Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Kinds of People

(Hat Tip:  American Viking)

There are two kinds of people in our lives.

The first kind of people are those that are with us.  They come and go in our lives.  Perhaps they help us, perhaps them harm us slightly.  But they hardly challenge us to be better or different - instead, they have us fit into the agendas of their lives.  We fill particular wants or needs within their existences and so a careful and perhaps unconscious game begins in our lives with them, a game in which they neither excessively encourage nor inspire us to change but work to maintain us in their status quo such that we are always doing what they need us to do.  In some cases, they would prefer that we tried nothing new or challenging - or at least very small challenges or changes, carefully controlled and not threatening to the larger status quo.

The other kind of people are those that challenge us.  They may come and go but I tend to doubt that they ever truly disappear from our lives - like calls to like.  These are the ones who seek to make us that best of ourselves that we can be.  We have no agendas into which to fit in their lives; instead, their agenda is to as much of their lives as they can, to challenge themselves to be the very best of themselves that they can be.  Interestingly, they do not just hold this to themselves; instead, they seek to spread it amongst those that are around them.

So many cannot or will not hear, are happy to simply live a life within the status quo of themselves and very others.  But few, a very few, hear the higher call and take the offer extended to them by those that seek to raise them up to the best of themselves that they can be.

Find this people.  Seek them out.  Spend time with them.  Exchange thoughts.  Encourage them.  Let them encourage you.

And you will find that it will change your life.

Friday, August 28, 2015


is an odd thing.

We see the world one way
and others see it another.

Others treat us one way
which we see as another.

What one calls "appreciation"
another calls "silence".

What one calls "gratitude"
another calls "minimum requirements".

One speaks a set of words
but another hears the words entirely differently.

We see the world one way
and others see it another.

is an odd thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Rubicon of Sorts

I believe I am finally done with where I am.

The thought occurred to me this afternoon when, trickling out of a meeting, I walked back to my cube to find the work that I left there waiting for me.  And it is not the sort of work that is either engaging or innovative - the sort of document revisions that you have to do to remain compliant, not the sort of things you need to do because it changes the world.

And then, looking at my flickering screen, staring out the windows, listening to the sounds of my disgruntled coworkers, I realized I was done.

The fix is in.  I have nowhere to go here.  Yes, words will be given and vague promises made to placate any need I feel to move on (after all, I do fill a useful niche) but the chance of actual change is minimal.

In other words, I spend 10 hours a day (8 hours +2 commute)  not really going anywhere at all.  In life math, 30% of any given week is spent merely treading water.

6 years.  Treading water.

Not really sure what this means, of course.  There are plenty of good personal reasons to stay in the area, reasons that have indirectly lead me to where I am today.  There are some places I might go, but here is as good as any.

But the time is now.  I am done treading water.  I am done settling for what should be more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Little Steel In The Soul

So one of the outcomes of the Obstacle Course is a little steel in my soul.

It is working itself out in small ways.  Standing up to questions instead of just caving in and doing what others ask.  Contemplating taking a test based on the fact that I could pass it, not that I will - but with the knowledge that "Could pass" will result in better opportunities later.  Distributing small chores to others.  Beginning to act (in small, maybe silent ways) more like someone that looks like me but is not.

These are very tentative moves, to be sure.  Every single one pushes me a bit outside of my comfort zone.  But that is okay  - the time has come that I need to be more actively pushed out.  Because just waiting around causes you to be pushed in, which serves precisely everyone else but yourself.

Where is this coming from?  The race.  Every time something has come up I ask myself the question:  "Is this more difficult than:  climbing a wall, getting out of a pit, crawling through mud, trying to swing over something and fall?"  The answer, of course, is always the same.

Of course not.

Of course not - because no matter what situation I face, they almost never involve physical action that at best would be embarrassing and at worst would hurt.  All of the actions are mental or relational in nature - perhaps confrontational or controversial, but hardly the sort of thing where the damage is permanent.

I was told by someone not that long ago that I needed to decide what wanted to do and then pursue that.  It presented in the context of my career.  But there hints that this thing is my soul is hardly the sort of thing to limit itself to one area of my life.

Knowing you can something far above what you actually are doing gives you the confidence to push out that much farther.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Obstacle Run

This weekend, as I mentioned, I participated in an Obstacle Ru:n, Conquer the Gauntlet:

4.1 miles.  28 obstacles.  Prizes consisted of a shirt and medal:

What did I do?  I moved 4.1 miles. I climbed walls including a 12 foot one, humped through and over mud, climbed out of a 10 foot pit, tried swing across water obstacles (and failed miserably), crawled on my face in mud, climbed a 15 foot tire chain and then back down, climbed a slanted wall with rope, carried a 40 lb bag for a lap, hammered a block of wood with a sledge and back, and ran and walked through mud.  And more mud. 4.1 miles worth of mud.

And all I got was this T-shirt and medal.

One might wonder why a person would do such things.  And it would be reasonable to wonder.  Even if one was to win the competition, the purse probably pays for the race (just).  I finished tired and sore and covered in mud (showering was an hour long affair).

Why do it?  Bragging rights, for sure - I finished.  I made it.  I tried every obstacle (although I failed at a number of them).  But I can hold my head up high.

More importantly, I found out I can do things I did not think were possible.  I climbed a wall with help and then helped other climb.  I heaved myself over and through and under is ways I could not expect.  I managed to do one or two obstacles - the 15' tire climb and the slanted wall with the rope -that I not think that I could do.

And most of all, I finished.  I kept moving.

How did this change anything?

Because today when I hit a problem I could not solve or something that bothered me instead of getting worked up over it I simply said  "I climbed walls and things and crawled through mud this weekend - if I could do that, I can do this."

Maybe I did not find my outer limits this weekend, but I sure got a little closer.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Deserving

This weekend I participated in an obstacle run (more about this later this week).  It was a physical challenge to be sure - 4.1 miles, 28 obstacles.  But I finished. And as I mulled over the event in my mind this weekend, I realized that there is a growing dichotomy in my life.

 It is almost as if I am living two lives.  In one life - the life that seems to dwell on certain weekends at iaijutsu - I am constantly challenging myself, pushing myself to the limits of what I am (currently) capable of, trying for success as hard as I can for the purposes of bragging rights.   In the other life - the life that I live almost 95% of the time - I am living a life which seems to be headed nowhere in particular at a good clip.  I get up, I go to work, I do the things one has to live.  

I live the life of quiet desperation.

I queried this in my mind because I cannot understand why it is that there is such a difference in these two things in my mind.  How can I push myself for success in one thing (which is seemingly of little import in the vast scope of things) and not transfer that drive, that energy, into the things of my life which I would think would actually make a difference in my life?

I asked the question of Nighean Ruadh in the course of a conversation.  Her response?  "Because for some reason you believe you don't deserve it."


I sat there with that thought flickering back at me, with that sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach where you know something is true although you do not want to admit it.  I know it - in the back of my head, in my heart, I know that thought is there.  You do not deserve to succeed.  You do not deserve success.  Ultimately, you do not deserve to be happy.

Perhaps this is a legacy of the depressed - I think at some level all those who are depressed believe themselves undeserving of any sort of happiness or success - but I do not think that it all. Somehow, somewhere, the thought is lodged in my subconscious that I simply do not deserve to succeed.

Which explains the fact that I can put my time and energy into Highland Athletics and Iai and an Obstacle run:  in succeeding, there is no risk of true success in the rest of my life.  I can safely achieve something with no danger to my subconscious that there will be success in other areas.

But how do I push this into other areas?  This is problem I have to resolve - without that resolution, I will continue to split my life into that which I will do to be successful and that which I will not because I do not deserve to be successful.

And this is simply a life I cannot continue to live.

Friday, August 21, 2015

On The Impacting of Ceilings

I ran into a ceiling again yesterday.

It was not a 100% surprise.  Something I had suspected for sometime.  Still, the actual impact of the reality hurts.

What does one do in such a case?  Sure, you hear the usual responses:  "Doing a fine job.  Everyone is happy with what you are doing.  It is just that...well, this is from the highest levels.  Outside experience is needed."  It still buns a bit of course - after all, the apparent reality is that the ceiling is in place and nothing that you can do will change it.

The demotivation is almost instant, of course.  It feels as if one's entire efforts are spent in trying achieve things that simply will never be.  One aims at the targets that one thinks are the targets to be aimed at, only to find that such targets are not at all what the key seems to be to advancement.  Competence in career and a sincere effort in keeping things going is not enough - it is merely assumed.

I was, as you can imagine, depressed.  And then, from a friend, this:

"Push your own agenda" was his accompanying statement.

And then, it made perfect sense.  If no-one is going to promote you, work at promoting yourself.

100% room to grow.  Not dependent on the goodwill and charity of others.

And certainly, the only ceilings one finds are the ceilings one builds one's self.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

School Is Back

And just like that, School:Golden Morning Hours are
now commute-consumed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finding The Limits

Finding one's limits is always a painful thing.

They always seem to come in the midst of soaring in midair into a brilliant sunrise.  We have convinced ourselves - or perhaps more accurately, have allowed ourselves to become convinced - that we have read all the signs correctly and interpreted the omens favorably.  Things are ours for the taking.  The sky is truly the limit and the wind is beneath the wings.

And then, like Icarus, the sun melts the wax on our wings and we begin to plunge.

The ground rushes up rather quickly in such situations, leaving us flailing our wings in midair in a sort of vain disbelief as we fall.  Surely this is wrong.  We asked all the right questions.  We read the signs aright.  We carefully examined our options and felt this was the best path forward before we fully engaged our wings.  We examined the limits and were convinced that we had interpreted that this was the time to move beyond them.

Frantically reviewing our thoughts, we continue to try to review everything that led us up to his point - until we are interrupted by our bodies smacking into the ground.

If we are fortunate, we have hit ground which is yielding to ourselves.  We may slowly sit up, seeing if we have any broken bones (bruises, lacerations, and cuts are assumed), then wince our way to our feet.  The sky looks awfully far away right now as we try to brush ourselves off and perhaps think over what just happened - and how we could have read things so marvelously awry.

We look up, try to read the signs and wind and sun - and then slowly begin limping our ways towards where the limits are apparently directing us to go.  The birds fly over our heads as we creak along, mocking us with a song of the air as we slowly shuffle our way to the dirge of gravity.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Scent and Memory

Walking through my local high end grocery store last night I was struck by a wave of nostalgia.

I was rounding the cheese section and making way through the peanut and other nut butters, killing time until a class started, when suddenly I caught a scent.  A scent I had not smelled in some time.  A scent of someone I have not seen in a long while.

The smell ripped me back - in fact, I was looking around, trying to find out if someone was wearing that perfume.  I must have looked like a fool, slowly trolling the peanut butters, smelling away.  The scent was there though.  Definitive.  Unique.


Scent is a funny thing.  It has the ability to take us back in an instant to a person or place.  It can be something which we cannot fully verbalize - "It smells like" we might say, but we can never really describe the smell until we smell it again. Then suddenly that place, that person come vividly alive in our mind, the association is so strong.

I have had it happen returning to a place I had not been to in 30 years thousands of miles removed.  I have had it happen with the scent that my Granny always had in her bathroom, in the Old Spice my father wore growing up, in the smell of my best friend's house.

All of those memories come flooding back in an instant:  the places, the various times spent together. All there, standing in front of the peanut butter.

I made the circle again and sure enough, I found it there again.  It was not tied to a person but rather to something in that aisle. I kept looking.  Some kind of chemical free laundry soap, the stuff that was used on the laundry.

It all made a certain sense, something beyond time and space that was not fully controllable and yet, standing in wedged between cleaning supplies and nut butters, made all the sense in the world.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Gone Throwing

Today I leave for a weekend of throwing.

Well, really a two days of helping and a day of throwing, plus set up and break down.  My reward for this endeavor?  Heat, sweat, a floor to sleep on, a ride to and from, water, snacks, and a shirt suitable for wearing.

Oh, and seeing the best group of people of the world.  And pushing the heck out of myself to try.

I am badly in need of a weekend such as this, a weekend where I can cast aside all responsibilities and all concerns and just be a guy there to help and see his friends and go and throw things.  It is a luxury almost, the luxury of  being one's self in the midst of friends being themselves to throwing and laughing and the speaking of smack.

On the other side of this, of course, I will probably be completely exhausted, bearing some sort of unusual sunburn, and creaking around all Monday morning.  But it will be totally worth it - after all, how often can a man say he has spent a weekend doing what he truly loves, and all of it for the price of a little effort.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Of Purpose and N/As

Even in my seeming retreat from the world at large, things still tend to leak in - even within my own world.

The news about Google changing its structure sank into even my world with a bit of a shock.  One has followed Google, of course, even if they are not always my most favorite company in the world.  They have indeed do a great number of things and seek to do a great many more.  A new parent holding company, a listing of their ongoing ventures - quite heady stuff indeed.

And then as I read it and pondered it, I suddenly took at look at what I was doing for the day:  lining through documents with an "N/A", page after page after page.  Hardly the stuff of world class innovation.

What did I want to do once upon time?  When I got of college or even before?  What were my goals, my dreams?  I do not know that they were so formally thought out as such - but am at least sure that they were, in some way, doing something heroic and making the world a better place.

I am always grateful when stories like this happen, mostly because somewhere in my soul there is a stirring to recapture something of that magic.  Those goals of changing the world, of making the world better, of being heroic.  It is good to know that somehow those things have not fully died.

At the same time, it also makes me ask the question:  why am I here?

Duty, of course.  But duty is somewhat of a harsh master followed long enough.  It grinds us down and steals our time, leaving only dull sensation of having done what needed to be done.  Without something beyond this, something that we can point to and say "The world is better because of this", it can leave us dry and brittle.

So what would doing something meaningful like that work like?  I do not have even a partial clarity on it at the present time.  But I do know a few things, like spending almost two hours a day driving to somewhere that reviewing paperwork and entering "N/A" in blanks in paperwork is hardly the sort of thing that is making the world changed or better or heroic.

So I need to ask better questions.  And find an answer.  And move forward.  Or be prepared to explain why "N/A" somehow made a huge difference.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Away From The World

I have inadvertently cocooned myself away from the world.

It seems to have happened accidentally - and by accidentally, I mean I simply ran out of time during the normal course of affairs.  Something had to give - and so, it was my tracking of the ongoing events of the world.  It started off with not tracking the news of the world, both from aggregator sites and from things such as Twitter.  It slowly extended through Facebook until it reached the circle of blogs that I follow - every day, getting smaller.

My radio has remained in the "not on news" arena, with either CDs or podcasts or even just silence to accompany my drive.  My mailbox, having been cleared of most daily inputs, leaves me little to know about the world at large.

With a little more effort, I could be an island in the midst of an urban stream.

Am I particularly happier?  Not that I can tell - a lack of knowledge of the outside world's goings on is not enough to generate a better life per se.  And certainly the occasional bits that have filtered in leave me none too sad that I have been missing out.

But I can say this:  not knowing what is going on has lead to a greater lack of existential nervousness in my life.  I do not know what is going on in the world, and can therefore not stress about it.  Certain that time and energy of the stress has been absorbed by wedging my life in a little bit more around the edges of where I live.

And that, arguably, is better no matter how  you look at it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Theory of Politics versus Politics

There are times I actually hope I do not make it through the 2016 political cycle.

As I have often stated, I do not do politics here (and not this time either, so perish the thought of partisan comments).  At one time perhaps I thought I would, but what I found is that trying to have any sort of discussion about anything remotely controversial on the Internet is like trying to stop a lava flow with an ice cube:  it will not work and you will get severely burned in the process.  People  who are true believers are passionate - and passion, like lava, can burn what it touches.

Social media has only made this phenomenon worse.  And we are only early into the season, through the first round of preliminary debates for one side.

We seem to have become a group of partisans, not thinkers, with large swaths of groups adhering to one side or another almost blindly.  We (for the most part) have become impervious to the consideration of opinions outside of own views.  Disagreement has become not reasoned discussion but downright stupidity at best or treason at worst.  Sadly, we have become sports fans who blindly root for their team despite the serious problems with that team against any and all comers.

It has made me sit and think about things.

What it made me realize is that I like Political Theory, not so much politics.

Once upon a time (slightly after the Earth cooled) I got a degree in Political Science.  It was not necessarily the greatest choice in employable degrees, but what I loved about it was that it brought together a number of different disciplines:  Political Geography, Economics, History, Philosophy, and even Political Theory.  It encouraged us to think of governance starting with a philosophical outlook and then mapping out the practical outcomes of that philosophy.  And by the use of history ("There is nothing new under the sun") it allowed us to go back and review the outcomes of what worked, what did not, and the ramifications of either event.

Since then, I have engaged in a series of additional readings and education - mostly of the Classical Authors that dealt with such things or biographies about key people or histories of periods of time.  What runs through the Classical Authors - Confucius, Sun Tzu, Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Tacitus, even Machiavelli (who wrote a fine review of the Roman Republic called The Discourses)  - is the idea that underlying systems are the people that manage (rule, govern) those systems.  How you arrive at those people (and indeed, the general population) can be done in various ways; what is implied is that politics and governing is a conscious system, not merely a "popularity contest" decided upon not only by money and fame but by the people who we think are most like us, not necessarily the best for us.  People make policies; policies have outcomes; outcomes have ramifications.  The Medical Professions first rule is "Do Not Harm"; would that we applied the same rule to our governance.

Practically, what does this mean?  As you may intuit, my hopes that anything like a "National Acting Like Political Theorists" movement is pretty slim.  And I am not choosing sides:  everywhere I look around the landscape, both from any candidate as well as from the general population both close to me and social media-wise, I see very little hope that these sorts of questions are going to be asked.  Which is fine, of course - I am sure that every side would equally find me in some way unpalatable to their cause.

What I can do - what I must do - is continue to read and learn and think deeply about such things.  I cannot change the tide, but I can ready myself for the day that the tide recedes and staring at the beach, people ask "What shall we do now?"

My simple answer will be  "Let us think a bit before we make any rash decisions."

Friday, August 07, 2015

On The Turning Away

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand

"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting it's shroud
Over all we have known

Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

(Pink Floyd, Writers David Gilmour and Anthony Moore)

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Take The Long Way Home

Life is a funny confluence of events, leading me to believe God has a purpose.  Or a sense of irony.  Or maybe a sense of humor.

On Monday I closed one curtain.  It was a curtain that had been open for two years and a number of good things had happened as a result, but (as with many things) it was time to bring the curtain down, if only for a time.  The curtain was closed prior to the typical event on Wednesday.

And then on Wednesday, another event happened, one I had not expected.  One that was made possible because of the cancellation of the first event.

The Other Event was good as well, the sort of thing that went very well indeed.  But the sort of thing that leaves you driving home looking into a horizon beyond which you cannot see.

Life is full of paths not taken, roads not traveled.  I suppose we like to believe that we always make the best choices possible based on the circumstances, but sometimes the whole thing leaves one a bit behind, as if Life has moved on and left you behind.

Without the one thing, the other would not have happened.  And I believe that God is active in our lives, bringing events and people into our lives for His purposes, not necessarily our own.  So the one thing was meant to happen, and so was the other.

Driving home, looking into the Northern sky and feeling the hot summer heat radiating through the car, I felt a bit like Treebeard:  almost alone in a world that had moved on, confined to the borders of my land.  The future was here, but I was apparently not.

And then "Take The Long Way Home" by SuperTramp showed up in my mind.

It described my state of mind perfectly:  life is a stage and always playing to the gallery is what we do, even as the self importance we ascribe to ourselves is mostly in our mind.    I found the song on You Tube and played it, singing along at the top of my lungs.

And yes, sometimes I do look through the years and see what I could of been, what I might have been, if I made different decisions.

But mostly now, I take the Long Way Home.

So you think you're a Romeo
playing a part in a picture-show
Take the long way home
Take the long way home

'Cause you're the joke of the neighborhood
Why should you care if you're feeling good
Take the long way home
Take the long way home

But there are times that you feel you're part of the scenery
All the greenery is comin' down, boy
And then your wife seems to think you're part of the
furniture oh, it's peculiar, she used to be so nice.

When lonely days turn to lonely nights
You take a trip to the city lights
And take the long way home
Take the long way home

You never see what you want to see
Forever playing to the gallery
You take the long way home
Take the long way home

And when you're up on the stage, it's so unbelievable,
Oh unforgettable, how they adore you,
But then your wife seems to think you're losing your sanity,
Oh, calamity, is there no way out?

Does it feel that your life's become a catastrophe?
Oh, it has to be for you to grow , boy.
When you look through the years and see what you could
have been oh, what you might have been,
If you'd had more time.

So, when the day comes to settle down,
Who's to blame if you're not around?
You took the long way home
You took the long way home...
(Richard Davies/Roger Hodgson)

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

2015 Garden Update

In the constant land of learning, the garden has been a world of education this year.

As I have mentioned before (and numerous times), gardening somewhere new is also about learning what grows where.  This year has been no different but with some surprises:

- Onions:  My onions from fall planting did okay.  My spring planting, less so.  Only Fall plantings.

- Garlic:  Same as onions.  See above.

- Tomatoes:  So this year I actually got some tomatoes from one plant but both plants are infected with something.  Interestingly, the volunteer cherry tomatoes that came in the new garden section are doing great.  It suggests the location has an significant impact.

- Pumpkins:  They did well but were done by June.

- Cantaloupe:  These have really taken off in the heat.  I may actually get some fruit.

- Corn:  Same as last year: stunted stalks, small ears.  I may get enough to make up what I planted.  I wonder if planting earlier before the true heat will give a better yield?

- Beans:  I managed to beat the cutworms but then the survivors got wiped out by rabbits (I think).  Need fencing.

- Okra:  The plants never took off due to location and then were eaten down.  As last year's crop was huge, I think this is location based.

- Jalapeno:  My plant has not done well this year.  It is stunted and has very few peppers.

- Sorghum:  This did great!  Only trick is to beat the birds to the grain heads.

- Black Eyed Peas:  Once again, the crown winner of sprouting and looking green.  I planted them late but they have responded beautifully to the heat.

The outcomes have given me some thoughts going into the fall and winter, such as:

- The planting along the fence should only be grains for the winter and spring. The Sun exposure is not enough to make it worth it in the summer and watering is an issue.

- I think with proper management I could get more out of the narrow cleared area than the larger area.  I need to look at better management of the area.

Gardening:  An exercise in controlled futility with occasional successes.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Between

From the Origin to the Destination
lies the Between, that place where
we live our lives.

It neither really here nor there,
a shadowland of becoming
in the midst of living.

Becoming in the Between
means always feeling displaced,
lost, never quite sure of the footing.

Why?  Because Between is not where we are going
nor where we are coming from;
 it is the murky fact that we are - unfinished.

Therefore despair not if you feel
lost in between:
it merely means you have not yet arrived.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Glimmers of Clarity

Glimmers of clarity do not come often.  But, occasionally, they come.

There was a sense last night, driving home from getting some last minute groceries, that I had suddenly had some clarity, clarity on things that I could not have predicted last Thursday.  It is always a shock when such things occur - I look so long for such things and yet am surprised when they suddenly appear.

What pushed things to the moment?
- A letter from someone indicating the positive impact I had on their life.
- Picking up the beginnings of a physical training program and finding that in doing, I feel more powerful and alive.
-The realization that for now, where I am career wise is where I need to be - for reasons that have nothing to do with my career.
- An acceptance of the fact that a part of my experience has reached the point of usefulness and I need to move on.
-  A realization (or maybe a re-realization, perhaps) of my importance within my family.
- Finally, a quiet acceptance of the fact that the principles of Christianity I claim to value need to be lived out more fully in every aspect of my life, not just spiritual part.

So what does this practically mean?

Well, for one thing it means that I am informally taking myself out of the job search market, at least actively.  I will review things that come in, but I am not going to go out of my way to search.

Secondly, it means accepting that there are things to work on and get better at, things that I can spend my time on beneficially.  Oddly enough, these things may hardly represent career enhancing issues.  Things like
- Writing
- Physical training (lifting, Heavy Athletics)
- Ichiryo Gusoku (Gardening and Cheese here, with perhaps a touch of quail and bees)
- Languages (something I truly love), with the intent of actually having something useful instead of just head knowledge.
- Iaijutsu
- Music (Harp here, I think)
- Family (yes, I know, it is a given, but still needs to be on the list)
- God (specifically both on a personal level as well as truly getting involved in a corporate body of worship).

In fact, as I look at this list, I see that precisely none of this directly would improve my career.  And maybe that is okay.  Because perhaps the more relevant question is this:  if I simply let go of my focus of my career (and my long running unhappiness therewith) would it put me any farther from fulfilling the true purpose of why I am here or would it move me closer?