June 29th, 2005
There are a number of things some people don't like about me. Although this will come off as defensive to some, most criticism is simply a form of projection from one person who doesn't get it onto another person that may or may not get it and serves as a form of karmic flatulence for the giver and a bad smell to everyone else. Of course, there are criticisms that are well founded and even deserved including but not limited to my relationship with footwear.
You do not want to go shoe shopping with me. Trust me on this one, you don't. Hell, I don't even like going out shoe shopping as my number one complain is the choices women have whereas men's sections are--well, sorely lacking. And yes, this is a superficial complaint from one sentient who has a questionable relationship with their shoes.
When I buy a pair of shoes I want them to fit me like a glove--except on my feet! I want them to be comfortable and look good and be useful and versatile and I want them to last three to five years. And I don't want to own a bunch of shoes, just enough to get the job done and for most of my life this has meant a pair of shoes or boots. And so finding that right pair of shoes or boots can take me hours or days or literally weeks of dropping into different stores--and oh, the biggest frustration aside from not being able to find something I'm willing to pour $79.95 into is that my shoe size is in the middle of the bell curve and quite often the shoes I like are sold out in my size.
And so it's back to walking from store to store to store and every kind of place you could imagine. I'll hit the indoor malls, the outdoor malls, and then I'll find something I really want and oh it's only $395.99! Bugger.
And so it's back to walking from store to store to store. Are you getting the message? You do not want to go shoe shopping with me! I act like I'm buying a new car, lifting the hood, going for a test drive. Do I like the colour? Is the seat comfortable? Does the engine have a nice sound to it when I hit the accelerator?
Last weekend Vipasanna and I went out shoe shopping. Now normally I advise my friends against this mistake as no one, including myself, has the patience for going shoe shopping with myself. In this case, however, she knew of a shop I'd never been to before so as we did other errands we stopped at this little mall I'd never been to and I saw these boots
[insert shimmering flashback effect here]
The night before I was up late surfing the internet. I did a quick search for "motorcycle boots", since I've been looking for something I could use for my motorcycle course in August. I wanted a pair of boots that would be functional, not necessarily motorcycle boots, reasonable in price, comfortable, and nice looking. The first pair I found I liked, they were $179.95.
[shimmering effect brings us back to the present]
And so we get to this little mall I'd never been to and I saw the exact same boots I'd been looking at on the internet and they were marked down about 50%. So I'm thinking, okay, I'll try them on but I've never had a pair of "shit kickers", as on of my co-workers enjoys calling them, and didn't know how I'd like them. So I put these boots on and it's just a strange feeling the old beatup boots I have now are military jump boots that tie up nice and snug, hugging me close, and are flexible and breath well. And so here I am and within five minutes of trying on these shit-kickers I'm walking out the door with them on.
Synchronicity aside, the really interesting thing is at first these boots felt more like slippers. I like having big black boots that hug my legs and ankles in a warm embrace, gives me a sense of comfort. So now I'm going to wear boots that are unlike any I've owned before. They're definitely not something I'd describe as being in my "comfort zone".
So I have to wonder, if you don't learn to step out of your comfort zones what the hell are you using them for?
June 28th, 2005
When I was fourteen I got a special driver's license that allowed me to drive my blind father from place to place. Usually I drove him to or picked him up from his Toastmaster's meetings, although on the holidays I would get practice being in the driver's seat of our 1984 silver Volvo GL stationwagon. So here I was, only fourteen years old, driving one or two hundred miles at a stretch and every now and then having to listen to my blind dad screaming, "Slow down!" from the back seat even though I was always going spot-on the speed limit and, "Dad! The cruize control's been on for the last 20 miles!"
Needless to say I became a perfectionistic driver at a very early age--which comes in handy these days!
(: Zoom, zoom, zoom :)
One morning the entire family was in the car and as usual I was in the driver's seat getting practice and hogging the tape deck (most likely listening to some teenie bop 80's beauty, Sting, or some other such thing). We'd just passed through Sacramento then Red Bluff, soon we'd hit Redding and that afternoon we'd stop to stay a day or two in Mount Shasta with my Nana.
To keep myself from getting too bored (or sleepy) I'd amuse myself with all sorts of driving games. For instance, I might guess how many mile posts until the next town or I'd see how many cars I could pass--while obeying all the traffic laws. This last one, in particular, was my favourite game as the constant oversight from my parents made it incredibly challenging.
So there I was, doing the speed limit on I-5 and I move into the left lane and begin to pass a lori. Suddenly a car comes up from behind and tail gates me--oh goddess, how I used to (and still) hate that--and of course I'm stuck going the speed limit for fear my parents might tell me to pull to the side of the road so I mozie on past the lori, turn on my blinker, and pull into the right lane at which point this car just shoots on by to our left.
Ten or fiften minutes later I come up behind a car going ten or so miles slower than the speed limit. I signal, move into the left lane, and while I'm passing I glance at the other car and notice a woman driving the vehicle that had shot past me a few miles back.
Long story short, this happened about five times in a row before Redding, California. She'd come up and tailgate me then pass, I'd pass her, she'd come up fast from behind and pass, I'd pass her, and all the while I was going a constant 65mph. The last time I saw her she came up behind about about 80 miles per hour then slowed down to my speed for a second, looked me in the face, flipped me off, and then shot away going at least a hundred.
I have noticed the more balance you have within yourself, the more centered you are, the more "there" and healthy and "together" and focused you've made your heart, mind, and spirit--the more often you'll get flipped off by people without cruize control.
Take care and goodnight,
June 21st, 2005
This summer is the first where the hot tub's been working. Jumping in at 9pm and enjoying a sunset is a new and wonderful experience. I sat out tonight enjoying the shades of blue transition away.
So what else did I discover I have in common with Sonia Choquette? And why doesn't it surprise me?
For the last month I haven't been able to attend any Toastmaster's meetings. Part of this has been due to the fact that we've changed the meeting location which has made it difficult for me to stop work, run to the other building for an hour, then come back--I just do not have the time, most days. Another part of it is the pace of things at work lately--I've had to temporarily take upon myself the lifestyle of a work-a-holic (again) to get things done and as such don't take lunch breaks and have had to skip Toastmasters more than I'd like.
Anyhow, as I often do before giving a speech I'm going to write my speech here on my journal--so if you're a fellow Toastmaster I ask that you not read this journal entry yet as I enjoy giving speeches fresh--yet at the same time I also like to write the words down, make them concrete, before giving the speech.
Also, for a little background, last week's meeting, which I could not attend, was themed "Favourite TV Shows". This gave me a starting point for the speech I will give tomorrow which is currently without a title (don't worry, I'll come up with one five minutes before giving it!).
Three summers ago my roomate and I were driving around Seattle looking for somewhere to stay the night. We'd already spent one night in a dumpy, expensive hotel and wanted something a bit nicer and only marginally more expensive so we stopped at one and then another then another near Seatac international airport. Many places were full and the left overs were boiled up to more expensive dumps and even more expensive and unaffordable luxury hotels. What to do, what to do?
Just for the hell of it we stopped at the Hilton. Niether of us thought we could afford it but since we were checking out almost every other place--like I said, "What the hell."
So we're standing inside at the front desk and my back's getting sore as it sometimes does when I've done too much standing at front desks. By now I'm getting impatient, my roomate's asking about the prices which are thirty or fourty dollars more than we want to spend. I'm standing there uncomfortably looking out the door thinking about getting in the car and just finding a cheap dump when a man in a starfleet uniform walks through the door.
I point this out to my roomate and we ask the lady behind the desk what was going on. "Oh, there's a Star Trek convention here this weekend," she says.
And so for thirty or forty bucks more we rented a room and more or less snuck into the convension. There we saw actors and actresses from Star Trek, Babylon Five, and other sci-fi series.
I remember we were walking down a hall looking at t-shirts--my roomate was going to buy a Farscape shirt--when we peaked our heads through a door and there, just ten or fifteen feet away from us, was Captain James Tiberius Kirk sitting there calmly as if there wasn't anything abnormal about this! Sure, he was a little more plump than I remember him and the uniform had been replaced by a t-shirt and a casual jacket, but there he was, real as life, and my brain couldn't quite get a grip on the fact that I was really looking at someone I've seen thousands and thousands and thousands of times on tv and on the big screen.
When I turned to my roomate I found that she too had that "deer in the headlights" look in her face--and she wasn't a Star Trek fan!
When I was a kid TV was a very different thing. There was ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and maybe a few other odd channels--and if your parents spoiled you had HBO so you could catch new episodes of Fraggle Rock. Back in the day I could have a favourite show and you'd know about it and you'd have a favourite show and I'd have seen it. We could be complete strangers with something to talk about besides the weather!
These days basic cable comes with over 30 channels and with digital cable or Dish Network comes hundreds and hundreds of choices. Expecting anyone to watch much less have heard of the same program is becoming more and more statistically improbable.
Okay, with a showing of hands can you please tell me... How many of you have seen Star Trek? Little House on the Prarie? The Dukes of Hazard?
Now how many of you have seen CSI Miami? TV Journal on Link TV? How many have even heard of Green Wing?
As ancient tribes once told their stories around the campfire we shared ours and they were painted on the screen with vibrating electrons. And yet I fear that one day the question will not be what my favourite show is but whether or not you've even heard of it.
And at that point we'll have to talk about the weather.
June 20th, 2005
I am not the touchy feely type, I don't need hugs to feel good about about myself. I'm not the social type, I can spend days or weeks alone without a word. I am not the "smiley" type yet my emotions run deep--if you do not see them why do you project your fears onto my joy, my exploration, my fantasy?
I am not what you think I am. I am not the quiet guy who is too shy to get out of the corner. I am not the jilted guy too afraid to say go. I am not the stressed out guy unaware--or incapable of cirmounting--my suffering. I am not the blind man asking for change. And I am not the clown acting out your story--unless you put it upon yourself.
I am not the perfectionist without the reality check and I am not the fool without a clue. I am not the sinner without a hope or the student without a test or the teacher without a lesson. And I am not the child at the bottom that complains about the distance to the top...but I do need to take water for the climb.
Yet I am eternally the child, climbing, sitting, resting, watching, laughing, crying, thinking, growing, yearning, and moving forward.
Nothing broken, nothing mended. Nothing mistaken, nothing learned. Nothing attempted, nothing failed. Nothing sought, nothing missed. Something lost, something given. Always in balance, even anger my friend, even anger!
So what is it that you want? Nothing? Impossible! You threw the dice upon the table my friend! Give, take, love, hate, learn, grow, heal, but live and breath and move and grow and choose and walk and run and oh!!!
That is the choice to live.
June 20th, 2005
I had a dream this morning. I was in my grandmother's--my nana's house--the one my grandfather built almost fifty years ago--and it was burning down. I ran inside and there was fire under the floor boards--and yet I knew her house already burned down months ago so I wasn't scared, this had already happened. Yet I felt a need to rescue items of value from the house so I grabbed them from the living room and put them on the front lawn and then went back inside and met someone else, but I don't recall who they were. Neither of us seemed terribly concerned as the flames leapt higher and we noticed, now that we could see through the floorboards, four skeletons under the house, one man, and his three daughters. They had died long ago, the father had loved the girls very much but he was on his own taking care of them; society had labeled them outcasts so they had died in love and despair. And then I had to leave. I was running late, running late because I had to come here and see what had happened with my own eyes, and get home. I wanted to promise to someone I loved that I'd be back right away but I knew it was a six or eight hour drive so I left honestly yet with purpose.
June 19th, 2005
I walked out of the house this evening to my car and everything outside was shining in violets, pinks, and light blues. The sunset surrouned me, West, North, East, and South, and it looked like a skyline from a Hollywood film scanned into a computer and then modified as needed--it was simply too amazing not to be a CGI rendering and was easily one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen in this lifetime.
Sunsets come and sunsets go, speaking of Michaelangelo.
So four guys walk out of a bar and look at the sunset. One sees his wife that just left him for another man. Another sees his credit card debts mounting. Another sees a georgous sunset. And the last is too drunk to focus.
It's all just a Rorschach test, get it?
Three enormously useful skills to master in this lifetime:
Take care and goodnight,
June 16th, 2005
You'll have to forgive me, I'm a little out of sorts tonight. I've been working all day with a few small breaks...trying to get some things out of the way so I don't have to think about them anymore...and all the while my nose has been running non-stop and I've had five or six bloody noses since this morning. I haven't had a sinus infection in years so I'm hoping I can fight this one off with saline solution and vitamins (plus it helps that I don't smoke anymore). And then there's a "friend" of mine who refuses to respect my boundaries and I've given it several weeks but it's just the same thing day in and day out.
I've never figured this one out. I have said in my life, "I don't like being abused," and people just kept taking their anger out on me. I have said to people, "You know, if you use my property I would like you to treat it with respect," and have heard in return, "Fuck you, don't be lame." I have asked people not to lie to me and they have said, "That's just who I am." I have asked this most recent person to back off and give me space and on average every second day they contact me to say, "Hey, I know you asked me to give you space but I just wanted to remind you I cared about you. Okay, now I'll back off."
Two days later?
So, I've communicated my boundary almost a dozen times. I've asked said person to give me space, back off, and finally I just had to ask them not to contact me again until I decided to resume relations. Clear enough, right? They said they'd respect that, right?
And what's left to me when they continue to contact me afterwards?
I hate being in that position but what's left? I get to be the bad guy, right? I get to tell them to sod off because they won't leave me the hell alone, right? It's either turn off the e-mail and the IM--which I can't do because I need them for my job--or I get to be the jerk.
What it really comes down to is I know how I will allow people to treat me and this doesn't fall into that category. So all I'm left with is "goodbye".
I'm sorry, but you've left me no option.
It is ironic, years ago when I really dived into my spiritual quest I quickly found karma to be my worste enemy--and my best friend. Situations I'd put people into would come my way but three or ten fold in intensity! To be more clear, I used to border well into the area of harrassing and I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and I pushed people away.
Karma is laughing at me saying, "Hey, remember when you acted like this? Well, now its your turn to be on the other side of the fence."
I could react in the same way others have to returned karma but instead I take a lot of time to look it over. I was on the other side once and now I'm in a beautiful position where I can look at both sides of the situation subjectively and objectively all at the same time. I look deep down at the karma and instead of getting mad, instead of letting it bind me into and endless cycle, I say, "I will understand and accept the karma and I will free it."
And so that is what I do.
So yesterday my roomate and best friend introduced me to a new TV series called 30 Days that was put together by the same guy that did the movie Super Size Me. This new show is about getting in the shoes of another person for 30 days so you can learn and grow and evolve--hey, kinda like The Temple in a way ;-) In the premier the guy from Super Size Me and his fiance stopped all their cash flow and attemped to live on minimum wage doing minimum wage jobs for 30 days--and having been there myself I can say what they went through is not only realistic, but unfortunately the struggle so many Americans live with daily and it's a goddamn joke. One of the few redeeming reality shows ever made, check it out.
For those who are curious, yesterday my dad was taken to the hospital for chest pains and "coded". After my mother screamed her bloody head off getting seemingly the whole hospital staff to revive him he had a stint (?) put in and was doing much better. He's home today.
It's interesting different people's reactions.
My mother, when she called to let me know how things were going, seemed very cheery. So you know, this goes completely against everything I know about my mother who can get stressed out and depressed very easily about something like this--typically she doesn't handle it well. But last night on the phone she was cheery and hopeful and I was thinking to myself, "This is good."
Granted, it's temporary. But she's grown a lot over the years and I'm proud of her.
As to my roomate, she almost cried when she found out. I can't say why but I'm sure part of it is because she's a CNA in a cardiac unit and my dad was here just this last weekend so there's a great deal of love for the old fart and frustration that she didn't notice/say anything about the warning signs.
And me? I saw all of this on the weekend and my intuitive self said, "Don't worry about it, Aslynn, there's nothing you can do now, everything will be fine."--and I've learned to trust it. Except this has been the first time I've trusted it with something as potentially serious as this so that is a surprise to me. Yet I do wonder when I'll get that gut feeling, "Hey, it's time for you to take action, Aslynn." Until then, though, I wait.
Anyway, that has been my day. For the last hour I sit, have some ice cream, record Green Wing, and tweak the build machine.
June 14th, 2005
No picture today but you will live I promise
Today I've been very tired. I've gotten a cold from one (two) of my co-workers and it's made my head stuffy and my nose runny then not runny then bloody and ugh. But I'm being a good trooper, plugging my way through the day, and getting to the end of it.
I've spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about The Temple. What is this "place" all about? It's evolved so much over the last eight or so years. At first it was just "my" place on the internet where I kept links and short stories. It evolved into a place I could share things, where I could rant, where I could express anger and frustration, and at times, a place where I could stand up for myself and those I cared about against slanderers and the like. And then it evolved into a place where I would begin to write down the hardest lessons I'd learned in this life in hopes that someone would wake up the easy way cause I didn't and everyone I know doesn't and I thought Jesus H if only we could use our experiences to learn and teach and grow and feel and experience and create more joy in our lives and the lives of others now instead of saying, "Hey, I know it all, I've living in my comfortable box, and that's fine, ya know?"
So why do I sit down and write in this journal almost every evening? Why do I share my experiences, my sorrow, my joy, with everyone in the world? Why do I open so much of my life up to all of my friends, family, and complete strangers? And what do I have left to share? What do you think the answers to those questions are? And what is the truth?
So this evening I'm going to rent the second DVD in the Fat Actress series with Kirstie Allie. I watched the first and was very impressed that she would take subject matter most of us aren't willing to discuss, much less turn into comedy. And I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who can openly talk, joke, and work on their issues like she does. These are, quite frankly, marks of an evolving spirit.
Anyhow, I must be going. I need to lay down.
June 13th, 2005
I must apologize as I've found that the news links from yesterday are no longer valid. What's up with that, BBC?
A short explanation, Subject #2 was regarding a study on Buddhist monks that demonstrated that meditation can rewire the brain to do things that Western scientists previously thought were impossible. Subject #3 was about the 6th (I believe) Dalai Lama who loved alcohol and women but who stirred up the superficial believers and followers who eventually murdered him--oh wait, why would they do a silly thing like that?
There are few people in this world I could count on. Okay, 4 people. That's how many I could count on in any way, shape, or form. Two of them I could count on if I was in a tight spot and two, my parents, anytime and without question.
My parents were by this weekend and my dad was having chest pains. He's had heart attacks in the past so this obviously isn't a good thing. So he doesn't tell anyone--my roomate and I--psychic voyeurs that we are--both picked up that something was amiss. And tomorrow I've learned my father is going in for an angiogram.
I used to wonder what I'd do without my parents. When I've been lied to, stolen from, cheated on, abandoned, and everything else you could imagine, they were always there for me. No, they've never been the kind of parents I could talk to about things and frankly many of my experiences would give them both strokes--but they were always there and that's something I cannot say about anyone I've ever known in this lifetime.
So what would I do if one of them or both of them died?
It would suck, no doubt, and it would be a shock to my system in-as-much as death is often a shock to the system. You can imagine it happening all you want but it's not the same as having it happen. And imagining is never quite the same as the experience. But what would it be like to not have them there when I needed them? And for my best friend to be on her way in life, as is in the script? And everyone else has gone or left me completely alone? Would I spend the rest of my days reading, painting, and jogging on my own?
Then again, that sounds just fine too. I can wait for life, I can wait for death, I can wait for the next lifetime and the next. They say it'll all work out in the end but that's not completely enlightened. It'll all work out now. That's a deeper understanding.
Today on a scale from one to ten: 5. Didn't get enough sleep. Work was challenging. I pushed myself like a crazy man on my jog. Learned (in 3 dimentional time-space) about my dad. Was sent two messages by someone that told me they'd back off. Had an excellent salad, saw a great cooking show, and was the only man, a man dressed entirely in black and red and sunglasses, in a fabric store. Now must goto bed...
June 13th, 2005
I have a feeling this is going to be a somewhat long journal entry so you will have to forgive me, Aslynn is in a rambling mood.
I love my monkey!
He may be crooked and broken and he likes Depends undergarments, but I love him in spite of all of this. That's all I wanted to say about that.
No shit, Sherlock. You can reprogram your brain. I mean, if you can do it with a bloody computer most certainly you can do it with yourself!
And I have! Ha!
Yes! And no! Don't you 'diots get what enlightenment is about?!?
Sometimes you have to make decisions in your life you don't exactly like. Hard decisions, tough decisions, decisions that aren't exactly fun, decisions that force you to learn, to grow, and to become something bigger than you are, than you were.
I have been challenged with five such decisions in the last month. I did right. And I feel as alone as hell.
When I retire I will build a small cabin in the mountains next to a stream filled with trout. I will spend my days fishing and taking care of the horses and going on hikes and tending the garden and chopping wood. I will watch the sunrise and enjoy the sunset. And I will die in peace.
I need to learn a new kind of patience. It's a certain kind of paitence I can't even describe to you because I've learned the other types, those types most people mean when they say "patience". I need to learn something bigger, grander.
I have learned to wait for the next life and the next. I need to find the patience outside of time and space.
Do you understand?
I feel like the more I push myself to learn and grow and improve and evolve...the more I leave those in my life behind.
Perhaps this is simply an illusion.
Maybe it's not.
I do not know.
They've asked me what I want for father's day...but I've only been a father for three or four years. Oh, my daughter finishes fourth grade in a week! And I remember waking up in the morning to take her to the bus stop and holding her hand in mine and waiting for that big yellow bus to arrive and then doing the same thing in the afternoon! That was first grade and now she's so close to being a teenager!
And yet I sometimes just feel like I'm the interloper. I stepped into her life when no one else would. I walked into her life because there was a responsibility and I'd learned to climb mountains.
I don't deserve anything. My daughter, she deserves everything. And every day I can become a better father. Some day it will be the time to become a trusted friend.
Tonight I had five episodes of synchronicity within an hour. No, no, this is not strange for me but I really have to wonder, does anyone I know out there have some kind of connection with the name Munoz? I know, it's probably a red herring but I choose to ask.
Goodnight. And yes.
June 12th, 2005
I was woken up quite early this morning in order that I might commune with my family or that is to say have breakfast which is more or less exactly what we did. My roomate and daughter then left for a baby shower and shortly after showing me how to use my new (circa 1966) sewing machine my father and mother left for their home.
I have never been invited to a baby shower. I have never been invited to a bachelor party. I can count the number of parties I've been invited to over my adult lifetime on both of my hands. On the other hand I know that you can't change anyone, only be available when they are somehow in need. And that is a good trade.
And so this afternoon I am going to go on a drive up to that place and I'm going to perfect my aim while at the same time killing a defenseless hay stack.
I keep loosing at Powerball. Granted, I've only bought 3 or 4 tickets in my entire life, but you'd think by now I'd at least win enough so that strange relatives I've never heard of before would begin knocking on my door asking for favours. *sigh* Guess the universe doesn't want me to be an eccentric multimillionaire just yet!
This quote is for all those I have loved:
"No one can turn you completely upside down and inside out. You must accept yourself as you are, instead of as you would like to be, which means giving up self-deception and wishful thinking."
- Chogyam Trungpa
Merry part, blessed be, and have a most excellent day,
June 11th, 2005
Today was the quickest jog I've done to date. I think it was a combination of the strength and endurance training plus a little techno-industrial--which I don't typically listen to as that type of music makes me loose my jogging rhythm which is in fact much different than my driving rhythm.
It took me several weeks to learn to pace myself and it was a difficult lesson for me to learn. You see, I've always been one of these people that could see a goal and easily conceptualize the path to said goal so the very idea of pacing myself was anathema. If I could see it in my mind, if I could fold the paper and make point A touch point B without any distance between the two points I should be able to do that in a three dimentional universe too, right?
I tried jogging a few years ago and it was tough. I didn't know why I didn't like it but I didn't like it--I'd summed it all up to a dislike for the feeling of utter intellectual boredom I often got excercising for any length of time.
Now I know it was because it was a spiritual lesson.