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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas?

Merry Christmas. Is that what it is? I feel like I am supposed to be excited about Christmas and all of the fun and family adventures that it brings. But in reality I am really having a hard time feeling excited about it this year. Oh I could give you a list of all the reasons that I have not to be excited about a (holiday?) that seems to bring out the worst of consumerism in everyone and seems to bring all kinds of family issues to the forefront for so many people. But that isn't really the point is it and I suppose I might feel a little bit different if I had children around me who were excited about this time of year.

So believe me when I tell you that I get it. I get that I am perhaps being a little bit silly and perhaps wallowing in my being alone. So to speak. I do not mind being alone. I enjoy it for the most part and it is a life that I have pretty much actively  chosen. I also realize that I am not actually alone. I do have friends and family and friends that are like family around me. But there are times when that doesn't seem to be enough. There are people who are not around anymore and who will never be around and I miss them. I also realize that missing them is not going to bring them back to me and that feeling sad about missing them is where a lot of the pain is coming from. I am actively working on trying to be more Buddhist in my daily life. I meditate and try to be more mindful of things and to live in the present. But it is not that simple at times.

I suppose it is the normal cycle of things to feel like one is doing well and then to feel like one is doing poorly and to feel like the world is closing in around them. I know that this is probably the first year in several years if not my entire life that the darkness of the winter in the pacific northwest is getting to me. I am feeling the gloom of the dark and rainy days. I am finally understanding what some of my friends talk about when they talk about how bad the weather is here in the wintertime. But really I know what the problem is and it is one that I am almost sick of writing about but for me writing about it is the best way to get it out and to release it into the universe.

I miss you Eric. I hate that you aren't here. One of my favorite things about this time of year was Christmas mornings with you and Devyn and my and Nicoles little house. I loved being there with your parents and you two and sharing that experience. It always made me feel like you were living with us again and I really missed that. After the divorce happened I really missed having you around I missed you being a part of my life. It mean't so much to me that you kept me around and connected. You didn't have any reason to do that. So many people would have walked away. It probably would have been easier for so many people to walk away and you didn't. This mean't the world to me. I do not know if I ever expressed that enough to you.

None of that matters now. You are gone. So many things that I would love to share with you. But that is over. That was a moment in time that will never return and most of the time I do a good job of shutting it down inside me and pretending that the empty hole doesn't exist. But then it all builds up and it is like the hole overflows with the emptiness and it all must come pouring out of me or I will be overwhelmed by it. I sometimes wonder how others function with all of this. I sometimes wonder how I am functioning with all of this. But going on seems to be the only option. To not is not something that I can do or that I want to do. I have no interest in that. What I have an interest in is loving others and caring for others and trying to making the lives of people around me better.

I am not writing this as some kind of cry for help. I am in no danger of hurting myself. I just have a hard time understanding how other people are able to process this. I know that we are all facing our own journeys and that the struggle is different for all of us. So trying to stand outside of someones life and judge how they are doing is a pretty pointless exercise and one that isn't beneficial to either of us. But knowing these things doesn't take my empathy away from me and often the pain that I feel within that is so strong. I think in some way that is why I love music so much because I can lose myself in the emotion of it without losing myself in the pain that others are feeling. I think that it allows me to empty myself so that I can be filled up again. That cycle never seems to stop. I am not trying to pat myself on the back or shake my own hand here. I am just recognizing where the feelings come from inside of me and where they go.

All of this coming back to I love you and miss you Eric. Sometimes I am mad at you for leaving. I still do not understand it and I do not know that I ever will. I think that if I ever understand it I may be to close to the darkness inside of myself and I do not want that. The darkness is there and it is ever-present but it is not overwhelming and it does not push at me or seem to desire growth. But for me to deny that it exists would mean lying to myself and to others who do care about me. The darkness is part of who I am and it is also a part of my being able to care for others. I am not scared of it nor do I wallow in it. But it is a part of me. Just like love is a part of me and that part of me is the largest part of me. The love in me outshines the darkness and while the world does get me down at times I know that the love does shine through. It isn't the love that I used to think of when I was a small child and was going to bible school. I know that and I am okay with that. I sometimes feel the limits of language when I write like this and I feel limited and unable to fully articulate the complexity of my feelings. But that is what it comes down to for me. I desperately want others to not have to feel pain and fear to not have to feel anger and hate. I want to be able to take that from them and hold it within myself for a time before releasing it.

When I hug someone I want them to know that I am present and that I feel them and see them there in whatever space they are in. That I will not judge them. That compassion and empathy are all that I want to bring to the encounter. To leave them feeling better and to leave knowing that I have taken some of their pain away and lightened their load. That is all that I want. The world is hard enough without us being mean to each other. I am by no means perfect and I fail but I have to keep trying. Otherwise there is no point and for me loving others is the point. The only point. I do not know who if anyone will actually read this but here it is. Please know that I love you and if you need something please let me know. I will do what I can to be there in some form or the other.

Be well and know that I love you. Thanks for reading this. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Late Night Thoughts

I am not sure where this is going. I truthfully have no idea what is going on in my head right now. It is just after midnight on Wednesday the 22nd and I just found out earlier tonight that my ex-wife has remarried. I want to say that it doesn't bother me. But I am having a hard time going to sleep and for me that is a sure sign that there is a problem. I want her to be happy. I tell people that all the time and I believe that to be the truth. How horrible of a person would I be to not want that for her. I know in my heart that I can't make her happy and that what she is looking for in a relationship is not what I could bring her. That is only one of the myriad of reasons why we broke up. Her remarrying should not have come as a surprise to me. She has been dating this guy for a fair amount of time and they have been serious about it. So I am not sure why I feel like I was taken by surprise. I shouldn't care. I should be able to say good for her and just keep on keeping on. But I am really struggling right now and I not sure why. She should be happy. Everyone should be happy and if you aren't the person that makes them happy then you should let them go so that they can be happy. That is the only thing that makes sense. But if that makes sense then why am I feeling so bothered by this right now.

I don't mind being alone and in truth I actually like it most of the time. I like getting off of work and going home and disappearing into my room for most of the evening. Sure I make the occasional appearance now and then and I may step out and visit friends or go to the pub now and then but by and large I am a solitary being and like it that way. I am not a good fit for marriage and I do not expect to ever marry again or really have a long term relationship. That doesn't seem to be in the cards and if I am being honest with myself it wouldn't be fair to my partner to have to deal with my desire to be left alone. That for sure would not be good and would be a surefire recipe for relationship disaster. I do not want to do that to anyone else. I still feel some guilt for having done that to her despite the fact that we are still friends. I think had I actually known myself better I wouldn't have gotten married in the first place but I really felt like that was kind of the thing that you were supposed to do. I do not regret the 7 years at all but at the same time I can't help wonder what about how things might have turned out had I waited to ask her out or to propose in the first place. Had I not gotten married I am not sure that I would have ever gone back to college and I am glad that I did despite the nearly crippling debt that I have from school loans. I loved going to WOU and I loved Political Science and Philosophy. I found my niche their. I really did. I enjoyed Model United Nations and I would not have done any of those things without her encouragement and support. That is the truth. She brought many good things into my life. My relationship with her brought me close to her brother and that is a relationship that I will never forget. There are people in my life now that would not be in my life had I not gotten married in the first place. I love those people and they are hugely important to me.

My life is a good one right now. I have a roof over my head and a job that pays my bills for the most part. I have good friends and a good community around me. Oh sure there are always bumps in the road but overall things are very good and perhaps that is why this has thrown me a little bit. Things have been pretty stable and maybe it was time for there to be a little bit of turmoil so to speak. Maybe that is what I need to get me back to writing again and to move me out of the stasis of contentment that I have been living in. It isn't that I want chaos and drama because I do not. But it is very easy to be comfortable and to not stretch yourself. I know that is the case for me. I know that I love writing but I also know that if I am not feeling angsty or emotional about something the words just do not flow out of me. I am quite comfortable wallowing in my stability and comfort. I enjoy listening to my music and reading my books and thinking my thoughts without any actual consequences or affect on anything. It is easy for me to swirl around in an emotional and intellectual eddy and not actually go anywhere despite the appearance of movement.

Just writing like this I already feel better and in my feeling better I also feel frustrated with myself because despite my knowing that writing makes me feel better I stop doing it and just do other things.  I have always had a hard time actually finding a balance for myself and that seems to be the key with most everything in life. The need to find that sweet spot. To find that balance between leisure and labor so that you are being fed in both directions. Here is hoping that I can find that sweet spot and if anyone has read this much of my ranting that you can find that sweet spot in your life also. I feel like I have written myself out of the funk I was in earlier and that is a good thing. She is a great girl and great woman and she should be happy and that is all that I should care about. The past is the past and it isn't like we have kids to connect us anymore. I need and needed to let that last little bit go I suppose and recognize that moving on is a normal and a good thing. So good for her. I say that with all sincerity. I am glad that she is happy and doing well. I am going to close with something that I read just last week in the  The Way of the Bodhistattva...

May I be a guard for those that are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water, May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge. 
May I be an isle for those who year for a landfall,
And a lamp for those who long for light;,
For those who need a resting place, a bed;,
For all who need a servant, may I be their slave.
May I be the wishing jewel, the vase of plenty,
A word of power and the supreme healing;
May I be the tree of miracles,
And for every being the abundant cow. 

This is truly what I desire. Be well everybody and thank you for listening. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Sunday

Hey everybody welcome to what I am going to call "The Stream". I hope that you are well. I am not sure what is going on but I am sure that what you are going to be getting from me on Sunday is a little experiment I am going to call "Stream of Consciousness Sunday" or "The Stream" for short. I am going to put on a playlist that I use at work when I am doing data entry and I am going to write for a while. I am not sure for how long and I have no idea what I will be writing about. I just know that I am going to be writing and whatever flows from the depths of my soul and out of my fingertips is going to end up in the blog. I will be going back and fixing spelling errors and things of that nature but as far as grammar goes that is about it for me. So once a week prepare yourself to have your mind blown as I spray my wisdom all over you. Welcome to.........

                                         THE STREAM

Today was a pretty good day. Actually the whole weekend has been pretty good. The day started off with a little bit of Bundesliga (German Soccer) followed by the EPL (English Soccer) and for me any day that starts off with some European soccer is a good day. So I enjoyed my coffee and watched a couple of good matches and then I journeyed down to the Broadway Coffeehouse and met my parents for Sunday brunch. There are not a lot of great choices in Salem. Unlike Portland which is filled with amazing places to brunch. I would say that Salem has less than 10 places that really serve a good brunch. They are good though do not get me wrong. I am not complaining I am just trying to show you the realities of the brunch experience in Salem. So after a tasty bacon and egg brunch I headed over to Archive for some coffee and to visit with my friends that work there. I do not need to tell you stories of Archive as I am sure most people are bored to tears already. But suffice it to say that if you want a good solid cup of black coffee or a traditional macchiato in  Salem you can't go wrong by getting it at Archive. If you want something blended or icy and full of cream then find someplace else to go. They are not the place for you. I do not say that to be rude but just to say that if you are looking for a cream filled and blended drink there are plenty of other coffee houses that would be glad to serve you. I would hate for you to go to Archive and leave disappointed. That is all. 

So after spending some time drinking and chatting. Oh! Also being introduced to an amazing local band named 'Will O' The Wisp' and I just can't even say enough about this band. I was literally moved to tears as this music filled me. Now I am moved to tears by lots of things but that does not make it any less special when it happens. I do not know of anyway to say it anymore clear then to say that I fucking love this band. 

Do yourself a favor and sit quietly, close your eyes and just listen to it. Please. 

I think that it is impossible for me to end on anything better then this. So good. Have a great day folks. 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Keeping It Going

Trying to get back in the habit of writing regularly may be harder to do than I thought that it was going to be. It isn't that I do not want to write because I do but I am not sure what I really have to say. Things are going well right now. I am not angry about things and often I am able to use anger as fuel for my writing but honestly more and more I feel like that is not good blogging and is really the easy way out. It is easy to be snarky and sarcastic and often just plain mean. If you spend much time around the internet looking at and reading different blogs you really start to notice a pattern of mean spiritedness in the more popular blogs and often the more popular the blog the meaner the blogger and the meaner the commentators as well.

I am just not that person and I do not desire to be. It isn't that I do not think that there are rights and wrongs or that I do not have an opinion on things. I totally do. But I also know that I do not know everything and that is okay. It seems like when I read these different blogs what drives them is this idea that they have an answer for everything and that their answer is the only correct one. Maybe they are right and they do have it all figured out. But I do not. I know what works for me but that doesn't mean it is going to work for you or anyone else.

This is where I meander for a while because I am not sure what I am trying to say with this or even what my intentions are. Perhaps I said all that I needed to say last week and there isn't anything more to say. What makes me think that people are really all that interested in my musings in the first place? Though I do get good feedback and that always makes me feel nice. It is an interesting process because while I rarely get actual comments on the blog itself I do actually often get comments on my facebook page or people send me messages which I like. I think that the majority of my readers know me in real life so that is kind of cool as well. At least it is for me. It is nice to know that some people are actually reading what I am putting down. Not that I do it for the feedback but it is still nice to have some.

I purchased this little beauty on Friday

I am not sure if it is a boy banjo or a girl banjo as it has not told me its name but I am looking forward to learning how to play it. I have been a fan of bluegrass for a long time but I hadn't ever held a banjo until July 4th at a neighborhood party and after doing so I really felt like I should get one. I do not think that there is ever a wrong time to pick up an instrument and that you are never too old or too young to do it.

That is one of the masters of the banjo a Mr Roy Clark. I will never be that good. But I am going to have fun and for me that is all that really matters to me. So far I have really enjoyed the process and I haven't done much at all but just work on some drills that I am supposed to be doing. No chords just drilling in open G over and over again. It helps hat I like the sound of the banjo as I play it that is for sure. Who know maybe one day you will at least get to hear me play. Be well this week folks and take care of yourself and others around you.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and to read. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Starting All Over Again....

Hey everybody. I haven't written anything for awhile and I suppose that is actually a good thing. It usually happens when I am working and staying busy and it means that I am spending less time inside my head. The thing is I miss writing. I like it. I like telling stories I like opening myself up to peoples opinions and thoughts. I like being transparent. So I am going to work on doing this at least once a week for now and hopefully I can get back into the rhythm of doing this on a regular basis. I think that it is a healthy thing for me.

I am not unhappy. I am fully aware that for some of my readers this may be a little to "woo hoo" for you. But this is my reality and it is working for me. It has been basically 5 years since I got divorced and a little over 2 years since my friend committed suicide and in dealing with those events I basically lost my way. But one of the ways that I found to get back on my feet was meditation and reading some books by both Pema Chodron and Elizabeth Lesser. The books are "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron and "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser. Now I can't speak for anyone else. I can only speak for myself and for myself these books along with some unexpected friendships that I stumbled into at Broadway Coffeehouse healed me or I should say started me on this path that I feel is healing me.

I meditate now and I focus on loving others and trying to do what I can to take peoples pain away. I try to be the kind of person that leaves people happy to see me. I want people to feel loved and cared for when I am around them. I want them to know that they have value and are accepted by me regardless of gender or skin color or ethnicity. Oh sure I make mistakes but this is what I strive for. I try to live in the present without to many expectations for the future. I try to not say no to opportunity and to new experiences. I have realized that it is okay to say that "I do not know". I have realized that I do not have to know. In fact all that I feel like I have to do is to live authentically and to love others. It has become very boiled down for me to the simplest of things and it is working for me. At my core I really do just love people. I always have but also I was always a little afraid to be honest about the intensity of my feelings for people.

But those days are over. I love people and I strive to love people. I hug people I place my hands upon them and I do so intentionally with the desire to show them that I love them. If I could I would send my love energy through my hands and into them. I want them to feel my love for them without reservation and without worrying about the social structures and filters that society has put in our way. I drive a van for a running team in the neighborhood that I like to call home and so far we have done Hood to Coast and the Wild Rogue Relay and I love those experiences because the close proximity and lack of sleep really tears those walls down and people get to know each other in a deeper way. I would highly encourage everyone to try to take part in such an experience if they can. It is worth it.

That is all for tonight folks and I hope that some of you have stuck through all of my ramblings and it wasn't a TLRD for you. If I can I want to leave you with this and that is that I love you. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing. I love you. If you need someone to talk to or someone to scream out or just a hug do not hesitate to message me. I will do what I can for you. Do not worry about shocking me or driving me away. Be well and hopefully we can visit again soon.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Musings

Today was the first day of my third week of work and it went well. It is nice to be back working and to be on a schedule and I find agreeable. But if I had one concern it is that I am having a hard time figuring out how I can do my writing. I am hoping that Monday afternoon and evenings are going to be a time that I can devote to writing and listening to music and continuing to explore my journey through life on both a physical and emotional level. Now, I realize that this may or may not be interesting to some of you. But, I also realize that as far as I am concerned I need to have the freedom of writing to express myself and that by writing I am able to keep myself sane. Writing allows me to get the voices out of my head and allows me to say things that I am not always able to say and for that I am profoundly grateful. I do not know how people live who are unable to have an outlet like I have.

Pretty Girl from Feltre - The Avett Brothers

Today is March 24th and I am basically dreading the coming of April, I am dreading it because in the middle of April it will be a year since Eric's death. And while I have made some pretty significant strides in dealing with this I am in now way ready to deal with this anniversary and I really honestly do not know how I am going to be able to process it. The very thought of it as I write is bringing tears to my eyes and I do not even feel all that emotional at the present time. But I am can feel them swirling around behind the small blockade that I have thrown up as a weak defense against being overwhelmed by them.

Warning - Black Sabbath

I have noted before that I do not fear my feelings and I have learned to embrace them and to ride them and in some ways bathe in them. That may not be the best way to word it but I am not sure honestly how to word it. I know that it is unhealthy for me to close myself off and to pretend that the pain isn't there and that if I fight against it the pain often lasts longer then it would have if I had just faced it head on and let it overwhelm me for a time. I think that is the strange nature of grief and loss. It can come upon us without warning and then leave again without a trace for a time. But that is just an illusion because there is always a trace. It is in the world around me. It is in the music that I listen too or the books that I read or the television shows that I watch. Or even how I carry myself and respond to certain situations. I am unable to look at my bookcase without seeing a book or two or three or more that Eric either inspired me to read or gave me directly to read. I love those books and I have not regretted ever reading them. Nor have I or will I ever regret reading them.

Only in Your Heart - America

There are films that I have avoided watching since his death. It isn't that I dislike there films. But I am not sure that I am ready to face the feelings that these films are going to bring about in me. They are not good or bad but they are sure to be intense and overwhelming and I am not sure how ready I am for such a thing. I want to say 'What the hell, just face it head on." But I can't. I want too. I want to sit down and watch 'The Royal Tenenbaums' and 'Almost Famous' and 'Fight Club' and other films that remind me of him. But I just can't. I want to so badly and I the idea of it just locks me up and makes my chest tighten with pain.

No one Knows - Queens of the Stone Age

On Saturday night I had my, what I call, my philosophy group. It is more like a fellowship group of some partially like minded thinkers and we discuss all kinds of things. I normally leave the group energized and fed and group was good that night. We did a question can thing that I always enjoy doing. But once it was over I wandered into the coffeehouse and had myself a drink and also ran into two of my good friends. These are two people that always make me feel welcome and also are really good for conversation. So I am always happy to see them. One of them asked how I was doing and I thought about it for a bit and realized that I was feeling rather aimless and basically at a loss. It was a beautiful evening Saturday. The air was still and warm but not too warm and everything was very nice. But I was not feeling nice. I wandered out to my van after saying goodbye and I was really at a loss.

Every Dog Has Its Day - Flogging Molly

I finally decided that the only smart thing too do was to go home. It wasn't like I was going to hurt myself. At least I do not think so. But the air felt almost swollen with anticipation and I do not know what I was expecting but it really felt to me like there something waiting to drop and when it dropped it would overwhelm me and I wasn't sure if that was going to be good or bad. To me the air felt like it does just before a thunder storm is about to hit. I drove home in near tears and by the time I made it into my inner sanctum the tears had begun to flow but I did not know what was driving them. They were just flowing. I tried to do some writing but was unable to achieve anything close to getting out what I was feeling. So I watched some very stupid television. It was Tosh.0 and anyone who is familiar with it knows how stupid it can be. It may not have been the healthiest choice but it allowed me to move beyond the gloom that was hanging over me.

Salty Dog - Flogging Molly

So that being said. I am not sure what was going on. I just do not know. But Sunday was a better day and so was today and now I am writing and that is a good thing. The act of writing just makes me feel better. It helps me to feel like something is coming out even if it is something that doesn't totally make sense to other people. But it works for me and for the moment there is some calm in the storm that swirls inside of me. I will never forget Eric. He will always be with me and I will always love him and I will continue to get tattoos upon my body that remind me of him. That is how I choose to remember him and to honor his life and his memory. He left permanent marks on my life and leaving permanent marks on my skin is how I can remember and honor that.

The Worst Day Since Yesterday - Flogging Molly

 I know that April will be hard for me and I apologize ahead of time if I seem distant and kind of out to lunch. I apologize if my writings are overly emotional and weepy. I am an emotional guy and this is my canvas for processing theses things. Thank you for reading my thoughts and for caring about me. I love all of you and I hope to continue to share my love with you in the months ahead.  So remember, be kind because the journey for all of us is a hard one and please keep on dancing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Musings....

Today marked the beginning of a new thing for me. I started my new job at the Willamette Dairy Herd Improvement Association (WDHIA). It was a good day. I think the job is going to be interesting at times and I think that I am going to enjoy working with Joel and the rest of the other people there. It is going to be nice to just be actually working again and to actually have a schedule to follow as well as have a little bit of income coming in.

Down By The Water - The Decemberists

As much as I enjoy having the total freedom to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it I also like to actually have a place to go to everyday. So this will be nice. The best thing about working again is that I will be able to go back to visiting the Broadway Coffeehouse on a regular basis and that will make me very happy. Though the happiness will also come with a touch of sadness.  The sadness will be there because one of my favorite baristas will not longer be working there and I will miss her greatly. She was the best of the best and a true artist and miracle worker when it came to latte art. But the best thing of all was that she was super nice and cool and things will just not feel the same without her there.

Yankee Bayonet - The Decemberists

That being said, and I do admit to having the tendency to being maudlin and overemotional at times, and in all seriousness I really will miss her. She was very nice and a good barista and I consider her a good friend as well. I am hoping that she has great success in her upcoming ventures. Though come to think of it. I am really going to miss having someone to share graphic novels with here in Salem. She had great taste in comics!!

Leslie Anne Levine - The Decemberists

The home opener for my beloved Portland Timbers was last Saturday and while it was seen in a torrential downpour and while it ended in a draw. It was still a great game to watch and it was great to be part of the experience. The expectations are high this season and I would argue that for some they are far to high and they are unreasonable.But, that being said, I do understand why some pundits and fans feel the way that they do about the chances for the team this season. We had an amazing season last year and the team feels even stronger. I am trying to be cautious about my feelings for the team because it is only Coach Porters second season and I think that we may have surprised some teams last season. So for this season I am hoping for another trip to the playoffs and a top 3 finish in the West and hopefully in the whole league. Along with an extended cup run. So we shall see. That being said. I hope that if the team hits a rough spot that the fans stay reasonable and do not seek to scapegoat any players or coaches in the echo chamber that is the Timbers Army.

We Both Go Down Together - The Decemberists

I am hoping to be able to continue my blogging. It may be hard to set up a schedule since I will be working from 7:30 to 3:30 but we shall see. Right now I am hoping that I can do some nighttime writing like this after work. But I am not sure if that is always going to work or not. I know how important it is too everyone that I continue to spread my wisdom to all of you and I wouldn't want to leave any of you deprived of my wit and wisdom.  So you know what to do. I need some time alone!!