October 2005

 

October 31st, 2005
 
Ignore the monkey.
...wake up
Make a deal with the monkey.
...wake up
Blame the monkey.
...wake up
Lament with the monkey.
...wake up
Recognize the monkey.
 
 

And wake up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 29th, 2005

Dear God,

I want a refund.  I know, I know, I can't find the receipt.  That should be irrelevant, memories and omniscience considered.  You and I both know the reasons I decided upon this life and though they made a hell-of-a-lot-of-sense while I was in my spiritual form they're really can be quite a bother while I'm in this physical one.

And then you tell me it's all about time and space.  That's the answer you have for me?!  That this life, this physical three dimensional prison is necessary to learn and do certain things, that experience can only come from this arguably bizarre and constricting existence?  Yeah, I get that...sorta...but then I can close my eyes and be anywhere, anytime...then I open my eyes and I'm in this in-between space stuck between the two worlds and when I try to reach out most I touch are stuck in time, the present, the past, their hopes, their fears, their pain.  It's so much easier to be stuck, is that the lesson we're supposed to learn, what it's like to be in certain conditions and states of relative stuck-ness?

Or is the lesson that we're as stuck as we believe ourselves to be?

So I pay attention and I learn and I realize this universe has certain rules and I can either follow them or not follow them and either way I don't have much of a choice since these laws are quite literally the laws of nature.  Choice and time and space, that's a big deal.  You make a decision now, which is a specific point in time, and that has a rippling effect in space which flows out over time.  Seems pretty simple on a spiritual level but physically us Earth-bounders get caught up in "I" so sometimes it's not so simple and we just want to throw our hands up in the air and scream, "It's just not fair."

But it is.

And that's why I want a refund.  I want a refund because the illusion is that it's not fair but the reality is that everything's in perfect balance and harmony.  I get that but at the same time I'm angry, I don't want to be where I'm at sometimes, I want to go back and change thi...no, I don't want to change anything, I recognize the importance of it all, the placing and cut of the fabric and the stitching of the thread, it's all important, it's all supposed to be there in this tapestry and I am just a portion of that beauty but oh, if I could say what I want, design the pattern or just at least pick out the one I want but I think no, my spirit and body aren't that clear yet, too much confusion still, not enough consistency.  Fog, so much fog and cold there...

True balance is tough.  And if everything is truly balanced then why must I inside myself find "true balance"?  How can both be completely different and yet completely complimentary?  Oh, you master of blessed irony and sarcastic whit!

God, I've looked at so many ceilings.  White ones with paint brushed swirls and mildew stained tile ones and spackled ones and so on.  While I lay there at night I look up at whatever ceiling I have and I contemplate time and space and the experiences of myself and others who, like me, must learn to navigate this constrictive existence and we all, for most if not all of our lives, live under the belief that life is about "having fun" or "getting what I want" or "happiness" or "success" or "family" or whatever schema we've place in our minds eye so we all go into our corners and create our own stories and philosophies to explain it all and do our best to ignore or fight anything that doesn't quite agree.  But what if it's simpler than that, what if it's all about choice and intention and then the rest, whatever story or goals we have, will blossom naturally and coherently?  What if the fairy tales I paint on my ceiling really do come true and the Angels really do come to hold me up or give me excuse to fall?  Have I spent my entire life painting want and woe, anger and fear, love and happiness, desperation and neediness, responsibility and beauty, upon these ceilings one dab of light after another after another after another, sometimes ignoring, sometimes paying attention, always creating?  Oh, I so want to simply attract those things my heart seeks and desires and yearns for but then I am but am not.  I want but I already have!  Oh pendulum, why do you struggle?

This is my life.  These are my choices.  If I could wish one thing, help me to always accept responsibility for my choices and guide me towards conscious ones in every moment.

Amen, etc.

P.S.  I know it's a big favour to ask but would you mind answering my wish when I blow out the candles this year?  Thank you.

October 28th, 2005
 
Once upon a time life was crap.  I mean, it was horrible, more horrible than horrible in fact.  So terribly miserable, so unimaginably unbearable, so incredibly and unquestionably an opera of grand fucked-up-ness, that I felt that breathing was a waste of energy.  And so it was for many years then many months then almost two decades.
 
Lemony Snicket might have written about me but it seems my series of unfortunate events weren't nearly as entertaining, but perhaps just as enlightening.  I digress though, as he and I often do, because this is not what I wish to tell you about today.  True, there was Depression and yes there were thoughts of escape and ending it all and oh, it wouldn't be right to get you down with these things; I will move on...

I will share with you one thing, though.  While I was driving around in that beat up silver Volvo station wagon and while I didn't have much to eat and while I didn't have many friends or friends who I should have had the courage to walk away from and while I was wondering who'd walk away from me next and while I had all the love in the universe and while I didn't seem to understand the difference between feeling love and demonstrating love...all the while my current home, a beautiful three bedroom house near the country in Portland, Oregon, was being built and while that was going on people were moving into it and while that was going on they were building a deck and adding a hot tub and while that was going on they were planting roses and vines around the home and while that was going on everything that needed to happen was being put into place so that one day I would drive by the home and say, "That's the one, that's my home."

Patience isn't simply about waiting and faith simply isn't about trust.

October 27th, 2005

Explicit Intent.
 
Have you ever told someone, "I don't like it when..." or "It bothers me when..." and then found your words to go unheeded?  For example I'm known to tell say, "I don't like it when you read over my shoulder when I'm writing."  So true and I admit it's a pet peeve of mine, but I've never like people reading over my shoulder and that's just how things are (for now, at least).  So it amazes me that when I ask someone to, "Please stop reading over my shoulder," they will grudgingly respect my simple wish but a week later I'm sitting there happily writing away when I have to turn around and ask the same thing again.
 
Have you ever told someone, "If you...then I will...."?  For instance I once told someone if they didn't respect my personal boundaries I would cease all contact with them until such time I felt more comfortable.  So what happened when I asked them to respect my personal boundaries?  Push, push, shove, shove.  What did I do?
 
Explicit Intent.
 
Lets rip that apart starting from the tail end and working our way forward.  What is intent?  According to the dictionary intent is "Something that is intended; an aim or purpose."  Under intention is the definition "A course of action that one intends to follow."  How about explicit?  Lets make this one simple, it means:  OUT LOUD and WELL DEFINED.
 
Explicit Intent means nothing more complicated than say what you mean and mean what you say.  How complicated could that possibly be?
 
As a baby I thought this was pretty straight forward.  Say what you mean, mean what you say.  Walk the walk, talk the talk.  I was in for a shock as my neural synapses started to coalesce and I could make sense of a three dimensional universe.  Since then I've met souls who openly admit they aren't honest and don't like that aspect of themselves but they continue lying, lying, lying, anyway, and to hell with those that get trampled by their lies.  I've met spirits (and unfortunately governments) that know exactly how they want to be treated but aren't willing to extend that same standard to anyone else.  I've met those that will abuse and ostracize without explanation (or with obviously deceptive ones) only to throw tantrums when they're given a clear layout of the land then find themselves alone simply because they choose not to listen or show respect for others. 
 
Explicit Intent.
 
Create a world where we can trust and believe what you say.  Create a world where we know you won't take advantage of us when it benefits you.  Create a world where we know you will walk the walk and talk the talk so we know the kind of person you say you are is exactly the kind of person our five or six senses perceive.  And we'll say wow, you're rare, you're awesome, you're wonderful.  And maybe we'll follow suit.  Do it because the more in line your actions are with your words and the more accurate your words are to your intent then the clearer The Way becomes.

Thank people who demonstrate explicit intent, they're doing you a favour.

And pay attention.

October 26th, 2005

I can't remember what I meant to write about tonight but I'm sure of one thing, I'm 24 hours ahead of schedule which is okay because I seem to be on Australian time since the 23rd which often happens as I get closer and closer to my birthday and wondering what absolutely wonderful thing will happen to me this year!

For those of you that don't know I have a birthday curse. For some damnable unknown reason every year within a week or two of my birthday something terrible, horrible, something that would push most people over the edge, happens. I've tried having a positive attitude, I've tried planning something fun, but something always happens so even this year I ask myself what might possibly happen, something always does, something always will, that's simply the nature of things.

I can hope this year it will be something wonderful.

In preparation for something wonderful I'd like to talk about sorrow. This year I've felt a lot of sorrow. I miss my cigarettes, I miss my soda pop, I miss spending all of my free time vegin' or avoidin', I miss knowing what it's like to be in a relationship, I miss having friends, I miss so much... And I feel sorrow for many of the choices I've made and things I've put others through.

I feel joy as well. I feel joy that I haven't simply swept the sorrow and my decisions under the carpet, I feel joy that I've learned so much and maybe some day I'll figure out how to teach others. And I feel joy that through it all I have a lot of good memories too like this one, a picture I created almost ten years ago.

It would have once greeted you on entering The Temple.

Merry part,

October 25th, 2005

Days like today I'm ready to throw in the towel, sell my house, and buy a cabin retreat somewhere up in rural British Columbia. I know much of that is simply a reflection of my emotional state today which has steadily deteriorated due to perceptions of external factors I'm all too aware of but there always has been and always will be a part of me that awaits the day where I can live simply out in nature.

I must have shed a hundred skins this year, one after another after another. Sometimes I think I'd get used to it but then I find the latest shedding is even harder than the last one and the one before it and the one before it. The rewards, do they even exist? Yes, but they've been slow in coming only barely hinting at themselves. For now it's growing pains and some days it's more like withdrawal, withdrawl from a dream, from a hope, from a life I once touched but never had. Escape would be so welcome but there is no escape when sleeping or waking some eyes cannot be closed once they are open.

And so on days like today I can't help be frustrated with the "state" of things. Has America lost its way? Or maybe we started with one that doesn't quite match what we say it was. Pilgrims came here for religious freedom only to take it away from those dirty Native Americans and those nasty "witches" and even now, with religious protection, a "separation" of Church and State, "God" and many of the values of certain Christian segments are time and time again legislated on our lives, our bodies, and our minds.

In Cananda there's conversation, cooperation, and discussion. It's called a Democracy and it listens. Here if you don't agree you'll get typecast and we've polarized ourselves into emotionally pious factions. Instead of looking at all sides of an issue and finding reasonable solutions that make sense and work for all we push and push, lets do it my way, do it my way, I'm not listening to you, you don't know what you're talking about you tree huggin' hippie.

Yeah, I listened to Rush for awhile. I wanted to hear what he had to say. And I've listened to Air America. I wanted to hear what they had to say. Here's what both stations sound like to an empathic's ear: "Hey there, I'm right and here's why I'm right and I shouldn't have to explain myself because any intelligent person with the facts should be able to work it out and if you have half a brain you'll agree with me. If you cross this line, though, you're on their side and they're a bunch of corrupt water bags. Do you want to be a water bag?"

And so on, and so on.

So we progress. We build more roads but we don't pay for them in ways that make sense. We build more homes but we don't care for them and when they fall apart we give them to the less fortunate so we can have newer homes. We ignore the oil leaking from our car and forget that there are twenty million other cars here leaking on the roads and the rain comes and it smells so good and the plants and fish choke on the water. And we ignore exponential curves, 5,236,631 Americans in 1800 and 295,734,134 today and in 2200--oh there will still be forests but who will be allowed to visit them? And if population's a problem who care's about oil in the water, I mean, it's a great way to force evolution upon the species and war is another great way and we're great at that! Every 20 years we start one, even if it's not ethical to do so--our history is bloody and violent and with very few exceptions our wars have been about power and control and money and greed and ignorance. We say we're all about "The American Way" but the more I hear that phrase the more it seems the truest definition is, "We've all got these great freedoms and we can all respect each other and live together...as long as you don't live too differently than I!"

I'm ranting and I apologize. A great deal of the energy in this country aggrevates my six senses in ways I can hardly describe. I saw 2000 to 2005 in my mind's eye and I see 2005 to 2010 and though there are some improvements, especially in terms of international humanitarian efforts, America has some difficult, difficult, difficult times ahead of it. I'm also extremely upset about the way several people have treated me this year and the last two days I've been angry with my uncle who ignored my grandmother's will giving each of the grandkids a few thousand while keeping $300,000 for himself and next to nothing to my mom (what he did give simply covered some of the funeral costs which my parent's paid out of pocket). I can't even begin to understand the mind of someone who would ignore the wishes of their recently passed mother. I don't believe in "sin" but that, to me, is one of the few. And then there's work work work and I, I want a break, I want a vacation, I want to close my eyes and embrace ignorance but that's so far away in the yesterday not the tomorrow. Tomorrow there's a little more light than there is today. But on a superficial level I don't want that light. I can see better and farther and there is a pretty rocky and fairly steep path ahead of me and I'm tired, I'm so tired, and I want things that I cannot possibly have, things that I dare not wish for.

So much sadness in my heart as I write this, so much fatigue, so much... And then there's just this knowing and trust--and a little anger at that--but that's okay because I know maybe some day I will find that cabin in the mountains and I'll learn how to catch and keep and clean the water and how to garden all year round and how to build and how to take care of animals and my food will be cooked on a wood stove and my spare time will be spent reading books and people will wonder who is that crazy old man in the hills?

And some will say, "Oh him, he's just a crazy old Bodhavista, pay him no mind."

P.S.  This morning Vipasanna wrote to me, "It is so strange to me how injustice upsets you so much."  I honestly believe if injustice doesn't upset you, you're not awake.  Police get off shooting someone who's unarmed and all they need to show is that they had reason to fear the person--but an officer that gets up in the morning and isn't somehow aware of the possibility that their life might be threatened that day should get another line of work just as a motorcyclist who doesn't have a true respect for his bike shouldn't be on the road.  And a guy that reaps $300k off my grandma after mortgaging her home under her dying body--behavior like that has a negative effect on dozens of people and if we were more serious about what is just in our own lives then things like that won't happen as much.  Injustice is more than an emotional frustration, it's unnecessary.  Life is difficult enough without causing or being part of injustice.  Balance the scales where you can then the rest of the stress, the rest of the suffering, that's enough for any one life.

Of course on a deeper level injustice is an illusion.  At the same time, for those living on the physical plane it is a useful concept because when we see it for what it is and call it by it's name we're more likely to find solutions instead of just letting it lie there and mold like an old sandwich pushed farther and farther into the back of a refrigerator.  Of course there's no injustice on a karmic level but if we were meant to live this life on a completely spiritual basis we'd all sit around chanting mantras and no gardening would ever get done.  Get it?

October 24th, 2005
 
I love you but...

Famous last words.  Have you heard them?  Have you been privy to those four words creating a phrase that's emptiness completely engulfs everything that follows?  Family, friend, lover, people we care about and believe care about us but...

...you're too...

...I don't...

...it isn't...but...

...I (don't) think....

...I (don't) feel...

Raise of hands, how many of you have ever heard, "I love you but..."?  Keep your hands up if you enjoyed being told that, if you felt valued when you heard that, if you felt you had any control or if your feelings were being validated. 

Did you feel the love?

"I love you," is one of the most powerful and meaningful phrases in the English language when said with sincerity.  "I love you," stands alone, it needs no explanation and everything before and afterwards is spoken through our actions. Following these words with a conjunction does not add anything to them, it does not explain something, it does not add any depth or information or truth except as a poison that can grow and clings to the heart so that the next time someone says or hints at these things there is only distrust, distrust, distrust, and fear.

I love you but...

It is a a declaration of irresponsibility and dishonesty.  It is an admittance that we'd like to think we're a great and loving and kind soul but when push comes to shove we don't have the time, we don't have the energy, we don't have understanding, we don't have the tolerance...  It is a signpost that we're too uncomfortable with honesty, we can't look in the mirror and admit to ourselves that we're not the awesome person we'd like everyone to believe we are, that we let people down, that we are sometimes self-serving fools who lie to those we "love" to protect something so fragile but valued, a self-image that we must defend by pushing others away when it's easier than truly demonstrating love.  "But..." we say and we get to stay in the green zone  "But..." we argue and things can get back to normal.  "But..." we say and we don't feel too guilty, at least we confronted the other person and projected our weaknesses onto them, that'll do, lets "move on" now.

Love or control?

I have said those words before and I am ashamed.  I used to write elaborate explanations for my behavior, I used to rationalize it to myself. "Well, at least I'm confronting the person," I used to say thinking that I was helping people understand my point of view when they were seeing that I was being selfish and there was emptiness behind my words.

This painting, Accolade by E. Blair Leighton, hangs in my living room.  It reminds me that there are no "buts" for true hearts and minds.  Get down on your knees, bow down, speak the truth, that's it.  Say the words in your heart then shut your mouth, if you are true then your actions will be in balance with your words.  If you love then love.  If you care then you will care.  If you are selfless then you will be selfless.

Ye will be known by thy actions.  And...

When your words lack sincerity others will be poisoned by them.  They will not trust you and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps by this distrust upon their hearts which grows only as a cancer every time it is repeated upon them until one day they are hard and difficult to find deep within that gilded cage we choose to call "experience".  Do not blind yourself, this is a curse you impose, a dark spell who's magic and karma last for years and decades and centuries.  Do you understand?

When your words lack sincerity you poison yourself.  By protecting yourself from other people's views you step into a magical castle where all the mirrors reflect the image you want to see, not the image others see of you.  By building walls of protection you are creating a superficial wall of ideas and perceptions about self that can easily be destroyed and your only protection is to push, push, push, push, true allies away and live out a fantasy and why not?  Deep inside that emotional cage you've got high speed internet access and can connect with the outside world so the fantasy must be truth and you're in touch and you're not afraid except you're living behind walls of "buts".  Do you understand?

Toss them away, throw them away, recycle them.  Get down on your knees, close your eyes, and promise yourself that the next word to come from your lips will rings true to yourself and to others, today, tomorrow, and forever.  Throw away the mirrors, the fantasies, the lies, and bow your head in solemn prayer.  Live a life that is in every moment true and lasting.

Or do not.

October 21st, 2005

When I was unemployed I got up early in the mornings when the ground was frosted over and fog hugged the ground outside the apartments.  I would toss on a pair of blue jeans, shirt, and boots, then walk my daughter, only six then and in first grade, out to the bus stop by the 7-11 across from Thriftway and my favourite close-to-home dive, Scotty's.  We'd stand there for five to ten minutes chatting, me groggily, her overly excited to get back to school and learning and her fellow rascals, and watching our breath turn into steam.

After she had been safely delivered to the bus driver I headed back to the apartment, upstairs, stripped down, and took the longest, warmest shower I could manage after which I'd go downstairs and sit at the desk, turn the TV on, light a cigarette, and begin the next round of figurative "hitting the pavement".  And though there wasn't much chance getting work after the dot com bubble burst and the twin towers fell I had to find something or it was adios apartment.  And I was pretty good at looking.  I had dozens and dozens of links to different companies all over the Portland area and would check at least once a day to see if there were any openings.  Yes?  Off goes the resume.  Then I'd search the big job sites at the time like Monster.com, etc. and send off resumes.  The minimum was three resumes a day, every e-mail and correspondence tracked, and if I didn't send out three by noon I'd search and search until I found more companies in the area then I'd link, send, and track.

Then light another one or two or three cigarettes in a row while downing my breakfast which was typically in the form of a Super Big Gulp.

I'd spend the afternoon relaxing.  I'd watch tele or read a book or play Diablo II or go for a walk or jog or sit on the back porch staring at the 10x10 "lawn" and that squirrel that would come out to cuss out anyone anywhere near his trees.  There wasn't much else to do.  I only had one friend around and she was either sleeping or working and I'd done as much if/not more job hunting that one human being can do in a day and even then I'd only gotten three interviews in a year (one of which lead to a follow up then nothing, the other of which lead to a temporary job for a few months, and the last of which got me my current position). 

Finally the afternoon would come and I'd go out to the bus stop and wait and there'd be my daughter after a day at school and she'd ask to ride my bike and some days I'd say yes and some days I'd say no then we'd go down the slight hill to the apartments and inside and we'd do math on the white board for fifteen or twenty minutes.  I'd written a little program (you can find it here in The Temple) to test her addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, but I wanted to teach her to think!  So each day I'd teach her a concept.  This is a fraction, I'd say, and here are some pictures to demonstrate what it represents.  Okay, here's a bunch of numbers and we want to add them to a bunch of other numbers, lets make them HUGE numbers that would boggle a high school student and play with them!  And though she was often a little frustrated that it wasn't nearly as straight forward as the stuff in 1st grade she was more than capable of understanding the problems and she started to see that mathematics is about ideas, not writ and repetition.

Unfortunately once I found employment I haven't been able to put aside large portions of my day to focus on augmenting her schooling and that's been even more difficult after I've become a homeowner with all the rights and responsibilities therein.  Sure, if I won the lottery that's one of the first things I'd do is put aside a large chunk of time for home schooling in the evenings to insure that she understood the things she was being taught at school well enough to explain and teach to other people (which is the true test of any knowledge).  But for better or worse I have a (often more than) full time job and I have responsibilities and I have only so much energy so when push comes to shove I spend my time teaching my daughter about honesty and fairness and listening and thinking and responsibility and about working hard and honor and all the things I write about in The Temple.  Sure, I'd love her to be a mathematical genius, a Shakespeare, an inventor, and a star athlete--but there are more important things to learn first.

Thanks to the "No Rich Child Left Behind" act the carpet is being ripped from underneath public schools.  So my daughter's fifth grade teacher, a man who is dedicated and truly loves the children who enter his classroom, has started an advanced math course which he teaches (for no extra pay, of course) an hour early on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  So guess who's job it is to get up an hour and a half earlier than normal and drive his daughter to school while it's still pitch dark out? 

The important question is:  is it worth it?

Duh (Aslynn grumbles).

Last night she and I sat in my room going over some of her advanced math on my computer monitor with a dry erase marker (I'm a bit eccentric in that I'm constantly writing on computer monitors with a dry erase marker--a bit of old school manual w/ new school digital, it's all good in my opinion).  So we're doing these problems and breaking them down into smaller pieces and I'm showing her how to think a bit more abstractly (because there were 23 incorrect solutions and only 1 correct solution to every problem we were looking at) and she said, "Dad, I wish we could do math every day just like when I was in first grade."

And so I stopped our lesson for a brief moment and talked with her about balance.

Did you hear, this Wednesday they drew the Powerball numbers and someone in Oregon won a few hundred million!  Maybe they'll get to take some time off and teach their sons or daughters a little bit of advanced mathematics.  And did you hear, there was a 16 car collision on I-5 this morning just north of Salem.  The man who won the millions is lucky, isn't he, and the people that were in the wreck had it bad, didn't they?

That's not how karma works, do you understand?  Balance is an intricate creature and few even have an inkling about how it works.  We'd rather tell it how it should work and live our lives according to this superficial idea because that feels safer than learning about balance and becoming masters of it.

Did you know a significant proportion of lottery winners undergo massive social losses, depression, and bankruptcy?  What does that say of the balance of the winner, of their family, friends, neighbors, and professional associates?  Good karma can easily twist into "bad" karma when balance is lacking.  That's how hurricanes and tornados start.  That's how wars start.  That's how relationships start and end.

Get it?

And maybe someone in the wreck on I-5 will realize that what's important isn't their fancy Porsche that got rear ended but the quality of their relationship with their family.  And maybe someone who quit smoking will use it as an excuse to begin smoking again.  And maybe someone couldn't get through the traffic so they turned back, went home, called in to work and said they couldn't make it, and while spending the afternoon gardening became enlightened.

We're all in the same exact boat.  Do you understand?  We all start out in the same place, now, we all have the same resources, now, and we all have the choice to be balanced or imbalanced.

Do something with that.

October 18th, 2005
 
I have, for most of my life, suffered from insomnia.  A lot of people think oh yeah, that just means you have a hard time getting to sleep from time to time.  I wish it were that easy.  The fact is, frequent insomnia is not something one deals with once a month or a week, it's dealt with on a nightly (and daily) basis and impacts all facets of life.  Give me a rash on my ass or random migraines, these pale in comparison to insomnia.

When I get into bed at night I don't know whether I'll be able to get to sleep in twenty minutes or in two hours.  The average now is about thirty minutes--and this has come down from an average of one to one and a half hours.  Much of this is in large part due to a healthier lifestyle.  I stopped smoking (something I'd do with a passion until the early hours of the morning) and lowered my consumption of pop to the weekends (if at all) and caffeine to the mornings (if at all).  Water throughout the day.  Yogurt in the morning, fruit at lunch, meal in the evening often after my two mile jog.  That said, I still experience insomnia.  Go to bed earlier, you say, get your body on a schedule, you say.  Well, I hate to put this to you but studies have shown the circadian rhythm of the human body naturally wants to have a 25+ hour day, not a 24 hour day, and an insomniac's body is especially sensitive to this subconscious biological belief that the planet is revolving a little too damn fast.

And get over this notion that it's just struggling to fall asleep!!!!  Yes, it's hell laying there some nights, you crawl into bed an hour early in order to get on a more 'normal' sleep cycle, meditate, relax your muscles, and spend the next four hours feeling only slightly sleepy--but it's not just something that effects your sleep (or attempts at sleep).  In the morning you have to fight to get out of bed when the alarm goes off--and forget having it within arms length, it had better be across the room or you'll turn it off in your sleep and wake up late for work (learned this lesson the hard way).  Even with the alarm at peak volume I've been known to sleep through it (while waking up the rest of the neighborhood) and then after getting up I have 15 minutes to get showered, dressed, brushed up, and rush into work.  Thank the goddess I live only a few miles away!  Next it's coffee and lots of coffee.  Gotta wake up!  Then you can't have too much coffee anymore, you're being healthy, and it's a no caffeine policy for the afternoons so that's when you're bound to get drowsy and work has the potential to drag out into an all out hellish fight to stay interested and focused (which is absolutely necessary for my job).   Day after day of this, no knowing when you'll be able to fall asleep, when you'll be able to wake up, daily fatigue, difficulty staying focused, headaches, and so on.  You're more susceptible to getting sick and catching the thousand flu strains your kid brings from school.  Day after day after day after day.  You get hooked on sleeping pills and these screw up your digestion and make you groggier in the morning but a little grogginess easily cured by coffee is better than getting almost no sleep which leads to a state of fatigue so deep that it is only exacerbated by coffee.  Day after day after day.

Insomnia effects your job.  Insomnia effects your moods.  Insomnia effects your friendships and your relationships.  There isn't a damn thing insomnia doesn't effect.  And almost nobody understands or has much sympathy for people experiencing insomnia.  Late for a meeting?  Be professional and get up on time!  Partner tossing and turning in bed?  Go sleep on the couch!  Can't sleep?  Take sleeping pills!  Groggy during the day?  Drink some coffee!  Too worn out to go out?  Fine, didn't want to go with you anyway! 

I envy people who can go to bed at the same time every night and wake up every night.  I ENVY people who can curl up under the sheets and be sleeping in fifteen minutes.  I would pay thousands of dollars to experience that most nights!  Consistent, reliable sleep is something most people simply take for granted.

I've come a long way over the last two years and almost (knock on wood) have a 'normal' sleeping pattern.  Yeah, I use sleeping aids from time to time, yeah, I spend a few nights out of every week unable to get to sleep within an hour, but I'm getting there.  So why share?

Explicit Intent.

Stay tuned,

October 17th, 2005
 
You were thinking about me last Friday.  I saw your face as if you were almost able to finally see me, that you missed me yet had so many questions.  You were looking for answers and were asking me without asking me but I saw you there gazing, wondering, questioning, do I, should I, can I, why am I?  I have some of the answers when you are ready to know but to know is to trust and to trust is to be vulnerable to something powerful, maybe even more powerful than yourself you sometimes think. You are strong, when you are in your silence you know this.  The answers are there too, down deep inside your heart underneath the illusions.  I have no advice, you are on the right path.

October 14th, 2005
 
This morning after my shower I walked into my closet and stood there naked gazing out the window.  This is what I call Caveman Weather Reports.  As my ancestors I stand there stark naked at my cave entrance contemplating my day of hunting and gathering as I wonder whether or not I should wear the light rabbit skin or the heavy bear skin or simply run off towards the plateau in my skivvies.  Today, though, I opted for black jeans and a black turtleneck.

My concern, though, wasn't about temperature or sun or rain, my thoughts were on the fog which engulfed the entire neighborhood.  Two days ago I went out in the fog thinking okay, ride the moto slow, make sure your high beams or on, take intersections carefully.  But fog is DANGEROUS on a motorcycle!!!  It's not about visibility as in how far one can see in the fog or being visible to others it's about VISIBILITY, i.e. being able to see through a fog frosted over face plate that's fogged up on the inside (and then when opening the helmet the same happens with one's glasses--and anyone with half a brain is going to be wearing some kind of eye protection!). 

Visibility of two inches is not good!

So I'm standing there (did I mention I was naked?) looking out at the fog and thinking damn it, I am not riding through fog again!  But as I got dressed I saw that this was just another opportunity to learn and become more proficient at something by challenging myself and feeling a little uncomfortable in the process (story of my life and esp. of 2005, more on that later).  So I put my gear on and grabbed the rain proof gloves, you know, the ones with the window squeegee on the outside of the left thumb, and went outside.  Visibility was between 50 to 100 feet and as soon as I was doing 35mph I used the squeegee which worked okay but wasn't as good as say a WINDSHIELD WIPER.  So I kept it slow and opened the face plate as I came to intersections to keep the inside from fogging up (natural effect of being at a stop while breathing warm, humid air into the helmet--especially on a cold day).  And other than one tailgater the ride was great!

I love riding in crappy weather.  I love every opportunity to learn, grow, and adapt that motorcycling has presented me with.

Toastmasters is the same way.  Yesterday I gave my fourth (or fifth?) speech and this one was meant to focus on body language, not content.

Out of the ten initial speeches in the Toastmaster's manual this one intimidated me most.  I'm not and really have never been an animate person--I've always loved to watch people.  In the past when I've spoken to an audience I have stood very still and had a physically monotonous speaking style.  Over the last three or four years I've expanded and use my hands quite a bit when speaking to people.  Still, moving my body around, making people visualize with my body instead of my words and my voice--that's hard for me!  I did it and you know, it was much easier than I thought.  By deciding upon the actions it helped me remember the flow of the speech and kept people entertained.  The words simply flowed in to and out of the actions one after another like breathing in and out, in and out.  I will most assuredly continue and expand upon my skills in this area.

When I was evaluated I was told that I didn't move too far away from the lectern although some aspects of the speech called for it (far away = 5+ feet).  I realized that when I speak to a group of people my body language, in general, is "vertical" in nature.  That is, I'm more likely to stay in one general area but that area extends towards and away from my audience.  You could say it's a very direct body language style.  One thing I can do to improve my communication skills is work on a horizontal style which will be less confrontational, at least on a subconscious level.

Always something new to learn on a bike.  Always something new to learn at Toastmasters.  Always something new to learn in life.

Stretch,

October 13th, 2005

freakĚconĚcepĚtion n. 

An opinion or conception formed in advance of adequate knowledge or experience typically demonstrating our freakin' bizarre notions about reality.

October 11th, 2005

Sometimes when I find myself at The Temple I find that I'm feeling rather blue and I ask myself what I should write or indeed if I should just keep my mouth shut.  Spirituality and personal growth is all supposed to be positive and cheery, right? 

For those of you that know me well you know I believe that running away from something is nothing short of cowardice.  We learn by doing, by experiencing, by realizing, and by being honest with ourselves and with others.  Spiritual warriors don't fear anger or loneliness or fatigue or insecurity or any other experience we choose to label as being "good" or "bad".  Instead we see them as experiences, learning opportunities, changes to see and taste and smell an aspect of existence we did not know before, a chance to become something deeper and more incredible than we were before--while seeing we were that wonderful thing all along.

Yet I must admit it is hard at times.  Many years ago I used my word as a microphone and a device to get what I wanted (give me, give me, give me) because I was afraid of things like loneliness so now when I'm feeling blue, as everyone does from time to time, I, like a good actor, have to ask myself, "What is my motivation?"  And truth be told I want to write for three reasons.  First, to continually improve my ability to communicate with others.  Second, to give myself a creative outlet.  Three, to share what I've learned with those who desire to share these moments with me.  When I see there's something else prompting me to write I stop and ask myself why I'm feeling that way and look deeper and deeper and go for a walk or a drive or a ride or a jog or a nap and when I come back I find the truth underneath which I try to share with you.

There are times when I can hear all those people from my past criticizing me.  "You think too much," I can hear them say, "Stop worrying about everyone else and think about yourself for a change!"  At the same time I have to ask what kind of life would I rather live, one where my choices are dictated by reactionary habit, behavior, and instinct or one where every thought and action is more and more conscious, where my choices are self-directed?

I choose conscious self actualization.

And what grand assumption that I'm thinking too much of you or I'm thinking too much about me, what arrogance, what ignorance!  Is it so difficult to ask that person to your left what their true motivation is and trust that the answer they have to give would be of any merit or is the addictions of stereotyping and assumption what you wish, what you want, what you believe makes you thrive?  Are you so afraid of the things that you've been through that you would trap yourself behind your own stories and lies and delusions and not be open to the ideas and realities others are trying so hard, so hard, to share with you?!

People are trying to connect with you every day.  Do you understand?

Yet I digress again and I want to because I want you to know I am not perfect and I never claim to be perfect!  And I am a psychic empath and that means a lot too but that doesn't mean I'm any more spiritual or wise or "better" or "worse" than anyone else, I'm just this guy, you know, and I can see with a sixth eye but that doesn't mean I have more to say than a blind man. Different yet the same, that's all.  Get it?  I take it one day, one step, one breath at a time (though some days it feels like I'm going up Mt. St. Helens again).  I experience my ups and downs and I look at my life in a way that's rather unique and I see yours too in a way that's unique.  I've got my cup, sometimes it's half empty, sometimes it's half full, you know?  Do you see?  Do you really, really, truly understand?

Or have you passed up another opportunity?  Do you understand?

That's the long and meandering route to go to talk about loneliness, isn't it? 

I don't mind feeling lonely.  I guess you could say I'm used to it.  I grew up in the country, five miles from quote-unquote civilization so besides my little brother who I, being the older brother, perceived as a perpetual thorn in my side, I rarely had other kids my age to spend time with.  Growing up in a cowboy town with two teachers who were parents and encouraged art, music, and education--well, it didn't earn me too many points at school.  Neither did allergies, wearing hand me downs, or being a sci-fi junkie.  So I accepted people into my life who would accept me irregardless of how they treated me (which is another story) and as I've come to be a decrepit old and grumpy man/fart I pick and choose who I want in my life.  What is my criteria?  The answers lie in The Temple, my friends, there are no secrets here.

Have you ever noticed that when you share a "negative" emotion people tell you what you "need" to do as if they're not interested in really listening?  "Well you should go meet people," that's what people "suggest" when I tell them I've chosen this loneliness.  They say, "You should have a social life" or "You should get a girlfriend" or most recently (and lovingly/jokingly) "You should become gay" and I ask one simple question, "Why?"  Do I need to have a bunch of friends?  Do I need to have this strange illusive abstraction we call a "social life"?  Do I need a girlfriend?  Or is it enough that I give all my love to those who accept it, cherish it, and on occasion return it?

It may be the path less taken but it is good enough.   I don't need to be good looking or smart or popular, I don't need to play games or hedge or create alternate universes for my pawns to be confined within.  True, there are no fixes when I'm feeling down or lonely, there's just down, lonely, go read a book Aslynn and find new ways to experience this so called life thing--but there's no being more lonely than I need to be, no endless searching for that something to fill the hole because sometimes a hole's meant to be there for a reason.

A spiritual warrior understands this.

And you know what, it keeps me on the straight and narrow.  Our culture has lost this somehow.  We're always looking for something better, a new cell phone plan, a faster computer, a nicer car.  We're lost and meandering from social group to social group, friend to friend, job to job, partner to partner.  Guess you could call me a spoil sport but I see the only reason to wander to be for the experience and that none should be hurt or taken advantage of in any way during this journey.

Where do you find yourself in all of this?

I choose loneliness. 

I choose it because the reasons I choose this life, reasons I have so often ignored, are more important than feeling loved or desirable.

It is a choice.

 
It is an experience.

It is my path.

So tell me, then, what makes a diamond?

October 10th, 2005

A few years back a friend of mine asked if I'd like to go hike up Mt. St. Helens and I said yeah, sure.  I'd never done anything like that and it would be fun, new, and I was just learning to be unafraid of doing fun and new things without allowing nervousness or "staying in the box" mentality to get in the way.  And so he picked me up one afternoon and we drove up to Washington, got a little lost, then found our way up to the base of the mountain and set up camp for the evening.

The next day was more than I had bargained for.  We hiked about ten miles up some mellow trails at a very brisk speed using hiking poles, a pair of which he was kind enough to provide me.  This was more than I'd ever hiked in one shot in my entire life and given my limited experience and the rather abused condition of my body at that point in my life I would have been quite satisfied to sit down, eat my packed lunch, and call it a day.

That was when we got to the "real" base of the mountain, a rocky, jagged exterior going up, up, up into fog-filled the sky.  And so we hiked along some crooked meandering trails following wooden markers the entire way.  We were in a line of a few dozen hikers who, like us, were keen to get to the top of the mountain by midday.  Hour after hour we hiked then climbed back and forth as ground conditions dictated.  I must have used every muscle in my body and would have even used my tongue and eyelids if they would have helped.

A few hundred feet from the summit I found I couldn't go any further...literally I had no choice, my body was done.  It took all my energy just to move one foot and I'd be on all fours to boot.  I took five or six minutes to rest but as soon as I stood up I found I could barely get five or six more feet before quickly falling down again.  I felt somewhat defeated but I looked up at the summit and thought it was okay.  I didn't get to hike that often, much less taking on a mountain.  And frankly I'd spent the previous two years smoking like a chimney, drinking gallons of soda pop as a replacement for a solid diet, and drank a little too much whiskey from time to time as a substitute for the friendship, companionship, and love I longed for.  So I sat there undefeated, lit a cigarette, and enjoyed the view.

The next three or four days I could barely move and would not, if I could help it, do much besides lift and depress a finger on the tele remote.  Every muscle in body body had cramped up into knots.  I lived in a two story townhouse apartment and found I was literally confined to the downstairs area unless I had the courage to crawl up the stairs and accept the agony as the muscles in my body screamed and threatened to tear away from my bones--and they and my skin and my tendons and my intestines and my brain hurt so I fasted for two days for fear of having to climb once again that great many steps to the bathroom.

Since then a lot has happened in my life.  I don't drink that often and when I do it's usually a few glasses of wine or a couple beers.  I don't smoke (although I'd be lying if I didn't admit the temptation isn't sometimes there) and I get a fair amount of exercise.  Though I still enjoy soda and junk food from time to time I eat much healthier by and large.  During the workdays my breakfast/lunch consists of yogurt, V8, water, and an apple and/or banana.  Dinner could be anything from stir fry to salad to what have you.  And every two nights or so I do my two mile run/walk while listening to National Public Radio.

But I am getting old and my body won't let me forget the karmic wounds I've inflicted upon myself (or others).

Where do I start that tale?  How about too much smoking, too much coffee, and too much Jack Daniels.  Can you say acid reflux?  That left my throat sore for almost a year and my bumbling doctor made wonderfully inaccurate guesses time after time and when I explored every avenue and said, "I've stopped smoking and my diet's much better and I'm getting regular exercise" his response was, "Life's just not fair, is it?" then proceeded to write me a prescription for yet another of his voodoo remedies.  So needless to say I got another doctor who diagnosed me correctly the first time and with his help I've started to feel much better (although there is still much healing to do). 

And then there's this pudgy belly that I started developing around 25 and though I am nowhere near the weight of so many in our culture the few extra pounds I do have are extraordinarily uncomfortable, just something about my body doesn't like to be above 150lbs.  And of course there's the social stigma when you don't have a six pack for a stomach and then memories of someone who made me feel I wasn't lovable because I wasn't flat as a board anymore so it's sit-ups when I can stomach it (pun only partially intended) but it seems in my age my body has decided that at least for now this gut is an old friend that's going to stay around until I get a membership at 24 Hour Fitness and I wonder somewhere in the areas deep down in my subconscious if someone would love me anyway.

And of course the eye sight goes a little so now I must wear glasses when I drive (especially on the hooligan) and the hair falls out a little at a time and I decide to grow it out long again because some day I will look much like Patrick Stewart (which isn't exactly a bad thing, mind you) and don't want to be a bald guy with a pony tail (although given what strange twists and turns my life takes I will be an old bald guy with a pony tail).  Of course it probably doesn't help that I love to play with my hair almost non-stop--but then until someone else lends me their head it's the one eccentric habit I'll choose to stick with my entire life.

Then of course there's my left hand.  Have I shared the story of my left hand?  I think I damaged a nerve in my thumb during the Team Oregon motorcycle training and for awhile there I had little strength applying pressure with it.  That was a little frustrating at times, my hand would feel normal then I'd go to clip the fingernails on my right hand and my left thumb wouldn't have any strength to depress the clippers so I'd grab them clumsily in my hand thinking just how nice it is to have an opposable thumb (that works).  That has healed, for the most part, but my pinkie on that same hand cramps up and is double jointed every morning and my other fingers somehow take that queue and cramp up so I more or less spend the first five minutes every morning popping the joints in my left hand and flexing until it feels normal--until the next day, of course.  The result of a stiff clutch on the hooligan, yes.  And also a stern reminder that overall I am blessed and in good health and that every day I should learn more ways to take care of my body, mind, and spirit.

I don't really know how to conclude this monologue regarding my health.  I don't even know if I can really describe why I try to improve my health when it would be so much easier to spend my spare moments smoking one warm cigarette after another out on the deck or in the hot tub.  I think sometimes it's because I want to smell nice and have that six pack and be sexy and attractive but no, that's not really it; though I want to have a partner as much as the next fella I'm content living in the moment and giving everything I have to give to those few around me who want it.  It's not so I can brag and say hey, I jog and I eat organic vegetables., etc., etc., etc.--when I make those choices I make them for the sanctity of my own heart and spirit.  And it's not so I can live to be an old age because I know why I came here to this world and when my job's over I'm taking the A-Train outa town and preparing for the next adventure--so no worries in that area.  Last but not least I can't say I do all these things because not doing them is somehow "bad".  Smoking or non-smoking, both are choices and experiences which I have lived and I have learned a great deal from both. And so it goes and the women come and go speaking of Michaelangelo.

What it all comes down to is preparation.  I'm getting ready for something and I just don't know what that something is yet. Sometimes I grumble and wish I had a more specific job description but sometimes that's just how it is.

October 7th, 2005

Believe what you want to believe, you're going to anyway. Do you really expect me to stand here and argue with you until I'm blue in the face when you know and I know that you know what you know and that's all there is to it? I already know that! We've done that.

The world is a pretty big place, there's isn't enough time to really know everything so it's simply easier to make assumptions and besides, why challenge your sense of self? Get in the boat and row, I say, going with the current is far more easy than striking up against even if there's something terribly interesting on that distant shore.

So I'm not going to sit here and argue, did that, done that, done with it. Now I'm going to learn how to paint. Would you like to watch? You're free to of course. And yes, I know, you're probably going to stand there either silently or you're going to grumble out criticisms or you're going to lavish me with compliments and you know what?

I'm going to keep painting until I'm done.

October 6th, 2005

I worked until 1am last night so I will ask your patience as I attempt to write something of some relative coherence for your enjoyment, enrichment, and perhaps even enlightenment.

So I have a good friend who lives in a far away country.  Today she shared with me a tale of heartbreak.  I couldn't help but find something sad about what she was telling me.  Even in a country so far away with a culture so vastly different people are, by and large, much the same.  The sad fact is most of us take advantage of one another then cry foul when others return the favour.  No matter how superficially different the society or culture, hypocrisy and self-serving behaviors are the norm, not the exception.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him!"

A few thousand years of human history and not much has changed, has it?

Or has it?

Have you?

A co-worker of mine mentioned they'd read my journal a year or so ago and mentioned that I seemed a bit depressed. It was somewhat of a shock, I mean, once upon a time I was a very Depressed human being and I won't deny it but now I'm rich in ways many could hardly imagine. For a moment I thought to argue and say something like, "You have no clue what Depressed is, do you?" but to what end?

A novel without words.

A "Once upon a time" without a "happily ever after".

A twinkie without the creamy filling.

A sunset to a blind man.

Could I, would I, return this tome and loose the sunset?

No, I spend my hours translating.

Angels in America, one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

Watch it.

Nuff said.

Nite,

October 5th, 2005

This morning I was walking along minding my own business when I saw someone I recognized.  I'd seen them before, it was yesterday morning in fact.  As I hadn't seen them in many years it was rather odd bumping into them two days in a row so I asked, "What are you doing in my dream again?"

They didn't answer.  They weren't rude or anything like that, they just didn't answer.  And they just kept walking.

And so I followed.  "Wait up!" I shouted.  I really wanted to know why they kept showing up in my dreams and I knew it was important, that feeling was in my gut as it always is in such dreams but they were too far ahead hiking up the hill, the hill I'd written about a few days ago in my journal, the hill I saw in a movie on TV the next day, a hill I've hiked up two or three times before. 

Why were they climbing?  Where were they going?  Why couldn't I catch up?  Why wouldn't they wait for me? Why did they keep showing up in my dreams leaving so few clues for me to grab onto?  Why do hills and mountains keep showing up in my psychic scenery?

I think I know but I'm not sure.  Perhaps tonight I'll see them again but I don't think I'm quite ready to hear whatever it is they need to tell me.

And sometimes that's just how it is.

October 4th, 2005

For a long time there I reckoned I was one of the most open and honest people in the world and if you sat down with me I'd tell you everything. I'd tell you about the day I was born and my first psychic experience and that ufo I saw with my little brother out by the driveway. I'd tell you about choir and band and jazz band and wrestling and my teachers and my friends, the good ones and the not so good ones. And I wouldn't be afraid to tell you about my failures and all the horrible things I'd been through. I'd share it all with you.

Keeping secrets didn't make a whole lot of damn sense to me.

Then one day I kept a secret and the next day I kept another and pretty soon I had a lot of secrets too and I kept them over in the a large wardrobe I'd placed in front of a huge window next to my dresser and I had this funny idea that it'd keep the room warmer but every time I went to get dressed there it was blocking the view. So I opened it up and filled paper sacks and took several trips to Goodwill then moved the wardrobe several feet to the left and added clothes, all sorts of beautiful clothes, and opened the window.

Do you know how to breath?

I stumbled upon an interesting blog this morning called Post Secret.  I've known some very talented and creative artists over the years so I thought this might be the work of one person but found instead it was a collage of "secret" art from a wide selection of people.  What a great idea for a blog and what a great way for people to express something they might not normally share with the world.

Made my day.

Oh yeah, and if that's not enough check this movie trailer out: Shining. If that doesn't convince you it's all about perception and how we dictate our stories I don't know how to get it across (insert flaming drama queen throwing hands up in air here).

October 3rd, 2005

I wish I had an easy answer for you but it's not always that simple.  Sometimes as soon as you understand an abstraction it changes into a completely different, yet related, abstraction.  The complexity is infinite.  You may choose to accept the fantasy that if certain things happened just so you'd be able to make some fictional leap from one state of being to another but more often than not the fantasy is just that and no matter the change that takes you from now to now you'll still be the same incomprehensible wondering story teller trying to convince your audience what lays in the future is somehow fundamentally different that what you are doing now or two or three minutes or years or decades ago or ahead.

Sometimes you miss what you had but did you really have it?  And if it were here now would you really have it or would you be caught in that fantasy again thinking if only things were just so and there were so much food on the plate and it would have just these spices and the perfect drink and utensils by the side then maybe I'd feel just so and my body would be just so and I could sit or walk afterwards just so and be what I saw in my minds eye.  Do you understand?

The projection is within and without.  You're walking down the street and thinking the way you walk or the way you look while you walk or something or something just isn't right.  Or maybe it's not you at all maybe it's the way someone looked at you or maybe it's because you put that person in a certain kind of box and if they hadn't looked like so you wouldn't have noticed or cared or thought anything of it and just walked on but they looked like they looked, or at least as you would have them look, and so it meant something to you.  Do you understand this?

Do you act or do you wait?  Do you speak or do you sit silently?  Do you add more salt and pepper or do you serve the meal as is?  Do you always follow what is prescribed when the directions were at some time based on a creative moment?

Why are you afraid?

The only person who can destroy you is yourself and that is the best thing that could ever happen to you.

Choose but do not be a prisoner.  Breathe but do not be a thief.  Give but do not dictate. 

Maybe you say I don't understand what it's like but I do, I do.  Maybe once I would have argued and responded point by point but what would be the point of that?  I've done that, I've been there, and the tool is metric, why would I use it when I need something with a standard socket to keep the nuts and bolts from tearing when they should be lovingly grabbed and carefully turned until the goal, your goal or my goal or our goal is reached.

I once thought I must say what I mean clearly but how clear can the message be when the headphones are on?  Oh, what will cause you to take them off or at least see that you're listening to an old recording that great, great addictive beat, thump, thump, thump, four beats a measure and on and on and on.  Maybe I'll put my headphones on for a bit and if we're lucky we'll be tuned into the same station, 95.1, right?  Wait, no, yes, no, retune, change, adapt.

Wouldn't it just be easier if we took these damn things off our heads?

And so it is sometimes, you hike up a mountain with someone you wanted for company but they're not the person you really wanted but you were too afraid to ask because you might destroy yourself so you just keep climbing and try to strike up a conversation and ignore the fact that it's not quite the conversation you'd originally wanted.  And maybe you would have asked this other person but they don't like Faulty Towers and you think wow, they don't like Faulty Towers, how lame is that they must not like mountain climbing so on with the headphones and you hump that hill as if the car wreck had never happened.

I'm not going to tell you what to do.  I'm not going to tell you who to be.  Hell, I never even asked you to visit but I keep the door open anyway because even though my music has a certain beat you never know, you never know, and I can always change the station.  Try not to have presets, try not to have too many presets anyway, just tune in, tune in, tune in, even if there's only one set of headphones I can still see you tapping your foot, tap, tap, tap.

Where do you want to be and are you headed that way?

October 2nd, 2005

I'd be in bed right now winding down and enjoying a chapter or two of Dharma Bums but my comforter and sheets are in the drier. Instead I sat here paying the bills while glancing up at the second monitor from time to time to glimpse scenes from the classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu.

There's next to no selection of silent films at places like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster. You might have cable, digital cable, or satelitte but chances are there are few if any stations you can catch a silent film on. And it's too bad, the stories about how we got here are just as important as the stories we have now. Sure, the effects weren't nearly as good as what comes out of Skywalker Ranch but we're talking about the time between WWI and the Great Depression. Vampyres might be lurking over the horizon but the world was in a pretty good mood and we somehow knew beauty, youth, and courage would beat out evil in the end.

I try to teach my daughter that old things have just as many important qualities as new and shiney things. Sure, she eagerly awaits the next Harry Potter and when news of the next Series of Unfortunate Events film hits the streets she'll be the first to ask when we'll be going--but she also loves a good sit down with The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, and even a little Buster Keaton. She didn't pick up an admiration of these old films from her peers or the modern money mill and it wasn't easy. I remember about four or so years ago I had rented a Three Stooges film and her first comment was, "It's in black and white?! Do I have to watch this?" Five minutes later I got up and went to turn the tv off and she screamed, "No, no, no!" and she's been a Stooge ever since.

Where we come from is important. Most people I have known somehow repress their pasts, rewrite them, or just plain pretend they never happened. Why they don't see the beauty, strength, and lessons to be found there I'll never quite understand--well, I do, but the price of the tickets to take that trip are nothing compared to the riches gained from the experience.

And then the next lesson to learn is that there is no past. Sure, I can watch Nosferatu but what does that have to do with 1922? Yeah, imdb.com says that's the date but so what? I'm watching it now, I'm experiencing it now, the experience of the digital picture of an old silent film coming through my computer screen is happening now, to me, now, not in 1922!

No memory is in the past. Do you understand the significance of that?

October 1st, 2005

It's actually very early into the second of October as I type however this is about the 1st so you will forgive me if date this yesterday. And you'll also forgive me for talking about two days ago as that was my daughter's actual birthday and to the right are some actual flowers we gave her for her eleventh which, as I mentioned, was two days ago. And you'll forgive me if I seem in a rather strange sort as the house is full of girls with the exception of myself and two newtered cats which I guess means I'm the only real man in the house and thought I'm not gay I am hoping that on my birthday someone will buy me flowers though I can find flowers surrounding my house. But enough about me, let me tell you about my day.

I spent the early part of my saturday cleaning. Made some sushi rice which is in the fridge (plan to eat it tomorrow with some vegetables, soy, and wasabi). Cleaned and organized the kitchen. Hung some streamers for the birthday party in the kitchen (it seemed a little naked since they'd already decorated the living room). And then before I knew it there were two fifth graders in the house then three then four then finally five and they were all playing twister and screaming and laughing and making fart jokes. Here I am out with the digital camera and the digital video camera and the games and the jokes and I made the cake and I'm getting the popcorn going and it's all a little strange, you know, I never planned on being here at this place or time but here I am.

It's like that sometimes. Sometimes you expect you should be somewhere else but that's erroneous. You're always where you should be. If you assume you should be somewhere else, well, then that's the state of mind you should be in right now. Maybe you understand, maybe you don't, but the universe doesn't make mistakes. The sun comes up once a day, the moon orbits the earth about once a month, one bowel movement a day is generally considered healthy, drinking too much soda pop will cause you to gain weight, and whining won't convince the universe to change the rules.

America is founded on this silly idea that we're all created equal--then of course we make sure it's one of the least equitable societies in recent history. The universe, on the other hand, just creates us equal and we either know that or we don't--and there's not much difference. Do you understand?

For now it's 12:51am, five young girls are downstairs giggling in whispers and their whole lives are ahead of them. They will fall in love, they will accept the ideas they grew up with or reject them, they will hurt themselves and they will hurt others, and they will each touch a corner of the universe and make a difference in someone's life, and they will all die. For now they live and breath and laugh and learn and so should you, so are you.

Goodnight,