The future is now

This is my final post for the year two thousand and thirteen. My thoughts are turned to all that has transpired over this past year but also to what is yet to come. It is a time of reflection but also prediction. But above all, it is my last chance, in fact my one and only chance to be in this absolutely unique, one of a kind, irreplaceable moment. What I write today could only be written today. It would have been impossible for me to write it yesterday for the me of today was not born yet and by tomorrow it will be too late for I will be dead.

Wow… that sounds deep and really heavy. My inclination would be to call bullshit but at it’s core what I’m saying is true. In my quest for the truth I have hit so many dead ends that I have questioned if anything is true. Still, I’m willing to go with that one. I’m willing to stand my ground and proclaim without reservation that THIS MOMENT is all we have; this moment, everlasting, ever changing. This moment is simultaneously both infinitely insignificant and absolutely everything.

The same is true of me… and of you. Each one of us is absolutely unique and indispensable to the whole. Each one of us is simultaneously both amazingly beautiful and a total piece of shit. Each one of us is the center or our own universe, in essence a god, but also merely a speck of dust on a grain of sand on the back of an ant. We are everything and nothing… well next to nothing but that is something. What that something is? I don’t know, and anyone who claims to is full of shit. The answer, as small as it may be, is bigger than anything any of us can wrap our brains around.

That is the truth.

When I look at the past year of my life it has great significance. Many amazing things have happened. Some I call good, some I call bad. In this past year I have done some things that I have never done before… and have succeeded. I’ve done some things and failed miserably. In both cases, my success or failure has seemed like everything, and it is. Except it’s not. It is a matter of perspective, in this case,  my perspective. Our inclination is to believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle but that is a myth. There is no absolute truth because the truth is absolutely everything.

Well, that was a whole lotta nothin, huh? I really hoped that I had something more helpful to give. After all this is the most important post I am making in this moment. But that is the problem with seeking the truth. The fact is, the truth, at least in any comprehendible form, only exists is chunks, in the connections we make to the exclusion of everything else.

So let me break off a chunk here and see if I can get to a point. Let me limit my scope to the planet earth. Let me limit my concern to the human race. Let me focus on this exact point in time. Let me say that we have come a long way baby, but if we keep going the way that we are going we are all totally fucked.

But hey, I’m an optimist and I know that there is no way in hell that we will keep going the way that we have. Change is inevitable and change is happening. For those who resist change, this must be a really scary time but I’m here to tell you, you are not alone. For those who embrace change, this is a scary time as well.  We are now, as always, but perhaps now more than ever, all in this together. Our ability to accept that simple unwavering fact will define our future.

The Twentieth century is over and if the human race survives long enough it may become but a footnote in history. Still, there is one thing that happened during the past one hundred years or so which will change things forever.  We have become ONE WORLD. Growing up in the Twentieth century I heard both apocalyptic and utopian tales of what a one world order would mean. Well we don’t have to wonder any longer. This is it!

Yeah, I know. I expected jet packs too.

Oh well, that’s the way these things go. Best laid plans and all…

Anyway, the only question now is do we come together? or do we break it apart? As I look around I see everything we need to go either way. We have enough resources, enough ideas, enough technology and enough love, compassion and understanding to care for everyone on this planet.  We also have enough to destroy it all . We need to make a choice because we have reached the tipping point. Unless you are expecting salvation in the afterlife or aliens to come and rescue us, this is all we’ve got. Frankly, I’m not banking on either of those options so I ask you, my one and only savior, “what do you want to do?”

We can continue to divide and conquer, but where will it end? Does it ends with all our resources exhausted and the winner standing all alone? I don’t think any of us would consider that acceptable, including the winner.

We now know that we are one world; miraculous and abundant yet fragile and limited. Can we also realize that we are one people; divine and diverse, independent and indispensable. Can we accept that we are alone through the knowledge that we are infinitely connected?

I say that it is time we come together… not as Hindus and Christians, not as Democrats and Republicans, not as rich and poor, not as educated and ignorant, not as healthy and sick, not as young and old, not as black and white, not as gay and straight, not as good or bad; not by any of the labels we have imposed upon others or have allowed to define us, but in the only way that really matters… as individuals.

It’s time that we started thinking for ourselves for in doing so we are thinking for everyone. History is over. Culture, ideology, political movements, economic systems, race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation are all remnants of the past. The future is now and all we have is us.

What happens next

The future has arrived. I am now sitting in that point in time which I have long anticipated; long feared. I woke to frost on the ground and snow is anticipated this evening. Winter is here.

For the next four months I will be focusing on divesting of almost everything I own. I will be preparing to sell my house in the spring and I will be recording my music and preparing a live solo show. I have many loose ends to tie up and much to create in preparation for my new life.

I have no time for distractions.

So why did I just learn that Thomas Dolby is in town tonight? I feel like I have been so out of touch. Whether that has been intentional or coincidental it has served to my benefit. Granted, no matter what I do, I am going to be far more unaware than aware so the key to success must be in paying attention to the right things. That sounds like a formidable challenge to say the least. While I may never know the true cost of my ignorance, I continually find myself aware of things that only seem to cause me harm.

But can I actually control my awareness to make things better, or should I be grateful for any awareness I possess considering how rare it is? Ignorance may be bliss but so is death. If I’m going to commit to life any aspiration for ignorance seems antithetical to life.

Awe, but awareness does not necessitate action. I can still make a choice or I can choose to not decide and allow time to take it’s toll. But isn’t that an action? Perhaps action is unavoidable. Perhaps it’s only intention that matters. I intend to live so I guess I’m going to do whatever happens next.

Express trip to right now

Today is Monday, the start of a new work-week for most people. For me, everyday is the start of a new life. For me, every day is the same. Every day is a day to reflect on the past, move forward into the future, all the while remaining in the present.

Writing affords me the to opportunity to do all those things. Today I am moving. Today I have energy. Today I am aware of all the things I have to do and I am bloody fucking overwhelmed. Today you get my to-do list.

  • I still need to fix the drip in my bathtub. My last attempt did not do the job. I’m still recycling the wasted water but it’s not a long term solution.
  • I need to quite my delivery jobs. It’s time and I need to recycle that time into other things. This will also allow me to sell my van.
  • I need to design and order business cards. It seems like a stupid thing but without them even I don’t take myself seriously.
  • I need to write my creditors and let them know that I am breaking up with them. This seems like an important thing that I should have taken care of a long time ago but it has had a hard time making it to the top of the to-do pile.
  • I also need to file my property tax refund. The fact that I haven’t done that is just stupid.
  • The state also owes me medicare premium reimbursement for the entire year. I really need to figure out what is going on with that.
  • I still need to close my bank account and open an account with a credit union. I’ve been waiting for my federal tax refund to do that but who knows when that will show up.
  • I have a concept for a DJ night that I have wanted to do for forever. The idea has finally gelled and I think it can work. I just need to write up a proposal and get the ball moving.
  • I seriously need to replace my phone. The screen has been cracked and the camera not working for six months. I have it insured, I just need to make the call to get it replaced.
  • While I’m at that I also need to get my stove and washing machine fixed or replaced.
  • And I’ve got some medical problems that I need looked at. I’ve got a sliver in my thumb that has been bothering me for months and my prosthetic eye is about two years overdue for replacement. I could also use to see the dentist.
  • And while on the subject of health I really need to spend more time stretching. My muscles have been been getting a lot stronger but I haven’t been taking the time to keep them loose and it’s starting to cause problems.
  • I need to find more time for my friends. I know that this is the “year of me” but it seems somehow pointless without anyone to share it with.

Sadly, even with all of that to do it looks like the only things I may accomplish today is laundry and the dishes. Hopefully tomorrow I can mow the lawn.

And fuck…

I still need to eat.

Not looking back

So now that my daughter is safely returned to her mother’s apartment it is time for me to look back on the past week and a half as a full time parent and reflect on what this experience has meant to me.

… Ah, fuck that! I’m moving on and looking forward. Yes, I love my daughter and it was absolutely wonderful having her here. The time actually went by really quick and I’m going to miss having her here but at the same time there is a lot going on in my life that I’m eager to getting back to.

I will say that yesterday was a nearly perfect day. The day started with my daughter and I biking to the bus stop. We placed our bikes on the rack in the front of the bus and rode downtown. From there we biked to MCTC where her summer camp is. I dropped her off and headed to Moose & Sadie’s for breakfast and to do some writing. I hadn’t been on my bike in a week and it felt so good to be riding again.

I was also meeting Venus at the cafe for one of our band strategy meetings. Venus hasn’t been feeling the most productive lately since so much energy has gone into all this tax audit bullshit and I completely understand that. Still, I think when she looks back on this year she will see it as I do; a year of great transition and re-birth. I told her that I think she is doing all the right stuff and to just keep at it. Most of what she is doing is focused on herself and her art and less on the band. Venus is really coming into her own and receiving recognition as Venus de Mars, artist not just “Venus of All The Pretty Horses”.

I also told Venus that I would be working more on my own music and my own artistic career. This does not mean that the band is breaking up or going on hiatus or anything of the sort. It simply means that time spent doing band stuff will be carved out of what we are doing with the rest of our lives rather than putting the rest of our lives on hold so that we can be available for band stuff. This isn’t really a change, it’s just an acknowledgment of current reality.

After that I got to have a drink with a friend who I haven’t seen in awhile. She’s one of my favorite crazy/beautiful people who has been going through some shit because she doesn’t fit in with this world and can’t understand why that is wrong. Neither can I.

After that I picked my daughter up from camp and we biked home along the Grand Rounds trail. It’s a fantastic and beautiful ride and so wonderful to get to share it with my daughter.

If that had been my day, it would have been perfect. But I still had to drive to Blaine so that my daughter could take care of her cats. That did me in. I fucking hate driving! By the time we got back I had just enough steam in me to stumble through cooking diner before I crashed.

I’m not letting that happen to me tonight. Yes, I spent all day delivering CityPages but now I’m getting on my bike and heading to the bar. Time to get back to my “normal” life.

Shit on the present

This quote has been bouncing around my head today…

If you are depressed, you are living in the past

If you are anxious, you are living in the future

If you at peace, you are living in the present

It’s often attributed to Lao Tzu, but given that depression is a relatively new term and Lao Tzu supposedly lived in the 6th century BCE, it’s highly unlikely he is the source. It sounds more like the kind of new-age pop-psychology bullshit that annoys the piss out of me. But hey, if it works for you, go ahead and rock it! It’s just not my life.

I live in the present and my present is home to both depression and anxiety. It’s not because I am simultaneously living in the future and the past. It’s because of the particular way my fucked up brain is wired. Living in the present does not bring me peace but living in the present is my only option; at least until I get a visit from a blue police box. In the meantime, I struggle and I fight and I immerse myself in the mystery and chaos which that battle provides.

Today was not one of those days. Today there was calm on the battlefield. Today had structure and a schedule and I pretty much knew what was going to happen. I was going to go close my checking account (finally), have lunch with a dear friend, go to therapy, pick up my daughter and spend time with her, after which I was going to come home and write about my day. These are all wonderful things and I was looking forward to all of them. They just weren’t what I needed to overpower the chemicals in my brain.

I found myself in tears this morning, overcome with sadness  There was no reason for me to feel that way. I had nothing to be sad about but I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. My chest was tight and I was having a hard time breathing. It’s that feeling you get when you are walking home, all alone, late at night, and you just know Freddie or Jason is about to appear from behind the bushes and attack you. But I was safe at home in my kitchen. I had nothing to fear.

I did find my self thinking about losses in my past and uncertainties about my future but the feelings came first. If anything, I was conjuring up thoughts to make sense of my emotions.

It made me think of this quote, which I believe was first discovered written on a bathroom stall:

If you have one foot in the future, and one foot in the past, you shit on the present.

That’s what I was doing… on purpose. The present was so uncomfortable that I stretched out my legs out in both directions just so I could shit on it.

Well, one glorious thing about the present is it doesn’t last long. That is to say, it’s always changing. Whatever discomfort I was feeling was not going to last forever. However predictable I thought my day would be, it was bound to get disrupted by something. I guess I do find peace in knowing that.

I expected to be able to close my checking account. I did not expect a pending transaction to prevent me from doing so for another two days. I didn’t expect Elsie’s to be out of veggie burgers today but found the bean quesadilla to be quite wonderful. I did not expect my therapy session to be all that helpful since I pretty much talk about everything here on my blog but I did notice my SUDS-level decrease significantly. I did not expect my time with my daughter to lead me to Electric Fetus where I got to see my friends Aby Wolf and Grant Cutler perform.

I did not expect to find in my mailbox, anything of value. I love the US Postal service but since they usually only deliver bills and advertisement, I’m okay with them taking a day off now and then. Let me just say that today was the best mail day ever!

The first thing I saw was a postcard from one of my favorite people on the planet. She is in Bali. I got a fucking postcard from Bali – how cool is that?!?

Then I saw a letter from one of my delivery accounts. They periodically send me bonuses for doing my fucking job. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s not like it is enough to make me work harder. I do my job because it’s my job. It’s more like it would make me feel shitty if I didn’t get it. That seems kind of manipulative to me. Anyway, I figured there might be money in there so I ripped it open. Three bucks! Whoahoo! Hey, when you’re broke every bit helps.

Then I saw a small envelope, hand addressed in red crayon with a Finding Nemo stamp in the corner. It was from my first true love. I turned the envelope over. Across the seal was drawn a pink heart. I opened it and pulled out a card with a picture of Tinker Bell, colored in with crayon. I opened it and read:

You are Loved!

Please use this gift to treat yourself to a fun night out

and the rest for whatever.

Happy Late B-Bay!

Enclosed was a hundred dollar bill. She sent this after reading about my financial troubles. I guess I called her just after she had put it in the mail, just to tell her I love her, having no idea what she had done. For the second time today, tears welled up in my eyes.

I will leave you with one final quote:

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle” – attributed to Albert Einstein although there is no evidence he ever said it.

I prefer the later.

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