I want to go somewhere where I can see a billion stars in the sky at night. I was taking the trash out in the wee hours of the morning and noticed the stars. We don’t get to see them often in the UK because it always seems to be cloudy or partly cloudy (slight exaggeration, I know).

Anyway, I looked up, saw the stars, and was happy (because I don’t get to see them often ?).  However,  the light pollution being what it is near my crib,  all I could see was the usual suspects – the Big Dipper, Orion, Ursa Major, etc. I remember my time in the jungles of Malaysia and looking up at the night sky and being overwhelmed and in awe of the endless spread of stars which looked something like this:

I need to see this view in my life again.

I dipped into town to see my friend Sarah for coffee, conversation, and lunch. We didn’t record an episode today, just spent the time catching up. The school holidays and personal holidays created the gap between our last meeting. Like the newsletter, I need to get back into the groove with the podcast.

Life IS the adventure is my latest strapline. I’ve come full circle with the personal growth adventures idea that started me on this path 20 years ago (it feels weird to write that…’20 years ago’ but I’m of that age now, I guess…). Anyway, I was thinking about what ‘life is the adventure’ means to me, and it’s this:

…a mindset built around curiosity and creativity, exploration and discovery. It’s about trying something new, something that expands the boundary of your comfort zone. It’s about embracing all of life, the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. The goal is to have more good days than bad days and experience more ups than downs.  And in the end, being able to say: ‘I lived a good life.’

Life IS the adventure!

When you were younger did you ever have the feeling that you were headed for great things once you finished high school and headed off to university or into the world? Or did you feel like everyone else, but you, was headed for something great? And let me ask you this: at what point did you ‘jump track’ and realised after many years wasted, you were on the wrong track to begin with?

I got a chance to catch up with my friend Naomi on the phone today. It’s been an easy while since I last had any contact with her. Her face has cropped up from time to time on my social feeds, but that’s about it.  I like out of the blue calls like this. They’re interesting because you both have to fill in the gaps of time which causes you to reflect on what exactly you’ve been up to in the intervening time. 

Naomi is hardcore Gen X. She’s kind of on social, but not really into it. I think it’s FOMO, more than anything else’s, that spurs her on.

 Her go-to social is FB which, of course, according to marketing stats, is the place most Gen Xers hangout. My guess is FB reminds them of the old walled garden days of AOL. I have a love-hate relationship with the Face of Book. I much prefer Twitter, but if I want to reach people who fall in the same demographic as I do, then Facebook is the place to do that statistically. 

And just to be totally random with you, I bought one of these reusable Starbucks flasks…

the other day because I am determined to move more and Starbucks is the furthest coffee shop from where I work most weekdays. Gotta get those extra steps in, especially as I’m banned from my beloved weights. But we make do with what we have.

Oh, I didn’t get the all-clear from the doc today. Looks like my hand is being stubborn. For some reason, it keeps over granulating which isn’t allowing the wound to close up so it can get on with the business of healing.

I wrote a flash fiction piece this evening, but won’t post it yet until I’ve seen it in the light of day.

I enjoyed the process.

So Toni Morrison has passed on to the afterlife, wherever or whatever that is. Obama dropped a nice tribute tweet to her in a more eloquent way than I could do.

Obama, ever the great orator. Many were singing his praises as he stepped up and gave a presidential condolence to the people of El Paso, something our current chief doesn’t seem capable or willing to do. 

My memories of El Paso are from a distance as I looked across the New Mexican desert at the shimmering lights of El Paso. I used to dream about escaping my Ranger School misery and disappearing into the city.

My jaw seems to be continually on the floor in shock at the state of madness we find ourselves in these days. The Chinese curse is most apt – may you live in interesting times they said – and boy do we live in interesting times. The rise of populist governments has me shaking in my boots a little bit. Politically the world is becoming more dangerous. There’s too much ‘you’re either with us or against us’ rhetoric going on. People are becoming tribal again and squaring off for war.

My broken body is slowly on the mend. I limped a little less today. I’m off to the doc tomorrow to see about my hand. I doubt that she’ll clear me as one of the wound holes has not completely closed yet and is still leaking out. It’s been 3 1l2 weeks now, when will it end?

Broken though I maybe, I’m back in motion again, so that’s good. I’ve captured some good sunsets over the last two days out on my evening walks (my only form of exercise at the moment as the gym is off limits until I get the all-clear from the doc).

Fields of Southam
View from St James Church, Southam

I started reading the Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the musical. Ron Chernow is a great storyteller.  I love narrative history books. They really bring the his-tory alive.  And Hamilton is such an interesting character. I’m looking forward to taking a deep dive into his life.

It’s amazing how much of life is routine.

I guess it has to be, otherwise we’d have chaos and chaos doesn’t make for good productivity and effeciency. Robert Spencer calls these routines power sinks as expressed by our habits – habits of being, habits of thinking, habits of doing, habits of feeling and habits of perceiving. But according to Spencer, these kinds of habits rob us of our power.

While they make our lives efficient, they also make our lives pretty dull.

If I compare my today with my yesterday, it’s pretty much the same. I drove the same route to and from work. And so far, I’ve sat at the same desk, done the same type of work, followed by a walk to Sainsbury’s for lunch at Starbucks. The variables – I had an egg sandwich instead of chicken, and a lemon-lime drink instead of a raspberry-blackcurrant drink. The coffee was the same in the same black thermos. I sat inside today instead of outside. Some of the people were different, some were the same (we’re creatures of habit after all and eat lunch more or less at the same time and there are only a handful of food options within walking distance of this office complex and industrial estate.

My thoughts were variations of the same handful of themes I think a lot about.

Perhaps I should start dicing again to breakup the monotony of my routines with randomness and chance.

Invite the gods of chaos into my life.

I felt a bit scrappy this morning along with an incredible urge to walk around naked. There must have been something in my coffee to trigger a primal reaction.

Having watched Hamilton over the weekend, I now have the soundtrack on repeat in Spotify. Particularly the lead track Alexander Hamilton, also My Shot, Ten Duel Commandments, and Non-stop.  I admire people like Hamilton – people who are driven to a fault. They know what they want and are willing to move heaven and earth to get it.

Me, I’m way too laid back for that. I’m more of the Jimmy Buffet type in Margaritaville wearing my flip-flops and strumming my six-string.

Years ago I stumbled across this statement and question: It’s your life, what are you going to do with? Today, I contemplated this. I’m only a few weeks away from my birthday and I was wondering what am I going to do with the rest of my life?

I had the good fortune to witness this sunset tonight:

I must make time for more of these.

A young lady of 15 has written a letter to the local paper. She is lamenting about the rampant sexism in her school. She says she often hears “lads saying how amazing a girl’s behind is or her breasts.” She is quick to add that she is being polite in her description of the boys’ actual words. She wants to know “How can men treat girls as meat?” In her world “It is quite obvious that any dignified girl or woman will never set foot near a guy who is obsessed with her chest and can’t keep his eyes off her behind.”

It is odd that her letter raging against sexism should appear just below a picture of a Vivitar movie camera advert with a young blond girl holding the camera while sitting on the floor in just her underwear. I like to read about the latest gadgets. Isn’t it funny that a magazine that is 100% about gadgets has, on every single cover, a picture of a beautiful young lady in a swimsuit? Well perhaps not funny, but certainly a commentary on the use of sex to sell products to men. We seem to have a switch that regulates our rational thinking and diverts the energy elsewhere at the sight of an attractive woman. The less she is wearing, the more we revert back to being like our simian primate cousins.

Our young lady goes on to ridicule the boys she hears utter childish words like: “I’d tap that.” She goes on to wonder why her school does nothing to promote the fair treatment of women. “I suppose it can’t exactly be taught. Guys just need to grow up,” she concludes.

I would like to tell her that we will grow up, but I know that we won’t. In every man there is an adolescent boy trapped inside and a ranging simian wanting to get out. You need only play fly on the wall to any group of men, regardless of class or status, and let a beautiful young lady walk by, and you will hear the men groan, “man I’d like to tap that.” If they don’t say it with their voice, they will say it with their eyes.

Re-engaging with the news and reading current affairs has reawakened a part of me that has lain dormant for many years now, probably since I left the army 12 years ago.  I think back then, I felt it was my duty as an officer to be keenly aware of world events.  So I religiously devoured current news, world events, history and politics.

It wasn’t until I got a job in sales that I drifted away from an active interest in news and world affairs.  Most of the positive psychology books discourage paying attention to the news.  The news headlines were deemed to negative to be consumed by minds in active pursuit of a positive mental attitude.  And so I drifted away from world affairs, politics, and history.

So this week as I submerged myself in news via the press, radio, TV and the Internet, I began to rediscover a lost love.  And I fear, like Pandora’s Box, I have let loose a terrible and great evil into my world and I don’t think I can put it back.  To paraphrase an old army cadence: I like it.  I love it. I want more of it. Make it hurt, drill sergeant, make it hurt!

I’m in transition phase, which means I’m between projects.  I spent the doing some light research for my next project(s).  My morning reflection time yielding a long list of to-do’s, but I ended up blowing most of those off for a trip to Borders.  I wanted to get a feel for what other writers are doing out in the field and I wanted to gage where I want to steer my own writing to next.

On the drive to Borders I ran through the various subjects that have interested me in the past.  Philosophy, spirituality, culture, politics, and outdoor adventures are topics that generally occupy my attention .  I told myself that I would open my mind in Borders and see what other subjects might attract me without much forethought.

I picked up a few titles I have not read nor seen before like:  Adbusters, which bills itself as an activist toolkit.  The theme for this month’s issue is Thought Control in Economics.  I’ve never considered myself much of an activist, but the articles looked like I might learn something interesting.  Index on Censorship was the next title and it’s central question for the month is: Time for a Revolution?  I personally think it is time for a revolution, if not in the world, then in mind and body.  I thought I had run away from matters of spirituality, but the Buddhist Review, Tricycle caught my attention and reminded me of why I am attracted to Zen philosophy.  The articles are thoughtful and not airy-fairy.  Enlightenment Next, the magazine for evolutionaries was the next title that grabbed my attention with the headline reading: The Evolving Faces of God.  The voices of many of the leading popular spiritual leaders and gurus are in here.  The articles are well written even if some are a bit obtuse.  Next I wandered over to business and current affairs and found The Intelligent Life which is a title put out by The Economist and covers life, culture, and style in an intelligent, grown-up manner.  It’s like a lad mag for mature men (the cover doesn’t sport any half-naked sex goddesses). The writing style is heavy and intellectual, much like you would find in The Economist.  And then when I arrived back home the latest copy of Philosophy Now was waiting for me in the mail.  The cover story is existentialism and culture.

After an hour or so of browsing it seems my interests are indeed spirituality, philosophy, politics, and culture.  I did spend some time browsing the outdoor adventure mags, and techno-geek stuff, but none of those titles inspired me to part with any cash.  I was surprised that I didn’t spend any time in the travel section.

Back at the ranch, I got a last minute call from Ed asking me if I wanted to go see Pandorum with him and Rich.  After checking with the boss, I agreed.

Pandorum is a pure sci-fi action film.  It’s kind of like a mix of Alien, Descent, and Fight Club.  It’s a good film if you like your action flicks to be heavy on action and light on dialogue.

I feel the need for motion.  The past seven months I have been fully engaged with work behind the walls of the corporate castle, and now I feel the need to spend time roaming urban landscapes, wilderness, countryside, and mountains.  I want to re-engage with the world beyond the walls.  And those walls include the walls that surround my home.