Tuesday, Wednesday, Freeday, Friday…

“Too much free time is certainly a monkey’s paw in disguise. Most people can’t handle a structureless life”
Doug Coupland

Lots of people have money. Not many have time. Fewer still have friends with time.

In any given day I could do any number of things – all free with friends that have lots of money but very little time. I am like the devil on their shoulder encouraging them to call in sick and come out to play :).

I could go sailing with a buddy. He has a boat, the occasional day off, but nobody to go out with during the week.

I could go riding a mountain bike in the hills with a city councillor. Two of my buddies are councillors. They have time, nice bikes,  and usually nobody to hang out with that doesn’t have some complaint about public toilets or city rubbish.

Maybe I go for a run with some lawyers I know that exercise in the middle of the day.

Other days I will tend the garden together with the missus.

When it is wet I might go to the library. Surf the internet or read random books from the annals and discuss them with strangers.

Sometimes I’ll work on my posture, or my flexibility or my mind by meditating.

At times I will write, or cook, or paint. There are lots of starving artists that value time to create more than bread in the bank.

I might watch a classic French movie with a friend, draw some cartoons with my kid, or practise parkour with university students.

At other times I might go sit and appreciate art at the gallery with retirees. Older folks have a lifetime of narratives, but seldom some to share them with.

When it’s really fine we love to picnic by a river. Our favourite spot is less than a one minute walk from our back-door.

Usually what I won’t do in a day is spend money. In terms of what I like, what drives me, or what interests me there really isn’t anything that costs very much money at all.

There are more than enough things to do that I don’t need to buy  my experiences.

 

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A plumb story of John and the matchbox car set

“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline”
George Lindsey

Any half descent plumber will tell you that the most common cause of a blocked toilet is a toddler. Small children have a fascination with posting things into the toilet bowl.

I’ve fished out keys, socks and a jandal in the last month.

Last night our toilet was totally blocked. Hope as I did that it would be a standard blockage (a big ole ball of paper) I knew in my heart that this was a little optimistic. A one foot tall optimistic to be accurate.

The easiest solution to unblock a john is to tip in a half cup of ordinary dishwashing liquid followed by some warm water (Please don’t use boiling water. It can crack the pan!). The trick is to pour the water in very fast.

This will clear almost all ordinary blockages. You should never call a plumber without trying this trick first.

However, if you have a toy firetruck down the toilet the next step is to try to suck it back up the pipe with a plunger.

When that fails you are into serious territory. There is probably the whole set of matchbox cars all down through the pipes. The best way to confirm this is to not be able to find any matchbox cars when you look around the house.

Here is the quandary. I am a terrible plumber. When I say terrible I really mean not very good and not very interested in learning. While I like figuring out how to repair the carburetor on a weed strimmer or how to fix a hole in drywall I really don’t dig plumbing in the same way. Let’s just say I’ve had a few unfortunate accidents….

So the only solution is to suck it up or to hire someone. Actually, I’m going for option three – the secret option – the phone a friend solution. At worst they may proffer unhelpful advice. At best they might come over climb under the house in a boiler suit and help to take the pipes apart. In doing so I will probably be forced to learn a thing or two. It may even get me over the self induced plumbing stupidity phase I am going through.

Dissatisfactory: The factory for unhappiness

“I never admire another’s fortune so much that I became dissatisfied with my own”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 

At the base of our existence is an underlying experience of the world. This can be understood as the basic settings for how we interpret all of our experiences unless we actively choose otherwise.

Unfortunately, we are very much grounded in dissatisfaction. So much so that we don’t really notice it as the lens with which we see the world.

We are dissatisfied with our job, with our appearance, with our life, with others and even with who we have become.

We are dissatisfied with our wealth, with our education, with what we can have or with what we will achieve in our lifetime.

We are dissatisfied with our home, with our possessions, with our neighbours, with our friends and at times with our children our partner or our spouse.

Without knowing it we automate the factory of disillusionment in our mind and this factory churns out dissatisfaction just as a timber mill churns out planks.

The amazing opportunity is that like any factory the dissatisFACTORY can be re-tooled and re-purposed to build better psychological products. The programme that runs the machines can be consciously redirected to seek satisfaction, contentment and ultimately happiness within our lives.

All we have to do is to decide to shine the light of conscious attention on our deep dark dissatisFACTORY and close it down for good.

Reset your defaults to dial up the fun

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million”

Walt Streightiff

Children have fun everywhere.

Even when they are doing nothing with no-one.

They will still have fun.

Fun is the default setting on every child.

A leaf is wondrous.

Wind or rain is eye poppingly exciting.

Each and every twig a marvel!

Watch a small child.

Next look at the unhappy faces of the suits in the street around them.

When did these neck-tied deadheads lose the joy of their childhood? Why did they allow this to happen?

All so serious, formal and overly self important. For what benefit I wonder?

People tell me that I am childish.

I thank them.

Greatest compliment ever in my opinion.

Millonaires hiding in plain sight

“Death is the delightful hiding place for weary mean”

Herodotus

I was sitting in the city park today. Taking a break from my gruelling day at the office. I had just finished my lunch when a businessman walked up to me and threw money at my feet.

Never one to turn down a gift I thanked him and promised to turn my life around.

Three thoughts.

1. I wasn’t smiling. That is unusual for me. I smile a mile. Smiling sets your physiology.

2. It may be time to find some replacement clothes. The sweatshirt I was wearing over my business shirt is a bit hard worn and tattered and I still haven’t replaced my business shoes.

3. It was nice to provide this kind man with an opportunity to express his compassion for the unemployed.

I in turn passed on his kind donation and a few coins of my own to someone whom I felt needed the break more than I did.

A fourth thought…we are a highly judgmental species. Maybe I just gave those coins to a millionaire hiding in plain sight. Just like the fellow who took pity on me – the penniless aristocrat.

However, thanks to spending the last few years squirreling away a family retirement fund I’m not so penniless any more.

– You’d never guess it looking at me though!

Generally I try to get to know all types of people. I try to actively override my judgmental gut reactions. You never know someone’s back story, their circumstances or what they are going through right now.

Truth is nobody is any better or worse than me. Just different. Living their life to the beat of a different drum. We are all here alone together living our life the best we can.

Anyways, judging people is just insecurity in drag!

Gratitude is the attitude

“Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you.

Be grateful it happens in that order”
David Gerrold 

There are 20 things we should be grateful for for everything that irks or peeves us.

Part of our family code is to focus on what we want (not what we would like to avoid). To that end we always mention a couple of things we are grateful of over breakfast and dinner.

I’m thankful for having a lovely woman to share my life with.

I’m thankful for my perfectly beautiful son.

I’m thankful that I have delicious plant strong food.

I’m grateful that I have friends for capers.

I’m grateful that I have land to support me and enough wealth to live life freely.

I’m thankful that I have parents who love me.

Hey, I’m grateful period.

Life is really your own picture to paint and you are the artist that paints it.

Don’t waste your time focused on the ills of the world, the wrongs of today or the lingering hurt from yesterday.

Instead pay attention to the wonderful things that are happening around you right now. The things that inspire and enrich you. Those things that may otherwise be crowded out of your attention by the bullshit and the bad stuff that tries so hard to capture your attention and hold your emotions at ransom.