happy

It’s Just a Feeling

There is a place for that feeling that we get, our gut feeling, without explanation, about places, people, and decisions.  Sometimes that feeling is a warm and tingly sensation in the stomach and sometimes that feeling is a knot.  Somehow (it seems) our body is reacting to thoughts that we might not realize that we have; somehow are emotion is a road sign to an unknown understanding.

Perhaps this unconscious intelligence has just been blinded by a society that is motivated not by curiosity but by consumerism?  Maybe it takes time to realize, to listen, that how we feel is sometimes linked to what we do.  David Hume famously stated that reason is the slave of the passions.

Do not get me wrong: logical reasoning and rationale must be the foundation; we cannot lie to ourselves and equate our emotions with intelligence.  However, we are human and we must accept the bastard child, emotion.  Reigned in and controlled it will steer us toward what we truly want, ironically.

Think about it: the dreams that we pursue are not rational when we envision them but must be rationally pursued to make them a reality.  So, it seems, that we have a choice: 1) to sleep and perchance to dream, or 2) To dream and perchance to act.  It’s just a feeling after all, but feelings count when we choose to listen carefully.

 

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A Two-For!

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In this day and age of endless internet banter it seems that language has been lost. Discussion, too, has taken a blow. We no longer communicate but rather yell our opinions at each other, and of course those opinions are beyond respute. We have answers to questions we do not understand; we have solutions to problems we do not know exist; we speak without understanding the power of words.

Terms either go to the wayside or are used as swords of offensiveness or defensiveness; either way we “are right” when we often do not understand the concepts of words like “right” and “wrong”. Being “politically correct” or simply being empathetic and kind; being “offensive” or simply being “truthful”. Gone are the days, it seems, of being expected to live up to the standards that we create: only need to speak because that is often the only thing we can do.

We use words as weapons and forget the firepower that make language important in the first place: concepts, propositions. We shortcut language without a thought to what that shortcut does to the actual meaning behind words. Without a thought we attack each other. Afterall, they’re only words.

When Things Take a Turn

I recently sold the property that we intended to start our farm on. Oddly enough it was not a difficult decision. The difficulty, as perhaps it always does, lay in the logistics (the work) of actually moving. Even in the short time we were at the place, material and tools pile up. It takes a lot to be self-sufficient.
So, into storage went my workshop and onto my neighbor’s (Neighbor Bob) property went the hens, my tractor and a few other large implements. While our decision to move on from our newly acquired place seems irrational to many I would argue that it would be insane to stretch your hand out to catch a dream and settle.
To expect something you know will not work to get better is to guarantee failure. And so, things take a turn. The work was unrelenting and the limbo that it puts a want-to-be farmer like myself in is almost as stressful as the move itself. But, when things take a turn there is not other option than to enjoy the scenery.
I will not explain that such decisions are easy or that they are the best for everyone, but often times the truth is obvious and that makes the answer even more obvious.
My advice to anyone finding themselves in a situation that is not conducive to their happiness is to remember that change brings new options, many of which were either not noticed or not available. When things take a turn sometimes the best bet is to ride the storm and other times it is to abandon ship. But, the most important aspect of change to remember is that life is short and change, no matter what turn it takes, is inevitable.

The Adventure Less Travelled

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The word “adventure” conjures up fun and excitement, endless activities and wide-eyed happiness coupled with friendly unknowns.  And while this is true, it is true like most things concerning human life are true: partly.  In coffee shops around the world people sit sipping coffee and munching scones, talking about what they “would do” if given the chance; but they never do it.  Perhaps, the adventure is already alive, but waiting for us to act upon it.

In the fifty or so years that I have been alive I have travelled to some forty countries, lived in four states, travelled throughout the lower forty eight, been a truck driver, a musician, and a college teacher.  I have climbed mountains and trekked the Annapurnas in Nepal, eaten curry in Calcutta, and a Vietnamese sandwich in north and south Vietnam.  I have drank instant coffee in a cave high up on the sides of mountains in places that I can’t name and have believed that cup of coffee to be the best I’d ever had.  I have drank beer in more pubs than I can count in England and eaten Bratwurst in Germany, spaghetti dinners in Italy, drank Belgian beers in Belgium, meatballs in Sweden, and enjoyed the beaches in Denmark as well as wine in France and crabs in Norway.  I am a homesteading farmer and carpenter at present and those activities present me with even more adventures.

This is all to say that the adventures that I have experienced are life: there are good and bad times, boring times, scary times, frustrating and irritating times.  There are times when a cup of coffee at a well known coffee shop, surrounded by suburbanites in a “safe” neighborhood is an adventure and there are times when scaling a peak at 13000 feet is an adventure: I’ve tried both and while the feelings are different, they can both get interesting.

An adventure is carved out of the experiences that we have while living.  The only time we miss out on adventures is when we choose not to do something because we are afraid, or tired, or lazy.  Sometimes an adventure can be had sipping a cup of coffee and sometimes we need to put the cup down and do something.  The adventure starts when we know what to do and when to do it.

Ten Things to Make you Feel Better

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In this age of Trump, fake news, insanity and stupidity everyone needs something to make them feel better.  Here are ten suggestions guaranteed to help:

  1. Plant something and take care of it; start a garden.
  2. Go for a bicycle ride.
  3. Cook something completely from scratch (and drink wine while you’re doing it).
  4. Do something to help someone, but do it anonymously.
  5. Do #3 and take it to a neighbor.
  6. Take a long weekend and spend it in an expensive hotel.
  7. Go for a hike on a quiet trail, early in the morning (and I mean early!)
  8. Write a letter (on paper with a pen) to a friend.
  9. Close all the windows, all the curtains, and the doors and spend a day doing nothing.  Note: be sure to stock up with your favorite food for this one.
  10. Take a first step towards a long put-off dream.

Do not expect these suggestions to have the expected consequences, but if you delve into them in full guaranteed fulfillment is a certain consequent.

Mistakes…Dreams will Be Made

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Dreams are interesting endeavors.  They are experiments more than anything.  But, can pursuing a dream be a mistake?  As mentioned in a previous post, it is hard to remember your goal when you are in the middle of it all.  To answer that rhetorical question: I’m not sure that pursuing a dream can be a mistake.

Think about it: a dream is an experiment; the goal is (at best) unknown and even perhaps undefined.  Pursuing a dream, therefore, can never be a mistake.  Pursuing that dream is always worth it, but it must be remembered that dreams may not be what you think they are.

Sometimes dreams will enlighten, and most of the time they will be frustrating.  Sometimes dreams clarify even if they are never achieved in full.  All of these possibilities are in a way necessities because having a dream itself is a necessity.  Imagine what life would be without dreams.

You must give up things to pursue dreams, but those things are often vague and easily given up, at least in the beginning.  In dreams, mistakes will be made, but it is never a mistake to pursue your dreams.

Twelve Non-Sequiturs

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Deep in the night of distrust comes the dreams that make us, us.

In the starlight of the dark the mirror of our soul we realize that it was always.

In the muck of mired reality and mindless noise I find peace under a tree.

Memories flood the causeways and hope finds a boat.

The world must go on, but in our minds we know that we must not.

I had a bicycle once, and felt free.

Joy can be found but must be forced from its hiding place among the crowds.

Tears flow from the hidden parts of our lives, those forgotten gems.

To tear away the truth is to tear away the fabric of all there is to know.

Love lays silently wishing for the days that have gone by.

Waking from a startled sleep I search for source of my trouble.

Say goodbye to the memories of those who must live in the past.

 

 

Simple Pleasures

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There’s something beautiful about seeing bees come out on a winter’s day. Walking out to the bee yard I noticed a few girls flying around. Although the sky was grey, it was just warm enough for a few brave hearts to venture outside. It is a simple pleasure, I know, but a pleasure nevertheless.

It is pleasures like this that make life worth living. It does not take money; in fact money alone is void of the kind of pleasure that is available if we just take time to notice. The garden, newly manured, sitting in the snow reminds me that there are worms deep under the soil. My ear up against the beehive and the scratching and buzzing that I hear, reminds me that we all want the same thing: a safe, warm place.

Perhaps it is this realization that warms my heart on cold winter days. When I realize the beauty that is nature I just have to stop and stare in wonderment. I think that it would be a much better world if we all took time to stand and stare in wonderment at the simple and often forgotten corners of our world.

In the back I hear chickens clucking away. I know that they are fussing about the snow, and perhaps feel a bit of cabin fever already. But they too venture out picking around in the snow, hoping to find a morsel, or maybe just doing it out of curiosity.

I like the smell of a kitchen that people cook in. I like the warmth of a home, and the cold against my face on an early morning walk. I like knowing that we all have a place, all animals; all living creatures. I like to think that there are places that are safe, that people want the best and are willing to work for it. I like to think that there is love in the world, and that there are those that are loved.

I know that these are simple pleasures, but as simple as they are, they are also simply priceless. And so I walk out back and stick my hand down in the dirt, I work on winter carpentry projects with the hope of the coming Spring and Summer. I put my ear up against the hive. I do these things and a smile comes to my face; just another simple pleasure to be thankful for.