There’s this thing that C. S. Lewis said, about how when he grew up he put aside childish things, including the worry over enjoying things which are childish. I find that really applies to me. I’m a busy, busy guy. I have my side business, my writing, my demanding day job, the podcast, and of course my relationships because I’m poly.

In the past, I’ve lamented that sitting on the couch and playing video games is garbage time, and wasteful. But after sitting and thinking about it, it really isn’t.

Overwatch is a heck of a lot of fun. It’s a social outlet too. I have some very nice friends through the game whom I enjoy playing with. The nature of the game is inherently collaborative. It’s about as close as I’m ever going to get to being on a sports team.

Over the several years I’ve been playing it, I’ve really grown my skill at it too. I know that staying grouped up is better than playing alone. I know that the healers/support should stick with the tank, while the DPS (damage per second) folks flank around. I know how to use the environment to enhance my own play style.

And, most importantly of all, I know that engaging in something I enjoy, in moderation and balance is emotionally good for me.

It’s taken me ages to figure all this stuff out.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

Everyone and everything dies.

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Cheery, huh? Actually, it is. Stick with me on this one, folks.

Endings and death have been on my mind a whole lot lately.

First off, two days from now will be the one year anniversary of Andrea’s passing.

Secondly, about two months ago, Squee and I broke up, after about four years together. It’s okay, really. I still love and care about her. But things change.

Third, my new job is demanding, and causing me in many ways to re-evaluate myself as a person, in all sorts of ways. I go to bed early, get up early to drive a long way to do a job I’m sort of teaching myself to do as I do it. It can be exhausting.

Last night I came home from work fully intending to work on my side business, do some podcast related work, and attend to a nagging bill related chore too. Instead I sat on the couch, lost at Overwatch for about 2 hours, and put myself to bed early, feeling low of spirit.

This morning though, I feel great. I had plans to get out the door by 6:15, an hour ago. But those plans died on the vine as I realized some other things I had to do. I made breakfast, packed my lunch, changed the cat litter, and realized I don’t have to push myself to do everything and anything all at once.

This is something Andrea knew and knew well. Don’t mistake me, she wasn’t some sanctified guru who floated an inch off the ground, and whom nothing ever bothered. So many of the phone calls and visits we had with one another started off with one of us engaging in a good old fashioned bitching session about something.

But the thing she knew, and which I also know but keep forgetting which is also, by the way perfectly human, is that everything and everyone dies. Every moment dies. Every plan dies. And when they do, they leave the ground where I’m standing fertile and ready to receive this very next moment.

Take this morning. As I made my breakfast, and checked my watch, I thought I might have enough time to change the cat litter this morning. When I went to check it, it was in a terrible state (Sorry kitties!) and I knew that I had to change it. So I did. If that means my commute will bloom up to 90 minutes today (which is very likely), well so be it. That’s okay. I will witness the death of the old plan and welcome the new one.

I know that because of my abandonment issues I have a tendency to want things to last. When I see that long arc of persistence grow around me, I lean into it and get comfort from it. It’s not an entirely bad thing either. It’s immature to divide the world into simple, absolute binaries. Yin contains Yang, and vice versa.

No matter how much energy I pour into anyone or anything in my life, it will eventually die. That’s tragic, yes. But it’s also comforting. Love and pleasure come to a fold, yes. But so does pain and suffering. That’s why it’s so import to just keep swimming, like Andrea always used to say.

The fact that the swim ends is what gives it beauty.

So my contemplation today is about reinvention.

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Growth is a process

I recently started a new job. It’s interesting how in my day to day interactions with new folks I keep bringing up prior experiences in my head and using them as the basis for new ones.

I got into a big meeting the other day about how to plan and execute work, how to deal with changes in technology, and share work smoothly.

I brought some good, strong opinions to the table. But was also open to listen. And in the process saw something that kind of blows me away.

It’s like I’m simultaneously the same person I was at my old job, and a whole brand new one. I’m reinventing myself.

Being mindfully present for it is mind boggling. I can feel myself… well, growing. It’s big things and little things. I made the decision to consistently be an early morning arrival. I decided to openly embrace learning some new technologies. And it’s just happening. I’m making it happen.

It feels so good.

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow
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. 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow

So, I'm a busy guy.

It's a holiday weekend, and I was up at 5:30.  Partly that was because I couldn't stop thinking about some code I need to write today for Project Drummond, my side business.  Partly that was because I have been thinking about working with my illustrator Jenn in a whole new way.

So I got up, got showered, and headed down to the old home office to crank out some work.

The night before I had put my laptop atop my lap (funny how you can do that with it) and tinkered a bit with code while Missy, Rachel and I watched a movie.  When I hooked it back up to my monitor this morning, this bad thing happened.  Or rather, a good thing didn't happen.

My beloved Thunderbolt monitor wouldn't charge the laptop.

Well, crap.

So I asked Cousin Google what to do.  And tried many of the things they recommended, to no avail.  This potentially was going to eat my whole damn day.  Then I took a well informed guess, based on my research.

My magsafe adapter had gone bad.

My who-what-now?  

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This thing.  It's a little magnetic adapter which connects the monitor cable to the laptop.  I ordered a new one for like $10, and was able to pick it up at a nearby store.  And when I brought it home, and swapped it out, and saw the sweet green light of functional charging.

Then I dug back into my list of many things.  Which included reading an amazing story written by a fellow author.  Negotiating some narration work for a new story.  Writing code.  And having an important phone call with partners.

And that's when I started to have this feeling: that much like that little magsafe adapter, I'm just this one little part of many vast, complex systems.

Which reminds me of a quote from one of my most favorite books, Cloud Atlas.

 “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

It's good to be a drop.

 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow