Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Tackling tough things – November 2015 update Nov 2 2015

Gabriel

For the past month I’ve been doing some serious self-examination.  Some things I’ve been considering:

  • In the majority of my past romantic relationships for the past 20 years, seeing a recurring pattern in myself of adapting to try to be the person that I thought (for whatever reason) would be the “right” person for the other individual
  • Tracing this behavior back to my childhood and feeling socially unwelcome or unloved
  • Finding that something inside myself has always emerged that was somehow at odds with that person I was trying to be
  • Arguing with myself about who I really am and eventually giving in to myself
  • Causing much suffering to myself and others when those differences became apparent
  • Truly questioning in myself whether I know what is really true or not
  • Can I find my own true self?

In the past month I’ve been making some changes to my daily routines:

  • Finally visited Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City in person.  I’ve subscribed to their excellent series of dharma talks podcast for years but had never committed to the 1.5 hour drive through traffic to go in person.  The traffic is just another opportunity for mindfulness.
  • Sat for 1/2 day retreats every Wednesday for the past 3 weeks, leaving with enough time to get there early
  • Stayed for another 2 hours of Introduction to Mindfulness series of classes and committed to myself to attend all 5 weeks of the series and to do the homework suggestions
  • Participated in a regular Sunday evening sitting group at IMC with 20 & 30 somethings (“Dharma Homies” :))
  • Formally sat in meditation each day for 20-25 minutes, every day for the past 3 weeks
  • Learning what the word “sangha” means, in person
  • Camped in my van multiple times in Half Moon Bay, then working in a cafe there before driving back up to Oakland
  • Sunbathed nude on a couple of beaches, enjoying a warm sunset by myself, letting the universe breathe me in and out
  • Hung out with friends I haven’t seen in a long time
  • Made dinner plans with new friends
  • Processed some of my Burning Man photos and shared some nice portraits with friends and family
  • Getting together with two friends to hang out and have a “creative” output as part of the meeting [this blog post is tonight’s effort]
  • Reached out to someone I hurt very much asking if they would be open to a visit, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  However they respond, I feel better for asking, and do truly hope that I’m not reopening wounds by doing so.
  • Danced with my friends late into the night
  • Had deep conversations with new people, practicing both my sharing and listening skills
  • Working to see my own gender / sexuality identity more clearly, and starting to figure out more of how I fit into a greater community of people
  • Clarifying my feelings about future family, and thinking about whether I have to follow normal or conventional pathways to get there
  • Practicing self compassion, self care, and trying to find the shape of my heart

Overall, working on facing my fears and moving forward.  I’m very grateful for all of the loving supportive people in my life, and for all of the lessons I’ve been learning through facing challenges and figuring stuff out.

My apologies if this is all too much sharing, feel free to move along and have a lovely rest of your day.

Buddha image

I am grateful for my wonderful clients Nov 2 2012

Beautiful sunset over San Francisco

Once again it is November, and I am very grateful to have a job that lets me work directly with a bunch of wonderful clients.  Most of my clients this year are are small non-profits, church groups, and people who in general are trying to make the world a better place.  I LOVE helping them communicate more effectively.  It is very rewarding to help break down barriers and walls that people have been holding onto, and help show them how to really express themselves in this wonderful digital era of the Internet, social media and excellent communication tools.

I’m really glad and grateful for the progress that everyone has made, and will continue to make  in the future…

I am grateful for my wonderful family Nov 1 2012

Not everyone has a family they get along with. I am very grateful for my family. Each one of us is different, special and unique. I am blessed to have a wonderful brother, two lovely sisters, a kind and wise mother, and a caring step father. Happy November everybody.

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Webelos Scout Dropout Oct 5 2011

Webelos Scout colorsWhen I was in 4th or 5th grade, I joined the Boy Scouts. Except it wasn’t Boy Scouts for me, no, it was Webelos Scouts, since that was the appropriate group for my age at the time. I hadn’t been a Cub Scout, but did like the idea very much of camping, friendship, outdoor activities, and all of the other things that I envisioned Boy Scouts doing.

We didn’t have a lot of money in our family at the time. I remember purchasing the Webelos Scout uniform (shirt, some patches maybe) was a significant purchase. But my parents were willing to support me in joining this fine organization if that was what I wanted to do.

My expectations were high when I joined. The reality turned out to be a little bit different. As I recall, having not been a Cub Scout in the Den I joined, I felt like an outsider. I also had pretty terrible social skills at the time, and didn’t really adapt well. At first I gave it my best shot to fit in and participate, but eventually felt like something wasn’t quite working for me there.

We never went camping. The most exciting part of being a Webelos Scout seemed to be the silver or gold candle we would burn at each meeting. That was our fire — maybe it symbolized a campfire, or burning stuff, or some kind of eternal flame of awesomeness. All I know is that we did some glue-gun projects, and burnt that candle at each meeting. During my short stint as a Webelos Scout we never even discussed going on a camping trip. That being my primary motivation for trying to break into this tight-knit group of young boys, I got discouraged. I gave up.

Ever since I’ve considered myself to be a Webelos Scout Dropout. Someone unfit to participate in that system of rules, achievements, honor, glory, companionship, excellence.

Recently I’ve had an opportunity to revisit this mental image in my head about who I am. I’ve thought of many fine men I know who are Eagle Scouts — they completed the Boy Scout journey, graduated basically with the highest honors. Now I know that not every Eagle Scout is a shining example of awesomeness, but that is basically what they aspire to be.  And the people I know who are Eagle Scouts I’ve developed a tremendous amount of respect for.  They seem to be able to get worthwhile things done in a way that is worth emulating.

I will never be an actual Eagle Scout. You have to graduate from that program before you turn 18. I’m 35 years old. Not gonna happen without time travel, and I don’t know if I would have turned out that different had I stuck to it at the time.

I got to thinking though, what am I holding on to by seeing myself as a broken Webelos Scout who could never have been an Eagle Scout. Not a productive way to see myself.

What makes an Eagle Scout a good person is their drive to be a good person, and their capable practice of good qualities that gradually tell people — yes, this is a good person. This is someone who is interested in helping the world.

Eagle Scout PatchHere is the Scout Oath:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

And the Scout Law:

A Scout is:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty,
Brave, Clean, Reverent

It’s interesting to me that even though I haven’t thought about the Oath and the Law in many years, I realize that those are really important qualities to me. Those really do help define what it is to be an honorable, good, helpful person in this world.

I may still be a Webelos Scout Dropout, but I realize today that I do strive to fulfill those ideals every day.  I don’t have to accept for myself non-Eagle Scout qualities.

The motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared”. That starts in our thinking and our practice.  Every day we have an opportunity to act like an Eagle Scout.

I’m really grateful to have been able to directly assist the following non-profit organizations in my lifetime by working on their websites, training individuals how to use the tools to say what they want to say, and generally try to help them do their jobs better. Most of these folks are active clients. I love the opportunity to serve in this way and plan to continue doing so as long as I’m able.

I may be missing an organization or two but I am very grateful to have been able to serve in this way.

Be Prepared.

Classic Personal Productivity Tip: Inbox Zero method Aug 23 2011

In case you haven’t seen this video yet, you should watch it. Once I adopted the Inbox Zero system (which took about 30 minutes to do the first time) it literally changed my life for the better.

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9UjeTMb3Yk

Email verbs:

Delete Delegate Respond Defer Do

More here: http://inboxzero.tumblr.com/

Then don’t worry. May 5 2011

Zen Flowchart

More info about this Zen flowchart here.

Top 10 Funniest new Old Spice commercials by Isaiah Mustafa Jul 16 2010

Old Spice commercial guy Isaiah Mustafa

In case you missed it, Old Spice has been making some very funny commercials using actor Isaiah Mustafa (@isaiahmustafa) including creating real-time responses to people on the Internet.

My top 10 favorites from the series (+ a few bonus ones):

Swan dive into the best night of your life: (making of)

(more…)

Beautiful day in California May 2 2010

Testing a small update sending this directly from my iPhone using the WordPress app.

Obama wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize – Congratulations! Oct 9 2009

Congratulations to President Barack Obama on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize!

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

2009 Nobel Peace Prize press release:

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

Oslo, October 9, 2009

See the video announcement here: http://nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1173

Going to SXSW in Austin, TX this year Mar 12 2009

Got the badge! #sxsw

Finally I’m going to SXSW in Austin, TX this year. Now I get to be one of the cool kids. Or something like that.

Pictures from the trip:



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