Thinking Time

I finished “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown a couple of days ago and am starting to implement the action items that I’ve developed for myself. Last week was a brain dump in response to the question “What do I want out of life?”. There was no real thinking time, just stream of consciousness.

Today, I implemented the next two items: schedule thinking time and read time-tested works. So, I put 1.5 hours in my calendar to accomplish these two tasks. At about 1:30 pm today I biked over to a local coffee shop with only a notebook and a Bible. The Bible isn’t really my first choice for time-tested works to get into but it is the only one that I have on my bookshelf.

The first 30 minutes was dedicated to just thinking time. No real agenda, just think about whatever comes to mind and dive deep into it. For me, I found myself returning to what is actually essential in my life. When I cut through all the bullshit, obligations, desires, and such, what is at the foundation? What do I really need and how are things going in that department right now?

I’m not going to share all my notes but I really came down to three things that I need: partnership, income, and a tribe. Of course, nothing is completely independent of the other, particularly “tribe” and “partnership” but I think those three categories work for now.

But the question remains, why do I find those things essential? As always, the best way to get to the root of something is to pretend I’m a 3-year old and keep asking “but why? but why? but why?”. Do 3-year olds ask that question? I have no idea… children’s ages continue to baffle me.

Anway, so what are the essential parts of a partnership? For me, an adventure buddy, a responsible roommate, a great friend, a source of support, a source of intellectual stimulation, and sex. All of those things can come from other sources, but all together it makes a great partner. This area is pretty solid for me, I’d say an 8.5 out of 10.

So why each of those things? I don’t know yet, but maybe I’ll dive into them later.

The next essential is income. Income is a means to an end and I need it to fund the necessities of life (food, water, shelter, WiFi), adventures that I want to have now or in the near future (I don’t want my journies to all be after I’m retired), and my retirement. Basically, it needs to get me stable and let me get as much out of life as I can. Ideally, it would provide a sense of purpose, but that is just an extra. Again, pretty solid with an 8 out of 10.

Lastly, a tribe. This is a group of friends beyond my partnership. I need them to have most of these attributes: adventure buddies, intellectual stimulation, support system, shared values, non-judgemental, and local. This area is a little rougher for me, I have everything except “local” in my life right now and that is a big one. I certainly have some friends here and nearby, some very close friends, but I miss having a real, hardcore tribe… particularly people with shared interests in recreational drug use, non-monogamy, and all the other freaky sides of me. LA wasn’t a good fit for me, but at least I could find a drag show in a porn dungeon where I felt very vanilla at 3 pm on a Tuesday. I spend most of my time in Wilmington with a bit of a veil over who I am and what I want to talk about. It is getting better, but I still struggle and my therapist and I are working on action items to address this.

So, that was the gist of my thinking session.

My reading today was the first three chapters of the book of Mark. I chose Mark because the visiting pastor at church on Sunday mentioned that the book of Mark was the oldest version of the gospel. It has been a while since I read the gospels and thought this might be a good time to see what they really say, what the overall themes are, and whether American Christianity is in line with Christ’s teachings. The Christian mythology has had a greater influence on the world today than any other, particularly in America. I do think it is valuable to be familiar with it.

Here are my notes:

  • Mark 1:1 – “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” – First footnote states that some manuscripts omit “the Son of God”. So, right of the bat we clearly have an editorial bias in which manuscript(s) to follow when translating. Makes me want to read Jefferson Bible.
  • Mark doesn’t mention Jesus’ childhood at all. He just kind of jumps onto the scene and starts healing people.
  • Mark 1:16 – “become fishers of men” – Footnote says that this comes from the greek anthrope, which refers to men AND women. So why not put “become fishers of men and women” or “fishers of people”. Seems like an explicit desire to minimize the presence of women in Jesus’ teachings.
  • This whole first section is all about healing people in a modest way.
  • Mark 2:18-22 – I really don’t understand this section or parable. It might be worth reading some interpretations of it. I’m guessing there are some cultural aspects to it that aren’t nearly as informative in today’s world.
  • Jesus sure did break a lot of Holy Laws regarding the Sabbath. It is almost like you should do what is right instead of what is legal…
  • I don’t quite understand why he would silence the spirits from revealing that he is the “Son of God”. Maybe I’ll find out later in the story.
  • Mark 3:31 – “Your mother and your brothers are outside seeking you.” Early transcripts said “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters”, so why not use the earlier transcripts? Why just omit women (again) from the story. I don’t see how removing “and your sisters” from the translation changes anything at all. This just seems like unnecessary sexism and is one of the things that turned me off to Christianity ~12 years ago.

So, tomorrow I will read another couple chapters of Mark. I don’t know if I’ll move immediately on to other gospels or not.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a Snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail?

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

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
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Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

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