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.

As I write this, i’m getting ready to go to the gym to go swimming. For Christmas this year Missy got me an Apple Watch. I’ve been using one of its applications, that tracks movement, standing, and exercise as rings.

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Each day the rings start out empty and you fill them as you go. Workouts are an implicit thing, You tell the watch what you’re about to do and it tracks it with extra detail.

This really works for me. For one thing, the data gets shared with another application I use, Lose It. It makes it so easy to really see the benefit and interrelated nature of my choices. It’s also a sort of gamification of being healthy. I know that the swim I do a few days ago can allow me to eat an ice cream sandwich a few days later. Or conversely, see how I feel and how my weight fluctuates based on the amount of exercise I get. It makes me able to stand back a few feet from individual choices and see how they knit together.

All of which combined, help me be more fully present in both what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I’m really excited to grab a quick shower, get dressed, & get to my gym. I like those closed green rings. I like what they do to and for me.

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 there’s this thing that’s been on my mind lately. As I have blogged about recently,  I’m a pretty busy guy.

It can be really hard to find time for all these things that I do.  There’s this skill that I’m always refining that really helps me with these things.   It’s the ability to work in discrete micro chunks.

 This isn’t as helpful in my programming work  as it is in my fiction,  but I do use it all the time.

 Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.  So this morning I’m sitting at my desk, trying to do some writing on a new Cam and Eileen story.   I’m having trouble with, trying to figure out the flow of a certain  scene.

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I make the decision to stop writing, get in my car and go to work.   As I’m driving, and listening to a very excellent podcast where Patton Oswalt is talking about writing about his wife’s death, the crucial thing I’m missing for that story comes to me.

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 So I very carefully pause the podcast, and turn on the recording app in my phone.   I talk it out.   Let me explain what I’m doing here.   I’m not writing the story word for word,  but I’m exploring with the characters feel.   I say the big beats of the plot,  some particular phrasing that matters.

 Now I feel good about my morning.   What’s more, I know that when I do sit down to write this, I’ve got a plan.  I know what I want the words to sound like, and what it is about the characters that I’m trying to get across to the reader.   That’s really important to me, because I’m writing about characters who have erotic situations, but in the context of their entire lives.

 It matters just as much that the man in the story is interested in pegging, that the woman in the story struggles with being the black sheep of her family.   One fact doesn’t cancel the other out,  they support and enhance one another.  

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Then I get to work. As I’m pulling in and looking for a spot, it occurs to me that this forward movement is enough. In the same day I get to be an author, do my day job, and put in the time to feel I’m living my authentic life.

By embracing progress,  and chipping it out a little bit a time I’m getting there.  That feels really good 

Posted
AuthorMako Allen
CategoriesgratitudeNow