Thank You

Thank You

Thank You

– the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness –

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”  – A.A. Milne

Gratitude is a long forgotten practice. Giving yourself over to appreciation of something that influences who you are, where you come from and where you are going is, maybe in just my opinion, taken for granted. It is an art that blends together both selflessness and ego to create an understanding that we are in fact governed by experience. The very act of offering thanks is a gentle gesture towards yourself and the world around you that you have been affected in some amplitude. A certain level of self-awareness is needed to have gratitude based upon an understanding of the sacrifice – big or small – that was given to make you better.

For that reason, true, genuine thanks is difficult to find. In many instances, we are socially controlled by deeds of holding doors open, smiling, giving a wave or a nod, while maybe not fully believing in the act. We just do it. Those on the receiving end of these gestures, I think, read through the bull shit. They know what we know and vise versa. The idea that we are conscious of robotic indications of thanks makes me think something has gone horribly wrong. Maybe, culturally speaking, we began giving thanks with all of our heart. However, have we crossed into only practicing as a shrine to what should be done, because that is what we are told, because that is what we should do? Are we conditioned to pretend without the knowledge of what it means to be truly grateful? Do we even know what that looks like?

I don’t think I know. I am asking because I genuinely do not understand. As much as I would like to be complacent and allow myself to tread these waters, I want to know if real thanks exists. A form of gratitude that is deeper and more authentic than general niceties. Even grandiose gestures followed by appreciation may not be what I am looking for. Maybe what I am looking for doesn’t actually exist and I am chasing a dream or ill-perceived concept. It is possible that I look far to deep into things.

And yet, I believe both in the possible as well as the impossible. Humanity is so much bigger, deeper and better than we (I) would like to give it credit for. I also think that I could be overlooking real offers of thanks because I personally want to see more out of it. But maybe it is something far more subtle. Maybe we can’t see it through our tunnel vision of what ‘it’ generally looks like. Our pre-programmed minds are difficult to recode, mine especially.

Whatever it looks like, whatever form it takes at least in general we understand the concept of giving thanks when it is due. Maybe the reason why I am seeking more is because I would like to offer more. There is so much in my life that I have to be grateful for and while gratitude is inherent, I need to acknowledge it more. What is stopping me from doing so?

I am a fortunate soul. We all are. Some of course may have it better than others, but who decides that? Even through my challenges, I understand that I have a good life. Perfect in all of the chaos, mess and filth. My hope is that others have it better and easier than I do. My self hatred, eating disorder, anxiety, depression and funk have created the perception that I don’t deserve what good the world has to offer and has made be selfish for something better. I understand that, but it is hard to be at peace with. I know so many others may not be as charmed as I am to even qualify what is ‘wrong’ with them. How can I be grateful of the life I have been given when I haven’t treated it with fairness and love.

That struggle is one best saved for another time. Today I did just want to explore what it means to be grateful, with everything you can. Genuine, thoughtful, bona fide appreciation. I have a theory that I am the one that needs to be better, not the rest of you. One thing about reflecting on the world, it usually is because you need to analyze your own self. I am the one that I would like to see offer more from the heart thanks. I do honestly feel blessed for everything that I have been provided with in life, no matter the size. I feel guilty that I haven’t come close to returning the favor. I promise, I will try, for reals rather than on instinct. Only the most authentic of people in this world can offer themselves over to something or someone without the thought of being thanked in return. I wish I could claim to be one.

– Japes

Wherever You May Go…

Wherever You May Go…

“…go with all your heart.”

For the longest time I have felt the desire to do something, anything. It is an immediate need that never seems to be fulfilled, even when I summon enough energy to take a step. As soon as I put one foot forward, a warming sense of calm radiates throughout my body to create a temporary feeling of relief. Soon after, the shame arrives. Why didn’t I do the sooner?

In some way we all have this thought. We want to do more, be more, have more. We seek the completion of who we are, or an extension of who we want to be. We all want to feel proud of ourselves, or I guess slightly less remorseful. The adage “life is short” feels like a neurological command prompt that is programed into our psyche at an early age. Many of us will make use of the credo, and (to coin another expression) “live life to the fullest.” This past weekend I attended a funeral where all anyone could talk about was that he had a certain passion for life – ephemeral and effervescent were in most of the speeches. Through tears, I felt myself nodding and saying yeah, that was Brett. There was a certain part of me during the services which guided my thoughts to wanting it for myself, effervescence that is. Funerals are great for allowing us to reflect on our lives. If you are like me, living life fully has actually scared me to the point that I want to do the opposite – nothing.

Why? Great fucking question. The fact of the matter is that I regret quite a bit. I don’t want to, nobody does. I want to feel like I have accomplished something. If I don’t think that I have, then I press the redial button and begin again. Each time the cycle starts over, the standard of what my expectations raises, so by the time opportunity has come and passed a few times, I have a harder bar to meet. I think I have a poor definition of what it means to actually live.

Imagine, if you will, a place or act that comes to mind when I say, “get out” or “adventure”. I can bet a few will imagine walking their favorite walk around the block or a nice drive through the mountains outside of town. Maybe a few imagined an activity they enjoy such as riding your bike or skiing, and maybe you just thought about traveling to a new place. Each time someone I close my eyes and attempt the same, usually I picture myself straight out of a Rock and Ice magazine (or something similar), climbing the hardest and coldest routes possible. I think of the people who accomplish such feats and I compare my mediocre existence to how they live their life. It makes me feel rather small.

This is not to say that I don’t want to try and climb mountains, jump out of planes or bushwhack in the jungle. It is appealing to me. However, I can honestly say that I haven’t done anything close to the caliber that these activities require and I think I should have by now. Dwarfed by the accomplishments of others I crawl back into my trap, ready to once again mentally climb a taller mountain.

Time to re-set. Up until now, I have been speaking in the negative – comparing myself to other people and trying to justify why I feel stuck. The Instagram effect. I don’t particularly like writing this way and I hope that nobody would really want to read these awful ramblings. However, my brain lives in, and has been stuck for a very long time within these sheltered walls, and I would like to acknowledge the fact that this is my norm.

My goal as I write now and into the future is to grow, learn, be kind and offer forgiveness. I want to challenge my own perceptions or accomplishments and redefine what it means to “do something”. I want to be proud of myself for how far I have come, content with where I am now and curious about where I will go. I don’t want to preach or express how you should live your life, I just want to know what works best for me. That is the only person any of us can legitimately compare ourselves to. You and I have the amazingly simple, but ridiculously complicated task of loving ourselves while asking ourselves what we want. Those of you who have this ability – fuck yeah. As for me, and maybe a few others, let’s embark on this journey together to see where we will go. We will do something different and break the cycle. We can do some of the exact same things, but maybe with a different approach. And maybe we can learn that, “wherever you may go, go with all your heart.” The internet said that some guy named Confucius said that. Sounds good enough for me.

Until the next non-sensical composition,

– Japes

Hope

Hope

Today’s intention of the day is simple – have hope. I don’t want to clog the idea with more words, but I do want to say that I believe that hope still exists. I want to find beauty in the small things today, get excited for whatever is next and be at peace with whatever has happened. That is today’s intention.

Perfect

Perfect

Perfection (or not)

the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects

“Puts a weight on ya. Goin’ out lookin’ for somepin you know you ain’t gonna find.”  – John Steinbeck

I have a compulsion to eat. I have an obsession to hate myself. I have a fear of rejection. I have a need to please. I cannot sit still. I cannot breathe. I have rough days. I lie. I cheat. I loath myself. I harbor emotions. I stew in self righteous ego. I cycle downwards. I have an addition. I need control. I see my relationship to the world as black and white. I know far too little and assume way too much. I see bad. I feel sick and demented. I don’t try my best. I have often wished that I was never here.

But it does not make me a bad person.

Maybe the reason why I am the way that I am is because that is the way it is supposed to be. Maybe I have yet to learn the inspiration behind why my perceived reality is (in my own mind) horrific. Maybe I am not broken and maybe there is no fix. There is a elegance in riding the wave. Doesn’t that make more sense than finding a perfect solution? The concept of perfection, is it reality or a systemic lie that we all subconsciously believe?

I think by now most of us have heard that no one is perfect. Personally, I understand that the idea of perfection is an idealized construction that is more fantasy than truth. Regardless of that fact, becoming perfect is still a norm that we all subscribe to. Whether or not we actually believe in the idea, we all try and work towards being better, being right, being true. The more we work for it, the more we are disappointed when we don’t followthrough. It is a torturous cycle of discontent. I myself find a certain masochistic sense of pleasure in the struggle for illumination, or one would think I do because of how often I repeat my actions. I want to be perfect, but I can’t. Are we setting ourselves up to suffer rather than be content? Can content and wanting to progress, to learn and to be better all be one in the same? Is it wrong to want more?

If I knew any of the answers I ask, I probably wouldn’t be writing. This journey that I am on is never about what I know. Sometimes I don’t want to know. In response to these questions proposed, I don’t think that a perfect answer exists, just a a perfect person does not exist. I think the better question might be why I am seeking the approval of the world, especially in matter that have to do with my own self. That question, I might be able to explore. This is the inherent flow with the statement of ‘no one is perfect.’ The essence of such a phrase hurts my soul. The nature of it being that someone else is telling me that it is ok if I don’t meet your standards of what perfection looks like to you. If I was more of a cynic I would be claiming audacity.

I am not that cynical and I know that no one is trying to tell me that I can’t be what they deem flawless. My teenage self likes to retain his aversion to all authority, even if it is only a phrase telling me that no one can be perfect. I know. I know what the saying is teaching me, but I am looking for excuses that might pardon me from feeling vile. I have lost the hope that I can just be me and ride the fucking wave.

Here is what I might say to me if I was someone else: Don’t try for perfect, but do not give up. You may have flaws, but they are beautiful. You may want to try and change parts of you that you feel like may not represent who you want to be, so try. Where you might fail is by going to fast, by assuming more than you know. Every person has a story that cannot be told using only one sentence. Be deliberate with your actions and have the best intentions. Treat yourself with kindness and love. Be forgiving when it doesn’t go according to plan, be flexible enough to make a new one. I will not tell you that perfect does not exist. It is what you make it to be – change what you know to be perfect and you may not have to change that which you are. You are the only judge that matters.

Today I dream big with all the best of intentions so that I might allow myself freedom from the ‘shoulds’ and forgiveness from the past. I want to crawl into my bed tonight without hate of what I said, did, or did not. I want to fight for myself and truly listen to his voice. I want to understand that I my never fully understand, but also I would like to offer the grace I would to someone who isn’t me. I want to see color and beauty. I want to have hope. I want to create. I want to give myself life, in whatever way it might be. I want to love that.

– Japes

Darkness

Darkness

Darkness

the partial or total absence of light

“Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure…” Madeleine L’Engle

It is quiet in my house right now. Nothing but the sound of a second hand and a wooden wick. As it often does, daylight has quickly receded behind the mountains and the darkness of night has come once again. Another one down. That is what it feels like, a notch in the life belt. I am tired, I am sad. I feel nothing. Is this what it all amounts to?

Yesterday my ‘intention of the day’ as I am now starting to call them was to focus on the things that bring me joy, the things I love. As much as these insignificant admirations give me hope, there is still a presence here that I am struggling with. Have you ever read ‘A Wrinkle in Time’? In the book, there is a darkness that is descending upon the universe which the protagonists are attempting to fight, to overcome. With concepts such as hope, love and light, they are able to defend, but not eradicate. That is how I feel. With as much good tidings I allow myself to try and feel, it is still there. Waiting. Watching.

For today’s intention of the day I wanted to focus on aspects of my life that don’t have a place. I hate to use words like hate and dislike because, I think, quite a few of these things are more unimportant to or even just take away from the life I would like to lead. Not all of them are evil or even worth my hatred. I would rather respectfully and compassionately be at peace with what they are and slowly try to focus more on what I love (see yesterday).

As I began trying to itemize (like I do), I honestly couldn’t think of concrete ideas. There are topics in which I would like to change or redirect, but elimination seems like an easy way out. The only thing that I would be willing to cast directly into the volcano would be this ever present nuisance of an eating disorder. I wish it were that simple. Other items that almost made it to my non existent list included a job that I currently have which doesn’t have the direct impact I would like to have in my community, too much time spent indoors watching tv, all my mental health problems, a nagging zit in my nose, and gout.

It would seem as this intention did not go as I planned. I really did want to figure out what it was that could be contributing to this (thank you Ms. L’Engle) darkness. Yes, what I just listed out has some influence to it all, but I don’t believe that any one of them has individual and supreme power. Together they build a wall which feels impassable. I think that by allowing my thoughts to analyze the “bad”, I blocked any light from yesterday’s empowering visions. Maybe a different approach would be to continue concentrating on the things that give me joy, that allow me to be passionate, and by focusing on them I might be able to diminish the impact from the world that may not perfectly align with my own perceptions.

– Japes

Importance

Importance

What is Important

of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The past few days have been a a royal funk-a-dunk for me. Somewhere I lost the energy and passion that I had last week as I replaced it with apathy and guilt. For whatever reason, here I sit on another day, waiting for a spark. Of course, the more I try to look for it, the further I drift, cast into the fiery hell that is myself.

I don’t have much to say today other than I would like to climb out of this hole that I seem to have dug myself into. It is of course infinite, restricting my ascent to chasing my tail in circles at the bottom. Not just this week, but in general I think I haven’t often asked of what might be important to me and who I would like to be. I make quick decisions, or none at all. Both seem to be equally as bad.

Intentional decision making as well as just having deliberate actions is something that I would like to be better at, hence this whole experiment of mine. I also think that in order to do this, I need to ask myself a few questions that will make my life easier:

  1. What do I need, love admire that keeps me going? What is important to me?
  2. What is it that I would rather live without? What can I either subdue or get rid of?
  3. What am I going to do about it?

Today’s intention of the day is the first question. What is important. Obviously I cannot establish every single thing in a day, but I can ponder. I would like to question and reflect on things that I love – big or small.

I love Lisa. I love my dog.

I love music. I love laughing.

I love slow. I love fast.

I love outside. I love nature.

I love cooking. I love writing.

I love snow. I love sun.

I love early morning coffee. I love late night tea.

I love sunsets. I love sunrises.

I love taking breaths. I love tall trees.

I love blue sky. I love mountains.

I love water. I love the beach.

I love the river. I love sex.

I love walking. I love skateboarding, skiing, climbing and most of all skipping.

I love my sleeping bag. I love travel, or staying home.

I love crying. I love loving.

I love creating. I love people and humanity.

I love outside. I love stories.

I love movies.

I love wiggling my toes. I love stretching my fingers.

I love pictures. I love art.

I love reading.

I love the stars. I love seeing my breath.

I love flip flops. I love a good hat.

I love well fitted pants.

I love sitting with a view. I love airports.

I love learning. I love the smell of desert rain.

I love my friends. I love my family.

I love dry socks.

I love a clean face. I love pooping.

I love the smell of my wife.

I love doing something for someone else.

I love teaching. I love kids.

I love taking people outside.

I love rowing a boat. I love quiet.

I love that I can share my love.

There is always more to love.

-Japes

Slow Down

Slow Down

Slow Down

– Become less tense, rest, or take one’s ease. –

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” – William Shakespeare

Suffice it to say I become trapped extraordinarily easily in the pace I go. It is a pace which says that I need or should rather than I want to. Do I really need it though? Who is this designator of pace which I here abide to? Wouldn’t it make more sense if I am this master? I think ask a lot of questions.

It is a little funny because when I am stuck spinning my wheels, I feel the urge to do something different, but all I end up doing is just eating (or the opposite depending on where in the cycle I am). I tell myself I don’t have time for me, for writing, for walking, for just sitting. I put myself last on my to-do list, if I am even there at all. Selfish prick. In reality, I do indeed have time; however, my head is thinking far too deep into the past or dreading what may come in the future while leaving my body to rot.

I do feel as though I am rotting away, decomposing with time – quickened of course by the hellish things I do to myself. Aging is not the appropriate designation, I think it too distinguished. Grey hairs and smile lines are comparatively not as fucked up as what I feel within my body. Already it is telling me to check myself, to play nice.

Slowing down is one of my mantras to take a second for myself and analyze what is going on. To do so is at my own pace so I suppose slowing down is much more of a relative-to-me intention. Sometimes, this act may not actually look like a reduced speed, again based on how you might perceive the concept itself. I have a tendency to go faster, mentally, in a concentrated effort to reach the end of something without checking in with myself about where I am in the present. So even if I continue to do something ‘quicker’, I may still be able to ‘slow down’ by connecting action with thought.

Today’s intention is that. I would like to focus my efforts towards drawing in my pace, allowing myself to slow down and grant myself the freedom of what I want.

– Japes