There is no perfect

There is a ton of work to do. We all need real work, work with our hands, work with the sweat of our brows and the strength of our backs, work made with an eye for intricacy and attention to detail. This work nourishes our sense of purpose in the world. We need to find a passion and stick to it.

The flipside of our physical real world work is the work that goes on inside us, in the reasons and impetus behind our physical work. In art, in love, in friendship, in nurturing one thing or another we bring into the world something that wasn’t there before, this love and creativity that makes everything so much better.

Physical things fall apart eventually, everything dies and literally evolves through the bardos of the cosmos. I used to believe in the physical realness of spirituality, but with the glaring absence of any proof that any magical beings exist after my 30 odd years of life,  I do not believe any of that any more. It is all just a bunch of cults trying to take power over your life. I only believe in this universe and what it has to offer. I believe that when we create art or write down words or even decorate a house we are engaging in a dance with life and making the world a better place.

I believe in beauty, the beauty of reality and the beauty of so-called ugliness. The Koine Greek word for beauty was horaios, derived from hora meaning hour. Essentially their concept of beauty was simply “being of one’s hour.” Someone trying to appear older or younger may not be beautiful, and in fact may be a tragic or comedic figure. That concept reminds me of the Japanese wabi sabi idea that I have always been intrigued with. In the same way, Wabi sabi is looking at time as an essential component of beauty. So the smile wrinkles on an old monk’s face are beautiful, as are the cracks in an old wooden post.

Beauty is not separate from time, and time is what creates meaning in our souls. Time reflects beauty onto our minds, and when we look instead toward magical beings or pathological human morality codes instead for meaning we go mad. We except religion because we are afraid of time and mortality. Fear doesn’t create beauty.

I could state simply that I know there is no such thing as a god or the devil. But I don’t really know anything at the end of the day. Perhaps there is, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t.  I don’t know why we seem to need to come up with fantasies when all around us we have beauty dropping on our heads by the ton.

My post is rambling. I could go back, edit, revise, make the prose tighter. But every now and then I realize that the reason I blog is because I enjoy sharing my rambling tangential mind, and there is beauty in the inconsistency and wildness there.

So today do not judge yourself for not being perfect, because there is no such thing.

Let it out

It’s funny how important it is to let go.

I was writing an article about lessons I have learned from my farming life and one of the primary ones is that if you don’t let go of something, it will take you over. This isn’t just about farming, obviously it crosses over into personal life and interpersonal relationships. Hell, it applies to owning cars and running businesses and playing a game or even cooking. I can’t really think of a single thing that doesn’t benefit from an improved ability to let go.

After finishing the article I found myself in a situation where I was having a little bit of a problem letting go.  My mood went to shit, my brain was on a feedback loop, and I wasn’t laughing anymore. Laughing is a good indicator of mental health.

I knew I was a bit on edge and so I just sat with it. I didn’t like where my head was at, but I knew it wold change over time. I waited. I was hoping that some epiphany would pop into my head about my issue and soothe my troubled mind. The next day I did feel like I had a better understanding of the issue. But I could still feel some blockage, I still wasn’t laughing. Finally, when I opened my damn fool mouth and let my thoughts and feelings spill out, I could feel the blockage open up and I could let go.

My point being that sometimes it’s not enough to intellectually understand an issue in order to be able to let go of it, some times all it takes is simply the act of opening up your mouth and sharing your thoughts with another person.

There are other ways to work through an issue and let go that don’t involve analysis, like drawing, cleaning, building, or writing. We forget our bodies and minds need to work together and sometimes we can’t let go until we work it out both mentally and physically. Walking helps me relax my body and reminds me that I am a just a small human being living on this planet. Walking stimulates all of my senses and can help get my brain to stop going in circles, even if I’m only walking in circles.

In a broader sense, we’ve all been grasping and clinging to things since we were babies. As adults, we have to learn to let go. I could sum up Buddhism with one simple phrase, “Let go of all your shit.”

Choose your own adventure

“When everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts.” – Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

I hike to live. If there is one thread that holds my life story together, it would most likely be walking. Walking and hiking are essentially the same thing. Hiking can mean walking in boots off the paved trail, but all in all it doesn’t really matter,and what really matters is that one foot is put in front of another foot.

The simple act of movement helps everything become better. It ties us to our ancestors going back into the Paleolithic period when we hunted and gathered in order to stay alive. We only survived because of our movement. In first world countries we are so sedentary that we end up contracting disease and dying because of it. The irony is lost on people who know of no other way of living.

Children go without outdoor play and turn into screen zombies. Adults are not much better. Hiking or walking ties our individual lives to our surroundings, and daily movement through our landscape gives us insight into the patterns of our world.

There is no better knowledge to obtain then that of the patterns of our world and all it’s inhabitants. Our minds try to convince us of our special position as humans on the planet, that we are separate from nature, but every cell in our body thirsts for the connection to the elements that make up our universe.

We;re a people used to total comfort. For 10 seconds attempt to stand outside in a snowstorm. We don’t want to do that . We want to stay in our highly safe human-created bubble worlds. And that will kill us all eventually.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my penchant to walk down the road or hike through the forest. I always take the time to take an amble, and if I don’t do that I feel disconnected, unhealthy, and unfulfilled. It is hard to take a step when we feel sick and disconnected. That first step though is the most important.

I was also thinking about love the other day. What makes some relationships work well for decades and others crash and burn after a couple years? It seems that communication is key, but even more so it seems that the main thing I see in couples that are thriving is a sense of adventure.

In general those couple are both mentally and physically happy and healthy. There is a joy to their partnership that is palpable. Life isn’t some drudgery to get through but an active evolving adventure that stirs them up with passion and enjoyment of life, the joi de vivre that we all should strive for. I have unexpectedly found my partner in this grand life adventure, and every day is alive with possibility.  What’s around the corner? We don’t know but we’re excited to go there.

When comfort shows up we seem to settle for it and then become completely addicted. Hell I see that pattern of behavior in me as I use a dishwasher for the first time. I used to take my hand dishwashing time as a kind of meditation, but now am happy enough to plop the dishes down and go on with other activities in my life. It seems the more time saving devices we have the less time we take to putter. And I think puttering around is key to an enjoyable life.

When we ramble over the landscape we aren’t “doing something productive” but in fact we are doing a multitude of very important things. We are learning about our surrounding world and all the thousands of things that are happening right now, all around us. We are not alone on this planet by any stretch of the imagination, and we are definitely not the most important creature on the planet. A sense of perspective is necessary for a healthy mind to process it’s own life and come up with solutions to problems.

We’re a society that installs rails on every waterfall so nobody gets hurt. Adventures are for the rich or famous, and we are content to watch them on the TV. Oddly we can take adventures almost any time, in any place, and we forego the adventure to do the same old, same old. Repetition is comfort, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But adventure feeds the soul, and in the end that is far more important then the safety of repetition.

I’m not talking about adventures that cost thousand of dollars after flying across the ocean with special gear and so on, I’m talking about taking a walk in a new park, trying out a new sport,  going a on midnight ski, or even something like starting a new hobby. Running a business can be an adventure. Physical fitness can be an adventure, and of course dining out can be fraught with the new and unexpected.

After thinking about my life and all the thousands of walks I have been on, all the thoughts and solutions that have passed through my mind, all the grief and joy I have felt on each of those walks, noting tree leaves changing color or birds taking nest, I see that there is a fundamental choice that we all make every day. Are we going to put one foot in front of the other and see what’s around the bend, or are we going to park our butt in a sofa and be safe? Choosing you own adventure may sound like a cliche, but even so our lives are brief and if we don’t seize the day they may end up empty. Fill up your life with adventure and you’ll fill up your soul with love.

 

 

 

 

Alex Atala on Routine

“My mom loved her dog and thought it was intelligent. However, the dog was only conditioned. Human beings are intelligent, but we are also conditioned! We do way too many things on the automatic mode. Develop the best routines and stick to it.”

“You don’t need to be smart to make money. You need to have plenty of ideas to be smart but you can be stupid and still make a lot of money. The only way to achieve greatness is to do the exact same thing everyday. To achieve perfection you must have the right routine.”

“One of my most famous dishes is Aligot. The recipe is so simple that it could easily be done by a child. But the service is perfect. We turned a simple recipe into an unforgettable experience. One may wonder, “Oh, so the waiter is great!” No he is not. He just has a chef that orders him to practice tirelessly until he masters that skill. Training is the key to success.”

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