Monday, November 4, 2013

3 Years Later

It has been 3 years since I played soldier in Iraq. I don't hunger to go back although I am ready for the next deployment if the opportunity comes knocking.

No anxiety, no strong desire for adrenaline inducing activities. I would say I am back to "normal", but my short time in Iraq changed me in some fundamental and needed ways. I can say I like and appreciate the new normal I have settled into.

I have owned three motorcycles and a few vehicles since returning from Iraq. As far as bikes I started with a 68 CB350 cafe that i wish I hadn't sold, then bought an 84 CB700SC sport tourer and now I have a 07 VTX1300C. 4 wheeled vehicles; I bought a 95 Civic EX when I returned from Iraq, then an 89 Trooper (gave the Civic to my son for graduation and sold the Trooper to an old friend), traded the 84 CB700SC for a 2012 Civic Si, then 6 months later traded the Civic Si for a 2013 Ford F150 (Honda has great trade in value and Ford was offering really great incentives). After I bought the VTX1300C I gave the truck to my wife and I now have her 2000 Expedition for stormy/ icy days. I think I am good for a while though as my wife loves the truck and I love my bike. Who knows.

Spiritually, I have never been closer to GOD or JESUS and have never been more comfortable in my own skin than I am now. I have an admiration for the WORD of GOD as opposed to some mystical hope for the absorption of wisdom through merely reading the words in the Holy Bible. Honestly, in the past I tried to read the bible as fast as I could comprehend like I needed to read the entire bible on some one year plan and was missing out on the wisdom I could derive from GOD's WORD.

My time in Iraq was a needed 6 months away from the influences of daily life. I get sabbaticals now, i mean I understood the need for time away, but having enough time to truly contemplate the direction one's life is heading and to take an honest look at how one's philosophies are affecting one's decisions is invaluable.

I can see with complete clarity how empty and void the new age movement is. Evil cloaked as peace. That may sound extreme, but the truth is what the truth is.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Eight months back home. I am finally starting to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

It feels good to have a normal relationship with God, the Buddhist stint was an odd path, but I can appreciate veering on to that path for a short while. Life without suffering is a life not lived or learned from. Seeking the cessation from suffering is to seek spiritual ignorance and all about self, not anything to do with God.

I am back in school, start classes next month, finish my BS then move onto my master's. 2-3 years to go. I have 132 total credits from two schools.

The weather is warming, flowers are blooming, nuclear fallout is in the air, my oldest son is still in school and I am trying to get my middle son in school in the fall as he wants to get his EMT certification, then be a fireman. Our oldest son wants to be a cop, he is working on a criminal justice degree.

I need to find a way to catchup and pay off debts, I need another car/ truck/ motorcycle so I can give my Civic to my middle son as a graduation gift. This is proving to be a little challenging. I hope to find a decent 70's or 80's street bike like a CB750 or XS maybe to cut down on gas and insurance.

I'm getting there.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The 12 Steps

I turned the dreaded 40 last November and since I have been back from Iraq I have felt my life becoming more and more unmanageable and out of control. About every other day I began to have crying fits, usually sparked by a memory of our children growing up or some incident from my past. I found it harder and harder to accomplish anything at work, or deal with the slightest amount of stress at home. I felt under water

I made a trip to the VA hospital for my post deployment checkup. As I was speaking with the nurse practioner, she asked how I was doing emotionally. Normally I would say I was good regardless of how I really was and eventually work out my issues on my own. This time I shared. I was prescribed anti-depressants and given an appointment to speak to a mental healthcare specialist.

I took half a pill, spoke to my wife, decided to look into my condition on my own and threw the pills away. I also cancelled my appointment.

Rewind about 21 years;

I wasn't in the Navy long before I was sent to CREDO (a weekend retreat for troubled sailors) mostly due to a misunderstanding, but it was an important step for me to realize I had latent pain from my past that was causing me emotional issues.

After CREDO, I was referred to Al-Anon; the 12 step group for those who suffer the effects of living with alcoholics. I attended three or so meetings with two different groups and stopped going as I felt I was functional and saw the groups as a stagnant place to seek attention. I wasn't an addict of drugs or alcohol and I was able to go to work, have fun, wasn't violent and didn't want attention due to my past, I wanted to leave my past behind me... in the past.

I stopped there. Unfortunately, I had no one to monitor my progress, or lack of progress after CREDO. We were torn open at the retreat, bussed back home and dropped off with a few pamphlets and little direction. I know they do what they can with a group of people who suffer different pains for different reasons over the course of a weekend and I am thankful, 21 years later, for the experience.

Back to the present, the self help quest;

I ran across information on Adult Children of Alcoholics and after research into the best way to start recovery on my own purchased a workbook called "The 12 Steps A Way Out". Not that I am adverse to groups, but there are no meetings near where I live or work. I share with my wife who also suffers from her upbringing.

I am working on Step 2...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three months back home

Straying from the Christian path and returning has been a strange experience.

I don't necessarily know if my faith and understanding is stronger due to my traveling the Buddhist path (discovering why, though logical, Buddhism is not a path to righteousness or a way to gain true spiritual wisdom or get closer to the Father), is maybe related to this new found calmness I feel since returning from Iraq or other contributing factors such as the amount of time I spent in contemplation while deployed. I have to assume all of the above play a part in the strength and trust I have developed as to my faith in God by the gift of Grace freely given through Christ Jesus.

I spent many mornings and nights in walking contemplation, working through stumbling blocks in my spiritual development. A few minutes in truth with one's self is worth much more than the countless hours we spend justifying impure action and thought.

My wife and I had a discussion recently about our wanderings in eastern religions/ philosophies and how our return to God through Christ Jesus was marked by a greater strength and trust in the Christian path (not to be confused with the modern organized religious path) and the Words of wisdom espoused by Biblical teachings. We both experienced a greater acceptance by those of the world while meddling in eastern teachings, but grew further away from God.

I have been back and forth on and off the path my whole life, normally not so far off the path as I was when I decided to see if Buddhism as a philosophical guide could bring me closer to God. There are specific points in my time on the right path that are bookmarked and I remember how I felt when my relationship with God was at it's strongest. It is good to be back.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back from the Middle East

I didn't feel the motivation to blog while deployed to Iraq. I kept scattered journals (I have no idea what is up with that, I start a journal, then quit, then start a new one), but that was about it.

I spent many hours in contemplation and returned to my Christian roots. I think the main reason was the cessation of suffering. Although it does make sense to follow a logical path to end suffering as we do tend to naturally do everything in our power to avoid suffering of any kind, it just seemed counter productive to work to seek the end of suffering. The best lessons I have learned in life were learned because of suffering. As a matter of fact, the only time we as humans learn a lesson that really sticks with us is through suffering. That, and typically our natural drive to end suffering is self serving (such as taking drugs or alcohol to avoid emotional pain or guilt) and not usually in our best interest or in an attempt to work towards spiritual growth. Avoiding suffering often leads to taking the easy way out, or the path of least resistance which is almost never the better or best path to take.

As a side note: I miss Iraq here and there, although I have yet to really pinpoint why. I think it was the amount of time I had to myself. I think i needed that time to sort some things out. So all in all my Iraq deployment was a health trip.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

30 Days till Shelby


Greed is the root of all suffering, or evil depending on your philosophical bent...

Greed, aversion and delusion are the three defilements leading to suffering, but greed is the root. Aversion is caused by greed, delusion is the justification or ignorance of greed.

Clinging, a symptom of greed.

Now, getting past greed... this is the path. This is my battle. Nirvana is merely the icing on the cake of nonsuffering. My goal is to elevate above the plain of suffering and maintain that plain.

My battle starts with food.

Yep, food.

Clinging to food is my greatest weakness, not my only, but my greatest.

Stress? run to food... lonely? run to food... bored? run to food... I am a food greed manho.

I wouldn't put dirty gas in my wife's truck knowingly because i wouldn't want to damage the engine.

Food is merely fuel for our bodies. Why do I put dirty fuel into my body? Pizza, cake, cookies, cracker snacks, processed foods, fast foods, preserved foods, foods laden with pesticides... all dirty fuel put into my fuel tank almost daily.

My focus?

Food is fuel.

Food is fuel..

Food is fuel...

Peace and compassion

Monday, November 2, 2009

33 Days till Shelby


After a great weekend, I am here at work.

All is serene.

As a side note, I enjoy starting the day in meditation.

Watched a documentary on Ram Das last night. The whole guru thing makes me uneasy. I am all about passing on information to be deciphered by the student, but the idea of gurus and followers, typically is just asking for abuse. Power corrupts as power is highly addictive. For he/ she who is truly enlightened through discipline it may not become an issue, but for those who seek the easy path to enlightenment, woe to their followers.

Back to the video documentary...

It is one thing to read another's words or perspectives, but another to watch that person present their perspectives. Readership avoids ego manipulation with regard to the follower/ leader paradox. Follower/ leader paradox- followers worshiping leaders, leaders feeding off followers building momentum until leaders are taking advantage of/ abusing followers. Without body language, facial expression and eye contact of a speaker, it is much easier for the student to develop a personal perspective on presented information. Another advantage of readership is the time available to contemplate the context of the information that is being delivered. Time to go back reread material. Granted, one can rewind a video, but from my experience I am less likely to rewind a video than to reread a passage due to misunderstanding as the experience is altered when stopping/ rewinding a video.

Guru-ship and salesmanship..

A major advantage in sales is actually meeting the prospective customer to give the sales experience a more personal touch. It is much harder to say no to someone's face than to say no in a more impersonal setting like on the phone or in writing. A major goal in sales is to actually meet the decision maker face to face. Physical presence also presents the salesman the opportunity to direct attention to perceived problem areas including particularly difficult customers when there is more than one decision maker.

Connecting with a person visually provides certain advantages in proposing an idea or product, such as in a video or any digital format. Such as the difference between watching a movie and reading a book. Granted, typically, there are other factors in the difference in watching a movie or reading a book such as it is usually not possible to cover all the details from a book in the normal amount of time alloted for a movie, but even if it were possible to cover all details from book to movie, the experience of reading a story and seeing a story would provide very different experiences. There is less left to the imagination when information is presented visually. The brain has less work to do when it gets a visual presentation. In a sense it is as if the visual presentation is thinking for the student or customer.

Not that meeting with a teacher does not have it's benefits, but I think core learning is best on our own using teachers as guides when we run into difficulty or get bogged down and hit the learning wall.

Ramble on...

Peace and compassion