September 28, 2020

I\’m in my apartment wearing jeans and a sweater with my hood over my head and ears. It\’s 10:40 am. This morning was leg day. Thalo, our building manager, is just outside the window sweeping the roof of a carport, gathering the first of many piles of leaves.

I was in Spokane and Boise last week. It was a long way. I listened to Matthew Crawford\’s book Why We Drive. It sat very well with me. I think he\’s on the right track. 

I met an army friend in Boise. We haven\’t seen each other since Ft. Hood in early 2015 He said I haven\’t changed much, which was shocking at first. He hasn\’t changed much either. We\’ve both matured. We acknowledged that much.

I rode straight home from Boise which is a long way on my bike. I hit heavy rain on I-90 as I made it into the Cascades. There were four lanes. I was way on the right lane, going 55-60 mph being passed by semi-trucks, closely watching the tires of the vehicle was in front of me for signs of deep water, straining to see through a fogged and mist-and-rain-beaded visor. I haven\’t hydroplaned on a motorcycle yet, and I didn\’t want to learn firsthand, yet.

I had to embody truth to give myself the best shot at survival: Relax and focus. Pay attention. See the whole picture at once. 

A motorcycle is a gyroscope and therefore is pretty good at keeping itself stable and upright. I needed to fight my body\’s tendency to become tense—loose grip, low elbows, deep breaths (slow so that I minimize fogging my helmet). If I were to hydroplane, I would relax and slowly-and-deliberately ease off the throttle—not panic. —If that\’s not meditation, I\’m not sure what is.

When I came home I poured water out of my boots. My hiking boots were water-proof at some point. But they aren\’t anymore. Caitlin came downstairs to help me unload my bags and locked us out because she forgot to bring the keys. I had to ride up another 15 minutes, one way, to The Barking Dog, to borrow Dani\’s keys. I love riding, but by then I was past the point of diminishing returns.

Thinking about meditation, I am becoming suspicious of mindfulness meditation. I can hear the words as if they were coming from the mouth of a horny college senior frat guy: do not worry; it is what it is; let it happen; it\’s only passing waves. 

I\’ve spent a good portion of this morning wishing I could be productive. But I lack a definition of success and therefore cannot achieve productivity.

Actually, I think I told my therapist that I think success for me would be owning five motorcycles, owning my own house and working for myself. That\’s a shallow definition. But it\’s a starting point. 

I am fully aware that I am making no progress. I don\’t even know where to begin. 

The word rest has becoming more meaningful. I\’m reading Practical Programming for Strength Training. They offered some very general advice: when the body undergoes stress, it adapts to the stress and supersedes it; this is called supercompensation. When we adapt to a stressor, if it doesn\’t kill us, and we have enough rest and food, we can survive even greater stress.

I wonder how broadly I can apply this idea to my life. How many situations can I approach like this?

Adaptation transforms an organism. Adaptations are not always good. 

I\’ve had difficulty resting this weekend. The past two nights I have woken up several times a night, panting, as if startled. 

The night I came home from my ride I couldn\’t fall asleep because I kept seeing the road in front of me. —I\’m not the quickest at adapting.

I wonder what would happen if benevolent aliens came to Earth and gave us technology that would rid us of scarcity. I would like to think that most CEOs would be miserable. 

Much of human life is overcoming material scarcity.

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