So I haven't blogged in about a month, but didn't want to let December, and 2017 come to close without one more.  Today what's on my mind is well... everything.

The ouroborus symbol shows up in a lot of mythologies, and means a number of different things including, "the infinite cycle of nature's endless creation and destruction, life and death."  (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

I have a funny relationship with that idea.  As I've mentioned lots and lots of times on this blog, every single day of my life I wake up and think "oh good, another one."  I'm firmly of the belief that this moment, is the only moment, that we live in the eternal now.  Think of a desert highway stretching out to infinity, or an endless wake left behind a boat that's always on the move, and those ideas come close.

That doesn't mean everything stands still.  Far from it.  This has been a tumultuous year for me, personally.  

I've weathered some misfortunes, including my wife Missy having a health crisis (that she seems to thankfully be out the other side of), having a very long relationship end (gracefully), supporting family members through some trauma of their own.  

I've also had some great things going on.  My relationship with my girlfriend Alissa is stronger than ever.  I started a business that's still in its infancy (shush you), embarked on a new way of writing and getting it out there that is looking very promising.

Last night, Missy, Rachel, and I went to a birthday party for an old Camp Crucible friend of mine, Pete, down at The Crucible.  I saw lots and lots of folks I haven't seen in ages, because I have been sort of isolating myself.  It was kind of magical how evergreen many of those friendships have proven themselves to be.  People greeted me warmly, and were genuinely thrilled to see me, as I was to see them.

Which is not to say "same as it ever was."  Because that's not how it works.  I can see differences in myself, and even people I've known over a decade, see our growth in different directions.

Things are always on the move, people are always changing.  Things end, start, morph, grow, die.  It's this endless dance, that I don't get to sit out of, even when I sometimes have wanted to.

But today, as I consider the year coming to a close, I feel really good about this serpent eating its own tail.  The year's coming to an end, and to a beginning, too.  Just like me, just like you, just like everything.

I'm grateful for that.

AuthorMako Allen

So I was freaking myself out this morning.  

Panic cat is panicking.

Panic cat is panicking.

I'm learning this shiny, new-to-me technical thing at work.  I largely understand it, but I keep bumping up against little pieces of it that don't make sense to me, and then spinning myself out into a frothy mix of panic, anxiety, and doomsaying.

Then I got pinged by my friend Matti, who was asking me to remind him of the 4 Necessities.  That is, the four things I have told him before that are absolutely mandatory and which you cannot help but to do them.  Talking to him about them reminded me that they apply to me too.

Here they are:

  1. You must exist. Because you already do. If you're questioning whether you have to or not, WHO'S DOING THE ASKING?
  2. You must age.  Because you are. You're moving forward in time, 1 second per second, relentlessly. Can't stop it.
  3. You must change. Because you do. Literally every moment of every day. The you of 3 three minutes ago is different at a molecular level, even if it's only partially.
  4. You must, eventually, die.  Because like all living things, you will.

Every other single thing except these 4 things is utterly and completely optional.

Whew.  I'm glad he asked me to remind him.  I needed the reminder myself.  Now that it's on my mind, I'm able to step back from my full-on-freak-out and see that I don't have to doubt myself.  I can just put my head down and move forward as best I can.

Mindfulness is work.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to it.

AuthorMako Allen

I’m doing something today I haven’t done in literally years.  I’m at lunch, and working on a writing project. 

I don’t want to get into exactly WHAT that project is.  But I just want to say how very glad I am that I’m doing it.  I had put my fiction work on hold for other reasons, for a while now. 

But I’m trying something new.  This is as a means to not ignore this vital part of my life.  It’s a new way to write, and to perform, and to make money too.  Making money at it is important to me both as a validation of the work itself, and also as a personal validation of the time I’m making to do this.  My time is precious.  I’m glad to see the value of using it again for this.

I’m thrilled about the whole thing.

AuthorMako Allen

So, I've had some stuff going on.

I could regale you, constant reader, with a catalog of woe.  But it doesn't matter.  Some of the stuff is intensely private, and not about me, either.  So, I'm going to mostly keep that part to myself.

Yesterday, I had a really hard conversation that I've needed to have with someone close to me, for a while.  I've been dealing with some family illness issues too.  And, I'm about to have a veritable tornado of dental misadventures.  Heavy, right?

But this morning, I feel good.  Amazing, in fact.


Why?  Because of part of my mindful practice.  There's this thing I do, that I learned in part from Pema Chodron, in part from Alan Watts, and in part just from my own experience: I bend.

The kind of bending I'm talking about is similar to how palm trees on tropical islands bend, during a storm.

A hurricane comes through, and it will not be stopped.

So, instead of standing tall and proud, proof against the storm, these wily things get pushed down.  Then, when the storm's done, they pop right back up.

I know trees don't have a nervous system, or sentience, but I tend to personify everything, so let's just pretend they do here.  I can kind of see it going like this:

Tree named Ed:  "Hey Phil, looks like there's a hurricane coming.  Man, these things make me so tense."
Tree named Phil: "Now Ed, we'll be all right.  You just gotta relax, man.  Don't have a coconut over it.  It'll blow over."
The storm comes through.  It's pretty terrible.  Ed and Phil are blown on so hard, they are basically bent in half, just about touching the ground.
Ed: "Oh man, this hurts like hell!"
Phil: "Yeah, this sucks.  Hang in there.  It'll be over soon!  If I had teeth, I'd be gritting them right now."
Ed: "Yeah, me too."
Then the storm gets less.  The trees spring back up.
Ed: "Whew, that was a bad one."
Phil: "Sure was.  Man, this sunshine sure is nice."
Ed: "Sure is."

And that's it.  Me, I'm just like Ed and Phil, except I actually do have teeth, and don't have any coconuts hanging off me, or leafy fronds that I know of.  Stuff happens, bad personal storms, and they hurt, and they're scary, and I dislike them.  And then it's sunny again, and it feels good.

Bending.  It's pretty great.

AuthorMako Allen

I'm pretty beat.  I've got some heavy stuff on my mind, which I'm not going to get into here on the blog in detail, because Internet.

But the good news is, I've got tools to deal with my heavy stuff.


I've been engaged in my mindful practice of Taoism  for over 15 years now.  It's not a magic solution that solves all problems, and leaves me floating in midair.  Rather, it's a discipline, a practice.  And it doesn't mean that I live in a state of perpetual bliss, either.  Really, it's just the opposite.  I don't particularly feel any one thing all the time.  Rather I'm committed to stay and feel everything.

Over the years I've been doing it, my understanding of that practice has grown and changed.

But my fidelity to it has not.  

Today I'm focused on a key tool that's part of that practice, wu wei, the action of non-action.  It's not laziness, or indolence.  It's a kind of relaxing surrender.  

Think of how water is.  When you pour it into a glass, it takes the shape of that glass.  It surrenders to gravity and form.  And yet water is among the most powerful things on the planet.  

Storms and floods can erase mankind from places.  And nothing grows without water to help it along.  But water's power comes from its quiet nature.  True, raindrops can hollow out a canyon - but not all at once.  Just over time.

This is where wu wei comes to bear.  I can make myself spun up and anxious and out of sorts over things - and it will not change them.  What will change them is me, being present and moving through time, one second per second, into the future.

I can obsess over how things were, or may yet be.  But that's not real.  Instead, I can make the conscious choice to be present, and do nothing.

AuthorMako Allen