Disposable (and probably Despicable) Me :)

Midnight in my hammock. On the front porch, the air is thick and still warm from the day. I settle in, for a few minutes of deeprelax time and think of the vacation week ahead. Lots of preparation has gone into our annual summer roadtrip. This year we head to Colorado again. I’ve bought new camping gear. Some reservations have been made. I watch Youtube videos showing 4×4 trails that we could possibly take in the ‘new’ (1997, beat-up, 200,000 mile) Toyota 4Runner, I bought last Sunday.

Details run through my mind, like the tiny chipmunks skittering across those mountain roads. How do I want to setup camp? What will the trees be like? Beetlekilled dead? Or hopefully alive? If I use my tie-down straps to hang this same hammock, at a campground in Colorado, will the pine trees get my straps all sappy?? Should I buy new ones just for that purpose, or use some I already have and know they could be sticky and gross afterward? What is so important about the condition of my tie down straps? Why do I care if they get ruined or not?

Would it be bad to consider them a disposable item? I could use them for the trip, and if they are gross, just toss them when I get home????

This is the minutae that distracts me from real progress. Like actually deciding where my lovely wife and furry kid, Roxy, will stay next Tuesday and Wednesday night. I don’t know yet, we have the whole State of Colorado to choose from, so I put off such big decisions.

Anyway, I realize that I rarely use my tie down straps. Not like when I was younger and went quad riding all the time. I could sacrifice a couple of them to the Colorado Pines. It would be totally worth it. I guess.

I am hesitant to feel wasteful. I am insecure about the ideas of tossing money away. I hold tight to an idea that everything is supposed to be permanent and pretty. All things are to remain in best possible condition, for as long as possible, while in my care. I will try to avoid ruining ‘things’ I’ve bought, and only buy good stuff when I do…


Actually, when I think about it, everything I know as tangible physical ‘stuff’ is disposable. At my Mother’s house last week, they had a scare. A smell of smoke was coming from the ductwork and strong in an upstairs bathroom. They called the fire dept. Mom was in shock and scared. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing. A burned up motor that may have caused the smell, and had everyone very worried.

My mother and step-dad Joe, have spent twenty-several years working on this home. They have constantly been improving it, from the fine beginnings that Joe himself constructed. Recently, they’ve installed a new kitchen, updated carpets, light fixtures, paint and appliances… So fragile. A Matchbook. All could be gone in a flash. That is the scare that Mom had last week. I felt for her. So much energy, and effort, money too, in their beautiful and sturdy home…

My recent vehicle purchase: A solidly built 4×4 of reliable mechanical heritage, once was a slick new machine. It probably shined bright on some showroom floor. Leather perfect, gold trim gleaming. Now it is dented. It has scratches. The frame is spotted rusty. It had at least one bad day, where an angry person hit it, over and over again… No, not me, but somebody did. I bought it in a flash, without checking over it properly. I am not as wise without my wife around. I need her to slow down my impulsiveness sometimes. Anyway, it used to be pretty, and now it’s not. Much cheaper though, a deal. Hopefully a Colorado Mountain Machine, dirty enough, and tough too, to tackle the trails.

Disposable, all of it.

From my ten dollar tie downs, to the house I’m hammocking in front of, to the busted laptop I’m typing on… it all will be gone someday. The mountains we see next week, will seem more permanent, forever there. Immovable. Static. The peaks of their beaks spiking toward the sky indefinitely…

But they won’t last forever either.

I heard that the spring floods last year, have altered things at Rocky Mountain Naitional Park. A picnic area at the Alluvial Fan, has been cluttered with boulders… Somebody said, ‘it all got messed up’… funny. The Alluvial Fan is already a clutter of boulders, they fell and tumbled when a high mountain dam broke. Now things look different, more different maybe than man will be able to ‘fix.’

My dented new car, and the gear I pack in it, are all with me for just a brief moment in time. A week together in Colorado, then the tent is back in it’s bag, until someday when it’s trash, then beyond that, at some point, it will return to nothing again…

Me too. My ‘things’ of my life will too. My fingernails, my hair I buzz, maybe my appendix will go. Eventually though, it all will. These hands I type with. The eyes I read with, the feet I walked on all day, will be gone. Nothing of me, will escape the reality of impermanence…

It is unpleasant to think about losing the whole of the only world I really know. It is spooks me to go mentally to places without myself. I relate to the world through the lens of ‘me’ and without that, I struggle to comprehend. Suuuuure, there are other beings and other truths, besides just me. But I am disposable. I am not permament. I am not everything there is…

It’s not all bad, to realize my disposability. I see an opportunity to release. I see a crack in the doorway to a new reality. If permanence isn’t possible, why do I try so hard to attain it? Here in this place, where I stress over the purchase of a beat-up truck, and wonder about ‘ruining’ a pair of cheap tie down straps, I may be missing the big picture all together.

There are things of this world, yes. There is stuff in our lives. We can be stewards, we can be disciplined to caretake and to clean. But since nothing is lasting forever anyway, can I really decide to get out there and just USE the tools at hand. Can I decide to try to find ways to exercise and to operate the stuff of the world around. Can I gather experiences and develop myself, through using life, instead of being careful not to mess it up?

Since my worldly life isn’t permanent anyway, can I begin the adventure of disposing of it, in a more active way? I can’t stuff myself into a savings account. I can’t reserve a bit of me, for the future. I can, let loose on this page, right now. I can express what is here and now, for you, for someone, for the vast of consciousness to absorb in tiny ways or big. I can become the moment wherever I am, and get dirtier, dented’er, and more burned up, as I continue forward on my path.

I can’t save myself. I can’t guarantee jack squat. A nice vacation with my life-partner-wife next week, will be exactly what I let it be. Exultation of the grandiosity of creation, or a worry-fest of messing up… Same goes for my life.

I will probably do some of both. I am rarely as committed in person, as I am on this page. I will ride the middle, be mediocrity incarnate, I will do the same things others have already done, and be proud of my baby accomplishments. I’ll be frugal and prudent and not take things to extremes. I’ll probably begin to re-believe in the permanence of me, and my piddly possessions. I’ll preserve and protect, instead of playing all out. Fear again, may steer my wheels…

Here’s to the disposable life. May we see it for what it is. May we use it, to enhance the experience of others. May we mess up here, falling and bruising ourselves, learning to walk the greater walk.

There is a chance at forever. There is an infinite glistening sparkle that we’re invited to inhabit. I don’t know the nature of how it works. I cannot begin to fathom. Jesus is asking us to join Him. These flea-sized worries of life, could be lost in the universe of joy. I wonder if we will wish we’d played a little harder, broken a few more boundaries, and expanded the scope of our plastic suburban worlds, if we could look back from that vantage point.

The mountains are calling me, they want me to join them praising our Creator, from their fragile tippy tippy tops. I can’t wait. The urgency is delicious. Lindsay, my bride. I LOVE You 🙂

Let’s Go!


Aaron Nichols

Tater Chips for Breakfast

Potato Chips are for breakfast today, at 10:00am. They are kettle cooked, and barbeque flavor. Not sure if they make a bacon version, but if they did, I would eat that for breakfast instead.

My wife left town this morning on a week long adventure with a fellow teacher friend and her Dad. They are heading to the east coast, all the way to D.C. I was glad to hug her at 6:00 this morning, but sad she is leaving for so long. I know she will have fun, and it will go by quickly for both of us, but since she’s not here to share a scramble of eggs and squash and sprinkled cheese, I’ll just have chips instead.

Anyway, after being up early and checking on the garden, I decided to come back in the house for little more shut-eye. I was playing with a new military version sleeping bag, that I got from Steve at Take It Outside. Instead of this 3-piece sleeping system being laid in the dust or mud or sand of some war-torn country, I rolled it out on my couch.

Quickly I was deep, deep asleep.

I remember some of the dreaming, but mostly the very end. I could hear something strange in my home. It was coming from the kitchen area, maybe it was a person. I was trying to wake up and get off the couch. I knew I had been sleeping there. My body was completely heavy and loose. I could feel a slight electrical tickle all over, but I couldn’t move my muscles. My arms were limp, my legs were too. My neck was just a connector piece, nothing that could lift my head. Even my eyelids refused to open…

Crap! I think someone is in here. I think someone has done something to me. I can’t move. I can’t do anything. Maybe I’m dead! Ahhh! I tried to tell myself to wake up, It just wasn’t happening. I was ‘seeing’ only the twinkling blackness where you know there is light out there, but it’s blocked. I could feel the whooshing of the ceiling fan. I knew it was a morning sun in the room. I just couldn’t move.

One more time, AAAAHHHH! Extra effort, everything I had, is all it took, to pop open my eyes, and look around the room. It was almost an exhausting experience just to wake myself up from this super super deep sleep. Wow. Looking around, reorienting myself, there was no one in the room. Everything is fine. I am okay. I was just dreaming. I’d better get up and start my blog, and grab something to eat… hmm… those BBQ chips look good 🙂

Several times in the last few weeks. I have had awake experiences that mirror this dream. I have found myself over and over lately, stuck in a moment, feeling as if someone has done something to me. Feeling as if I cannot move, I am limp and lifeless, the seconds are eternities and my anxiety level pumps all the way to the top. In a flash I have gone from normal to freak-out-angry-crazy mode. Seriously y’all… it ain’t pretty!

Just like in the dream, I panic. I feel that everything I am trying is failing. I feel somehow that I am dying into the stillness and stuckness of the instant. I feel the light fading away and darkness rolling in. It is a spastic explosion, when trying to break free from it. This has happened at work, (both works) and at home. I lose my ever-lovin’ mind sometimes…

Yet, it is a dream. Yet, the freedom of waking up shows me the truth. Yet, the scary-ness of the crunched-down vise-grip moment, wasn’t caused by someone on the outside, doing something to me. It was caused by the thought that they did. The thought, that I believed, super strongly, that they did something to me. I was deep, deep asleep at that moment, even as I walked and talked in the consciousness of the real world, not dreamin’.

See, I am asleep, when I am stuck, believing those kinda thoughts. I am asleep and not seeing reality, when I am feeling that someone did this to me. I am lost and un’conscious’ blaming someone else for the position I am in. I am lucky to wake up, after these blowups. I am lucky to snap back, and notice that overall, everything is okay. I am just fine, the other person is just fine, but that panic moment was ugly all around. It was exhausting and crippling and damaging too. It was all a mistake, and afterward I can see that.

Afterward, I can see that no one did anything to me. I did it to myself. I chose to believe a untrue thought. I chose to focus on one angle of the story. I chose to only see one brief and scary snapshot throughout the movie of life. Like pausing a scene on tv. The actor’s face is weird and contorted, they look mad, or violent, and when you un-pause, it is all laughter.

Because Lindsay left this morning for a week, and I have no one to share a good breakfast with, I am eating barbecue potato chips… boo, hoo, pooooor me… WRONG!

I am eating barbecue kettle cooked chips this morning, because I want to. Because I chose to. That is all. They are delicious 🙂 And yes, I do, already, choose to miss my wife 🙂


Aaron Nichols

Boxes of spiders and love and trash too

Sometimes, I just don’t know what I want to say… Actually that is a lie.

When I use the ‘don’t know,’ excuse, I am really just choosing not to decide. I may be straddling and momentarily caught between ideas or commitments, but mostly, I am unwilling to go ahead and make a choice.

Yesterday I had lots of little moments caught in-between decisions. I had a couple options in front of me, and I somehow found the strength to just pick one way or the other.

I was doing the mundane task of cleaning out my garage. It is an ordinary thing that a lot of people do, I get that. I know there are some storage places, that we all have, that we let accumulate and pile up with stuff. Mine is no exception.

I used to use my garage for partying and playing and hosting and good times. A lot of the ‘stuff’ in there remains just as we used it, years ago, in the partying dayz. Yesterday, I had a lot of little moments, looking at a dust covered object, and making a choice to trash it, save it, or sell it. I made progress and some trash, and lots to save and a little to sell.

Steve Chandler is a guy, who I remember saying, “How you do some things, is how you do everything.” Well if that is true, then my garage can tell me a lot about how I am living my life as a whole. I have a detached space, where old memories are held on to. I have left many of them alone in a corner for years and years. I have held onto things that are of no use to me anymore. I have saved items that did one day come in handy. I have tools, that are rarely pulled out. I have spiders, and spiders, and spiders among it all.

I used to use my garage, and my life for inviting people and having fun, I didn’t have much, but I wanted to share it all. I wanted people to join me at any given moment. I wanted to always keep the party going. I really never wanted that to end.

Now it is different. The party-garage has only hosted one party in the several years, a three person bible study, one night a couple winters ago. I don’t do much in there anymore, but store some junk, and we park a car inside. In a way, so many parts of me are just existing there, where they always have, but getting dustier and older by the day.

Until yesterday. I swept. I loaded up trash cans and big boxes. I climbed the ladder and brought some things down. I climbed again, and put more things back up. I “didn’t know” where to start, but somewhere I just began to move stuff, making a bigger mess than it was, then slowly finding new places. I took the time to re-imagine how I wanted my space to look, I let go of old items, that don’t serve me.

All week long I have been heartbroken and saddened about a tragic event that happened for the family of one of the members of our church. Hailey and John and their family lost two precious children in a car accident on Monday. Wow. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I feel for them. I know God has a plan, but really that would be too hard to see, for me, for them, for anyone looking at their world right now. My heart and my prayers go out to all of you.

In our own family, 31 years ago, we lost someone important. My Dad passed away unexpectedly, tragically. I know that from my point of view, at four years old, there were things I never understood about that event. There were ideas or questions or hurts or angers or longings or tears that became parts and pieces on the shelves of my life. Just like my dusty detached garage, I had spaces where the few memories and all the pain just piled up and collected dust. I probably was a hoarder, remembering every sentence ever uttered about him. Collecting every detail of emotion about moments without him. This place is no party garage at all.

I hope I am the only one like this. I hope not everyone who goes through tragedy in life, and almost everyone does, does it like me. I have not taken the time and energy to decide and choose and clean out my garage, often enough. I don’t ever want to just junk all the memories and the love and appreciation for what was. I know though, that I let it pile up too high. I let the good stuff, get jumbled together with the bad. I had such a mess that it seems to be too big of a chore, to ever get around to working on it.

Somehow, over the years it has gotten better. I have matured and life has expanded beyond just the one tragedy that I used to define myself by. Thank God. There is a whole world outside my little dusty and spider infested garage. There is an expanse of possibility, that I can explore. My garage is a protected space, the stuff there isn’t going anywhere. I can lock it up and go to work. I can shut the door and go about my life. I don’t have to live only inside there. In a healthy way, I can revisit and take a day off, to work on it, from time to time. I need to remember to make it a habit, to work on the upkeep, but it does not define the whole of me.

I found lots of smiles, as I cleaned things up yesterday. I found the evidence of fun times. I remembered how much energy and thought, and enthusiasm I have, when I put myself wholly into an endeavor. Even like throwing a party in a dinky dusty garage. Nobody wanted to make it more fun and more special to everyone, than I did.

I am glad to have a place in my life, to go and smile and remember that too…


Aaron Nichols




Tempest Blooms and Dried-Up Nothins

“Did you plant any cantaloupe this year?” asked Roy, who had stopped by to chat while I was in the garden. “Yeah, I did, but they aren’t doing very well. Out of 10 seeds, only one came up.” I responded. He went on to tell me that he had the exact same issue in his backyard garden, and he decided to go buy some plants from the greenhouse instead. “Hate to do it.” He said, “But the seeds just weren’t coming up.”

Coincidence? Bad Luck? Did we both plant our seeds too deep, or too shallow? Did we both buy the same brand, that were too old, or diseased maybe? HeckifIknow! It’s just a simple little thing that gardners deal with from time to time…

Or is it?

Hearing that someone else had the exact same result, on the exact same plant reminded me of some stories I’ve heard about before. In my recollection, there are plants who seem to be on the same timeclock, all around the world, and will bloom all at once, even after a looong period of years. They all seem to know what time it is. I could Google up some examples for you, but you can do that yourself too.

Has anyone else out there had trouble with their cantaloupe seeds this year? Either way, I am reminded of more examples of how things seem to be naturally ‘inter-connected’.

Yesterday afternoon, while at work, I lost my temper and had an angry-ish discussion about a very small issue. Yes, I had complaints, I have held back from saying things before. I am probably too passive aggressive, as an overall habit that needs work. I was fired up, and letting it be known, but why that moment? Why that little issue? Why that day and time? These things happen quite a bit, and I usually don’t react that way, but yesterday I did. I chose to blow my top.

Later in the day, I noticed a post online by a facebook page called Purpose Fairy:

Fact: Mercury will be retrograde from June 7th 2014 – July 1st 2014.

As you know, there are certain cycles where the energy feels
confusing and ungrounded. During those times it’s not uncommon to react emotionally and dramatically affecting both your physical and emotional body.

Since all this frazzled energy is a major cause of disturbances in your mind, body, and soul here are the 5 ways to keep your emotional and physical body balanced during this time. ‪#‎MercuryRetrograde‬}

Now, I could probably find something like this out there every day, if I wanted to. I could read horoscopes, like mine (Aries), and probably read the other ones too, and find something that connects with me and my current life experiences. I could explain away any coincidences as mere chance, and just a bunch of woo-woo, new-age crapola.

BUT, it does seem to be, that there are built-in cycles and rhythms and an orchestral flow throughout all of creation. Weather, plants, animals, land, sea and sky, down to the tiniest form of the atom, all have cyclical and repetitive motion embedded. Last week I talked about a force so powerful, that it creates the tiniest growths nonstop throughout our lives, even like the nail on the end of our fingers.

There just has to be something behind all this motion. The energy is never stagnant, and stale, it just seems to always be in motion. I am amazed at the tiniest miracles. Like putting a seed into the ground, and noticing that it comes alive with growth. It just does. I have the seed, in a paper packet, it does nothing. I put it in the soil, it does everything it needs to do, with just the tiniest help from me. Amazing.

Sure, maybe I saw this post about Mercury Retrograde (which I know nothing about) and I wanted to blame my embarrassing blow-up on that. I could be a victim to the heavenly bodies, and not have to take responsibility for my own actions. I might be doing some of that. I am intrigued however at the possibility, that there is an answer to bigger questions. I am excited sometimes to think the random puzzle pieces of life, will eventually combine to form a picture I could understand, even from afar. I love the idea, that God’s brilliant design, is so rich and gorgeously interwoven.

One of the most exciting things that interests me about the living word of the Bible, is that the sentences seem so fresh and relevant and insightful. Some parts are thousands of years old, yet wet with new ink, as they are being read.

Something bigger is at work, something hidden just beyond the veil. My favorite band has an album called “One foot in the ether,” and I think that is where the magic is. Sometimes we get glimpses of it. Sometimes the fog burns away. Sometimes we notice out of the corner of our eye, that there a masterful simplicity and beauty to the ‘why’s’.

Just another thought, for you this week. A thought, that I want to capture for myself. As I get lost and feel spinning and drifting, bouncing against emotions and banging into the consequences of my actions, I wonder if the washing machine cycle will slow down sometimes. During the onslaught inside my mind, I want to remember this stillness and this knowing, that there is something more and bigger, and better, than my thousands of tiny negative ideas. There is the ever-present, the almighty, the one creator, abiding as always in True Love and Love only, Forever.


Aaron Nichols