Desire, Passion and the Gray Cell

So this post ties in with my previous post. I wanted to talk about what Napoleon Hill means when he says you have to know what you want. What Wallace Wattles is talking about when he writes of a strong desire. Or what is meant by having or holding an image in mind. Here, in as down-to-earth terms as I can write it, is my understanding of this.

Have you ever tried to learn to play the guitar? Steel string, acoustic guitar. If you haven’t, let me tell you what I don’t think many of the books mention. You have to cut your fingernails down to nothing, and keep them trimmed. If you have large fingers, or inflexible fingers, you have to position and hold them powerfully in place in uncomfortable ways. You will likely bleed if you are not used to hard work, and have tender skin on your hands. You will develop calluses, but it takes a LONG, long time, and then you will have these strange, unfamiliar rough bumps at the end of your fingers. So how does anyone learn to play the guitar?

Simple… They love the guitar so much, that their passion for the instrument makes them pick it up whenever they can and practice. I had a friend who lived with my family for a while, and I would often see him just reach over and pick up his guitar, to hold it and finger it, as you would if you were to play. But he was just practicing finger positions. It was an almost unconscious gesture, and urge like you would have to pick up the hand of your lover whenever you are walking together. You have to have AT LEAST as much interest, obsession and passion for the guitar to get you through learning it.

But if you really, REALLY love the guitar, if you see yourself as a guitarist, as the next Mark Knopfler or Jimmi Hendrix, well that desire is even stronger. You go to sleep dreaming of your guitar, or songs, or fingering on the fretboard. You wake up and write out a song, or grab your guitar to finger it. You go to work, and even if you work a 10 hour day and are dead on your feet, the INSTANT you get home and see your guitar waiting for you on its stand in the corner, you are almost pulled there. If you get to this level of passion, you will master the instrument, and this is the first step towards being an innovator with it. If there are any guitarists here who will pitch in, please do.

This is what “having a strong desire” means. It is something you carry with you, living rent-free in your mind, always there at the edge of your awareness. You are always thinking about it, whatever it is. Could be playing guitar, singing, dancing, painting, writing – anything creative. You are already ahead of the game, because you already know what you want to do.

However in order for you to know what you want to do you have to be aware of it. This is what “knowing what you want” means. This awareness could have come to you in childhood, when a fireman pulled you from the blaze. You knew from that moment on you would be a firefighter. Even if you were just a scrawny kid, you would try to bulk up. You would get beat up at football. You would never stop trying to become a firefighter until you first put on your uniform and slung an oxygen tank over your shoulder.

Others discover what they want to do later in life. There are no time limits – NONE. If you want to learn how to dance ballet, and you are 90, if you can still walk, move and bend reasonably well, you can learn ballet. And if you want to learn ballet, you won’t let anyone tell you no. You will simply move on until you find someone who says yes. Stephen King did this with rejection notices until he was published. Anyone remember the movie 8-Mile?

Now its been a long time since I saw this movie, but if memory serves we have this scrawny white kid, in MICHIGAN, who is passionate about Hip Hop. He wants to rap. He wants to be an MC. He wants this at a time when only black guys were really doing it. And Michigan for crying out loud! I am assuming it is NOT The Hip Hop capitol of the world. But Marshal Mathers is undeterred, and if you ever get a chance to listen to Kamikaze, there is some real skill and talent on display there.

So substitute, “Knowing what you want” with “Becoming aware of what you want.” I think awareness is the key here. That leads to acknowledgement of the desire, but then you have to move to the next step and allow yourself to pursue it. You have to accept and embrace your desire, no matter how silly it seems, no matter how many people tell you its stupid or wrong or just tell you no. No matter how many times you are rejected and kicked to the ground, you have to get back up again. Your love for this thing that you want has to be strong enough to get you through that, and through all the practice you need to get to the level you want to reach.

Which brings us to a question… What do you do if you don’t have anything you want to do with that much energy, fire or passion? How do you move from simply wanting to do something to wanting it so badly you are pursuing it? You are broke, in the projects, and you want to learn to play the guitar. How do you move from, “I would like to learn to play the guitar” to “I don’t know how I am going to get one. I will steal one if I have to. But I will learn to play the guitar!” NOT that I encourage stealing, I use this as an example of how strong this has to be.

If you can’t think of a single thing that you feel compelled and drawn to, then I am right there with you, in the exact same boat. The closest I ever got was when I went to Clark College. The person in charge of the music hall – can’t recall the exact building name – but the place where music was taught and where the practice rooms were located – they let me, and any Clark College student, come in and practice, whether or not they were a music student, as long as a room was free. I came in and started to learn piano. I really came to enjoy this time. Even when I was tired between classes and my work study job, even when it was late, if I could get some time in there I did. I miss that. But I don’t think it was enough desire to drive me to learn the piano no matter what.

I can’t think of anything I wanted to be when I was a kid, and if I did have anything, I probably smothered and killed the desire. Murdered it by ignoring it and never acting on it. I suspect at one time I wanted to be a singer. I do remember singing to the radio, and I have a deep love for music. In fact when I was living in the RV with my parents my only private space was sitting there, on the sofa, earbuds in place, listening to music. It is how I relieve the pressure of anger. It allows me to cry, something that has become increasingly hard for me to do.

A life without a passionate desire for something is like living in a dingy gray cell, gray clouds outside – no birds, no sunshine, no joy. And as you locked yourself in there, only you can free yourself! That is probably the most accurate description of my life I can give. The only bright spot in it is the content I make for YouTube. That’s it. And I have realized I may have to set it aside and get a steady job, because it is time I get out on my own. I am not sure my YouTube creative work will survive that.

Worse for me is that I have a penchant for writing, but no desire or passion for it. How the fuck do you iron out that wrinkle? How can you be good at something and not want to do it at the same time? I dunno. I have no answers. But hopefully what I have written here will clarify things for you. If you are locked in your own dingy gray cell, the way out is to acknowledge and accept whatever it is that you want to do passionately enough that it will compel you, even drive you to practice it. If you have that you have a way out, and I am happy for you.

Please get out of your cell and make your art. Do whatever it is that is calling to you. The worlds needs you, it really does. Sometimes only stumbling on the creative result of someone else’s passion do we find our own. Hell I didn’t know I had any interest in dancing until I saw some of the Step Up movies! Now I wish I would meet some pretty dancer girl, learn some moves, maybe fall in love. That’s all you’re allowed in the Gray Cell. Dreams. Nothing real, nothing substantial.

Break out. And if you can find a way to break me out, please do.

How Do You Cultivate Desire?

So I am using the word cultivate here with the idea that this means to not only plant, fertilize and water the seed, but that one must also pull out weeds, dig out roots and break up the ground. To my mind this is the entire process of cultivation – the preparation for the area in which you will plant what you wish to cultivate, and the tending of it when you have planted it.

I am currently reading a very old book, older I think than even Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich.” This book is Wallace D. Wattles, “The Science of Getting Rich.” I have committed myself to this text, to studying it, believing it and applying it. Today I read something that troubled me. Wallace Wattles says, and I quote, “It is the things you do not really care about which require effort to fix your attention upon them.”

Mr. Wattles teaches that there is this stuff that is in and between everything, and in order to get something you want, you impress its image upon this stuff. In more modern language I would call this stuff energy. There is the energy itself, and the things in our world of which this energy has taken form. Instead of the phrase, “get what you want” I would probably use a word like Manifestation. But I have to say I like the down to earth way Mr. Wattles writes things.

In any case, in what I have referred to as ,”Manifestation Teachings” the process remains the same. There is something you want. You focus on it in your mind’s eye, seeing it as detailed as possible. Then you claim it, see it as already yours. You essentially detach from everything around you that shows you differently, as far as you are concerned it is already there.

To make this clearer… If you are living in a tiny, overpriced apartment and you want a nice 2 bedroom house in the country, even as you come home to your cramped apartment everyday, even as you wake up in it every day, you are thinking about this 2 bedroom house in the country. How it is laid out, what furniture you will put in each room. If you can throw in smells from your favorite flowers planted in a bed outside the front door you do that. You hear the birds singing. The more real you can visualize it, these teachings tell you the quicker this will come to you.

But what they have not mentioned, to my knowledge, is that if it requires a lot of effort to visualize this 2 bedroom house in the country, if you have to do as Napoleon Hill instructs and visualize it every day on rising and before you go to bed, well then you don’t really want it. You have an internal conflict, and until this is resolved, you will never manifest what you want.

That was one thing that threw me off in Mr. Hill’s teachings. I know from personal experience that trying to force something through, to make it happen, is actually working against the Universe. There is an effortless flow, and only when you are in that flow (you will know when you are) do things fall together, always for the best for all parties involved, always far better than you could have ever imagined. Trying to make it happen only keeps it from happening.

That does not mean there is no work to be done. Only that the work will also be a part of that effortless flow. When you are are WORKING at TRYING to manifest something, you will likely not get it, or it will be far less than you wanted. When you are WORKING TOWARDS manifesting something, just doing whatever work comes at you in the natural flow of the process, then you will get it, and likely it will be far better or more than you wanted. Usually it will show up in an unexpected way.

That is my understanding of the process. But I have not been able to get it to work for me. Now with what Mr. Wattles is teaching, I think I know why. It is really as simple as I don’t want it as much as I think I do, or think I should. This also leads me to seeing that there can be opposing desires.

For example I want to have my own house, but typically I tend to call it my own space. At the same time I do not want to be alone. I remember that year I had my own apartment and I was miserable. I am either afraid of being alone or simply strongly desire to not be alone. This is what makes it so hard for me to manifest my own house. In fact, when I have attempted to do this, I was always thinking somewhere in the back of my mind of having my parents in their own house close by.

Ultimately this means I do not really want my own house, not if I will be alone in it. But I have to stand on my own two feet, live my own life, and let my parents live theirs. Also, the best way I could ever help them (if I really wanted to help them and I think I do) is to be independent of them, supporting myself. If I have enough income and money that I could buy my own house, that means I would be better able to take care of them.

So now I come to an impasse… I feel I need to stand on my own. At some level I really do want my own house, where I could live as I please, maybe start a family. But I do not want to be alone, out of fear or just not wanting it I do not know. Here then is my question… How do I release my feelings of not wanting to be alone, or even being afraid of being alone? How do I let that go? Also, how do I want my own house so strongly that it is effortless for me to dwell on it, imagine myself living there, visualize every detail? In other words, how do I strengthen my desire for independence and having my own house?

If you have any thoughts on this, please comment below. I do appreciate your feedback. Hoping to find a solution here. Also hoping these words help you. If you have been trying, and failing, to get something you want, ask yourself if you really want it that badly, and if there are any conflicting desires getting between you and it.

The Sad Truth About Art

Apparently there seems this ideal, prevalent among artists, of some space or time where they could safely pursue their creativity. Melville called, “The Calm” or something like that. Well there is a problem with this, that I shall demonstrate simply with these words, “With no sand, the oyster makes no pearl.

According to my understanding, a pearl is made inside an oyster when a grain of sand gets in, causing the pearl to secrete a substance around it, which over time (I have no idea how long) becomes a pearl. I assume the more time it spends in the oyster, and the older the oyster gets, the more beautiful the pearl.

There is one rule relevant to the artist, and I advise you write this down: “Art does not exist in a vacuum.” In other words, the irritants in the world and, more specifically, in your life, are those things that, when worked over and smoothed through art, become the masterpieces all artists secretly long to create.

Also there is no perfect way, technology currently notwithstanding, to draw from your head the exact, beautiful ideal you have in your mind. All you can do is tease it out as best you can, and you have to try, or it will come to life, take a few breaths, then die right there inside your noggin’.

So toss out both of these foolish ideals. There is no artist’s heaven in our sometimes heavily censored and materialistic modern society. Even though wonderful things like Netflix and YouTube exist because of artists, how the world works is generally without acknowledgement or appreciation of our work. Why do you think you encounter so many wonderful musicians along the sidewalks, standing or sitting as they preform with an opened instrument case or upturned hat close by?

So stop looking for that perfect space in which to create – even if you were to find it no creativity would be possible inside it. Likewise quit seeking to support yourself with your creativity. It is antithetical to all muses to be the provider in the relationship. That, unfortunately, is your job! But be thankful, because your annoying boss or coworker are just more grist for the mill. Turn everything you dislike or outright hate into a beautiful pearl!

I am not just writing this advise for you. I am writing it for myself also. I have struggled with writing, specifically having no interest in being a “professional writer”, despite my gifted understanding and use of the English language. In other words, I am a Poet and a Writer, but I would rather play video games and make content for YouTube.

Also I hate the “daily grind”, even the idea of it, even more passionately than most. But it has become clear to me that it is time to embrace this unwanted part of myself, and in order to pursue writing in any form, I will have to find a way to earn some money to clothe and feed myself. That is just how it is. I can wish all I want that it would be different or easier. But, as they say, “It Is What It Is.

Embrace the irritants, the negativity and the struggle. Acknowledge it, come to terms with it, make peace with it, accept it. Don’t try to spit the particle of sand out, or you will never make a beautiful pearl! Work it in your mind, secrete your secret desires and longings around it. Express yourself in whatever creative medium that most draws you. Create and transform all your undesirable experiences or situations into beautiful works of art. You can do it, I know you can.

Believe in yourself.

The Biggest and Hardest Realization Yet

OK folks, this post is gonna be rough. For me, as I am barely able to concentrate, focus or think. Experiencing coughing and light-headedness. For you as the subject will likely be just as hard for you to work through as it has been and still is for me.

To start, get you a copy of Kyle Cease’s, “The Illusion of Money”

I found this book on the shelf at my local library. Chances are yours will have it too. It is well worth the read. Now I am going to paraphrase a lot here, but essentially I cracked this open, began to read, put it down, and just last night picked it up again. I came face-to-face with Mr. Cease instructing me to imagine myself in a situation with no support, no money, everything I have gone. I realized a couple of things after reading these few pages (34-39).

I am EXTREMELY and SERIOUSLY attached to abundance, to acquiring it and attaining it, especially in the form of money. I am also EXTREMELY and POWERFULLY averse to experiencing any kind of reality without this, to the point that I would rather be dead than continue to live as I have. I have often said that I NEED or WANT a, “life worth living” or I would rather be dead. I don’t feel that my current life is one I want to continue to live. But it is all based on or built around having abundance, which I see primarily as money.

Somehow, despite going through Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” and a variety of Buddhist teachings of, “No Attachment, No Aversion”, learning to feel what I feel then release it and let it go, learning to not be attached to outcomes and do my best to embrace everything fully, DESPITE ALL THIS I realized last night that I was attached to money and averse to not having it. End of story. This pattern, or belief, or whatever the hell it is has been operating there, outside my awareness, all this time, through all these experiences and things I have learned. I was blind to it. I see it now. I am staring right at the little fucker!

Somehow a number of things have become twisted in me, to where if i had the experience again I had when I went to California, only this time sans everything including support – just having the clothes on my back – that is the worst fate I could imagine for myself. Being homeless. Searching for doorways to sleep under or benches to sleep on. That to me is a fate worse than death. In fact, in my mind, death would be preferable.

But why would such a fate be necessary, or even possible? I have been told again and again, through dozens of different teachers, from all corners of philosophy, religion and spirituality, that the Universe by nature is abundant. All are provided for, they have only to open and receive that abundance. No bird lacks a place to build their nest! In fact, a state of not having one’s needs met is artificial, man-created. It is man that has created any sort of wealth hierarchy, and the idea of wealth to boot. Money is a man-made invention, as is the society in which it is used. Birds do not pay rent! In other words, the natural state of all life forms in the Universe is abundance. Scarcity is an invention.

I know this, intellectually, and I have even experienced it a little first-hand. Yet I forgot this. Just let it slip my mind. I do not know when this attachment to money, and aversion to not having it, first took root in me. I look back, and I see myself standing outside the little community church I used to attend with my parents. I was hanging out with Andrew and Tim – friends of mine. I was in my teens. The brothers could get a little rough, my shirt was pulled or something, and I got super angry. I can trace the roots back at least that far. No reason for a young man to be obsessed with clothing unless he is afraid of scarcity, and below that, attached to money and averse to not having it at some level.

However far back it goes – likely adopted from my parents – it is time to free myself of it now. I see clearly that it has even infected my work at YouTube. I have been obsessed with likes, views and subscriptions. Why? So I could monetize my channel. But the energy folks – the energy is what it is all about. No matter how scientifically minded you might be, to where this idea of energy seems like some New Age pseudo-science garbage, it doesn’t change the fact that the energy we put into something has a definite affect on the outcome we experience when we share it.

In simple terms, I put up these videos with an desperate, grasping, greedy energy of trying to get likes, subscriptions and views. That energy is the opposite of, and therefore repels, any abundant, loving and supportive energy. To make it even simpler… The energy I have put into the videos I have uploaded so far is the opposite of the things I want from from these videos. It in fact pushes away the things I was hoping to get, that I want or even feel I need, from these videos.

You want scientific proof? I can give it to you. Bdubs, Grian – any and every currently and still successful YouTuber have one thing in common. Go back to when they first uploaded content. There was never a mention of becoming a YouTube star. No constant attempts to get likes, subscriptions and views. All of them – EVERY SINGLE ONE – are just enjoying themselves and sharing that with the world. I don’t think you could find a single exception. I have been watching these guys for weeks now, how they started out, trying to figure out what the secret is, and it has been staring me in the face the whole time. Until last night I was incapable of seeing it.

What I have learned is that if I want to become a successful YouTuber I have to stop trying to become a successful YouTuber. I have to stop creating content with the energy of, “I want” behind it. I know if I were to try to cook something with that same energy it would be nowhere near as good as when I cook things JUST FOR THE LOVE OF COOKING, AND SHARING IT WITH LOVED ONES! The energy you put into a thing affects its outcome. You can call that a Universal Law.

If I want to be successful at YouTube, I have to let that go, first thing, as well as my attachment to money and aversion to not having it. Then I just need to record videos for the joy of it, the pleasure I get from that, or editing them, or both, and the desire to share what I am enjoying with others. Any other motivation is guaranteed to fail. That’s just the way it is.

The content you enjoy online the most is stuff the folks are doing because they enjoy it, they love it, and they just want to share their enjoyment of it and love for it with you. If you can find any examples that prove me wrong comment below with a link. But I think I am seeing it clearly.

This even ties in with flow VS force, another thing I have learned intellectually and actually experienced. I have been using too much force trying to make things happen in my life that I want. Affirmations to reprogram me for abundance. Creating content for YouTube in the hopes of striking it big. I am sure I have encountered resistance, and instead of allowing myself to be aware of it I pushed through. I can’t even clearly see any instances of it now. But if I were to think about it, I am sure I would find some.

Off the top of my head, the fact I struggled so hard to edit a video last week. It was just really hard, and I am fairly certain that this was resistance. Had I been aware and in the right mindset I would have stopped and addressed it. It wasn’t flowing for me to edit that video. It goes behind creative resistance that may come in the form of Writer’s Block. Or maybe that is what Writer’s Block really is. It is a warning sign that you are trying to push through when you need to stop, course correct, and find another route. I will have to think on this.

The question is can I apply, and keep applying, what I have learned here, all I have realized, and change the energy with which I have been creating content for YouTube, and to a greater extent, with which I have been living my life? The energy I have been applying to my experience of life as a whole? Because until I change it, my experience of life will not change, and I will continue to fail at YouTube, or any creative endeavor for that matter.

I leave this post as a record and a reminder. I have work to do…

Why Is That Undesired, Unwanted Thing In My Life?

So I have taken it upon myself to help care for my parent’s 15+ year old dog. She drools, she has bad breath, she has mommy issues and separation anxiety, and she has little if any control over her bowels. Oh and she can’t really walk too well. The simple solution is to put her down right? Ever heard of parents wanting to put down their sickly human child? No? Well some parents have “fur babies”, and Amy, (Stinkerbell as I call her), is both my mom and dad’s fur baby. They have discussed putting her down, but it is more likely we are stuck dealing with her literal shit until she finally dies. Shouldn’t be long now, God willing!

I get angry and frustrated with Amy. Why? There is a root in fear somewhere – maybe that taking care of her means I will have less time to do the things I want to do? I don’t know if I ever wrote about that, but anytime you are feeling anger or frustration there is a fear of some need or other not being met at the heart of it. Anyhow, I realized something as I was helping Amy up for the umpteenth time (I am so tired of staring at doggy ass!) Amy is a symptom of some sort of cause in my life. In other words, even if I were to kill her, or she were to die, or my parents were to put her down, she would simply be replaced by something else. Amy is a physical representation of some sort of symptom of some sort of cause that I have to address in my life. In other words, I created this experience for myself, and Amy is just playing the role I have assigned her, at some level outside my conscious awareness. So if I want to be free of Amy, I have to free myself from whatever it is she represents – whatever cause she is a symptom of.

As I thought about this, I realized that EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING in my life that I don’t want – every experience, interaction, etc is all drama I have created for myself. The people, doggies, mosquitoes or anything else – even issues with my computer or all this crap I have to do for my mom on her computer – IT IS ALL SIMPLY PLAYING THE ROLE I HAVE ASSIGNED IT. This isn’t a decision made with conscious awareness obviously. It comes of old beliefs, feelings, ideas, perspectives and so forth that have become habitual and are running on auto-pilot in the background. What I need is a Task Manager that can trace back each process to its cause so I can terminate it. But as that does not exist (at least as far as I know) all I can do is practice placing my awareness on my anger, my frustration or any other negative feeling or form of resistance I may be feeling. Only in awareness can these old habits be noticed and then broken.

So… What form is Amy taking in your life? What is it you are going through that you want to be free of? What experiences are you having that you do not want, or outright hate? Ask yourself what beliefs, feelings or perspectives you may have habitually had that has manifested this in your life. Start placing your awareness on any negative feelings or resistance that may come up when you are dealing with your Amy. I gotta do the same. Because I am loosing patience, and the one thing all our elders need is our patience. How could we care for them otherwise?

Another Issue with Taking The Victim Role

So as I am sure I have mentioned before I am working my way through ACIM (A Course In Miracles.) Today I read something that, essentially, said that when we take any sort of victim stance (excluded, rejected, hurt, offended, etc.) we make our brother, also referred to as the son of God, guilty of doing that to us. It is an attempt to mix two dissimilar things – I can’t quite recall their names. I am still working this out in my mind. Anyway that is what the ego does. It attempts to make what is unreal or illusory real.

The fact is that your brother (this meaning any other fellow human) is a Son of God and is as innocent as you are. Any attempt to make them guilty of anything also, inevitably, makes you guilty as well. It occurs to me that the other problem with taking a victim stance is that not only are you playing the role of a victim, which disempowers you, you are also victimizing the one or ones you are making the victimizers. Because, like you, they are actually innocent.

I know this is hard to grasp, but I will try to paint the picture another way. To be excluded, left out or rejected takes, at a minimum, two parties. You, the excluded, left out and rejected one, and the others who have, in the reality you are making, excluded, left out or rejected you. They become guilty, you become innocent, so it seems in your perception. The same if you are beaten, robbed or raped. The same if you are cursed at or given the cold shoulder. Any treatment you deem undesirable that you receive requires two parties, one party will perpetuate the act, the other the act is perpetuated on.

Now this will disturb you, but even when we are talking about genocidal acts – the Jews being killed en masse by the Nazis – the Jewish people had their part in creating the atrocities they experienced The Jewish people placed the Nazis in the role of the victimizers, making the Nazis guilty and the Jewish people innocent. But the truth, at a soul level, the truth beyond the ego and the body it thinks of as itself, is that all are innocent, pure Sons of God, and to put anyone in the role of a victimizer is to victimize them.

When you play the part of the victim you disempower yourself, and you disempower those who are playing the roles of your victimizers. Both states, victim and victimizer, exist only in perception. There is a silent, unstated mutual agreement here. You put on the mask of the victim, they put on the mask of the victimizer, but these are only masks, not the true individual underneath. At any time you could take off your victim mask and put on a victimizer mask. Likely you already have, many times. And your victimizere can take off their victimizer masks and become the victims. But as I said, these are only masks, only roles we play, NOT The true actors.

An example drawn from my own life… I am working very hard at becoming a successful YouTuber, and my main work is in playing Minecraft, creating videos for it. But I see now I have fallen into a trap of my own making. Because I have placed YouTube in the role of the victimizer – making it hard for poor me, a struggling YouTuber, to succeed. And I have placed players I enjoy watching, players I respect, into victimizer roles, making me the excluded, ignore and left out one. When I realized this I also realized I didn’t want to do that. As I said I respect these guys – I want to be their friend – I do not want them to be my enemy.

The truth of the matter, at least as far as this server I wish to be a part of is concerned. is that these guys have little if any knowledge of me. How can I blame them for excluding or ignoring me when they likely do not even know I exist? This drama exists only in my head. It is coming directly from the ego, I am sure. If I want to be a part of this server, if I want to become friends with these guys, then I have to climb up to their level, not drag them down to mine. I have to keep working hard at Minecraft and become the best builder and YouTuber I can. If any opportunities come to collaborate or join others in the Minecraft community on a project, I need to jump in there. The question is, “How can I contribute? What can I do?” instead of “What can they do for me?”

I need to do this with my whole heart, even if I am never noticed, even if I never get to be a part of this server. Make that my goal, my intention, work towards reaching it in whatever ways it flows into my life to do so, but let go of any expectations – any idea or thought that anyone owes me anything. I have to be unattached from the outcome. Let go of any demanded or expected result. Just enjoy myself – that is the biggest key. If Minecraft (and making videos for it) is my passion, then pursue that relentlessly. If it isn’t, find what is my passion and go after that. The burden and responsibility for whatever I think of as success lies solely on me – nobody else. It is time for me to stop making myself the victim, and to stop making others the victimizers. It is time for me to stop disempowering myself, and in so doing, disempower others.

I am not sure exactly how to go about all of this. I don’t know how things will play out. I am struggling with my mindset every day. There is a lot of work I need to do internally, and in applying myself to whatever my passion is, which in this case seems to be Minecraft. I can’t let things get me down as I have before. I can’t keep telling myself disempowering, unsupportive stories like, “YouTube is flooded with Minecrafters” or “You aren’t good enough” or “You came into Minecraft too late” or” All the OG Minecrafters have either left or don’t care about you” or “You’re too old”, etc. My focus has to be on doing what I enjoy and am passionate about. I need to have a dream, a vision, I am working toward, but I also have to be able to freely let go of it as needed. And I also have to trust that the Universe will provide me with what I have envisioned, its equivalent, or something better.

So… How about you? Is there anyone you need to release from the victimizer role? Do it now. By freeing them you also free yourself.

Criticizing and Judging VS Acceptance and Allowing

So I have taken up typing again in an attempt to learn a new keyboard. In an effort to diagnose any issues with my connectivity, I wanted to take a moment and write something here.

I was taking care of the dog, and I caught myself in the act of criticizing and judging. I realized that there is no difference between me and another person who lives here. She is overtly critical and judgmental, I am covertly that way. I realized the reason this person is in my life is because that is the frequency or vibration I have been operating at. I have been critical and judgmental, just not aware of it, not really. Maybe there have been previous moments of lucidity, of awareness. But maybe this was the first time I had become truly aware of my hidden (from conscious awareness) critical and judgmental nature.

The reason these people are in my life is because of the way I am, and even going over this is more criticism and judgment, towards them and myself. Then I realized something else, what criticism and judgment actually is. It is a “pushing away from.” It is a way to distance, segregate, and separate. But when we do that, we are not accepting or allowing. We can not accept ourselves if we are constantly criticizing and judging ourselves,. We are not accepting others if we are criticizing and judging them. To accept someone is the opposite of criticizing or judging them.

Now think how this applies to other areas of your life. In what other areas are you criticizing and judging? Money perhaps? Do you have criticisms towards money, or judgments about it? If you do, then you are not accepting money, and if you are not accepting money, you are not allowing it into your life. The energy of it is blocked for you, so the physical form (currency) is not showing up. At least not like you want it to. You are working very hard to get something that you are pushing away! Any hunter will tell you that chasing after your prey will all but assure you will never catch it.

So how do we stop criticizing and judging? Simple. We become aware that we are doing it. We can practice being aware of when we are about to criticize or judge, and with practice, we can choose not to criticize or judge. What we need to do is not that complicated. But even though it is simple, it remains very difficult, because your egoic self will try very hard to lull you back into autopilot so it can retain control. You have been sleeping at the wheel for a long time, and your ego has been driving your life. Is your life something you are happy with? I know mine isn’t. So I want to start taking the wheel and see where it will end up if I am driving. But this takes one more thing, and that is being present.

So yes, you will have to find a way to practice being present. You can’t sharpen your awareness and weaken the ego’s grasp without it. The ego’s power comes from you staying asleep, always dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. BTW, this is why all “manifestation teachings” instruct that you don’t worry about the how. That is just a form of worrying about the future, meaning that you are identified with the ego and under its power. As long as you are under the sway of the ego, your natural state of abundance remains blocked.

It is only in the present moment is the ego’s power weakened, and you have a chance to regain control. A typical form of practicing presence is known as meditation. I know you have heard of that by now. But ANYTHING you can do, where you can focus on your body, whatever it is doing, whatever position it is in, whatever breathing is occurring – if you can do something and just tune in, that can become a away to practice presence and sharpen your awareness. You could do this while washing dishes. Or writing. Or a myriad of other task you may do throughout your day.

If you are struggling to manifest money, this may be the one thing holding you back. Discover your real feelings and thoughts towards money. Free write or stream of consciousness write about it. No editing, no holding back. Get real with yourself. If you see anything there that is not simple acceptance and allowing, you are closed in those areas, in those ways, to money, and the only way to bring money into your experience is to open up. As I have said before, every flower opens in faith that the bee will come. It is only in opening that a flower can receive. It is also in only in opening that the flower can share its beauty with the world.

The sun is shining.

It is time to open.

The Ego, The Present Moment and Some Unexpected Revelations!

More and more I think Eckhart Tolle is right. I think there is definitely something good, a worthy practice or pursuit, in staying in the present moment. As I continue to plow through ACIM and learn about the intricacies of the ego, I am coming to understand some things, some past experiences.

I first “met” or encountered or even experienced Tolle I think back when I was living in my grandma’s attic. Man I really miss those days! There I was, all this space to myself, places where I could go outside and do yoga or meditate, and I never really appreciated it! I guess the fact that my mother and my grandmother were constantly arguing, and I felt like I had to play referee may have contributed to my not seeing the blessings I had been given. Also I was far away from town and other people – no social opportunities. But I had a bed, my own relatively warm room (warmer than the RV anyway!) and plenty of space and time to do something with my life. If I had been intelligent at all I would have started to be serious about YouTube, back in 2009, BEFORE all their restrictions and censorship. Who knows? Maybe if I had I would now have my own huge channel and thousands of subscribers, enough that I could relocate anywhere I like.

In any case, some folks were going to repair our bathroom and remove mold, so my grandmother’s insurance company moved us all out into hotels until everything was finished. While I enjoyed my time at the Staybridge, I read Tolle, Basho and Ryokan. That’s when I started to write these shorter, Haiku-like poems. It just fit me, felt right. In immersing myself in Tolle’s teachings, I found myself in that space where poetry flows effortlessly through me. It is the exact same space I am in when I am in the natural flow of my life instead of struggling against the current. One way you, the readers, know that I am not in the present moment, not in the flow, is that there are no new poems being shared here. The few I have shared these last few months were written last year, or during some brief time when I was in a happier state. When I am angry, depressed or suffering from cabin fever, like now, the stream of poetry finds no access through me, and I can no longer be a channel for it. Or anything of a loving or spiritual nature. I am sure you can see that from the things I have written these last few months.

I think I understand a few things about this now… It occurs to me that a truly enlightened person is permanently focused on the present moment. They have to be, and this is important because, the ego does not have any influence or power in the present moment. I am certain this is true. Nobody who is fully aware, fully present, gets caught up in other people’s BS. This must be how I was able to stay at my brother’s the last time I was there, and when he blew up, I did not engage. I was able to just walk away. I am sure I wrote about this here some years ago. When you are fully aware, fully present, fully IN your present moment experience, you are happier, you are more inspired, you are more loving and you are more of a conduit for true spiritual energy, that might manifest through you in the form of writing, or art, or some other creative endeavor. In other words, if you are blocked creatively, it seems to me the most effortless fix would be to find a way to get into the present moment. Meditate, accept your feelings about your art as they are, embracing them, feeling through them, then releasing them and letting them go. If you can get into the present moment, and practice staying there even for a few days, my guess is that the ability to create will come flowing back.

From what I can understand of ACIM, the ego is past-focused, and it uses the past as a reference for the future. But it NEVER, EVER dwells in the present moment. Someone in the sway of their ego will find themselves easily caught up in the ego BS of others around them. They are easily influenced by the actions of others. They experience anger, discontent, frustration, unhappiness, stress and a host of other negative emotions. Why is that? Lost a train of thought here, but will type in in faith and knowing the words will come if important…

Why is it that someone being driven or influenced by their ego is unable to experience more joyful, spiritual states? Simple… Because there is this idea (I guess it comes from the ego) that the present moment experience should be something other than what it is. It is that simple. It really is. If you are angry it is because you are in denial of how things are. You want things to be different, you believe and really feel they should be different. But reality doesn’t bend to your will like that. Actually, as long as you are angry and struggling against reality, you will continue to create a reality that seems to be fighting against you, that seems to be in some struggle with you. It’s that rowing against the current state. Caught up in your ego, you never realize, it never occurs to you, that you can simply accept reality as it is, get back into the current, and determine to create a better experience for yourself.

You see YOU create the current of your life! How’s that for mind-blowing? All the energy you have focused and invested in whatever or wherever you have focused or invested it over the years you have been alive has created a stream, a natural state, in which your life flows. The only way to change that flow is to place all your energy and focus in the new direction you wish to go. And you start RIGHT NOW, in this moment. Then you practice placing your energy and focus in this new direction, every day, until the new current is established. Then you flow in that direction. The current CURRENT you’re are in is very powerful. Or at least it seems to be very powerful, and in your perception it is very strong. You have put YEARS of energy and focus into it. So don’t expect overnight miracles. They can happen – “Anything Is Possible, All Possibilities Exist” (the author), but it is more likely you will have to continue to ride them as you slowly shift things and change their direction.

What does this entail? ACCEPTING THINGS AS THEY ARE, IN THIS MOMENT! Yup, that is what you have to do. The ego has likely influenced the current flow of your life, and that is why your life sucks big, giant hairy goat balls right now! The ego does not have your best interests at heart, only its own. It doesn’t care about you at all. In fact it hates you. That is essentially what ACIM says, and for all I know it is true. The good news is that each moment brings a chance for you to change where you put your energy and focus, an opportunity to begin the most likely (but not necessarily) slow, tedious process of creating a better present moment experience for yourself. But you always, ALWAYS, have to accept the present moment experience as it is. You made it after all! It is YOUR creation!

Teal swan has several videos on anger, and I forget now what she said to do. Something about asking yourself what needs are not being met? In any case, if you are angry, I would perhaps follow her advice, because if nothing else that causes you to pause. It is a good interrupt. You need an interrupt so you can become aware and initiate any change. The next thing I advise is asking yourself, what is it you are denying? What is it you are attempting to deny the reality of in this moment? What is it you feel should not have happened, or should be different? What is the “should story” running in the background here? You need the interrupt to get a chance to become aware of that “should story.” Once you have become aware of it, THEN you have to accept it.

That first step, BTW, I think of as ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, AKA, “It is what it is.” That leads, naturally to acceptance, because it is how it is. It will not change by you being angry at it. Actually, your anger will ensure you keep reliving that same state, over and over again. You will keep having that undesirable and unwanted present moment experience. ALL RESISTANCE EMPOWERS (gives power to) WHATEVER YOU ARE RESISTING! I am sure I have said this before, and that is what I mean. Your denial, your “should story”, is a form of resistance, and you resistance provides the power that creates, drives and perpetuates the experience making you angry. So you have to ACCEPT it, because it is there, you can’t deny it away.

Next you have to feel your way through it. This is where Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” comes in. You have to feel what you feel. You have to allow yourself to feel. You have to embrace these feelings, allow yourself to feel them as long as you need to feel them, then when you are ready, you have to release them and let them go. LETTING GO is another egoless state. LETTING GO is antithetical to the ego, just as acknowledgement and acceptance of things the way they are is. These things are directly opposite to the egoic state.

The ego wants to retain. It wants to be angry, it wants to hold grudges, it wants to hate, it wants to be bitter, it wants to be resentful. So it drives you, as long as you are under is influence, held in its sway, to be angry, bitter, hateful and resentful. If you think you are a religious or spiritual person, and yet you have any energy invested in, or focus invested on, any of these states, anything that is the opposite, at its root, to love, you are not truly religious or spiritual. Because a truly religious or spiritual state is one where the individual is influenced by love, not their ego, PERIOD. There are no exceptions!

Any investment in your identity as a religious or spiritual person – as Christian and part of the Christian group, or a Muslim and part of the Muslim group, or a Buddhist and part of the Buddhist group or even as a spiritual, not religious person (this is me) – this is a sure sign the ego is behind the wheel of your life. I am in the same boat as the rest of you in this. Anything we would make as part of identity, and invest all our energy and focus into who we believe, feel or think we are (BLM, LGBTQ – I am looking at you!) is sheer ego. And as long as our egos are in control, there will be war, there will be disease, death and destruction, because our egos hate us, and want to destroy us. It seems odd and counter-intuitive, because once we are dead, our ego is also dead. But our egos are insane. You can not apply logic to insanity. You can not apply reason to the unreasonable.

Your beliefs, religious, spiritual, scientific or anything else, your racial identity, your gender, your sexual preferences – all of this BS does not go with you when you die. Understand that. It all dies with your physical body and your ego. Who you really are is none of that shit. To get more in tune with who you really are, hold your beliefs loosely, let them go when they no longer serve you, and practice being in the present moment. Accept things as they are, and if you want a better present moment experience, invest the energy, effort and focus in the direction you wish to go. But always say in the flow, in a state of acknowledgement, acceptance, allowing then releasing and letting go. If you want to be happy, if you want to be effortlessly creative, that is the state you need to be in, If you want to experience true joy, that is the state you have to be in, and I suspect, that if you want to manifest desirable, wonderful things in your life, that is the state you have to be in. You have to let all the other BS go.

Somehow, someway, I am determined to change the current course of my life to one of abundance and joy. I will get out from under the influence of the ego and get into the present moment, with full awareness. And I will practice staying there, until it becomes the natural current of my life. And I will know I am in that state when all my creative endeavors flow effortlessly through me, just as they did when I dipped my toe into the waters of this experience all those years ago. I keep forgetting all the things I have learned. All the lessons I went through. It is not easy to create such a drastic change in one’s nature, ones state or natural way of being. Or at least it seems as if there is a lot that gets in between me and the intention to change. Thankfully this is a journey we can take together, we can support each other and help each other. Actually I have created a place for that here:

I think change seems difficult, seems hard, because so much energy and focus has created a current state that seems to resist change. The current is very strong, if it has been created while under the influence of our ego. We have invested a lot of energy and focus into our current life experience. But ACIM may be right, this may all be an illusion, “albeit a very strong, persistent one.” (Albert Einstein) The ego is just an illusion. It is not real. It’s like we put the VR glasses on, and now are struggling to take them off. But they can easily come off, allowing us to see things as they really are. We just have to raise up are arms and take them off. It seems harder than it really is. Maybe there is no current dragging us along at all, maybe the currents are just our beliefs, and when we let them go, we come to see that we are not being carried or driven anywhere. We can just start walking in whatever direction we choose. Maybe that’s how things really are. I don’t know, but I will apply and remember what I have learned, and shared with you here.

Here’s to making our experience of this world exactly what we want it to be!

Forgiveness Is A Trap

Caught your attention with that headline, didn’t I? Before I explain myself, let me quote directly from, “Spirit Hacking” by Shaman Durek:

“Fuck Forgiveness

It’s scary to rebel against your family programming, and to defy your parents, and to stand alone in your truth. Being the black sheep in my family exacerbated what was already there—a lot of conflict, and a lot of violence, and a lot of abuse. I loved my father, and I loved my stepmother, and I loved my grandparents, but I don’t forgive them. I don’t forgive my father for the horrible things he did, and I don’t forgive my stepmom for the horrible things she did, and I don’t forgive my grandparents for the horrible things they did. I accept what they did. I accept that they did those horrible things to me. And that acceptance is what allows me—and all of us—to be free.

Forgiveness implies that what my family did to me was wrong, or bad, which blocks me from acknowledging that they had their own lessons to learn from those experiences, and blocks all of us from being able to grow from the experiences we shared.

I had a client who was raised by a very abusive, alcoholic mother tell me that she forgave her mother for all the awful things she did to her.
“No, you didn’t,” I said.

At which point, my client doubled down on her nonsense and insisted that yes, she did forgive her mother, because she went through this whole forgiveness process, and wrote down all her resentments, and burned them during a full moon ritual on the solstice.

And I said, “Honey, you didn’t forgive your mother, and you don’t forgive your mother. And the more you keep telling this story that you do, the longer you’re keeping you and your mother in limbo, and dragging out the suffering for both of you. That fact that you’re announcing that you forgave your mother just means you haven’t let it go.”

My client thought about it for a minute, then burst into tears.
“You’re right,” she said. “I can’t let it go.”

People hurt each other, and people do terrible things. That’s how life goes. But this idea that forgiveness is the magical key to our healing is bullshit. Forgiveness binds us, and forgiveness limits us, and forgiveness holds us back. Forgiveness is the worst. The moment we invoke the energy of forgiveness, we activate duality, and we activate hierarchy. Forgiveness is a blame construct that implies that someone is right, and that someone else is wrong, which instantly creates separation, and instantly ensnares both people in a quantum entanglement that traps them in the energy field of the initial conflict. Forgiveness is purgatory, and forgiveness warps a lot of shit in a lot of ways.

So what if my client went through the motions of forgiveness? Why would she forgive her mom for what she did, anyway? Forgiveness is a mental trap that keeps us stuck in energetic limbo. It’s pointless. But if my client could accept what her mother did, then they would both be free. Acceptance sets us free while allowing us to stay engaged, because when we accept, we are relating in the realms of truth. We are not denying, and we are not pretending, and we are not guilting, and we are not blaming, and we are not victimizing, and we are not judging. We are simply acknowledging. This happened. This is an energy or an experience that we shared, and that had an impact on everyone involved, and what they choose to do with those energies and those lessons moving forward is up to them.

It’s way more honest and effective than telling someone: “I forgive you.” No, thank you. I’d really rather you didn’t. Forgiveness is purgatory. Forgiveness is a Chinese finger trap.” – Shaman Durek

Now if you were raised anything like me, when you first read that it probably knocked the wind out of your sails. You had to take a step back. And that is if you, like me, are open to new perspectives, new ways of looking at things and seeing things. If you are closed off you are either not reading these words or you made it a few sentences in and then stormed off, angry, ready to hit something. I mean, the only way to let go of something is to forgive, right? Haven’t I always said that bitterness, holding onto to something painful, is like holding onto to broken glass? The tighter you grip, the more you bleed.

It took me a moment to realize that Shaman Durek is still championing letting go. Just not letting go through forgiveness, and as I thought about it, started to ask questions, I think I understood it a little better. You see if I have to forgive you for something you did to me, what is my stance? Well I am a victim of something done to me. In one move I disempower myself by making myself a victim and I turn you into the victimizer, the one who is bad or has done wrong, and that disempowers you. Do you see it now?

All my life as a Christian I was raised I had to forgive, to turn the other cheek and all that other nonsense. I am pretty sure much of it is taken out of context or not translated correctly, or maybe added into the Bible when they decided how they would put it together years ago, or maybe not even understood correctly. I don’t know. But I thought I had to forgive to let go, and recently I have been wondering, that if this was the way to let go of something, who do I keep bringing it up and thinking about it? Why does the process of forgiveness feel so unnatural and wrong? Remember, I am an empath, so I am sensitive to things, and I can tell you, something has seemed off about this forgiveness thing. Not enough for me to identify, but now, reading this and some thing in ACIM, the light of my awareness is shining on things I had not been consciously aware of before. Speaking of ACIM (A Course In Miracles):

“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what the Atonement [the undoing] is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. When you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.” ACIM Chapter 4, Part IV, This Need Not Be

Now I added the bold emphasis, and [the undoing] in brackets. Credit goes to an article I read someone that advised thinking of this Atonement concept in that way. But look closely at that. If guilt is an ego thing, then it follows shame would be, as would any opposite states.

So what is the best process for letting go? Acceptance, which I have said here many times before, and engagement, which I have never referred specifically to. But in the context of feelings, engagement could be thought of as the process of allowing yourself to feel what you feel, instead of disengagement, which would be running away from your feelings, not allowing yourself to feel them. So it seems that engagement with what is is the appropriate, best response to ANY situation. THEN, after you have felt what you needed to feel, when you are ready, you release and let go of those feelings. Or, in the case of someone having done something to you, you let it go, after you have accepted and acknowledged it, after you have engaged with it, when you are truly ready to release what happened and let it go.

My guess is that if this is done correctly, the incident will never come up in your mind again, even if you see the person. But this would have to be tested, and Shaman Durek, as of yet, has not said. He has not described what the terrain looks like once you have really, truly engaged with a thing and let it go.

Understand that suddenly going against familial constraints and deciding you will no longer practice the finger-trap of forgiveness may be difficult. Shaman Durek refers to Fractal Lines, and spirits of beliefs held within a family. You will have to read this book for more. The main thing is you have to stand firm in your commitment, because if you want to be free of things you perceive as having been done to you, that freedom comes for you and any perceived offenders. That is what letting go means. You aren’t holding anything against anyone. That is the only way. But in that freedom you will be acting from your place of power. Holding on, as I have said before, gives any perceived offender power over you, it removes you from your place of power, and it causes you to relive the incident over and over again.

You get to choose… Do you want to be free? Or do you want to remain trapped?

Getting Back Into The Habit… Some Musings On Writing Horror

Talk about multitasking! Playing two games and trying to write this at the same time. I guess everyone left… Haven’t seen any activity at all since I announced I had quit writing. A bit of an update on that… This has since changed to, “I quit pushing myself to write.” I felt so pressured to write stuff, establish a daily habit, all the things every writing book tells you to do, and that isn’t gonna work for me at this time. So while I am not fully back, announcing that I am writing again, I am back, writing again, if that makes any sense at all.

I used to write short horror stories. Yes, the guy who runs the spiritual blog. Maybe for some of you this is not a surprise. I mean things could get rather dark here, right? I used to be a Christian, I used to write poetry with a religious focus, and at some point I started writing short stories, mostly short horror stories. I have nobody standing behind me, supporting me as I say this, but I think I was pretty good. Am pretty good. I think I still have some short horror stories in me, and this is the time of year to delve into those dark waters again.

As a writer of fiction I appear to be what they call a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. In writing short horror fiction, I start with an idea. This is called the “what if” by some writing texts. I just start writing, don’t even think about character names or anything, just make snap decisions as I proceed. The important part is to get the gist of the story down, then establish my character’s names and make sure everything is consistent. This works well for writing something around the 10,000 – 20,000 work mark. But after that, you need structure. You need bones to hang the flesh of your story on.

I think the scariest stories are the one where things are left unexplained. Most movies try to explain why a house is haunted. Why this is happening or that is happening. They try to show this in some way. One of the best horror movies of all time, in my mind, is Grave Encounters. Even What Keeps You Alive, by some of the same people. Because these movies leave you in the unknown, and that is the scariest place for a story to leave you. You find yourself in the dark, in a huge room, with things slithering around you, brushing against your leg, and you have no idea what the hell they are, where the hell you are, or how or why you got there.

I think the second pillar, as it were, holding up the structure of truly terrifying horror stories is logic. While the monster or its motivations remains unclear, unexplained, there is a logic in there, mostly that this could happen. To help make this clearer, if anyone here has read “Dark Carnival” from Joe Hill’s, “Full Throttle”, there is no logic there. No way what he writes could ever happen. It is in a word, fantastical.

But in many of the Dean Koontz Odd Thomas books, you can see how some of these things could happen. In a book John Saul wrote some years ago, the wind, which is a constant in a certain area, drives people mad. If you can see clearly how it could happen, if it makes some twisted, logical sense that it did happen, yet at the same time there is an element that remains unexplained, unclear, unfathomable – if you don’t know how it happened or why it continues to happen – well then you are in one of the scariest stories, in my opinion.

I have created an account at, and I think I shall get back into writing short horror stories. I think I will also share many of the stories I have written there. I will begin to post links to these here. I may not stick with Medium, it depends on if I have an audience or not. If I am telling scary stories around the campfire, and all that is around me is darkness and the distant hoots of owls, well that is no fun, is it? A writer must be surrounded by shivering, trembling people of all ages, all shapes and sizes, all mentalities, religions and spiritual bents, completely transfixed by the stories he tells. Otherwise, what is the point? To be a story, it must be told, and to be told, it has to be heard by others.

Here is a non-horror story I recently uploaded to Medium:

Do this storyteller a favor and tell me what you think. It is cold out here, in the dark, illuminated only by the glow of a dying fire, and I swear I can hear something moving out there, in the trees.

Join the discussion here: