Good Things

The Laughing Heart

What matter most is how well you walk through the fire
— Charles Bukowski

 

I used to read some of Charles Bukowski's poems in my mid-twenties. While Jack Kerouac (another great American poet) used to make me want to hit the road and go traveling, reading Bukowski always made me want to have a drink and somehow, to rebel. His nothing-to-lose truthfulness on his poems made him a cult hero. At least for me in my drunk mid-twenties years.

When I first read The Laughing Heart, there was a rebellious, hopeful and strong sentiment about this poem that always made me kick the ass out of fear, and somehow do what I wanted. Even if in some of these decisions were accompanied by my coffee cup full of red wine and a few chupitos. Just like Bukowski himself. I was doing what I wanted. 

Well, my twenties are long gone,  and so are the chupitos, but the poetry stayed. 

Bukowski's The Laughing Heart poem is one of my all-time-favourite and it continues to touches me deeply.  It is an amazing piece of poetry.

Here it is;

 

The Laughing Heart

 

"your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is light somewhere.

it may not be much light but

it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.

the gods will offer you chances.

know them.

take them.

you can’t beat death but

you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you."

                                                                                                                 by Charles Bukowski


 

The quote “Clubbed into dank submission” is a feeling that I can relate to pretty well, dealing with depression and the occasional sadness that knocks my door from time to time, sometimes it’s very difficult to remember that your life really is your life to live. 

This poem is one of the powerful tools that I use to boost my mood and lift myself up. It has helped me through some grey moments. It has made me get up in the morning and do stuff, it reminds me that there is hope out there. There is a light somewhere. That your life is yours to live, know it while you have it. You are marvelous and this poem is a beauty.

Be well folks, be on the watch. 

Roddy X

Milestones

milestone
ˈmʌɪlstəʊn/
noun
plural noun: milestones
1. 
a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
2. 
a significant stage or event in the development of something.

The road consists in small milestones.

 After living in a Rehab center for 3,5 months and then back in Brazil with mum for about 6 months, I moved back to Sweden and started living by myself. I remember when I moved all my stuff to my new apartment and close the doors behind me, I remember when I went to the supermarket by myself, the first time I cooked Mexican and the first time I changed my duvet cover.

Every time time did something for the first time I remember going to bed super happy like a little child that climbed a mango tree for the first time!

The funny thing is that only after losing all this little things that seem so insignificant and I used to take it for granted, I started valorizing them.

This is why I feel grateful about my injury. Somehow, I am becoming happier with my small (and most of the time, ‘insignificant’) milestones. I am learning how to appreciate the small things, the little stuff, the stuff you don't think about if you don't need to think about it.

Don’t take me wrong, spinal cord injury still is and always will be shit, but I wonder if I would have the same level of life acceptance, self awareness and patience if I had not been injured. Probably not. So thats a good thing.

Talking about good things

Roddy 01  X  00 Spinal cord injury

Roddy 01  X  00 Spinal cord injury

Last October I went to one of my best friend's wedding, in Mexico. 

I confess that I was quite afraid and a bit nervous but I left my apartment door, took a cab, 2 trains, 3 planes and 32 hours later I was arriving in Guadalajara, I had a backpack hanging on the back of my wheelchair and one in my lap. I had a few issues but I did it all by myself. I was super happy. On this same trip, my friends helped me to surf for the first time, I danced for the fist time and I also experienced a hurricane for the first time.  

I came back to Sweden with a backpack full of milestones and it was when I started beating depression, it was when I realised that with a good planning traveling still possible. 

That trip boosted my self-esteem and replaced my fear with confidence. 

 

That's what traveling does to you. 

Soon after that I started building this website and also doing some research to find out what was left on the plate for me. 

I found out that they have a 'disabled-friendly' wagon from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian express and also a rental car company that rents out hand control driven cars down in New Zealand. Fuck yeah! 

There is a 'fuck yeah!' feeling that pops up every time you discover that you are still able to do the stuff you love. Sometimes you get it every week, sometimes everyday. And I feel very grateful to be able to experience some of those from time to time. 

Every day there is little something to be grateful for. 

When I think of driving in New Zealand I think of something that for me, today, right now, its huge! It's far away. It's a distant goal.

And the goal is not really the goal; the goal, is just an imaginary point that you create to have some kind of direction. What really matters is the daily, small insignificant things that you do, those ones that brings you small doses of instant inner happiness and gratitude. Small daily doses of 'fuck yeahs!'.

The goal is just there, the real and the Important stuff is the road. The road that leads to it. When Kerouac quoted 'the road is life', I believe he was right, the road is what has the most value, and by the road I mean the journey, the small daily milestones toward something that today, for you, Is big. 

I believe that If you can still collect small milestones every now and then and be grateful for them, you are winning. 

Both thumps up.  

My milestone this week will be to start going twice a week to Funkibator, the NGO where I am currently working. It's kind of a Rehabilitation Program in a working environment, where I am learning what I can still do, how much I can work, how long I can sit still in my wheelchair before my spasticity goes crazy and stuff like that.

Funkibator is a place where everyone with a disability or a health condition has a  job that suits their needs,  it’s really amazing because it enable folks to take control of their lives, do stuff and become more independent.

It's all set to be a beautiful week. 

I hope yours would be too.

Enjoy the road folks, celebrate your  small milestones, enjoy the little things, be a winner. 

Fuck yeah!

Roddy X