Stuck in a Rut called Life.

Life is a fickle subject, so many ups and downs and no matter who you are, we all experience this wonderful ride we call life. People say our existence can be positive, negative, or even somewhere in-between. But people also say we have no control over fate, or destiny which in return boils down to life, and I’d say

“that’s a paradox.”

We as humans are completely in control, which is what sets aside from the animals, because you and only you choose your path, you choose whether you succeed or fail, time and time again in all aspects of life. Existence is the experience of living and if you understand that, then you’re on your way to passion and purpose within your life.
Now from the beginning of our life to about the age of eighteen, give or take is where we all tend to be close to one another, not as in friendships, but as believers, as dreamers, and people who constantly contemplates the future, while looking to the stars. Better yet we were visionary’s and we were able to see the invisible in which is the possibilities to life. Yet the world tells us that our dreams and desires towards what seems to be impossible, are unrealistic as a child, so we try doing something practical such as working a job from nine to five, five days a week, for the next 40 years in order to live in life, versus living life.
Well life for little ole Joesph McDowell was just that. You see that poor kid couldn’t get a break, life would pick him up to only spit him out, time and time again. And he sure was the sweetest of all kids, he’d say

“Yes Ma’am”, “Please” and “Thank you”

and about any other form of manners you could think of. Someone or something sure was looking out for him, because his life was far from a smooth ride we all hope for. Now poor little Joesph had been rejected and forgotten by his parents, he had lived in a foster home for but a moment, travelled from state to state, going from one school to the other, and from family to family. Yet he stayed sweet, he never lashed out and he never broke the rules, he could only love. This poor kid had been abused, kidnapped and put in harm’s way time and time again, but it didn’t matter what life threw at him, he kept moving, he kept dreaming, and he kept reaching for the stars looking for his purpose. But Joesph got to a point where life was about to become even more real, for the path to adulthood was just around the corner. Now keep in mind statistically most kids who endure mass amounts of turmoil tend to get lost in life, they let the negative consume their life and they lose their life. But not for Joesph, he may not be reaching as high for the stars at this point, but he decided to roll with the punches and survive this thing we call life, just for a little while.
Now as we become adults, life gets ready to throw a new set of challenges our way. We need a place to live, which takes money in order to survive, which in return means we need to work, for that takes time, a lot of time, which then makes us exhausted, to do it over and over again for some forty years of life to only hope to retire if you were intelligent and successful enough. And some people are more prepared then others, but then we have some who slip through the cracks, trying to be that dreamer that we all once were, in which society told us won’t get you anywhere in life. But some made it at a young age, while others horribly failed to only go back to surviving. But then some hid, maybe they became poor or maybe rich. But only time can tell when they will show the world how they’re going to live life.
Joesph is now an adult, with a rather smart head on his shoulders, enough to let him survive anyhow. His work ethic is strong, he’s punctual, respectful, loyal, honest and everything an employer could look for. He did what was needed in order to pay his bills and have a little fun, but he was never well off enough to get ahead, but rather he maintained a steady balance of highs and lows. But in his years, he never could seem to stay at a single job, not because he was a bad employee, but rather the same little dreamer he was as a child, he wanted bigger and better, except money took the place of his dreams and aspirations. At this point he was about climbing the ladder for a company, making that good money to live a life with no bounds, but little did he know he was doing part of it right, he was reaching for the stars, the impossible. But he dreamt about the wrong goals, he dreamt to be successful in money, not passion, purpose and life. Or you could say the realistic goals society tells us to have versus the unpractical dreams we think we can achieve.
So, the years went on for Joesph, he had loved, he had lost, he worked ever so hard but to only stay in the same place with lost time. He didn’t have a bad life, but it was below his potential. He enjoyed his time in the military as a Navy Seabee, in which he was a part of the greater good and which he sacrificed his life to get a chance at a better life then what he had. This gave him a third chance to life, but little did Joesph know that he would being going to war, to fight for the freedoms and liberties we have as Americans, to do what most won’t anymore, to once again sacrifice. So time passed by again as he stood still, even though the military had given him a chance to a better life, it had taken a part of his life as well, after the war, after all the death, and poverty he had seen, through all the rigorous training he had endured, and mental anguish of breaking one’s self down in order to build them back up. Even though what he did could and can be respected, that wasn’t enough to stop the shit storm or turmoil he was about to endure.
Joesph had become lost after war, he just wasn’t the same, his life as dreamer had stopped at this point and the negativity which surrounded his life had consumed him. He was still able to provide and survive, but he became a drone working thirteen hour days, to go home and sleep for only a couple hours, while also fighting the demons within his head, which would give him depression, anxiety, anger and not to mention the pain his body endured daily, then to do it all over again and again, day in and a day out. His life was digging deeper and deeper into a rut, that some would say he would never get out of. His life had very little meaning at this point and he was alone. Poor Joesph got stuck in this rut for seven years after war, but a total of fourteen years from the point of childhood. These experiences in his life just would not give him a break.
As Joesph entered his thirties he had a revelation, he decided he was going to take a risk in life once again, so he went to a trade school to learn something new. It was great, it challenged him, and gave him enjoyment for a moment, but the reality was it was just another job, but the risk that was taken to leap for something unsafe was the start to something he would never see coming, change. The work was good, it was easy, it paid well and it was relaxing. Joesph probably could have retired as a Driver, until one night driving home from work, Joesph had been followed by a car, then chased down a back road with curves and bends all around, the slightest turn would be devastating. As Joesph was so close to being home, speeding well above the speed limit and twisting and turning just trying to get away from this car playing dangerous games, he makes a choice to turn down a road, and as a safe driver he puts his turn signal on, hoping once he made this turn he could just get back on his journey to go home and get some sleep after a long night and the other car would just pass on by, but that wasn’t the case. All a sudden time was as if it had stopped, right in front of his eyes, Joesph could see the car coming right for him, with nothing to do but to let time continue as it would “SMACK” the other car drove right into his driver side, hitting the front fender, tire and door. Now Joesph wasn’t a little man, he stood six feet five inches and weighed about two-hundred and forty pounds, yet he was driving a little compact car during this incident, his knees rested in front of the dash, his head right below the roof, it was as if he were a sardine in a tuna can. But adrenaline does wondrous things, in which it allowed him to get out of the car that now lay broken in front of him and the other car sitting there, as if it were taunting him to take revenge on the careless drivers who had affected his life and all that he has worked for. But he didn’t, he decided in his deep voice to take the info that was needed in order to use the law to his benefit. But this would only be another piece to his puzzle as he would sit there in pain, wondering what life had in store for him next.
It wasn’t but shortly after winning his lawsuit towards the auto incident, that he would finish the time it took to heal, but he wasn’t going to, it had only increased the issues he already had from being a disabled veteran, who was already fighting for his benefits from wars effects. So, what was Joesph to do? then he remembered his tution free schooling for time in service and this would be his last option to survive peacefully before having to go back to the mundane job of surviving and hurting in the work force, or find a way to live life. And there he would find that passion he had forgotten about long ago and his eyes would be opened through knowledge, the knowledge of who are you. He would once again reach for the stars, but with an actual direction this time, the direction to his purpose in life.
But he still had one more battle before completing his puzzle to life, he had to learn to accept himself and he had been fighting himself for a long time now, so long that he grew tired of it all. But one thing that was good from all of this pain inside was it became his fuel to his passion, for without it he may never have found himself. But as Joesphs time went on, the negativity in life increased tenfold, the people in this world had begun to lose their minds, kids and young adults no longer had morals and manners, hell even self-respect. Work ethic forget that, let alone the technology that is rotting their brains, they have become dependent on convenience versus knowledge and hard work. We aren’t even going to get into the trends and styles, that’s just gone to shit. People want something for free, or they complain to get their way or to gain equality yet it creates segregation between the people. We have TV stars as the President of the United States, and the list goes on and on. But this negativity had completely consumed Joesph, he had lost positivity in his life, until he said

“No more, I don’t want anything to do with the negativity in myself or life for that matter”

and he chose to let positivity in his life and ignore all that is bad which is consuming through negativity in this world. He chose to live a life of positivity, in order to follow passion to the purpose of his life, he chose to take control and reach for the stars, he decided to see the invisible, the impossible, because visionaries see the invisible and grasp on to the impossible in order to create a reality of passion and purpose.
You see life is about the experience of living, it is the goal in which to live life, and not to just exist. We are to live with life and not against it, and visionaries see this, know this and live this, they live this one life we have, for it passes in the blink of an eye. The experience in which we endure through life are but your puzzle pieces to the big picture that is your life, your passion and your purpose. Some never figure this out, some search all their life for it, and some find it, but those who found it have understanding, they have knowledge, they have life experience, which is what opened their eyes to see the meaning to life, and how to achieve it. But knowing is only half the battle, for it takes planning, it takes goals, hard work and dedication, perseverance and patience, commitment and faith. But don’t wait for tomorrow for there is no guarantee, look for yourself today, because time is precious and we don’t get a second chance at this. Just remember that success isn’t defined by position or money, but the value of your self-worth.

“Be you today not tomorrow.”

“Are you worth it? If so reach for the stars and leave your mark”


Thousand Yard Stare

“I’d like to order a twenty-ounce Black and White Mocha please.” He said to the Barista.
“Would you like whip cream on that?” she said with enthusiasm, as most baristas always do.
“Yes, please” he said with delight, as if the young lady’s enthusiasm had rubbed off on him in that moment.
“and what’s the name for the order?”
Joesph grabbed his mocha, and heads directly to the back of the coffee shop, in the corner, by his favorite window. It was perfect, two chairs placed on each side of a round table, one of which had the best view, he could see the whole coffee shop, while being able to stare out the wall size windows that sat in front of the table. Not too loud, nor was there much foot traffic near his perfect table.
Joesph sat down on the far side of the table, nestled in the corner, away from all the noise; then he would put in his ear buds in his ears, and turn on what he would call, get his mind right music. Then he’d take a sip of his Mocha, and glance around the coffee shop, looking at all the diversity that would come through. Parents with their children, rushing to get some coffee, before they would get back to their hectic life, the businessman rushing through for his morning fix of caffeine, the numerous amount of people running late, while miraculously still having time to stop for their morning coffee, all of them, in and out, no time to stop, just go, go, go, as Joesph would just stare at the world moving around him, lost within the music inside his head. This was his routine every Friday, same time, same spot, same everything.
Joesph continued to stare of into the world, as if he were just a fly on the wall, oblivious to the noise around him, almost like he pushed the mute button on the TV remote. But as he stared off into the distance, something he hadn’t seen the Fridays before, came into the shop; it looked like a fog slowly flowing through the entrance, except this fog was dark, black as night for a matter of fact. It absorbed everything it came in contact with, consuming its existence, the people, the furniture, the light itself. But Joesph didn’t react, nor did anyone else, yet he stared at the darkness directly, where as everyone else acted as if the darkness was non-existent. Yet all Joesph could do was stare, as it crept closer and closer, crawling on the ground as if the darkness was reaching for him, until everything went black, and silence would sing its song, as his music faded away from his ears.


He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t hear, he couldn’t even see, all that existed, was darkness, and silence. But he wasn’t scared, for something familiar seemed to comfort him, almost as if this darkness was a form of solitude, a place to gain clarity.


Then a tap on his shoulder brought everything back, the light, the people, his music, and his perfect spot, the place he would get his mind right. Joesph looked up at the barista.
“How’s your coffee?” she said as he snapped back to reality.

Deaths Curse

Four months into deployment overseas and the war began to take over, as the missiles flew across the sky, falling in various places on base, the sirens screaming the sound of danger approaching, telling us to get to bunkers. This was just a glimpse of my life as SW2 McDowell, that’s what the patch on my chest says anyways. Heck I still can’t get over being called by my last name for eight years. My days consisted of being driver, and sometimes a gunner in the harsh environment of Afghanistan, moving from one base to another. Sometimes down rigorous roads, up steep hill sides through the mountains of Afghanistan, and through small villages made from clay and straw, with no clear signs of electricity; all the while doing this during the darkness of night and sometimes during the scorching daylight.

Most weeks involved explosions near the various bases and fobs (forward operating base) we were at, in this time I had seen death, heard death, smelled death, and feared death, wondering if I would ever go home or even make it home. As war starts to consume you, you try to find a way out, well my way out was going to be my M4 rifle; it could have been so easy, sitting there in my room, alone, with no one to interrupt me, a M4 by my side, with eight clips, thirty rounds in each one, of 5.56 rounds; granted I would only need one to take the pain away, to end it all, you could say “taking the easy way out.” At this point in my life, I had no god by my side, no family besides my brothers and sisters of the armed forces, I had no support but myself to make a choice, life or death.
“Now that’s the kicker isn’t it, with us losing 22-veterans a day to suicide” we all see it, we just choose not to believe it, until it becomes our issue.
It’s not that we don’t have support, or someone to call, it’s that the time we have alone, can be our most vulnerable point, it’s as if once left alone, we get locked in a box, with all the tools needed to give up, it becomes a mental battle, do we choose life or death, do we keeping driving on, or do we kill the engine?
As the night falls, the wind blows the smell of dirt, gunpowder, and death all around, and the sirens scream “take cover”, you stop to think, will this ever end? and if so when? Every day is the same here, somedays are different, but for the most part there is a way of life here, and nothing can stop it. It’s as if you’re in the land of death, where the reapers rome, watching and waiting for their next victim of war. At night while you sleep, the darkness embraces you in a blanket of fear, while during the day darkness confronts you around every corner, always keeping you on your toes, never knowing when your time could be.

misty mort 3
In a world unknown, we have the greatest strength a man or woman could ever find physically, but mentally we weaken as every day passes. Death becomes a part of you, whether you see it, hear it, smell it or think it, it’s there. Living with death everywhere, you begin to change, not much, but just enough for it to lay dormant in you until it finds its moment to attack you from the inside out. You don’t know it yet, but in time this darkness will reveal itself to you little by little, until you become someone who you can’t recognize in the mirror, it’s as if there is two of you, one side good and one side bad. This darkness begins to manifest itself as you, within yourself, where you can see yourself doing things you would never do, but you are helpless to stop it.
People, doctors, family and more never understand a veterans disabilities in a way the veteran can from their experiences of war; unless you experience it, you don’t know, some things are physical, such as amputees, or pains and aches, but the mental side of things is what you don’t understand from my perspective, whether it’s my dreams, or lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, anger and so much more, it all stems off our memories, you can’t erase my mind, or my thoughts, my experiences and memories, and this is the problem because whether it’s a year after this trauma or ten years, when you hear a boom, it takes you back; when you see a flash, it takes you back; there are so many triggers out there, that bring back memories, and every day is different; if it’s an off day for you, it can through you into an episode, sometimes small, sometimes big, sometimes it progresses throughout the day, week or even month. It all stems off memories, which makes this battle forever lasting.
What do you imagine when you think of death? Well what I imagined was what I’d already seen, which is friends and family dying from old age, disease, cancer and such, or the norm you could say, but the most horrific death I’ve seen firsthand was when I was at war.
Three days in and I saw the aftermath of a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device,) while in a IED (improvised explosive device) training class, it was as if it were yesterday, standing there seeing two locals outside the wire walking to this spot in front of us about a hundred yards out, not quite knowing what they were doing until they stopped. Then one of them laid a flannel shirt down on the ground, the two men pick up the torso of the man who bombed the base in the VBIED; there were no arms, no legs, and no head on this torso, they picked up this body, laid it in a shirt, wrapped it up, then through it over their back like it was Santa with a bag of presents, then walked away as if nothing happened. If that doesn’t tell you this isn’t a game, I don’t know what does, because this image that’s burnt into my brain, will forever trap apart of myself here in the dessert.
The second time was at night, I was heading to the chow hall like I did every night, except I pushed it off this night, due to getting caught up in a conversation with my roommate, thankfully, because originally, I had planned on leaving thirty mins early, and the walk alone took ten minutes. But on my way to go eat, I heard this sound which I can only describe as a weapon of some sort having a miss fire, then a boom with the sound of something hitting metal. At this point I was nearly there. The missile that fell from the sky had hit the roof of the chow hall, the roof deflected most of it, but what had made it through, killed a 22-year-old EOD kid in the army, face down in his dinner, and a piece of scrap metal hit one of our senior chiefs in his neck, causing him to be life flighted to Germany. Everyone else either took cover, or ran for cover, until it was safe to help, go seek medical attention and get back to our way of things during war.
This one affected me because if I would have left when I wanted to, I might not be here today, and that’s not me procrastinating, that’s the truth, I would have been somewhere in that galley eating, at the mercy of flying metal with the force of death behind it. Not to mention there were plenty of close calls, from the IED explosions either on the road we were driving, bomb scares, and explosions right outside of where we were located, as well as driving through mind fields due to a careless driver, and one of our vehicles being hit by an anti-personnel mine which blew off the front of a tactical vehicle, injuring four of our people. Hell, our battalion even has its very own Forrest Gump, which will forever live with him. I still remember that day, Doc up on the wall, patrolling the perimeter, then wouldn’t you know it, we started receiving fire. Well guess what, Doc got shot in his ass. It wasn’t funny at the moment, but when everything was all said and done, we sure had one hell of a laugh. But this was just some of many incidences, it was the way of life at war.
Then lastly the death in our minds, from the nightmares of everything we have seen and experienced firsthand, the fear of dying and never coming home, how we could possible die in this country surrounded by death. Which all of this eventually manifest into death personally on the home front. An example would be, let’s say, driving. I always have these thoughts of dying in a car crash, sometimes by my own dewing, but other times by other drivers, then what I would do in my final moments of life, who would I call first, would I walk my bloody mangled body home to say my final words to my loving wife, my beautiful daughter, and my smart boy, what would I say? You see the thing is death lurks around the corner waiting for our moment; sometimes I feel as though I have a glimpse or an idea of how it will happen, but when? How bad? We fear what we can’t control, the mind being one of those things. Death is a very vivid picture in a veteran’s mind, whether it be the past, present or future. Many of us have seen death first hand, our lives revolved around the ultimate sacrifice for your country; not that we want to die, but that we would gladly lay our lives down for the people and country we love, so they may live a life of freedom.
“Isn’t that what we do for love? We sacrifice.”


Demon’s within our mind’s.

Everyone has a story from which our demon’s are created; now demon’s is the word I use, and I’m sure many other’s use. Now your demon’s might be called aniexty, anger, depression, PTSD, etc. Call it what you want, but at the end of the day whatever you call them is what haunts our dreams, some may have it worse or better then others, some may not even notice them, or even have a name for what many suffer from. Some may be temporary and some may be long lasting if not indefinite. No matter your situation, how we learn to live with them or get rid of them can be life saving, and I would know, but at the same time my battle goes on. 

This is just my story, maybe you will relate to it, maybe you will get some inspiration from it, or even just come to a realization that maybe you will need help whether it’s professional or family and friends, some kind of support. We are all different some can handle more then others, but don’t ever hesitate to reach out, humanity hasn’t died yet.

For the people who don’t have demon’s reading this, maybe you will get some incite on what we go through on a regular basis, and possibly understand that this might be why we do the things we do. Now for the ones that can relate enjoy the  journey into my mind, and life.

I want you to imagine your place of peace in your mind or even reality, mine for instance, is deep in the forest of Oregon with a little wooden cabin tucked in the trees, away from and big towns or just towns in general. When you come to this cabin you instantly feel at peace, from the smell of fresh air, the nosies of nature, the sight of trees, not to mention the smell of wood burning from the fireplace within the cabin, but you knew that before even smelling it since you could see the smoke belowing from the chimney, as you continue to walk closer you can see animals scuring about the forest from blue jays flying , chipmonks scurrying, deers running, etc. You stop to look around, and take it all in, from the white clouds in the light blue sky, birds flying though out nature, maybe you can see Mt. Hood or just trees, but then you start to look at the cabin, and you can see the beautiful grain of each piece of wood this house was built out of, as well as the fishing poles on the deck that has noticeable wear to it like it has been used a lot, or even the axe on the stump where the wood is chopped to bring into the house, every little detail you see just says “I’m at peace” with a simplicity to life, like not a care in the world besides living. (There’s a beautiful feeling we get from going outdoors or even just away to where you get your peace, but for me when I drive to the mountian, or forest it’s as if a weight is lifted as i get closer and closer; the weight of life like work, money, bills, school, projects, etc. It all falls off piece by piece until all is left is a human in nature with one task, which is to be one with earth, enjoy a fire, the sound of a bird or frog maybe even a cricket or the sound of a stream, to smell the fresh air away from pollution, free of headaches, maybe a drink from a fresh spring, the taste of a fresh caught fish cooked over a fire, maybe just a walk in nature, heck even just the warmth of a fire is tranquil.) Now inside this cabin it continues to show us simplicity, a calmness, love, and compassion for the small things in life. This cabin isn’t big but just enough, the kitchen is just right with everything you need to cook a good hearty meal, this kitchen wasn’t meant for takeout or a tv dinner but real home grown food. The living room is comfortable, enough room to host a gathering of friends or family, not a lot of technology or as i would say “distractions from life” this cabin has 3 bedrooms for a small family. On the walls you see pictures, hand made art, animal pelts or head mounts, not a lot but a specific type of feeling of art and nature, even the decorations around the house have a natures touch with real wood, or plants growing. It is clean and organized just as we all wish to have and keep. This is my place of peace both in reality, and in my mind.

But somethings missing, where are the people who live here? As you begin to do another sweep you notice two bedroom doors are closed and locked with a picture of a little girl on one door and a teenage boy on the other of which these must be the children, but no one is in them, then you see the master bedroom door open, and it looks like a bedroom but there’s a picture above one side of the bed of a women possibly the mother, but nothing on the other side, even though there is evidence of someone being on this side as for the father and husband. But where is he? Now as you stand here in God’s country at peace in nature you begin to worry and get a errie feeling as the emptiness closes in. Before you know it things begin to change, the wood on the walls start cracking and changing color, cob webs form in the corners, the lights begin to dim, the sounds of nature disappear, the fresh air becomes dry and stale and before you know it, it’s nothing but darkness around you with no sound.