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So this morning, I'm at the dentist (YES AGAIN), getting my temporary bridge replaced (YES AGAIN, AGAIN) and wearing awesome hot-pink dental-light-don't-blind-me-glasses (FIRST TIME) when this thought struck me.

I was thinking about one of my favorite movies, Big Hero 6, and one of my favorite characters in that movie, Wasabi.

I love Wasabi.  He's a neurotic perfectionist, with a plan for everything.  He has outlines on his work desk for every tool, including the place he rests his coffee mug.

Wasabi hates surprises, doesn't like winging it.  He's a man with a recipe to follow.

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That's been his MO for a very long time.  And for the most part, it's worked out for him.  His plasma based laser technology is astounding.  Long before Hiro gets a hold of it to adapt it for superhero use, it's pretty damn cool.

But, it does make Wasabi fragile in some ways.  The reason Fred nicknames him "Wasabi" is because he spilled wasabi mustard on his shirt one time, a fact that drives Wasabi bonkers.  During a really awesome car chase scene, Wasabi actually STOPS FOR A RED LIGHT, because he's used to knowing the rules inherent to a system and adhering to them.  Wasabi can often come across as fearful or timid, because he just wants to have a plan, and stick to it.

But there's this moment in the film when he overcomes this, beautifully.  During the climactic fight with the big villain, Yokai, Wasabi realizes that gravity is really getting quite goofed up by certain inter dimensional things going on.  And instead of panicking, or complaining about it, he makes a key choice: to use it instead.

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He pushes off the wall, and goes floating through the air.  Then he activates his laser hands, and gets in there, chopping up microbots with a vengeance.  It's like a form of parkour, and is awesome.  In a way, he gets a new superhero skill from it. 

So often when I read about (or have written about) mindfulness, it's filled with lots of "here's what you don't do."  But there's another side to that, and Wasabi's little story is indicative of it. It's the magical benefits you get from embracing it.

I have one like that, related to recent events in my life.  Just after Andrea's passing, a whole lot of folks reached out to me (wonderful) to offer their condolences (lovely) and help in any way they could.  (problematic)

What's so problematic about that, you ask?  

Well, in the midst of my grief , I barely knew how I even felt, never mind what sort of help I might need.  I had a few cases of folks who, with the very best of intentions, offered to help me in any way I might tell them.  But the problem was, I didn't have the knowledge, energy, or drive to come up with anything for them to do.  Even the prospect of it made me kind of want to shut down a little.  I was struggling to even get out of bed, I certainly didn't have the "emotional chutzpah" to offer guidance.

To make a food metaphor out of it, it was a bit like they were offering to take me out to dinner, but needed me to pick the restaurant.  It kind of turns the situation and the assistance from being focused on the person needing the assistance to the one supplying it.  Not great.  Under normal circumstances, that's no big deal.  But during grief, not so much.

I wasn't mad about it though.  Instead, I saw it as an opportunity for mindful practice.  I resolved that the very next time someone else I know was grieving, I would mindfully offer them ready-to-go assistance with something I already had to offer and which I knew they could use.

Sadly, such a situation has come up.  Just yesterday.  I won't get into the who or what of it, because that's private.  But I was resolved that when I contacted my friends, this would be my drive.  It worked out pretty well too.

And as I was sitting in the dentist's chair this morning, thinking on the contact I'd had, Wasabi and his change in attitude came to me, and I saw this was the same sort of thing.

I'm grateful for the reinforcement.  Hey wait, I can use that!

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

Tonight, a good friend did something very special for me.  They went out to dinner with me to help me process my grief about Andrea’s death.

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My Helpful Friend is something of a subject matter expert themselves on this matter, having recently had to deal with a death themselves. 

So we met. We sat.  We talked. I almost-cried a few times. I ate steak. It was good.  

One super helpful thing my friend described to me is that I would run into two sorts of pain in my grieving.  

  1. Punches to the head
  2. Punches to the gut

Type 1 punches are the things that make you think, that make you dig in, obsess, dredge up grief you thought you had already worked through and revisit it.  

Whereas type 2 punches are those quick, sharp, knock-the-wind out of you experiences.  Something catches you off guard, and you suddenly don’t quite know how you feel.

Here’s the thing though.  While experiencing these punches doesn’t feel very good, it’s normal and kind of good for you.

Andrea, she carved this special place in my heart, in my life.  I’m utterly, incontrovertibly changed by our friendship.  I don’t want  that not to matter.  I welcome  both the pain and the pleasure of how much she meant to me, and still means to me, even in her death.

I know that that’s uncomfortable.  I know that it’s not easy, not for me, and not for you.

 I’m grateful for the discomfort. And I’m grateful you’ve stuck around to share in it with me.

In a way, that was at the heart of my friendship with Andrea.  On the regular, we challenged one another, called each other on our bullshit.  My friend I had dinner with tonight helped me with some of that too, as we ate, commiserated, and connected.  It was damn fine.

I’m grateful for such good friends, those now gone, and those still with me.  

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

Spoiler alert:  it’s me. 

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I was walking to lunch just now. This morning I had a meeting with my boss, to do my review. It went pretty well. 

I got into a talk with him about what matters to me, technically and professionally. That in turn got me thinking about who I am in the rest of my life. 

A huge portion of who and what I am as a person is hinged upon exercising my creativity. Whether it’s writing code in my day job, writing fiction, creating podcasts, writing code for my business, I’m constantly making something from nothing. 

Plus, a big part of my creative urge has to do with making the world a better place for those around me.  I like problem solving, like providing support, solace, and comfort to others. Kindness is my default. 

I see myself as one drop in a limitless ocean, which contains everyone and everything. I enjoy the effort to  make that ocean a better place. 

I’m grateful to be happy with who I am.  

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

I’ve been up since 5.  

I cuddled Missy, considered getting out of bed, decided against it, read Facebook, read some spanking erotica, considered again, stayed in bed again, got a text from my friend and fellow writer Zorro Daddy, traded thoughts on illustrated erotica, and finally decided to get up.

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That’s a whole lot of stuff in a small amount of time.  A thought about Andrea struck me as I realized that.  The busyness of my life is carrying me along, like the swift current of a river.

 I cannot help but be caught in that current. The river has an origin that I can’t even remember. And it’s moving along towards the sea. Eventually, its water will mingle with and become more an indistinguishable part of a much larger body of water. 

Andrea, she’s like this sparkly pink fish, that jumped around a lot, made these big splashes, really dominated a good long leg of my river.   

But now she’s sped off to the sea.  Where I too, am headed, some day.  As much as I don’t want to move away from that part of the river, it’s not really possible.  I’m being swept along.

 It’s not a bad thing.  This river is filled with lovely experiences, wonderful people.  Yet still there’s this tendency in me to struggle, to try to remain where I was, to clutch at the past like a rock. 

But as Andrea said, that’s not what you do. You just keep swimming.

She’s right too. I realized when you swim along with the river, when you don’t fight it... that’s how you stay current.  

So, I’m back at work today, trying my best to just be in the moment.  It’s actually going pretty well.

I did have a teary moment in the car this morning. I was listening to episode 52, the anniversary show, greedily listening for Andrea speaking, laughing, loving. 

I forgot that she had had to leave the recording before we finished.  At a certain point she announced she had to go, told us how much she loved us, and said goodbye.  

I gripped the steering wheel tight, and sobbed. 

But at work, I’ve largely been able to focus today, to make progress.  

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I’ve been listening to a good book, Morning Star by Pierce Brown.  It’s an amazing book, which is often hard to read. It’s filled with pain, suffering, and death.

As I was eating my lunch, a few minutes ago, I got to a part of the book where the protagonist, Darrow mourns the death of a very significant character.  I’d rather not say who, in case you read it. 

Sharing in Darrow’s mourning weirdly feels comforting to me.  It feels like the whole universe kind of has me cradled in its gentle hand, keeps pushing me into things which both stir my grief and then smooth it out. 

That’s just the sort of epiphany Andrea and I would have dished about for hours on the phone.   The thing about being cradled by the universe is, I’m the universe too.  Part of being cradled is doing that same cradling for others, too.

It’s clear to me that Andrea is still just as vibrant and enormous a part of my life as ever. Her shape in it has changed, but not her worth or strength.  She lives in me.   She’s sort of everywhere.

I decided to blog about it for just that reason.  I hope that helps you, too, dear reader. 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow