When I take a deep breath and I Get REAL…

There is a YouTube show where famous people sit around and get high. It lasts for an hour. Wow. I have watched many minutes of this show lately, just in awe that it is even happening. Smoking Marijuana, on film and discussing their stories of previous experiences with weed, and whatnot.

That is something that’s going on in the world today.

So much stuff goes on.

I saw a letter written by an insurance company, where we are required by the federal government to provide certain information about our business. It seems to be about our employees and about insurance, but honestly it felt really creepy.

That is something going on in the world today.

I have my stuff, my wife’s stuff, family stuff, work stuff, church stuff, internet stuff, and sleep. Then we do it all over again.

I honestly, truthfully, don’t even have a clue, about so much stuff out there in the world.

Uninformed. Nearly uneducated. I don’t watch the news. I don’t want to. Not interested.

Sue me.

A couple interesting things have changed since I have been working at the restaurant, for awhile now. I am becoming very comfortable in micro-second flashes of attention, concentration and quick-shifting/decision-making. A busy night like tonight, seems to require my head-on-a-swivel, and an as-fast-as-safely-possible speed.

I can absorb information quickly about our front of house, and kitchen, and dynamically maneuver around within centimeters of swinging doors and squeezing past staff to get back to the walk-in. This is something relatively new in my life.

Insomnia is as well. Right now at 1:20am, Thursday morning, I am settling into my prime focus time. I have reset an internal mechanism, keeping myself fully awake until around 2:00 or so, whether I want to or not.

Mornings?? Well, I don’t want to move in the morning, anymore.

Sure, we are still shutting things down at 10:30 most nights, and Friday, I can easily be there til 2:30am, but why do I insist on keeping those hours almost every day of week?

I have given up, on getting up early. Nine O clock is not an unusual time for me to first open my eyes.

There are times in my normal routine of life, where my experience seems to have fuzzy edges and shifting vibrations of consciousness, that may be exhaustion-induced. Also however, this quick-paced stammer of concentration seems to work very well, when the bar is busy.

This is something going on in my world.

You have things going on in your world. I probably don’t know about them. The stuff that is really, truly going on inside your mind, inside your thoughts, may be known to very few. Probably only you. In a whisper of a moment you converse with yourself about something you see or feel. You judge something, or perceive beauty. You’re enticed or aggravated, you are swept up, you are let down.

Isn’t it amazing, how much is really going on out there, in here, everywhere.

I just can’t conceive it. The world in which we live is beyond my comprehension. Today, I comprehend less than I ever have before. I chose this mostly. I live in such a small bubble. It’s tiny. My home, My work, My other work, My wife and My worship, are so tightly connected, it is crazy. Crazy small. Crazy compact.

So there. I live in a tiny bubble. That is something going on in the world. I used to live larger, spread myself out more. I used to talk to more people, get around to more places. I used to do a lot of things, that I don’t do now.

My experience of this life is the opposite of still and serene and quiet. In fact, I feel as if I’m at some edge of existence. Maybe hanging on by some stretched thread. I am constantly astonished by the smallest things. I cannot believe the moments I encounter day after day. Memories awaken lifetimes ago. The grip I have on the present moment seems slippery and loose. Quick I’m lost, Quick I’m back.

And lately, a concept keeps repeating. In situations or conversations, I find a small voice telling me a secret. I hear it over and over again. When I question to the vastness of God, ‘Why am I here?.’ or ‘Why does this feel this way?’, or “Why doensn’t this look different now, than it does?’

I hear the voice saying, ‘It’s not about You.’… Meaning… It’s not about Me.

I usually am pointed inward. My black plastic handled, mirror edged magnifying glass, studying the intricacies of Me…

I find over and over again, that I am not the subject of this experiment. I got that part wrong. As a participant, I am one tiny shade of tile, creating a great mosaic. I could be just one integer in an epic equation. This tiny moment of typing on this screen today, is one harmonic note in an overture overlapping the ends of time itself.

‘Should’ I be more informed? ‘Should’ I get more rest? ‘Should’ I give up internet? ‘Should’ I get a real job?

Who knows. Who cares. I can’t imagine that our droplets of questions and answers can truly raise or lower the levels of the ocean. Being one of those droplets though, sustains it.

This is something going on in the world today. I think about existence and it’s meaning. I live confusedly about it. I wander and forget, and act juvenile. I wax and wane prophetically too. I am just like you. We are like each other. We are all from one, from one we all are. There is no, out there, or in here. It is only the breath of God, that animates it all. All animation originates in the breath of God.

And that my friends, is one way to say something today. No more, no less. It just is.

With my truest friendship and deepest love… That’s What’s Going On…

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols






Weird Mini-Van Jollies

So, I’ve been driving a mini-van for a week now, and I love the dang thing! It’s a sweeeeet ride!! Seriously! Tons of room, good mileage, headroom and doors that open themselves. It was snowy and icy when I picked it up, but the front-wheel drive yanked that sucker through the slush, no-problemo!

Anyway, I really do enjoy weird stuff like that. I mean, it must be weird to enjoy a mini-van’s practicality and versatility and function, because the few people I told about this epiphany, were not impressed whatsoever. They laughed at me and made fun. When I mentioned it could get some mud tires I felt isolated and alone on a little deserted isle with my opinion, when I shared it around… so very sad…

So WHAT!! I dun’t care! I like LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of stuff, that not everyone likes. That is why my blog is titled weirdforgood.com, and that is why I get to say what I want, and what I like, or don’t, here in this space. A quiet place where I don’t have to physically hear the opinions of others. Sorry. I probably prefer that sometimes ūüôā

Anyway, there are things that turn me on, and things that grip my attention. I want to share that here this week. I want to express, that it’s a great thing, to have an opinion opposite of the ‘group’! If you have them, and I’m sure you do, enjoy it! It’s wonderful to see and appreciate what inherently is interesting to you alone. I’m sure there are millions enough fans of the latest bands to go around. I have found my favorite, they aren’t on mainstream radio. Not everyone would like them. However, ¬†I have a personal connection with their music. I just prefer them over all others. Bar none. And I even like the experience of ‘not everyone liking them.’

Maybe they don’t. They probably work too hard, and make too wonderful of music to still not be mega-millionaires, like a few less talented teenage stars do.

So, I don’t have cable TV. I don’t have an opinion on sports. I don’t looooove any one team, or haaaaate any other team. I will watch a game and get excited. Nothing in my life will change because of the outcome though. Not one thing. They don’t know me, I don’t know them. I didn’t go to the school… maybe that’s the difference. Flint Hills Technical College barely had a co-ed softball team, let alone Division 1 Basketball.

I do though love documentaries. And lots of shows on PBS. I love the new YouTube series Serious Jibber Jabber by Conan O’Brien. I love it because it is a lot like Charlie Rose. I like Charlie Rose. Wow, in-depth interviews! Sure, actors, rockers, expected people. But Conan is intensely intrigued with U.S. Presidential history. He has authors on, and knows so much detail about our former Commanders-In-Chief. His interest, interests me. I doubt it is a popular thing, to talk about this stuff. It inspires him though, he has a platform to do it, so he does. (very well I must add)

That darn mini-van is just one more thing in a loong list of stuff in my life, that I feel that I truly appreciate and yet makes me apart from normal. The fact that I even notice that gap, can tell us something though. I must yearn to be accepted. I must still want the people I interact with, to see things the way I see them. I want that camaraderie and approving agreement. I sure do. I know that I have, at other times in my life, done more to go along with the flow, and to fit in with the crowd, than I do now. Much more.

I probably won’t talk myself into buying my Mom’s mini-van. (Even though it is super awesome!) I probably will just fix the Troop and keep limping it along for awhile. I probably won’t buy a sweet Jayhawks, or Powercats tee shirt, at the sporting goods store I work at. Even if it is a great deal, on my employee discount. I don’t own one now, maybe never will.

I will still seek out those videos or shows or documentaries, where people speak about their lives, and how they got from their humble beginnings to being the master of their craft. I will always loooove the moments where they share their principals, their inner stances on life. Most of the time, they say that they learned them from a parent, or a grandparent or teacher or boss. I wonder if we do enough of that stuff now. Showing the kids principals. Showing by example. Succeeding ourselves and telling the kids, what makes it work best for us. I don’t do it enough I know.

I am weird. Always really have been. I remember the girls in gradeschool calling me weird. I took that on, as a label that was mine, no one else’s. I liked it, gave me freedom to really be anything I guess…¬†Anything but normal…

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

‘True power: the willingness and ability to look into your own mind and to decide what is appropriate – or not.’ – Dusan Djukich

I Wanna’ Get Away! So I Will!

Freakin’ airlines! What’s up with them! A long time ago, someone decided that the planes were going to leave the terminal on time, whether all the passengers were aboard or not! Their tickets are relatively expensive! They also seem to have a hassle-factor built into bumping to the next flight out, whenever that may be! They are smart enough, to have me following all their rules! Overall, I want to get myself on that plane, on-time, period.

Okay, maybe they used to do that with trains too, or busses, ¬†maybe still do. I don’t really know, but the key here is that we always, almost-every-single-time-always make it to the airport on-time and are seated ready to go, when the plane takes off.

Almost never do we miss a plane flight.

This concept was brought to my attention sometime in the last few years by Steve Chandler. The idea that we place so much importance on being physically ready and present for our airplane travel is astonishing.

On the other hand, when we make life plans, or new year’s resolutions, our success rate is much lower. We can intend to shoot for our goals, and rock a new body by summer, but we really don’t deliver on our self-promises, as much as we do with a plane flight.

That’s just me of course. You probably are one of those people. A raging success. Someone who sets ¬†yearly goals, has an internal progress report practice, and measures your continuous accomplishments. You probably count every calorie and live always at the optimum weight and bmi. You are probably waaaay more disciplined in almost every area of life, than I am… So you can go back to looking at damnyouautocorrect.com and save yourself from reading any more.

Commitment is the thing that is inherently built into my idea of flying on a plane. I am eagerly anticipating the trip ahead. I am going to some place more fun or exciting than home. I am spending some money to experience a new place. I know that when I get to the airport, the chances of me arriving on-time to my destination is very high. I do know that the TSA search and seizure policies are unnerving, but I still want to make the trip anyway. I am operating at a high level of commitment and I’m accomplishing my mission.

I am still the un-disciplined. The procrastinator. The quick-to-start; rare-to-finish’er. I am still not creating a masterful overall life-enriching plethora of commitments. I am just doing the one thing, in that one moment. I am getting myself on the plane, one way or another.

And tonight, Wednesday Night, I am blogging here, for the exact same reason. I am forcing myself to create this post a day early compared to my ‘normal’ schedule. I have a ‘flight’ coming up that I don’t want to miss. Friday, Valentine’s Day, will be lift-off. I am planning on an action-packed, comprehensively crazy day/weekend at our restaurant, The Brand’N Iron Bar and Grill. Historically, it is one of the busiest days of our year. I want to blog tonight, rather than tomorrow night, so that I can get a little more rest, the night before. I want all the advantages I can get, to perform at my peak on that one day. I will even break my normal routine, and blog one day early, for this upcoming event…

Darn. Wish I knew how to ignite this high-level of commitment, on any day, at any time, for any reason I choose. I guess I can see in the hindsight, which things and events and goals, I was committed to and which ones I wasn’t. The ones I completed successfully, I was. Those I didn’t, I wasn’t. If I want some great advice on commitment, I can check in with Dusan Djukich’s twitter feed, or his great book. I do know where resources are available to show me that commitment is the #1 thing I affecting my performances at any given time…

In reality though, when I see my lower-level commitments in action, I tend to be weak, and get frustrated with myself. When I once-again fail to swing an connect on a solid spike on the volleyball court, I am disappointed in myself. I know that if I wanted to figure it out, and be a better hitter, and commit to that phase of my game, I could do it. But usually, like right now, I do something else, instead of practice hitting the volleyball.

So there. I have created another post tonight. My commitment to this ‘thing’ continues. I however, adjusted it, for a bigger commitment in my life. The restaurant has all my attention this Friday, and it has now ranked above the blog. Usually, I make them coexist, and squish lots into a small timeframe.

When I see the magnitude of the weekend ahead, I am willing to clear my schedule as much as possible. I can do anything I want to, when I am committed enough to it. I know that, dag-nabit. I know too, that I have grey areas, in what I say I am committed to, and what is proven in my actions, to others, and to myself.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Words I’ll need this weekend…
“Just don’t be you. Be what it takes.” – Dusan Djukich (a Kansan)

Skip Day! No, not Snow Day…

Almost as long I can remember, skipping rocks across a pond, gave me an uneasy feeling. Sure, I knew to scout-out a smooth flat stone, with a perfectly curved edge. I could search for that one that fit a bent finger. I could spin it and float it, and send it skittering across the surface. When I did, I felt joy, just like all kids do.

But something bothered me about it. I would scour the banks of the lake, or rivers’ edge, and for each stone I passed by, I noticed that it would remain, where it had been, for eons. For each stone that I picked up, and threw into the water, it was forever moved. I chose to give it a new life, a new place to reside. It would no more bask in the sun some days, ice over in winter, and occasionally get wet, when the rains came, or waters rose. Nope, for as long as I could imagine; from that ‘skipping day,’ my little rock would now live at the bottom of the lake.

It seemed like a big responsibility to chose a perfect rock. I didn’t want to just throw things into the water to watch them splash. I felt that I was making a difference in the mini landscape around that pond. I at least wanted the act of skipping, to be worth it. I wanted to watch that rock dance on the water, even for just a little while.

In some way, I didn’t think that I deserved the right, to take an object from where it had been, and throw it in the water, just ’cause “I” wanted to.

Here I sit. Again at my desk. Again in the middle of the night. I’m looking right now at a thin red and squarish chunk of stone. It may be called dolomite. It used to live in California.

stonesOn an exposed rugged high-altitude slope, my little rock, used to live among his brethren. It used to be where the oldest living single organism on our planet is. It was with the bristlecones for thousands and thousands of years. Then I moved it.

I moved it to Princeton. It now sits on my desk, under a 30 inch screen. I see it often and think of that wonderful trip I once took. Maybe someday, I’ll return to the White Mountains, and take it back home. Hopefully the trees will still be there. Since they have been, almost as long as recorded human history.

I probably didn’t ‘need’ to take it with me. To bring it here. To displace something so beautiful. But there were millions more of them there… right?

I don’t know sometimes, how we are to interact with this world we’ve been given to inhabit. I’m no tree-hugger. I throw away recyclables every day. I consume fossil fuels and use disposable dishes and lots of unnecessary electricity. I leave my computer on, always… I’m just as cliche’d and irresponsible as anybody in my wastefulness.

What is it about this direct interaction though? A visceral connection to a small rock, something so trivial, that can eat me up inside, to know that I have caused it to change? I guess I inherently believe that things are already, the way they are supposed to be, in nature. Out in the natural world, there is a balance and rhythm, and I am usually messing it up, instead of helping or enhancing or beautifying it further.

I heard a quote on Sunday, from the Super Bowl winning quarterback, of the Seahawks. He said that he was raised and taught by his father, a question to ask of himself, as he trained and pursued his passion of football. ‘Why not You, Russel?’ his dad would say. He practiced and worked and came to believe that this is a valid and important question to ask himself, ‘Why not me?’, ‘Why not us?’, ‘Why not here, and why not now?’ And this year, they won the biggest game it was possible for them to win.

“Why not me?” isn’t a question that I can recall asking myself throughout my own life. Actually it seems to be the opposite. I seem to have many times asked myself “Why me?”, why did this situation happen in my life? Why aren’t things going the way I want them to right now? Why can’t I seem to figure things out, like Super-Bowl-winning 5 foot 11 inch quarterbacks can? Or the self-defeating notions that I am not worthy to cast a stone across the pond. I don’t deserve to mess up the life of that little rock…

And just now, the light flicked on. Just now, God’s shown me a possible purpose of this post. Just now, I see, that maybe, just maybe, that overgrown pebble, waited on me ¬†for millenia. It sat hour after hour, day after day, decades and eons of time, just waiting for the moment it was going to fly! Maybe, just maybe, I was giving a gift and zipping a thrilling experience for some grain of consciousness embedded in the creation of our landscape. Maybe God has given us the world, to be stewards of, and yet, still enjoy, still have fun and play within.

There is possibility and opportunity and tools and resources all around us, all the time. Forever we cohabit with precious and generous offerings of value, gifted by the Creator. I hope we do use balance and I hope we find ways to moderate. But at the same time, right now, in our real daily lives. I hope we start to ask ourselves questions like “Why not me?”, ‘Why not now?” “What is stopping me, from truly enjoying life, right this moment, under these exact circumstances?”

Maybe, just maybe, we could loosen our grip on the ‘safety’ of our stuck places, our cemented-in spots that we’ve carved out over eons of our existence. Maybe, God will come along and zing us out into new territory, to new places and splashing across the fresh cooling waters. Maybe we’ll skip all the way across, and end up in a new land. A new start. A promised land.

“Why not me?”

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols