The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.
In the past couple of weeks I have had the fabled luck of a sailor being followed by an albatross, (never, ever, shoot the albatross). Something has carved out a window to let me see who I truly am, and allowed me to start to take control of my fate. But, it’s also enabled me to surrender to the will of the cosmos ~ working with natural energies to empower my body, mind, and spirit to true and lasting enlightenment.
I shot the ALBATROSS…..
I had done a hellish thing, and it would work ’em woe: for all averred I had killed the bird, that made the breeze to blow. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
These changes in me are never going to be some quick way to amass a fortune, (I don’t need to), or find an easy way out of life’s problems. Instead, taking control of my fate allows me to discover the interconnectedness of all things that binds us and the cosmos together, and creates the web of infinite circumstances, places, and people that allows me to walk the warrior’s path.
You know what? I am excited about all this enlightened thinking that seems to have taken over my psyche. However, whatever wisdom or enlightenment I have suddenly gained access to is more than a little bit complicated and confusing for an ordinary Englishman such as I.
I know that this is a positive and strong time of decisive action for me, and I need to harness all the determination I can muster. I firmly believe that, in the next few days I will need to take some action that is critical to the shape of my future. The snag is, right now I have no idea what that action is supposed to be. I’ve got no idea what I most need to do, except that it’s going to be a balancing act between passion and practicality.
So, I’m already working on my general health and fitness ~ walking everywhere, breathing plenty of clean and fresh sea air, and detoxifying my life of crap and negative influences.
I have a feeling that I also need to work on better friendships and more meaningful and mindful connections. I need to give more attention to particular special people in my life. I should build greater self-worth through more integrity, more confidence, better and more authentic interpersonal relationships.
I should be shrewder in my choices of friends and the type of friendships I want, need, and desire. But, being a shrewd operator does not mean that I would ever be underhand or less than utterly honest about how I nurture my friends and friendships, or be dishonest in how I choose the people I wish to associate with.
Some say that communication skills is an art we go on learning throughout our life. And, that interpersonal relationships never stop being a work in progress. All I know is that sometimes we only say to others what we ourselves need to hear.
Sometimes a man just has to howl at the moon.
just remember, interpersonal relationships can be dark….. and as deep and strange as still waters.
And, choices rule your life.
Life has many ways of testing a man’s will and inner strength.
Yesterday I joined a different gym here in my little seaside town. I had not been regularly using the ‘old gym’, and they had increased their prices. Often the walk there, around the marina, was so interesting and distracting that I never made the gym at all.
I’m pretty surprised that I just went ahead and joined a new gym, without hesitation, procrastination, or much thinking about it. But then, since my recent vacation in Turkey, I’m a changed man. In Turkey I had a bit of an epiphany.
I know that I’m now venturing on yet another important evolutionary step on the warrior’s path to discover what I am truly capable of, and I have come to know that I have an immense inner strength. Part of my journey along the warrior’s path is knowing what this inner strength and power is, and how I can use it, for the greater good, in my daily existence.
You have power over your mind ~ not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength. ~ Marcus Aurelius
My goal is to unearth and understand this power and strength from the depths of my subconscious mind, my heart, and my soul. I have something to say and I need to learn how to say it. Perhaps I need to break away from traditional approaches and practices and accept that I am now a unique individual that deserves to receive more recognition and respect for who I have worked so hard to become.
As I was taking my leave from the new friends I had made on vacation, a very together lady said to me that; ‘You are a very different kind of man from most…..’ She said that and more in a very caring way.
However, right now I still do not feel as fully in charge of my own destiny as I could be. I know that I need a clearer vision of what lies ahead of me. I need to work towards more balance, acceptance, understanding. I need courage. I need to use my new-found self-awareness, self-confidence, inspiration and motivation. And, I need to eliminate negative energies and negative people from my life.
I know, trust, and believe that I am capable of forging my own path, that I have a manifest destiny to reach, a destiny that is not intended for anyone else, at least for no one who cannot share my vision, needs, wants, dreams, and desires.
It is time to explore my dreams and to experiment with the strength and power I suddenly possess. I need to become connected with who I really am, and I need to better connect with those I care for. I want and need to become the real Renaissance Man that some have thought I have always been. Until now I believe that I have always fallen short of that ideal.
Some say that we take for granted those things that are most deserving of our attention. And, that most people never show up for their Appointment with Life. All I know is that Real Life is what happens to you while you are busy making pointless plans.
Marmaduke likes to sunbathe on one of the historic ships moored in the marina
Inner tranquility ~ freedom from anger, anxiety, and fear.
There was something weird about my short stay in Turkey. Was it the place, or the people, or the blue, blue sky? Was it getting enough good sleep, good food, staying sober, staying calm? Or, was it the long, meaningful, and mindful conversations I enjoyed? Or was it some inner spirituality that was awoken in me? I suspect all of these things and more combined to wrought a significant change in my psyche.
For me this was a jumping-off point. I lost some things, I lost negativity, I lost the way I was used to seeing the world, I lost judgmentalism, I lost my mistrust of others, I lost my fear and anger, and I learned how to fly…..
Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe. ~ C. JoyBell C.
I had not been there long before I knew a radical freedom that allowed me to seek acceptance, humility, integrity, mindfulness, and understanding of myself, of those around me, and of those I care for. I was encouraged to take a new control and responsibility for my own life ~ I believe that most of us, (up to and including me), are not in control of our own lives. Rather most of us drift aimlessly through life, so that today is pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today.
That isn’t really living, it’s just existing, and that’s no way to explore true happiness and well-being. To know true happiness and well-being we perhaps should strive to improve and enhance our own lives, the lives of those we care for, and society as a whole.
Within the real meaning of human happiness and enhanced existence, within our aims, significance, and overall purpose, we all have the freedom to choose what to do, to be who we want to be. Sadly so many of us never even try to grow into an enlightened being.
After a couple of days in the mindfulness of my Turkish vacation I began to seek to understand things, to understand the interconnectedness of all things, and the ways to find the significance of my own life among the chaos.
The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis
I realised that each of us is what we take ourselves to be. But to live in an authentic, caring, and mindful way, we each have to take each situation as it comes and show our true nature through what we do, and not what we say. Talk is cheap.
I was always frightened to show my true nature. I was a shadow man, the man in the mirror, I was always conforming to what others expected of me, putting on masks that fitted the roles I was expected to play. I saw the world through a winter mirror, darkly.
After just one week in a small Turkish hotel, under blue, blue skies, among a group of friendly and supportive people, I was able to throw away the masks, stop playing a role, eschew the man in the mirror, and really take charge of my own life.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment. ~ Lao Tzu
Today, back in the garret, I am self-analytical, self-aware, self-confident, and filled with real self-control, and self-discipline.
Now I need to act in a way that reflects my new self-awareness, and the awareness of my own complete freedom. This is what I am, this is what I choose to be, this is the real me, and I will never again dodge responsibility for being true to myself.
I do not pretend to understand how this enlightenment came about. Probably it was a unique set of serendipitous circumstances, a synchronicity that has energised me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Some say that once in a lifetime your chance comes along, that once in a lifetime fate deals you the perfect winning hand. And, that we each have to be courageous enough to take that chance, to throw everything we have behind our one great opportunity in Life. All I know is that today I feel better than I have ever felt before in my entire existence.
My short stay in Turkey was the kindling of a flame.
each man is an island unto himself
True realism is a willingness to reveal and accept the truth.
Scientific studies, and my own bitter experiences, have shown me that one of the character traits necessary for a man / person to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, stable, and resilient is Realism.
Being too pessimistic is depressing, being too optimistic means that you are easily disappointed and crushed, and being too idealistic is to search for unrealistic perfection. Being realistic means that you accept the reality of the world as it is, rather than as you imagine it to be.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind to change; the realist adjusts the sails. ~ William Arthur Ward.
It seems that being realistic tends to mean that you’re also deep, grounded, mindful, compassionate, able to deal with adversity, are not easily disappointed, and recover quickly from whatever shit the world throws your way.
To be realistic is to be self-aware and be fully cognisant of your own wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Being fully self-aware means that you do not easily fall prey to self-deceit ~ you don’t much lie to yourself, nor to others.
Realistic people also have good situational awareness, they are grounded in the truth of any given situation, seeing things for what they actually are, rather than they would wish them to be. They have a solid sense of time and place. They read people easily, and they are not reliant on a specific other person for their happiness. Most people don’t have your happiness at the top of their agenda.
It is a healthy approach not to expect persons to turn out precisely how you would have wished. ~ Criss Jami
There are 3.2 billion women in the world, so why should a realistic guy tie their happiness to just one particular uncaring and unavailable woman ~ no matter what.
One key feature of a realistic person is that they will always have some sort of written plan / plans in place to achieve their wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Realists know that unless they do something then nothing happens. To live life you first have to show up. Realists make the very most of any opportunity that comes their way. Realists take action to make things happen, they do not wait for things to happen to them. Realists tend to devote enough time and effort to whatever task lies in front of them.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln.
A realist will also have more free will than any other type of person. This is because they are prepared to say ‘No’. Every time you blindly agree with other people means that you have taken away your own free will.
Realists have a particular type of personality ~ they are physical, sceptical, jealous of their own time and space, independent, practical, clear-headed, good in an emergency, objective, non-judgmental, taciturn, and easy going.
But you don’t have to possess all of those character traits to be a realist ~ perhaps they are attributes we should aspire to.
Some say that a realist believes that some things are worth fighting for. And, that a realist will have a flexible plan for winning their battles. All I know is that to be a realist means showing up for the fight ~ it means showing up for Life.
Practical Realism 1.01 ~ First Know Yourself.
remember you’re supposed to be draining the swamp, not fighting with the alligators
Money ~ we all have the same problems. How to get money, how to get more money, and what do we do with it when we’ve got some money? Trust me on this one ~ MONEY IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT.
My best guess is that most of the people who read my blog don’t have 30 years in the money trade, or have a Masters in Finance, and another in Banking, along with a shed-load of other qualifications, so we’ll start working on 1.01 Money. (If you are a money expert, please feel free to comment, and disagree with whatever I say, but you better be damn right or I will make you look stupid.)
Money by itself is worthless. Money only has value by the nature of the things you can do with it. And mostly you can do 3 things with money.
- Money as a medium of exchange. Money is an intermediate in the exchange of goods or services. You go to work for money, and then you swap the money for the stuff you actually want and need. You don’t want the money, you want what the money can get for you.
- Money as a measure of value. The amount of money you have determines what you can get for your money. If you have a lot of $ or £ or whatever, you can get a lot of stuff. We know how much stuff we can get because everything is conveniently priced in money. The value of your time is also measured in money. (there is a price for everthing, up to and including sex)
- Money as a store of value. Instead of buying more and more stuff you don’t need right now, you just keep money in expectation that you can buy the stuff you need at sometime in the in future.
Money is a
piss poor very bad store of value, especially right now. Just how bad depends on how you warehouse your money. The worst store of value is lending money to a friend, at 0% interest, on the expectation that you will get it back. Next worst is actual cash, then various types of bank accounts, and then managed funds and so forth…
ALL Money Loses Value Over Time. Thinking that your money will be worth just as much, or more, in the future is the biggest confidence trick that Governments and the Finance Industry have ever pulled. However you keep your money, from cash to in your pension fund / 401(k), the amount of stuff you could have bought with the money you have put in, over time, will be a hell of a lot more than the stuff you can actually buy when you eventually come to take it out.
Why Store Value In Money? So, why bother with a pension / 401(k) / managed fund? Why not just buy stuff right now, and keep it for when you need it? There are a couple of reasons:
- Security. Unless your money is in a very dodgy bank, the chances are it will still be there when you need it to exchange for stuff. You can’t really say the same for anything much else, including the value of your home. (Insurance is another topic, for a future date.)
- Liquidity. You need some money that’s easily got at. So, what if everything you own, every last penny save for the few dollars in your purse, is invested in your home? The snag is, what if you need money next Monday? Money is very liquid, while all other assets have lower degrees of liquidity. In general terms, the less liquid your assets, the more likely they are to increase in value over time.
So what does that mean to the poor working stiff?
- Don’t have a lot of cash on hand, or a lot of money in the bank.
- Have some cash, some assets you can confidently sell in a few days ~ without having to have a fire sale. Also have some long-term secure assets, and here, property has traditionally been the best long-term way to hold your wealth.
- Do not ever pay for financial advice. (up to and including from me.)
Please also read my post Money. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
Next Monday’s post will be about some ways the average working stiff can make their money really work for them ~ instead of the other way around.
alpha male severity
honesty veracity sincerity
acceptance credence reliance
poise bravery courage fortitude
perceptive intelligence brilliance
perception recognition cognisance
self-control self-reliance confidence
acuity intuition sensitivity percipience
knowledge judgement maturity experience
genius wisdom intellect trenchant intelligence
compassion consideration kindness benevolence
dignity empathy equanimity tranquility balance
nerve skill success accomplishment self-assurance
poet paladin artist scientist engineer Renaissance man
decided was forced to downsize my life, I also needed to downsize the space I was trying to exist living in. I had to reduce my footprint. I needed money for more interesting things than where I spent the night. Only sad people are freeloading on sofas.
How much space do you want? How much space do you need.? I know a few single people living in 3 bedroom homes, (of a couple of thousand square feet), where one, (or more), of the bedrooms is just a place to store junk. (That’s in addition to the garage, which for most women is also a place to store junk.)
The biggest 5 bedroom home I ever owned was just less than 4,000 square feet, and that’s a lot of unused space when I mostly lived in aeroplanes and hotels. You know what? I never felt comfortable in that place. The garret is a tenth of the size of that baby mansion, and I am extremely comfortable and at home here.
Remember, if you want to change the way you live, then one of the things you want is a lot of spare cash to waste on interesting things, and square footage costs money. By the time you add the mortgage, taxes, power, decorating, furnishing, paying for a cleaner… square footage costs a lot of money.
The smallest place I have ever lived, for any length of time, was an Austin Healey Sprite sports car ~ and I cannot recommend living in your car, unless the other alternative is living on the street, (which I have also tried). I lived in an hotel for quite a while, and that room, (including bathroom), was about 70 square feet. (Trust me, I’m a draughtsman, I can do square footage by eye and memory.) Add in a kitchen area and I could have lived for 3 months in a home of 100 square feet. If you can live in a place for 3 months you can live in it forever.
Come to think of it, when I first bought the land for a trailer park, I lived in a touring caravan, (travel trailer), for several months, which was most likely about 72 square feet.
Therefore, I contend that a single person can make a perfectly reasonable home in 100 square feet, or maybe a little more, say 168 sq ft. The trick is to use the rest of the world as part of your home. Do not entertain, do not do your laundry, do not necessarily shower…, in your home. The outside world is a big place, use it.
The question is ~ are you a true Renaissance Man, do you want to spend all your salary on where you live, or do you want a life?
I have a
guideline rule, rule #2 nobody is allowed into the garret. All other people ever do is use up your space. That applies doubly to women. All women need a lot of square footage ~ women carry around a lot of clothes, shoes, personal crap, mess, stuff, junk they’ve bought at thrift stores, more stuff, more junk…
Be a man, learn some trades, build your own place, keep your women out of it.
I shall not flow into empty oblivion
my dreams and desires remain
I will carry my passions to completion
for in learning how to unlearn
I have been taught how to learn again
and, in staying calm before taking action
is why, in the end, I shall prevail
words and pictures by jack collier firstname.lastname@example.org
The world is a dangerous place. Travel is dangerous. Overseas travel is very dangerous.
I’ve been to more countries and more cities than most people ~ both on business and as part of my personal vacation time. From food poisoning in Paris, to being propositioned by a transexual hooker in Moscow, to being held up at gunpoint in Nassau, I’ve had my share of unpleasant excitement overseas.
Here is some of the soundest advice I can offer, which will hopefully reduce the dangers of travel to the far-flung parts of the world.
Avoid the Mosquito. There is a big chunk of the planet where this annoying little insect will wake you at night with its manic high-pitched buzzing. By the time you hear it the damn thing will already have tasted your blood. If you are mildly allergic to the mosquito you will get a blister where it’s bitten you. If you are bitten by the wrong mosquito it can be a lot worse than an unslightly blister. Much in the news is the Zika virus, which can shrink babies’ brains in the womb. This virus is now endemic in 24 countries, mostly in Central and South America. You know what? The Zika virus isn’t so bad, unless you’re a pregnant woman all you’ll get from Zika is a light fever. Much, much, nastier diseases spread by the mosquito include; a half-dozen types of encephalitis, dengue fever, malaria, black water fever, rift valley fever and yellow fever.
The map shows the areas in which the mosquito carries yellow fever, but one can be bitten by the damn insects anywhere from Italy to India. What I didn’t know is that one can get yellow fever and the Zika virus in California.
Avoid All Animals. Rabies is endemic in many parts of the world. Trust me, you do not want to get rabies. Don’t go near dogs anywhere, even a friend’s dog is not safe. Bats, cyotes, skunks and foxes also carry rabies. The most likely animal you will get rabies from is your local raccoon. Almost all wild animals can give you all kinds of deadly infections and most wild animals can kill you. Even supposedly ‘tame’ animals can easily kill you, especially a ‘tame’ elephant can kill you without even breaking sweat.
Avoid Africa. From Algeria to Zimbabwe all African countries are deadly dangerous. The whole continent should be avoided by anyone who does not actively seek stupid risks. You can suffer every sort of crime anywhere in Afrca from being ripped-off to being sexually assaulted, raped and / or murdered. There is terrorism, revolution and all-out wars going on across half of Africa. Africa is also filled with lethal wildlife and worse diseases.
Don’t Go To India. I’ve been to India, it’s backward and mostly lawless. Just do not even think about going there. India is a shocking place. ‘Foreign’ women are always in serious danger in India, even if they are accompanied by a man. If you go to India you will become very ill, sooner rather than later. Indian cities are as crowded as an ants’ nest, which is disturbing to Western eyes.
Be Careful Of Local Food and Water. If you do go to India or Africa you will get sick, probably from either drinking the local water or eating local food. In the third world even bottled water cannot be trusted, it could actually have come from a faucet in a dirty kitchen. ‘Delhi Belly’ isn’t a joke. Local street food may look interesting and fun, but a few days laid up vomiting and crapping your guts out is no fun at all. In the third world only eat at your hotel, and only drink light beer or gin and tonic ~ be wary of the ice…
Do Not Go Out Alone At Night. Especially if you are female, Do Not Go Out Alone At Night. This applies everywhere from London to Los Angeles. You may think you are a brave and independent feminist ~ in reality you are a potential victim, prey for criminally unscrupulous, violent, and sexually active males.
Do Not Have Casual Sex. Only bastards and sluts travel to have casual sex. Especially do not have sex with a local ~ sexually transmitted diseases are very unfunny. (You can easily contract Zika and several other parasitic and viral diseases from unprotected sex.) And, Never Ever Pay For Sex when you are overseas ~ excepting in Amsterdam. If you are a woman just don’t be a loose slut unless you want to suffer anything from forced marriage to murder. Sexually available and morally lax women and girls are asking for really serious grief in every part of the world. Acting like a tart will get you into trouble whether you are male or female.
Avoid Central and South America. From the United States / Mexican Border south to Cape Horn the whole of Central and South America is a violently dangerous, drugs ridden, shit-hole. You are in danger of robbery, rape, and murder anywhere in Central and South America. If you don’t speak fluent Spanish / Portuguese then forget it. If you do go there do not leave your hotel unescorted and do not get separated from your properly organised tour. All that is in addition to the danger of being bitten by some virulently infections bug or animal.
Do Not Get Drunk. Getting drunk in a place you don’t know is incredibly dangerous. If you get drunk you are at risk of everything from robbery to rape. Do not take illegal drugs, you may get arrested, or you may die. Also, do not gamble, do not lose your temper, and Never, Ever, argue with a uniformed official. Take notice of the advice given by the Foreign Office and State Department. Make damn certain you have all the appropriate documentation for the countries you are visiting. Make certain you have proper travel insurance. Make certain you have more than enough cash and credit on your plastic. Watch the news and don’t turn up in a country that’s just had a natural disaster. Make very certain you have had all the myriad of injections you need for whichever disease-ridden hell-hole you’re visiting.
The more adventurous and younger travellers may ignore some or all of this advice. In which case ~ Good Luck. Personally, and these days, I will only ever visit Western Europe and the various countries of the English Speaking World. I especially like California, where my favourite thing is to take a long road trip.