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”

37th/9th Birthday

My body has now been outside my mother’s uterus for 37 years. That feels like a long time, like I should be getting close to fearing death or a mid-life crisis or something, but I don’t feel that way. Each stage of my life has been more exciting, rewarding, and challenging than the last, and this last year may eclipse all others. At the very least, it was the busiest.

I still think it is strange that we count years solely based on birth. While it is a clear binary (in womb or out of womb) it is still an arbitrary starting point that is culturally based. Some cultures didn’t recognize human life until a child was a toddler and others broke lives up into clear stages with rites of passage that were far more important than birth.

I’ve discussed this before, but I want to revisit it. When you think about it, becoming an autonomous adult and how many years I have left of that is a far better measure than just post-birth. Sure, it isn’t as clear cut and will vary by person, but instead of “37 years old” I feel more like “9 years adult”.

See! Blue is childhood, green is military, and red is college. I’ve been an adult for so little time!

With this measure I am much younger and have a greater percentage of my life ahead of me than would otherwise seem. I imagine the next twenty years are going to look more like the last twenty years than my first twenty years. The last sentence is ridiculous but I do not care. Not that I think I should use this perspective as an excuse to slack off, it is just a way to look at how much life I have left in a clearer way. (I’m not afraid of death or anything, but I am not in any hurry to die either)

Look at all that fucking future purple!!!!! So many adventures!

So, what did I do on my 9th year of adulthood? Well, quite a bit. I love bulleted lists so here is a list with notes and reflections. In a semi-particular order:

  • Take my health seriously:  A year ago I decided that I wanted to make this my healthiest year of life yet. I had visions of six-packs, strutting the beach in a banana hammock, and bench-pressing two women while they contort themselves into yoga positions. Well, I ended up with the healthiest year of my life but not in the way I imagined. This year I went to a dentist and a medical doctor for the first time in over a decade (yes, there were cavities).

More importantly, I went to see a therapist at the VA. That small step led me to a psychiatrist, medication, and encouraged me to see a therapist regularly outside of the VA. The results have been wonderful and I truly believe I am healthier than I ever have been (even with my love handles).

I’ve been supportive of people seeking mental health help for many years but I never did it myself. I could make a shit ton of excuses but the truth is I was scared and/or didn’t think I needed to. It really took getting help to realize how fall I’d fallen. I didn’t hit rock bottom, but I feel like the bottom was within view. I’ve been struggling with a metaphor for my experience and this is the best I could come up with:

It is like I was flying. I drifted among the clouds and blue skies without many worries. Sure, I encountered the occasional thunderstorm but I weathered them without much harm. Little did I know, I wasn’t flying, I was falling. My friends, my family, and everything else in my life helped keep me afloat and slow my descent, but there was no avoiding the truth… I was falling.

The signs that I was falling became more and more obvious. Work started to suffer, relationships were strained, dark thoughts drifted into my mind. It was like instead of drifting in the sky I was now dodging cliffs and occasionally crashing into one and bouncing off. It wasn’t the occasional thunderstorm any more, I was in danger.

So, I started getting help. Therapy hasn’t (and won’t) allow me to fly again, but it has allowed me to find a safe place to land. My medication and therapy continues to help, like a ladder thrown down so that I can climb up. I’ll never fly again, but the sun is shining and I keep climbing up to solid ground.

  • Visited St. Louis and Portland for the holiday
  • Challenged Myself Physically: Ran my first 10k and 9-mile run, and completed Outside the Box: Stranded. The more physical challenges I do the more I realize that the physical and mental dichotomy is a false one. The mind is part of the body
  • Bought a House: By far, this was the most stressful experience of my life. I would literally rather return to Afghanistan. It was totally worth it, even with the Hurricane Florence damage that we are dealing with. But it was tough.
  • Became an Entrepreneur: I stopped being an “independent contractor” and started an LLC. This is important for two reasons. First, it reduces my tax burden. Second (and more importantly), it provides me with an outlet to expand my business opportunities into things I’m passionate about. Specifically, end-of-life consulting. I went through End-of-Life doula training which re-inspired my passion to help people during this last(?) transition.
  • Travel!: I scratched two major things off my bucket list this year. The first was participating in RAGBRAI. One week cycling across Iowa was such a wonderful experience. It felt like Burning Man and my cross-country ride merged into one. 11/10 – Will do again.

The second trip was Iceland. I really can’t fucking explain how amazing Iceland was. I loved it and I can’t wait to go back. That reminds me, I really need to finish my blogging about it. Anyway, you should go there. 15/10 – Will live there someday.


Not a bad 365 days. This next year is going to be great too, but much less active (praise Zeus). There are a few things on the horizon though:

Burning Man: Next year will be my partner and my 5th anniversary and we’d like to return to the place of our ceremony.

Running: I’ve got a half marathon scheduled and would like to do a full one next year too.

Community: This is the big one. It isn’t really an event but more of a life focus. I would like to actively build a community here in Wilmington. It seems weird to “try” and make friends instead of it going naturally, but childless adulthood in a new(ish) town kind of demands explicit work to find friends. I actually thought (am thinking) about starting a meetup group that is explicitly for childless couples but something feels icky about that to me.

The weird thing is, I know getting out there and doing things works. Going to D&D lead to friends that I see and hang out with outside of D&D. Similarly, I met an awesome couple from kickball that I wish I saw more of, but between most of my off-time recovering and my notorious lack of planning it almost never happens. I’ve even reconnected with an old friend from my past and he and his partner have become incredibly important to me. I’ve also met people through volunteering and other friends that I know I could call on in a jam.

So, I want to really try and build up those relationships while trying other things I’ve been interested in. The truth is that it is sometimes a numbers game. Adults are busy and many have a community already or we live far apart. Besides, everything I’ve been reading in the self-improvement department emphasizes how important it is to have connections in a variety of networks to help with intellectual and personal growth.

Build My Brand: Lastly, I want to become a better advocate for myself and my business interests. It has been a long struggle but I’m starting to accept that I have something of value to offer the world and that it is okay to put my name out there. I’ve got a couple of things I want to focus on, including my writing, end-of-life work, and game creation. I’m excited to see where it all goes.

So, that’s my wrap up of my 37th or 9th year. I’m sure 38/10 will be amazing in its own way.

October 12, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“I am not the generator but the transmitter of energy. There are sources beyond my imagination that I can draw from – all I need do is to open myself. I am not alone, and life is not confined only to what I see. When I open my inner vision and ask forces I cannot see but that I can sense to guide, sustain and protect me, I experience serenity and a sense of well-being.” –Tian Dayton, “Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On

The above quote was today’s daily affirmation in one of the works that I reflect on each morning. I read it before my run and it planted itself like a seed in my mind. The sweat from my run acted like water and soil for the seed and soon it started to flower into ideas and reflections.

That particular book was recommended by my therapist and, to be honest, I was a little skeptical when I started reading it. I talked to her about my concerns and she gave me a homework assignment to further my reflections. I explained that the talk of “god” and “higher power” rubbed me the wrong way and had me rolling my eyes a bit. As is often the case, we dove a little deeper into why I felt that way.

The basic reason was simple. I have become more of a man of science than faith. While I recognize there are things we don’t understand (and may never understand), I shudder at the concept of god or supernatural forces. My conversation with her (and the subsequent assignment) made me realize that my understanding of these things was unnecessarily limited by my past. Basically, I put these words in a tiny box that was linked strictly to my Christian, conservative, public school upbringing.

One of the great ironies of my upbringing is that I was taught to believe in a “personal Jesus”, as long as that Jesus looked and acted exactly as I was told he should. The world I was raised in was one of absolutes. There is an objective right and wrong, truth and lies, us and them, etc. Everything was binary with no room for nuance or interpretation or subjectivity.

There was one right way to have a family. It was a married man and woman with children. Anything else was either wrong, at best, or perverse. If only others would wait until marriage for sex and then never divorce then all homes would be happy.

There was one right religious belief. Protestant Christian was it. The Catholics were wrong, so were the Mormons, and don’t even think about branching outside of Christianity. If only others believed what we believed they would be saved.

There was one right culture to have. “White” suburban American culture was right. Black urban “African-American” culture lead to crime, jail, and that hyphen caused them to only be partial Americans. If only others would act like us there would be peace.

Well, that’s not exactly true. There was room for nuance when it served the political needs of the community. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is generally translated as “Thou Shalt Not Murder”, which makes sense to me but Christians seem incredibly comfortable with the (what I would call) murder of innocent people during war, even when that war makes no Christian sense. As I’ve said before, Americans are “God and Country” people, but not necessarily in that order. The truth is, when presented with the choice between flag or cross, many firmly pick the flag.

Side note: Do you know which of the ten commandments is “thou shall not kill”?

The 5th! If you use St. Augustine’s system, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Samaritan Pentateuch, or Lutherans. 

The 6th! If you use the Septuagint generally followed by Orthodox Christians, the Jewish Talmud, or Reformed Christians

The 7th! For Philo

I really only mention this because I was raised to believe that the Bible is infallible and true as written. That there is no fault in it and it is the literal truth of what happened. But, as my education has branched out I have learned that there are different Bibles with different books depending on the point in history, denomination, etc. So, either the absolute truth changes with time and place or there is some human fallibility that comes form interpretation and such… which means maybe we should err on the side of peace and “love thy neighbor”. Any book that has unicorns mentioned several times as a historical fact is possibly symbolic or has translation issues that naturally occur over 2,000 years across languages and continents. If word translated to English 400 years ago doesn’t match our image of an animal today then maybe potentially complex issues like sexual immorality may have some of the same translation issues. 

Damn. I got off on a tangent. Back to my original point…

I was unnecessarily limiting my definitions of what spirituality, god, and higher power is. My therapist asked me to come up with my own definitions that I could use in my own life instead of relying on what I was told to believe in the past. I kind of hated this assignment but I am committed to improving my mental health and I trust my therapist, so I did it. Here is what I came up with.

Higher Powers: I made this plural because that made more sense to me. This is kind of the focal point of my beliefs and the other two exist in relation to this concept. Basically, I see higher powers as the forces in the universe that can have a significant impact on our lives but are outside of our power to completely escape.

This includes physical laws like gravity as well as things like good, evil, love, natural selection, evolutionary drives (sexual attraction, fight or flight, etc), sexual and relationship orientation, etc. Now, I’m not saying we are helpless in the face of these higher powers or that they necessarily have a universal positive or negative impact on our lives. Like all things, I think there is some variation and subjectivity to it, and we have some control.

We can certainly fight the higher powers, that fight can be difficult and damaging but in some cases it may be worth it (ie, evil, urges to murder, rape, steal, etc.). But life is easier when we work in sync with higher powers, and in an ideal world we find balance between fighting and working with, we learn to “row with the flow” of life and combine our own focus with the natural forces to guide our lives in the way that is best for us.

Often, higher powers combine and we create archetypes to make it easier to comprehend. The polytheist religions did this very explicitly with their pantheons but we do this outside of religion (as we currently define it). Marriage is often a combination of sexual attraction, romantic love, commitment, evolutionary drive to procreate, community norms, etc. Art is a combination of physical laws, creativity, rebellion against authority, etc.

God: This was the most difficult concept for me to really identify and separate from higher power. For me, God is simply all the higher powers combined. It is the universe, “Truth”, the way things work. I am God, you are God, the rain is God, reality is God, imagination is God, death is God, my computer is God… they are all the culmination of innumerable forces that are beyond understanding or control. God is all and all is God.

Spirituality: Once I nailed down my definition of higher power this was fairly simple for me to identify. I see spirituality as the explicit pursuit of one or more higher powers. That pursuit can take many forms. The pagan who performs a seasonal ceremony to welcome in winter is practicing a spirituality that combining a number of higher powers including death, physics, time, and others. The Christian that kneels in prayer is similarly practicing spirituality towards their combination of higher powers (in the form of Christ or “God”). The marathon runner is likewise being spiritual as they pursue their passion, the painter is spiritual while they hone their craft, and one or more people giving each other pleasure are also being spiritual. Spirituality is simply an attempt to live in sync with higher power(s).

I realize that this probably sounds batshit crazy to many people. It probably would have to me a few years ago but one of the major revelations I’ve had in the last decade or so is that it is okay for me to come up with my own views. Nearly everything in this world is open to a level of subjectivity. Relationship styles, love, health, success, and even spirituality should be tailored to each of our individual souls.

2,000 years ago it made some sense that life was arranged in a uniform way spiritually, politically, and socially. Very few people interacted with people who were different (unless they were killing them) and the ability to share and refine ideas wasn’t technologically available. We also lived in a very poor society where life was relatively solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. If I lived in a 14th Century village and I decided that I didn’t believe in the same God, wanted a polyamorous/bisexual relationship, and wanted to spend my days making music then I would become an outcast and/or starve to death. We live in a privileged time because we can ask these questions and find ourselves closer to truths.

In the past, there were self-evident truths because we knew so little. We wanted a solid foundation because without it the center could not hold. Simplicity and uniformity was necessary, but we don’t live in the same world as we did 10,000, 2,000, or even 200 years ago. The physical laws are the same but our technology, society, and culture are different. The forces that act most prominently on our lives have proven to be more wild, varied, and nuanced than our ancestors could have imagined. There are simply very few, if any, binaries in life.

So, what is one to do without that objective stability?

I say first, rejoice. The world is so much more beautiful with mystery and variety and the ability to be true to yourself. I would rather live now than any other time in history. Sure, even 50 years ago was simpler. As a white, hetero-passing, man in America my word was law and I could basically do whatever I wanted (as long as I didn’t harm other white, hetero-passing, males). What I simple, easy, powerful life.

I would feel like a god! But much like toddlers, I could feel like a god but really be stuck in infancy. The simple life is not a full life. None of us can reach our human potential if we stay stuck in the old ways of thinking or if we desire to return to our infancy. I cannot return to the crib any more than our society can return to the 50’s. And thank God for that.

I don’t know if we humans will survive our societal adolescence. I hope so, but I don’t know. Like many people when they enter their teenage years and move into adulthood, there is a longing for childhood. We idealize those days of freedom from responsibility, but it was really just a freedom from life itself. Instead, we need to look forward… look forward towards the day when we can make our lives our own, when we can struggle and grow and love and be adults.

You can’t find your passion and experience true love as a child. As a person we need to break the chains of childhood that our parents used to keep us safe (and trapped). We need to go out on our own and discover what our truth is. And, as a society we need to break the chains of childhood that those in power use to keep us safe (and trapped). We must ask the hard questions, make mistakes, try new things, and discover what life is for us.

Luckily, throughout the ages tools have been discovered. Much like a good parent preparing their children for adulthood, philosophies and religions across time have helped prepare us for societal adulthood. We just need to look outside of our upbringing and open up to the experiences of others. If we do that we will discover some universal principles of human existence.

People have started piecing together these universal principles as best they can. Just look at  Aldous Huxley’s “Perennial Philosophy”, Carl Jung’s “Collective Unconscious”, or Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with a Thousand Faces”. Reading the texts that have lasted for thousands of years show us a glimpse of human truths. The Buddha doesn’t sound that different than Jesus who sounds like an ancient Stoic. The Upanishads and the Bible and Meditations share similar proverbs and parables to guide the reader.

We will be stable if we recognize past “truths” for what they are, branches on a tree. Christianity is a spiritual branch attached to the Tree of God. Sure, if you take away that branch from people they will fall. Unless you help them recognize that it is a branch and not the tree itself. Guide them to the tree and they can find other branches or wrap themselves around the trunk for stability. That way, when one branch falls they still have stability. As political parties and religions and social institutions rot and fall away we will stay strong, as long as we recognize them for a part of the whole and not the only truth.

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 11, 2018 – Morning Journaling

“Every time I take a look inside that old and fabled book,
I’m blinded and reminded of the pain caused by some old man in the sky.
Marijuana, LSD, Psilocybin, and DMT
They all changed the way I see
But love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.”
– Sturgill Simpson, “Turtles All the Way Down”

I didn’t really do a lot of reading yesterday, so nothing really to show on that front. I did my normal morning reflections but neither one really stood out to me. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t wisdom or value in those words, I just wasn’t able (or willing?) to absorb them. I firmly believe that there is wisdom and value in everything. Every book, every film, every song, every flower, every experience… and failure to find value or wisdom is a reflection of my own faults and weaknesses. They have value, even if I can’t or won’t see it.

Damn. That paragraph turned into a bit of a bummer. I may not subscribe to the MBMBaM Live Show rule of “No Bummers” but I try to keep things optimistic.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I’m not normally up that early but my partner had the opening shift and since our bed is in our living room (Thanks, Florence!) it just makes sense to get up with her. Besides, the healthiest times of my life all involved waking up early. I may hate waking up, but I love mornings. I don’t want to say that mornings are my “favorite” time of the day because each day is so different, but it is certainly the most consistently positive (after I have coffee and am no longer a grumpyface).

I actually woke up around 4am again because my cat started attacking my feet. Maybe they were moving under the covers because of weird dream I had. The world was post-apocalyptic because an EMT knocked out all the electronics in the world. I lived with my brothers in a town called “23rd Street” and I was riding on a bus that was driven by Clay Morrow. I think I was trying to buy car parts or someone stole my watch or something. The details are a bit fuzzy.

Anyway, it seems random to me (except  the name of the city, I grew up on 23rd Street in Gresham) but I’m sure I could extract some meaning from it. I’ve heard that in dreams you should see each person and element as a part of yourself. I’m sure I could find some symbolism from the bus, the city, my brothers (and the lack of my sister or partner), Clay Morrow, the watch, and living in a post-apocalyptic world. Now, whether my subconscious manifested those symbols trying to tell me something or I just attached meeting post somnium to randomness is a mystery.

Am I the only one that likes throwing in random Latin into my writing? I don’t actually know Latin or if what I write makes sense but I enjoy it. Maybe it is because I read some old books and everyone used Latin or French or German or Greek or Italian in their English writings because the reader actually understood. Now I kind of want to learn Latin…

<Googles ‘Free Latin Courses Online’>

Oh, yesterday I played D&D and was on a Nat20 hot streak. Which was good, because I was basically in a fighting pit the entire time battling gladiators. I’ve still got one more battle ahead of me but I finally came face-to-face with the last known person to own/see my sister. He wants to have a talk and it is going to take all my strength and focus on Io to keep from entering a rage and beating him with my weapon.

I also made a lot of money… which is good. I spent a lot recently for information and I’m still trying to revive a new religion. Building temples isn’t cheap. I also may need some money to adopt/hire a couple of orphans to help me with my research into Io and things worked in the past. They are going to need some training but it’ll be nice to have someone to serve an an apprentice that can take over the church someday when I die.

Alright, on to the work day before Hurricane Michael knocks out my power.

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 10, 2018 – Morning Journaling

Pre-Script: I felt like blogging today and I miss doing daily blogs. I would love to claim that I’m going to do this every day but that really isn’t likely. I just don’t see it as a high priority right now and I have other things that I need to use my spoons for right now. But, when the urge strikes I will do it.

“It is the prime task of a truly modern mind to endure both the spiritual and the practical as the framework for her life… When one has grown strong and wise enough, the warring elements which cost so much suffering and anxiety, will become complimentary elements and produce the great work of art which is your own life.” – Robert Johnson, “She: Understanding Feminine Psychology”

Currently Reading:
“The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz
“Notes From Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Morning Reflections:
“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On” by Tian Dayton
“A Year With Rumi” translated by Coleman Barks


Book Reflections
Yesterday, I started and finished reading “She: Understanding Feminine Psychology” by Robert A. Johnson. Don’t be impressed by my finishing it in one day, it is only about 100 pages long. Though, after reading about this woman who finished a book a day for a year I find myself inspired by that task. This year I had the goal of finishing 60 books and have already completed 57, though many are graphic novels… but those count to me.

Anyway, I was a little bit skeptical when I started reading this book. I read the companion book, “He: Understanding Masculine Psychology”, earlier this year and thought it was okay but not great. I think there is something about Johnson’s style of writing that I don’t particularly enjoy even though I love the idea of finding meaning in mythology.

I actually found “She” to be much better and interesting. Perhaps it is because I was more familiar with the Greek mythology around Psyche and Cupid/Eros/Amor having read “Til We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis last year. Or maybe it is because I am both less familiar with femininity and on a journey right now to embrace my own internal femininity that this book felt more relevant and enjoyable. Either way, I enjoyed the read.

There were some issues that I took with it that may stem from the time period in which it was written, or perhaps a thorough examination of some issues weren’t possible due to the short length. While Johnson fully supports and thinks it is important and healthy for men to embrace their femininity and women to embrace their masculinity (or anima and animus), he does seem to operate from a strict binary of man and woman. I wonder what his thoughts are on how this applies to transgender and non-binary individuals.

Personally, I think as we progress to a point of greater individualism and fluidity we will find there are more and more people who don’t fit the binaries that we have in place like man-woman, straight-gay, etc. Humans are much more complex than that and as we cast of the patriarchal and otherwise tyrannical chains that come from our theocratic totalitarian past the beauty of our diversity will spring forth. Which, of course, will disrupt the “natural” order of things, as it should and as we should desire.

So, how will the guidance from these myths, the tasks that we face, and the roles that we take still impact our lives in future generations? I don’t know, but I think applying mythological study to the changing world around us could be exciting and a lot of fun. I find myself re-inspired to read Jung, Campbell, and paganism. Maybe I’ll finally start reading “Psychology of the Unconscious” or “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, both of which have been sitting on my shelf for years.

Daily Plan
I woke up from a dream at about 4am this morning. In the dream I had invented a card game and I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I got up and wrote down all I could remember about the game and started plotting it out. Even in the waking hours it seems to have potential. I want to make time to really flush this (and several other game ideas) out but I just am burnt out by the end of the day.

I have been getting better at doing the things that are difficult but personally important for me in the morning (running, reading, meditating) and putting off the things that I know I will finish (namely, work) until later in the day. I really should be able to carve out 30-60 minutes in the morning for game development.

The rest of my day is super exciting:
0715-0815: Run/Shower
0815-0845: Reading
0845-1030: Gym with Trainer and shower again
1030-1800: Work (house or money)
1800-1815: Prep tomorrow by setting out running stuff, making coffee, cleaning desk and setting up books, etc
1815-2300: D&D!

D&D Update: Gory (my character – Level 11 Dragonborn Path of the Zealot Barbarian) and his crew have had a lot of adventures lately. He had to stand trial with the Zhantarian, which ended up going well. He was ready to die and had prepared his will and notes to his companions (yes, I pretty much actually made these). We are now getting close to tracking down the man who bought my sister as a slave years ago.

I really love playing D&D. We have a phenomenal dungeon master who balances the story with our freedom really well. He has taken backstories and really allowed them to play out in the world. Gory has evolved into a person that I never imagined he would due to how the adventures have played out. I know there is always a risk that he will die. I don’t necessarily want it to happen but I’m okay with that. I think there should be some level of ‘danger’, I don’t want to always be saved by my deity… sometimes bad rolls or bad decisions should result in permanent death. I’m prepared for how that would play out and can play another character if needed.

Things I Highlighted Since Yesterday Morning

“She: Understanding Feminine Psychology”
– 
Her wedding is her funeral in a sense.
– All husbands are death to their wives in that they destroy them as maidens and force them into an evolution toward mature womanhood. It is paradoxical, but you can feel both gratitude and resentment toward the person who forces you to begin down your own path of growth.
– Nearly every man wants this of his wife… He wants the old patriarchal marriage where the man decides all the important issues, the woman agrees, and there is peace. Most men harbor the hope that things will go in this manner and for a little while there is the possibility that marriage will be like this.
– Most growth comes from the feminine element in myths.
– The chronicle of a woman’s life can be described as her struggle and evolution in relation to the masculine principle of life.
– Every garden has a serpent or shadow figure who brings the tranquility to an abrupt halt.
– A man knows who he is, and he knows he has a god, a magnificent being, somewhere within him. But when a woman lights the lamp and sees the god in him, he feels called upon to live up to that, to be strong in his masculine consciousness… terrible things happen to men who are deprived of the presence of women for it is the presence of woman that reminds each man of the best that is in him. Trump, alt-right, ‘incels’…
– 
He is not well equipped at finding meaning for himself.
– Few women understand how great is the hunger in a man to be near femininity… As a man discovers his own inner femininity, he will not rely so heavily on the outer woman to live this out for him.
– The in love experience shatters human tranquility but sets about a great evolutionary energy
– The moment you fall in love with someone, you must acknowledge that person’s utter uniqueness and thus their separateness. Then we become immediately aware of the distance, the separation, and the difficulty of the relationship. There is generally a terrible feeling of inferiority in both men and women when they find their companion a god or a goddess.
– One may view a marriage as two people standing back to back, each protecting the other in a particular way.
– If you wish to give your children the best possible heritage, give them a clean unconscious, not your own unlived life, which is hidden in your unconscious until you are ready to face it directly.
– It is the prime task of a truly modern mind to endure both the spiritual and the practical as the framework for her life… When one has grown strong and wise enough, the warring elements which cost so much suffering and anxiety, will become complimentary elements and produce the great work of art which is your own life.

“The Magic of Thinking Big”
– Prolonged association with negative people makes us think negatively; close contact with petty individuals develops petty habits in us. On the bright side, companionship with people with big ideas raises the level of our thinking; close contact with ambitious people gives us ambition.
– The majority of people are convinced deep down inside that they haven’t got what it takes, that real success, real accomplishment, is for others who are lucky or fortunate in some special respect.
– A rut, which incidentally has been described as a grave with both ends open.
– We must fight of the suppressive influences of our environment.
– Big men do not laugh at big ideas
– People who tell you it cannot be done almost always are unsuccessful people, are strictly average or mediocre at best in terms of accomplishments. The opinions of these people can be poison.
– 1) Do circulate in new groups. 2) Do select friends who have views different from your own. 3) Do select friends who stand above petty, unimportant things.
– There’s another type of poison perhaps a little more insidious – thought poison – commonly called ‘gossip’… thought poison is subtle, but it accomplishes ‘big’ things. It reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things. It warps and twists our thinking about people because it is based on a distortion of facts, and it creates a guilt feeling in us that shows through when we meet the person we’ve gossiped about.

“Daily Affirmations for Forgiving and Moving On”
– It is not simply the contents of my life that determine my inner peace and happiness, but how I see those contents. I actually disagree, I think it is solely how you view those contents because how we view them is the only thing we can control. 

“Notes from Underground”
– I swear to you, gentlemen, that to be overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness. For man’s everyday use, ordinary human consciousness would be more than enough; that is, a half, a quarter of the portion that falls to the lot of a developed man in our unfortunate nineteenth century.
– Everyone does it; it’s their sickness that everyone takes pride in.
– I am strongly convinced that not only too much consciousness but even any consciousness at all is a sickness
– Consequently there is not only nothing that you can do to change yourself, but there is simply nothing to do at all
– It is in despair that the most burning pleasures occur, especially when one is all too highly conscious of the hopelessness of one’s position.
– Nature doesn’t ask your permission; it doesn’t care about your wishes, or whether you like its laws or not. You’re obliged to accept it as it is, and consequently all its results as well.
– In consequence of that, silently and impotently gnashing your teeth, to come to a voluptuous standstill in inertia, fancying that, as it turns out, there isn’t even anyone to be angry with; that there is no object to be found, and maybe never will be; that it’s all a sleight-of-hand, a stacked deck, a cheat, that it’s all just slops – nobody knows what and nobody knows who, but in spite of all the uncertainties and stacked decks, it still hurts, and the more uncertain you are, the more it hurts!

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”