Friday, December 09, 2005


As the year ends, it's time to stop for a moment and take a look at how life is going. That requires breaking it down into pieces. Not too big pieces- nothing as vague as "Am I good person?" And not too small- "Do I treat the cats the way I would want to be treated if I was a cat? What about the goldfish? Garden snails?"

I follow the advice of Steve Barnes, a friend who writes, but his true vocation is trying to fix and improve people. Divide your life into mental, physical and spiritual. Those labels can be vague and hard to measure so he has a set of yard sticks: If you are making a living wage at a job you love you are doing well mentally. If you are in good shape and good health, you are doing well physically. If you have healthy, enjoyable and friendly intimate relationships and close friends, you are doing well spiritually. It is very simple. If you have a problem in any of these areas, the problem stems from you. If you balk at the choice of yardsticks ("Everybody hates me but I'm alright with God") you have a problem and are denying it.

Mental- the job is going well. If anything I've reached a level of competency where I am bored far too often. To fight that, I've transferred a lot of attention to training and designing training- doing things that I love very much and making good overtime at it. There's more than just the job here. Pretty consistently I read two non-fiction books a week, keeping the information and ideas flowing. I've been writing also, flowing out as well as in.

Spiritually- It's very easy to have a happy and satisfying life when you are surrounded by great people. Kami and I have the kind of love that belongs in a legend, deep and ardent. Despite the challenges of a teenage boy, I not only love but like and respect my children. It is a miracle to watch them become the man and woman they will be. It is an honor to help as much as I can. True friends are rare, but mine are extraordinary (my friends are cooler than your friends..nyeah nyeah nyeah!) from my knife-scarred warrior brother in Montreal to the legendary silverback Mac; the beautiful six foot amazon physicist/computer engineer to the nearly dwarf former marine with a way with words that sounds like a profane Shakespeare; from the Titans- Clyde, Bill and 'ski- to the tiny retiring poet; from the complex seeker learning the truth of violence to the wise talker who walked away from it...I'm surrounded by good people who excel most fantasy characters in depth as well as ability.

On the other side of spirit, I don't meditate enough, or spend time in solitude. It has been years since I went into the desert far enough that I couldn't smell people and stayed long enough that the voice in my head became perfectly still. It has been months since I rode the wings of the wind, staking my life on skill and nerve on a cliff or in a kayak or deep in a cave.

Physically things are not going as well. Injuries pile up. Right now both knees, one shoulder and lower back are injured to varying degrees. It's hard to sleep, partially because of commitments, partially discomfort... but deep down it's something more. For my entire life, working out has been a habit- pushing hard at flexibility, endurance and power. Lately it has become a chore, and an easy chore to let slide at that. In this dimension, something deep is broken and I'm not sure exactly what.

This is the evaluation of where things are. Soon it will be time to decide where to take them.


Demolocke said...

Sgt. Miller:

On your last comment of the physical. Is it time to make adjustments for the age you are at or is that something that would jeopardize you life at work?


Rory said...

Damn, Charles, you're digging through the old stuff!
I don't know if I need to adjust for age. I have to adjust for old injuries. It might be time to let younger men do the physical stuff and me do the smart stuff? Dunno.
Work is a lot less hazardous, BTW. I'm back from Iraq and concentrating on teaching and writing.