There is more you need to do.
Go where there is no snow.
You will know her when you see her.
You will have no doubt and the sky will turn to gold.
This will be the hardest thing you ever do.
This happens to be my favorite mindfuck, quite possibly because it is my own personal mindfuck. These were the words spoken to me during my death experience and each one has since become realized in an unexpected way.
The first line was simple. I had decided to take my own life because I felt there was nothing I could do, achieve or enjoy in this world. Everything was so difficult and nothing ever worked out the way I wanted to. Prior to my experience, I had been very tightly wrapped. I was a genuine wallflower, incredibly shy and constantly afraid of failure. To me, failure was what would happen if I tried to do anything, so instead of acting, I only reacted to people and things in my orbit. If I didn't act, I would not fail. That turned out to be quite untrue. It is much easier to fail as a reactionary person rather than a person who takes action. You are always having to respond, and respond properly, to what other people are wanting, asking and demanding and covering your own ass in the process. You become an empty shell, offering nothing but perhaps complicit agreement with those around you or being a willing follower in their adventures. This is no way to live.
"Go where there is no snow" led me to Orlando, Florida in a very roundabout way. I never liked winter, and "never liked" is a very light way to put it. I have open contempt for cold weather and even greater contempt for snow. I'm of Scandinavian ancestry, born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in New England. Go figure.
Faith is a strange and personal thing. It cannot be dictated by organized religion. That isn't faith, it is merely an acceptance of principles in the same way we accept gravity and the need to get a job. My faith was born of an experience, or rather, a series of experiences. I planned out a suicide, using a mix of pills and liquor that were enough to kill me several times over and I survived. I saw a version of myself on a metal folding chair in the middle of a desert, a calm and serene version of myself with long hair and a goatee (which is why I now have long hair and a goatee). That version of myself dictated the five lines at the top of this page and then managed to get me to convince myself to go back to my life rather than accept this desert that awaited me. Meditating on this over the years has taught me a sacred truth, that we can only save ourselves, but that we need all the help we can get to do so.
I returned with vast reserves of self-confidence and strength I never knew I had. Everything changed. Those who had been considered my friends disappeared. Some were driven off by my now strong personality, having grown used to having a "yes man" by their side. Others just came to their "end time" in my life, that time when we know we must part because no further good can come of our continued involvement. I became incredibly cocky within the power of my confidence, and suddenly I went from being "invisible boy" to being "Magick," who, according to a friend who knew me during that period, "Could enchant any woman and make peace with any man and do it without hurting anyone's feelings." This came from a woman who at first despised me because she thought I was a womanizer and a player. For months she called herself my nemesis and devoted herself to destroying me by exposed me as a fraud. Then one day she walked up to me, sighed, and said, "Damn you, I love you." These are the memories that give us strength in times of self doubt.
Faith was a long road, and I did not wake up from death with any sense of faith whatsoever. I just knew I needed to get up, walk again, and reclaim my life. It was suddenly so important, less than twenty-four hours after wanting only death, to live again. So, I did, and I became Magick. I collected women and found ways to keep them all happy and satisfied. I partied to the edge of myself, drinking and doing drugs to excess and more times than I can count, waking up the next morning in a bed with two naked women and no idea what happened. I was Magick. Nothing needed to be defined. I simply was. It was a weird kind of demented Zen.
My bloated ego always seemed to need a fix in those days. The tides, the energy, the angels... whatever you want to call it, knew this. So they dangled something they knew I couldn't resist in front of my eyes. A woman who lived in Orlando, Florida, the sister of my roommate's girlfriend, who opened our first conversation with, "Let's just get one thing straight, I know all about you and I will never, ever sleep with you." She was Christine Lisl, and she brought me to Orlando, fell in love with me and then left me because she knew I could never give her what she so desperately wanted from me.
I went where there was no snow. Christine Lisl brought me there, then brought me to a restaurant not even near where she lived, and there I met Tina, a woman my ego demanded I seduce and charm, a woman who would have none of it, a woman who gave me faith as I restored hers. And there she was, after years of appearing in the dreams I tried to drown with drugs, alcohol and women... in a restaurant where construction began the day after my suicide... in a restaurant located on Golden Sky Lane. You will know her when you see her...
As mad as it was, I was then compelled to begin following the instructions in my dreams, writing down the words that were spoken to me, and trying to figure out exactly what was going on. Removed from my past, a stranger in a strange land where no one really knew me, I carried very little weight. I could devote myself to this, and I did. And then everything unfolded like it did in the dreams. The sky turned to gold, in three different ways, and it all began to make sense to me... usually in ways I find it very difficult to describe.
This will be the hardest thing you ever do.
Not only did Tina give me the gift of faith, she also gave me another gift. She deflated my ego. Two years of never being turned down by a woman, of having whatever I asked for and more, convinced me that I would eventually "have" her. I would not be defeated. She was the reason I was there. And she was, but I was limited in my scope of understanding these things. It is the handicap of men that we have trouble understanding our relationships with women unless we can figure sex and dating into it somehow.
We have another weakness as human beings. We tend to believe we deserve rewards for our positive actions. We forget that our actions are themselves the rewards. They tell us the value of working, of having a job, but this value is translated in hours sold to a clock rewarded by buying ourselves stuff to reward ourselves for the sacrifice of that time. In a world where employers worry about how much time is lost to internet use and smoke breaks, it is no wonder fewer and fewer people care about doing a good job. Counting clicks of the clock and related productivity as you wait to reach the point where you can retire is no way to live.
This world tends to be in a constant mess because we're fixated on the idea of being rewarded for positive actions. If we do something good, we deserve something good in return. If we don't get rewarded, we stop doing the work. We deserve bonuses and awards when we do an exceptional job for our employers. We go down on our lovers in the expectation they will then do the same for us. We send Christmas cards to people expecting to receive one in return and if we don't we cross them off the list for next year. Ungrateful assholes.
Sometimes circumstances cause us to, at least temporarily, forget the lessons we have learned. We make the same mistakes over and over and wonder why we don't learn. Yet, in my travels, I've found that more than half the situations involving people who are upset about things not "working out" in their life, and who find themselves going through the same disappointments, are usually depressed and upset because they never received their reward.
We are often blinded by what we perceive as the "correct" reward for a variety of circumstances. For a very long time I was fixated on pursuit of a "relationship" with Tina, since she had appeared in dreams and now in real life. Take the simple mathematical approach and me being there, her being there, and us being there together was supposed to translate into some kind of romantic union. I was so blinded by this translation of events and circumstances that I was blinded to so much of what was going on around me. In the end I realized how foolish I had been. I never slept with Tina. I never even kissed her. These aims blinded me to what was really going on when I somehow managed to help her overcome her fear of death and to believe in God. In retrospect, wanting to mount her pales in comparison.
And now I face something very similar, but with an even greater tendency to become blinded by my own pride, ego and desire.
In a culture dominated by "What's in it for me?" and "Okay, but what do I get out of it?" the nature of giving of ourselves unselfishly for the good of others drifts into the realm of the spiritual, a reason why so many these days seek out ways to balance themselves in an world where nothing seems to have any real meaning. Look at what books, movies and television shows are popular these days and you'll feel the searching going on. The dogma of organized religion has become as empty as the adherence to the dogma of rational thought. The searching is on. This is the Age of Aquarius, after all, and this is the nature of "The Second Coming," it is all about realization of the Spirit, and The Spirit is within us all, not floating around somewhere in space working on rewards for our good deeds.
I was stuck on the system of rewards as I made what turned out to be a pilgrimage to Florida, stating that I would do this that was asked of me if in return, when I did what needed to be done I would be given the opportunity for a reunion with The Muse, the greatest love of my life, who had been missing for an ever lengthening period of time... two years... four years... eight years... ten years...
I never gave much thought to the idea that this reunion I begged for, more for myself than anything else, would turn out to be the answer to the final phrase of what was spoken to me in the desert of my death experience... This will be the hardest thing you ever do...
Tina taught me something about the relative importance of trying to "possess" someone because you love them. She also taught me there isn't a simple system of rewards for actions and that it is all a lot more complicated than that. Those lessons are becoming more important than ever in the present tense.
I am coming to terms with realizing that I can do much more for The Muse by leaving her than I could by staying. To do so requires I change my thinking and corral my emotions. To believe I deserve to have her turn out to be the way I want her to be and to live happily ever after together is part of the whole "rewards program." If I remove what I want and look as objectively as possible at her I can see that leaving will have a profound impact on her. She let me in closer than anyone else ever has been to her inner sanctum. I expended greater energy and patience than anyone else has ever been willing to. And I know that she has come to love me more than she's ever been able to love anyone in her life.
As it was with Tina, I will likely not learn of the real impact of my time here with The Muse until after it is over... after I stop trying to shove a square peg into a round hole... after I stop trying to collect the rewards I keep mistakenly believing I am due.
Until I can do that I will not be spiritually whole and I'll continue to be no better than the man who lives alone in a big mansion surrounded by his riches defending it all because he's "earned" it.
For shaogo and liveforever, for reasons I hope they can understand.