The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

Into the mirror I gaze
and am wrapped within the frame
of a smoky haze of secrets swirling within glass.

I can’t deny the face,
can’t pretend I don’t know,
have no trace of realization that the figure before my eyes is me.

It’s unsettling to see the darkness,
to discover the demons in the flesh,
to witness my flaws, flogging me in the face.

Beneath this mask of pride,
there is a face scorched and seared
by lies, deceit, and by the heat of betrayal.

I know the image I wish to see,
I know the reflection my heart believes;
but within me is a darkness I prefer not to acknowledge.

The mirror of truth does not lie,
does not flinch when it brings onlookers to their knees,
does not hide delusions, but pierces the veil of our ego.

The mirror of truth is a loving master,
a humbling stone meant to trip our feet,
a pastor to turn us towards joy and away from the bonds of slavery.

I may not like the face that stares back at me,
I may not like the icy eyes, the lips of pride,
but I have the opportunity to reconstruct my image.

Morning sun, be my witness –
when you lay down to rest tonight, the flames may remain
fueled by my darkness, but will crackle beside the waters of love and grace.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: De lujo y miseria via photopin (license)

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Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem About Helping the Less Fortunate

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As I was driving down the road the other day and came to a stoplight, my eyes fell upon a young woman begging on the side of the road. I must admit that often times I am quick to judge out of pride or wonder why they are too lazy to pick themselves up and get a job or get help for their addiction. Often times I put the blame on their shoulders and often times it may be. But that woman’s image flooded my heart with sympathy – her head was hung low, and it was clear that she was ashamed of herself and her situation. I found myself wanting to write her story…and not just hers, but for all those struggling in the world without a voice.

It is easy to judge, but much harder to place ourselves in the shoes of another. We all have issues we wish to keep hidden in the safety of our hearts and minds. And what we often times attribute to our strength, our character, or our success has nothing to do with our actions, but only the grace of God.

What would your life look like without loving parents, a loving spouse, a warm and safe home; without teachers, mentors, and other positive influences? What would your life look like if you were abused as a child, afraid of going home after school, or knowing there wouldn’t be anyone there to ask you how your day was or help you with your homework? What would your life look like without someone to help you through college, without an employer who was willing to take a chance on a young intern, without a friend to pick you up all the times you fell? I don’t know, but I think it would do us all a little good to keep our judgments hushed and our hearts open to the stories of the less fortunate people around us.

Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem

Sing a song for the brokenhearted
Whose hopes were snatched away like a thief in the night;
For those who’ve been burnt by the flames of love,
Their hearts charred and scarred no longer with the will to fight.

Sing a song for the prince of pain
Whose sorrows cast shadows upon the skies.
Sing, sing for the once crowned king
Whose tears fall like rain from dismal eyes.

Sing a song for fairy tales lost.
Reality stings like salt on an open wound.
Yesterday’s hours were filled with childhood play.
Oh, how the years pass away much too soon.

Drum a dirge for the divorcee,
Who was ill-equipped to hear the secrets that fell upon their ears.
The soul shatters like sheet of glass
When reality reflects the realization of your deepest fears.

Drum a dirge for dying dreams
That have been abandoned for monetary pursuits.
To live a life never meant for our hearts
Is is pull up your essence and chop it off at the roots.

Drum a dirge for the desolate and deserted
Who hobble hopelessly, begging on downtown streets.
Do not be quick to judge a stranger
Until you pick up their bags and take a ride in their seat.

Belt out a ballad for the afflicted,
For the addicted, and for the anxious minds.
Have sympathy for the struggle you might not understand,
For we each carry a story we wish to leave behind.

Belt out a ballad for the sick and suffering;
Share their tale of sadness and woe.
A kind smile and gentle hand is often the only demand
To make somber faces delight and glow.

Belt out a ballad for the fatherless,
Familyless, and utterly alone
Whose story goes untold, lost
Sinking to the bottom of life’s ocean like a heavy stone.

Have pity on the less fortunate people
Whose notes resound throughout life’s amphitheater.
We are all apart of one beating force,
One united, cosmic voice; one rhyme, one rhythm, one meter.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Hard Times via photopin (license)

The Fight – A Poem About Conquering Fear

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The Fight – A Poem About Conquering Fear

You can cast your shadow across my future,
Across every step that approaches every opportunity, every opened door.
Try to tear down the walls of my confidence,
And attempt to convince me that I was never meant for more.

You can startle me with your swiftness,
Visit me whenever and however you please.
But I, and I alone must give you the power
To break me and to send me to my knees.

You have dwelt within every human heart,
And every human mind since the dawn of time,
Making the mundane feel like destiny,
Slowly dying, slowly binding us as prisoners of the grind.

Your power is as limitless
Or as limited, as I will it to be.
For the only person who can choose to make you master
Is the man who resides inside of me.

I will not give approval to your veil of darkness,
Nor give you bricks to construct your castle walls.
What you build up I will tear back down with action.
You may knock me down, but I will get back up when I fall.

Fear, I am marking you as my enemy –
Right here, right now, this instant, not tomorrow, but today.
For I have dreams that I must tend to,
So pack up your “what ifs” and get out of my way.

Keep coming at me with your terrors if you like,
But my place in the corner is now a vacant cell.
This heart will no longer hide from failure,
Nor choose safety over walking through the fiery hell.

I choose my destiny,
I choose to hold my dreams as a beacon in the night.
For the impossible becomes possible
The day we choose to defy you, the day we choose to fight.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: DSC_0104 via photopin (license)

What is Success? What Does A Successful Person Do?

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost

stairs walking up a mountain,  symbolizing success or hard workWhat is success? We all want to know, so we can define ourselves as successful when we get there. But I would argue that success is not a destination, not a certain level on a plane that we reach and can claim that we’ve “made it”; but a mindset and select core of principles that we put into place right from the start. In my opinion, success has nothing to do with monetary value or wealth. It is the opposition to the natural tendencies and forces that exist in life that attempt to push us to do what culture says is right, will bring you happiness, money, or fame. You can be “wealthy”, but quite unsuccessful; you can be “poor”, but quite successful. Did I lose you? Let me explain.

A successful individual is someone who is overall satisfied with his or her life. They pursue the passions of their heart and do not let fear or other’s opinions of them determine their actions. Successful people are constantly challenging themselves, constantly examining their life to see what areas need improvement. Generally, these types of people are wealthy, but it is not wealth that motivates them. Many people that society may label as “successful” are nothing more than greedy whores to a system that tells them to do whatever is necessary to get ahead, even if that means going against their values or hurting others in the process.

Happiness and success always go hand-in-hand. Human beings are naturally only truly happy when they are filled with purpose and are pursuing what they were born to do. When we stray from the path we know we’re meant to go down, there is a natural energy that arises within us that is disgusted with our decision and voices its opinion through our heart. Call that your soul, call that God, call it whatever you want, but know it exists to keep us away from the traps that the world sets out for us. We are most at peace when our outside actions perfectly match our inner feelings and motivations. Granted, it will likely be impossible to ever be perfectly aligned, but you can get pretty close.

When you wake up each morning and look in the mirror, you should be proud of that woman or man that is starring back at you. You may have the comfort of wealth, but if you are disgusted by what you see, can you really consider yourself successful? If you know that you have cheated the system, pushed down others to get ahead, took the easy path and cut corners, if you look at yourself and know you’re a phony, a fraud, and a liar, constantly in fear that the world is going to see the see through your outer shell, can you ever be truly happy? Absolutely not. That is not success; that is tragedy.

But success is a cultivator of wealth. Not because you’re seeking it, but because it follows success. Someone who is aligned with their inner self is going to love what they do, have drive, have passion and wake up everyday excited to make the world a better place. Their heart is in their work and with hard work, wealth typically follows. Wealth, however, can NEVER be your goal or motivator. If it is, you’re unsuccessful before you ever begin. Why? Because when wealth is your driving force, you will be willing to do whatever is necessary to obtain it, which immediately puts you against your inner self and makes you an opponent of happiness.

A successful person is a visionary, a light for the world, a lover, a fighter, a rebel, a leader, a builder, a guider, one who unites, one who divides, one who sympathizes, one who restores. They can be all these things at once because their main focus is using their gifts to make the world a better place. Sometimes that requires division, sometimes that requires discipline, and sometimes that requires praise or building another person up. A truly successful person is always at odds against people and culture, yet always works with people and culture in mind. The world hates successful people even if we try to pretend that we don’t because they are a light, and a light reveals our own darkness. A light challenges us to follow, when we’d prefer to stay in the comfort and ease of the dark.

I want to challenge the way we think of success. Success immediately equals wealth by culture’s standards; however, is goes far deeper than that. Success is using our gifts to the utmost of our ability and using those gifts to ensure that the world is a better place because we lived, because we loved, and because we had the courage to walk down the hard road rather than drift along the lazy river. Many successful people are wealthy, and there is nothing wrong with that. But wealth is not a qualifier of success, it is simply a typical byproduct of it. Take people like Jesus Christ, the Buddha, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. Are these people “successful” by the world’s definition? No. They are absolute failures – losers even. Yet somehow they have changed the world in ways that few people ever can or will. Hate him or love him, Jesus is the most influential person to ever walk the earth, and I believe always will be. But he was a homeless, penniless man with practically no possessions to his name. Can you really call him or any of the people on the list a failure or unsuccessful? I hope not. They lived their life with beauty, with purpose, and with love at the forefront of their mind.

Rich or poor, success is when we live the life we know we were born to live and can wake up each day and love the face that smiles back at us in the mirror. Success is staying true to ourselves and the core set of principles that we hold dear, always fighting, yet always persisting in the face of opposition. Some days we are more successful than others, but success is not an overnight venture; it is a lifetime pursuit of love, truth, passion, and hard work.


photo credit: Todo area @ Mount Hiei in the fog @ Kyoto 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)