Monday, June 15, 2015

Listening

Interesting day. Because I'm strapped for cash, I, and one of the people I live with, have been taking online survey's, and very often the payment is in the form of a gift card. Also, some of these companies have sweepstakes, and I was lucky enough to win a gift card for Kmart. I don't shop at Kmart. Okay, maybe like 20 years ago I bought something there.

Anyway, so I had this purpose today to go off the beaten path, to roads never traveled before, a bicycle ride to the one and only Kmart store left in town. Apparently they're in trouble, economically, and I can see for myself, from first hand experience, as an eyewitness, that they're going under, it's only a matter of time. The prices aren't as cheap as I remember them to be, and the service is mediocre, would never shop there again, unless I happen to get another gift card.

I got up early, left at around 10 o'clock this morning, but it was already hot. I never road my bike this route before, so it was an adventure, actually pretty fun. I've learned a few tricks along the way, like avoid busy intersections at all costs, look for side roads, and today I found some, riding the back alley ways, it's so much better. I am so happy that I have a good bike that is dependable and fast. So far, after about 800 miles, I haven't had a flat tire yet. Am also grateful that at the time I purchased it, I had the foresight to pick up a rear rack and a rack trunk, that has saved the day, has made shopping on my bike a lot easier.

Anyway, it's going to be really hot this coming week. Like the forecast projects 108 and 109 tomorrow and the next day, so my running goal is off. I can't run in this heat.

I know, I was making so much progress. Funny thing is, most of my progress was made when we had cooler than average weather, when it was in the upper seventies, at a time that we usually have nineties. Well, now the hundreds are here. Even if you get up early, run at the crack of dawn, there will be days that it'll never get out of the nineties. Seriously. It'll be a high of 110, and at midnight, it's still 98. It's so oppressive, like totally unnatural, not the kind place suitable for humans to live in.

Will still be riding the bike though, and will be picking up the running again as soon as I feel less encumbered by the heat.

Thanks again for listening.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Peace of Mind

"Humanity should stand united against the abusers of the world. However, we can no more eradicate the darkest impulses of human nature than we can stop the earthquakes that bury villages or the hurricanes that level seaside towns. All are manifestations of nature, and though we may battle against them, on some level we must also learn how to live with them in our midst."

--Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Computer: Mindfulness and the Machine


My commentary:

Clearly this is not a perfect world, a world where all are beautiful, enlightened manifestations of a perfect order.

No, ours is a world where idiocy and injustice reign supreme.

Wherever there are people, wherever there are different ideas and personalities coming together, conflict is inevitable.

But not all conflict is bad. Conflict, being a stimulus to change, is actually necessary for growth, for the birth of new ideas to occur.

That's why both good and evil exist, because they feed off of each other, neither would exist without the other. There would be no good in this world, without the reference point of evil illuminating the way. The conflict and tension and physical opposition forces one to act, to pick a side, to fight or to surrender, to change or to adapt.

The world is a circle, as the seasons change, so also do the cycles of war and peace, good and evil, prosperity and hardship, ignorance and enlightenment, rising and falling like waves in the sea.

Better to step aside, to find the quiet center within, outside the turbulence of the storm, as the interplay of good and evil goes on forever. Just like tornadoes and hurricanes and deadly viruses, both ignorance and injustice appear to be endemic to the natural order of this world.

So what should you do?

Transform your anger into a catalyst for change, don't let things upset you that are outside your power to control.

Learning to have a calm and detached state of mind, in all situations, both good and bad, is the key to finding peace of mind.

That's easier said than done. Biggest challenge of my life. I seem to be naturally argumentative. Pissed off. Don't like stupid people. And yet, my anger changes nothing. It's counterproductive. As much as it bothers me, there will always be people that bother me, and the older I get the more so. Nothing I can do about it, no amount of education or enlightenment is going to enlighten unenlightened minds. Okay, let's assume that I'm right, that there will always be some jerk who will always be a jerk, no matter what you say to them, no matter what information you give them. So, in that case, being angry about it is a waste of time and energy.

Okay, I know this. I also know that writing this, however true it may be, isn't going to stop me from feeling angry about things I have absolutely no power to change, but in writing this I wanted to acknowledge it, equanimity, as a virtue, as a path to peace of mind, as being a worthy aspiration. That is all.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Proud to be a Tree Hugger

Just wanted to record this moment. Was sort of bad day today, Saturday June 6th, tragic you could say, because six months later, the beautiful tree next to my patio, which was damaged by a freakish new year's day winter storm, was chopped down today.

It had showed signs of recovery, new shoots, was full of birds, possible nests, and seemed fairly balanced, branching off with two sturdy limbs on both sides. Though there was a split in the middle of the trunk, where the other half of the tree came down in the storm. I'm not an arborist, so don't know for sure whether taking the tree down was the best course of action, but in my non-professional opinion I think it would have been okay, deserved more of a chance, because if it was such a safety issue, why the hell did it take six months to come down, and not right away? Though believe me, for reasons I would rather not say, talking to the management was not an option, but that doesn't change the fact that I am extremely pissed. Pissed at the widespread incompetency and ignorance all around me. All I see is stupid people. Everywhere. Okay, like 90 percent. Maybe their kind, maybe their nice, some of them, but their fucking idiots. Everywhere. And I don't even think I'm particularly that intelligent, I mean, I know what I don't know, don't mean to inflate my level of knowledge, but I at least have the sense to recognize the widespread senselessness around me.

Okay, aside from the aesthetic aspects, such as the lovely bird songs and the beauty of the tree itself, there are some very practical reasons why losing this tree is a measurably negative loss for everyone who lived near it. Namely, it provided shade, and protection from the wind. Which means that with the tree gone, it'll be hotter in the summer, and cooler in the winter. Which also translates into increased energy costs. Isn't that the opposite that we should be striving for?

Well, just reminds me of how much I hate it here. Apartment complexes, the majority of which are nothing more than disposable mass assembly line housing for disposable people. It's a fucking McDonald's made of people, it's like Soylent green, for real, where ignorance is bliss. Pass the weed killer, please, the apartment complex dwellers condiment of choice. Accompanied by the soothing serenade of two leaf blowers blowing simultaneously side by side, by two illiterate glue sniffing doofuses, playing the game of let's make the biggest Valley Fever inducing dust clouds, because what the hell, it's fun, and all that matters is that THEY hear the leaf blowers, because that means we're working, even though we're not accomplishing jack shit, I mean really, all that matters is the time clock and getting paid; as to the quality of the work, who the hell cares, it's not like the management does, and the people living there are zombies anyway.

There's a lot more rant left in me, yeah you know it, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. Because I'm tired, and would like to make a more reasoned argument against it, which I need a good nights sleep and some daylight to do. So, stay tuned for that, maybe.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reasons to Run

The previous post, inspirations for running, was a bit too long winded and rambling. So, thought I'd make a short list, that gets right to the point.

Basically there are four primary reasons that I have for running. 

1. Health/fitness.

Running exercises your legs, your heart and your lungs. It burns fat, and as a result helps to keep your whole body fit and trim. The ability to run is a good gauge of your general fitness level. If you can't run a mile without stopping, you're not in very good shape. So, regularly doing a bit of light running is good for your health. Meaning that you don't have to necessarily be a super fast and competitive marathon runner to reap the benefits, but just a few miles a week will have a good impact on your health.

2. Self-defense/survival.

Being able to run non-stop for more than a mile could someday save your life. You may need to run away from an attacker, who is trying to hurt you, or rob you, or get something from you that you don't want them to have; or you may need to run to help someone else in trouble, and running may be the fastest way to get there. The ability to run is a great skill to have, it has the potential to save lives, and the better you are at it, the more it will help you in an emergency situation.

3. Mood enhancement/therapy.

Running makes you feel better. Well, it makes me feel better. Yeah, there's pain, you feel exhausted, maybe you're a bit sore, but your mind is refreshed, and you feel energized and uplifted. It's a good way to manage anxiety and depression, and a good remedy against insomnia, if you make it a regular habit.  Running is much better than popping a pill, getting drunk, or getting high. That's what I've found anyway. Yeah, I still like to have a couple beers, but when I've turned running into a regular habit, I'm less inclined to drink too much. It has a way of balancing me out, as does all exercise, particularly lifting weights. But running regularly, in conjunction with other forms of exercise, is a great method for improving your mental health.

If you have any problem with anxiety or depression or insomnia, rather than taking prescription medication for it, if you aren't doing so already, I would recommend starting up a regular exercise program, doing a combination of running and weight lifting, and you can do other things too, but the running and weight lifting I think is the best place to start. If you can't run, walk, run, intermittently, until you can run. But make it a priority to run. Walking is great, too, but if your goal is to improve your mood, you get more of the mood enhancing benefits from running, than you do from walking.

4. Transportation.

And last but not least, running is a natural form of transportation. If you find yourself without a car, without a bicycle, and without a ride, and you want to get somewhere faster than walking, running is your ticket. Walking is slow, running is faster. The stronger you are as a runner, makes running a more efficient and enjoyable mode of travel.

So there you have it. The four main reasons to run.

Health/fitness, self-defense/survival, mood enhancement/therapy, and transportation/travel.

Most are related to health, but still different enough to merit an explanation.