Winter 2023 Blog Update (Part 1 of 6) ~ Updates & Recent News

Greetings, visitor. It’s been over a year since my last full update and now (*sighs*) it’s time to say goodbye. 

Although I don’t yet plan to shut down my website, this is a formal laying to rest of my grand blogging intentions. Since I began my website during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, my blog activity has been sparse and sporadic. There’s a good reason for that: Life is short. 

In general, sustaining a website—or any internet presence with half a pulse—requires active commitment. When it comes to the relational nature of internet content, like anything else in life, it’s far easier to consume than create it. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-driven, information-saturated marketplace, we are simultaneously drowning in content, yet oblivious to its value.

During my recent entry into blogging, it became increasingly clear to me that over the last seven years, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time and energy supporting the work of other people at the expense of supporting my own essential needs. 

Prior to the work I’ve done for my blog, my freelance writing projects focused exclusively on promoting worthy communities that I cared about: non-mainstream artists; small, local businesses; and even humanitarian causes. I often worked for free or cheap, content to hone my craft of writing while sharing my work with an audience. 

For the first time, my website gave me full permission to explore my personal life and work as the main focus of attention. However, despite the change in subject matter, I still found myself subject to the same domestic tyrant: a people-pleasing perfectionism that has outgrown its welcome. 

As I enter my 40s, it’s time to take a break. It’s time to make some changes. How this process is managed begins and ends with me.

At this point in my life, optimism can feel forced or faked in the wake of repeated setbacks. However, we are not born into minds and bodies that desire to afflict us. Hope remains essential for carrying on with grace and dignity. Without hope, we complicate life by succumbing to counterproductive mindsets and lifestyles. 

When the world appears to be more complicated, we must approach it with greater simplicity. One way we can promote simplicity within our lives and within the world is by taking better care of ourselves. Paul Conti traces this issue to its roots on the Good Life Project, “Good mental health is always consistent with simplicity and simple principles. Once they become too complicated, we’re straying away from good mental health.” 

Straying too far from simple principles can leave us lost and exhausted. While I exit a decade of my life, I find myself wading through a midlife transition, peering through bruised clouds for signs of providence. And yet, there’s a paradox to being lost: Directed by our self-preservation instinct, we tend to look for familiar things in unfamiliar places; instead, when we are lost, we must surrender our attachment to security, accepting that only the unknown can now lead us home.

As someone who has spent a lifetime searching for security, perhaps I’ve grown dependent upon decoys in the world to mask feelings of personal insufficiency. In hindsight, I’ve long hounded mirages of self-inflicted ambition, striving tirelessly to convert my fleeting self-esteem into abiding self-worth

Presently humbled, I confess that my well-being is worth more than my worldly success. I’m ready to brave the awareness that our self-transcending state of wholeness—or oneness (or whatever lens expresses one’s higher or deeper being)—isn’t a willed condition that can be bartered by our deeds. No amount of crystal rubbing will balance life’s equation for us. Our belongingness to the cosmos within and beyond our flesh is unconditional, embedded in the very core of our authentic being. We accept our given nature through the simple truth of being alive.

I’ll say it at the beginning, and I’ll repeat it at the ending: We are a pulsing consciousness: now here, for now, on visit.

Before I am a creator of any medium, a scholar and outdoorsman, a brother and son, a friend and citizen…simply put, the sum of any demographics: I am a human being. I require no credentials. I meet all qualifications. And the same can be said about you, dear visitor. Please remind yourself of who you are. Then live according to your guiding values—moment by moment—again and again. 

It seems to me that being an awakened human being, first and foremost, involves cultivating a whole-hearted appreciation of our shared humanity. We exist in existential transit between states of arrival and departure, charged as an irreplaceable gift from and to the present. While we are awake, we are called to make it something joyous.

For now, I’d rather be cat-satisfied with the little joys that saturate daily life. The wily cat within me prefers to scrounge for scraps in the back alley; lacerate a ball of yarn into tatters; lounge on a windowsill conversing with birds; then groom itself silly before curling into sleep. In short, I’m ready to come and go of my own free will. And why shouldn’t I? Life is a limited edition experience. I intend to steward mine more wisely.

As I rise to the calling, I’m ready to drift in shape and direction in search of greater clarity, balance, and peace. In honor of my whole-hearted being, I wish to spend more time resting; enjoying the company of friends and family; and getting back into working on my own creative—offline—projects. 

Regarding my plans for this website, I still intend to share a few stray projects before my indefinite hiatus: an article about my first Camino de Santiago trekking trip through Northern Spain; a music-themed retrospective article about my life during the 2010s; and lastly, a street photography collection I captured during the two years I lived in Spain. 

Eventually, in the more distant future, I will consolidate the rest of my freelance writing portfolio, photography, and music in one centralized place on this website. When I am better grounded, and can return to acts of service in moderation, I may, possibly, host my themed multimedia blog curating the work of others. 

Meanwhile, considering that many of my online projects thus far have fallen short of my projected timelines, consider my Fall 2020 Blog Update, it’s safest to say that whatever I do from now on will happen whenever it happens…or not at all. If you’ve enjoyed any of my work so far, consider following me on social media—Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram—to help me bring future content directly to you. 

But pause right there. In the crazed Information Age of the 21st century, when so much of our lives now take place online in negotiation with interactive networks, we are often commanded by friends and strangers alike with a common refrain to like, share, and subscribe to their content. In contrast to this cultural undertow, I request your consideration: Before you invest your attention in me, or anyone else for that matter, first confirm whether you’re truly engaged with someone who’s far more fundamental in your life: 

you 

yourself. 

This line of questioning can feel elusive, splitting the center of our being like an abandoned mineshaft. How often do we overlook the goldmine within us for the sake of the cheap glitter that sparkles on the sidelines? 

The landscapes within which we roam, in planes both physical and digital, include encounters with people who have motives of their own. Some encounters appear to be friendly and beneficial; some are more toxic and problematic. It’s all the more critical, therefore, to consider where we place our attention. 

It’s easy to fall prey to the politicized drone of media anchors. When we aren’t being divided by polarizing news, we are being tantalized by advertisers selling us things we don’t need. And who hasn’t been tempted to lose themselves in social media fantasylands of their own creation? Distractions. All distractions. None of it sustains us. None of it truly has our best interests at heart. 

Instead of turning outward for fulfillment—arousing our dopamine-jacked impulse for more: more content to collect; more acceptance to earn—we are invited, at any moment, to turn inward: to return home. 

We are all born with a guiding voice within us that speaks a language that only we can decipher. Sometimes the truths it speaks are inconvenient or perplexing. Throughout our lives, we may be led to ignore our guide, favoring, instead, larger, louder, more charismatic voices outside of ourselves for help. The trouble is, after much neglect, our faithful guide eventually shrinks away, turning to quieter, simpler corners of the cosmos with which to commune.

The winding path through self-development can appear daunting. There will always be challenges—many of them—in our way. The maps we inherit to help guide our lives are often flawed or incomplete; and where they appear intact, they still require discernment to interpret. Fortunately, we don’t all have to join a secluded mountain monastery to find genuine truth we can live by. If a soul is a story in motion, then every path forward is marked by a testimony of heartbeats. 

Again, dear visitor, thank you for your interest as this site is developed—slowly—over the years to come. May the years ahead bring you the blessings you most desire, but, most importantly, may they bring you those that you most need to grow—now and beyond.

(The featured image is used by courtesy of Tara Winstead on Pexels.)

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