Tag Archives: Personal

The Road

Like Dante, like Frost, I have found myself in a place where the roads diverge.

I never imagined it would be like this.

There’s a dream at the end of the road and some worldly forces that I cannot see will, in their own good time, set the roads straight and guide me to whichever is the right one.
The right one for the place and the time for the moment in which the earth turns.
To some degree, all are somewhat travelled. To quite a different degree, all are untrod.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

The question brought me to tears. One road was suddenly harder to see.

How do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Depending on the day, I may or may not know. That’s a lie. I know. I know.

There’s a dream along each road, and there many are when I stop to count, but I cannot knit them together into the picture that fills my mind when I can’t sleep.
Maybe the dreams are wrong or misunderstood or misinterpreted.
And maybe the roads that I see are not the roads I need to see.

Can you hear the universe when it speaks?

Whyte says these are questions that have no right to go away.

My questions swirl. Ebb, flow.
Some days, sunshine. Some days, rain.
Dark self-doubt and hello, demons.

Opportunity? Possibility?

There’s a dream out there waiting to be shaped, molded, given a life and a home and a place to rest.
There’s a dream out there to be discovered, explored, cherished.

I have found myself in a place where the roads diverge
and a map is nowhere to be seen.


The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto I – Dante Alighieri
“The Road Not Taken” – Robert Frost
“Sometimes” – David Whyte

Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand – January 2018

Found in Fiction

When I was fifteen and for several years thereafter, one of my summer jobs was working in my dad’s office. It was mind-numbing, repetitive, thoughtless, meaningless work and I made my opinion of it known at home. My parents looked at me and smiled. “Stay in school,” they said. Lesson learned.

Desperately browsing my dad’s bookshelves one lunchtime for anything that was not a medical journal, I came across a volume bound in green leather with gold lettering. The Chosen by Chaim Potok, a signed copy. I asked my dad about it and he told me it was a novel. “Read it,” he said. I’ve always been a reader of everything, a lover of words and stories and the truth to be found in the pages of books, and so I did.

It never returned to my dad’s bookshelf.

Over the years, I read The Chosen many, many times. Devoured it each time like it was the first time. Drank in the story of two boys who became friends in adverse circumstances, two boys who grew into men, who didn’t fit into their worlds, who asked questions, who made immense choices. I read this book over and over and over.

By the time I was a senior in high school, this was listed as my favourite book on a poster announcing students of the month. (My favourite song listed on that poster, “Hallelujah”, is still my favourite and I remain partial to the Rufus Wainwright version even though it doesn’t cut to the soul in the of way Jeff Buckley’s recording, or just about anything else about Jeff Buckley.)

Most of my best-loved books are stored in my parents’ basement. There’s only so much room in shipping containers when you’re bound by cubic metres. But The Chosen has always come along even though I haven’t read it in many, many years. Recently, that changed. And again, I devoured it. It spoke, as it always had, in my bones.

Over the years I’ve been told I’m amoral, but that I care too much; that I stand strongly, but for the wrong values; that I’m misguided and confused, steady and responsible; I’m callous and too sensitive, selfish and too giving.

As with horoscopes, if you are vague enough yet inclusive with adjectives, something’s going to fit.

But I came back to this book just recently and whatever it was that spoke to me at age fifteen spoke again, fifteen years later. I’m really not so different. Older and wiser having lived, but not so different. What I understood at fifteen still reverberates: I’ve known for a long time that something in me, the deepest part of me, is searching.

This search is not one of loss or sorrow, but one of conviction and purpose. The defining difference now is that I know what I’m looking for and I know that the right thing to do is continue voyaging.

And so when I responded to this novel in the same way that I did at fifteen, I recognised with wonder that my feet are firmly planted, even as I wander in a world that spins.

Trieste, Italy – January 2020

The Middle of the Night

On three separate occasions last night, I dreamed that I was screaming. Screaming, other people around, no one looks up. No one seems to notice even when I’m looking right at them.

I woke up after the second dream, which seemed to immediately follow the first, and placed a hand over my rapidly beating heart in order to let the rhythm lull me back to sleep. I awoke after the third dream surprised to find myself on the other side of the bed.

There’s a lot on my mind.

I am reminded of that when I wake up and all is quiet with the exception of whatever happens to be going on in my head. I live near a highway and you can faintly hear it above the white noise of the fan, but you could just as easily ignore it. Sometimes the dog who lives upstairs pads around, nails scratching on the floor. It only bothers me when something else is already bothering me.

I don’t have nightmares very often, but I’m a lucid dreamer (admittedly of the self-diagnosed variety) when I do. I am clearly making decisions, thinking about something else in the background, and I make the choice to wake up. In that sense, it’s a bit like knowing you’re going to fall when lead climbing – you move towards the next clip and as you’re reaching, you know you’ll miss. It gives you just enough time to call, “Falling!” to your partner. Lucid dreaming gives me just enough time to decide to wake.

What settled me back to sleep was not having woken from the dream itself but for admitting fear, uncertainty, a sense of moving without seeing into something resembling outer space. I say resembling because it’s not the kind of space you imagine when you’re young. It’s almost like moving under water into a blackness that folds, expands, contracts, shifts in colour and form.

It is not of this world.

And I think that’s the part that my senses do not like. There is a feeling of moving within something that I don’t understand and that my brain cannot easily classify.

Yes, this is right.

And I know it because as I write this, I find myself smiling.

There’s a world out there that may or may not be real, and it’s a world that I want to know and explore. But it’s the dubiety of this that leaves my mind playing with possibilities, and these possibilities do not fit easily into boxes.

There is also, however, a desire to have a single answer to a litany of questions.

This is impossible and it’s no wonder I’m screaming.

A storm gathering over Singapore – July 2020