Be you.

For as long as I’ve been alive, there’s always been some sort of difficulty with bonding with other people. Not like marriage or something of that nature, obviously, but moreso like a coming together sort of thing. I remember a specific incident when I was in kindergarten and my mom had tried to pair me up with a kid from my class for a playdate. There’s a memory that stands out in my mind that has the feelings tied into it. I even remember exactly what I was staring at when I felt it. I remember that this particular peer of mine not only smelled, but he bored me to tears. There was something so stigmatic about him that I just couldn’t stand being around him after an hour. So there I was, staring at the cabinet next to the fridge in my parents’ house, playing with my white Speed Racer car (one of my faves) waiting for him to be taken home by his mother. His name was “Ernie” if I remember correctly, but who knows…I was 5. Regardless, I would have rather played with my toy car in the corner of the kitchen than hang with this cardboard flavored child. Absolutely. No. Clue. Why.

Jim Carrey said it once, that isolation or “alone time” can become quite addictive. Once you become adapted to the quiet, the peace, the serenity…you just want it more. It becomes more and more difficult to share your energy with others. Even while I was considering hopping on Chatroulette to add to the YouTube videos I post Monday-Friday (yes, still), I was in no way excited to talk to any of these people. Why? Some of them could be the most interesting people you’ve ever met in your life, some could have a fun skill or fact to drop on your head. Some could be like cardboard tasting Ernie. Regardless, how would I know without talking to them? It was like I didn’t even feel like investing the effort right now. There’s been a morning full of communications already, but meeting someone new is like some weird gamble…like “roulette,” I suppose. Oh, the irony. You’re gambling to see if you actually want to get to know this person. Hell, even when I’m playing squad based video games I’d rather pair up with someone I already know or no one at all.

Wow. Why?

Perhaps this is one of the main reasons I can’t stand door-to-door interactions. It’s incredibly draining. Imagine Chatroulette but with interactions that can span from 30 seconds to 30 minutes for hours on end. You take on people’s bullshit. You take on a TON of their bullshit. Maybe it’s not even an interaction that you take on bullshit. Maybe it’s just an interaction that you feel highly uncomfortable with. Your energies just don’t match. You’re a nice person with a lot to offer and they’re a nice person that has a pile of bodies in their basement they’d like to show you. Either way, it can be draining just to get on their wavelength and communicate. I suppose that’s it…the difficulty of communication.

There are people that you talk to and you can have conversations that last hours. There’s no gap in the chat, there’s no drain on the social battery, it’s just an absolute joy to talk to these people. Then there’s people that love to complain, the speak with more slang than you’re used to, or you just have such radically different perspectives on life that the two of you can’t meet in the middle. You always talk in positives and they’re always telling you what not to do. Or they’re super judgmental and you’re not. The list of reasons can be endless. This is why being ABLE to communicate with everyone is important. To be able to get onto someone’s wavelength and talk in their language is a skill that’s worth honing. The unfortunate risk of doing such a thing is that you can lose your own voice and you can also become incredibly lost while jumping from wavelength to wavelength. It’s important to continually work on strengthening that voice of yours, reminding yourself of where the most genuine version of your voice exists.

Now, this doesn’t mean lying, fibbing, “white lying,” etc. It just means that in order to get through to particular people, you need to speak in their language. Your message doesn’t change, it still comes from the heart, but the language you use and how you present yourself has to be different. Meaning, if it’s a little old lady I’m speaking with, I’m probably going to watch my cussing and speak softly. If it’s a 13 year old kid, I’m probably going to use more slang and jokes to convey my message. These are the easiest 2 examples that came to mind, but in between these two is a myriad of other people on the spectrum…all of which are worth communicating with (to an extent). Everyone has something to offer. You may learn about mental illness from some of them, but that’s the risk you take. And that risk is exactly what concerns me.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the conversations, I do. But taking the time to consider how they would like to be spoken to is the real brain buster. Figuring someone out, speaking to them in the manner in which they would like to be spoken to, and how they’re most likely to understand your message is the real work. So, it’s never really been that I didn’t WANT to talk to someone new, it’s that I just know that it’s going to involve some heavy lifting. Is it worth the work? Not always, if I’m being honest. And that’s the thing…I want to ALWAYS be myself and just get the message out, rather than think about how to portray the message. I never want to think about how I need to speak to or with someone. I just want to speak with that someone. Unfortunately, we live in a world where verbal gymnastics can be a necessary evil. Dance, monkey, dance.

So to all those that have always allowed me to be me, I thank you. For all those that have never drained my battery, but charged it instead, thank you. For all those that have maintained their wavelength and allowed mine to converge with theirs.…thank you. Stay true to you.

Happy Friday.

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Rest Day

Stress is real. Its’ impacts on our health is real. “Desserts” is stressed backwards. Well, racecar is racecar backwards. So what?

We can give ourselves some easy on/off stressors to create the stress “response” in the body so that we’re more resilient for oncoming issues…but sometimes it’s like thinking that cold showers every day will protect us from being lost out in a blizzard. Those cold showers aren’t going to do shit when it’s 30 below and you’re waist deep in snow. Your sprint workouts aren’t going to help you when the cougar is 20 feet behind you either. There are circumstances that we can do our best to prepare for, but not always are we going to come out unscathed. Your hours of meditation practice is exactly that – practice. You don’t always know what you’re going to encounter, or how to handle it, until “it” actually happens.

Stress can wear on your mind. It can make you think things that are not even remotely true. While thinking those things, those bad bad naughty things that aren’t even remotely true, you’re beating yourself up, both physically and mentally. Before you know it, the beating that you’ve put on yourself is going to make you more susceptible to anything negative around you…including that pesky “common cold.” Gaaaaaaaaaaaahd damnit.

Last night, I felt great. With a surplus of exercise under my belt, multiple cold showers, healthy eating, and meditation by the late PM hours…the body felt pretty good. With a distraction of martial arts and friends later in the evening, the mind felt good too. On the drive home, the mind starts to wander, but is still quite content from all the productivity the soul went through. Upon arrive home and reaching some comfort food of SOUP (SOUP of all things?!), the body snapped. The congestion began, sneezing, runny nose, lethargy…all the signs of that motherfucking common cold. Knowing that all the ducks had been put in line for optimal health… there was only one thing that could be the culprit – STRESS.

Now, obviously it’s just the common cold. There’s no COVID, there’s no flu, nothing too severe… just a mild annoyance. In order to fully enjoy your total health, you have to have it taken away from you. At least just a little bit, anyways. If you’re always feeling amazing, do you even know what “amazing” feels like? If I’m always hot, how would I know what “cold” feels like? You probably get where this is headed, right? Right.

This could have been avoided. With so many people around me getting sick, I could have isolated myself in a room away from every and any living being. Let’s do one better…we could have lived in a big inflatable bubble so that way no one could even come in contact with me. Or we could live a life where we’re pampered and the only stress we ever endure is when Jeeves is too slow to get my caviar when I ask for it. I guess he’s due for a lashing. I feel bad when I have to beat my butler. How could you make me do this, Jeeves?

Now, we cannot avoid stress. In fact, stress is necessary for growth, for change, for development. Without stress, we’re going to be the same boring fucks we always have been. “It builds character,” I think my dad said all of once to me, but the stereotypical father said it daily overtime he made you do chores. Stress turns coal into diamonds. Stress makes muscle fibers stronger. Stress teaches you how to perform. Stress is necessary. Why it can drain us and beat our immune system is way too scientific for me to explain, but it does. Then you leak out of your face, blow air explosively and yell really loudly at the same time, while almost falling asleep 5 times in a single day. I’d rather have large diamond muscles, but instead here we are…. surrounded by crumpled tissues and drinking gallons of tea. Paradise.

To never endure stress is to live a life not worth living. It’s our job to manage it better, most definitely. But to know how to win, you must first know how to handle loss. This, my friends, is a loss. To allow stress to defeat me, well.. that’s on me. Knowing that I was under mental duress should have been an indicator for me to meditate more, to do some breathing exercises, to drink another gallon of tea. There should have been elderberry, zinc, and quercin in an IV bag waiting for me. There were precautionary actions that should have been taken in that state of awareness. Oddly enough, I’m still mystified that EATING SOUP is what set off this sad state of affairs. “Tom ka” why you do dis to me?

But like it says on my board behind this monitor – “Everything is opportunity.” This is my opportunity to take an evening to rest. This is the evening to work on regaining my health. This is the evening where we take some time to enjoy a hobby while wrapping myself up in 8 blankets. This is the evening where we can have tacos as we didn’t get to celebrate our Taco Tuesday. This is the evening where we can watch the Patriots game, sans the alcohol (womp womp). This is the evening where we can write down all the things we would have done, had we felt better.

The lesson we can take from today’s loss is that we need to prepare better when we sense the internal adversity. When undergoing an onslaught of stressors and you’re aware of it, it’s your job to nip it in the bud. Distractions are fun, but they’re not going to rebuild your energy. Harvard did a study and actually found that not only does the “wei-chi” field exists, but that on that outer shell of the field will be a layer of bacteria. The wei-chi field is really just the energetic “personal space.” So when you feel people enter your field, they’re bringing in both their germs and their energy. We can fight off their bacteria, but in Chinese medicine they would say to build up the strength of your field so that you’re able to handle others’ energy.

Yup. Take it how you will, but coming from someone that RARELY falls ill to anything, you’re gay. Sorry.

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Cheat Sheet, please

How are we supposed to be okay with uncertainty? I feel like I might have an illness but I can’t get a test until tomorrow, the next day, or the day after. Then the results won’t be in for a few days after that. How am I supposed to function in my day to day life? How are WE supposed to function? I’m assuming a lot of you function just a-okay when you don’t have an answer, but I seemingly love to let my imagination just run buck-wild. I’ll start to experience phantom symptoms, even if they’re really not there. I just start thinking I have it. All because I don’t have an answer, the mind will start to become some rabid animal that will eat me up alive or bite me until I have rabies. Fuck, do I have rabies too? I think I’m foaming at the mouth.. I’m really thirsty. SHIT!

This is the one thing in life we all have to deal with. It could be uncertainty of getting the new job you’ve wanted, whether or not your family is going to make it through a difficult time, or if you have some new line of COVID that was released this year. I heard the ’22 model is really popular these days. For some of these instances, we can get tested and make sure we’re okay not spreading anything to our peers. But then there’s other instances that you have to sit around and wait. Obviously it’s best to keep your mind occupied, but that’s not always easy. All of a sudden you start to think you have COVID when you’re sitting around and just finished lunch. My throat is sore, everyone keeps catching it… I MUST HAVE IT! Just like death, taxes… uncertainty is also a certainty in life. Chew on that for a bit.

If we always had the answers, there would be no excitement to life. That’s understandable, right? If we always knew the answers, the lottery ticket numbers, the “right” path…where would be the learning? Where would be the growth? We learn and grow through living through pain, through our work, through patience. That’s always been very clear. The issue that is wreaking havoc on my mind is, “How do we cope?” Do we stay busy and bury ourselves in other work hoping that our patience pays off? Do we distract ourselves with something joyful? Do we meditate on it and come to peace with the fact of “not knowing?”

I don’t know.

Well… that doesn’t really help. There was a book I was trying to read earlier and I think I’d finish a sentence or a paragraph and then my mind would wander to continually answer the “what if’s” of the situation. For some reason, my mind always wants to put an answer to a question. It’s not comfortable with having something being unknown.

Believe it or not, when I was younger I found great solace in math. Algebra, calculus, etc.. it was always a joy to solve the problems, to have an answer. There was something really calming about finding the correct answer to an equation. Not only could you find the right answer with no subjectivity, but you could also check your work. It was right or it was wrong… no in-betweens. There weren’t any uncertainties. Then when you’d write a history essay, well…some of your work would be up for argument. It would depend on what the teacher thought about the question they asked. It was trying to guess what their mind wanted to read. Fuck that nonsense. Give me some multiple choice or fill in the blank, I don’t need my over-analytical mind trying to figure out the teacher’s want to hear.

There was once a kid that I was in high school with and admittedly I didn’t know him that well. He was a year younger, I believe… maybe 2. There was one day that he was at home lifting weights and getting prepared for the next season of football. While bench-pressing, he snapped his arm. Just because of the weight on the bar, his forearm popped in half. Turns out, the poor dude had a really rare form of bone cancer. He died later that year.

Not even on his radar, no one’s thinking about it. Is that the way to live? To put all of that shit on the shelf and live your life? Just like winning the lottery, your chances of having something so rare are slim to nil, but don’t we want to be safe? Don’t we want to know that we’re doing the right thing? Does that mean regular screenings of your health? How many times must they stick a couple fingers up my ass to make sure my prostate is okay? Just please use COPIOUS amounts of petroleum jelly and let’s keep it to 2 fingers MAX.

I suppose we all have to find ways to cope. We have to do our due diligence and screen our health regularly by visiting a doctor (haven’t been in years), we have to check our habits to make sure we’re doing all the right things to steer the course of our life, and we have to get lost in our work. That could be creative work, physicals labor, or just even good ol’ fashioned paperwork. ANYTHING to stay busy.

Funny enough, I was listening to a podcast yesterday and the two doctors were discussing the benefits of the sauna. One of the doctors had been a wrestler, judo player, and BJJ competitor for most of their life…so to them, a sauna was hell. They said they’d rather put on sweats and go running for hours than sit in a sauna. The reason being is that they’d rather keep the body busy so the mind had something to focus on. Without the body being active, it’s just you versus your mind. The mind will work hard to drag you into some deep dark rabbit holes, both when you’re under duress and when you’re dealing with uncertainty.

Wouldn’t it be fun to just think the greatest of every situation? If you could just turn a knob like you do a thermostat. “I’d like to think the absolute worst of this unknown situation, please,” or “Let’s keep it sitting right in the middle so I can get a healthy dose of both sides. That way, I keep an even keel and our electric bill doesn’t go sky high.”

Wouldn’t have to worry about the bill if you could go solar. *wink*

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Finally at Peace

There was a man by the name of Zarley. Zarley was a 30 year old emotional guy. He seemed to have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I could never really figure him out, but I never felt the need to try. Whenever we talked with one another, it was about martial arts, purity of interaction, the ups and downs of life, and much more. He was one of the few people, albeit emotional, I felt like I could always have a genuine conversation with. He was never rude, judgmental, or condescending. Every time I posted something positive, he’d be excited about it. When talking about managing the asylum that is our minds, he was honest about his difficulties in mental health and was willing to try anything new to work on it. I saw Zarley a week ago and he was giddy like a school girl, unable to stop making jokes about anything and everything. Work was picking up for him, finally. He was about to drop a new album with his band that he had been working on for years. Zarley was about to have his big break. He was happy.

This morning it was brought to my attention that Zarley passed over the weekend. He had difficulty attaining his prescription of anti-anxiety medication and so he found someone who sold him some homemade “tincture” that was apparently very, VERY strong. His roommate came home from a show at 1am, Zarley said hi and asked how it went, then went back to bed. Around noon the next day, he was still in bed. His roommate, concerned that he had overslept, went to get him out of bed. He never woke up.

Every morning, I wake up and tell myself how grateful I am just to see another day. Sometimes, I sit and meditate on it for a minute, let it really marinate, but other times I just say it so that I can go about my day. I have 10 toes, count your blessings and get your ass in gear. There has been a weight of simultaneous gratitude to be alive and sadness for losing someone that can no longer say it. All day… ALL DAY I’ve been thinking about it. He was really making strides to improve his life… and it was working. How can we ever complain again? I’m sure he’s sitting above us now, just wishing he could come back and take one more swing at this thing we call “life.”

This has been a lesson to me in mental health. By no means was it suspected that Z had taken his life. Everyone that knows him believes that either it was an accidental dose or that it was laced with something. He mentioned to me that he struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD…which in turn led him to getting some street drugs to quell his mental problems. This is the world we live in, where people aren’t able to live without their drugs. Now, I’m not saying that he should have been able to cope without them…it’s called “dependence” for a reason. But what I AM saying is that we should all focus on our mental well-being before all else. If you’re not okay, you’re not okay for anyone else.

Zarley had just been reaching out to me about cold exposure and its’ effects on the body, how when you’re forced to breathe through the discomfort, you learn to handle your stress. I had sent him an invitation to a friend’s seminar where he teaches others how to breathe through the discomfort. Unfortunately, Z will never be able to attend and learn how to manage his demons without the help of a pill from a doctor.

There’s a reason why I make such an emphasis on meditation in the morning, occasional meditation during the day, journaling, vlogging, writing… ANYTHING I can do to keep my own demons at bay. Without these tools, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have found myself reaching for medication at some point. The problems get worse when you don’t address them. An infection won’t cure itself, it’ll only continue to get worse and spread without medical intervention. We have so, so many tools in front of us to plug up the hole in the boat. Cold and heat exposure, exercise, eating a clean diet, meditation, a good night’s sleep, reaching out to the other people around you and telling them that you appreciate them, journaling, getting lost in hobbies, learning new skills, creative expression… the list goes on. What really makes it difficult is how all your mind wants to do is sit in it. Your mind will want to pull you into a deep dark cycle where you become paralyzed. You’ll beat on yourself for not doing anything, then when you do something it’s “shit.” It feels like there’s a never-ending battle.

And you know what? It IS a never-ending battle. It’s a war. It’s a war filled with daily battles that you have to fight. If you let it win once, it gains strength. It’s your job, the conscious mind, to quiet it by doing the work anyways. Who gives a fuck whether it’s “good” or “bad”…just do it and fall in love with the process. Let it help heal you. But you have to do something. Anything (natural) is better than nothing

And for fucks sake, if you run out of medication, never replace it with an unlabeled drug off the street.. Someone dealing street ANXIETY MEDICATION has no incentive for you to get better, they just need to peddle their poison so they can make a living. You’re putting your life in jeopardy by trusting someone with a pill or a tincture that hasn’t been tested in a lab. You can survive a week or two without your anxiety medication, I promise you that. Sure, it’ll be mental hell for you and those that love you…but at least you’ll be alive to endure it. Without the bad times, there can be no good times.

There’s moments in your life that you feel numb. What an oxymoron – feeling numb, but that’s how this entire situation feels. It’s been a while since someone I talked to on a semi-daily basis passed. This post is meant to be a reminder to both you and me that life is fragile. An act as simple as self-medicating gone wrong…and you’ll never wake up. Be grateful and feel blessed that you woke up today…and every day. One day, you won’t.


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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.

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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!

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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.”


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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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