Mission Critical

Wow, I have absolutely nothing to write about today… It’s not that there is nothing to write about. It’s that there is too much to write about. It’s not that I have no opinion on the state of the world today. I have many opinions. I’m impressed by humanity. I’m depressed by humanity. My frustration and confusion has often lead to inaction. How can I fix what appears so intractably broken? How can I focus my energies on being part of the positive forces in the universe? I have a difficult time focus my energies to  make a change. But I want to make a change. I want to see grand forces unleashed from my efforts. With a big enough metaphysical lever, can I fix the world?

I saw a tremendous bumper sticker the other day:

Relax. Nothing is under control.

It reminded me, that even as I struggled to control the small things, I am wasting my time. As I shift my focus from the big items beyond my control to the little items that I have control over, I’m fooling myself. Everything I struggle to become master over is another struggle that doesn’t need to happen.

This isn’t futility. This isn’t me giving up. I must be an active participant in creating the universe around me, that’s why I came to this mortal plain.

But I don’t need to take it so seriously.

When things don’t make sense, maybe they aren’t meant to.

Have you been watching game of thrones? (don’t worry, no spoilers) It’s a violent drama show about kingdom building and battles. We are made privy to the machinations and control attempts by lords, kings and queens, over the world around them. Eventually, almost every plot point ties back and we are given the bigger picture.  We get to see what both sides are thinking and the growth of each situation as it develops. We’ve come to believe that real life is that way. It’s not.

We have come to believe if we watch the news long enough we’ll get the full story and everything will make sense. It won’t.

The people making up the news are as clueless and grasping at straws as much as you are. Yes, context is researched more deeply and more information is divulged. But you aren’t being given access to the backstory in a plot. We often confuse news reporters with the omnipotent narrator in a story. It’s more akin to the faulty narrator in a story where you’re being given a glimpse into the psyche of the story teller. You’re being told about the world as a faulty narrator sees it. There is no objective analysis. There is no omnipotent force informing the report. They are just people, like you. They have agenda and motives and they are part of the story, not an omnipotent narrator. Remember that.

It’s easy to forget when faced with threats from North Korea, that we don’t know the whole story. The parts of the story we see are disturbing. It’s easy to pick sides and draw conclusions. It is especially easy when you have skin in the game. They can fire as far as South Korea? Bummer. Then can fire as far as Japan? That’s rough. They can hit California? WTF, DO SOMETHING!!!

It’s nice to treat it as someone else’s problem. Until it happens to you. But remember, nothing has actually happened yet… But when it does, what will it be? Will war change it? Can we have a positive impact? Would we resolve the problem faster if we found oil in North Korea?

Do I have any control or influence over the situation at all?

Then, suddenly, nature turns it’s attention toward you. Suddenly North Korea drops off the top of the headlines as a hurricane hits Texas. We watch in helpless wonder as our friends and family struggle to escape flooding and survive one of the worst hurricanes we’ve seen in a while.

Feeling helpless sucks.

Then, I read this:

Environmentalists crowd fund a forest

Yes, it’s politically motivated. Yes, the article does a lot bashing. But they are taking a negative situation and making something positive out of it. People are doing something good.

The world is full of good people doing good things. Some for the right reasons, some for the wrong reasons, but they are making a difference.

You are making a difference.

You need to keep making a difference.

Be the person the world needs and let go of the outcome.

Don’t control, simply Be.

If you need a boost, try here:

Uplifting news on Reddit

This subreddit has articles posted that remind you the world isn’t a cesspool.

The world is a better place than the media makes it out to be.

You are a better person than your mind makes you out to be.

Be you. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. We will get to where we need to be. That’s all we can ask for.

 

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Love Them Beautiful

Is everyone actually beautiful? Is there beauty everywhere? Am I beautiful?

Yes! Correction, “HELL YES!” You are beautiful, I am beautiful. Even that ass-hat at the office that did that thing to you the other day, they are beautiful.

Ugly is really just an energetic state. A very low level of energy. Hate, greed, fear, these are low energy states. They are powerful, but they can be overcome with high energy states. Love, Compassion, Joy.

A smile is a powerful tool for a face and for feeling. The joy and release that come from smiling at someone is powerful. To see the face of a skeptical person as you approach them, both sides wary, both uncertain, then you crack a smile. It is like seeing the sun coming out from behind clouds. The skeptical face softens, relaxes, and a smile dawns. It is truly a thing of beauty.

If you have challenging people in your life, one powerful approach, is to love them. Love them beautiful. Approach them with compassion and love. This doesn’t mean you have to expose your delicate underbelly to the ass-hat at work. But somebody has to start the flow of love. Trust is gained over time. Love can be immediately given.

Grudges hurt you more than the person you hold a grudge against. Don’t punish yourself for someone else’s actions.

Embrace your own loveliness and beauty and spread it to the rest of the world with love and a smile.

Namaste, Kevin

 

 

You’re not as fat as you think, but you will be

I have felt fat for much of my life. I’ve discovered as I get older that it is, at least in part, a state of mind. In part it is a state of society. There is an image of the perfect body, and I haven’t ever had it. Which is interesting because I look back on how I used to look and what I used to weight and I realize I looked and weighed a pretty healthy amount. But that’s not what the world told me.

I am a big guy, I always have been, ever since that final growth spurt in college. But I’ve been working off charts made by the AMA (American Medical Association) that say I’m obese. Doctors have been telling me for years that I need to get off the excess weight. The result has been occasional “success” followed by my body returning to it’s comfortable weight. In retrospect, my comfortable weight was more of the success.

My mindset that I was fat has lead more frequently to me giving up on eating healthy. My belief I was fat has not lead me to lose weight, it’s lead me to being fat. When I get stressed I eat. When I feel overweight I feel like it doesn’t matter what I eat. When I get stressed and eat it’s usually not good quality food. I very rarely get so stressed out that I need to go eat a salad.

So I came across pictures from 6 years ago. And I look at that young guy in the pictures and think, I was looking pretty good. For an obese man (thanks AMA).

While we’re on the topic of obesity, let me highlight that having a single chart that it supposed to tell you your ideal weight, that doesn’t take into account your frame size, skeletal mass, really anything about you specifically, and then making a medical claim off that average of humanity is TOTAL B@**SH*@. The average person isn’t average and to tell someone what they should do or be based on what the average of everyone else did or was is a complete fallacy.

As a man I get the impression that I’m not supposed to care. Or that I am not a typical demographic that is supposed to mind.  But I do and I have. There is a lot in society that tells me what I’m supposed to be and I tend to internalize this and criticize myself for not being what I could never be.

In a way this feeds into all the messages I’ve ever written on this blog. You are okay as you are. You are not broken, you just don’t conform to a false image of what you should be and what you should believe. You have been fed a bill of goods by society stating what you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to act and what your body should look like, it is a lie.

Be you! Be okay with you!

I’m working on being okay with me, and the first step is admitting that I’ve lied to myself about what I should be. I am F&@#ING AWESOME! And I have the body of an Adonis. Which is nice.

Then again the phrase “Body of an Adonis” has it’s own judgement in it. Body shaming is built into my language. I have the body of a human. I am exactly who and what I need to be for the moment that I am in.

Maybe I’ll lose some weight this year. Maybe I’ll gain some weight this year. But what I really wish for this year is the power to be me, as I am, as I need to be. It is easy being perfect, because I’m already there. Next step is accepting my perfection.

Please look at yourself today and accept your perfection. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with me.

Namaste and Love, Kevin

The Importance Of Being Human

I was working on the dishes this morning, in the kitchen.

“Oh NO!!!” I hollered as a pile of dishes in a mixing bowl shifted and the water sloshed out of the bowl, out of the sink, onto the floor and my pants and my shoes.

My daughter came running over, “Where is the broken glass?”

“There isn’t any broken glass,” I responded. A little disgruntled and a little agitated.

“Well at least nothing is broken,” She responded with a smile.

I considered for a moment. I softened. “Yes, at least nothing is broken.”

At least nothing was broken. It’s true. It was just a puddle on the ground and a rag later, and a wipe down of my pants, everything was more or less, good as new.

It’s hard sometimes to remember how good we have it. It can be easy to get buried in a problem and think the world is coming to an end. It isn’t likely to.

Individual worlds do collapse.

Illusions shatter all the time.

But we are here. We are alive. We are a miracle.

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact we are human. We are miraculous.

I spend much of my day buried in my thoughts. In a world I have constructed in my head. I fold and craft a reality around me from the images I build in my mind of what I believe is happening around me. It’s not real. It’s not as bad as it seems.

At least there is no broken glass. Yes, sometimes there is a mess. Sometimes there is broken glass. But we are here. We are human.

Human is a very loaded word.

It can be an excuse for behavior and mistakes. “He’s only human.”

It can be a burden to overcome. “Held back by humanity.”

It can be a low water mark above which some rise, “She’s superhuman.”

It can represent disgraceful behavior or shocking catastrophe, “Oh, the humanity!”

It can represent the best of us, “It is beautiful to see human kindness.”

It’s easy to forget it represents us. With all our foibles and all our strengths. It’s important to remember that we are human.

Yes, sometimes we are a mess. But that is okay. After all, we are, only human.

Namaste,

Kevin

It’s Complicated

“It’s complicated”. This phrase has been leaving my mouth a lot recently. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m talking about how to interact with my 4 year old or the state of global politics. I consider all the things that are going on around me and when I try to explain them, or put them into words, all I can come up with is “It’s complicated”. Which I suppose is a way of throwing up my hands in the air and saying “Hell if I know”… But it’s a little more polite in conversation.

It’s a clear sign of being overwhelmed. Inundated. Past my threshold.

I miss being 20 something. Even then I had a lot going on and a lot of doubts about things. But the world seemed a lot simpler. My problems seemed a lot more… Well I was going to say easy. But in reality, I look back at them and they appear easier. Many appear trivial. But they look easy, because they are past. I know I survived them, or overcame them. I know it’s going to be okay, because it was okay. Everything turned out, more or less, for the best.

I feel like living in the world today takes more than it did back then. But that may be a fallacy. My world has changed dramatically since I was in my 20’s. I have kids and a wife. I have many more bills to pay and responsibilities. It’s hard to look objectively and state that the world today is different because of X or Y, when in reality the world is different because of everything.

Is the world today better or worse? Are people devolving or evolving?

It seems the more I learn about how the world ticks, the less I accept as being understood.

My world view has evolved.

My reasons for doing things have changed.

I am still me, and I am still optimistic. But I have adapted, I have changed. I am not the same as I was when I set out on this journey. Which, to be fair, I believe is the reason for the journey.

What I’m trying to say is, “It’s complicated”. But it’s going to be okay.

Namaste and Love,

Kevin

You can’t always get what you want

No, you can’t always get what you want.

But if you try some times,

you just might find,

you get what you need.

 

Who do you want to be today?

Who do you want to be?

Who do you want to be today?

Do you want to be just like someone on TV?

Just like somebody on TV.

 

Sweet dreams are made of these.

Who am I to disagree?

I traveled the world and the seven seas,

Everybody’s looking for something.

 

Some days are dry

Some days are leaky

Some days come clean

Other days are squeaky

Some days just drop in on us

Some days are better than others

 

I’ve found a new friend, underneath my pillow.

 

She’s a maniac, maniac, at your door.

And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before.

 

Enid we never really knew each other anyway.

Enid we always saw right through each other anyway.

It took me a year to admit it was over

And it took me two more to get over the loss

 

 

Where are you going?

To see a crazy old man.

What will he tell you?

He’ll tell me where I am going.

What will you do then?

I might just quit my job.

What will you do then?

I’m going to find my way home again

home again

home again

 

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Credits:

Rolling Stones – You can’t always get what you want

Oingo Boingo – Who Do You Want To Be Today?

Eurhythmics – Sweet dreams

U2 – Some days are better than others

They Might Be Giants – Fingertips

Hall and Oats – She’s a maniac

Barenaked Ladies – Enid

Danny Elfman – Home Again

 

 

Nothing

I yearn for nothing.

I seek nothing.

I desire nothing.

 

My mind is everything, everywhere, every-need.

My mind spins and loops and jump and wiggles and wobbles.

 

I need nothing.

I need the peace that comes from silence.

I need the moment that comes between the moments.

I need nothing.

 

Yet I continue doing everything.

I continue working down the nub.

 

I am worn.

I am spent.

I am good for nothing.

 

Yet I avoid nothing.

I am afraid of nothing.

 

I feel like I must do everything.

I must try something.

 

What can be accomplished with nothing?

Nothing.

 

What can be accomplished with everything?

Nothing.

 

If I do nothing to get to nothing.

I am left with nothing.

 

If I do everything to get to nothing.

I am left with nothing, but I am also spent.

 

Nothing is inevitable.

Yet I fight nothing.

Nothing will save me.

Nothing can be lost.

Nothing will come from nothing.

 

Namaste,

Kevin

The Choice Is Easy

There is a reason they say choice is easy.

Choosing is easy, almost subconscious. Often we find we’ve already made the choice. We spend the rest of our time trying to legitimize our bias, or to rationalize our choice. But the choice is easy.

The challenge is when it comes to actually ‘doing’ the thing we’ve chosen.

The work is hard.

It is useful to understand why we made the choice. This can help with motivation. It can be very useful to remind yourself that your life is complicated and messy by choice. You are not a victim. You have chosen the path you are on today. Why are you here?

The choice was easy. The path is hard.

You are doing the difficult work of living.

Remember why.

Live today.

Namaste,

Kevin

Be Your Own Marketing Team

I was reading a book to my kids on sales and marketing. The kids were suitably intrigued and found the story engaging and fun, while they may have also picked up a few details on the topic. The most interesting part to me, was my reaction. I felt uncomfortable talking about sales and marketing with my children.

I have always been uncomfortable with sales and marketing. Trying to understand why and how to get over/through this issues for my own business is the focus of much self work that I engage in.

Even presently, as I am struggling to grow my own businesses, I find myself hesitant. My activities are critically intertwined with sales and marketing. Though I feel somewhat more noble taking advantage of the fruits of other peoples marketing efforts, rather than engaging in my own. I suppose it’s akin to hiring an assassin instead of killing someone yourself… The fact that my brain comes up with this analogy is a clear indicator that I see marketing as dirty and unseemly, analogous to killing.

The book was sharing the idea of a kid’s lemonade stand. A simple enough idea. It discusses how, when you run a business, you need to consider the expense. You have to pay for inventory such as lemons, sugar and cups. You need to advertise, in this case a simple form of poster boards put up around your stand to point people in the right direction.

This to me is a good and pure activity and has simple math and business lessons for us all.

The book goes on to talk about various forms of advertising and how they can be used to reach people (TV, radio, print, etc). This is where things start to get uncomfortable, techniques for making the customer ‘need’ your product. They discuss packaging, making the items look more fun and engaging. How some packaging is deceptive, such as making the product look bigger or nicer than it actually is. Also, the discussion moves towards making people feel like they need something. Advertisements focused on making people feel, if they have the product, they will be more beautiful, have friends, etc.

In many ways I wish I had someone introduce me to these ideas when I was younger. But I still don’t know how much it would help. Advertisers have honed their art to such a degree, it’s almost like black magic. Crafting the words and ideas in such a way that the claims make you feel like you need their product to fulfill your desires. “If I just crack open an ice cold soda I will be surrounded by friends and dancing teddy bears.” We know it’s not true, but the image is in our heads and the association is there. Soda advertisements never show obese people sitting alone in a dark room watching TV and eating a tub of cheezy puffaroos while they check their insulin levels.

I think this is part of my concern. My version of a soda commercial and theirs exaggerate certain aspects of life. They are focusing on the positive and desired aspects of life that they want associated with their product. My advertisement of their soda focuses on the negative. It’s a snapshot. Not the full picture.

When I sell someone something I want them to be aware of both sides of the coin.

Warning: My blog may contain boring prose where I ramble about ideas that you don’t care about and have no impact on your life.

I suppose some level of it is ego management. Lowering expectations so I don’t disappoint. But there is also a large group of people that would have no interest in my blog whatsoever. I don’t need to focus on those people, they won’t be reading the blog.

Others can point out my flaws.

Others can also point out my merits.

So on balance, this leads to my current approach to marketing, which is to let the end results speak for themselves. The merit of the content and materials will ‘sell themselves’. To a degree this is true and to a degree this works. But… If you are going to speak about yourself, your work, your products, why would you bad mouth them? Why would you become your own voice of dissent? Why turn your own market against you?

You are your own marketing group. Whether it comes to dating, selling, being part of a community, everything you do. You don’t have to be false. You don’t have to manufacture a need for your product. Believe in your value and the merits of your products and speak highly of them. If you truly don’t believe in the product you are selling, then you need to change the product or find a way to believe in yourself. Self sabotage doesn’t protect you from failure, it ensures it.

Go out there and succeed. I’ll see you at the top of the mountain.

Love and Namaste,

Kevin

Brief Shadows On The Wall

Why do we rush so?

Why do we busy ourselves with so much nonsense?

There is the standard answer that helps me move on and ignore the question: I need to make a living. I need to feed myself and my family. I do what I do to survive.

I was listened to the radio yesterday when ‘Dust in the wind’ by Kansas came on. I’ve mentioned the song here before. This time it struck me powerfully in a moment of busyness. As I listened I almost began to weep.

I was reminded that all my busy work and activity will not be remembered.

It occurred to me as I considered my busyness and rushing about, that it has little to no impact on the world at large. Thought of legacy doesn’t typically enter my day or impact my choices. My light and my shadow are fleeting and then all too soon gone.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” – Macbeth – Shakespeare

Don’t despair. This is your moment on the stage. Enjoy the stage lights. Anticipate the applause. Appreciate that you are the player and that you are only here for a brief run.

Enjoy the show.

My point, if I am force to make one, is that we take ourselves very seriously. In a few moments we will be gone. Nothing but dust. Perhaps our time would be better spent watching the clouds make shapes, then trying to reshape the clouds.

“Mongo only pawn in game of life.” – Mongo – Blazing Saddles – Mel Brooks

Namaste, Kevin