Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rocket Man

Today I listened to a call for three hours. It came out of the blue.

The conversation summoned a reaction of fear.

It was for politics—well, personal persuasions would be more accurate—not necessarily about our nation, our community, our inspired works, our choice, what is good for you and I, or what we believe in. It was more about fear. The caller was trying to persuade with fear. Personal fear.

This of course never works in the end (not in my life)—no matter how many spin doctors on the ground say, beware of my fears.

Repeatedly, I kept on saying, “Go home, and ask yourself what is right.”

But strangely, this argument bounced. More persuasions were said. I wasn’t sure if he called because he wanted my opinion, my support or just to get his way.

It seemed way too easy to choose fear itself. The realities, the reasons, the human nature, the needs, and the circumstances.
But perhaps we are shepherded by our own fears

I was everyone and no one to him. I don’t actually think he even called me by my name, strangely. Fear kept on driving this call—even to the point where he forgot my name and called me a few times by someone else’s name. Four times.

My name is Chung.

So how is this transcended? For the good of what is believed.

After this call, to be honest, I felt like taking a shower. I couldn’t even think straight. It lacked inspiration, or breathing for that matter. Choke.

An hour later, I made a long distance phone call to a long-time friend, a man of remarkable talent. He could have been in his worst financial situation, his darkest hour. I just had this gut feeling, he was doing okay. He answered the call (alive!). Some time in the middle of the call, he said, “I didn’t know where my rent was coming from.”

He told himself to trust his gut. Be free. He enjoyed one day to himself.

When he returned, strangely, a cheque for $700 came in the mail…long awaited royalties. A sign! I always feel very happy when this type of cheque comes in the mail. It represents a lot of faith, truth, inspiration and unbelievable perseverance (even excuses we’ve made to ourselves). He never expected it to come.

Feeling better, we started to examine why we’ve been in some of the conflicts, people problems and, in some cases, unbelievable dramas we’ve seen. They all share a similar trait. Fear. Personal fear.

Something we reacted to, and didn’t go anywhere with. If anything, it lingered to haunt anyone who touched it.

I told him, I’ve seen some of the best people, some of the strongest I’ve known flip to fear – especially financial fear.

There's been no shortage of being caught up in this. There is almost an obligation to reconcile a fear of someone else if not your own. Over time, obligation becomes fear itself. And in each case, our gut at the beginning felt this could happen one day. Fear slotted itself – to fill a hole, a lead role.

Soon enough the enabler gets disabled. The abled are no longer able.

He told me, although I don’t remember saying this, that I once said to him in a place called the New Bohemian, a place inspired by the Beats, the only way this can be overcome is to rise above it.

Oh yeah.

Not exactly always our strongest suit, when confronted with people’s fears. This man I called, however, was one of the few I’ve known who didn’t flip out over his own personal fears.

We then commenced moments of inspired conversation.

“Trust the gut (act on it).”

“Make decisions only when you are inspired.”

“Follow the compass.”

This is when the able enable at their best. This is when the disabling are confronted best.

And the person with the compass finds the destination that can’t be seen.

* * *
I almost stopped writing again, it’s been on my mind – sometimes reactions can be overwhelming. They don’t happen everyday, but cumulatively over a year they aggregate and stick.

Some readers may think, "Finally someone said it!" Yes, someone who faces all these aggravations no one else has.

It’s hard to write while listening to fears and be inspired by this. They are loud voices. Being fearless has been worth any mistake I’ve ever made writing.

One man, who doesn’t speak much, once thought I wrote for my ego. I used to think that, either this or for someone else’s ego. It can always be interpreted that way. It’s why I stopped for 10 years.

Those peers who muffle freedom of speech had nothing to do with it. Those loud voices who like to have the loudest voice of the room were not the ones. Not any bully who didn’t like how you looked, or what you believed it, or what you did. It was just because I once felt writing was for ego – more than any truth it made. Although I don’t know if this is a truth, it was when I stopped writing for the man, that more truth was made in words. I don’t get paid to write anymore. I still make mistakes.

There was once a man, who couldn’t express himself, articulate himself to a level he wanted, to debate me. Actually, there’s been many men like this, including the caller today. (Not too many women have had the same issues). Actions spoke louder than words – some of these men even said. But then I questioned, what is your action? What have you produced? What have you made? What have you inspired? What have you finished? What have you chosen to do? This is not a great dialogue of course. But I have always felt I was making some people feel bad because they wanted to say something but couldn’t. Some, feeling extreme, resorted to emotional arguments, and even anger, over logic and sound argument.

This is a long way from some people saying I couldn’t speak English well, let alone write, for a.... Those days are forgotten.

Every now and then, a fact will be argued. I reply, writing may be literary, but every word is never meant to be taken literally. The truth of anything is key. And the truth might not be in the words themselves but rather what they mean or what they make one discover alternatively.

Writers are not always right….like no song is perfect.

There are reactions off and on to things I say, as with any writer, but when it happens I keep on reminding myself why I started writing again. I know all of the above already. I stopped for 10 years for those very reasons. Not one word said. Even in the face of scores of writers i trained who made me feel guilty. I got JD Salinger.

Some people, more private, still have issues with how public I can be sometimes. I am a little more public, testing my fears, and some times social boundaries as writers preceding me have done in their time. Some people are definitely uncomfortable with that, they only know their own skin. I am jumping even out of my own skin.

This is why.

I have a daughter who lives far away – across an ocean – in a destiny that has a story to be made, and had a story before she arrived. She will have a life more public than anyone I know. 20 million women knew her parents were married. I must understand this public exposure personally. There are thoughts and experiences I want to share with her (not even necessarily for her to agree on)—archived online, that she can only find online or via friends. Until that day, she will know nothing of me after January, 2006, except for what I write and the one or two days a year we now spend together. So to know me, my privacy must be shared to a certain extent.

I dont say everything...just things we would have discussed possibly...manifest in the spirits of many people I've met, with interesting conversations.

As Bono said, not everything word has a good scent. Some words even stink. Really bad.

But every now and then, if you sift through the many words, there is a moment of divine inspiration….inspiration not 100% sourced by me or you, but to which our strengths and inspiration can contribute.

That magic has a hand in pulling us – not fear – but inspiration. It pulls everything together.

It is too easy to make a decision when you are not inspired. It is too easy to let something slot in, that’s not inspired. It’s too easy to react to a high pressure money situation or a fear from the past. It’s way too easy, to do things out of convenience, and not by design or choice. It’s too easy to justify the indefensible, the unjustifiable.

It’s then we make our worst decisions. Our passion, undermined. Our beliefs, eroded. Our flow disrupted. Our skills disabled. Our souls without belonging. Our trust, disappeared.

Fear is also the source of all inequality—if I have understood anything in civil rights.

This is probably important to say, given how often it happens, how often we succumb, how easy it is to do in some form. How easy it is to become far smaller than how big we can be with the talent, and skills we have. Fear disables the most capable. The greatest talents in the world can become obscured by fear – to diminishing existence.

When you are inspired, fear cannot be bigger than you. The person who is afraid likes to become bigger. If anything this is what 9/11 taught me – as upsetting as it was, as tragic as it was. But fear cannot eclipse inspiration. If anything, this is what both the Republican and Democrat parties learned with Obama's election.

If I had last words, this would be it:

Our best decisions are made when inspired. QED.

I wrote this while listening to Rocket Man. It’s lonely sometimes. I am not the only man they think I am.
It is sometime clear to think what you want to be known for after leaving this planet