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
Have you ever dreamt of a fantastic place you had never been but somehow knew every detail?
* * *
“I am the only person in the world with this job,” the old man flipped down one of the many magnifiers causing the tiny brass gears on his eye piece to whir to life. He seems annoyed with your questions.
You fold your hands in your lap and stare at him silently as he examines a tiny glass orb with your childhood home recreated inside. Carefully he sits the orb down on a stand and nudges it toward you.
“Is it how you remember it?” he asks you in his hoarse old man voice coughing out the word ‘it.’
You lean close and take inventory of the place you grew up. Behind your reflection on the crystal clear glass you see the front porch where your Dad talked to you about girls. Mom’s failed botanical experiments hang from the white paint chipped railings as dry and barren as they always were. You can even make out the plush old blue Lazyboy in the front window that Grandpa used to sit at whenever he would visit.
You sigh quietly to yourself nodding, “It is.”
“Good,” the old man pushes a big yellow button on his desk causing a small door to open in the wall. A tiny cart attached to a tiny rail emerges like something out of Mr. Rogers trolley to the Land of Make Believe. Gently, his old leathery but practiced fingers lay the small orb into special grooves on the tiny cart securing it into place for the journey ahead to The Archive. You wonder how many times throughout history this exact ritual has been performed.
‘How many people have been called to this dark messy workshop to validate the memory of places that once were?’ you think to yourself.
He pushes the big yellow button again opening another small door at the end of the tiny rail. As you watch the tiny cart fade into that tiny black hole you wonder if you will ever see it again. Will anyone ever be able to make memories there they way you did? How could they now that it has been destroyed to make room for a Shopping Center?
The old man senses your growing concern as he has dealt with this hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands maybe even millions of times now. You turn to him as the little cart opening closes blending back into the smooth wall from which it was born leaving the tiny rail destined to a dead end.
Before you have a chance to speak the old man raises his hand in protest.
“Sleep on it,” he smiles and snaps his fingers but the sound of the crack in the air doesn’t end. It echoes as your vision fades to darkness with each pulse of sound.
* * *
Somewhere a writer is waking up. For months now he has been stuck on finding the perfect location for his new children’s book designed to teach wholesome family values.
He WAS stuck.
Danny Machal April 26th, 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
The second thanksgiving I had for my twelfth or thirteenth birthday was my most memorable and favorite childhood meal.
Mother asked me, “What do you want for your birthday dinner?”
I half jokingly said, “Thanksgiving.”
She didn’t seem to get the joke (I was hopeful she wouldn’t anyway) and before I knew it things were in full swing a few days before my birthday. A giant iced butterball was thawing in our extra fridge and my father was putting together all the ingredients to make home made croissants. They did it that way. Dad always did the baking and Mom did most of the heavy stuff. Even in home repairs it was my Mom we bought the tool box for.
Thanksgiving was always a standard spread. I can’t think of anytime that we deviated from the normal recipe list:
The ritual never changed either and on my Birthday it was no different. My Mom would wake up at like 5am to put the turkey on. The lettuce was soaked in salt water and a whole loaf of bread was torn apart into a big stainless steel bowl for the stuffing. They were like that though (my parents). They were both from the old school and things rarely changed. Much of that was passed down to me.
In many ways my upbringing was very a traditional “Leave it to Beaver” when it came to the way our home life was conducted and the values I was taught. Some of the biggest pet peeves I have (and my little family unit can attest to this) is table manners and having dinner together at the table almost everyday.
The meal went off as most thanksgivings do. We ate our faces off and it was glorious. I can’t even remember what the present were or if we had cake but damn do I remember delicious turkey and dressing.
Danny Machal April 17th, 2015