The road is long
With many winding turns
That leads us to,
Who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
-“He Ain’t Heavy… He’s My Brother” by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell also performed by the Hollies & Neil Diamond.
WHO AM I?
So who am I? This is me below:
I may not in fact be everyone’s cup of tea. Some of you have been gracious enough to remind me of that fact. I acknowledge, accept and deal with that and welcome you to continue to do so. It is not really that dramatic for me at all. Go ahead, knock yourself out. You see, there was a time when I cared enormously what people who truly had no impact or meaning in my life, may have actually thought of me until I considered how bizarre that was. I may have even worried what their opinion of me might be. That is no longer the case. After all I am not running for political office, even though there are times that given the state of our leadership (See: e.g., Christine Quinn, the Speaker of the NY City Council and wannabe Mayor of New York City) I do not feel any less qualified. I just do not always have the time to worry how I may be perceived when I am trying to have an impact on this world before the clock runs out and I am six feet under in a box or better yet, my ashes are scattered at sea or fed to my enemies in a stuffing in a meal at Thanksgiving. Yes, I am that twisted that could it so be arranged, I just might authorize it. So beware or maybe don’t be so aware. But that does not mean I do not care about the fate of humanity or want to contribute to a better reality than the one which presently exists for all of us. It is precisely the point that I do.
WHAT AM I? AND WHY AM I….THIS WAY?
Fact is that I do not compose my thoughts, express my opinions verbally, to friends, family or foes or in blog posts online from the perspective of what might garner me more fans, followers or acceptance or even to gain gain intellectual recognition from the so called chattering class; whether they are people I do or do not know. I am less consumed with packaging my prose in nifty little packages for Random House. We live in a crazy era where people who can’t read or write get book deals. And I wonder, who the phuck is buying them other than people who cannot read or write themselves. Ok I diverge and exaggerate…somewhat. But the bottom line is that I am not down with finding a creative way to bullshit the public in order to sell a book to people who cannot read or care to get enlightened. Nor am I truly arrogant enough to believe that my form of enlightenment is what they need. In a prior era, getting a book deal meant something. More often, especially now, I communicate, and perhaps it is even more arrogant to think this way, to change how certain people examine truth, justice (and the American way), the existing reality or the paradigm we are currently living in. Perhaps I am delusional to think that my purpose is to, on a small level, help shape the flow or spread of information or thought on certain subjects or correct flawed narratives in our culture, many of which actually mask the truth and preclude societal evolution. And sometimes or even often, it is pointing the finger to where or with whom greater truth may lay. Maybe they should know the basis for my evolving belief system; if they care to that is. Validating other authorities and those who claim to be authorities is an underlying passion of mine after all and I cannot help being that way.
I am at peace with who I am, where I came from, the course my life has taken, the challenges I have overcome and those which still stand in my way to becoming and being what I am destined to be. I know it is a process and there is still work to be done. Yet, I also recognize that I have the power of the German, Austrian, Italian-American blood of a working class mother who grew up in Chelsea who was a devoted Catholic (Hail St. Columba Church!) and yet not limited by Catholic teachings entirely. She was a student of the flows of this universe, very much in touch with good and evil, so eminently aware of what was required to transform and move forward. She was a survivor; the more she was hit with, the stronger and more determined she became. Rarely did she complain and that amazed me because her path was never easy. Maybe it is because of her upbringing and that the source of inspiration was parents who worked for the railroad and ‘the telephone company’ (when there was only 1) who raised a household of young women who came to love and nurture people and god’s furry little creatures more than anyone I have ever known. Then there was my father; a man who came to New York City, already a worldly and educated young man who loved books, classical music, studying history and the works of historic craftsman. He mastered languages with ease and the NY Times Crossword puzzle as if it were a simple game of checkers. He was a humble but proud man, a foreign man with a mastery of the English language far superior to many natural born Americans. This man was the best mentor and tutor a child could ever have in a father. He was imbibed with a simple greatness, an intellectual but not an elitist; but rather a man who identified more with the life of the every man. My father’s humility is that despite his learned pedigree that would have made him quite comfortable sitting in a room full of intellectuals serving as a resource and inspiration, and that he was an engineer’s engineer, with the full respect of his peers, what he enjoyed most was conversation and companionship of regular working people. ‘My good man’ he would often greet his friends. Or smiling on a warm summer day in Far Rockaway or even Jones Beach, looking out at the ocean, he would remind everyone “it is simply good to be alive, is it not?” He did not explain the manners of a gentleman to me or why he instinctively gave up his seat on the subway to the elderly, he displayed them in every aspect of his interactions with people and you simply learned. It was the essence of his being. It was an amazing thing to behold as it is to even reflect on now.
BEING THERE & SIMPLY BEING: Getting There is Not About Scheduling An Arrival Time But Rather About the Character of the Journey and the Lessons Learned
There is an Art to Living regardless of whether you consider yourself an artist or creative spirit or have great wealth or financial resources to live a Lux Life in high style. Many have interesting and extraordinarily stylish lives and because of what I do, maybe I have taken a peek here and there into their otherwise fabulous world. But, I do not begrudge their success or what they have accumulated. So even if I look around and am cognizant of all those who may have accumulated more assets, find themselves in a superior financial position or have massive real estate holdings and over all wealth, and other benefits or advantages that I may not, I simply do not want to be anyone else or go through my life with blessings not earned by me fairly or bestowed on me. And this is true, even if some folks may value those more than the ones I inherited or earned in my own way. I do not ever want to go through this life in their shoes or being anyone other than the son of Virginia and Octavio. You see there are only four of us and that is a rare enough club for me. And this is true no matter how fascinating it may be to stand in the shoes or be endowed with whatever gifts, attributes and/or material and non material possessions that some so called elite folks may have at their disposal. I have one thing that nobody else has. You are NOT me.
The reality is that most people regardless of how much or little they have always can find a use to want more. My goal is simple, motivated by truly amazing parents who never took the time to pat themselves on the back or gain recognition for the lives that they led and inspired. There are times when the light goes on and I find myself in an intellectual, emotional or verbal groove, just flowing like a river or like a refined automotive, firing on all cylinders taking in all that is around me like a sponge, aware of what is about to happen next or even weeks from now as a result of this moment I am in, and it is at that point I feel Virginia Bernadette Saunig and Octavio Augustus Caesar Mejia Medina’s blood flowing through my veins, flooding my mind with useful oxygen making me more lucid and appreciative of what it is I do have. I am them and they are me living breathing, thinking and changing. Hence, all I want is to live up to what they want me to be which I sense is to simply evolve to be a better version of myself. Because, if I can evolve to be a better version of myself, regardless of where I am or end up, then in my estimation, my life has been a success, whether I die alone or in the company of loved ones. This is further true even if I would have done certain things differently had I the opportunity to go through life again and relive those experiences and times with greater wisdom or foresight.
Mid life has brought me to a more calm, comfortable and secure place, even if I am perhaps a less visually appealing man in some people’s eyes (i.e., younger women than I was when I was in the prime of the youth of my adulthood. Here and and now, the wisdom gained from years of experience, of success and failure, of triumph and defeat, from loving and losing, from having the spotlight and from being ignored, from becoming less and more of what I once aspired to has made me a more earnest man, more cognizant of my core truth. The reason perhaps, is that way back when (whenever it was no longer matters), I did not see life, my station or my ultimate destination in the same way as I do now. I was more preoccupied with scheduling a departure and arrival time than I was with the character of my journey.
Spiritual is a phrase sometimes used rather flippantly by some folks. Spiritual has a more broad meaning to me, especially today or now given an increasing overall awareness of and the fuller array of enlightened spiritual guides, healers and healing modalities available to help us evolve, address and treat the illness created by or inherent in modern life. A spiritual person is one who is willing to look outside or beyond traditional or taught mainstream belief systems in recognition of the interconnectedness of all living beings and planetary life in general. The spiritual person is one who comes to recognize that in all we do both positive and negative in our own lives we impact the lives of others. A spiritual person is thus far less interested in zero sum games and wants to see fewer losers emanating from their progress and human progress in general. So yes it begins first with a turn inward and a commitment towards being a better version of one self. This requires engaging in more holistic practices with regards to their physical, emotional and mental health and well being. A healthier individual operating thoughtfully will create fewer negative externalities as a result of their living but likewise may also have a more positive energy flow to proactively impact the people and places they interact with in this ecosystem of ours. You look inward before turning outward to create a more positive individual who has less of a negative impact on other living things on this planet. So given the foregoing, I would consider myself one attempting to live a more spiritual existence.
MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES
There is a famous Chinese proverb that states ‘May you live in interesting times’ and we can argue whether it is a blessing or a curse much like the one ‘May you come to the attention of those in authority’ but for now in the present we live in, it is a statement of fact and a reality we must deal with. These are quite interesting, challenging, confusing and perhaps even strange and particularly unsettling times. Everyone you meet may have challenges you are unaware of, a past that did not include you and maybe even a different learning curve and trajectory in life. You cannot help but to take people as you find them. Should you choose to engage, may I recommend that you be a positive force, or not a force at all, to those who may come to shape or impact you and your life. If you do so, I can promise you only that time will take care of whatever you are supposed to be to each other on this journey of life. Make your interactions meaningful. Value people. Engage yourself and leave those you associate with on an interim, short term or long term basis in life whether on a personal, emotional, intellectual or business level, in a better place than when you found them. You do all this with one proviso, a recognition that a negative externality of a malfunctioning society is spiritual disease in the population itself, dysfunctional semi-functioning people. In a society that is so sick, it almost seems to be the new normal, a world rigged with human booby traps ready to take you down into the cavernous abyss of human existence; a veritable living hell.
ZERO SUM GAMES & PLAYERS: LIFE’S POTHOLES POSING AS PIT STOPS
You must be aware to steer away from zero sum games and those who are playing them. This is one of the biggest lessons that I had to learn rather painfully in the past year. There are infected, broken and dispirited souls who are too wrapped up in their misery, self absorbed in the melodrama of their perceived plight in this life, deluded and locked down in their bunkers of lies, planted in front of the television or idiot box 24/7 and otherwise too foregone to hear the alarm bells going off. They have developed such an overall distaste for humanity to see that their life has already lost any import or meaning. Such people are dangerous because they can bring about complete devastation to your life. They have nothing so they have nothing to lose. Like vampires who thrive on blood of their victims, they gain an interim thrill and fuel their misery by bringing havoc and pandemonium to your otherwise peaceful and semi-happy existence. They won’t be happy or have a break from their never ending bout of misery until they extract a pound of flesh and subtract from the spirit of someone who is otherwise content. Why you ask? Their spirit is so poisoned and mind so demented that they rationalize that happy people OWE them something. They cannot see that first and foremost their salvation lies not in polluting the spiritual lives of others but in unplugging from the anxiety culture or culture of distraction and getting help for themselves. Such people must disengage and reform their lives on their own or with the assistance of medical and spiritual professionals. The best you can do as a concerned citizen is to offer to take them to an addiction or depression specialist or other psychiatric professional, a healer, Alcoholics Anonymous or simply leave them be and get out of their field of view. Know you are in harms way if through some odd sense of compassion you linger and engage too long.
The story is a common one. You may say wake up one day to find in your evolutionary path, an individual with an obsessive personality disorder who you truly had not given much thought to, even though they once lingered on your every word and claimed to be ‘your biggest fan’ and/or had repeatedly said stuff like: “I love you Chris London, you are the most important thing in this world to me”, and “I know your mother would have wanted me to look out for you”, while you were thinking to yourself: ”I don’t even really know you and you certainly do not know me, you never met my mother and what the hell are you talking about anyway?” But instead of rolling your eyes or ridiculing this person, you try to be graceful and polite and somewhat humor his or her delusions ’cause you saw the movie Misery and also Single White Female. And without encouraging too much this sort of obsession/insanity, you offer up a half smile and a nod, because you simply want to go on about your day not fully realizing the danger you are in. Capische? Are you feeling me? You may want to think you are off the hook but you know better or at least should know better because this person has absolutely nothing else to focus on in life, except you. And then shortly thereafter, you almost could have timed it, “your biggest fan” emails, rings your cell phone and comments anonymously on your blog pretending to be someone else and then this same actual person who once praised your Elements of Style later also says to your face ” don’t quite your day job, you can’t write and could use a Strunk & White”. Sybil assumes that you will think that these “three people” who all chimed in a similar fashion means that you now have an anti-fan club. Before you can think ooh wow cool some people know me enough to hate me for my writings whether it is because they suck or because your controversial doesn’t really matter. And the funny thing is you knew that was coming. Why you ask do I know this? It is simple.
You live in crazy land long enough you begin thinking like its inhabitants.
MOVING FORWARD – GASING UP AT THE RIGHT PIT STOPS
Take me home to your religion for the night
Let me touch you
Teach me how to see your vision through my eyes
Turn the pages
Tell my story, let me face another day
Safe embraces, I feel it comin’ now
My captain’s on his way.
You reach for the ‘high power’ both from within and from without. You are not afraid because “my captain’s on his way.” And when he arrives, your spirit is once again filled with renewed confidence that all will once again be fine. Deep down you still know and believe in the quintessential truth that when more people in your path win as a result of your engagement with them, and I mean win in a healthy way where you do not LOSE (and please make note of that distinction) you will continue to find more victories and residuals of victory up ahead. The lesson you learned on the way to completing your journey was a valuable one: If you make the wrong pit stop, get back in and keep moving, even if you need refueling, oiling or changing spark plugs, don’t let this crew tinker with your engine, your wheels and especially not your energy source. Better to run on fumes and perhaps fuel up down the road, than to fuel up on exhaust in an airtight garage and die of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A version of this blog was first published earlier this year by me on Facebook.