Growing Pains – A Poem


Growing Pains – A Poem

Why are these dreams that stretch out across my heart’s field of desire,
That glisten Like droplets of drew sparkling on the morning grass,
So hard to obtain, so hard to take to take hold of,
And so hard to lasso and pull close to reality?
The burden is bearing the tragedy of it all,
Knowing what you want, what you need,
Lies just beyond the forest and through the trees,
But you seem unable to put those desires into action.
So often I’m fixated on distractions that pull me off-course,
And get me lost on side paths instead of trekking onward
Towards goals, aspirations, and destinations.
It drives a person mad, carrying around bags of frustrations,
Grueling through labor day after day,
Counting the minutes, knowing there has to be another way.
But the Way is left without footprints, often prepared for
But never ventured and what’s left of hope slowly fades away.
There’s a demon inside of me that seems unable to be controlled,
Scoffing at dreams, content to let life pass me by,
Trampling on schedules, and consistently cursing meaningful causes.
Claws strike out at my fingers each time
I reach out to grasp my true potential.
I now know the paved road to success doesn’t exist.
You must venture through the dense forest,
Fight through the clinging vines, and thrash through the sticks.
No, to journey with intention is no vacation,
And the mess inside me, always attempting to misguide me, is no easy fix.
But the trail to nowhere is covered by countless footprints
And paved with the trampled dreams others have left behind.
The alarm clock beckons.
Wisdom speaks.
My souls shrieks.
But for some reason I have yet to understand,
I hear, but refuse to listen.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: After the rainfall via photopin (license)

Eclipse – A Poem


Eclipse – A Poem

Two sides of a conflicting coin
Flip like faces in a dramatic act.
Two intricate and separate forces entangle
In a bitter struggle, leaving Earth cloaked in black.

How can such a powerful light
Be smothered by such a small, sinister hand?
A visceral visual of what evil can accomplish
When given the freedom to take root in the heart of man.

In a matter of seconds the cosmos is silenced
By the veil of darkness and death.
The yang captured beneath the yin’s net;
Hope and light suffocating and gasping for breath.

What once was so beautiful,
Shining in the sky’s endless sea,
Has now turned into a lifeless puppet,
Bound and animated by dark, dominating strings.

You were once a blazing beacon –
A fire of hope that lit up my nights.
But now, my once glorious sun,
You’ve laid down, surrendered, and given up the fight.

I only hope this is but an eclipse
And shortly you’ll come forth from hiding behind the moon.
For life is but a quick, short breath
And will not wait while you wallow woefully in your room.

Two opposite forces fight
In the face of the atmosphere;
The moon is not a worthy opponent
But kills all light when the sun hides in fear.

The moon hangs with no power,
But becomes master when the sun submits.
Defy the rebellion, do not yield to your captor.
Emerge as the victor in your heart’s eclipse.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: Lunar Eclipse via photopin (license)

Pursuing Your Dreams and Reaching For the Stars

stars at night“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” -Henry David Thoreau

As children, we all have dreams swirling in our heads, all have pursuits that we want to obtain and career paths we want to walk down, but suddenly, we reach a certain age and start hearing the chatter of the world that shouts that those things are foolish, unrealistic, and unobtainable. The great tragedy is that we listen and believe them. There is no one in the entire world that can tell you that you CAN”T do something except yourself. The only person that decides who gives you the power to create dreams or to destroy them is YOU. What did you want to be as a child that you slowly killed over time, but still holds a place in your heart, silently whispering to you to go after it…that you were born to do it?

I believe Thoreau hits the nail on the head. The majority of people do “lead lives of quiet desperation”. We live in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of uncertainty. Instead we live lives feeling way too damn comfortable. If you’re comfortable, most likely it’s because you’re not pushing yourself to become the person you were made to become. Let’s face it. Putting yourself out there and going for something that everyone else thinks you’re crazy for trying is going to be uncomfortable. But it is also freeing. It also gives you the opportunity to stop hesitating, to stop waiting, to stop training, and finally get out there and do something.

We live in desperation because inside I think we know our true potential, and for some reason that scares us. Yet, we can’t get rid of this nagging feeling that looms over us demanding more, telling us that we were meant for more. And you are meant for more. More than squandering away your life working a job you hate because you’re too scared to pursue your dreams. Failure is not the bitch everyone thinks she is. The real tragedy is letting the fear of failure hold you back.

Failure is a scary word, but it is only scary by the way you perceive it. Successful people see failure as just another dart that didn’t hit the board, but they’ve got unlimited darts sitting next to them – they simply pick up the next one and throw again. The majority of the population sees failure as the end all that ruins their life. Failure is never an ending, unless you decide to make it one; failure is the beginning – a chance for a fresh start and to apply the lessons you learned in your last attempt.

If you had absolutely no fear, if you woke up tomorrow and could choose any profession and know you’d succeed and make the same money that you do now, what would you choose? Well, go out there and do that! It’s time to stop thinking, stop wishing, stop hoping, stop doubting, and start doing. Start doing your dreaming with action a little at a time. A dream is not realized over night, but is worked out over weeks, months, and years. We all have that something that we want to do “someday”. But as Creedence Clearwater Rival profoundly states, “Someday Never Comes”. And it never does. Whatever you put off for the future will most likely never come to pass. The time to start is now. Maybe not all at once, but little steps in the right direction. As long as we are moving towards the goal, that goal becomes a realistic possibility. If we do nothing but sit still and dream about it, it remains an unrealistic possibility.

I’ll ask you again. If you had absolutely no fear, if you woke up tomorrow and could choose any profession and know you’d succeed and make the same money that you do now, what would you choose? What childhood dream remains tucked away in your heart and in the back of your mind? Today’s the day to stop wishing and start doing. You control your own destiny and no one can tell you no, except you.

photo credit: Falling star via photopin (license)

Today is the Day – A Poem About Conquering Fear and Living Your Dreams

raging river with rapids

Today is the Day – A Poem About Conquering Fear and Living Your Dreams

I will not stop to settle
Down into the silt of my own shit.
Never be content to ride out the currents of the lazy river,
Reaching the end, wondering where all my dreams went.

I will trudge up against the currents.
If I have to, hell, for a season I’ll even portage.
I’m fine facing the fear of getting lost in the forest
As long as I’m not being dragged along by life’s currents.

My heart has dreams,
But my mind refuses to believe they’ll ever grow.
But surely if you never plant a single seed,
There will never be a single seed sown.

Fear is the varmint who sneaks
Into the field at night to ravish the crop.
Are you fine with seeing your soul stolen?
Or will you keep watch and fight back with everything you got?

But it is impossible to swim upstream
Without getting wet.
Do not show up with dry clothes lacking holes
When you reach your meeting with death.

For the river is the water of life.
To sit on the shore – you might as well be dead.
Today is the day to place on toe in at a time,
Starve your fears, and make sure your dreams are always fed.

Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: wellsn40 via photopin (license)

Reflecting On The Journey

With all positive change comes great adversity.  All too often, adversity stops us short of ever seeing the positive change that only happens by pushing through difficult times.  Even when positive changes are transforming our lives, we are so focused on the discomfort that we are unable to see them.  We reluctantly look forward, overwhelmed with how much farther we still have to go and never glance behind us and see just how far we’ve come.  

In the present moment, it is impossible to reflect on the person we were in the past with any sense of accuracy.  We think we haven’t changed, all the work we’re putting in isn’t making a difference, or we wonder if things have actually gotten worse.  The people around us typically notice the changes in our character before we do.  Part of our problem is the assumption that change is supposed to be easy.  Change is always going to be difficult.  We love what feels familiar and comfortable; change means inviting the unfamiliar into your daily life.  If you’re comfortable during change, you’re probably not making much progress. 

It’s important to not dwell on the past, but sometimes it’s necessary in order to realize that you’re a different person than you were a week, month, or year ago.  When your journey gets tough, try not to focus on how many more miles you’ve got to go, but how many miles you’re come.  And you’ll discover that miracles are unfolding all around you.  

Looking At Life Through A Microscope


When trying to make progress in our lives,  normally people look at key moments or situations as the deciding factor of whether we succeed or fail. Goals are created as something we want to achieve in the distant future, and there’s a set amount of time to wait before we can be “tested” by life.  We typically look at life as one giant panoramic view, cramming together the past, present, and future into one reality.  But the only place that life exists like that is in our heads.  The past is gone and can’t be recaptured. The future lies on an intangible plane and can’t be seen.  The only thing that matters right now is the present moment.   Success or failure is very rarely obtained in one big moment.  It is determined by the normal, seemingly unimportant decisions that we make on a daily basis, compounded over time.

The Daily Grind

Ask any successful person or anyone that has overcome remarkable adversity how they got where they are, and chances are they will tell you “hard work”.  They won’t give you a date or time frame where there was a make or break it moment.  I think far too often in our culture we only focus in on the “big plays” and forget the daily grind that success requires.  Instant gratification goes into that- we want success, and we want it now.  In my life, I find myself constantly creating new, lofty goals for the future, but forgetting to do the little things today.  I suffer from social anxiety and would really be more comfortable spending my life in isolation.  But I’m at the point now where I may be comfortable and safe, but I don’t have true happiness.  My goal of overcoming social anxiety may not be possible for months, but the choices I make right now in the moment determine the future. Sometimes I forget that.  I use excuses like, “Well I really want to get better, but I don’t feel very good today.  I’ll make sure and work on it tomorrow.  One day of avoiding the places I don’t want to go isn’t going to hurt.”  The reality is that these excuses never just last one day.  We decide to sleep in instead of being productive.  We blow off a portion of our diet.  We put off things for tomorrow that we planned on doing today.  The list could go on and on.  But success is not something you can procrastinate studying for and cram the night before the test.  Success is a test that is given every waking moment as a series of minuscule quizzes.  We are constantly being tested between taking the easy road and the hard road.  Just because these decisions don’t seem to drastically impact your life, doesn’t mean they don’t over time.

Using the Microscope

Going back to the large, panoramic view that most people have on life, I like to think of using a microscope to focus in just on the present moment.  It is the only thing that matters and the only thing we have control over in the whole scope of life.  While this may seem like a simple and obvious concept, it is one that I (and I believe a lot of others) struggle with.  Many times I am determined and motivated to meet a goal, yet still can’t seem to quite reach it.  It’s not that I don’t care or am flat out lazy.  It’s that I am distracted by the future, thinking that there is always “later” to do what needs to be done.  I still want to achieve a goal, but want little breaks here and there, thinking that they don’t really matter or that I am not really cheating myself…but I am.  Every time I give in and take the path of least resistance, it only gives me the excuse to use it again and again.  Quitting my workout five minutes early suddenly becomes my new routine, just because I gave in one day.  We rewrite our goals every time we are faced with a seemingly small decision.  Do we choose to continue following the road we set out on, or make a short detour when things get difficult?

I only bring this up because I think there is the misconception that there are successful people and then there are lazy people.  I don’t think that’s the case.  There are large numbers of people who want success, but just can’t seem to stay on track.  There’s always the stories of New Year’s Resolutions that were never kept.  But do people’s goals change half way through the year?  I don’t think so.  Of all the times I have failed in my life, I can’t think of a single time when I quit or decided my fate in a single moment.  It was decided over days, weeks, and months.  Too many small, daily failures eventually compound into one large mistake. We are constantly looking for the secret formula to conquer the huge problems in our lives.  The formula starts by focusing in on the present moment and doing the small things right.  Hard-work and dedication will always be the ingredients needed for success.  Success starts by putting those ingredients into action this very instant, not when we feel like it.