The Empyrean

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“I don’t need to take drugs. I feel so much more high all the time right now because of the type of momentum that a person can get going when you really dedicate yourself to something that you really love. I don’t even consider doing them, they’re completely silly. Between my dedication to trying to constantly be a better musician and eating my health foods and doing yoga, I feel so much more high than I did for the last few years of doing drugs.

At this point I’m the happiest person in the world. These things do not fuck with me at all, and I’m so proud of that—you don’t know how proud I am. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to face life, to face yourself, without hiding behind drugs; without having to have anger towards people who love you. There are people who are scared of losing stuff, but you don’t lose anything for any other reason than if you just give up on yourself.”
― John Frusciante, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Don’t do drugs kids.

That about sums it up…

I took up a conversation with a gorgeous country girl wearing a low-cut cotton blouse that displayed the beautiful sun-tan on her breast tops.

She was dull.
She spoke of evenings in the country making popcorn on the porch. Once this would have gladdened my heart but because her heart was not glad when she said it I knew there was nothing in it but the idea of what one should do.

“And what else do you do for fun?” I tried to bring up boy friends and sex. Her great dark eyes surveyed me with emptiness and a kind of chagrin that reached back generations and generations in her blood from not having done what was crying to be done — whatever it was, and everybody knows what it was.

“What do you want out of life?”
I wanted to take her and wring it out of her.

She didn’t have the slightest idea what she wanted.
She mumbled of jobs, movies, going to her grandmother’s for the summer, wishing she could go to New York and visit the Roxy, what kind of outfit she would wear — something like the one she wore last Easter, white bonnet, roses, rose pumps, and lavender gabardine coat.

“What do you do on Sunday afternoons?” I asked.
She sat on her porch. The boys went by on bicycles and stopped to chat. She read the funny papers, she reclined on the hammock.

“What do you do on a warm summer’s night?”
She sat on the porch, she watched the cars in the road. She and her mother made popcorn.

“What does your father do on a summer’s night?”
He works, he has an all-night shift at the boiler factory, he’s spent his whole life supporting a woman and her outpoppings and no credit or adoration.

“What does your brother do on a summer’s night?”
He rides around on his bicycle, he hangs out in front of the soda fountain.

“What is he aching to do? What are we all aching to do? What do we want?”
She didn’t know. She yawned. She was sleepy. It was too much. Nobody could tell. Nobody would ever tell.

It was all over.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

 

 

Strange Land/Disconnected.

I can’t even begin to describe the events of these past few days…
The moment I landed in Bangkok I was immediately seduced with change. The thrill of being in a new place was simply invigorating.

Each day was a unique challenge. Not knowing the possibilities of what tomorrow would bring, to venture head first into the unknown of a strange land were everyday was an adventure waiting for us. The thought of that drove me mad with possibilities.

I felt so alive…

What worried me was when I came back…

Everything felt like a dream, like it never even happened. I was desperately fighting routine and loosing. I found myself reverting back to the overbearing cavalier drone that I so very much despised. I began harboring the insolence of the many & committed crimes of ignorance to things to which I did not understand.

I wasn’t feeling very alive anymore at this point…

I met a man from my travels that once told me he’d lived in many different parts of the world through out the different stages of his life and I asked him…

“Don’t you ever miss home? Don’t you ever wanna go back?”

He told me at first he’d return once every few months, see the family & friends.. then he’d go back once a year, then maybe once every 2 or 3 years.. and eventually he realized that there was nothing left for him back there anymore…

His life was wherever whatever adventures took him to.
He was living the dream..
He was free…

Many people have told me to snap out of it. That its merely frivolous thinking & nothing more. “Frog in a well…”, I’d tell them. “Your a frog in a well.” The conceited will never understand how big the world is and how small you are and your insignificant first world problems in comparison to the plights of others.

I’m glad to have experienced the unconventional and there are times when I’ve questioned and even disobeyed in the name of deviance for if I’d allowed myself to follow the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.

The struggle to be an individual has never been easy… Have you ever heard of a Greek philosopher named Epictetus? He was a funny man with a certain flare for life. He’d compared people who “fit in” to the white threads of their toga… Indistinguishable.

He wanted to be the purple thread.

“That small part which is bright, and makes all the rest appear graceful and beautiful. Why then…”, he asked, “do you tell me to make myself like the many? And if I do, how shall I still be purple?”

nowhere to go but everywhere~

The plan was (and always has been.. ) to save up enough cash, probably about 10, or even 20 thousand, whether I’m disciplined enough that is, and just leave. Just straight up leave and never come back. That was the plan and still is…

The dream life would’ve been to simply travel vivaciously around the world and just “nomad” it out like the blithe vagrant that I am. It never ceased to surprise me how easy the act of leaving was, for me at least…

I mean, stop for a second and realized where you are! How can anyone ever allow themselves to be grounded in world with such rich possibilities?

I’ve been meeting a lot of new people recently and the topic of travel has never been far from conversation. I’m always amazed at the things you can learn from new people. It’s like hearing the same story told over & over again in a different way.

I’m excited about life and of all the things that we could do together. Traveling has always been that constant variable when it comes to what I want out of life & part of that is to experience everything as much as I can.

Sometimes I’d meet someone who’s found solace from the false securities of routine and wonder what happened to have made this person’s existence so sad?

Life is short, we only get to live it once. And by the end of it I’d wanna have my own crazy stories to share, my own adventures and experiences, both good and bad.

I stumbled onto an article from a travel blog a couple of weeks back that really appealed to me which I though I’d share.

He wrote:

“I am running away. Iam trying to avoid life — I’m avoiding your life. I’m running away from your idea of the “real” world. Because, really, I am running toward everything – toward the world, exotic places, new people, different cultures, and my own idea of freedom.”

I must admit, choices like these are easier said than done.Especially in a place like this were individuality is often frowned upon, if not, shunned.

To hell with it I say.

I’m sick of people telling me i should live my life a certain way just because they can’t fathom any other way of living other than that of society’s conventions.

I’m all for individuality. The ability to choose  &  decide for yourself how you wish to live… that is the true definition of freedom.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…”
― Jack KerouacOn the Road

Paradise

I remembered back when I was still in Basic Military Training, during the first few weeks of confinement where we spent 2 and a half weeks away from women, the internet and all things civilized. I remembered the first day I came back after being away for so long & how I embraced my abode with all its splendid appliances with such longing.

Warm showers & cold drinks. A comfortable bed & an air-conditioned environment.  I fell in love with my own home again & it was an extraordinary feeling that I’d never forget it. I wasted no time & hoped onto my computer to catch up on all the Youtube videos I had missed. During that time, Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” had just came out and I went to watch the MTV of it.

When that music started playing, I nearly died…

That was the first time I’ve heard music for over TWO WEEKS. This may not seem like such a big deal to some, but I listen to music a lot. And I mean A LOT. I didn’t bring my ipod into camp fearing that it might got stolen or whatever. Plus, this was our first ever week in the army so no one had the sense to wanna bring a radio in or anything thing like that. Throw in the fact that I was a huge Coldplay fan, still am, and you can see now how this would’ve affected me the way it did.

From that point on, Viva La Vida’s always been my song of inspiration for my 3 months stay in Ninja Company. Every time I’d hear it over the radio I’d get a slight boost of spirit which helped me get through the day. Over the course of my army days, there were many other songs that would keep me going but Coldplay’s was the very first, so it stuck with me the most.

Recently, I had to attend my very first In-camp Training, which was a real hindrance since I had to go on UN-paid leave and I didn’t like the idea of going to the west of the west since it was very likely to be the cast when going back for ICT for NSmen to report to that accursed airbase in that accursed part of town. I tried my best to get out of it but to no avail so when judgement day came and they began briefing us of what was to come for the next 3 weeks of my reservist, my heart damn near sank right down to my toes.

I hate the west. Everyone knows it. I fuckin hate it.
Back when I was an NSF, I’d flip my shit every time they’d tell us to report to that condemned place. I hated it so much. People there are weird. Place looked all post-apocalyptic & what not.

To get there, I had to take 2 buses & change 2 trains. Not to mention walk a good kilometer or two up some stairway to hell, which frankly made taking the Ring to Mordor sound like a piece of cake.

I was just miserable. The first day I went there, I had to wake up at 5.30am to get there by 8am. It was a good 2 hour journey and even then, I was still late. When I exited the train station, I saw Winson waiting for me near a Jollybean outlet and stumbled over to him. I placed my hand on him and I gave him a weak look.

“I can’t do this for much longer Winson…”

And at the moment, a little girl, no more than the age of 10, stopped about an arms length away from us and just straight up started puking buckets. She shot a continuous stream of the fluid for a good 30 seconds, heaving wave after wave of the chudder all over the ground until that tiny body of hers could expel no more.

Winson & I started laughing of course. And no, not the kind of maniacal laughter of having seen a poor little girl throw up & deriving pleasure from it. We were just stupefied. It was God’s way of saying, “Welcome to the west, assholes.” And that was my first FML moments of my reservist.

There were many more weird experiences when traveling to the west. From gross shit like old ladies cutting their toe nails on the trains to the occasional weirdos who wearing hats that keep little birdies in a pencil cases and walk around with them. I once saw a guy on a segway zoom pass the bus stop one morning…. yeah….

How I had managed to survive these past few days was mainly due to my friends being there and keeping me sane. Another thing that helped get me through the long train rides was Coldplay’s “Paradise”. It was quite  ironic how their new album had just released recently and I had found yet another song to get me going in the wee hours of the morning.

I love how empowering these 2 songs are and every so often when they happen to be played on the radio, it’d remind me of the times I’d had it bad & that despite all the adversity, that everything’s gonna be alright and that I will be alright.

They say music can change the world…
I dunno bout that, but it’s one of the things that helps keep me sane in this terrible world.

So that’s enough for me~

Choose

“The punishment should always be commensurate to the crime. It should be proportionate and visible. A punishment is not only an act of retribution, it’s also a signal.  It needs to be seen and understood by anyone else who might have flirted with the notion of committing the same transgression, and it’s a signal that no one is exempt from the consequences of betrayal.

We had a saying when I was in the boy scouts whenever we entered a camp: “Take pictures, leave footprints.” But now more than ever, you must do neither.
There is a formal aspect to punishment, a ritual nature. It has shape and body. It’s about Consequence, Accountability, Actions having repercussions. It’s vital that the transgressors understand the rules they have broken.

Your choice of punishment needs to be seen as fair, proportional and reciprocal.
But the nature can only be decided by the punisher himself – You.

You decide, the boss.”

-Ezra Stone

The Scorpion & the Frog.

“Don’t try to be someone your not.”
That is the golden rule.

It’s simple enough to follow through & easy enough to execute.
Having a certain sense of self-awareness to know who you are and of what your capable of helps you in understanding yourself better. It is individuals who are truly honest with themselves who remain genuine to their natures, regardless of external influences.

Like most people,  I too have developed my own personal set of rules. A certain “code of conduct” if you will, to which I choose to live my life and base my decisions upon. Some of these rules protect me from others, while some of them protect others from me…

To question everything is my virtue.
It is what provokes me to stand against what I suspect is wrong, and empowers me to engage in what I believe is right.

Compromising who you are is the worst possible thing to do. You could try to be someone your not, you could pretend to be different around someone you care about. But you can’t be two people at once, you’ll end up hating them more than you’ll ever love them.

It is the sad reality of human nature..
Have you heard about the story? About the Scorpion & the Frog?

The aim here is to see yourself for who you are & what you can be, as well as what you can not. I am capable of benevolence to which I do not share, and of horrible things to which I need not hide.

It has taken me awhile to understand these terms but I realize now where I belong & what I must do…