What to do when there’s nothing you can do

When problems are way beyond my scale.

When I feel helpless and without control.

When there’s no obvious, effective answer:

The only way to properly pay respects to lives lost, or lives in peril, is to fully appreciate my own.  Instead of feeling guilt for having while others are lacking, instead appreciate fully.

Not the fluffy & blingy, but the essential.

The things that would immediately go missed whilst taking the last breaths of life.

That hug.  That smell. That familiar life-long voice on the phone.  My limbs and senses and the ever-changing smoggy sky.  Breakfast.  Second breakfast.  Going to work in relative peace.  Tea.  Everyday luxuries.

To ignore and trivialize these things would be to miss the point of terror.
Where I am and as who I am… I can only do so much as far as truly “fighting” back.
But not allowing that terror to invade my own life, until it physically may, is my own personal little war against it.

I have no control over the world.  But I have full control over my world.
To realize the moments, the minutes…to recognize that every second that I have is one that someone else no longer has, is tragedy.  Yet to use that as a cause for despair within my personal, otherwise unmarred life would be even more tragic.

The point is to use my grief as a starkly star-lit realization of the things I’ve always known but never wanted to face.
We are mortal.  Shit happens out of nowhere.  Life is chaos and doesn’t adhere to reason or fairness.

This brings me back to reality.  What really matters.
Using tragedy as awareness and appreciation and getting lost in the bittersweet-savory-salty-picante-delicious present reality… regardless… is the true, good, fight.

And whatever may come will find me spending my unknowing last moments in appreciation and joy and questionably appropriate humor.
And I could die at peace.

So until then…


Building the Monastery


  • reverently dedicated to a purpose.
  • regarded with reverence.


Sometime recently this blog turned 3.  And I’ve been MIA this whole month.

But I’ve been more present than ever in Life.

I’ve been building things, creating beauty for myself from things regarded as worthless.

It’s not about money.  It’s not about possessions.  It’s not about impressions.

These things do matter…but only as far as they do to myself.

How does my money, possessions, surroundings, feel to me?  Myself?

Do I like the impression that I give MYSELF?

I was wrong by trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations.  Doing it their way, for them, in thinking that I will get what I want out of it. It’s manipulative.

I want my surroundings to be for me.

I used to decorate with other people’s perceptions in mind.  I’ve gone through party-scene, romantic, wannabe-elegant, artsy-lofty….  They each provided a piece of the feeling I was going for, but never fully fulfilling what I needed for myself.

The purpose now is for my space to offer me peace, happiness, and ultimately a place to flourish and grow and create.  A cocoon.  A safe place of free flowing thought and aesthetic.

Do not underestimate your cocoon, your pupation station, your sacred spot dedicated to your own personal purpose.

Build it with attention to detail for what works for you, not impressions to the world.

4 months ago I was beginning to fancy goals such as Balenciaga purses and Range Rovers.

They are beautiful, but for what?  If they were invisible to the rest of the world would I still honestly want them as much?

Same with everything I keep in my space.

I’m aiming to impress myself.  Just me.

What would that look like?




Constant Reminders & Imperfect Circles


I am always intrigued by tattoos with a philosophy — something that a person has chosen to embed permanently upon themselves as a constant reminder of what they strive towards.

Epicurus taught that although we may know what we believe in, it’s easy to forget and lose sight of our true priorities amidst the pressures and chaos of life.  His remedy for this was having constant reminders.  A dedicated follower one famously etched Epicurus’ teachings onto a wall in the middle of a plaza as a giant red reminder that true happiness is found within us, not in material wealth.

A similar modern practice is placing symbols around the home as unavoidable reminders of one’s religious devotion… or who one should root for on game day.


I don’t have any tattoos, and at this point in my life I doubt I ever will.  I just can’t commit, and while I love them on other people I quite like my raw canvas of blank skin.

Instead I’ve always found ways to non-invasively remind myself of a particular philosophy I was eager to practice.

As a teenager I strung a tiny snowflake charm around my neck to remind me of Iceland (I was enamored with Bjork’s unique creative philosophy).  I’ve kept tiny notebooks as little bibles full of quotes & pictures that I would refer to throughout the day to inspire me and get my focus back on track.  Music playlists were also extremely helpful.

My recent interest has been in imperfect circles.

They show how much beauty there is in the unexpected, the incomplete, the naturally occurring.  The raw Enso circle in Zen philosophy represents the moment the mind is free to let the body create.

Plus they often magically appear under frequented cups of caffeine or wine… pretty coool.IMG_1709



Mad Max Mentality


When you’re dead set on your purpose, you don’t allow in anything other than what supports you.

Despite the deplorable conditions of the Mad Max realm, the most charismatic inhabitants are fiery and awe-inspiring in how much they give themselves to their survival.

They know they’re going to have to suffer big-time.  They know the world is out to get them.   They don’t know what easy is.  But they do it because they believe it’s worth it.  They don’t have a choice.

In the post-apocalypse no one has time to say “this shouldn’t be happening to me”.  Life is happening, and when you’re fully invested in your purpose it’s supposed to hurt.   It’s supposed to be a struggle.  You bleed and face a million obstacles, but it’s wonderful because you’re fighting for what you truly believe in.

This is how I want to live, fighting like a brute –albeit a slightly more refined and less lethal brute– for my true interests, my true self, my true beliefs and worthiness.

The kamikaze-like war boys of Mad Max live brainwashed and deprived, but I don’t need to be in order to tap into that mental drive and crazed intention.

All the excitement, suspense, tragedy and glory of the high-definition thriller happen to each and every one of us, although we tend to write off their momentousness because we perceive them as mundane annoyances.

When everything around me seems to be going wrong, it can still be a lovely day.  Because the struggle is worth what I believe in.

Combat skills can only go as far as the mental skills that drives it.   The only real thing that will keep us going when it feels like our world is imploding is how we choose to think about it.

Creativity thrives on Imperfection


I realized that on perfect days I tend to not get much done.

I’m not agitated enough, hurried enough, flustered enough.

Like many, I work best under a time crunch.   While heavy urgency can cause excess stress and botched jobs, in the right amount it can also force us to think up crazy wonderful new ideas and put an end to analysis paralysis.

If the world was perfect and we could safely sleep under the stars every night and never want for anything, civilizations would have never formed, technology never devised, and culture never created.

It is through having a need, perceived imperfections, a struggle, that we become the most inventive and amazingly brilliant.

What is the perfect situation anyway?

If I  didn’t have insomnia last night?  If today wasn’t 98 degrees?  If I didn’t have to deal with traffic, or my day job, or demanding LA folk?

Despite my initial inclination to grumble, I know that these are the days that I make the most notes, have sudden ideas, epiphanies, and creative solutions … if I am allowing of it.

If I am allowing of it.

The Spaces in the Places



It doesn’t have to be ugly.  It’s just people on the streets.  Just discarded items.  Just places that haven’t been given love in a while.  It’s just someone reacting to another reaction.

It doesn’t have to be scary.  These things have all been done before in some shape or form by other human beings.  We are meant to be strong, resilient, supple.  We are meant to endure and find ways to balance again.

It doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s just another day, another thought, another series of actions.  And it’s always a choice.

It doesn’t have to be complex.  It’s just many simple things put together.  It’s just things doing what they do.  It’s just life going about it’s crazy way.

It doesn’t have to be black or white.  Something can be great and awful at the same time.  Something can be brilliant yet stupid.  Something can be beautifully ugly.  Something can be many things all at the same time.

The pressure doesn’t need to be there.  It’s just people saying things, doing things.  It’s just pictures across a screen, on a large sign.

It’s just words in the media.  It’s just people who happen to be known by many other people.

It’s just the world moving along.

Beautiful Paradoxes


Bringing the zen concepts to modern life without the asceticism.  Simplifying everything and still living in a chaotic world.  Mindfulness in a driven life.

When the mind is free to let the body create.

I notice that I have been happier and more appreciative of what I have instead of immediately “needing” to change everything.  I think this is a big step.

The dark with the light.  Thinking about death allows me to experience more joy in life.  Finding beauty in the dark & gritty places allows me to fully feel the gloriousness of sunlit white rooms.  Hard metal music allows me to appreciate the sublimity of lush ambient soundscapes.

I really do think that this is what people are seeking.  Living this crazy life, but feeling good and living well.  Not having to escape, not having to need more, not thinking other people need to change first.

Only owning things that feel good.  Thinking thoughts that feel good.  Using creative solutions instead of buying into societal group-think.

Doing things truly for yourself, because that is who you’ll be with in the end.

Life is too short to not allow ourselves to see the beauty in each moment.  The dark & light.  The imperfect & flawless.  The so-called right & wrong.

Once basic needs are met, it’s never about money.   Once we see beauty in what we have, we no longer feel like we need that extra object.

Simplifying starts with the mind, so we can create more with our life.