Friday, March 6, 2015

More On Attachment

(Warning: Spiritual Content Follows)

I wrote last week about the revelation about my life long attachment to 'needing to prove something to someone'.  Yet another revelation on the topic of attachment to this world took place today.

Some background. 

I've been doing serious spiritual work since 1979 when I met my teacher.  Since then I meditate virtually every day and do a number of other spiritual practices.  It is not infrequent during meditation that answers to problems or issues come up.  It will be after I've struggled with something for a while.  These are always in the form of the idea just being there; kind of dropping from the either so to speak. 

There other time...very rare times...when a voice says something to me.  This happened very early on during my spiritual path and it was what convinced me that I was truly on the right path for me.  This voice is very clearly (fill in the blank) the voice of truth, God, the unity, the holy spirit.  What ever you call it, it is so clearly not just the usual voice in my head and it is always about something very, very, significant to where I am in my spiritual journey.

I was doing my exercise hike this morning.  I time these to maximize my solitude and I usually am doing mantra repetition during the majority of my hike.  Following on the line of thought associated with my prior revelation, I'd been thinking a lot about the number of times I offer to assist people - especially using my professional skills - and am never taken up.  This has always been very frustrating.   There are a couple instances like that with people I care about right now.

So 'the voice' comes to me and says, "I Gave You Your Talent To Trap You." I interpret 'trap' as 'to keep you attached to this world'.  This was another sort of lightening bolt, AHA moment.  All this frustration about my assistance/talent not being accepted by others, just another mechanism to keep me trapped in this world. 

Hmmmmmmm.   Much more to contemplate.

Semir-Retirment Life Transition Report

The vision for the New and Improved Semi-Retired Lifestyle (Now with 50% more Transition Power!) preceded the implementation for quite a period.  First I dealt with the business partnership blow up in the Summer.  Then there was the 'Drool-a-saurus' virus in November.  Then the Grand Family Christmas and Reunion in December.  Then we had Wife with the Flu in January along with the lingering Pulisha clan multi occupations.  In February there was the two weeks of jury duty.

However, February and March (in spite of the jury duty) have been real tests of the new lifestyle schedule and I'm calling it a real winner.  As I sorted through what I wanted for this new stage of my life, I settled on a number of things that I wanted as part of a new schedule and equilibrium.  These included:
  1. A overall less packed time schedule - both daily and weekly - leading to a more rested life
  2. A sustainable exercise program consistent with #1
  3. Working half time and making the appropriate money from that work while only working on things and with people that I really enjoy
  4. Picking up a share of household responsibilities that would make Wife feel things were fair
  5. Finding and spending time doing things that were enjoyable (not work)
So how am I doing?

Pretty good I'd say.

Less Time Packed Schedule - The daily/weekly schedule is definitely more relaxed.  I've made a point of setting time aside to exercise within the work week and I have given up getting up at ridiculously early hours to do so.  No 10/12 hour work days either.  No work on weekends.  (These last two are occasionally broken). All these have reduced energy drain substantially.

Exercise - This is going real well.  I am hiking a couple of days a week (always during the week not the weekend).  My focus on hiking is an exercise tool, not hiking to go places and or go further and higher.  So I'm pretty disciplined about the amount of time and type of hikes I do.  Then I'm doing a workout that combines yoga (stretching) and abdominal and upper body work twice a week as well.  That seems to be the optimum.  As you get older you need more recuperation time.  If I do more, I seem to get hurt.  I'm feeling really good doing this regime.

Working - I've got a nice stable of clients that I enjoy.  I'm only networking (marketing) with those that I feel really fit what I'm trying to do.  No illusions of grandeur.  Making money.  All good.

Household - I have my jobs.  Wife even said she was feeling guilty I was doing too much!  That's cool.  I can let go of stuff.

Doing Enjoyable Stuff - Been doing lots of travel planning and we have our first big trip around the corner.  Cooking has been good (need to write a separate post about that).  The Story is the biggie.  I'm totally pumped about it and it will be a long and very enjoyable project.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Once upon a time when I was much younger, with much longer hair, living as a child of the 60's/70's, I wrote a story.  Actually it was the draft of a book.  It was a fantasy book that reflected a lot of things I was experiencing at that point in life.  I took it a long way.  I had some artwork done for it.  I actually submitted some briefs to publishers.  But I didn't really pursue it.  I had three children and I needed all my energy to just deal with growing up to being a real husband, father, and career person.

But I never threw the book away.  The manuscripts and the maps were carefully saved through all our moves over the years.  I remember about a decade or so a go, taking it out and reading it and feeling a bit horrified at some of the things that were key features of the book.  And yet there were other parts that I thought were really pretty good.  At that time I couldn't see any way of reconciling who I was today and my values now with what I had written before.

Fast forward to December of last year.  I'm now the transition/retired person and I'm taking on new and different challenges and interests.  I had also been rereading a bunch of science fiction and fantasy from the 70's that I have in my library.  I was kind of taken with the fact that a lot of these books I loved then really weren't that well written.  So I decided to get out my story and read it again.

After that rereading, I felt that it really had a lot of good character development and plot development.  And I found that maybe the values it promoted really wasn't so far off of what I was feeling especially after all my realizations related to transition and retirement. 

I've decided that I'm going to rewrite the book.  As it is only in a typed paper version, this has meant I have to key the whole thing into the computer.  I'm not quite half way there as it is around 220 pages. This is a good process, as it is giving me lots of ideas of how it needs to be altered, added to, changed to make a tighter more solid story.  And since my latest revelation about my the demon of 'proving something to somebody', I realized that I don't really care if anyone ever sees this or not.  It seems to be something that I'm motivated to do simply for the joy of doing it. It's such an unusual, unique and joyful experience to me.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An End To Tilting At Windmills?

(As always the warning that this post contains unabashedly spiritual content.  Avoid if that bothers you.)

I've documented at length under the 'Transition' label the multi year process of accepting the change of life that occurs going from the years of work to the years of retirement.  In particular I've talked a lot about dealing with my fighting the Dragon of ego to get to a place where I can have a meaningful new reality.  In the last week or so I've had a couple of very significant realizations. 

During this process, I focused on my ego attachments to the business that I've build and the work that I've done since the mid-1990's because that was most pertinent to my ego issues during this transition.  But a train of thought came to me during the course of weeks worth of meditation and contemplation that went like this.
  • The ego attachment that I had identified really took the shape of a 'needing to show somebody something'.  Kind of like the words, "Well they really don't appreciate how good I am, so I have to show them."
  • Then I realized that this feeling of 'needing to prove something to somebody' was not restricted to just this business that I built, but manifested all through my career.
  • Then I realized that this feeling had manifested itself all through my life!  In fact, I can identify this feeling going back to my earliest memories.
"Holy crap," I said to myself, "You mean this has been the core of my self-image forever?"

This isn't just some attachment to his business edifice.  It has been a key part of the fabric of my being. And who are these others that I have felt my whole life that I needed to prove something too?  Clearly it hasn't been the individuals or organizations that I set up because it made no difference what I did or in what arena I did it or when I did it, I'd find someone, something, some group that I had to prove something too.

The path that I follow, we are encouraged to seek out the attachments that keep us separated from the unity that truly is the see through the illusions of life.  If this isn't a core attachment and illusion, I don't know what is. 

I haven't decided quite what I'm supposed to do with this revelation but I certainly have felt a lot lighter since it took place.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Officers' Lounge Added to Eldership

Second Officer Wife has been after me to upgrade some of the accommodations for the senior staff of the Eldership de-Intimidator.  You know what we say here in Elderfleet command - "Happy Second Officer, Happy Life."

Fortunately after the recent addition of our expansive combination indoor/outdoor room, our former dining room has been sitting unused.  With the input of a number of people, we settled on the idea of creating a lounge which was finally put into place this week.

New Eldership de-I Officers' Lounge

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Things That Make Me A Plebian Peasant

This post is presented with good humor as a tongue in cheek counterpoint to a recent post from one of my wonderful daughters.

  • I still eat the same Hershey's Chocolate Nuggets as I have for years (though at least I eat the dark chocolate ones)

  • I actually like and look forward to watching The Voice on network television

  • I buy french bread from Costco

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cooking the Blackacre Way

I offered Wife the choice of BBQ ribs or crab cakes for Valentine's Day.  She chose the latter (so I'm making the former today, Sunday).  Crab cakes are not anything that I make on a regular basis or truth be told hardly any basis at all.  So I sent a lifeline to the Nieces X and E in the Mid-Atlantic being pretty confident that that the enthusiastic cooks of that branch of the family would have something. 

This recipe comes from the test kitchen of the East Shore of Maryland plantation, Blackacre, the homestead of my older brother.

First needed - Crab

Ah Phillips a good ole Maryland brand of crab

Direct from India

Next it calls for shallots, jalapeno and poblano chiles.
Well that sounds more like what I can get here in the Southwest

And the venerable Maryland spice Old Bay Seasoning
Yikes all they had at our grocery is this garlic and herb version.
Hope that works

Next they call for homemade crab stock!
Jeesh were am I going to get that?

I'm pretty good at improvising so I made an ersatz fish/crab stock using some leftover poaching liquid from a fish I made on Friday plus some fish stock base, Thai fish sauce, and Vietnamese spicy crab paste

The recipe calls for you to dice the shallots and pepper in a lot of butter, then add the stock and cook the stock down.

Meanwhile I combined the crab, Old Bay plus some panko breadcrumbs in a bowl

So far so good

Next you take off the wet mixture, let cool some, and add butter
That's added to the other ingredients in the bowl and mixed together.

The mixture is rolled into 8 balls and fried in butter and oil 15 minutes to a side on a low to medium heat.

Look crab cakey?

Got to have a side dish so I took some corn on the cob from the summer out

Et Voila
Blackacre Style Crab Cakes

Truth be told I had a slight glitch in the recipe.  I don't think I reduced the stock mixture enough and as a result the cakes really didn't hold together.  It took a real deft had to keep them halfway together for turning and then getting them out of the pan.  On top of that I had the heat a bit too high at first.  Hence the more 'Louisiana blackened' look than the 'golden brown'  I was aiming for.

That said, they tasted excellent.  And though they didn't really hold together well, that same looseness has me inspired to use this recipe as the filling for some crab ravioli!