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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of freedom, and what it really means to me.
This has been a crazy year worldwide- political upheaval, riots, global pandemic, and a low hum of fear, anger, and anxiety that seems to permeate every environment.
I’ve written before about the “human rights,” as a younger, angrier individual- my thought was that there are no human rights beyond what a person can grasp and hold for themselves, and that the “powers that be” are always looking to take them.
I still think this is mostly true, but now I think an individual’s biggest enemy, the biggest threat to his “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” is found much closer to home than crowds of rioters, government oppression, mask mandates, or whatever other current crisis is going on:
If you ask people what they really want out of life, you’re likely to get a plethora of similar answers.
Some might say “happiness,” others “love,” others might offer terms like “success.”
Ask them to define, precisely, what those words look like to them, and you’re likely to be met with a great deal of confusion.
“I don’t know, you know, just…being happy, I guess.”
A person’s ability to define their concepts of happiness and freedom will show you a lot about whether they are likely to attain it.
We seldom find things in this life when we don’t know what we’re looking for.
It is man’s lack of self-understanding that leads to this inability to articulate his definition of “love,” or “happiness,” or “freedom.”
My idea of freedom has a lot to do with death.
I mean this in a few different ways, and I’ll try to explain as best as I can-
Firstly, it relates in that I am always aware of the hourglass.
I know that the Reaper is about time, and running out of time, running against time, and that he is the King of all of things temporal. We have only the time we are allotted, and no more. It is the most finite resource in this existence, and once it’s gone- it’s gone, baby.
Because of this, I am doing my best in this life to maximize the way that I spend that time.
I’m talking about sucking the absolute goddamn marrow out of life. At the end of a day, being able to look back on it and not say, “that was ok,” but to drop the bones of it, sated, and say, “excellent- I can’t wait to do that again.”
I don’t want to live a life of “ok’s.”
I want to live a life of satisfied smiles, of big bear hugs around towering fires, blood droplets scattering across training mats or pavement; of trailing a hand across my lover’s back in the quiet grey hours between night and morning while she looks in my eyes and I know…this is good.
I know I am not “built to last.”
Human life is incredibly resilient, but also incredibly fragile, here, and gone in an instant, like a bird flying quickly through a hall, in one window and out the other just as fast.
Second, it is about a fearlessness of King Death that can only come from knowing that I have lived my life in this way- breathlessly, traversing a path and a Pattern with heart.
Saying what I mean, and meaning what I say, anchored to a living mythology that flows deep in my blood, knowing that each day I must live up to a collective of great men that I was born into that stretches back into the primal dawn of man…
Snatching victory daily from the jaws of defeat and death, one more moment, one more hour, one more legendary deed, one more “I love you” roared to brothers in my circle or whispered to my woman.
To be free is to be free from the fear of Death, while remaining ever conscious of his reaping blade.
To know that every experience, every second is not a gift, but an invitation to conquest, to beauty, to see the dew shining in a spiderweb on a Fall morning, or watch the snow silently blanket my cabin in the woods, and to know “I could die right now and know that I won.”
No matter where you’re from, what race, what nation, we all share one King- that is Death.
His law is inescapable, but his lesson is freedom.
Hail our king.
Available in very limited quantity are museum quality prints of my painting “Hail Our King,” as well as the original- painted with ink, wine, and blood, presented in a velvet-lined antique frame accented with thorns from around my house at Ulfheim.