November 14, 2008

The Wheels Fall Off

Sometimes the wheels fall off And sometimes you can’t get up And sometimes I just sit and think And I don’t talk much Sometimes the world moves fast And sometimes you can’t keep up
Neil Halstead

As usual, I have magnified my life stress into unmanageable proportions and thrust myself into a melodramatic downward spiral. Ending in an obsessive pool of self-pity and overreaction. The uncertainty of my family’s future, in regards to finding a new job or staying in Doha for one more year, has tainted everything I read, write, or think.

Add to this tension, my obsession with politics and you have the perfect recipe for an existential unraveling. I have been moody, brooding, and sporadic for the last few weeks. If you don’t believe me ask my wife; she will tell you all about. My constant mood swings have led me to believe that I may be clinically depressed or maybe even bi-polar. Google Md aside, Somethings got to give!

Most every thought that swims in my mind and melts into these words is soaked in hyperbole and should seldom be taken too seriously. I change my mind and views sometimes within an hour. It’s hard to keep up with; I know. A more whimsical me, would say it is the Gemini in me.

I have written in the past about plans to transform myself and change direction, but these plans have often sputtered out leaving me to wallow in guilt and reconsider my course. I am here to say that I have once again decided to make a few changes. Please do not shake your head and discredit this new attempt.

While I think it is important to instigate dialogue, and have healthy discussions, I am realizing that many of my thoughts on this blog are not helping people. I am so wrapped up in my own views and ideas, that I do not spend enough time listening. When I do talk, I am often preaching and trying to convert. I want to stop doing this. I want my posts to be helpful, inspirational, and understanding. In short I want to write in a more Zen fashion.

I am not sure if I can write in this fashion about politics. Political views are simply too decisive for me. I hold my idea to close to my heart to be objective. Take this election for example, I actually lost sleep, because I was worried that I alone was aware of a plot by the DNC to dupe the nation into believing in a messiah like president elect, who would lead the nation to a near catatonic state, while reforming the nation to be a corporate playground.

I have decided that I will not write about or even read about Obama until inauguration day. I have unsubscribed from few blogs that feed my anxiety, and will not respond in anyway when people bask in his glory. I don't need to be the one to rain on the parade. The arguments are out there, I will no longer make them. Please do not mistake this as an act of disconnection from reality. It is simply a way to allow me to regroup. I have been very stressed out by the way that people have embraced Obama. I don’t need to be the one to “set them straight.

Enjoy the hope. Enjoy the change. I will sit back and let it go by for now and work on myself.
There is a link between doing and being. If you don’t succeed in being, you can’t succeed in doing.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I need to work on being for a while. I hope that my posts will reflect this new outlook. Last week, I wrote a post asking for some advice about feeling ineffectual and bored. I got some great answers. Here is what the comments looked like:

The main words as I see them:




I am currently reading the book The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh, which is really helping me sort through this mess. He says:
If at some point in your life you adopt an idea or a perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. This is the end of seeking truth. And not only do you no longer seek the truth, but even if the truth comes in person and knocks on your door you refuse to open it. Attachment to views, attachments to ideas, attachments to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to the truth.

Ideas and perceptions should be abandoned all the time, to make room for better ideas and truer perceptions.

Thich Nhat Hanh

I am abandoning my political thoughts for a while, at least the ones about the new President elect, and allowing myself to remain open to whatever new ideas I may encounter. I hope to write more about my daily thoughts and reflections. I want to use my ideas and words to help and connect, not convert and proselytize.

I also received an email from my mother today that pushed me over the edge. She said
Observe children for a while and learn how they play. Bring joyfulness and playfulness to what you do or write, to all of your activities. I said to my teacher that I would like to be playful, but I am so serious. She said, “when you are holding tight to your views and you don't let go then you become serious. Joy is the release of this. We often forget to play and we get so serious.
I interact with children all day, but I have noticed that not only am I not observing them and soaking in their energy, instead I am carrying my foul mood into my interactions with my students and my daughter. It is time to let go. Let go of my attachments about leaving Doha or staying in Doha. Let go of the idea that I need to educate the whole world on the pains of the industrial world. Let go. I just need to let go.

If you look at the tag cloud in the right sidebar you will notice that politics is one of the biggest words, meaning that it is the topic I write the most about. My plan is to change that. Perhaps it is time to feed peace, Zen, gardening, art, music, or books. There is so much more to my life than politics, I don’t understand why I let politics dictate how I live my life.

Breath. Be here now.
The miracle is not to walk on air, or on water, or on fire. The real miracle is to walk on earth.
Lin Chi


  1. i am currently reading 'only a great rain'- master hsing yun

    bz- no one can sort things out but you. you already know that. let me just say to you that living here in the states- there is a feeling of optimism and change in the air that is so palpable- i even feel it. and i think it has less to do with barack obama than it does the movement that has taken place. americans were so very rooted in fear they were immobilized and now, they have broken free. there is talk in some circles of needing to change the democratic party- there is talk about forming third parties- there is talk of change, change, change-- and the best surprise- there's actually changes being made. i am a great believer in roots. i know that buddhists believe that life is transient- and i believe that too- but i don't think that they mean not having roots. i am not here to judge you and your wife's decisions- but perhaps you should pick somewhere and put down roots. home is certainly where family is- but have you considered just picking a spot and not moving for awhile? it doesn't sound like doha is top on your list- and really, with global climate change, i would suggest a spot where you can grow your own food :) but we won't go on that topic. i don't believe that change can happen in chaos- it needs grounding first. it sounds like your head is filled with chaos and it sounds like it is dwelling on things way out of your control. i only say this because you well know how guilty of that i am :) breathe, be still, be calm, meditate. center yourself and your family. once you are centered- things have a way of not looking so bad :) we can all make positives where we are- we just have to make them. namaste my friend.

  2. Thanks Betmo for your advice and words, "but perhaps you should pick somewhere and put down roots."

    Is more complicated than that right now. We want to fond a place and settle down, but like I said there is more to it than that.

    I just hope that no matter what happens, I can find a way to ground myself regardless of where I am. That is my plan for the coming weeks, months, and even years.

    You are right when you say,
    i don't believe that change can happen in chaos- it needs grounding first. it sounds like your head is filled with chaos and it sounds like it is dwelling on things way out of your control.

    This is where my work is.