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Slightly off center

I think that we can all agree that the more wisdom, experience and years we have under our belt, the more and more we learn new things.


Recently, I arrived at another fork in the road on my life journey where, for me, I came to the realization that some things are true that I thought weren't true and other things that I felt or believed to be untrue, actually are true . . .


With each passing year, as is the case for all of us, there are new lessons to learn.


So, with that said, I recently asked myself this powerful question, "What do you think is the truest thing that you 100% know in your heart to be true?"


. . . and the first thing that came to my mind . . .

"Here we are! Right here, right now!"

Us in Eureka Springs, AR at the corner of Center & Spring Sts. (or as Eurekans often say, "slightly off center.")

For me, nothing else shows up as the most 100% truest thing quite like the present moment. The here and now. It's just so powerful and yet so fleeting if we don't relish while we're having it and showing our gratitude for it.

Take, for example, these beautifully, surviving buildings all over our town with their robust construction, timeless designs and cherished architecture. Each and every time I am in a "here and now" moment marveling over them, I'm flooded with gratitude for these masterpieces as I truly believe that they continue to highlight our community's commitment to sustain long-term stability.

After chapters together in the states of Washington and Texas, my life-partner Jeff and I have resided here in Eureka Springs since June 2018 and ever since our arrival, we feel enveloped by these secure beacons which, in our opinion, serve as proud symbols of history, love, safety and resilience, embodying a legacy of evolution, transformation and strength.


Woo or shoo

Eureka Springs is the most petite little dainty gem with the biggest heart. She also has a southern drawl, huge smile and a massive personality that's slightly off center. The more she changes, the more she stays the same. She's beautiful, cunning, coy and, as one would expect, she's intriguingly complex.


Any Eurekan will tell you, she will welcome you with open arms and lure you in and she will shower her love upon you when you bring forth more joy BUT she will reject you quickly and walk away when you do not.


So, in other words, be here. Be present. Participate. Do good things. Spread more joy. Enrich your life and those around you. Volunteer. Tip heavy. Give a hand. Buy art. Donate. Engage in the here and now.


Embrace the woo.


. . . the second thing that came to my mind in answering this compelling question . . .

"We are beautifully imperfect."

What I often have to acknowledge is that we are all a little "slightly off center" just like our Eureka Springs.


By no means are Jeff and I a perfect couple, or perfect people.


Jeff has shown me a kind of love that I never thought I would get to experience in this lifetime and despite the ups and downs that take place for us, I know that our relationship mantra: "don't forget to remember" will always sustain us, empower us, inspire us and motivate us to continue to work at all the things that come along with the commitment of partnership.


Sometimes, when you're staring at that pixelated picture on the screen and you're trying so hard to focus, you just have to stop, zoom out, and step back to get the full, clearer picture.


Taking time to reassess what is most important is most important. Life is a complicated journey and we've all been hurt a time or two along that journey. While we certainly are all a part of this greater interconnected world of higher love, we are also, in a sense, this massive society of hurt humans just moving through it all day by day, one step at a time. Everyone has a story. Their story.

Hurt-people hurt people

It's true. It's life.

Pain is part of life.


We don't have all the answers, and we certainly don't claim to even have good ones. We're just a couple of chaps that fell deeply in love and have learned a few things along the journey.


When people argue with their partner, they often assume they know everything about the situation, their partner's intentions, and the best solution. This assumption can lead to a rigid stance, where each person clings to their position and refuses to see the other’s perspective. This rigidity can make it difficult to resolve conflicts and over time, if it's not nurtured, it can create a divide.


Love is not enough.

Love is not soft. Love is hard.


I heard a neuroscientist once say, "two human beings that have found true love do not need to work at it because true love should come easy to human beings."


Poo! I absolutely disagree.


Human beings are wildly complex, and we are the most intelligent creatures on earth, we are not wild animals because our mammal instincts have been heightened to include wants, needs, expectations, emotions, intuition, speech and an overall higher level of intellect that cause connections to spark.


  • Sparks can be good, like fireworks.

  • Sparks can be bad, like wildfires.


Sprinkle in some free will, moods, beliefs, changes in our environment and other factors and then we have a recipe where any two human beings could see the very same spark from two completely different perspectives. One good spark to me might be a bad spark to Jeff and vice versa.


Hey, fireworks can even cause wildfires so it is my firm belief that even those that have found true love may encounter a bad spark from time to time. It's life. Embrace your beautiful imperfections but be sure to foster a mutual willingness to understand and compromise. After all, you're the most important person to the other person. Cherish that.


Strong partnerships thrive on trust, respect, effective communication, and shared goals. By cultivating these elements, couples can navigate conflicts more effectively and maintain a healthy, thriving relationship before any kind of divide sets in.


Putting in the work is an act of love. I love my partner so much for working with me and my wild complexity.


. . . and, finally this . . .

"We show up. We bring love. No matter what."

Slightly off center, intriguingly complex, and beautifully aged, our beloved ingénue, Eureka Springs, stands center stage donned in an unassuming black, spaghetti-strap cocktail dress with comfortable shoes, light-hearted lip gloss and smokey eye shadow. She's raw, organic, humble. She's complex in the simplest of ways. She juxtaposes complexity with simplicity and that exudes an irony that is just so vulnerable and basic that it continues to astound the masses.


She's hard to understand . . . but is she?


To truly understand something or someone, there has to first be intention; the desire to make the decision to want to understand.


Recently, I became flooded with this overwhelming feeling that love, although it is not enough and it is not the only answer, it is so much bigger than any conflict, disagreement or misunderstanding and so decided to align some of my ongoing rumination about Eureka's complexity against my own partnership with Jeff, which, of course, has a complexity all its own.


The result is this blog-post that you are reading today.

Jeff, Kirby and John-Michael #O&A&GGG

Often seen side-by-side most everywhere we go, Jeff and I are out in Eureka more than the moon. I've often joke that we probably need our own hashtag #O&A&GGG (which means out and about and gay, gay, gay.)


No matter what's going on, albeit in town, with our jobs, with our families, friends, or with each other, another thing that I know in my heart to be 100% true is that we show up and bring love. Of course, it certainly helps that The Scurio's and The Mokry's (our families, respectively) bring big love to us when they show up in our life experience again and again.


We recognize that we are two very fortunate men to have grown from the depths of the powerful love found within our own families and we don't take that for granted. We shower much gratitude energy to Jeff's family in Texas and to my family in Massachusetts, every day.


No matter what happens in our life, we both know in our hearts that there is this unspoken commitment that stands the test of time which drives our mutual heart-driven core value to always show up and bring the love that we have for each other into our shared life experiences. This is what most of y'all see when you see us out and about and gay, gay, gay.


I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge a talented poet, In-Q by sharing his poem about love which resonates so deeply in me for the love that I have for my beautiful, soulmate, Jeffrey Allen Mokry:


Love is not soft, love is hard

love is not smooth, love is scarred

love is not perfect, love is flawed

love is not quiet, love is loud

love is not pride, love is proud

but love is not certain, love is doubt

and love is not leaving, loves turning around

loves learning to fight for the middle ground

love is not gentle, love is rough

love is not fragile, love is tough

love is not thinking that "love is enough"


So, I choose to love you harder from the moment I wake up

love is a revolutionary act,

love is an attack,

love is not abstract,

love is a fact,

love is saying yes, when I wanna say no

love is saying stay, when I wanna say go

love is staying high, even when I get low

love is going with the flow, holding on and letting go

because love is not easy, love is complex

love is not right or wrong, love is context

love is not black or white, love is progress

because love is not a product, love is a process, yes?

 

So, in the simple moments, when the chaos fades away,

in the silence of the evening, or the empty of my day,

I remember what it feels like to give my heart away

and think how lucky I have been to get to love someone this way

and how lucky we still are to get to love someone this way


It's a miracle to be alive that's why I have to say

love is not a guarantee,

it will come and it will leave

it relies on my belief, so it will bring me to my knees

love is weak,

love is lost,

love is grief,

love is loss,

love is risk,

love is real

but love is worth the pain I feel

and I won't let the fear of losing you limit how I'm loving you

I'm gonna love you harder, it's a privilege to be hugging you

I'm gonna love you harder, more than ever before

I'm at peace with knowing love is war, that's what we're fighting for


So, love harder

first yourself, then your family,

your friends, your co-workers,

your neighbors and your community

then try to love a stranger, try to tap into your empathy

imagine that you've known them and protected them since infancy


Now, try to love the people that you don't love at all

even people you don't like, they probably need it most of all

and if you can't love them big, see if you can love them small

see if you can hold compassion for the assholes that they are - and they are.

 

But love is not soft, love is hard

love is scarred,

love is flawed,

love is loud,

love is proud,

love is doubt,

and since love is most important when we do not know how

I will choose to love you harder in the never ending now.


Jeff & JM

As partners traversing life together, we also serve as proud symbols of history, love, safety and resilience, embodying our very own legacy of evolution, transformation and strength.


We, too, are a Eureka Springs' masterpiece and like the many cherished masterpieces thriving in our beautiful town and standing the test of time, it is our personal heart-centered commitment to each other, just like the heart-centered commitment of the community of Eurekans to Eureka Springs, that continue to sustain long-term stability . . .


I love us and I love our delightful gal pal, Eureka Springs!

We found it! ... and everything all around us just so happens to be, "slightly off center."


It's all not-so-perfect and frankly, that's perfect!❤️

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