Wednesday, October 16, 2019
By Brian Ernest Brown
Are better than others
You just want to hide under the covers
Surprise you with possibility
Just slap you into sensibility
Offer the promise of a new love
You'll make peace with loneliness in leiu of
You'll feast on a banquet of delight
You'll make do with what's in sight
Everything turns up roses
Everyone is turning up their noses
You'll feel happy and secure
You'll just simply have to demure
That's just life
Either harmony or maybe strife
Friday, October 11, 2019
I awoke just a bit ago feeling very chilly and I hate the cold. It's still dark out and the temperature is hovering at freezing. I'm living in a rolling home, a 22ft motorhome, and I lazily parked for the night without propane or water. So there's no water for tea and even if there was, there's no propane with which to heat the water for tea. So I guess I'll shiver in silence. You would think that after going on two years of this kind of lifestyle I wouldn't let myself get into this kind of predicament but then you would be underestimating my laziness. ;-)
If it's too cold to sleep and definitely too cold to get out of bed what else does one do but surf Facebook? Come on, you know you do it! So, when I looked at Facebook it threw up my most "liked" picture of 2017.
Now as anyone who knows me can tell you, I take a lot of pics! I really expected a pic of some beautiful vista, flower, or bike trail - one of my usual pics that is. Instead I was confronted with the picture above of an empty 10ft X 10ft storage unit I had just managed to gut. I guess my embrace of minimalism attracted admirers or perhaps voyeurs who wished to accomplish something similar in their lives. The caption of the pic is as follows:
For the first time in my adult life I no longer have a leased storage unit. Now it's true that I still have some work to do on my embrace of minimalism but it's all under one roof now and able to be better sorted, re-homed, dumped, or made into a burnt offering. Making progress...
It was true. I had storage all of my adult life up to that point and had probably spent, all said and done, around $40,000+ on storage over the years. And for what? To shuffle things from one pile to another because I was hanging on to things that no longer fit in my day to day life. Oh to be sure, there were valuable piles, some valuable in sentimental attachment, others valuable in monetary attachment but the operative word there is attachment.
Whatever my reason, it was an unhealthy attachment to things that no longer fit into my life for one reason or another. I had moved on but instead of letting those things go, I dragged them along with me.
I originally simply wanted to do away with the expense of warehousing all of this stuff I had managed to accumulate over the years. It was pretty simple really, I didn't want the expense of caring for this added baggage any longer. Little did I know that this purge would soon spill over into other areas of my life as well, such as my relationships with people, personal, professional, and spiritual but that's a story for another time. My brain is too cold at the moment to even explore and or unpack the topic.
These are the things I was thinking in the wee hours of the morning as I snuggled under my blankets trying to keep warm in the frosty darkness just before twilight. Living a life of minimalism in a rolling home is great for introspection and that's good because that's all I can do right now. It's too cold to stick my nose out from under the covers!
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
"Traveling messes you up, but in all the good ways. It leaves you always craving more, and addiction that can never quite be met. Every place, every trip, every person is a new adventure; pulling you deeper into the love of wanderlust. Your heart begins to hurt when you’re standing still, and your mind begins to itch over the idea of new places you haven’t been. Fill your soul with adventure and traveling and you will live a fulfilled life." —Unknown
Friday, October 4, 2019
"Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?" -Hal Borland
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Monday, September 30, 2019
|The Boiler Room in Port Townsend Washington. While I never volunteered here, it is in drop-in centers such as this one that I've found some of the greatest joys of my life serving others in the community and being served at the same time.|
I wrote the quote above several years ago in a response to someone dear to me when we were discussing the whole prepper movement. I think she assumed that since I was always looking for land on which to create community, that naturally I must have been a prepper, getting ready for armageddon, the zombie apocalypse, nuclear doomsday, or some such calamity. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
"I am not a survivalist. I am an incarnationalist. I don't believe we are here to just survive but rather I think we are here to revive and transform creation through the creative process of living joyously and loving one another abundantly, while celebrating the diversity of the universe we live in. I don't believe in libertarianism for the sake of some self-focused individualism that places the survival and welfare of self over the empowerment and welfare of other but rather I believe in the Commonwealth, only through which can the common good of all creation ultimately come to fruition." -Brian Ernest Brown
In the event of an apocalypse of some sort I would hope that I would run to those in need of help the most, offering whatever assistance I could and sharing whatever it it is that I have. I would hope that I would have the courage to walk the walk I've been talking about for so long and not hide in a bunker in the woods, protecting for myself, propane, silver, food, medical supplies, and precious resources. I hope my belief in the social contract would encourage and empower my actions to be a helper and not a hoarder in such a circumstance. However, I'm not naive enough to think I might not falter out of fright or greed but I would hope not.
I've never been a survivalist. I really don't think I have the gene for it. I value my life but maybe I value yours more so. Many of my friends and family have heard me say, "no one can take advantage of me because I'll just give it to them." The same is true about stealing from me. Ask, and I'll most likely give it to you. You can't take from me, that which I'll give you. It seems to be the way I'm wired.
I have always been a giver; a giver in the extreme. It's almost always from a place of compersion for me. What is compersion you ask? Glad you did. Compersion cannot be found in the dictionary, but Wikipedia defines it as “an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy.” In many ways, I suppose, my giving nature is purely selfish; I derive great joy from people being happy and feeling joy. While receiving gifts is not one of my favorite things, giving them is.
Simply put, I enjoy doing things for others. Helping people in need but also even those in want more often than not. I take great delight in the delight of others.
While most of my giving has been altruistic enough, with the exception of that little compersion thing that I get out of it, not all of it has been so. I'm not quite sure what I feel about that but it's the truth and so I own it.
I have also used giving as a tool, a way of finding out what people really want from me. Many times in my life when I've felt there were alternative motives in a relationship, be it personal, professional, or spiritual, I have given the person everything they asked of me to get to the bottom of the basis of the relationship and to see what was left when they had what they ostensibly wanted. Many, times, though certainly not every time, that was the end of the relationship. They got exactly what they wanted all along and I was of no use to them any further.
When it was all said and done, I could say, because of my love of compersion, "well at least I enjoyed the ride to the bottom," though the bottom was often a rough landing. This kind of behavior has also offered me the occasion to start over many, many times in different arenas of my life. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, as it's a poor survival technique to say the least. However, that's what this blog post is about, my lack of survival instinct.
I have said all of that to say this, I value relationship between people so much more than I value the false permanency of things or even life for the sake of life. I value authentic honest relationship and helping others in need or even in want perhaps above most anything else in my life and I'm always willing to give my all in such endeavors.
I've had the big house, the precious collections, the expensive clothes, the fine jewelry, the foreign cars, the artsy galleries. I've had it all and I'd trade it all again for authentic honest relationships and or to help out those in need or in want and that's a good thing because that's exactly what I've done most all of my life.
Now please don't hear me say that I don't like the finer things in life, nor that I won't always pursue those kinds of things. I love to nest and I can be quite a collector at heart and in some ways, I'm just as materialistic as the next person. One only need to observe my lust for new technology to realize that I'm speaking the truth here. Hey, I own it! Even so, I've realized over the course of my life that wanting is often sweeter than having.
As a result, I currently try to live a minimalistic life but not one a deprivation where I'm doing without for the sake of doing without but instead one of decadent minimalism where the things that I do possess or the things I allow to possess me are of great delight and quality to me. And even then, I know in my heart that I will eventually part with them one way or another; so I'd rather part with things while I'm alive. There's and old quote that's been hanging around for years and I don't know where it originally came from but it goes something like this: "Do your giving while you’re living so you’re knowing where it’s going."
In the end, it's community, the commonwealth, relationship, whatever you want to call it that appeals to me most, not money or material things It's living this life together, for and with one another that is most meaningful to me. If you are currently in my life, whatever our connection, thank you for your present! If you were in my life but no longer, whatever our connection, thank you for the memories and the lessons.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” -Walt Whitman