Every valuable lesson I have ever learned, I was taught by a woman. The little of worth I have gained from men, I have won in battle.

My statement is indeed personal; others have undoubtedly benefitted from the influence of males in their lives, without the necessity for battle. Fate may not be coerced, cajoled, or counted on. The times and places of my nurturing have rendered me as I have been, as I am, not good or bad, not right or wrong, but balanced between my inherent extremes, self-realised, or owing to the suggestion, the direction, the enlightenment of women.

I am not a man’s man, nor have I any wish so to become. Third-gender, maybe, of being caught in that pressed confluence of humanity and proven look-substantial, yet strange to the familiar soul in fellowed course entwined. I do not lead. I do not follow. When presented with easy and with difficult, I choose difficult. If anyone can have it, I do not want it. If anyone can do it, I will not do it. If everyone thinks it, I will not think it. If everyone wants it, I will not have it.

Courage is never easy. Courage is never cautious. The only test of courage is boldness. No leap of faith ever revealed its landing prior to the jump.

What can a flame remember? If it remembers just a little less than is necessary, it goes out. If it remembers just a little more than is necessary, it goes out. If only it could teach us, while it burns, to remember correctly.

Between concealment and honesty, between invention and reality, between revelation and mystery, between artfulness and artifice, between standing still and moving forward, between knowing and feeling, there is courage. That is what the flame remembers. It remembers to be brave.

The beginnings of bravery are as simple as this. A man, or a woman, awakened too early, in the darkness, while everyone else is still sleeping, instead of rolling over immediately, and falling back to sleep, resists this urge, resists it, because for him or her, it is important, it is crucial, to qualify that experience, to describe it to him or herself, to live it fully, before submitting again to sleep. Courage begins at that point, that moment, when resistance overcomes submission.

Proof– the realm of the ordinary, the mediocre, the merely adequate – is over-rated. I believe in the imagination of the mind, the intoxication of the senses, the rapture of all perceptive awareness…in enchantment, in infatuation, in obsession.

What lesson can a man offer, freely given, that casts my consciousness beyond him, into the greater void?