Morning Meditation #82: “This is Mass Madness, You Maniacs”

MM 82

I’ve smoked way too many cigarettes since the new year began. If you’ve been keeping up, Gentle Reader, you can see why I have had this little period of weakness. If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking or have successfully quit any addiction, you understand the daily wrestling match within the brain, especially when things become genuinely stressful.

I do want to point out that I am not out buying packs of smokes daily. But I have asked for more than a few during social gatherings, when I just want to feel free of the daily battles waged within. I suppose I could fear a genuine relapse.

That isn’t going to happen. “Announcing you plans, Doc, is a good way to hear God laugh.” (Deadwood) Maybe I can avoid that problem by saying what I am not going to do, which is start smoking daily again.

Another thing I also know, fearing a relapse will almost guarantee one. Fear is like that. I’ve noticed it’s been successful in taking over the political debate. It’s really that powerful. I have a feeling if we continue to debate like this, it will derail a what I know we were all hoping would a legendary political season of honesty and fact sharing. And every now and then an add or post will drift across FB talking about the principles of our fair candidates. Mostly, as of this morning, in my feed I have seen: everyone fearing Donald Trump may become president, a bunch of other people screaming about how scary a Hilary administration would be, and then all the other posts talking about how rabid Bernie fans are angry mobs.

What the fuck is the matter with us?

A few days ago, in between fear of the Burn Mob posts, a friend of mine took the time to mention Bernie and Hillary stand together on many issues. No way!

Of course, debates are shit shows, which dictating almost nothing that ends up happening after a Pres is elected. That is another lesson we all need to remember.

I support the PP/ACA movement that Obama got pushed through. You know, the legislation introduced changes to things that had nothing to do with health care. Some of it down right despicable, and some of it benign. So sure, he got it done, at a potential pyrrhic price. This is governance in the current zeitgeist.

Most of us realize in a sustainable future there is very little profit repairing our energy, travel, and resource infrastructure. Compared, at least, to capitalism, which has run without leash for the last two hundred years, and I am sure some would argue longer; they are likely correct.

Stop letting fear ruin lives. You wanna vote for Hilary, fine. Do it because of the changes and stances she presents. I’ll say this for the goddamn Trump constituency, at least they like him because of the heinous things he wants to actually do. That is why I like Bernie. I know he isn’t perfect, but the changes he wants to bring to the table I support. I am glad Hilary wants to do some of the same stuff.

No, I don’t trust her.

I don’t fear her leadership, or fear for the state of the country if she were elected. I bet the price of milk will change very little no matter who will be elected.

Will I become a more hire-able commodity in a Trump economy vs. a Sanders? Unlikely.

If we sincerely don’t want our culture to descend even further into states of inequality, debt, and failing infrastructure, we would stop brandishing the negative things that could happen, and make certain we ensure the things which will make our citizens great. What if that was to be what decides our future political climate?

Dunno. Maybe I, too, am too optimistic in this regard.

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The Story of An Arkansas Atheist: Retreat Edition Ep. 1

Peena Pano 11When I decided to take a writing and meditation retreat at Peenemunde, there were things I knew I wanted to do. I knew no matter what I thought the trip would be like, I kept a confidence that it would be it’s own thing, which is to say powerful. I also knew that it would a separate type of amazing because of my solitude, so if things went like I wanted them to or if they deviated, the entire trip would be worth every second. Thus far this place has never let me down; this experience would keep without exception. It took me a whole day to really get into the writing of this journal, as I didn’t enter with a plan of how to write, only that I would write.Read More »

Morning Meditations #57: The Difference Between Summer Breezes and North Winds

Yesterday was a sad kinda day. My time wasn’t spent uselessly, choosing to write and read rather than sulk, too much. This morning, I did get a big win by finding good resolution with the weird relationship dud.

I suppose I likely did dismiss any views about her not being a good ape along side me. She felt that was beyond rude. Excellent. Disappointing, but gotta say, I am glad she doesn’t have to hear my long spiels about memory and mental quiet; I can go on about it quite exuberantly. Yet, I also think it is odd when someone accuses me of airing the problem I had with them, as though keeping our problems quiet is the hallowed solution for the new epochs of history. It’s worked so well thus far (this is sarcasm). I tell everyone, I do mean everyone, that I run a blog called “An Arkansas Atheist” which regularly talks about my life, and in fact, does so near to, and just shy of daily. So yes, if you feel your problems are special in some way, please, please do not come within four-hundred yards of me, because I may talk about your life as it engages with mine. It is what I do.

I felt very free after this morning’s clarifications. Kind of like dodging a bullet or something. You’d hate for that one to come up around a Christmas dinner table ten years from now:

MM 57
Chopping block close up on a below freezing morning. Glorious.

Honey, you’re an ape.”

Honey, I want a divorce.”

While I came to terms with my near-miss (digression: I agree with Carlin that this should be a “Near-hit”), the cause for my failed yogurt came to me. I skipped a crucial cooling down phase and likely boiled my old culture to death. To think, killing all that yeast; maybe I am a bad person? *wink* This comes as a relief, because in the long run, my yogurt techniques will be far more valuable than sadness over one female ape’s inability to embrace the very primate that makes her human.

I’ve one last overnight errand to run before I can fully engage in the holiday spirit that will inevitably overcome all of our homes over the next six weeks. I’ve got an exceptional tree this year donated by a good friend (well, we were good friends, why am I such a jerk these days, geez, them shits are falling like flies passing through a dense cloud of HCl), and it must go up by the end of next week. Mom’s house too, and Pop is doing Thanksgiving at his place. Ivy is home for the week (that’s a cool newish feature of modernity), so we’ve already got lots of adventures planned.

I’ve been threatening soups for a while now, so I am openly taking soup recipes and ideas. If some really good ones come my way, I’ll probably do some soup reviews; writer’s gotta write after all. The first roasted red pepper soup was a hit a couple of weeks back, and I am ready for the next round of experiments.

Also, I am so glad the cold is here. There is nothing more fun than ice cold outsideness, followed by coming into the warmest place ever, and soaking up that warmth. It looks like my best girl, Ivy, is the one I get to share it with this winter. And of course, seeing that she is a part of my life, I suppose we’ll be sharing a great deal with all of you, Gentle Readers, too.

Along those lines I will be beginning the series about the meditation and writing retreat today or tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Morning Meditations #56: The Soulless and Happy Ape

10383114_10153243138326474_8768864229977184306_nI am happy to report that I finally experienced a failed yogurt culture. It’s been a few months since I began cultivating, and I had yet to experience a failed batch, indeed, I had only had a cups worth go to spoil in all that time. I believe this batch failed because I didn’t use enough starter culture. The recipe calls for ½ cup of starter, and I may have been up to an ounce shy, or half of what I needed. The result smelled like yogurt but kept the consistency of milk. Having sat for ten hours and being too thin to be a yogurty anything, I put the batch down the sink. I’ve already been to the store to replace my starter culture and will be beginning again within the next few days.

On other sadnesses, just yesterday I proudly wandered the world with a budding relationship as

a part of my good mornings and good evenings. I enjoyed the way it began, slowly. Talking and laughing. Kisses and hand holding. Granny and fire pits. So pretty, you know? Then last night, out of the blue, at the height of it all, my mentioning that “I am a good ape,” revealed that if I were going to continue to refer to people as apes, which of course I am, then she couldn’t be a part of my life. She turned, walked through the house, out the front door, climbed into her maroon sedan, and rolled out. Her final words to me have thus far been, “Peace out,” via text.

I’m pretty shocked. On the surface, this wasn’t a “religious” thing. Okay, I freely admit to agree with the thought that any superstitious view could invariably have a religious connotation, as religions have been hijacking the “spiritual” part of the mind for countless epochs. Contrarily, this seemed to be agitation at the suggestion that we are descended, and continue to be descended, from a common ancestor with all modern apes. Pretty big deal, for the whole science, medicine, diet, behavior explanation for anything remotely human.

Let me go on record and stress that this isn’t something I need to believe in, as it is true. Also on record, I would like to remind the Gentle Reader that physics dictates if our cell phones work then we are indeed descended from an ape like ancestor. There have been books written about this interdisciplinary subject, and this has been the polite way of stating my position. Here is what I feel like saying, because, as dramatic as this next rant will be, it is of crucial importance to the health of my home:

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Part of this morning’s entertainment.

And further more, please don’t insult humanity by suggesting that it required something other than the natural order of the universe for us to be here. Excuse me, but it necessarily took 10.5 billion years of priceless evolution on a universal scale, and then another three-plus billion years of unbroken biological evolution, that’s right, over three billion years of daughter cell after daughter cell, parent after parent, child after child relationships at the biochemical level for this universe to come up with something as majestic as each and everyone of us. No help from any source outside the self. We are crafted by the forge of evolution to be the toughest fucking specie of hominid that will ever exist. Sure something will come after us, and here is the truth about that specie. They’ll deserve to be here as much as we do. To not respect that is to disrespect every walking, talking, sick, healthy, fat, thin, human on the crust of this tiny fucking fireball of a fucking planet. So there.”

Phew, I do feel better. Ivy just walked up behind me and in a super sweet voice asks, “Can you turn my light on in my room, please.” Puts the yogurt and everything else into perspective. I am disappointed, but then again, the world is less than perfect. Thanks for reading y’all.

Morning Meditations #55: Picture Perfect Js

This morning’s meditation was a simple ten minute exercise of being with breath. My mind wandered very little, until Spooky decided to come for some rubbin’s. Even then, I kept myself on breath, treating his cool fur as I would a cool breeze. Once my alarm went off, it was all business. You know, Ivy breakfast and lunch, fire starting, and Ivy waking.

This is one of those mornings where I don’t really have a lot to report, a lot that would suitable for deep thinking. I had a wonderful evening with friends and fire, Ivy put herself to bed before 21:30 last night, I fell asleep much easier than I did the night before, and nothing negative to speak of seemed anywhere near this home. I know that not every day or night will be like this, so I guess the most important thing to report is how much I appreciate such events. These posts assist in keeping gratitude, and not taking for granted how amazing it can be when we’re open to simple nights. “What’s the key to having more nights like this?” becomes the only question.

My answer is: simplicity and mental quiet. I know many of your lives are more complex than mine. Crazy day jobs and a shit-ton of rugrats make many people’s days rather psycho-wild. Yet, I wonder how much of those lives are made more complex by not embracing the simple and not seeking any inner peace. Folks in our culture often think that there is something outside of themselves which they must strive toward in order to complete themselves. I call this “Chasing Dragons.” Whether it is looking for the next high, the next degree, the next relationship, whatever, I have found that just finding the self amidst all of these desires is virtually impossible if we are not willing to take the time to let go of these externalities. If you really want the next relationship, reward, or goal, stop wanting it. Let your mind be free of this desire, and maybe you’ll be able to notice a healthy choices that will get you there when they are available, rather than just stuffing an event that happens to be in front of you into a role you have carved from an ideal. Maybe your kids are easier to handle if they aren’t being bombarded with stimulation. Just maybe, if they were able to observe you being quiet and calm, they would emulate that.

My daughter, for one, seeks to imitate my meditations even though she isn’t sure of the techniques involved. Guess how hard my child is to handle. I’ll give a hint. She almost raises herself sometimes.

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I took this picture this morning, and It memorizes me even now, hours after the shot. Dayum! photons rock.

Someone very dear to me noticed how well she did last night. It isn’t that she is a better than anyone’s child, but the amount of attention she requires is commonly very little. I often refer to her as “my little automaton” because she does most of “her” herself. I am merely a part time guide throughout a day, and now that she is a K level student, the influence of friends is becoming more and more a part of who she is. I don’t mind at all.

This represents well in everyone’s life I encounter these days. The only people that seem to have an issue with me are those that want something from me. What is the old saying, “You’ve got to want what you have before you can have what you want.” I want myself. So, that is what I get, everyday.

Morning Meditations #54: A Hard Night

Sleep did not come easy last night. My past pain can still be something I have to deal with in a modern context. Not even from a self perspective, although that is still a common challenge. This pain comes from the pieces I have to pick up regarding Ivy. People without children, despite wonderful intentions, often don’t understand the ramifications of a child’s love, and foolishly, I allowed people in who are ignorant of the damage they could cause, and not surprising, wrecking ball action ensued. I have ceased to blame the people that I should have been more careful about. Sadly, this leaves only the mirror to blame. One of my favorite Deadwood quotes is “laying head to pillow without confusing yourself with a sucker, ’cause that’s gonna be a project tonight.” Therein lies my final two hours of last night, well, that and the tears that come with such events.

I talked to my friend about this morning via text. We spoke of the constant self-checking mechanisms that all of us have to keep active, especially those of us that have had to change nearly everything about ourselves to maintain a sustainable life pattern. She mentioned the potential decades of healing that must take place, and I agree up to a point. Yet, I think it is important for anyone going through the “picking up the pieces” phase to not over focus on healing.

Being healed is an outcome and/or state of being and may be a chimera. Healing is process oriented, and like every process, it cannot stand alone without the full scope of all other concurrent factors. Emotional healing without a diet of healing will likely fail; emotional healing without physical care will likely fail; emotional healing without compassion for those around you will likely fail. In her defense, I believe she addressed this by saying that most people only deal with “surface healing.” For that, I carry no disagreement.

That type of behavior had been my M.O. until the end of this past summer, when I learned what obviously she already had knowledge. I had always been able to get over things, but I believe that true healing remained elusive because of this factor of only attending to the surface. For me, this required quitting smoking, changing diet, meditation, and cognitive/behavioral therapy to name the primary features. In short, life style change. Obviously the process continues.

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I love Chris’s gifts of wood for splitting. This has been my primary “pillow punching” type of therapy. It is very, very effective for me. In fact, I don’t know that I can get enough.

On this note if any of you, my Gentle Readers, are in a similar phase of your life, I invite you to consider what kind of journey it has been for me thus far. Don’t give up. No matter the pain you feel at night all alone with only a mirror to draw inspiration from (and let me tell you that is not the prettiest of inspirational images at times), the path you must take will lead you to an inner calm and ability to navigate these twisting roads to quiet your mind. After all, “the self” isn’t any one thing, it too is a system of systems which needs constant maintenance to defend against the environment within and without.

Put the work in to care for the self, and the rest will follow.

Morning Meditations #53: A Lucke Tooth

Well, the new crown came out after a whopping 18 hours. I am fortunate that it didn’t come out while I slept on my back, as I know replacement teeth get swallowed often. Not noticing immediately this morning, I wandered into the bathroom to comb my lovely locks, and upon gazing at my morning reflection, I thought, I wonder what the new tooth looks like in the morning. An underwhelming experience when rather than a $900 crown one sees a cavernous gap. I wonder what the ladies at Lucke’s are going to do about it. Not to go on opprobriously, seems like maybe getting so much work done in one place over a short amount of time might have been a bad idea, as they may have gone a little complacent seeing my charming face over and over and over again in the last six months. I can’t wait to see how the morning progresses, as I left them a witty 05:30 voice mail. “And now for something completely different.”

Ivy Fall Forestscape
This beautiful painting came home yesterday folded up in Ivy’s back pack. It struck me immediately and now hangs from the wall along her art display line in my room. What a wonderful rendering of the fall forests here in NWA.

Ivy came home yesterday with the most gorgeous forestscape painting. The whole house agreed that it is her best, as in pro-stylie, work of art yet. I imagine the whole class did similar pieces, and hopefully every parent of every child felt the same swelling of pride as I did while taking in the amazing work of art from their little ones. I thought about posting it to FB immediately, but decided to use it as the picture for this post, so that the broadest scope of my audience would get to gaze upon the inner workings of artistic children.

One of my favorite TEDs is the first from Sir Ken Robinson, which I have quoted often, and will again here, reminds us that “all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” This paraphrase on a Picasso statement has been with me since I heard it, and I plan on assisting my daughter every step of the way to the end of keeping her the artist she so clearly is. Interestingly, I have since learned that meditation is also an art form.

Like my writing after the retreat, meditation has been hit or miss. Its funny, but being a dedicated meditator allows one to let go of the very need to meditate. Paradox much. This is a further tool toward lifetime practice, as now, I will have to more often choose to sit and be with myself. This is a feature that will also open the path to conditioning more healthy choices. What a gift to one’s self. By opening a space to make a choice that I know is healthy, I inherently add to a behavioral lexicon of my philosophy about choice. Some of us think that feelings and inspiration will just come as a part of life. Sometimes it may, but by and large, I believe we must choose to find these features and put our flags in them. Otherwise, we do not exercise the minor amount of control we do have. Not to mention, how would one become a better choice maker if they did not practice choosing at the internal level? Answer: they won’t. I challenge each of you to choose your feelings about something today. Some of you will make the wrong choice, but in doing so, please, do not lament. Only notice the choice and the mistake, let it go, and await your next opportunity. Who knows how good you’ll get at choosing what to feel about things that seem to be controlling your life. Thus giving you the power to be in the driver seat of your own mind.

I have already chosen many feelings today, and as a result, the day has been fun and fantastic only a little over three hours into it. Good luck!

Morning Meditations #52: Back In Action

12242141_10205857127451280_1643413156_nMorning Meditations have been on quite the little hiatus. In my defense, there have been many things pressing on me, and obligations due my attention. If being truthful, I also have had a form of writer’s block. A say “a form,” because I have written plenty since the last MM. Maybe not 1k a day like my challenge dictates, but quite a bit. The “block” has rather been a lack of strong motivation and inspiration for fiction, article, and essay. Where to go from here? This being my one-hundredth blog entry, I had debated some fanfare and self-congratulations. But that seems a little gratuitous considering how much more joyful work I have to do, how much more there is to learn, and the multitudes of experiences that are yet to come. That being the case, I celebrate with this entry in itself; feeling nothing but gratitude for the opportunity to holler at all my audience once again.

When one finds themselves “stuck” in a cycle of behavior or lacks a custom cycle, perhaps the best way to initiate a set of behaviors can be to pull up your skirt and jump. Getting back into the swing of writing and posting will be facilitated by the very act of cranking some work out. Toward that end, I will get back on the horse to provide you, my Gentle Readers, with the window into my existence to which so very many of you have supported me, and expressed your own gratitude. So, without further recess, my inspiration jump start begins like this.

The GRE having gone about as well as I could have hoped, it is now time to finish the grad school application process. This involves the final edits of my portfolio. Outside of that, everything is ready for that leap.

On the subject of Ivy and I, we’ve never been better. This is true because I have never been more honest and kind to myself. The trickle down of this results in a daily sense of discovery. Not of the new or novel per se, but rather, of what has always been there but too hidden by pathology to be readily gifted upon the world around me. What is this gift? There is no label I would choose to put upon it, but if one needed a label to at least conceive of what I speak, go with transparent wholeheartedness. This doesn’t come without a price.

When the world (more specifically the people on it) can see so much of someone, the feeling of being connected to that someone at a deep level comes instinctively. So, when a true connection comes, the time period of getting to know someone can be skipped or realties of communication ignored. My price recently being a few slaps to the mug by someone whom had their feelings hurt because of not heeding my open, honest communications. Then when faced with my upholding of well stated boundaries, anger and resentment ended up being the only gift they had left for me. This ended our friendship, as I have a daughter upon which I will not subject violence like that (she was asleep the moment it happened so she didn’t have to witness). I am happy to report that I felt anger to this attacker, but did not retaliate with the rage so common in my life. Rather, compassion for their pain is what came to me seconds after the assault. I believe Loveandkindness meditation conditioned me to have that response rather than an alternative.

This leads to a report on my meditative practices: hit and miss like my writing practices. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had some major events and breakthroughs, like my writing. Sadly, I will not be describing them here, in this post. Happily, they will be described in detail in a forthcoming mini series of posts about a recent getaway.

Most of my close friends are aware that I went on this short writing and meditation retreat at the beginning of the month. Writing and meditating well during this retreat, I can hardly wait to tell the world about it. Also, I am excited to finish posting “Pathmaker,” so that more fiction can be posted for public workshopping (which, by the way, nobody has participated in at all; not sure what that means or whether it is a good, bad, or neutral sign). There is another major joy that has been developing in my life, but that, like my retreat stories, will be writing about in future posts. My heart flutters at the thought.

As always, I thank all of you for reading and being a part of my journey as it unfolds. Prost!

Morning Meditations #51: Listening

The grandmother oak in my neighbor's front yard has been a source for kindling since I moved into this neighborhood. She is a lovely creature to be sure.
The grandmother oak in my neighbor’s front yard has been a source for kindling since I moved into this neighborhood. She is a lovely creature to be sure.

I would have written earlier in the day, but my morning energy had to be placed somewhere where it could do the most good, not sure how much good I did, but chose to listen and accept. I hope I helped.

I have been an editor all day. Part of the application process for a Creative Writing MFA is thirty pages of portfolio: twenty pages of fiction and ten of academic composition   The fiction isn’t too difficult as it is quite recent, so it bears the fruits of all my dedication and practice. The essay on the other had is a more laborious. Written in 2012, it isn’t as powerful as I would wish, yet. Understandable, as I am a thousand times the writer I was then. Maybe I just have a thousand times the confidence, and it isn’t that the essay is bad, it is just rife with errors and awkward sentences. Inverted clauses come from watching too much Deadwood (well, there is no such thing, but for the sake of argument, I felt the use of “too” would work here.) The other mistakes are due to inexperience. I had only taken one workshop class at the time I took the modern lit class, from which the essay derives. It’ll be pretty and polished by the end of the day; this, I promise myself.

As a break from editing, I had the pleasure of splitting wood. This cannot be overstated; I am addicted to chopping wood. With a bad back, this seems foolhardy, but my technique is excellent, and the back pain these days is far more manageable with improved health.

In other news, my old laptop died and tried to take several of my writings with it. I am using a borrowed machine from the best of friends (I have borrowed this laptop before and she—the laptop—loves me, my profile even sat ready for me with no changes to settings. She needed a little dusting and updates, which I lovingly executed, but she’s purring now—the laptop). Fortunately, I have a few tricks up my sleeve and recovered all data successfully. That is the definition of “close one.” So, now that that bridge is crossed, and all is well; it is time to talk about meditation for a bit.

This morning’s meditations were short, twenty minutes. I had already been up for over three hours by the time I got an opportunity to try. My mind felt fairly calm, but my body had one loud message for me, “You are tired!” Exhausted really. Stress from all my first world problems, and a few real issues, had me waking later and falling asleep later than usual. This type of break in routine, from what I have researched, can imitate the feeling of not getting good sleep. Going to have to come correct with this schedule thing.

I compensated today by taking a nap. Short, but quality meditation teachers remind students to listen to their bodies and obey. This is the essence of Kum Nye and most forms of yoga, being able to step away from the mind-body connection and witness, allowing us a way to communicate with them, which often means just listening.

Bringing this MM full circle. I can chop ridiculous amounts of wood despite a bad back because of this, I knew to give my mind sleep to ensure a productive day because of this, and I was able to listen to another person today in hopes of comfort because of this lesson. When we stop to hear our lives, to see our lives, we end up really living them, and that, Gentle Reader, is a wonderful thing to experience.

Morning Meditations #48: Die Cut Maple Leaves and Jack O’ Lanterns

Nothing like the essay section of my GRE book can get me in a better mood when I am feeling low.

This morning I did first session of volunteer work for my daughters K teacher, Mrs. Smith. This involved die cutting fall shapes: bat (the animal), football (they didn’t have an oval shape so I secretly used the inside of the 4” “O”), maple leaf, Jack ‘o lanterns, etc. from construction paper. A great time and everyone who wandered through the work room said, “Hello,” and smiled at me. My visitor badge must have made the staff giddy with free labor. Although, I’m sure that they do appreciate the parents who volunteer.

The first of many jobs I will likely do for my daughter's education.
The first of many jobs I will likely do for my daughter’s education.

I finished up with them at about ten minutes until 9:00 and took them back to the classroom. This is when Mrs. Smith (Nancy) introduced me via Ivy. “Ivy, would you like to tell the class who this gentleman is?” Ivy looked to me and for a two seconds she drew a blank on why someone who looked just like her father stood in the classroom doorway. Once it dawned on her, a smile spread across her face, She said loudly and proudly, “Daddy.” I wished her well, as Nancy dismissed me with a statement about how I probably needed to return to work. Which is where I ended the experience and began to fight through lowness mentioned at the beginning of this entry.

Ivy’s Nana stayed over last night because she didn’t have work today and made the mistake of asking how I was doing. I had to tell her, like I do most of the time when we talk about this stuff, that I felt low and frustrated at my inability to work the jobs I used to and the lack of work I have found since undergraduating. She began to offer all of the wonderful things I know about myself, which obviously just makes me feel worse when I think of how few dollars I earn right now but how supremely awesome and strong I am. It is a fascinating thing that I can be a total underachiever and bad-ass mother-fucker at the same time. She finally buzzed off a little while ago with the mission of cutting curtains from some donated cloth via my homie, Chris. This cleared my environment for meditation and study.

I only used a ten minute morning meditation of being with breath today, as I used my time earlier for housework and then, of course, the volunteer gig. But, as I said, the section in the book, which happened to be the last section, featured essay writing. Needless to say, I found this section to be repeating many points that I already knew about in class essay writing. I did take the time to read it carefully, but it often felt like I could recite the words as I read them. So, now it is all up to me, keep practicing math and vocabulary, review the reading and analysis sections of my book, and then take the damn thing on Friday.

I have everything ready for grad-school application except for my transcript and have really enjoyed this process, but I have to admit, happiness will be present once the application process is done, and I can get back to writing my novel along with the other projects which have lay dormant for over a month.