awake and aware

I really want nothing more than to have one of those late nights where you’re drunk with someone you care about sitting somewhere quiet like a rooftop or the beach and you begin a conversation that turns into hours of talking about life and slowly everything in the world seems to disappear and you begin to feel alive and awake and aware of yourself and the person sitting next to you and nothing else matters

We are matter and energy that, through some miracle, has come to know itself. We are rock and dirt that pulled itself into consciousness. What a strange phenomena: we are the universe awake and aware and yet, we can’t stop dreaming. We’re here but we’re not present. Our eyes are wide open but we refuse to see. We are part of the great wholeness of being and yet, we feel separate and alone. Truth surrounds us, permeates every fibre of our being, yet we crave empty illusions. 

Victorian Gothic Gothic
  • Your mother died giving birth to you. Every woman dies in childbirth. If you have younger siblings, do not question how they got there. Truly, you do not want to know.
  • You have no ears, but delicate pink shells. Your teeth are pearls. Instead of hands you have small white paws. You are beautiful, and terrifying.
  • A handsome stranger has awakened something deep within your breast. You do not know what it is, but it is awake, and it is aware.
  • People keep dying of consumption. You cannot say as yet who is doing the consuming.
  • There is mist on the moor. There is always mist on the moor. Seasons have no meaning here.
  • Everyone outside of very specific parts of England is evil. This must be true. It must be, and that’s why you should never, ever leave. Ever.
Wakeful Presence

‘Our society would have us believe that inner satisfaction depends on outer success and achievement. Yet struggling to “get somewhere” keeps us perpetually busy, stressed out, and disconnected from that essential inner resource - our ability to be fully present - which could provide a real sense of joy and fulfillment. Our life is unsatisfactory only because we are not living it fully, but instead we are pursuing a happiness that is always somewhere else, other than where we are right now…

Cultivating the capacity to be fully present - awake, attentive, and responsive - in all the different circumstances of life is the essence of spiritual practice and realization. Those with the greatest spiritual realization are those who are “all here,” who relate to life with an expansive awareness that is not limited by any fixation on themselves or their own point of view. They don’t shrink from any aspect of themselves or life as a whole.’

- John Welwood, Ordinary Magic; Everyday Life as Spiritual Path.

     Reaper going hunting for Soldier 76 after he’s got in the way one too many times, only to find him badly wounded and hovering close to the death. The temptation to finish him off is nearly overwhelming, especially when he is finally able to remove the mask and confirm his suspicions about who the soldier really is…he even has the shotgun cocked and ready to fire, pressed against the snowy white hair. But that’s when Jack stirs, not fully awake and certainly not aware of whose hovering over him or how close to death he is, but those blue eyes, milky and unseeing fix on Reaper as though he can see him and in a broken voice he call’s out Gabriel’s name.

   It takes Reaper a few minutes to realise that Jack isn’t talking to him, he doesn’t know that he’s there… but he’s still there, repeating his name over and over, pleading with him for forgiveness, choking out the apologies that should have been said years before. His finger tightening on the trigger, wanting to end this and silence those words…but he can’t…something stirring that he had thought long dead as he wonders whether Jack has been doing this for the last few years, calling out for him when he’s in need, only to be met with silence. Cursing, not sure whether he’s angrier at himself or Jack he lowers the gun, hesitating for a moment before gathering Jack in his arms, growling when he realises how light, how fragile the other man feels.

    He still doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but he hides Jack away, lying through his teeth to Talon whilst he nurses the other man back to health. He never lets Jack see him, but he’s fairly sure that Jack must know its him, that he must recognise the soft words he murmurs when Jack cries out in pain, the Spanish lullabies he sings when the delirium reaches its peak. But he doesn’t stay to find out, disappearing again as soon as he’s sure that the other man will survive.

   However, Jack only has fleeting impressions of what had happened and he convinces himself that it was the product of his imagination, delirium dragging up happier memories in order to offer him comfort. It hurts to realise that it wasn’t real, but for a brief time it had let him feel loved and protected again and so he clings to the vague memories, the impressions of warmth using it as a shield against his loneliness. It’s not enough though. Solitude, and the ever-present weight of his guilt and memories wearing him down and he finds himself longing to feel that warmth again, even if it’s only an illusion. It’s not a conscious decision, but he becomes more reckless, pushing his limits and eventually it all comes crashing down on him and he finds himself near death again.

   Gabriel has been keeping an eye on him from a distance though, still torn between getting the revenge he had waited so long for and protecting him and once again he finds himself patching the idiot up, soothing him through fever and nightmares.

    It becomes a pattern. One that occurs with increasing frequency, as Jack desperately seeks out the feeling of being loved and protected, of not being alone…never realising that it’s not an illusion. Gabriel still thinks he knows though, and loses his temper when he realises that Jack is putting himself in danger on purpose to get him to help, yet refusing to acknowledge it or him when they encounter each other in battle and in a fit of rage he decides not to leave Jack be for a while…decides to let him see what happens when Gabriel isn’t there.

   Of course, Jack doesn’t know any of this, and it’s not long before he pushes himself too far again. Only this time nothing happens, there’s nothing there to offer him comfort, no warmth or feeling of being protected… instead he finds himself slipping, body no longer able to handle the strain especially without the help it’s become accustomed to. As he fades, all he can think is that it was an illusion…of course it was…after everything that had happened, after everything he had done and everyone he had lost, there was no one left to care about what happened to him…and that he didn’t deserve it anyway.

   Despite his decision to leave Jack alone, Gabriel had still had Sombra keep an eye on the vigilante’s movements and when she reports that he hasn’t left his current bolthole for days he can’t stop himself from going to check on the other man. Shadow-stepping in the room to find Jack’s body curled in on itself under a thin blanket, tears still drying on his cheeks, but his chest still and silent…but there’s still a tiny trace of his soul, a weak flicker that barely registers on Reaper’s senses. Its barely worth it, and part of him doesn’t want to…grief cutting through the anger, but in the end, he forces himself to move forward, to devour the fading soul before it can disappear completely if only so that he can pretend that he’s holding on to a tiny bit of Jack. He’s unprepared for the rush of emotions, the memory that forces its way into his mind…breath catching as he watches Jack falling apart completely, weak sobs shaking his fragile body, pleading for forgiveness and promising Gabe that he will see him soon…and its only then, as the echoes of the memory fades that Gabriel realises that Jack hadn’t known that it was him.

It was a restless night.

Too tired to stay awake a moment longer, I was too happy to fall soundly asleep. Perhaps I was afraid he would vanish if I slept. Perhaps he felt the same. We lay close together, not awake, but too aware of each other to sleep deeply. I felt every small twitch of his muscles, every movement of his breathing, and knew he was likewise aware of me.

Half-dozing, we turned and moved together, always touching, in a sleepy, slow-motion ballet, learning again in silence the language of our bodies. Somewhere in the deep, quiet hours of the night, he turned to me without a word, and I to him, and we made love to each other in a slow, unspeaking tenderness that left us lying still at last, in possession of each other’s secrets.

-Voyager

Do not live in constant reaction mode to your conditioned mind, allowing your habituated thoughts to become the puppet master of your life.  ~Anon I mus (Spiritual Nobody)