Friday, June 7, 2019

Sailing! Sailing! Over the Ocean Blue!

I'm not sure how many of my tens of loyal readers know the significance of April Fools' Day this year. It was fairly meaningful as the Missus and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. Those that know me consider this milestone nothing short of miraculous. Might be. I think the word miracle is thrown around a little too casually these days. But that's another post for another day. Christmas time, with our little clan assembled, I asked the kids if they would join us on a family vacay in honor of this anniversary. They readily accepted. I think they did, anyway. They might have accepted with fear, trepidation and only out of a sense of responsibility. After all, can anyone imagine having any fun with me, for crying out loud?

Trying to decide what kind of trip to take was mind numbing! I shan't bore you with all the details. VRBO, Airbnb, beaches, mountains, all-inclusives, Redneck Riviera, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Gulf Shores, Destin, Pensacola......this list could go on ad infinitum. The interwebs have a way of making this process exhausting. And the whole premise of entering an email address on most sites result in dozens of emails on a daily basis. But no one ever accused me of being the sharpest knife in the drawer.

In the midst of all the tired head that comes as a result of this kind of decision, the questionable and controversial idea of a Cruise kept getting a lot of brain space. Of course, one of our party of 5 had been on a cruise. A few years ago, T had done the short, unimpressive route from Rome to Monte Carlo on a Mediterranean Cruise! I was fairly certain that we were not going to one up that little excursion!

Looooong story short, I booked us on a little 5 day adventure on one of those rust buckets out of Galveston. The anxiety, nerves, emotions, fears and everything that goes with spending any time in my brain are unexplainable. I cannot put into words how BADLY I needed this to be the trip of a lifetime and for my wife and kids to enjoy themselves!

My biggest character defect is the brutal, almost incomprehensible, expectations I set for everything and everyone in my life. And you know what? My expectations were exceeded!

From the rocking of the ship, to the Mayan Ruins, to the pineapple with chili powder in a very impoverished village, to the silly shows, to the quiet time reading on the balcony, to the cheeseburger in paradise on Paradise Beach, to the quiet time in prayer, I would not have changed a thing!

We absolutely pulled it off, in spite of me. We shared our lives, our laughter, and our love for each other every night in the main dining room, while Jay and Ishwar served us with seeming joy.

For the most part, I suffer from a ridiculous lack of gratitude. But not today. I am grateful beyond words. And once again, the open seas provided just what I needed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Yeah Right!

There are challenges in life. And then there are CHALLENGES! In the area of personal growth, I find some of them to be quite absurd. Not to mention, just outright impossible.

Some time ago, the Denton Yogi reminded me of the most ridiculous, impossible suggestion in the history of ever. I hope to never read the book. But evidently, she had found it necessary to pick up the fine work of Don Miguel Ruiz entitled: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. I had never heard of the book or its author. And I have no idea what the other three agreements are. But I do know that Agreement #2 gives me tired-head and actually makes me a little insane.

This Ruiz character actually has the audacity to opine in his second agreement, "Don't take anything personally."

Seemingly, I just got writer's block. I don't know what to say. I cannot find the words. And for those that know me, these instances are rare. I have written about all kinds of challenges and ideas. I have opinions (and sometimes even real experiences) galore about all my rantings and ravings in prior posts through the years.

Sadly, I have experiences and an opinion about this second agreement. And the hopeless reality about this is I am convinced that I just cannot do it. And I'm fairly certain that I'm not the Lone Ranger in this regard.

Most recently, I was reminded of my inability to let things go after making the very poor decision of bantering with famed reporter, Ashleigh Banfield on Twitter. I saw Ashleigh on Live PD (the greatest train wreck on TV) and asked why she wasn't wearing her glasses. She actually responded and said that she had undergone serious eye surgery and occasionally wore them during her one year recovery. I simply responded that was too bad because she always looked good in her glasses and that her various pair of glasses always seemed to be her bit (trademark).

Big mistake! Ashleigh never responded. And I truly think she wasn't offended. But some snowfl.....I mean some other Twitter user chewed me up one side and down the other for suggesting that Banfield's wearing of glasses was a bit. Even attacking me as she had noticed in my profile pic that I wore glasses!

I have stopped arguing with idiots. This girl's stupidity was even more than I could imagine. So, I didn't explain to her why I was right and she was ignorant. I simply apologized and assured her that I meant no disrespect to Banfield.

But it bugged me. The fact that I'm writing about it obviously means I haven't forgotten about it.

I wrote years back of living our lives based on outrage. Maybe, this post is a regurgitation of that.

But I know we all fall into this dilemma from time to time. At least I do. I take things personally. From the leaders of our world to the very people in my house, I take things personally. And it bugs me. It robs me of my serenity. It makes me the curmudgeon that so many of you think I am.

A few years ago, I was corresponding with a man in California who, for the most part, has become my sinsei.

I truly don't recall complaining about anything or anyone. But evidently, I was. He responded with one simple idea.

"Kevin, nothing is personal. They are not doing it to you. They are just doing what they do and you happen to be in the blast radius."

On occasion, I am able to remember that and go on about my day. But more times than not, I am only able to respond, "Yeah Right."

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Present and Accounted For

The blame can be placed solely and indubitably at the feet of Stainless. It was just a few hours ago, that as we stood in his driveway, he asked me when was the last time I had any fun? Now mind you, I have been on a couple of pretty cool vacations, been to the UK a couple of times for speaking engagements, seen a few concerts and sporting events.....and for some stupid reason I answered, "Back when I was hitting that ridiculous blog on a regular basis."

True talk. That silly response was the best I could muster. And I have absolutely no idea why it came out of my mouth. But it did. And here I sit. Back in my therapy chair. So comfortable. And so, so cheap!

Trust me when I say that a thousand or two topics have come to mind over the last couple of years. But all of them just exhaust me. And if I dared to bring up even one of them, then I would have to listen to your incessant rebuttals. And quite frankly, you exhaust me even more! As I get older, I truly am getting more and more okay with your right to be wrong and I, for the most part, have given up on trying to make you see it my way.....the right way.

Consequently, instead of addressing societal ills, of which there are thousands. I am going back to where this little experiment all began and I am going to discuss my very most, favoritest topic.....ME!

I find it amazing how so many of my favorite quotes are found on T-shirts. I'll never forget the first time I saw a shirt that read "I don't even like the people I like." Within 24 hours, I had Shoe's wife press me one out and to this day, that shirt remains one of my most valued possessions. Goodwrench, however, is currently sporting a shirt that I must one day own. My jealousy is incalculable. I offered him $100 cash the first time I saw it. On a couple of instances, I have been frozen with envy as Goodwrench has walked into the room with a shirt that says "JUST PRETEND I'M NOT HERE. THAT'S WHAT I'M DOING."

Sometimes, this strikes me as funny/sad. Other times it strikes me as sad/funny. Then there are times, when I'm all alone in my head (a very dangerous neighborhood), that the truth behind this silly sentiment, on a silly t-shirt, just completely breaks my heart.

And I start to list all the places in my daily walk, that I am so tempted to just pretend I'm not here.

I will suggest a few of these places. And I will do so at the risk of retribution. But this ridiculous quote, on this ridiculous shirt has caused me to question:

Do I pretend I'm not here on my job? Have I pretended I'm not here in a house of Worship? Have I not been here when out to dinner with friends? Have I pretended not to be here sitting on the couch watching TV with my wife? Have I really not been here at a choir concert of one of my children? Have I not been here while visiting a friend in the hospital? Have I pretended not to be here at the funeral of a loved one?

It's very, very plain to see that this list could go on and on and on and on.  I cannot describe the extent to which this truth disturbs me.

For those of you keeping score from a few years ago, I am still meditating every day. Coming up on 1,400 days in a row.  The ongoing mantra almost every day from my little Tibetan Monk is to just be present..... right here..... right now.  This simple thought might be the biggest challenge I face in my daily life.

But Goodwrench's shirt has challenged in a way that I've not been challenged in quite some time. And I really, truly want to make a change. And in ALL the instances mentioned above and in all the other hundreds of situations I find myself in, I'm going to strive, to the best of my ability, to be PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR.