My Father’s Books

I always saw the collection of books growing up as a given. They were always there, so many of them, and they all seemed so interesting.  They were my Father’s books.  A staple anyways for the smartest man in the world, of course he had this many. As I thumb through page after page of my own books, thinking about where my interest in these subjects must have come from, it sometimes seems obvious. To me, it’s a thrill to finish a book, reward myself with another and dream of having row after row of books that people will ask me about. What type of man will I be when I have collected so many books? What will have happened in my life while I turned page after page and passed year after year? It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that the satisfaction of a life mirrored by rows upon rows of books was what my father had done. What does that same collection of pages look like to him? Is the satisfaction, I suppose I am assuming, really there? Was each year that passed everything he had hoped? I hope so. The room is physical and the two curious minds that gaze at spines are so similar, but with one looking ahead and one looking behind what does this room really mean? To me it is exciting and promising to look forward to marking life’s events with a title on this shelf and I wonder if that title means the same to him. I see Sagan and soccer practice, Robbins and Saturday morning at the table. Surely, the innocence of youth paints vibrant colour onto those memories, but it must feel so different to look at those books when they were part of a search that goes far beyond childish enthusiasm, a search I am beginning to understand. Did he find what he was looking for? Would he tell me if he didn’t? I’m on my own search now and the rows are filling up just same. Book by book I walk around and wonder how they will all fit.  My shelf must look familiar to him, he taught me where they go. It’s hard to know what titles to choose sometimes.  To me, mine don’t carry with them the playful past of his larger collection, but one day I hope someone looks at mine and sees Dawkins and family dinner, Coelho and telling me anything. I think it’s scary how fast my own shelves fill up.  However hard the search is that fills the shelves, or for each time it feels like the answer was missed, I hope we both agree that it was all worth it if one day someone looks at them with a smile and says “those, are my Fathers books.”

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Desire as Wishful Thinking

 

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What do you want? What is it that really puts you in a place to act, to pursue more or be better? Is it a person, job or status? I find myself wondering so often why, when I have such a clear picture of what I want, am I either not getting it or living with what seems to be the opposite.  I’ve done my personal reflection, I’ve spent more time than I care to believe thinking about what it is I want. So I’m here, I’m ready to pick up the ideal life I ordered. What have I missed?

Ironically, I’m starting to see that the unhappiness felt when you realize you don’t have what it is you really want, stems from a genuine desire to be happy.  It takes immense strength to stay away from something you know isn’t right when it carries with it a partial promise of what you want.  Isn’t some better than none?  Maybe I’ll never have, or deserve, what it is I truly want so isn’t it better to just take what is here, now and adjust my expectation?  Truthfully it’s tiring keeping the big picture in mind, it feels like punishment for having a drive for more. The grass is greener when the one watering it is indifferent.  We have to start a process of separating ourselves from what we truly know to be, not necessarily a bad thing, but not something that leads us down our ideal path.  The big picture path accepts no substitutes, and if you’re like me, you know when you aren’t on it.  Your sleeplessness will be the judge of a decisions role in the overall.  This goes back to being honest with ourselves, and the reason you can’t sleep is because you aren’t, but you knew that.  Hoping and wanting something to be the right thing, when it is not, will not make it so.  Harsh words that can be painful when you are tired of trying to do the right thing,  This is not painful, this is beautiful, it is akin to the true beauty of science because no matter what your beliefs are, or personal opinions, science is true. There is beauty in finality.

Sometimes you have to sit back and marvel at desire.  It’s persistence is admirable and I could learn a thing or two.  Desire isn’t always telling us the whole story though, it can trick us into thinking something is better than the alternative.  You may think you want to stay in your present situation, desire is telling you “this is what you want, isn’t it? It’s too hard to change now.”  Really you are handcuffed by empathy at the expense of a dream pursued, and this is a tragedy.  Frustrating isn’t it?  We have to push harder toward what will give us that deep restful sleep, so we can rest our heads on a bed made of integrity.  This is hard I know, this surely is work but have faith that this too, is growth.  It may mean that we spend some time being angry as we let go of what isn’t that bad and again suit up to pursue what’s best.  So get angry, be so upset that things need to be torn down, after the storm we will have cleared room and made it easier to re-build.  If our relief lay in a song, believe me I would play it until the strings wore through, but I can’t.  We have to work, we weren’t born into the privilege provided by the wealth that is indifference, we care, so we must endure.

It already feels a bit better being honest with ourselves, we know that this isn’t the place for us.  Always take a minute to feel the sadness that comes with letting go what we know we need to, after all it’s the fact that it makes us sad that makes us who we are.  We will be better for this, so let’s start to focus on that.  It is hard to give up what you have here and now, whether it be a person, job or habit only to return to the silence of the unsettling unknown, but imagine you became who you know you can be.  Roll the dice one more time for the chance to feel the vibration you have been tuning yourself to, the happiness of a life well done.  We are all a little broken, but we are not fully, especially when we stand together.  Search yourself for the real reasons you are holding yourself back, go back and take a look at how it started.  Continue, brick by brick, building yourself into who you want to be and know that you can push past the hard times.  Introspection will lead you to the trailhead and we will solve this riddle.  Just as the wooden puzzle box may lay before you in pieces, random, the key to how it can be rebuilt lies in how it first came apart.

 

 

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Disconnection: A Starting Point

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I don’t feel like myself, and I definitely don’t feel like I used to.  From the moment I get home in the afternoon I can feel it, the sinking feeling of a repetitive routine looming.  I have spent the entire day planning, and convincing myself of what I will accomplish to get ahead of things when I get home, yet when I walk through the door the struggle begins.  Wrapped in the web of procrastination and convincing arguments against action, how can I expect to get anything done?  This isn’t how I picture myself in my mind, but does the mind’s eye matter when action is what is quantifiable? Hardly. I don’t feel I am who I should be, but I think that is the point when you finally throw yourself into the world of uncertainty, when you finally decide to change.

So often it seems there is a disconnect between what we know to be the right decision and what we do.  It’s almost as if you can watch yourself outside of your body and wonder why, when inside your head you are saying one thing, your actions say something else.  Generally we know what needs to be done to become who we want to, we can see who that person is, but to provide the synapse for action it will take cultivation and consistency.  This would all be for nothing however if you haven’t made the conscious decision that now is the right time for change.  I have failed so many times leading up to now, only to look back later and realize it wasn’t really the right time.  I suppose a feeling would tell us when the right time is, but if you are like me, waiting for that fairy tale moment becomes an option no longer.  I’ve found that it is an irreversible situation, an uncomfortable bubble that is too hard to turn back from that will provide the platform. Trust me waiting for a feeling takes forever, but you can immerse yourself in uncertainty any day you choose.  If you don’t believe me try truly telling someone what you think about them, bad or good.  Situation changed.

So here we have it, we know who we would like to be and have placed ourselves in a situation to foster change, where to?  Stay here a minute, it shouldn’t be long before the waves of regret reach the shore.  You really shouldn’t have done this, it wasn’t really that bad the way it was.  Go back. These feelings are sure to come and are obvious in the more major life changes we go through. In the failed relationship that has to end but you just can’t, the dream job taken from you, the waves will come.  They may be less recognizable when applied to the smaller day-to-day changes that we need to make, and it can be harder to detect them, but they are to blame for the steady current that is consistently taking you off course.  You’ve started, that’s the hardest part (clichés don’t come from nowhere) now don’t go back.

It’s unfortunate that we avoid being honest with ourselves.  Here’s a great place to start, don’t.  How many times do we say, “I just don’t have enough time.” Everyone has the same amount of time and you know in your heart you could have done better.  So give it up, if things didn’t get done, fine, but at least start the habit of telling yourself the real reason it didn’t.  Start a new relationship with yourself based on honesty and realism and make this the jump-off point for the sequence to a new you. You’ll have to excuse me I have a habit of talking to myself sometimes.

I don’t pretend to have some grand insight into what makes the most efficient and successful person, obviously, but I think that if we know the waves of regret or uncertainty are bound to come why not prepare.  Could success, for this attempt anyway, lie in knowing your enemy and preparing for the conflict?  Each action toward preparation will repair the disconnect between starting a change and the continuation of it.  Anticipate some of the initial problems, we know them well, we’ve done this many times before, and think about how you will react when they come.  Have an answer for those questions and turn away the doubt that is sure to come knocking.

Think towards the future, what would it feel like to actually succeed this time?  Imagine giving yourself the chance to experience the grind, the sacrifice you know you are jealous of.  Feel the ins and outs of a dream realized and hang in there until you not only become what you want, but emanate the process for others to tune into.  Allow yourself the time in your attempt to create the laminar flow that will bring you from ideal to real, you’ve prepared for it now, you deserve it.  The more there are of us who want this, who attempt it, the stronger and better we’ll become. Let’s run together, we should have coffee.  We tried this alone and we keep starting over.  You know what, we have done great things, alone, but we could have more.  Things can be good, and sometimes we really need to be separate, but the big stuff, the beautiful I believe, will come when you and I collide.

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1,000 Steps


Having just left a meeting in which I, again, felt underprepared I’m sitting here now with, as is so often the case, more questions about who I want to be than answers.  I have left a different life behind, a life that was providing me with everything I needed to sustain the way things were going.  I had the money to travel, to eat and do whatever I wanted.  Why would I leave and willingly sign up for a year of struggling to make ends meet and be locked in these spirals of personal reflection that seem as endless as an ocean?  Sure, I wasn’t getting all of my needs met with my current, sorry, previous lifestyle, but who does? How many people do we know can say they feel complete in what they do, that it is a part of them that they wouldn’t want to change?  The fact is something wasn’t right, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but, if there is a feeling that will seemingly never go away, a recurring theme that is unavoidable, then change itself should be unavoidable.  Relationships, careers, a pattern of self destructive thinking, decide that change will happen and make it so. Easy.

To decide that change must happen is easy, we all know that.  But without direction you end up lost, and inevitably returning to the vortex that is your comfort in misery.  Decide who you want to be, without restriction.  Who is the person you could look at everyday with respect, what do they do? Who do they spend their time with? You may not get there tomorrow but with careful decisions you can find your way.

You already are who you want to be, the best of you, somewhere. We didn’t arrive here as a species in a grand single step of random chance.  We came to be through cumulative evolution, the smallest of changes either bringing us closer to who we are or farther away and eventually disappearing.  Mathematically, every possible version of yourself exists in a curious multi-dimensional landscape, and each small decision you make pushes you closer to one or the other, good or bad.  Who you are right now is a result of such a process, and who you want to be is there for the taking, as long as you steer yourself, consciously in every direction you go, towards it.

So who do I want to be?  I want to be somebody who embodies what they feel is important in life.  If I feel like education is important then I want to exemplify that in my day to day, in my continuous effort to educate and improve myself.  I feel that travelling is important, and I will exemplify that by preaching the ideas of sameness and connection that I believe are best understood by leaving home.  I want to be fit, happy and inspire others.  First, I must believe that sticking with these small decisions day to day will get me there, it’s hard to hold on to when you can’t see the end.  Who do you want to be? How would you exemplify that, and prove to people watching you that yes, I have decided this is who I am and I will ride out the storm that is self-doubt and impatience. A powerful statement when you truly believe it.

Let’s take a look at who we are right now, where we work, who we spend our time with and the thoughts that are bouncing around in our heads.  How did we get here?  The culmination of a million tiny decisions expresses itself as what you see in the mirror today, and just as that process brought you here the same process can bring you where you want to go.  We are lucky in that we can, in a sense, control our path to becoming our better selves.  Once we have decided who it is we truly want to be, we can’t just throw a penny in the well and wait it out.  We have to hold ourselves accountable to the bigger picture.  We have to decide on some sort of selection pressure that will gradually sculpt us into the right person for the job.  What does that mean?  Pick a goal you didn’t think you could achieve and get after it.  Tell others about it and allow the self-inflicted pressure to coax your better self from inside you.  Fail if you have to, but, believe that the process is what makes you who you want to be, not the end result.  A mountain climber becomes the mountaineer during the lifetime of training and focus, not when he places his flag.

If anything, ask yourself what is stopping you from going further.  Some people believe that they can’t do something, but, I believe what is more dangerous is the feeling that you weren’t meant to.  Life can do that to you.  You were meant to be the highest form yourself, in fact the pursuit of that very ideal will transform you and everyone around you.  The opposite is also true, not seeking to become your best, especially if you know who it is you want to be, will never cease to drag you down.  You will not forget about it, it won’t stay away and be thankful for that, you were meant to get moving.  I know it’s embarrassing when you think you have figured it out and it all comes crashing down. Take another step.  I know it seems hopeless after literally the hundredth time you’ve tried this.  Take another step.  You are definitely past the age for this.  Take another step, take all the steps you need because don’t forget you are becoming the mountaineer during the journey and what better way to take a journey than one step at a time.

I have given up what I had for an attempt to better understand our frequency, and I hope to come out the other side with a clearer sense of how we are connected. I can only do this if you are with me, will you take those small steps?  Will you embrace inexperience and failure for the shot at being the best you can be?  I don’t care how long it takes us. I hope we bounce around in doubt and uncertainty and find comfort in it, comfort in the process.  We can shed our inhibitions and let go of the ledge of our everyday, will you wade with me into what we thought was impossible solitude and discover that everyone had been here the whole time floating, together?

 

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Altruism and Your Everyday

We are different.  You and I are complete with separate bodies, with separate minds and have been influenced, irreversibly, differently.  When I started thinking about the person I wanted to be one thing that kept coming up was wanting to be a traveler.  Did I want the fancy expensive traveling spending my time in nice hotels, privileged?  Or did I want the photos I took to be on the cover of Outside magazine, boasting that traveling without is the only way to expand your mind?  I didn’t know.  I suppose the best way to find out is to go, just go somewhere.  Centred in my mind are the places I am going to go, the buildings I will see and planes I’m going to take, after all isn’t that the point of travelling? To bag photos of places to prove you’ve levelled up spiritually?  I was changed when I went, I have the photos to show you all the places that stole a piece of my heart, but, those aren’t  what changed me, irreversibly.  So often when we look to gain a more holistic world view and pat ourselves on the back as citizens of the world we say “celebrate our differences, it’s what makes us unique.” Not the worst view to have, in fact it’s a great view to have.  I still feel like using the word different creates an unconscious filter we could do without.  When I left for my first big adventure, what changed me wasn’t the altitude or the distance from home, what changed me was understanding (not just knowing) that people are essentially the same.  The people I met are what started me on the path of seeking a frequency.

We are the same.  You and I both were forged in the chaos of a newborn universe.  The parts that make me are a timeless mix of everything that has ever existed or will exist, and the same is in you.  No two electrons in the universe can occupy the same tiny part of their space, so when I warm my hands by rubbing them together there is a reaction, everywhere.  The action that I take has an affect on you and everyone else, and I am effected by yours.  Much more holistic.  How do we relate to someone we don’t know? I mean really relate and realize that we are wasting time, and halting progress when we have so little time to waste?  To see yourself in others and nurture the momentum of a deafening frequency surely will put us where we never thought we could be.  After all, we come from the same place, we come from an equation.  Variables aside, our order of operations must mean that given the sheer number of trials, ups, downs and triumphs between all of us we must have, at some point, felt exactly the same.  What better platform for an altruistic reaction could there be? Knowing that serving another’s interest is symbiotic with your own self actualization is key to going beyond what we thought was success, or happiness.  The closer we match our frequencies the more momentum we build, whether it is to pull our generation from a compassionate dark age, or, to pull yourself out of bed everyday (a perfect starting point). What if being pulled from the darkness is not necessary?  What if we are comfortable where we are as a group or an individual?  Should we not rally the collective frequency then to push? To push us past the wolf in sheeps clothing that is comfort?  After all, what lies beyond comfort is what scares us all, what holds us back.  What lies beyond comfort is everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

I’m not saying it’s easy to achieve this on your own, but, what I am saying is that you are not actually alone.  What you want is what we all want, what we need.  The better you do with your everyday improvement, the better we all do, so decide wisely how you carry yourself.  You are accountable to me, and I you.  We may not live to see the far reaches of syncing such a strong vibration but I’ll tell you this, without taking those steps, together, there isn’t much to see while we are here.  You’ve felt it, the frequency. You’ve felt it in conversation when you realize that someone truly understands what you are saying, they feel what you are saying.  You felt the tingling in the back of your neck.  You felt it when you sat at the table with your closest, and a few new people.  The music was just right and the food was just right, and for a moment you swear your hearts all beat at the exact same time.  You fell in love that night.

Cultivate that feeling, seek it out as furiously as it is looking for you right now.  Learn where to find it and tell others when you feel it, it is the greatest thing we can ever feel. What could give us more fulfillment then to know that amidst a torrent of radio waves, radiation and non-sense another persons beacon, their light has matched our own.  It has created a signal that will notify more.

Be aware of the feeling when it happens, be aware of each other. Be the compassionate person who sees themselves in everyone else and wants the best for them, because it is the best for you.  If you’re feeling stuck just know that the way out will always be waiting for you when you lend yourself to someone else’s need. Stop thinking so grand, it may just be a conversation, or a gesture.  You will know, it will find you and when it does be ready to advance the progress.  When the call comes you won’t be able to ignore it, the vibration is timeless, and the frequency is unforgettable.

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