Tag Archives: power

Death Of A So-Called Friend

The beer was cold against my lips.  I sat there looking out over a particularly sunny landscape and, raising a toast to a passing cloud, took another draw from the bottle.  You see, I was celebrating . . . celebrating my first murder.

My victim?  Nobody you would know.  But then again, maybe you DO know this guy.  He and his ilk are nothing if not ubiquitous.

The weird thing is, there was a period when I considered this guy to be my best friend.  You would have been hard pressed to find two closer companions anywhere.  For the longest Time, if you saw me you could be certain that he was always close by.  We were, in fact, inseparable.  It was the dawning realization a few years back that my identity, my very sense of self, was wrapped up in my relationship to this guy that caused me to question if that relationship was really healthy and in my best interest.

When I first brought up my concerns, he just laughed them off.  Quite the joker, he was.  But I persisted and when I refused to be dissuaded, he acted as though his feelings had been hurt.  When this little ploy didn’t have the desired effect of making me recant, well, then . . . that’s when he got nasty.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed him, that I was nothing without him, that I just couldn’t handle things on my own.  After a while, he softened a bit, reminding me that for years he had protected me, looked out for me, cared for me.  He said he was only doing what was best for me and that I should be grateful.

I hate to admit it but, at first, I thought that he might be right, maybe I DID need him.  I recognized that, after so many years together, I really had come to depend on him for far more than I should have.  Could I do okay on my own?  Did I even know how?  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I had my doubts.

I moped around for a few days, questioning my judgment and my commitment to break free all the while.  He could tell that I was still struggling with the whole thing and did his best to pacify my doubts.  Strokes to my ego followed apologies and other various attempts to distract.  Something told me, though, that this was about nothing more than the preservation of the status quo and his own preeminence in my Life.  His coddling gradually changed to coercion, then became threats.  I recognized with painful finality that there was something very wrong and that, if anything was to be done, I was the one that would have to do it.

I knew he had no interest in changing the state of things but I refused to let that stop me.  I sought out counseling but, with me being the only willing participant, it wasn’t at all effective.  I was the one that wanted change, not him.  I knew that the longer I permitted him to remain in my Life, the more I was giving away my power.  This had to stop.

I tried to walk away, but he refused to leave me alone.  No matter where I went, he followed.  The more I tried to be done with him, the more determined was his pursuit.  My entreaties for him to just leave fell on deaf ears.  Pretty soon I found myself drowning in my emotions.  Fear and anger were constants when I was awake and when I dreamed.  It was then that I recognized just how poisonous was the whole affair.

So I decided to kill him.

It was a most satisfying task, that of snuffing out his life and hiding all remnants of his existence from sight.  The monster now lies in an unmarked grave.  I mean, really . . . why on earth would I want to memorialize such a villain?  And what would the headstone read? –

Here lies
– MY DELUSIONS –
Though to the eye exceeding fair,
His heart, ‘twas black and vile.
No longer shall his mien ensnare,
nor manner e’er beguile.

I know I’ll never see him again. Unless I resurrect him, that is.  It’s kind of scary to know that I have that kind of power, even more so to know that the responsibility to keep that tomb sealed rests with no one but me.

I really do feel the better for his being dead.

Care to join me in a beer?…

©Billy Red Horse

The High Cost Of Living

(This article was originally published in January of 2008)

The new year bears down upon us.  It is a Time to swear penance for that extra 10 pounds we added to our already stressed frames over the holidays, a Time to review the year that has passed and to look forward to all the positive changes we intend to initiate in the coming 12 months.  Should we be brutally honest with ourselves, though (a skill so few seem to possess in this day and age), we might find that the resolutions we are now confidently pledging to discharge are not unlike those we vowed to keep at this same Time last year.  Well, I suppose there is something to be said for consistency . . .

In a few weeks we will begin to receive the W-2 forms that allow us to accurately calculate the amount of tax we owe our feudal masters and, come late January, the mailman will deliver to us the stacks of credit card bills which are evidence certain of December’s feckless orgy of conspicuous consumption.  You had promised to curtail your spending, to buy fewer things for fewer people.  You may even have succeeded in doing just that.  But them prices, they are a risin’.  Witness the automobile that not so very long ago required a mere $17 in gasoline which now demands $50 to see the little indicator needle hover near the FULL side of the gauge.  That which once was is no more.

There is one area, however, where the prices never rise and never fall, but where the cost has always been consistently the highest that can be paid.  In this province it is not possible to negotiate better terms, more favorable rates, or to in any way defer payment.

Everything you do in your Life costs you something.  Each thought, each action, each emotion, each failure or success, all of them draw from an account that is irrevocably finite and subject to sudden catastrophic ruin.  The coin of the realm of which I speak is binary in its constitution, one half being constrained at all times by a factor of 24, while the other is a bit more protean in its capacity to wax or wane.  I speak of your Time and your Life-Force Energy.

You, like every person who has ever lived, are limited to but 24 hours in a day.  In this aspect, we truly are equal, everyone.  The visionary and the vagrant, the mystic and the madman, all are bound by the same limitations of temporal fetters.  How is it that you spend your Time?  Are you aware that every second of your Life that has passed is a second you will never EVER have again?  How much of this most precious and limited asset has slipped unnoticed through your fingers as you sat idling in traffic, suffered through yet another pointless business meeting, or engaged in some meaningless activity that did absolutely nothing to feed your soul?  Time is the one resource of which you have only so much and you can never know just how much it is that you will have.  How many more days can you claim with any certainty are at your disposal?

Every activity you undertake requires of you Time; just how much is your Time worth to you?

If Time is the “when” of human existence, then Life-Force Energy is the “how.”  This antipodal face of the two-sided coin is the Energy that motivates you, that quickens you, that sustains you, that IS you.

As with Time, a portion of your Life-Force is demanded against all that you do.  Whether an intentional expression of Beauty or a thoughtless act of anger, your personal account will be debited immediately and without consideration.  Depending on the act, you may pay up front and only once, or you may find yourself making installments for years to come.

Fortunately, and quite unlike Time, your Life-Force can be replenished, not only in quantity, but in quality, as well.  You can increase the level of your “funding” by taking care to consume only healthy food and drink, avoiding ingestion of substances that can damage the body and mind, exercising, resting, meditating, praying, by divesting yourself of as much negativity as possible and by developing a mindfulness for and about the way you live your Life.  Paradoxically, the more you engage in conscious acts that bring joy to your soul, the more likely is your store of this Energy to accrue rather than diminish.

Learn how not to give away needlessly your Energy to others and do not permit people or circumstances to drain it from you.  Don’t pay more than you must and don’t squander what you have.  Use wisely your resources and learn to invest rather than spend.

It is your responsibility to determine if what you are doing at any given moment is worth the incredible cost demanded of you.  When you tally the price you must always be willing to ask yourself, “Is this really how I wish to spend my Life?”

©Billy Red Horse

Mob Or Me?

With each passing day our society becomes ever more homogeneous.  This continues to happen because of the diminishing value placed on the individual.  Those in positions of authority, the elected and the influencers, the mandarins and the mass market industrialists who masquerade as capitalists, each share the same preferences: they like predictable, measurable, and controllable.  Consequently, everyone is expected to fit in and follow, to conform and consume, to comply or suffer that greatest of indignities – the shame of being ostracized and labeled a dissenter.

The puissant take our inherent desire to be a valued member of the tribe and twist it in the extreme, turning a great strength into a corrosive weakness.  Our legitimate interconnectedness with one another and with Nature is corrupted into something most un-natural.  “We know what’s best for you,” they suggest.  And while few of these overseers are ever so bold as to express the sentiment explicitly, the undercurrent of their implication is clear: “We want you to do what WE want you to do; don’t you understand that you are too stupid to know or do any better for yourselves?”

It is a sad verity that we have long since become interchangeable and easily replaceable cogs in a soulless machine.  It should come as no surprise that the politicos and the plutocrats find this very much to their liking.  But it does not have to remain this way.

It has long been said that our greatest challenge and our greatest reward are both experienced through knowing the Self.  Self-awareness, Self-inquiry, Self-understanding, Self-acceptance, and Self-refinement, these are the marks of the courageous spirit not willing to be counted among the untold faceless.

The Self-aware seek to discover who they are and to experience the fullness of Life – the joys and the hardships and all points in between.  These individuals strive to be at ease not only within themselves but also among the collective.  Those who are confident and comfortable in their sovereignty as an individual are those who make the powerbrokers and the mob most anxious and uncomfortable.

The greatest act of rebellion is to proclaim “This is who I am!  This is me!”

Who are you?…

©Billy Red Horse