My 500 Words

The other day, I was kicking myself about how much I hadn’t been writing lately.  I hadn’t been contributing to the magazine I had been writing for over the last few months.  I hadn’t been keeping up with my personal blog.  I hadn’t been doing this…or I hadn’t been doing that.

It is incredible how things have a tendency of working themselves out in life.  While I was thinking about how much I hadn’t been doing, there were others out there that were recognizing what I had been doing.  One of my friends out there asked me to be a monthly contributor to the website she maintains.

It seemed unlikely that someone might want to recruit me to be a guest writer for their site, but apparently some of what I write is of the right mindset for her business and could potentially appeal to a group of people that she might not normally reach otherwise.

Ultimately, the point of mentioning all of this is that we can often be hard on ourselves.  Far too frequently we rely on others to point out our strong points.  We need to begin recognizing our own strengths…and then acting upon them.

Does that mean that I am a strong writer?  No.  However, by writing today – I am becoming a stronger writer than I was yesterday.  I can (and did) kick myself for all the time spent not writing recently…but today I will be grateful for the fact that I got up earlier than normal to execute my plan of action rather than think about what I haven’t done.

Over the past few months there’s been a lot that has taken place that could be considered justification for not writing.  My former employer terminated my employment based on my epilepsy and inability to drive for several months and seemed unwilling to work with me despite my almost 6 years with the company.  Since then, I have secured a new job.

Moreover, I have been getting settled in at the new job and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  It’s giving me the opportunity to work in my preferred field.   Not only that, it’s giving me the opportunity to continue paying down the debts incurred as a result of the hospitalization last year.  I came to within $500 of becoming debt free last year by the time I acquired several thousands of medical bills.

Besides paying down my debts, the new job is providing me with income to allow me to attend the first annual Permaculture Voices Conference in Temecula.  This conference follows up the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference last month in Granville, OH.  There are many exciting things that have been taking place over the past few months in addition to simply not writing.

While today’s post will likely be a “catch up” post, there will be other days where I will feel motivated to write and there will be days where it’ll be challenging to find the motivation.  Luckily, I stumbled across a group of people that accepted me into a group called “My 500 Words.”  According to the group description, “My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.”  So…how did I do on my first day back to writing?

553 words.  I think I succeeded.

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.

photo12

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.

“There will be dragons.” – The Start Experiment and Beyond – Part 1

This post is specifically written for those who are a part of The Start Experiment.

Eventually, I’d like to get to a point where I am self-reliant in terms of food production.  What little I do have to buy, I can barter for and/or use silver as a means of exchange.  I would like to run and operate a small hydroponic supply distribution warehouse along with involvement of selling certain vitamins and health supplements?   There are many ideas, but perhaps it could be a health/wellness/self-sufficiency/edible landscaping/permaculture design/online store where I sell and stock the items and then simply control the sales and distribution of the products? 

Perhaps my dream over the next 24 days would be to fine tune and develop the business plan / proposal to provide to my parents?  Hmm

Stay tuned.

Well, after writing this last night, I effectively copied and pasted the end of last nights’ musings as I completed the survey today at work.   The survey was provided by Jon Acuff and his team of awesome seekers and given to some 3,000 of us guinea pigs.  We are part of The Start Experiment.

What is “The Start Experiment?”  This is a good question…one I believe that I tried to cover in previous blog posts.  I don’t think anyone can accurately describe what is taking place here in this experiment.  For me, this is a total trip.  After re-joining facebook 2 months ago after an 8 month social network hiatus…this is like jumping into the deep end of the social network globosphere.  Wow.

Well…here we go – it’s time to START. 

Like you, I have really enjoyed what is taking place here within The Start Experiment.  I have connected with people in ways that simply seem “appropriate” for my life at this time.  While we are still in the beginning phases of The Start Experiment.  Here’s a direct link to The Start Experiment on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/559925787386687/ – I find that if I transfer the links directly in this manner, it transfers over regardless of the platform on which I’m typing. 

At any rate…here we are.  The Start Experiment has resulted in a tremendous amount of people corresponding with one another via a “group” on facebook.  This has been interesting, to say the least.  Just like many others, we are sharing personal photos, our blogs and some of our deepest and darkest secrets with total strangers.  In a sense, it feels strangely liberating…even though I have nothing to hide.  With that said, I suppose I’m safe from the NSA (don’t even get me started).

All of these people corresponding with one another through facebook as a result of The Start Experiment has been astounding!  I have shared some of my blog posts here and actually received some responses from recently beginning to share the blog that I write.  Earlier today, I received a message that read as follows:

Hey Adventurer Rob!

I saw your post about the health accomplishments you have recently had! Well done, it sounds like you have really created some awesome lifestyle habits that are supporting you!

The part of your recent list that also caught my eye is the land lease for developing the homestead on your families farm. I would love to add you as a friends on FB as my dream is to create a farm for teaching and building community where I live.

My goal is to have a place where people can come to learn how to work with the land, how our food grows and then harvest and prepare it themselves.

Not yet owning land myself I am exploring any option for how this could look (grant to buy farm land, work with an existing farmer, etc). I would love to hear more about your experience and encourage you along the way!

In Adventure and Fear-Punching! 
(name withheld)

First of all, receiving a message like this was AMAZING!  It’s really nice to receive feedback on any level, especially when it’s about your passion and especially when a recent relationship has gone south and you think you may actually talk (or write) in circles.   It is truly refreshing to correspond with someone that has similar shared interests!  Very exciting!

My response was as follows:

Hi (name withheld),

First of all, thank you for the compliments about the recent accomplishments and positive lifestyle choices. I’m far from perfect, but I’m trying.

Yes, development of a homestead is a long time dream of mine (since college). The fact that it would take place on my family’s “farm” is a bit of a misleading thing.

A few years ago, my parents (in their 60’s) decided to buy 20 acres and try to become farmers. They were an average, white-collar suburban couple in their 60’s making MAJOR life changes.

The “farm” is pretty undeveloped. 1/4 of the 20 acres was previously corn/beans and the soil is in pretty rough shape. I am looking to lease approximately 1 of the 20 acres and pursue my own homestead dreams, while helping my parents accomplish their dreams as well.

Our goals of having a place where we have learned to become self-reliant and subsequently teaching others the same skills we have acquired are very much the same. This is very important to me.

Like you, I do not own land, but regardless of my family situation – I would be going through the same process at this stage in life. I would likely try to lease land and make a stand at being much more self-reliant.

For months, I have been looking at different options on how to homestead with limited resources and a limited skill set…It it my dream to share this knowledge with others who wish to learn it.

Look forward to making the world a better place with you!
Rob

This is the God’s honest truth.  Anyone that knows me understands that I occasionally (?!) rant about the state of our nation and our future.  In a nutshell, I have come to believe that our society is on the brink of collapse.  I’m not really referring to “zombie apocalypse” type of collapse, but I am quickly learning that “zombie apocalypse” is kind of code for people that may potentially be of like mind.  However, be warned that frequent talk of the zombie apocalypse might result in weird looks from friends and families.  They may even go so far as to talk about you behind you back, etc.

At any rate, lest I digress into another rant about the decline of our socio-politial globosphere, let me return to the discussion about correspondence with like-minded people via The Start Experiment.  This correspondence is leading to increased connections and “friends” on facebook.  Many people (including myself) scoff at facebook and what it represents… I suppose that as long as facebook as an integral part of our society, I will use it.  However, I am also preparing for a time when there will be no facebook – through my own choice…or not.

Because of my desire to use facebook  (and social media such as wordpress, etc), I am realizing that connections such as the one outlined above can take place with very little energy expended.  Many thanks to Jon Acuff for writing a book that was the catalyst for connections like this to take place.  These connections that I talk about are beginning a sort of “snowball” that I would like to see continue rolling.  As I sat down at the computer to work on my “notes” in Evernote (The Secret Weapon style…of course) – I checked into facebook briefly…  Before you continue reading, I’d like to kindly suggest that you re-read the italicized post above. 

Again, I’d like to suggest that you re-read the above correspondence between myself and the mystery person out there in the interwebs.  After re-reading the above, also consider the fact that I have talked with my mom about potentially hosting “meetup” groups out there to spread the knowledge we learn in order to share in the community that we build and support.  My parents seem very “into” the ideas that I present and the lifestyle that I am currently trying to lead.  I have begun taking these ideas and developing action plans that have been on the “Someday” list.  Due to The Start Experiment…that “someday” is now.  It is time to START.

After going to the great lengths to share “the experience” with you, I suspect that I am nearing the end of the pomodoro for my writing.  Last pomodoro was spend dealing with stupid work stuff and sending emails about billable hours to a specific cost center for an assignment and meeting where I was requested to be present at.  The manager for that cost center appears to be “playing games” and refusing to pay me for the hours I billed for.  It could be a simple mistake…it could be one of the many reasons contributing to my decision to work towards leaving this “corporate management” lifestyle.

Now it is time to START.

Pomodoro up.

Stay tuned.

 

57. Not Good Enough – YouTube

I did everything you asked of me and now I am not good enough?

I went to school…
studied long hours…
worked hard…
interned…

You told me how special I was and that if I just worked hard enough, I would be rewarded with the American dream. 

The dream we’ve come to know as the decent, paying job that would pull me up in the ranks of society…

You told me to invest in my education… but I have nothing but thousands of dollars in debt and a piece of paper that says I’m “smart.”

I did all of these things and now you say that I am not good enough?

The best jobs I can find are jobs which, not only DO NOT resonate with who I am, but make me feel underpaid, underappreciated, and with no purpose, place, or direction.

I cannot buy a house, a car, or even start a family…

But I now see what the problem is…

You wanted me to follow your path, because it benefits you.

Debt, consumerism, sacrificing family for work was something that worked for your generation.

I now see that unless we follow your path, your world will end.

Who would buy your assets?

Who would pay your social security?

Who would fight your wars?

Who would rent your properties if not my generation?

We see the big picture now and we are aware of how this world works.

We now see that listening to the inner voice that we all have inside of us, in order to pursue our dreams is the true path to becoming our best and highest self.

We may be caught in debt and a faltering economy, but we are young and smart and now our eyes are open.

We will work to correct the wrongs in this world.

We will turn the tide around and save this country, but it won’t be the way you want it to be; not by preserving the status-quo with more debt and death.

We will have the opposite consciousness as those that created this mess.

And we will create this world anew.

57. Not Good Enough – YouTube.

The Greatest Truth Never Told

“Don’t believe them, Don’t fear them, Don’t ask anything of them.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tonight, I watched a short, 3 minute and 52 second movie.  It was incredible.  Interested?

I thought so.

I began by watching The Greatest Truth Never Told.

This short video clip is merely one of a large series of videos.

After a solid hour or so of watching these little video shorts, I was prompted to write and expand upon them.  These short videos are put together very well.  The videos engage the viewer on many levels.  There is much thought provoking material presented, that touches me on many different levels.  So much more than I have ever exposed myself to in a short amount of time.  That may sound dramatic, but there was so much within these little video shorts that I found myself identifying with.

After watching 24 of these videos back-to-back (approximately 1.5hrs), I paused after hearing this quote in Episode 25. See The World Anew.  Three minutes and two seconds (3:02) into the video, I heard Chris Duane quote, “Don’t believe them, Don’t fear them, Don’t ask anything of them.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  When I first heard it, I’m not quite sure why it stood out to me.  As I write this, I have paused several more times to listen to it again.  After listening to it, I still am uncertain as to what specifically made me want to write.  That’s half the fun of why I write, however.

A simple quote in a little YouTube movie got me writing and thinking.  I decided to do a quick search on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  It turns out that he apparently “was a Russian writer, dissident and activist. He helped to raise global awareness of the gulag and theSoviet Union‘s forced labor camp system from 1918 to 1956. While his writings were often suppressed, he wrote several books most notably The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works. “For the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”,[3] Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 but returned to Russia in 1994 after the Soviet system had collapsed” (according to Wikipedia).

Is Wikipedia the most reliable site to source from?  No.  Can you tell me what the most reliable site to source from?  No.  Very good.  Let’s move beyond that.  While I find this information very interesting, it got me thinking.   After letting my mind wander for a few minutes in many different directions, I decided to focus on the quote, “Don’t believe them, Don’t fear them, Don’t ask anything of them.”  After wondering what context he was writing about, I dug deeper.  These words are supposedly the three rules made famous among Soviet prisoners by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s literature as read in an article by Anna Nemtsova.  The interesting (or frightening) part about all this is that while this article is about the Moscow penal system, yet the quote made me think about my thoughts about our own government and my stance on how we should perceive and ultimately treat the government.

Oh boy, here he goes, another socio-political tirade  you’re likely thinking if you’re one of the buffoons that actually reads this trash.  Boy, if I continue verbally assaulting my readers by calling them buffoons, then I suspect I won’t have many readers!  I’d like to say that I don’t really care.  On a certain level, I suppose I don’t…but just like anything else I do, I try to be “effective” at it.  What would “effective” writing actually be?  That’s another topic for another day.  I won’t even attempt to go there right now, but to bring this little rant full circle, I suppose that’s ultimately what some of my writing actually is – a socio-political tirade.  Enjoy.

Ultimately the fact that “Don’t believe them, Don’t fear them, Don’t ask anything of them” made me think of our own government  when the quote, spoken by a Russian writer, dissident and activist.  I have mixed feelings about the fact that this quote makes me think of the manner about which I think about and believe we should treat our own government.  Mixed feelings in that it makes me feel sad, among a myriad other feelings and emotions.  Watching this series, The Greatest Truth Never Told is one of the best things I think one can do if you have experienced anything resembling conflicting feelings about our government and/or our socio-political structure in today’s world.

Throughout this series he discusses the The 5 Stages Of The Awakening which you can see here.  My suggestion is to watch the videos in succession.  These videos are so captivating that I’m going to continue watching them until I fall It’s late for me on a Saturday night at 10:00 and after writing for darn near close to 35 minutes, I find myself realizing that I want to stop writing and continue watching where I left off…after watching the remaining few minutes of Episode 25. See The World Anew, I am completely astonished and very tired as well.  It is late and I ran 17 miles earlier today.  Very tired physically and after a few hours of watching and reflecting on The Greatest Truth Never Told I ultimately realize that am satisfied with the experiences of my life and the direction that my life is currently headed.

Some days…it is more difficult to say this than others.  Do everything you can right now to make today not one of those days.

What can we do?  It is all we can do.

Stay tuned.

 

Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.

The Obsolete Man.

This is an episode of the twilight zone that aired in 1961.

“Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man…that state is obsolete. ”

 

How pertinent the words “Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace” ring true today.

 

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

John F. Kennedy