Sunday, March 13, 2011

I've been working on an "Altar," of sorts.

Until about 10 months ago, I had for my entire life, identified as an atheist. This was partially due to my loosely Christian upbringing I never remotely identified with, but also because, I have always been a person who was very grounded in the present. I have a tattoo on my wrist (instead of a watch) that reads "This is all we have," meaning that as far as I presume to know, this life, is the only one that I get, so I have to make it count. I got that tattoo in 2004 after the closest connection I have ever believed I had to a "fiance" broke up with me. It was a somewhat "secret" relationship of eleven months, and those words were something we often uttered as a reminder that our happiness, however fleeting perhaps, on that given night, took precedent over the consequences of her disapproving parents finding out about our continuing relationship.

Last year I reached a point where for the first time in my entire life I began to call into question my reactionary Atheism, and to begin to think of myself more as a single cell in part of the greater organism of what many would refer to as Gaia. While I still do not put much of a regular focus into it, i.e.-prayer, searching for books that better quantify my confusing "spirituality," My journeys back into nature with Pinar reminded me that I am in fact a spiritual person, despite not having a religion, per se. Spending six weeks biking with her 1,100 miles down the Pacific coast this past fall helped me to not only reconnect me with nature and my childhood, but also get in touch with the deepest most intrinsic parts of who I am, from the darkest, most repressed demons, to my brightest hopes and dreams.

Above all, I view the world as a series of connections. I also believe that the majority of humankind has thrown our planet out of balance. I believe the mind is a more powerful tool than we think, and I believe wholeheartely that any of us, at any given time, when we can find a focus and balance within us, can manifest our dreams into reality. It may, however, be very hard work. "Where there is a will, there is a way," and the less we live disconnected digital lives of isolation, the more connections we can make in real life when we genuinely talk to people and express our open and honest convictions, and live with the consequences. Being vulnerable and honest with each other, is the most human thing that we can do. This all being said...some of you might think some of my "beliefs" are a little wishy-washy, and that is okay. I am simply supplying you with a little bit of background information as to how I ended up making altars for lack of a better word for the first time in my life this past year.

Here is the current one I speak of:
The majority of the top collection are artifacts from the earth sampled over 6,000 miles of mine and Pinar's adventures together, each footnotes of the epic story of 2010 for me that propelled me forward to face my dental journey of 2011. The bottom are several photos from my childhood and of my closest friends, lovers and connections over the past several years, and reminders of experiences where I felt the most happy, even if I wasn't necessarily comfortable smiling.  

Many of these items I have carried around with me as tokens of power throughout different trials in my life. If I missed someone and want to feel them closer to me when I'm going through a rough time, I have often carried a picture of them or some sort of charm I acquired with them to feel able to summon more courage than usual. I could spend days writing out the significance of every single object in this picture, but I will refrain, and ask that you only remember, that things like this are far more important to me than general material possessions. Though I am sometimes mocked for liking pictures and documentation, like it makes me a hypocrite as someone who claims to live in the present and seize the day rather than get caught up in daily deja vu of a forgotten past I can only conjure again through pictures as my aging memory betrays me, I believe that all of our stories have value. This altar, in a way, is a collection of memory cues and triggers, that helps me to capture a lifetime of my most important moments at one quick glance, and remind me daily, of all of the wonderful times that my soul was smiling. It is a call to action and a challenge, to continually find the strength to face each day with new-found strength and commitment to heal myself from nearly two decades of alienation and masochism, and free myself from that past to finally begin to write a new story for myself of who in fact Paul Clark Jones Jr. really is.

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