jimowenswrites

Reflections on Life, Leadership, Mindfulness, Change, and other Important Stuff

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Was it just a dream?

I hear the voices,

these echoes in the night,

in the darkest moments,

still waiting for the light.

 

Thoughts across my mind,

stirring me once more,

of laughter and the smiles,

they shake me to the core.

 

Sorrows now forgotten,

But memories still remain,

Fill this empty vessel,

Now wash away the pain.

 

Wonders of new hope,

or shadows of a scream,

sometimes I still wonder,

was it just a dream?

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We cannot pretend

We cannot pretend,

My broken-hearted friend,

This garden we must tend,

The hope I want to lend.

What grace can I extend?

What message can I send?

And surely not pretend,

Has now come the end.

 

There must be some way,

Something I can say,

To make a better day,

To mend this hopeless fray,

And make you want to stay,

We’ll smell the fresh cut hay,

Find more time to play,

Quiet hounds that bay,

 

No more say goodbye,

Please,look into my eyes,

For we must simply try,

Not understanding why,

Forsake this futile lie,

The day is coming nigh,

For I will help you fly.

A hope that will not die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She sits alone

She sits alone,
In a hollow place
A single tear,
Glides down her face;

She sits alone,
In shadows gray,
Wishing for
Some different way;

She sits alone,
And wonders how,
She might make,
A better now?

She sits alone,
This life so long,
A distant voice,
A mournful song;

She rises up,
Then plants her feet:
What lies ahead,
What pain to greet?

She rises up,
Despite the fear,
Her shoulders back,
The dawn is near;

She rises up,
Wipes tear away,
In this place,
She cannot stay;

She rises up,
Shrugs off despair,
This weary warrior
Of life’s affairs;

She takes a step,
Into the light,
Bids adieu,
This painful plight;

She takes a step,
Two, then three,
Walking on,
How can this be?

She takes a step,
Four, then five,
Just grateful that,
She’s still alive;

She stands alone
With head held high,
Her soul renewed
Her battle cry;

She stands alone,
A fragile peace,
Her burden lighter,
Sorrow released;

She stands alone,
Though griefs remain,
But smiles a bit,
Wash away the stain;

She sits alone,
In a hollow place,
Still some fears,
This better place.

What Have We Learned, People? Metaphysical Reflections on 2018

A few days ago, a good friend asked me if I make New Year’s resolutions.

“Not anymore,” I replied. “The last one I really kept was in 2013.”

She asked what grand achievement I’d accomplished that year.  “Craft beer,” I said.

The look on her face—maybe the same one you have now—told me I’d need to explain.  I made her wait though, because I was downing chunks of freshly-baked bread like a seal being fed from a bucket.  No, I did not slap my flippers.  I don’t have flippers.  (But if I did.)    Oh, yeah.  You’ll have to wait to learn metaphysical truth behind my success for a bit too.

So it’s January 1, 2019. And while everyone’s thoughts are turning toward Jenny Craig, Keto-diets and how much it costs to join Planet Fitness, my thoughts are on the past.  I’m asking the question.

What have we learned, people?

Permit me to share a few of my own lessons.

Number One:  There’s music in the voice of a friend—and you can sometimes hear it in a text.  I laughed a lot in 2018.  Cried some too.  But whether I’m laughing or crying, more and more, I recognize how vitally important my friends are to me.  My male buddies and I toss barbs at one another (like guys do) and discuss things like the roots of consciousness and artificial intelligence (usually while sipping good bourbon).  I can hear them laughing at—um, with me—even now.  And, I can hear the laughter of my female friends—one in particular, who is always smiling, even through the heartache of this past year.

It’s not really a resolution, but in 2019, I want to hear their voices more often.

Number Two:  Take a risk.   I did something stupid in 2018. (Probably several things!) I quit a perfectly good job. At 57, I somehow found the courage not so much to leave something as to pursue something I’d always wanted to do professionally.  Yes, I have a plan—but I’m still figuring out what works.  I have a little money in the bank, but not remotely enough to consider myself retired.  The risk I’ve taken has resulted in some victories and some disappointments.  And I probably should be more anxious than I am about succeeding.  But for a long time now I’ve suspected (and now I know) that successis over-rated.  Yes, I need to pay my mortgage.  I definitely have to pay Blue Cross.  But where I live and what my income have precious little to do with the sense of harmony and contentment I now enjoy.

I don’t really have a resolution here, either.  But hopefully, I can keep taking risks.  Early indications are they’re worth it.

Number Three:  Don’t feed your dog hot wings.   I know what you’re thinking.  Oh, no he dit’nt.

Let’s just say, it wasn’t deliberate.  Shooter, my three-year-old Pointer, has the capacity and determination to sniff out a stale Cheeto from thee-hundred yards.  (But he can’t find the damn chew toys I give him).  So when I tell you he helped himself to about a half-dozen boneless wings I inadvertently left on the kitchen counter, trust me: I bear only limited responsibility for what the ensuing events.  (Thank heavens these weren’t the nuclearspice version.)  You’d think Shooter would have known to stop eating when his eyes began tearing up.  Or when his tongue began to recognize this might have been a choice leading to A Series of Unfortunate Events.Not my boy.  He’s no quitter.  I’ll spare you the details except to say he spent the next several hours pacing like a ten-year-old boy who’d missed a dose of Adderall.

So I’ve learned several important things in the past year.  If I’m honest, I’m still learning several lessons.  But back to the metaphysical truth of 2013.  My resolution that year was to drink more craft beer. Which I did.  Not because I advocate drinking, though I think Benjamin Franklin might have been on to something.  But because drinking more craft beer meant I was probably spending more time with friends, less time taking life so seriously, and generally enjoying a fairly simple pleasure.  That was actually harder than I expected.  And though I’ve cut back on the craft beer (carbs are from the devil), I’ve gotten a lot better at living the theory behind it. Which seems pretty metaphysical to me.

Whatever 2019 brings, I’ll see you at Planet Fitness soon.  I’ll be the one with wing sauce on his fingers.

Sometimes, when it’s quiet

Sometimes,

when it’s quiet,

when I sit and listen,

really listen,

hearing the barking dogs in the distance,

really hearing them,

hearing their yips and wails and pleading,

their unbridled pursuit of some unimaginable thing,

I wonder;

 

Sometimes,

when it’s quiet,

when I sit and listen,

really listen,

in that liminal space between waking and sleeping

hearing the electric hum of silence,

and the sounds that rattle and echo through these halls

I wonder;

 

Or sometimes,

when it’s quiet,

when I sit and listen,

really listen,

hearing the throbbing of my heart,

noticing the whoosh of blood coursing through me,

feeling the rise and fall of my chest, my lungs stoking the fire of life,

I wonder;

 

Sometimes,

when it’s quiet,

if only in my heart,

when I sit and listen,

really listen,

to the sound of far-off thunder,

when I hear the growing rage of an approaching storm,

hearing the wind rushing through the trees, faster and faster,

waiting on the next brilliant, terrifying flash of lightning to race across the sky,

I wonder:

 

Sometimes,

when it’s quiet,

when I sit and listen,

really listen,

I wonder,

 

I wonder why,

why I don’t sit and listen,

really listen.

I should have kissed her

I should have kissed her

when we were standing there

in the shadows, amidst the silhouette

of neon and moonlight,

her cabernet lips plump, and tender, and moist,

her pupils wide,

her eyes aglow with reticent longing;

 

I should have kissed her

when my hand brushed against hers, and

I felt her warmth, and my heart throbbed

a comforting beat deep within my chest, before

the reckless hope of anticipation passed us by

like a wayward breeze on a hot August night;

 

I should have kissed her

when the wine and laughter had briefly thawed

the chill of my doubting, wounded heart,

before we offered one another kind well-wishes

of farewell, through despairing, half-hearted smiles.

 

I should have kissed her

when the possibilities loomed before us

like and endless desert highway at dawn, when

the tires thumped their brief but certain incantation of desire,

before my head overtook my heart,

and before mystery and enchantment gave way to cold calculations

of wisdom and logic, and before I had unwittingly given myself over to the deceit

to the cold deceit that this was not our time.

 

I should have kissed her.

I woke up and wondered

I woke up and wondered
What today might bring;
Sorrow or comfort,
Some new song to sing?

I woke up and wondered
What today might bring;
A victory or joy,
Some fresh painful thing?

I woke up and wondered,
How surely to meet:
Whatever should come
Without self-deceit?

I woke up and wondered,
How should I reply;
Whatever I see,
Keep open my eyes?

I woke up and wondered,
Have I finally grown,
Am I able to walk
Together, alone?

I woke up and wondered,
Might I restore,
The broken and humble
And open my door?

I woke up and wondered,
My life full of charm,
Can I just embrace
The joy and the harm?

I woke up and wondered,
So much still to learn,
That giving is getting,
Let go of the yearn;

I woke up and wondered,
At all of their fears
Consuming like fire
And robbing their years.

I woke up and wondered,
If I could set free,
Release all the things
Bound inside of me?

I woke up and wondered,
In this Shakespearean play,
What role do I have?
What do I portray?

I woke up and wondered,
At teachers I’ve known,
Lessons I’ve learned,
The kindness they’ve shown.

I woke up and wondered,
At life’s mysteries,
Happy to sail,
Upon all of her seas.

I woke up
and wondered.

Just out of reach

Arms outstretched,

His shoulders’ strain,

Reach for the bloom

And feel the pain;

 

His fingers brush,

From hands that ache;

Forbidden tastes,

Must he forsake?

 

Above he looks

In sunlight’s glare;

Reach further still,

Should now he dare?

 

Bends down the branch,

And begs the the tree:

Let go thy fruit

That’s tempting me;

 

Near to his grasp,

This thing he seeks;

So close and still,

Just out of reach;

 

He cannot stop,

Will not relent,

Until his hope

Has all been spent.

Epitaph

What creature these

All gathered here,

That lie and wait,

Near swaying trees?

 

Of deeds undone,

I hear them speak,

And wondering what

Must surely come;

 

From darkest tombs

They whisper still,

Of life’s remorse

Since mother’s womb;

 

They see now clear

In darkness’ light,

And wondering what

There was to fear;

 

And murmur still,

Each haunting voice

Such mournful tones,

I sense their chill;

 

No lesson half

That I must learn,

Each moment write

This epitaph;

 

“In this cold ground

There lies a man,

He took a chance,

He heard the sound;

 

Wandered astray

He roamed about,

And left the trail,

Some surely say;

 

Was there a choice

Or made for him

The urge to follow

His poet’s voice?”

 

November Tune

Winds gently blowing

cross oat covered dunes,

I hear the sweet sounds,

of her November tune;

The ocean still rocking,

Against the white shores,

The sea’s tide calling,

A song all the more;

A gentle babe crying,

this unfettered delight,

I listen in wonder,

Pricked ears in the night;

Bare feet keep padding

Across the boarded walk,

A strange symphony rising,

This whispering talk;

I strain in the darkness,

Make no better choice

Than awaiting the morrow,

And longing for her voice;