No Mercy

How much sacrifice can we make before it starts to peel from our very being, our lifeforce, who we truly are as a person? When we make a decision to give up something, whether it be a type of food, an activity, or just time all in order to make someone else feel better… are you doing it for yourself, them, or because you THINK it’ll be good for you… because they want it? Convoluted, for sure. But if I sacrifice 5 of my 10 apples and give them to you, I’ll feel generous and happy for making you happy, and I’ll still have 5 apples. Not bad. But if I give you all 10 apples, now I’m hungry and upset that I have no food… and I’ll probably end up carrying a little quiet contempt that you have all my apples and barely said “thanks.” Quite the generalization, but let’s dive deeper into this. But first, give me back a couple of my apples.

Sacrifice means to give up (something important or valued) for the sake of other considerations. These other considerations could be for the betterment of yourself, for others’ joy, or for a higher power (Think of all the goats that were killed just for rain). Those all could be argued that they’re interchangeable. Meaning, I could give up my Sunday afternoon to help my parents with some yardwork. Yes, I gave up my Sunday afternoon of time I’d otherwise be spending doing something for me, but instead I gave up my hours for them. In turn, I feel good for helping out my parents. So is it a sacrifice? There’s definitely an argument to be made that my parents’ happiness being far more valuable to me than a few free hours on an afternoon. The time that was sacrificed was most likely going to be used in a selfish manner, but who’s to say? What if that time was going to be used bettering myself by working on a skill or creative expression? So the work was sacrificed for other work? So the sacrifice is always the loser of the two choices?

What if you make a sacrifice where it’s a decision made between your significant other and yourself? Maybe she asks you to go to an art museum when you were looking forward to some self-development activities. Yeah, you tell yourself that spending time with her is going to be far more valuable than your afternoon of self-improvement, but as you wander through the museum you can’t help but think of how you were going to be reading that book that’s been sitting on your desk, working on your flexibility, and meditating all for a better “you.” You’re enjoying your time with your favorite human, but you sacrificed your time in order to be together… and you’re not that big a fan of art museums anyways. BUT, you had a memorable time and happy that you could spend it with her.

So you sacrificed what time you were going to use in a “valuable” manner to benefit her happiness… which makes you happy. But let’s say it wasn’t an art museum, maybe she wanted to see a band that you can’t stand. You don’t even enjoy going to concerts. Let’s get creative and say it’s death metal, you’re going to have to dress in all goth, wear makeup, and assless chaps. Yeah, the pants where your brown eye pokes out. Obviously, that’s where you’d draw the line, right? No means no! But what if you talked yourself into it. You told yourself, “Hey, I look okay in assless chaps. Maybe this will be a fun time. She really wants to go, so because I love her, I’m gonna go. It means the world to her,” even though in your deepest part of your gut, you know it’s just not for you. Let’s just make the sacrifice and give it a shot…she really wants to spend time with me at this show, how bad can it be?

Pretty bad.

You get there and immediately you know you don’t want to be there. But is it because you’re being a Negative Nancy or is it because you aren’t being true to yourself?

This is the question I’m trying to work through – Where is the line? How much can we sacrifice and tell ourselves it’s growth, but at what point are we going against our gut instinct? Our instincts are all we have at the end of the day. You could lose everyone, lose your money, lose your ability to move, lose your language…and your mind, heart, and gut are all going to have their instincts that tell you the path you need to take. But it’s your job to listen.

When we ignore these instincts, these messages from our soul, it’s like putting a laugh track over a horrendous sitcom – it’s not funny but it’s an outside message trying to tell us to laugh.. so to follow along, you laugh. With all the outside influences we encounter daily, it’s hard to differentiate our own voice and the ones around us telling us what to do. There are so many times that I’ve personally ignored my own intuition, sacrificed my well-being to see someone else happy, and paid the price in the end. Truth be told, I wasn’t a good listener to myself. The voice was always talking, screaming, yelling to get my attention…but I listened outwardly instead of inward. The message was always there, it never changed, but I failed to hear it. When ignored, you end up unhappy, hurt, distracting yourself from what’s important…which can start to hurt the ones around you. I can’t say I actually planned on being in sales. Intuition didn’t put me here, my inability to listen did.

There’s only so much you can sacrifice before it peels away your layers. Peel away a few layers of an onion and you’ve got something with a lot of flavor that adds to the recipe. Continue to peel away the layers of the onion and you’ll have nothing left but tears and a mess on your counter. We’re no different than the onion, well… hopefully you smell better. There’s going to be something inside of you that tells you how much you can give without losing it all. You need to hear it, you need to be true to it. Many decisions should be meditated on, thought about, slept on, put on the shelf for a while before you can act on them. All 3 of your intuitions will eventually line up and give you the answer that will be true to you, but deciding to act large with very little thought and planning can end in disaster. Going “all-in” at the poker table before you’ve even looked at your cards is an insane move and rarely does it ever pay off.

So where is the line? No idea. I suppose it’s going to be different for everyone. Some people are going to be able to push in more of their chips because they’re a little more resilient to the failure. Some people have a little less to play with so it’s about playing it carefully. At the end of the day, we’re all different. People can manage stress better than others and see their life choices as a meaning to an end. Others need to feel purpose in each activity they engage in. Some people fire with a wide-pellet buckshot, others with a sniper rifle. We are all different and that’s what makes this life so beautiful.

Be different. You are not the person next to you. Sacrifice nothing, sacrifice it all, meet in the middle. Compromise with yourself. Sweep the leg. What? I don’t know. Do what makes you feel best and fuck the rest.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Have a very shroomy Christmas

Turkey, sweet potato pie, more turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, gravy, sweet potato pie, blueberry pie, whiskey, turkey, bread, apple pie, turkey, whiskey, tequila, and then some turkey. How do we do it to ourselves? How do we eat so so much on one day of the year and then go back to some semblance of normalcy? You’ve now taken your bar for eating and totally pushed the boundary into the next solar system…and now you’re supposed to come back to planet Earth? Gooooood fucking luck. You’re left with some sort of a food hangover where you need a little bit of the hair of the dog to relieve it. But this time the hair of the dog is just more leftovers…and too much of them.

What’s the most wild thing to me is how long it all takes to digest and get out. There’s no way the sludge that’s all the food listed above makes its’ way out in one sitting. Is it called Black Friday because of what the sewers look like the next day? It can’t possibly have anything to do with the profit margins of companies always being in the black on this particular day.

That’s another thing…how do we go from one of the most pure and genuinely family oriented holidays to the very next day being aggressively bombarded by corporate America asking you to buy their shit? I spent almost 5 minutes just deleting promotional emails from my inbox this morning. I’m not buying anything simply because it’s Black Friday. Didn’t we figure out a while ago that a lot of their products go on deeper sales throughout the year? Do people still embrace heavy amounts of shopping on Black Friday? Especially now that we have Cyber Monday…oh, and then I saw one company call it “Cyber WEEK.” Christ, man…where does it end? Just make it Cyber Month or better yet, Cyber Year and let’s be done with it.

You spend all of that Thursday telling people how much you appreciate them, how much you love them, thanking everyone for everything. You share laughs with family members, bullshit, play games, watch football… and then the switch flips at midnight and it’s time to spend all your hard earned money. When I worked in retail, I remember having to be at the store at midnight to open up. We would open A BOOK STORE at midnight of Thanksgiving. Some parents dragged their poor children into the store at 3am. Is saving $20 really going to be worth the trauma and stress you’re implementing on your child?

Well, corporate America, the joke’s on you, I haven’t a penny to spare. What a blessing and a curse. It’s really easy to ignore all the “deals” when you have 0 intent and ability to spend any money. Though, the instagram ads that keep coming up on my screen from time to time seem pretty sweet. I’m not buying a gel-pellet shooting wannabe Nerf gun for $50…but holy hell that would be a shit ton of fun. Not cleaning up the beads, but blasting drunk pedestrians that want to forget how to control THE VOLUME OF THEIR VOICE at 2am on a Wednesday.

It seems like every holiday season there’s a lot of added stressors. It’s like a “when it rains, it pours” type of stress. The car needs maitenence, you just got a big new bill in the mail, your electric bill just went up (I know a guy), and there’s a hold on your paycheck. Guess what? Now you need to show everyone your gratitude by making sure to buy them all presents. Don’t sweat it, you have less than a month to get it all done. No problemo. Everyone always says, “It’s okay, you don’t need to get me anything.” They’re right…you don’t NEED to, but you WANT to. It would be so fucking sweet to be able to look at everyone you love and buy them that cool gift you saw on an instagram ad. Who wouldn’t want a gel pellet blaster?

Is that a selfish act? To be excited to watch someone become joyous over the gift that you gave them? Is it selfish to give in order to feel their joy? Nah, certainly not, especially not at Christmas time. It’s always a hope that you can melt their heart, bring tears of joy to their eyes, and really make their day with some over-the-top meaningful gift that makes them think of you. Then you think about all the people that you’d love to do this for…all the people that you’d want to make smile with your gift, just even them knowing that you thought of them during the season of giving. But then there’s the stress, the other side of things. There’s the stress of whether the present is good enough, if they’ll like it, and even the stress of not breaking the bank this season. Don’t forget all the lines, lines, LIIIIIINES. All the gifts add up. Life is already really expensive, adding the excessive gift giving isn’t all that helpful.

But again, it’s a nice feeling when you can do it. When you’re flush and you can buy 50 gifts for all the magnificent people in your life, it feels fulfilling in a weird way. They know that you care for them and you’re able to express it around December 25th. I’m not sure if that’s totally what Jesus intended, but if he could come back and lower gas prices, kill inflation, and turn all my water into wine… I’d probably give Catholicism another shot.

These season, for me, will be more focused on quality of gift giving rather than quantity or more product driven gifts. When your pockets aren’t particularly deep, you’ve got to get creative. That means letters of endearment, that means baked goods, that means a fuck ton of candy cane reindeer. Candy canes aren’t even all that great of a candy. Peppermint wrapped up in super glued plastic that tastes minty going down but then leaves your mouth feeling rotten afterwards isn’t all that refreshing or satisfying. It would be like chewing peppermint gum that after chewing for too long started to actually reverse your good breath into doggy breath. Yuck.

The holiday season will be a stressful one for me, as is tradition. It makes you wonder how your parents handled such stress back in the day. They always played it cool like “Santa” did all the work. That fat bitch didn’t do diddly. The whole story behind him was related to a story that St. Nick dropped MUSHROOMS down your chimney in old timey Russia, because everyone’s front door was snowed shut.

So…who wants mushrooms for Christmas? I do, Santa… hear my prayers.

Happy Black Friday!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Check yourself before your wreck yourself (and others)

To make an omelet, you’ve got to break some eggs. To write this post, I’ve got to be concise: You are not perfect. You’re nowhere near perfect. If you’re still alive, you’re a work in progress and you better be working on that work in progress. If you’re dismissive of working on yourself, then you’re a sociopath. If you ignore this fact, then you’re ignorant to your own needs. Your mind, your soul, your body all try to scream to you in a language only you can understand and beg for what they need.

Your mind needs silence so that it can work through everything it’s already thinking.
Your soul needs nourishment, something that brings a sense of purpose and meaning to your existence each day. It’s a constant answering of the question “Why?”
Your body needs to move, stretch, and relax without the interference or causing interference to the former two.

If we don’t listen, if we ignore, if we go against the grain…then you’re going to search for their needs in the wrong way… in a way that won’t suffice. You zig when you should zag, you rest when you need to move, you try to quiet your mind when you really just needed to listen. You’ll seek out solace in the wrong places and sometimes this can be at sacrifice to the feelings of the ones you care for. You did something that could potentially hurt someone else. Instead of having the conversation and admitting wrongdoing, you push it down. You hide it. Here’s a reminder: if the universe wants someone to know something, it’ll make everything abundantly clear. The dishonesty will only make things worse. It’s one thing to drop a bowling ball on your foot, but it’s another to have it dropped it on your foot from 20 stories up and engulfed in flames. It was going to suck either way, but why the fuck would you hang a bowling ball out your window if you’re not from a Looney Toons skit?

It was said to me a long time ago that a sure fire sign of maturity is the ability to have the conversations that you don’t want to have. When you think deeper about this, it makes you wonder why you’re ever scared to have a conversation in the first place. Your imagination is far worse than what will ever take place when you talk. Your fears will run rampant in that sandbox you call your “mind.” The fears can do whatever they want. It’s like a full on angry child with a VR headset that wants to see the world burn. The more you see, the more you can’t unsee. But if you take the headset off, have the conversation, it’ll quickly become clear that it was never as close to as bad as you thought.

If you love someone, do you respect them? Well, if you respect someone, do you think they’re worth telling the truth to, regardless of how you THINK they may take it? When you hide something from someone, you’re only giving it more power and more meaning that maybe it didn’t even have to begin with. It’s like what Mom said; she’s not mad that you took the cookies, she’s mad that you lied about it. Worse off, she’s not even mad but she’s “disappointed.”

OOF.

Think of the Edgar Allen Poe tale, The Raven. The heart below the floorboards kept murmuring until it’s all the character could hear. It drove them insane heartbeat after heartbeat. Guilt is real. Guilt will find its’ way to the surface. It will grow as time goes on which will only take away from your ability to be truly happy, to be truly present, to be plain ol’ true. How can you be honest if the skeletons in your closet won’t stop slamming on the door DYING to get out (pun not initially intended)?

If you have something to tell someone, tell them. When you hide it, regardless of how long it’s in hiding, you take away your ability to be genuine with that person. You take away their ability to know who you actually are. You take away their ability to even have a chance to be who they actually are. When you hide something from someone, you’re stealing from their life as well. And if you love them, how can you really love their being when you don’t KNOW their being? How can someone practice their patience and being unemotional if you let your lies dictate their reality? That’s not fair and that’s not true love. That’s not even real friendship. Actions speak louder than words and you’re not letting them speak.

It’s become common in modern US society to always want more. You’ll feel empty because you need more from your friends. You’ll feel bored because you need something to entertain you. You’ll feel hungry because you want to eat those delicious chips. What the hell happened to looking at ourselves, first? Do you truly feel empty? Is that what your soul is telling you? Do you really need more from others or do you need more from yourself? Maybe you need to take those few minutes in the morning or night and feed your soul so that you can feel fulfilled each day? Man, Chicken Soup for the Soul makes so much more sense as a book title as I write this…

Are you really bored because you want to play Call of Duty or the TV is off and you want it on? Have you tried meditating? Have you tried setting your baseline to absolute nothingness before you add anything? Maybe your baseline is what’s fucked. Try becoming accustomed and seeking absolute nothingness before aching for “moreness.”

You’re not hungry. Try fasting for a day or 3. You’ll realize that the hunger shuts off. You’re not really hungry as you just enjoy the act of eating. That’s fine, but humans were meant to go days without food. Water is a different story, but you don’t need more food… you need less.

Lots of us are seeking to constantly add more because we don’t feel fulfilled. In actuality, we need less. We need to be grateful for what we have and we need to be fucking aware of it. Within nothing, is everything. Seek less, not more. That means less people in your life but with more meaning. That means less activities, but they should have more importance to you. It also means less food, because you don’t need as much as you think to be healthy and happy. Except on Thanksgiving…eat until your stomach explodes. THEN go on and have less.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can caaaaaall me Al… call me Al

When salesmen speak, I question everything they say. I question what their real name is, their truths, their product, their intentions, how genuine they’re being, and if they’re speaking to truly help or to add to their wallet. There’s too many manipulative people in the world of sales that will speak to simply hear themselves speak or to get you to buy a large amount of whatever their selling. I’ve seen it for years now and although there are a lot of great salespeople out there that just lay out the facts and shed light on something from a different perspective, there are far too many that will tell you to tilt your head back and open wide so you can drink their snake oil.

Shit, think of the ones that you’ve met in your lifetime. They’re dressed to the 9’s, they smile with all-too-white of teeth, and they’re a smooth talker. They’ll charm the ever living fuck out of you just so you listen to them and hang on their every word. They could be selling the most useful product that you’ve ever seen but yet, you can’t give them the time of day just because the heavy scent of their cologne takes over your ability to think. The entirety of your attention goes to your nose. While you should be hearing them out, all you can think about is spraying them down like Pepe le Pew.

They’re just not real. Their disingenuous intentions ooze out their pores. Whatever is coming from their mouth is irrelevant. You sense who they are. They’re not in it to help you…they’re only in it to better their disposition in life. Whether they’re trying to hit a quota, they’re trying to deepen their pockets, or they just love the clout that comes with “having the most sales.” It sickens me. I physically feel ill just thinking of these slimy people. All we want is someone to be honest with us, lay out their convincing argument, and let us know where the potential pitfalls are and how to avoid them. That’s. It.

From someone who works on the inside of a sales job, it’s seen all too frequently. Because of that, I’m overly cautious of who I invest my time with. If you’re selling something, okay… I’d hate to pass up a good opportunity, but nothing’s free. You’re taking my time. Now you better make good use of it. Plain and simple.

This morning into the early afternoon, I met a gentlemen that was exactly this – he was dressed up, full of energy, an extremely smooth talking salesman talking to a large group of salesmen. Okay, I guess no one ever said that just because you’re highly presentable you’re untrustworthy. Just because you’re eloquent doesn’t exactly mean that you’re selling a broken Kirby vacuum. Just because you’re likeable doesn’t mean you’re going to rob us of our time and money. Okay, what gives?

This man, once the room cleared, spoke to me for an hour. I later found out that an hour of his time was worth $1200. He didn’t tell me before, where I would have had to pay, he just kindly let me know at the end of our discussion. Supposedly, it was because he believed I was worth speaking to. Either he wanted to make me blush, get in my pants, or he just felt like handing me a complimentary reason as to why he spoke with me for 60 minutes of his valuable time. He said he knew that I was someone that was looking to do something with their life.

30 people whittled down to just 2 – him and me. Everyone had better things to do than to suck up knowledge from a very successful, very positive, and very inspirational man, named Al. Al stood about 5 foot 8″, he had piercing blue eyes, and he had energy that made a coke addict look like a couch-locked stoner. Not that he was overly caffeinated (he carried this energy for 3 hours straight), but he was passionate and you could feel it. He was passionate about life and about helping people chase their version of success. It was things that he learned from other mentors that he passed along to others, all because he genuinely wanted to help the people that wanted to be helped.

We spoke about everything from habitually goal setting to his past solar successes. He heli-snowboarding on the mountains of Chile. He raced Ferrari’s in Vegas. Hell, he put solar on Alec Baldwin’s house. He talked about how 20 plus years ago he walked on coals in Tony Robbins’ backyard. Al talked about how all of his goals started to come true… just from consistently writing them down and then writing all the action steps he would consistently take to reach his goals.

Now, I’ve said in the past that I’m not a huge goal-setter. It’s not that I don’t believe in the practice (especially now), but I always found that habits, passion, and consistency superseded a lot of the “I want to have X amount of money in the bank by blah blah blah age.” To an extent, this still remains true, but from what I learned…it’s just a matter of making the two practices align.

When you write down your goals each morning and you then reread them aloud multiple times before going to bed EVERY DAY for at least 26 days, he said that something happens to your cells and your mind. They start to become a part of you. When you focus on action steps for the most important 2 goals, the other goals will start to follow suit by osmosis. What else happens, is that because you CANNOT look at your piece of paper from the day before, the fake goals… the ones that you thought you want but you don’t… .they fade from the equation. You’ll forget them because you’ll find that they weren’t important to begin with. Then, little by little, you’ll get closer and closer until one day it’s achieved. And the wildest part is that sometimes, it’ll be the universe that helped you. The law of attraction will start to work in an exponential manner in your favor. Synchronicities that will blow your mind will start to happen.

Never judge a book by it’s cover. Take the time to have the conversation and see if the opportunity is truly there. How can you have a life altering lesson if you can’t have the conversation? Don’t drink the snake oil, keep your pants on, don’t hand over your wallet… but at least take a listen. You never know what you could be missing…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Or Benadryl

You had a long day. Like, one of those days where you were on your feet moving around for 10 hours straight, people emotionally drained you, and even eating a lunch felt like some massive task you had to do while accomplishing another 40 chores. Your feet ache, your legs are tired, your mind has had enough of it’s own bullshit and everyone else’s. You’re cold, you’re hot, you’re in need of a shower, you want to eat dinner. You finally get to the dinner table and then sit down in your favorite spot in the living room.

Aaaaah, finally…comfort.

It’s so easy to distinguish when you’ve been in a state of discomfort for some elongated period of time. But the severity of the discomfort is what will define what the actual comfort is. Once you’re in that chair or sofa or even just kris-kross-applesauce on the floor, you find a great sense of satisfaction that leaves you feeling at ease. Tasks have been accomplished and now you can enjoy your time to rest.

A few quickly-passed hours later and it’s time for bed. You get your ass up, brush your teeth, clean up any residual mess from your few hours of quiet time/TV time/hobby time (whatever floats your boat), and make your way to the bedroom. Again, you plop your ass into bed and perhaps you read or you journal or you and the person next to you do the thaaaaaaaaaang (WINK). Whatever, but now it’s time to write the last letter of the alphabet repeatedly until morning. It’s time to venture into the depths of REM sleep where life becomes a fantasy. You’re almost excited to sleep, but don’t get too excited for it otherwise you’re going to wake back up (done it, ugh).

The pillow itches. You shift. The comforter isn’t in the perfect position. You pull it up. Your body feels a little hot. You let your feet hang out the bottom of the bed. Your eyebrow is itchy. You scratch it. Your shirt feels too tight. You take it off. Your bladder feels a little full. You empty it… in the bathroom. You get back into bed and now the whole damn process starts over again until you find the right level of comfort to fall asleep.

But wait, we just sat down in a chair/sofa/kris-kross-applesauce and were perfectly fine there, almost falling asleep. Why are we struggling so much in the bed? Why are these minute shifts, itches, temperature differences stealing from the comfort level we need to fall asleep? Why do we need the pillow to sit JUST right so we can sleep, meanwhile on the couch your head is twisted like a ballpark pretzel and you’re struggling to stay awake?

Why is it that we can take a level of comfort that is earned and make the most of it, but getting into bed and falling asleep can be like a battle to the death but fighting 5 ants spread out all over your body (make sure to think about this as SOON as you get into bed)? Is it because we’re being cornered by our own thoughts that all of a sudden my eyebrow feels like it needs to be scratched? Is it the lack of any sensory input that allows us to feel all the tiny sensory input? Like the tiny amount of urine that’s piled up in our bladders or the fact that our shirt is just SLIGHTLY too tight? Is it a fact that as we become more comfortable we actually become less comfortable?

Holy shit, isn’t that quite the thought. As we become MORE comfortable, we can actually be LESS comfortable?

So just like the yin and the yang, we need the discomfort to actually feel comfort. Well, that’s mind blowing. But that’s also not going to be a helpful thought when I lay my head onto the pillow tonight. The fact is, we need our sleep and we need a good night’s sleep at that. A shit night’s sleep leaves us feeling…well, like shit. So as we make our bedroom routine, our bedroom, and our bed more comfortable, do we make our evening’s slumber more difficult to attain? Are we putting ourselves at risk by making a sensory deprivation tank of our rooms? No, that can’t be the case…but when my pillow needs to be moved a fraction of an inch before it can be deemed “comfortable” by whatever bodily powers-that-be, it’s quite frankly a little irking.

Why can’t EVERY time our heads hit the pillow be the evening that we instantly fall asleep? Why, even when we’re exhausted, is it difficult to put our minds and bodies to rest for 8 hours? It can’t be because my shirt is static clinging to my belly full of dinner or because my cheek spontaneously needs a scratch. Did we not prepare correctly? Did we give ourselves too much comfort beforehand while on the couch?

Perhaps that’s it. Maybe it’s the giving of comfort beforehand. Our body and our minds were tricked into thinking that this is the place to rest and then as we faded into a façade of comfort the bed almost feels like a disruption?

As you can tell, I’m only leaning into my own sleeping difficulties. There are evenings when laying in bed, even after a long day of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, I will toss and turn for an hour or two looking for that sense of comfort so that everything can feel at ease and drift into that other dimension we know so little about. I don’t want to say it can be a battle some evenings, but some evenings, it can be a battle. It’s frustrating, which only keeps me up longer. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what will keep me awake, but all I can do is work to let my mind drift whilst reading a book, turning off the lights, and just letting my mind wander into it’s own bedroom. Or I can drink a bottle of Nyquil, but that doesn’t seem like the solution either.

Nothing works all the time for anything. It’s really just a level of probabilities. I’m sure we’ve all had a day where your car’s engine wouldn’t turn over. Nothing is 100%. All we can do is set ourselves up the best we can and trust the process. Or drink a bottle of Nyquil.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Or Tequila and Chocolate Nuts

I think people forget that it’s totally okay to not be okay. Seriously.

To feel a little down, a little frustrated, angry, sad…it’s normal. It’s part of life. We are to experience these emotions so that when we’re NOT experiencing them, we feel fantastic. Now, we don’t want to feel these negative emotions all the time, but we need to have them, they are the other half of the scale. If you’re in a constant state of happiness, fuck yourself. Not really, but kind of. Either you’re full of shit or your psychotic half-human with hundreds of dismembered bodies in your basement.

There’s probably a healthy skew to these emotions. Maybe like 80% positive and 20% negative? Does that seem right? or should it be closer to a 90/10? It sounds like we’re finding the best cut of meat. This is kind of like that, though. The fat percentage on the meat adds to the deliciousness of the actual muscle fibers. So with a healthy dose of negativity, we can really get the most out of our meat…and positivity.

If people eat straight 100% meat with no fat on it, again…you’re one step away from eating nothing but egg white omelets and screaming to the heavens of how much you love kale. Gross. We need the fat…we need the negative for the positive. Your body would fail without fat. Stress creates diamonds from pieces of coal. Sometimes a little frustration with a situation helps you push through it. There’s a sense of Deja vu here, like this was written about recently, but fuck it…it’s quite prevalent.

Personally, there are really times I just need to do my thing. At the end of the day, we’re all going to die alone. Let it sink in – your path out of this thing we call “life” will be by yourself and yourself alone. We can have our companions, our lovers, our friends, our family to support us, but each day we wake up in these bodies… these minds, and we operate autonomously. There can only be one person behind the steering wheel of the mind and it’s you. The same with your body – it’s you. Sure, we can get a helping hand from people, but you make all of your own choices.

“I didn’t have a choice.”

You always have a choice, but sometimes the consequences are not those that you like. At times it feels like we don’t have one though, that’s understandable. Going to the same job every day that you can’t stand? But you “have to go to work.” You don’t have to. You can switch jobs, call in sick, or just fucking not go. No one puts you behind that steering wheel but yourself. You have overhead to pay, bills coming in, a nagging wife, a child to feed…it all makes sense – you’re being relied upon. Still, it doesn’t mean that you have to go to work. The consequences of “sucking it up” far, far outweigh the consequences of leaving a job of misery because then the baby doesn’t eat, the water gets turned off, and your wife leaves you, and then you become a crack addict. I’ve definitely written something like this before…

OR… or maybe you start a business with your new found freedom. Everyone always compliemented your granola cookies, so now that’s all you do – you cook a metric fuckton of cookies and sell them all over the town, then the state, then the country, then the world. Now, because you finally left the job of misery, you were able to do something you’re actually passionate about, which better served the world to begin with. Who the hell wants to be a trauma doctor in the ER anyways?

Taking a leap can be scary, there are many that have done it. Some fail, some succeed. It happens. It’s life. Not everyone can win, it wouldn’t make sense. If everyone won, we’d have an excess of granola cookies. Or “influencers.” Or life coaches. Oh shit…

So not everyone eats the granola cookies. They flop. Your granola cookie business goes upside down. The only ones eating them are the homeless and raccoons. Now you’ve got to go back to your old boss with your tail between your legs, groveling, asking to work for him again. He accepts because overall you’re a good trauma doctor and that’s exactly what the hospital needs. The hospital is happy to have you back. Your coworkers, who always raved about how they loved your cookies… they were the same coworkers who never wanted to pay for them at $5 a whack. They just enjoyed them in the breakroom. When they told you that you could sell them for $10 a cookie because they were “so utterly delectable,” they didn’t mean to them. Just to some other people.

You go home at the end of the day, exhausted, worn down by winning some and losing some. Some nights all you can think about is how many you’ve lost… because you didn’t save any lives that day. Then the next day you get the same results. Same with the next day… and the next. Fuck.

Do you need to still be at the ER? What about the granola cookie business? Oh yeah…you tried that. Hooray that you tried, but now you feel like you suck at two things. Man oh man, that shit can wear on you. Your granola cookies that everyone raved about for years weren’t worth dick on the open market and now you can’t save a life when it’s on the table. Now all you want to do is eat the cookies, but you know that won’t help.

What about the scotch? Seems rational. You’re in pain so cause yourself some more pain…or numb it for the time being. What’s better… the sugar rush of a tray of granola cookies or a couple glasses of scotch? Or abstaining from both and just existing with the pain with the only solution being to “suck it up?”

Well, if you “suck it up” you can do it for the greater good. You can do it for the child you have at home, for the loving wife that will be there through thick and thin, and for all the companies that you’re already indebted to. You owe them thousands upon thousands of dollars. So if you want to keep all you’re pretty things, you’re going to have to keep getting that paycheck. They don’t want your dumbass granola cookies. “Fuck you, pay me.” Ok, no cookies for YOU, Mr. Verizon.

It’s okay that you’re not feeling okay, it will pass. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stop analyzing your situation and just get back to work. Get lost in it. Enjoy a glass of scotch or a sleeve of cookies for now and understand that you’re back to saving lives in the morning. Or not saving them. You can’t control the results, only your efforts.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Save the Dragons – Stop time travel research

I’m drinking chicken broth and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s delicious because of all the other seasonings that I added to it because otherwise it has no flavor, but maaaaaan, is it hitting the spot right now. The time I spent driving today was with the window down, or the AC was going while the heated seat was full blast. Hot, cold, all of it at the same time because I wasn’t sure what my temperature was. My heartbeat was coming through my teeth. The eyes are itchy, the nose is running, and the sneezes are violent. Everything feels achy but this body is always achy in one way or another, so it’s hard to judge if this is new. The urge to sleep is ginormous, magnificent, even cumbersome. In fact, it feels like that’s the only thing worth doing right now. But how could a man say “no” to dinner? Take away his man-card if that happens. Automatic revocation. Yoink.

This is one of my allergy seasons. It’s every fall and every spring when the changes of the environment around us rock me in one way or another. It’s a small price to pay for adjusting to the incoming colder weather. Or is it the leaving of the warmer weather? Is winter coming or is summer leaving? What perspective do we take on this one? It has to be a “both” thing, right? If we only see summer leaving, then we’re only focused on the warmer, longer days leaving us. If we only see the coming of winter, we only see the longer, colder evenings with shorter days. We have to see both.

The warm and the cold. The long and the short. The yin and the yang. We have to see both sides to the coin. I can’t just blow one nostril, I have to blow both. To eat is to shit. To drink is to pee. To have an end you have to have a beginning. To sleep is to wake. To live is to die. To have seasons you need the cycle of warm and cold.

I’m sure there’s many, MANY more examples, but I’m sure you get the point. Instead of being focused on just one season coming or going, focus on the cycle, the bigger picture. To have the beauty that we have in the nature around us, we must have the entire cycle. The animals need to hibernate, we need to the snow to ice nature’s bumps and bruises, the plants need their winter naps as well. Just as excited as we are to see the foliage come and go, we get equally as excited to see the first few leaves sprouting in the spring. Just as much as I don’t enjoy being stuffed up, achy, and feeling generally shitty for a few days, I really do find a lot of solace in the midst of winter taking a deep, hearty breath and feeling the cold airs fill my lungs… and then enjoy watching the exhale resemble the breath of a relaxed dragon. I would assume that a relaxed dragon would have to exhale some sort of belly smoke and wouldn’t necessarily spew fire each breath. There wasn’t much research done on the mythical dragon…so I’m not entirely sure when it would breathe smoke or fire. It has to be a choice, right? Like, the dragon doesn’t always breathe out fire. There has to be a time when it just lets some air out. It always looked like fire was dragon vomit. Maybe dragons were just really sick so while seeking help from humans, they would accidentally ralph their fire-vomit over towns. Looks like we had these dragon-fellas all misunderstood. Our ancestors should have been better.

The cycle that I’m going to go through over the next few days is one that I’m all too familiar with. The feeling of being rundown is going to stay prevalent and it’s going to be battled out of the body with excessive caffeine. Then, because of the dehydration, the eyes are going to be even more itchy. With the combination of the lack of sunlight and itchy eyeballs, the desire to sleep will kick in sooner once the caffeine wears off…then I’ll be craving bed by 8pm every evening. WHICH, isn’t necessarily a negative, but it’ll make writing just a wee bit tougher. If I was a betting man, I would bet that the moment I’m done eating dinner and watching a little television, I’m going to fall asleep on the couch. It’s almost inevitable. It would be cool if it wasn’t, but sometimes we can’t outrun our fate.

These symptoms and their counterparts will pass soon. It’s OK. It’ll be a couple days and then we’ll all be nestled into “cold weather mode.” The 80 degree days in November have made it a little difficult to adapt, but with 30 degree evenings, we’re getting an understanding of where we’re at in nature’s cycle. Having just changed the clocks back an hour, we’re still all adjusting our internal clocks. What’s really taking me back is that we’re never going to turn our clocks back again.

Have you thought about that yet?

We’re NEVER going to change our clocks again. You see what time it is while you’re reading this right now? Guess what – that’s always going to be the case. No, you’re not trapped in time, relax. The cycle of time will never change again. Well, man’s attempt to manipulate it will never be a thing again, unless we figure out time travel.

Time travel would be cool, in theory, but it would probably cause more problems than it’s worth. No one would have any appreciation or respect for time anymore. People would procrastinate more, ignore the moments they’re living more than they already are, they’d just straight up abuse time. So hopefully man never figures out how to travel through time. Just like most things we do collectively, we’d probably make a big goddamned mess out of it and kill more innocent and sickly dragons.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Infinite Jest, WHY?

I’m here in front of the computer, staring down my very clean desk…looking into the blackness that is the background of the monitor like I do every weekday night. I’m here at the time I’m supposed to be here. There’s supposed to be some mental clarity. There’s supposed to be something I feel strongly about so that I can write about it. These words are supposed to have some meaning right now. Words… COME TO MEEEEEEEEEE!

C’mon, thoughts… where are you?

Dude, I’ve stared at this screen for 10 minutes without writing a letter. Not a word. No sentences. Not even spam. There’s just a blank mind. That’s supposed to be good for other styles of art, right? You could argue it could be great for writing as well, but I’m not seeing it. Or not hearing it. The music playing in my ears is just a particular decibel vibration that’s supposed to increase positive energy. Maybe it does? The reason it plays is because it helps me focus and if I play it every time I write, it’ll help spark those creative juices a la Pavlov, right? I am drooling, but that’s typical before dinner, I doubt it’s the music. Or IS it?

There’s been a lot of little victories the past few days. JUST getting to class, JUST talking to a couple clients, JUST sitting down to write. Should we expect more of ourselves? Should we push ourselves to always have more effort behind our attempts? Or should we be happy about the small victory of just even attempting? When are we supposed to be a little frustrated with having a mediocre performance? What if I’m okay with my mediocre performance? Is the frustration of failure the only method of chasing improvement? The love of the game isn’t always going to be there day in and day out. There’s got to be something else to light a fire under our ass when we’re stuck in mediocrity.

Let’s be clear – mediocre isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a plateau. Why do something you love consistently to be only mediocre? Because you love it, I guess. But if you love something, you should respect it…and if you respect it, then you should work harder at it… right?

So how many of these small victories are we comfortable with piling up before enough’s enough? When do we need some big victories? Well, not on a Monday night, not this Monday anyways. For whatever reason, I’m totally okay with phoning it in today, especially when I’m feeling quite tired. Is that a cop out? Should we be okay with being just okay when we’re tired…or should we have a stronger desire to expect more from ourselves.

Expectations? Oh man, what a trap. You can set the expectation and reach it, but will it really satisfy you? Probably not. You may have a quick, “Hooray,” but then left with a “Now what?” What’s worse is if you set the expectation and don’t meet it. Now you’re probably feeling like a piece of shit for not meeting your expectations. You’re no different then you were before didn’t meet the expectation, so why would it matter? And how can you be present in the moment, which is the key to happiness, while you’re stuck analyzing your expectations?

Okay, so we don’t need expectations, we need to show up and do the work. Yes, some days are going to be full of bullshittery. Just like when you show up to work everyday, there’s going to be some days that you played on TikTok entirely too much instead of getting your work done. Then there’s other days when we crush a cup of coffee and fuck things up…in a good way.

That’s something I’ve discussed here before. We all probably know this by now. But what I’m asking is quite different… I want to know how many days or events we can have where we were happy we just showed up. I also want to know how else we can motivate ourselves to not just “show up” but to “show up and fuck things up.” Can we look at the days that we crushed it and replicate the series of events that led us to “crushing it?” That’s probably our best bet, right? Our goal should be to set ourselves up for success. We should be creatures of habit, setting up a routine that puts us in position to strike. No expectations, just us doing our best we can moment to moment… strategically. Not being wrapped up in the results, just being in love with the process.

You know what? The past couple days my morning routine has been a little off. I usually get lax on the weekend, but during the week the morning routine will never get sacrificed as I know how crucial it is to keeping me level through the day. Because of that morning routine, the rest of the day feels under control. It feels like I’ve set myself up for success.

We have a duty to ourselves to look at both the good days and the great days (because it’s all AT LEAST good) and figure out how we led ourselves to the result of the “great” days and then where did we go wrong on the “good” days? How could we have been better on the “good” days? Where in the daily schedule are we to deconstruct our days? Probably at the end of the night when we get into bed. Perhaps having a journal next to the bed and briefly going over your day with yourself is a simple technique to keep us accountable.

This seems like it’s the move. To be honest, my nighttime routine is nonexistent. When we get tired is when our decision making ability tanks. It divebombs right into the shitter.. You’re exhausted from the day… the last thing you want to do is write in a journal and then read…wait, make sure you stretch before you get into bed. WAIT… make sure you drink some tea with lemon and honey. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT!!! Make sure you meditate for 20 minutes. Fuck.

How can we even have enough time for 8 hours of sleep? There just needs to be a few experiments at night. Pick one EASY thing that’s going to benefit you, add it consistently, then add another once that’s cemented. For me, it’s reading. Finding a book that you really enjoy is important, so if it’s putting you to sleep in a boring way, mix it up. Although, stubborn Kris is too deep into his book to give it up. So learn from his mistakes.

Once we finish this book that has me trapped 70% of the way through, then it’s going to be time to deconstruct the day. Until then, I’ll be happy with simply reading and possibly stretching. As far as the writing goes, I showed up today and that’s my mini-victory. I’m satisfied 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

They’re from LuLu

We could argue all day that there’s no such thing as a “waste of time.” Regardless of what you’re doing, that time is still in use. So if you declare that it is a “waste,” then that’s just your poor perception of it. Through all of our experiences in life, good and not so good, we use up the most valuable resource of all – time. We can make more money, we can generate more energy, we can even grow more food. But alas, the one resource we can never, ever get back is in fact, time.

Can we waste the other resources? Yup. Most definitely. Have you ever taken a long drive to an appointment and you’re told that there’s been a mishap? Whether the client you were supposed to meet went to work early, the doctor you were meant to see took a personal day, or even just plain ol’ got your days mixed up… it happens to the best of us. Yet, it can still be a waste of your other resources. It’s a waste of gas in your vehicle, it’s a waste of money if you had to spend it, it can drain your energy a bit, who knows. Remind yourself though… those are resources you can get back.

Time, we cannot.

When we spend our time (reminder – you spend it like any other resource you have possession of) there always has to be a lesson to take from it. There HAS to be. It can be to confirm your appointments via phone call or where to find a bathroom when you’re in a specific town. It could be to switch doctors or to switch careers. Regardless, the time was spent and since it logically cannot be wasted, what was the lesson? Sadly, sometimes these instances feel like they can be a waste of time.

It’s frustrating as all hell when an appointment gets mixed up on you. You took time that you were going to spend in other ways, maybe in a more recreational or productive manner. Either way, that was your time that you spent somewhere than where you actually would have spent it. It’s like spending vacation money on a car repair or spending your rainy day fund on your business. You didn’t want to spend it in that manner, but it happened… and now you need to learn.

Maybe when you’re taking a trip home from your wild adventure of lost time, you stop by a store you’ve never been in before or a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. How can we take a negative and make it a positive? That’s the segway ground. The “how.” We hear all these prolific sayings scattered along the internet. Instagram is spammed with infinite positivity quotes from girls showing off in yoga pants. It’s everywhere. Different postings of stoic sayings, Tony Robbin-isms, everyone and their mother wanting to be a life coach.

I get it. Positivity, positivity, positivity. I’m just as responsible for it. But the real question is, “HOW do we get there.” A good chunk of us understand WHERE we need to be…we know it’s over there somewhere. It’s always the goddamned “how” we can get stuck on all the time.

Most people would say, “by practicing.” Yeah, that too. That’s how you get better at any skill. Staying positive in tough times, frustrating times, sad times…it’s a matter of practicing it daily. We certainly get better each day, but it’s never really all that easy. It might happen quicker, but it’s not easy. The more we do it, the faster we can make the transition back to that positive mindset and let the negative emotion pass through us.

There’s different ways to get better at this and I guess that’s why they’re called “practices.” You have to practice them. Aaaaaah. Makes sense. That’s the difficult part. We can talk the talk, but do we walk the walk? You better, otherwise you’re at a crawl.

Meditation. This one helps tremendously. When the feeling sticks, when it lingers, when it won’t pass…take a few minutes to listen to some ambient sound, lay down, close your eyes, breathe and let your mind wander. 20 minutes is usually enough, but you’ll find you want to go longer once you get to the sweet spot. When you get really good at it you’ll start to become one with the sound you’re listening to. It’s pretty fucking trippy but also a difficult wave to surf. There’s also different styles on how to do this. You could focus purely on a style of breathing, you could hum a certain tone with each exhale, or you could just focus on loving yourself and working outward to the people in your life. But regardless, they’re all better than letting that emotion stay within.

Stretching. That’s another one that helps. Being stuck in a car for hours on end, a desk, a conference room will make your body a rock. Think of your emotions like water… they’re supposed to flow and pass through you. If your body is a rock, how well will the water pass through? Take a few minutes and run through a set of stretches. Start from your top and work to your bottom, or your core to your extremities, or to your anterior to your posterior chain. Who gives a shit, just stretch. 20 seconds in a pose is just enough to let the muscles release a little bit. If you want permeant change, sit in it for 2 minutes. Personally, I’ve found that hitting everything for a few seconds feels great, but I don’t have the time or patience for 2 minutes everywhere. Maybe 2 minutes for problem areas, but maaaaaaaaan…I got shit to do too.

Talking. Without bringing someone down in your emotions, maybe just verbally walking through the issue with another human being will be helpful. You can talk, then the more you talk you hear your own thoughts come out and that might be the end of them. Or not, but it’s worth a shot. It goes hand in hand with…

Journaling. Stream of consciousness, write as fast as you can, no hitting the backspace button. Give yourself a minimum time or word count. This feels better than talking for me because I don’t have to worry about someone else being upset about something I’ve said. It also gives me a chance to check myself before riggity wrecking someone else… and their state of mind. Think of it like doing your math problem out so you can come to a conclusion, it’s pretty similar.

We’re not perfect, we never will be. The opportunities to grow stronger, to become a more positive person, to heal are bountiful. We just have to see them and act upon them. Do the hard work, practice. Nothing worth doing is easy… or some other positive language quote. How do you like my yoga pants? Do you need a life coach?

Cheers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

…healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Tonight is one of those nights where the eyes are heavy and I’m not all that excited to write. It happens. Dinner still has not been served, but neither has lunch or breakfast. There’s been a few snacks throughout the day, but nothing to actually call a “meal.” It would all be closer to some corporate bar company’s packaged sludge that isn’t necessarily healthy, but it’s not really UNhealthy either. It’s just…calories.

There’s something deeply satisfying about a home cooked meal. The process of thought that gets involved, the effort involved, the preparation, the actually cooking process, the seasoning, the creativity of it all .. and then finally the plating of it. Dinner is a special meal though. Dinner is the one that declares a hard days work is pretty much over. It’s not called “Thanksgiving breakfast” or “Christmas breakfast.” Dinner is the time when we can come together and say, “DONE.” Yet, some people choose to have their dinner around 5pm. I never have, NEVER WILL be one of those people. In fact, how do those people operate? They come to a martial arts class at 6 talking about how their dinner is in their throat.

Well… no shit.

Why wouldn’t you just eat afterwards? It’s like you’re multitasking…your body is trying to digest food while you’re trying to learn a skill. Why don’t you pick one? Sure, you have to be up early and eating before bed can be a problem for your sleep (I’m an expert on this), but wouldn’t you rather either not eat at all or just have a big breakfast? Maybe you save yourself a protein shake for after class? Maybe just a piece of fruit or a yogurt? But to eat an entire meal and then train an hour later seems like pure insanity. It’s a recipe for distracted focus and vomit.

There are days where nothing gets eaten until the end of the day and it is the most rewarding feeling. For clarification, the evening is totally yours once you sit down. You can ingest that delicious food and enjoy some hobbies afterwards. Perhaps you can get lost in some art. Or if you’re disciplined about it, you may not get lost…you may just need to grind it out. BUT, it’s your choice.

Personally, I envy those “early to bed, early to rise” people, but it’s not something I’ve ever been able to associate with. They say becoming a morning person is a skill. It most certainly is, but just like being a gay porn actor…it’s not one I want. Although, it really is admirable to be both a morning guy and a gay porn actor. Those are both roles I cannot and WILL NOT…let me reiterate…WILL NOT ever play. The morning one I’ve tried, but the other role…I’m going to leave to the professionals. Professional morning people are amazing.

If you’re a morning person, you can wake up and have a big hearty breakfast. but you’d never enjoy eating a later dinner because it would only fuck up your mornings… which I assume you’d hold dearly. If you have a big breakfast, and medium sized lunch, and then a tiny dinner, it’s going to be far easier for you to forgo that feeling of being completed for the evening.…but just like their breakfast to us evening people; they’re missing out on a tremendous sensation. Different strokes, for different folks I suppose.

There are mornings where a massive breakfast is the biggest treat of the day. Eggs galore, bacon, sausage, a fruit cup, sweet potato hash browns and MULTIPLE cups of coffee… it’s definitely more fun than a cup of black coffee and being right to work. But just like all choices we make – there are pro’s and cons to both sides. The cons of eating such a big breakfast is how logy it makes you feel. You might have some energy from the coffee, but you’ve got thousands of calories to digest before you can get on with your day or even think a clear thought. The PRO to it, is that you essentially just had a food-gasm upon waking up. It’s a treat to do this and can easily brighten a day. Not everyone needs to function well in the AM. What a life.

Switching your big meal with breakfast to dinner allows a faster start to the day, depending on what your evenings look like. Those of us that are out late training, beaten and bruised from the night before, have very little interest or ability to exercise in the morning. Recovery is everything, also…so your 8 hours of sleep is not to be fucked with. So you wake up, stretch, shower, etc…and then you can be out the door to take on the day. Only, of course, after having a fat ass cup of black coffee from your favorite caffeine pusher. Then as the day goes on you can have a lunch to kickstart your metabolism and simultaneously give yourself a mental break in the day, but then it’s back to work. Then after the 2nd half of the day…well…that’s when DINNER happens. That’s right… it HAPPENS.

When dinner happens, you’re eating close to bedtime which is horrible for your sleep, for acid reflux, and supposedly your metabolism. There’s probably more, but again…this is a freewriting exercise so google it if you want to know more. BUT…once done eating, it’s chill time. You can cuddle, you can play a game, you can read, you can watch a movie, you can go for a walk if you so choose. The rest of the evening is yours. Morning is only a few hours away, but that’s tomorrow you’s issue…you get to enjoy a full stomach (which personally has always helped me sleep), you can leave the digital world behind, and you can exist. You’re safe now. The “real world” can no longer get to you. Put your phone on “Do Not Distrub” for that extra emotional safety. All your stressors are gone and all that matters is the next bite.

Yum. Dinner time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment