On the road again, looking around ...
Some call it bad luck, but for me fate is calling.
On the road again, looking around ...
Some call it bad luck, but for me fate is calling.
One may wonder what the evolutionary advantage would for being negative in life. Complaining and criticizing at the drop of a hat, blaming others and denigrating your neighbors for no other reason except that they are not exactly the same as you. I am often amazed at how many grumpy and negative people there are out there. Giving up because of obstacles which are not their fault. The food is awful, it costs too much, you cannot trust that guy, what a bunch of snobs, can you believe how stupid she is. Being fixated on how unfair life is and shunning a loving and caring God above because life sucks. Many people thrive on complaining and criticizing, energizing themselves by greedily sucking in that dark energy, hating all around as if their survival depended on it. An outside observer would conclude that this is a necessary mode of human instinct, introduced after millions of years evolution so that the human race can last through tragedy and other terrible events. This could very well be the most important reason why civilization has existed to this very day despite the contrary. Looking back through history, there are many examples of irrational behavior supporting this theory. A good excuse for going to war and destroying your enemies. Distracting the attention away from internal strife and insecurity by unfairly projecting your weaknesses on others, because you are too weak to admit it yourself. Do not look at me because I am pointing at the truly evil one standing over there. See what I mean, it's all their fault not mine.
We are now all one happy family again. Due most porbably to very intensive usage by all members of our family over a period of two plus years, our previous coffee machine (Gaggia Titanium) kept breaking down. We sent it in several times to get repaired, and finally on the fourth return followed by gentle complaining on our side, they were nice enough give in to our urgings and replace it with a brand-new nicer version (Gaggia Accademia).
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we really are.
Trying to figure out who we're supposed to be is a hard enough challenge in an ever-changing and dynamic world filled with people coming and going.
In fact, it's an impossible challenge. So it's better to stop trying to be what others expect. This can never be attained when surrounded by an inconstant collection of mental judgments.
Embracing who we really are is the easy part. By letting go of that illusion surrounding us, our soul is exposed for what it was always meant to be.
I believe that this makes perfect sense. Peeling away the layers of the onion.
This is my new daily affirmation to be repeated every morning and throughout the day as often as I can remember it:
Do good things, and don't do bad things.
This is much more difficult to do than you might realize. However, after persevering for a week, I realize how much better I am feeling.
Once more Christmas has passed by and a brand new yet unknown year awaits us ahead. One wonders what the best way is to prepare for the upcoming challenges and how to enter the unknown without too many worries or concerns.
Just letting it happen and experiencing each day as it comes is one approach, probably the healthiest way to survive life, maximizing happiness along the way.
Another approach is to identify the risks ahead of time and lead a defensive existence so that if there are any setbacks you are prepared to deal with them accordingly.
The first approach seems the most normal, experiencing things on a day by day basis, and as long as nothing really disastrous occurs, you will enjoy life as usual.
Being ready for the worse is also a good strategy but by continuously being on guard we end up living a tense and stressful existence.
Perhaps somewhere between these two extremes is the optimal path to follow.
Where we are today is the result of a sum total of millions of decisions big and small that were made in the past. This massive collections of moments has one way or the other led us to where we are now.
Some of these decisions were difficult and seemed very important at the time. In the long run it turns out that these so-called grave decisions actually barely changed things at all, forgotten and turned to dust on the road behind us.
On the other hand, the real impact on our lives comes from decisions which at the time might have seemed very trivial, those which perhaps we were not even conscious of making at that defining moment of our lives. A fractional change in direction, a fleeting thought or a random whim which didn't make sense at the time.
Thinking about it logically, I shouldn't be here. The long and winding path I have taken doesn't make sense. I could've gotten here much easier and the distance should have been covered more directly. A different roll of the dice would have put me way over there and not where I am standing right now.
Today marks exactly thirty years ago since where while in Norway, I first laid eyes on my wife, indeed a very defining moment. I remember falling in love with her immediately. After having crossed paths randomly while on our own separate vacations, she arriving from Amsterdam and me all the way from California, we spent a couple intense days together walking along the romantic Sognefjord.
Then it was time to part and go our separate ways. She would be staying on a couple extra days, and it was time for me to continue my journey with my fellow traveler Kevin. To go or not to go. I felt devastated and asked her what I should do. Her reply was simple and logical: just leave, we had fun while it lasted but things couldn't last forever.
The defining moment took place down at the harbor where I stood there wondering whether or not I should hop on the ferry and just leave her forever. I hesitated although my friend kept urging me to forget about that Dutch girl and just come along as promised. I remember looking down and seeing the edge of the boat ramp and the solid ground I was standing on, undulating slightly as the water ripples lapped up against the side.
In the end I stayed. The ferry kept getting farther and farther away. My friend was not very pleased that I had broken my promise to travel with him, and I watched the ferry get farther and farther away. When I walked back up the hill to the youth hostel, it was drizzling.
One thing led to the next, followed by decisions here and there and elsewhere. Thirty years later and I am standing here and not over there.
Too many so-called affirmations are overly positive and unrealistic, making them trite and meaningless. Have a random look on the Internet and you'll see what I mean. They are becoming such a hype that what was once a fairly good concept has turned into one big laughing contest.
So here's one I happened to think up while jogging in the dark late this afternoon. I found it an interesting play on words considering what I wrote above, kind of an unusual mix of the seemingly positive versus the more realistic (yet not too obvious).Affirmation #86
Laughing can be good for the soul because it makes you feel good, but too much laughing at inappropriate times can give you a painful side-ache.
The Dutch government has decided to call it normal time instead of winter time. The clocks have been turned back an hour and we have "returned" to so-called normalcy. I guess that sounds alot less depressing. Leaving the wonderful, sunny climate comforts of summer time only to be blanketed in the darkness of winter time is not easy, so why not just pretend that everything is returning to normal mode?
Positive thinking often helps, but not always.
One must never over estimate the power of positive thinking, as if it alone can solve all of your problems.
There are many more other factors which can influence one's pursuit and mess things up for good.
Being prepared for unexpected obstacles and let-downs will gear one up for overcoming the disadvantages of positive thinking.
You'd think that finally after all these years of struggling with my own kids when they were little, now they are all grown up and independent, I could kick back in the backyard, relax and read a good book once in awhile.
No I guess not.
The only problem is now two new families have moved in next to us and behind us, making a total of five cranky screaming kids new to the scene.
The new generation of moms and dads don't appear to care that their little loved ones might be disturbing the neighbors with all their shouting and fighting and cussing.
When our kids were that age I felt so overly conscious about bugging the neighbors. Upon the slightest argument and/or raised voices, I was quick to bring them inside, where I would sternly warn them with a wagging forefinger that they better behave themselves or else. The ultimate threat of sending them upstairs to their rooms for the rest of the afternoon would make them pipe down for a bit.
Not so nowadays, no way. The kids are the bosses, the parents are the ones who must listen, and the poor neighborhood souls can just forget about any peace outside at all.
Well, that's not quite true.
After ten o'clock or so in the evening, when the awful kids have stopped sobbing and crying in bed and have finally fallen asleep, my one hour of peace can be spent just before the evening gets dark.
Ah what a relief it is, and boy how much I appreciate the perfect silence and harmony.
I hate to admit it but I think it is finally time to replace my summer coat with my much warmer winter coat in order to survive this sudden extreme drop in temperature.
Needing a coat for summer might seem to be strange for those folks like myself coming from warmer climates like California.
Back home they would ask: a summer coat, what's that?
Now that I have successfully survived half a century on this planet, I look forward to enjoying the next half century as much as I can.
Say goodbye to summer again. Today marks the last day. Already, the temperature is decreasing slightly and the late afternoons seem to be getting darker. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Now is the time to brace oneself for another set of colder seasons until spring decides to raise her beautiful face and greet the world again.
There's that blind guy again, tapping his way to who knows where. With his white cane for a weapon in hand and an amazingly sensitive ear he veers his way all over the place. Avoiding one obstacle followed by the next. We all percieve obstacles in our own way, whether or not we are blind or lacking in some other regard, depending on the number of senses which are still intact, those we retain despite the anomalies of life. Or those we were born with. Or better yet, what we (falsely) perceive to be in working order. We are all a little blind one way or the other. Stabbing in the dark, tapping our ways to who knows where.
Not so sure I can appreciate someone sitting right next to me endlessly filing her finger nails ever so enthusiastically. No matter how good looking or naive she may appear or actually be. After all, she is just some innocent teenager trying her best not to be too nervous, looking permanently beautiful for the sake of what society has defined what she should pursue to be. Tough luck this world in which we live. Life as a middle-aged, frustrated male is not that easy either.
Everywhere I look there is graffiti all over the place. All of that paint and so much late night energy spent waving spray cans this way and that. For nothing more than merely attempting to cover up flat surfaces with something slightly less than meaningful. This activity arises from young searching minds wanting desperately to express themselves in some creative yet intrusive manner. Maximizing so-called impact within the boundaries of youthful hopes and disillusions in a fairly unpredictable world. The chaotic three dimensional world is collapsed to the two dimensional and somewhat less chaotic surfaces presenting themselves vertically to the unconcerned passerby.
I really do not feel like going to the neighbor's big party this evening, but in order to avoid discussions later about why I didn't come I will show up for a couple hours and make the best of things. Chat and laugh and listen and tell a couple of jokes once in awhile.
For some time now I realized that my favorite casual brown shoes were getting old, but I did not really think very seriously about the possible consequences and what this might mean to me. That is not until I was walking downstairs at my work on the way to the coffee machine when all of a sudden all these flapping splinters of plastic yellowish material started flying off in every which way with each and every step I took.
The soles of my shoes were falling apart and disintegrating right in front of my eyes. Upon closer inspection, I saw two gaping holes on the underside of my right foot and three similar open lacerations located beneath my left foot. Help, my shoes are falling apart. Hopefully I can make it home just in time so I can toss my favorite brown shoes ever so non-chalantly in the garbage can. Sorry, but that's the way things were meant to be. Life goes on as usual. Starting tomorrow I can start thinking about new shoes.
I would say that the most important thing now is just to get on with things and see what happens without worrying too much in advance whether or not this or that may pop up unexpectantly or not.
Have you ever noticed how the older you get the more afraid you become of a little bit of rain?
All the young folks could care less even when it is pouring down rain, and the zero effort they practise in trying to cover themselves up results in a completely drenched figure sloshing around as if it is no big deal at all.
The older folks, on the other hand, upon feeling the very first drops of moisture tend to panic in an extreme way, stopping all actions in order to escape the so-called impending deluge, enclosing themselves in rain gear, plastic bags, whatever water-proof material is at hand, under this and that shelter, umbrellas opening up all over the place.
I take on an approach which fits somewhere between these two extremes, never uncaring and never panicking, but doing what is necessary to get through the downfall in a realistic way with minimal effort.
Many raindrops detached themselves unknowingly from the leaves of the overhanging tree, and less than an instant later pierced the mossy green surface of the pond below, causing scattered pinpoints of black to constrict and close up even more quickly than they were created in the first place.
(Something impressive I happened to notice one early morning while bicycling to the train station on my way to work)
It was sure fun to get back togther again after all these years. That's Nick and me meeting once again after seventeen years or so.
Not much has changed and life continues as usual.
Whenever possible, resist the temptation and use the stairs rather than taking the escalator.
While it is more difficult and requires a little bit more work, after reaching the top you will feel much better about it all.
There was that crazy guy again, this time wandering down the other side of the street, his crooked body slanted to the left, ten steps, and then to the right, ten steps, repeat cycle.
He looked in worse shape than usual, and I was really tempted to escort him back home. But he didn't have a real home, his simple abode was in a room at the end of the street at the home for the mentally disabled.
Sometimes he mumbles at me, other times he just waves. After all these years we have become distant friends who recognize each other when our paths intersect.
He one the one side of the road and me on the other.