Shape Shifting

the mirror of life stares back at me
a history of those times once free
the many men I’d tried to be
the many worlds I’d longed to see
so many new realities
I lived in hopes of finding me

some were good and some were bad
there were happy times and sad
joyful moments and some quite mad
questing for the dreams I had

some lasted days, some only hours
some grew from seeds to lovely flowers
but then the moment finally came
when each went up in spirit’s flame

was I born a vagabond
to never settle down for long
to never truly quite belong
heart pulled on by distant song

lovers, friends, and passersby
I’ve known them all
said my goodbyes
but now, as I face the end
I wonder if I’ll fly again

the caterpillar exists to eat
the pupa then goes off to sleep
and in its sacred, silky place
transforms into a different face

and so I build my new cocoon
as life within me starts to swoon
in hopes that with the coming moon
I will stretch my wings once more
and fly away to distant shores

so begins my every day
shape shifting in the cosmic play

tio stib
2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022

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Am I Happy?

When did you last fall down laughing?

Happiness. What is it? I’ve struggled with this question for more than a week now, rewritten this blog post several times, and still am not satisfied with my answers.

But happiness seems so obvious, you say. It’s when you feel good, light, joyous, filled with laughter, or at least smiles.

Is that all?

My struggle with this subject should come as no surprise to me as I can’t say I’ve felt anything close to happy since I lost my sight. That experience left me very unhappy, depressed, lost in a dark funk.

Thinking back some months, I sense I was disappointed, feeling a deep sense of loss for what I’d hoped my life would be, especially since the year prior to my sight loss was one of the most joyous and happy times I’d ever known.

Time, perseverance, and the love of others have combined to bring me back from that bleak blackness, and now I find myself at a tipping point, considering which path to take forward. Happiness or gloom, joy or despair?

My choice. My life. My responsibility.

I am aware that happiness in my life has taken many forms, and that as the years have flown across my life, what brings me joy has shifted like the beach sands swept by ocean waves. I don’t remember exactly when I last laughed so hard I ached, but it was long ago, it was a different Tio Stib laughing hysterically that day. I am now more closed, less open to spontaneous joy, guarded, waiting for the bad rather than hoping for the good.  It will take considerable effort to change this point of view to an attitude that smiles expectedly at life each day.

An effort I need to make, for without this positive sense of well-being, why bother getting up in the morning? Why bother arising only to feel badly?

My joys are more subtle now. The fragile feeling of a new flower blossom. The sweet scent of honeysuckle unexpectedly slipping into my nose. Songbirds flitting by leaving my ears to puzzle what has just happened. The voices of those I love and care for suddenly filling my head. Small things, small wonders, simple pleasures.

I wonder if this is merely the process of living, starting with the innocence of children, changing to the exuberance of youth, then the pleasures of adulthood, and finally the sweet, soft memories of age.

Am I happy?

Not the way I used to be, but I do find myself feeling peaceful and content at moments. I’m still climbing the mountain of the dream I came here to be. Hope has once again begun to green up in the garden of my mind, and my heart now stands anxiously high in the tree of life, a young bird trembling, yet aching to soar

Yes, we will fly free once more.

Yours to count on,

Tio Stib Signature




Looking for more thoughts on Love and Life? Click this link to Remedies for Reluctant Romantics, 100 Ways to Sweep Love Off Its Feet..

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Nelson Mandela, Grace and Good

Nelson Mandela, One of the great men of history, certainly the most influential man of my lifetime, passed away last week. Though I only knew him through newscasts and articles, I have always felt close to this endearing man. He felt like a grandfather to me, one whose wisdom I yearned for, whose courage and convictions inspired me.

Perhaps what struck me most about Nelson Mandela was his capacity for forgiveness. After nearly thirty years in prison, times when he was often abused and certainly discouraged, He returned to his lifelong quest for democracy in South Africa even stronger in his resolve to forgive past transgressions and forge a new government based on equality.

Such was the immensity of this man’s grace that he forgave all his former captors, past abusers, everyone who had wronged him.

He forgave them, opened his heart and invited all people to join in harmony to build a new South African democracy. And through his singular vision and commitment to grace and good, his mission was realized.

I remember those years, the early 1990’s, when South Africa was a seething mass of animosity ready to explode at any moment. I watched the newscasts of riots and violence. I thought a bloody civil war was inevitable. But Nelson Mandela did not, and ultimately his calm and reasoned approach led to South African democracy.

His leadership prevailed. Good and grace triumphed.

I shall do my best to remember Nelson Mandela and his inspiring example of the powers of love and forgiveness.

A link to  a poem read by Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in the movie Invictus,

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Remedies For Reluctant Romantics

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