March Fourteenth: What Is Real And Really Is Not

Ryan Heller
Eyes closed.
The sound of Indian flute music threads through the air like a plastic bag caught in a breeze. A fish free floating, inhale, exhale. It's eyes large, direct. This goldfish of sound circles and fades till it is gone.
Breathe in.
Breathe Out.
And out.

I sit now where the room feels white. Where the lightness of pure air rests as an invisible threshold, resting center of the room. Not above. Not below. Not above ground. Not below ground. Balanced.
And I sit.
On a pillow.
But not a pillow.
A cloud.
But really, in actuality, I sit on a couch.
But the cloud, the pillow, it is a delicate cushion beneath me. Beneath my folded legs. Crossed to sit Indian. Back upright.
When truly I am always hunched.
A product of always needing to hide.
From kids at school. Because I was so, so scared of them. Of me. Of who I might be. My head held down, always. Always down. With an oversized flannel to hide my body. An oversized hoodie to hide my face. It made me feel invisible. Protected.
Everyday walking in to a school, into a battleground of the mind. Everyday walking forward, into one more day of fear. Of the unknown. No eye contact. No attention drawn. No attention.
Safety in nothingness.
Back upright. Now.
On this pillow. On some cloud.
In some room that is not real.
Because this is all in my head.
When really I sit with a computer on my lap.
Eyes now half open. Fully open.
Tummy out.
Candle lit.
Indian flutes from another time. Another life. From hawks above, terracotta dust below. From my tribe. The ochre under my eye. With only the faintest of wind dusting my brown leather skin. Eyes squinted.
In another life.
When I was him. When I was the trunk of a tree. When I was the wind. When everything flowed around me, me anchored where I sit. Unmoving. Unwavering. Solid.
I am the earth. Fingers rooted below.
I remember that man. Maybe I was that man.
Today he rests closer than before. As I sit on my cloud, beneath the transparent threshold of balance, rising, rising until my crown so softly penetrates through. Floating somewhere in the middle. At peace.
I imagine personal growth depicted on a human evolution chart. Where monkey becomes man, one image after another. Over millions of years – from primate to primal. Those hunched little apes begin to stand upright, one rendering after another. Until the most generic white man is illustrated as our current representative.
And I can see my infant self at the beginning of this chart. Then the bubbling little boy learning to walk. To the hunched kid in school. To the insecure one. The addicted one. The awakened one. The growing up one. To whatever I am now. The standing upright one. And maybe it’s that simple. One long illustrated timeline of your life, moving from one period to the next to the next until there is nothing left. Extinction.
Then who knows.
A rotting corpse six feet underground. A pile of ashes scattered across the ocean. Donated organs thriving in some other human, maybe. Maybe a heart beating. A lung breathing. Maybe exhaled energy rising above the threshold, above the clouds, above the stars, back into the void. To come back as an Indian shaman. To come back as a writer.
Or maybe nothing.
Maybe absolutely nothing.
But with the adventure of it all, the abstract words, the stumbling through life. With the adventure of it all, some of those breadcrumbs are kept. While some are left to find in another time. Another life.
Always, always, always the need to feel real. Whole. To find something new everyday and lose something in the process. Because none of it is really mine. None of it.
It is ours.
A product of breadcrumbs. Of primates and invisible kids.
For the first time in this life, my heart feels genuinely warm. Right now. I can feel my heart and it feels full. With each breath I feel it stronger. I smile as these words write themselves, despite the cramp in my neck, it is all so easy at this time. Right now.
With a snowball of a cat asleep next to me, a husband cuddled with two dogs in the other room, a family growing, a tribe forming.
Some stuff gets old.
The drugs get old.
The excuses get old.
The self-pity gets old.
Isolation gets old.
Discontent gets old.
Wishing I was something else gets old.
Once the shackles break off, slowly, one by one, a new perspective begins to take shape. A liberation. A sort of spiritual sovereignty takes hold of life and lifts you above the fold into something not worth trying to describe with words.
Or maybe it doesn’t.
And I’m just swept away by Indian flute music.
Feeling breezy today.
Because there is an ebb and flow to it. To life. Sometimes it seems so right, so breathtakingly right. And sometimes that overflowing heart is filled with boiling blood pumping through your veins, ripping your insides apart.
But if I can get to that place, that place right in the middle. That invisible threshold.
Sitting on my little cloud.
Or pillow.
But really on this couch.
Where I can close my eyes and float.
Not really.
But close my eyes and just try to clear my head.
For a few minutes.
Sometimes I get a taste of that balance and a riptide of words I swear I didn’t write, flood out of me.
And then I’m back to earth.
Back to ground-level.
Where I stumble. Where I say shit I shouldn’t have. Where I can be a bull in a China shop or an Indian shaman somewhere in the desert.
Because I’m human.
It gets better. It gets a little easier. Over time.
Over time it gets a little bit easier.
Over time I seem to like me a little bit more.
I breathe in.
I breathe out.
And out.
Until something inside tells me to stop.
Or until I realize I have to feed the dogs.
The end.


Thanks for reading