A week in pictures

Back and forth to Georgia. Not much to say, but had time to think.

Sunrise, after a night of working. Here I’m heading off to bed (2 hour drive later).

Sunset, heading to work.

Getting off work, the temperature has dropped. Finally, it feels like fall!

Here is a lovely shot of the sun going down, or coming up. Either way, that’s my view.

And this makes me want to pack up, and travel the highways and byways of the US. For a while now, I’ve wanted to drive backroads cross country, probably taking Route 66 from Chicago and heading out west. Maybe in 2018!

A view from a hangover

It wasn’t an all-nighter fueled by Red Bull and Stoli. It wasn’t a binge. It was some rum and cokes at Chili’s for Sunday football, and a few drinks later with the boys.

It hit me hard yesterday, though, and I was all I could do to get through the day with open eyes. It’s tough getting older.

I look back on numerous hangovers over the years, and can recall some of the more questionable circumstances. I’m glad this time it was just my bed.

How do we politicize everything?

Another week, another controversy (or three). Still we’re on the NFL players taking a knee. Still we’re seeing Puerto Rico suffering in the aftermath of the storm. White nationalist speaker at the University of Florida. President Trump’s seeming callousness in response to solders’ deaths overseas. 

The right is calling the left out of touch with America. The left is calling the right out of touch with American ideals. Both sides are calling the other elitist. Former presidents are critical of the current administration, and the current administration seems able to be critical of everything. 

Nothing can occur in this environment without someone taking issue, and sides forming, bolstering one or the other. I’ve imagined it would have come to a head already, but it seems to keep going.

This is the environment that has led me to investigate how I feel about politics. About what the nation is doing right, and wrong. The citizenry is on the whole disconnected from our elected officials, and in the highest echelons of the political spectrum, it seems that corporate interests have more sway than the common voter. 

We weren’t supposed to be this way. The American experiment is facing another critical moment, one of who knows how many in its 240 years, and there is nothing but the disconnect that seems to be guiding us. As I continue to write, post, and focus my thoughts into what I hope will be more informed (and better written) going forward, I fear that for the forseeable future we wlll have more controversy to cover. 

On the weather

It’s wet outside. Rainy and dark. Thunder crashes shake the hotel that I’m staying in, and the lightning illuminates the cloudy night sky. Looking out the window on this third story hotel room, I see into the back parking lot and the hotel that is somehow either behind us or beside us. I’ve no idea which way these hotels are oriented in comparison to each other.

The parking lot is wet, and there are few cars down there. Street lamps are shining around the lot, wet metal on the cars reflecting up light.

A thunder-clap shakes the window I’m looking through, and I take a step back into the room. I decide to write a bit, before it gets time to go to work.

Stretching past resistance

I’m stretching out the muscles in my legs.

As I’m stretching them out, pushing forwards and backwards on my legs, alleviating the tension that builds up, I notice the resistance. Resistance that is met in a forward bend and backward bend. And just as the resistance becomes so terrible, so unbearable, the tension releases. I can feel the muscle actually give way – it sort of vibrates, and then it’s loose.

I think of it as a metaphor for all resistance we face. I don’t push the stretch to the point where the muscle will tear. That would do irreparable harm. But I’m finding the space just past comfortable, where I’m living in the state of discomfort, until the muscle finally gives. The resistance breaks.

You must lean into the points, as Pena Chödrön says. 

More on welfare

Here it is, Friday, and I’m finishing up a job. At least, finishing it for the week. After a contentious lunch, wherein the conversation at the table included someone saying that he wasn’t watching football anymore over the National Anthem debate (I’m keeping my mouth shut). He’s giving up drinking Pepsi, because they haven’t pulled sponsorship of the NFL (I’m keeping my mouth shut).

Now it’s the end of the day, I’ve got a date I’m excited to get to later that night, and it’s all going well. Then he brings up welfare, and people not wanting to work taking tax payer money (dammit, I am keeping my mouth shut!).  And finally, immigration.

“Don’t you think that we should keep the immigrants out?”

Well, shit. I’ve tried keeping my mouth shut, but now you’re asking me a direct question.

“No, actually. My grandparents were first generation Americans, and I think the backbone of the American system is immigration.”

“My ancestors were immigrants, too,” he says. “But I’m not talking about those.”

“Oh, you mean the Mexicans and the Muslims.”

This conversation goes on for a little while, back and forth, about whether welfare recipients are deserving, about legal vs. illegal immigration.

There is a cultural bias in this country, and it’s fragmenting how we view what’s happening around us, and around the world. This conversation was merely another example.


Night Terrors

When I’m sleeping, I sometimes suffer from these twitches. I’ve been told that as I sleep I’ll give a full body convulsion. I’d chalked it up to night terrors, primarily because when I recall what I’ve been dreaming, it’s not usually the most pleasant.

Someone I was working a job with told me that before his anxiety attacks kicked in, he was having those twitching fits.

“Great”, I thought. More rough seas ahead. My parents already thought that I had gone through a nervous breakdown last year. I’m not entirely sure that I didn’t.

But I did some research on these twitches, and it turns out it’s much more common than I realized. They’re called hypnagogic (or hypnic) jerks, and also sleep starts, and perhaps up to 70% of people experience them.

It’s possible, then, that I just sleep poorly, and have numerous sleep starts throughout the night. Still, I’m more sure now that it’s not night terrors.