Everything begins with small steps

3 December 2018 | Life | No Comments

Right now, it seems that I have a lot of challenges, a lot of opportunities for growth. It seems I have many behaviors that I need to work on to improve upon. Thinking of them all, all at once, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That the task ahead of addressing them in insurmountable. That the nature and size of them is such that I’ve already failed before I’ve begun. 

They are all interconnected, though. Yes, that is a plus, not a minus. Though you’d think that them all being interconnected means you have one significant, gargantuan challenge to tackle, it doesn’t. It means that each and every small step you take on each individual one is a step that works on the whole challenge and makes progress on them all. Each tiny step is not a tiny step on something enormous; each is a small amount of progress on every one of the interconnected challenges. When you take that first step of writing down your daily plan of how to, say, not be lazy for example, that is also the first step towards self-confidence, the first step towards being organized, the first step towards more effective self-reflection, the first step towards challenging your fear and anxiety, the first step towards doing more for others. Every small part of yourself you work on improves the whole in so many other ways. 

You are making progress on everything each time you make progress on something you feel is small. 

As usual, I write this for myself, but if you find something in these words that speaks to you and helps you, I will be glad.

Ask for what you want.

2 December 2018 | Life | No Comments

This is not an easy lesson for me to learn. I have tendencies to feel like I am a bother to others, an inconvenience. As if they don’t really like or want me, like I’m not good enough.

As such, asking for things feels like a huge burden to place upon someone else. Why would they do anything for me, I think, they won’t get anything out of it; all I will do is bother and upset them. This is, of course, nonsense, and a remarkably cynical view on people in general, and in particular on one’s friends and partners. To think that the people who invest their time and energy to interact with you don’t really like or care about you is a very twisted line of thought. 

It’s insidious, as well, in that it affects interactions and communications with those people when you do go so far as to ask for what you want. That communication, to avoid your wants appearing “burdensome”, can be twisted into vagueness, infused with weasel-words, and generally set in the manner of “Oh, I don’t want to bother you, but….” It’s very passive-aggressive, and even has the unfortunate effect of implying to the other person that you feel THEY don’t like to do things for you, to go out of their way for you, that they feel you are an inconvenience. What a terrible thing to put upon another person who is supposed to matter to you! And then when they react badly (as they well might, and not without justification), it feeds into a vicious cycle, as now you have evidence that asking for things only results in hurt feelings and inconvenience. 

This then infects your other communication – you begin to feel saying anything is a bother, and you hesitate until the last minute to say things, or you avoid it completely until suddenly there are harsh consequences for you having said nothing. 

Soon enough communication is an afterthought, and things just begin slipping your mind left and right. You’re unreliable. Your actions, though rooted in fear, appear to others as if you don’t care. As if you can’t be bothered to put in the effort. And the loss and hurt piles on.

Ask for what you want, in clear terms, as soon as you know what it is. Be direct in your communication, not passive. In More Than Two by Franking Veaux and Eve Rickert, there is an excellent chapter on communication where they highlight the differences between direct communication and passive communication. Strive to be direct in all your communication; passive communication leads to confusion, to misunderstandings, and to hurt feelings. 

And begin by doing. Don’t spend idle time thinking about how you’ll communicate. Don’t waste minutes or hours in daydreaming about how your interactions will be. Aside from understanding your feeling and motivations, or being aware of your words, don’t sit there and think, think, think about what your communication will be. You’ll just up your anxiety, build up imagined ideas of negative results in your head, build hurt mountains out of word molehills in your mind and then be back at the start, fearing saying or asking anything. (What has seemed to work really well for me very recently is a technique called noting, learned through meditation, to dismiss negative thoughts as they pop up.)

As before, I write this blog post for me, to get my thoughts out and at my own self, but if you read this and it helps you, then I will be glad. 

Lessons on growth

1 December 2018 | Life | No Comments

Be gentle to yourself.

That’s the first and most important lesson I am learning from therapy, and some recent life experiences that have challenged me. You have to be gentle with yourself. And I write this to get my thoughts out and direct them at myself mostly, yes, but perhaps they will help you if you find yourself in this same place.

If you have made a mistake, and there is a lesson for you to learn from that mistake and its consequences, be gentle with yourself. I have a tendency to make moral and value judgments and be very critical of myself. Those judgments are very harsh, inflexible, and painful; of the type “you’re no good at this, you don’t have what it takes,” “you’re not meant to be doing things like that,” “you just fuck these things up,” “maybe [this very general type of thing] is just something you’re not suited for…” These judgments weigh me down with their negativity, and they cause the entire focus to be on the pain and shame of that judgment. If I do this, then whatever mistake I made that I need to be learning a lesson from, I won’t learn from – every time I revisit the situation in my mind my focus will be on the pain and the shame, not on what I could work to improve on, not on what I could practice do to better and more of in the future, not on how much I have grown that I’m even aware of the lesson and the change that can happen. Forget the shame. Focus on what you can do that can make a difference in the future, that can make for a different result. You can’t change what you have already done, but you can change how you will act in the future.

If you’ve made a mistake that could cause you to lose something you feel you’ve worked hard for, it is not the end of the world. If you fear you may lose something that matters a great deal to you, yes, it is painful, but it is not the end of the world. This is also being gentle with yourself. Yes, there may be pain. Yes, there may be loss. Yes, there may be hurt and anguish to go through. You will go through it, though, and whatever the result, you will come out the other side. It is not the end of the world.

Be gentle and patient with yourself and others. And with the healing process. If you burn yourself or someone else, don’t try to put out a forest fire. Overcompensating to fix things now overwhelms you and others, and risks you thinking “Oh, now I’ve done that and it’s resolved.” It likely isn’t; there is continuing work to do, and overloading that work at the front risks you letting that work be undone in the future. Putting a ton of work (and it must be work, not just words) in the front gives the illusion that you’ve practiced new behaviors. It’s just that, though – an illusion. You must continually work over the long term to effect change in yourself and your actions.

You’ll make it through. Do the work, and be kind to yourself in that work. There is no shame in making mistakes.

 

Triple Boot Macbook Pro

23 November 2016 | Life | No Comments

I rescued a Macbook Pro from ecycle at work, and took the chance to triple boot it. It’s a 2011 15″ model, with an i7 processor, so fairly recent and powerful (Macs have a long lifespan).

I came across many guides to triple-booting, including:
http://www.travisllado.com/2015/05/triple-booting-2015-macbook-pro-with.html
https://www.innoq.com/en/blog/triple-booting-a-mac/

How to Triple Boot a MacbookPro (with Retina display) with OSX, Windows 7 and Linux

They all have a fairly detailed list of steps of what to do/which order to install in, but none of them detailed why the particular order in which they installed was necessary.

After having some failures, I found that the reason their steps worked was due to the necessity of a hybrid MBR partition scheme for Windows to boot. After partitioning with Mac OS’ Disk Utility to create the Linux partition and installing Linux; or after using gparted in Linux to partition and then install Linux – it’s necessary to use gdisk to recreate a hybrid MBR. Otherwise, Windows does not boot.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Use bootcamp to create the Windows partition and install Windows (8.1 in my case). I left the Mac OS partition larger than desired to leave room to repartition and install Ubuntu.
  2. Boot into Mac OS and resize the Mac partition, and create a new partition for Linux.
  3. Using a live cd installer, reformat the reserved Linux partition and install Ubuntu.
  4. Boot into Ubuntu, and using the gdisk utility from the terminal, create a hybrid MBR, including the Mac, Linux, and Windows partitions as those to include.
  5. From Mac OS, install refind. Preliminary work here is to disable System Integrity Protection (SIP), which I did via a bootable refind CD.

And I’m successfully booting 3 operating systems with no issue.

What can I do?

6 July 2016 | Life | No Comments

What can I do?

That’s my thought tonight. There was a second “officer involved shooting” in the news today, this one in Minneapolis. Philando Castile, shot 4 times while reaching for his wallet, as ordered by officers. This after Alton Sterling’s murder yesterday in Baton Rouge.

What can I do?

Being vocal on Twitter and Facebook isn’t doing anything. It’s voicing my opinion in my own social chamber, limited to those who think mostly the way I do.
Should I be involved in Campaign Zero? I feel like if I did so, I should be involved more than just contacting my reps. Being in Seattle, all of my representatives align with the goals of the campaign, and vote as such.

I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time in the past two days angry, and sad. I saw – without audio – the video of Alton Sterling’s killing. I listened to his son breaking down on the radio, crying for his father. I saw the still image of Philando Castile, bloody shirt, and couldn’t bring myself to watch. I closed the page, and tweeted the link with angry words.

There’s a very twisted sense of relief, of luck, that I’m white, and that I’ll never fear for my life the way black men do. My son, though multi-racial, is very light skinned, and will likely easily pass as white. He will likely never fear for his life that way black men do. Injustice in the world, though, whether it will every directly affect me, my family, or my friends, angers me greatly. Anger accomplishes nothing.

I need to do something.

New habits

19 January 2015 | Life | No Comments

I have been struggling lately with the fact that I am getting older. The frivolity and freedom of youth is gone, and I am well into the adulthood of responsibility and obligation. This has lead to me thinking about death, and that one day I will no longer exist.

It’s not a pleasant thought, though it is truth and it is what happens to everyone. I can definitely become too focused on it and be crippled by fear/depression (it’s hard at times to identify which), particularly when my mind struggles at what the ‘meaning’ of it all is.

The meaning of it all is, really, to live, to enjoy life, and experience joy from anything and everything you can while you are here. To give joy to others, and allow them to give it back to you – to share joy together, and make lives better.

I have struggled with the above because I have been:

  1. Selfish and lazy
  2. Egocentric
  3. Self-absorbed
  4. More outwardly introverted in behavior than I truly am inside.

I have resolved to work on these – to wear down the selfishness and laziness and self-absorbtion; to stop at moments of egocentrism and take the time to look at what others want or need; to be more friendly, and warm, and to build better friendships, with more give-and-take and much less take-take-take.

I’ve started this morning by emulating a colleague, and when I got to the office I took the time to walk around and say good morning and smile at everyone. It felt really good. REALLY good, so much so that I am smiling thinking about it.

This, also – writing this post – is another change I am working on. I used to write often and write much, but that habit has been stagnant and aging for far too long, particularly with how much I enjoyed writing in my teens and twenties. If I am ever to succeed and writing the stories I have, to put words to the page from all the ideas in my head, to hopefully bring joy to others with my words, it starts here – in bits and pieces, daily, putting thoughts into text and eliminating the fear of my own words not matching my ideas.

I drove by the object in the Valve ARG puzzle.

8 April 2011 | Life | 1 Comment

Here’s a rather dark and grainy iPhone 3G picture, but you can tell it’s the same one. More info on the Valve ARG here.

20110408-085312.jpg

This is a test of a new WordPress plugin.

22 March 2011 | Life | No Comments

Butterskull profileWhich is supposed to feed the post into facebook.

Karen reading

28 July 2009 | Life | No Comments

I think this is a beautiful picture. She was stopping by my store to have lunch, and I snapped this while she was sitting outside reading.

Toad

23 June 2009 | Life | No Comments

I went strawberry picking with some friends on Sunday, and this cute little guy was hanging out in the patch.