I started writing on IS then really because I missed writing. When I was younger I used to carry a sketchbook with me all the time, a habit I got into in highschool. My sketchbook was as eclectic as you might imagine if you know anything about me. Drawings, poetry, collages, random one-lines, bits and bobs of media. I worked at a newspaper then, and coupled with my rather unrepentant nature I would grab phrases, words, sentences and remake them to fit my context. At that time I was struggling a lot with myself as a person because I was motivated by primal urges (as are most young folk) that stood in stark contrast to the expectations I had been led to believe I should have about myself and others. I can’t say necessarily that I had a “bad” or a “good” childhood that had led me to that point...parts of it were not fun, parts of it were so beautiful and amazing I still recall them. I knew as a child I saw the world and people differently than most other people did...or at least it seemed like it. I actually wanted to think about things, I wanted to learn how everything worked. I wanted to understand “why”. Nothing ever seemed simple, even the most basic of things had angles to them that most people missed – I paid attention to them! It made it harder sometimes to “just go with it”, but seeing things from multi-faceted position is truly awesome. It’s beautiful, all of the minutiae that people miss. It makes me sad because I want to share that view, that appreciation, with other people but that context is very difficult to convey.
I chose my username back then as an homage to a several-layered faux pas in my life. One of my co-workers insisted on calling me “timberlin” because my name, I guess, made him think of Justin Timberlake. I found it amusing, and at the time my focus was very much on computers and networking. I had spent several years after I graduated highschool trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. When this all started I found myself in Chicago, IL...1200 miles from my “home”, working on making a go of my second marriage, trying to do right by my sons from my first marriage, trying to make my way in the world. The whirlwind story that landed me there would take a long time to tell, and someday I might sit down to write it out but I probably will not put that on IS because it is just too personal.
In my life, since I was young, there had always been a draw to the mystic...the Unseen. My grandma really did spend time talking to me about our Sami heritage and how my great-great grandparents had come here from Norway and why. She was Lutheran in her social beliefs, but she taught me the old tales about Odin and Thor, the old gods of Norway. She introduced me to the Futhark. I used to tell her about my dreams and she would help me “see” them for what they were trying to say. She was a very gifted person, she was a very skilled baker and painter. She could play the guitar and the organ. She was a very positive force in my young life, I am very thankful to have known her. I miss her terribly, and I am saddened that I was not able to be with her when she passed on from this life. But even though she had taught me some things, and I came to learn some other things as I went along in life, in both of my marriages there was no place for my spiritual side. I think it was because it frightened both of them, honestly. But for me, those types of things were normal. It was normal to feel presences, it was normal to see odd shadows, moving lights, have electrical mishaps. I’d been dealing with that since I was very young, so to me it didn’t seem out of place...but for other people, I suppose it could be very unsettling. Both of my spouses pushed me away from that part of myself, made me feel it was not acceptable or that it had a place in “our” life. And for both of them, I willingly put it to the side. But in 2006 it became evident that it was going to be a part of my life always, it was a part of me and I was a part of it. I was so stressed, so angry, so frustrated with life, so impatient, lost, and confused. I felt like everything I had tried to make happen was being sabotaged by some outside force. I pushed myself very hard, I worked my normal job and had a second job working with a consulting firm. And I was going to college. And I was trying to still squeeze time in there to be a good dad for my daughter, and to reach out to my sons. I was failing (how could I not be?!) and I knew it. Instead of trying to find peace within and for myself, I drank and tried to stay out of my own head. I was so miserable, and I knew that it would only get worse as time wore on because there was no way I could dedicate myself to all of these things and actually DO the one thing that really mattered to me in my heart – be a father to my kids. A 1200 mile rift between yourself and your kids is not something I would wish anyone else to endure, ever. But it is what I had to endure because of the choices I had made. Finally, I became so sickened in my heart by all of this that I could not physically carry on. I collapsed, I went to the hospital, they took my blood, they could find nothing wrong specifically but they said my blood was reacting abnormally when they tested it. I remember no one came when I was there, I ended up having to call my wife to come help get me home.
During the drive home I remembered one of the last things my grandma and I had talked about when I was still talking to her about metaphysical things. We talked about time, and how it was a strange thing. And then she said “One day, you might get sick in a way you can’t do anything about. You’ll try everything that would normally take care of it, but it will get worse and worse until it becomes too much. If you can figure out what to do when that time comes, I think you will see many things.” So, I started researching shamanism again when I got home – something I hadn’t really even thought about or looked at for almost a decade at that point. I came across an article about a Siberian shaman who was talking about “sibhyong” or spirit-sickness. I wish I could find the article again to share it, it was well written and very insightful. Basically, the crux of it was that in that tribe’s belief if the shaman was called to talk to the spirit world and did not listen then he would become violently ill until he either entered trance or passed away. Something about that kind of made sense, I was way out of balance and I knew it...I hadn’t reached into that part of myself or acknowledged it for years. So, I did what I knew how to do to get into a trance state.
Over the course of the weeks and months that followed I continued to pay attention to this part of me. I stayed in trance/meditative state as often as I could. I stopped pushing myself along in the race for money, and started spending time on things that mattered – spending time with my daughter. Spending time reading, researching, finding myself again. My wife was not happy of course, she didn’t like the metaphysical things at all… not that she had any beliefs of her own, just that it scared her I think. For the year that followed my way of looking at life changed very much. I realized how I had blinded myself into following a pursuit of money and things in place of happiness. I realized how I had spent so much time disassociated with myself, I didn’t even know whom I was anymore. I hadn’t made art in years, maybe a few pieces of music here and there, but no painting. No drawing. No poetry. No walks in nature, no fishing, no hunting. None of the things that made me ME were there anymore, just a man who was running about chasing money in futile hopes that he would be able to mend his family. I started seeing people around me too, as I walked through the city, and it was as though they had clouds of gas around them, or holes in their bodies. I could feel most people’s depression, cynicism, anger, self-righteousness. I realized that we, people, had become very lost and out of balance as a species. I think maybe we had always been heading that way, because I remember seeing things that made me think that when I was younger too.
But by this time it was 2008 and it was very, very clear to me. I, like the rest of the people around me that I knew, were caught in this cycle….this “machine”...that society has become. We know in our hearts that it is wrong and not what is meant to be life but we persist in it because you “have to” in order to live. You “have to” learn about money and how to get it in order to live in western society. And you learn to put your esteem and well-being into getting things….not things you have made yourself, or things that you need, just things. You are taught to self-evaluate constantly in a negative way so that the norm is to be a mildly sociopathic-narcissist. You are never enough - never good enough, never strong enough, never sexy enough, never wealthy enough, never anything enough because that is what this machine needs you to feel in order to continue to sell you things. You are not taught to think in school, you are taught rote repetition and memorization. You are taught to react, not think. To process. You are taught to process like a machine.
In the decade since then I have written sporadically at best on here. For awhile, when I first moved back to my home in ID I wrote often. I connected with a few people through IS who shaped parts of my life. I have tried over the years to remain in touch here, to share my perspective and my thoughts in hopes that maybe it will help someone else.
I am again facing a time when my life will be going through upheaval. But this time is very different. For one, I am needing the upheaval to break me out of patterns that I have developed. I need fresh air, untrod ground, new horizons. I need to rekindle hope in my heart and life, because again I tried for the better part of a decade to walk alongside the machine and play it’s game with my eyes open this time. It does not work, regardless. This machine is broken beyond belief, and it is getting worse it seems all the time. I actually am somewhat relieved because perhaps if it finally breaks down altogether then more people will see it for what it is and choose to be free of it. It is not worth it, I guarantee you, to try to co-exist with it.
I am holding to my runes hard this time too...Raido and Kenaz.
The Torch that Lights the Path Forward.