I’ve got a couple of mottos that I try to live by. One of them is. “Leave Good Footprints.” Another is “Cave Dei Videt” The Latin is medieval on the latter but since the meaning hasn’t changed, nor ever shall, I’ve left it so. In the case of the former, this does not also mean, “Never step in shit.” and “never piss anyone off ever.” Both of these are impossible to consistently defend against and shit does happen. It could be that you are destined to step in shit on occasion and it could be that it is impossible not to piss someone off at some point. Mahatma Gandhi pissed people off. Jesus Christ pissed people off. I think we can agree that most of us fall short of these two and many others I haven’t mentioned.
Leaving the footprints that you want to leave is very important. For those of us who believe in reincarnation and for some of us who KNOW that reincarnation is a fact, it is essential to smooth movement and a possible and necessary fixation of the volatile. Some might argue about my associating one of these with the other but, then again... universal agreement isn’t possible. What is important is whether something works for you. No one else needs to understand it at all.
Some years ago I was The Deli-Lama in an outrageous, twenty four hour, seven days a week culinary experiment called “Paradise Fruits” on Maui, HI. I worked there on and off for some years. The owners were friends of mine. It was a very successful venture until drugs, hubris and greedy landlords got the better of the movie. One day I was doing something in the public area and two people approached me. One of them said, “Aren’t you a friend of so and so?”
For these people to have seen me with so and so they would have had to have seen me in a small window of time, thousands of miles away in a place (Santa Rosa) that I was only in once for a brief time. What follows is not connected to this event.
During the time I was in Santa Rosa, I used to like to go to a fern bar/restaurant on the main drag. I can’t remember the name now. One evening, I was having a beer and the cook came out and sat down with me. While we were talking he asked me where I was from. I told him I was from Maui. His eyes narrowed and he asked me if I knew such and such a person. I did indeed know this person and said “Yes.” He asked if he was a friend of mine and I said, “No.” and I made a disparaging remark. He lifted up his briefcase and took from it a wanted poster with this man’s face on it. He told me that these wanted posters were up and down the California coast.
This fellow was a certain type of scam artiste that you see all too many of in the Hawaiian Islands. I wasn’t generally very nice to him because I used to be able to hear his rap through the kitchen window from where he was sitting at the outside dining area.
The cook asked me if I knew where he was now and I said that the last time I had seen him was where I had seen him a month ago at the place I worked. He was very grateful for this information. We actually hung out together for the final weeks that I was there and had some wild times.
Apparently this fellow had stayed with some friends of the cook in Las Vegas and worked for them trimming buds. They left him there to go somewhere for a weekend and he promptly stole 20 pounds of hi-end smoke from them.
Months later I was at Paradise Fruits and I ran into the man from the wanted poster. I told him what had happened and he said, “Oh, that’s all straightened out now.” I suspect it was not.
I could have been him if I behaved like him. It’s possible that the people who saw me at Paradise Fruits might have registered my presence and passed it on and I could have been in real trouble but I never did anything in the circumstances they saw me in to warrant that. It’s possible no matter where you are to run into someone you don’t want to see so... leave good footprints.
No matter where you are. No matter if you think you are completely alone. You are never alone. You are always on the screen; Cave Dei Videt.
The thing with leaving good footprints is that after awhile everything comes to reflect that. I have certainly not always left good footprints but at whatever point one may begin to consciously do so, from that moment things begin to change. Good footprints can make you invulnerable and immortal. That is how important they are.
It may not be desirable to always speak with sweetness and love to all that you encounter. There are some clever souls who operate in this manner and mean none of it. You might say and do things that are not appreciated but if your words and acts are true then it doesn’t matter what other people think. Other people don’t possess your reward and punishment. They may be an agency for it but they do not determine your fate, your footprints do. Leaving good footprints does not mean kissing everybody’s ass.
There is no hiding place. I sometimes wonder about how many people there are who are running from their footprints. The problem is that your footprints follow you. Good footprints can wipe out bad footprints by changing the person leaving the footprints into one unrecognizable from before. You can even leave deeper imprints. Good footprints also have the capacity to become the hardpan of an ancient way.
There are thousands of books that purport to teach wisdom. There are seminars where luminaries hold forth on realizing your potential and becoming like them; shining masks of brilliantine and come hither slither. If you are a pretty lady, the Roger Nietzsche (Rajneesh) yogis of Goa might ask you to write your cell-phone number on their thigh. You might get that Tony Robbins/Marianne Williamson thing and fly first class on New Age Airlines. There’s going to be a whole lot of footprints and some of them are going to be yours.
Most people don’t realize that when they are walking, they are walking on their faces. Their faces become the road map of their journey and the eyes tell the tale. The sound of their voice and its resonance tells the tale. I think conviction has a lot to do with footprints, which is why ten people can say the same thing and you’ll only hear one of them because the others lack conviction. Conviction comes from being able to speak from the place where the essential thought exists and footprints take you there. If you’re not speaking ‘from’ the place then no bell rings, no bird flies by, no dog barks and you don’t suddenly get that déjà vu feeling from the combination of sights and sounds reminding you that you’ve been here before.
Being here before means passing this way again and your footprints will tell you if the circumstances will repeat in reverse or whether something changed in the interim. Everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be and we are exactly where we are supposed to be according to our footprints. It’s a spiral in either direction. It is possible to move into greater and greater bondage until the urge for freedom becomes an imperative where no cost is too great. It is possible to move toward greater and greater freedom until you disappear into the absolute entire and become the thing itself.
Immortality has a lot to do with being relieved of a personal history. Personal histories are prisons of mortality. Your footprints can lead you to the place where you walk away from your personal history. After that there won’t be any footprints at all.
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