POST 48 (DAY 54, Saturday, 2020.10.03)
[Morning Entry] .. A Long, Easy Morning
4:30AM--Open eyes after 6 hrs of deep sleep.. feeling pretty rested, but its a Saturday.. so eyes smile back to slumber..
7:00AM--Wake up gently to my tiny watch-alarm that beeps 10 times.. good BM today.. (tmi? maybe..? You know how sometimes its just that good? Hey, its just the other end of good food right? ok i'm done..).. Clean out the dish rack, per my usual.. Spilled some lentil sprouts while extracting eggs from a stuffed fridge--so, I gut the fridge and reorganize it..
8:30AM--Cook and breakfast for four (Jade, Marshall, Josiah, et moi): breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs on fresh tortilla with vegan spicy mayo and salsa, and fresh avocado) with salt & pepper scalloped fried taters side..
9:30AM--Do dishes clean the kitchen a little, then chill with kittens in the sun.. its a warm 60 deg today
10:00AM--Realize its nearly noon and feel somewhat guilty for not having done much with the day.. Last Saturday was pretty much all napping and lounging around doing nothing much.. which felt really awesome.. the word "Enough" comes to mind, to add contrast to the guilty feeling.. There was a time when guilt directed much of my life decisions; that lifestyle stopped a few years ago, when I became aware that that was the case.. all change begins with awareness.. with awareness, each individual has the choice to adjust course or maintain.. I had been feeling guilty for not being "enough".. read a book by Brene Brown that someone had suggested about Worthiness and Being Enough.. changed my awareness, which then shifted my perspective, which led me to start talking to the mirror in a positive light.. I told myself "hey, you're enough, even when you may not feel like it.. you are loved and lovable.. you are worthy of your ideal.." ..The ritual became telling myself something like this in the mirror after each shower.. At first, I didn't want to because an inner mocking voice would make me feel silly about encouraging myself.. I was shy about it, and I did it anyway.. At times, I even talked back to that inner mocking voice--someone has to~! That inner mocking voice can be a bully.. And I stand up to bullies if/when they instigate with me.. As a youth, being bullied was a reality at school.. I didn't know it was okay to stand up to them.. at one point I even saw myself becoming the bully--and a bystander stood up and said "stop".. I knew I was being a jerk, so that was exactly what I needed to 1) snap out of projecting my insecurities in a mean way to others, and 2) recognize that I did not want to continue in that path.. Today, I stand up to external and internal bullies, with a gentle firmness.. because ain't nobody got time for that~!.. let's go in a positive direction, or at least show up with our manners steadfast.. Today, if I feel guilt, I took time to sit, breathe, and reassess my drive.. and if I cannot find the source of guilt, then I set it down and review my list of things I want to do.. our fellow Boots, Jade and Marshall, effectively said to me, "enjoy your Saturday".. and I like that thought.. sometimes I feel an anxiety from thinking there's something I "should" be doing--so this is when the list comes in handy.. the list of things I WANT to have done.. and i like that thought--a list of enjoyment and peace..
10:30AM--Come back to FPH for 2nd breakfast--dutch babies a la Marshall (this time with yogurt in the batter), and text a friend..
11:15AM--Write BRK while relaxing on the couch and thinking about my plot and/or other things I want to do..
12:00PM--Load up Doug and go chop some firewood =D
POST 48 (DAY 54, Saturday, 2020.10.03)
[Evening Entry] .. A Long, Easy Day
"In the morning of life, seek diligence.. in the evening, find soul.." Even though it was a slow-feeling morning, I was able to find enjoyment.. I guess I put a lot of pressure on myself to make best use of my time.. I can feel the shortness of the days more than I used to.. boredom seldom visits me anymore; unless I'm indulging myself in the lateral.. i.e. last Saturday--when I lounged around the house, napping watching tv shows, and browsing the internet.. These are things I used to love doing, but it changed one day.. now, I consider these things indulgence, like eating dessert for a meal--enjoyable and not much nutritional value.. These days I seek veggies for some reason--they taste better with a heap of gratitude.. anyway, I still took it easy today, but did more than last week lol =D
THE WORK: Chopped some firewood today, nice and easy.. and, of course, safety first~!.. at one point I was down for 30 minutes trying get a dust-speck out of my right eye.. it was stuck under my upper eyelid.. I thought I'd try to work through it, but it wasn't moving or improving.. barely able to open my eyes, unless I held my right eyelid up with my finger.. I opened the first aid kit and proceeded to fill the squirt-syringe (which is made for such occasions).. within 2-3 minutes, the speck was out.. up until then, I had tried splashing my eye with water, pouring water into my eye, and trying to cry it out--none of which worked.. after the speck was out, I was sooooo relieved.. and during the painful middle, I kept de-prioritizing the FIRST aid, while worrying about losing my eye.. Eye see why it's called "first aid" now (buh-dum~!).. =D and I still love chopping wood..
One trick for that "spec in the eye" issue is to grab your upper eyelashes and pull your eyelid away from your eyeball. Then raise your lower eyelid (under its own power) and pull your upper eyelid down over it and let go. Basically you use your lower eyelashes as a brush to drag the chunk out from under your upper eyelid. It works about half the time, likely depending on if the spec is stuck to your lid or your eyeball.
Do make sure your lower lid isn't covered in dust before you start
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"
Sometimes it takes a speed bump to realize I was playing off beat ever so slightly.. In my mind, I was indeed playing to the beat because the change happened so subtly.. What am I talking about? Social dynamics, heart-break, energy tanks, and ritual/routines..
RHYTHM ASSESSMENT: Something happened recently that jolted my emotional state.. I felt off-balance and off-center.. usually this happens when my rituals are missed or altered and not re-assessed (reassessment is usually one of my rituals, but that was set aside).. I'm in a new environment, living a new kind of lifestyle.. so, something like this is expected.. the key is to find the rhythm again--that beat that gives me peace and clarity.. Remember I had written about clarity early on?.. Yes, it's time for clarity again..
The speed bump (this time) was a deep desire to socialize with someone who could just be present with me.. Listen but not advise.. Empathize but not fix.. Regard but not personalize or project.. its a lot to ask of anyone, so I try not to burden others with these measures too often.. Luckily, when I need to, I have a couple people who are willing to give of themselves in this way for me.. Of course, I offer this type of attention when others need it, and when I am available to give it.. much like anything worth practicing, its a skill that grows with repetition or shrinks with time..
Some may call it a "venting" session.. In most cases, I only need to vent one or two ideas/thought patterns, and then I can go into listening mode, where I offer my full attention in listening to the other.. Usually, the other ends up talking more than I do.. I've come to understand that people really need a listening ear.. the fine line is where I am giving of myself too much, so that's where reassessment comes in.. And because sometimes I am not aware that my tank is low, the rituals of "filling the tank" on a regular basis makes the refills automatic in a way..
So the recent example will be left somewhat vague for now, because it needs more time to clarify.. it felt something like a heart-break.. there may or may not come a time for an detailed explanation.. basically, I let myself relax on my rituals a bit too much.. i.e. I thrive in structure.. Before arriving at WL, I had really honed in my daily rituals/routines to keep my tank(s) at or near full, while also building-in the time to relax from the structured-ness.. this seemed to work very well for a long time.. I was living alone--socializing happened at work.. socializing brings this introvert unexpected/unpredictable dynamics to my emotional states, and that's where a re-centering is a must for me..
Friday was an interesting breakthrough moment because Fred asked me "is everything ok?" ..He had noticed that I was distancing for the last week or so.. Such a simple question, and so poignant for me because Fred was listening, i.e. noticing and acknowledging me.. Sometimes all we need is for someone to listen, notice, and acknowledge, in order to feel better.. and instantly, I did feel better.. Thanks Fred.. (he even offered to chat with me later that night, but things got busy for both of us.. and I'm happy to discuss whenever, because 80% of the feelings got better from asking that simple question in that passing moment)..
Saturday was a breakthrough time for me, because I was able to work alone in the woods while chopping wood.. taking time to be alone, then taking a mandatory 30-minute break to tend to a speck of dust in my eye gave me a chance to just stop everything.. stop all the loop tracks playing in my head, stop all the thoughts.. stop the distraction of motion.. I literally could not blink or open my eyes, which meant I could not walk straight in broad daylight.. (not to mention it gave me a chance to cry out some tears.. in attempt to drain my eye of course.. heh-hem.. maybe?).. A deep gratitude for eyesight and general wellness (and first aid kits) came over me when the speck was flushed out.. maybe my clarity is Gratitude (again).. and this time, the opposing force was a selfish expectation that led to my heart-break feeling.. What exactly was I expecting selfishly?..
I think I was expecting people to behave a certain way.. this i what I call "projection".. rather than accepting people and things as they are, I got caught up in control and outcome.. in my opinion, this is a debilitating spiral that has swept out my footing in my past..
THE CLARITY: Gratitude for Wellness and Safety.. Gratitude for Acceptance and Grace.. Gratitude for Gentleness and Kindness.. Gratitude for Speed Bumps.. Gratitude for Friends who have ears and Friends who don't..
POST 50 (DAY 56, Monday, 2020.10.05)
"Very Interesting" and "Relaxing"
Marshall and Jade showed up together about a month ago, ready to contribute with a smile.. They certainly brought a fun spirit and a diligent work ethic.. Marshall, a full time boot was lifting 6 foot logs with one hand on his first day at the Greenhouse Project, so I made sure to stay on his good side.. Jade, a half-time boot while also going to school online, made us vegan and meaty steamed buns on her first night here, so I made sure to stay on her good side.. Their month's stay seemed to fly by in a blur of light-hearted laughter and rich positivity, with the occasional witty banter.. And they shared with us all these.. Thank you for your awesome energy, focus, and humor Marshall and Jade.. We wish you the very bestest on your epic journey across america, and sincerely hope to see you soon, here at WL~!
THE WORK: AM--Patio stone floor with Brianna and kittens.. almost done.. maybe one or two more shifts.. and voila--phase 1 complete~! ETA was 60 days from the time I arrived, so, we are still on track.. happy to say.. but lets not get to excited until the pizza party happens, once its done.. Who's providing the pizza?--not sure yet, but it would be a nice way to celebrate.. =D
PM--"It's the First WofatiGreenhouse, Betches~!" (pardon my slang, but its just that exciting~!).. Expediently installed the first rafter (of two).. The notches fit quite nicely together--muy buenas notches, indeed..! And everyone was safe, most importantly ..We finished a bit sooner than expected because there was no extra chiseling involved in the installation.. So, we three (Josiah, Daniel, and I) harvested some crimson clover for the remaining 1 hour of the shift.. harvesting seeds has become one of my favorite activities here at WL.. especially if while having a nice conversation about permaculture, homesteading, and/or personal experiences with a fellow Boot..
POST 51 (DAY 57, Tuesday, 2020.10.06)
[Evening Entry] ..Showing Up
THE WORK: AM/PM--Patio stone floor.. phase 1 complet!.. the final portion to fill ended up looking like a heart-shape, so I took a picture.. how poignant, as I poured my heart into this.. (well, I pretty much pour my heart into all my work here actually.. I figure love and gratitude is the bottomless source of energy, so why not tap that wellspring?.. its my superpower, after all.. the opposite would be bitterness and resentment--and I've done plenty of work using those negative counterpart energies.. amazing that humans can choose their attitudes, in many cases--something I didn't always know.. change usually starts with awareness right?).. Paul mentioned that the freezing water may expand and create distortions or destruction (paraphrasing; he used a technical word that escapes me).. Also, he mentioned that spending nearly 60 days to build it may have been too much boot-time (total working-days spent might be closer to 30 days, because there were many days that everyone was on other projects.. but 30 may still be too high a number).. These were things i already considered whilst pouring my heart into it, and I'm happy to see phase 1 complete.. It's not the completion I was focused on, as much as the attitude with which I showed up to contribute to a beautiful thing that everyone could use.. hopefully, the water-freezing thing won't render the patio useless.. but even still, this is Wheaton Laboratory--and in a Lab, experiments offer data.. For this I am still grateful~!
POST 52 (DAY 58, Wednesday, 2020.10.07)
"Closest thing to an actual vacation.." Daniel left WL this morning..
Daniel joined us for one week, to help with the forward velocity of Wheaton Labs.. He drove up in one of my personal all time favorite vehicles of all time, a 1993 Honda Accord Sedan V6 (pardon my excitement! it's a thing.).. He took the time to share his expertise by sharpening all of our kitchen knives which were in dire need of a tune-up.. Showing up each day ready to work, he also shared his awesomely dry wit and sense of focus.. Alas, he continues driving through another few states or so, to visit other places on his map.. Thank you, Daniel, for adding value to our little ensemble of like-minded go-givers.. We sincerely hope to see you again soon~!
THE WORK: AM--Seeding at the Abbey.. Grapes on the hugels, plums around the the property, lettuce and radishes on the hugels.. Remember when I had that breakthrough moment about seeding about a week or so ago?.. Yup, I still love seeding.. I talk to the seeds.. "Be beautiful, hearty, and tasty..".. If I have music, I'll sing to them a melody.. If I think of something funny, I'll laugh with them.. may sound odd perhaps--but why not?? Intentions are communicated to everything we interact with aren't they?.. So, why not send a bit more love out to the food I'm growing to feed the mouths of hard-working permies and visitors? =D ..At least that's what I think..
PM--Chiseling notches on the second rafter for the First Wofati Greenhouse~!.. Over at the main structure (about 40 yards away), Clayton was chiseling the mating notches on the three vertical posts.. he came over at one point and said, "I think I messed up..".. So, I replied, "For what its worth, I think there's notching wrong with that~...!" ..Jokes aside though, such is life, is it not?--we do, and we learn.. life doesn't give us a report card, but it does teach us lessons.. and we are all certain to mess up, if we are ever doing anything worthwhile.. I'm proud to have a teammate that's interested enough to catch his own mistake, and honest enough to admit it openly.. Thanks for being you, Clayton.. and the seriously awesome hair.. =D
POST 53 (DAY 59, Thursday, 2020.10.08)
THE WORK: AM/PM--It's The First Wofati Greenhouse, man~! The second rafter went on its three posts this morning.. The mating of the notches is always and exciting occasion.. we needed a few minor adjustments to a couple of the notches, and then it slid in nicely.. some gapping occurred, but all within 1/4 inch.. Then, the rafter was secured with a rebar-stud for each post.. The same crew of three worked the PM shift to prepare the first ("lowest" or "rear-most") of three perlins, as well as to film/document the preparation.. Working with Josiah and Clayton sure is a delight.. they show up.. focused, positive, and ready to share humor at a moment's notice.. I don't know about anyone else, but I've come to understand people through the way they show up to work.. whether its helping a friend move, or rowing a kayak, or doing random and/or cool things on a permaculture-homestead-laboratory.. Work reveals one's inner character, whereas Play may reveal only a surface-level personality.. I've never had much of an outgoing personality in groups, but when it comes to work, I know how I like to show up.. (mostly because I've definitely been the guy that shows up with a poopy attitude.. bitter, resentful, etc.. I think I've mentioned this briefly).. One day, I a co-worker asked me seriously, "Where's your mind?".. such a simple question that led me down a thought path that made me check myself.. looking back, I'm so grateful for that co-worker ("Gil"), who I also resented at the time for even asking me such a ego-shattering question.. I thought I was doing things just fine or better than fine.. I knew deep down that I could do better.. so, somehow I channeled all my energy into showing up to work focused on working, and not whatever else my mind wanted to think about while someone was paying me to be there.. That's the thing about Entitlement (the opposite of Gratitude, in my opinion)--it says that I deserve things like money and praise for, frankly, a lackluster performance.. In my mind at that time, I had actually believed that I deserved the best things in life.. In short, I was a spoiled and ignorant guy that was not playing up to my own standards.. I got mad.. at my own spoiled-ness and ignorance.. So I asked life to teach me what I seemed to not grasp.. And Life checked me good..
RANT CONTINUED: Soon after this request of life, things started to take a turn.. I showed up to work each day, with a desire to improve my desirability.. In other words, I wanted to make myself an asset to the company, to such a degree that the higher-ups would want to keep me through tough times.. or "indispensable".. and on I went in this trajectory for quite some time (15+ years).. graciously, it worked.. there were many days where I'd stay late, give an ounce more effort/focus, or offer to do the mundane tasks no one else really wanted to do.. I read books and listened to audio on becoming a better employee.. So eventually, "indispensable" I must have become--during a down-sizing, I received a promotion within a company where three of my teammates were let go (including the boss, my friend, who got me the job).. there was something troubling about that specific turn of events that got me to question this "indispensable" thing--but that topic might be perhaps for another rant..
Long story long, I found out I did not deserve anything in life.. in fact, earning the things I most desired was the only way to a lasting sense of completion.. today, the target for which I aim, each day, is simply gratitude.. I asked for show-up power, and I learned the definition of grace.. If grace is defined as "the receiving of things I do not deserve", then I live by grace alone.. today, I believe showing up is simply living by grace in gratitude.. and that's my superpower (the attitude which no one can take away from me).. My character is whomever shows up as me on any given day, in any given moment.. and each day, I get to choose how I show up.. So, I get to choose my character--and that's a joyous thought.. this is what I learned across a 15+ year journey of digging into my own depths.. often I silently cried out, "What am I really made of?".. What those around me saw as "intensity" was actually sheer confusion and a pure yearning for the truth.. The journey was lonely, tiring, and most of all worthwhile.. I remember didn't know how to put into words what I was going through to explain it to others.. mostly because of the glazed looks I got when I tried to explain.. alas, I still seek the truth of me each day.. If someone asks me why I'm so intense, I simply reply, "it's probably one of those things you'll get when you get it..".. And remember how I mentioned that change begins with awareness?.. perhaps before awareness, there must be at least a tiny hunger.. a genuine curiosity.. I know this because for so much of my youth, I spent my time uninterested in anything but self-gratification--which is fine and good.. It just wasn't what I really wanted deep down.. and those three simple words somehow started a trickle of thought which turned into an avalanche of curiosities.. "Where's your mind?".. enough rant for now..
I'm so grateful for the superheroes who show up alongside me each day, here at WL, and that life has taught me skills which can be leveraged to contribute to the forward velocity of this team.. the work?.. What an amazing way to exercise our super powers and contribute to the world at the same time~! What a privilege and honor.. El gusto es mio.. =D
enjoy the pics~!
If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. -T.S. Eliot such a short, tiny ad: