Observations of myself and others in humans

About three years ago I reached a pinnacle in my drinking career. It was a pinnacle I fell from so severely that I was hospitalized at an in treatment rehabilitation center for over sixty days. My career, health, family relationships, and living standard where on the brink of being lost if I did not make significant change.

Most people, if not everyone, struggle with life.  Life is a plethora of unknowns constantly being thrown at someone and demanding to be dealt with in a whole other plethora of methods. Some people adopt methods that allow them to deal with life in a very efficient manner while others struggle to find ways to cope with the day to day toil. These behaviors they develop over time determine how their life will unfold and how they will feel about it. Some people hide their pains or deal with them in invisible ways while others openly express how they feel all the time.  Of course there are too many methods of dealing with life to describe and get in to – not to mention my complete lack of understanding of them so we will spare some of the assumptions. I have my way of dealing with life and it is unique to me but it is not greater or less than anyone else’s. It was however, at a time, much more visible than some other methods over time as it began to take its toll.

Some methods I believe people deal with life that I share are the following:

  • Avoid life

    • You stay at home and are afraid that any interaction might cause further pain so instead you cozy up with your pain and end up nurturing it.  You might form a symbiotic relationship with it and without even noticing feed it so that it grows and stays ever present.

    • Avoidance can manifest in so many different ways other than the obvious reclusive behavior.  Distractions are a culprit of this method and most often always tie in with the suppressive method talked about below.

    • Any process of distraction from life can form a feedback loop of negative reinforcement.  Over the years it can grow very strong and be really painful to deal with. Unfortunately we are often taught to avoid pain and uncomfortability.  The risk of doing that is that we can endure a low or suppressed amount of pain if we are comfortable enough for a long time thus building a comfortable environment in which to sit with our pain and call it acceptable.

  • Suppression

    • This is probably the hallmark of previous generations and has such an engendered ethos on our society that it can be considered weak to not be a person who suppresses feelings.  Although it seems that these days more and more people are coming fourth with their stories there is still much to be learned about how and when to communicate as well as how to receive it and teach what is ok and what is not.

    • Suppression is my subconsciousness’ drug of choice. It has always been easy to suppress feelings of doubt and shame or fear with alcohol or drugs. This of course includes for some people social drinking and cigarettes.  It can also include food stuffs, TV, Video games, gambling, etc.

    • We suppress our feelings to avoid them.  Sometimes this can be a good thing but repetitive over time usage of this to deal with any and all situations can deflate the mind and cause a loss of self.  Recovering addicts can attest to the results of suppression if you ask them “What has it been like emotionally for you since you have been in recovery?”. A common answer might be “It feels like I am alive and feeling things for the very first time.” because the emotions come so intensely and are so foreign that they are completely new to deal with.

    • A suppressed person can have a very difficult time with opening up.  Learned behaviors compound over time and can create what feels like a prison to break out of.  You know you want to express yourself but the brain sends pain signals to discourage you from doing so.

    • A suppressive substance can often loosen the social drive and help break the ice, but used all the time for everything over a decade or so and you may have yourself a real problem.

    • Again, this behavior compounds over time and begins to take over. Rather than deal with a situation some people tend to prefer to suppress that its even there a all.

  • Anger / volatility

    • Anger, aggression, fear, all lead to the darkside

    • Humans inherit the animal instinct that if they make themselves look big and scary enough they will get what they want.

    • Most people do not want to hurt others around them but when they do not know how to deal with the situation before them it can be a common go to for our lizard brain to stand up in arms against good friends/family and colleagues as a way to deal with the situation.  This often takes form as an outburst or snide comment followed by regret, shame and remorse. Unfortunately regret, shame, and remorse also compound. They stack and like a fire that is getting too much fuel will eventually explode. It feeds itself, you see, it’s like a living entity. This trait can be observed with someone who seems ultimately calm but occasionally has aggressive outbursts.

    • This behavior can often lead to short term successes and victories but also often cost relationships and harbor negative feelings.  It is one that is also etched into our brain over time making the behavior more easily accessible, more normal, and tougher to change.

I think communication is the tool that can unlock the paths to our greatest potential.  We must relearn to communicate our feelings and our situations if we are to break the cycles and carve our own paths. Unfortunately this can seem like an overwhelmingly daunting task.  I have talked to people about this and most state that if they started communicating honestly they would likely lose everything they had. Has life become such a charade that we placate each other so to never upset the balance? That we guard our own prison walls so tightly for fear of the unknown?Communication with ourselves is another key worth mentioning.  How often do you know what feeling you are feeling and why? You might try to notice when you are feeling something rather than just feeling it.  It might be beneficial to record you feelings and note how often they are happening. Its work and work sucks but because it is uncomfortable it almost surely entices change.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken.  Our brains are wired to create problems.  For thousands of years our brains where always finding out what was wrong with our situations so we could improve them and survive.  These days survival is easier and easier so as our brain scopes for problems it may bring all kinds of things to your attention that are in fact not problems at all.  I believe this is a contributing factor to why so many are dissatisfied with their current lives. Not a big enough house, not a fast enough car, too many pounds around the belly, need to have products we can not afford.

Please be grateful if you are reading this.  You have electricity and probably shelter, heat, water and food.  That brings you more luxuries at your basic level to more than half the entire world.  I do not think your problems are small or insignificant comparatively. You have a right as a human to feel ill or uneasy with anything you choose to but remember it can be a choice.  Circumstance is the unfolding of life around us and we are the perceiver who notices it happening. We can notice ourselves having feelings but we do not need to be controlled by them. Everyone perceives life differently because everyone is infinitely different.

I write this without motivation or cause to believe it should be helpful whatsoever. I don’t pretend to know any of this to be true or reflect my idea of a better lifestyle. I can not recommend a life that is better than the one we currently all have. I see a line of differences drawn between people who claim to be happy and people who claim to be unhappy.  There seems to be some very common differences such as communication, ability to identify feelings, and routines that promote health to name a few. Most people I know who have a strong belief they are happy also have a history of making disciplined decisions and I suppose more importantly they make very conscious decisions rather than impulses. That’s just my observation and ability to understand and communicate my observation though, who knows! What does it all mean to you?


Allen Hall

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Naked in the Rain – Part 2 – Snakes and Guitars

What follows is my first dinner of three at the Forest Hostel.  I will not describe every night here so that afterwards we can fast forward to the promise of this title.  I am inclined though to speak of the dinner as it was an event I will not soon forget.

When dusk settles in at the Hostel in the Forest a bell is rang letting all forest residents know that dinner is about to be served.  At the sound of the bell I eagerly find my way back to the kitchen tent. I meet today’s cook, the job of cook changes every day, and on this day the cook is a resident and not a hostel worker.  She is wearing long colorful robes and a very practiced smile. Her white greying hair is pulled back behind her head and I feel invited by her large brown eyes. She has been working all day, she says, on this very important meal and has put all the love she could into all she could with great intention.  I thank her for her efforts and say I am excited to eat something so lovingly prepared after spending the last few nights eating road food.

Before dinner is served in the tent all residents are asked to stand and join hands to form a circle of friends around our table.  There was thirty or so of us there. We held hands in silence for nearly a minute as the host encouraged us to just listen to the sounds of the forest.  After the brief group meditation everyone is asked to state their name, where they are from and also mention something they are grateful for.

As the introductions went on we all remained holding hands.  I felt closer and closer to everyone and also very safe and content.  The young daughter of Jill seemed nervous. She sported an expression of uncertainty, which was shared by a handful of us, as the spotlight became closer and closer to her, handed off by the introduction of one resident to another. I wondered whether she would choose to pass or speak up when it became her turn.  It was quite warming to my heart and choking to my throat that when it became her turn her twisted face turned into a bright beaming effort of self proclamation. She spoke loudly and clearly and gave thanks with clear truth and well thought out gratitude. It was a powerful moment in the reception. When it became my turn I gave thanks for finding out that the honeymoon suite was indeed not mine and that I had found out in a less than embarrassing way.  This caused great laughter. You can read about that incident in part 1 of this post.

The following few days where spent in similar fashion.  I made friends around the fire, I listened to the experienced guitar player give lessons as well as a performances in the deep night.  I meditated and did yoga in a glass house in the forest and played guitar eventually with Harry in the library. I made friends with strangers.  I got to know them easily as many of them freely opened their hearts to me. We spoke of what seemed like massive life decisions, uncertainty, self love and the strange world we all try to perceive while we live in it.  I still talk to these friends today and hopefully have built connections that will last a lifetime.

The day I played guitar with Harry was the anniversary of fifty years since he had his first lesson and the last night of my visit to the hostel.  I had, characteristically, tried to avoid him during my stay. I am an avoidant and close sincere connection freak the hell out of me. I tend to run from connection.  That is what taking this trip was meant to force me to do, connect with people, and it has proven to be very difficult (more on this later 🙂

On the even of Harry’s fifty years of guitar playing I knew it would be nearly impossible to avoid contact.  The poor man had extended his heart to me immediately when he saw me. He sensed my walls and respected them.  Harry is a genuine lover with a lot of love in his heart and many years of guitar expertise in his fingers. I regret not picking his brain and bonding with him more. I learned that his first guitar lesson was given to him by his mother and it was to his mother that he dedicated all his guitar playing.  On this day, the day of his fifty year anniversary, Harry had taken a vow of silence. It was something he had never done before. To Harry this day was tremendously important and I could feel the weight of his life settle in I watched him go about his day silently giving thanks to his mother, music, his life, and, the forest.

Harry discovered me playing guitar in the library and silently beseeched me to play guitar with him.  I protested of course but his silent convincing gestures complete with pleading blue eyes, jolly red cheeks, and, precisely animated silent face was not something I could resist.  I am not accustomed to playing guitar with anyone else and I am frightfully shy of it. We played for about twenty minutes and when we were done Harry wrote me a note thanking me for the first lesson of this new year.  We hugged and that was the last time I saw him.

As Sunday came about all other guests had moved on.  I booked on one last night in the woods and became the only guest of Sunday night.  A storm was spoken of that would move in as the sun went down. This excited me as I would get to see a change of weather in the swampy woods.  I decided to take the company of myself back to the cabin where I lodged. I moved my luggage to the bottom floor and found a reclining chair there to sit on an wait for the weather.  Here I took a few beers and soaked myself as the sky prepared to do the same to the earth below.

As the weather moved in the sky overhead went from blue to a low hanging thick grey.  The sounds of the forest insects and animals were replaced by quiet ominous gusts of wind.  It began to rain during the last few hours of light and it came down very hard. I stood up to open the door to watch the dramatic downpour and while looking out felt invited by the woods to join it in its naked embrace.  This decision rolled around in my head for a while and the chance of it ever happening again soon, or how often it had happened last, won out and soon I was stripped and out the door.

Why it feels so good to do something like this I can not say.  As I run out there naked I felt as mad as I did free. The soft damp ground was foreign to my naked foot as was every other sensation during this excursion.  I ran around the barn in which I lived and a bit through the deeper woods until returning back to my dry clothes. I slumped back in my paint stained recliner and ate a snickers bar.  A feeling of lush energy poured out of me and on came one of those moments where it seemed like I had made a good decision quitting my job and running away. A few minutes after I had returned Ryan had called out from the woods to see if anyone was there.  I sang out that I was here and he asked if anyone else was. No I told him and watched him ascend the stairs to his lodgings covering himself with a towel over his otherwise naked body. He too, evidently, had been naked in the woods.


 A yoga studio in the swamps of Georgia
A yoga studio in the swamps of Georgia
 Beware of snakes!
Beware of snakes!
 Past the snake their lies a sacred yoga path...
Past the snake their lies a sacred yoga path…
 Make offerings, pray, give thanks, rinse repeat
Make offerings, pray, give thanks, rinse repeat

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned if you enjoyed doing so!

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Naked in the Rain – Part 1 – Swamps of Georgia

Naked in the Rain

I’ve been making my way east on interstate ten and then north on the seventeen.  I had planned to visit St. Augustine but missed the turn off. I had been on the road for a few days at this point and felt like taking a motel.  Somewhere between Jacksonville Florida and the border of Georgia I find one in a quiet space that is not too expensive. I ask the concierge for a restaurant recommendation and she tells me there is a Denny’s across that street.  That won’t do but I pretend like it does. My room is reserved on the second floor and outside there are two parked state trooper vehicles. Immediately I feel like I am breaking the law. I have plans on poking holes in a pop can later to smoke what’s left of the grass I bought back in New Orleans.  I carry my things upstairs, including my the bass guitar, hoping no one sees me.

Inside I close all drapes and turn the A/C and TV on.  I jump in bed and marvel at the amenities available here compared to the hostels and couches I’ve become regular to.  The room is quite large and has a mini fridge. The sink area has two sinks with a mirror above them that stretch from wall to wall.  Next to that is the bathroom. It has a fan and I make a mental note of that.

I check google to see if there is any other food options about.  I find a place called Lindy’s Fried Chicken which has good reviews.  It’s not far but my stress level is high and I figure for sure I will get lost.  I leave the hotel in search of chicken and immediately take a wrong turn while leaving the hotel.  It takes me a few minutes to notice this and I make a nervous u-turn to get back on track. Lindy’s was not far.  I am there in about five minutes. Outside there is a convenience store and liquor store. The whole complex is very empty except one person stands outside smoking what looks like a wet cigarette.

Inside Lindy’s is empty.  I assume the woman working at the desk is called Lindy but I never ask.  She asks me what I want and I have no idea. I ask for a recommendation and she tells me they serve fried chicken.  Oh good that’s what I want. I get confused about how to order. I pray that I get through this properly. I end up with a few pieces of fried chicken with slaw and beans.  She uses a microphone to place the order to the back which I find hilarious. No one was there except for us.

Back at the hotel I eat my fried chicken, have some drinks, and watch family guy on TV.  Every once in a while I peer out the curtains to check if the police are still there. They are but I can’t tell if they are in the car or not.  I wonder if they can see the curtain moving every once and while to check on them. I doubt they can. My paranoia is usually wrong. I pass back and forth in the hotel eating chicken and sipping drinks while mulling over plans to smoke.  The fan, the bathroom, the fan the bathroom. My gut continues to convince me it’s a good idea while my mind goes into psychopathic outcomes that get me deported for life. I end up smoking in the bathroom with ease and afterwards I slap my bass around a bit.

My next destination is Savannah Georgia.  I plot a course there with google and also do a search for hostels in the area.  The closest one I can find is called Hostel in the Forest which is located about one and a half hours south of Savannah.  I read about the place and become lush with excitement. The tree house cabins have me sold.  I send news of this exotic place to a friend of mine who says it looks nice but also expensive.  I send back news that the place is very affordable. For thirty dollars a night one gets a bunk and a special made dinner every night.  My excitement numbs the pain in my back. I load the car with my provisions, a bass guitar and candy, then head north on the 95. After a few hours I turn left on highway 82 to go east.  

I enter the hostels dirt path driveway and immediately begin to wonder what I got myself into.  The place seems secluded and I start to feel like “not one of them.”. I regard this as a feeling that haunts me everywhere and disband it.  The driveway winds and bumps and potholes on an elevated dirt road surrounded by swamping woods full of lush greenery and tall trees. Eventually I find the parking lot.  On foot I take the rest of the road and finally see one of the tree houses elevated about twelve feet off the ground on stilts. There is a staircase on that leading up to the middle of the floor to the octagonal shaped room.  The roof is thatched well and the walls are comprised of netted windows so a dweller would have a view of the forest in every direction.

Not far from this welcoming tree house dwelling is the main area.  I meet a long haired bare footed scooby doo t-shirt wearing friend there named Jonathan.  He is giving a tour to a few women and asks me to wait so that I can be checked in. I enter the main lodge through a mosquito meshed window door frame.  It is of old wood, dry and light, quiet to close with a mild thud when the two wooden frames meet. I sit on a futon type couch in the waiting area. The reception desk looks like it was carved out of an old tree.  It is entered from the back behind a curtain and inside there is a computer and desk where the concierge work. They handle guests through a window overlooking the couch where I sit. Jonathan enters there and we do a routine check in.

After payment Jonathan gives me a quick tour.  He explains a bit about the hostel creator Tom who is also a writer.  There is a copy of the story of the hostels creation, which came to be in 1975, available for all to read.  Behind the false tree shaped reception area is the kitchen. Jonathan explains how the grey water works and also how breakfast, dinner and coffee go.  We exit from the kitchen to tour the dining area which is about forty by twenty feet. There are large picnic tables here carved from logs as well as a pool table, a reading area with a couch and a table tennis.  Behind these buildings are a shower area which is very visible and jonathan calls ‘the most secluded shower’, maybe jokingly, as well as a few buildings which are dorms, a fire pit, a path that leads to the lake and another that leads to the labyrinth.  There is also a chicken coop. Chickens roam free here and every night the staff corral them back to their pens.

Jonathan explains the route to my cabin.  He also explains the route to the lake, the glass house, the labyrinth, and, shows me the library which is right next to the main office. 

The library is beautiful. It is of a geodome construction and maybe forty feet in diameter. It is filled with books organized by genre. There are guitars, amps, a stove and seating areas.  I note the guitar and amp as a hopeful place to hide. I tell Jonathan that I saw the cabin he verbally guided me to on my way in and I would have no trouble finding it. Thinking back I wonder how many times I have fooled myself saying I would have no trouble finding something.

I climb the stairs at the bottom of the cabin that I assume is mine and push one half of the trap doors open.  Inside I remark on the cleverness of the rope work that keep the trap doors from banging on the floor once opened.  Inside the doors can be opened by the rope pulley system. It really is fantastic. My whole view is open to me as explained by the mesh type windows.  The bed is a double and the only one in this cabin. The walls are painted with lovely characters of maidens and soothing colors of night sky. There is a kama sutra book on an end table and candles sit everywhere.  “Damn, I really lucked out with this room!” A feeling of romance washes over me.

I decide to take a little tour and use the rope pulleys to open the trap door.  I step down the ladder and take a turn to go find the lake. Along the path I pass a couple who had just checked in.  We say friendly hellos with deep smiles as the lushness of this place ignites a playful delight in seemingly everyone I meet here.  A few seconds after I pass them I realize I had forgotten my notepad and pen. I turn back and notice the couple at the bottom to the stairs of my cabin.  I do the math pretty quickly but decide that maybe I am too eager to give up a good thing. Maybe all the cabins are this sweet and they are lost. Maybe they are lost instead of me.  I ask them if this is their cabin and they both seem a little confused. “What’s the name of your cabin?” they ask and I say I do not know. I look for papers that I do not have while they sort of do the same.  “What’s the name of yours?” I ask and one of them replies “I think it’s the honeymoon sweet”.

Through a bit of awkwardness I mildly reassure them that this is probably the honeymoon suite and that I will remove my luggage.  They thank me and I ascend to awkwardly carry my solo packing gear down all while hoping I did not sully at all the romantic notion of the privacy of their suite.


 Part of the town
Part of the town
 A 'Secluded' shower in the woods
A ‘Secluded’ shower in the woods
 See yourself in the woods!
See yourself in the woods!
 Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

At the end of the trail I drop my luggage and take a survey stance to glean over the woods.  I see a structure deeper in and eventually find a path that leads to what becomes an outhouse.  At the outhouse the trail forks off with one leading to a larger structure and the other to an outdoor shower.  I follow the trail to the larger structure thinking this must be my residence. It is a two story structure and most of the walls are mosquito nets.  On the bottom floor are about twelve or so bunk beds. The whole structure, outside and in, is covered with colorful paintings. Some are characters from Dr Seuss books, there are a lot of those, there are murals of women, murals of men and murals of dreamlike landscapes.  Encouraging phrases like “Live your dreams!” and “You are worth it!” are stamped on the walls and frames as well as bed furniture, ceilings and beams.

 Live your dreams each night!
Live your dreams each night!
 This 'hotel' has a dedicated art room for all guests
This ‘hotel’ has a dedicated art room for all guests

I decide to take the top floor.  It seems less crowded and I remember Jonathan saying something about a top floor.  The top floor only has two bunks with the rest of the room being an art room. There are easiles, books, papers, crayons, stencils, and tool chests filled with art supplies.  One of the bunk beds has two mattresses on it with the bed above it as a barren plank board covered in some dead leaves. I think about taking the second mattress and putting it to the top deciding the temporary resident must have become greedy for double padding.  I decide against the modification and instead begin to clear the top bunk of dead leaves determined that I can be comfortable on the plank.

Someone new enters and introduces himself as Ryan.  He is dressed like a camp counsellor wearing cargo shorts, a green t shirt and a brown tilley hat.  I extend to shake but he brings me in for a hug which lasts nearly twenty seconds. He asks if I’m sleeping up here and whether or not they told me to sleep up here.  I say I can’t recall a thing about most things and he says he is sure they told me to sleep downstairs as the upstairs is for staff only. I agree but he says he doesn’t care whether I sleep there or not.  I take up this overlook and keep my luggage where it is.

During the day I walk about to get a feeling for the grounds.  I meet some other guests doing a loop along the lake. Some are in groups and some are alone but everyone seems very relaxed and sort of here for the similar reason to unwind.  I meet a woman who had been coming here since she was eight, and, now is here with her daughter of age eight visiting for her first time.  Her and her friends, along with her daughter are from Florida.  It is a first time visit for her friends. With large beaming smiles we introduce ourselves and part ways for the time being.

I go back to the main area to check out the library and guitar collection.  I meet a man named Harry there who is part of the staff. We talk about guitars for a bit and I find out he is a teacher of the instrument and has been playing for over fifty years.  He says he saw me in Nashville and names the hostel I was at. I don’t recognize him. We check our travel dates which do not match but nevertheless he is sure he saw me. I play guitar for about an hour but when Harry returns from work I scurry away afraid to be in his presence.

Thank you for reading Episode 1 of this exciting new chapter! Stay tuned for Episode 2 where we sing around campfires and watch a storm engorge the swamp!

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Walking in Memphis

After a weekend in Nashville’s nightlife I feel pretty taxed.  The clouds never did let up and I use this an excuse as to why I do not explore the city much during the day.  I do find a guitar shop. Mostly because I sort of lost interest in it. I visit the Johnny Cash museum but do not go inside due to price.  It turns out that Monday is a holiday. Most of the shops are closed. I take a long walk out of the core area of broadway. I find myself crossing large bridges over railway yards that sprawl on and on.  The vastness of American cities is hard for me to comprehend. I know the country is filled with so many of these mega cities. It’s a quiet day and everything is grey. The clouds sit on the sky encompassing the city in every direction way beyond what my eye can see.  The buildings, grey as well, seem to blend in with the clouds. The streets are grey and the puddles that fill them reflect the grey of their surroundings. A cold breeze breathes around me. The temperature is both warm and cold. My brisk walk suggests I take my jacket off and put it back on again in about five minutes, then take it off again for another seven minutes.  I pass a man holding roses on the bridge. He is dressed well and has focused eyes looking beyond me. I turn to watch him out of curiosity to his image. He stops at the middle part of the bridge to look over the train yard for a moment then tosses a rose off one by one until they are all gone.

I find a whole new town a few minutes after the bridge.  Buildings stretch out far into the sky again and I think I am in what is called Nashville’s west end.  It is filled with coffee shops, hotels, commercial appliance repair shops, bookstores, and many other medium to large size buildings of businesses or dwellings.  I am lost a bit so naturally I start following people around. They lead me to a open coffee shop which I thought was a bicycle repair shop. Curiously you have to walk through a small sort of alley way to get to it and once you are there walk through a large car garage door to enter the actual coffee shop.  The counter takes up the middle square of the place. Table and chairs, made up of thick log cut picnic tables and stools, take up the space around the center counter and barista area. There is a women in line before me but she suggests I go first. I watch her later as she hovers around the counter a bit, laughing as she gets close, then backing away, and doing it again.

When I head back towards my hostel I get lost.  I find myself under the bridge I walked across before.  I search around but I can’t find the roses. I do find a large metal staircase that brings me up another perpendicular bridge.  I get a good view of Nashville in every direction from here. Grey and stretched out and quiet after its pulsating weekend. Its Monday, a holiday, everyone is sleeping. I head back to the hostel and take and join them.

My destination is New Orleans but along the highway I notice memorials named after blues legends like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker.  At a rest station I read a sign that says “Memphis, home of the blues and rock and roll.”. That’s pretty tempting. I decide to take a detour and about another hour down the highway I come to the crossroads.  One exit leads to Memphis while the other leads on to New Orleans. Indecision kicks in. Should I continue as planned or listen to whimsy? The car noticeably shifts from left to right as my mind jumbles reasoning.  Proudly I take the exit to Memphis and feel like a new person. Like someone who can do whatever they want because I am free to do so.

The exit leads me to the connecting highway towards Memphis.  It takes a lot longer than I thought. Once I get to the city limits I am once again surprised by the shear size of it.  Before I know it I am at the edge of the Mississippi River. This is a great feeling for me. I picture Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Joe, riding down the Mississippi on their raft free from concern and lost in wonder.  I get a warm feeling in my stomach proud to be on an adventure of my own. The mississippi is wide here but no where near its widest. I am told later that it can stretch to be over a mile wide. It looks brown and flowing. There is a wind blowing just over the description of gentle that is uneasy and sharp with little cold talons.  An old steam boat restaurant tour ride sits perched at a dock. It is quiet and sleeping. I see no one walking about.

I’ve entered the city on the edge of what I guess is its commercial district core.  There is a large glass pyramid building that seems rather interesting until I read the sign “Bass Pro Shop”.  Next to that, on the river bank, is another large glass building that is the Memphis welcome building. I’ve had great luck with these so far.  The people inside have always been friendly. I park the car and enter from the main doors. A towering bronze statue of Elvis Presley greets me.  A few people take pictures next to it. I feel like I’m home. Or atleast, I want to be home here. Inside there is another statue, this one of B.B. King.  The statues look to be about twenty feet tall and remind me that this really is the birthplace of rock and roll. Quite the claim, undisputed.

As usual the ladies at the front desk are wonderful.  I tell them that signs of rock and roll led me here on a detour from Nashville to New Orleans.  One of them says “Oh, You decided to kick it with us for a few days instead!”. I smile because her description was very accurate.  I did want to kick it here for a few days. I get directions to a hostel and some other points of interest. The obvious nightlife street here is called “Beale Street”.  It is much like Nashville’s broadway street but stretches on a bit longer and seems much more “dirty”. I guess it is a bit older, maybe, that it seems that way. I never end up spending a lot of time in Beale Street.  I am a bit worn out from Nashville and interested in taking a break from loud bars.

As usual I get lost looking for the hostel.  I drive through the towering building side of Memphis by taking the opposite turn suggested to me by the rad welcome center ladies.  I shoot alongside the Mississippi river which I am sort of fine with until the road forces me back. Finally I get on the right path and drive about ten minutes.  The landscape changes from large buildings to old houses. I am in a quiet neighborhood now and I imagine to everyone else that it must be easy to spot I am a foreigner.  I do multiple roundabouts, cut people off and drive down some streets that feel like only locals ever drive down.

I find the hostel eventually and learn later the street it is on is definitely a busy one.The hostel is an old church connected to an old school.  The sidewalks around are dilapidated and the brick walls are colored like a rusty sponge. Weather faded and uncared for. The building is quite large but only a portion of it is part of the hostel.  A sign in front reads “We accept everybody”. It’s written in multi colored letters and accentuated by various colored faces on painted with it. That’s a good sign I think. In the back there is a parking lot, bonus.

I call the number listed on the locked door at the back entrance.  A tiny person opens the back door. The smile is wide surrounding ivory white teeth with cheeks that crinkle around the basin of large deep welled eyes.  The eyes are brown and a short cut bob of dark hair surrounds the face in a purposeful frame. Alexi introduces herself and leads me up two flights of stairs.  We go through another locked door and enter the hostel. To my right there is a room filled with books and couches and old carpets. Dimly lit lamps give the aura of comfort and I imagine myself spending most of my time here.  On the left of the hallway is the common area and reception desk. There is a standard kitchen with a few tables and chairs, two fridges, coffee makers, toasters and the reception desk. Nothing matches, everything is borrowed, and, seems found.  The hardwood floor is old and dilapidated, my favorite, because it squeaks just right.

After check in I set my bags down in my bedroom which has eight bunks.  Everyone is gone except Albert who had also just checked in. I decide to be social and introduce myself.  Albert is a big person with a half moon crescent beard from ear to ear. His chest is thick and wide and he is very friendly.  “I’m here for the MLK fifty year.” he says. “The what?”. “The Doctor Martin Luther King Junior fifty year anniversary.” he says.  “Oh! – When is that?” I feel stupid but also accept that I am. He tells me the event is on Wednesday but he will be attending classes all week.  Outside I find a paper with Dr Martin Luther King Junior on the cover. I read it from front to back to get educated.

Outside there is still daylight left.  I search google for barbecue and find a place close by called “Central Barbecue”.  All along the drive I had psyched myself up for southern style BBQ and I had a feeling this place would deliver.  Memphis had a strange air about it this day. It was warm with an accompanying wind. No one was on the streets. Every once and a while all the sounds of the area would sort of disappear.  I could watch signs moving in the wind but heard nothing coming from them. It reminded me of ominous weather warnings. That eerie calm before a tornado strikes.

A few blocks from the hostel and I ran into some interesting shops.  Memphis Drum Shop  was one of them and had a display kit in the window which was a Ludwig kit from 1947.  I took photos of it and sent it to my drummer friend to tease him. Not to my surprise he asked me to buy it.  Later when the shop was open I asked about it and not to my surprise again the shopkeeper told me it was not for sale.  Further down the street I saw a rainbow flag hanging from another shop with a sign that said “We love everybody” and “Care Aid Available”.  It comforted me to see something like this in a place so unfamiliar. I walked a few more blocks down and saw another music store called Xanadu Music & Books. I made a note of this place because it had a sing on top that said “Guitars and Stuff” and that’s pretty much two things that I like.

Taking a turn right off cooper on to central and a few blocks walk I enter into Central Barbecue. Immediately I know I have come to the right place.  It is a packed old brick building enlarged by two added extensions which are also packed. Everyone is munching cue, smiling and enjoying themselves. Old blues music plays on the speakers.  Most of it i do not even recognize. Should I cry? No. I must order the cue.

At the counter I am asked for ID so I give up my passport. “Oh you from Canada? Thats cool!”. I laugh and order a full rack of ribs. “A full rack?” I almost regret it and feel like I have no idea what I am getting into but I push on and insist the give me the full rack with a side of beans, slaw and a biscuit.  I take a seat and feel like this is where everyone comes after preaching and singing in a gospel. I get the ribs and pretty much pummel the first ten bones without much thought. After that though, about two thirds in I begin to sweat and lose vision. I try the coleslaw but it’s a foolish effort. I go back to the barbecue ribs with some newly mustered zeal and almost finish them off.  

I can’t say enough about Central Barbecue so I won’t say more except that it may have been my favorite place in Memphis.  It was everything I had hoped it would be. Quick dirty barbecue with no mess and no fuss. I pick up my gut with what was left of my strength and take it back to the hostel where I sleep as my poor body manages what I’ve done to it.  “I’m going to sleep, body, clean up this mess while I’m gone!”.

The next morning during breakfast I meet a few other hostel dwellers.  Guy, who I wrote a bit about here, introduces himself to me and I give him a few boiled eggs.  Another traveller, Ivan, talks about his european adventures, casual philosophy, and current travel plans.  Maxi finds his way through the kitchen by feel. He is a resident here and I like the way he talks. Maxi takes a short breath before saying anything and he always talks with conviction.  When someone says something to Maxi I think I can see what was said to him sink in. He seems to listen very well and not only hears the words spoken to him but also absorbs them. There’s a new caretaker behind the desk who has beautiful braided hair.  The braids are a long thick slick of dark cords. The music playing is sweet soft rhythm and blues.

After breakfast I make my way to Xanadu Guitars and Stuff Bookstore.  I have in mind to find an american song book. An american song book will teach me all the contemporary hits so I can play top 40s for anyone, campfire magic.  The building is old, as most things seem to be in Memphis. A porch leads to the side of the building where the entrance is. I open the screen door which sits on broken hinges.  Inside everything is brown. The walls are stale wood and chipped and covered with what appear to be home made cigar box guitars. Their are guitar bodies shaped like cats heads, dogs heads, strange shapes I do not recognize and a few have no body at all.  Just a stick with a string on it and a tiny pickup at the bottom. There are books everywhere. Shelves from floor to ceiling are covered in books, mostly old, some new. Books sit on stools, pillows, some of the floor. The display counter is full of books as well, piles of them.  To my left the store goes on into another room. To my right I see a small office and a man, who had his back to me, stands and turns to face me in a fluid sort of motion, like he had peeled his piercing blue eyes off the floor to do it. His eyes are active, wide, bright eggs that look through me and past me.  His gaze seems distracted yet focused. White hair shoots out from his head in all directions. We greet each other as common weirdos but the comfort seems foreign and new. He asks me to drop my bag in the back. I do.

I talk for a moment but Johnny takes over pretty quickly.  I don’t blame him for it because I egg him on. His speech a passionate one  about why he will not start an amazon store. He talks at lengths about the need for new ‘shit’ in music.  I learn a great deal in a short amount of time from Johnny Low Bow. Johnny has been around. He is travelled and is well read.  He says owning a bookstore in America is kind of a joke. Johnny Low Bow is a one man band. He builds strange guitars. I never really get a word in about what I came for.  He tries to let me look around but his speech continues to grasp me away from the shelves and into his blue eyes. After a while he plugs one of his creations in. It is a two stringed homemade bow guitar.  One string is a bass string, the other a guitar string, each with their own pickup. We plug each pickup into their respective amps and with a brass slide to change the intonation he strums out loud powerful sounds in the tiny room tucked away behind the main display area.

In here there are amps everywhere.  Johnny sits behind a bass drum, snare drum, and high hat which he plays with his feet.  With a drumstick in one hand and a brass slide in the other he beats the snare and strums the guitar while kicking the bass drum and hi hat.  Every once in a while he performs an interlude on and old Rhode Organ that sounds like it is out of the seventies because it is. After a bit of serenation I am allowed to play.  I am surprised by the great sound this custom made stick guitar makes. I am told various ways to change its tone including a moveable neck nut as well as simply twisting the neck itself.  Tempting as it was I had to choke up on my budget and not buy one of these neat and very unique instruments. Hopefully I go back someday to get one. I buy a record from Johnny Low Bow himself called “Im a one man band”.  He tells me he will be touring in Finland soon and signs my record.

The next day Guy and I catch an early morning bus to head downtown.  It’s a cold morning still fresh with the chilly night air. During the bus ride I see that Memphis’ suburbs sprawl out in many directions.  There are little towns within towns all with housing, businesses, and activity. After about a fifteen minute ride we come to a bus terminal where we can ride a connecting bus to the downtown core.  It is a trolley that will take us there and is constructed of a style from an era when people hung out at soda pop shops and drank milkshakes. The Trolley, made from wood and iron has park benches inside for seating.  It is quite uncomfortable but charming enough to make up for it. Within another fifteen minutes the driver pulls the bus over to make up for gained time. Guy asks where the best place to get off is to get to the National Civil Rights Museum and the driver tells us he will let us off at the best spot.  We wait for another five minutes until the driver starts the bus which he then drives forward about ten feet and says, “Alright! This is the spot.  Just walk that way.” and points down a street. Guy and I laugh about this and head on our way.

It is April 4th, 2018 and most every shop downtown Memphis is closed this morning.  Guy and I follow the crowds to a back street that leads us past a reception area that is still setting up.  We come to the street between the Lorraine Hotel and the buildings that the shooter aimed from. Through the crowd Guy points on the exact location where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.  There is stage set up today. We arrived early and the crowd is pouring in quickly filling up the street. Guy and I watch a couple of speakers together until Guy decides to part ways and find a different vantage point.  I learn about King’s mission and that he was doing work for lower class employees of American cities. That his beliefs wrought a man of pure conviction and servitude until he was martyred here on this day. The theme is “Where do we go from here?” and the stage shows are a constant flow of reminders of plights of the common day that are entrenched in the past with hopes of an uplifting future.  I hear from people who knew Dr Martin Luther King Junior personally as they recount tales of this bright figure of social justice. They recount the history of a person who did everything they could for what they believed in. There is singing, praying dancing and music.

After the initial congregation I break away and take walk through downtown Memphis.  It is a cold windy day and seems very much uncharacteristic. I find Beale Street which easily fits the description of a district filled with bars and cheap drinks.  Piano sounds and loud music come from every which way although mostly every where is barren empty today. I find a trolley station and take the wood iron park bench bus mobile back to the bus terminal.  After a long wait our bus arrives and many of us crowd out to catch it. I guess this is a common route. I wonder if I will be able to get on because there are so many of us waiting.

Many people come off the bus as it parks but the line of people in front of me trying to get on is prevented from doing so.  “Out of Service” is displayed on the bus’ sign. After some investigation by one of the would be passengers we are told there is a woman on the bus who refuses to get off.  “Fuck you, Fuck off, I don’t give a fuck!” she repeats the words of the refusing passenger for all of us to hear as she smokes and laughs about it. Eventually a service van parks close by and the driver of that vehicle goes in the bus to see what is going on.  I see police cars nearby but they are not needed and do nothing. Eventually she does get off. She has an obvious scowl on her face as is led to the van. I think she just got a free ride home.

The bus stops halfway through the route so everyone can get off and have a smoke. A gentleman passenger on the bus asks if he can run to the store and the driver says “Only if you make it lickity split!.”.  The man runs off the bus in a tear. Eventually I get back to the hostel tired from the wind and sun. I wonder if I should have stayed out there longer. I feel like I got what I came for, tired and learned after walking in Memphis.


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Married In Nashville Tennessee

Gordie and I take a few walks and runs during the late hours of the night.  We do a few laps at a grocery store parking lot. I try to explain to her that she may need to calm down when meeting new people and that her excitement might cause new friends to not trust her.  She doesn’t seem to notice I am talking to her. Her eyes dart about the parking lot with every subtle movement she picks up. I pick up her poop and we go back to Chris’ hotel. I will sleep here in Greenville South Carolina before heading back to Nashville Tennessee.

In the morning I do not notice Chris leaving.  Gordie and I go outside to run and poop. I take Gordie back to the room and try to formulate a plan.  There happens to be a TD bank in Greenville so I head there to get some cash. I’m not sure why but I only end up taking half as much as I had planned to.  This causes problems for me later because I end up charging everything to card and paying for it with exchange fees. The teller at the bank tells me to call the number on the card to complete the cross border banking process.  I nod at her and leave the bank to head to Walmart. At Walmart I spend five percent of my budget on SIM cards. They don’t work in my phone though so I stuff them in with my dirty laundry.

Back at the hotel Gordie’s pleading eyes convince me to go for another walk and run.  She poops, I pick it up and then we say our goodbyes. I kiss her skull and she looks up at me kind of sad like.  Since the SIM cards do not work in my phone I assume I have no GPS. I use my memory about how to get on the highway towards Nashville but feel kind of hopeless.  I have become frustrated with not moving though so I pack the car and hit the road.

Somehow my notoriously bad sense of direction gets me back on the highway.  It was not that difficult. I head west assuming I can find my way back to Nashville based on signs and intuition.  The freeway soothes me. My anxious mood feels like something is being accomplished, I guess, while driving down the highway, and this notion calms it.  An hour into my drive I stop for gas.

The change in lifestyle recently has put me in a bad mood for a couple of weeks now.  Growing pains I guess. Sometimes I remember that bad moods are brought on by choice. At least that’s a theory I have picked up.  I choose to feel bad or good or however and that is how I get in the mood I am currently in. I have conversations about this with a few different friends recently.  A new theme came up that was shared amongst them in one way or another. The shared idea is that we do not have any control over our lives, really, that we are just along for the ride.  I have mixed feelings about this. The idea is that there is no free will, just experience.

When I am in a bad mood I tend to avoid people, even gas station attendants, which I have no way around since my card does not work at the pump in the United States of America.  It doesn’t work because I choose to not call my bank to finish cross border banking. Which I choose to do because I’ve been choosing to be in a bad mood. The result is I have to go inside each station to pay at the teller.  The woman inside is bright eyed and cheerful. She is in such a good mood that it is infectious. I remind myself to be in a better mood. I remind myself that things are awesome. That I am on the road in America on a solo adventure of a lifetime.  That I completed a long list of remarkable things to afford myself this great trip. I remind myself that life is awesome when we smile and choose to enjoy ourselves. I choose to be grateful at the fact that I am very fortunate to be living this lifestyle.  Oh, the things that human interaction can accomplish.

Eventually I am lost on the highway.  I took a few random turns on bases of my intuition while driving through the Nantahala National forest.  I end up in a sort of rolling hills country town and the unfamiliarity weighs down on me. I explore a bit for some reason and get further and further away from the interstate.  Through a few twists and turns, bumps, roundabouts and dirt driveways I find a McDonalds. They are everywhere as far as I can tell. They offer free wifi and to me that is a GPS update.  I pull in and connect and this is when I learn that google maps can download directions that can be used offline. Looking back I overused google maps and probably should have got lost more.  Lessons learned. I plot a course to Nashville, find the interstate, and engage to lightspeed.

With a newly adopted positive mood and GPS directions I enter the big city of Nashville.  I become excited to explore the music scene again, this time on my own, and, to try to meet new people.  I let my concerns go and tell myself that no matter what I will have a good time. I think about searching for guitar stores so I can get some equipment to beef up Chris’ fender stratocaster.  I think about dancing to blues music and with that comes the idea that maybe I can have a beer while I do it. I turn it over in my head and the freedom of choice ignites. It’s been over two years since I’ve had one and I do not feel bad about the decision.  “I am going to find a blues bar, drink, and have a good time.”

I check into the downtown music city hostel in good spirits.  As I have often found in southern USA the staff at the front desk are very friendly.  They go on and on with information about the hostel and the city. I barely listen because I am wound up from the drive and eager to go explore.  The common area of the hostel is massive. It is a large hall filled with couches, chairs, a lounge area and a big restaurant style kitchen. There are guitars and ukuleles hanging from the beams of the room and a piano sits in the far corner of the room.  “Our piano is tuned!” says the counter attendant while I stare at it. “Are you a musician?” I turn to face two women who are also checking in. “Not really.” I say. “I can play guitar a bit.” I learn one of their names is Robyn who says “Cool!”. Her counterpart, Mary-Ann, tells me that Robyn is an amazing singer and that we should all jam later. “Sure.”.

Robyn and Marry-Ann are bright eyed and vibrant.  Marry-Ann is an art teacher and Robyn does multiple jobs as far as I can tell but primarily does music with children.  We make loose plans to meet at a diner. We are all very anxious to get to our rooms and so we depart for now. To get to my room I go through multiple locked doors and an elevator.  This is comforting. I did not know at all what to expect here and it has proven to be safe, clean and secure.

I do not care much to ‘get ready’ to go out so I drop my bag and make my way outside.  I am not quite sure what part of town I am in. I know that I am close to broadway street, Nashville’s tourist nightlife core, but I am not sure what direction it is in.  My hope is that one day I will start asking people for directions. I head off in a random way and quickly get lost. Earlier while eavesdropping on Marry-Ann and Robyn questioning the hostel attendants about where to go I gathered enough information to find my way to “Puckett’s”.  Puckett’s is where we all sort of planned to meet.  It is packed though so I turn around and start peering down alleyways.

Darkness has completely set in now.  I see a large banner stretching across the street that reads “Printers Alley”.  I make my way past a few bars and find myself on Broadway Street. It is characteristically busy so I turn away and lead myself down a less populated street.  I see a sign that reads “B.B. Kings Blues Club” and I tell myself that this will do.  

Inside there are three hosts behind the podium and a party of two between me and them.  They seem to be negotiating the cover charge of ten dollars. The delay in line gets them nowhere and they end up paying the charge.  A host leads the party inside as I approach the remaining two matradee. I talk a bit quietly and they don’t understand, I don’t understand their responses, eyes shift around a bit, they charge me five dollars and I am led in and sit at the bar.

As I’m led inside I hope to myself that this is not a gimmick bar.  The lights radiate off the decor in a red hue. There is also somehow a trace of a blue in the air.  It feels like people are smoking but no one is. There seems to be some sort of perpetual haze here. The whole scene is romantic, classy and raw.  It’s saturated in things I find cool. There are paintings of famous musicians covering the walls. Leading from the welcome area there is an elevated seating area.  This area holds twelve tables and overlooks a stack of guitar amps next to the guitar and keyboard player, stage right. Beyond this leads to the main dining area which is in front of the stage separated by a dance floor.  There are about forty tables here between the dance floor and the bar. The place is much bigger than I thought. It does not seem gimmicky at all.

There were not many bar stools left but I was happy with mine.  Servers pick up drink orders here, which is where the tender makes them.  I did not have to vie for attention and that suits me. Everyone in here is dressed up.  Suits, ties, fancy shoes, gowns, fedora’s, flower hats and swing dresses are all common place.  I notice one man at a table in front of me who has his eyes clothes, his fingers snapping and a grin dominates most of his face.  I get it man. The band was really good. Every band I’ve seen so far in Nashville was really good but this band was top notch. A lot of people were dancing and everyone seemed to know what they were doing.  I think I saw Billy Jean on the dance floor. Many partners came and went to and fro her. I don’t think any of them was the one.

I really dig the style the jazz brings it out.  It evokes words like ‘dig’ and demands class yet it can be as dirty as music gets.  The band was full of class and had the obvious swing of decades in experience. The songs were mostly standards but sounded fresh and alive.  Myself and a few others I observed had a common look on our faces that are often described as ‘shit eating grins’.

After a few songs and beverages to go along when the mood had been set high I listened to the front man of the band invite someone to the stage.  I try to see but my view is blocked by the scene. It seems pretty routine at first but soon a new height of electric energy lights up the air. Five women dressed in long blue gowns enter the room from the entrance way right side of stage.  They are all holding up large signs above their heads each donning a word to the message, one with a question mark “Will you marry me?”.

The crowd is gasping and cheering as my own heart jumps to my throat.  I peer around to see everyone’s widest and brightest smile. Men and women are cheering, some of them holding their mouths, others hugging and many crying.  All of our eyes sparkle with tears. I hear the bride to be let out an ecstatic yelp and the band moves into a heartfelt slow ballad. The sax player carries the tune and romances us all in only the way that a saxophone can.  Through a sea of guests wiping their tears and the thick gloss of my own wetted eyes I watch the bride and groom to be hold each other like only lovers can. They dance slowly to the number played just for them. The openness of their hearts bathes the room and I thank my lucky stars that I am here to see this couple married in Nashville.


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Pizza In New Orleans

Pizza In New Orleans

Guy’s monologue breaks momentarily as we both notice another hitchhiker with their thumb out.  I ask Guy what his opinion on the situation is “Should I pick him up?”. Guy seems to evaluate for a brief moment before saying “Oh yea!  This guy is old, pick him up!”. I slow down the car and get over the shoulder of the highway. Once i get to a full stop I am a bit further away than would have been ideal.  In the rear viewer I see the name trying his best to run to catch up to us. I’m too scared to back up so I just sit in awkward anticipation as guy moves his seat to the back.  The man approaches the door and he appears to be in his mid seventies maybe. His face is long and drawn out as he gasps for air but his blue eyes remain fixed on me and I see his grateful.  I apologize for making him run which he explains is’t a problem, except his doctor told him not to since he just had open heart surgery. “Get in!” I say.

About a mile up the highway we pull off an into a gas station.  Tom, our brief new in car resident goes inside with the hopes they also sell gerry cans here.  I take a stretch and Guy explains it usually isn’t wise to pick up people who don’t have a backpack, but since this feller was old we made an exception.  I thank guy for his expertise on the matter. Guy has been hitchhiking around America for over two years. Tom comes back with two empty milk containers and as he fills those I look for other containers.  “No need” Tom says, “This will get me back here.” One of the containers doesn’t have a lid so Tom covers it with his hand while balancing the other between his legs as we turn back onto the highway in the opposite direction.

As I am saying my farewells to Tom he throws me a twenty which I try to refuse but he insists.  This is the first time I actually made money on the road. Nice. We let Tom go at the roundabout on the highway.  Guy gets back in the front and we continue on south. I wonder if Tom’s truck was actually out of gas. Tom said the gauge did not read empty and I wonder if it was something else.  I think about going back but instead we go onward.

After a seven hour monologue from Guy I’m surprised I don’t know everything about him.  When I first offered him a ride I had to suppress my regret. I had an ill opinion of Guy at first but most of that was filtered through the bad mood I’ve been having.  I offered him the ride two days before we decided to depart. I thought things like “He talks too much, he smells, he talks too much.”. The point is after all to meet people and Guy seemed very friendly so I decided not to let my mood get the upper hand in this situation.  

I wondered in those first two days that Guy knew each other at the hostel if he noticed how much of a jerk I was being.  Other than offering him a ride I was pretty dismissive to any other attempt at friendship. He probably did notice but for a twenty one year old Guy had a very noticeable “I’m not going to let this bother me” attitude.  Guy talks a lot. He will talk to anyone in his path and it will be relentless. He listens well enough to which is impressive but mostly he talks. Guy tells stories well and accurately and hopefully someday he puts them down.  Guy had been living on and off the road for just over two years. His torn clothes speak directly to the lifestyle he lives and served the purpose of utility before anything else. His cargo pants where faded green and he had not one but two utility belts attached by clasping buckles.  One hung around his waist and the other was attached to his leg like a gun holster. He always had on a black t-shirt and over that was a fisherman style cargo vest. The vest was also faded green and had a few holes of wear and tear about it. I was with Guy four nearly four days and never saw him wear anything else.  Guy carried everything he owned with him in a large hiking pack which looked like it was definitely from the seventies. Inside the pack is mostly foodstuffs and camping gear. Outside there hangs some cooking pots, spare shoes, and, a stuffed teddy bear. The day before we leave for New Orleans Guy decides to sleep outside in an alleyway.  It was the coldest windiest night of our stay at the hostel.

By the time we reach New Orleans I feel confident that I know Guy pretty well. Guy is just a month away from the coveted age of twenty one which is a minor gripe of his.  He talked about it kind of sucking that he is living his dream travelling through all the great party cities of american but not being old enough to partake. It’s not so much about not being able to drink, it’s that he can not get into any of the bars to take in the music scenes.  I think he will really enjoy the bar scenes once he can get it. He is one of the most impressive speakers I ever met.

On the highway coming into New Orleans we see tropical lush greenery encased in swamp lands as far as the eye can see.  There are houses floating on docks and there is no way into the except by river boat. I find my hostel easily enough once we get into the city thanks to the offline GPS.  

The man behind the desk is drinking a screwdriver and occasionally remarks about how happy is to be able to do something like that in this awesome city.  Between my attempt to pay for the room and get some information Guy proceeds to talk to the manager about anything and everything. I knew he shouldn’t have had the coffee at the rest stop.  Guy’s interjections and ensuring rants slow my check in time down immensely. I look for patience but my brain has begun to throb with fatigue, dehydration, and annoyance. Guy gets direction to a part of town where we can find “dirty kids”.  “Dirty kids” is a global term of endearment for street dwelling travelers. I take guy to that part of town just as the sun is setting. I cut him loose and wish him the best right after we hug and exchange contact information. I follow the GPS backwards because luckily it did not erase itself after reaching this destination.

Back at the hostel I ask the manager where to eat.  He tells me about a place that has a special on today for five dollar pizza.  I am sold. The manager goes to a place of euphoric recall as he talks about his days studying at eating five dollar pizza.  At this point I no longer want to drive. It is dark and I’m not used to the roads plus I am pretty tired. I attempt to set up a lyft account but can not because I do not have a valid phone number.  For some reason I am totally against calling a cab or asking anyone for directions so I decide to go for the twenty minute walk that the GPS suggest.

I take up a quick stride.  It is dark and the houses here look like really good places to shoot horror movies.  Don’t get me wrong the houses are beautiful. They are also very old, vaguely dilapidated and immensely unfamiliar.  I am in a suburban outskirt neighborhood. I feel like I am definitely a visible tourist and probably a decent target for a scam.  My assumption of everything comes from a place of fear and mostly since then I’ve been learning that the fear is in my head. I later find out this town is considered very safe.  I see strange looking places for car washes along the way. They are made up between residential houses and locked up by chain linked fences. The houses here are somewhere up to one hundred years old or more.  They are large and full of color and with their porches and pillars look quite inviting. None of them have basements and some are standing on formidable stilts. Colorful neck beads are hanging from everything.  They hang from house gates, street signs, tree branches and even power lines. I keep my stride quick and pass two bars along the way to my destination of Wit’s Inn. I check my GPS to track my progress but it had erased the map so I fall back on my guy instinct to find my way.

I find a large busy street and hang a left.  The style of houses continues to be the same down this way but some have become business. Beads still everywhere.  I see two yoga studios, a lot of lawyer offices, and a few bread and breakfasts. In the direction I am going I see many lights coming into view as I reach a commercial part of town.  This area is called midtown and here I notice tram lines going down all the middle parts of the road. There are people walking about this part of town going from restaurants to little shops.  I do not see the bar I am looking for in the haze of other establishments. All the usual franchises are here and also many other local shops. I want the pizza I was described so I walk all the way down the road until it goes back to a residential zone.  I cross the street and come back up and finally find the pizza shop / bar. It’s very empty inside which I consider an added bonus.

I sit at the bar when asked.  Lately I have been trying to sit at the bar in an attempt to be more sociable.  Inside Whit’s Inn is dimly lit and decorated with crawfish traps. Strange twisted pieces of iron also decorate the walls and hang from some of the traps.  I start a tab with the bartender and begin looking over the menu. I try to order a pizza selection and the bartender reminds me it’s five dollar night. “Oh yea! That’s why I came here.”.  With the deal you get to choose one topping so I go with Genoa salami.

I try not to look around much while I wait.  Once in a while I look at a piece of iron or stare at the old cathode ray tube television that is playing sports highlights.  You can change the jukebox song on this bar from an app on your phone. There’s a myriad of timelines here juxtaposed and standing on itself.  The bartender doesn’t like the decor much he says. Once the pizza arrives the tender tells me they can redo it if it is too overdone. I am all about crispy pizza so I shoo him away with a joke and smile.  He leaves and my hands prepare the slice for my gaping maw.

They burnt it just right.  The sauce squeezes between the cheese and crust to meet my tongue in a merriment sting of hot flavor.  I can taste the sweet seduction of ripe roasted tomato and selected fine herbs. The sauce is finely balanced between zest and sweetness.  It is a joyous tart river base for the cheese, salami, and baked crust to mulch into while my jaws do the dirty work of pre digestion. The grease is the greatest indicator of savored flavor.  As I suck the grease in my mouth the story of its incubation make itself known to me. I visualize each ingredient saturating in their own flavor producing a unique moisture and all joining together to mold over and over again into themselves forging the dense liquid that now sends signals of satisfaction all over my brain through the vessel of dopamine.

In my mouth the mozzarella cheese is the great combiner.  During the revolutions the cheese uniforms the crust, salami, and coveted grease, into small balls easy enough to swallow.  I can feel my stomach plugged already and this alone is oddly satisfying. I thank the bartender and give what I think is a fair tip.  I take a brisk walk back to the sci fi themed hostel and enjoy a comfortable sleep in my own room. I had been lucky enough to score a private room due to the fact that everything else was as completely full as my stomach was.  That’s how I had pizza in New Orleans.

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Soaked in Nashville Tennessee

Soaked in Nashville Tennessee


    Chris and I finally aririve in Nashville after a long quiet eight hour drive south from Michigan. The drive was plagued with detours, strange over the phone news  causing a stressful atmosphere and vacant construction sites. Gorde led us by her example of extreme patience. I could tell thought that she was a ticking time bomb.  All this boring time in the car would make her extra excited when we let her back into the open world. She had slept practically the whole way down and passed on food and water during the trip.  I think the car ride stirred up a bad stomach. She choicefully lodged her face between the handle of the car door and slept that way most of the trip. As we checked into our hotel Gordie began to liven up.  She is very cute which excited the people aruond us which in turn excited her more. In the hotel room she drank two full bowls of water and after eating a bit sprang back to life. I took her outside and ran around the block a few times with her and then I picked up her poop.


    The rain at this point was like a mist.  A heavy grey wall surrounded the city encroaching on its skyline and trapping my view of Nashville to my immediate area only.  Chris and I catch a shuttle downtown and on the way I enjoy the way this grey fog mingles with the tall buildings. We are dropped a few blocks from our destination, broadway street, which is Nashville’s downtown tourist nightlife scene.  Nashville itself appears as any normal city at first. Large buildings and quiet streets during the nigt. The moment we hit broadway everything changes.


This part of town stretches on for about five eighths of a mile in four directions.  The district is large block with Broadway street itself the most lively and lit up. Large neon signs hang from virtually every bar which are stacked next to each other one after the other.  Live music comse from every bar and in the streets there is no escaping the muffled sound of various songs being played together with the chatter of excited peoples going in and out of them. I enjoy the way the cowboy themed neon bar signs look in this thick grey weather.  The tall buildings surrounding look ominous as part of their higher levels fade completely in the night sky. I wonder if Batman and Tim Burton set the mood here. Any moment now and the caped crusdor could come crashing down and wisp some do wronger away.


It’s Wednesday night and the streets are full of people shuffling from one music filled watering hole to the next.  It is relentless at eight in the evening as it seems people have been partying since noon but really they are just getting started.  This is home to the Johnny Cash Museum, the Patsy Cline Museum, museums of rock and roll, of country music icons and entire monumental buildings are dedicated to the history and preservation of music and art.  Cowboy hats, boots, jean jackets and two stepping characters wearing the afromentioned wardrobe are spotted everywhere. You can fit yourself out to be a real cowboy as there is an endless supply of apparel for you and your horse.  I notice a sign that reads “No dancing on tables with your spurs on.” and think its a fair rule. Every bar is lively and actively promoting drinking and a nod to the American version of a proper country party night life. The scene is very committed and I like that because it so clearly and honestly delivers what it intends to.  I become a bit infactuated.


As picturesque and vibrant as the scene is the anti social butterfly in me begins to stir and my infatuation begins to slip into a strange fear.  A twinge of what I would call anxiety begins to reverberate inside me and the ‘asshole’ lounge of naysayers in my head begin to form at their table.  Chris leads us off broadway to a less packed bar. We are attracted to this particular bars music. An acoustic guitar player and a soulful singer that gave off both an inviting and exciting sound.  Inside we order drinks, ginger ale for me. We sit in front of the duo as at this point there are only a few of us in this bar. The duo are playing americna rock and folk standards by request. They are very relaxed, harmonized, and, quite obviously very experienced.  The singer is belting out the tunes and keeping the audience enaged. Her voice is full and strong somewhere between Amy Whinehouse and Adele. The guitar player plays both fingerstyle and picking standard at the same time. His chord hand changes and moves up and down the neck from song to song like he had been doing it for twenty years which undoubtedly he had.  A tip jar sits in front of them and from time to time people dancing by put in a few dollars. Chris and I contribute as well and it feels very much worth it. The singer eventually stands up and crawls out the window behind her taking her wireless microphone out into the streets. She sings there while haning out the window the the passer bys drawing them inside. This is all very natural to her and when she climbs back inside I realize I am in a part of the world that is very special to me.  My gratude for Chris taking me here and being so available swells up inside me. Unfortunately my anxiety is also making a steady stand and when asked to make a request by the band I find myself speechless and dumb founded.


After a few songs we decide to try some other place.  We make our ways towards Broadway again and on the way Chris asks two gentlemen standing outside if the know where to buy smokes.  “At the bar.” one of the says but the other says that bars dont sell smokes anymore and suggests we let him take us to where we can buy some.  He leaves his friend and joins us and we begin to walk a bit out of the broadway area. Our new guide explains that bars ahve not sold smokes here in a while and its a bit of a walk to a store that does.  “Strange” I think but also I don’t really care about it. I welcome the jaunt because I was beginning to feel trapped by the overwhelming vibrance of this crazy city. After a few turns the guide points to a gas station type lit up roof off in the distance.  It looks like a ten minute walk and also adds to the suspicion. Our guide explains it looks further than it is because the trees in front blur the sign. I try to figure out how that makes sense but I can’t so I just pretend that it does. At this point Chris and our new friend are chatting adamently and my muteness has nearly fully taken over.  I laugh once in a while and interject a few words now and then – just to let the party know I’m still alive.


Along the walk our new friend does most of the chatting.  I find out his name is Loheen and he is from Morocco and now works at an assembly plant.  The friend he was with earliar just got out of jail and that is why he thought we could still buy smokes at the bar.  That law had changed nearly four years ago. Laheen explains to us that his friend is a great guy but has a weird obsession with breaking into cars.  After about fifteen minutes we are closing in on our gas station and the rain is in full effect. All three of us are soaked from head to toe and two of us are getting a lesson in Nashville’s weather systems.  Laheen turns out to be quite knowledgeable – maybe as much as he is boisterous. At the station we buy him a can of beer and a pack of smokes for his troubles. Laheen suggests we wait ten minutes because the weather is likely to change.  The rain is coming down like a movie scene when some newly realized hopeless romantic is risking everything to have it all work out. “I’ve not seen rain like this in a long time.” I say and Laheen replies that “This ain’t nothing.” and goes on the point out and explain all the local flood points.  We collectively decide the rain is only getting worse and we begin to head back to Broadway continuing our free nature shower.


Halfway back to town and both Chris and Laheen decide to take a pee break behind a dumpster.  I take refuge from the rain under a closed building awning where three gritty grungy looking travellers are standing.  One of them looks particularly scary. “Hello.” I say and I sort of get a response from them. Laheen and Chris come back and I wait while everyone smokes.  The rain at this point is a deluge. You could not stand in it for five minutes and not get wet, unless you had the footwork of Muhammed Ali. The rain is my favorite part of the night.  I somehow find it more interesting than all the other random shit I am surrounded in. The other party of three takes off and Laheen explains they are train hoppers. They take freight trains all over the country.  Laheen remarks that he doesn’t understand their lifestyle but he is quite impressed by their working knowledge of train schedules and maps. “They got that shit down, hard.”. I don’t quite know what to say so I tell him “That’s pretty neat!”  and we continue on.


Laheen is only wearing an undershirt and is the most soaked of all of us.  He tells us we are going to take a small detour so he can get a jacket. Two alleyways later and we are under a bridge where it is dry and inhabited by about four people.  One is sitting on a bucket and the others are laying on the concrete floor huddled in their individual sleeping bags. The women laying at our feet asks if we have any smokes and Chris hands her three. “Bless you!” She says.  Her smile is bright, wide and infectious. It seems to light up in the boarder of her dark matted hair. The guy on the bucket talking to Laheen stands up, flips the bucket around and pulls from it a thick checkered wool jacket and hands it to Laheen.  Chris and I exchange blessings with the woman and Laheen takes us back into town with the promises of a bar so cool we will have to fight the women off. “Neat.” I say and off we go.


Back on Broadway nothing has changed except for the density of both people and rain.  There is more of each. At this point I am tired, soaked and a bit annoyed but I decide to stick it out longer.  This will be our only night in Nashville before we head further south to Greenville. Plus I have been enjoying the scenery and promises of women.  Laheen leads us to a huge bar filled with chucky cheesey type game machines. There is a live band and a massive kitchen and it is filled with transiet drinkers having a good time coming and going.  Laheen explains they may not let him in because they caught him selling dope here a few times. That is pretty unfair we all agree. They do let him in though and we buy a pitcher together. Laheen continuously hands me a glass of beer which I “cheers” with and then put down without drinking.  Laheen seems to be having a good time. At this point he has taken off a few times with what seemed to be pretty important phone calls. I think it is important to mention here that not one did Laheed solicist us in anyway. Our communications with him was nothing but mirth and his directions although long routed where fruitful.  He disappears one las time and Chris and I agree he is probably gone for good now.


We decide to hit one more bar but at this point I am crawling with anxiety that is no feeding into downright nihilistic depression.  Outside I am smiling and cowering my shoulder from anyone looking at me while inside I am tearing apart all my life choices and really criticising myself in a negative way.  Chris is concerned but I continue to tell him “its fine, im fine” I can tell he does not believe me but I insist we stay a bit longer. The crown is really drunk and dancing to the music.  The band is trying to get everyone to chant “U S A, U S A!” and my mind now has full reigns to my feelings. I have to escape and I do. Outside I lean against a lamp post and become a fixed statue in a scene of fluctuating party goers.  A man approaches me holding daffodils in his trembling hands. He is old and trying to sell flowers but I am locked inside and when he asks for help I turn him down. Chris finds me and again probes at what is wrong. I tell him “I am quitting music.” and he actually takes it quite hard.  The daffodil man approaches us again and Chris says “Jesus Christ man! You are freezing!” I jam my hand in my pocket and give him all the coins I have. “Bless you! Bless you” he says “Take care of yourself man!” Chris says emphatically and the stranger walks off.


The cab ride home is a bit silent but back at the hotel Chris continues to probe.  He is genuinely concerned for me and this makes me in turn concerned for him. “I dont want you to say shit like that.”  “Don’t worry” I say “I can’t quit music, there is nothing to quit.” I try to use the words to twist the meaning to an even more cynical degree while masquerading it as something else.  I do calm down though and in the room I explain I became full of anxiety because I was a bit overwhelmed. Chris understands but is still concerned. Gordie is going nuts so when Chris goes to bed I take her back outside in the pouring rain.  We run around the block a few times and I pick up her poop. I wonder if running with her was a good idea. She looks even more excited and extra goofy. Like an over excited kid who slept for three days and was now was past their bedtime. When we get back into the room she instantly jumps on my bed and rolls around in the sheets drying off.  “Neat.” Her excitement goes nowhere and she whimpers and stands in the window looking outside whining. She comes to the edge of the bed to rest her bottom jaw on the mattress while staring directly into my soul begging me to take her out again. So I do, of course and we run around the block some more at three am. To my surprise I end up picking up more poop.  We go back upstairs and she dries off in my bed again. I close the blinds hoping she won’t look outside. She cries for about an hour and I fall asleep.


The next morning we make our way to Greenville.  It is about another seven hours on the road and very scenic.  I sleep a bit in the passenger seat and choke on my snores. We listen to war history but only get two thirds through the podcast until Chris needs to take a break from the drooling narrator.  I feel kind of upset about it but I sympathize with the guy who had been driving the entire way from Michigan. Gordie sleeps with her head wedged in the arm rest. Later at the Greenville hotel I take her for a run and more poop.  At this point I am feeling apprehensive about the whole travel thing. I go through some dark mind travels and hope that this darkness passes soon. My plans are to return to Nashville tomorrow on my own as I did not quite feel like I had soaked it in properly.  Soaked in Nashville.

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Part 1 A Naval Crossing

Let this be the first in a series of non chronological occurrences that map out how I got to where I am now.  Maybe when I catch up with myself I can never catch up with myself. So let us set the stage real quick. Eight years ago I was at crossroads in my life.  I could continue trying to do things my way, which, since I had been trying to do that as long as I can remember, was beginning to show signs of fatigue. I was pretty much uneducated rather than my own self interest.  I had bad habits and an extremely stubborn attitude about life. I had two options available to me. I opened them both up at the same time as they came in the mail the same day. Covered in kitchen residue and garbage grease I unfolded two envelopes while parked in my pretty blue Pontiac 93 Sunbird.  One letter said I could pay a bag of gold and go to college for music where I might one day earn enough to buy a sandwich to fend off the rat invasion with, OR, join the Canadian Armed Forces who claimed to offer a steady paycheck and possibly an adventurous lifestyle.

If you continue on you will be reading about me as I retell my life in varying speeds and settings with ample attempts at mirth.

I joined the Navy because I had not much going on.  Military service was always a kind of fall back distant memory I had.  You know, if the becoming a Rockstar didn’t work out. One day while walking around Halifax pier I noticed a guy with a nice suit on.  He was about my age and stood up tall and all that.  He was a naval officer and I wanted what he had. I was living under my brothers wing at the time. Six years a line cook and ten years a marijuana junkie.  I dreamed of a place where I could smoke reefer on my own terms and maybe even grow it. A fat pay cheque looked a sure way to do that. Plus I could study music, marry a beautiful wife, find a fancy home, drive a fancy car, wear a golf hat and play the guitar. It would be perfect.  

I quit the reefer madness kitchen confidential life (that I will one day romanticize), signed a few documents, quit my job and flew to St Jean De Richelieu to start my BMQ at Canadian Forces Recruitment School.  Mostly this course was hard for me. At this time in my life I was not athletic or very well equipped for folding, sorting, showing up on time, paying attention, studying, working with teams, eating fast, showering fast, dealing with stressful environments in which I could not run from, and generally listening to people at all when I did not want to.  These things were hard to me but good God they were fun once I got used to them. Every day so much happened. I was not used to that. We got shit done and for me it was a real lesson in how much ability a focused group of people has. It may seem corny but I learned that if coordinated properly a team could do anything. I never saw groups of people put structures up so quickly before. That was new to me. I always preferred to work alone.

This was the start of a massive list lessons that my service in the Canadian Armed Forces has taught me.  Who knows how many lessons I have forgotten. The ones that I remember still drive me to be as effective as I am today.  I hope that some of my friends read that groaning and thinking I am cupping the grapes of the brass. I grew in the CAF and for that I am forever grateful.  I have no regrets on that. Anway so enough cupping the ribbons of upper management. After basic I moved to Victoria BC Canada and sailed around the Pacific.  I also spent a great deal of time on land. Not sailing but walking. I got to see great places like Vancouver Island and its Mainland as well as port calls such as San Diego, Ensenada, and Hawaii.

After eight years in the Royal Canadian Navy I decided to call it quits.  I mean, I really decied to call it quits. I quit my regular life so to speak.  I sold everything I owned and within two years of making that decision I find myself equipped to travel the world on my own terms.  It has been quite the journey getting to this point. There have been many ups and downs and I intend to journal them all. For now the above passage will have to suffice.

 It is March 07 2018 and this has been a special broadcast of www.allenhall.ca

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If you feel inspired by anything you read here then I have lived my dreams.  If you want more inspiration check out some of these authors….





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The Oxymoron Definition of More Mindfullness

We live in an age of ‘more’. ‘More’ is king because it seems whatever it is we don’t have can be obtained by some possession or other sort of thing to be acquired.  If we are overweight many people might agree we need more exercise.  If we have a mental problem some may say we need more therapy.  If we drive too much we need more gas.  Always supply the demand for more and we will forever be left unfilled.  I am slave to this.  I always think I can buy something, or obtain a skill, to remedy a problem I usually created myself.  Interestingly enough the problem I created was likely a result of getting more of something else for a different thing.

I saw a headline on a magazine while waiting in line at a grocery store.  I think these magazines are very distracting.  So bright and colorful.  They are right in the place where people have a chance to talk to one another.  Not that anyone talks to one another.  Its very scary because we, or at least I, assume I will likely hear some tragic story if I talk to someone else.  Usually though, the reasons I do not talk to people, are all made up in my head.  Which is pretty interesting.  Since all the reasons I talk to myself, are also made up in my head.  I hope you get my joke, do you get it?  

The headline I saw said “How to be more mindful.”.  It struck me funny and I guess my mind kanoodled it away.  It sort of put the thought in the furnace I guess and later on a rant popped out.  It went something like this..

It is ridiculus to seek more of something that can not be measured in the capacity of more or less.  You can not be more mindfull or less mindful.  You can just be mindful. Words like more and less are attached to ideas to monetize them.  The word it self is mindful and once something is full it can not be more full.  This is really important to me because I think it is very dangerous to sell an idea like this.  

More More More.  Always more.  More is like a Stephen King monster.  Its ceaseless breathing and ever expanding maw is perpetuated by a culture obsessed with monetization.  Even to obtain less is advertised as more as I see it.  These are phrases that are so easily used as flowers to attract a certain type of person.  That certain type of person is usually most of us.  A person seeking more happiness.  

I think happiness, probably like all feelings, can also be described not as something you have more or less of but something you either have or don’t.  Of course you can feel it stronger at times than others and sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are not.  My theory and belief is that we always have it.  It’s just a matter of it is on or off and how strong it is at the moment.

More mindful is what I came here to write about.  The phrase more mindful and its misleading nature.  “Be Mindful.”.  What does it mean to you?  If you are comfortable with your definition then just do that.  You are now being mindful always.  How much attention do you give your choices?  That may be the idea behind ‘more mindful’ but a concept like mindfulness is not something that should be thought of as being able to obtain more of.  More is likely always followed up by price or transaction of sorts.

click the link to buy more premium limited edition Capitalist Pigs T – Shirts !!

My fear is that with all the ads, magazines, life tips, hack tips, credit cards, scores, accounts, kids, accounts, favorite resturaunts, yoga classes, creativei outets, jobs, roles, relationships, family criss, back muslce pains, reasosns to take medications, depressions, lonilness, hobbies, cars, trucks, cable subscriptions, cell phones, grocery savings, retirement plans, travel plans, home decorations, furniture, iltellectual interests, phisological interests, books, movies, music, art, rug collection, stamp collections, etc…..   Having a mindful concious and healthy body as something we need to be reminded of us is a big warning that as a culture we have distracted ourselves away from simple practices engrained in our basic concious.  

Enough is enough.  This thought parallels to why I believe I see so much landfill overflowing and waste in our oceans.  The good news though is that we are connecting are’nt we?  People are doing this and talking about it and I probably am wrong about it all.  If the idea is being spread that maybe we are achieving more mindfulness.  I’m not sold though.  

As soon as I attach a word like more or find, seek, grasp, obtain, I think of something outside myself.  A mind is not outside myself so I will not find more of it outside myself.  It is completely in me and when I know that all of it is accessible.  I can very easily weight a decision “Yes or No”, usually, in a clear mind and know the answer.  The one that rings most true in my head.  Let me say though that just because it is the answer that rings most clear in my head does not make it the correct answer outside my head.  Sometimes it can be a very bad answer and this will create a lesson.

What is convenient about a phrase that creates an objective to seek outside the self is that creates the opportunity for a transaction.  This could be in the case of guidance or exchange for ideas and knowledge of perhaps a commodity of some sort.  There are no doubt methods for sale that lead to great satisfaction in the ways of meditation, peaceful living, or any path really.  There are, for certain, methods for sale that can guide almost any person down any path they wish to go.  They are useful resources.  They are not more mindfulness.  Not in my opinion but I am just an Internet, and, only recently former a mind rambler.  Everything I write here is based off a thought I had after looking at a magazine cover in a grocery store check out line.  It occurred to me that now we are selling healthy mind practice guides sold in the same place that causes extreme noise for the mind.   It was just very juxtaposed and oddly balanced. A health magazine that points out flaws you probably have seems ridiculous to me.  Its all just so very ridiculous.  If you want to help me please leave a comment.  We are not flawed.  We don’t need more or less of anything to be who we are.  Choose it or do not and be mindful or do not be.

I am trying to look at it with the idea of this “I am being mindful.  I always am.  It is just how I choose to do it that make the difference of what my actions are in this world.”  That brings me into focus when I initiate myself onto this world.  This allows me to consciously weigh my decision and ask myself, is this right? Is this true to me?  It does’nt always have to be.  Breaking the rules is ok.  The answer to the question is not what is what we are talking about here.  Just asking the question is harmless right?

Of course I am being completely ridiculous which I like to do.  If you search more mindful practices you will find many amazing resources to increase your chi flow and start kicking ass! What is even better is that most of them are free and there are tons of different things to try because not everything works for everyone! hahahaha!!




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