As the years have come and gone, imparting me with new knowledge and experiences, my life’s goal has become increasingly clear: to achieve the elusive perma-stoke.
It’s self explanatory. To be perma-stoked is to be stoked as hell, permanently. Take care to distinguish it from the normal “stoke,” a fleeting, excited euphoria. The noun form of “stoke” is in fact its own entity—it is the set-up, the anticipation which builds to bursting point, the supreme satisfaction of being in the stoke itself, and the eventual depleting of this fiery kinetic energy. The casual stoke is a process, a mindset with a discrete beginning and end.
The perma-stoke is more subtle. It is wily, traitorous, and nigh-unattainable. If the normal stoke is a roaring bonfire, which blazes fiercely but dies as it consumes its fuel, then the coals of the perma-stoke are always lit. The pilot light is on, and one may activate the perma-stoke in an act of willful pyrogenesis. Yet it must be maintained; impurities in the fuel of your life, clogged mental chimneys, and the drafty winds of circumstance may taint it, obscure it, or blow it nearly out. It requires constant upkeep.
One who abides by this sublime state of mind is constantly excited and enthusiastic. Everything is an opportunity to be fully appreciated and savored, a blessing to take full advantage of. The practitioner seems to live more fully. He is vigorous, full of irrepressible vitality. His world is staggeringly beautiful; the colors he sees are brighter, the sounds and sensations sweeter. All is music, for he alone truly listens. Everything is a sweet caress. The world is his oyster, and he is the radiant pearl contained within.
During my best days, I have been this practitioner. I have tasted the sweetness of life’s ambrosia, felt the balmy wind beneath my wings and soared. But goodness so refined is scary, even terrifying. It takes only one instance of skepticism, one lapse of faith, before doubt seeps in around the edges. One moment of lucidity can shatter the illusion of even the sweetest dream.
Yet the eternal stoke is alive in the world—I catch glimpses of it in people, in the glints of their eyes, the apex of their laughter, the saintlike demeanor and movement of their bodies when they are swept away. I know it’s still there, deep within all of us.
So don’t forget to sweep your chimneys!