Snakes

I was pretty tired after today’s workout and immediately fell asleep. I dreamt about snakes. Lots of snakes.  Probably in the hundreds. They were all baby snakes and I was at work, supposed to be doing my job. But I tried avoiding them and looked for an area without them.  I never found one.  I eventually scared myself awake and thought about what it could mean.

I remember clearly in the dream that it was mating season.  And after thinking about the dream it dawned on me what it was about.  I’m also running from mating season in my waking life.

I’m in the prime of my life, at my most attractive, and I have made zero effort to capitalize upon this.  I haven’t made the best choices in love (mostly lust) and I fear I have little objectivity in that regard.  Thus I’ve stayed as far away as possible.  And even further in some cases.

My last serious relationship spiraled into my deepest, darkest depression and nearly killed me.  I’ve got scars aplenty and haven’t tried to balm them.

But those wounds aren’t getting any better on their own and something’s gotta give.

Fears

I’m going to be moving back to SoCal in a few months and the thought terrifies me.  Well, more so the implications than the thought but whatever.

I’ve got a good situation here.  I like my job, I like my friends, I love my gym.  I’ve got enough free time to pursue my own forms of pleasure and comfort, and I’ve got enough money to be able to save a little every month.

But these things don’t make me happy.  My fear is that I will bring that unhappiness with me and nothing will change except my circumstances.

But I’ve studied lots of different lives, the ones that have impressed me the most, and they all took a chance in some form or fashion.  If you never make the leap you’ll never know the landing.

Tucker Max once wrote, “The only way to know you’re walking the right path is to walk that path” and it’s been my guiding ethos.  It’s the calmness in my ocean of negativity.

I’m not going to know if this is a mistake unless I make that mistake.  And even then, it may not be.

Cessation

I quit smoking pot a little over a month ago after being a consistent smoker for ten years. It feels weird because I’m pro drugs, just not pro addiction. Turns out I was falling more and more into the latter category.

I noticed I wouldn’t go out, even if there was something I should be doing (like buying groceries) because I’d feel ultra self-conscious.  It’s hard enough to get the motivation to go out in public sober, nearly impossible otherwise.

I’ve tried quitting a few times over the years but what finally got me serious was my lack of dreams. Not in the metaphorical sense, but literally. A common side-effect to pot is losing one’s ability to recall dreams. I’ve discussed this with many people and it seems like nearly everyone experiences this.

Since I quit I’ve had intense dreams every night without fail. Some keep me awake and in sweats but I’m okay with that. I feel that dreams are more than just insignificant data being processed by the brain; they are an integral part of learning what your hopes and fears are. Without dreams you may not really know why you are feeling what you feel but with dreams you cannot hide from the truth.

It was through a dream that I learned I was tired of my job, or rather my job was exhausting me. I love my job, but some aspects of it make me miserable, even when I’m at home. I’m not one to want to carry my work with me when I leave. It was beginning to affect all areas of my life. A dream pointed out to me that there was another way.

I let it sit for a while and I got progressively more depressed until I finally had to do something about it. It was either change or blow up, and I’ve seen the latter happen to damaging effect so it was certainly not going to be that. I told my superiors that I wanted to drop down to a lower position.

Today I finally got to see the result of that conversation and it felt incredible.

Listen to your heart or watch as it gets ripped out.

Murph

Just finished my second year of doing the Murph workout.  It consists of:

1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

If that looks like a lot, it is.  Last year I wasn’t able to do the pull-ups or push-ups RX (as prescribed) and had to scale them down to an easier movement.  This year I not only did them RX but with a faster time even.

Hard work pays off.

Goals

I’m very good at setting goals.  And somewhat terrible at achieving them. I’m getting better with age and experience, but one constantly eludes me: Writing.  That’s probably the only reason I even keep this page up; it’s something to do.

I’ve always dreamed myself as a writer (dream being the keyword), but have seldom written anything.  In school, I would get amazing grades in English. It didn’t matter if it was dealing with parts of speech or a book report or whatever.  I could bullshit my way through to an “A” effortlessly.  Maybe that’s why I struggle so much now, because everything I write still sounds like bullshit to me.  I never had to try very hard and people were impressed.

It’s much harder to impress yourself.

But whenever I read a good book or watch a good movie, it generates new ideas in my head and I think, “That would be a good story.”  And there it sits until it dies.  If I had a bucket for all my unused ideas it would be overflowing.  A tragedy of sorts because I think a lot of them were pretty good.  Or maybe that’s just memory reshaping to my liking.

But at least I’m practicing a little bit here and there.  One day I’m going to have to try this for real.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks just came out after a 25 year hiatus and it is everything it should and could be.  I discovered Twin Peaks later than most (about 2 years ago) but am I fucking glad I did.  David Lynch is a mad genius and the world is a better place for his visionary wonders.  Never have I been so frightened, so befuddled, so amazed.  His work encompasses the totality of the human experience and in a way that has never been done before.  So many times a movie or show will come out and it’s good, great even.  But it’s a rehash of all the best bits of previous stuff.  It’s difficult to create something new and fresh, but Lynch has that one in the bag.  I can’t wait to see what else is to come.

Death

I once had an experience where I believed myself to have died. I was 23 and naive.  Up til then my only experiences with mind-altering chemicals included alcohol, pot, and most recently mdma.  My experience with ecstasy is worth telling in its own right but this is not the time. But running off the high of that experience I was eager and willing to try just about anything.

I was very intentional in trying psychadelics. Up til then I only had an academic knowledge but now it was time to have an experiential one. Try as I might I was unable to get anything I really wanted  (mushrooms, acid, dmt, etc.). But I had heard about Salvia and even noted that it was legal in the state of California. That seemed an obvious place to start.

There was just one caveat; apparently it’s a very unpleasant experience for most users. Unpleasantness be damned, I was going to make it beautiful through sheer force of will. Or so I imagined.

Hell, at the time I thought I could handle anything. I was looking forward to having a so-called “bad trip.” My logical brain told me that if I experienced a bad trip at the onset all the rest of my trips could be nothing but beauty. Oh the joys of delusional thinking.

I even chose to put on the scariest song I knew, aptly titled Get All You Deserve.

Check it out. It’s a good song in its own right but a terrible choice for tripping. Unless you’re looking for a bad trip.

I timed it so that I’d blast off right as the high hat comes in around the 3 minute mark. The song gets incredibly dark and sinister with an overwhelming sense of foreboding. The song still gives me the creeps and sends me back to that trip even today.

I loaded the bowl of my bong to the brim with the Salvia and took it all in, holding my lungs for as long as I could. I could feel my skin begin to crawl and tighten. I blew out the smoke and felt a heaviness sink in, as if my whole body were imploding or if I suddenly landed on Jupiter. As soon as I blew out that smoke my vision broke. I mean that literally. It was as if a pane of glass shattered in front of me, except it was my whole existence, or my perception of it. In its place a vortex appeared not disimilar to the portal scenes from Stargate.

I traveled down this blue tunnel and ended up in a world entirely in my head. Or out of it. The only thing that existed here was me and my longing to be back home again. Whole again.

My girlfriend Kelly was in the room with me and when I traveled to this other world I could still see her. Except she was made of wax. She had become a statue, or maybe she always was and I was just now realizing this, and I could walk around her and inspect. Suddenly I’d be somewhere else, only to be brought back to my room. Every time I returned things would duplicate.

I looked at my water bottle then looked away. When I returned my gaze there were two. Do this again and now four. This also happened with Kelly. There were a line of her wax statues, extending all the way to a million. All contained within my bedroom. Depth and matter no longer followed basic rules or laws.

Neither did time for that matter. The whole time all this was taking place my mind was attempting to “solve” the riddle. I couldn’t remember that I smoked a hallucinogenic drug, but I knew something was “wrong.” There was a wrongness to everything. Was I just now tuning into that fact or did something recently happen to make it this way? What was I doing before all of this wrongness began? Did I just arrive or have I always been here? Am I dreaming or dead or have I finally woken up? There was no way to tell.

But one thing was certain, I was experiencing this just as I had experienced anything else. In fact this felt far more real. Realer than real as Terence McKenna liked to put it.

I tried to find my way back.  But how do you get out of a mental construct built entirely in your mind? Where is the exit?

It gradually dawned on me that there was no getting out of this. Wherever this was, it had become my new reality. I could not deny that. It simply was. Perhaps I truly did die then, for what other reason could all this be happening? I let go and embraced my new existence.

“Andrew!!”

Wait, who said that? Kelly? Where is she?

I looked around and saw her face just inches before mine.

“Kelly!!”

But no. Now I’m sucked back to this alternate dimension. I searched and called out. I had to find her. If I could hear her voice then she must be real. I raced around my mind looking but couldn’t find anything substantial.

I heard my name again. I was back in my room, my real room.

Thrown back again. Only to return. This back and forth cycle persisted for eternity, yet each time it repeated I could hold my grasp on “reality” just a little longer.

I was living the ending scene from Final Fantasy 8 now.

Eventually after what felt like eons I was returned to this plane of existence. Except now I wondered if I would be pulled away at any time. Was I still tripping? I could not say.

I spent the next two years constantly fearing that I was still locked in my own time loop, just imaging my own existence. And let me tell you a solipsistic existence is no fun.

It’s been 7 years or so since that trip and I’ve not fully recovered. Nothing before or since has shaken me quite like that night. I spent so much time in that “place” that I now feel as if I am 100 years old. The young reckless me really did die there and I am not quite as I once was. I lost something there. A piece of my humanity maybe. My ego surely.

There are real consequences to our actions. Don’t wait for life to smack you in the face to figure that out.

American Gods

The newly adapted series to Neil Gaimain’s American Gods just released today and it is phenomenal. It’s everything that it should be and nothing more. I’ve never seen a more faithful adaptation. But that’s not really my point with this post.

It has dawned on me that Neil Gaiman has become my absolute favorite author. I didn’t realize this until I thought back to all of the novels that I’ve read by him. You can go back and see my post where I was first reading his stuff.

It’s a bit hazy now but I believe American Gods was the first book of his that I read. The Sandman next. Then Neverwhere. Or maybe the other way round. Either way, I’ve been systematically going through his bibliography and have yet to be disappointed. He deserves all the praise he has received.

He makes it all seem so easy. He hardly uses words that you are unfamiliar with, and if so it is easily divined through context. His plots are very natural and organic. Everything has its place and feels real.

He’s a genius, basically.

I’m glad I’ve found him. Or maybe it’s he who’s found me.