Late Night Avocado Shake

I haven’t used my blender since I was in college. One of the few things I found through the move and give-away that I decided to keep. For a while I’ve been thinking that I should be trying different avocado recipes, though never seemed to find the time.

Rather than look for time, I changed the design. Call it feng shui or ergonomic usability; the design of the environment will effect the thoughts, perception, and outcomes of our actions. Surround yourself with distractions and you will be distracted. Place a blender near the refrigerator, on the counter next to the sugar above the silverware drawer. Milk and avocados in the fridge… Everything within reach. The human factors were there, the Qi was flowing…

The avocado shake practically made it self. I just simply enjoyed it!

View from Bed

I’ve finally moved out of Solana Beach and to La Jolla. Despite giving away most all of my possessions moving was still a pain — but this morning waking up to an ocean view did make me feel better!

Letting go of old possessions and changing habits seems to be as continuous as life itself. We acquire then purge, acquire some more and the cycle continues. The layers and layers of perceptions that bind us to this reality I’m not even sure have a limit.

In the meantime I’m happy to explore La Jolla; enjoy the restaurants, cafes, clubs and enjoy the view from bed.

Give Away : Last Call

I’ve given away most of my belongings, although strangely I am still surrounded by furniture, books, and other trappings. In the search of what really matters in life I’m thinking that the more we hold onto our possessions the more we resist moving forward.

I’ll be moving in early April. I’ll take some personal items with me but will not take any of my existing furniture. My Walden Pond will be on the shores of La Jolla, ocean view rather than lake.

Zen-like simplicity in a designed interior to compliment the context of who I choose to be. A place to sleep, relax, create, and live. Waking up to a view of the ocean from bed, the only other furniture will be lounge chairs and tables. No dusting as there will be nothing collecting dust. If there are guests they will have a place to sit, chat, and enjoy the view. The design will welcome communication, and there will be no entertainment center, no staring in dumbfounded silence at a television. As it is the future, entertainment is online and interactive, perhaps a cinema display or projector — unleashed from a one-way broadcast to encourage thought.

In the meantime I still have a couch

A glass-top kitchen table

This beautiful Armoire

A bed-only futon

Large desks (perfect for letting work master you rather than mastering your work)

A comfy queen-sized bed set

And plenty of other Salvation-Army-bound household items. Life will move forward as the trappings of my past are released to become new trappings in new lives.

Windy

In one moment the sky was a lush blue; in the next a soft gray filter
changed everything. The sun would peek out only to hide once again
behind a dynamic flurry of clouds.

I love that moment where our normal sense of awareness is altered, however briefly, by nothing more than what is in front of our face. In that moment I am no longer aware of my sense of self in my environment; the perceptions of the environment changed while my sense of self did not. This disconnect happens so quickly I normally never notice, I just sort of 'snap back to reality', so to speak.

In that moment though, if we're to pay attention, we ceased being conscious (that is, not being aware of ones self in the surrounding environment); everything existed without being connected to our perception of self, an unfiltered view of reality. There is no fear, no emotion, no logic, just the world as it is. Strange how my conscious mind can spend so much time unaware of the unfiltered view of reality. Or maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention. ;)

Eat this Pineapple!

I love pineapple. It’s one of my favorite fruits. Particularly if it’s freshly cut and mixed with strawberries and kiwi. My mouth is watering just thinking about this.

Strangely though, I found that rather than enjoy my pineapple, I tended to tap people on the shoulder and tirelessly extol the virtues of this delicious treat. I mean, I know people will like it, so I figure I’m helping them by getting them to eat a pineapple.

“No” they would say, “it looks gross.”

“You’re an idiot,” I would exclaim.

Eventually most people would get around to trying the pineapple and usually like it, but never really thank me for it — especially after the unpleasant exchange and the pending “I told you so”.

I realized recently that I don’t need to knock on doors with my pineapple. I can just sit back and enjoy it. Seeing me enjoy the pineapple usually invites a friendly “hey, what’s that? You seem to really be enjoying it.”

At that point I can share my pineapple, and share the wonderful experience of eating this delicious fruit without having to find validation in getting other people to eat it.

And if no one wants to share, well, more for me!

Constant of Change part II

There are subtle and simple changes over time, a continuous change from one moment to the next.  There are times that things look dramatically different, barely recognizable from a previous state. For example, changing seasons can dramatically alter a landscape from winter to summer. Other times the world appears nearly identical to the previous state, though never exactly the same.

Those small changes can be the most dramatic; more dramatic than between a field of snow in the winter and dust in the summer. When we miss the continuous change it appears only as two isolated landscapes.

Through passive observation of change our mind will connect with the previous state and bridge the gap to the present. We re-frame our perceptions of the past state and build a momentum towards the next change. In this process we may guide ourselves through life shaping the world to our wants.

Relaxing Momentum

Sometimes even when perfectly relaxed I am still "doing" a lot. Things are happening, life is moving, often times quite fast.

I find that some of my best work is accomplished in a completely relaxed state. It is not stagnation; rather it is letting go. Letting go of active control of your life, allowing life to move you.

Work is accomplished when I let go and also when I fully engage. Life becomes like a swing on a children's playground. You do not force your weight into the air while on a swing; rather just let gravity pull and only shift your weight. The swing seat delights us in its efficiency to maximize movement with minimal effort; it requires relaxing in order to move.

Despite this, it is difficult to truly relax, you must trust that your ass will stay firmly in the swing seat while you let your legs dangle helplessly.  There is a wisdom in letting go of our perceived control over our lives and knowing when to relax and when to take action.

I suppose the irony is you can never really control the outcome of your life without first knowing how and when to let go and relax.

Define and Design the Context

I've had good success with the David Allen approach of Getting Things Done, in particular with the emphasis on context (e.g., "at the store", "at work", "at home").  In fact, I've had an empty inbox (to the amazement of past and present co-workers) for years despite growing amounts of email.  And the context-dependent next-action approach I have found extremely effective.  Everything else I take with a grain of salt (sorry 43 folder people).

On the other hand, the "5 year" vision that so many people seem to thrive on, I find myself avoiding that along with any "life goals".  I'm just old enough to have achieved many of my goals and just young enough to be completely unsatisfied having achieved those goals.  I have found happiness in the process but never the outcome.

For example, I enjoy traveling and I enjoy reading.  I don't enjoy owning a bunch of books or owning keepsakes from my travels.  It's not the book read (past tense), it's the book I'm reading that I enjoy. I don't enjoy owning nice things, I enjoying doing nice things. Happiness, for me, is in the process of life and not the outcome.

With that in mind, I realized that I'm operating under assumed contexts ("at work", "at home") that aim towards goal-oriented outcomes and not the process of living. I grew to have a different personality at work from home because I was separating those contexts (even though they often overlap).  While this is understandable (and common) to separate work life from home life, ultimately I am one person and I'd rather not diverge my personalities into two competing creatures.  I need better contexts to live within.

That being the case, I decided I will define and design my own contexts. I can focus my life on the process of living and design the very contexts to which I live within.  I can let things blend and fall where they fall rather than forcing life into predefined areas.  There is no reason to operate under the assumed contexts that the world and society expects of you.

The contexts to my designed life are quite simple: "creating" and "relaxing".  I included a "meta" context so that I may continue to change the design, continuous improvement so-to-speak (I may never get it perfect but it'll get better).  So far so good, I have blurred the boundaries of those conflicting areas. I don't have tasks "at work" or chores "at home";  I am instead living the "creating" and "relaxing" process of a designed life.

Pomp and Circumstance

What is it about dressing up that makes me act so vain?  My theory is that people are treating me as if I should act vain, so in a sort of Pygmalion Effect I start acting as I am expected to act. The point is, it's a lot of fun! :)

We attended the grand re-opening of the Balboa Theater (restored to its roaring 20s glory). It was a lot of fun, and now I have photographic evidence of myself wearing a tie!  I should have worn sandals and a tie, it is San Diego after all!

Hey, Future Self

In the process of giving most of my stuff away I came across a pile of old journals.  My first thought was to throw them out.

"Are you sure? They're your journals and you might want to keep them", my friend told me. I figured I would read through them later and throw them out afterwards. That night I read them.

They date back at least 10 years and are a hilarious collection of diatribes and rants, the kind that haunt the mind of a young immature man.  It can be summed up as a perpetual existential crisis brought about by an inability to connect with other people.  Best of all it bordered on psychosis and was one of the stranger journals I've ever read — several times I would write "Hey future self…" and lambaste myself through time.  The past yelling at his own future; I'm not even sure what to make of that.

One particular page jumped out at me. It was different in that it was one of the few positive entries and it reflected nicely my current state of mind. So, here it is, my views on today from 10 years ago:

[sic]
This is quite nice. I'm sitting on a white wire-frame bench across the street form my apartment complex.  It's tucked underneath the world near an old office building.  There are bright white lamps illuminating this page.

All that I could ever want right now is a pen and paper.  There's nothing else I need.  Life truly is so full of beauty, so full of wonderment, so many things to fill you with happiness. How could I have ever been so blind?  To be so depressed… not to see… to experience this?!

No one wants this to be heaven, they all imagine something better.  Yet everything they imagine, everything they dream and hope for is right here, right now, every minute of every day.

I just asked myself, "where do you want to go?"  And all I could do is laugh.  I could die right now.  I have everything I want: my pen and paper.  Everything else I could want is always with me.  A pen and paper are all that I need. I want to make this moment one of the few moments that mark my life.  The moment that symbolizes a time of perfect fulfillment.  It wasn't a mountain to climb, money to earn or a car to drive.  It was my pen and paper.  The tools to immortalize this moment.

How can I even ask what the meaning of life is?  It's right in front of my face!  Do I ask what the meaning of a bench is when I sit down?  Do I need to think about the meaning of my pen and my paper when I write?  Why then do I ponder the meaning of life when I live?

How many times have we realized this and how many times have we forgotten?

Maybe it takes a movie or maybe it takes your demise, but we all learn the meaning to this existence.  We knew it when we were born and we probably know it as we die.  It's just that time in between where we can't seem to remember.  We won't let ourselves know what seems to be the most basic truth.

Some see life as continuous torture until you die; some see life as filled with powers beyond them; some see life in the eyes of ignorance. Right now I see life in the eyes of a humbled soul in an eternal moment of beautiful completion.