what the wise man told me

living with bomb - April 7, 2015m

When I was an angry young man, an older, wiser man told me:

“No one can make you angry…no one can make you feel one emotion or another.

“Those are your emotions.  You control them.”

His words have served me well over the years—that is, when I remember them…

…which, unfortunately, is not often enough.

It’s particularly easy to forget those words when I most need to remember them—that is: when I’m feeling angry…

…angry at a person, at a group, at…well, this whole world.

Yes, I’m still trying to change my mind-set.  To change what I learned pre-wise-man: to blame or credit others for my emotions.  It’s a habit of the whole human race.  Don’t we routinely say: “you’re making me mad”, or conversely, “you’ve made me so happy”?

This habit of mind causes us all sorts of trouble…

This habit of mind often leads angry young men and woman to commit acts of violence.

I wish I could share the wise man’s words with them…

…though they’d likely claim that I don’t understand, that I’m not of their world…

But people of different life experience can still share the same feelings…

So I’m guessing I’d be right if I told them: you want to feel as if you have some power of control…

…instead of feeling as if you have no power in a world out of your control.

Yes, I understand that emotion.  Fortunately, I have the words of the wise man to guide me…

He said that I did have some control—I could control how I react to this world.

However, he didn’t warn me that this inner war would be so very hard…

…would still be in progress these many years later…

…would be in progress ’til the day I died.

He didn’t warn me that I’d seem to lose more often than I won.

But I’ve always wanted the best for myself.  So I continue to try to meet the challenge.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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