Tag Archives: Life

handed a ticket through blood

the circus is in town and I’m handed a ticket through blood.

a strong man melts to nothing at the sight of his sorrow not standing there.

the siamese twins don’t share much in common besides loose cloth.

the bearded lady holds on by a thread and smiles through to the strangers.

there are wrestling midgets who don’t fit anywhere from what they’re told, but they enjoy the company and they let the sweat roll.

the clowns all run around the field playing tricks on each other and you.

and a woman in a box who is soon to be sawed in half by a magician who’s lost his touch wonders how she got here.

i hear they have elephants under the tent held together by ego and loose chains, few people in the room for now.

and a lion locked in a cage he can’t see with a hurt paw from last weeks show.

the acrobatic brothers don’t know each other, and never have and haven’t tried and never will.

the cyclops is afraid to lose himself though he dreams as clear as you or i.

and no one likes the room of mirrors, so they reflect nothing in return.

the tunnel of love is a quick ride with a cyclical queue and charges the most per ticket compared to the others despite its tendency to break down and rumored to have killed a man before.

there’s a fortuneteller wearing bifocals in between the carousel going backwards and a snake charmer who can’t find his flute.

and that snake charmer just the night before couldn’t sleep because he misses a girl who’s never there.

and that snake is in the mood for familiar sounds and spits poison when he’s agitated.

a man who can guess your weight forgets his own with each lame guess.

the $2 kissing booth describes our existence well.

and there’s a three legged dog who trails behind the whole gypsy carny from town to town because he’s still able to and doesn’t have much else to do anyway.

the circus is in town and it may only pass thru once and things pass quicker these days.

and it’s just in your backyard.

and you’re passed along a ticket while standing in line with the others.

The Books We Read

By Justin Cude

I’ve read tons of books lately. Hold on. Bear with me. I don’t say that with any type of pretentious. Its just a way to start this piece. But, seriously, lately I have read tons of books. From Self-help horrors to border-line erotica novels. From the lone pessimists attempt of optimistic existentialism to the bonding painted along a band-of-hippies psychedelic rove. Books which reign the top 100 to ones spawn from the endless graves of underground novella. I’ve read deeper into the works of authors I truly love, and have flirted with the lines of authors I’ve only just met with a glance. I sat down yesterday and read a whole damn book. I’ve only done that once in my life, years ago, and it felt wonderful to experience this again. But, this piece isn’t about the number of books I’ve read through in the last few weeks, but rather about what I have noticed, as I have before, by doing so.

The books we read influence us. Greatly or subtly, it doesn’t matter. They teach us. They touch us. They lead us and they push us. Some can hold you back. Many will move you, either which way. The ones we love, we do so for many reasons. There’s not just one reason we read and continue to. We read for many. And, we keep reading because those reasons are always further affirmed the more words we finish, the more pages we turn, the more books we try. We know why we read, individually, and our knowing of that is enough to continue forth. Every book I have ever read has provided me with at least one line of life; life learned, understood, challenged, gained, lost, made aware of, or changed. Even if only a line. I read for that one line. That one line that provides the life I needed to experience as to allow my own life the right, or the acceptance of, to just be, and for me to just be along with it. For life to be what it is, at any given moment, during any given experience of its provide. And, for me to be who I must and who I choose to be in response to and in demand of that greater providing.

I read for that one line. And, I read for this one life. Because, the books we read provide the life of others, while we’re out learning and living towards the writing and the sharing of our own. There’s wisdom there. There’s trial and error. There’s love and the exploration of its layered and endless complexities, along with it’s simplicity. There’s death and our questions. There’s wild stories from all walks of life, and there’s devout peering into the uncertainties we face. And, there’s us, reflected in the words so humanly placed. The books we read are shared closely with the lives we live. The lives we live are steeped in the richness of books we read.

So, I encourage you to read on.

What More?

By Justin Cude

What more is there to say?

What words are left to write?

You’re born from the sun,

you live with the day,

and you die into the night.

I know there are tricks in between,

but all we can do is live,

try to figure them out,

and love while we try.

The Way Things Happen

By Justin Cude

“It’s not suppose to go a certain way, it’s just suppose to go.” — Unknown

We all carry with us expectations, for every facet of this life, it’s path and the way we envision things to go.  This is dangerous, and we know this, though the temptation of it truly does invite one in with a certain seductive appeal, one that ignites our desire, puts flame to the fuse of our strive. There is nothing wrong with these feelings of passion, pursuit, of tenacity; they are the spice of life, the feelings we all long for, work for, dream of, crave. What is wrong here however, within our blinded view of their true existence, is our naively hopeful presumption of encounter with the byproduct we believe their pursuit-of, or withholding-for, promises to provide. We hold our expectations, feel down to the bone their premature existence, surer than death of their inevitable arrival, left ignorantly vulnerable by a belief system we have curated in our own mind, made real by a psyche ran wild, by faith chanced on a baseless mirage, delusion. Expectation blindfolds our deeper need of actualization; the makings of reality, not an ideal, more convenient alternative. From actualization, further actualization is made available through our efforts; I hope you find where to direct yours. From expectation, further illusion ensues, understanding impedes, knowledge narrows due to ones dwindling view. Expectation impetuously promises everything and delivers nothing. Actualization provides the world, in acknowledgment of the way things happen no matter our feelings towards this. The way we want things to go strangles us with lies. The way things happen provides freedom in their unbiased telling, their steadfast here-ness, and in our…

“Objective judgement, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance — now, at this very moment — of all external events.”

— Marcus Aurelius

The Internal Narrative

By Justin Cude

Many times in our lives we are the only one’s keeping our story or our narrative alive, through the internal dialogue we choose to let run in continuum, many times allowing it the autonomy to remain on repeat; stop this, unless of course you remain entertained by the story you partake. Become more aware if you don’t.

This can be hard. This is hard. But, it doesn’t always have to be.

Lately in many ways I haven’t been entertained, but I will admit, in a few I have, but that’s not what this is about. Walking down the street today after grabbing an unusually timed coffee to sip on, I caught myself, well, thinking.

Catching yourself thinking can be an enlightening moment, and today it was for me. I realized today, as I have realized before, but have failed yet, until now, to write on it, that by catching yourself thinking you are grabbing a moment of complete awareness of you and of your long running, usually tumbling, narrative you have playing within. And it hit me. In the moment, surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces, embedded within a place becoming more familiar by the day, I alone am the only one aware of my own internal narrative, and I don’t necessarily know how or what to think or to feel about that, which is probably the reason why I’ve chosen to write on it. I want to see where this thought takes me.

Lately I’ve been in my head a lot, and not in the most productive or endearing of ways. Though I have understood where my mind has been of late, I admittedly have not been able to make much sense of it, finding myself overwhelmed by an unorganized clutter. Even as I write this I feel there to be no point or direction, no ending to this thought, no clarity to its muffled presence. I don’t know where this will end, but I will continue to try to write anyhow.

With this I have felt lonely lately. Alone. Not in the physical sense, because I am surrounded by people everyday; ones who love me, strangers who quickly becomes friends, apart of a group even, working towards something that the collective gathering has deemed as worthy. To me it hasn’t been lately and I don’t know why. I just feel here, somewhere on the planet, with no grounded sense of place, no anchored sense of self. Yeah, that’s what it feels like. I’m here, I know that and I see it, but lately I have not felt it and I have not understood why. The only part of me lately that feels any type of anything is my mind, my thoughts, my internal narrative which I feel I have little control of. It hasn’t been running wild, though at times it has slipped away. No, it’s very much so been here, steady even, though too heavy to pick up, too frivolous to grasp, it’s been here and I am caught in audience of its oration.

I started writing this piece almost a year ago to-date. Having just recently revisited it, I am approaching it with a different perspective from which the life that has been had since its commence has cast its influence and provided more of itself.

The internal narrative is powerful. It’s with whom most of our conversing is had. Where ideas are honed and thought through, and where the thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs. That’s the big one. The thinking of what our lives are, at any moment, occurs in the internal narrative we carry with us, and that influences our lives a great deal.

Throughout our waking moments, of any given day, the internal narrative is playing. And, usually we allow this to occur without our influence. We just let it play and we find ourselves lost within its rolling. If its words are sad, we are sad. If its words are joyful, we find our selves joyful the same. If they are lost, we can’t find ours either. And if they are directed, we focus on their point. Whether this is good or bad, I truly do not know. But, if the question is asked whether or not we have influence on this, the answer most definitely is yes, if only we practice such awareness, of ourselves, of the narrative, and of the relationship between the two.

Awareness is not concentration. We do not have to focus solely on either participant of the relationship (the narrative or ourselves). Rather, we simply must be aware of the relationship between the two, the conversation they are attempting to have, and the influence both have over the other. Neither is in complete control of the other, and I don’t believe we should allow it strive for this to be so. That may seem frightening, given that we like to think we are in control of our mind, or equally as frightening to think that our mind may be in complete control of us, but the relationship is one more of involvement rather than of control. Like any strong and meaningful relationship, this is one too built upon communication.

View the narrative as open space for dialogue. Interact with the words of the narrative and communicate back with your own. If they align at moments, allow them their connection. If they don’t, given no mind to it. Give space and they will find each other again. Both will always be there. They are able to coexist in harmony or in disagreement, and they will. Nether is the end of the other. It’s a relationship to be maintained. A dance, sometimes a fight, to be had. And, simply, it’s the most meaningful conversation you could have. The catalyst for every other relationship within your world. Acknowledgment of this dialogue, awareness of its exchange, becoming apart of it rather than an a sufferer to either, ends the horrific monologue it can unrequitedly and unrelentingly become.

“You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it. That’s the difference.” — Anthony De Mello, Awareness

Dreams, Suffering and Love

By Justin Cude

“Only three things can change our life: Dreams, Suffering and Love.” — Paulo Coelho

Think about it.

Think of all the changes you have experienced thus far, no matter your age nor any other differentiating factor between you and someone else. Only consider the common fates of us all, our common lot and our common existence as human beings, and think all of which you have already endured and have transitioned from and to.

Really, I beg you.

Think about it.

Have dreams not lead you towards the facing of the biggest changes of your life?

Have they not demanded from you your answering of the most important questions in their confront?

The ones where decisions were heavily considered, subsequently hard fought against, accepted, second-guessed, approved again, rethought the same, and then finally made, maybe?

Has suffering and love not lead you towards the same?

Have all three not coexisted within the same moment of life’s changes?

Think about it.

In reflection of this now, I know this to be true within my own life. Every change I’ve faced, let break me, endured, overcame, reflected upon, all have stemmed from one of the three, but also, have contained a presence of the trios teaming.

Dreams have taken me places; some having been in their meeting, others in their losing. Some of the ones I’ve met, I have also lost with my understanding of them. Others I still pursue due to their continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have followed dreams that weren’t mine, readjusted and found mine again, then lost them same; this process has happened many times, and again I’m sure it will.

Again, the same with suffering.

Suffering has taken me places; some in its meeting, others thereafter its time. Some of the ones I’ve met, I also have lost with my understanding of them. Others I still find myself a part of due to their continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have allowed suffering that wasn’t mine, readjusted and suffered through my own again, then lost the same; this process has happened many times, and again I’m convinced it will.

And, again, the same with love.

Love has taken me places; sometimes in its meeting, other times in its depart. Sometimes the love I have met, I have also lost with my understanding of it. Other times I still yearn for certain love due to its continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have pursued love that wasn’t mine, readjusted and found mine again, then lost the same; this process has happened many times, and again I believe it will.

And again, in this process, the three have coexisted. I do not believe they are able not to. One tends to take the lead in regard to intensity and situation, but the others are always there.

In this, this is where the mind and the body differentiate, but where they are also subject to the same process of change. The body does not consciously chose what it will face in order to change; rather it takes on the challenges this life provides and does its best to adapt accordingly for continued and bettered survival.

The mind however, us as human beings, the pair, chooses, though choice is not always advantageous. Maybe this is a lesson where the mind can truly learn from the ways of the body; take on the challenges life provides and do its best to adapt accordingly for continued and bettered survival. Remove thought. Just act.

Some changes demand of us to accept them thoroughly for what they are, others we are able to manipulate their meaning. Regardless, we must face them, and we must adapt to them. There will always be a demand to change when facing this life. This you have no choice over. The body knows this. The mind sometimes, it forgets this.

Life will provide the challenges, and though the majority of them will originate from either that of dreams, of suffering, or of love, whether we are of the mind to confront them or not, we will have to, no matter. This will be hard, as it always is, when the three come from a place of authenticity, and in their changing we are truly affected.

If your dreams are real to you, they will bring about change, desired or not.

If your suffering is real to you, it will bring about change, prepared or not.

If your love is real to you, it will bring about change, understood or not.

Begin to understand this. Acknowledge it. Accept it. And, again, if they are real to you, then embrace them. Neither one of true meaning can exist without change, nor can it progress, nor can it grow. So, in their inevitable confront, choose to take on the challenges they provide, and do your best to adapt to them accordingly for continued and bettered survival.

For, without dreams, without suffering, and without love, life is meaningless, I do believe. And, without change, neither can truly exist. So, in accordance, without change life is meaningless. Our dreams, our suffering, and our love, they understand this. Sometimes, us… we forget.

For Those Along and to Be

By Justin Cude

“This too shall pass.”

At the onset of any new change, the moment you realize that of which is upon you, far before your understanding of its presence begins to even attempt, before you allow yourself to succumb to the brutality of what is to come… pause for a second, and remind yourself of the saying above, recite it even, over and over again, and then again:

“This too shall pass.”

It hasn’t started yet, the changes to come truly unknown, the challenges, the good, the bad, the new to come and those of old to fade away. You don’t really know what’s ahead, so don’t fool yourself, but remain hopeful, because faith in this hope is enough, even of the slightest degree, no matter how hard or how impossible this seems. No matter how heavy or how dark either. Everything in this world passes on. The good, the bad, the new, the old, and us; you and I and everyone else.

But, stop, and remind yourself of this statement, this truth rather: “This too shall pass.”

Then step forward, into the abyss of uncertainty, no matter the length of your first stride, because failure to do so, inaction upon this demand, halts the process of nature, not that of the whole, but of your own nature’s sustain within the grander. You can’t simply exist. Either way, action or inaction, you are subjected to stressors of this life. Both can be powerful, however. Action or inaction. That’s for us to decide.

“This too shall pass”, yes, but not without your involvement.

I have found this to be a very helpful belief to mediate upon and to act along with, though it has not always come easy for me; for many of us the same, I’m willing.

Many times in my life I have not believed this, sometimes desperately believed against it even, definitively convinced myself that my current lot, my current experience, was to remain, and I myself, weakened by circumstance, stuck within the amber of this pathetically defeated existence.

I was wrong. Many times I still am wrong. It was me all long.

No matter the magnitude of the alarming change brought upon us, it is hard to stop, hard to slow down, to think nonetheless upon anything. But we must, if we want to move forward with any sense of self, any belief in progressing past this, any faith in survival beyond this.

To believe against this, though easy and justified the same, I understand, truly I do, however, is corruption of the mind, a corruption we have choice over. Believe this, put your faith into it…

“Because the corruption of the mind is much more a plague than any such contaminating change in the surrounding air we breath. The latter infects animate creatures in their animate nature; the former infects human beings in their humanity.” — Marcus Aurelius

I have been there, we all have been there, and we all have choice to whether we remain there, stuck at the beginning. I was there not too long ago, during a very difficult time in my life, thrown into a change I wanted nothing to do with, no want or deserve even I thought to be apart of, but that is not how it works; life happens. Many times I still find myself revisiting this moment in my life, others before it the same, others past this, those will come. Again, life happens.

Circumstance provided me with this new context, but it was up to me, and with choice in moving forward the same, whether or not to believe in its eventual passing and to move on along with it anyway. For a long time though, I was unable to act upon either, I told myself. And I believed this, so I didn’t.

During this time however, thrilled at the opportunity to attend the book launch of one of my favorite authors new works, Tim Ferriss’ release of ‘The Tools of Titans’, a perspective was carefully shared by Tim in response to a confidently convinced onlookers questioning from the audience. Though I do not recall exactly the individuals question, I do however strongly remember it having to deal with the nature of being stuck and debilitated by circumstance, by fate. And with proper time taken to consider the question asked and the response to come, Tim shared the following:

“For anyone who thinks they are disadvantaged, set back, unprivileged, or so on, it will always become a self-inflicted prophecy. We all have demons.”

Simply put, powerful and true, and relevant to any situation, no matter your contemplate, especially when faced with the inevitable changes of life. We all face them, no matter their degree, no matter their magnitude, we all feel them.

With understanding, and sometimes without, many times these changes are not what we bargained for, not what we prayed towards, and in no shape or form what we believe we deserve. This change upon you is simply what is. It is fact, it is occurring, and it is your life. What benefit is found in plea for an alternative? It is your life, and your life is now, and this now includes all this, so accept it’s presence and proceed.

That is something we sometimes forget in these moments of uncertainty, but, it is something of deep importance of which we must understand; that this is your life. Accept it, accept the changes of now and of to come, for they are apart of the context of your life, and your acceptance and understanding of them is crucial towards your overcoming them, and your key to releasing your chained and bound attachment to that which at once wasn’t and at another won’t be again.

This isn’t made up. In fact, it is excruciatingly real, and it is upon you. But, always remember, like everything else in nature, “This too shall pass.”

This change, like every other act of transition seen and unseen in nature, is short lived, relativity of course apart of the equation. This short life can last a lifetime though if we allow it.

With this, however, understand though that your feelings towards this moment are justified; they too are real and should not be shamed nor made to feel inadequate, your being and your life the same. I believe this to be important to acknowledge; vital even. We are worthy of our struggles, and we are righteous in our enduring them and in our sustained attempts to overcome them. But, in accordance, the change upon you deserves the same, for it too is real, the demands of its asking and the acknowledgment and acceptance of its purpose.

You are prepared for this, mind and body alike, you are built for this.

Think of the changes you have already faced, the many challenges life has presented you, the stressors you have already adapted to… and here you are, and here you remain, intact and built mightier to move forward, to confront again yet another change, though you may not believe this, though you many not yet feel this… again, here you are.

Powerful. Hopeful. Prepared. Adapted.

If examples are needed for your belief towards this truth, look at nature:

The day succumbs to night, but returns to reveal the beauty of another day, no matter the life of the one before it.

The storm drains itself of rain to allow the sun, and brings with it life, no matter the ferociousness of the storm passed.

The dead of winter succumbs to the coming of spring, allowing it its place, its life, winter however leaving all stronger for having endured its subtle asking to rest, no matter seasons length, its cast, nor its unpredictability. No matter either the time passed before this new strength is realized.

You are no different to this, and neither is this change upon you, this stress. It is here now, but it will not remain. Of nature, nothing can, nothing will, and nothing has.

Will change repeat? Yes. But you will be ready. Innately you already are. Again, you are prepared for this, mind and body alike, you are built for this.

And in this short lived state, all this moment is asking of you, all this moment suggests of your being, is to allow fully your innate ability of meeting the requirements of this situation its role, to live accordingly with the nature presented, and to have faith in your eventual adaptation to such.

Remember, believe wholeheartedly, and turn to nature if for needed reference, of the body and of the universe; “This too shall pass.”