We get born and we die. In between is all the beauty. Being raised in the belief that life is a struggle doesn't make life one. Being told that life is hard, unfair, dangerous and unjust doesn't mean it is.
I carry thousands of years of brute force in me. Generation after generation of men have helplessly given in to what they've been taught. To fight. To grow up. To be a man. To be alert, careful and strong. Many of them have felt different, some have resisted, but for the most, the currents have been so strong. Too strong.
And it feels good to be forceful. At least for a while. To scream and hit and command and swear. It feels good to rule. To lead and to win. It feels good to have a position and it feels damn good to use it.
When I loose it with my kids, when my clouds get really dark and my anger takes all the space, when I hit my fist in the table or shout at them as loud as I can, when I hold them harder than I want to, and harder than they want to, when I do those things, and more, the truth is — I am helpless. My body full of pain. A thunderstorm in my stomach, rusty nails in my heart. But I can't feel it. If I felt it, I would immediately come to a stop, sit down and cry.
It is my pain. It is the pain of my father and his father and his father, too. It is thousands of years of brute force and it is my wounds, my programming. It is what I've been taught, as much as it is what I've not been taught. It is my pain. And the only thing bringing me closer to myself and my family and life and nature and beauty is each time I'm able to stop and feel it. Notice it as it takes space in my body. Breathe into it. Sit with it. Feel how it moves around in my torso, how it threatens to rip me apart, how it sometimes does and I cry as have I never cried before. But I do not die. I live. More and more.
We get born and we die. In between is all the beauty. And all the pain. Life, the experience of being alive, and not only a reactive piece of software. Life. Waiting patiently for us to be real men and feel it.
This is a calling to slow down and listen. To take a deep breath and explore our personal connection with Mother Earth. The feminine and masculine, the beautiful and dirty, the real, the messy, the sacred. Once it was natural. Today it feels crucial.
For the next 100 Days I will write a book to the Earth. For the Earth. With the Earth. The book, and the journey, is also to you. For you. And with you. Together, we are everything.
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(Photo: Flickr/CC/Bureau of Land Management)