A magnifying glass around the world

A magnifying glass around the world

So this past weekend I was visiting longtime friends. At one point,  the husband and I had a good hour or so to ourselves and we picked up chicken wings. 

 Car rides often come with philosophical talk, in my experience.   My friends shared with me something he says often, both at work and in his life.

“When in doubt, pan out.” 

  That is, step back from yourself,  from your immediate prospective.  Seek the wider viewpoint. 

 This is really smart stuff.   And for several reasons, and several ways:

  •  There’s this thing I’m always saying how there’s only hear, only now.  Zooming out in that way helps me see so  zooming out in that way helps me see that.  Whatever amazing thing’s going on, it’s a nanosecond event in a very long life.  That’s also true if something terrible is happening.
  •  It’s not all about me. I’m just one among many.  Often what works out well for me isn’t so hard for others around me.
  •  Furthermore, we’re all in this together. So it’s often helpful to consider how something that affects me positively might affect others in a profoundly negative way.

 There’s more to this, lots more. I’m pretty sure this is going to be part of my meditation and contemplation for several days if not weeks or months in the future.   Just this morning, I saw this Boudin Doodle cartoon that touches on and aspect of this paradigm. 

The Buddha doodle monk and his elephant buddy, in spacesuits observing the earth. “Grateful for the gift of life” 

The Buddha doodle monk and his elephant buddy, in spacesuits observing the earth. “Grateful for the gift of life” 

  The thing about perspective is that as a means of observations it’s controllable, blinking your eyes, are we going your ears maybe.   I know I can make the conscious effort to shift my perspective.   When I’m considering the moment I can choose the context buy which I am considering it  

Here’s a simple example.

 It’s Monday, October 29 as I write this, around 8:25 AM.   It’s simultaneously  early in the week,  not particularly early in the morning,  and rather late in the year. 

 None of these perspectives or wrong, they all matter.   By changing which one I musing, I can wrap my head around different truths about my life.

 For one thing, shortly I need to get on the road and get to my job because it’s waiting for me and I have things to do there.  

Simultaneously, the midterm elections are a scant number of days away, and it’s very important that I vote.  

At the exact same time, it’s valuable and worthwhile for me to take the 10 minutes or so to stop and write this post. I feel a profound sense of peace and strength from doing this sort of introspection, and sharing it with you.

 During the conversation with my friend, I was trying to explain this very difficult concept related to non-duality, that of satori. Satori is, sort of, the realization that you as a separate entity do not, have never, and will never exist.  We’re just the totality of existence expressing itself in this place, at this time, through this body.  As I told my friend, this isn’t terrifying, it’s actually quite soothing.  Through what he shared with me about panning out, I think I’m beginning to understand why somewhat. 

AuthorMako Allen

There’s this thing that gives me great comfort, that comes with a degree of irony. I’m a fan of clarity. I intensely dislike vagueness in certain contexts.

I love it when in my writing, my personal coding projects, my work-at-work I have a strong sense for what I’m doing next. I often refer to this as having “marching orders.” That is, I know what the task is, and I have definite, discrete points by which to measure success over the task. I often say to my boss that I dislike uncertainty.

Which is ridiculous. Because certainty is an illusion except in certain very specific instances. Yes, π is 3.14. Yes, a day is 86,400 seconds long. But when I really turn and look at it, I know that here is the only place, and now the only time. I know that success is measured in travel, not destination.

But it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the creature comfort of some “fabricated certainty.”

Just this morning, I was looking at the work I’ve been doing in Project Drummond, my software side-project. I scoped out 8 next actions I need to do on this feature I’m coding. There’s javascript functions to write, a GSP to modify, possibly some service methods to write, and I have to teach myself how to use a certain javascript charting library, something I’m very excited about.

I’m excited to have this set of marching orders to follow to get to a place I want to go. It doesn’t really matter that the orders came from me.

AuthorMako Allen

There's an old joke that says the opposite of congress is progress.

Ha-ha.  Progress is on my mind though.

So, I'm a creative guy.  You know this, because you're here, reading my blog, and my projects are a major part of what I talk about on here.

But I have a lot of things "in progress" at the moment.  Let's see:

  1. I've lost over 50 pounds on the keto diet, and want to lose somewhere between 40-50 more.
  2. I'm getting my personal finances in better shape.
  3. I've got a small company that's building a software product.
  4. I've got a patreon, where I'm writing short illustrated and narrated fiction.
  5. I'm working on my third novel, which will soon be released-in-progress on the patreon.
  6. I'm beginning to release my narrated, illustrated fiction in a new format, as movies.
  7. I'm learning new technologies at my day job.
  8. I'm polyamorous, and working hard to be fully present in my relationships.

Boy, that sounds like a lot.  That's because it is a lot.  Some days, I'm wrung out from it.  I get stuck in a sort of analysis paralysis, unsure of what to do next, what resources I have, what to do when the tank is empty.

I stumbled across this great video by Simon Alexander Ong, about making progress your focus.

In a way, it's a rehash of something I am constantly telling other people.  Don't focus on the wall you're building, focus on the brick you're laying.  Lay it perfectly.  If it's not right, pick it up, adjust it, start over with that brick, whatever.  (And I'm talking about a wall like the Great Wall, a metaphorically overwhelming in scale project, not that travesty you-know-who keeps blathering about.)

When I was a kid, my dad taught me one of the most important lessons of my life, to measure success by motion, not by destination.  You can be 1 step on your path, or 1,000. Your path can change, alter course.  It most likely will, in fact.  Doesn't matter.  As long as you keep going, you're doing just fine.

I had this big obstacle I crashed right into about two weeks ago.  My patreon got suspended for violating their guidelines.  I worked feverishly to figure out how, and do something about it. Then, when I didn't hear from them, sought out other venues for my work.  It was a frustrating yet ultimately beneficial experience.  I learned a bunch of things about where an erotica author can publish, what they can publish, and how.  And that knowledge is going to be helpful to me down the line.  And I had support, so much support.  Friends and family consoled me, offered me guidance, helped me find options.  I am so very loved and supported in my work, by so many.

Thankfully, my patreon got reinstated.  The changes I made put me back in compliance, and I'm good to go.  I'm not going to lie when it first happened, it was crushing to me.  Even that pain and suffering (much of it self-inflicted) taught me things about myself, my efforts, my patterns of behavior and self-judgment, what's important to me, what my underlying reasons are for even doing much of what I do.


Targets change.  They move.  But it's the travel towards them that helps me know I'm alive.

Listen, you and me, dear reader, we're the same.  Human animals, with only some grasp of what it is we're actually doing as we move through life.  

Keep going, okay?  Because it feels good.

Last night, I got home and was grilling up some burgers out on the deck, when a deer ran through the back yard.

It was one of those perfect moments of mindful contemplation.  The deer had run across the yard before exiting up the hill.  He had moved quickly, with purpose, and then once safely under the trees, slowed to a meander.

I saw and recognized this pattern, having just done it myself.  I had made my way home on the highway, at speed, and now that I was home, I could slow down, stop, and move at a more sedate pace.

Then I let go of even that pattern, and just watched him.

So peaceful.

AuthorMako Allen