So Moliére had this great idea: 

Step 1. Come visit him and Aiden up in New Jersey

Step 2. Get on a train, and go to New York City

Step 3. See the musical Matilda, before it closes for good the next day.  

Step 4. PROFIT! 


Seriously, what an amazing day with people I care about. Missy and Aiden took an instant like to one another, and we all had the most amazing day. 


AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude
"The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the Courage to Start.  -John J. Bingham."

"The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the Courage to Start.  -John J. Bingham."

This is my favorite fridge magnet.  It's a quote by John Bingham, the runner also known as "The Penguin."

John used to be morbidly obese, a smoker, and in a lot of trouble health-wise.  He took up running, no matter that he was (and is) a very slow runner, and it changed his whole life.

He's called The Penguin because while in his head he feels like he looks like a gazelle when he runs, the reality is more that he looks like a waddling penguin.

John doesn't take himself too seriously.  He's great like that.

Anyhow, this magnet is a famous quote of his, and I find it inspiring in my life, over and over.

I have a lot of stuff going on in my life.  I have a demanding job, a rich and varied home life with a big polyamorous family, a podcast, a side business, the books I write, and just my life in general.

Sometimes it sounds exhausting when I read the list aloud to others.  But you know what?  It's great.  I love that I'm ambitious in my life, that I'm always moving towards more.

AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude

So I'm in the process of doing a big refactor at work.  I'm totally overhauling the front-end of my project.

Refactoring, especially large scale refactoring, is kind of like spring cleaning.  You rearrange the furniture, find the stuff under the couch, dust in the corners, look for ways to do better the things you're already doing.

So, not that you asked, but you're reading my blog, so you kind of did, I stumbled across something big today.  Something I thought I understood about Grails, but actually only barely grasped.  It has to do with how Grails renders a page, using a layout for stuff that repeats across multiple web pages.

        <title>An Example Page</title>
        <meta name="layout" content="main" />
    <body>This is my content!</body>

That little boldfaced line of text up there, that's one of the ways Grails tells a page to use a layout.  But it's not the only way.  I won't bore you with the details, if you really want to know, you can read it for yourself over at the Grails documentation.  

The big thing I figured out was that there was this resource, this layout in the project that wasn't being used at all.  I figured out it wasn't being referenced in any of the ways it could be, and that I could refactor that sucker right out of the project altogether.

On my own, by myself.

Man, that feels good.

AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude

That's short for:

Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly

It's something I say often, and an attitude I practice, although I forget it sometimes, and have to remind myself about it.

In anything I do, I have to start somewhere.  Eventually I build on that somewhere, and go from new, shaky, awkward, and limited to gradually being more capable, until I reach a point of excellence.

It occurred to me this morning that I practice CWRF all over the place.  I practice it in my health, with how I eat, and exercise.  I practice it in my work, as I constantly am teaching myself how to do things, and refining things I've already done to work better.  I practice it in my polyamory, my writing, everywhere!

I suppose another way to state the truth of CWRF is There's always improvement that can be made.  You have to be careful there though, because that can sound negative, and perfectionist.  That's not it though.  It's not "This isn't good enough yet." but rather, "Awesome!  What can I do next?"  It's the forward movement that matters, not the milestone.

And the thing is, each of these stages is great in its own right.  When I'm in "crawl" on something, I get to move at my own pace, explore, make mistakes, and find value in the discovery.  There's something great about being in that newborn state, gently poking and exploring and figuring out not just what I'm doing, but what potential every choice even has.

Then when I move up to "walk", I trust some of what I have already done, and begin to build upon it.  For example, in writing I'll have demonstrated some aspect of a character's motivation previously, and now can artfully weave in the barest nod to it, almost like a background detail, and suddenly the reader knows them better.  Or in my coding, I'll take some long-handed way to do something, and refactor it to be simpler, more elegant.

When I get to "run" on something, I have great trust in myself, and I'm using what's worked for me in the past to really book it, get great chunks of productivity accomplished.  I love being in the run state.  

Eventually I get to "fly", which in its own way is eerily reminiscent of "crawl", because now I can really let my imagination go, and explore anything and everything, but now with a set of tools and competency supporting me.  I know my patterns and habits over a thing, and can rely upon them.

There's so much that goes into this paradigm, that's part of the recipe for using it:

  • Mindful attention to the moment
  • The Taoist concept of the soft overcomes the hard, like how rainwater carves valleys
  • The Taoist concept of 'u, the un-carved block, inside every block of wood is the potential to be anything.
  • Maitri, the Tibetan Buddhist concept of loving-kindness for oneself
  • Shenpa, the Tibetan Buddhist concept of attachment.  By staying present, you transcend shenpa, to move forward.

I'm so grateful that I practice this, so grateful I can fall back to crawling in any aspect of my life, and know that there's value there.  

There's a Lao-tzu quote I really love, which I have just gained new insight about.  It goes like this:

If you do not change direction, you may wind up where you are heading.

When I first learned it, I used to take it as a gentle rebuke for being too obsessed with an end goal.  But I've since come to see while that's true, it's simultaneously an encouragement to move forward.

Time to get moving again.

AuthorMako Allen

So, Christmas is often tough for me, and lots of other folks too.  

One of the big reasons for this is dealing with family and friends, many of whom you don't see very often, but are more than happy just to let you know what they think about you, your life, and your choices.  This same thing works in reverse, too.

Even though I know better, I often find myself gritting my teeth at something someone says or does, an attitude they hold, a way they treat me or others, or best yet a disagreement in politics.

The other day my brother Spacey sent me an article that offers another option: being Mindfully Free of Wanting People to Be a Certain Way.

I love this article.  I love my brother.  Many of the truths in this thing are things I already knew, had already sussed out for myself.

But I forgot.

What a gift to remember them again, and learn yet more reasons why that sort of wanting is an attachment I neither need nor want.


AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude