Making Decisions

This may come as a surprise (it shouldn’t), my partner and I don’t always agree on things. Our brains have been shaped by different DNA and experiences, and we can both look at a “problem” and come to different solutions about how to address it. Shocking, I know.

One of the benefits I’ve started seeing from therapy is that I am becoming a more understanding partner. That wasn’t my intention in seeking mental health but important relationships come up in therapy. Overall our relationship is really strong and we handle things well, but there is always room for improvement.

One of the things I’ve started to understand is how we go about making decisions and taking action. She is a perfectionist, while I am very much not. I am not making a qualitative judgement about our two ways of operating, but they do impact us in a lot of ways. Her perfectionism means she is passionate about justice, equality, and preserving our environment. When something is wrong, she wants to make it right. My lack of perfectionism often leads to apathy, laziness, and justifying bad decisions as “practical”.

Much like the importance of learning your partner’s “love language”, learning your partner’s decision making process is important in a relationship. Knowing this can increase empathy and understanding of how we can look at the exact same issue with the exact same goal and come to very different solutions.

For example, let’s take buying clothes. If I wake up one morning and realize that it is getting chilly and I don’t own a seasonally appropriate jacket then decisions and actions come almost instantaneously. Without conscious thought I figure out the likelihood that I will be at an appropriate store to buy a jacket in the next 48 hours. If I am then I will put “jacket” on my shopping list. If I won’t be, I get on Amazon on my phone and order a jacket. From realization of problem to execution of solution is less than five minutes. I have an “execution” decision-making system (there are probably psychological terms for this stuff but I don’t know what they are).

This works great for me, overall. I experience considerable psychological distress when I don’t have an action plan in place and in progress. That plan may change considerably throughout execution, but at all times I feel better if I have done all I can. Aside from easing my mind, this also means I get things accomplished very quickly. The house is often picked up. My workload is planned out and structured. I can get in shape and educate myself about stuff fairly quickly because any plan now is often better than a perfect plan tomorrow. I am also quick to cut jobs or people out of my life that I feel are toxic.

Of course, there are downsides to this. I often pay more than necessary because I don’t explore options. Items may be the wrong size, a color I don’t like, or made poorly. I respond strongly to price and ease, which means I may end up actually losing money and ease in the long-term if I have to buy the same cheap version of a product dozens of times instead of a high quality one once. I also find myself frustrated or bored with projects that require repetitive action or are overly detail-oriented.

I recognize all that about myself and I am working hard to build my decision-making tool chest and using the “execution” that comes naturally only during appropriate times (ordering food, cheap products, picking up the house, etc.), and look to systems like my partners when details and quality are of the most value. It costs me some mental energy and stress to postpone and move slowly, but the end payoff is generally better.

My partner, on the other hand, experiences greater psychological stress when she rushes into a decision without knowing her options. Picking something now without research, trying it on, etc. leads to her being unhappy with the decision. This slows down the process but it also means that purchases (especially major ones) are better. She basically saved us over $1,000 on our refrigerator because we went with her decision making style instead of mine.

So, together we end up making really good joint decisions. Generally, neither one of us are 100% happy, but we are both 90% happy… and two 90%s is better than one 100% and one 10%. The most important thing is that we recognize and appreciate the other person’s way of going through life and making decisions. We have learned to default to the other person at times and to use the other person as an example to build new systems. We strengthen each other, but only because we are aware and don’t believe the “my way or the highway” is a good system.

Very rational people can look at both simple and complex problems and come up with drastically different ways of dealing with that problem, even with shared goals. This is true both in personal relationships and between cultures. The worst thing any of us can do is to have so much hubris that we completely ignore or demonize different solutions just because we don’t understand the process.

 

October 26, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“Today, I will begin the day consciously.”
– Tian Dayton, “Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On”

While on my morning run I started thinking about why I got up before 6am, put on running shoes, and pounded wet pavement in the chilly morning. This thought often pops into my head, particularly early in my runs. Sometimes, I think about being healthy or sexy or strong. I also think about how running will increase the chances that I’ll have a longer life with Anna or see my nieces and nephews become grandparents or be around when civilian travel to Saturn is pretty common.

I didn’t think about those more practical things today, though. Instead, my mind kept going to more philosophical reasons for what I do, specifically waking up. I came to the conclusion that one of the reasons I do it is because I want to live, not just in the biological exist way but in a way that honors my life and the sacrifices my ancestors made and the gift that was given to me by God/fate/coincidence/nature/determinism. I don’t really believe in a personal God, but if I did I feel like that would be a strong motive for me to be healthier, to honor the gift I was given instead of abusing it.

We are really only living (ugh, English is really bad in this case, I need a better word) when we are doing things that aren’t biological necessities. Eating, sleeping, shitting, these are all needed to maintain our lives but when they become something we choose to do outside of our need then they become just another unhealthy addiction that we use to avoid life. Just like drugs, gossip, shopping, video games, exercise, and masturbation can do.

Warm beds on chilly mornings are comfortable, but life isn’t about comfort. We don’t grow and laugh and cry and suffer and enter states of ecstasy while comfortable. It is the Chaotic, Lawful, Good, and Evil characters that are interesting, not True Neutral. Life is lived on the edges of our potential, not in the comfortable middle.

Every person has an Overton Window that they operate in for every aspect of their being and to find out where the true edges of our potential lie we must push towards the ends of the window. Truly living isn’t static and it isn’t comfortable and it doesn’t happen under the warm covers after an unnecessary extra hour of shitty sleep that is interrupted every 7 minutes by a snooze alarm. There is a lot of life that can happen in bed, but it isn’t sleeping.

So, I push myself out of bed, pour coffee, be grouchy, and put on running shoes because that is when I’m alive. Instead of dragging myself through the day with this nagging feeling that I’m running behind or missed an opportunity to learn, grow, get stronger, and be uncomfortable, I enter the day feeling inspired. Living is tough and painful and challenging, but if it wasn’t then everyone would do it. And I don’t want to be just everyone.


Daily Readings:

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

What I read today is one of my favorite “chapters” in the book, and at three pages long it is also one of the longest. Part of me wants to just quote the whole thing but that would be out of control, nobody would read it, and it might be illegal (please don’t sue me).  But, here is some of it.

The artist and the fundamentalist both confront the same issue, the mystery of their existence as individuals…

The artist is grounded in freedom. He is not afraid of it. He is lucky. He was born in the right place. He has a core of self-confidence, of hope for the future. He believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing, however haltingly and imperfectly, toward a better world.

The fundamentalist entertains no such notion. In his view, humanity has fallen from a higher state. The truth is not out there awaiting revelation; it has already been revealed. The word of God has been spoken and recorded by His prophet, be he Jesus, Muhammad, or Karl Marx.

Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed. Its spawning ground is the wreckage of political and military defeat… as white Christian fundamentalism appeared in the American South during reconstruction, as the notion of a Master Race evolved in Germany following World War I. In such desperate times, the vanquished race would perish without a doctrine that restored hope and pride. Islamic fundamentalism ascends from the same landscape of despair.

What exactly is this despair? It is the despair of freedom. The dislocation and emasculation experienced by the individual cut free from the familiar and comforting structures of the tribe and the clan, the village and the family…

The fundamentalist (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom. He cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past. He returns in imagination to the glory days of his race and seeks to reconstitute both them and himself in the their purer, more virtuous light. He gets back to basics. To fundamentals.

Fundamentalism and art are mutually exclusive. There is no such thing as fundamentalist art. This does not mean that the fundamentalist is not creative. Rather, his creativity is inverted. He creates destruction….

The fundamentalist reserves his greatest creativity for the fashioning of Satan, the image of his foe, in opposition to which he defines and gives meaning to his own life. Like the artist, the fundamentalist experiences Resistance. He experiences it as temptation to sin… The fundamentalist hates and fears women because he sees them as vessels of Satan, temptresses like Delilah who seduced Samson from his power.

To combat the call of sin, the fundamentalist plunges either into action or into the study of sacred texts. He loses himself in these, much as the artist does in the process of creation. The difference is that while one looks forward, hoping to create a better world, the other looks backward, seeking to return a purer world from which he and all have fallen…

When fundamentalism wins, the world enters a dark age… It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarefied for us to breathe… The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.

Well, I basically copied the whole thing. Damn it. Oh well. I’m sure many people of all political views will read this and think that the author is taking a shot at Trump and modern “conservatism” (it isn’t conservative, though it may be fundamentalist and nationalist). In some philosophical way he might be, but this book was written in 2002, long before the current political climate but possibly in response to 9/11. If someone reads a response to Islamic fundamentalism and thinks it is a response to them, that should give them pause, just like the Trump supporters who thought NPR was attacking them when the news outlet shared the Declaration of Independence on Twitter.

Alright, time to get the rest of my day started. I have work to do, worlds to create, and beer to drink. I hope y’all have a great Friday and wonderful weekend.

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

October 24, 2018 – Morning Journaling

Oops, I missed yesterday (womp, womp). Oh well, life is busy sometimes and my mornings have been a little off this week.

My first reading today, from “Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” struck a chord with me because it seemed to relate to something I was pondering yesterday. It all feels very serendiptious but I don’t think there is some magic force or fate that brings things to our attention when we need it. I think we humans are good at finding patterns and noticing things consciously that we ignore when they don’t serve our purposes. We filter things in that were always there and we also interpret the meaning of things in a way that makes sense to us. So, this passage likely would get a different response from others.

Today, I will accept abundance in my life. The more I recognize abundance being meant for me, the more it will be for me. An unconscious attitude of limitations and scarcity will find its way into my life if I allow it I will think positively about other people’s prosperity, knowing that I what I believe to be true for someone else I also believe to be true for me. In fact, any thought that I think about another person I first create and accept within my own mind as a possibility and a truth. (emphasis mine)

So, I’m going to break this down a bit. The first emphasized sentence relates to an issue that I was thinking about yesterday: receiving gifts. I am often very uncomfortable with receiving gifts. One of the 10 principles of Burning Man is “Gift Giving” and it is the one I struggle with the most, I don’t mind giving gifts (I love it, but am pretty bad at it) but something about receiving something for nothing feels weird to me. I have not thought about it too much but I think it comes from my Christian background where all worldly gifts are ‘bad’, being raised in a somewhat poor environment, and a little too much right economic libertarianism that views  most things as a monetary exchange. I struggle with receiving gifts or accepting help when offered, though I’m getting better. In no small part because of Burning Man and the video embedded below.

Recently, I bought myself a bottle of scotch for my birthday. I was resistant to give myself this gift.  My house is tore up because of the storm and we still aren’t exactly sure where the money is going to come from to recover. The damage estimates may be in the $20,000 range and we really don’t have that kind of money easily accessible without taking out loans. So spending $100 on a bottle of scotch is pretty wasteful, but I decided to give myself that. I don’t often buy myself things that aren’t “practical” and it was my birthday.

Then, when I got home. The bottle of scotch broke all over my kitchen floor. Liquid gold flowed through shattered glass before my eyes. I wasn’t mad or upset, my Stoicism kicked in pretty quickly and my first thought was “the teacup is already broken” (see below). There was certainly disappointment and a small voice in the back of my head that said “This is what you get for trying to have something for yourself. Stop being selfish.”

I shared the broken bottle on Instagram (like I do with many things in life) and almost immediately received offers to replace it from friends. As soon as I saw the offer I felt anxiety bottle up inside me. I felt unworthy of this friendship and support. I felt guilty for wanting to take them up on it. After a day or two I finally decided to accept the gifts. I had to realize (as Halcyon says above) that a gift is not a one-way transaction, the giver receives something too. In fact, by denying someone the opportunity to give a gift they wish to give I am actually hurting them and making their experience on this planet a little worse… which is the opposite of what I want.

I have had this same experience with the storm damage. I had a dear friend offer to set up a GoFundMe to help with some of the financial burdens. But I said no. Inside I was desperately screaming “YES, I need help and I don’t know what I’m going to do… I’m terrified right now and I don’t want to feel alone” but instead, I said “No, there are other people worse off. We will be fine.” We will be fine, but I seem hell-bent on suffering more than I need to. I seem to almost desire to be alone on some subconscious level, or maybe I have some toxic masculinity and philosophies ingrained in my head from decades of negative influences. I wish I would have said yes to this offer, and all the other gifts of labor and financial support that has been offered. I get physically uncomfortable receiving gifts from others, and even myself, and that is pretty fucked up. I need to talk to my therapist about that.

<Writes note in “Therapy” notebook>

Which brings me to the second emphasized sentence. I have this fracture between how I view others and how I view myself. I am always happy (well, usually) when I see friends get the things they want in life and I do what I can to support them. I’ve probably sent out thousands of dollars in the last couple of years to friends who needed help with rent or food (what a messed up world we live in… but that is another blog post) or to start an entrepreneurial venture or had art to sell. When someone posts (usually on a private group) that they need help I send it to them whenever possible. It is so easy for me to see my life and think “Hey, they need this more than I do.”

So I see helping and gifting as possible and a truth for others, but not for me. I really need to reflect on this a bit. I wonder what kind of guilt and pain I will uncover. Like all things with mental health, things are deeper than they seem and I have some work cut out for me.

Oh, the teacup story. This is sometimes attributed to Buddha but it probably came from somewhere else. It has a very Buddhist and Stoic feel to it though, and in the end the source of the wisdom means nothing compared to the actual wisdom.

The Buddha told his student, ‘Every morning I drink from my favorite tea cup. I enjoy morning in this way. But, in my mind the teacup is already broken. Do you see this glass? It is beautiful and does its job well, but it is already broken. Someday, the wind will knock this glass off the shelf or my elbow will bump my favorite teacup. It will fall to the stone and shatter. When that happens I will think, ‘of course’. In this way I will value every minute I have with my teacup and worry not about the future.’

I love that. Everything will be broken someday. My computer will fail. My muscles will weaken. My dog will die. My partner will breathe her last breath. We are stardust and to stardust we shall return, that is literally true but it also a beautiful, comforting, and poetic thought to me. So, instead of being attached to the bottle of scotch I should have been better at appreciating it while I had it. It was a beautiful bottle and the color reflected the light in a beautiful amber tint.

Side note: I looked up the Bible verse I paraphrased above (Ecclesiastes 3:20, “We are dust and to dust we shall return”) and I realized I had never read that whole chapter, so I did. The first half of the chapter is pretty well known and often-quoted “Time for peace, time for war, time for harvest, time for planting, etc.” but the paragraph with the “dust” quote is an interesting one and (again) reminds me of how universal certain philosophies are throughout the human experience. It is giving me a bit to think about on this crisp Wednesday morning.

I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely, the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath* ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into earth?”

* the Hebrew word actually means spirit as well, which gives this a new level. If Solomon is willing to ponder the existence of animal’s spirits and admit his own ignorance, I think there is value in doing the same. If you knew that the animals you ate or pets you kept had God-given souls and will live eternally, would you treat them differently? Would you try to assure they were not mistreated on earth? Of course, we can never really know the answer to that question, but doesn’t ignorance mean we should err on the side of caution and treat all living creatures with kindness, including those whose flesh we devour?

<Gets off vegan soapbox>

Anyway, I’m almost late for the gym so I won’t be writing about my other morning readings. Maybe tomorrow y’all will get a double dose of some things.

Much love and happy hump day!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

October 22, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.”
Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

I had a basic plan in mind for re-reading the 12 most impactful books of my life over the next year. It is a simple plan, divide each book into 30 parts and finish one a month. For my first book, “The War of Art”, that means reading five pages per day. Not only is this a simple feat but it allows for some adjustments if I miss a day or something.

Well, I didn’t miss today but after three pages I was ready to reflect, so I guess I’m two pages behind (or really, seven pages because I didn’t read yesterday). I think I’m ready to reflect because these three short pages punched me in the gut. They reminded me of my past and present, the behaviors I’ve exhibited that gave in to Resistance.

The first one, procrastination, is pretty damn universal (probably). As Pressfield says, procrastination is easy to rationalize because we aren’t abandoning our passions, potential, work, creation, we are just neglecting them for today. I’m totally going to start eating healthy… tomorrow. But tomorrow becomes today and we say the same thing. It is like that cliche sign littered throughout divebars across the US (world?), “Free beer tomorrow”. It is like there is a permanent sign posted in my mind that says “We will do our work tomorrow” or “Tomorrow we will start to write/read/exercise/volunteer”. Tomorrow never comes and we get weaker and weaker.

There is hope, though, “This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny…. this second, we can sit down and do our work.”

The second one, sex, hits really close to home. Not so much now, but when I was dealing with the worst of my mental illness I used sex to feel alive. It was one of the few times for about six years that I felt like I was valued, that I felt a human connection, that the world had some color to it. I don’t regret the sex, it was some of the best of my life and I am still friends with several of my partners, but I do wish I had a healthier approach to mental health.

In this case, my “work”, wasn’t an artistic creation but the process of getting well. Instead of seeking help I would seek sex, which was strangely fairly easy to come by. In college and DC there were lots of people who weren’t interested in a relationship but still wanted to share some orgasms. It was a great, cheap way to connect, relieve stress, and kill some time. It was a drug, just like shopping, beer, video games, and food.

Even today, much of my life is influenced by the drive for sex, especially “new” sex. I am torn on whether this drive for variety is something I should accept or fight. I don’t think drugs are necessarily bad, in fact I think they can be a great good, but we should recognize the risk that exists.

Sidebar: One of my biggest issues with many people in marijuana culture is that they act like weed is either harmless or a panacea. It isn’t. It should totally be legal for adults to use, but lets not pretend that inhaling burning plant material or introducing intoxicating substances into your body is 100% healthy, harmless, or guaranteed to heal. There are certainly riskier drugs and there are likely health benefits to using marijuana, but it isn’t some magic herb that doesn’t have risks or potentially negative effects.

Okay, back to me…

I still long for sexual variety. My partner knew this about me when we went into our relationship and one of the reasons that we work well together is because she isn’t selfish, jealous, and is open to new experiences. I wouldn’t be happy with someone who held the idea that my body belonged to her or that there is something good about wanting to reduce the amount of pleasure your partner has. That just wouldn’t work for me, but it doesn’t have to. I have friends that are in very strictly monogamous relationships that are very happy, and I’m super thrilled for them. There is no single-way to have a relationship, what matters is honesty and compatibility.

Hmm, went off topic there. Anyway, should I fight this drive for variety? I don’t think so. For one, the cost of fighting it is too high. Second, it isn’t causing a big problem. Resistance doesn’t use sex as a tool at this point in my life (well, except for the occasional procrastibation, but that only delays things for about 180 seconds). But it is something I should keep an eye on, like all things.

Happy Monday!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

 

October 21, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“If you lose your mind, I’ll be your anchor
Holding your body down

I’ll stay a while, from now until late
Two kids in this angel town
I’ll be the soles of your shoes on the ground
Running with you ’til you’re safe and sound
When life hits you hard like a train wreck
Don’t you believe it’ll break ya
I’ma, I’ma be there”
– Krewella, “Be There”

Good morning everyone! (I say at 3pm)

Today got off to a late start because, well, I slept in until 11am. Then I just kind of dicked around the house and hung out with my hot partner until she went to work. Then, finally, at around 1pm I got the day started. So, late start but I did get my “morning” run in, so my half-marathon training is still on track. On to one of my morning readings! I wasn’t really up for diving into the Upanishads or the War of Art, so I just read the basics.

“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” by Tian Dayton

Today’s reading is about being open to receiving the good in life. This really touched a sensitive spot for me and it is something that my therapist and I have been working on. I have a history of self-sabotage (or at least perceived self-sabotage). When I ask myself the questions listed it really brings things to light.

Do I feel worthy of a healthy, happy life? Sometimes…
Do I trust it is possible for life to work out? Sure.
Am I willing to forego my attachment to negativity and control so that my life can be fully positive? I’m trying…

Things are WAY fucking better now than they were earlier this year. My outlook at the beginning of 2018 would have answered these with No, No, and Negativity is the only way I know I am alive. So, progress is being made, especially on question #3. I truly did relate strongly to faults and negativity, I identified by what I was not and what I was against. Those days are fading behind me though, and my life has been better. It is still difficult to eliminate negative views and negative influences, but I’m getting better. 🙂


I hope you all have a wonderful end to your weekend and start to your week!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

 

October 20, 2018 – Morning Journaling

Well, my day is definitely off to a super late start. My calendar had a 5:30am wake up on it because Anna is working the opening shift, but I just kept sleeping. I’m fine with that. I will not be owned by my clock, especially when recovering from last night.

We ended up going to a friend’s house to sit around the firepit and chat with people. It was kind of exactly what I needed. Working from home can be a tad lonely and it is easy to just sit myself in my home and not really leave. So, getting out was great and I had a blast. I really need to be more proactive with social stuff.

Basically, I’m “running behind” today, but there isn’t a ton on my schedule. I’ve got a five mile run that I’m going to start as soon as my phone is finished charging, and then I need to do some yoga to make up for missing it yesterday. Then, work around the house and probably do some work. A pretty standard day in my life.

My readings this morning didn’t really give me a ton to reflect on, at least they haven’t yet. Maybe after I water them with sweat another blog post will come to mind. I have started to give more thought to why I spend the first 30 minutes of my day reading these short passages, though. Everything should be re-evaluated from time to time to make sure they are still a benefit in our lives. Nothing is beyond examination. I definitely feel better when I do and it gets me off to a good start to the day, but I sometimes wonder at the efficacy at it improving my life in a more long-term fashion.

It’s like my life is a stone and I have a vision for a statue inside it. These books, whether they are philosophy, spirituality, self-help, writing, or whatever, are like buckets of water. When I read them I am spraying the stone with water, an act that given a lot of time and a lot of water will break down the stone and shape it. I’ve seen positive change with this method, spending a year reading Stoic philosophy every morning very much improved my ability to deal with the world. But simply using the water is a very inefficient way to make change, I need to be more proactive in my pursuits.

How am I going to do that? I don’t have a fucking clue. Hell, even the vision I see in the stone is pretty fuzzy. This is definitely something to think about though. There is more to my personal growth than a few minutes of morning reading and meditating. More direct action is needed. I need to break out the chisels and start chipping away. The water will help but it isn’t enough.

 

“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” by Tian Dayton

Today’s reflection felt very Stoic, so I thought I’d share it 🙂

Today I will remember to ask myself, “How important is it?” before I let myself get upset or angry about something. When I allow my feelings to run ahead of my senses and forget that I need to keep them in balance, I run the risk of producing the very circumstances that I fear in my life.

The Stoics would answer that question with “Is it something within our sphere of influence? If it isn’t then it is not important or worth your time and energy.”

 

“The Upanishads” translated by Eknath Easwaran

I started the Shvetashvatara Upanishad today and I can tell that it probably won’t be my favorite. It is in a more poetic prose which doesn’t usually stick with me as well. There is one part I read today that reminded me a lot of Christianity if you replace “Meditate” with “Pray”.

Know him to be enshrined in your heart always.
Truly there is nothing more in life to know.
Meditate and realize that this world
Is filled with the presence of God.

 

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Alright, on to the big gun for this morning. It is taking a lot of self-control to read only five pages a day instead of plowing through it like I did the first time I read it. But, to continue that terrible analogy above, I will get more from it with a daily spritz of water than dumping the whole bucket once.

The pages are still identifying traits of Resistance, which includes being fueled by fear, only opposing from lower calls to higher calls (you aren’t going to face Resistance to quit volunteering at your church to sit down and play video games all day), Resistance is most powerful at the finish line, and Resistance recruits allies.

Those last two struck me the hardest. When I was writing my book the most difficult times were the first day and the final week. I was literally 95% of the way done and I faced more Resistance than ever. In a way, the Resistance won on that project because the real final part of writing is editing and I basically neglected that. I finished writing, but I didn’t finish creating because the Resistance kicked my ass. So yeah, it is powerful near the finish line.

As far as Resistance’s allies, this trait refers to how outside pressure (particularly from close friends and allies) will try to stop you from your calling. That isn’t always the case, my partner has been super supportive, but there is some truth in that old phrase “misery loves company”. When we see someone succeeding, following their passion, becoming who they can become, there is some envy that develops and we sometimes want them to fail (or will even work on a conscious and subconscious level to encourage defeat).

I once knew a married couple that this seemed to apply to. One partner started working hard to get healthier by exercising regularly and eating healthy. They faced Resistance, it was tough, but they stuck with their plan. Unfortunately, their partner became Resistance’s ally and the partner would refuse to pick up healthier options at the store or say things like “If you get in better shape you will probably leave me for someone else”. Guilt and neglect became Resistance’s tools. Why would someone do this to someone they love? Pressfield uses the writer as an example:

When a writer begins to overcome her Resistance she may find that those close to her begin acting strange… They are trying to sabotage her.
The reason is that they are struggling, consciously or unconsciously, against their own Resistance. The awakening writer’s success becomes a reproach to them. If she can beat these demons, why can’t they?

Other’s success shines a light on our failures. And sometimes it is easier to tear others back down than lift ourselves up. I’m sure we’ve all experienced (or seen others experience) this in many forms. A person wants to quit their job and do something they are passionate about but their partner convinces them that the timing isn’t right. A retiree wants to train for American Ninja Warrior but their friends convince them they are too old. Someone has a crazy dream like riding a unicycle around the world but their friends remind them that it has never been done before, so it probably can’t be done. Our soul, our love, our passion, our dreams, our work, our purpose for existence is pushed down to the status of hobby, at best, or delusion, at worst. All by our “friends” who would rather be surrounded by mediocrity instead of encouraged by excellence. Resistance is a piece of shit.

Alright, three new words today.

motate – to move from one location to another. I think this is actually slang. I couldn’t find a definition in the normal, more credible sources. (From “The War of Art”)

milquetoast – a timid or submissive person. This was used to describe Trump’s behavior towards authoritarians around the world, specifically Putin and the Saudi leadership. This word comes from the last name of a comic strip character in the early 20th century (Casper Milquetoast) and is a deliberate misspelling of ‘milk toast’… which is apparently something people eat? Use of the word capitalized peaked in the late 1940’s, but the lowercase version is currently at its highest point. (From Electoral Vote)

paucity – A small or insufficient amount of something. It comes from the Latin paucus which means “few” or maybe the Old French paucite. Paucity use in literature hit its high point in 1665, dropped off quickly for a century or so, and then has sort of steadily grown in popularity until 1979 when it peaked again. Its been on a steady decline since the end of the Carter administration. (From Electoral Vote)

 

Alright, that’s it for my morning (I say at 11am). I am not really breaking down my day into hours. I just want to accomplish a few things.

  • Five mile run
  • Yoga
  • Move storm damaged stuff to the curb
  • Clean out outside shed
  • Mow lawn
  • Clean bathroom

Have a wonderful day!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

October 19, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“Understand that friends come and go,
but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle.
Because the older you get
the more you need the people you knew when you were young.”
Baz Lurhmann

It has been quite a while since I woke up without jumping at the chance to check my phone. I got a new screen protector for my phone and the installation instructions said to keep the phone off for 12 hours while the product settled. So, I put it on yesterday at 5pm and 15 hours later my phone is still off. It feels, umm, good. Like, really good. Maybe I’ll start turning my phone off for significant hours of the day from now on. It isn’t like I ever have texts or phone calls that are actually urgent.

Anyway, on to my rando thoughts for the morning.

Last night I had a video chat with two of my best friends. The three of us have known each other since about 5th grade, so over 25 years at this point. Actually, there are four of us who were pretty much inseparable throughout middle and high school, but the 4th is more difficult to get a hold of… but I am working on that. So, for the last couple years or so, we have taken the above Lurhmann quote to hart and we work hard to stay in touch, despite all living in different cities across three time zones and having families, jobs, and the normal life stuff.

Last year we all got a cabin together at Lake Tahoe and went hiking for a long weekend, just us and our families. We have discussed making a trip like that a semi-annual event. I value a lot of people in my life, but I value them more than any others. The three of us try and video chat every two weeks to both catch up on each other’s lives and to get advice, specifically entrepreneurial and creativity advice. We all have fairly different lifestyles, viewpoints, and experiences that have proven to be very valuable for each other. It was a really good experience and I highly, highly, highly recommend people work hard to regularly contact people from their past, especially close friends and siblings. I generally hate talking on the phone, basically except for with them.

This morning I got off to a slow start (east coast means the call started at 11pm for me) but I’m getting better at scheduling myself and I have a fairly light day ahead of me. Of course, I started with my four daily readings. Neither “The Upanishads” or “Daily Affirmations for Forgiving…” sparked much in me today, but the other two are circulating around in my brain. Who knows though, maybe the first two will plant a seed that grows with the physical sweat from yoga today or the mental sweat from meditation.

 

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

I have the feeling that every day I am going to have a snippet from the five or so pages that I read from this book. Again, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Each page is a short paragraph or three that can be read quickly and digested slowly. I’m still in the beginning of the book and Pressfield is defining the enemy, Resistance. He is beating home that it exists and we must see it for what it is.

Some of Resistance’s traits are:

Implacable – it can’t be reasoned with, it understands only force. It has one goal, to keep us from doing our work and it will never quit.

Impersonal – it doesn’t care who you are, it doesn’t even know your name, it is a force of nature. Viewing it as a personal attack is no more logical than viewing a hurricane as a personal attack (I guess ‘weaponized weather’ conspiracy theorists may disagree with that comparison).

Infallible – Resistance knows what your calling is at will attack it, but this knowledge can be valuable. Wherever you face the greatest resistance is where you should be. Or, “The more important a call or action is to the soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Universal – It hits all of us. Tom Cruise to Vincent Van Gogh to Kesha to the guy at the gym trying to lose weight to your boss to you. Every fucking person who seeks out their purpose becomes a target. Use this to your advantage and make allies. They can’t fight for you but they can provide support and encouragement.

Doesn’t Sleep – It doesn’t rest and it doesn’t go away. “The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

Plays for Keeps – This is literally the fight of our lives. If Resistance has its way we will see the inside of a coffin before achieving our goals. It wants us complacent, lazy, and soft. It targets who we are and what we can be. This is a fight to the death.

“Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us.”

 

“A Year with Rumi” by Coleman Barks

Today’s reading from Rumi is nagging at the back of my mind. I actually googled to find the “meaning” of this poem but came back empty. I usually don’t do that, I usually try to find a meaning for myself but I feel a bit stuck on this one. There is something there, under the surface pulling at me but I can’t really identify it. When I try to break down the poem or apply meaning it all kind of shimmers away. This struggle makes it worth sharing here.

The Friend comes into my body
looking for the center, unable
to find it, draws a blade,
strikes anywhere.
– Looking for the Center

Ugh, there is something there! Maybe I need more coffee.

 

Okay, on to the words that were unfamiliar to me. Neither of them were actually unknown but I couldn’t come up with a solid definition when I read them so I did a little research. Because research is fun 🙂

vicissitude – a change in fortune or circumstance that is generally unwelcome or unpleasant; alternation between opposite things. Comes from the Latin word, vic – turn, change.  It’s relative high point in known literary usage was 1618-1632 with a capital V and 1664 with a lowercase v. I don’t find this word to be particularly beautiful, it feels clumsy and really only serves to help with V from Vendetta monologues. (From “Daily Affirmations for Forgiving…” )

paean – a song of praise or triumph; an expression of enthusiastic praise. This one is from the Greek paian – a hymn of thanksgiving to Apollo (probably… maybe)It is also the name of the Greek god’s physician and may be pre-Greek or possibly mean “who heals illness through magic”, which is related to the words “blow”, “beat”, or “withhold”. So that’s cool, healing with magic basically means neglect or getting your ass kicked, which means a song of praise or triumph. Nice. Paean is still pretty close to its literary high point. It peaked in 1936, had a valley in 1983, and is now kind of on an upswing. (From “The Upanishads”)

Alright, there are my random morning thoughts to kickstart my brain. My schedules is pretty loose today because Anna is off work (I try to take at least half-days when she has weekdays off), but here is my basic plan.

7:00-8:30 – Wake up, coffee, daily readings, writing, meditate, etc. (oops, it is 9 and I’m still on this stage so everything is being pushed back about 30 minutes)
8:30-9:00 – Clean house
9:00-10:00 – Yoga
10:00-11:00 – Work
11:00-11:30 – Basecamp Training
11:30-1:30 – Creative/Open Time (read comics, plan social activities, work on list from CEO Time, work on board/card games, etc)
1:30-6:00 – Work(ish)
6:00-6:30 – Plan next week, set goals, prep calendars, reflect on past week
6:30-6:45 – Prepare tomorrow morning (make coffee, set up workout, create daily calendar, organize office)
6:45-10:00 – No plans… maybe grab a beer somewhere, bang, binge Netflix, all of the above

Have a beautiful Friday everyone!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

Yesterday’s Therapy

I had a really good therapy session yesterday and I’ve been letting the experience marinate a bit. I think putting some “pen” on “paper” can help me internalize the lessons and process. But first, “Airplanes, Part II” by B.o.B. (featuring Eminem & Hayley Williams) came on my Spotify and Eminem’s lyrics immediately reminded me of my post this morning. The crux of it is imagining what the world be like if Marshall Mathers’ life was different and he didn’t fight Resistance. I immediately wonder where I would be, who I would be, what I could have created if the last 9 adult years were spent actively fighting Resistance. How would our lives, the world, be different?

C’est la vie. All I can do is move forward.

Ugh, I love lyrics so much.

So, here they are the lyrics that stood out. Explicit, obvi.

“Let’s pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
Let’s pretend things would’ve been no different
Pretend he procrastinated, had no motivation
Pretend he just made excuses that
Was so paper thin they could blow away wit the wind
Marshall you never gonna make it,
Makes no sense to play the game it ain’t no way that you’ll win…
‘Cause he never risked shit, he hoped and wished it
But it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even hear it he pretends it.

So, therapy.

I arrived at my session like I usually do, with a couple pages of my “Mental Health” notebook scribbled with notes from my morning Therapy Prep session. I had some stuff about my birthday, some ‘negative’ feelings I had been struggling with, and my goals for the next year.

To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be much of a session and was kind of wondering how we would fill the hour. This is kind of silly because Kayla and I always fill every minute. There is a part of me that is a little bummed that she and I met in such a professional context because I think we could be good friends. But then again, I don’t really know much about her. We seem compatible but that may be a product of our sessions and not actually having something in common. In some ways it is a one-sided relationship and the only time each month when I feel comfortable being a little selfish and talking about me and my problems without worrying about what the other person is going through. Oh well.

Anyway, the part of our discussion that kind of caught me off guard was dealing with my negative feelings. Long story short, I am finding myself jealous and a bit resentful of a friend of mine. I expected some basic to deal with my feelings but instead we dove into breaking down my friend’s behavior, personality, and what is stirring my emotions.

It was so freaking eye-opening.

Instead of simply trying to stop my jealousy we identified some of the personality traits and behaviors that my friend had that I wish I had and how I could build them. Additionally, we identified the personality traits and behaviors that I had problems with so that I could avoid them. I am constantly amazed at how much there is to untangle with human emotions. When jealousy is broken down there are parts of it that can become inspiration.

We also discussed what it was about my friend’s circumstance that triggered these emotions for me (we also talked about a different trigger for me but that isn’t something I’m comfortable putting on paper right now). Part of this discussion was how to manage my triggers. It is nice to have someone support my grief over friendships that could have been, the needs of my inner child, and putting my walls down.

Since starting seeing Kayla there has been such growth in my life. I used to have three basic emotional states: neutral, anxious, depressed. There were moments of happiness and joy (usually when having sex), and sadness or anger, but they were so small and fleeting that they were rarely worth mentioning. I had no excitement, no joy. I had my emotions cut off.

Things are starting to change now. My feelings have more flavor and I’m building the vocabulary to identify these feelings so that I can feel them more fully. I use words like “awesome” so often that it has lost its original meaning, partly because the concept of “awe” didn’t exist. Except maybe when I was doing extreme things like cycle around the country. Maybe that is why I have pursued some of the things I have, because it took an extreme experience to get even a moderate response from me.

Anyway, things are getting better. My life feels, umm, bright and colorful. I see the poetry of the world when I used to roll my eyes at things. And I’m happy. Really happy.

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

October 18, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“I think its time to practice what I preach,
Exorcise the demons inside me.
The past can’t haunt me if I don’t let it,
Live and learn and never forget it.”
– Kesha, “Learn to Let Go”

Currently, there are four books sitting on my desk that are part of my “morning reflections”. Part of me feels like this is a bit much, but most of my readings are a single page or two, which makes four books fairly manageable. Besides, one of the books I’ve read before, so there isn’t anything particularly new for me in it to digest. I hope to have my morning jou include my thoughts of some or all of these readings, but I feel really motivated today and we will see what happens when my motivation wanes.

Alright, on to the things that stood out in my readings.

 

“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” by Tian Dayton

What I believe to be true about myself and my life in the privacy of my own mind has a profound effect on my life on the outside.

The power of our mind continues to amaze me. The words we use to describe ourselves shape our reality and perception. I struggle with confidence and self-love. I often see myself as unattractive and I’m sure that broadcasts itself to the world. I long for closer friendships but I don’t feel like I have anything of value to offer others and wonder if people are friends with me out of pity. That decidedly unfriendliness to myself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, I don’t seek friends because I don’t deserve friends and I end up without friends.

Of course, the reverse is true as well. When I feel attractive, confident, and at peace then life falls into place a little more. When I decided to take crazy risks in life like quitting my job (twice) and cycling away from a city that wasn’t making me happy (twice) without a job or destination really in mind things still worked out. This wasn’t magic. I wasn’t lucky. The good results were a result of my actions, which were a result of my mental state. I knew I was making the right decision and that proved to be true. When I feel attractive the barista flirts with me. When I see myself as being friendly strangers strike up conversations. When I convince myself that I have value more work and love and life comes my way. Thought creates results.

 

“The Upanishads” Translated by Eknath Easwaran

 In an effort to expand my knowledge base I am reading pieces of “classic” books in religion and philosophy. These books had an impact spanning most of human history and I think they are worth reading. One thing that I’ve noticed so far is how similar many of them are. This was a shock to me in the beginning. I was raised to believe that Christ’s teachings were unique, even revolutionary. But really, he was saying the same thing that people across the globe had been saying for thousands of years.

My readings today (The Chandogya Upanishad, Chapter VII 1.1- 4.3) definitely sounded Christian in many areas. You could switch out “the Infinite” with “God” and the following would fit perfectly in the Bible.

It is the Infinite that is the source of abiding joy because it is not the subject of change. Therefore seek to know the Infinite… The Infinite is beyond death, but the finite cannot escape death.

Or change “Self” to “God”

One who meditates upon and realizes the Self discovers that everything in the cosmos – energy and space, fire and water, name and form, birth and death, mind and will, word and deed, mantram and meditation – all come from Self.
The Self is one, though it appears to be many. Those who meditate upon the Self and realize the Self go beyond decay and death, beyond separateness and sorrow.

Those last seven words sound very similar to Pope John Paul II said about hell, “hell indicates a state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.” Or put another way, those who recognize God and stay with him go beyond decay and death, beyond separateness and sorrow.

These passages could easily describe the Biblical heaven

This is the real city of Brahman; this is the Self, free from old age, from death and grief, hunger and thirst. In the Self all desires are fulfilled.
One who crosses by this bridge, if blind, is blind no more; if hurt, ceases to be hurt; if in sorrow, ceases sorrowing. At this boundary night itself becomes day: night comes not into the world of Brahman.

Of course, these texts don’t match up perfectly with Christian theology. Christianity is based on the idea that God is separate from us and things on this earth. God is good, the world is bad. These Hindu texts seem to unitary and not binary, God is us and we are God. We may not see that or we may deny it, but that truth doesn’t cease.

I continue to think that the major difference between many religions and philosophies is mostly word choice. The underlying theme, the wisdom, the pursuits, are all very similar.

 

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

This is the first book of twelve that I plan on reading over the next year that I have already read at least once. This book is probably the single most inspirational “kick in the ass I needed” book I’ve read when it comes to creativity and creating. Pressfield identifies “resistance” as the enemy that we must name and actively fight. It is not just a concept or a word, it is an force to be fought. Or, as Pressfield stated in the introduction:

Resistance is the most toxic force on th eplanet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms the spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. (emphasis added by me)

I don’t believe in God, but I see how Resistance prevents me from living the life that I could. The beautiful world that we could all create if we were to pursue our calling is destroyed in its infancy. It stops my potential before it starts, something common for many people and often understood only by those who have already fought Resistance and one some battles.

The first step in any battle is to understand the enemy. So, what is it that brings Resistance to our door? “Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity… any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower.”

Have an idea for a novel? Prepare for Resistance.
Is that empty easel calling your name? Resistance also hears the call
Do you want to exercise more or have a healthier diet? Resistance will fight you.
Does the world need to be changed? Have an app idea? Want to raise children? Is your relationship struggling? Resistance will push you towards the easy path of staying on the couch and avoiding commitment.

But Resistance can be overcome. The war will never end but battles can be won, and as you get stronger it gets weaker (in the long run). But first, we must admit Resistance exists. Or, to paraphrase the eminent 20th Century philosopher Verbal Kint, “The greatest trick Resistance ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.”

Resistance exists. And it has traits that we can identify and fight. It is an invisible energy field that pushes us away from our work, it is an internal force coming from within, and it is an insidious force that will lie, cheat, and change form to deceive you.

All that can be fought through once you admit that it exists and that this is a war for your very heart and soul. It is a war, and losing the war means never becoming who you could be… never completing your “work”… never answering the call.

Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

There is a novel you want to write. A song you want to sing. A child you want to raise. A country you want to visit. An artistic pursuit that you want to be known for. A business you want to start. A cause that you want to commit yourself to.

I get it. Today is a bad day to do it. Work is crazy right now, you didn’t get much sleep, the holiday’s are coming up… when things calm down you will pick up the tools needed to answer your calling.

Except that is a lie. That is Resistance. Life will never not be busy. It will never be a good time. I used these same excuses for years, literally. I still use them. Right now, I’m not inspired, I don’t have time, my house is damaged from a hurricane, I only slept six hours last night, but that is normalcy. Maybe not those exact things, but there will always be an excuse that feels important. When I’m not “busy” then I “need” time to relax and recover. Both being busy and not being busy become the excuse Resistance uses to stop me from training for a half marathon, starting a yoga practice, writing a novel, or creating a board game.

It is all lies. I do it today, or I won’t do it. I didn’t do it yesterday, last week, last month, last year and I won’t do it tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Resistance will win. Unless I see it for what it is and fight it. Starting right, fucking now. Not in an hour, not after work, not tomorrow morning. Right. Fucking. Now.

Damn. That books get me all riled up. It is time to get to Work!

Lastly, three words/phrases that I encountered that I had to look up. That reminds me, I really want to buy a nice dictionary. Hmm, let me check Amazon real quick.

Geez, I have no idea how to buy a dictionary apparently. Oxford or Merriam Webster? What is the difference between the $12 one and the $70 one? This is overwhelming. I’ll come back to this later.

So, here are the words that were new (or new again) to me:
Protean – generally means versatile, mutable, capable of assuming many forms. Comes from the Greek myth of Proteus, an early god of water. (From “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield)

Khidr – a name ascribed to a figure in the Quran as a righteous servant of God possessing great wisdom or mystic knowledge. (From “A Year with Rumi” by Coleman Barks)

Four Vedas – Veda means “knowledge” and the four are a breakdown of the Hindu body of knowledge. Rigveda means “praise knowledge” and is reciting hymns, Yajurveda means “ritual knowledge” is performing sacrifices, and Samaveda means “song knowledge” is chanting songs, these three are called “the triple science”. The fourth, Atharvaveda, wasn’t a Veda during the Vedic era but was added in the 1st millennium BCE. It is made up of Atharvan and Angirasa poets. (From “The Upanishads” translated by Eknath Easwaran)

Huh, three different unknown words/phrases from three different religious backgrounds spanning over 2,000  years from approximately 1700 BCE to 625 CE. Nice.

My love of words actually has me thinking about setting up an Instagram account that goes into word origins and such. I searched around and really couldn’t find a good one on Instagram. I just wish I knew how to do simple graphic design… I guess I’ll just stick with stuff in collective commons and Microsoft Paint.

I may do another blog post today about my therapy session yesterday, but until then here is my schedule for the day.

5:45-8:30 – Wake up, coffee, daily readings, writing, run (3-mile), shower
8:30-9:30 – Creative time (I’m working on a couple of games that I’m excited about)
9:30-11:00 – Work calls
11:00-11:30 – Work on cleaning/organizing house
11:30-2:00 – Work
2:00-3:00 – Break
3:00-5:00 – Work
5:00-6:00 – Prepare for evening call
6:00-6:30 – Prepare for tomorrow morning (make coffee, set up workout, make daily calendar, clean office)
6:30-10:00 – No Plans
10:00-11:00 – Evening Call – I have a bi-weekly phone call with two of my best friends where we catch up on life and provide support and ideas for our entrepreneurial ventures.

I hope you all have a great day!

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

October 17, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“What’s unlucky is not to change and disappear.
This way leads through humiliation and contempt.”
Rumi, “The Knots Untie”

It is Wednesday and I finally feel like I am catching up with life after a weekend celebration for my birthday. In general, I’ve never really been big on celebrations for myself. Part of it is just the reality of having an October birthday and moving around a lot. Due to school schedules and when I joined the Army I was in a new town for my birthday in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Basically, half my birthdays were in a city where I didn’t really know anyone. Even now, I’ve been in Wilmington two years and didn’t really organize anything. Luckily, I have an amazing partner who spoiled me for a weekend and we drove down to see some close friends nearby.

A lot of it also has to do with how weird I feel seeking and receiving praise or attention. It is this weird dichotomy where I like attention and talking about my views and life as much as the next person, but it feels uncomfortable to be explicitly recognized. Having a party thrown for me feels weird but if I’m at the party I like to feel appreciated and loved. I don’t know, maybe that’s normal.

So yeah, after this weekend it has been tough getting back into my routines. I haven’t gone running really (some excuses) or meditated (no excuses) and my focus has felt, well, scattered. I have been killing it at work though and knocking out a lot of good projects, so that’s nice.

To be honest, I’m really happy that there is basically nothing on my schedule for months. I’m not traveling for the holidays or hosting an event. I’d love to find a Friendsgiving or Christmas for Lost Children to go to but I am not going to organize it. If I end up just eating Chinese food or pizza on the holiday I don’t really mind. I just need some time to get into a routine and get the house back together. We’ve had basically no time to actually do the labor needed to recover from Florence.

We are planning on going up to Asheville for New Years, which will be nice. Shit. I need to get an AirBnB ASAP.

Where was I going with this blog?

I don’t remember. Oh well. Yeah, life is getting back into a routine and I have some nice goals laid out for my next year of life. I’m really happy and satisfied with the way things are going, even with the tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to my house. It may take us a year or more to fully recover because we can only afford to do one room at a time, but at least we can safely live in it and we are all alive and healthy.

Oh, the quote at the top of the page is from “A Year with Rumi”, one of my morning reading books. That passage stuck with me a bit because I have kind of this fear of not changing. It seems so many problems in our lives (both personal and societal) comes from an unwillingness to recognize that the world is always changing, always in flux, and we can never go back to what it used to be. There is no rewind button on life and to even try is very painful for everyone involved. There was no time in my life (or anyone’s) when they “peaked” to long for, there is no “golden age” of America to try and recreate.

We must change. Change leads to growth. Change leads to life. And change requires that the old “we” disappear.

To fight that brings about feelings of weakness and hatred. To try and keep the world the same comes down to the two sources of fear (and all negative emotions): fear of not being good enough and fear of being out of control. In other words, “humiliation and contempt”.

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”