Dreams, NoBloPoMo, Reflections

Living “Debt Free”…

I had a dream almost a week ago in which my dream mentor told me, quite plainly, “all your debt is paid…

When the words were first spoken, shock set in, followed rapidly by disbelief, which morphed into thoughts of consequences and caveats…

“But what about the taxes?,” I asked.  “Has any provision been made for that?  I mean, if you write off that kind of debt, there are tax consequences…”

My mentor cocked his head and just looked at me, exasperated.

I didn’t say your debt has been forgiven; I said it has been paid…  You are now able to begin living debt-free.

As these words were spoken, I allowed my doubt to leave, watching as it burst into a tiny flame burning somewhere near my heart.  Slowly that flame grew into excitement, anticipation, and yes, even hope, spreading rapidly throughout my body.  The expanding warmth finally reached my head and toes, and with it came clarity…

Laughing, I said to him, “ohhh…  You’re talking about Karma, aren’t you?”

And then I awoke…

Ok, so maybe my financial debt remains, a holdover from when I believed I owed the world something, simply for taking up space here.  But still…  this “gift” is huge!!

Debt free, karmically speaking, what does that really mean?  How does it feel?  How does it translate into daily activity?  These are the questions driving my experiences today…

The first thing I noticed was a certain “lightness,” a lifting of an ever-present weight upon my shoulders.  I stood straighter, calmer, more confidently in my space.  I realized, with a growing sense of wonder, that I owed nobody anything (can’t figure out how to make that work, grammatically, but you get the idea…).  I understood that everything I do now truly is by choice, a choice freed of guilt and expectation.  What do I want to do, right now?

And the first thing I did was go to work.  Of course.  😉  Not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to.  I looked forward to spending time with coworkers, to enjoying my work for its own sake, to doing something helpful and productive with my physical being…

Then I went for a walk in the woods, spending time with the trees and the animals who shelter and live there.  Only this time, I wasn’t there seeking messages, lessons, or learning, but simply enjoying the beauty of the moment, the sharing of time with Other beings, similar to, but so unlike my self.  It was quite gratifying…

And today…

Several days have passed, and slowly I revert to the “should’s” and “ought to’s” of life…

***

One of my “grandkitties” had to be euthanized two days ago, and I ached all over, for my daughter, her family, and the animal himself.  I know it was the “right” thing to do.  I struggled with what part I should play in that unfolding drama.  I offered myself to my daughter, whatever she needed.  But I understood that she was the “adult in charge,” and the decisions were hers to make.  I respected those boundaries, even when it became obvious she didn’t “need” me at all…  My baby is all grown up now, and I couldn’t be prouder of her, or the way she handled this unexpected tragedy…

But I had to catch myself, more than once, reminding my self that debt-free goes both ways; I may not owe anyone else, but neither do they owe me.  She didn’t need my “help” this time, and she did brilliantly!  There is absolutely nothing I could have said or done to improve that experience; she, quite literally, got the job done in the most compassionate, loving, and responsible way possible.  With no urging or guidance from me…

And it truly came home to me this morning, after two days of “grieving,” that this, also, is part of what it means to live “debt free”…

And being free just took on a whole new dimension for me…

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Reflections, Visions

Detachment…?

The clock on the wall keeps ticking, but the hands no longer move…

Because Time no longer motivates me.

Voices argue down the street, louder and louder, but the words no longer mean…

Because language never truly captured or communicated what was real.

Sadness, sorrow, grief wash over me, but tears no longer fall…

Because acceptance of what is, is, and my heart does not resist.

Peace wraps itself around me, as my eyes begin to lose their focus…

Because clarity comes to the Observer, relieved of earthly pleasures.

And I see…

That I am not alone, nor disconnected here from Others; rather we are joined in spirit, thought, and understanding.  Holding “hands” as all we’ve known drops out beneath us.  Free floating in a place without gravity to hold us, without severity to sink us.  Gently holding on to what is real for each of us… in a space with no time, no boundaries, no real limitations.  Just us.  And what each has chosen to live with…

I will not judge you on your choices, for I have made my own.  And each will be responsible for whatever seeds we’ve sown.  There is no “right” or “wrong” here, and “fairness” does not exist.  A redefinition is occurring of what we once called Justice.

The truth, as I see it (little “t” intended), is that choices surround us All. Depending on your perspective, belief and expectation, you alone can choose what path calls loudest to you…

Some may face a fork ahead, choosing left or right; envisioning a world where all is black or white…

Some may face a crossroads, where many paths may merge; joining forces, they move on to where their spirits urge…

Some may find themselves at the center of a wheel; all paths entering, even circling, but never truly leaving…

Whatever path awaits you, friends, I trust you will choose well.  At least you will decide your fate, as only you can for yourself.  And if you feel helpless, drowning in the chaos, chained to time and space…?  Try letting go completely, before it drags you down…

Detachment…?  Or apathy?

Surrender…? Or acceptance?

Cowardice…?  Or conscience?

The choice is always yours…

 

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Dreams

Putting the Pieces Together…

So…  I woke this morning from an interesting dream, and I thought I would share it with you…

In the dream, I was attempting to solve puzzles, as I frequently do.  (Not too difficult to interpret that, if you take it literally.  Lol!)  Only this time, something had changed.  I knew I was still searching for missing pieces to a puzzle I’d been working on forever.  It was one of those scenarios where frustration and patience vie for the dominant place in my psyche, and it serves as a backdrop to all the other puzzle solving I do.

Anyway, I was only casually looking this time, as I truly didn’t expect to find anything of interest; the “powers that be” have been particularly stingy about releasing or revealing the missing info on this particular puzzle.  So it took me a while to realize that the “missing pieces” were being revealed, en masse, and not just to me.  There was a whole crowd there waiting, and several “beings” laying out pieces to several puzzles (not just my particular nemesis), like putting out lunch on a buffet table.  I could feel the excitement growing in the room, but I did not feel it myself…

The pieces I was looking for were black, ugly, gross, like chips of gooey tar, without any discernable shape or content on them.  As a “being” (who looked a lot like my cat, though human sized and walking upright – lol!) placed those pieces near me on the table, he made a point of looking up at me, making eye contact with me specifically.  Another walked up behind him, and added to my pile, without even glancing at me, while my cat-human never broke eye contact. A couple others followed suit, as pieces appeared from multiple “sources.”  My cat-human maintained direct eye contact throughout.

Meanwhile, a woman next to me started doing a little happy dance, bopping and clapping her hands excitedly.  She tried to fire me up, but of all the emotions passing through me, excitement was definitely not part of the mix.  I felt more baffled, bewildered, even disappointed, as though this was an anticlimactic end to a story that had long compelled me.  I just couldn’t grasp that it might be over, and that it might be ending this way…

“Oh, come on!,” the lady beside me exclaimed.  “Aren’t you even a little bit excited?!  I mean, look!  All the pieces you’ve been searching for are right there!  A gift!”

“But…,” I began to respond, then hesitated, not sure how to voice my thoughts.  “…But…  doesn’t this seem a little too easy?,”  I countered.  “I mean, isn’t the searching part of the process?…  If they just give us the answers, then what will we learn?  And what, then, is the point of the search at all?”

At this point my cat-human broke eye contact with me, glancing down at the table briefly, before turning away and leaving.  I admit I felt a flicker of relief, knowing the fruitless and frustrating searching was over, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to go pick those pieces up.

The lady beside me placed a hand on my shoulder, adding a final comment before moving on to find her own missing pieces on the table…  “Don’t be ridiculous,” she advised.  “You still have to figure out how to put them together!”

I woke with that last line running through my thoughts repeatedly.  And it was my cat, unusually restless and insistent, who pulled me from that dream…

Hmm…

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Essay, Reflections

“Wake Up, America!!”

This post has been sitting in my Draft folder for about 10 days, but I was unwilling to publish it, waiting instead for something more inspirational to arise.  Nothing has.  And while this essay is angry, sarcastic, and self-centered in the extreme, it appears to be how I really feel these days.  Go figure…

So I’m sharing it now.  Perhaps by doing so, and by owning this crappiness, I will be able to move beyond it.  Or perhaps not.  We shall see soon enough…

 

Wake up, America!!

Stand up!  Be brave!  Exercise your freedom!  Unite!…

Vote!  Don’t vote!  Vote for him!  Vote for her!  Vote for neither of them!  Vote for another!

Protest!  Resist!  Boycott!  Donate!

Protect the environment!  Stop climate change!  Save the rainforest!  Save the children!  Save the bees!

Change your life!  Empower yourself!  Save the world!  Be the Light!

Speak up, America!  Own your flaws!  Admit your racism!  Stop the lies!

You’re all narcissists, obsessed with entertainment!  You’re all slaves of the Matrix system!  Turn off your TV’s; turn on your brains!  Look up from your phones!  Get involved!  Do something, America!  Act now, before it’s too late!

Head spinning, bugles ringing, drums beating in my veins.  Battle cries shoring up my broken heart, the need to act driving every step with urgency and power.  I reach for the door, ready to go, and…

Stop…

Stuck…

“Where exactly am I going?,” I ask myself.  “What exactly am I planning to do?!”

I am poor, but I am white, and somehow that should make a difference.  I am crippled, but I am educated, and somehow that should matter.  I am empowered, self-aware, and empathic, and all of this somehow uniquely qualifies me to act at this time…  And I chose this life, this time to be born, so there’s that as well…

But what exactly am I supposed to do?!

And there is the crux of the problem…

For there are a lot of people “out there” with a lot to say, a lot of opinions, a lot of rhetoric.  But very few who offer real and practical advice about what we should actually do!

I have no extra money to donate, no matter how great the cause.  Besides, I cannot avoid the screaming implications that the pursuit of more (money) makes me a part of the problem, even though those claiming to be working to resolve the problems keep soliciting more…

I could go join a “march for…” something, I suppose, but 5 blocks at a time is about my limit these days.  Do you suppose my hobbling 5 blocks will change the course of history, no matter how much such marching might cost me physically and personally?  I’ll do it, of course, if it will help, because I live to serve.  But someone please explain to me how this is supposed to work…  I hobble along, at great personal sacrifice, and hope that someone, somewhere, in some corporate office, will be so impressed with my effort that they will call an immediate board meeting to rescind their evil ways…?

I could go join the front lines in North Dakota (or anywhere else that peaceful prayer is standing up to corporate greed).  But the police and soldiers there are armed with clubs, guns, dogs and pepper spray, and they are using them with immunity.  Suppose I could afford to get there.  Suppose I could get my lame ass on the cold earth to sit in a prayer circle.  Chances are, I could not get up by myself when we were through.  And if those militarized forces ordered us to go, I could not physically comply.  So then what?  I get beat up, bitten, broken or bulldozed over?  And what have I accomplished now?  It might be “noble,” I admit, but ultimately futile in the end…

Enough whining, Lisa!  Focus!

Ok, so here’s my thing.  I cannot “fix” what’s wrong with my country, and what’s wrong with my world.  I have no power, at least not in a broader context.  I can only exercise control over my own life, priorities and actions.  So what am I going to do?

Someone mentioned to me recently that blaming “Americans” for all that is wrong is a lot like blaming the victim for the crimes committed against them.  I resisted that thought, knowing as I do, that we “can’t be victims unless we choose to be.”  It’s been my mantra for many years.  And yet…

And yet, we are all “victims” of the same system in a sense.  We are so deeply indoctrinated into it that even if we see its limitations, we cannot see a way out.  We have no power.  And its not just the powerful preying upon us, but our fellow powerless neighbors seeking some control over their lives.

Explain to me, for example, why thieves would break into my home in a poor city neighborhood to steal a $400 TV that took me 18 months to pay for?  Why are they tempted to break into my 9 year old car that I’m still going to be paying for 3 years from now?  The garage just down the street (where I spent another $600 this year to get my car through a state inspection again) is empty at night.  Why break in here??

Why not go stand on the side of the expressway, or in the grocery store parking lot, and bum a dollar for a bus ride to the rich part of town?  There you could steal a car, break into a home and take whatever you want, knowing they have the resources to replace said items before the insurance check (from their good coverage/low deductible insurance) even comes in the mail?  Why do poor people steal from poor people instead of from rich people?

Why do those gun toting, mad bomber types prefer to kill “innocent” people in a shopping mall, school or nightclub, rather than targeting politicians, corporate executives and bankers?  Do they honestly believe that killing myself and my grandkids before getting themselves killed is going to change anything? Or punish anyone who truly needs punishing?!  How does that serve any purpose?

I’m not talking about terrorist organizations which are no more than fronts for those already in power.  I’m talking about individuals acting out of rage and frustration.  Think about it!  If you took out a few corporate executives, or bankers responsible for fleecing you, destroying the environment and enslaving you, you’d actually be serving your fellow citizens!

If you chose to target the actual “bad” cops, rather than all cops, most of whom take their oath to “protect and serve” their communities seriously, you would be much more likely to end corruption and police brutality.  It’s not like the names of the “guilty” cops aren’t out there.  Target them, and so discourage other cops from becoming like them, rather than discouraging all cops from protecting we the people…

I understand that “revolution” without a plan for what comes after invites even more power hungry, tyrannical overlords into power, but sitting here whining about how bad things are accomplishes nothing!  And yet…

And yet I honestly cannot see what is expected of me at this time!  I try to speak truth as I understand it, but the only ones who hear me are those who already believe what I say.  I look for ways to take action, but those actions accomplish little to nothing in the big picture scenarios.  I am NOT powerless, and yet I cannot seem to change the current course of history as it unravels before my disbelieving eyes!…

And so…

Head spinning, bugles ringing, drums beating in my veins.  Battle cries shoring up my broken heart, the need to act driving every step with urgency and power.  I reach for the door, ready to go, and…

Head off to work for someone else, to collect my paycheck and pay my bills.  Gotta keep the fossil fuel hog car running so I can earn that money, so I can eat, live indoors with heat and electric, so I can continue to support the system that enslaves me.

And when it all gets to be too much, I will turn on that TV I just finished paying for, or watch some cat videos on my phone, or read a good fantasy novel on my e-reader…  And for a few minutes, at least, maybe I can forget that I’m supposed to be doing something…

Go back to sleep, America; it was just another false alarm…

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Dreams, Essay, Reflections

“The Value of Sacrifice…?”

All this talk about death lately led me to a fascinating dream last night that I just have to share!  Lol…

***

In the dream, I was being prepared to be “sacrificed,” exchanging my life for the lives of others.  It was a planned thing, a ritual of sorts, and having been prepared, I was being led on a tour to meet the people my life would spare…

One of the places we toured was a school of some sort where I met many wonderful people, mostly young, and some with truly bright futures.  I felt good about my decision to volunteer for this sacrifice!  A few of those young people were social “misfits,” in the sense that their “work” made them unpopular with their peers.  But they smiled through it, and stuck together, and I admired them for what they were doing.  I was actually grateful that my sacrifice would ennable them to continue, and, for their part, they seemed to understand the significance of the exchange – my life for theirs…

I realized then, that my sacrifice was not specific; as in, I had no control over which lives I would save by dying.  So some of those who were oblivious would also be saved.  I felt less good about that, but still…  Overall, the sacrifice seemed worth it.

As I was led through the school, I also became vaguely aware that some of the “good” kids were going to die, saving one or two others in the process.  It actually made me sad to think such promising lives would end to save so few, and I felt a tad bit guilty that my sacrifice would save more; my life, wasted as it has been, seemed far less valuable to me in that moment than the lives of these promising youth, yet my life would “buy” more others in the martyrdom market.  It hardly seemed fair.

These thoughts pursued me as we left the school to travel to the next site I was to tour.  As we drove, I noticed my window was open and granules of sand and tiny ants were coming in.  I quickly closed the window, being reminded of the gruesome way I was to die, for it involved something about being buried alive in this car, and the ants were a part of it.  I shuddered, wishing the manner of death chosen would have been more compassionate…  Still, I reminded myself, I volunteered for this, with full knowledge of both the manner and price of my death.

It was then that it occurred to me that being dead meant I could not ensure the other side of the contract would be fulfilled.  As I began to question that, the first doubts started to surface.  What guarantee did I have that my life would spare as many others as they promised?  I thought again of those promising young people who would die to save only one or two others.  Would it be worth it?  How does one establish the “value” of a life when compared to others?

As these thoughts gained momentum, I saw a tally sheet in my mind, like a spiral-bound day calendar, with each page representing another life.  The pages started flipping “backward” of their own accord, reducing the worth of my sacrifice by one life, then three, then ten…  Soon the pages were flipping continuously, and I realized if I didn’t die soon, I wouldn’t save anyone at all!  My commitment to this sacrifice faltered; was it worth it to die if I had no say in who, or how many, would be saved?!

It was then that my dream mentor stepped in behind me, saying softly, “this is what you were born to do…”

“But…,” I began…  He cut me off.

“You were born for this.  You trained for this.  You planned this…”

“I was born for this,” I repeated, as I finally woke up.

***

Like many of you, perhaps, I was raised to believe that “sacrifice” is a noble act.  Whether it comes in the form of a parent refusing food so that a child may eat, or a firefighter dying while rescuing someone, or a soldier becoming maimed while serving his/her country, or a prophet dying for a cause, the idea of sacrifice somehow makes us more worthy as humans, and should be respected and admired by those unharmed.

We build memorials to honor such acts, both “big” (saves many) and “small” (saves fewer or gives less, such as maiming rather than dying).  We tell stories, pass them down through generations, to keep the idea and the memory alive.  We name such martyrs as inspiration, and wish we had the strength of character necessary to make such a choice when faced with it.  But who are we truly serving by committing such acts of sacrifice?

Are we merely buying redemption points for ourselves, or balancing karma, perhaps?  Or are we truly serving a greater good by making such choices?

There is an ongoing joke at work where everyone wants me on their team in the event of a true zombie apocalypse.  Why?  Because I can’t run, and therefore will be good fodder buying them time to escape.  It’s all said in jest, of course, but there is an underlying truth to it.  Admit it, to yourself if not to me: wouldn’t you rather surround yourself with people willing to make such a sacrifice for you, than with people who’d expect you to sacrifice for them?  And what’s truly wrong with that?

In every war ever fought, we have sent our front lines out to be sacrificed that others might advance their causes.  And who determines which lives or causes are more valuable than others?  Should the survivors then feel guilty about being saved?  We tell them, maybe, that they were saved for a reason, that they should make the sacrifice worthwhile by using their borrowed time wisely, and for good purposes.  Who controls the scales that determine such balance?

My life may not amount to much in the bigger picture, but it is valuable to me.  And some of the martyrs I know about seem, to me anyway, to be far more “valuable” than many they served by dying.

Even Jesus, if you believe his story, suffered a horrible death to “save” so many who would follow, but have those followers lived up to his sacrifice?  For are they not some of the first to point fingers and determine whose lives are worth saving, and whose shall be forfeit for not believing as they do?  (This is not meant to single out the Christian faith, but it is a history ripe with such distinctions, from the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the Pro-Lifer movement today.)

I don’t know the answers today, nor do I expect them from you, though you are certainly welcome to express your opinions, if done in a respectful manner.  I’m just asking the questions for now.  And wondering…

Perhaps we’ve got it wrong?  Perhaps sacrifice is not nearly as noble as we’ve surmised, and perpetuated through time and culture?  Perhaps no one else is worth suffering and/or dying for.  Perhaps we need to redefine our concept of selfishness to better incorporate the idea that all life is meaningful and valuable, and that no other can take our place?  And then, perhaps, we can finally focus on taking care of our selves…

Just a thought, I guess…

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Essay, Reflections

“Choosing Cruelty…?”

I had an interesting discussion with my roommate yesterday that I feel compelled to share for some reason, even though the post I planned for today is almost complete.  Please accept it as offered, an impulse without explanation, though it be a difficult topic to explore…

The discussion centered on Karma, and the soul’s choice to incarnate into certain situations for the purpose of learning lessons.  It is not a concept that everyone believes, even here among my friends at WordPress.  I understand that we of the Otherhood come from a variety of backgrounds, and hold diverse sets of beliefs and convictions; it is one of my fondest goals achieved and the one I am most grateful for. I count among the followers of this blog people from many faiths and perspectives, and I value each of them immensely!

It is for that reason that I am identifying the subject matter clearly in advance, for I do not wish to offend those who believe differently than myself.  But if you are open to outside ideas, this post may engage your interest nonetheless, as it deals with “evil” expressed in human affairs.  If such does not appeal to you, feel free to move along now… 🙂

So the question we were considering was this: why would a soul choose to live a life which centered on being cruel to others?

It is not hard to understand the lessons associated with victimhood, as they range the spectrum from self-empowerment to forgiveness; there is much of value to be gained by being a victim.

But the lessons of victimage (scapegoating, the act of victimizing others) seem less accessible to me.  It is almost incomprehensible to me that someone would choose to harm others.  And yet, without victimizers, we would have no victims, and no opportunity to learn such virtues as forgiveness, tolerance, patience, compassion and grace…

Could it be that simple?  Could a soul choose such a path for the primary purpose of aiding other souls in their development?  Or are there lessons to be gained by being the perpetrator of such acts?

I’ve heard it said that “evil is as evil does,” though I have no idea from where it comes.  Still, its message seems clear enough.  No soul is born good or evil; rather it is the choices we make that determine our character.  So evil is, at some level anyway, a choice that someone makes.  So why choose evil?

The easiest answer, perhaps, is that someone is driven to such a choice by their own experience as victim.  If you’ve been traumatized by events in your life, you choose how to integrate them into your experience.  One obvious path is to become the traumatizer, thus insulating yourself from further abuse.  Or perhaps you are merely “acting out” your rage against such injustice.  This explanation may suffice for much of what we see happening in the world today, from “legacy of abuse” stories, to random acts of mass violence against others, but it does not explain those who simply seem “born to be bad.”  (Can’t help thinking of George Thorogood here…)  What then motivates them?

If you believe that such is possible, you might be tempted to explain evil in terms of possession by outside forces; “the devil made them do it.”  Or perhaps an interest in scientific/psychological studies might lead you to believe the brain of these individuals is miswired or defective; certainly there have been scientific breakthroughs in brain mapping that show what is different in sociopathic and psychopathic brains.  But neither of these possible explanations for cruelty explain why a soul would choose to experience such a path.

One could fall back on sociological explanations as well, I suppose, blaming society itself for fostering such power-over relationships.  Certainly humanity’s propensity toward being alpha predators aids those choosing to be cruel by providing a framework upon which to justify many incomprehensible acts.  From slavery to slaughter, society institutionalizes acts of extreme cruelty, creating a world in which such acts are expected.  But aside from pointing out the prevalence of such life-paths, these explanations do little to explain why they are necessary for a soul’s evolution…

And from my own professed perspective, I am further confounded by the need to understand the role of cruelty in the expression of Love, for I have frequently avowed that All of creation is Divine and manifested from Love.  Even cruelty.  Even evil.  How can I embrace that conviction??

There are certainly occasions when honest acts of love are perceived as cruel.  Consider medical attention for a beloved pet or child too young to comprehend that inflicting greater pain now is necessary to aid healing later.  Setting broken bones, for example, is excruciating, yet the long-term consequences of not doing so may be worse.  And discipline is often perceived as being cruel by those disciplined, though it will likely yield positive results in the future of that disciplined soul’s evolution…

But no such logic can be applied to those who are cruel simply for the sake of being cruel.  To torture animals, or children, or neighbors, or strangers…?  How can such acts be justified in a world created of, and by, Love?

Were I to take a more philosophical approach, I might suggest that such acts create balance and wholeness in the universe.  But if my soul is Whole and created of Love prior to my incarnation in a dualistic world, then why would I choose the darker path?  It seems to me that such a choice these days only further destroys any inherent balance, as more and more souls choose a destructive life path.  And yet…

And yet, the sheer numbers of souls choosing such a path these days would seem to imply that some vital lesson must be learned, and soon, if we are to salvage anything from this planet.  For my understanding of the Karmic cycle is that one will encounter lessons in ever-increasing intensity until the soul grasps the truths it came seeking, and integrates them into an evolved perspective.  That being the case, we surely have reached a crisis point, as so many souls seek to comprehend the expression of evil simultaneously…

I have no answers here, only questions, I’m afraid.  So if you read through this entire post expecting me to offer some words of wisdom and comfort that would make this topic “feel” better, I am sorry to disappoint you.  What can I say?  Life is cruel sometimes, and so is Love; this I can say with certainty.  But the why behind that truth remains for wiser souls to figure out…

Perhaps that soul is you…?

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