Yes, young Bucky… this is a storm of epic proportions!
This morning I woke up at 4:30am for my first day at my new tree job and was immediately greeted by a thunderclap that shook the house.
In the distance, I could hear a car alarm going off.
My first thought when I heard my alarm go off, was, “Oh, fuck” because I barely slept out of excitement for my new job.
My second thought was “OH FUCK!” when I realized the heavens had cracked open to shake some shit up!
I stepped outside to smoke tempting the Almighty to strike me down as the wind howled around me. Under the patio cover there was no safe spot away from the rain.
Just the other day someone told me lightning struck a palm tree in the parking at their place of employment and made the windows wave like something out of the Matrix.
Not only is cigarette smoking bad for your health, it’s stupid as fuck to do it standing in water as lightning crackles with a two second thunder delay…
One one-thousand… two-one thousand…
Oh, it’s far enough away for me to tempt fate as I stand here like an eager conductor.
So as I inhaled deep on my death stick, a little tremulous and half-awake, I figured, well, today’s a good day to die.
What great irony that I should work in the Pacific Northwest for nearly a decade climbing trees in the rain to move to the Valley of the Sun to be greeted by my old friend, la lluvia.
God has a fucking sense of humor.
What Do You Want From Me?
And now for a little theme music….
As I stood there by the dim dawn light contemplating my life’s choices, I remembered how just yesterday I posted a very strongly worded post to the tune of put up or shut the fuck up.
Now’s my time to put up.
Or so I thought…
As I began my morning checkin with the God beyond my understanding, I expressed gratitude for this day and an opportunity to do some serious David Goggins shit.
It also occurred to me that since moving from Oregon, I stowed my rain gear in an unmarked tote figuring, “I won’t need my rain gear. This is Phoenix.”
So I concluded that working in 70 degree rain might actually feel good, and I won’t need the gear anyway. By the time noon comes, I’ll be dry, or more accurately, drenched in sweat rather than rain.
I half expected to hear from my new employer because you gotta be fucking crazy to work in this shit.
I don’t care what kind of badass you think you are. You don’t climb fucking trees in a thunderstorm with torrential rain and wind.
I wasn’t about to call them and cancel.
I made a commitment and signed up to do hard shit.
At that point, I set aside my fear and became willing to walk into the storm, come what may.
I realize I’m being a bit dramatic here because the weather app said the storm would pass around 8:00am.
I was willing to show up at 6:00am to the yard as agreed and face the music.
God had other plans.
At a little after 5:00am, I received a text from my soon-to-be boss informing me the start time had been pushed back an hour to 7:00am.
No shit, I thought.
And yes, I was relieved and amused.
Then I got another text around 6am….
The job was pushed back to 8am.
Then I got another text shortly thereafter…
“I’m calling it today.”
No tree work today.
No doing hard shit.
No getting struck by lightning or rained on.
Just a showering of gratitude and amusement…
God’s funny that way.
What a fucking joker…
Good one, God.
You got me.
All That Was Required of Me
I had a hard time getting to sleep last night partially because of the mental calisthenics my mind likes to do to prepare for potentially scary shit.
Even though I didn’t feel noticeably nervous, my mind really wanted to pre-climb those trees before I even showed the fuck up.
It took quite a bit of mindfulness practice to relax.
I focused on my breathing, purposefully kept coming back to the moment, and surrendered to my insomnia.
Getting pissed about not being able to sleep doesn’t fucking help, so I might as well accept it and try to relax.
I estimate I got around three hours sleep last night and would be facing today with sheer will and adrenaline to get me through.
This morning I was consciously aware of the choice to trust my higher power.
I am right the fuck where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
Fighting reality only causes suffering.
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake (AA, pg. 417).
Of course, if you want to fight reality, go ahead.
In fact, try harder.
See where that gets you.
As for me, my friends, I’ll follow the sage words of the Buddha…
All that was required of me today was to be willing…
I was willing to honor my commitment, set aside fear, trust in my higher power, and show the fuck up.
Don’t me wrong. It was a huge relief to have the job cancelled for today.
Cancelled obligations feel like heroin… so I’ve heard.
I had to laugh at yet another example of my life where there’s a dramatic emotional buildup which leads me to dig deep, practice faith, gratitude, and willingness and then BAM!
You’re off the hook, young Bucky. (That’s God calling me young Bucky this time in case you were confused.)
Time and again, all that’s required of me is to be willing.
I’ve also learned that if I am unable to be willing, it’s a useful practice to pray for the willingness to be willing.
It’s okay to say, I don’t want to fucking do this [fill in the blank] right now.
*You’ll notice I did not say I “cannot” do this. It’s usually a won’t, not a can’t.
And this is an important distinction—this business of can’t or won’t.
We can do a lot of shit.
However, many folks say they can’t do something.
The truth is, they won’t because they don’t want to.
They are unwilling to either face the fear or potential discomfort they associate with said goal.
It’s a mind-game.
It’s time to stop playing games and find the willingness to grow.
If you’re reading this blog, I assume (yes I know what it spells) that you are here to fucking achieve some shit.
To be who you are meant to be.
To self-actualize into the badass you really are.
And by badass I don’t mean some dipshit that posts videos of himself doing CrossFit on social media…
By badass, I mean being your own hero.
(Here’s me trying to reel this back in to my point about willingness…)
Be the hero of your story by finding the willingness to do what needs to be done.
Face the fears.
Ignore the inner critical voices.
All that was required of me today was to be willing.
And I was.
You’re Right Where You’re Supposed to Be
Maybe YOU’RE not right where you’re supposed to be, but I am.
Yes, you are, too, boo-boo.
You know how I know this?
Because you wouldn’t fucking be there if you weren’t.
You’d be somewhere else.
Life is so much easier to accept when that concept can be internalized.
Stop mind-fucking yourself into misery that things are not going the way they should be.
That’s fucking crazy making.
You’re exactly right where you’re supposed to be right fucking now!
You see how that works.
You only need to be in the moment.
Everything else if vapor.
IT DOES NOT EXIST.
That’s where the magic is anyway…
Right here and now.
If you believe in that shit… 😉
After receiving the final text from my would-be tree boss, I called him to confirm our next rendezvous for my first day of work.
He invited me to coffee down the street to at least do an in-person interview today.
I cheerfully agreed to meet him at Starbucks 45 minutes later.
I arrived early (’cause that’s how I roll, beeeotch) and received another text from him informing me he was running 15 minutes late.
So I sat content and over-caffeinated watching Batman spoofs on Facebook as I waited.
Little did I know, this would be no ordinary interview.
A little side note that will sound vaguely un-patriotic to the uniformed… except that I will counter that it is very patriotic to disagree with the system…
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Thomas Jefferson
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin
And yes, I realize these were both slave-owning shitheads who had some good ideas about liberty, and dropped the ball as humanitarians.
But we’ll save that for another rant…
The point is, the company I’m applying for clearly communicates a military identity complete with an American flag in their logo.
Don’t get me wrong…
I do not have a problem with people in the service.
However, I have felt some shame about being associated with the stars and stripes for the last several years because of the clear oppression and social injustice running rampant in this country.
Again, a rant for another time.
What’s curious about this and the little breadcrumbs left for me by the Universe is that yesterday I bought a lighter with an American flag printed on it. It was random. The clerk picked it for me.
Then, I am pursuing a job with a company that (by all appearances) is not the crowd I normally gravitate towards.
However, I found myself picking up the trail of God’s will along the star-spangled banner.
When the gentleman showed up, he sat down and we began to talk tree stuff.
He asked me for a run down of my experience. I asked him about the company.
Things were going well.
Then, perhaps intuitively, I decided to mention that I am in recovery, my involvement with a certain anonymous 12-Step program (I’d have to kill you if I told you the name – I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it several times in other posts and quoted an excerpt of its literature in this post… Okay. No killing), AND of my commitment to a recovery-based CrossFit program.
Without going into his story, at some point, this person I had never met and who was interviewing me opened up about some of his struggles.
It hit my like a lightning bolt at that very moment that this is why I am here.
In fact, those very words rang through my body and mind with incredible clarity.
I got to switch hats before him (figuratively, I only brought one hat), and become perhaps, a voice of hope for him.
I listened to his story, validated his experience, shared pieces of mine (not too much; it was an interview after all), and found common ground and connection with this stranger.
A stranger that I would not normally mix with except by the mere chance of following the trail of willingness against my own prejudices and fears.
I knew immediately with all of my being that this was God’s will.
I felt an incredible presence and (possibly divinely planned) purpose before me.
I was right where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, and doing it with whom I was supposed to be doing it with.
Perhaps the storm this morning was an act of God?
Who knows if this conversation would’ve ever taken place had we not met privately at a coffee shop because of inclement weather?
Perhaps there was a Divine Order orchestrating all of this?
Regardless, if there’s such celestial influence or not, the feeling was electric.
I left there feeling goosebumps and indescribable joy (except I just described it).
For this person (I mean me), a devoted chronic malcontent and nihilist extraordinaire, sometimes life can seem like a meaningless and random game of whack-a-mole.
And then there’s moments when the sky opens up and Divine Purpose reveals Herself.
I call it my Sacred Calling.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence that my podcast and general logo have a lightning bolt and today’s storm brought about another clear and crisp reminder of why I am here…
I am here to be of service.
Often times I have to follow the yellow brick road and face the man behind the green curtain to get there.
Sometimes the pilgrimage seems like a meandering and lost journey.
And then there are times of sweet synchronicity that simultaneously ground and elevate me.
Face the storm, my friends.
Remember, resistance to the storm is the storm.
The storm always passes.
And quite possibly, the storm appeared to guide you to better things….
Embrace the storm.
Find the willingness to embrace it…
Pray for it, if necessary.
It will come. (resisting Michael Scott gif right now)
You are right where you’re supposed to be.
Well that didn’t last long….
I could do this all day…
Okay… enough’s enough… [giggles to self with several more gifs at the ready]
Be well 🙂
Thank you for tuning into another installment of Greenleaf4Life’s making meaning out of madness… It’s a hell of a ride (be quiet, Michael). Please like, comment, follow, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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