2020 In The Rearview

2020 was certainly a trying year for most; actually just about everyone. Many lost loved one’s, which is unimaginable. Peoples livelihoods were affected as families struggled not only to pay rent or mortgages, but putting food on the table was extremely difficult. The true scope hasn’t even reared it’s ugly head, yet. All we know is it’s been disastrous and most of our leaders have done nothing to help; they do not care.

Spending all that time at home (yes I listened to the experts ie. scientists) and minus the 40-50 hours of work a week, “me time” became a big thing. That certainly had its ups and downs. Without focusing too much on the negative, this year gave me the opportunity to reflect and work on some things. Continue reading →

Moving Past Judging and Learned Biases

My son was watching a Youtube video this morning. The video was about Bert (Bernhard) Trautmann. I’m not gonna go into detail about him, you can click the link for the video or the linked article in his name. Though a brief synopsis would help I’m sure, especially for those that choose to skip the links.

Bert is well known for two reasons. The most recent being that he was a keeper for Manchester City. His greatest triumph with the team was playing a cup game in 1956 that he had stopped a shot and sustained an injury that should have kept him from continuing on with play but he brushed it off and finished. His neck was broken and shattered discs came dangerously close to killing him.

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The only failure is not trying!!

We all know change is inevitable, by the time this post is finished, even by the time this sentence is finished, change will have happened. There are those inescapable, concrete moments of change, and then there are the one’s we choose to make.

Over the past few months, I’ve come to terms with the unavoidable changes, as a matter of fact I have learned to embrace them. But, one major factor in my life, now, is striving for bigger shifts in attitude specifically.

I’ve always been the type of person the just allowed things to happen organically, to not buck against it and just be content with the inevitability of it all. I would happily just sit on my little raft, floating down the river of complacency expecting things to change, as they always do and just coping with what happened. I’ve learned, recently, that same sense of complacency was not getting me anywhere but the same place I started. Living this cyclical existence has not been enough for me. As I raise my fist in the air, revolting against the very idea that we should just “be” and let this life unfold, I also scream from the bowels of my gut that I refuse to sit on that raft any longer, as a matter of fact I am pushing that raft ashore and setting the damned thing ablaze!!

Life’s too short for that crap. There are so many moments that can be embraced, to make those changes, but we tend to believe those things are too hard or that we can’t accomplish the task so we don’t even bother to put in the effort. I emplore you to put that brain chatter to rest, to flip that raft over, and try. You’d be amazed at the things you can do and accomplish with even the least bit of effort. The only failure is not trying.

I’ve lived my life in the comfort of complacency for to long. If I have an idea, from here on out, I am doing it. If I want to do this, I am doing it. I am setting goals that I was scared of in the past. I refuse to sit idly by and let this life pass without making it meaningful. I resist the implication that we should just be happy with the way things are. To be honest, I am sick and tired of this idea that we should just let go, to somehow coexist in a manner that we have no control of. Pardon the language, but fuck that! Yes, there are things beyond our control, but there are many moments I can, and will, control.

I am the change I want.

I am the man in the mirror.

I will not sit by and let life pass me by!!!

Get Up!

This post is inspired by a song I’ve been stuck on lately, for some reason I can’t get this song out of my head. The song, “Get Up”, is a collaboration between the nu-metal band Korn and the dubstep act Skrillex.  I know, it’s not death metal, but there’s a message in it that has got me thinking a bit lately. I’ve been kind of a debbie downer because of certain things going on in my life. At first, I really related to the following lyrics…

Times are looking grim these days
Holding on to everything
It’s hard to draw the line
And I, I’m hiding in this empty space
Tortured by my memories
Of what I left behind

I would just mope around, poor me… Why is this happening to me? Boo hoo!

But, after listening to the song, especially the chorus— I realized the message was not about feeling bad for yourself. Those lyrics goes something like…

Shut the f#$k up, get up!

Jonathan Davis, lead singer of Korn, was not just saying it, he was yelling it at the top of his lungs. I could swear he was yelling these words right in my direction.

It felt like he was just grabbing me by the collar and smacking me in the face. Like he was saying “get up… stop feeling sorry for yourself.. get over yourself and do something…”

Looking into the mirror, I don’t see a sorry person.

I look in the mirror and see someone who is strong, resolved and brushing himself off.

There is no time like the here and now to get up, no time like the present to make the changes that need to be made. I can’t sit around hoping and mumbling mantras that somehow the cosmic forces of the universe are going to make it ok. Because, no-one or no thing can make the change, it’s up to me.

So, no more moping, it’s nothing but forward motion from here on out.

A non-“Buddhist” rant

The one thing I am learning about social media is, 85% of the posts on the various platforms are nothing but negativity. Maybe the number I said isn’t right, but sometimes it actually feels like 100%.

What really burns my ass is the fact people complain so much about such trivial things. They complain about their lives, their jobs (or lack of jobs), their husbands, their wives, YET they refuse to do anything about it. Life sucks, change it. Have no job, get one. Husband or wife not working out, get a friggin divorce. For cripes sakes people!

My feed most of the time is this person or that complaining about a commercial they just saw and how it pigeonholes them as a group. For instance, what set me off was someone who posted a comment about a new commercial from Old Nay. In the commercials they say something like “Don’t jiggle it when you wiggle it”. They instantly took offense to it. They assume it is some sort of attack on them because maybe they don’t live the active lifestyle. I can guarantee that Old Navy has no idea who you are, so the commercial was not made about you.

Maybe, just maybe the folks at Old Navy are trying to tell us something. Something like we’ve become a nation of lazy sob’s. For instance, in 1985 in the state of Massachusetts (my home state) the obesity rate was under 10%. In 2010 that rate is nearly 24%.  In 1985, the state of Texas was under 10% yet in 2010 it was over 30%. In 1985 Oregon was under 10%, yet they were nearly 30% in 2010. There is a trend I’m sure you are seeing here, they are facts.

Old Navy probably did not spell all of this out for viewers of the commercial. They didn’t need to. What they were doing was marketing a product, one that encourages people to get off of the couch, unplug from the internet, drop the Wii remote, etc and get moving.

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Observing Memorial Day

This may not be the prototypical post observing this national holiday, but for me, it’s one that needed to be written. I do, with everything I have, thank those that have stepped up and chosen to be “defenders” of this country.

Soldiers wear many hats though and are not only on the battle lines fighting the “good fight”. Our soldiers do other important tasks, like help rebuild or keep order after a natural disaster. They are there on the front line to help in relief situations here in the US and overseas. Their task is not only to “cut down the enemy in battle”, but to help those that are not able to help themselves.

This memorial day it’s not just about those that have passed or those that are continuing to fight but also for those that were injured and forgotten. Yes, I said forgotten.

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“Can we have a meeting at about 3:30?”

That’s what my boss said this past Friday. I had this creeping feeling it was not to be a good meeting. Not that I had done anything wrong, my job is pretty simple (graphic design) but I just had that feeling you know. And at 3:30 we sat down, he says “I’m gonna have to let you go.” I was a bit shocked but kind of understood his perspective as a small business owner. He didn’t have the work coming in to sustain an employee so he had to do it. The only thing that gets under my skin, is that if he knew it was coming (which he told me he did), why didn’t he warn me sooner? He knows I have 3 kids at home and leaving me without a job is a HUGE inconvenience. I could have jumped down to 30 hours a week or something and spent 10 hours looking.

But whatever I guess, things happen. I’ve already applied at a couple places, but I’m really trying this time to get “that job” I can stick with for the next 20-30 years if you know what I mean. This 1 year here, 5 years over here stuff isn’t working anymore. I guess it’s off to the unemployment line in the meantime….

Can a Buddhist “kill” a zombie? (Happy Halloween)

Being a Buddhist on Halloween poses a problem to some, if not all of us. With all the ghouls and ghosts about how is someone with a compassionate demeanor to succeed on such a hallowed day?

What if by chance you stumbled upon a ghastly zombie, munching some brains, what do you do? Kill it? Maybe not, but I sure as heck would. I don’t want any stinkin’ zombies eating my brains on Halloween, I’ve got candy to seek out.
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Changing jobs and…

… a couple other things. First, I updated the videos. Added a couple from Lama Surya Das, one of the leading Western Buddhist teachers. Also added an interview that I really enjoyed. It is with Noah Levine, author or “Dharma Punx” and “Against The Stream”. So why not take a few minute and drop by the videos section and check them out.

Second, I finally got a different job, and it’s doing exactly the thing I love to do, work on computers. Not hardware or anything, but design (layout design) and building/maintaining websites. For the past year I’ve been a salesman with print company, on hopes that one day I would get back into the world of creating rather than selling. So I am rather happy to announce it, the job will be great. The company is up and coming, has only been around for a little under 3 years now. They’ve got some great clients and with some contacts I’ve made hopefully we’ll get really busy and make a bigger impact.
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