I meant to do that

I’ve mentioned a few times that I had an ulterior motive when I started this blog but I’ve been pretty coy about stating exactly what that motive was. By keeping my intentions secret I have preserved the ability to reframe my goals at anytime and turn what could have been seen as a failure into a success. Like Pee-wee Herman I could announce at anytime that, “I meant to do that!”

When I started I had no idea how things would turn out. I knew what I wanted to do but I didn’t know whether I was documenting my success or my failure. At this point I can unequivocally state that I have failed at meeting my goals, BUT there have been many unintended successes for which I am more than happy to take credit. It’s time to take credit for the failure as well.

It began with a dream… a dream of shedding most of my worldly possessions, including my house, and living a nomadic life.  I wanted and needed a simpler life which focused on what is really important to me and that is connecting with people. After taking inventory of my skills and assets I devised a plan to travel around the country, by bicycle, sharing my gifts and avoiding the harsh Minnesota winters. It seemed like a crazy plan but I’ve managed to pull off some pretty crazy things in my life and as I started talking to more people about it, people who knew me, the less crazy it seemed. I just knew I couldn’t do it alone. I was going to need more people along for the ride. A blog, if successful, would allow me to connect with people all over the country and provide a vehicle to share my adventure for survival giving it meaning and purpose.

In fact, creating a blog had been on my to-do list for years but now it no longer felt like an option. Now it was a priority. Now it was a means to an end. Now I had a plan, a vision; but I still had no idea how to achieve it or even if I could. I just knew that I had to start regardless. All I could do was take the next step and see what happened. That process is pretty well documented in this blog.

What I discovered was that writing a successful blog takes a lot of work. I guess that wasn’t really a discovery. I knew it would be a lot of work. I actually had a pretty clear idea of what it would take but I had plenty of time on my hands and figured I would muddle through it until I got it right. I figured a year was enough time to make something happen.

It probably would have been if I was focused and dedicated. I have achieved a lot in my life but it has come either through some level of deep obsession or a great deal of time. The older I get the harder it is for me to get that obsessed about anything but it has also given me more perspective when it comes to the concept of time. There are just too many things in the world which I find meaningful and purposeful that it may take a lifetime to achieve even my top five. I just can’t do everything; at least not right now, but to be honest, the distractions I’ve had over the past year or so have been well worth it.

Well… most of them.

As much as I hate to admit it, dealing with multiple chronic illnesses on a daily basis has also been a factor in my failure to meet my goals. This is not the life I had envisioned for myself but it is my reality. Denial doesn’t change anything. I refuse to use my so-called disabilities as an excuse for not achieving greatness but I may need to re-examine my definition of greatness. We’ve all been inspired by the achievements of successful people with disabilities. There is no reason why I can’t be my own inspiration.

So my blog didn’t turn out as planned. I have gotten rid of nearly nothing. I still own my home and I’m not leaving this state until my daughter graduates from high school.  For some reason none of that really feels like a failure. I still have a blog. I still have more stuff than I need. I have a home and I have a daughter that loves and needs me. Maybe failure isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s only failure if it feels like failure.

The only thing that has happened in the past year that makes me feel like a failure is the loss of my best friend. She was my one true obsession and in the end it was that obsession which killed the friendship.

But through death there comes rebirth.

In my effort to come to terms with how I could lose a friend who I honestly believed was forever I discovered this blog post by Kenneth Justice, The Culture Monk. I began reading his blog every day and quickly discovered that we had started our blogs at the same time and were writing about the same issues albeit in from different perspectives and in very different styles. In my opinion, he’s a much better writer than I am. There is a structure and flow to his writing that I may never achieve; even if I wanted to. We probably started with the same level of effort and dedication but with different skills. That, and he is far more consistent than I am. Consistency has never been my strong suit.

What I found really ironic was when he started writing about fame and celebrity. He was taking issue with our cultural obsession with fame and celebrity which I totally understand. I just found it ironic because he had achieved the level of notoriety that I was seeking in order to make my dreams come true. Let’s face it, celebrity and popularity are necessary evils in the entertainment business. Seeking celebrity seems a bit crazy to me but so is the entertainment business.

What didn’t surprise me was that after a year of writing his blog, Kenneth Justice decided to set out on a worldwide tour to connect with his readers. Basically, he was achieving my goal albeit in from a different perspective and in a very different style. He is living my dream. When he came to Minneapolis last month I was able to meet him, drive him around, show him my city and give him a place to stay. I was able to see my dream come true, even if it was being carried out by another person. I could be bitter but instead I have a new friend. I hope that you will read his blog and I hope that you will take the opportunity to meet him if he comes to your town.

I began last year with a plan; I failed but I found success. As I look back now I realize that I’m still here, I’m still me and I’m not alone. Ultimately, that is all I have ever wanted to achieve.

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Power of love

So what really does make the world go round? Not in a physical sense, but in a philosophical sense.  I would like to believe that love makes the world go round. It’s probably a common misconception among artists and dreamers like me. A more realistic view would be to say that money and power make the world go round. A quick google search for I did for shits and giggles returned one-hundred and eighty-one million results for love makes the world go round. Money got one-hundred and sixty-nine million and Power netted one-hundred and eighty-seven million. I’m not trying to make any scientific claims by this; just to illustrate modern society’s preference for power.

The second season of Netflix original series, House of Cards started airing on Valentine’s day. I’ve been watching it obsessively ever since. It is a remarkably well written, acted and directed show. The story is captivating. The characters are complex and compelling but what has really gotten me is the overall theme. This is a show about power and power is a potent aphrodisiac. It is addictive and consuming. Money is power. Knowledge is power and if you believe Oscar Wilde, even sex is about power.

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” – Oscar Wilde

To feel powerful is one of the greatest feeling in the world. I understand why people seek it. With power you can make things happen. With power you can forge your own destiny. With enough power, you can control the world and here in lies the problem. Power is a tool to create change but it has no morality; it has no conscience, it has no soul. To me, the means by which we obtain power is paramount. With money, with knowledge, with skill we can create great things but also do great harm. If what we seek is peace, all we need is love.

I cannot subscribe to the principle of, “by any means necessary”. The ends can never justify the means for in my world view, there is no end. All we have is means and if our means are not rooted in love then they possess the potential of being misguided.

There is great power in love but love is slow. Love takes patiences. Love does not control. Love takes understanding and forgiveness. Love is humble. Love is actually pretty fucking boring. Love requires vulnerability and risk. Love offers no guarantees. Love cannot make anything happen. Love can only allow nature to take it’s course. This makes love rather unsettling to modern humans.

Let’s face it, love cannot pay the rent. Love cannot put food on the table. Real people have real problems and love is not the answer.

My ability to eschew modern world forms of power in favor of love is a luxury. This is going to piss some people off. I have one friend right now who is not talking to me. To be honest, I gave up the modern forms of power because they didn’t work for me. They made me sick. I turned to love as a last resort. I turned to honesty because I had nothing left to lose. But you know what? I gained a lot. In fact everything I have I owe to love.

I’m not here to tell anybody else what to do. We are each on our own path. I’ve seen enough to know that I don’t know enough to tell anyone else how to live. Fight if you’ve got to fight. Just know that if you can’t fight anymore, like I found myself, that love has a place for you.

I will leave you with some words from Jimi Hendrix, words which have been spoken many times before and will continue to be spoken until this dreamer’s dream is realized.

Power of Love

Power of Love

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