Life As I Know It

The Dark Corners of Our Minds

I don’t know exactly what propels me to write this. I suspect it’s at least partly because of Eddie. Eddie committed suicide a few years back (addressed in its own post here) and I’ve found it surprising how much I still think about him and feel his absence in this world despite the fact that it has no practical effect on my day to day life as I hadn’t spoken to him in many, many years or really had any active friendship for a long time. His website is still up (a little internet sleuthing showed me that it’s paid for through 2015, I believe). And I’m still sad that he got to some place where he felt like that was his only solution.

Now let me get intensely personal. I consider myself a generally positive, well-adjusted guy. Yet I have had many or my own dark periods. Periods when I kind of just didn’t want to live any more. Now, I do think that this is still quite different than wanting to kill myself. I never wanted to actively take action to end my own life. It was more like “You know, if I just don’t wake up tomorrow, if the universe wants to take me in the night, I’m good with that.” I’ve had random trains of thought about how I could just “disappear” or if one were to end their own life, how it could be done so that you just disappeared and no one ever knew what happened to you. We’ve all had dark times. We all have dark corners of our minds, but for many, they don’t want to admit that, even to themselves probably, much less to the world. It’s scary and people don’t want to feel freakish or worse yet, have others judge them as somehow deficient.

Now this is probably the most important part of this post. Why do I write this? It’s not a cry for help, or attention or for everyone to tell me how much I’m loved and would be missed or anything like that. I’m good, really, and I know all that thanks to all my wonderful, loving friends and family. I write this because if anyone reads it and has ever had anything even remotely resembling feelings like this…

You are not alone. You are not broken, or deficient, or crazy or a freak. You are human. People are scared to talk about darkness, especially inside themselves so you may feel alone or like no one could possibly know or understand. I am not a mental health care professional. I don’t really know what to say other than that. But much like Eddie, we all probably have a much farther reaching and profound effect in this world than we will ever know.

Confessions of a Shirtless Yoga Dude

I started doing hot yoga at Sunstone Yoga a couple of years ago. I bought a a bunch of shorts and tank tops made for working out, made of “Duo-dry” material to wick the sweat away, I guess. Of course in hot yoga you end up completely drenched so there no amount of wicking in the world that can help you. Over the years there were maybe a few times when I just felt so hot or uncomfortable that I removed my shirt. Now, there are lots of guys who don’t wear shirts in class. Seems pretty common, but I always preferred to wear one, both out of consideration for the rest of the class who might catch a glimpse of my hairy and flabbier-than-I-would-like torso being contorted and compressed, despite their best efforts to just concentrate on their own practice, and because my own insecure body image issues.

However, a few weeks ago I had a turning point. I showed up to class and realized I’d accidentally grabbed 2 pairs of shorts instead of shorts and a shirt so my choices were to either just skip class and go home or do class shirtless. I found that not only was I much more comfortable but that I could concentrate on my practice much better as I wasn’t being distracted by a sopping wet, bunching up shirt. At that moment, I decided to try life as a shirtless yoga dude. Since then, I have definitely confirmed my experience and accepted my new role. It’s also been a good mental exercise on not caring what other people think (about my body or my choice to go shirtless) and to do what’s best for my own yoga practice and experience.

I still try to position myself in the back right corner though, out of consideration for my other yogis.

Technology and the Human Connection

I often think about how my life today compares with my life in the past as it pertains to the technological differences. For example, if I could go back 10 years and show myself my iPhone, it would blow my 10 years ago mind. Lately I’ve been thinking about how social media has changed my life.

I’ve had many discussions and probably written about it here before as well. While I think there are 2 sides to every issues and I can certainly see the negatives that come with it, overall I am extremely pro social media. Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with people and foster friends and relationships that probably never would have happened otherwise. More than that, I realized that it just makes me feel “connected” to other people and the world at large so much more. We can all participate in conversations that as we have the time and will that we might not be able to otherwise. It is certainly not a substitute for real human contact, but I know most of us just don’t have the time to meet up with, or even call and catch up with all the people we would like to. I can’t sit down one Saturday afternoon and call my 20 closest friends, but we can all converse at will online and carry on conversations over the day or days as we have time.

I’ve particularly appreciated this during difficult times. It’s strange remembering that there was once a time that I didn’t have this luxury of constant connection. The only connection I had was if I called someone on a land line and then maybe arranged to see them. Apart from that, I was alone with whatever I might be going through at the time. That seems so incomprehensible to me now. Just the thought makes me feel so cut off and isolated. I fire up The internet, Facebook, whatever and I instantly feel at least a tiny bit better. At least a nano-increment more in touch with the world and people and energy of the universe.

Of course I also wonder if this constant connection also makes us not make real and in person connections as much. Do we sometimes allow it to be substitute? Would we maybe see people more or take a friendship to the next more real, in person level if we didn’t have the luxury of this constant virtual connection?

Like anything, I think it can be used for good or bad. It is a tool for you to use as you see fit and you must be vigilant to see how it’s affecting you and how you are using it.

It’s great that my life is full of so many amazing people. It’s a shame that the vast majority of those relationships are fairly shallow with only the most tenuous of connections.

The Day/Night Conundrum

I am a night owl by nature. When things are normal and going well, I prefer the night. I feel more alive, energized and uninhibited. However, I’ve noticed that in times of strife, the night becomes oppressive and filled with an acute loneliness but that the sun seems to chase away the shadows both figuratively as well as literally. It’s nourishing and recharging. I find it interesting how they have such different effects depending on my mental state.

Manifesting my Own Destiny

I have long been a believer in the power of the mind and have been greatly intrigued by the Laws of Attraction and the writings of Eckhart Tolle (the closest thing to “religion” that I’ve ever identified with). For some time now I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding peace and happiness within myself. I feel anxious and tumultuous, frustrated and tense. After living some microcosm of my dream life for the last 6 years, the money ran out and I went back to an office job. Now I still try to recognize my bountiful blessings and what an amazing life I do have in the grand scheme of things. It’s a good office job, with a good company and probably more flexibility than most but it is still 40 hours a week and something that I’m doing for a paycheck and not because it’s my love and passion.

Lately I have made a step in the right direction though. A step toward creating and attracting the life I want. Several times a day I take a walk around the building. I take in the wind and the sun on my skin and I look at the world through different eyes. Through the eyes of the person I want to be, living the life I want to live. In other words, I actually look around me through the eyes of someone who is making a living as an actor, musician, creative artist who is not working an office job. I actually feel it. I put myself in that mind space and pretend so hard that I believe it. I look at the halls of my building as if they are the halls of some studio where I am filming or doing some voiceover work. And it helps.

I’ve started doing this more and more letting this permeate my life while driving, walking, sitting, existing. Any time I feel that discontent, I transport myself into the Heath Allyn of an alternate world or a future timeline who is doing exactly what he wants to do. I’m like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap. I see through those eyes in hopes of manifesting the life that I want. I don’t just wish or hope, I genuinely feel the joy and gratefulness of being where I want to be.

I am thankful for this job and that it came along and has allowed me to pay my bills but I also must believe that somehow, it is a step in the journey I must take to where I want to be.

A Fleeting Moment of Serenity

I was walking to the store today when I suddenly felt so far away from my dreams, like they were so far out of reach. On the way home I took a moment and just truly felt the sun on my face, the breeze blowing across my skin and remembered that same feeling throughout my life, as a child, a teenager, walking to a friend’s house in my home town. For a moment I found the happiness in that moment, not worrying about the future. It’s something I’m working on but that is very difficult for me. I have a mind that is always racing at light speed and exists in a thousand different places at any given moment. Quieting that beast is not something I’ve been very successful at yet. It’s all part of my ongoing journey, I suppose.

There are no failures, only experiences.

In 2006 I was laid off from a job that I loved. Yet, surprisingly, I wasn’t really too upset. I just felt it was the opportunity to pursue what I really wanted to be doing. I got an agent, and for the next couple of years got some really lucky breaks and actually managed to make as much or more as I had been making at my job as a freelance actor, musician and general creative type along with other random bits of income. It helped that I was also married at the time so no matter what, there was always one steady paycheck.

I got divorced in 2009 and about a year later, as things were starting to get tight, a former co-worker called me out of the blue and I ended up with an awesome job working from home, making my own hours, and getting a decent, steady paycheck every two weeks. That project ended earlier this year.

Yesterday, it all finally hit me and I had a minor panic meltdown. I am effectively on empty monetarily while the bills continue to come. I realized that this was it. I had to get a job. Immediately. It’s very difficult to admit this as I have lived a dream life for the last 6 years. A very lucky, blessed life doing what I wanted to be doing in life and having a completely free lifestyle doing what I wanted when I wanted (for the most part). Having to say goodbye to that feels like a failure. Like going back in a prison. I know that it isn’t a failure. It’s a rousing success that I’ve lived such a wonderful life for 6 years. And I know that I’m still so incredibly lucky even now, in that I have some connections and possibilities with companies that I really want to work for if I have to have a “regular” job. I do still recognize my many, bountiful blessings and no that even in my darkest times, my life is probably still in the top 10% of awesome. I try to never lose sight of that.

Part of me thinks that maybe a day job is what I need because I am not driven enough on my own to make things happen. Maybe I would be making a living as a musician if I’d actually taken any kind of action to, you know, start playing solo around town or something. I am a huge dreamer and idea person but have very little follow through. I’m not nearly ambitious enough. I don’t work hard enough at making my own opportunities and really hustling. I seem to be someone who needs to work for someone else. There’s so much I could, should have to done to try and get any of my many ideas, films, and ventures off the ground, but the fact is, I haven’t.

However, I am genuinely trying to be at peace and just in alignment with the universe and know that this is my path. No matter what happens, it is my path. And it will lead wherever it is I am supposed to go. This doesn’t mean I don’t have to work and take action, but I have to believe that the dream isn’t over. Nothing is permanent, and while juggling all my desires, pursuits and needs is very difficult, life will always be what I make of it. I can choose to be happy and positive despite whatever circumstances I am in or choices I have to make, but damn that can be hard. I know that many of the “problems” on my mind right now are problems that so many would love to have! It’s almost metaphorically like “Oh no, I can’t possibly eat all the cake AND ice cream without getting sick so however will I choose?” Even in my dilemmas, I am lucky, and I know it. I already have a phone interview tomorrow. Sure I have dilemmas like “how am going to pay my bills this month when I have no money left?” but I also have dilemmas like “What if company A hires me but then company B wants to hire me later and I don’t want to be a prick and leave company A that just hired me even though maybe I really want to be with company B but then what if I go to company B and then there’s bunches of layoffs and it turns out I should have stayed with company A because they are more stable!”

I am basically kicking myself for not getting more of my freelance artistry going when I had the chance. For example, if I had tried to start teaching guitar and booking gigs a while back, maybe I would already have built enough momentum to get by now. However, if I start now, it’s not going to build quick enough to pay my bills and if I get a day job then I no longer have the time to give guitar lessons and such so I can’t build that momentum in that direction.

OK, so this has become much longer and more rambly than I intended. I’m not really sure what the point of it was. Basically that, yes, things get tough but in my heart I know how lucky I am and that while you can’t always see how this road is going to get you where you wanna go, it doesn’t mean it won’t. Think about it, you can never see the destination from the journey until you are close. If you set out to drive to another city, you can’t actually see the city for most of the journey. You just have to trust that the road will take you there.

Sherlock Themed Valentines Day Shenanigans

A while back Paula stole my pajama bottoms. She later texted me saying she was holding them for ransom. We eventually agreed that I could have them back in exchange for “a valentine dates with original romantic content.” The game was afoot. More >