Saturday, 18 January 2014

Poem - Stay With Me

In honour of my parents' 37th anniversary earlier this month

Stay with me
I'll share my world with you
Alone, I'm out of step
Alone, my world's askew

So stay with me
Come watch the northern lights
Dance as the colours do
You make me feel so right

Stay with me
Fill my sky with stars
My life is so much better
If I'm where you are

So stay with me
Something's lost if you're away
You bring me joy and laughter
You bring the sun; please come and play

Poem - Everything Is Better

In honour of my parents' 37th anniversary earlier this month.

The way salt perfects a meal
Or the stars brighten the sky
The way honey sweetens tea
Or wings help birds to fly

Everything is better
With you by my side
Everything is better
when I've seen you smile
Everything is safer
When you have my back
Everything is better
You bring what I lack

The way I feel alive
Or the courage you bring out
The way you help me thrive
Or push through my every doubt.

Everything is better
With you in my arms
Everything is brighter
With the love found in your heart
Everything is safer
When you hold me tight
Everything is better
When I'm bathed in your light

Musing - Why I Reach For The Stars

"Why do I reach for the stars when I don't have wings to carry me that far?"
Roots Before Branches

Just to clarify, from the first time I heard Roots Before Branches, I loved the song. It reminds me to dream, that my dreams are worth chasing, that I can find a place where I belong. I feel empowered and hopeful every time I listen to it. But that one line has bugged me from the first. The singer poses a question; why do I reach for the stars, when I don't have wings to carry me that far?

In a song filled with hope, this one line doesn't seem to fit. I hear it and I feel like I'm longing for the impossible. I don't have wings to carry me to the stars. i don't have what I need to reach my dreams. So why do I try? I was left feeling almost guilty for striving for something I fear I don't have the skills to achieve. I felt like I was wasting time, mine and my families. I've spent months thinking about this question, trying to figure out why I can, and should, reach for the stars.

First, if I reach for the stars there's a chance I may fail to reach my goal. I may fall short. Yet, if I don't even try then my chance of failure becomes a certainty. "The only true failure is a failure to try." (unknown) I know that if I never take the first step, I will never walk the path I want to. If I don't write a single word, my story will never be told. So I try, because trying is the only chance I have. I reach for the stars because I will never dance among them if I don't step out and try.

Last week I mused about the journey and the destination, The Mountains Or The Stars. I mused about how it's the journey that changes you. This is a large part of why I reach for the stars. I may never be able to fly that far, but the attempt itself will change me. I will grow and strengthen myself by taking that first step and writing even just one word. And as I grow and gain strength, I may find that I do reach the stars. I may not have wings to carry myself that far now, but just watch me. I leap off that cliff and I'm carried on new wings. They are there when I need them, stronger than I realized, carrying me farther than I ever imagined.

The third reason is very simply. One of my favourite quotes is "Leap for the stars; if you miss you may still land on the moon." (unknown) So what if my wings don't carry me to the stars. I look around and I see the moon. I see beauty and love and achievement that I didn't think was possible a year ago. My path has changed a lot in the last year; I see a new goal. I'm not where I thought I would be. I am so far beyond what I expected of myself.  I'll reach for the stars because even if I don't end up dancing among them, I will end up in a place full of magic and beauty, a place where my dreams are reality.

So whatever your reasons are for reaching for the stars, don't let your lack of wings slow you. Don't fail to try. Take that first step on your path, write the first word of your story. You may develop the wings and strength you need to reach the stars, or you may find yourself on the moon. No matter what, so long as you reach and dream, you can find a way to make those dreams real.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Story - Magic Awakens - Part Four

"Why would a mob be after us?" Eric says, looking to the old man. I can feel my eyes drawn to Kyra and Anthony. The crowd was after them, and I wonder if they know why. Kyra meets my eyes and nods. She and I need to talk.

"Does it matter?" Malachi says in reply, "They are coming, and we need to leave before someone gets hurt."

The others move quickly to follow him, but I hesitate. Kyra moves up beside me, and I feel the same distrust in her. A quick glance between us, and we slowly follow the group.

We're a few steps behind the others when I hear a sound behind us. I can feel my blood begin to heat. The mob, or at least one or two of them are behind us. Kyra slips her hand into mind, and the sensation of a stormy sea slips inside me. Kyra is angry that the mob has come after us. She holds tighter to my hand and images slip inside my head.

Kyra woke much the way I did this morning, knowing something was different. I smile slightly as she searches the internet and turns on the radio. I remember the frustration at the realization that there is no news to be had, good or bad. She texts her mom and then heads out to work. The cafe where she works isn't far from my college, just on the other side of the park. In fact, Kyra walks past my college every day.

At work, Anthony was on edge, right from the moment he stepped in the door. He muttered to himself all morning, and none of the drinks he made came out right. Kyra had several customers complain that their drinks weren't the right temperature, and some even said they tasted salty.

I glance back at another sound behind us, the sound of a twig snapping. Kyra and I move faster, her hand still firmly clasping mine. A new memory pours into me; I see an iced drink begin to steam and then explode in Anthony's hand as the liquid begins to boil rapidly.

The shock on his face gives way to understanding. 'Magic,' he mutters under his breath.

'What's that, Anthony?' Kyra asks, walking up with a towel. He grabs her by the shoulders, almost shaking her.

'It's Magic, Kyra! That's what's changed. Magic is back, and the world is different now. I can feel it. You feel it too, Kyra; I know you do. Magic is back, and it's here. It's why the drinks won't behave.'

'That's crazy, Anthony,' Kyra begins, but Anthony just waves her off, one hand still grasping her shoulder.

'I know you feel it, Kyra. You know things have changed. Magic is back; you know I'm right.'

Before Kyra can respond, a nearby customer interrupts. His laughter is cruel and harsh. 'Ha! Magic doesn't exist, old man. You're delusional, and if the girl listens to you, she is just as crazy as you are.'

His buddy beside him chimes in. 'It'd be a real shame. She's quite the looker, but you can't date a crazy lady. It just ain't safe.'

'Ha! She doesn't have to be sane to take her to bed. Just willing,'

Steam begins to rise off every drink in the room. Kyra looks up to see a flash of anger storm through Anthony's eyes. The coffee in the customer's hand explodes, drenching him in boiling coffee. Then one by one, every drink in the cafe boils over. Steam billows out of countless cups, flooding the air. A dense fog suddenly fills the cafe.

I can hear the crowd shouting as their drinks foam and steam. I can't see them anymore though. The crowd is too think. The feel in the cafe quickly turns ugly. I grab onto Anthony's wrist and pull him into the back room by sheer memory.

'I'm sorry, Kyra; I didn't mean to. I just go so angry, I lost control. Not that I had that much to begin with.'

'Anthony, calm down. I can hear them coming, and they sound furious. We need to get out of here. Now.'

Images blur in my mind for a moment. Stacks of boxes and shelves blur with the trees around Kyra and I. Sunlight bursts over me, both in the memory and in real life as we move through a clearing. The memory becomes stronger now, and I let Kyra continue to guide me.

She and Anthony made it outside of the cafe into the back lot. They move quickly into the nearby park, but the mob follows them. A half empty cup of coffee slams into Anthony's back, drenching him.

He moves Kyra in front of him, urging her faster. He's trying to protect her, to shelter her as much as he can. They move through a slight dip in the ground, and the road moves out of sight. Kyra starts moving as fast as she can for the trees in the park, but before they can move a half a dozen steps, the crowd from the cafe surrounds them.

I know this is only a memory, but I can feel the anger and fear in the crowd. They're yelling at Anthony, offering insults and rude suggestions. Anthony just does his best to stay between them and Kyra, but it's futile. They're surrounded.

I feel Kyra's certainty that things are about to go very wrong, when she sees Eric and I break through the cover the trees provide. She knows us the same way we knew her. I feel hope break through her, like a wave crashing on the shore, and she grabs hold of Anthony's hand so he sees us too.

Kyra lets the memory slide then, and I blink quickly, reorienting myself. We've moved fast and our group is close to my college. I glance over at Kyra, grateful for the memories she's shared. I'll have to ask her about them soon, but for now I'm just glad to have some of my questions answered.

I have dozens more, but I doubt Kyra can answer many of them. We need to know who Malachi is, and what he wants. I don't trust him. He says he's just a guide, but that doesn't feel right. I think he's more, but even if he is what he says, what exactly is he guiding us to? What are his plans for us, and what does he get out of all this?

Kyra squeezes my hand again, and I know she shares my concerns. As soon as we get somewhere safe, we'll be asking our questions. I, for one, am not following anyone's guidance if I don't know where he wants to lead us.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Poem - Fevered Mind

The world spins and takes me with it
Fear and hope war deep inside
Dreams and nightmares rage within
Crafted by a fevered mind.

No will to live, no wish to die
An empty void screams so loud
Desires lost but always mine
Silence found in a busy crowd

The world turns and turns my fate
Grief and joy, a violent explosion
A longing terror for constant change
No stagnation, no satisfaction

I wake, I dream, I crave my home
Restless exhaustion drags me down
I spin, I search, I seek my unknown
Yet held in place, no future found

Poem - Hope

Light fading
Tears flowing
Pain raging
Fears rising

Joy fleeing
Dreams falling
Faith sliding
Peace slipping

Light failing
Tears flooding
Pain burning
Fears blinding

Joy fighting
Dreams flying
Faith standing
Peace soaring

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Musing - The Mountain Or The Stars

I heard a story once of a young man. In the small village he lived in, everyone believed strength made men important. The stronger you were, the more authority you held. The leader of the town was the strongest man there. The young man was born too early and was never as strong as the others his age. He ate the best he could and worked as hard as he could, but nothing he tried seemed to make a difference.

One day, he went to his grandfather to ask for his help. The old man, who had once lead the village himself, took the young man for a walk. He told his grandson that if he reached the north star, he would be granted a wish. However, the star was far out of reach. The old man suggested the boy climb the mountain on the south side of the village. It would bring him closer to the star and he may have a chance to grab hold of it.

So the young man headed off for the mountain. He climbed for well over a day. When he finally reached the peak of the mountain he reached out his hand, only to find that the star was no closer than before. The young man decided the mountain wasn't tall enough, so he went back to his grandfather and asked how to make the mountain taller. The old man gave him a shovel and a wheelbarrow and told him to dig the dirt.

The young man knew this would be a hard task, but he was determined to no longer be the weakest in the village. He dug dirt, and he carried it to the top of the mountain, only to return to the base and dig more dirt. He dug and carried dirt every day, all day for years. Yet, each night when he reached out his hand, the star was no closer than the first night his grandfather told him of it. Yet, the young man never gave up.

Several years passed and the mountain grew. At first people from the village came and mocked him, berating him for wasting his time. Yet, as the months passed, they grew bored of their games and left him to his digging. Once a month, the grandfather met the young man at the base of the mountains to ask how it was going.

One day, the young man looked at his grandfather and asked him how high he needed the mountain to be. He told his grandfather that the star was still far out of reach. The young man feared he would never reach his goal. His grandfather replied that the star was never really his goal. The young man's true goal was strength.

The young man agreed, but said that the star was his path to strength. If he couldn't reach the star, he could never make his wish. The grandfather took him by the hand and led him to a large bolder. He asked the young man to move it for him. The bolder was heavy and almost as tall as the young man. He reached out and rolled the bolder easily away.

His grandfather looked at him with pride in his eyes. "You've gained your strength," the old man said. "Your goal was strength, your destination the star, and your journey was the mountain. Building the mountain let you reach your goal, even though you never reached your destination."

Now you've set a goal. You decided there was something you needed to do, and you've started the long journey to see your dream become a reality. your goal could be one of a hundred different things; to save money for college or your first home, to lose those inches that are hounding you, to find a way to catch the eye of that special someone, to become the strongest in the land, or perhaps to simply wake up and not dread the day before it starts.

Something happened, big or small, that changed things for you. You started to see the world a little differently, and you decided now was the time to act. You looked at your goal, decided exactly how that destination would look once you got there, and you started building your mountain. Time passed; days, months or maybe even years. You've worked hard to reach your destination, but it's still out of reach.

Maybe it doesn't seem any closer than it did when you first set your sights on it. Sometimes it feels like you are trying to reach the stars, but no matter how high a mountain you build, they stay out of reach. It can feel so hard. No matter how much you do, it seems like you never get there; your mountain never reaches the stars.

Then one day, you reach for that boulder and it moves away so very easily. You look in the mirror and you see the change. Your arms are stronger, your back is toned, and your legs are well shaped. You may not have reached the stars, but you have changed. Your destination is still there, still out of reach, but your goal is in your hands.

Just like any journey you take, it doesn't matter how close you get to your destination, the journey itself still changes you, makes you stronger. So when you look up at your stars, the destination of your dreams, and they seem so far out of reach, and when you look down at the mountain you've built and it all feels so worthless, take a moment. Look at yourself.

Be honest about who you were, and who you are now. I'll bet there are changes. You're stronger than you realise. Look at your mountain and see exactly how far you've come, how much you've accomplished. That mountain isn't worthless because it has changed you. You can still reach your goal, even if the destination you longed for isn't within your reach.

So pick up your shovel and keep building that mountain. One day, the journey will truly bring you to your goal, even if your goal isn't at the destination you first saw. Remember, it's not reaching your dream that has made you so strong. It's the journey that has made you who you are; it's building your mountain that has changed you. Enjoy the ride as much as you can, and let yourself breathe. Your destination will always be there. Your journey only happens once.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Poem - Just A Dream

Is my life just a dream?
Is insanity my fate?
Will madness overtake me?
Will pain cause life to wait?

As days pass through my life
How can I know what's reality?
What if all I ever do
Is no more than just a dream?
How will I ever tell?
Is my life just a dream?
Is insanity my fate?
Will madness overtake me?
Will pain cause life to wait?

As my future becomes my now
What makes my dream unreal?
What if all I ever try
Is never mine to achieve?
How can I ever know?

Is my life just a dream?
Is insanity my fate?
Will madness overtake me?
Will pain cause life to wait?      

Poem - Whole Existence

Staring though this pane of glass
I see the storm about to break
My life reflects this hopeless night
My whole existence an empty ache.

I build my dreams in a world away
My whole reality is something fake
Staying sane requires delusion
My whole existence an empty ache.

I hide away and dread the sun
That makes me see this world of hate
The fear and rage that tears my soul
My whole existence an empty ache.

The night brings me sweet release
As sunlight fades, my soul retakes
The dreams that soar within my mind
My whole existence now awakes.      

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Musing - New Year, New Journey

So today is the beginning of a new year; it's hope and life and laughter and fear. No one knows what this year will hold and sometimes that's scary. Sometimes it's hard to face the unknown future and the new year is a constant reminder of that future. Sometimes things happen beyond our control and those are either good or bad. Either way we can't stop them from happening. Fearing the uncontrollable events will only rob us of the joy of today. Yes, it's a new year, and the unknown future is right around the corner. We can't know what's coming, but we can learn to see the hope in it.

2014 will be a year of changes for me. There is a lot that I plan to do, to achieve and to accomplish this year. But it's an unknown future. I can plan all I like; those plans may or may not succeed. But I know what will trying to follow through. I am resolved to keep going; I'm resolved to do what it takes to see my dreams come true. I know that I will succeed because even if it doesn't happen exactly the way I dream, I'm not giving up. And it is the trying, the journey from here to there that is important to me. Because while the destination may be beyond my control, I may never see my ultimate goal; the journey itself? that IS mine. Mine to control; mine to decide to walk or to stop. Mine to decide if I turn right or left when the path suddenly ends. The journey is MINE, and I will make the journey. That is how I will succeed, even if my dreams never become reality...because I WILL NOT GIVE UP.

So I invite you all to join me in your own individual journeys. Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, unreachable dreams or one that's right next to you, make the journey. Get up, walk, make your choices and refuse to sleep the year away. Don't let fear stop you; embrace the hope of a future that YOU walk into. And if you start to fall, reach your hand up; I'll be here to help you along.