4-13-2020 thought about my father

I gave a listen to “Breathing” by Andrew Weil MD after a recommendation from a friend regarding finding meditation material. It was helpful. I started using the techniques I learned last night before going to bed, and this morning. And during my lunch hour. A big storm was rolling in so I decided to take advantage and sit in the back and further work on those breathing techniques while I watched the storm roll in. It reminded me the day before Hurricane Andrew. And through that, I was reminded of my father while I worked on engaging my parasympathetic and I realized another reason why he always seemed so calm. He had gardening as a hobby. All that time spent alone, doing an activity that required relatively little processing while doing it. If the goal is to spend more and more time in this state, therefore making it easier to enter and stay there…then he sure had a ton of experience doing just that.

These days, in the electronic industry that has blown up since I was a boy, there is this strong drive to *always* be engaged in something, being productive in some way. To always have some sort of input, whether it be movies, books, games, music, or other people. We forget what it is to just…be.

To feel the wind on your skin. To hear the birds chirp as they find their next meal. To see the wet grass sway in its’ chaotic form. To feel the moisture of the early rain showers on my legs as I set on a chair. To smell that moisture in the air. To just exist in the now, as tomorrow is never a certainty.

Changes 4-13-2020

I can’t guarantee that I will never say anything offensive again. But what I can do is much more frequently seek feedback on how someone is feeling during or after a discussion. In fact, that should be my go to filler. It is only through getting a more accurate picture of how my words and actions effect someone that I can predict what can hurt and hopefully prevent it.

4-12-2020 deep in shame

I fucked up hardcore. I let my emotions get the better of me. I was horribly insensitive. I caused pain which is the absolute last thing I ever want to do to people I care about. I don’t know if things can ever be salvaged. All I can think to try to focus on now is how to make things better.

I need to dig much deeper into this “ask” culture. I need to stop being afraid of asking. Because I’m so bad at understanding how my words and actions can effect others, I need to start frequently asking how they feel. This seems to be the only way I’ll ever learn and stop doing these incredibly shitty things from happening in the first place. I’m calling it “taking the pulse” after every interaction, or during even if I get the slightest feeling something is off.

I also need to keep my emotions in check. Sure, it sounds nice to be all woke and be able to really share my raw feelings with anyone, but it doesn’t work. All it seems to do is hurt people. I’ve gotten feedback all the time that when I’m not displaying emotion, it makes people feel better. I can’t let my insecurities hurt people. It doesn’t matter how they act or what they say. It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world. I have to stay strong for the people I care about. The only thing that matters to me is to be able to support the people I care about, in whatever manner suits best. I failed horribly at that.

For those darker emotions, I need a better outlet. Working out helps a little but it isn’t enough, especially now. I think I’m going to start taking up serious research into meditation now. None of that hippy shit. I remember the discussions with my therapist on it and the idea of how as humans we tend to want to stay in a consistent state, regardless of what it is. I need to shut down all input and focus on that regularly. I’m going to try aiming for three 10-minute sessions. No phone, no music. If I can be outside, that is best. I’m not sure what other outlets I can use if it gets to be too much.

I’m just not a good person right now. I need to focus on taking the pulse frequently. I need to not allow my emotions to get the better of me, regardless of what is going on. And I need a more effective outlet to prevent them from ever getting there.

4-8-2020 new plan

I think some of the insecurities that are flaring up for me are due to me not being particularly happy with myself. Fixing my body has long been a big part of that. I can’t depend on my interactions with other people to help me there…unreliable, and it can back fire as well if I don’t trust myself well enough.

Doing other things to, part of that building competencies, helps too. My options have been limited and gaming has not been so helpful as of late. Honestly gaming hasn’t been that helpful for a long time. I did feel dancing helped as I was building a skill, and touch was nice too. Online stuff won’t help there and I need people to work with, it is very much a touch thing.

Strength training was great too, but there aren’t any options for that right now. I tried finding stuff online but with COVID-19 there is just nothing to get. Hmm what if I take out the canopy at least? Weather can be a problem though. Especially wind.

Ok here’s what I think I need to do for now…

Since my body is making me get up early anyway, maybe either do a walk around the neighborhood or try to get a morning hike in (early is better for less people too). I’d probably have to start by 7:30…it is roughly 30 minutes to do the whole thing? Maybe budget 40 for the drive back and forth. Then continue with the lunch time run. Solderfit zoom workout at 6. What about saturday/sunday? Well if I keep waking early I can do the 9am zoom workout still. I need to text cesar about strength training options while on lockdown…hopefully I get something. I need to grind harder than ever now. I also need to be stricter on the diet now.

What else can I do in this climate to keep feeling like I’m improving?

3-3-2029 unworthy feeling

I’ve been having a harder time lately believing anyone really wants to be around me. I don’t have a lot of strong evidence for it…but there are the little things that I think are needling their way into my psyche. These aren’t direct quotes but they do represent the thoughts I’m battling..

“I am not extraverted enough”. “I don’t always know the right thing to say”. “She’s not really into me”. “She’ll lose interest and move on to someone that has the social grace I lack”.”I’m too much of a nerd”.”My intensity when physically intimate is too much”.”I need too much reassurance lately”.”I don’t give enough reassurance”.”Who I am isn’t good enough”.

I’m not sure how to get through these thoughts right now. Time? Will things get better? I don’t feel safe asking for help. I don’t feel like showing that vulnerability will help.

2-25-2020 Elation

Often times when I post here it is to unload on negative complicated emotions. This isn’t one of those times. I think I’m overloaded on happy. I shouldn’t be effected by words of affirmation like this but somehow her’s have an outsized effect. It’s kind of scary to let anyone effect me in this way.

There are so many qualities about her that I appreciate. Her sense of humor was the first thing that got to me. It was like a warm dancing flame in the middle of a cold wasteland. Quite unexpected in my life yet there she was. She brings joy.

I had always found her beautiful. There is a light in her eyes that fills me with wonder and yet can also set me at ease. It’s a fascinating mix. I normally have to make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact with most people…not with her. I feel a shiver up my spine just thinking about it. Her beauty can’t be defined by man-made measurements. It is an ethereal experience. Something that touches me in a dimension I’m not capable of understanding. It is profound sensation comparable to experiencing one of the wonders of the world for the first time…only it happens every time.

As incredible as all of her other qualities are, it is her kindness that strikes me the most. It is something I can only hope to better emulate some day. This is what makes her stand out most to me. It is this undercurrent that flows around our many interactions. If her kindness is like flowing water, then it is no wonder my walls stood no chance. After all, the simplest streams can erode the mightiest mountains and her kindness can feel like a roaring rapid at times. Who am I to think I could ever hold against that?

2-17-2020 Stepping outside of the comfort zone

I’m thinking about going to a bar event tonight. The primary reason I would go initially would be because of my partner, but that is not a sufficient reason. The situation is likely to be uncomfortable for me for a number of reasons. I’ve already come across people I don’t feel comfortable around and don’t trust. There is also the partner’s partners(?) and POIs situation that also feels like it could be potentially uncomfortable as I worry about possible conflict. But in a way, that is maybe the reason I should go. I’m not always going to be able to avoid these situations. My partner and I did discuss some sort of rough pre and post processing plan. And if I’m to practice navigating this situations…I’ve got to actually go there and learn how to course correct. As a result of the situation I’ve gotten myself in, I’m inevitably being dragged into more challenging poly situations. I need to be able to deal with these things. I’ll probably fail. But I can learn. Hopefully. I think my best way to get through them is going to be the recovery afterwards. Maybe getting some post affirmation from my partner might help (plus she will probably feel better just trying to make me feel better?). Also taking things easier afterwards and getting some solid introvert recharge time will be especially key. hmm…

2-14-2020 On Giving Validation

This is a thought chain I just had given not just the past couple of days, but really the past month and beyond. I’m starting to accept my words have an effect on people. Particularly the ones closest to me, but also the ones that don’t appear as close. I think it just occurred to me that a lot of what it has come down to is others’ seeking my validation…which is a bit mind blowing for me right now. There was a time I desperately wanted validation from others.

At some point in my life, I stopped seeking it. I couldn’t depend on people to help with it, so instead I focused on the things I could control to find my own internal validation. Video games were an easy path. When my health (mental and physical) became problematic, I turned to the gym and used the weight scale as a form of validation. When that resource ran dry, I turned to dance. Then I found myself seeking validation from a woman. That went badly. It hurt for a while. But it did lead to one of the most profound friendships I ever had. I miss her still.

Then I turned to MMA. I wanted to use gaining mastery of my body and how I moved as my next barometer. And while I made progress there, the validation I received from my instructors and other students took me a back. I was fully anticipating to always be considered less. That didn’t happen. I think this is part of why I had enjoyed that life so much. Not to fight, not to win. But to be around people that also wanted to see me excel, and I would do the same for them.

Then life changed and I moved out here. I did get into TMA but it was a small place. I was never able to earn validation there I suppose. I mean from one instructor yes, but the others never really set goals. Or listened. It was about doing things their way instead of helping me find a path that worked for me. FFA worked because when I sparred with a variety of students, I could quickly find my technique. I could prove it worked. I’m never going to learn things the way everyone else does. My brain just does not work that way.

Throughout all that, I could see now the issue. I did not really want their validation. Validation from other people tends to be…unreliable at best. It was always better to find it within myself and through my actions.

And so now I find myself in this place where I’m starting to realize now why I’ve given the impression to so many people that I’m disinterested. Because I don’t seek validation from other people. I don’t go to strangers or new acquaintances and go “you’re so awesome!”. I don’t trust it when given to me, why should anyone I don’t know trust it as genuine coming from me if they don’t know me?

I got interrupted there. Anyway. I also don’t ask for that validation either. I don’t text after dates and say things like “I hope you had a good time” or hope to see you again, etc. I just say something to the effect of thank you for a lovely evening. It is scary to do that sort of thing, the reaching out and offering of my interest. Vulnerable even. So if I’m to change that behavior, the only way I could do it and still feel authentic is by being specific whenever I do give out validation. That takes time and focus. I’m not sure how much of those resources I have to give.

Those resources are being prioritized for the ones I care for. That is where I need to put in more of that energy. Because for whatever reason, people need more of that from me. Which is still mind blowing as I’ve never thought anyone would really care what I think about them. Or need that. Or maybe not even from me. Just to have someone break the lie that is depression and focus like a laser about the parts of them that matter.

Try to bring a little more joy to this world…one kind word at a time.

2-10-2020 Why it is important to show that I care.

I started this before the rough patch yesterday. Things are better now. I still think this was a good reminder of why I got into this phase of my life. It is hard for me to put myself out there, even when people say it is welcome. But I know the cost of not giving that part of myself can be too great sometimes. So in spite of my fears and doubts, I need to give out my heart. This has a ripple effect I’m sure. And it may be the only way life can get better as a whole.

1-28-2020 musings

I woke up way before my intended time again and could not fall back to sleep.  So after about an hour I got out of bed and decided to be productive with kitchen upkeep.  As I was doing that and listening to one of my favorite music bits (A World of Color on the Epic Music Channel) I spent some time thinking…as those activities require minimal brain focus.

 

I was trying to figure out why I’m experiencing what I think is FOMO in regards to a new partner’s future plans.  I think it may be manifesting as just doubt in myself and my affability.  Then I thought about the book I need to finish this week, “The Molecule of More” and how for a long time I was very dopenergically (yeah screw you too spellcheck) focused.  As I understood the concept, that basically meant I was more focused on accomplishing goals than appreciating the here and now.  And how those aspects have an inverse relationship to each other.

So then the other thought that came to me just now and prompted me to write is asking myself just how much about my thoughts should I let my new partner know?  I mean I usually tell my wife these things well after I’ve made up my mind.  There are exceptions of course.

I guess maybe deep down I’m afraid of making myself even more vulnerable.  I’m afraid of letting anyone know what my personal goals are.  I think I’m also afraid of knowing how focused on them I can get at the expense of others.  I can’t calibrate on how much of my mind I should allow anyone into.  It’s a little easier to write this on a blog like this because I know no one really cares, and there is a weird comfort in that.  I guess.  I may come back to this post later and write more.


 

That didn’t take long.  My goals lately have been very physical fitness oriented.  I’m objectively stronger than I’ve ever been.  But I’m still not as lean as I want to be.  I feel like I’m no where close to it, at least by my measures.  My Aria 2 is possibly drunk, and I thinks I’m somehow around 17% BF at 194 lbs at 5’10.  I’m pretty damn sure I don’t have that much lean muscle mass.  Then there was the conversation last night that reminded me about my black belt goals…that I have done nothing on for the past couple of years.  Granted, doing the soldierfit stuff and then throwing on the strength focused training as helped immensely in getting my body to the point that it can do things I never could before.  I’ve defied the notion that we must get weaker as we age.  So the time wasn’t technically wasted.  I’ve reforged my body in new ways.

So my thinking as far as getting towards that black belt goal goes is like this.  My trainer will be moving to SC to work on his doctorate(yay him).   That may even happen sooner, but for now that is the expectation.  I am absorbing all of the knowledge and techniques (which reminds me I need to get back to writing down those workouts here) so that when that transition happens, I can continue my strength training solo.  It has been very helpful to have someone help me correct my form to what works for me (he’s working on his doctorate for physical therapy, so I appreciate that he gets that efficient forms vary by body and bone structure…there is no one size fits all).  I need to get some sort of cover for my back patio area, and then build a basic bench and squat rack.  Getting in those heavy squats, dead lifts,  and bench presses have helped a ton.  Heh, ton…

ANYWAY

There are also a bunch of auxiliary exercises I’ve learned that I need to write down for when I’m on my own.  And structure my own programs based on those.  The point is I’ll have these supplemental strength training sessions of my own to do at home.  And Ideally I’ll get them in twice a week as opposed to the one I do with my trainer now.  This will free me up as far as my budget is concerned.  I think the MMA/BJJ gym I was considering before was somewhere between 115-150/month.  If I take out PT, and my wife’s gym membership (that she hasn’t made use in like a year and a half now…) then it can easily fit into my budget with room to spare.  The real question is going to be time management.   I still plan to get in 2 SF sessions during the weekdays, and probably both weekend mornings too (unless I have  a really good reason to sleep in…which has been more possible as of late).  I don’t remember if that MMA gym I’m thinking of had weekend hours or any sort of “open mat” sessions.  I’ll have to check on that.

The point is if I really want to reach my physical fitness goals, I need to move more.  And by fitness, what I really mean is mastery of my body.  An important phrase that has stuck with me for ~15 years now is this:

Your mind is only as strong as your body

I still strongly believe in this.  I’ve made a lot of strides in addressing my mind and heart these past couple of years.  How much further can I go?  Will any of this help the people I care about?