Go

 

I’ve wanted to start playing Go/Baduk for about 10 years. Since I’m in a season of actually doing things I want to do (how novel!), I decided to start learning the fundamentals of the game.

I did some google-fu, and found this guide from the British Go Association aimed at teaching the game to kids. I got lost on page seven, and didn’t realize it until page 8. I started over, and I think it makes a little more sense.

This seems to be how I learn (or mis-learn) things. A detail eludes me early on, and I form a misunderstanding of it, which leads to later relearning, after discovering I’m in over my head.

I know what you’re thinking- *eyeroll*, this post is about jiu jitsu, blah blah blah….not this time. I still love jiu jitsu very much, but not this time.

For too long I’ve had all my eggs in the wrong basket- the Air Force. I’ve sought meaning and significance from external sources, and it hasn’t been working out for me. If I think something is worthwhile, no matter what it is, and pursue it doggedly, then I will find meaning in it.

I am also committed to lifelong learning and making sure I integrate play into my life. I think something like Go can help.

Life is finite and precious, and I’d rather take bold risks, or even silly little ones, than talk myself out of doing anything. Failure is better than not trying, so I’m going to play an obscure, ancient Asian board game. In playing Go, I am going to go.

I used to play videogames. Not a lot- I’m impatient with them. If I turn a game on, and I’m not playing within 10 seconds, I’m done. If there are scenes where I can’t control the character because they’re talking, I’m done. I don’t have the time for that. I can read a good book for a better story, or go have a real adventure.

But that doesn’t mean others don’t see videogames as worthwhile or even beneficial, and they’re not wrong. It’s just not for me.

What about you? What’s something you’ve been meaning to do, but life got in the way? Maybe going back to school, learning languages, an epic bike trip you had planned?

What are you waiting for?

If you’re reading this, this is your sign. Now. Do it.

 

 

 

Epiphany

Have you ever had a thought which you were afraid to share because it would make you feel vulnerable or silly? Fear not, dear reader, I will be your surrogate. Vulnerable is kinda my thing.

I had a thought when I was praying/meditating/lying on the floor-“I give myself permission to love myself to wellness.” Maybe you read that, see touchy-feely, new-agey buzzwords and think, “whatever dude.”

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But…this is radical for me. Love myself? I often don’t even like myself, and my attempts at self-improvement/growth were to shore up a surfeit, to overcome a shortcoming, to fix something I didn’t like. And most of those attempts have failed.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I used to be a positive person. Genuinely, annoyingly optimistic. Cheerful, even. This is who I was. I oftentimes still didn’t like myself, but it wasn’t too hard for me to find the silver lining in everything. As stress built up, I was less and less able to find the good, and eventually stopped looking.

This isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to shake me up, force me to refocus, to examine my motivations, to guard my heart, to be a fierce bodhisattva, to be exceedingly honest with myself.

It will be really uncomfortable at first to get to know myself. It will probably hurt a little.

How will I do this journey? I don’t know yet. But I do know it will take sleep, yoga, jiu jitsu, journaling, service, prayer, quiet, eating differently, and again, yoga. And likely more I’ve not yet considered.

And the Earth will stop spinning as I, Zach Morris-like, pause time and hang out with the man in the mirror.

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Make that change

No, of course not. I’m still going to be married, and have 3 daughters,  a full time job, be a full-time student, be a busy church elder, have hobbies and friends, and somewhere in there have time to change careers and occasionally use the restroom.

I am choosing a challenging path, because it is drastic. It’s what I need. It’s Theodore Roosevelt’s strenuous life, but it’s my life.

I am taking responsibility for the life I want to live. I give myself permission to love myself to wellness.

 

 

 

Math

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Math has always been difficult for me. I’ve briefly written about how I can think mathematically, but in the past I had difficulty remembering the rules. It’s as if I was forced to pick a tribe, and I picked the language group instead of the number group. I walked in this identity for more than 20 years.

I wouldn’t have a problem with washing my hands of math if I didn’t LOVE science. My job is real sciency, y’all, with maths and junk. I consider myself a scientifically-minded person, who places more credence in observable facts than emotion/opinion.

So back to math. I’m taking statistics as my last class for my Associate’s Degree, because I didn’t get it when I was 20ish like everyone is supposed to. For my current degree plan (Creative Writing-Fiction), it’s the only math class I need. I’m glad, but here’s the thing- it doesn’t suck. This is huge for me.

I’ve never experienced math in such a way before, where it’s more like solving a puzzle (yay!) than trying to escape from a septic tank with a broken arm (dislike). In fact, I’m getting 100’s on my homework. I’m enjoying going back and making sure I’m being precise and exacting. Such behavior isn’t typical for me.

College is idealized for me, because of books and movies. One of those ideas is it’s supposed to shake you up, and you see what settles. It’s a time of trying on different identities to find elements which best suit you. As I’ve learned about myself this week: I don’t hate camping or math.

That’s a lot. I’ve gone long periods just surviving, not growing or learning. In my neighborhood, if I had to walk by a bunch of goons, I’d put my hoodie hood up, eyes on the ground 5 feet ahead of me, and keep walking. As long as I kept moving, I was ok, most of the time. If a group of people drove by, threw a big gulp at me, and shouted “FAGGOT!” (which happened at least once a week. Sometimes it was beer bottles), as long as I kept my eyes down and kept going forward, I would make it home.  I walked by a lot of flowers that way.

I don’t have to do that anymore. I can look around and be present and enjoy my journey. I can consider the Earth and her topography. And I don’t have to be shackled with old ideas about myself which no longer fit.