I read the story about the Washington State University football coach who refused to take the COVID vaccine as required by the same university that employed him with a massive grain of salt. This story is another example of the false equivalence that the media is so fond of these days. It is a story that demonstrates the actual value of stupidity but forces us to hear the side of the terminally stupid as if it were valid.
The coach knew the requirement to keep his multi-million-dollar job, but he refused to comply. The most hardcore conservatives always say that you “have to obey the boss,” but in this case, I am sure that they will find some ridiculous justification for his behavior.
I find it predictable that the coach tried to justify his stupidity with a “religious exemption” from the vaccine. I don’t believe any religious exemptions should be granted in a time of public health crisis. I am tired of people claiming that their “freedom” is more important than my life. IT IS NOT!
In a strange twist of fate, I’m writing a lot but publishing less than ever before. I feel great because I no longer feel like writing is a chore. I’m not simply responding to external stimuli. I’m doing what I want.
The freedom I feel is exhilarating. I enjoy writing again because I am doing it for myself. I love and appreciate everyone who follows my blog, and I hope you will remain with me as my journey continues.
I do not know if all the things I write will eventually end up here. Some are intensely personal. As I adjust to this new experience, that might change.
Being at peace with myself is the first step on the journey towards being at peace with the world. It is a step into the unknown, with no guidelines other than what I impose on myself. Meditation and discipline are my guiding principles.
Each day is a new adventure to cherish. Some are good most are good, but there are some terrible adventures as well. The key is accepting each event as it happens, not trying to rush through things. Patience is a great teacher if we choose to listen.
I know now that things are temporary in my limited view of the world. I started writing this blog post, but Jax The Cat decided to play with one of his toys. He shows up with the toy in his mouth, meowing at me. In the past, I would shoo him away because I was “busy” writing. Now, I stopped writing because Jax wanted to play. Jax is a living being worthy of attention and love. I played with him for 5 minutes, and he left as a happy cat. I know that I am also pleased and calm because of that time with Jax.
“Zen” is a state of mind, hard to describe and achieve, but it is worth the effort for just a momentary feeling of that unique inner peace. Zen doesn’t work on a schedule. Zen doesn’t appear on demand. We must find it through patience and practice. Remember that every minute is precious. That knowledge puts me on the right path to Zen.
Recently, Hal and I started a new tradition. We call it Stir-Friday Night. We had not eaten at a restaurant since very early in 2020. We always loved to go to Chinese restaurants for their stir-fries. I finally decided to get a wok to use at home, and I started experimenting with ingredients three weeks ago.
I prefer chicken as the protein in the stir fry, and our local supermarkets have various versions of pre-cut chicken for stir-frying. In addition to the chicken, I usually add onion, green onion, green pepper, bean sprouts, carrots, pineapple, and mushrooms. The sauce I use combines stir-fry sauce, chili sauce, soy and teriyaki sauces, sweet and sour sauce, garlic, ginger, and honey. I let the chicken marinate overnight Thursday, so it is all set for Friday night.
It is effortless to boil some noodles and then add them to the ingredients in the wok. The stir-fry usually is ready in less than fifteen minutes. It is cheap, and we have more than we would at a restaurant.
Every day we are subjected to the control mechanisms that keep the world running. All the hatred, conflicts, and fear exist because we created them in the first place. We allow those toxic circumstances to govern our lives were designed to preserve the status quo.
Humanity can’t move forward while carrying all that baggage. When so many people live in poverty due to preventable diseases, lack of education, and health care, we all share the blame for these things. We have surrendered our humanity generation after generation, all in the pursuit of personal gain. There is nothing wrong with successful people, but we still have a moral obligation to help those around us.
Two things we lack are KINDNESS and COMPASSION. When we highlight simple human kindness and compassion because they are so infrequent, we know we’re in trouble. Don’t attack someone helpless; defend them. Teach
someone; don’t criticize their lack of knowledge. When you see someone hungry, give them something to eat. You get the idea.
. Let’s inject more kindness and compassion into the world for a change.
Enforcing calm in my life is a huge step. It flies in the face of a lifetime of experiences and training. The concept that I am in complete control of my life is thrilling and scary at the same time. I will have a lot of adjusting to do as I move along, but the reward will be worth it.
Each day, I take ideas that pop into my head and save them for future posting without forgetting them altogether. I know this will gradually change how I write, and I am OK with that. There is plenty to write about if I just let life happen instead of forcing things. If I keep a blog post open for several days before posting it, so be it. The result is what I care about. Quality over quantity.
One of the first steps I take to improve my life and outlook (apologies to Microsoft) is re-organizing my blog. I no longer worry about posting something every day. That just produces unnecessary pressure on me to meet an artificial deadline.
Now I think of ideas for a blog post and put those into a “Blank” folder as blank documents. I can go back to them when inspiration strikes. I feel better controlling what I write. I can write a bit and then come back to the post later. When I finally finish, I publish it and move the document to a “Published” folder.
My thoughts are more organized now. I predict my writing will improve because there is more time and thought in each post. I feel a sense of calm with this approach that I never felt before. This patience is a sure sign that I am onto something good. Taking the time to write carefully pays off by boosting my self-confidence. I feel better about what I write when I take the extra timer to get it right. I play a game, trying to make as few mistakes as possible for Grammarly to catch as I write. I know that the grammar will turn out ok in the end.
So, all of this is how I adjusted my blog. Pretty dull, huh?
Sometimes it feels like life is an out-of-control car rushing down a twisting mountain road towards disaster with no brakes and minimal steering. I don’t like that feeling because I want to control my life and not be at the mercy of things.
Making what seems like a simple change is more complicated than it looks. Meditation teaches me that I am in control of my life. My mind controls how I feel and react to the outside world. Changing the habits of a lifetime is not easy. Society trains us to respond to things around us. Being “in control” is not taught to children. We learn how to react to outside events. Western society keeps this training through adulthood. Social media reinforces the behavior.
I have been a constant user of social media to react to events in the world. I need to generate calm through social media that I can reflect on the world instead. I was meditating to find inner peace and knew that social media was not an answer but a tool. I was using social media to reinforce bad habits. I will use social media now to better myself.
I can slow the car careening down the mountain road. I am in control of it. Failing to take control is my fault, not the problem, but my response to those problems. If I cannot pass a few simple tests, then anything I wrote is meaningless.
Is what I am saying TRUE? Is it something that I believe? Or is it false?
Is it NECESSARY? Do I add anything worthwhile? Or am I just repeating what others already said?
Is it KIND? Does what I say help others? If my words express positivity and calming thoughts, that is good. If they hurt others or put them down, I am writing to cover my problems and insecurities.
Rather than write or repost articles at breakneck speed, I will take time to think before I type. I want to feel good when I post something for a change. I am in control of my life. Deadlines are meaningless to me. I write when I think that I can answer the three items above affirmatively.
The car is no longer speeding out of control. I am driving carefully down the mountain. I will reach my destination, but until then, I will enjoy the journey.