to see them to fruition – after all, monetary success is a beautiful thing: it both sanitizes and renews. 

But I do ask myself, how much is enough?

Ironically, I watched Scorcese’s Aviator tonight – that is, up until Howard Hughes’ character became a shell of a man and my interest waned; however, the movie was nonetheless a great muse for tonight’s writing – and for myself, as a man of ambition and potential. 

In the film, we watch as Hughes devolves from a powerful visionary – a man of youth and passion – into a hollow, paranoid agoraphobic. 

Clearly, the man had some mental health struggles, and, in later years, physical issues as well, both contributing in no small-part to his eventual deterioration; however, fortunate as I am at 31, I don’t expect a similar fate for myself; although, I have absolutely no moral conundrums amassing a fortune.

There’s certainly no rule in life that says, ‘You cannot be a wealthy businessman and a famous author‘.  

I used to think that art came first – that it was spiritually paramount to make art – as if somehow business endeavors were a barrier to that.

But believe me, I’ve tried the starving artist thing, and even with a room of ones own, poverty is not conducive to writing in this day and age. 

For me, the life of the entrepreneur-writer-philosopher seems to fit best.

Lawrence Black is an American entrepreneur, writer, and philosopher. He is the author of ——– and ——– , and maintains ownership interests in several tech companies he has founded.

These are words I recite in front of the mirror, a kind of Stoic / Cognitive exercise I perform that allows me to zoom out on my story and see things from a grander, more elegant perspective. 

It is modeled on the idea of my future Wikipedia entry, serving as sort of cliff’s notes on who I am, and its purpose is to remind me of my destiny, my potential. 

I find it a fantastic method for bolstering my confidence and strengthening my identity; for I am most-certainly someone who believes in my own sense of destiny. This is why I write. 

And sure, there are novels unfinished – but this is my story. 

And I write it because it’s part of the magic, the alchemy I do – casting spells – spelling out my future – weaving the tapestry of my life with intention and purpose. 

And in doing so, I become more definite, more sure; becuase, if I didn’t meant it, I wouldn’t write it

And I, of all people, know the story can always be re-written. 

So follow your folly. Trust life. Cast spells. And don’t be afraid to think out-loud; for your desires are not false hopes, and life is but a game won by definiteness of purpose backed by definiteness of plans. 

With that, I bid you goodnight.

Sow well my friends. 

Get Thee Up

“I wake up every morning and check if I am in a state of grace,” a 31 year-old Leonard Cohen told an interviewer in 1965.

Every morning of your life, you choose whether your soul is in a state of grace or not. Now, whether or not this is a conscious choice is up to you.

For me, the grace of my soul requires no more than that I choose to live consciously: choosing to be happy – choosing to be excited about MY life – choosing to affirm the gratitude I have for the opportunities that are mine to seize TODAY.

In the words of a young Leonard Cohen: “There are dreams of glory whispering through the wires of my spine.”

I want this everyday. 

This is called “a can’t lose attitude”. 

Put simply: your wellbeing is your choice; you can have it everyday.

Happiness isn’t the result of a good life but the cause of one.

And while we live in a world of thermometers – people who reflect their environment – YOU CAN be a thermostat – controlling your own; for we are either kings or pawns in this life (Alexander Dumas).

As the ancient proverb reminds us: “The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.”

Remember this; wrap your mind around it; marinate on it.

As I have reinterpreted it: happiness isn’t the result of a good life but the cause of one.

And whether I know all this stuff already or not – and no matter how much I have written it – I will never stop reminding myself of the core tenets that comprise the bedrock of my life and my wellbeing.

Choice.

Choice.

Choice.

If you don’t choose your beliefs about yourself – if you aren’t consciously choosing your beliefs about your relationship to today – they will exist independently of your own power.

And trust me, if you are relying on anything outside of yourself for your wellbeing, you are playing a risky game.

Last time I checked, this world was not exactly in a state of grace. And while that’s unfortunate, it is not in my power nor in my duty to control (Footnote 1/1). 

What I know is that I can choose to live in a state of grace REGARDLESS of what happens or has happened in my life; for I rely on that impenetrable thing Emerson referred to as “self-reliance”.

And while it requires a bit more courage, life is far better lived from the saddle than in the carriage.

So giddyup and exercise your will, for that is what you are here to do.

Giddyup Etymology:

From get up or get ye/thee up.


Footnote 1: There is absolutley nothing wrong with knowing in your heart of hearts that you are a bit better than this savage world you were born into: for it’s a Trump America and the inmates are officially running the asylum.

Bucking The Lazy Cowboy, or How The Little Prince Usurped Peter Pan

Life would seem so easy, as if we could just say: “I want to wake up early and write everyday”, and it would happen. 

Only, there’s a fly in the ointment: we don’t always do the things we want to do; sure, we wish them to happen but things don’t happen according to wishes – things happen according to actions. That’s how life works. Call it the difference between intention and action, wish and fulfillment. 

This is why I am writing tonight: because of that difference; because there is a difference; because I am not going to wake up tomorrow and write fiction – as I wish to. 

Why? You tell me. 

Why don’t you work out? Why don’t you eat right!? You know what to do. You want to look and feel better but you eat pizza and chicken sandwiches for dinner. 

I am speaking to myself but I think it’s a fair analogy: I do what I feel rather than what I should. 

Only, I am tired of not having what I want. Tired of not feeling better. Tired of not being happier. Tired of not being Lawrence Black: builder of self, mover of mountains. 

I admit, I brood. I get into modes of self-pity. These things happen; however, I am trying to be more than my moods; I am trying to transcend them so that I may bring my dreams to life, and I need to overcome my nature in order to do that. Because me, left to my own innate nature, I am kind of a lazy cowboy; contented with the basic essentials: whiskey, women, food, fire, sleep.

Fun for a weekend, but it’s not a life to just get by / it’s not a life without progression. Because there is one kind of life I know to be amazing: and that is the life you are excited to wake up and live; the life you are thinking about when you go to bed at night because you can’t wait to wake up in the morning and live it. 

I know this feeling: I have felt it before. 


Part 2: The Little Prince Usurps Peter Pan

And this is where I fell asleep. We were watching The Little Prince on Netflix and I was tired, and the muse had run out of gas on this topic. Fortunately, however, I awoke five minutes ago – after a few hours of deep slumber – with an idea clear as day; I realized that it was no longer serving me to live without care for my responsibilities. Allow me to elaborate. 

For a long time, Peter Pan was my spirit animal. Well, in a more archetypal manner but nonetheless Peter Pan was a strong muse for this Puer. Ask my exes if this sounds familiar. 

And I love Peter Pan but I can no longer afford to let him take the wheel. I have responsibilities, and as Wretch 32 sings:

The weight of responsability’s grown on me. 

And it really has. 

I lost my Dad to cancer not many weeks ago. Now I am the man of the family. And this isn’t just some abstract idea or feeling; I am thinking about my mom’s future. Furthermore, Sarah relies on me as a provider and as a romantic lover: she believes in my dreams and she wants to live them with me. This is why we moved to the mountains: so I could write and so we could rejoice in one another’s solitude and companionship. But I can’t afford to rest on my laurels simply because I know I am destined for greatness. That is classic Peter Pan syndrome. 

Peter Pan never grows up. He refuses to. In fact, the world is introduced to Peter Pan through the work of J.M. Barrie, who titles his play: Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. 

Here is Wikipedia on Peter Pan’s personality:

Peter is an exaggerated stereotype of a boastful and careless boy. He claims greatness, even when such claims are questionable (such as congratulating himself when Wendy re-attaches his shadow). In the play and book, Peter symbolises the selfishness of childhood, and is portrayed as being forgetful and self-centred.

Peter has a nonchalant, devil-may-care attitude, and is fearlessly cocky when it comes to putting himself in danger. Barrie writes that when Peter thought he was going to die on Marooners’ Rock, he felt scared, yet he felt only one shudder. With this blithe attitude, he says, “To die will be an awfully big adventure”. In the play, the unseen and unnamed narrator ponders what might have been if Peter had stayed with Wendy, so that his cry might have become, “To live would be an awfully big adventure!”, “but he can never quite get the hang of it”.

I am painfully aware of the relevance here for my life; however, I didn’t realize how much of a shadow archetype Peter Pan has been for me, meaning how unhealthy this “spirit” has been in my life. 

Contrast Peter Pan’s laissez-faire, self-serving existence in Neverland with that of The Little Prince, who lives on the tiny asteroid planet B-612, which he maintains and cares for (Weeding the volcanos and trimming the ever growing trees), before eventually falling in love with a rose, with whom he has to deal with her vanity. Although she apologizes for her vanity and they reconcile, the petit Prince nonetheless vows to go explore the universe. 

Whereas Peter Pan never wants to leave Neverland except to recruit children from the Darling household. In fact, even when Wendy falls for him and wants a kiss, Peter simply sees her as a surrogate mom. And when, in the end of the story, Peter has a chance to be with Wendy, he declines – opting instead to stay with his Lost Boys in Neverland. In short, Peter Pan is a self-absorbed boy who refuses to grow up. 

Meanwhile, our Little Prince leaves his love (The rose) and his planet, B-612, to go learn about the universe. He is just a boy but he is intrepid and brave. And despite being a boy he sees the foolishness of the adults on each of the asteroids he visits. From Wikipedia:

The prince has since visited six other asteroids, each of which was inhabited by a single, irrational, narrow-minded adult, each meant to critique an element of society. They include: a king with no subjects; a vain man, who believes himself the most admirable person on his otherwise uninhabited planet; a drunkard who drinks to forget the shame of being a drunkard; a businessman who is blind to the beauty of the stars and instead endlessly counts them in order to “own” them all (critiquing materialism); a lamplighter who wastes his life blindly follows orders and extinguishing and relighting a lamp once a minute; and an elderly geographer. Like the others, the geographer is closed-minded, providing a caricurature of specialization in the modern world.

Our Little Prince is learning about the world. And unlike Peter Pan, he forms real, meaningful relationships with the people he encounters: loving the rose, taming the fox, and teaching the narrator about life. 

While Peter Pan teaches us to remain adolescents and hold onto our childhood, The Little Prince teaches us about growing up and letting go. And this is what life requires: maturity. 

The truth is, it is not serving me or my dreams any longer to be Peter Pan. There was a time when the Peter Pan spirit kept me going, when it made me daring and brave, enabling me to walk away from my own Wendys so that I might follow that inner voice telling me that I wasn’t home yet. But now I am, and this lazy cowboy is ready to become a little prince. No more living in Neverland. I’ve got a universe to explore. 

So what’s the meaning of all this inner alchemy? What is the outcome of these paradigm shifts?

Well, I’ve got responsibilities to tend to. Work, writing, health, love. 

And I can no longer afford to ignore them, I can no longer remain a boy. 

And so it is, I will invoke the bravery of The Little Prince, and I will face life with faith in myself and trust in my journey, much like Peter Pan gave me faith in myself as a boy; only, I need different heroes as a man: heroes capable of inspiring me to take action rather than simply dream. 

Note: here are a couple good follow ups for anyone interested in the Puer (the eternal boy) and The Little Prince:

Two Psychoanalytical Readings of The Little Prince:

https://icu.repo.nii.ac.jp/index.php?action=repository_action_common_download&item_id=4032&item_no=1&attribute_id=22&file_no=1&page_id=13&block_id=17

The Problem of The Puer Aeternus, Marie Loius Von Franz:

https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/micmac108/puer-aeternus