Crashed! Spliffed! Biffed!

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While riding today I was avoiding a biker coming up the trail as I was going down. I gave him lots of space since he was coming up.

Too much space.

Fortunately, I wasn’t going very fast. I usually slow down when I get to other trail users. I should have stopped since the other guy was going up. My brain chose not to stop, apparently judging the trail wide enough and my speed slow enough. Unfortunately, I wasn’t looking. I got up in the shrubs on the side of the trail and didn’t notice the log that spelled my doom.

Another fortunate thing was that the biker going up had already passed me when I biffed, so I didn’t run into him when my front wheel went the opposite way from the way I was expecting and I flew off the bike to slide down the dusty trail a yard or two.

The other biker stopped his climb to holler back at me, “Are you alright?!”

The first thing I said was, “Just dirty.” But then I thought about it. When you get in an accident, sometimes the adrenalin takes over your reasoning functions. The adrenalin makes your whole body feel fine. It’s a survival mechanism. You can escape danger and lick your wounds later.

I picked myself up out of the dirt. My shirt, which was a white T-shirt, was now a big stripe of dirt on one side from shoulder to hip. I checked myself and found a few small abrasions here and there and a small bleeding hole in my elbow where I had probably landed on a rock. Despite

“How’s your bike?”

The other biker hadn’t left, wasn’t convinced with my attempt to shrug it off. So I lifted my bike out of the dirt and scanned it. The front wheel was a little bent, though not enough bent to even be concerned. I could straighten it later—while licking wounds. I tested the brakes and they worked, which was a small miracle considering my history of breaking brake systems. The chain had slipped down a gear. Like the dust, the chain slipping a gear was a minor problem. If, when it’s all said and done, you only have minor problems, get up and keep going, right?

I told the guy I was fine, my bike was fine, I was going to continue down the trail. This time he believed me. He looked at the log I had tripped on. It was a good size. Not too big to be obvious, not too small to be insignificant. He nodded at the log as if in respect and went his own way.

I continued on down the trail thinking this story would make an okay post for my site. The only thing that would have made it absolutely stunning is if I had video of the event. Then I could have had some laughs later, instead of only the wound-licking.

Gentle Spin Cycle

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Some days you don’t feel so much human, but more like a piece of laundry.

The message here, I guess one of them anyway, is that you are not alone. I mean, I don’t know everyone, though I know a few thousand, and of those I do know, they all have days when they say they can’t take it anymore, or they admit they’re done with current events. Some of them prefer to drown their doneness with alcohol, others just go on vacation. Sure, there might even be some who go on vacation and drown their doneness with alcohol. I wouldn’t recommend that last one though. I mean, what would be the point of escaping from your major reality and then killing the memory of the escape? Doesn’t seem like a very effective method of relaxation.

Jumping in the mix, the daily grind, the work-week, you get this sense of an endless cycle. Sometimes the walls are too close, they’re keeping you in and someday they’ll even crush you, or so it seems. It seems like the universe is ringing you out right after it throws you around. There’s no winning when something so immense has taken a side against you. And yet…

If you’ve ever had an effective vacation, you know there’s a way to break out of the cycle. It isn’t all hopeless. In fact, it isn’t all hard-set stains and wrinkly wrinkle-free fabrics. It isn’t all endless. There’s a method or two for finding your way out of the spin. You don’t have to be on “Heavy” all the time. Choose the gentle cycle if you want. Take a break. Take a breather.

How? Here are ten ways to find your way out of the universal spin:

  1. Learn something new. How much do you know about dolphins?
  2. Walk around the block. Gets you air and new scenes.
  3. Watch a movie. Yeah, I know, this is a lot like getting drunk, but it’s not totally mind-destroying.
  4. Read a book. I could say read a good book, but there is something to learn even from trash and/or pulp.
  5. Say hello to your neighbors. From a distance.
  6. Discover a new religion. How many religions promote vegetarianism?
  7. Stay up to watch the sunset. Get up early enough to see the sunrise.
  8. Create something. Art, music, whatever. Creativity is great activity.
  9. Help someone else get out of their cycle. Service is an amazing way to find relief from your own troubles.
  10. Get a little extra rest. Good sleep gives off good vibes, to you and those around you.

 

To The Max

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When we get there, what do you want?

What do you want a robot to do for you? What can you imagine?

Insert yourself into the best-case future scenario. There is an electro-mechanical servant in every household with the means and the desire to have one. They are as mobile and skilled as humans, and only just a little bit stronger. They don’t sleep, but they have to be plugged in, to recharge the batteries.

You can tell the robot what to do. Program it, so to speak. It may come with some preprogrammed abilities and you’ll have to set the parameters. The limits.

There are restrictions. You can’t tell it to do anything criminal. You can tell it to do anything you want within the lawful and reasonable. It can do anything it’s built to do. Your robot can do the laundry or do the shopping. Your robot can clean the toilet or clean your backyard swimming pool. If it’s built to withstand the elements, it could remove snow from the top of your car or from your driveway.

Whatever you don’t want to do, you could have the robot do. Whatever task is too disgusting or repetitive, you can program the robot to do that task.

Insert yourself into the best future you can possibly imagine. What does it look like? What do you see? Do you see yourself with a personal household-variety robot? Does it make your dinner? Does it choose what’s for dinner?

Whatever you imagine, take it to the max.

Sparky Boom Boom

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This year’s American celebration of burning things and exploding things (known as the fourth of July, or Independence Day) was particularly difficult for those with PTSD. Mainly it was because the “big” shows were canceled, and every single freedom-loving American was thinking the same thing:

“I’ll do my own fireworks show.”

And that’s exactly what happened. Every single American ran their own million dollar lights-in-the-sky show.

Now we’re all broke and we smell like smoke.

Seriously though, if you want proof, look at the INSANE Fireworks over Los Angeles — Drone Footage 2020 And this was in a state where fireworks were illegal. Imagine the states where purchasing and lighting exploding shells was legal.

The minor legal problem became one of massive proportions for the unfortunate few who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I heard one man say, “How much money did you burn tonight?!” I read one veteran’s comment on Twitter: “When are those f_____s gonna run out of fireworks???” I heard stories of neighbors having fist fights. Yelling at each other,

“It’s after midnight!”

“It’s a free country!”

Well, if it’s any consolation whatsoever to the sufferer of PTSD, America truly is a free country. And the reason it remains free is because of the soldier who put his or her life on the line for the average citizen. Just think about it, my veteran friend, the average citizen can break the law and shoot off cannons over Los Angeles on account of your bravery, your sacrifice, your selfless devotion. Thank you.

And consider this my citizen friend: you can enjoy the freedom of the ridiculously tame, sparky boom boom, pretend firefight, on account of someone like my veteran friend who endured an actual, real-life, deadly firefight. You should thank that veteran. Saying thanks is the least you could do.

In related news, a friend of mine said her dog, who is too big to fit under her bed, managed to wedge himself under her bed. Her dog was afraid of the incredible amount of fireworks, so he squeezed under to find shelter. To get him out later, she had to lift the bed off of the frightened pooch. Funny story, unless you think of it in comparison with the suffering ex-military who have a similar reaction. They may not hide under the bed, but they do have that sort of anxiety, filling them with a renewed sense of dread.

So, if you’re an average American citizen, you might want to think a little more about that phrase, “It’s a free country.” Maybe you should talk to your veteran neighbors and find out why the country is free. Will you ask? Find out if your neighbor has anxiety on the fourth of July, if so why, and don’t be afraid to ask if there’s anything you can do to help them overcome their anxiety.

It may be fun for you to “‘splode the sparky boom booms”, but for them it could be a bit more serious.

Balance

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Balance, it has been said, requires at least three points of contact. They say, “Take the stool, for example. The lowly stool is a short, backless seat; a platform with legs.”

How many legs? They claim there must be at least three. Two is not enough to keep the stool from tipping. One is ridiculous. Or so they claim.

There really are such things as one-legged stools. Arguably, the one-legged stool does have three legs, because the person sitting on the stool adds their two legs to the mix. Balance.

Submit the argument: balance is only connection. It doesn’t require numbers. The power of three, the strength of triangles is proven, doesn’t need to be argued. But a stool has balance whether someone sits on it or not. Even a one-legged stool can come to rest without someone adding their legs to balance it. It will find its own balance if left to gravity. It may even be balanced if it rests on the flat seat.

One point of contact, perfectly balanced.

A human doesn’t have three legs. Humans can balance themselves on one toe. Three toes aren’t necessary. One is enough, at least one is enough if you’re a ballerina. So maybe balance isn’t so much about engineering and physics and math, but a bit more about connection. Contact.

A soldier in a parade can find the balance of his rifle. He can spin it like a baton, throw it in the air, catch it and continue the spin. How? Not with three points of connection, but by finding the point of balance.

Also, I think it’s important to notice that the point of balance is not necessarily in the center. A one-legged stool may work better if the leg is centered. A human may try to center their weight over the single toe. Not everything, however, balances from the center. Having equal sides does not absolutely ensure balance.

An egg will rest on a flat surface with more of it apparently on one side. The yolk will fill the shell in such a way as to “find” balance. It won’t look as if it’s centered or balanced, though it will be.

With the physics of balance as a backdrop, the metaphor for life is that finding balance is merely finding connection. Finding a center is not critical to finding balance. Mimicking a stool is not critical to finding life balance.

Life balance, in my estimation, is discovered when we make contact. Even if we’re only connected by a toe, we’re still connected. After the contact comes balance, not before.

Proof is in the way we land when we’re thrown. Like the rifle, the baton, or even the egg, whether we bounce or break or continue the spin depends on how well we’re balanced.