>Visitor<

You are standing in the middle of an infinite forest of darkness.
The trees, rocks and the terrain around you is dark for as far as you can see, spare the area directly around you.
A small fire smoulders in a pit adjacent you, so you toss in a few twigs from around the fireplace, exciting numerous small flames from the coals.

The clouded shadows around you whip back and gain definition, and you notice a large log. In fact, you are sitting right next to it, in the dirt.
It is far too large to move, but is solid hardwood, hundreds of feet long maybe.
You search the darkness for tools. An axe or saw would be ideal. You see nothing of use.

With the last licks of flame you bound recklessly into the darkness, hopping a stone and landing in a pothole.
Your ankle twists in your boot and you topple to the ground atop a thicket of what feel like blackberries.
Bloodied and beaten and accompanied by much swearing, you arise and continue collecting usable firewood.

The darkness seems to extend on eternally ahead of you, your shadow projecting faintly onto the surrounding pine trees.
Despite the darkness, You see no signs of any animals.
Just trees.
Their shaggy silhouettes standing idly, as if on any other night they would come to life and trade positions.

You turn back to the now-smouldering coals to see they have attracted a visitor.
You decide to approach slowly, and from the front as to not alert the creature.
This seems to work as you get within a few feet of this strange creature.
Amidst the darkness it is impossible to discern hide nor hair of this whateveritis, so you toss a few short branches on the coals.

The creature startles, and jumps back instantly.
A glint of light from the brewing fire flecks a deep green through its eye as it stares at you in shock and misunderstanding.
The fire builds, and new flames entice the creature back to bask in the heat.
It was completely covered in fur, mid-length and white. White-ish.
Almost tall enough to be a human, it walked on two legs with relative elegance.
It turns to you, elated now and gestures its paw straight into the sky, staring upward as it points.
How can one creature resemble a horse, a polar bear, Grug and human all at the same time?

You gaze up to see the end of a sisal rope, hanging just above your head.
Hanging rope?
Where am i?….
With no further forethought necessary, you begin to climb the rope.
Arm after arm you ascend the rope as it swings wildly in the air below you.
After what seems like 10 minutes, you look down to see a little dot of light, and a shadow standing next to it, looking on eagerly.

You continue to climb.
Pushing through the burn, you climb for what seems like an hour until finally, the rope begins to get tighter.
There is an anchoring point ahead, a tie-off ring as it happens, which is directly connected to a small platform, old rusted steel, seemingly abandoned for many years.
There is a small table, and a glowing green lamp.
As your eyes adjust to the new radiance, you notice it is no lamp, but a computer console.

You scour the console for an input device, but find nothing.
You wipe away a thick layer of dust from the monitor.
The screen displays a few lines of text, written in grey;
“Coupling procedure failed. Manual override terminated. Connection to gas interrupted.”
“This facility will be at 5% efficiency in 00 Minutes and 00 Seconds”
“Please stand by for extraction”

Extraction?
Desperate to know more you scour the dim surrounds for further clues.
You can see a ladder on the far edge of the platform, extending up out of view into the air.
Its rungs are cold and wet, rust flakes chipping off with every grip and release, you rise further and further above the now invisible firepit somewhere far below.
Suddenly, the ladder runs out.

The ceiling is dull and solid. It isn’t metal.
Small pieces of it sprinkle off as you brush your fingers over its surface.
As if it were raining sand, you scrape your hands around in the pitch black, searching for something to give your journey meaning.
There was something here once.
Something metal, above the ladder.
A square framework juts out of the crumbly ceiling, its hollow cavity now filled with even more ceiling.

Disheartened, you throw your arm down in disgust.
The rung you are standing on gives way, and your hand slips from the rung above.
You are plummeting toward the ground in total darkness.
The light begins to get bigger.

Your vision floods with bright light just before you arrive at the ground.
Then everything goes black.

You are standing in the middle of an infinite forest of darkness.

 

De-Humanisation & The lives we lead

Modern society is filled with bells and whistles.
New fashion, new gadgets and an ever-changing sphere of what is ‘trendy’ and ‘cutting-edge’.

We live today in a world of distractions.
Meaningless ‘filler’ items, sold to you under the guise of ‘self-development’ or the acquisition of fame and social credentials.

These inconsequential choices, such as “What colour iPhone should i get?”, we face everyday, and are the building blocks of a troubled life.

In this scenario, it becomes all too easy to forget about the truly important aspects.
Those essentials required to change a directionless fumble through time into a rich, fulfilling experience.

If you find yourself waking up each day to confusion, fear and misdirection, wondering what you can do to turn your existence into a lifestyle, you too may need to reevaluate.

What do we want?
To be happy.
But how do we attain happiness?

Go short, and grab a few pick-me-ups, and find yourself forever searching for new sources to prolong the feeling.
With each quick-fix, each one proceeding it becomes less and less effectual.
This is the plight of the addict.
The eternal struggle of balancing the constant barrage of bad news we receive to reach a contented middle ground.

We all do it, or have been in this situation before.
Eventually, after years of grinding against your own dissatisfaction, we are faced with an ultimatum:

Commit to a life of trying to negate the personal impacts of our world forever, or to look into the future.
To look into our truest selves, and discover how to maintain our balance in a sustainable  way.
SUSTAINABLE.

Rule of thumb; if the thing/feeling you need is sourced from an external source that is unsecured (drugs, food, validation, sex, the list goes on…..), it is NOT sustainable.

Every second of life is a war.
A war against decay, an infinite maintenance of our positions here, within our own minds and in the view of others.

Would you feed your soldiers with handouts?
Load your cannons with forks and spoons?
What happens when one day, support for your cause wanes, and the hand-outs stop coming?
Your force disbands, and your cause is lost until you find the support to raise the banner once more.
After all, Mercenaries are not known for their loyalty or morale.

Do it right.
Build your army from battle-hardened regulars.
Feed them with homegrown crops and never lose sight of your supply lines.
Keep them open, or better yet, build your own.
Soldiers march fastest as the crow flies.

Whatever you want in life, remember this:
If you blow all your funding on mercenaries and fancy gadgets to shock and awe your contemporaries, you may earn their temporary respect, or even admiration.
But once the fighting truly starts, all of these quick-fixes will evaporate away.

Only home-grown troops and resources cannot be sequestered by others.
Only by investing time, effort and care into the development of the self, can we resist and overcome adversity.

Invest in the only force that will never leave or disband.
Invest in yourself.
Invest in your self-esteem, and value the only thing you will ever truly possess and experience directly.

You are Mr. or Mrs. X.
And this is your life.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introduction of a new order of things”
                                                                                                 -Niccolo Machiavelli