Taking Time to Take In

Lately I’ve taken to walking a lot more … sometimes for up to two hours at a time. I don’t listen to any music and I’m not talking to anyone. I’m just observing, thinking, day dreaming, breathing, and listening.

When I first started walking I’d notice the many people that would pass me by in cars, bikes, running and jogging. Many years ago I used to run and initially I’d get envious of runners and joggers easily passing me by. I’d think about the fact that they’d be covering the same distance that I’m walking in at least half the time. So initially walking long distance took up a huge amount of my time. But lately it seems to not take that long.

I mean when I walk for two hours it still takes up two hours of my time. But now the two hours just doesn’t seem as long, and in fact at times can go by rather quickly as I guess I get more distracted or rather occupied by me taking the world around me in with ever more depth, breadth and wonderment.

I also start to find the time to take myself in more. For example I remember sharing with someone how disappointed I was that I was turned down for a new job I applied for. That person reminded me how I was hesitant to apply for that new job because I was afraid of not getting accepted and felt like the new job would be good for me. I was afraid to try for what I wanted, but I had the courage to try and take there risk that I might get turned down. That person congratulated me for trying and taking a risk. And I paused and realized that it was actually amazing I tried.

And while I’m walking, it’s rather amazing that I’m able to walk for over an hour covering about 5 miles at a time, getting healthier and keeping fit in a way that’s puts less stress on my joints. I find I’m able to eat healthier and am slowly losing weight trending towards a healthier body. Doing this takes some discipline and is not a trivial act — I pause to take that in.

It takes some time and sometimes a bit of help from another to find the proper perspective so that I can take in myself. And when I can take myself in, I start to view the things that I have been able to do everyday as amazing — even things that I initially viewed as “unsuccessful”. Because what ever you did that was “unsuccessful” is amazing because it means you tried and the trying itself is a success. Take that in. Breath that in.

The practice of taking yourself in like creates your self esteem. It is the most fundamental way of self love. It creates your resiliency to live within circumstances in life that may seem unloving, uncaring and cruel.

The most important thing you can ever do for yourself is to take time to slow down and take space to take yourself in. You are amazing. Try not to take the things you are able to do everyday for granted … like it’s no big deal.

When you watch this video and listen to the words. I want you to imagine as if “higher self” part of you or the “better side” part of you is singing these words to you. That “higher self or better side” part of you embodies the gentle, caring, loving, honorable, and good parts of you.

Imagine this part of you singing these words to you. Imagine this part taking time to dance slowly with you. Giving you a breather. Appreciating you. Loving you like no other because in the end no other could ever be a better friend to you than you.

Take yourself in. You are beautiful. Your are amazing. Just as you are..

Click the link below to watch this video.

https://youtu.be/-PMmfqJu-xk

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What is Depression?

Over ten years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It stayed with me for perhaps a few months and then for many years was not part of my life. In recent months it seems to have come back into my life.

Back in then over ten years ago (around year 2005 and later) I’d been through many years of personal stress, so in some ways it wasn’t a surprise with the diagnosis. BUT honestly at least for me I found the diagnosis required my participation to come into being. You see the thing about any kind of mental / emotional / psychological disorder is that the diagnosis is very much a subjective thing coming from a mental health provider. And that diagnosis comes as a result of willing participation of a client wiling to show up and talk somewhat consistently with a health provider.

I remember many years earlier people sharing going thru a divorce or tragic loss of a loved one, or loss of a job and having “a break down” or a “nervous break down” which others later describe as depression. It made it all sound like a situation of just being “over whelmed” and perhaps needing to reach out by way of some kind of clinical diagnosis. But in the end there is an aspect of depression that seems at times hokey.

Someone says “I’m feeling depressed”. Isn’t that just an emotion. I always felt that feeling depressed was just a longer seated state of feeling sad for a long time. So if you’re feeling an emotion for a long time why is that a clinical disease or illness that should be “fixed” with therapy or medication?

I also heard at times that depression was more a deep seated anger at self. Once again anger is just an emotion. So if you’re feeling anger for a long time against self why is that a clinical disease or illness that must be “fixed”?

Ultimately, there is an aspect about depression, it’s characterization, it’s sharing with others and the participation with medical health care professionals towards a diagnosis that states that depression is a self inflicted state of being. And researchers had been able to find methods of physical treatment either through psychotherapy or psychiatric medication to counter the physical reinforcement of this self inflicted state of being. Psychotherapy helps one express and ease the painful regions of emotions while medication helps counter diminished neurotransmitter activity in the brain.

I’ve now come to see that depression is a defensive mechanism to numb feeling of things that have been too painful to feel. There are powerful and passionate life forces behind depression and in depression the choice has been made that it these emotional forces can only be endured through shutting down. It can be an energetic shutdown to encourage fatigue and sleep to help protect yourself from a tyrannical critical voice that refuses to let you rest and accept the major inconveniences of turn of life events that just refuse to meet your expectations. I’ve heard of some describing depression as a literally extremely physically painful experience. It leads to not caring. It leads to lack of self care. It leads to suicidal ideation.

So I would say that depression is not itself an emotion but is certainly brought on by very strong emotions. Depression is more the state of being and intent to suppress feeling the very strong emotions. I think though that there are many who through most or even all of there living life manage to suppress feeling many emotions who never quite get classified as depressed. These would be people who manage to suppress emotions and find mechanisms in life to function avoiding these emotions. But for those who eventually can find no way to avoid without it impacting on daily functioning life of self care, these people need external intervention to become functional again. It’s the need and the act of an external intervention to help someone who is no longer able to care fo self due to a paralyzing and numbing state of being that leads to diagnosis of depression.

So back then over ten years ago some friends suggested I get some help … and at times wondered if I was just a saint for being a very giving person to others, but at times at the expense of my own self care. Even a few wondered if I was depressed and that perhaps needed the help of some medication. And then I remember reaching a state of deep “I don’t care anymore”.

For me it was a kind of state of exhaustion where even if I was scared for my life about some some imminent physical harm — perhaps a car about to crash into me if I don’t jump out of the way — in my “I don’t care” state I wouldn’t move and know that the car would likely hit and kill me. In the state of what I would call depressed for me I’d just be too physically tired to move and my sensation of terror and fear of pain would be too numbed out to motivate me jump out of harms way. For me my definition of clinical depression is when I feel this deep seated emotional and physical state of “I don’t care”

I write and talk about this because in the last few months I’ve started to feel at times a bit of the “I don’t care”. There’s still a lot of vigilance in me to keep trying and striving. But that inner vigilance is creating lots of stress and exhaustion and ultimately intertwined in the creation of “I don’t care”.

At the very least I guess this particular blog entry describing a self fulfilling problem of depression is itself becoming the cure to counter the depression. And it’s the cure not because I’m going to come up with some ten steps to coming back to normal. It’s the cure because I’m willing to remain vulnerable to stigma and shame and share it and express it.

While I have done many things that seem very “awakened” and “mature” in areas of spirituality I’m just as filled with weakness, doubts, and faults as any one else. This is my knowing that while I’ve accomplished many things intellectually like setting up and maintaining several websites for many years, blogging for over 10 years and getting ready to publish two books that I’ve worked on for over 10 years — I’m still very capable of flubbing up. Things could take a turn and I may never publishing my books. I may become too ill and have to quit all my websites. I could go spiraling into depression and isolation. I could become just another homeless person wandering the streets.

For me depression is the area where I say “I don’t care and I don’t want feel anymore.” It’s the area that says “I wish I were dying sooner” because it’s becoming too painful and exhausting to keep fighting and hiding from the so many things in life that seem more threatening than physical death.

I think with physical death we all believe that it’s an impersonal door that closes us off from what we don’t want to find or be found by others. If we make the choice to stay alive and present in life, engaging and accepting what comes (even if it’s not at all like we would dream and fantasize it will be), we allow our selves to remain vulnerable to the unknown in the living state. That exposure to a rather limitless vulnerable unknown future in the living state seems immensely more terrifying than a final definitive physical death. The perception is that physical death feels scary because …. because well … it feels like death. Remaining alive to an unfolding ever more scary life feels scary … because well … if feels like were going to die.

There is an off-the-scale level of pain, horror, agony and unbearableness that we call death. It’s just that with physical death there’s a sense of an “off” switch. With the sensation of feeling like we’re going to die in the living state there is no “off” switch and it feels like unfolding living death just never stops. So in many ways the death in the state of being alive seems worse that the death associated with physical death.

To you blog reader … I share where I have been and still often feel this area medical scientists are willing to call clinical depression. It’s part of life or at least my life. I am human. I honor myself for sharing and bow in humble gratitude to you the reader having read to this point. Namaste.

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Found common ground with Stephen Hawking

So last night I ended up watching a documentary on Stephen Hawking’s life mostly centered around the book A Brief History of Time.  What I was kind of struck with is that I actually relate to Stephen.

Before I had watched this documentary, I had generally presumed like most of the media have concluded that he was a super brilliant theoretical physicist and also kind of out-of-touch with my world.  I may have seen this documentary years ago and not paid much attention.  But this time it captivated me as I started to see how some of my thoughts have some similarity to Stephen.  Now I’m not saying I’m anywhere as mathematically brilliant as him.  It’s just that where before I thought I was maybe 0.0000001% as bright as him — basically zero compared to him. This time I was thinking that perhaps I now at least show up on the radar and am maybe 1% as brilliant.  And to be true what I really mean to say is not so much a comparison of brilliance between me and the former Stephen Hawkings but that he and I bore some connection.  Even more, I’m saying I’m am more seeing how we are all really one or at least capable of getting to the point that we are all one.

Let me summarize some key observations.  The documentary talked about the fact that when Stephen lost the ability to write he could no longer use the normal mathematical tools that other mathematicians could use adeptly because that would require him to have a sort of photographic memory where he could write on imaginary paper in his mind and flip back and forth between pages.  Instead, he had to resort to perfecting working with geometric shapes, which I presume some of his assistants could start converting or confirming with more traditional equations.  When I heard this, I immediately remembered a time in advanced calculus class in undergraduate school we reached a section where we were expected to derive different forms of trigonometric proofs based upon a handful of memorized proofs.  I remember the teacher painstakingly taking many steps to complete the proof and then she illustrated the results on a triangle she drew.  As I started doing my homework I inadvertently went backwards.  I drew the triangle first and rather immediately the triangle completed the proof.  I then just had to copy the equations off each side of the triangle and it gave the appearance that I did all the hard work to memorize the equations and come up with the right steps of the proof.  I found a secret weapon to “cheat”  — except I wasn’t cheating.  The way the teacher and book were teaching everyone was rather hard and you had to be smart.  The way I did it was rather easy that a grade schooler could do it and not understand what they did but yet do it correctly.  I was rather surprised why everyone else didn’t see what I saw,  I roughly explained what I did once to my teacher and I don’t think she quite got it.  When it came to the next exam I killed the exam with absolute ease with so much extra time to spare.  That was so many years ago so I don’t remember to do what I did, but that memory connected with the idea that I could easily picture a triangle in my brain and from that have performed all those hard mathematical steps.

The documentary then described a mathematical problem that Stephen Hawking gave to one of his students.  The student described that Stephen Hawkings kind of already knew the answer to the math problem based upon his thinking using geometric shapes.  The math problem was challenging enough for that student to take a couple months to understand enough to work on it.  And when he returned with the solution it didn’t agree with what Stephen Hawking was expecting.  So Stephen assumed that the student made some mistake or that he failed to explore other parts of the math problem.  So the student rechecked his work but he did admit to not considering other parts of the problem.  So the student explored other parts and got the same answer.  Steve would then think of another part the student didn’t consider and the student would disappear for a few weeks to come up with the same conclusions.  This happened a few more times.  The student even worked with others to have a computer to solve the problem quantitatively and the computer came to the same conclusion.  After many retries, Stephen Hawking concluded he was wrong.

What this meant for me was that Stephen Hawking was in many ways a profound “daydreamer” thinking in high-level concepts about the meaning of life, what is God, how did the universe start and how will it end.  As he worked with these high-level concepts he was “cursed/gifted” with the inability to work equations the way a “normal” mathematician with working hands could do things.  So towards his later years, he would hand off mathematical problems to students and assistants to prove out what his geometric shapes already showed.  In the same way, I used my triangle to breeze thru one challenging part of an advanced calculus class, Stephen used way more elaborate shapes to breeze thru to conclusions left as an exercise for an assistant or student to complete to the expected answer.  Usually, the student would prove Stephen correct, but not always.

The end result of this was that the original theory that black holes are black was proven wrong.  The current explanation that Stephen Hawking had was that as physical matter is sucked down to an infinitely strong black hole at random moments some of the matter and anti-matter parts of the matter don’t always go down together.  When this occurs some residual radiation comes out of a black hole even though a black hole is supposed to be so strong that no radiation can escape its gravitational pull.

The documentary ended with a bit of confusion for me as to what the current belief of the universe is.  In one area Stephen seemed to conclude that the universe never began and always was.  But then he ends saying he still firmly believes the universe will end in a big contraction in maybe 20 billion years in sort of a reverse big bang.  But if the universe never began that there was no big bang.  He also started asking questions of is there a creator referring to the creator as him and what is the purpose of life.  As he continued I then felt much more capable of debating with Stephen as he was entering what I consider my realm of life thinking about the purpose, perception, and experience of the human existence.   Oh, by the way, I’m about to release my first book Spirituality for REAL: Beyond the Incense and Meditation which I think goes in much more depth into the realm of spirituality then A Brief History of Time.

I’ll leave one more note.  Stephen did also mention that he was seeking a unified theory that explains all things.  His firm belief that for such a theory to work it has to be easy enough for anyone to understand.  Somewhat about as easy to understand as Einstein’s E=MC2 equation. Maybe even more so.  He believed that if we had achieved this unified theory then it would be common ground for philosophers, engineers … everyone to have a discussion and understanding.  So in the end quite literally a brilliant actor in a play, an artist in a painting a child with disability overcoming a challenge, a dog giving you a hug may literally be one and the same brilliance as a Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein doing what they did best.

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Figured out how to make Word jump to end of lengthy document

Long before I was blogging I journaled privately.   I journal in a single Word document.  I’ve been journaling for over 20 years and my Word document is over 1100 pages long.  What I started to notice over the years was how long it took Microsoft Word to load my document.  When Word changed over from the “doc” to the “docx” format things really became cumbersome with Microsoft Word.  It would no longer load my entire document but instead load just the first few pages and would only load additional pages of the document if I attempted to scroll there.  It is Microsoft Word’s way of being a bit lazy thinking why bother making we wait to load all 1000 plus pages when I as the reader only need to see the first few pages.

That’s the problem.  I’m not so much the reader but the writer and I’m mostly interested in jumping straight to the end.  Generally, to jump straight to the end you’d think you can move the scroll bar to the bottom of the window.  That doesn’t work.  If you do that, it makes Word jump a few pages and then causes Word to realize it should load a few more pages to create the illusion it loaded the entire document, but then it only loads a few pages and stops loading.  So then you have to move the scroll bar down again to cause it to load a few more pages and then it stops.  So ultimately to load the entire document I needed to manually scroll continuously for about 2 minutes straight. For years I tried to search on Google for a faster way to get Word to load up my entire document or at least not have me manually scroll down for 2 minutes.  I never found anything.

Then a couple of weeks ago I discovered a better way!  After I had just loaded my 1000 plus page Word document I wondered what would happen if I asked Word to search for some text at that I knew was near the end of my document.  To my amazement Word within a couple seconds found the text that I was looking for near the end of my document.  Waaa Laaa, Shazam, aLa Kazammm!  Problem solved.  Yes!!!

If there was a support forum out there with an open question to solve this problem I’ve had for years I would get the satisfaction of posting the solution.  No one else I’ve found has the dilemma of editing a 1000 plus page journal in Word so I don’t think I’d even get any interest if I published the solution on YouTube.  So, for now, I’m quietly celebrating my brilliant discovery to a multi-year old problem of my audience of just one person.

Questioner: I constantly have to make edits to a 1000 plus page document.  When ever I load this document Word only loads the first few pages and I can’t figure out how to make Word load the entire document.  Do you have any answers?

Answer: I understand.  It would be nice if Word had a setting you could set to tell it to always load the entire document.  But I have a workaround that may meet your needs.  I recommend at the end of your document type in the words “END OF DOCUMENT”.  Then in the future if you end up reloading your document from anew, just make Word search for the text “END OF DOCUMENT”.   Word will then load your entire document rather quickly.

Questioner:  Your solution worked for me!  Thank you so much, Wilson, for answering my question.  You’re the best!

Answer: You’re quite welcome.  And thank you for the compliment and asking the tough questions.

Questioner:  Glad you liked my tough question. Hey seems like we connect we should get together?

Answer: Yeah?

 

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My Birthday and Past Two Decades

Little Willie at 3 months old

It’s 2018 and my birthday and I’ve been blogging here for almost 10 years.  So I find myself thinking about the past decade.  Few people know this but many years ago, in fact, 10 years ago my life had reached a rather low point.  It was 2008.  Yes, there was the financial crisis thing involving large-scale housing foreclosures, the collapse of major financial institutions, loss of many jobs and the start of a major recession.  But that wasn’t it.

For me my low point in 2008 was the culmination of the many challenges in my life that I have shared in Personal Journey, the Touch the Source blog and in this blog.  Ultimately, I ended up in a hospital for a couple weeks and followed up by several months of recovery.  I would describe some of those days in 2008 as simultaneously both the worst and best times of my life.  It was rough … I could have died in 2008 … but I wanted to live.

But that makes me look through my journals on another time, actually 10 years before 2008 … back to 1998.  Possibly that was the lowest point of my life.  In 1998 I woke up every morning wanting to die and somehow managed to pull it together to snap myself out of it.  In 1998 on one evening I took too many sleeping pills … and I remember eventually being helpless, unable to move but mentally awake enough realizing I might die and then suddenly realizing I did not want to die and prayed that I would live.  For several hours I felt like I was buried alive in a coffin, and that coffin was my motionless body.  For some reason today the physical effects of that incident course through my body.  I remember the sensations of being noticeably apart from my body.  I would turn my head and a few seconds later I feel my head turn I turn my head back and wait for me to notice my head turning.  As I write now, I can remember those physical sensations.

Move forward 10 years later it was 2008.  Like I said earlier in 2008 … I could have died … but in 2008 I wanted to live.  So unlike 1998 in many ways, it might be best not to call 2008 the low point but rather the turning point.  After that turning point, I found so much support come thru my life … but mostly because of me.  I eventually spent one birthday taking a workshop, which led me to enroll in the Barbara Brennan School of Healing for four years and then later continue on to go through five more years of personal growth in the Pathwork TP program.

So 10 years later here I am.  I’m much stronger.  In 10 years I started this blog, I became a homeowner (I always believed that was an impossibility), graduated from two different multi-year school programs, achieved Six Sigma Black Belt certification, studied and passed a brutally tough PMP (project management certification) exam and am getting ready to publish my first book.

When I think about my life one decade ago then two decades ago and where I am now today on my birthday September 16, 2018 … today feels like the best birthday I have ever had!!!  I’m so proud of myself.  Wow.  I love you Willie!  I love me!  I’m amazing!  Happy birthday me!

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Another Try at just Being Me in the Presence of You

So I’ve become much more willing to be aware of more things that bother me and have been lovingly welcoming them to go ahead and bother me while I observe curiously.  So I continue to explore what makes me feel insecure, lonely, and not connected with you.  …  Yes, I’m kind of referring to you, the reader of this blog, whoever, you are.  Because even if you’re not directly there in front of me now, if you were, there would be some part of me that would feel uncomfortable being in your presence, especially if I felt like I could not hold up my part of a conversation to fill awkward silences.

Last week I blogged about loneliness but more specifically for me, I wrote about the times I might have difficulty connecting with others in any social setting.  I first challenged myself to sense my loneliness or lack of loneliness in the presence of a local social gathering.  When I  started to feel I was pushing myself to act “social” I was able to pause myself and go back home to be by myself.  And then I felt a loneliness being by myself. In both instances, I felt a loneliness or that inability to feel as connected as I would like to feel with others, whoever they are. Eventually, I spent a few hours by myself hiking thru a small forest and found a deep state of connectedness … as much as I could want for one day.

Today I woke up somewhat early and spent a couple of hours doing yard work.  I showered up.  Then I thought what I might try to do next.  I felt that loneliness or separated feeling again.  I initially felt a desire to pretend I wasn’t feeling lonely and made a “legitimate sounding” excuse to myself (particular to my inner critic) that I have a lot of work to do to catch up on unreimbursed medical expenses for the past year.  It’s kind of like the excuse I might make in a social gathering when I start to get terrified because I’m feeling awkward.  Instead of being able to settle in my body … I say “well nice talking to you … I really have to get going … I’ve got to get back to some work … or I have another engagement that I’m late for … blah blah blah — BUT the truth of it, if I could speak, would be:

Please, can you help me to believe that I’m actually very popular and someone special and as far from awkward as I fear that I am? Please notice the concrete evidence of this based on my very believable excuses I am making to you that I’ve got places to go and things to do … So anyway … I have to get going even though I really don’t have to get going 

So bye  

… even though inside maybe I miss you, I am currently overwhelmed with my inner critic that’s more concerned with me not looking awkward and unlikeable … I’m also starting to realize I’m probably ignoring and not loving myself very much, so I guess I’m missing myself …  Please forgive me if I leave so abruptly.

All of these thoughts happened within a fraction of a second, woven into a usually inexplicable bad feeling.  But today I felt a question rise.  And that question was:

Here we are on another Sunday.  Why not try again?  Why not just show up, no pressure, no demands?  

I think about the social fears I have … but rather than approach it with a willful “just face your fear … just do it!” I decided to change the language to softer questions of:

Can I dare try just experiencing a bit more of the discomfort of social awkwardness?  

Can I also not have preconceived thoughts about how overcoming social awkwardness should look like?  

Can I just show up once again at this weekly social gathering and if need be — go ahead and feel awkward again.  And if the discomfort seems too much it’s OK to just abruptly leave.

At the gathering, there was a guest speaker.  What I noticed is that as I sat in the audience listening to a guest speaker talk … I had no self-imposed demand that I act all “Mr. Social” with others.

And after maybe 40 minutes of sitting in the audience of having no demand on myself, I was very much expecting to leave once the talk was over.  But then I was surprised to feel a desire well up inside of me to just walk up to a few people and just say “hello.”  I felt the urge to shake a hand or even give a hug.  I noticed there was something about me that was much more at ease.  I had no agenda but was just following that innocent, curious urge to just walk to people and say “hello” in as friendly of energy as possible.

So I did do just that and walk up to few people and just said “Hello.”  Sometimes after the “Hello,” there was silence, but it was not so awkward.  In fact, the silence was about as awkward as being silent in the presence of a dog or cat or being silent in a forest of trees.

I held no energy of trying to pretend to be “social.”  Instead, I held the energy of:

I’m so grateful to be in your presence and I might have something to say but I might not.  And if I have nothing to say and maybe at the moment, you have nothing to say we can be silent.  

But in that silence truly we are still feeling something … and when we feel …

… surprisingly one of us starts talking once again.  I start to feel this sense of much of me doesn’t care at all very much about the material value of our conversation … it’s more I want to feel your humanness, your ordinary mundane things, your loved ones, your domestic adventures, your hopes, your dreams and even your precious awkwardness.  Your awkwardness is a precious gift of your uniqueness and I welcome it with enthusiasm like a tattered delicate book with rice paper pages that if I carefully open will reveal such exquisite rich stories of love, life, and hope.  And because I can invite your awkwardness I can invite my own awkwardness.  And because I can invite my own awkwardness it is no longer awkward.  And rather ironically the outcome is there is actually very little awkward silence … as a matter of fact there is very little silence.

In the very act of being willing to sit in awkward silence, the awkwardness went away and the silence went away.  Not because it needed to or had to.  Not because being awkward or silent in a social setting is bad or weird.  It went away because the judgment that it is awkward went away.  I shifted my perspective away from judging it as bad and trying to fix it or overcome it. I instead softened my words and used “uncomfortable” instead of “awkward” and embraced it as a natural part of my being.

And so I found myself observing myself and liking myself feeling more comfortable.  I found myself marveling at how I somehow spontaneously became more socially comfortable.

I found myself so fascinated by the story you were telling me about yourself, your life, your brother, father, sister, mother, and others.  When I say you … yes, I’m referring to you the reader of this blog.  Today you might not have been the one physically with me but if you were I would have loved to hear and feel the story come thru your words, facial expression and body language.  You are so way more interesting than any movie I’ve seen or any story I’ve ever read because you are alive, living and breathing right here and right now.  You are beautiful.

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An AARP article spawned following question: If you are “spiritual” are you lonely?

I  found myself early on a Sunday morning reading the latest issue of AARP magazine.  AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons.  As a kid, I remembered associating AARP with “old people.”  So yeah I’m a member of AARP.  There’s still part of me that still feels a bit like I’m 23 to 27 years old only a lot more experienced and wiser.  And I’ve got a long time to go before I’m financially sound to consider retirement — sigh :(.

In the AARP magazine, they had an article that characterizes those of us that are in the 50 plus age group.  Some things it highlights are that most of us in this age group (at least in the U.S.) are happier than ever and are more spiritual but also lonelier.  The article also mentions how more than half of us in this age group don’t have a friend to reach out to in time of need.

Hmm?  I consider myself deeply spiritual … does it follow that being this way will make me lonelier?

So then I remembered my previous blog post where I shared how Mother Teresa described the U.S. as a country fraught with a “poverty of loneliness,” where many of us are sold on being independent, with our own home and family life apart from parents.  In our American society, I was raised to believe that adults that have to live with their parents for financial reasons were not successful. The belief is that as kids mature, they are expected to leave the “nest,” explore and be independent.

But then I remember reading how in many cultures in the world it’s expected that as children grow up, they continue living in the same household.  Adult children would grow up living with their parents, and grandparents.  Whether they got married or not, had kids or not, they would still live in the same household.  This setup emphasizes the importance and strength of family community over the need to look like successful independent individuals.

I was definitely sold on the need to be independent.  So I felt like I’d be crowded in by parents who would constantly tell me what I should be doing.  I started to think of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where the family certainly takes away a lot of individual privacy but also removes many instances of personal loneliness.  The bigger and nosier the family the less likely it would seem one could hide the bad times.  So that aspect of a larger family community seems nice.

So with that “Big Fat Greek Wedding” image in mind juxtaposed against the AARP 50-something group of happier, more spiritual and lonelier characterization a questioned popped in my head.

If you are more “spiritual” are you also more lonely?  

What if I lived in a “Big Fat Greek Wedding” kind of family and culture? Maybe if I lived in a European Co-housing Community there would seem to be less opportunity for feeling alone or isolated.  But I wonder would that mean I’d have less time or need for the kind of quiet self-introspection one tends to associate with being “spiritual” and so would be less “spiritual.” Instead of a special personal moment of glorious sunshine realized under a large tree would my days be too filled with social interaction?

I firmly believe spirituality is an important aspect of our lives we must increasingly consider regardless of whether we are socially filled or isolated.  The truth of reality is that there will be pain, illness, and death as well as pleasure, health, and vitality  — and so it is the spirituality that helps us make sense of it all.  But still, I wonder as I choose to take the time to blog by myself on the internet instead of getting out and immersing in people … I wonder.

Would I be less spiritual of a person if I had less alone time?  I mean doesn’t living a secluded life in a monastery make one more deeply spiritual?  Does living a busy social butterfly life make one less spiritual?  Even more directly I wonder if they run a bit counter to each other.  In other words, does “spirituality” help compensate for feelings of loneliness and isolation when we’re in times of need? Maybe if I’m spiritually “unawakened” but feel socially full, then my life is complete without any need for an “awakening” in spirituality.  Or maybe in the attempt to deepen my spirituality I might tend to isolate myself and foster loneliness.

Furthermore are the feelings of loneliness and isolation more to do with personal perception rather than the number of external social interactions one has per day?  Author and psychotherapist Robert A Johnson describes in his book “Balancing Heaven and Earth” of having experienced feeling very lonely when he had lived a life often filled with crowds of people, but feeling his most fulfilled and complete times in his life as a forest ranger while living in solitude.  According to Robert, loneliness is different than solitude. He is quoted as saying “the only cure for loneliness is aloneness.”

So today I first made a choice to meet some familiar faces at a local group that gathers once a week.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, yet I noticed at the same time where I could not connect with ease.  I remember many times in the past willing myself to socialize, meet, and just “network” with people.  This time I decided to back off and just sit and say hello only to those who walked by and said hello to me.  I realized as I was sitting there a bit intimidated at times (like I’m often at many social settings).

I was not fully present with myself.  I was may 10% present and the remaining 90% had disassociated.  To the extent, I was disassociating I was abandoning being with myself.  And this experience is what loneliness feels like.  And so that abandonment basically left me alone — or at least with that awkward sensation of the unfulfilled longing for connection and an inability to satisfy that longing.  The truth is that the connection I was missing was with myself.  So I was the creator of my own feelings of loneliness despite being amongst a group of people.

I then went back home and started getting ready for my first day back from work after a nice full week of vacation.  Virginia had left to meet with someone else so I was by myself and I strangely also felt alone.  But there was an inner knowing that I was having difficulty being with myself despite being alone.  And with the Sun out the temperature not too hot I started to visualize myself standing in the middle of a forest and in that vision I felt most safe to be more deeply myself.

So I drove to the nearest wooded park and within 5 minutes I was immersed deep in a forest.  I hiked another 30 minutes to a bridge only reachable by foot or bike and completely out of cell phone reception.  There were two benches both welcoming me to sit.   And so I sat and saw the rich golden-ness of the day reflecting off grand green trees while the water of a local creek trickled.  Time started to slow down and I had the feeling of being 12-year-old return to me.  I remember when I was 12 in  Summer camp riding down the Brandywine River on an inner tube wasting time away on a generously long day.  That felt so nice!

I somehow feel and hear my long deceased Mother talking thru the whisper in the trees.  I look up in the clear blue sky and I swear I see the faint image of two birds that seem way too high in the sky to be real … maybe I’m imagining.  I come to appreciate the wonder of my 1-mile journey into a forest of trees to a nearby large river and feel the awe of different birds, sounds, creatures, and sites.  Because I’m now so much in awe of a 1-mile hike near where I live, I’m now blown away by the idea of a man traveling so high in the sky (like those two birds I see) out to space. And for a moment while sitting in the chair I see how that at any level be it microscopic, in the present human scale, the grand macroscopic scale of our solar system and far beyond that at all levels there is grand wonderment infinitesimally small and infinitely large.  I see that all these levels are somehow all the same and connected.  And all during this time I feel more one with nature, earth, the trees, ground, air and universe and I just am me, only me, fully me, with myself, not trying to be more like this or less like that.  There is no loneliness. So in a course of several hours on a lazy Sunday from early morning towards the late evening, I think I have both asked and answered my own question.

Q: If you are more “spiritual” are you also more lonely?  

A: No

I am a deeply spiritual person and sometimes I’m feeling lonely and sometimes not.  Spirituality doesn’t encourage loneliness — nor does loneliness inspire spirituality.  Loneliness is more the result of when I abandon or ignore myself, usually with a harsh inner critic saying “you should be more like …” or “you should be able to do …”   I can abandon myself when I force myself to “network” in a room full of people in a cocktail party setting.  I can abandon myself also when I’m by myself at home.

And I find that for me taking a quiet soulful hike in the forest silences the inner critic that might say “come on Wilson you should be more outgoing and talking with these people”  … In the forest, there are no groups of people with which “I should” talk.  In the middle of a forest, I have a good excuse to counter the arguments my critic might throw at me.  My inner critic is mostly accepting that when one is 30 minutes away from “civilization” in the middle of a forest it’s OK to be quiet and at peace and there’s nothing to prove or hide.  And with that inner critic put at bay I can be more with myself and go into deep presence and ease with space, time and life. And with that inner critic silenced I can be more with myself and go into deep presence and ease with space and time and life.   And so deeper spirituality becomes a path to a state of being where there is no loneliness.

 

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Poverty is when you want what you don’t have

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I remember about 15 years ago hearing a priest read a hand written speech previously given by Mother Teresa.  In that speech she described working with the “poorest of the poor” in Calcutta, India.  And during that time she came to find the meaning of poverty.  She started to describe the most impoverished people being very wealthy and isolated.  She was once quoted as describing the United States as the poorest country she has ever encountered.  One of the most materially rich countries in the world suffered most from the poverty of loneliness.

A few years ago I recall seeing some documentary on happiness and what seems to make people happy and what doesn’t.  It certainly addressed the areas of how money correlates with ones happiness.  The message is there is not much correlation between the two, and in fact it seems you actually start to get less happy with more money.  One point in the documentary that seemed to crystalize why more money could make one less happy is the image of many of us pushing hard on an endless consumerism treadmill, constantly wanting more, the new thing, the next thing. And when we get what we want we move on to the next thing we want.  And I visualize myself like a helpless consumerism rat striving for the next thing that will make me in some way look or feel better. Some key things that seemed to be linked to greater happiness were things like living in shared living quarters with many other people, sharing chores and eating together, somewhat like a large family.  Another thing mentioned was that activities of volunteering or helping others factored in big to increasing ones happiness.

And  recently I discovered an unfinished a blog entry I somehow forgot to post 3 years ago.   It was like a message to myself that I was not quite ready to fully appreciate until now. That message was that poverty is when you want what you do not have.  For me wanting what I don’t have consists of feeling a tension and demand from my being.  It is a state of being hounded by vigilant thoughts of “oh no I’m late,”  “By now I should have done this,”  “I’m behind where I should be,”  “I’m so far behind,” “I wish I had this,” “I wish I had tried this,”  “I wish I had not chosen this,” and “If only I had more money”.  This state of being is poverty.  Poverty is a self-inflicted state of consciousness that one can choose to embrace or not choose to embrace.  That choice comes up every moment of life.  From this state of being one manifests poverty of the self.  You are unable to be fully with self because you in various ways feel “not enough.”  This poverty of self then creates the more tangible displays of loneliness, material poverty, greed, envy, and distress in the world.

Happiness comes when I can accept my current state of where I am and what I have.  There is not a wishing I were elsewhere, bigger, better, and stronger.  Instead there’s an acceptance, greatfulness, and embracing for where I am, who I am and what I have.  Because when that happens I also feel that I am enough.  And then when I can believe and feel in my body that I’m enough, that tension starts to go away.  I can start to surrender and feel ease.

The more I can remind myself that I am enough then there’s nothing to do.  I might survey the things I feel the itch to complain about … and I start to let go of those complaints … because mostly it’s rather exhausting and hurtful to hold on to them.  The urgency starts to drop.  If all I ever achieve in life is where I am right now … when I can savor who I’ve been and where I’ve come from, and the journey that I have traveled, with all it’s unique challenges — then I become successful because I am enough.

My definition of successful is when I can finally believe and feel that I am enough.  Furthermore when I can come to this state not so much as a result of achieving something but as a result of a choice to stop at where I am now … where I am at, wherever I am at, however I am at … despite how messy and imperfect my inner critic might believe.  When I can do this then I am successful.  When I can just stop running on the treadmill then I have successfully become me.  Each moment I can keep showing up in life as it comes, however it may come, I am successful once again and again and again … moment by moment.

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Had a Different Perspective on a Quote I had often Read

So I have several magnetics around the house with encouraging quotes.  One which I have liked a lot says:

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one … Elbert Hubbard

I’ve read that quote maybe hundreds of times and found it encouraging but maybe at times also a little bit pushy.  Or maybe just an voice inside of me with a critical impatient tone going “hey yeah Wilson when are you going to be less cautious and not be so afraid of making mistakes?”

So now I’d recommend a followup to that quote:

… And if you continue to be afraid … that’s OK … because there are no mistakes.

And so to that critical voice I might encourage rephrasing of a desire to read something more like:

… I would like to be less afraid of … but I am not able to … yet.

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Grateful and Appreciative of Events Over Past 7 Years

Recently I went to something called the Furr Festival at a local park. It featured lots of cute dogs a few of which reminded me of Muffin.  I also recently found a new job with an employer that’s much closer to where I live so now the possibility of maybe adopting a new dog is now opening.  I did bump into a 4 month old rescue dog that was Maltese and I swear she melted my heart.

But I digress because the real purpose of this blog entry is for me to start laying out events that I once thought terrible were actually playing key roles in my growth.  It started out with me almost getting laid off in 2010, which opened my mind to attending the BBSH (Barbara Brennan School of Healing) in Miami, FL.  Then I managed to stay employed with my first employer DuPont so that I could afford the tuition for BBSH as well as get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year that I needed to attend the 5 weeks of required classes per year.  It was a perfectly timed setup.

So I attended BBSH and met in person it’s founder Barbara Brennan.  It was the last time Barbara would ever show up in person, so my timing was “fortuitous” in showing up at that last time Barbara would have been available to meet.  Then I started to join the Pathwork program and received enough space to allow me to take one year off from BBSH — join back up with the school and graduate having the daughter of Barbara Brennan be one of my teachers.  I appreciate that closure starting with Barbara herself and ending with Barbara’s daughter.  It also turned out the year I would graduate became the the last time the BBSH school stayed in Miami which had been it’s longest standing configuration of over 10 years.  The year after I left, the school went thru large changes and downsizing.  So I’m so grateful I graduated BBSH the Summer of 2015.

So I’m grateful the universe made sure BBSH didn’t change until after I graduated. Looking back it also seemed that the universe also decided to hold off two other hard events from happening until after I graduated.  A few months later my dear Muffin died

:(.

Then a couple months later I got laid off from, DuPont, my place of employment of over 26 years

:(.

Those were sad and scary times for me.

I managed to find employment a few months later with a medium sized accounting software company.  Being a new employee again really put me under the test to really work out the agility and tenacity of my work ethic so that it became very clear to myself that I had become an employee at least worth my salary in the market place.  This I believe seasoned me further to more easily resign from that same employer just one year later to seek even better opportunities for me that were closer to where I live.

Now I’m working with a new employer — the 3rd employer of my career.  One thing I notice with this employer, the previous employer and even with DuPont before I left was that the new norm is that one only gets a maximum of 4 weeks of vacation a year.  In the past that would not have been enough for me to have been able to attend the 5 weeks of class a year for BBSH. So once again I am drawn to go to my knees and bow before the universe that so kindly offered me the final years of life with DuPont to have the necessary 5 weeks of vacation a year to attend the 5 weeks of schooling a year that BBSH requires as well as haven been able to afford to pay for BBSH and do this all before my life would get shaken in the few months after I graduated from BBSH.

Life has in the end been good to me … despite also having been rather scary to me.

Namaste my dear Lord.  Namaste and Thank You for the “fortuity” but even more Namaste as I start to see more of the “wisdom” of the scary and harsh events that have been sent  my way with timing so close in precision with my ability to meet them that it seem that they were in no uncertain terms NOT accidental but very deliberate, planned and intentional.

Namaste.

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Remembering my Baby Girl Muffin

MuffinFunnyMy wife found Muffin in 2002 at the King of Prussia Plaza in a pet store. I was kind of annoyed because she already put a non-refundable deposit down on a dog without asking me. Honestly I didn’t think it was a good idea because we were having difficult times and we did try a dog about a year earlier and we just couldn’t bond so we returned that dog to the original owner within a week. I harped over the fact that I’m probably going to end up taking care of this dog and not Virginia and I was already overwhelmed. Virginia insisted she would walk the dog. That along with the fact I have a hard time forfeiting a non-refundable deposit was enough to persuade me to bring home a female Maltese dog with an initial tag of “Honey Dew Mellon” on her neck.

MuffinToysWe eventually gave her the name of Muffin. Before we left the pet store we picked out her first toys. In the above picture you’re looking at her favorite spot to chill and sleep in our house. You can see 3 of the first toys she loved starting at about 2 months of age. She loved Mr. Blue Octie with his wriggly legs that she would flail back and forth in mouth while making it squeak. She loved squeaking Diney as she could talk to me with squeaks. She loved Mr Hedge Hog so much that some of the stuffing started to come out of the bottom. She perpetually loved these toys all the way to the age of 13 years 10 months.

I took her to obedience class when she was about 6 months of age. The teacher who was a long seasoned trainer of champion dogs soon became impressed with Muffin. At some point she said to my class Muffin had the makings of a “10” scoring dog (10 being the perfect score). It was mainly because Muffin had personality, knew how to have a blast even in the midst of our very intimidating teacher. I remember at one point our teacher saying to other students that you want your dogs to have fun when they are rewarded.   And while she said this all the dogs were sitting straight and disciplined wondering what to do with the reward toy that was just given to them. But Muffin had a “birthday” reward toy and she was flailing it around like nobody’s business having a good all doggy time. The teacher saw this and said, “have fun like Muffin … now she knows how to have fun”

Muffin seemed to not know fear. Not because she was “brave” but because she thought differently and didn’t quite understand why someone would throw a bean bag at her while she’s running towards them. Normally in the “come – stay” dog obedience exercise, you would have the dog sit across the room from you, tell your dog to run towards you, and then tell them to “stay” while simultaneously throwing a small bean bag in front of them to get them to stop immediately half way before reaching you. It was the fear of getting hit by the bean bag that would trigger the dog to stop, and when you associated that with the “stay” command they learned how to run towards you upon command and stop at any point you desired before reaching you. When I did that same thing with Muffin and threw the bean bag at Muffin, she didn’t stop but swerved to avoid the bean bag (probably thinking now why would you throw a something at me, it only makes it inconvenient for me to reach you), then she continued to run towards me and reach me.

I remember the teacher’s meanest, toughest and prized German Shepherd was lying down with his tennis ball. That was his tennis ball and no one better try to touch it or else!! Muffin, who was maybe 5 pounds, walks up with a bounce and picks up his tennis ball and the German Shepherds jaw drops in astonishment. Muffin prances with tennis ball in mouth and everyone else is in shock. She then walks up the back of the German Shepherd on top of his head and back down with his ball in her mouth. The German Shepherd is stunned that he’s been showed up by a tiny girl maybe only slightly bigger than his head.

I could go on with a ton of stories. I have tons of magical videos of Muffin doing amazing and funny things. I have endless special memories. I could go on forever.

At the bottom of the photo with Muffin’s toys is Muffin’s collar with her name tag she wore for many years up until November 10th, 2015 at 6 AM. That was about the time I removed the collar from her neck for the last time. Muffin was exhausted from so much non-stop labored breathing. My wife and I made a decision. I sat across from Muffin in the oxygen unit a good long time before I felt Muffin and I were ready. I communicated silently with my Baby. She no longer had the terror in the eyes. She looked very tired. At some point I swear she was telling me “come on … let’s get this going … I’m getting a little impatient … come on Babby”

My baby lied in my lap panting. With the first injection she calmed down and finally was able to relax. After the final injection she quickly left her body. Muffin was the best dog. She was my one and only baby daughter. Thank you Muffin!

I want to thank many of you who I had been able to share various parts of my struggle and grief. Thank you Muffin baby. Thank you Virginia for getting Muffin. And finally thank myself for being such a loving daddy. Knowing what I know and have experienced I would have felt sorry for Muffin not having someone as loving as me. So while she saved me in some my darkest times I guess I saved her or maybe even I learned more about saving myself.

Another graduate of BBSH told me that Muffin was another reflection of me. That the emptiness that I was starting to feel with Muffin starting to fade away was the missing of the mirror so that I could no longer find myself making me feel so cold and empty. When that was shared I broke down in tears as that resonated with me. But it also made me perk up because if that’s the case then much of what I love about Muffin that I think are qualities I wish I could have, I actually might have. I pondered that that bright cheerful Muffin, that really cared about people, that I longed to be more like might actually be me. That I’m a really wonderful loving person … wow. So I can thank and love myself too.

I will miss Muffin peering up at me thru my glass top kitchen table every time I eat.

I will miss Muffin keeping me company at times in the car while I’m doing errands.

When I’m in the basement I will miss the patter of Muffins paws on the hard wood floor above my head.

I’m happy that we agonized about our decisions at the emergency room. We deliberated independently on our own time, and we were there physically, emotionally and intimately with Muffin for many final special moments until the very last second. And even for many minutes after she left, we loved her limp body. I scan every nook and cranny of any possible critical voice that could emerge of “what if” or “should I have” and there are no doubts and regrets left. A trillion self-imposed inquiries of “could you”, “what if”, “but I wish” get no-where because they have nothing to grab on to. My case against my inner prosecution is solid. I so so so so so much love myself for that. I’m in awe of myself. I love myself. I’m so happy and relieved.

So there we have it tremendous happiness simultaneously coexisting in the same spot as great loss. The only regret is the loss. But in a mind-boggling way the intensity and pain of the loss is exactly the beauty and awe of the gift. How can great pain and great happiness be one and the same? Sort of makes no sense but that’s exactly what it seems like.

In loving memory of Muffin: Jan 2002 to Nov 2015

MuffinHedgeHog

 

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“Secretly” Having a Hard Time Adjusting to Time

LostInDazeA few weeks ago I had an opportunity to attend a family reunion.  After many years I got to see several of my Aunts and Uncles; then the next generation: my cousins;  and then the next generation: my nephews and nieces.  And I was aware at the time something in me was getting stretched and dilated across time and space. Part of me was maybe a three year old listening to Aunt’s and Uncle’s projecting me back in time.  Part of me was an adult momentarily being a peer discussing day-to-day practical things.  And then when it came to interacting with my nephews and nieces it was odd that part of me was still locked in my teens almost seriously wondering if I should regress in age and play interactive video games with them on their iPads and iPhones.  Part of me was not quite ready to step up to being their Uncle when I have not had the experience yet of my own children and while I was being freshly impressed with childhood memories of being in the presence of my Aunts and Uncles.

At my workplace I have gradually experienced this time dilation sensation as I’ve watched new and young employees suddenly age and become parents and mentors to yet another generation of even younger employees.  The thing is I’m more senior in age then that first round of young employees.  Even a few coworkers who have referred to others as “newbees” are in age many years younger than I.  And so something emotionally in me feels displaced, lost, forgotten and wishing time could recycle.

Even more recently I made an impromptu visit to the house of former neighborhood friends of my parents.  Their two daughters were there.  One of the daughters came from Florida for a visit, along with her husband and two kids.  Both of them I kind of knew from my elementary thru high school days in Pennsylvania.  In fact there was a time when we were all very young kids, we all stayed over at the same “Baby Sitters” place after school and during Summers.  I used to go to the same Summer camp as them as well.

Flash back to the present and someone asks how the kids of one of the daughters is.  Someone says 8 years old.  And then in the background one of daughters, a former schoolmate of mine, jokingly says I’m 50 years old.  Initially, I almost chuckle because obviously that’s a joke, in the sense as if someone said I’m 1,000 years old; yes I’m a vampire.  And then it hits me “THAT IS NOT A JOKE”.  It was literally my perception that made it seem like it was a joke.

My God it’s reality.  She’s saying 50 years old because it’s true and that’s because I’m almost 50 years old?!  Whaaaaaattt!!?

Yes that is true.  But why does my school mate look the same. Why aren’t we still in our mid to late 20’s.  The peers of my parents are in the room with me.  They still feel the same as they did when I was a teenager.  My older school mate feels the same.

As a “responsible” and logical adult it makes sense that I’m almost 50 years of age.  But honestly the emotional and spiritual parts of me really aren’t all there … or should I call it here because I should be here in the present instead of there in the past?  Honestly the sensation really feels like I’m stretched in time like if you were to approach a black hole and parts of you get stretched and compressed into the vortex even as the other end of you is still uncompressed.  One end is moving ahead 20 plus years rapidly accelerating in the increasing immense gravitational pull while another part is largely still stuck at the age of 23, another maybe 17, then 12, then 3, and then maybe 1.  …..

WHAT THE HECK is going on!?  This is what my body, and psyche is saying. …. I want to cry … I want to go back in time … I also want to advance in time to my 80’s … and then I also want time to stop still.  Now more than ever I feel I am rapidly becoming the entire circle of life from birth, thru puberty, thru adult hood, thru twilight and to death.  I am all of these at the same time.  It is weird.  It is kind of Hard.  I’m stretched and dilated across time and space.

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Pondering the End of Blogging

So this blog started back in 2009, now about 6 years ago, which really isn’t supposed to be a long time, but for me, and for those in the internet world it’s a long time.  It was inspired by a movie “Julie & Julia” back in 2009.  The movie portrayed a time period (around 2002) in Julie Powell’s life as she detailed her efforts during a personal project to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s French cook book.  She shared her efforts on a blog, which then seemed to get a large following, which then got converted into a book, which then became “Julie & Julia”.

The movie tickled my fancy to become passively popular while also making more money and becoming famous and share my thoughts.  I mean I’ve been keeping up a journal for most of my life, I was craving for some attention, and so what better way than to start to open up my journal, and be more courageous to share part of my personal life.

In recent times my blog entries have gone cold.  And so I see an end and possible moving on of a venture of sharing in my life.  A big part of this thinking is just how I’ve seen the internet, and the climate of this world changing in the past 6 years.

The biggest issue is the increasing challenge I see for one to maintain a blog of substantive meaningful material for too long.  When it becomes substantive it probably gets into opinions and views and gets controversial.  If you write a safe, politically correct for all global views blog the life, enthusiasm and energy goes out.  It becomes boring to write, and read.  And if your blog gains any significant following, mostly by the many automated web crawlers and bots on the internet, it continually endures growing spamming attacks, and hacking.

It appears that this activity sort of lead to a internet provider, who at one time was eager to have my business gradually, grow ever more eager to have me go away.  It seems my websites were getting attacked so much by spam postings on my blogs they were over burdening the tech support.  So with great inconvenience I moved my blogs to another hosting service several years ago.  But then shortly afterwards I got notices they needed to disable my websites until I got better security.  My blogs then required the security of difficult passwords I can’t remember and even then every few months my blogs endure outages from hacking attempts.

Most outages are minor and the hacking has never resulted in any permanent damage to my sites, but I suspect if I was ever more active in my blogs and dared be bolder with my sharing the hacking would be more severe and my sites would be wiped out.  I am realizing how hacking is the reality of everyday internet existence and it is well organized, and well funded by governments agencies, military forces, and entrepreneurs selling hacking software. All of this is a major and growing burden to wanting to blog.

Julie’s original blog that started this all stopped some 4 years ago.  I noticed she had later started a new blog but it looks like that blog has gone amiss and probably inactive as it was over run with lots of inflammatory remarks.  With internet savvy extremist, hacktivist and activist groups in play it also makes things feel just that much more unsafe to start sharing your self and be seen.

And when I started to blog Facebook was starting to catch on fire.  Now I see it in many ways the replacement to the blog.  The only shortcoming of Facebook compared to a standard blog is it’s not the best place to post long articles or share a chronology of articles.  But otherwise Facebook seems to be the best way to be seen by many “friends” for maybe a few hours, until everyone else’s posts make you long history.  And you don’t worry about someone hacking and erasing away your account — although I’m not entirely sure of the technical reason why.

In the end I have been recording most of my thoughts in the hack-free safety of my own personal journals, and often on paper.  I mean now I better appreciate honoring my own privacy and the value to my own growth to allow myself the safety of my own privacy.  But even more important I start to let go of needing others to see me to make me feel enough.  I don’t give away myself for a little more publicity.  And if I come across as ordinary to others, that’s going to be OK.  Because in the end the ability to be ordinary is rather extraordinary, because it’s the ability to be fully in my body just as I was meant to be, without ever having to do anything.

Lately I’m getting more and more glimpses of how remarkably fantastic it is to simply be fully in a ordinary physical body, feeling my toes, marveling that I can walk, that I can feel the texture of the floor and that I can breath and be tired and sleep.  Guess what?  Want to hear something really sensational on this blog?  I got up, went to work at my office, had a couple meetings.  I ate some of my own home cooked slow cooked beef stew … Mmm Mmm Mmmm.  I had a good day.

 

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Allowing myself to accept and feel my emotional pains

grimace_emoji

So I’m now surveying the past few years of my life.  I recall the times where I’ve experienced what feels like being emotionally “steamrolled” (at least that’s how it felt at the time) by people I’ve regarded as my supporters or loved ones. And I’ve experienced those same people come around to become yet again even stronger support and love.  And I accept they can change. We are afterall human.

I’ve experienced odd situations where say a large national business initially inadvertently mischarges me, admits it to it to my face, and only says that due to company policy they can’t remedy their mistake — almost taunting me to explode in anger — while another voice within me is getting ready to criticize me for getting petty enough to complain about being overcharged a few dollars here or there. And then maybe to throw a twist, a computer error happens and that same company maybe now refunds me anyway. Yet a part of me still feels inflamed wanting to complete a fight anyway. In the end it’s as if life challenges me to stand up and fight for my rights yet somehow also don’t fight too hard and take things out of perspective.

I’d rather just take one of two very distinct actions: 1) just give up and say “it’s not worth my time” or 2) say “This is war, I’m taking you to court!” I do not want to consider sort of an in-between ground, because it then it gets messy, unclear and even scary. I’m challenged to consider the in-between ground of not allowing my feelings to overtake me but also not disconnecting from my feelings. Taking this “middle ground” almost seems to be a willingness to prolong a discomfort that is probably actually more painful than I give credit for.

I think all of us at some time come to some nexus where it seems all of life is against you. It’s unfair, you’re misunderstood and misheard. And I believe to any unbiased observer they would all agree that what you are experiencing is completely unfair and unfortunate. And in these times you experience a pain. And I now come to realize how great the pain is. I am starting to come to believe that the emotional pains we experience in life are actually the most painful thing we could ever possibly experience. Greater than any physical pain. It’s just that in the emotional plane there is a remarkable ability to numb a vast amount of that emotional pain. And so in the emotional plane one can have the presence of the greatest most infinite pain we’ll ever experience yet have the ability to feel absolutely nothing due to the effectiveness of numbing — but in this state everyone can sense something is just not right and something keeps bothering you.

Lately, as I’ve been going thru the work of my personal development I’m constantly told of a commitment to feeling whatever I feel even if a significant part of that is pain. And so as I’ve matured I have grown to accept that pain is part of this world and it’s impossible to avoid all pain, despite how much I might want to. Furthermore, actions to avoid that pain, can possibly postpone the pain, but if pushed for too long will in the end create an even greater pain. So in the end there’s a realization of “I might as well face the fear”  and I might as well face the pain that I fear that I shall meet.”

And so I will do something with friends, with family, with a support group, with my schooling, and with the people at my work place, that will please some and simultaneously displease others. I will be exposed to situations where others will infuriate me, do something that is unfair, invalidate me, or completely disgregard me and I will feel hurt, maybe even very hurt.

But the key is to have the courage or rather the faith to know that what the others think or behave towards you will have little to do with you. But know that what you feel within means everything in the world. Dare you have the courage to sing your song and risk offending another’s ears or dance and find you unknowingly stepped on someone’s toes. Dare you take the risk of feeling the pain of the guilt you might feel as a result. And even more importantly dare you not pretend, blame or rationalize away your feelings of guilt, but dare you hang your head low in the face of your critiques and accusers, take it in the gut, fall down to your knees, feel low and ashamed, express your misgivings, and look foolish. Dare you with integrity and truth to yourself feel your feelings and name them as they are … and then with time … have a loving courage to hug yourself, kiss yourself, pick up the pieces and sing your song once again and dance once again.

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Why music from the past seems to be getting better?

LittleRiverBand2

So over the past several days there was this old radio tune playing in my head.  I couldn’t get it out of my head.  It was a song from either 70s or 80s that I can’t say I really liked but it I know it played a lot on the radio.  But these past several days it’s been playing constantly, but not clear enough for me to make out the words.  I could swear I must of heard in a recent movie soundtrack, but when I  “googled” it I didn’t find any recent movie soundtracks containing this song.  I could barely hum the song, and I really couldn’t make out the of the lyrics except possibly the word “Lady” or “Baby”.   So how many songs are out there that have the word Lady, or Baby or something that sounds vaguely similar or at least how many pop songs since the 70s have a 2 syllable word in it.   Oh boy, this is going to be hard.

After about 30 minutes of taking best guesses of the muffled lyrics playing in my head an internet search delivered to me the song “Lady” by the Little River Band.  And when I played that song I felt a sensation of going back in time, a sort of “return to the mother ship” sensation and so eventually I was drawn to purchase the entire album containing this song.  But even during my 30 minute exercise of hit-or-miss trying to figure out this song, I happened to run into lots of other 70s songs from the past on You Tube that I remember and loved or I never heard of but still loved.  And I’m not so sure why I loved hearing these songs, except that maybe they all emanated an energy of the past, of that era.  These were all pop songs that now seem like amazingly brilliant master piece classics of the heart and human expression.

A recent movie that made a big impression on me in the element of music from the past is “Guardians of the Galaxy”.  For me the lead character in that movie seemed to elevate the pop songs of the past to epic proportions.  It further awakened a tug on my heart strings and lifeline on Earth.

So I started to think again “why does this music from the past seem to be getting better with time?”  “why does this music start to feel more powerful and epic as if it’s a symbol of holding time still?” At first one might just state that any music that you grew up with in child hood would have made the most impression upon you so it makes sense that the older music seems more appealing to you.  Or maybe it’s just the number of times you’ve heard that song.  An older song has had more time to be heard than a newer song, so that also makes sense.

But somehow I feel there is something even more.  Or maybe I just need to concoct a something more explanation as to why music from the past is so powerful.  Here’s my current hair (I wish I had more hair though) brained theory.   Songs played over the radio waves will tend to be more potent than songs that aren’t ever played on the radio.  Songs left only to normal sound waves can’t travel beyond the boundaries of the Earth’s  atmosphere because the sound doesn’t travel in the vacuum of space.

Continue to hear me out (I think my scalp is growing new hair … well I wish)

Radio waves, electromagnetic waves travel into space and at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.  So that music that might have been first transmitted say in 1970 has been traveling in space for over 40 years.  Scientists would say that music has now traveled over a distance of over 40 light years, which in miles is over 235,000,000,000,000 miles away!  But there’s more.  Radio waves spread out in all directions, like how a drop in a pond will radiate outward in an ever expanding circle, but in space it’s an ever expanding sphere that’s over 470,000,000,000,000 miles wide.  In comparison our entire planet is only about 7,926 miles wide.

… So where am I going with this except starting to sound like the Discovery Channel ?  ..

That sphere of radio wave music stemming from the 70’s is now big enough to encapsulate more than 208,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of our planet.  That’s a big number!  Do you know how many cells are in our body? … way way less than that number.  How about the number of atoms in a human body? … still way less than that number!  How about the number of atoms in all the humans on Earth?  … now we start to come on equal footing.  The number of atoms in all the humans on Earth as of now would be about 235 times larger than the number of Earth sized planets that would fit inside this humongous sphere of radio wave music that started back on 1970 … that is at least as of the year 2010.  Actually it will take maybe 200 more years for the number of Earths this 70’s music will enclose to be about the same as the number of atoms in all the humans on Earth.

So my hair brained conclusion is that in 40 years that radio music that permeated my cells as I was born and continued to do so as I moved from childhood, teenage years, adult hood to present had also permeated outwards into space, leaving a universal “footprint” as significant in magnitude to form a musical statement of humanity big enough to hold a number of Earth sized spheres that is much larger than the number of atoms each of has in our body.  If we imagine this 70’s radio sphere was like a large living creature of which each Earth sized planet in it are it’s cells than this large living creature has more cells than the number of cells that each of us has.  These musical creature has more Earth sized cells than the number atoms each of us has!

But when we combine all of us together, as one unified human race we would encompass a number of atoms that would be 235 times more than that massive 70’s music radio wave living creature that continues to grow outwards ever bigger at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. But now that 70’s radio music and us are rather in the same realm of humongously large numbers, at an atomic level, and at a human level and so maybe in a “hair brained” slightly scientific view of things this is why I’m finding the music of the past starting around 1970’s resonates with ever more epic proportions, because it’s now rattling thoroughly in my cells, in every atom of every human being on this Earth based upon the testament the traveling radio waves of our music has started to impart on the rest of the universe, possibly already being heard by other life forms on other planets far far away.

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Once computer geek … now an obsolete dinosaur

Many years ago the “world wide web” was something new and explosive.  Back then it was cool simply putting up a website with the title “My First Website”.  In fact you had to be a computer nerd to get a website setup.  So for a while I felt a bit special to have my own website setup by myself.  Then over the years things got more sophisticated and computer nerds way more intelligent and nerdier than I ever was created things like lycos, google, wordpress, myspace, facebook, twitter … which brought the internet to the masses so that anyone with a few clicks can make something much more polished, useful and fancy then I could have ever done investing many many hours of my time putting up a website the “old fashioned” way I did things with my first website.

In fact I suspect most people don’t think of putting a website as much more of an issue than creating a brochure, or business card.  If you are a regular social media person using Facebook, Twitter, like to share photos on the web or whatever is in trend these days you by default already have you own website that is much more advanced than what I could have ever done with my first website.  I am now just an obsolete dinosaur in the world of computers.

I mean even this blog, while it might have a sophisticated layout look to, was created by someone else.  And all of the blogging functionality comes courtesy of an application called “Word Press” created by many other much smarter than me people many years ago.  The means of installing and configuring “Word Press” is certainly well documented.  There are probably tons on You Tube instructional videos one could follow.   But alas for my tired old brain cells I will just call my tech support person and hang and ask them to do it for me … I am now too tech intimidated and tech tired to do things myself.  My last claim to techno-hood probably ended when it was a useful skill to be able to program a VCR to record a TV. [How many of you out there remember what a VCR is?]

Recently I’ve been finding that when it comes to putting up a website, you can certainly put one up and walk away, but if you don’t bother to ever check on it say at least once a year don’t be surprised if it stops working either from the company hosting your website making a mistake or hackers vandalizing your website. My websites get attacked rather regularly by automated programs trying to guess my username and passwords. My websites also always get hit by a flood of SPAM comments trying to sell stuff on my websites or possibly to overload my websites.

Recently one of my websites seemed to be in bad enough shape that it took me several days with tech support to have them rebuild one of my websites from scratch.  I had thought hackers had successfully managed to completely corrupt one of my websites causing me to lose all my entries forever!  I breathed a bit of a sight of relief when tech support finally recovered my website from a back up file.

All this effort so that I can put up a blog, my online journal, so that I can share my thoughts with others —  I’m starting to think blogging is an impractical idea unless you’re it’s just a momentary writing fling not intended to last more than a year or two.   I’m starting to think if one really wants to journal your thoughts and want them to hang around for a long time maybe a blog on the internet is took risky. Maybe I should just stick to editing and saving my thoughts locally on my computer with a word processor.  Or even better maybe I should go back to using a notebook and pencil.

Oh, excuse me I see an image of me grabbing my cane and rising out of my rickety rocking chair.  Pardon me while I retire  my old and tired bones.  I can’t deal much with these new fangled computer techy gadgety things.  Just give me a place to lie down and soak in the Sun, listen to a breeze wafting over a meadow, feel the sand on a beach scrunched in my toes.  Just leave me here like a beached whale (yes I’ve gotten larger) on the shore, in the sunlight, to waste away in peace like the obsolete dinosaur, the tired middle aged  man that I am.

 

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The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

CuddleMuffin

So last night I retired to my bedroom on the 2nd floor.  I went to bed unusually early and within a couple of minutes my dog climbed the steps and popped her head in the bedroom and followed me in.  And then she lied there nearby.  I was a bit touched that she wanted to spend time with me rather than watching the TV that was on downstairs. ….

Then in the morning I struggled to wake up early … It was around 5 AM I was really tired. When I get to the bottom of the stairs I notice that my dog’s up, bright eyes and eager for me to take her out for a short walk.  My dog does here business on the lawn. It’s just before 7AM and I’m ready to get back inside the house but my dog refuses to budge but instead decides to stand on the lawn and watch some birds, a squirrel, and the sunlight glimmering along the dew covered grass.  And then I slow down and marvel at how beautiful it is outside. I feel a slight euphoria, it really is so beautiful and peaceful.  It’s nice to see the sun so bright this early.

I get back inside the house and it’s a little after 7 AM and I’m still really beat.  I didn’t get a really could deep sleep probably because I’ve been drinking too much coffee to stay up at work.  I go thru the zombie motions of packing some food and drink that I’ll take to work and I look to my left and there is my dog standing there and watching me intently with eyes that seem to say “I’ll stand by you Daddy … I see you”.  I mean it’s a look she’s given to me probably like any dog faithful to her “master(s)”.

But this time I’m in awe of this dog.  She stands there and does nothing and just that act while I’m exhausted early in the morning totally floors me.  I mean she could have gone straight upstairs to her comfy bed and go back to sleep, yet she’s just standing there.  Yes I’m grateful to her, but truly I was in awe and felt this urge drop to my knees and bow before my dog.

I think who does this?  Who is so unconditional?  Who is just so consistently and authentically herself no matter what and so fully present?  All from this tiny little creature who is so dependent upon us for food and drink and frequently does things we don’t want her do in front of us without caring too much what we think. And I feel in this moment she is vastly greater than me for simply just being there.

So for this precious moment I started to gather this appreciation of the emotion of biblical parables of how “the first shall be the last and the last shall be the first”  how the strong are the weak and the weak are the strong and start to feel the need to drop to my knees and bow before a meek but immensely loving being.  Truly I feel how “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth” not so much that the meek will “conquer” the earth but the inevitable truth, gentleness, patience and caring of who they are will eventually make all bow before them.

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Feeling my Mortality

WilsonPondering

I am having difficulty lately.  Or maybe I’m more capable than ever as an ever maturing adult but as a result I am somehow also just feeling  more.  I definitely have a sense of many layers of feelings, too much to process, much of it lately having to do with realizing that things seem to changing too fast for me.  It’s kind of mind boggling how much can change in 10 years – at least for me.  Or another way to put it, it’s kind of amazing that 10 years is no longer that long.

I look for reference points of what I see with my eyes and hear with my ears. My mother has been gone for over 10 years. My grandfather died in his 50’s.  Then one of my uncles and my Mom had severe strokes in their 50’s. My mother ultimately died around the age of 60. I’m turning 48 years of age this year.  The 50’s are getting really close.

And so this is a bit of a specter looming over me.  I believe I’m in better shape than my grandfather was, but if I wasn’t then genetics would suggest something like a fatal heart attack within 5 years was in the cards for me.  I thought about the fact that retirement age is typically 65 years of age and the possibility that I might not live to see retirement – and I start to feel sad.

I witness faces of entertainers and personalities in television, the movies and news.  They have either passed away or aged a lot over the past 10 years.  These are the faces that were the “wall paper” in my little shell that defined what my world was like.  I witness faces in my workplace that have moved to other jobs, have teen aged kids, and are noticeably aged. Oddly, when I look in the mirror I still feel like I am the same as I was some 20 years ago. But, a glance back to photos of me some 20 years ago shows that it is not the case – that I too have aged.

I witness how my little dog, who I’ve always viewed as a cute little puppy, is now a 13 year old “puppy”. In dog years she’s supposedly 91 years old. In 5 years she’s not likely to be alive. I’m awakening to the fact that a perception of my life and world that I had gotten comfortable with is steadily dying away and being replaced by fresh and younger “kids” that seem to act out the spots I used to be in.  I look at what those that are younger than me are doing and for a moment I could see myself doing those same things I did many years ago – but realize that if I ever did that it would feel sort of fake and empty as all familiar faces that interacted with me in the past have all moved on to the next stage of reality.

The only thing I can hold on to, indeed it’s the one thing I hold even tighter to is this feeling of internal love.  As time progresses I will as the Invictus poem describes: “be the master of my fate and captain of my soul” and I’d add furthermore that only I can be my master and captain, no one else can, no matter how much I might want them to be.  My parents will no longer be alive physically to provide that “home” I could run back to when things go wrong. My peers will no longer provide that reference of who I think I should be or look like.  And many acquaintances, dear friends and loved ones won’t be able to fill my daily quota for love. Because in the end the external love I thought I was kind of getting from others in the form of approval was really just me not believing that my love towards myself was worth as much.  But in the end I’m starting to feel and recognize the love of myself and see that self-love starting to be reflected back in my relationships and spirit.

Aside from my general and possibly increasing discomfort with life, the one thing that is definitely true is that I feel much more appreciative and grateful of the present. I’m more likely to want to let go of things I may have once demanded and accept things for how they are.  I’m more likely to savor and drink in every last second of the miracle of the sunlight.  I’m much more able to not want to be “special” or “better”. I’m more willing to exist in an aging body and just be “ordinary”

Whereas I might have compared myself to others and thought … “Oh boy that person really doesn’t get it”  or “I feel better than that person or “Wow, do they have major issues to work on!”  Now I am more often able to be in a place to just recognize that we are each on our own unique journey and there is no comparison and there is no “more mature”, “more enlightened”, “better”, or “smarter.”  There is just me and my journey and lots of other beautiful people on their journey who are probably in fact just another part of my personality interacting back with me. And so to build upon the Invictus poem, not only am I my master and captain, but I’m also but a humble passenger in this grand experience called life.

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Blogging is Becoming Really Technically Challenging for Me!

So I’ve been blogging now for nearly 4 years and the internet is getting more complicated.  I mean you can not simply put up a website / blog and walk away and hope that it stays up on it’s own for that amount of time.  I pay for hosting service for my blogs and what I had noticed is that the price for hosting steadily crept up.  Much of the time I was too busy with other things to pay attention and sort of just paid what I was being billed.  My latest host seemed to intentionally rachet up my price because they seemed to want to get rid of me as a customer.

They said I was putting too much load on their servers.  Since I first started with this hosting service they increased my price by 5 times!  What were they talking about “too much load?”!  I mean I type a blog entry at most once a month, I’m not selling anything, and few readers actually make comments.  When I asked them about their claim my websites were creating too much load, I got total silence except for an occasional email with words to the effect of “Dear Wilson we understand that you may not want to pay our high price tag so we wish you well … oh by the way let us know when we can take down your websites” — feels sort of passive-agressive customer service.

So I had a bit of lesson in boundaries.  If I was wealthier I’d probably pay their high price tag and “beg” they keep me since I was quite scared about the effort to move 4 year old websites to another host.  Instead I took a deep breath and slowly started reading tutorials about moving blogging websites and shopped for a new host. Too make a long story short … I managed to find a host that was 1/5 th the cost of the previous host and furthermore provided great service.  In fact they moved my websites for me!  But you know the previous host used to be 1/5th the cost and provided great service?

So the overall effort to conduct the website move was NOT TRIVIAL.  I probably invested a good 10 hours spread out over several weekends and felt like I had to make use of some of the best of my technical abilities having worked as a computer programmer for well over 20 years to orchestrate the move.  Now I have to admit some of this blogging that has become so technically hard might just be do to my age.  I mean I used to be a heavy duty computer geek, but for at least the past few years I’ve fallen out of touch with computer programming and my energy level is not as high as it was in my late teens and early twenties — part of the “tired middle aged man” thing.

So on November 1st, I celebrated a successful move of the old host to my new hosting service.  Whoopee!  Then in one day I’m surprised my hosting service partially disables my websites with a message that it been under internet attack.  So a light bulk went in my head.  This attack of my websites is probably the “heavy load” that my former hosting service was complaining about.

So my new hosting provider sent me instructions on technical things I needed to do to beef up security in order to stop these attacks and then allow them to stop disabling my websites.  These were things that looked technically cryptic and scary.  I mean if I did them wrong I could knock out my websites for a long time and if I didn’t do them my hosting service would continue to have to partially disable my blogs.

So once again I spent several hours watching training videos and doing some reading.  And now my websites are more secure but in the process I sort of learned that I had about 4000 people subscribing to my http://www.touchthesource.com  blog.  And unfortunately I think I may have deleted all of them as well in my effort to increase security — oops.  But then again I’m not sure if it was really an oops, because some of what I read suggests that it’s not a good idea to have so many subscribers.  But I’m not really sure … I’d probably have to spend some time doing research on that.

There’s the fact of “self esteem” that I have to admit gets a boost when I think about several thousand subscribers that I used to have and have now deleted — sigh.  In a way it’s like having several thousand friends on Facebook.  It makes me feel popular.  But then again many of those thousand subscribers might not be actual humans but computer programs intent on causing harm.  So I’m conflicted with personal emotions getting mixed in with an increasingly technically complex things one needs to due to keep a website up successfully in the midst of a lot of internet attacks on websites.

I just want to blog.  I just want to to share my thoughts and experiences as a middle aged man.  I’m just typing words — nothing fancy or sophisticated.  I’m just want others to be able to read those simple words I type, nothing more.  But this simple act seems to be getting more and more complicated even if I do nothing.

Does anybody else out there blog and I’m curious what do you think?  Is blogging getting easier or harder?

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What’s the Maximum Sleep Debt Possible?

So during the past few months as I’ve pushed the hours I stay awake I’ve started feeling a bit like a zhombie during the day .  I’d drink increasing amounts of coffee to help counteract sleepiness.  However, using coffee has only worked well for temporary boosts of concentration and alertness for a single day, but it has had a downside of giving me less restful sleeps.  So then I’m more likely to wake up in the morning feeling tired. It gets compounded by the fact that I often try to use coffee to wake up even earlier.  The end result is I’ve generally always get less sleep than I’d like.

But lately the coffee seems less and less effective.  I’ve been feeling a different kind of burnt out than I’ve experienced before.  I’ve definitely been neglecting my body.  This is what science would call sleep debt.  I came across an article that suggested that many people in America are regularly accumulating sleep debt as a result of working increasing hours.

So during the past week I’ve been making a conscious effort to reclaim what I believe is my sleep debt.  But what I’ve found is that one good night of sleep is not enough to eliminate my sleep debt.  In fact a whole weekend of sleeping late, napping during the day, and going to bed early doesn’t seem like it’s enough.  In my effort to allow myself to sleep more, I’ve been a bit disturbed at the fact there seems to be no limit to how long I can sleep.

About 10 years ago I remember one of my former supervisors describing how  his vacation was going during the Christmas holidays.  He described this as his first vacation where his kids had all moved away, and he had nothing much to do.  He found himself getting bored and replacing that boredom with a little extra sleep.  And that little extra sleep turned into endless sleep.  He was sort of glad his vacation was over to take him away from this endless sleep.  His conclusion is that if he ever retired from work, he be concerned he could easily sleep his life away.

So I started to wonder if there is any limit to sleep debt.  I mean lets say you routinely sleep one hour less than you need a day every single day.  That would kind of mean that in about one month of this kind of sleep neglect you’d accumulate more than 24 hours of sleep debt.  If sleep debt really worked this way then you’d kind of need to find a way to sleep for 24 hours solid to eliminate that sleep debt.  But say you never find that extra time and you also continue to neglect yourself one hour of sleep every day.  Could you accumulate several years of sleep debt?

If you’d accumulate several years of sleep debt, then it would seem you’d fall into the category of perpetual zhombie.  I mean what does it look like when you let your boss  know that you are taking several years time off and by the way also let friends and family that you will not be leaving the house or bedroom much for several years.  In reality it would probably look more like “nervous breakdown” going into a “catatonic” state or some other form of physical or mental disorder that would require some form of supervised care.  What if you lived long enough accumulating sleep debt so that you have more sleep debt than the remaining years of your life; what happens?  Do you die then?  Do you go into a coma?

There are some theories that prolonged accumulation of sleep debt is how Alzhiemers manifests.

I did some quick math to see how much sleep debt one could accumulate over many years of life.  According to the math, if I cut my self short of one hour of sleep per day every day for 10 years straight, I’d accumulate 5 months of sleep debt.  Hmmm?  That kind of starts to agree with how I’ve been feeling.  I’ve probably been doing something like that for 10 or more years in my life.  So yes it’s rather challenging to figure out how to plan to get back 5 months of sleep.  If I decided to crash out on weekends and put in an extra 16 hours of sleep per weekend, it would take me over 4 years of doing this to recover 5 months of sleep debt!

I wonder how much sleep debt is related to one’s biological or perceived age.  If I somehow managed to lose 5 months of sleep this year, would I look about 10 years older?  Would someone say “Man, Wilson you look like you haven’t slept for 5 months!” or “Man, Wilson you looked like you aged 10 years!”  ?

 

 

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