The Weight of Stuff

These past few weeks have been difficult. Winter won’t seem to end in Oregon this year – while the weather has never been a big issue for me in the past – this year it has been torture. Last week we had our first run of three sunny days since last October and it was … Continue reading “The Weight of Stuff”

These past few weeks have been difficult. Winter won’t seem to end in Oregon this year – while the weather has never been a big issue for me in the past – this year it has been torture. Last week we had our first run of three sunny days since last October and it was like heaven, but then it began to rain again, and hail, and the temperature dropped, and then it began to pour, and that awful grey light wrapped itself around everything and to tell the truth, the sense of despair was worse than it had been before the sunshine – I felt like one of those poor souls in movies who are tortured and tortured and then they are sure they are going to escape and be free, but in fact, that was just a way of the torturer to push them past the edge. That’s where I was. The sun is shining now, there are patches of blue, I feel okay – but the weather is not done and I know that I am no longer suited for the Pacific Northwest. I am fifth generation born here, but the time I’ve spent in tropical places has ruined me for a winter like this.

And now on to the title of the post – the burden of stuff. My god, when I am depressed, the weight of all this stuff is like that of a planet crushing me beneath it. I am selling what I can when I can. I am using craigslist, Let Go, EBay, and retail. I am going to shows and will be having a big garage sale in a few weeks. What doesn’t sell at the sale will go to the dump or the charity shops. We are trying to sell our antique shop, so it makes no sense to give away the quality inventory yet, but soon I will either sell the shop and everything in it or hang up the “Going out of business, Everything must go” sign. I can’t carry this much stuff any longer.

Obstacles and Obstructions

I have a huge amount of empathy for President Obama. No one let him get anything done. It must have been terribly frustrating. Eight years of not being able to pursue the plan you were elected to pursue. By the same token, I have no sympathy or empathy towards the current CEO of America Corp. – he is facing the same obstacles and obstructionism – but the big difference is that rather than trying to build something and lift people up – he is focused on demolition and tearing people down. I, like everyone, am facing obstacles and obstructions of my own. I had a plan, I thought everyone was on board for it, I started to put it into action and the first obstacle arose – it was the chink in my armor – it allowed those I had to have with me to start second guessing and then the obstructionists came along and started putting up road blocks. Now, my grand idea is in danger of dying.

Since the early 2000’s – my motto has been “All there is to it, is to do it” – it is what has allowed me to travel all over the world, write books, start business from scratch, and survive. It doesn’t work with a group of people that aren’t all in. It’s easy when you are the only one making the decision – you just do it. Marriage, in particular for me, my marriage doesn’t allow that kind of shoot for the moon and damn the consequences action. Maybe every marriage is like that, I don’t know – this is the only one I have and the only one I’m planning to have.

I might have to change my motto.

The sad part is – the only time that I’ve ever really achieved anything – has been when I turned my back on the expectations of life and took a blind step towards an unknown future while trusting my instincts – so the fear is, if I can’t do that, this awful mediocrity that surrounds me is all that I have to look forward to. And of course, the fear of my wife is “What if things aren’t as good as they are right now, what if our quality of life moves backwards?” – even though, the quality of life as it exists right now is nothing to feel very good about – and holds the potential to become worse if drastic changes are not made. Catch-22

I wish I were the type who could simply “Let it go and let god go” but I hear that as more of ‘Let it go and status quo” and I’ve always been partial to the story of one of the Prophet Mohammads followers who lost his camel and went to complain of it to the Prophet “Did you tie your camel?” the Prophet asked. “No, I trusted God” said the follower. “Tie your camel AND trust God” was the answer from the Prophet.

So, once again, here I am stuck in purgatory. I can force my decision to say fuck it and travel the world on my wife and I will have to drag around a resentful obstructionist or I can say fuck it, this plan isn’t going to work after all and keep things as they are. As a Buddhist, I’m pretty sure there must be a third path, a middle way – the hard part is steering past my budding resentment and keeping a sharp eye out for the right trail-head. Because frankly, the two options above both sound fucking horrible.

The plan that sounded good was a united family get rid of everything, leave their jobs, and travel the world playing ukuleles and working with non-profits to make the world a better place and find the best possible place to live the rest of our lives. It only works if the family is united in the desire to make the moves necessary. And that is not the case, as much as I want it to be.

Time for a new motto and a new plan.

The new motto is “Tie Your Camel and Trust God” and the new plan is to do as much of the old plan as possible while keeping my eyes open for a new plan.