Thursday, May 31, 2012


There have been many instances in my life when I have relied heavily upon my faith.  My faith has carried me through loss, tragedy, and hardship, and some days my faith is all that gets me out of bed.  That's not to say I have never suffered a crisis of faith.  Quite the contrary.  There was a point in my life when I lost my faith altogether.  During that time, I learned a lot about Buddhism, and found that by applying Buddhist practices and concepts to my life, I was a better Christian.  These days, I follow the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus Christ, both bodhisattvas in their own right, to help me through.  I do not worship the Buddha, I am simply and deeply grateful for his teachings and guidance.

In following the Buddhist path to enlightenment, the first things I learned were the Four Noble Truths:
1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering.

That path is called the Eight-Fold Path:
1. Right View - To realize the Four Noble Truths;
2. Right Intention - Commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement;
3. Right Speech - Do not lie, slander, or engage in meaningless, idle chatter;
4. Right Action - Don't steal or harm sentient beings and abstain from sexual misconduct;
5. Right Livelihood - Earn one's living in a righteous way, legally, ethically, peacefully;
6. Right Effort - Use your energy for positive change, not negative change;
7. Right Mindfulness - Actively observe and control the direction one's thoughts take;
8. Right Concentration - Concentrate on wholesome thoughts and actions, one at a time.

Right now, I am working on Right Intention and making changes in my life that will help me continue my self-improvement.  In the past, I worked on improving myself because I thought if I was a better person, better things would happen to me, that if I followed the path, it would lead me to fortune.  Even now, it may seem that all this is leading up to some monumental gain, and that I am simply following the rules until I hit the jackpot.  In a sense, I am, but not for what I hope to gain.  Now I am working to be a better person simply for the sake of being a better person.  For nothing tangible nor of monetary value, but for that which is invaluable to me:

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
 -Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's been a hard day.

Spent most of the day scared and crying.  The future is a terrifying thing, so full of uncertainty...
I've always found that to conquer your fears, they must first be understood.

What am I afraid of?
-Being alone
-Losing everything

aaaand, DISCUSS.

Being alone: Right now, ALL I WANT IS TO BE ALONE.  I might even become a hermit.  For a while.  However, I do worry that I will never find a mate I am happy with.

Failure: Being unable to support myself, unable to afford a boat, unable to do anything, forced to move in with my mom.

Losing everything: An odd fear, since part of the master plan is to GET RID OF EVERYTHING, but nonetheless, I am still afraid of it.

Regret: Here's the big one.  I am so very afraid that I have made a decision I will regret for the rest of my life.

I need to work on letting go... of possessions, of regret, of fear.


It has been a busy weekend, to say the least.  I have an interview tomorrow morning that could really change things for me financially.  It's a work-from-home position with decent pay, good benefits, and some nice perks.  I'm really looking forward to it, as it will (hopefully) give me enough income to live on my own.

On Saturday, I told my wife that I am leaving.  We had a good run. 8 years is nothing to sneeze at, but some things just can't be fixed once they are broken.  I am far beyond placing blame at this point. We have both said and done things that hurt the other person, and after months (years) of trying to figure things out and fix them, I just can't do it anymore.  It's not that I think what we had isn't worth saving, it's that it's gone and can't be saved.  I'm not sure if she can see the difference right now, but hopefully someday she will.  We are planning on keeping this quiet for a while while we figure some things out. We are also planning to continue living together through the summer so we can each create a financial buffer for when we go our separate ways.  It is difficult for both of us, but I hope we will be able to remain friends and move on to greater things.  Even though it hurts, I feel like I made the right decision.  I feel like I can breathe again.

Sometimes, change is easy.  Sometimes.

It is time for me to lay down some plans, so here's a rough outline:

-take a deep breath
-collect pain & suffering settlement
-collect lost wages settlement
-work my butt off
-save every spare penny I can
-take a deep breath
-sell most of my stuff
-store some of my stuff
-pack a little of my stuff
-cry some more
-buy a reasonably sized sailboat with full galley and head for as little as possible
-move aboard aforementioned sailboat in a reasonably priced marina
-learn all I can about maintaining, upgrading, and sailing aforementioned boat
-work my butt off from the boat
-take a deep breath
-hopefully stop crying
-start living.

*deep breath*

Keep on truckin', kiddo, and keep the dirty side down.  You've got this.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A goal without a plan is just an idea...

Physical therapy is kicking my... neck.  Since I'm feeling pretty cruddy today, I thought I'd make a list of things I want to do someday.  A bucket list?

Learn to play flamenco guitar.

Speak Spanish fluently. Again.

Learn to play the banjo.

Buy a sailboat.

Learn to sail.

Sail back to Dutch Harbor.

Sail south along the west coast, around Cape Horn, north along the eastern coast of South America, through the Panama Canal, and north along the west coast to home.

Get to my goal weight.

Learn to SCUBA dive.

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Patience & letting go...

Today, I feel like the universe is conspiring against me.  I feel like so much has gone wrong since my birthday, and things just keep going wrong.  At times, I wonder if I really have THAT MUCH karmic debt.  I have not been a wonderful person, so it's certainly possible.  I try to make amends when and where I can, but maybe it's not enough?

But that is the negative point of view.  Maybe the universe is trying to TEACH me something, and I just haven't gotten the message yet.

Patience has never been my forte, and although I have grown a lot in that area, sometimes I still struggle, especially when it comes to instant gratification.  I am having a hard time waiting for Enterprise to call me back about the job I applied for, and last night, I applied for a loan to hopefully make things happen faster.  My loan application was denied, and that's a good thing.  I don't need more debt, and I need to learn to live within my  means... and that means learning to let go.

I thought that letting go would be much easier than it is turning out to be.  Letting go of the desire for things to happen RIGHT NOW has proven to be one of the most difficult.  Let go and let God.  One day at a time.  Guess I actually learned something from all those AA meetings.  Letting go of my possessions is becoming a challenge as well.  Not for most things, but some things with sentimental value, especially things from my grandparents and great-grandparents.  I have been trying to figure out how to let these things go.  Perhaps give them to someone in the family who will cherish them as much as I do?  Keep a couple things out of a collection and let go of the rest?  Take pictures?  Just put them in storage?

The one thing that is the most difficult to let go of is my fear.  Fear of what my family will think, fear of losing people I care about, fear of spending my life alone, fear of failure... even fear of success, because succeeding means changing my entire life... means forging ahead into uncharted waters... means my life will never be the same.

So, universe, are you trying to teach me patience? Are you trying to show me that the path to my dreams winds its way past my attachments, leaving them behind as I strive towards my goal, or just that there is still a lot of work to be done?  The only way to find out is to be patient and see what happens.  Guess I have my answer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What is the point?


Now that I have some time to myself, I can expound my previous post.

Last night, I experienced a moment of clarity that was unlike anything I had ever felt.  I felt as though, for a brief moment,  I could see how perfect everything was, and like my previous post states, I tilted my head back and laughed at the sky.  Well, the ceiling, but you get the point.  For the first time, it was though all the fog cleared, and I could see IT for the first time.  What exactly IT is, I don't think I can explain.  Perhaps IT is my future, perhaps IT is my dream, or perhaps IT is my path.

The only way I can think to describe it is this:
Imagine you are driving to the coast for the first time in years.  Academically, you know what it looks like - it's an ocean, but you can't quite remember what it actually looks like.
After driving in the rain for hours, you come to the place where you can see the ocean for the first time, peeking through the trees.  A glimpse here, a glimpse there, but never quite enough.  Then, all of a sudden, you drive around a bend, the rain stops, the sun begins to shine, and THERE IT IS.  Glorious.  Breathtaking in its magnificent simplicity.  The very sight of it fills you with ecstatic joy and peace all at the same time.

The epiphany I had last night, if I were to compare it to an algebraic equation, wasn't a piercing moment of clarity regarding the solution, nor was it about the equation itself.  It was X. The great unknown variable.  It was so very simple, and it had been there all the time.

And I tilted my head back and laughed at the sky.

I get it now.

Life is good.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I finally get it...

"When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky."
-Buddhist quote

Thought for the day...

The time has come to stop doubting myself and stop letting other people dictate the way I live my life.

Saturday, May 19, 2012




Today I was supposed to ride my first century ride, but since I sprained my shoulder in the accident, I had to cancel.  Instead, I had coffee with a friend, and was left with a lot to think about...

I am a meaning machine. I make meaning.
My life is empty and meaningless.
My life is an empty vessel, waiting to be filled with the meanings I create.

Currently, life as I see it is distorted by the many influencing experiences I have had, as though each experience is a set of lenses through which I view myself, others, and, in turn, my life:

-Growing up as an only child has left me feeling like I am alone, without community.

-The nicknames given to me by my parents as a child (uglybug, marshmallow, ug) have left me feeling like I will never be beautiful or desirable.

-Growing up in a home riddled with fear and abuse, both verbal and emotional, has left me hesitant to create strong emotional bonds with others, and led me to abusive relationships later in life.  This has exacerbated the feeling that I am alone in the world.

-Having a father who used to be abusive towards my mom and me, who had anger control issues, and who devalues the things I hold dear, does not keep his promises, and does not make an effort to express positive attitudes towards me has made it extremely hard for me to trust men.  This is a huge can of worms that has never been fully opened.  My therapist will make a lot of money off my daddy issues.

-The death of my sister (as well as my grammy and all the others, but mostly my sister) has left me with an underlying attitude/thought stream/script that nothing really matters, you can't take it with you, we are all going to die anyway, so what's the point?

Remove the lenses of influence, let go of the past.  Only then can you truly move forward.

If you peel away your fears, you are left with only the self.

My choices are mine to make, no one else's.  I can choose what I wish, but must own my choices.  In order for my choices to be truly mine, must they be free from the influences of the past? From the influences of others?

Friday, May 18, 2012


Lying on the couch, under the influence of vicodin (legally prescribed!) is the perfect time to ponder my dreams.  
What would my ideal life look like?
Forget the influences of friends, family, society...
Throw away social norms, ignore imagined boundaries...

The life I've only dreamed of:


Follow my insatiable thirst for knowledge and voracious appetite for adventure
Live a life less ordinary

Live simply, without so many attachments
More time doing things that mean something, less time watching tv
Be able to wake up and think "Hell yes, this is my life, and it's fucking amazing."
Buck the system, lose the 9 to 5
Eat well
Free from obligations
Answer to no one but myself
Be able to just enjoy being alive

How do I achieve this?

Get rid of almost everything - pare down to bare necessities, downsize what I keep
Get a different job - flexible, mobile, atypical
Fly solo - sever attachments and obligations
Live cheap - low rent, few or no extra services
Live my mantra - Do the crazy thing, the abnormal thing, the weird thing.

Sounds like a lot of work.  Bring it on!

First things first...

I have been thinking about which aspects of my life are unsatisfactory, and there are a lot of them:

My weight/health
My job/income
My debt/bad credit
My relationship
My overabundance of THINGS
My lack of simplicity
My stress level
I'm sure there are more...

I have decided to start with my current job situation.  Right now, I'm an "independent contractor" for Hot Diggity! Dog Walking & Pet Sitting.  I walk dogs, watch dogs, pet dogs, play with dogs, pick up dog poo, and drive all over hell and gone.  I really enjoy working with dogs and being outside.  The poo doesn't bother me.  What I don't like is the driving and the schedule, which I don't know until the day before.  Every evening, I get an email with the next day's schedule.  Makes it really hard to plan anything or have any kind of life.  The driving is getting out of hand.  I drive anywhere from 40-100 miles per day and spend about $100 per week in gas... and I drive a Honda Civic.  Last week, I was rear-ended while on the job.  Since I am supposedly an independent contractor, I do not get any worker's compensation.  However, after doing some research, I think I am wrongly classified as an independent contractor.  I got in contact with a lawyer to help me sort it all out.  More on that later.

After my accident, my doctor told me to take some time off, and I got a lot of flack from the office for it.  The attitude about my absence made me decide that all the driving and crappy schedule aren't really worth it.
I have applied for 3 positions since I have been on medical leave:
-Shift work at a semiconductor manufacturing plant
-Work from home doing tech support
-Work from home doing reservation sales

As of today, I have heard nothing from the plant, found out I am ineligible for the tech support because I have wireless internet, not FiOS, and I have completed a really long assessment for the reservation sales job.  I think they are really interested in me! YAY!

The reservations position will enable me to work from home (wherever that may be) and start paying down my debts and improving my credit.  It will also reduce stress AND my carbon footprint!

I have also been researching online revenue income, and I published my first article:

I have read that with time and effort, I can make a living publishing internet articles and reaping the rewards through ad revenue.  We will see how that goes.  In the meantime, I guess I'll continue working for the man.

Now... what do I do about the rest of it?


An introduction to my life...

At the moment, I am 32 years old, living in the same apartment I have been in for 8 years, in a relationship with a questionable future, working a mediocre job for a company I don't like, and wondering where my life is going.

I spend most of my free time sitting on my couch, watching netflix on my 50" flat screen, and eating junk food.  I have an overabundance of possessions I don't use and too many hobbies, most of which I don't have time for... presumably because I am busy watching TV.

I am disgruntled, disappointed, disenchanted, and, at times, disgusted.
I am not happy with my life.

The simple answer, of course, is to change the things that make me unhappy.

The question is... What do I want?  Seems easy enough, but then I realized my life needs a complete overhaul, and thinking about what I need to change leaves me overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling hopeless.

I want to use this blog to document my journey from the mundane to wherever I am going!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


The background photo you see was taken on a hike to the top of Bunker Hill, in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.  I miss that place every day, and someday, I will go back.