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johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 learning deeper self-acceptance
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
learning about The 2 Minute Rule
johncomic: (Default)
 doing [sufficiently] satisfactory work
johncomic: (Sweets)
 my therapist and the many blessings she confers
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
feeling like I am coping and learning, basically that I am doing all right
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
 the almost palpable psychic hum of excitement around me as the new academic year begins on campus
johncomic: (Sweets)
 a new motto

On my way in to work today, I was brooding on recent issues and challenges, feeling kinda sober... and then I caught sight of a lady walking a couple of cute shaggy pups. And I instantly broke into a grin, and for a moment my burden was lightened. And I thought, When you see pups, enjoy seeing the pups. 

And it occurred to me that that modest epigram actually encapsulates a large portion of my personal philosophy, gathering many aspects of it under one small umbrella. I like that little saying, and so I am going to adopt it. (Feel free to use it yourself as you wish.)
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
a long deep refreshing sleep --- the second one in a row, in fact!
johncomic: (Booth)
 holding fast when at first I don't feel like I can - I like surprising myself that way
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
 the power to make conscious choices
johncomic: (Steve the Pirate ani)
making myself do something that's good for me but which I really so did not feel up to doing today
johncomic: (Sweets)
finding fresh little blips of self-discipline
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
coffee and tunes on a holiday morning

UK musings

Aug. 4th, 2017 12:34 pm
johncomic: (Uncle Old Guy)
I fell hard for York while we were there. The place seemed like such a comfortable fit for me, built on what I see as a more human scale than the vastness of London (its wondrousness notwithstanding). All of us ended up sorta-wishing that, rather than booking two weeks in York and one in London, that we had booked all three in York. I actually had to hold back tears when we were on our way to the railway station to finally leave.

A while later, I realized that my response was very similar to how I feel when I develop a crush on someone. The feeling is very pleasant and very powerful... but it can also be based on only the briefest acquaintance, without necessarily very many hard facts on which to ground this positive evaluation. So I quickly saw that it would not be smart to suddenly pull up stakes and try to move there.... but at the same time, the feeling is, in and of itself, real... not to be denied or dismissed, but to be enjoyed for the pleasures it brings to my life. So it remains a place of fond memories and warm regards. And if I'm very lucky, I will go back someday.

johncomic: (SK BW)
the gradual return of enjoyment in drawing

UK musings

Aug. 3rd, 2017 12:50 pm
johncomic: (SK BW)
here's a bit more about my experience of becoming non-attached from my life back home:

I packed sketchbooks, pencils, etc., for the trip, thinking about the wonderful opportunities for life drawing there would be in England. And of course there were lovely things to see -- and I took photos. But I never drew them.

Part of me was thinking, "Well, I'm with other people, they aren't gonna wanna stop and wait for me to sit and draw this scene" etc. But even when I was out on my own, I still never did it. I simply didn't feel like it.

I didn't miss drawing at all while I was away. At home, I can get kind of antsy if I lie fallow too long, but over there it simply wasn't a part of who I was, somehow. Unexpected.

As it turned out, I ended up drawing on only two occasions during those three weeks. Once was in York -- I don't like those drawings so I won't share them here, but I will talk a bit about them in a later post. The other was later in Greenwich, where almost out of a sense of obligation, I decided to make myself sit and sketch the view out the living room window. [There was an interesting lamp post.] While I was at it, I started wondering if I still remembered how to draw Space Kid after not doing so for this long. So, as you can see, I drew him, too -- and for an off the cuff sketch it's about as good an SK as I ever do. So that was some comfort, that I don't get that rusty that fast...

Still, it was a strange experience for me. For so many decades, my drawing has defined me in my own mind. A cartoonist is what I am. I have felt that since I was a kid. When I was threatened in the 90s with no longer being able to draw, I was at a complete loss. But now... there's this new awareness that my self is not actually the things I do. I exist apart from my drawing, and it is possible for me to have a life without it -- even a satisfying life. A few months ago I would never believe that I could say such a thing.

Even more strangely, after I got home, I still had no desire to get back to drawing. When I was back at the board, it felt more like a chore, and I was drawing out of a sense of obligation and duty [to my deadlines, I suppose]. I'm still coming to terms with this experience of drawing not feeling the same as it did before.

johncomic: (Face of Boe)
beginner's mind

UK musings

Aug. 2nd, 2017 01:44 pm
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
After only a few days in York, I experienced a life-changing moment.

I was standing on the balcony of our flat, looking out over the river and watching the passersby, enjoying the peace... and suddenly I very vividly said to myself, If I could stay here, I could have a whole new life and I could be a whole new person.

The unexpected force of this idea actually startled me for a second, and I just sat with it a while, but it didn't go away. The idea of starting over and redoing everything seemed like the greatest thing a person could ask for. I asked myself if I was really prepared to give up everything and everyone I know in order to live here... and I deeply believed that I was.

I was rattled by this perception of being so utterly dissatisfied with my life, with my actual self, that I had no desire to salvage any of it, and wondered how this could be. Wouldn't I have been experiencing this deep dissatisfaction before, in my day-to-day life at home? Am I really that indifferent, that unattached, to the things I thought matter to me? Did I really not want to be who I am? And I found myself wondering, Who do I want to be? What do I want to be?  A true existential dilemma, I thought....

These ideas stayed with me strongly for days afterward, and to be honest they have never really left in the month-plus since that happened. But recently, in a meeting with Barbara, she cast the experience in a new light for me. To her, it seemed like a spontaneous flash of the Zen concept of non-attachment: a realization that my self is not made up of or defined by the things connected to it. My likes and loves, my desires, my tendencies, the things and people in my life, are not actually me. Some of them are an expression (or merely one potential expression) of me... but my core self is not actually attached to or constrained by any of them. What I had was a moment of experiencing my pure raw self... and she got me to recognize the sense of freedom that came with that. She said that such experiences are kinda common during travel, and she got me to realize they are good and not really threatening to anything at all.

But she did also get me to see it as a call to examine my life. And I became more aware that every moment of my life is chosen by me. I began asking how many of those choices are done on autopilot, and how many are made mindfully... and what are the ramifications of changing how I make these choices.

.... still working on this... but I will come back to it...

johncomic: (Face of Boe)
 During the drive to the office this morning, I suddenly found myself thinking: 

I am not my habits.

And from there went into a string of realizations/messages from within myself: 

I am not my choices. 
I am not my thoughts. 
I am not my fears. 
I am not my desires. 

And I felt a brief rush of freedom... which I wanted to preserve here.
johncomic: (Face of Boe)
satori - and the recognition that it ain't all a bed of cherries

September 2017

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