Unfinished Business in the Year of the Tiger

My Featured Blogger this week is Randall Collis of Global Sojourns Photography. I know nothing about Randall, whose blog site description is simply “Photography & Philosophy,” except what I read and see. But that’s a lot. Enough to make me look forward to each visit. Here’s why:

A Peruvian sky painted with strokes of magic only a thunderstorm can create plays out in front of me. My exhaustion complete, I sink deeper into the grass and dirt and drift away from life, away from the world, away from reality.

Silence envelops the valley around me and the storm’s energy is waking my soul. I stare into the eyes of the Year of the Tiger, is it time to surrender or attack?

A broken spirit is the debt to be paid for a year well-lived.  The reward? To stand at the precipice of a new year and do it all over again.

Life is brilliant in this way.

Reflecting on the turmoil of the past year, my exhale is more than a sigh. Battle scars feel fresh as yesterday and make this annual walk across the razor’s edge, the balance between decadence and restoration, even more difficult.

Respect the responsibility of the past year and accept the penance of another expedition.  Ignore the aches and move on.

Around me are whispers, words I do not understand. The beauty around me invites me to stay, but I’m unable to grasp a hold of this place – unable to settle down. The simple wish for solace does not reconcile with my actions… so I continue to leave unfinished business behind.

perucc81-yucay-sacred-valley-20190205-12 (1)Blurred faces in the crowd, their crisp eyes speak freely. Lives I wish to experience, minds bearing the weight of the world. Things unsaid pushing us forward.

The brashness, insolence of an unharnessed spirit, one found in the true men and women of history: a blend of courage and kindness.  I wonder, is one much different than the other?

Naked in the shadows I sit in defiance on the brink of the new year. The morning leaves me empty. I’m not looking to change the world, but to just get by. A cup of coffee. Eight hours of drudgery. A cold beer, a queen of the night, and decompression in front of a television. And it goes on, ad nauseam.

Is this not finding solace within the chaos of life?

The spell of a sunrise over an enchanted land has me lost, a fleeting sense of wonderment of where it’ll take me before it is broken by the comfort of my barstool ~ a place to sit uninterrupted and rail against life iniquities secretly wishing for something, anything, to fall into my lap. Chasing dreams is too exhausting. So I wait.

Waiting… the ode of a has-been.

When the next great thing fails to appear I’ll lower expectations.  Another beer, perhaps? Another smoke, why not? A handout, a little hard stuff to make life a bit easier to deal with? Yes, yes, and yes. Eventually, the wait for the end will arrive.

Ah, my laughter feels good, the remnants of a defiant mind.

A glance at the scene outside, it’s all unfamiliar. The refusal to be swallowed up by the mindless cycle of blandness by veering into the unknown is my escape pod. A chance to bend the rules again and my schism is complete ~ off my barstool ready to push the envelope once again.

This rollercoaster of competing desires: the life of a has-been versus the life of a pioneer…

Follow the rules to enjoy the privilege of living in an orderly world, and bend the rules to stretch the spirit and evolve. There are no absolutes, there are no easy answers.

I spin off in another direction, leaving my cold coffee behind along with my feeling of hesitation… did chasing false hope allow the spirit of the pioneer to drift away?

The twinge of electricity says ‘nah.’ Behind the façade of the loafer is an eagerness to learn, it’s the spice of recklessness ~ the unfinished business we all share. Action is inevitable.

Words of the stoic philosopher Seneca reverberate throughout the valley of the Andes: you want to live, not just exist. Resist the squandering of life and instead earn it.

Everything of value should be earned. Effort and devotion is how one earns value. Earns respect. Earns trust. Earns the right to dream with the valuable lesson that what one works for should never be frittered away.

Break from expectations, bend a rule or two, attack the Year of the Tiger and roll with the punches as they come.

The unanticipated. The unexpected.

It causes the heart to beat a bit quicker, hair to stand on end, and eyes to focus upon an upcoming epiphany.

We are creatures of habit. Of the many things we do, we do because it’s a foregone conclusion. Within us, however, is a surprise.  An innate and beautiful desire to pick a moment where we do the one thing no one expected at all.

Unfinished business.  Finish it.

A life of the expected, rich in comfort easily hides its restrictive chains. Conversely, a micro-second of the unexpected, rich in wisdom flaunts the desire of freedom.

Two sides of the same coin. Struggle is necessary for comfort to exist, without strength we’d never know weakness, and without the blandness of life an unexpected shift could not move the soul.

And with this thought, the has-been in me smiles, pops open a beer and pays a compliment to the pioneer.

I move across the abyss into a new realm ~ the words of St. Vincent leading the way, “Living in fear in the Year of the Tiger”   🎶

To visit Randall’s blog, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Quips and Quotes, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Unfinished Business in the Year of the Tiger

  1. C.A. Post says:

    While the pics are fantastic, I would be concerned for his philosophy as it may be significantly distorted by substance abuse: “Another beer, perhaps? Another smoke, why not? A handout, a little hard stuff to make life a bit easier to deal with? Yes, yes, and yes.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dalo 2013 says:

      Dear C.A., thank you very much for your comment and you are absolutely correct in understanding the danger for ‘settling for life’ as this is when despondency can set in and “yes, yes, yes” becomes the easy answer. Everyone will deal with difficulties in life, it is part of the beauty of life ~ if we are able to view all it entails and understand the best thing to do is step out of beginning of such a spiral of depression and move forward positively.

      This post was a difficult to write in part as I worried about what people would get from the writing. Let’s just say, 50.1% of positivity will defeat the 49.9% of negativity but I think it would scare most healthy people to understand how close we all are to letting go of this 0.1% (an opinion of mine). Wishing you a great finish to the spring season and wonderful start to the summer! Take care ~

      Liked by 2 people

      • C.A. Post says:

        Dear Dalo. You just need Jesus, and then you won’t need the other crutches, my friend. LIfe’s “crutches” will break and leave you almost dead by a roadside. Jesus, on the other hand, is a “friend that sticks closer than a brother.” And on top of it all, He promises eternal life to all who simply put faith in Him. ❤️&🙏, c.a.


  2. rwfrohlich says:

    A compelling description of a purposefully driven aimless life, always open to the next new thing. The greatest adventure for him would be to fall into the arms of Jesus.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dalo 2013 says:

      Dear Robert, thank you for your very insightful comment ~ a purposefully aimless life may be the most accurate description of this writing and to some extent my life in terms of experiences. The anchors I do have in my life is family and friends, who enrich my life and I do believe, I enrich theirs as well. It helping others and seeing/spreading joy that is the best feeling in life. But I also enjoy coming face-to-face with difficult times in life because I will look at all sides, but as always the good spirit leads me through. Also, I am blessed to understand, relative to others, any difficulty I have is but a minor blip in life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Photography captures most words that cannot be expressed on paper.

    Will check out his blog in my free time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Great images.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. He does keep my attention to continue reading and then I wonder why? How can it change to something else or is it just so ‘different’ that it keeps my interest?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dalo 2013 says:

      🙂 Thank you very much for your comment, very much appreciate your thoughts and this post was definitely a discussion of sorts in my mind at the start of a new year. A discussion contemplating, albeit not seriously, to again work exhaustively to conquer the year ahead or perhaps this time to take the easy way out and just ‘phone it in’ … This post ended up having a few of my friends ask me ‘what am I doing’ 🙂 But it was still a fun post to write up. Take care and thank you much for the time reading the post.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been a big fan of Randall’s photo essays for a while now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dalo 2013 says:

    Thank you very much, Mitch, for this ~ this was one piece that I knew could be difficult to interpret but in the end it is the good spirit winning, so to have you repost is special. This was such a pleasant surprise today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      The honor is mine, Randall (or do you prefer Dalo?). I knew it would raise a few questions, but rather liked that about posting it here. Many of my readers are Jesus-followers (as am I), but many are not, or are seekers.


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