Thursday, October 27, 2016

Year One: Everything "IS" -- Day 365

We've done it!

When we embarked on this RV journey, I pledged to do it for a year as an evaluation period. We have reached the end of that commitment! This year has been a learning experience like no other, full of life lessons from the poignant to the peaceful. I have learned how to handle shit both literal and imagined. If I could make a list of the three biggest truths that I have gleaned from all of my experiences in the past year (and with no small contribution from personal experience prior to that) it would be this:

1. Perspective Matters
2. Perception is Reality
3. Everything "IS"

Now, if you read my previous post, I already talked a bit about the first two points, so I'm just going to focus on the last one today.


I do not claim to be a great thinker, or philosopher, and I know that my words, thoughts, and ideas are primarily for my own personal development. I do like to share them here so that you can get to know me better, and so that I can learn a little more about myself through some personal reflection. This blog has also been documenting our family journey in the RV for this past year that we have spent living on the road, and those life experiences shape my personal philosophy.

This has been an amazing year. From the original lesson of what to look for when shopping for an RV to what to do when the brakes go out, all the way to learning how to live more simply and being more flexible. Through all of this, I have come to the realization that nothing is ever just one thing. The confluence of events that lead to each situation are a myriad with a mind boggling level of complexity, and the perfection of the outcome is amazing. Even the situations that are the most terrifying, like the brakes going out during Christmas week, have their Christmas angel resolutions. Throughout our journey, there have been many different explanations offered to us for why things work out the way they do. Some people want to point to God's plan, or fate, or karma -- all of which may be true -- but rather than define, I seek to accept. I don't need to understand everything, or really anything, because that is not necessarily going to change what "is". 

I realize that this is a really simple concept, and perhaps I lack the language mastery needed to communicate this concept effectively. But that also doesn't change what "is" (ha!) I realize this lesson is mostly just for me, and probably won't be earth-shattering to anyone else.  If you stopped reading this already, I wouldn't blame you. Heck, I've halfway tuned myself out at this point. But I'm going to carry on, because I don't feel finished yet.

Ever since I was a little kid, I used to get really frustrated if someone ate my candy. Regardless of whether I purchased it myself, or it was given to me, I felt like I had earned that candy, and I wanted to enjoy it all to myself. As I've grown up, I have become much more understanding and generous, and I will usually share my candy with you (if you ask me nicely.) Sometimes, especially if you have children, your candy may mysteriously go missing. Children, I have learned, are notoriously impulsive and not always the most considerate. Empathy and consideration are things that are learned over time with more interpersonal life experiences. The point that I'm trying to get to is that the candy is now gone. It doesn't matter who, how, or why. None of the answers to that question will make the candy not gone. 

Acceptance. That is one of the greatest lessons that I have learned in this past year. I had to let go of a lot of things, ideas, and preconceived notions about how the universe operates. Once I can do that, and it's an ongoing process at this point, I can understand some of the more important things in life. Instead of focusing on why a particular life event has occurred, I can accept that it "is" and then move on from there. 

Understanding that EVERYTHING "IS" helps me to adjust my PERSPECTIVE, which changes my PERCEPTION and alters my REALITY.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Vacation! -- Day 353

I'm on vacation.

"Perception is reality" and "Perspective matters" are my two favorite things to say. I actually tried to track down the origins of these quotes, and they seem to have just grown out of the distillation of longer quotes and ideas from a bunch of different people. So pretend it was Abraham Lincoln or Ghandi, depending on your own philosophical leanings. It's not like it matters who said it, or whether you believe it. These are the words that I have discovered are the most true for me and my life.

When I say, "I'm on vacation" it creates a new perspective on the current situation in my life. I'm taking the time that I have right now to relax, think, write a little, and spend time with people that I care about. Resting is one of the most important things that a person can do for health and well-being, but we feel like we have to somehow earn the right to rest. This can be a dangerous opinion, because what if you never feel like you've earned it? What if you never feel good enough?

I'm on vacation.

I don't really have a job, right now. At least not in the strictest sense of the "earning income" definition. I have lots of "things that I have to do that I don't want to" and "things that are expected of me to contribute to the well-being of the family unit" but nothing that I'm going to be putting on a resume. These are just part of this grander project called Life.

People get hung up on the semantics of their own personal worldview. I understand where it comes from, because I lived that way for most of my life. The need to define terms becomes important to ensure proper communication, but sometimes we get so bogged down in the minutiae of definitions that we lose sight of the bigger picture, the IDEA that was trying to be communicated. When I say that I don't have a job, the understanding is that I don't have an employer that is paying me for my time and skills. I am not part of the the commerce of this project called Life.

The danger of this particular worldview for me is that everything becomes a transaction. I want to eat, so I need food. In order to get food, I need money. In order to get money, I need a job. Work = eat. I was raised to believe that a person that does not work, should not be allowed to eat because of 2 Thessalonians 3:10. This is a misquote as it actually says a person that is UNWILLING to work, should not be allowed to eat, but as with a lot of popular Bible verses, it has been twisted to punish behavior deemed undesirable by the church. From this we have created the "Puritan work ethic" which is beneficial to an employer, but can create an internal pressure that leads to stress and anxiety in some to make sure that they are always "working." The concept of Rest is lost, gobbled up in the dread of becoming a devil's workshop.

I submit to you that the idea of "working" means different things to different people. We are all doing things on a daily basis that affect our world. The interactions that you have with people, the words that you speak into their lives, the love that you share -- these are all important things that are produced by you, just by you being you. You matter, you're good enough, and the world is a better place with you in it.

How many times have you heard, "If you find something you love to do, you will never work a day in your life" or somesuch? This used to inspire me, because I used to love to do lots of things. I loved sports, and music, and art, and making friends. The older I got, the less likely it was for me to be able to make money doing any of those things, and it was frustrating. Some of the things that I loved to do stopped being fun when they became monetized. The pressure of doing this fun thing became a job, and that sucked the fun out of it.

This left me in a predicament: How am I going to be rich, if I can't make lots of money? How am I ever going to be able to go on a vacation?

The revelation for me was that it's all perspective. I discovered that I didn't really want to be "rich" in the sense of having a lot of money. What I wanted was to be "happy" and there is all the difference. Now, instead of making decisions based on what is going to make me the most money, I look for what is going to make me the most happy. The difference is amazing, and has provided me with more "wealth" than I thought I would ever have. One way that I've heard it put is, "The secret to having it all is realizing that you already do."

And now I'm on vacation.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Delaveaga -- Day 340

Many of you know that I like to disc golf. For me, it's a particularly special sport, because it can be enjoyed simultaneously by people of varying skill levels. It's a chance to walk around outside, talk with your friends, and throw stuff really hard.

One of the cool things that I like to do is find new courses to play. When we lived in Dallas, we used to drive all over the city looking for new disc golf adventures. Now that we're travelling more widely, the opportunities for disc golf are more widespread, but not always easy to make happen. Fezzik is not the best vehicle in which to explore cities, and disc golf courses seem to end up in some pretty interesting, and hard to get to places. Remember Taylor Mountain?

I have compiled a wishlist of courses that I would like to play one day. I haven't updated it much, since we were stationary all summer and I was limited to the practice basket that I bought from Amazon. Now that we're back on the road, I dusted off the bag and got to check off one of the great courses of the USA.


It's hard to explain the excitement that I felt when I realized that we were going to be in the vicinity of this course. I have learned that often proximity doesn't equal opportunity, and that is just part of being an adult. But this time the stars were aligned, because all of my new friends also happened to like disc golf, and have vehicles that can navigate the treacherous highway 9 through Santa Cruz to get to the park. It's like the universe WANTED me to play Dela. (Dela is what all the cool kids call it.)

The tall trees, and elevation changes made it a truly challenging course. Having all of my friends with me made it a memorable experience, and I wish I had taken a bunch of pictures. I didn't throw as well as I would have liked, being rusty from not practicing enough. But it was still a great time, and one that I will remember forever.
My buddy bought this disc as a souvenir

The moral of the story for me is: sometimes expectations set you up for disappointment. But sometimes the reality, while different from the expectations, will be so much better! I would have loved to play the most amazing round of my life at Dela, but really just being there and sharing it with my friends was the best day of disc golf I've had in a long, long while.

Now I have to find the next course to add to my wishlist, since a spot has opened up.