Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Don't Change

I don't change my ways
I might not make it
That's the fate of a fool
And a guitar man

- JJ Cale, Fate of Fool

* * *

We know what we need to do, don't we? We know the answers and really, we know the way. But we don't do it, do we? We know we have to change our ways in order to make it, but still we sit and and wonder why it hurts so much, why things don't move, why time hates us so. The thing that stops you - whatever it may be (and the list is long, but in truth you know which one is yours) - is the also the threshold to a new way of living, a new experience of life. You don't get to go there, you don't get the good that accrues in all directions by standing still, by repeating yourself, by picking at the wound you have come to love so well. Naw, man, the shit life is yours when stasis is your king. That's the fate of a fool.

But you know that already.

So, what's stopping you?

* * *

Seamus Heaney wrote: Human beings suffer/They torture one another/They get hurt and get hard. And he's right. We are hurt by the very proximity we share with those around us - our families, our friends, our cohort, our time. The inabilities of those staggering around us, of those trying to make their way with whatever wit or soul remains in them by needs be influences, stains, scars and molds us from their trying, their failing, their trying again. We acquire wounds. We lose limbs and it hardens us, drains a bit of color from us everyday. We take up smoke and drink to ease some pain. We justify it in a million ways and the smoke and drink are just another layer thickening our skin, covering our hurt. Some bury themselves in work, in the acquisition of objects, of lovers, in the velvet folds of church and nothing, I mean nothing ever feels right. The cures don't last. They are sugar highs and the cycle repeats - only this time we feel just that much worse because the thing we wanted didn't last and we doubt and doubt and doubt it will ever be right.

But you know what to do. You just haven't done it yet.

You have to quit drinking, or whoring, or buying shit you don't need. You have to quit making excuses. You have to quit with the justifications because nothing justifies wasting your precious time on standing still.

The fucked life is one that will accept change, but only on certain conditions and those conditions can never be met and it all has to do with the past. There are wrongs you are waiting for to be righted, losses to be made whole again, betrayals to be unwound, but it will never be. The wrongs, the losses, the betrayals, the miserable hurt won't go away by waiting for it to come right. It never comes right, my friend. Never. Not the way you want it to. Never. Staying stuck, standing in place, refusing the life pulsing around you will not cure you, will not heal you, will not unfuck you. If you don't change your ways, you will keep what you have and all you've got is hurt.

So, how, how, how, how, how, how do you find the willingness to let it go, to let it all go and find your feet again? How is that done?

I don't know that answer, and if I did I'd never give it to you. I know my answer. I know what I must do, but I'm not you and what works for me won't fit you. And that's the fun of it, love, the adventure and daring of it, the will and strength of it, the courage, the compassion, the miracle of being alive for you can be Jesus to your own Lazarus and bring yourself back to life. Regardless of what's fucked you, I promise you someone has had it worse. Regardless of what's fucked you, the world doesn't need another willful slave. Regardless of what's fucked you, there is a way out of that dark wood and you have all you need with you right now to make your way.  Honest.

The key, as far as I can tell, is to not pre-judge what change you are willing to accept. Our minds can narrow to slits and we exclude the answers that don't come clothed in the trappings we imagined. Better to let go of that hubris. The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. 

* * *

If change is constant then why try and stay where it hurts? Let yourself be changed by letting go of the pride you take in being broken. What has stopped you will be the thing that sets you in motion again, but only if you let it, only if you are willing to be changed and you are the only one who knows how to do that.

* * *

Spending my life 
in a cold hard bar room
Drinking that long 

black whisky down
I play the guitar
For me it's a living
Well I know I'm
Just a hangin' around
Dancing girls
Oh they drive me crazy
All they want is a Fancy Dan

I don't change my ways
I might not make it
That's the fate of a fool 

and a guitar man

* * *



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