Finding Love like Shells


There was a time when I washed my rusted copper red dress in the ocean
Using detergent made from aloe vera and lemon juice,
In the night time birds circled above crying mating calls
While I slept alone beneath fallen palm leaves.

No sound of rumbling traffic, thundering lorries, humming engines
Only waves, rolling waves as I listened to the stories the fire told me,
As I listened to the stories plucked guitar strings told me
As I listened to the stories that a hundred sparkling eyes told me.

Sounds caressed helix before meandering down delicate earlobes
Swimming like the spiralling fractal in a found seashell,
It was buried beneath hot, black, volcanic sand
Unearthed as I slowly skimmed toes into seabeds of rock-pools.

We hoped to discover love like we acquired shells
A rare chance meeting in awe of simple beauty,
Kept most precious forever from palm to palm
Reminding us of a still peace, a brightness, a truth.

Blinded by a gift of our sun’s perfect rays
Some danced together, sung together, prayed together,
Yes I was in love, with only the full moon
Who wrapped my spirit in a heavenly glow.

Memories of Freedom

I remember in the summertime
Collecting fresh green herbs,
Morn ’till night shone the sun
Upon my eager eyes,
Feasting on, oh devouring,
Landscapes pleasing to my heart,
Bella Italia, Bella Italia,

Words were hushed,
My lips sealed tight,
I searched for love
Amongst stars of night,
Between vineyards twisting
Waiting for a hand to clasp,
A palm grown strong
With creases that changed,
A life-line inventing and re-inventing
Like mountains I climbed up,
To reach the peak
And never come back down,
Because the wind loved me,
The sun loved me,
The breathing ground loved me,

Flames mesmerized my thoughts,
Before laying on a bed of fern leaves
Only between my body and
Cold, hard concrete,
I shivered and turned
Wearing a one euro jumper,
Whispering “I love to be free.”

Contrasting Children

The light of the world
Quietly nestles between creases in my palm,
A darkness gathers in the corners
While the sun hides behind hills that rise early,
Prayers drift into cold air asking for children to be loved,
Understanding that’s the way it is,
Yet questioning black nails, dirty clothes and hunger,
Questioning why you see it all so clear
But can do nothing, can say nothing
To make it all ok, to take away the pain
That is hunger for care,
Like a chimp prised from its mother
Before it’s grown enough to stand alone
It’s forced to stand alone and that hurts me
Because I don’t like to see people alone,
Carrying a burden that feels like a hundred,
I’d rather they carry baskets on their heads
Filled with fruit or linen, or fundamentals for survival
Balanced with joy in their footsteps
And songs in their hearts that whistle on dry air,
Fly into red skies, soften hardened heels
While pitter patter pitter patter
Of small soles laugh in wide alleyways
At a pink t-shirt saying ‘Barbie’ that a boy wears,
Donated in his life when he had not a cloth to wear
But still he laughs, still he lets the music rise
Between sand and barefoot, to hip bone, to rib cage,
This life won’t cage him behind bars of depression
Killing the children of the western world
Who don’t feel the beat of the earth
Underneath steel wings of the preying gargoyles
Snatching imagination, freedom, connection,
Gratitude, human relationships, and peace of mind,
He was born in the crest of the heat,
Lived with nine and loved with nine,
Whistling-a-whistling, skipping along
Reaching for clouds as he touched the dirt,
Collecting stones worth more than gold
Tossed into the oceans fold
Where waves roll and tremble
Sculpting the stones into a new beginning,
A new shape, a new possibility, a new destiny.

Simple Pleasures My Mother Taught Me

My mother taught me that the best things in life are free. That you don’t need money or material objects for happiness because it can be found in life’s simple pleasures. Like bursting into dance, like swimming in the sea, like watching birds swoop and dive and build homes in cliff edges, like using our imagination to be wherever we wanted to be, like standing out from the crowd, like thinking outside of the box so much that there is no box and never was a box, like changing who you are and exploring who you are, like picking blackberries, like feeling the sun embrace your skin, like freedom from the world to laugh, swing, create, fall, feel, build, cry, and hate enough to love a million times more.

We ran as wild as the animals, alongside burrowing rabbits and badgers creeping through tangled overgrowth as we leapt through glowing green beds of fern leaves. We cooked bundles of elderberry into magic concoctions upon fires that told us this was our world. We could do anything and we were fearless. It was our woods. We were the woods. Those fallen trunks, and trickling stream, branches we clung to, butterflies we chased, merged into our dreams behind closed eyes as we slept all those nights with only a layer between us and the living earth. Our spirits were free to reach down into the very dust of our creation and I know now what I did not know then. To see this is what God made for me.

My relationship with my mother is my second greatest romance, the first is with my God.

How did I develop faith in the church?

My faith in the church has been built upon numerous small events and occurrences that I cannot deny participation of a Godly being.

I had always believed that everything happened for a reason, at the right time, every single person I met had significance, and every single word spoken had meaning. I knew there was life far beyond that which our human eyes could see. I had felt powerful energy, I had lived amongst the purity of nature, and I had stumbled through darkness shrouded by shadow beings of other worlds. I knew that there was more to life than a vicious cycle I was trapped in; there was something that wasn’t right, something missing. A hollowness in my being existed from a young age, as if my soul had been torn from me. It was a life-long search filling this hole with alcohol, substances, promiscuity, stealing, and uncontrollable rage. I had depression and severe anxiety so I would be afraid to leave my bedroom, afraid to walk down the street, and afraid of who I really was.

When I left England to travel I longed to find freedom. I wanted to run into the earth’s open arms and strip away all of the tarnished influences of this world so I would be left as I was when I came into the world; like a baby: pure, innocent, unknowing, impartial. In ridding myself of all worldly affairs and accepting and forgiving my troubled past I became open and prepared to hear God’s word that had long been forgotten.

On returning to England with no home, and no money, and no concept of what the future may hold, I was in a heightened state of peace interested only in creating and maintaining this peace, with a yearning to discover my purpose. I was still in a meditative state and continued journeying in my own mind in search of answers, in search of explanations for that which I could not comprehend. I moved on, I was lonely, I was betrayed, I was convinced I had a mental illness. But I continued still with a spring in my step and the hope that I was going somewhere great.

My meeting with the missionaries was a simple passing on the street while I was walking home from work with my head in the clouds. A kindly gesture that allowed me to pass them giving me a friendly “Hi, how are you?” I replied with a spritely “hello, I’m good, how are you?” I think both of us were equally pleasantly surprised to be spoken to with such courteous manners on those streets of Gillingham. They asked me if I ever thought about the meaning of life and I said ” yes, everyday, it keeps me awake at night.” I had pondered and pondered, and dived into my own thoughts, into experiences, into religions, into people and my only conclusion was that there was no purpose. Nothing around me had real meaning. I would tap things to find out if they truly existed, and what were these particles that held it together anyway, where did they come from? It could all be no more tangible than my disappearing thoughts. I was surrounded by objects, places, people, who were not living. It was a town invaded by spiritual poverty that was attempting to drag me down with it. As this elder spoke on the street corner stood opposite an old church, I felt this heightened peace returning to me. I wanted to meet with them again only because I had enjoyed the interesting, spiritual conversation and was curious to know more. Weeks passed where we exchanged messages. I attended Sunday services at a Church of England and felt power run through my body when my forehead was anointed with oil. I had never had a relationship with Jesus, I had never known if he was even real. I attended one Alpha course lesson which was to help people better understand Christianity and when we were presented with scholarly evidence of Jesus and His miracles I knew that he was true. There were friendly people at this church, they danced when they sang, the words touched my heart, and they were involved with community outreach projects. This was a place I felt far more comfortable than other places of worship.

I wished to know what that warm burning in my chest was and why sometimes my body felt to be glowing with life. The elders told me it was The Holy Ghost, testifying of truth and righteousness and offering guidance. I had felt this goodness many times and had defined it as pure love. I needed more evidence, more confirmation. They suggested I pray to God and ask if The Book of Mormon was true. Sitting down in my bedroom holding this blue book in my hands, I pleaded to know if it was true. My heart glowed and a wave of peace fell upon me. Still this was not enough, I knew the mind’s capabilities that could be playing all manner of deceptions luring me into false hope and imagined emotions.

I was angry with the concept of forgiveness, that I was expected to ask God’s forgiveness for my transgressions when He had given me this life. I had already forgiven my parents for mistakes they made and accepted responsibility to change the damages. So I had to forgive God for leaving me, for putting me through darkness, for giving me a broken home, for sending me to live beside beings made of shadows, and for letting me live without His love.

I learned that it hurts him too when we suffer. And sometimes we suffer because we have done wrong, sometimes we suffer to grow, but in the end we will always grow and always come out the other side. I learned that God loves each of us and he wants to be close to us so that we can feel his love that is comparable to nothing else in this world. I learned that there is a before and after; that we are spirits given human bodies upon this earth in a mortal life that is microscopic in comparison to our eternal destinies. I learned that this is not it! That the spirit world really does exist beside us, and there are endless worlds, multiple universes, and angels, and we ourselves have the potential to become Gods.

It isn’t to say that I did not know these things before. But I have read, and prayed, and studied, and found stable, unchanging, solid facts written in the words of God concluding what I already believed. No matter where I go or what I do, God will speak to me in a multitude of methods and He always has done without me truly knowing it was Him. In nature I feel His presence envelope my spirit and warm my heart, away from the scriptures, away from any of the people who belong to the church, away from the pews, and away from all of the resources. Alone amongst the sunsets with birds singing, alone when I’m reaching to the lost souls, and alone when I fall to my knees. I speak to Jesus and I know He lives, as my brother, and as my healer of pains he understands; I feel Him carry me when I am too weak to carry myself. In opening pages of scriptures I feel His peace and I feel God’s peace. In the Gospel I know, who I am, why I am here, where I came from, and where I will go when I die. There had been many stories, many theories, many discussions, many thoughts in attempts to answer these questions that I had turned my cheek against in disbelief. None of them seemed quite right.

I was afraid to commit to one religion, I wished to explore religions and cultures and people across the earth and thought that by belonging to a religion I would segregate myself from others. I didn’t want to create division in a world that was losing its’ unity and needed bringing together. I left behind delving into other religions and spiritual theories to commit to this new life that I hoped would bring me stability, knowledge, purpose, direction, truth, and the opportunity to start over. In my heart I longed for adventure and travelling but I also desired a soulmate who would be with me forever and the best chance of raising and protecting a happy family with all of the love I could give. Within both these dreams I also wanted to fulfil my natural desire to serve others and to live only to benefit and assist those in need. Between battling with leaving everything behind again and fleeing to unknown lands, I stayed to learn and live this way God wanted.

It was a mistake to assume finding God’s church would alleviate my troubles. Days are still hard, at times I am lost, and occasionally I wonder whether anything has really changed. But I know my life is for the work of God and it will find me when the time is right, or maybe it already has and I’m too busy searching to see. Life’s mysteries continue to astound me and I have not enjoyed turning to books so much to find answers to some of this profound life’s ultimate questions. At the moment my focus is on reading and living these scriptures and I’ll occasionally read materials that are not of the Gospel but this is my foundation that I build upon; my roots that will grow deep into the earth, and when I have enough knowledge, then I’ll be ready to build some more, growing into a beautiful, full-bodied, fruitful tree of life. And in this I bare my testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

Who are You?

We have to know what we are when we are nothing. When there are so many things we think we need, endless lists of feelings, objects, experiences, people, expecting we will be satisfied in our gains. Satisfaction does not come from these unattainable external influences that we can waste a life-time searching for, unconsciously attempting to fill an echoing void within our beings.

Who are you? Without everything that you associate yourself with? Who are you without the hobbies, the job, the friends, the family, the home? Are you willing to discover what is underneath the flesh and bones? Can you uncover layers influenced by a mis-directed society and dissect the parts that are untrue?

Discard everything, and start again. End this way of living that is filled with dead-ends or lost dreams and start again. We do not run out of chances to start over and the only way to start over is to really know who you are. When you are nothing. You are a unique special human being living on this earth for a purpose only you can fulfil.

And when you love, dream, hope, cry, loose, struggle, believe and keep on pushing forward knowing that there is more to come you make it out on the other side, knowing, this is who I am, without any solid definition because you are free.

Happiness is dependant only on state of mind, on peace of mind. If you’re at peace you withstand all of life’s hurricanes. Find that peace, use your time wisely to go in search of those things that make your soul feel wholesome and your spirit uplifted so when winds blow and darkness comes knocking you know how to re-gain your peace, you know who you are and you know where you’re going. Look for the answers and they will find you when the time is right. But never stop looking, never stop wanting to know more, and never assume you know everything. The answers are out there drifting upon the winds waiting you to reach out and catch them with open palms. Keep reaching, keep looking up at the stars wondering where you came from, keep walking down empty streets, keep listening to the silence of the trees and trickling rivers, keep speaking to full moons, and keep questioning why you are here. You are not alone, and you are here for a reason.

Keep Going and Fight Through

Just like after a physical trauma you might have to learn to walk again, with any kind of emotional trauma or mental illness you have to build yourself up again. I have worked for years to achieve emotional stability, confidence, a positive outlook on life, and inner happiness.

Money will come and go, material desires will come and go. But nothing is worth more than inner happiness. The struggles of unemployment, debt, and homelessness are no less challenging than other difficulties this life throws at us. I have been pushing forward, trying to break out of this viscous cycle for the past year. Moving in and out of houses, sleeping in beds that will never be mine, showering in bathrooms where my dreams were held hostage, and tip-toeing through corridors that didn’t want me on their carpets. With numbers in a bank account sinking and sinking, thinking and thinking about how I’ll ¬†eat, about worst case scenario of living in a tent. Mostly wondering, how I got there in the first place. Because it had always been like this in someway or another. Moving from house to house on bad terms, drowning in negative work environments where I felt separate from everyone else, and prioritising money for alcohol and cigarettes. I have changed a lot, in my values and ethics. Yet I am still in this struggling scenario of borrowing money for rent and being unable to emotionally cope with aggressive or draining work environments. I am more able to recognise these environments and although this is something that has strengthened, it means I am less willing to compromise and it means that if my inner happiness is threatened I will leave. I try to fight through and bring in the light but I have never been strong enough amongst all of the darkness so it creeps into my pores strangling streams of purity flowing through my veins. Then I wonder again, if ever I will fit in somewhere to make money and sustain this life.

I want one thing. Only freedom to be my authentic self. Un-tainted, pure, natural, loving and happy.

As this scenario happens again and again I am strengthened. This time I cannot deny that everything will be alright as I wipe away the tears, shake off my doubts and keep going, keep hoping and keep praying to know the right thing to do.