Saturday, May 25, 2013

Holding the Center

A man walking up the mountain to enlightenment encounters an older man walking down the mountain with a radiant smile and a stick with two jugs of water on his back. Curious, the younger man asked the older man with the smile, "What is enlightenment?!"

Still smiling, the older man put down his water jugs, looked to the sky, opened his arms and breathed in the warm, morning sun. After a moment, the older man stopped what he was doing, returned to a normal posture and looked at the young man.

"What comes after enlightenment?" the young man again queried.

The old man pointed to and then once again shouldered his water jugs, settling them squarely on his shoulders, and once again began carrying his load down the path.

The moral of the story is that after enlightenment we all need a drink.

Actually, that is not the real moral of the story (but I suppose it could be). The real moral is that enlightenment, actualization, or self-realization is not an end, but a beginning. Getting to somewhere in life is only part of the journey. What comes after our goals is equally important and equally part of life. It's not always exciting and usually looks like work. The old saying that it's not the end that counts, but the journey has meaning here.

Recently on facebook, I posted up a video of a hardcore isometric breathing exercise practiced in Goju Ru Karate called Sanchin kata. For three years, students had to endure this training and other strengthening exercises before they were ever shown techniques. Of course, technique is important, but by the time one had finished their initiation into the art, they were already bad asses and could handle most situations. Their character was forged along the way, and perhaps without realizing it, they had achieved their goals.

This is sort of a romantic way of saying don't eschew the journey. Pick up your cross. Do your duty. Event if you haven't achieved your desired outcome, what matters is what and who one becomes along
the path.

For me this is a hard saying. The daily loadout can be overwhelming sometimes and not in conformity with our desires. Sometimes the problems that arise are outright bullshit, or seem to be, especially since they come at the "wrong time."

The truth is we can't always pick our battlefield, regardless of our visualizations and ideals. Sometimes we simply need to set our jaws and ready the artillery. Learn to take the hit and hopefully to dish one or two out.

Kick ass and take names.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Bad Weather

I've been blogging about the coming economic S-storm for years. So have many other people. Here are some additional reflections that I need to get off my chest:

1.) When I look back to 2008-2009, I think wow, back then I was more intrigued than worried, but still worried. Now I am less intrigued, but still worried. I guess what I am trying to say is that we can be years away from the economic event still. Sure, things have not truly improved, IMO. We have been strung along for many months now into the present day "recovery" which is not a recovery. It is a papering over, one that could last for years to come. A feeling of economic morass or gradual decay can continue to be the prevailing climate for years.

2.) The shift is actually happening now. It is occurring as we speak. Just because CNN isn't covering it doesn't mean there haven't been casualties. The S has hit the fan for some people. Many of them have re-adjusted and moved on. Others have not. Everyone is looking towards an event that will change everything. I think there will be one, probably many, but significant things making that possible are happening now and will continue to do so.

3.) The time is now to prepare, while it is still easy to do so. Make the big changes now, while it easy to do. Ammo, for example, is still scarce in my neck of the woods, but 6 months ago, it was more or less abundant. Resources will not always be there. Additionally, moving or taking on a large project will likely be easier now than in the future, due to cost and possibly available materials. The home center might not always have what you need. Stocking up now on known needs is a good idea.

4.) It is never to late to engage in long-term goals. Food storage is one that rings a bell for me. I recently found a local supplier that can obtain bulk comestibles at huge discounts. Getting to a year of food storage can be done if it is achieved, like many other things, in manageable steps.

5.) The media doesn't matter as most think it does. The left and right dichotomy means very little when it comes to fundamentals--most will vote away our liberty if they can get away with it. Having followed the right-wing group think for many years, I believe that the fundamental argument is about liberty and that the artificial philosophical construct on all news outlets makes sheeple more manageable. Being independent and going your own road is a habit that is going to mean more in the days ahead.

6.) Inflation is emerging more and more as a felt reality. Our grocery bill would be astronomical if it were not for stores like Smart Shopper. The big box chains are pricy too, but not as bad as the local markets. Food production moving forward is going to be more and more critical to routine survival. Gardening is key if you want to eat well. The same goes for canning like a moe-foe.

7.) Paying off debt is more important than acquiring a new thing. This goes for anything, including "small" purchases. Debt=slavery. Lack of debt=freedom. I really wanted to buy a new vehicle but am holding off because I believe that I should pay cash. It's going to take me longer to get what I want, but so be it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

8.) Again, not buying useless things or making useless purchases is huge. Decoupling from having lots of shit collecting dust will bring freedom and peace hitherto unknown. It is a neverending process--the more I get rid off, the more I have to work to make sure things don't come back to fill empty spaces. The operative word here is mobility. You can be more mobile in life when you pare down to the essentials. Figuring out what those are is never-ending process sometimes, but mobility=greater freedom, less attachment to things that can get one bogged down.

9.) The time is now to bug out. Setting up a homestead in a rural area takes time. If that is the eventual plan, doing it now while the market is heating up, makes sense. Of course, there are logistics to be considered, but getting to your perfect place should be part of the plan now, not something to put off.

10.) Be real with yourself. Some people believe nothing will happen. Meanwhile, our gov't prints 85 billion dollars a month. Gregory Mannarino, an economic analyst I follow, repeatedly says "You wanna be on the right side of that trade when the economic shift happens en total." I believe he is right. The game is rigged. Figure out your own shit and act accordingly. Now, not some make believe day in the future, is the time to take action.

BONUS 11.) Every day I work, I usually have to write for some student that "the primary cause of the Great Depression were the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve." The roaring 20s occurred in part because the Fed created easy money for institutional investors and companies. I believe Silent 'Cal chose not to run in 1928 because he knew the bust that was to come would be bad. Where the Federal
Reserve has brought us today is infinitely worse. That should tell us something.

Right now, as of this writing, there is still time and great opportunity to plan and make changes in our lives. In the future there will only be increasing uncertainty and fake recovery until we reap what we have sown. I write this list for myself as a reminder of resolve. Additionally, I don't want any readers of this blog--myself included--to kick our own ass for not taking advantage of the opportunities and time we had to prepare for a trip through the economic Black Forest.

Not everyone is going to make it out alive. For those that do, it will most likely not have been an easy journey.

God Bless.

Over and Out,