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.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

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.

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Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

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.

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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.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen

 Well, not just me. He owed lots of kids an apology, starting with Big Bird.  Bob was one of the grownups on Sesame Street, and Big Bird was kind of the big, yellow, avian stand in for every kid. 

Some history here: when I was a little kid, I didn't find the way no one ever believed Big Bird about Snuffleupagus very funny at all.  In fact, I can remember being six or seven years old, and flying into an apoplectic rage every time one of these moments would happen.

Every time, I would feel bad for Big Bird because his friend made him look stupid. And all the grownups would dismiss him.  It felt callous, cruel, and awful to me.

Today, I stumbled across an article about why the Children's Television Workshop decided to change this, which was for a damn good reason. At the time there was a rising epidemic of child abuse at day care centers, and the producers felt that the joke of no adult ever believing Bird was not only no longer funny, but actually possibly dangerous.

So they did something about it.

I had long past graduated away from watching Sesame Street at the time, so while I heard about this I had never seen it before.

Until today.

I'm not ashamed to admit that even now, at 45 years old, as I watched, when it looked like it was happening all over again, I teared up.

And then it finally happened.  I'm going to say too, that I have never liked Phil Donahue or Elmo more.  I honestly have always found Elmo to be kind of an annoying little git. But not anymore.

See for yourself. 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen

So, I have this thing about my own personal history.

It comes, in part, from some bad stuff that went down because of my dad.  He was Not A Good Guy, in some rather epic ways.  It's something I blogged about before.

Anyhow, because of that, I sometimes struggle with the idea that I'm just here, and didn't come from anywhere, that there's nothing over my shoulder to look at, nothing in the rearview mirror.

It's a lie, and I know so.  It's just a lie I tell myself in weak, tired moments.  But that's easy to forget.

Sometimes though, I stumble across stuff that proves the lie, renders it powerless.  This morning that happened, just a few minutes ago, in fact.

I was checking a post in the podcast's fetlife group, something I had put up to start discussion about a show we're doing in a few weeks.  I don't know about you, but I can't get on fetlife without clicking around some, just oh, wander-browsing.  I went back to look at the first group I had created for the FetFest Ageplay Village, and saw that there's been no activity in the group for about five years now.

That doesn't make me sad though.  It makes me feel good. That was a crazy year, filled with all sorts of good things.  We had a bad manners picnic, food-fight-sort-of-thing, a friend breastfed me, another friend brought his geodesic dome and we put it up as a sort of playspace, another friend helped me make a throw-together-hot-tub out of a camp shower room.

It was amazing.  There are 60 people in that dead little fetlife group.  60 people who came together to have fun.  (Quite literally in some cases.)  People got their freak on in the bouncy castle.

There's so much stuff that happened, I can't even remember some of it, and have to dredge around in my long-term memory to bring it up and cherish it all over again.

That feels good. 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude