One day, I’ll tell my story.

One day, I’ll tell my story.

Until it’s time to tell my story, I’ve got several decisions to make.  One of the decisions I could make is to continue climbing the corporate ladder upon completion of the current project I’m working on.  Doing this could likely lead me down the road I’ve been on for the past 6 years with this company.

This particular service line of our company has been growing steadily for the past 10 years.  We are highly profitable and are not only respected within the company we work for and the industry that we work in.  Middle management could lead to upper management and beyond.  The sky is the limit.

This is a viable option and one that sounds very appealing at times.  The benefits have been good and would likely continue to get better as I put in additional time with the company.  I’d be issued an iPhone and an iPad in addition to the snazzy laptop I currently have.  The company car sure isn’t bad, either.

Another option would be to complete the current project I’m working on and quit my job.  I’ll likely be financially stable at the end of the project.  Debt free and with a minimum of three months in savings set aside, a la Dave Ramsey.  I might even have enough set aside to fix up my 17 year old Subaru.

After quitting my job, I could help my parents continue the work they’ve recently started on their own dream (starting a farm).  I could lease a parcel of their land and begin homesteading and implementing the Permaculture principles I’ve been learning about.  I could live a dream I’ve had since college.

These are tough decisions to make, but today I received an email from Jon Acuff challenging me “to think about where your story is leading. (Donald Miller writes a lot about that idea.) Is it one you’d like to tell? If not, how can you make better story decisions?”  One day, I’ll tell my story.  One day, I’ll tell it proudly.

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The First Day of the Rest of Your Life – Episode 0006

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life – Episode 0006

Don’t forget to listen to the podcast above!

Today…I have so much to write and so much to say.

After the past 7 days – if I don’t go through the processes I am engaging in this very moment, I may likely go even more mad than I have already become.

Normally, in feeling the feelings that I’m feeling as I write these words – the normal prescription would be to simply write.  However, since trying my hand at podcasting over two weeks ago, I have since made 5 recordings and realized that ranting into my small audio recording is rather enjoyable.  Reflecting on those first 5 podcasts, I realize that the better ones were when I had done some prep work going into it.  Coming in second are the recordings where I followed up on the back end for 30-60 minutes with some follow up on the material that I had discussed.  Tonight – I will likely do both.  Otherwise, I’ll successfully drive myself crazy.

Why am I feeling like this?  Easy…stress.

Why am I feeling so stressed?

  • Communication (or lack thereof)
    • Importance of clear communication and follow through / follow up
    • Importance of doing what we say we are going to do.  Be a person of your word.
  • Lack of direction
    • Even self-starters need some direction
    • Feedback provided when feedback requested
  • Try to limit our frustration when we are direct contributors to the source of the frustration
  • “Do what you gotta do before you can do what you wanna do”
  • Healthy methods of coping with stress – for me writing (which has evolved into a podcast)
    • What are some healthy and beneficial ways that you choose to deal with stress?

Discussion about Verizon store experience:

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  • The Verizon store experience spurned me to *act* on the thought that had been on my mind for several months
  • Round 1 of Social Experiment of quitting Facebook in 2012.
    • Read my letter explaining my rational behind that decision here:  Goodbye, Facebook.
  • Round 2 of Rob’s Social Experiments
    • Get rid of smartphone and return back to a “basic” phone with a simple talk and text plan.
      • Why?
      • Desire to increase my “human” experience.
    • I suspect that this experience may likely be aggravating, but I feel like I must observe this experience (and I’ll probably enjoy the hell out of it)
    • These life experiences are the very “tests” I feel I need to engage in to reassure myself that I am making the right decision by farming and homesteading
  • Humanity is Domesticated Livestock and Thoughts on Being an Extremist

The desire to begin homesteading and helping my parents grow what is turning into the family farm is a big decision.  It essentially is a decision that is causing me to re-evaluate my entire life and the way in which I’ve been living it to date…especially over the past 5-6 years with the direction my career has headed.  My parents deciding to engage in major life changes in their 60’s is one of the main drivers behind living my life the way that I do, making the decisions that I make and ultimately taking the actions that I take.

With that said, these are all actions that I’m engaging in to ensure that Farming / Homestead –> Permaculture is the right direction for me.  I firmly believe this to be the case based on the amount of time and effort I am putting forward with this, but because I am consistently doubting this, I feel like I need to verify these decisions.  Often times, I feel like I need to validate my decisions because I’ve spent many years throughout my lifetime making poor decisions and lots of mistakes.

Some of the time and effort I’ve been putting forward is the development of this blog, which will be a primer for my homestead based website.  While I’ve already secured the domain name (to be revealed at a later date) – I am working on the overall “objective” of my site.  My mission statement if you will…perhaps it will be something like this:

“Introducing you to a modern day paleolithic gnomestead”

Here’s a little inspiration behind what I’m doing:

So…why the shift towards permaculture?

Moreover, besides the heady and free-range aspect of the Permaculture movement, it is my belief that OUR NATION IS IN DECLINE.  Today, I experienced a good reminder of this when I watched this video below:

Whether you believe that our nation is in decline our not there are a few simple facts that we need to be aware of.  Our nation is on the verge of going to WAR.  The events in Syria are getting little attention.  While I don’t know all the details of Syria…the reality is that this is yet another example of the state of affairs our nation is in.

Moreover, all this nonsense in syria…people are distracted by Miley Cyrus and everything that has occurred recently during the MTV Video Music Awards.  With regard to major events occurring in the socio-global-economic sphere, the majority of people are too apathetic and complacent to even give a damn.  We’re simply too wrapped up in our own decadence and greed.  The majority of people do not know history…and this is frightening – because as the old saying goes…”those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”

We are currently living in a time of decadence and greed – do we not know history, nor do we care to (generally speaking).  Our society has become apathetic and complacent resulting in a society of fat, dumb and happy people.  You may choose whoever you wish to blame if that is the route you care to take…but if you go down that road then you have fallen victim to the trap and the illusion that you actually have a choice.  We think we have a choice…democrat or republican, apple or android, ford or chevy…while we are bickering about what is better and/or whose fault the problems are…we are also losing sight of the very things that made us American in the first place.

All the while as we bicker and fight with each other, we take the very things that America was founded on for granted.  Moreover, the culture of fear and blame causes us to take our liberty for granted.  When we take our liberty for granted, we begin to lose our liberty.  When we lose our liberty we lose our happiness.  We are too stupid to realize this, however…we’re too busy – preoccupied with bickering with one another and concerned about winning the particular argument of the day.  This is precisely the point.  The more we argue with one another, the more liberty and happiness we lose.  Listen to the message from Adam Kokesh about us taking our happiness and liberty for granted:

Happiness is a choice…yet we control our happiness.  Human nature, humanity and human consciousness is absolutely beautiful and incredible.  Society is seemingly unaware as our own humanity slides through our fingers like grains of sand.  We continue to lose our humanity in a number of different ways, including but not limited to technology and the decadence of our society.  Moreover it is the abuse of the abundance that we experience due to our incredible humanity.  Moreover, we are losing sight of our freedoms, how we got there and what we are going to do in order to retain and/or regain it when we lose it.  WHEN we lose it…because the reality is that we WILL – people think this is extreme, but they simply do not know history.  Again…not only do we not know history, but we have no desire to learn it.

America is not a place or a location.  America was an idea.  We have lost the idea of what America is/was.  As this continues, America continues to decline.  Whether the decline actually results in another revolution remains to be seen.  This is not something that I want to see happen, but it is something that I want to prepare for by adjusting the manner in which I live my life.  I want to return to the values and lifestyle  that our country was founded upon.  By learning these skills and teaching these skills, the skills get carried on and passed down through generations.  The process of doing this helps us live a better life, for when times get tough – or even if they don’t.

My parents are learning these skills for different reasons, and for my own reasons I find it desirable to learn these skills in order to teach others how to do it.  This is the point with my homestead and the objective of the website and blog I’m in the process of creating as well as my desire to get involved in the Permaculture movement.  While the instances regarding the decline of society sadden me and when I experience days like I have lately with less than desirable communication and poor experiences like at the Verizon store…i need to remember that this is a means to an end and that I’m merely taking steps to live a better life.

When I get down on myself about the stresses in life and the things that I need to do to cope with them it always helps me to put things in perspective when I hear stories from people who have greater stories than i do and who have walked tougher roads than I have.  The start experiment is so stimulating and encouraging in this way.  I’m motivated and inspired by people just like this.  They’ve inspired me to do more writing and as a result I have become a columnist for a new website called Brink of Freedom.  This recent development of becoming a columnist is very much in line with my dreams to teach and educate and share my passion for homesteading, health and wellness and living a good life.

I hope that my work makes an impact on people and based on experiences thus far I believe it has.  I hope to continue this with each day that I live and share with you.  Chase your dreams and encourage others to do the same.  Everytime you have the ability to do this, welcome them to the first day of the rest of their life and encourage them to do the same.

Stay tuned.

Reflecting on the Reflection

This morning, I was walking from the parking lot towards the side entrance of the hotel where I am staying.

I noticed the reflected image of the sign of the hotel where I was staying in the windshield of a car below it.

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As I walked in to my hotel room, arms full of computer boxes, binders and training materials – I was thinking about what I had seen…reflecting on the reflection, if you will.

What is the significance of this, you may ask?  Your guess is as good as mine, but part of the reason I’m writing this is to attempt to explain.  You see…if you look at the photo above, the reflection in the windshield of the vehicle in the lower right hand corner appears to have a “bluish” color.  While it may not appear this way in the photo, this is what I perceived in the real, 3-D world.  Clearly, the sign at the top of the hotel has a black background with green and white lettering.  As I made my way back to my room, I was thinking about the reflection and the slight difference in color.

We can attribute the noticeable color difference to one of many contributing factors such as the clouds, the rain, or the windsheild itself.  The essential components of windshield glass are silica sand (SiO2), soda ash (Na2 CO3), dolomite ((CaMg)(CO3)2), limestone (CaCO3) and cullet. Small quantities of potassium oxide and aluminium oxide are often added.  You can read all about that here if you’re interested.   We can distract ourselves with details all day long and quite often – this is what I find myself doing.  The point that I’m trying to make is that we notice the fact that there is a difference in the reflection.  It is important to reflect on the reflection.

Have you ever heard of “The Butterfly Dream” by Chuang Tzu?

One night, Chuang Tzu dreamed of being a butterfly — a happy butterfly, showing off and doing things as he pleased, unaware of being Chuang Tzu. Suddenly he awoke, drowsily, Chuang Tzu again. And he could not tell whether it was Chuang Tzu who had dreamt the butterfly or the butterfly dreaming Chuang Tzu.

We all see things in life and we all perceive them differently as we are different individuals.  In a similar way that Chuang Tzu dreamt of the butterfly…I looked at the reflection in the windshield, thinking similar thoughts.  Am I seeing the true colors in the sign?  Am I seeing the true colors of the sign in the reflection in the windshield?  Am I seeing anything that is real at all due to the clouds, the rain or the composition of the windshield?  Moreover, I realized that none of this really matters…yet it is the reflection of the process that makes it as important as I believe it to be.  Perhaps I am simply mad…

While I must return to work now…I wanted to take a few moments to share this with you and encourage you to reflect on your reflections.

Stress, Patterns and Re-patterning Our Lives

In the past, I had posted regularly about my qigong practice and its’ impact in my life.

Lately, I thought I had been unable to perform these routines due to the incredibly slow internet connection at the hotel where I have been staying for the past ~3 weeks.  Normally, when I perform Qigong for Stress Relief, I log in to Gaiam TV and select the video from my playlist.  This service costs approximately $10/month but is well worth it for the wealth of material available on their website.  However, the slow internet connection left most of the videos I tried to stream with more time “buffering” than actually playing.

Qigong for Stress Relief Video

Over the past few weeks, I have altered my life routines pretty significantly.  While I thought I was unable to perform these exercises, I began performing other workouts as well as maintaining my running schedule.  Recently, I began making audio recordings using a small, Zoom H2 audio recorder that I purchased years ago for making field recordings of old-time music at festivals and jam sessions.  I brought this on the road with me during my travels as one of the goals I had was to begin making podcasts.

While using the recorder, I remembered that I had created audio recordings of all the Tai Chi and Qigong routines I was regularly performing.  I wanted to do this so that I could continue these routines when I went into the backcountry in Joshua Tree.  I was able to listen to the audio of these routines and perform my AM Chi routine during sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park, an experience I will likely remember for the rest of my life.  Today, I remembered that I had these audio recordings as I spent time creating my podcasts.  It is important to point out that I was able to make this happen due to the creation of goals and the taking of steps to achieve them.

These steps are part of living a deliberate lifestyle and trying to actively engage in healthy, positive and beneficial life changes.  In the past I had written about how I was performing these routines with more frequency in an effort to do the same thing, ultimately leading towards improved health and wellness.  As I reconnected with this routine after a month or so of going without it, I found myself feeling the same feelings of relief and connection as before.  As I performed this practice, I was very mindful of how “grounded” I felt.

The couple that leads this routine are Francesco Garripoli and Daisy Lee Garripoli.  In past blog posts I took the time to outline some of what they said throughout the routine.  Because this resonates so much with me, it bears repeating and I have taken the time to revisit some of these blog posts from the past and share them again…

 

“So much of stress in life comes from dealing with change.  The ancients knew that through these exercises, learning how to shift your weight and your body was an example and a symbol how to learn and shift your weight in circumstances in life.”

“So many times in life we have such stress that comes from moments where we feel like we’re a victim, or we feel like we are dis-empowered or that somebody is taking away our ability to express ourselves.  Let this exercise be a way to pull in the energy you need and express it as you need it.”

 “So much of stress comes from the mind wandering and worrying.  Exercises like this can keep your focus and train your focus to help use the mind to settle your energy, increase your immune system and bring yourself into balance.”

 “So much of stress in our life comes from patterns that are destructive patterns we repeat over and over again, creating stressful situations, putting us into situations that create more stress and the pattern repeats itself.  By creating exercises like this in your daily repertoire, we find that we can re-pattern our life with positive patterns and replace the destructive patterns with positive, calming, centering exercises.”

Throughout the routine, Francesco Garripoli talks about how stress comes from dealing with change and how our minds wander and worry.  I think that while this is correct, it is even more accurate to say that these stresses come as a result of our inability to deal with the change.  These exercises help us deal with some of life’s transitions in a more healthy, positive and beneficial way than most of us (including myself) are accustomed to.  We deal with stress the best way we know how…because the reality is, often times that is the only way we know how.

The ways that we deal with stress are ways that we have learned over the course of our lives.  We have been engaging in certain types of behaviors for years and it takes active and deliberate living to learn new skills in order to cope with and deal with life stresses in different ways.  Often times, our stress snowballs because we continue dealing with “life stuff” in the best way that we know how…except more often than not the ways that we deal with this “life stuff” is not the best way or the most healthy way…but it is the only way.

It remains the only way we know until we get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Often times we seek counseling, or read books or talk with friends and family to try and learn new ways to cope with this life stuff.  Often times we try and incorporate these new patterns into our lives and while sometimes successful…we often times have failures.  For me, my failures often came because the pain of the change was frequently more painful than the pain of the initial stress – so I just continued to deal with things as they were.  “It wasn’t that bad,” I would tell myself.

After a while, I realized that this was merely settling for a life of mediocrity and complacency.  The reality was that it wasn’t that bad…but something inside of me knew that it could be much better – but only if I allowed it to be.  I continued on with my attempts at re-patterning my life with healthy, positive and beneficial behaviors.  I continued seeking the company of people I respected, admired and looked up to.  I continued persevering and doing what I could to overcome the adversity of life.

Many times along the way, I fell and fell hard.  It didn’t matter.  I got back up again and continued putting one foot in front of the other.   I found support and strength in my friends and family.  When I was too proud to reach out to them, I tried to deal with it myself…only to learn that life seems to operate much smoother when we allow others into our lives.  Whether those “others” are people or a higher power, I found that it was much more difficult when I tried to go it alone.

Regardless, I continue striving to identify and recognize all these patterns in life and re-patterning when appropriate.

Stay tuned. 

 

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life – Episode 0005

  • Podcast
  • Purpose of the blog & the podcast
    • Originally maintained to “document” the social experiment of quitting facebook
    • Over the past year, the purpose and objective of this blog has shifted
    • Currently, the purpose and objective of the blog is to share knowledge and life experiences
      • Sharing knowledge that’s what is all about
      • Building community
      • Not subscribing to the status quo
      • Being weird and doing epic shit

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Topics of discussion for the next podcast:

  • Social Experiments
    • Quitting Facebook – Goodbye, Facebook
      • Pros / Cons
    • Quitting Smartphones
      • Pros / Cons
  • Homesteading
  • Farming
  • Gardening
  • Permaculture
  • Debt Management
  • Knives
  • Spirituality / Religion / etc
  • Epilepsy / Medical Conditions

Stay tuned.

Rumination on Procrastination

Rumination (psychology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rumination is defined as the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.[1] Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future.[1] Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.[1]

This evening…I finished up a blog post that I spent several hours on.  This gives me a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.  However, this satisfaction quickly led to disappointment.  Allow me to explain…

Currently, I am involved in a little project titled The Start Experiment.  This is a 24 day time period in which myself and several thousand other people have joined together while we each work towards the completion of our own individual goal or risk.  There is much online collaboration with people and frequently there are “3D” interactions in the form of meetup groups or get togethers over dinner or a baseball game.  So far, this has been an overall positive experience with like-minded and positive people.

The “original” Start Experiment kicked off in mid-July, on the 15th day of July if I’m not mistaken.  During that time I was preparing for a series of pretty significant transitions (moving out of my house, preparing to spend 6-8 months on the road and living out of hotels and ultimately taking on a new position with the company I work for.  This was really not the time to be engaging in challenging personal projects where I would prepare to “punch fear in the face, “escape average” and “do work that matters.”  Or…was it?

Well, to make a long story short, I got about 7 days into the project and then began falling behind with my “daily tasks” that came in the form of emails from Jon Acuff.  As each day passed, I refused to clear out my email inbox (which I am diligent about doing – as I am such a GTD nerd and consistently aim to keep my inbox at “zero”).  My initial thoughts were that I would see the emails piling up and this would serve as a reminder that I needed to GET THINGS DONE and I would eventually “get around to it.”   This all began with Day 8 of Round 1 of The Start Experiment on July 22.  This continued until Day 13 of Round 2 on August 24.  Thirty three days of procrastination.

My goal was that I was going to spend time going through each and every one of these emails and spend time reviewing them in order to spend the “appropriate” amount of time on each one so that I could complete the project in the manner that I saw fit and “succeed” in doing so.  Well…as I just wrote, we are more than halfway into the second round of The Start Experiment and I am just now getting to a point of addressing 33 days of procrastination.

You know what pairs well with procrastination?

Beer.  At this time, I am drinking a Real Ale Brewing Company Brewhouse Brown Ale.  This is a Texas beer and seeing as I’m in Austin at the moment – it seems like an appropriate beer to drink.  A few days ago I bought a sampler pack and have had one of each so far over the past few days.  So far, I liked the Full Moon Pale Rye Ale the best…but I digress.  Nevertheless, it is great to contemplate one’s procrastination over a nice, heady brew.

So…after 33 days of procrastination, I have decided to alter my original plans of “going through each and every one of these emails and spend time reviewing them in order to spend the “appropriate” amount of time on each one.”  Instead, I just went to my email inbox, checked the little box that said “Select All” and I highlighted each email in my inbox.  One more click on the “Archive” folder and there we go…inbox to zero.  The reality is that I don’t need to address each and every single email.  I have learned my lesson as is evident in my last blog post.  I’m feeling caught up and on track with everything here in Round 2.

The reality is that these daily “tasks” that we’re receiving via email really are not that challenging.  However, like many things in life…the little things can add up and suddenly become one BIG thing.  These BIG things are the things that seem to become incredibly overwhelming and stressful.  This is similar to the snowball effect…

What is important to learn is that the “snowball” stays manageable as it gets bigger until a certain point.  Once it reaches that point, like the picture above indicates, there is no going back.  Things continue piling up until they get dealt with accordingly or it simply blows up in your face!  Personally, I have had more experiences with the latter rather than the former.

Today, I was grateful enough to deal with a series of these little snowballs.  Ultimately, as I dealt with each little snowball accordingly, I realized just how small each little snowball really was.  As these tasks continue to come to me on a daily basis, I will simply take the time to deal with them as they come in.  I may have to make some adjustments to my schedule in order to do so, but these small adjustments will be much easier to deal with over time than making a HUGE adjustment to deal with a HUGE snowball!

This is common sense…however, common sense is not so common – this is evident during my reflection and rumination on procrastination.

Stay tuned.