When sky is falling; facing my Mother’s death.

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We think that we build our lives on axioms. We think that there is an order to our life, that is as unshakable as laws of physics. We think that people around us and our relationships are constant.
But then, an event comes that makes our reality crumble. We face our very own, personal apocalypse.
When sky is falling, it is hard to grab the pieces and put them back together. It is impossible in fact. Tragedy strikes, just like that, it comes uninvited.
And you realize, with dread; nothing will be the same again.
Bones will heal, yet scars will remain.
When chaos comes crashing into our lives, we need to be able to perceive a deeper order. We need to find a meaning behind suffering. In such moments, doubt and faith that reside in our heart, tangle themselves in an unforgiving combat.
And which wolf will win?, asks the man in ancient parable. The one that you keep feeding…
My mother died two weeks ago.
A person that gave me life is gone. It is something hard to comprehend. She was always there, but she is not here anymore.
One of the most fundamental axioms of my reality was shattered within a couple of days. It took that one phone call from my Father,  these three words; “Mum is dead” to send me spinning out of the comfortable, careless reality I have known. I found myself somewhere else.
Instead of my Mum’s Presence, there was a void and I felt like I was drowning in an abyss.
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Memories would swarm into my mind.
I remember we would sit with my Mum in the kitchen, same spots every time, my Mum beside the window, me beside the fridge (easier to reach for a snack). We would talk about all our family, all our common friends, their lives, latest developments.
We could talk like that for hours, until we completely depleted the family/friends list.
Then I would ask “Do you have anything more interesting to say?” and she would laugh at that old joke over and over again.
I remember my Mum reading books to her grandsons, my two little boys. Them cuddling to her, as she was the base upon which they were building the fundaments of their lives. She taught them the language of love, through her Great Presence, before they knew how to speak.
I remember last Christmas, when my Mother, would look at the battlefield that our living room has become; huge Christmas tree, pieces of gift packages torn, toys scattered everywhere, every single inch of space occupied by Her loved ones; my Family, my Brothers, my Father, my Aunt, and Uncle. My Mum’s eyes had that peace in them. Although my Mum looked tired, her happy eyes were saying; the big dream of having an “Italian sized family Christmas” finally came to be.
None of this will ever come back.  It all came to a horrible, sudden stop. These colorful pictures were torn by one image that carved its way through, to reside in my memories for the rest of my life;
Me and My Father, in an empty chapel, above an opened coffin with my Mother’s body. As I made the last blessing, the sign of the cross on my Mum’s cold forehead I faced a choice.
I could focus on what would never be, and what was taken away from us.
All the plans we made, all the hopes we had, all the possibilities my Family and my Children would have if my Mum would be still around. I could focus on some relatives that hurt my Mum by their selfish actions, and possibly even contributed to her rapid decline.
I could focus on that, and become even more enraged, and eventually bitter.
Or I could focus on the Light. The Light that is the Legacy of Love, my Mother left behind.  The crowds came to pay their respects, (the Church was full, people had to stand as there were no sitting spots left) is one of the best Testimonies to that legacy.
My Mother had a good life, we had a great, healthy relationship, she taught me a lot. She taught me enough, so in such moments, I would be ready not only to stand on my feet but be a pillar for those who need my support.
So choice is simple; be bitter or be grateful.
I believe it is time for me now to set my eyes for the future and keep carrying the Torch I was given.
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We think that we build our lives on axioms.
But in truth; life is a flow. What is constant about it is the motion.
We are all running somewhere. And so we need to face the reality, that people that are close to us, get lost on the way.
But it is fine.
As long as we are heading in the same direction, we will eventually meet again.

 

Back from Dubai. Autumn & Anathema

Just recently I came back from a very difficult business trip to Dubai. Only thing I enjoyed was the view from the office, as I spent in there 12 hours daily for a full week. My journey was truly epic.

I was fighting bugs, like ancient monsters, repelling requests from other departments like raids of rogue nomads, getting through the new version of the binary for the Appstore release like it was a caravan traveling through the scorched desert.

But the sun of the desert was the sun of yesterday.
Today I am looking at the European autumn, enjoying my mate tea on my terrace.  Trees flutter with their colorful leaves stroked by wind and the rhythm of their whispers seems to be synchronized with a breath of my newborn son sleeping on my chest.

I look at my son and then at these trees. Then the realization comes through.

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Autumn is a parabola of the passing of time. One thing in life never changes, – it goes on.

Our biographies are like the autumn trees, full of colorful leaves –  all the different colors, are like frames of a movie of our life.

Some will float away carried by the wind.

I listen to Anathema now. The band’s tone is like a voice of autumn.
Weather systems. Somehow I cannot break the connection that this band has evolved with me. The brutal anger of the Dying Wish. The desolate music of Kingdom. Terrifying
dark, Alternative 4.

These were the tunes of my early twenties. When I was seeking my spiritual path. And I was roaming through some dark woods. This was not surprisingly a time when I wrote some of my best-received horror stories. But at what cost?

Grim music of early Anathema albums was my soundtrack. I managed to scratch the surface of the abyss back then. And these dark melodies were the beacon…
Yet I managed to find my way back into the light.
And so it seems with Anathema.

If you pick their latest albums, you realize that how much they changed. There is hope now in their music.  There is a reflection upon life and its purpose.

There is peace in words of such ballads as “Lightning song”.

“I found my place
In time and space
In hope and faith”

Quite a leap from the depressing lyrics of Alternative 4… ”Come and hide me from this terrible reality”. Don’t you think?
And guess what is the title of their latest album – The Optimist.

It is a hopeful feeling to see that one of your favorite bands seems to be evolving in synchronization with the development of your life.

Maybe you have to go through the darkness to find the light?

Here comes the calming voice off Lee Douglas from Anathema.

“Your world is everything you ever dreamed of
If only you can open up your mind and see

The beauty that is here”

I look at the face of my sleeping son.

So true.

—Post from “Sword in the woods” archive—

5 Must Have Artifacts of a Weekend Warrior

Every warrior needs a weapon.
Finding good quality things and building rituals around them helps to shape good habits, that inevitably lead to better, higher level of life.
As it happens with every quest, it proves that discovering and acquiring artifacts that served my purpose was already a small victory itself. Below you may find a set from my armoury. You may use these in your battles, or seek then ones that suit you better.
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Teresa Kluge
 These artifacts, will not replace the valors nor do the job for you, yet using them on daily basis will help you to become better warrior.

Rosary – powerful tool of spiritual combat.

Meditative, contemplative prayer, that comes with it not only protects from Evil. It also brings focus, silence and inner peace. Something that a warrior needs like an air in an overwhelming noise of a daily hassle.

Kettlebell – there is a reason, why Roman gladiators used kettlebells as a base of their training.

Our body is a chain of interconnected segments.
Unlike most of gym tools, kettlebell allows us  exercise and build whole chain, rather than just sections of our body. That improves communication between muscles gives us more power in all the fight-related movements, helps us grow in strength without losing the speed.

Yerba Mate – every man needs his drug

If you can find one which is actually good for you, then you are already a winner. My drug is mate.
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It was originally used by native american hunters who chewed on leaves of mate, to stay awake long hours while tracking their prey. Mate tea, works same for me in my hunts, – helps me to stay focused while navigating through corporate jungle and chasing the deadlines.
It replaces coffee, without having most of it’s downsides. And then there is the whole enjoyable ritualism around mate brewing. Good shit!

E-Book Reader – because as Mark Twain said “A person that does not read has no advantage of that who does not know how to read”.

Reading should be an essential part of your daily routine. It expands our horizons and often gets you on the adventures you always longed for.  These adventures may start in your head, but that start is good as any other as long as other steps follow.
E-Book reader is simple the handiest way to carry on with your reading habit, because it allows you to have your full library with you wherever you go. The in-built dictionary is also a great way to catch up on vocabulary if you are reading in a foreign language.

Notebook – writing crystalizes the ever-flowing life into something more tangible.

Writing things down helps, even if you are not a writer. Organise yourself by enlisting your to dos or simply invade paper with stream of consciousness to declutter your mind.  Collect your thoughts and observations, as you collect photographies for family album.
After all, life is just too precious to rely on keeping its most important moments in such unreliable place as our memory.
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Dariusz Sankowski

So these are my artifacts.
What are yours?
/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

Warrior’s Religion

People in every religion are the same, but not every religion is the same

Religion is a filter through which people perceive the Truth, or as one might call it the Ultimate Reality. The filter comes from the boundaries of our human mind, the Truth comes from the Divine.

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Joshua Earle

Warriors life is ought to be based on Truth. Because the Truth shapes our Codex, the principles we follow and the masters that we serve.
And don’t be fooled, by thinking you can serve no one. You are just human, you will always have master. Even it will be just the needs of your own body.

Choice of religion in warriors life is paramount. One might say – I don’t need religion, I just need spirituality. You will be a fooled again.
Spirituality is a vague term for transcendent experience, and that is anchored in the Ultimate Reality. If you will try to embrace it, your mind will make an attempt to grasp the meaning of it. Hence it will apply the filter of your own convictions and your own limitations. You will follow religion. Even if that will be just the one of your own.

So I chose to follow the footsteps of people greater than me.

To benefit from their learnings, to avoid their mistakes, to take their advice and to consciously apply on how will I perceive That what is Transcendent.
I choose my religion conciously.
I embrace it, with all the faults and corruption of the organization that stands behind it. I decide to apply the filter, the belief structure developed through centuries by an imperfect organisation, because I know for a fact that even a poor author can create a masterpiece in a moments of great inspiration.

I chose to be Roman Catholic. Against the world, against the enemies internal and external and sometimes even against myself.

I chose this, because I attempt to see beyond the people that represent the organization, and see what it meant to represent. I chose to see the whole battlefield not just the corruption and disruption in the ranks of my own army.

And that choice, step by step leads me closer to the Ultimate Reality, and reveals the the universe for what it truly is. It reveals the true scale of the celestial war we are part of.

It shows me the true, malignant face of my Enemy.
But it also shows me that I we have Powerful Allies next to me. And a sword and a shield in my hands. We are the Ecclesia militans.

But that is another story.

One time in Dubai a taxi driver tried to convert me to Islam…

And he had no idea what he was getting into…
After long drive to a church and what had to be one of most difficult conversations in his life, he agreed he would start reading Gospel.
I was walking on the thin ice you see. Criticism of Islam is forbidden in United Arab Emirates. I had to tread carefully, so my words would not be treated a an open attack on something that I fundamentally disagreed with.
And I managed to make a deal with that driver.
I promised to read Quran in return, for him opening the Gospels. What my discussion partner didn’t know is that I read parts of Quran before. I also watched lectures of people as far from Christianity as Alan Watts, Ekhart Tolle or Richard Dawkins, even read Crowleys essays and browsed through La Vey’s satanic “bible”.
Why would I do that? Why would I expose my mind to things that could shake, corrupt or simply shatter foundations of my worldview?
Same reason on why a warrior risk losing his teeth on the arena.
Because a true warrior faces challenge wide open.
True warrior, finds strength in exercising his mind, he does not back down from intellectual and spiritual confrontation as he sees an opportunity there to sharpen the sword of his faith.
And there is no greater challenge than facing argumentation that questions the very base of our beliefs. And we the war we wage has a spiritual dimension.
And so, as the taxi driver, explains to me the glory of Allah I smile take a deep breath and engage, so I can tell him about a greater Glory thats out there.  I yield my sword, check my armour and I go forth into the storm.
I have been challenged again. And as many times before, I would make sure it will be for the good.
And in the aftermath, as with every battle, as I grow weary,  I remember to reinvigorate myself with the Truth.  So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and let my mind regenerate by focusing it fully on Logos. The One Word. Who not only spoke just the Truth, but is the Truth Himself. And as the minutes pass by, a quote of G.K Chesterton, resonate through my heart. It is a quote that should become a mantra of spiritual warrior:

“Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

And in the ever changing universe, with all it’s different people and their countless beliefs, there is nothing more solid than the Truth.

The Epic Quest called Life

So here we are.
Guys, Boyfriends, Husbands, Fathers, Weekend Warriors.

Probably a very last generation of those who used to run in childhood with sticks fighting trolls in a courtyard, who organised water balloon battles against those stinkers from the neighbouring block , who wrestled in sand, got their knees bruised while climbing trees.
We were the last ones to avoid, the omnipresent stigma of virtual reality. And our heads were filled with dreams.
Big, epic dreams.

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Joshua Earle

You can become anyone you want to, we were told. Rock star, general, football player. Fucking astronaut.

Just go ahead and believe that. Its is in our guys, warriors DNA, after all.  To reach for the heights, to climb the highest peak (and then drop your pants down and pee from the top).

When I was a kid I wanted to be a pirate. Or world famous writer.

I have always pictured myself rolling through life accompanied by an elevating soundtrack like in oscar winning movie, carrying a bloodstained armor, waving to crowds of fans with my left hand and giving autographs with the other, flying into space, preventing alien invasion, shitting with epicness.
And here I am, staring eleven hours per day at the numbers on the screen, rolled into the wheels of humongous corporate machine, changing diapers by night, dreading the invasion of bills by the end of the month.

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Ben White

I am Husband, Father, Breadwinner. Manager. Weekend Warrior.

And sometimes I find it hard to distinguish myself from a zombie. Does it have to be, that dream of greatness come back now only while playing another Witcher game on my PC?

Fuck that.

It is time to realise, that we are not ever to drop our childhood dreams, but transcend with them. That we shouldn’t treat life as the ultimate excuse for not living up to our greatest ambitions. A key to success is to pursue passions in spare time, while cherishing every moment of our daily struggles.

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Aziz Acharki

And remember you Fathers – having a family to care for is not only source of strength to face life adventures, but it’s an adventure itself.

I am a father and I am a warrior.

And I am living my quest in my daily experiences.

In my journeys, adventures, battles in the arena of everyday life. In stories told through the eyes of someone who despite coming of age, still lives his childhood dreams. Dreams of fighting trolls, climbing skyscrapers, reaching the heights of heights.
If you ever felt, that life is more, than a repetitive cycle of daily responsibilities, I am sure you will find yourself in some of my stories, if not all of them.
So, hey!… Join me on the epic quest called life.

 

/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

Alone?

There will be a time when you will be alone. You will not avoid it.

There will be time when you will be abandoned, forgotten, left astray…

Maybe there are people around you that love you, but there will be time when they will be gone. Maybe you will have to take that challenge, change your job, you town, your country, your life. Maybe you will dip into failure, and the ones who had your back will turn it on you. Maybe you will achieve success and the ones whom you cherished will not recognize you anymore.

You will be left alone. No matter how hard you will try, you will have to face it eventually.

Maybe you will get sick. Maybe you will get misunderstood. Maybe you will have an accident. Maybe you will get old and everyone who ever mattered will just fade away.

No matter what happens, this time will come some day.  You will be alone.

And then you will have to do it.

Play with open cards. Take the veil off and look into your own heart. It is then, when the answer to this one question will define on how this loneliness will treat you:

Alone?

Did I live my life true to myself or was my life just a mere reflection in the eyes of the others?

Radek from the Blue Moon