dwrigsby

Live Out Your Story

Category: In the Beginning

Go with the Flow

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Ever feel like you can’t breath? Your chest is tight, your jaw clinched, your focus impaired.  It happens when things just come down on you like  a ton of bricks. It’s as if you can’t move, your flexibility is gone, your understanding of how things work seems to went awry, and your confidence in yourself is shot.

Stress has no where to go. It festers, it builds, it wants to discharge but it can’t, there is no outlet. I can meditate, or pray and those things do help.  But the reality of it is that you’ve lost control and it’s probably why you feel stress.

Do you really have control anyway? That is the real question. I’d say no we don’t.  We make decisions – but making a decision to say – getting out of bed, is not the same as being in control.  You may think it is the same, but truly it is not. Control is believing that the circumstances around  you can be managed, and held accountable. Decisions are what we do to manage our circumstances or to deal with our situations.

I decided to get up at 7:30 AM – and when I got to work my boss had three deliverables waiting on me.  He tells me I have until COB to complete them. So, what do I do? I stress. I work hard to meet the deadline. The whole time I’m thinking will I meet the deadline or fail.  You can make decisions to try and manage the situation but you cannot guarantee the outcome – you are not able to control it.  So, realize you cannot control the outcome, but you can manage to make good sound decisions.  If your best is not good enough, well let your boss deal with how he’ll manage it, because he’ll soon experience the same stress, the same sense that he’s lost control. And he never had it to begin with.

I’m not in control am I? Nope, I’ve let  go of control.  That is the benefit of being away from your electronic leash, or the responsibilities of home, or all the other countless things you are trying to control.  Let it go.  This is the time to think on what it was you were doing to help avoid this stress. I thought of hiking, camping, and being out in the woods. I was doing a lot of it lately, then I strapped myself back to my chair and desk for the past two months, and stress built back up.

So, why does getting out, being in nature, and just admiring what is around me work? It’s because I am not in control of the heat, of the cold, of the rain, or the sun, and if the wind blows it does it on its own. I am not in control. I am apart of life. It is this innate understanding that our daily lives are no different. We must realize we are a part of life, and that we are not in control of it. Then we can let ourselves relax and go with the flow.

Sincerely,

D.W. Rigsby

Journal Entry 03292015 – LOYS

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I’m a 43 year old man, a husband to my wife, and a father to my two sons.  I work 40-50 hours a week at a high tech company. I have a mortgage, I pay bills, and I have a dream.

You thought that dreams could not come true but they can.  My dream is to write for a living. One day the work I do will become my way of life. Writing to me is like drinking water, or breathing air. I just do it without thought. It is a part of the fabric that makes me who I am. I cannot claim to the best, I cannot claim to be the most successful, but what I can claim is my perseverance.

Oh, there have been times I wanted to quit. The gnawing thought in my mind telling me that I cannot be a writer or no one will buy what I write.  Fear – it disguises itself and tries its damnedest to keep us from achieving what is ours.

I want to create, I want to take people into a world they’ve never been before. I want to share with all my thoughts, my insights, myself.

Live Out Your Story. This is my motto. I am doing that.

Recently, I knew I needed to get outside more, be in nature and spend time with my youngest son.  So, I took him on four or five camping trips in the last three months. I’ve experienced so much peace it is unbelievable. I followed what was on my heart to do, finally, instead of putting it off, and the after effect was a true blessing.  Even now as I think about our first trip, going down the Ocklawaha river, two inexperienced boat men trying to navigate logs in the water, the winding curves, and of course there were alligators.  We only saw the one small alligator, but I knew the larger ones were just beneath my boat, waiting. After the two and a half hours – we realized something – we were alive! It felt great!

So, do what is on your heart and Live Out Your Story – LOYS.

Sincerely,

D.W. Rigsby

Copyright ©2015 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

 

Journal Entry 03242015 – LOYS

Here I am – writing, well more like tearing my story apart. I am frustrated. I wrote 400 pages only to find out that my story lacks.  This negative thought for some reason enters my mind like a worm, burrowing deep into the conscious, making its way into my subconscious. It is a disease, a parasite, or perhaps something else entirely.

I work hard to create a positive thought, one to oppose the gnawing ache in my head.  I need to stop trying to make my first 200 pages work in unison. I must take a step back, and break the story up into parts. This will allow me to focus my energy, my creative thought.

If I think I can – like the little choo-choo can, I can.

Step by step, brick by brick, I will build this story. I will take the time needed to make it level before I slap mortar on for it to cure. Yes, time. I’ve been at this for several weeks, and today over two hours, maybe longer and I still have an eight to ten hour work day on top of it.

What is my goal? What does it mean for me to achieve? I will write this story Tokus Numas. I will finish it. One day at a time I suppose, but I will get there. I must set my mind to do.  The worm will not have its day today. I will stop it before it goes any deeper, and keep it at bay, building up my defenses for the next attack.

Oh and it will come – the attack. This is only a test of my defenses, to find the chink in my armor. Where is my weak point – it searches. But for now I’ve held my ground.

Sincerely,

D.W. Rigsby

Copyright ©2015 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

What I Want Most for Christmas

Christmas Boots

What I Want Most for Christmas

 

D.W. Rigsby

 

 

The window shops in the mall displayed Christmas decorations, new toys, clothes, and gifts. Linda, in her late twenties, with dark hair and pale skin, walked the hall with her little girl holding her hand. Betsy turned five years of age just two months ago. She had lighter hair, same pale skin, and she wore a pretty little white dress with ruffles, and a red belt with a red ribbon in the center.

“So, do you know what you’re going ask Santa for?” Linda asked.

“What can I ask for Christmas, Mommy?” Betsy asked sniffing the sweet scent of waffle cones, cookies, and hot cocoa that pervaded the mall food court.

“I don’t know, honey, but if you ask, he’ll bring you something you want,” Linda said turning to face her little girl with a smile.

“Anything I want, Mommy?” asked Betsy, her eyes shining.

Linda’s smile faded to a more neutral look. “Well, not anything, but something.”

Betsy mimicked her mother’s facial gesture. “I thought Santa could bring anything he wanted.”

Linda moved slightly to avoid a large family passing by to the right, carrying large bags of gifts. Betsy eyed one that had a teddy bear sticking up out of the top.

“Not always.” Linda cringed and bit her lip, hoping to have settled the matter.

“Why’s that, Mommy?” asked Betsy as the gleam in her eye returned.

Linda worked to come up with something, but nothing was really coming to mind. “Oh, I don’t know why. It’s just that way.” She struggled to find a better answer, but still nothing came. “But don’t worry too much about it. Just tell me what you want and I’ll make sure Santa gets the message” She hoped she could afford it.

“I want to tell him myself,” said Betsy in her cutest little high pitched voice.

Linda stared off into the distance taking notices of kids playing at the playground in the center of the mall as she thought about what to do next.

Nearby the playground, she saw ole Saint Nick. Just the guy to help out, or could he?

Standing there in line were several kids waiting, but before Linda could walk them both over to the back of the line, little Betsy broke free from her grasp and ran toward Santa. She jumped up into his lap eager to see him.

“Betsy!” Linda called out. “I’m so sorry,” she said, facing the other red faced parents who were waiting patiently in line for their kid’s chance to talk to Saint Nick.

“Hi Santa.” Dimples formed in Betsy’s cheeks while she showed him her pearly whites.

Linda caught up to them. “Come down, Betsy, you got to wait your turn.”

Saint Nick looked at her. “It’s okay. Happens sometimes. It will only take a moment.” He used his hand to gesture to Linda to back away and wait. Then he waved at the other folks. “Ho, ho, ho.”

The other parents didn’t say a word, but their kids stirred a bit. Linda looked up shyly at the group, then back down to the floor.

“Well, hi there darling. Have you been a good girl?” asked Santa.

Betsy thought about it …. “Yeah, of course. Why?” She seemed earnestly perplexed.

“Cause you don’t want to be on Santa’s naughty list…” He stroked his beard.

“Oh, I’m not on the naughty list, am I?” She looked hesitantly at the old man’s face, those wrinkles around the eyes, the red tinted cheeks, lips and nose. And all those white whiskers sprouting from his face.

“I’m sure you aren’t.” He chuckled. “So tell me what is it that Santa can get you this year?” He broke into an inviting smile.

She pulled his head close to her and whispered into his ear. He smiled real big.

“I guess that can be arranged.” He then laughed and his belly giggled slightly. He lifted her up and put her down on the ground to where she was standing next to him.

Linda moved up toward her daughter, keeping her eyes away from the now most likely beet-red faces of parents and children uttering curt remarks.

“Betsy.” Linda caught her daughter by the arm and pulled her away quickly. She didn’t like the uncomfortable feeling of eyes looking at them both.

“What did you ask Santa for?”

“I can’t tell you, Mommy, then I’ll be on Santa’s naughty list and I won’t get what I want.”

Linda could not peel away from her little girl’s pouty face, though a thin line formed across her mouth.

“Well, you can tell me, don’t worry.  You won’t be on the naughty list.”

The little girl jerked her arm from her mom’s hand and stopped. “I can’t mommy, I can’t!” she said with a dazed look about her.

Linda knelt down on one knee and put her hands on her baby girl’s shoulders. “It’s all right, baby, cause mommy won’t tell Santa you told me.” Her eyes followed Betsy’s eyes to the side where ole Saint Nick strolled on by.

“He’s watching us. I can’t tell you, not here.”

 

***

 

A week later, and it was Christmas Eve, and Linda still didn’t know what Betsy asked from Santa.

The fresh scent of pine filled the room. Their tree was nicely decorated with a few presents underneath. Linda had more to put out later. The two of them sat curled up on the couch in the living room watching A Christmas Story, the volume down low. Linda looked over onto the mantle of the fireplace to see her husband’s picture, his last one from years before when he left for the war and never came home.

“It’s Christmas Eve, you know … did you want to open a present?” Linda said, trying to put the past behind her.

“No, I’m waiting until the morning to get what I want.” Betsy took a drink of her hot cocoa.

“But you never told me what you wanted, sweetie.” Linda hoped it was something that would be under the tree after her little girl went to sleep. She pulled Betsy in closer, wrapping her arm around her shoulders, and looked into her eyes. “Santa doesn’t get mad about what we tell each other.”

Betsy sighed and looked away, then back into her mom’s eyes. “Okay, Mommy. I asked Santa if daddy could come home for Christmas.”

Pain stabbed deep into her gut. She pulled her little girl in tight and hugged her, squishing her against her side. Betsy nearly spilled her hot cocoa.

“What’s wrong, Mommy … Am I on the naughty list?”

She let go so her little girl could come into view. “No, baby, you aren’t on the naughty list, but what you asked for … Santa can’t do.”  Tears welled up in Linda’s eyes.

The little girl’s eyebrows drew together. “I don’t understand. What do you mean?  Santa can do anything, can’t he?” Betsy backed away.

The distance, only a foot or so, made it feel like a chasm had appeared.

Linda steadied herself. “No, baby, he can’t, he’s not able to do everything. Just little things, like small gifts for boys and girls who are good, that’s all.”

Betsy pushed away, placing her hot cocoa on the end table before storming across the living room, passing the Christmas tree, and stomping up the stairs to her bedroom.

Linda’s shoulders slumped, hearing the muffled cries from above. She gathered herself and dragged her feet over the floor, making her way to the television, turned it up, then went back to the couch and stared into the white glow.

Later when the house was quiet, she tucked the last few gifts under the tree, and then sat on the couch, thinking into the late night, until her eyes were too heavy to keep open.

 

***

 

Sometime in the night a sound woke her. Wiping the drool off her face, Linda sat up in the couch and rubbed her eyes with the balls of her palms and looked at the tree. There a man in red stood, dressed in a burly fur coat trimmed in white, his belly sticking out too far, his legs large like stumps, and his white beard traveling halfway down his chest. She couldn’t believe her eyes … Santa was real?

As she went to get up, she felt dizzy, and caught herself by grabbing the arm of the couch to sit back down. When she looked again – the man in red was gone.

It was just a dream, a very strange dream, she thought. Craig used to play Santa. She looked over to her husband’s picture just as she slumped into the couch and began to cry herself to sleep.

 

***

 

“Mommy, mommy!”

She heard the sweet voice of her child and felt a tug on her sleeve.

“Mommy, Mommy, come see, quick, Mommy!”

She looked over to see the presents under the tree, and then scanned them to see if any there could not be readily identified. Linda counted them quietly to herself and came up with the right amount, the amount she left under the tree herself before her strange dream.

She leaned forward and put the best smile she had on while her little girl picked presents to open. She knew when Betsy got to the last one she’d have to explain why her present she asked Santa for never showed.

Wrappers were spread across the floor, torn, crumpled, and piled high with spaces of air between. Opening, playing, showing and hugging until the last present was seen. It was a little box wrapped in newspaper. Linda had run out of the nice wrapping paper, so she grabbed the newspaper from last week.

Betsy tore into the gift.

“Mommy!”

The shrill voice nearly put Linda’s heart out of commission. She placed her hand over chest just to be sure it was still there.

“Betsy, don’t do that. You nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“Mommy, I told you. Look. Santa is real. It’s daddy!”

Linda got up and strolled over, looking confused at the opened box, knowing that inside it was only a plastic rhinestone tiara she bought for the dolls Betsy got this morning. But Betsy wasn’t looking in the box. She was holding the newspaper at her.

Ding Dong… the doorbell chimed.

Linda looked from her daughter sitting on the floor to the door.

“I told you, Mommy. Look! It’s a picture of Daddy.” She pointed at the newspaper wrapping.

Linda snapped. “Stop it, Betsy. Daddy’s not coming home. I’m sorry. He went away to protect us, to protect our country, and he was lost. I’m sorry.”

The doorbell rang again.

Tears swirled in her eyes, blurred her vision as she walked toward the door. “Who is ringing my doorbell on Christmas?” she muttered to herself.

She heard sniffles and looked back to Betsy.  “I’m sorry, baby. Mommy didn’t mean to say that.” She hesitated. “I didn’t mean to say it that way. Give me a moment and we’ll talk about it. There’s someone at the door.”

She picked up her pace as the doorbell rang again. Her hand on the knob, she opened it a crack and peered out.

“Yes?” Tears still blocked her vision.

“Hi Sweetie.” She heard the voice. Then she heard loud bounding footsteps as Betsy came running to the door.

It took her a moment—it had been so long. The man in front of her was thinner, his face stretched tight over the bone, but the uniform looked crisp and new. And that voice, it sounded oddly familiar but strained somehow.

“Mommy, open the door. It’s Daddy.”

Linda felt uneven, about to fall when the man rushed into the house and caught her. He felt strong, boney, and smelled of mahogany.  The same shampoo her husband used before he left.

“Daddy! I knew it was you, Daddy!” Then Betsy went silent.

“Craig?”

Linda gathered herself once more, looked over to Betsy to see her face was pink and tear drops were streaming down her cheeks.

“Betsy.” Linda, still in the man’s arms, held out a hand for their daughter.

Betsy sprang into their open arms. They both wrapped their arms about Betsy and held her tight as all three cried tears of joy.

 

Story by D.W. Rigsby

Image Credit: Happy Christmas To All Boots (and family of Boots too) by Randy Robertson

Copyright ©2014 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

Living Lies

Living Lies

Lies – where do they come from?

Others can tell lies about us but I’m not talking about those sort of lies. I’m talking about the ones that we keep alive inside of us.

A living lie is like that of a rusted old chain to bind you, to choke you and to break you.  The living lie is subtle with its remarks of how you aren’t worth anything, or how you always make mistakes, and everyone notices them.

When you want to move away from the living lie, it is attached to you, and stops you from going too far.

So, where does the living lie inside of us come from?  Why does the subconscious keep telling us something that is not true about ourselves?  Is that truly where living lies start?  Or is it our heart that continues to tell us false meanings or possibly the soul?  Or does it come from some other source?

I’ve lived with living lies as many of you have and still might. They tear you down and never build you back up. They keep you from who you truly are and keep you trapped with bindings of anxiety, guilt and self-hate.

One cannot truly live out their story if they continue to live out their lie.  The lie is the false self, the double mind, the destroyer of lives.  It is meant to do one thing and it is to keep you from living out your story.

I wrote a post called Live out Your Story. It struck a chord with many who read it which I am glad. The first step to living out your story is to be aware of the lie inside of you.  Once its found out it is hard for it to continue but make no mistake it will splinter into several more lies in attempts to try and tear you apart inside.

I know this to be true, not only because I’ve experienced it but because I’ve witnessed so many others who have experienced the living lie as well.

The living lie can be stopped but it will not be easy. There are ways to overcome it but it starts now.  Dismiss the living lie, forgive yourself, and others. Let whatever is holding you back go.  Stop worrying about how others see you. Be who you are. Stop trying to figure out what is wrong with you because maybe that is a lie in itself.

Don’t focus on the living lie either – it’s better to ignore it and focus on Living out Your Story.

 

by D.W. Rigsby

Image Credit: Rusty Chains by Matt Clark

Copyright ©2014 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

It Begins with a Spark

Steel Wool Sparks on the Beach

I just received a new engineering job testing large scale communications solutions with a major player in the technology realm.  I had to pack up my things in Arizona and move 2000+ miles away to the Research Triangle Park in NC.

I was searching for a new place to stay while I in-processed at my new company.  I found a nice home on acre of land nearly 30 miles away from my job.  It was a two story Victorian style home, hardy-plank siding done in white, burgundy colored shutters, and it was tall like the pines trees that surrounded the structure.  Inside there was the front foyer with beautiful hardwood, the dinning room, the front living room with a gas fire place, french doors in the rear that opened up to a wooden deck which revealed a beautiful mix of  forested soft pines and hardwood trees.

The upstairs included the master bedroom with walk-in closets, two other smaller bedrooms, and a bonus room which I promptly deemed to be my home gym.

It was a lot of home for the two of us but we were hoping children would soon follow.

After I closed on the house I promptly moved out of the apartment the company had me staying and into my new home.  There was no furniture, no television, no cable, no internet. Nothing but myself, my clothes and a book I brought by Clive Cussler called Shock Wave.

I was not an avid reader of fiction, not  since my teen years. I use to read a lot when I was younger and enjoyed Dragon Lance and D&D, along with other similar fantasy books.  I put the books down and opted for social activities with other teens in places we shouldn’t have been and doing things we shouldn’t have been doing. I laugh now..not so then. When I settled down I read books for information, to educate myself.

Home alone after a long day figuring out how to get my computer software installed for my work was when I found myself introduced to Dirk Pitt – the main protagonist known as a renowned adventurer in the book I brought.

I truly enjoyed this character and couldn’t get enough. I would read in the morning before I left home to drive my 30 miles which didn’t bother me at the time, arrive just before 7:00 AM, start work, did my time and drove back home to read some more.

I found each day was like this..the suspense building after I read in the evening and some in the morning. The morning was like a cup of coffee and the evening was like a glass of wine.  I was living high on life through this Dirk Pitt and it all started with a book, a world Clive Cussler created.

As I read, I found in me this spark that I never noticed before.  The thought came to my mind  that I can write stories like this one, I can do what Clive Cussler is doing.  I truly never felt that way before, not actually thinking I could write.

This spark happened to me back in April 2000.   Then a period of nearly six or seven years, a drought, passed me by without me lifting a finger to write.

Image Credit: Steel Wool Spark on the Beach by Evan

 

Copyright ©2014 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

Why Writing?

I’ve always had an imagination, just like many of you but I never thought to be a writer.  It never dawned on me that writing was a passion of mine until nearly 7 years ago.  My focus through life was to get out of school, go to college and get a good job.  Writing was furthest from my mind. I’d seen my mom, who’s an artist, struggle through life and I’d formed an early idea that artist’s didn’t eat very well.  So, I steered clear of art even though I loved to sketch when I was young and work with my hands in pottery.  I put those ideas right out of my head and focused on being a productive member of society and to make money to buy food, shelter,  you know, the things one needs in life to survive.

It took me a lot of soul searching for years to finally come to this conclusion to write. I’m not talking about just writing once in a while, but all the time and eventually for my lively hood, God willing.

I started seven years ago and it’s been painful as well as an enjoyable journey to now.  I hope to share with you my struggles, my excitement and my stories.

I have my first book submitted to an editor – this is my fifth or sixth book I’ve written but none have made it this far.  So I’m excited about my new book called “The Broken Christmas Tree.”  I can’t wait to share it.

 

Copyright ©2014 DW Rigsby All Rights Reserved.

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