It’s been a while.

I was chatting with a new friend today, someone I met through the Camp Crucible chat, and showed them this blog.

Which I realized I had not updated since January. That’s been on my mind lately Brother and I were talking about my blog the other day and he lamented how much he missed it.

My new friend, let’s call her M, is a mindfulness fan just like I am. We had this amazing chat about how mindfulness pervades our lives, and the many ways it can be helpful.

That got me thinking and wanting to write here again even more. It’s been a while for many things for me, that I’ve begun to focus on again.

Here’s a few:

  • Since January I’ve been actively working out and food journaling to get in shape.

  • I’m headed back to Camp Crucible this month.

  • I’m open to new connections with other people. I don’t need them, I’m just open to them.

I’m fascinated by the fact that while I’m a different person than I was before, I CAN pick up things from the past and embrace them again. After several months of swimming, I’ve started walking on a treadmill and also hiking, which I’m new to.

There’s this thought I’m struggling to express properly. I’m grateful that while things change, while I change, nothing is ever truly lost. Nothing’s thrown away in the rubbish bin. It’s just put behind me, made part of my past. Those prior experiences, interests, connections, and relationships help inform the me-that-I-am-now, which is really the only me that there is.

I’m grateful for all that’s happened. And all that is happening.


Spacey and I had the best phone call today.

It was a Thursday, and like pretty much every Thursday, we had a call on the books.  It's one of the ways in which we stay connected.

Anyhow, our phone call was so damn good.  I mean, they're always good, but this one was spectacular.  Besides planning out about 7 months worth of Big Little Podcast topics, we had this very substantive talk about relationships, about our own connection and how much we mean to one another, about healthy boundaries, communication, empathy, and self-love.

One of my favorite things about my brother is that he loves digging into the deep stuff like this with me.  We're like co-pilots of some spaceship that traverses the brain and the heart.

One of the things he told me is that while he considers me his poly partner, when he's explaining our relationship to vanilla folks he refers to me as his best friend.  Not surprisingly, I'm in complete agreement with him.  We're of one mind on it.  I see it just the same.

I'm so grateful for him.  He makes my life better each and every day.

AuthorMako Allen

So, I have this sort of dirty confession to make.  

I'm mean.

But the trick is, it's really only to myself.  I grew up with a lot of pressure to excel, had a very typical preppie/jewish/success-oriented sort of childhood.  I was a smart kid, and my mom and dad were both proud of that, but also rather unrelenting about it.  If I brought home a B, that was fine, but how about an A?  And if I brought home an A, how about an A+?  And if I brought home an A+, well, that's living up to my potential.  

That sort of thing.  My dad, who was a pretty bad guy, was also a very wealthy, self-made sort for many years.  There was this unspoken thing between him and me - that it was my job to improve on what he had done, to seek and go beyond his level.

He's long since left the planet, and as my partner Maya likes to say, I'm my own "grown-ass mandog" now.  But there's stuff written down in my BIOS or whatever, that remains.

I tend to push myself.  I always have a lot going on.  I'm ambitious.  And frequently, I am the very worst critic of my own efforts.  It's a weird mix, because at the same time I can have almost rocket-powered levels of self-esteem to the point of arrogance.  I know when I'm good at something, because I'm used to advocating for myself.  It's exhausting.

But I'm lucky.  I surround myself with people who love me, and who go out of their way to tell me I mean a lot to them, or that my efforts or character are worthwhile.  My wife Missy, my girlfriend Alissa, my girlfriend Maya, my brother Spacey, my sister Pene, all regularly shower me with love and affection and validation.

But this post, it's not about them.  (Except to tell them that I love them.)


It's about a friend of mine, Dixie.

We've been friends for years.  She's an age player like me.  She's witty, silly, and smart.  We're book friends, and nerd friends, and just like one another enormously.

I think the world of her.  And recently, she wasn't feeling so hot, and asked folks to post why they liked her.  So I told her.

 "You're insightful and thinky in general and about fiction in particular. You have strong, passionate opinions, because you're a person of deeply held convictions. I love that. 

Also, you're really cute."

(This is true, she's adorable.)

She wrote this thing back to me, that just utterly took my breath away.

"You have one of the biggest hearts I've ever known, and you are constantly looking to better yourself and become even more self aware, which is amazing"

I'm honestly a little teary over it, in the best way.  Thank you, Dixie.

I can feel myself loosening that white-knuckle grip I keep around myself so often.  I feel a little more worthy of my own love today.

So on Thursdays, my brother Spacey and I have an hour or so dedicated to just talk.  Sometimes that's when one, or both of us, is in the car on the way home from work.  Sometimes, we're both home by ourselves and can really lean into it and unwind.  However we do it, it's pretty damn important that we do it.

Because we love one another very much.

Brother and I, we are polyamorous partners.  Our relationship has been, is, and continues to be one of the single most important things in my life.  It's magical.  He's not my boyfriend, but we are intimate in all sorts of ways, physically, emotionally, ways that I can't even really describe.  He's an atheist, and I'm a non-theist, we're both highly technical, rational people, and yet there's a bond between us that defies reason and explanation.  We genuinely feel like we're extensions of the same person.

It's profound.

Which is why when we have our little Thursday night talks, we can (and do) talk about everything and nothing.  Our talks range from the sillies of goofy nonsense to seriously ponderous life issues.  We have no boundaries.  There's no topic off limits, no piece of information that's sequestered.

So often, I know myself better through him.  

We had a thing just like that this past Thursday.  I was lamenting to him how frustrated I am lately, because I'm so on, creatively.  

I have this side project for a business I've been working on for several months now.  It's QUITE real.  I've been engaged in it for about six months.  I have a business partner, a mentor, a code repository where I keep it, went to a conference to do research for it, and broke ground on coding it back in early November.  I hope to have the prototype for it done sometime in the spring.

After which, I have another software project I'm going to build with one of my best friends, which will also be a business, and is something I have wanted to create for well over a decade.

Meanwhile, my 3rd novel is in a sort of stasis, "up on bricks", waiting for me to get back to it.  I have some major retooling I want/need to do to it, too.  

And the other day the idea for my 4th novel hit me like a thunderbolt.

Based on the time and energy I have, the schedule for my software/business projects, and just my life, I won't be going back to work on my 3rd novel for at least a year and a half.

I can't see that I will be able to get to that 4th novel for probably two years.

That's right.  Two years.

While I'm excited about all these things I have going on, I also feel almost smushed by it all, like a heavy boot is pressing down on me, constricting me.  Because I want to do all of it, and I want to do it right now.

This is where my magical relationship with my fantastic brother comes in.

He complimented me on how effective I've been lately.  About how I am getting shit done.  I've written and published two novels, helped to create over 100 episodes of a podcast that's been running for over five years.

He reminded me of a truth I hold dear, something I know intimately, and which I have taught countless times to others.  I can do anything, but not EVERYTHING.  

When I've taught this same thing to coaching clients, or just people in general I describe this feeling I'm having as having a Great Wall Problem.

The Great Wall, counting all its branches is over 13,000 miles long.  There's a long running myth that it's the only man-made object that can be seen with the naked eye from space.  It's massive.  When you think that human hands built it, and try to conceive of it, of going from no wall to finished wall, your brain kind of crashes.  It's so ridiculously big, that the idea of building the entire thing just can't fit in your head.

Yet there it is.  And it was built, brick by brick, by human hands.

Brother reminded me that I've been doing some excellent brickwork lately.  It's each brick that matters, not all of them.

I love him.


AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude

So deep in my lizard brain, my big weakness is that I think I don't matter to people.  It's my kryptonite, the idea that when I'm no right with them, making them laugh or feel good, I'm invisible, and irrelevant.

I know, I know, it's nonsense.  

It's just the bad place my head goes sometimes because of stuff I went through growing up.

Anyhow, the 13th was, like it is every year, my birthday.  And this thing happened, which happens every year, which every time it does, makes me feel so damn good.  I got a flood of good wishes and thoughtful gestures.

On social media I got over 100 such nice wishes from people in various places.  My wife made me amazing home made soup for my birthday dinner.  My sister-in-law, MB gave me a huge canvas print of my favorite piece of art, he Great Wave Off Kanagawa,  

So beautiful

So beautiful

And my brother called me, and sang to me.

All of which are a giant punch-in-the-throat to that awful lizard voice.  Sometime in the next 12 months I'm gonna hear the lizard voice again.  But as I always do, I'll remember stuff like this, and tell it to shut itself right up.

I'm pretty lucky.


AuthorMako Allen
Categories365 Gratitude