This morning, I hit an emotional speed bump.


Exactly what it is doesn’t matter. And it’s private. If we’re good friends, and you want to ask, you can. I might not say anything. We’ll see.

That’s not the important part.

The important part is I was confronted with the need to address something really important, and right the heck now. To not do so would have caused suffering.

It’s been a giant part of my spiritual practice for the better part of oh, seventeen years now, to not cause needless suffering as much as I am able.

So I was in a pickle.

But I reached out to some people I love and care about very much, to be a sounding board for my thoughts. It was a mix of good friends and loved ones. And boy did they come through.

I got perspective, I made a compassionate choice, and I took action.

And feel the better for it.

Thanks you secret helpers. You know who you are.

AuthorMako Allen

My wife Missy is pretty great. Among the many things she is to me, one of my favorite is that she’s my adventure buddy.

We go do and try new things all the time. For example, a few months ago we decided we wanted to get into hiking. So, we started to try.

First we went to parks near our house and went on some walks. Then we got a park membership to a nearby wilderness park. We got walking sticks.

After that things started to pick up speed. My girlfriend, MJ who is also a hiker, got us to get decent hiking boots, good socks, and more gear, including trek poles.

This has turned into a big thing for us.

After taking a break from it for a few weeks because of travel and general busy-ness, we got back to it. I really wanted us to go, and while at first she didn’t, we decided to do it. We went on this 2.5 mile hike, in the middle of which Missy took this picture.


Our little hammock campsite

Through Missy’s lens ball

Besides how pretty a pic this is, what really blows me away is how Missy takes this great thing we do and makes it even more great by adding her own special touch to it.

She really makes every part of my life even better.

AuthorMako Allen

My contemplation today was about a superpower I have come to realize I have. Don’t get too excited, I’m not going shopping for a cape or anything, because everyone has this same power.

It’s the ability to selectively turn on or off my awareness of context.

I’ll give you a bunch of practical examples, all from this morning.

First, as I showered I put on an Esperanto podcast, to see if I could understand it. I really couldn’t I could make out about every eighth word. That made me feel a brief stab of futility at the past couple of months worth of study I’d been doing.

Then I mentally fiddled with my context dial. I stepped back to see I have only been studying a few months. Since I started I have completed around 300 little Duolingo lessons. Roughly 80 hours of study. My friend Maddy and I now regularly text each other in the language.

Tio estas damne mirinda.

So, context matters. It’s good to stretch towards goals, and there’s no crime in my finding I’m not there yet for something I’m stretching for.

A bit later I get in the car and head for work I’m very proud of myself for getting out the door around 6:30, and feeling like a grownup what’s capable of doing all the grownupping what one can do.

As I drive, I make the mistake of missing my exit off the highway and wind up doing a nice little 18 minute or so detour.

I’m lamenting this on the phone with my girlfriend, MJ as I drive.

But I still manage to park at the office at 7:30, right on target.

As I review the drive and what I could have done differently, again I fiddle with my own perception of context. This time, I turn it basically off. People make mistakes, that’s human. But I did get out the door early, with having had breakfast too. I got to work exactly when I wanted.


As I walked in the door, both applications of context awareness struck me simultaneously, and started this contemplation.

I’ve known for years that I am not my thoughts. But this part is actually new to me. By treating my own mind like a tool, something I can use mindfully I can change my perceptions of myself and everything I do.


AuthorMako Allen

So as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been teaching myself Esperanto using Duolingo. It’s quick and fairly easy, something I do every day for around 15 minutes at least.

I really really like Duolingo. It’s free to use, unless you opt in for the pro version. I never realized before that it was a sort of open source language school. So much of their content is free.

Yes, they are a private company. But they’re clearly doing good in the world.

I know that in the month or so I’ve been actively using it, I am definitely learning. I’m able to read and write on a very rudimentary level in Esprinto already.

I first got the app a couple of years ago to try to learn Spanish. An ex of mine was married to a man who mostly spoke Spanish. I thought it would be a good idea for me to learn it too. That went by the wayside, but I still had the app and my account when I got bit by this new bug .

So about that goofy post title. For the most part I find the way Duolingo teaches me to be really smart, and on the nose. Instead of drilling grammar rules into me, it teaches me words and simple phrases.

Every once in a while though the app really surprises me, in a couple of ways. Sometimes the example Frases it wants me to translate are really odd, or are wonderfully inclusive and progressive. Just recently I translated a bunch of sentences about Adam and his husband, and Sophia and her two boyfriends.

One of the ways it teaches you is by having you select potential words for a phrase out of a pool of choices. Whenever I do this is zero in quickly on what I think are the correct terms. Sometimes after I’m done I take a look at the words that are left in the pool.

More often than not what’s left over is completely ridiculous.

Just now, laying in bed, I was taking a lesson where the phrase was: La edzino de mia frato estas mia bofratino. That is, My brother’s wife is my sister-in-law.

What was left over? You guessed it: sweet beef money niece.

AuthorMako Allen

Who what now? That is, a secret language for us. That language is Esperanto. Esperanto is a constructed language, created about 100 years ago by a polish ophthalmologist, LL Zamenhof.


The Esperanto flag

The language has 16 grammatical rules which I’m still learning, and a vocabulary which is based on many different European languages. I speak French, although it’s been a while, and that’s been really helpful in my learning. Esperanto’s rules never have exceptions. This makes learning the language really fast and really easy.

Part of what sparked my imagination about doing this is that this is a language that is both everywhere and nowhere. It doesn’t really belong to anybody. There are about 2 million people who speak it, as a hobby. They are scattered all over the world.

It occurred to me that this could work in my favor, in our favor. That is, that kinky people in general and age players in particular could get a lot of use out of this thing.

Having the ability to have a conversation that cannot be understood easily if overheard is damn useful. The only people who know this thing are those who make the effort to know it.

Plus, in the month or so that I’ve been learning it, several interesting things have happened to me.

Learning something useful and real for its own merit on my own time feels remarkably childlike to me. The time I spend every day in practice is a bit like having piano practice, or chores.

There are some Esperanto words which just sound little and are fun to say.

Here are a few fun sentences, see if you can figure them out:

Ĉu via vindotuko estas malseka?

Vi estas tre fia.

Mi pensas, ke iu bezonas frapadon sur la fundo.

Mi volas tuŝi vin en specialaj lokoj.

So fun! I’ve been taking a Duolingo course to learn it. And over on the Big Little Podcast slack I’ve started a channel for others who are learning it with me.

I’d love it if you’d join me!

AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesJust because