short stories · thoughts

~ Falling Again ~

falling
~ Falling Again ~

“I think you need to just relax and take a step back,” she said. “You run into things too easily.”

“I can’t help it, it just takes hold of me. It’s like I don’t have a choice.”

“Honestly, you remind me of my dog – just running around wildly, chasing everything that attracts you. It must be exhausting to constantly be that way.”

“That’s funny; I’ve been told that before. But hey, at least we all like dogs, right?”

“We do but dogs are animals ruled by instinct; you have deeper feelings, you just need to make sure you don’t get hurt.” 

“I don’t mind getting hurt. I’d rather that than to not follow my heart.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Probably,” I said.

The sentiments of my friend were nothing new to me. It seems I had that classic problem: falling in love with things too easily, and throwing my heart into them with reckless abandon. I was doomed to get hurt, and I was told to be more careful, but holding back my love was even more painful than the inevitable heartbreak that would naturally ensue. I just couldn’t help myself. I fell in love with anything that stirred my soul. At first, I fell in love with the world around me. With the rivers and the woods and the fields and sunsets. I then fell in love with travelling: the sight of new people and places, grabbing my backpack from the airport conveyor-belt, staring out of the bus window and knowing that I was soon to step off into a new town. Like a flower in my heart, I poured adventure onto it and let it grow wildly. I saved up all my money and obsessed over my next trip, neglecting things like clothes and food just to get there. And when I was back in those foreign lands with a world of possibility at my feet, I felt that flower blooming in my heart with a total love for what I was doing.

I fell in love with the art of writing. The act of expressing yourself and bringing people into your world; to share your things from the deepest recesses of your heart. That feeling of relief when you got out the things you had always wanted to say, and knowing they could actually mean something to someone out there. How it could give them strength and remind them that they aren’t alone in this world. And all it took was having the courage to type your truth out onto a blank page. It made my fingertips twitch with a fervent energy. It made me stay up ’til the early hours of the morning strumming away on those keyboard keys.

I fell in love with people. With the artists and adventurers; with the sight of a soul who was radiating pure joy and passion. I remember feeling blue one day, then going for a walk in the city and watching this guy busking with his guitar. He told his story about how he had gotten laughed out of his office when he told them he was quitting his job to become a street performer. He also told how he had just been diagnosed with autism, and had all these other revelations in his life, but there he was: travelling around Europe in his van, living life on his own terms, entertaining a captivated crowd with some of the most beautiful playing I had ever heard. I looked at his smile as he strummed those strings and saw the light of the entire cosmos shining through him. That was someone I aspired to be; that was someone I loved.

Rather predictability, I fell in love with girls. With the way they walked and talked and played with their hair. With their smiles and little imperfections. With the looks in their eyes which made you wonder what their story was and what secrets were locked away in their hearts. Sometimes I could get hung up for weeks on a girl I had passed on the street, and the little romances in my life took me years to get over. And probably people thought I was crazy, but I just couldn’t help but throw myself completely into the wilderness of another human-being even if I knew it wasn’t going to work out. For me, the pain was worth it, just because the act of falling in love was like feeling a great universal truth flowing through me. It just made sense; like the rivers running into the ocean, the feeling of loving was like going home to some ineffable divine life source.

Yeah, I guess that I am a bit of a starry-eyed dreamer, a hopeless romantic as they say, but I believe most human-beings are secretly this way, only most have learnt to hold themselves back. The natural state of a person was to love; and when you look at a person when they were in love with someone or something, you could see the entire cosmos shining in their eyes. That divine light was inside us all, but the human condition makes it such a challenge to let it shine. As our lives go on, we get worn down and made cautious by the world. We build walls and barriers. We get turned bitter and resentful by the lovers who did not return our love, by the people who belittled our dreams, and by the struggles of everyday life which slowly made us jaded and deflated. Indeed, it can be a great test to keep your heart truly open to the world when the daggers have pierced you and the days tired you and the lovers betrayed you.

Sometimes it is so far buried that it didn’t appear to exist in a person at all. But I believed even the most closed and bitter individual had that love somewhere inside of them, ready to burst out when under the right circumstances. It was just a matter of getting them into the right space to let it come. I remembered one middle-aged man I met travelling. He told me how he had been depressed and angry with life for a few years following a bad divorce, but he had finally moved on by selling his house and moving abroad. He was now travelling in Spain with his new girlfriend, back to pursuing his passions of writing and playing the guitar. Only a couple of years ago he had been a depressed, bitter individual with a contempt for his existence, but now the light was back and beaming bright in his eyes. And ultimately, it was because he had allowed himself to dust off the hinges and open his heart once again to the world.

Yes, in a world where it was easy to close yourself off, it can be a test to constantly love without fear and filter, but this was always what I sought to do in every aspect of my life; to let my love be poured into whatever it was I was passionate about. And maybe I needed to believe it, but I believed that love was the answer to everything. Because this was what I always felt, this deep ineffable feeling pulling me towards whatever was good and worthwhile in my life. It had taken me around the world; it had taken me to find my passions; it had taken me to find the people who inspired and changed me; it had taken me from the haunted woods of depression to the open fields of light and life. This passion for everything which was surely found in the hearts of stars and the breaking of waves and the roots of flowers. It was an intrinsic energy that was essential for a human-being to truly be alive, and though allowing yourself to love completely meant you would leave yourself open to feel more pain, it also meant you could also feel a greater amount of joy and connection to the universe.

As time goes on, there are times when the world tests me to close myself to it, but ultimately I know I’ll never shake this overwhelming desire to run towards what my heart aches for. Right now, writing these words and dreaming up my next adventure, I am still letting that flower grow wildly in my heart, and by now I know will always be that starry-eyed dreamer, running towards what I love with wise arms and an open heart. Still a hopeless romantic; still that dog running around wildly after everything that attracts me; still writing these words and feeling the light of the cosmos flow through my fingertips. Yeah, I guess I’m still falling, I don’t ever intend to stop throwing myself into this beautiful pain.

thoughts

~ 2am Thought ~

“And still I can’t help but let myself wonder about us. What our lives would have been like; what our mornings would have looked like as the sun came over that horizon once again. How we would have lay under those sheets and stared into each other’s eyes. How we would have walked through those parks knowing our lives were bound together on a shared path. It is true that lost love can bring any man to his knees; with a great weight in his heart, he staggers on alone knowing that it could have been so different. And just like so many people out there, the love-starved and the broken-hearted, his path leaves him haunted by many thoughts and questions. I am still not sure whether love is essential for life; indeed it is the great illusion that we all chase after, but I do know that most people have had it reciprocated in some way by the time their hairs start to grey and skin starts to wrinkle. Now I stare into that mirror, going into old age without ever having been the object of another’s affection. Indeed, maybe I wasn’t born for it. The world needs people like me, I guess. I am ‘the friend’. The ‘interesting one’. ‘The comedian’. I seem to cheer those around me up, and indeed people do enjoy my company, but it never goes beyond that. I see them stare into my eyes and dismiss me as a being not worthy of their affection. And in a way, I no longer dispute it. I understand why they see me as they do. There is something inside of me that will now allow me to be like everyone else. And now I know that love is not going to be given to me by others, I sit in silent rooms and know it is only with self-love that I can survive this life. Flames of romantic love flicker and fade out, but self-love is the eternal bonfire from which I warm my soul. I’m burning up in my own company; blazing up with my own words. And long may I be consumed in these flames.”

thoughts

~ A Distant Daydream ~

~ A Distant Daydream ~

“Girl, this cruel and crazy world was never meant for us. I always wanted to ask you to run away with me, so let’s plan our escape and leave in the middle of the night. Meet me there on the shores of destiny, where the ships of us set sail to a greater world. Meet me there out beyond the fences, where we slip the shackles of misery and despair. Meet me there over the hills, in the place where the empty-hearted do not dwell, where the skies are clear and the sun bears witness to our own peace and happiness. In those untamed spaces, we shall unite under the banner of freedom. We will walk proudly upon the land of our own contentment. We will find our way among the wilderness to live a life that fills our hearts with a feeling of raw joy. No longer will the clouds rain and the tyrants enslave. No longer will we know pain or fear or heartache. Girl, the time is now. Let’s leave tonight. Meet me there. Meet me there.

Meet me.”

a brush with normality

thoughts

~ Apparitions ~

~ Apparitions ~

“Girl, I was always a bit of a solitary soul, but for a second there I saw this thing with you. To wake up on Sunday mornings with the light coming through the window. To caress the skin on your cheek as you smile with contentment. To know that I have another day by your side as my eyes open and for everything to be okay, if only for that day. I saw this thing with you. Some call it the normal life I guess. To stroll through parks hand in hand; to make love in an evening haze; to smell the scent on your neck and to not have to look anywhere else because all that I desire is there right in front of me. I saw this thing with you – this thing I now know is not gonna come. I have held you in my arms and because of that I have held happiness in my arms – that foreign thing, that strange concept. I would have given you everything of me. I would have thrown myself to your wolves, drowned myself in your sea, got lost in your forest. Yet we want different things; so it must be that we drift like ripples on the surface of water, and go separate ways. But you will always stay with me, like the other ghosts that linger inside me, those apparitions of happiness that haunt the hallways of my mind. Apparitions of something I can only see and not touch. Apparitions of another lover lost, another path not taken, another happiness not felt.”

not felt

short stories

~ A World Not Made For Lovers ~

~ A World Not Made For Lovers ~

Her hazel eyes dimmed with a sadness. There was a heaviness in them which pulled them down to the ground. There was the light of love still in there somewhere, but it had been suppressed down to the tiniest flicker in the vast darkness that enveloped every horizon of her inner universe. Like most lovers in this tortured world, she sat alone in silence and stared emptily into space, confused at the situation of existence before her. She knew deep down a sensitive soul like hers didn’t belong in this society of cruelty and trickery. She wanted affection but got rejection; she wanted passion but got apathy; she wanted to fly but was tethered down by the concrete gravity of reality. In her heart she felt betrayed that the gods had left her stranded in this environment. Her cards had been dealt and now, like a little bird in a cage, she flapped around hopelessly within her confines, aching inside to return to the place where her spirit belonged soaring free.

      We had met recently out on the road and now by circumstance I found myself with her in the Netherlands. A Spanish girl in Amsterdam, Sara, away from home, trying to get by and make her way out in foreign lands, but stuck in a struggle I knew all too well. “The people are cold here” she told me. “They are like robots. The men just fuck you and then stop speaking to you. I can’t make any friends. People put up barriers if they don’t know you already. Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing here.” She carried on spilling her pain and frustration, talking about her ex and her past failures in relationships. “I am broken but everyone is broken after a while, you just have to keep looking and find the person who is less broken than you are.” 

     Her words struck a chord with me and naturally it felt good to be around a fellow scratched and scarred soul. We continued sharing our thoughts about life as we roamed around Amsterdam, spending our time drinking in the cafes and bars, strolling down the canals and checking out the sights of the capital. At one point we walked around a museum and talked about life and travel and relationships. We looked at Van Gogh’s paintings – another lover driven to madness and isolation by the weight of the world. In his self-portraits you could sense his simultaneous love and despair for the human condition. Speaking to Sara while viewing the paintings, I stared into her eyes and saw that same tortured look. I saw that little bird inside longing to be free, to be loved and to belong to someone or something. I had seen it before in the most beautiful of souls I had come across out there on the road. It seemed that if you walked this world with an open heart, you were sure to suffer more than the average person. If you truly loved without a filter than people didn’t know what to do; often the other sex saw it as a weakness and inevitably you were left heart-broken and dejected. I thought of Van Gogh cutting off his ear giving it to a woman to show his love. Admittedly cutting off body parts was perhaps a little extreme but, like Van and Sara, whenever I fell for someone, I went in with all my heart and was inevitably left shunned. Ironically I was here with her but had recently fallen for another girl who had rejected me, and now I had only added to her misery by misleading her. I was also part of the problem. But I had my own problems too. We were both drowning in our own individual way.

     When I really thought about it, it seemed that it wasn’t just relationships where the ones who loved without a filter suffered. It was life and society in general. The more open-hearted you were, the more you were beaten and broken down by the nature of humanity. I couldn’t make sense of it. I looked out at the world around me and saw a brutal and backwards system. It was a place where the cruel and cold-hearted rose to the top. A place where sociopaths and narcissists flourished while the most caring and thoughtful were trampled underfoot. A strange game was being played and the people who were usually the winners were the ones with the fake smiles, the smooth lies and a cold, calculating nature. To be sensitive and caring was considered a weakness in this society. It wasn’t good for the economy. It wasn’t good for survival. It wasn’t good for business or strategy. The best rewards were for the merciless and uncompromising. Dog eat dog, as they said. Every man and woman and child for themselves.

    Meanwhile, those who loved with reckless abandon didn’t make it. They lingered in the solitary shadows and sidelines. The lovers. The dreamers. The idealists. The poets. The INFPs. Often this world didn’t know what to do with them. So many of them were cast out, shunned, neglected, or misunderstood. In the worst cases they were gunned down by the fear and hatred of humanity. John Lennon. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Malcolm X. JFK. Abraham Lincoln. Aside from them you also had the sensitive and artistic souls driven to suicide or early death by the crushing weight of it all. Kurt Cobain. Hemingway. Winehouse. Kerouac. Ledger. Sylvia Path. Robin Williams. For such people to survive in this world, they needed to put up walls and toughen themselves up. But so many of them were clearly unable to do that, and consequently they were left burdened by feeling too much in an uncaring and hostile world, slowly being driven to death and destruction and alcohol and madness.

     Yeah, no matter how you looked at it, it was a world not made for lovers and I guess, like Sara, I knew opening my heart up to it would also leave me tortured, sitting alone and staring into space, confused at the situation of existence before me. But I didn’t really know what else to do. I was a man ruled mercilessly by his own heart. With child-like curiosity I explored the world around me. I tenaciously followed my passions. I lived fiercely according to my ideals. I loved without a filter. I expressed myself from my heart and soul. I thought these things would be good qualities in life but so far it had only made my life extremely difficult. People abused my kind nature. Speaking from my heart often caused people to distance themselves from me. My authenticity didn’t give me acceptance. My ideals and passions were not compatible with society. I guess I had the ability to stop being this way, but a part of me refused to let the essence of myself be diluted down by the hostile environment I had found myself in. 

     “You need to stop being so sensitive and ruled by your emotions.” 

     “Man up.”

     “Learn to play the game like everyone else.”

     I’d heard it all before just like the others had, but by now I knew I wasn’t going to change. Speaking to Sara as we strolled around Amsterdam, I was reminded how much better the world was when you had those sort of people around you. Just a day or two in her company and suddenly my faith in humanity returned. Suddenly the streets of society didn’t all seem to be doom and gloom with people like her somewhere out there. As long as you just came across a few pure-hearted people every year, it restored something in you; it relinquished the dread inside of you of your own species. Normally those lovers were the most troubled people, but in my eyes they were the most courageous, the most beautiful, the most precious. They were the ones who reminded you that there was still some hope left. The ones who reminded you that humanity wasn’t totally doomed. The ones who reminded you that there was still a chance to find some gentleness in the craziness of this world. 

    To the lovers out there fighting on in this world where so many cold-hearted creatures and demons run amok, don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the storm. Keep the flowers growing in your heart; keep the doves flying in your mind; keep the sun shining in your soul. Sara, little bird, if you are reading this, I hope you find your happiness and learn to smile a little more. Don’t let the weight of this concrete world grind you down. Don’t let yourself be broken down by those hollow-hearted and empty-eyed creatures. Keep your heart kind; keep your soul pure; keep loving fearlessly without a filter. When all is said and done, it’s the people like you that keep the soul of humanity alive.

thoughts

~ Walking The Shores Of Life ~

~ Walking The Shores Of Life ~

“Like footprints in wet sand, our lives are so fleeting and fragile – temporary cosmic patterns that will eventually succumb to the tides of transience. What we do with the time we have here shapes the patterns we make, and perhaps even influences a few who follow in our footsteps, yet everything in this universe including ourselves and everyone we love will eventually be swept back into the ocean of eternity. It is not that which should be a cause for despair, but which should rather be the salvation we have longed searched for. For with the knowledge that this is but a temporary dream, life becomes precious and wonderful beyond words. With this knowledge your mind is alleviated from trivial worries and stress, and you remember what is truly important in life. You do not wish to waste precious time on that which is insulting to your being, but to give your all to that which fills your soul and makes your fingertips flicker with excitement. You do not wish to waste time trying to overpower and destroy others, but instead to help and love the ones close to you – to make their existence a little easier, a little more filled with joy and colour and light and adventure. So go wild one: don’t be afraid to walk those shores of life with love and wonder in your heart, with the breeze of the cosmos in your hair, with the waves washing the sand from your bare feet. Don’t be afraid to wander wild and free through the dream of what it is to exist. Yes, one day your path will end; one day the sun will set on the horizon as you return to the ocean of eternity. But when that time comes, you’ll be ready to return to those waters knowing that you lived a life of joy, passion and love – rather than one of fear, hatred and regret.”

girl shore.jpg

(taken from my book ‘The Thoughts From The Wild’ available here)

thoughts

~ Incomplete ~

~ Incomplete ~

“She walked barefoot through the fields of my heart, untouchable like a ghost, her skin shining in the sun like the blazing light of the cosmos in all its glory. And now the thoughts of what could have been haunt those same fields as I sit alone in the night, hearing those voices of happiness echo in the wind before I return to that silence I know all too well. Some of us are just never meant to feel that union of love; to feel confirmed or completed by another soul. We have that empty space in the heart where we sit still in solitude and stare into skies above, waiting to be liberated from our pain, waiting to be saved from our own madness – waiting for someone or something to come deliver us to a home we know deep inside we will never touch nor feel.”

alone-dawn-depth-of-field-734479.jpg

thoughts

~ The Last Flowers ~

~ The Last Flowers ~

“The long storms have come and gone, and here I stand drenched in the rains of my own madness, offering you the last remaining flowers of my heart. I am not one of the polished prizes I know. I am scratched; I am scarred. I am stained with a dirt of which I’ll never be cleansed, but I still have some of my soul left and I hope that’s enough, even though I suspect that it’s not. Happiness never seems destined to those who love fully, but still I can’t help but let my eyes lift to those horizons of hope which have haunted me my entire life. Something ineffable inside of me tells me that these flowers have a home somewhere out there before they finally wither away and die. And to that place I shall walk until the final breath of life has left my lungs. To that place I shall walk to see my joy blossom, if only for one fleeting moment in this bittersweet and beautiful life.”

the last flowers.png

poetry

~ Bum ~

~ Bum ~

“When your eyes hit me, I am transported,
out to foreign lands, to which I’m deported;
where I trek cross-country toward the coastline,
and hitch-hike down the highways of your mind;
where I wander through wilderness with no goal,
and sleep rough in the shipyards of your soul.
And each day when I watch the setting of sun,
I don’t care where I’m going, or where I came from;
‘cause when you look at me, I become the gypsy one,
happily lost in your world, like a drifting bum.”

bum.jpg