When you live near a river, you notice when the tide is high and when the tide is low. There are places you can no longer walk to or there are places you haven’t reached since last summer. Really, rivers don’t have tides, but the highs and lows can change from one day to the next. The river is change. The water brings logs that dam spots and bridge others. I’ve been walking this river for 30 years. I know it, even though it changes. The kinds of people who visit are always the same. They come and go with the seasons. In the summer evening, fly fishermen cast their lines, as silent as the wind. And the red sun goes down. Sometimes, I’ll spend four or five hours reading in my tree. It grows at an angle, so that you can walk into it like a staircase and when you get to the top, you can lie down and watch the sky above. The river changes, and yet, it remains the same.

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Chapter 2 What the Storm Brings

Frank knew that luck has limits. He didn’t expect to find anymore big nuggets, but somehow, working under the sun, slushing the pan, and sweating under his wide-brimmed Stetson had its own rewards. His bare feet gripped the soft pebbles in the stream, dislodged from mountains, and carried for miles to be shaped by sand. His skin soaked in the warmth of the evening and he felt this must be what it is like to exist for eternity.

The first star shined on the horizon and Frank felt that the time had come to knock off for the day. He’d find his copy of Poe, drink a Budweiser, and think of treasure never seen by human eyes. He rubbed his fingers over the smooth gold nugget, turning pages into the night, illuminated by his miner’s helmet. He reached for the switch and there was darkness.

Frank was drifting into dreamland. There was an African leading him through the dim woods and suddenly, they lit up, like a lightbulb turning on in a dark room. And the African was shouting, his face growing larger and his mouth becoming wider. His epiglottis vibrating to a high-pitched scream. “WAKE UP!”

The Winnebago was moving. “I thought I set the parking break,” Frank said. There was a jolt and a rushing sound. He looked out the window and saw a swirling mass of debris moving towards him like a freight train. And the crash was deafening. The wave pushed him down the valley like a toothpick flicked into a raging river. He grabbed hold of his bed and watched the hula dancer moving on the windowsill. “It will stop,” Frank said to himself, but the slide kept moving. Frank noticed rapids ahead, but that couldn’t be right. And then he realized the waterfall was the debris flow pushing into a canyon and his trailer would get buried with him in it. “BURIED ALIVE, not a good way to go,” Frank muttered. And the trailer tipped and got stuck in the gap.

Frank wedged himself between his refrigerator and foldable bed. The mud continued to flow until it didn’t. Night turned into day and desperation turned into apprehension as Frank tried to figure out what to do next. The red sun past the horizon and shined a light on the wasteland. Frank didn’t read the signs that said FLASH FLOOD FOR 30 MILES. That happens when a man is focused on adventure instead of precautions.

He opened the door and shimmied his right leg onto solid ground. Everything was brown. The blue river was gone. Frank looked into the canyon. There were trees and mud everywhere, but farther down there was a red biplane sticking out of the debris.

Thoughts from a Busy Week

The best people in life are those who have nothing, but do everything. There is rebellion in their spirit. They aren’t supposed to be free. They don’t have security or money to feed themselves, but their food comes from…

forgotten people

dejected places

and discarded things

It sickens me to see people wasting their time at jobs

Someone told them they need one because they are worthless

They can’t sell their own value for a higher price

Few people master their thoughts, but if they do, they can do anything

If you want things in life, you must go at them alone

It is the hardest thing to do because we depend on others for survival

Where I am going, you cannot follow. I am certain of what I must do and I must do it alone.

We shouldn’t be afraid to make dangerous decisions

where we can no longer return to safety

These choices put us on a track for fulfilling our destiny

This is a step beyond ordinary commitment

It is a gamble

It is you willing to risk everything, for one thing

Escape is not your plan.

You must find something you can pursue to the exclusion of all other things

And those who steal time and finds inspiration have Beaten the System

People change

they shed one self for another

losing who they used to be

Being left with memories

I like to pretend more than I like to be things

Somehow, the reality of it all is diminishing

I like to be the president one day and his worst enemy the next.

And I love those moments when I am able to step outside of myself and see the absurdity of it all.

Maybe one of the things you don’t get from being where you should be is the marvelous feeling that you don’t belong. Now I need to do the most important thing which is writing. And I need to do it effortlessly. If I don’t have the solution, I will go for a walk. I will do what I think is best and keep going.

The wise man of the woods walks the trails and trims the bushes with his clippers.

I walk down the stairs to greet my parents finishing a movie in the living room.

I tell them, “I figured out what I want to do with my life. I want to be a writer.”

My dad frowns and tells me, “I worked with a guy who was a writer. He said, ‘I’ve got the rejection slips to prove it.'”

Now, it feels so good to get away from everyone.

It feels so good to write words.

If only my mind was fresh and I had ambition…

My passion is not so much a love of writing, but the chance to be alone with my own thoughts and get lucky. -Intellectual Shaman

Some people are cursed with good looks

and some people with bad

Some have a good brain

and others do not

Any one of these

can be a help or a hindrance

When you are beautiful, people want you

They latch onto you

and only see one tiny part

When you are ugly, people ignore you

or they give you a hard time

but for the most part

they leave you alone

And the people that get to know you, really do get to know you

If you have a good brain

you can use it to find what you want

and if you have a bad brain

You don’t know what you don’t want

Those who are really cursed are the ones with good looks and a good brain

People see a tiny part of them and ignore the rest

The good brain wants to be so much more than what people see

It knows what it wants

and it cannot hide from what it doesn’t want.

People ask your opinion, but they don’t want to hear it.

They want to fight

or they want to tell you how you are wrong

They express disapproval

or maybe they don’t ask your opinion

and this is best

but then they look at you

wanting you to ask them, “Why haven’t you asked my opinion?”

Sometimes you can’t get away from this

You must endure

but their hell is so much greater than yours

they can’t stand someone who loves their own opinion

Most people are not convinced they are right

they want to be

desperately

but deep down

they know they are wrong

These are the most dangerous kinds of people

They have no real beliefs

They just want to be validated

and they will validate anyone or anything

hoping that others will reciprocate.

My Principles for Beating the System

My Philosophy

The more you read and think about ideas and make them your own, the less you will be influenced by the maddening crowd. To really Beat the System, you must act on your ideas.

Beating the System means to own your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You own your work. You are not a slave to any master. Your mind directs you, outside of all entities.

You must find the things is life that help you to step outside of your routine and feel good. Usually, what we invest our time, energy, and resources into, we value. If you pursue mastery in a craft, this is a method for Beating the System.

Value Yourself and Your Ideas

You must value yourself and not allow yourself to be cheapened by things. People wrongly think that if everyone contributes to an idea it develops and reflects the intention of individuals within the group. But this is not true. The idea has been diluted. It belongs to no one. The greatest atrocities in life are caused by ideas that belong to no one. There is no accountability. It is very difficult to hold a group accountable.

To Beat the System means that you are able to sell and live off your own ideas. There will be barriers along the way, but the man or woman using intention sees these obstacles as an opportunity to exert their power. To Beat the System requires total self-reliance. To achieve self-reliance requires a man or woman to see the world differently. They must abandon convention and do what is unconventional.

Develop a Personal Truth and Commit to It

Understand, you have more influence than you think, but you are exerting it in the wrong way. Rather than trying to convince others of common messages, influence yourself with messages that make you better and lead to personal truth. Most people in the world lack belief. Those without belief try to convince others more than ever, but they are really trying to convince themselves, and they’re failing miserably. They are constantly distracted by fears, insecurities, and the opinions of others. They do battle against them, not because they are certain of their position, but because they are uncertain. They do not have a personal truth that they believe in. They have not committed to anything. The only way to have meaning in life is through commitment. A man or woman can commit to a craft, a relationship, a personal philosophy, but they must truly commit.

Conclusion

When we are young, we feel the urge to sort out the world and not take the advice of those in authority. If we stick with this practice and suspend the temptation to latch onto a truth too soon, we gain insight into ourselves and the world around us.

My personal philosophy is called Beat the System. It is not for everyone and that is what makes it worth pursuing.

Oh, I wish I could feel good again…

Oh, I wish I could feel good again

Tomorrow,

I’ll let other people fight my battles

I won’t engage with the angry or the anxious

I’ll find a quiet moment

pour some root beer

and relax

I know I should be tougher

but my calloused skin

can’t feel in the same way

Tomorrow,

I’ll do the things I was meant to do

I’ll do the things I would have done if I had slept in

I’ll see the world the way it was meant to be seen

Oh, to feel good again

I need to ride my bicycle into oblivion

walk down forest paths

play chess for hours

eat pizza

and

swing a golf club at night

I need to let go of so many things

and let other people be who they are

I’ll let the angry fight the angry

and the anxious console the anxious

I’ll do the things I’ve always wanted to do

because I must.

We start life

looking outward

at beautiful things

beautiful people

and all the joy that can be had

before the end of the day

Then we grow older

getting hurt by words

and burned by the sun

We take lonely walks

spending time in quiet rooms

and find

All those beautiful things

inside

Family can be close and far away at the same time

My mother puts jam on her toast

and my dad sits in the living room

staring at his phone

Parents love in their own way

and I share my dreams with them

“Dad, I want to be a writer. I’ve wanted this since middle school.”

and my dad listens, injecting his own opinions into the conversation

“Well, you got sidetracked with those movies you’ve been watching.”

My mother pulls my poetry apart

and my dad walks away

I know I’ll miss them when they’re gone

When we search for what we want

we miss what we will one day lose

and I know they love me

and I’ll miss their love.