After the drunken and drugged up haze of your early twenties begins to clear you are faced with the reality of deciding how you ACTUALLY want to live your life. What skills do you have? What are you good at? What the heck are you going to do? What are your values?
I never really expected to make it out of those years alive so I was a bit blown away when the dust started to settle and I was still standing. It was a weird time for me but mostly I didn’t feel like I was doing much of anything but getting fatter and more depressed.
Until one day I had a Rubik’s Cube. I can’t remember if I bought it or it was a gift but for some reason my brain began to romanticize joining this elite club of capable persons who could solve the cube. I began to wonder, “What if I could do it?”
From my own personal memoirs:
November 12, 2007
The Rubik’s cube! A small victory but I have mastered it, and can solve it in under 3 minutes using the layer method. I have always wanted to solve it. My entire life its just been one of those mysteries on the back burner. It gives me hope that I had the ability to accomplish a small task like that, that had so much meaning. It means that I will be able to accept bigger challenges and accomplish other tasks that I have longed to complete.
Solving the cube was a big deal as it showed me how to bring a manifested thought form to life. Maybe it can do the same for you.
These are the EXACT videos from Dan Brown I watched all those years ago. I wrote down each algorithm and spent days practicing until the muscle memory in my hands took over. I still use the same method to this day and even if I haven’t solved a cube in months I can still do it within minutes. My best time was 57 seconds. You can use http://www.cubetimer.com/ for “speed cubing” practice.
Later I would learn to solve the 4×4 and the 5×5 cube. You would be very surprised how many people have never actually seen a cube solved live.
Danny Machal June 11th, 2015
Back in April I did the Writing 101 course thorough The Daily Post. That was a nice experience and I can attribute much of my writing successes over the last couple months to that program. They are back now with a Blogging 101 course. Switching gears between fiction and blogging will be a challenge but we shall see how it goes. Let’s get started.
I’m already hard pressed to think of something clever after my HOA Wolf story so I’ll just answer these questions.
Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
I keep a personal journal as well as blog. The jitters of putting myself out there have been long gone for me. The things I want to hide are in the personal journal where they belong. No one is 100% transparent.
What topics do you think you’ll write about?
I mostly like to write things that make people think a little different about the world they live in and themselves. You’ll find a lot of monsters, ghosts and unpopular but necessary opinions on life.
Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
Free thinkers. You know what I mean. The devout Christian who isn’t afraid to sit in on a Wiccan Circle casting. The modern lesbian who can still appreciate the old school 50’s style of family dynamic. People who love clever stories and giving me some constructive feedback.
If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?
I want the power of the hive mind. There are authors on Facebook and Twitter who can query an entire legion of followers for answers. Just a simple query of, “Hey would should I have for dinner?” could yield upwards of 100 responses from ‘like minded’ individuals. That is better than Google if you ask me!
Ten thousand little Angels and Demons on my shoulders. That is what I would hope to have after a solid year of blogging and interacting with my readers.
Danny Machal June 8th, 2015
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women…
Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
Clarice Starling: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir…
Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. …
There are always two things we treasure.
Most people would agree the immediate things we treasure fall into the realm of the next bite of a delicious meal, an orgasm during sex or a sentimental object we are holding forcing us to replay the exact memories that made it so.
Popular bigger picture treasures include friends, family, your dog, your kids, your god, your job, ‘you know,’ -all of that popular shit you see scrolling by your Facebook feed on any major holiday.
When I think about what I treasure I feel like Commodus from the movie Gladiator in the brilliant scene where he kills his Father (Marcus Aurelius).
Commodus: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.
Marcus Aurelius: Oh, Commodus. You go too far.
My macro treasures include things like validation, imagination and creation. These are the things I covet the most. Proficiency in those areas is what I am always seeking in myself, my work and other people.
…these are not treasures in the way I see it but more “purposes of being.” A purpose of being is more powerful than something you treasure because it will control your immediate primal actions. I find it hard to treasure that which is hardwired. Does that make the love I have for my family disingenuous? No. That is impossible. The love generated for my family/friends is happening naturally and I don’t have to work at it. (You can’t control who you love. Remember?)
When your family is provided for, safe and loved what do you do with the rest of your mental power?
It is unfair for you to spend your life in servitude of the “idea” of family. This isn’t television. You owe it to yourself to live a full life and do the things you want to do. Not just the things you have to do. If this involves your family every step of the way, “Great!” That is the way to go as long as it is genuine. A real choice.
However, many people willingly cast themselves aside for some sense of duty to their tribe. It isn’t a crime for you to NOT remain an individual for fear those you love will feel betrayed. Even in the choking death rattle that going to necessary job can create there is space to find that which you treasure most. There is always time for you. Maybe that YOU time is your Family time. For me there must be separation in all things. It is just how I am built inside. Yes, I am aware it is a very unpopular way to operate.
You should not blatantly neglect your family. That makes you an asshole -not an individual.
Writing is something I am drawn to because it is the hat trick of all my treasures.
Some unforgiving soul cursed me once when I was young and impressionable. They said, “Danny this is good.”
I could have been a simpleton grave digger or worked on an assembly line happy as a clam waiting for that 5 o’clock whistle. But no. This individual took it upon themselves to believe in me and set me down one of the most wretched rewarding paths one can be on. My very essence of being was carved out and reforged that day.
I created something, I moved someone and they liked it. I treasure that.
What do you treasure?
Danny Machal May 2nd, 2015
A voice from everywhere and nowhere talks to you calmly like a Father comforting a child.
“As you effortlessly tread the warm cave water take a look down. See your naked wiggling legs slightly obfuscated by the crystal clear ripples from your kicks. Not far ahead of you there is a warm white glow coming from an opening to an underwater chamber. Take a deep breath and let yourself sink into the gentle pool knowing that everything is okay and you are free -safe to explore.”
“Swim easily through the tunnel and back up again to emerge on the other side.”
“As you break the silky surface you hear nothing but your gentle rhythmic breathing and the small twinkle of the drops beading off your body. You can stand here on a smooth stone shelf decorated with an awesome set of equally smooth stairs.”
“The rock walls around you are glowing to illuminate this new chamber in which you see a large dark wood podium. Freshly stained and shiny with an ethereal craftsmanship you have never know it calls to you. For there atop this podium, laid out to the page of your life as you know it, is the large book of your Akashic Records. Everything you have ever been. Everything you will ever be. It is all contained in this book. Go to it with purpose.”
Whenever I have been lost or feel I am broken beyond repair I always turn to myself. The passage above is a paraphrased section of a guided meditation that I have used to look deep within. I believe most decisions we are forced to make are actually made almost instantaneously. Some call it the “gut feeling.” But really -we know rather quickly what “feels right” and what “feels wrong.” The rest of the time we spend making decisions is really just convincing ourselves of what we already know is truth.
Addiction, depression, anxiety, habitual self harm are but a few of the things we use (sometimes involuntarily) to avoid the pain of making decisions. All of these afflictions have one commonality in that they are trying to create solid links in our broken mental chain.
You are thinking, “But Danny aren’t some of these things PAIN in and of themselves?”
Yes they are. They are a different type of pain. They are “quantifiable pain” used to fill the gaps caused by pain we cannot identify. We can see and feel tears (albeit a bit blurry). We can feel our heavy sinking stomach and chest when a stranger knocks on our door or we are at a party expected to “mingle.”
Those pains are REAL.
Ripples of pain pulsing through your body caused from that time in middle school someone called you fat or you told a lame joke and were shamed are much harder to identify today. Time has made you forget when that pebble was dropped in your pool. But your whole life they have never stopped beating themselves upon the strong stone walls of your mind and heart. They have eroded you slowly from the inside so much so that you “got used to it.” Isn’t this who you are now?
Who you are today is a choice you made when you opened your eyes this morning. How you feel is a choice you make right now.
I know it isn’t as easy as all that. Anyone who tells you it is, doesn’t care about you and is just trying to pacify you so they can move on with their own agenda.
With all the horrors that can befall a person in this world some of this may seem rather trivial. But there is one universal truth in that YOU are a strong person who can make decisions. Even when you feel yourself at your weakest –
You have the ability to call forth the power within, to seek help and to find new tools (there is an infinite amount of tools so don’t ever feel like there is nothing left) while casting aside what “hasn’t worked.” THAT IS HOW YOU FIND YOURSELF AGAIN.
Danny Machal April 22nd, 2015
I plunged my Buck knife into the deer carving out a piece of meat for my dog to eat. Lady’s golden tail wagged as she laid on her front paws setting to work on the offering. I shot three arrows straight into the lungs and heart of the creature like I was taught. It came down easy as it was just a big refrigerator box on which I had drawn a stag looking figure with a Sharpie. My dog didn’t mind chewing the cardboard to play along.
She was a great dog and we ran around the forest for years together as explorers, hunters, treasure seekers, fishermen and woodland settlers. Even as I write this I can still imagine what it was like to wrap myself around her giant frame and bury my face in that comforting golden fur. Silent and strong she never strayed from my side. I can still smell her special flea and tick collar mixed with tomato sauce. We took more than one bath together bathed in that thick red anti skunk smell remedy.
When I was twelve I was in the thick of budding adolescence high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our five acre property was heavily forested with Oak, Fir, Cedar and Ponderosa Pine trees. I remember telling my parents –
“I’m never living in the woods. I’m outta here to the city as soon as I can.”
Of course what I didn’t realize at the time was that the adventures I had as a boy would run way deeper than teenage rebellion ever could. As an adult the only place I find peace and tranquility is among the swooshes of wind swept bows, the trickling of streams and the gentle songs of visiting birds.
I’ll be seeking refuge in the forested woodlands wherever I am for the rest of my life.
Danny Machal April 20th, 2015