When You Lose Your Soul

It hurts when you lose your soul. I can’t even begin to describe the pain, the hopelessness, the utter despair that is hard to overcome. A major key to survival is the requirement that you live the life that you are meant to live. Most of us don’t get that luxury. And lately, that is being beaten into our souls each and every second that we draw breath.

I started this blog to share the things that excited my soul. I looked for beauty and creativity and uniqueness. But I soon found that this was a superficial search at best when the world was crumbling around us in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Perhaps I had refused to see it clearly. Perhaps I avoided the pain so that I could take another step forward as I drew breath.

But today, that breath hurts. Tears are drowning my eyes so that all I see is the misery that so many others cannot escape. Meaning is now different for me. I just can’t do this anymore…

This image is killing me. The fact that it is not a human should tell you something. Humanity has lost its shine for me. Or maybe it’s the sheer inhumanity that we are all suffocating in. I’m sorry to bring this up, but it (life, the universe, everything)  has to mean something, or this one life will have lived in vain. And it hurts even more when you know that this scene is being duplicated everywhere.

Sea Legacy captures a soul crushing image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about this important story here at the Guardian.

We value beauty because we feel that it is somehow unique to humanity. But it really isn’t. Nature makes such wonders that pale all human creativity in comparison. So why do we choose to kill an incredibly important source of inspiration that can never be duplicated? Every living moment, every unique impression is different from the past and will be different in the future. Our impacts guarantee that nothing stays the same forever. Why can’t we get this one important insight??? Why do all of our pursuits miss the point of existence that surpasses logic. I have so many questions that come after this one plea for sanity.

2017 has been the toughest year for so many of us. But not for reasons that we can readily address, simply because the world refuses to speak out loud the words buried in our souls. Today is the day that I can no longer stand it. I refuse to let the pain render me helpless. I am going to stand up and fight…somehow…with whomever I can find that will stand with me. I know that others like me exist. I just need to find you.

I am reaching out for you. Here I am.

 

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Boy Feeling The Love

T’is the season for sharing, but then every season should be! Boy, all day, every day should be about feeling the love. Especially when times can feel tough for us all.

So, here’s a Reddit share that is making me tear up just a little, because these are the moments that touch us one and all:

 

I’ve obviously been out of a very important loop with BOY. Swiss singer Valeska Steiner and German bassist Sonja Glass have been making beautiful music together since 2007. And this little clip shows them and us feeling the love. Just a little snapshot in time that will stay in your soul forever. For times when you need to feel just like this.

I wish I’d known about them sooner. I guess that I really need to get out into the whole wide world of music, where there is so much creative brilliance just waiting to be shared. I can’t wait to hear more from this talented duo. Maybe we’ll be lucky and they’ll show up in a place near us to share the moment in person.

See, creativity really does lead to brighter moments in your life. Just immerse yourself in the moment and who knows how you’ll change on the other side. It’s really a powerful thing! And so very necessary.

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What Are We Marching For?

What in the hell is happening to America? Somewhere along the way, we stepped off the path of righteousness and just keep using our machetes to make a path to wherever the hell we’re heading. Lots of people including myself have problems with the direction that this country is heading. Some feel that we should have never left the 50′s (or maybe that’s the 30s onward), and they have made themselves known in politics around the world and now on our very streets.

A Nazi March in 2017 at UVA (courtesy: Hatewatch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The war of words is loud, strong, and relentless online and off, with either side calling each other names for not agreeing with them. But lately the words have gained slicing edges that are doing real damage. Our politics is no longer about right or wrong, but about for and against. The words of our forefathers no longer mean anything in our souls, because our hearts don’t beat for the same reasons that our forefathers fought for. I guess that’s what happens when you only care about who wins with no thought about what you’re losing.

A big part of the problem is that this country will not have a public discourse on how we got here. Just like we never did when we were first setting this country up. I’ve been reading excerpts from the Radical Reader by Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Campbell McMillan. It’s a valuable collection of personal writings from the leaders who made their marks upon this country from its birth to current times. I wish that this book had been available when I was in school as it is critical reading. The words of the original writers ring through with their hearts vibrating loudly for their causes, so that we understand the circumstances that drove them to action. And in the process we get a truer image of our country’s history from all perspectives, and not just for the call of patriotism.

No country has a clean history. Every country has sides that are fighting to be heard. We like to use the term “radical” as a slur, but fail to realize that those who accept this label wear it with pride for their cause. Perhaps if we looked at our leaps in advances in history, then we would realize that radical thoughts and acts are what pushed us forward into the great unknown. Much of what we enjoy today is directly responsible by radical thoughts and acts of our predecessors throughout history.

But as much as we gain, there is also so much to lose when we refuse to engage with thoughts and acts that endanger the greater good. I’ve supported a lot of organizations like the ACLU who stand up for free speech, but somewhere along the way we’ve lost sight of what that exactly means. The world is not just black or white.

It is critical that we be allowed to speak what’s in our hearts, but we also need to take responsibility when those words and actions cause a great harm. We need to talk about the dangers involved with free speech when it is not assisted with the lessons learned from all sides.  The legal world likes to claim that it is truly a blind and fair system, but so many cases over the years have little to do with fairness and more to do with cost. When does the true cost override the calculated costs that drive our current capitalistic world? When does the rule of law admit that is does not have all of the answers because so many participants are left out of the proceedings?

Here's one way to start the conversation (courtesy: teamreboot)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some things cannot and should not be accepted. Like the first image above which depicts the latest Nazi march in Charlottesville by those who sympathize with white supremacy and all that it stands for. We fought a global war to stop this violent rhetoric, and yet America did not remember the incalculable lesson. Equality does not mean much when there are tiers on which groups must stand that places everyone at different levels. Each new level added means that equality gets further and further away.

If we want to have this conversation, then we need to talk about both sides of the equation and why they are right and wrong. This violence is occurring because someone feels disrespected. But each someone also needs to realize that there are others who experience the disrespect in very divergent ways. Physical and verbal violence leave their marks on everyone, but most especially the victim who receives them. We’ve gone way past saying that everyone deserves a say when someone dies because of the altercation. Death is never the final solution. We should have learned this over and over again in wars at home and abroad. What is it going to take to wake up?

Anyone who advocates hate does so at their own risk. Because whatever you put out there will come back to you, and sometimes it will come back in volumes you never expected. Our leaders of our coumtry, both locally and nationally, have abdicated their positions as representatives for the people.  The conversation cannot be about making a law and expecting others to follow it without finding all risks involved . Each law you make negates the opportunity to fix the problem by applying bandages and tourniquets, but never healing the root cause.

Instead of expecting political and legal solutions, we need to deal with this on a national level with every person involved in the repair. We’ve run out of time to save democracy, because the image above and the actions of all those involved prove that democracy is gone (if it was ever really here). Political participants don’t want to see change, so long as they can beat the drum of their ideology.

But our country and every country out there is about more than ideology. They are about ALL living things, great and small, successfully co-existing and prospering equally. Anything else you hear from the system is just empty words as long as they are not paired with true action that tries to fix each and every problem our society faces.

What are we marching for? I guess it depends on how you see the images above in your own heart and soul.

I know that my soul has been crying out for answers that are nowhere to be seen or heard. Even those people who are fighting for change aren’t engaged as our world needs them to be. Forget about picking a side. The boat is flooding in on both sides and no one seems to be carrying a bucket.

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Another Light is Gone. RIP Chester Bennington

Wow, another really sad loss once again. Another light is gone in the music world, and this one hurts and shocks. Linkin Park hit me like a brick when I first heard them in Hybrid Theory. They were my first group that put rap into my orbit along with incredible melodies that struck the heart so hard. Chester Bennington was the powerful soulful voice that lead this incredible band straight into my soul. In a world of bland beats, Linkin Park lit a fire inside me with their unique rhythms, instrumentation, and sheer genius. The song above, In The End, is still my go to when I need to find my head as well as just feel. Who knew that it would be the one that bound me today of all days.

I don’t know what demons people fight, and what happens when the battle is lost to the point that the vast nothingness is more welcome to the pain of daily life. Life is not easy. It’s definitely not fair. And it’s not for those who abandon the shallows for the depths. The more you feel, the more it hurts. I’m really sorry to all of those who hold Chester Bennington next to their hearts. It’s a horrible way to lose your connection with the one you love.

NOTE: If YOU are having problems and feel that there is only one solution left: JUST REACH OUT. Someone will be there to try and help. Don’t go at it alone, and don’t think that no one will miss you once you’re gone. Suicide touches so many people, personally or otherwise. Those demons may bay in the winds of your mind until you just wish for peace and numbness. But the final step shouldn’t be taken alone, as you fall into the darkness. There’s already too much darkness cloaking this world. That’s why every light is special, unique, and necessary. For each light added to the whole has the power to illuminate every corner until the demons have nowhere left to go. You are all needed, even if you don’t realize it. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

RIP Chester Bennington. You will be missed desperately by many.

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Once Again, Net Neutrality vs The System

And once again, we are back at the ropes. It seems like this is becoming a yearly (if not more frequent) occurrence, but it’s an important fight to champion. One one side, we have the titans of capitalism who espouse the absolute rightness of free market principles (which don’t even exist in reality). And on the other, we have all users of the Internet and its symbolism as the expression of freedom that we are losing more and more each day at the hands of said capitalistic system.

Internet Tolls will become common without Net Neutrality (courtesy: Imgur)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a fair fight, it would be principles against profit, but this has not been anywhere near a fair fight when the so-called titans of free market have their hands up the skirt of the system that defines what we citizens are allowed to do and have. How do you trust rules, laws, and agendas when their writings are full of loopholes resulting in the decimation of all that we hold dear? So, once again we have to fight for a free Internet that no longer resembles what it was created for, but has become so much more for all of humanity.

The Internet is not a reflection of the real world, but it is the world as it would exist without the interventions of those who seek order above all. Good or bad, it is what brings dreams into reality for so many people around the world, and without a free Internet, there would be no innovation. Innovation requires the minds of everyone and not just the free market itself. Creations are born from the fires of inspiration and not the hollow bellies of the profit machines.

We all have voices, and yet some of our voices are not heard over others who claim prominence simply because they paid for it. If paid voices are given more value to non-paid voices, then how can we claim a democratic system when the inequality is obvious by the available content?

I write because it is part of who I am. I choose not to allow advertising simply because it will change or even suppress my voice. Like it or not, the payer has expectations for the revenue. Their agenda gets precedence over my own thoughts because that is what a free market means to our current state of economics. But that is not what free market actually is. When another authority (say money) dictates what I can or cannot write about, then the market is no longer free from intervention. A free market means that anything can come into reality and its life will be dictated on whether it is liked and wanted by others. Even a single person supporting something gives it the ability to exist for others. While I write to express and clarify myself to both me and others, I have the freedom simply because I am not engaging in the market via its accepted rules. While I may not have exposure, I have existence which is all that I need at the moment.

In Internet terms, Net Neutrality is the free market of the digital content creators and not just the power of the ISPs. Both are needed in order for the Internet to exist, and one will wither without the other. The ISPs have captured the system and are trying to undo the ruling of the last FCC decision for Title II that said that the Internet is a public utility that will allow all content to move freely without interference.

It is a fight that is as old as money, as we are all supposed to have a voice that can be heard without preferential treatment. Now that makes it hard to hear all voices, but it also allows it all to stay out there so that we will hopefully find the one we want (and many more we never knew we needed). The new FCC under Pai is aiming to dismantle the freedom that was guaranteed under the previous administration, and only one member spoke for the wishes of the people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fight is also embroiling Congress simply because everything is about politics, and no longer about the principles that we fought for in the past: equality, transparency, freedom, opportunity for all – you know all of the things that brought our nation into being as well as the Internet to mature into. Until we realize that life is more than the rule of law, everything will have to fought for because those free market supporters are now trying to sell everything as though it is theirs to sell. This is not the decision for Congress alone to make, much less the FCC panel or the titans of capitalism. This belongs to us all because we all made it into what it has become. It is bigger than the system. It is a reflection of humanity.

We’re so scared of the ugly that we don’t remember that it is just as necessary in order to recognize the beauty that also exists in the eye of the beholder. It’s the duality of life that allows us to learn and grow into proper humans who recognize that everything is about more than themselves. And that seems to be something that those in governance  and power have chosen to forget as they go about the daily rituals of upholding all that exists at the expense of what could be. Order must prevail, even if our system falls in the process, because a few got what they want at the expense of the rest. Or because a civilized citizenry cannot abide by chaos (or so they like to remind us on a daily basis). Kind of like the fight we’re having over every other aspect of our lives as shown in the daily news cycle, mainstream and fringe included.

So, here we go once again, until we all get involved to stop the daily vacillation that profit fans.

edit: and I forgot to add the most important message to pass along:

or normal, or whatever you want to be...on a free Internet

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Port Huron Music Center Is Spreading The Love

News these days is really hard to take. Too many bad things with very little inspiration…until now. The story started off with lots of questions as we viewed a video clip posted on Reddit today. A 16-year old named John celebrated a birthday, but it wasn’t what he expected. He didn’t look happy and we soon found out why. Watch and listen to his sister’s video to find out what happens – and have tissues handy because it will make you bawl.

All of the amazingness is happening because of a group of incredible people at Port Huron Music Center and a very wonderful dad who loves his son. They were able to give John a very special present that will last his lifetime. And that caused a lot of lurkers and posters on Reddit to reach out to bring a little bit of happiness to a guy who will hopefully bring beautiful music to the world, as he and his loved ones go through some very tough times.

All I can say is THANK YOU to this wonderful group of people who gave me and a lot of other people some hope that the world still has pockets of humanity that care for one another and wish each other the best. I really needed this reminder today that hope exists until the last light is ignored and dies. Today, we are nowhere near that point yet and this story is one of the reasons why.

Port Huron Music Rocks!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Port Huron Music Center: You guys rock!!!! Please keep spreading the love far and wide. The world needs it so much right now, and you’re an example of the best that humanity has to offer. Keep the music flowing.

To Johnny, please remember that we are all behind you and want you to do incredible things with your gifts. I hope that you do so many amazing things with music and never let anyone separate you from your love. Enjoy the concert and meeting one of your heroes. I am also so very sorry for your loss, but so happy that your dad’s love is now everywhere as well as with you. You’ve touched me deeply and made me want to go after my own dreams even harder. Take care of yourself.

…I just needed to share a heartwarming moment of humanity and wish Johnny a bright and music-filled life. Thank you to everyone involved for giving me some much-needed hope.

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I Am Sad

I know that I’ve been a storm cloud of late, but it’s been really hard to shake the fact that I am sad. Something very wrong is going on around the world, and we’re not taking it seriously at our own peril.

I started out writing this post in bullet points so others would read it, but I’ve changed my mind. These words need to be said in a stream of consciousness. Only because I’ve been bleeding on the inside, and it’s being caused by others who I would have never suspected of being cruel. Our closest loved ones and even strangers who sound reasonable are all acting as though their emotions supersede all of the reasoning for building a safe world for all. Who knew that I would now be scared of emotions?

Somewhere along the way, we lost our compass that guides us – not just morally but also literally. From below, words of hatred are thrown as darts at anyone who does not belong in your clique. From above, the leaders shower us with pretty words that are completely meaningless when their actions are opposite.

We aren’t robots that perform in a straight line. We’re not even pushers of whatever trend is making the most money. We most certainly are not walking billboards to advertise what a soulless entity wants to sell to take over the world. When we decided that institutions deserved more respect than the people that built them, we fell off the path of our humanity that led to a prosperous future. Prosperity isn’t only about what you obtain, but also what you attain and retain.

Where did our caring go? Where did our curiosity go? Where did our dreaming go? Where is anything that brings out beauty to be appreciated without being coveted?

I appreciate birds because they can fly free. I appreciate all living creatures because they live in a purer sense than we do. We love animals in return because the love they provide to us is a true love, without conditions. And yet we do not treat them all in the same manner, protecting them as they do us.

We expect them all to live by our rules, yet it is our very rules that are corroding us from the outside in. When someone claps at the pain another causes a perceived enemy, we all lose. Multiply that by every person at all levels of society doing harm to someone weaker and you get a breakdown that not even the rule of law can fix.

At some point, all of our learning is just words. And that is not something that I want to accept as I am a lover and creator of words. Words are not some simple concept that fits their definition. They have the power to build worlds when they are combined together. They have the ability to create dreams when they are used creatively.

But they also have a darker side when they are used with malice. And that is where it feels like we have landed. A world that actively chooses darkness in order to protect the very little light that we can see. Because we refuse to tend to the light that shines on truths that we don’t want to see.

I am sad that we choose labels over being the complex beings that we all are. Nothing should stay the same forever because we are supposed to be growing from learning new things each and every day. And yet, the past seems to be held in lofty respect simply because that’s how it’s always been done. Where does the future come from when nothing changes?

 

This is a tweet that has been bothering me since I read it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this is going to be our conversation to one another from now on, then how do we ever expect to live, work, and love togther? If people are applauding violence as an answer, then they are really not being human (I hope we haven’t devolved). We already have too much violence in this world, no matter what other “experts” like Pinker say. We’ve become the numbers that we so cherish, and have forgotten that they are not he be-all, end-all of this universe. Checkboxes, labels, numbers and data are all limited for a very good reason – they are not all-inclusive.

I can barely look at social media or news of late because the darkness is overcoming the light. Brutality should not be the foundation of rules, laws, thinking and acting and yet it is. All because we no longer want to be together. We’ve only got one planet, and it’s time that we remember that it is as fragile as we are.

Here’s a thought: Every organization that only fights in one way is missing the point of this so-called revolution. When a world is trying to change the inside, it is going to take much more than rules and process. If you are not allowing others to do their part in their way, and you are pushing them out before they can accomplish the dreams in their minds and hearts, then you will never win whatever cause you are engaging in. Look at your maps, and you will notice that they are not as crowded. Perhaps that is because you are being two dimensional, when the world is not. Some of us are serious about changing for the good of all. You really should hear those voices as well if you want a different outcome.

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Truth Can Hamper

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you only seek a side which is close to your truth, are you really seeing, hearing, or even contemplating anything other? Can all of these people who don’t agree with you really be wrong, and only you right? And must you see this as a personal assault against your point of view (which is personal to you, even if others identify with you)?

Truth can hamper real progress when it’s not the whole truth.

Compromise doesn’t mean that others do it, but not you. Compromise means that everyone gives a little to be as fair to as many as can be done. So much in this world misses this point, and we are living the results everywhere. Acceptance without question is not compromise, unless that acceptance has been won after everyone has been heard. That’s the point so many are making that’s not being heard.

Here’s another truth that won’t hamper:

 

 

 

 

 

We all have work to do, so shouldn’t we actually try doing it together? After all, this is our collective lives that are being affected, and not some simple game as the system like to portray itself. There’s much more at stake than just winning or losing. We’ve keep missing the point that humanity has always had more than two sides.

 

- thanks to Umair Haque for continuing to share his perspective to bring truth into the realm of reality.

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The Lines

Our communities lived by measurements of both good and bad. It was how we learned where the limitations of both existed. It wasn’t the immediate consequences that worried us, but the future unseen ones that we could never predict. And they always came, usually when we least expected.

This is a moment of time with one of those consequences. And this will be the first lesson of this class. Welcome to Sanctuary.

 

Walking through the town, you would never know that it had ever been a community because of the lines. They are everywhere, and they are almost down to a few feet in width. As an outsider, I marveled at the confusing legacy that came from the flurry of decisions that must have led to this chaos of stops  that did literally that.

And as you can see, the lines marked boundaries that each person wasn’t willing to cross over. The tour guide had a cheerful smile on her face, but everyone else in the group was horrified.

Why wouldn’t they just work together?  What was so important that no one was willing to bend just a little so that they could live with one another.

The tour guide giggled a little at that comment, Well, as you can see, they couldn’t live together, now could they?

Another person in the group laughed aloud in amazement. Were they all children? Who would be stupid enough not to know what compromise is?

A small girl with adorable pigtails hmphed at the man’s comments. You could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t appreciate the insult. Kids aren’t that stupid. Why do you think they’re always bouncing from game to game? It’s so everyone is happy. Adults don’t like a game and they take away the ball so no one can play. They call it laws, and expect it to be followed without question. But kids have to work together because we’re always being told no like we don’t know anything, and we don’t even us those things. Who’s really the child?

Stomping off to talk with the “children”, it wasn’t long before they all turned to look at the man in disgust. Now that was embarrassing, and he shut up after confronting the tiny but growing storm cloud.

Well, she does have a point, now doesn’t she, sir? Even the guide was aghast at the man’s air of superiority reeking about him in a stench of privilege. Those in charge get to call the shots, and rarely listen to others around them. I guess it comes from thinking that one knows everything there is to know. Once that happens, how is one ever wrong and others ever right?

The crowd shifted uncomfortably at this reminder that maybe they too had done something just like this in the not-too-distant past. But they would never be this shortsighted, would they?

What about the last national election of 2020? Did any of you think to do anything different than you had always done? I would think not! We would not be standing here today with the results that literally tore apart a nation like tissue paper if you had really known what compromising meant for everyone, and not everyone ELSE.

The children all nodded in agreement with the guide. Our teacher taught us about that time in our history just yesterday before our fieldtrip today. She wanted us to understand the consequences of “lines in the sand”. We didn’t think she meant real lines until now. All of the children looked dejectedly towards their parents. Why would you do this to everyone? Why wouldn’t you learn to play well with others like you ALWAYS tell us?

Now the adults shifted away as though they were the cause of all of this. How could they be when it was their ancestors who destroyed hope more than 10 years ago. Ok, so maybe they were the ancestors and not the victims they pretended  to be, but they didn’t start this mess. A once proud land was now a pockmarked desert of lines and signs as far as the eye could see. No natural beauty left because no one thought of the importance of it in their own lives. It wasn’t necessary because they had pictures of it to be viewed in the comfort and privacy of your own homestead while they scraped the land for “resources”.

And now they had no nation to call their own because they ripped it apart with their belief systems and for all that glitters.

Now would have been the time when a…I think it’s called a tumbleweed…would roll by in the desolate winds of destruction, but of course there wasn’t anything left to make that tumbleweed. I looked at the children with my own look of sadness, and sure enough my daughter knew what I wanted. With a simple projection from her communication band, a tumbleweed rolled by the larger section of adults who looked on in shock.

I chuckled alone as I stood apart from the rest, much like it had always been. A history teacher wasn’t very important until times like this. Of course, if more of them had been listened to by the masses back in 2017 or 2018, then maybe we wouldn’t all be standing here wondering where it had all gone wrong.

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When Others Create

We’ve all created something that we embrace as our own precious gift. We become invested in it because we put so much of ourselves into it. Whether it was a game, a book, a show or any other creation, it spreads its wings and glides into other souls. And those souls embrace it as their own, because they pull something unique from it that they relate to. The cycle moves on, growing like a ripple in the water driven by a joyous wind.

When another creation is born from that which we treasure, our expectations are high and pure. We want to feel that emotion that birthed a love so true. If the emotion is discordant, then we hit out against the blasphemy that we perceive. But is that right? Or did we just not open ourselves up to a hidden path that someone else uncovered, unseen by ourselves.

We forget that when others create, their dreams do not always match our own. That is the beauty of dreams – there are an infinite variety, some hidden and some seen. See the colors and textures as only you can, but don’t limit them to what you know. Don’t close yourself off to another’s dream simply because it is feels off to you. Give it a chance, because there is an opportunity to find new lands to explore. Every journey has the potential of changing you, and that is what life is about.

Creations are indeed infinite but also delicate. If you try to capture and tame them, chances are that you will endanger their very existence. Let them go free and see where they will take you, without preconceived notions. You may not be happy at what you see at this exact moment, but the future is wide open to create anything that you can dream up. So, when others create, embrace the difference. It’s all around you. And it feeds a hungry soul that is looking for a reason to grow and prosper. Every creation begets more, ever growing and ever changing to something beyond our expectations. How beautiful!

…just saying

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