contentment

Wheels Don’t Build Themselves

On the drive side the spokes are too tight. The dish has pulled aside, and riding with no hands isn’t safe.

It was never perfectly round, and the tire went flat years ago, so each bump transfers to the seat.

There are dents in the rim, each blemish a reminder of a failure, a betrayal, or a wreck.

Sand paper, a file, and a rag to pick up the shards.

Oil applied to the nipples, so they won’t strip.

Patching the tube, airing it up, and noticing a blow out in the tire.

Cutting the lock nuts off the races to free the rusted axle, wiping out the hub to shine a light inside, and taking note of the cratered belly.

Each article is another batch of new grease, and fresh bearings.

I am not a wheel, nor a unicycle. I am the frame. The brake cables. The chain.

My drive-train is intact, and this is a search for the tools to maintain it, so the cogs will take longer to strip out.

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A strategy for coping with a narcissitic culture

In my path towards emotional well-being, I’ve been doing my best to understand how the direction I choose to lean in responses to life’s challenges, determines my contentment in a narcissistic culture. That’s the way I see the economy of the world these days, it’s narcissistic in the way that it’s addicted to its reflection in the mirror. People are the mirror, and the power behind cash is looking at itself with greed.

I scored a 12 on a test determining how narcissistic I am, but the test results would change depending on my mood and circumstance. For example, in my patterns of coping with misery I’d score low, while in the state of enthusiasm embracing a dream, I’d score higher……it’s been a fascinating concept that I’ve studied for several years.

I wonder what would be the healthiest spiritual score, or what a sociopath might decide to give themselves, knowing what the answers would mean for the results. Psych central generalized the scores saying that 12-15 is average, and that people like celebrities would score higher in the range. What is your score?

What is the balancing point of health between generous and selfish decision-making? As I don’t want to be a monk pursuing the perfection of compassion for ants, I wonder at my hunger for power. How much will be enough to satisfy my natural tendencies of showmanship, and the basic needs for my ambitions? Power is scary to me, as it’s one of the basic hungers for us as animals, and I need to have a way to quench the thirst, without becoming drunk on it as an Executive.

How can I define for myself boundaries for responding to others, in a way that is ethically and morally righteous, without sacrificing my financial stability and dreams? In an ethical business, the question of narcissism would be about fair trade and health of the workers.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had the degenerative habit of helping people more than I help myself. This is why I’m seeking to improve my responses to different people, and establish a more formalized approach to my generosity. I’m narcissist bait. They can smell the tendency to help on me like a pheromone, and I don’t want to continue to invest in people who see the world as revolving around them, only to have them scorn me when I ask for what I need, or say no to a request.

Who is narcissistic in a healthy way, and who is just using me? It’s a hard question to ask, and one that doesn’t feel good to bring into a friendship, but it has become part of my survival, so I want to improve the diagnostics of it. These are questions I ask of my heart and head for the sake of preserving community and love, amongst my family and friends.

As a reader, you are welcome to use of my efforts here for your benefit, as that is a main part of my intention for blogging, and if you are a narcissist I pity you, but if you are bait like me, I pity you also. Maybe someday we can have a healthier friendship, trading equitable efforts for satisfaction, but until that day, I will continue to attempt to inspire you with mine, in the hope that if I need to say no, or take a break, we can still be friends.

I love my blog, and as the traffic here grows with my skills in social media and writing, I’ve found the trade in it more enjoyable. It’s taken me years of investing money and time to reach this point, and I appreciate the people who have been here encouraging me along the way.

I love that when I write something spicy and rowdy, Lesley likes it, and every time I go to her blog, I enjoy a shared sense of adventure.

Having a muse is valuable to me, so I want to again appreciateIW, as we share a common dynamic of thought, and it provokes my fingers tapping on the keys. If I ever get writers block, I’ll show up.

Finding the irony of your blog OM, is perpetually satisfying to me. For years now I’ve been stimulated by your articles, meeting your intention of irritating everybody wholeheartedly, with a balanced approach when you manage to irritate me. If you didn’t manage to irritate me, I would question how much I care about you, so your winning me over with your content good or bad. As ever, I appreciate the charms of your technique.

I’m loving the new photographs emanating from Poland thatEmerald Wake is producing, and I say emanate to communicate how much I’m surprised by the vivid colors that I hadn’t known were possible in an image.

As usual Marina, you are a godsend. Every time I go away for months, and learn to regret it because my traffic is dismal, there you are encouraging me with likes, for most of what I write. With the exception of the time you took to move with your husband, you haven’t given me a chance to miss you, and that I hold dear.

Steven, I will be coming to your site to remedy the missing of your voice here soon, and hope I haven’t offended you with my slapstick voyages into taboo subjects. When I write about the wildness of men like you, I think of you and worry that I may be sacrificing our friendship, with the cagey words of my expressions. Please don’t take anything personal, as I still look forward to eating swan with the Queen, and I don’t anticipate that changing. 😉

To the newer friends I’m growing to appreciate, including any I haven’t mentioned specifically above, or here:Christine, Shawn,TK,Erik,Dennis, and Christina, this link will help your SEO, and it can only attempt to show you the gratitude you deserve for your efforts in encouraging me here. I’m curious to learn more about you, while balancing my pursuit of traffic, so if I’m not liking your stuff, blame me for following too many people, and writing more than I read. I wish I could catch what you write every day, as it feels imbalanced at times for you to admire me, with no return.

I love to see who appreciates what in terms of my writing, so it’s always fun to find a new like or follow. As I know I’ve missed many contributors to my passion for this canvas with this batch of thanks, and I hope you haven’t taken it personal, if I didn’t link this to the fruits of your imagination.

Without the likes and follows of this blog, my writing would still be like this boat. Thank you, I feel it starting to float.

Without the likes and follows of this blog, my writing would still be like this boat. Thank you, I feel it starting to float.

Focus Stall Ranting

I enjoyed your article, as I also find myself in the unenviable position, of freezing my life due to heart breaks, to reflect on the patterns in the pain of the past. As you said, my symptoms are flight, fight, and freeze.

On my blogging adventure, I’m fighting by writing for the growth of my well-being, and yesterday I watched an interesting video on the study of perspective in time, that helps build my serenity for that purpose.

In the flight from emotional pain over the last year, I’ve become fascinated by how time relates to my spirituality and identity. It has a harsh impact on the judgements of others for who I am(an emotional trigger you shared too),so you I hope this video helps you too. Food for thought in The Secret Powers of Time.  The only criticism I would give, is that I wouldn’t choose to represent the present tense derogatorily as “Present Hedonist”, as I find the spiritual practice of “Mindfullness”, and living in the moment, bring me contentment.

I used my desire to comment on your article, as a motivator to edit my long list of backlogged drafts, so thanks for sharing your struggle, it inspired me to improve this article from 2012:

Why am I doubting the darkness, and interrogating the sun? Why does the cold make me angry, and the heat make me sad? What is this thing that makes me look up, expecting to see the ceiling, and finding the closet floor? What is the combination of the lock to the cellar door?

Why am I so tired, with rest evading me like a bouncing deer? Staring at one of my biggest fears, shaking my head and grinning, a mantra uttered to survive. Turning on the music, taking a shower, shaving, turning up the music, dancing, singing, drinking water….

Taking on something simple while physically demanding, as a challenge that will exhaust me to complete. A work that takes all of it away, and leaves me trembling for a different reason, than the one that motivated me to write this.

It’s a precipice, a focus stall, a pit. The scattering fragmentation and suffering of doubts, popping up like bubbles in a boil.

Putting my ear muffs on to cancel out the noise of the chain saws hitting rock, in my head, and again, turning up the music. Dancing to feeling it, loving it as a moment in time. Always as my salvation, the double safeties with end knots, rescuing my lost soul.

A place of absorption with mind whipping like a snake rattle…I’m barely alive. Outside the door lying under the floor, lurks my passions, perseverance, drive, resilience, sanctuary, art, and focus. Play that makes me tall, a work that fixes all.

It’s the decision that’s already been made, and a willingness to pursue it with dogged focus. Getting it done for me, means learning to transcend the focus stalls with grace.

So if you see me with bloodshot eyes and grinning, sweating while lifting, moving at high-speed, know that what you see is glee, buried in an uncontrollable passion to finish.

I have no choice to make at this point. My life has become make or die, and I love being an Artist Builder. Thanks again for inspiring me to lift this back up, by writing about the dynamics of your mental health, and the scientific study of it. Be well.

This is little blue man.  He glows in the dark.  My third puppet.  Made from reclaimed Douglas Fir, Yew wood, and an assortment of semi precious stone beads.

This is little blue man. He glows in the dark, and is my third puppet. Made from reclaimed Douglas Fir, Yew wood, and an assortment of semiprecious stone beads.  His strings are cut, because making him was my passion, and controlling him didn’t bring me happiness.

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Splashing Questions for Art

A vessel of water steams on the rock, its brimming with reflections from the sun, throwing beams like a prism, and sweating outside its walls. As the questions tick by, the heat gathers from all directions, and light is cast upon the foundation of the doubts.

The vacant stares have been answered before, and learning to weather the scorns of shade they bring into my heart, has worn me thin. With the only thing left in my body of water becoming a focused line of this to shine, their questions begin to burn.

They turn away from me frazzled, incredulous, angry, scared, confused, and spent. I gather their whim of dismissals at my feet, and pick each one up individually again, to address the concern I hate to feed in me.

Unwilling to address the spirit, and hoping for a cookie cutter to describe who they are, is sometimes the only thing keeping me alive. Human nature comes with an awkwardly oblique identity, and it is all I ever had or wanted.

What do I do for a living? What do I make? What do I like to do?

I eat. I make shit. I like to make Love.

Where am I from? Where am I going? What is my name?

Look at my footprint, because I don’t know you which makes you an outlaw, so that is rude. I’m not going anywhere right now, I’m answering this question again, and you’re a stranger(enemy)? If I told you that I might end up wanting to kiss you, then I’d miss you, and that sucks, so can we just kiss and skip that one?

OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Obviously Compounded Dislike, Obtained Complete Disgust, Opportunity Creative Distinct, Opulent Categorized Distress: Do you wipe your ass every time you take a shit? Do you know how you like your coffee? Are you planning to sweep the floor quickly? Did you forget how to do that, or are you absorbed in figuring out a better way?

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Programmed Traverse Stinking Dis-eases, Patterned Travesty Satiated Distress, Problematic Tinkering Silly Diagnostics: Do you ever put yourself in the flow of traffic on the roadways? Do mice frolic under a flock of eagles? How many thrillers have you read? Did you like ghost stories around the campfire as a kid? Do you believe monsters exist? Have you watched the news lately? Have you remembered to worry about survival adequately today?

Bi-Polar, Imbalanced, Flip-flop, Hypoglycemic, Highly Sensitive, Wise, Uneducated: Are you good or evil, How many people are always happy? Are you alive? Did the sun come up, and is the night coming today? Is the glass empty yet? Where you born in a moment of someone’s ecstasy, and grow up to the disillusionment of your innocent pursuit to stay young? Have you learned to control your emotions?

Crazy, Odd, Weird, Strange, Fantastic, Remarkable, Insane, Eccentricity: Do you question the ways of the human experience in creative ways? Did you renounce the rule to follow the rule? Do rock stars live a good life? Is the kid who innocently throws a ball at the wall all day, and failing to hit it, wrong to try till he dies? Are you stubborn? Are you holding onto a dream, pursuing it with your everything, while knowing it will never happen for you? Are you doing it for your children’s kids?

Sociopath, Apathy, Selfishness, Compartmentalizing Pain, Denied Feelings, Escaping Empathy, Compassion Fatigue Avoidance: Have you ever gone to a specialized doctor, and had them cry for your illness? Does the economy care about individuals? Is it fun to walk on the edge of an over-crowded platform when the train comes in?

Psychopath, Animal, Beast, Nature, Human, Angry, Despicable Parents: Would you become like an animal to protect the people you hold dear? How many times have you wanted to scream at the sky, and adjusted this feeling into letting go of revenge? Do you believe that war exists? Do you appreciate the sacrifice a soldier makes?

SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Suppertime Appetite Denied, Sullied About Drowning, Sleep Apnea Distress, Sorted Appreciating Daylight: Does a lack of sunlight make you unhappy? Do you live in the Northern Latitudes? Do you work outside? Does a cloudy day bring you warmth of attitude? Do you expose your skin to the air? Are your feet growing fungus?

Depression, Melancholy, Misery, Unhappy, Discontented: Are there miseries you cannot let go of? Did you never move on from the first time your innocence was squashed? Are you living as an idealistic person with your eyes open to the calamity of the world? Are you motivated in the pursuit of your purpose? Have you figured out what your purpose is? How much money do you have? Do you think you can change that to meet your dreams? Do you care too much about figuring out yourself? Do you know how to change? Do you want to? Is hope the only thing you have left to live on, but it looks like you have none, because you cannot figure out a way to describe it to the people who hope for you too?

How do you make money? Stored energy is in the ten pounds I gained from begging to eat, and for three weeks I did. Is that good enough? Have I asked the right questions so you’ll pay me now for sharing something of value with you? Do you think I want that?

You teach, but what do you teach? If I set out to teach you what it means to be a teacher, would you listen in open faith, or are you doubting me already?

Do you have a degree? Do you think I need one to prove I paid enough attention to whatever I did before this moment, so I can teach you something you wish to know?

A butterfly flutters across the valley with ferocious strokes, on giant wings. Birds bend their flight out of its way, while rodents hide from the shadow gliding overhead. The flower it lands on bends in close to the soil, resists breaking barely, and flips back to the sky throwing pollen in a cloud, as the flight commences.

A hungry puppy ran out of the den, and the skinny napping wolf woke to a feeling of failure to protect a horrible mistake. The puppy scraped the grass in starving desperation, so blood began to seep from his paws as he reached the rock, but luckily the wolf arrived in time to save it from frustration, and learned how to catch the running mice.

The unstable mines that I love

Thinking it was safe to know you, boredom set in. Stable thoughts all the time, are the wild horses pulling a carriage desperately looking for wine. Friendship is finding the instabilities in heart and head, seeking the clay to pack into the cracks of the eroding foundations, as kids running around a broken heart. It’s hard at times thinking and knowing what they look like when they’re crying, but it feels great to forge forth in innocence and glee, on what could have been without sin.

Your human, and filled with bacterial hopes and viral dreams. Genes are tattered with wars fought, and filled with the dead carcasses of mites the ancestors didn’t let suck them into dread. A blinding light resides on the hilltop of your soul, it’s blinking silvery in the moonlight, and flowing molten turquoise in laughter.

Catching a ride on the express of kindness straight through the tunnel of your sorrows, while the falling boulders shattered my windows, and blasted against the parapets of the mysterious memories of mine. Jumping down into the pit of your demise, looking up at the sunshine birthed shadows of your yester-years grins, I can hope your guarded trust becomes unmet in my mind.

Swindled of grief your shames may stare at me with spite, becoming actions bent on punishing me for the gift of my care, but even then I dare. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t fun, but I’m waiting here in the furnace of your hate, praying you will wake up to a friendship we once had in the fixed miseries of my aid. The cavernous ceiling may fall, it’s faults looming overhead and as the weariness of anxieties sets in, I tremble no more about you.

You never paid, and that wasn’t the deal, but still you want to steal my joy, and stink along my trail of successes in your heart. Fear resides in the let down of your abandonment’s, not in the follow through of my appearances. I am not there to strip away your caged satisfactions with my love anymore, as a lizard I will bask on the hot rock of your scorn to survive.

When I begin to thrive and you return tuck tailed, open-handed and wanting what we had before, notice the glint in my eye of a faith betrayed, and please don’t attempt to break me again. As the balance of my sheet is torn by winds of your choice in a fate, and the sickness of infidelity that resides in you festers, I can see them mix, and yet, I ride the wave pitying your losses, and I still cherish the idea….of us.

Shrines and altars with symbols representing spirits like this sun torn Budai, especially the ones on mountainsides with rocked walls and birds above in the sky, are enough to fill the tear stained pages in my soul.