Meditation- A Whole Lotta Nothing

E 49 1/2 Street

The next three light chunks are all relevant pieces to the 1 More World puzzle. They just didn’t find a natural place to hide among the existing and planned content.   


Two Eggs From My Neighbor

I thought selling the house I’ve owned since I was 23 would break my heart. That adorable little periwinkle house on E 49 ½ Street in Austin has meant so much to me. My work as a competent handyman is all over that house, every inch of it. My identity is tiled, hammered and painted into the walls. Even though I’d moved away from Austin in 2017, I still had that home-sweet-home in Austin to anchor my soul. My emotional connection to that house has been so strong…I’ve been resistant to even think about selling it. Always in the back of my mind was the thought that no matter how far I wandered, someday… when I am old and sick and seeking only comfort, I will return to that peaceful house and close out my days.

Marianne, my immediate next door neighbor of that same house, pitched herself pretty hard on being the right person to help take over management of my Airbnb starting in 2020. This meant I would have someone local, right next door in fact, to respond to guest inquiries and clean the space for each new guest. For her services she would earn a share of the revenues, of course. I admit to feeling some hints of doubt about Marianne from the get-go, but her enthusiasm for the side-hustle opportunity was genuine and I was soon feeling (mostly) comfortable that I’d made a solid business decision. 

What I didn’t know in January of 2020 was that the coronavirus pandemic was poised to wipe out every one of the dozen reservations we’d already had sitting on the books. March, my most profitable month, was going to collapse to zero. My relationship with Marianne was going to sour in less that 2 months…. and end with her going B-A-N-A-N-A-S and throwing two eggs at the side of my house. In response, I both reported her to the police and also sent her a legally binding cease and desist letter. Really, it was a stressful nightmare, all of it. 

And Marianne continues to live next door.

Suddenly, selling my golden house just got a helluva lot easier. Do things happen for a reason? I find that phrase problematic at best. But it sure seems a perfect fit for this situation.

Once I sell the house (it goes on the market this third week of August), I will miss many things about it, perhaps above all else the sense of financial security it gave me. I will also miss making the same little funny I’d made countless times since owning the house. Whenever I told someone over the phone my address was on E 49 ½ Street, I would say it…..pause….(for just the right amount of time)…..then add, “I couldn’t afford the whole street.”


Meditation- A Whole Lotta Nothing

My two cents on mediation doesn’t warrant its own post, nor does it play a huge “connective” role in the working of my puzzle. Yet, I don’t want to leave it out completely. It’s something I learned how to do (though I’m still at the intro level) and intend to get more into it over the next 25 years.

For any readers not here since the start, in a previous post I talked about getting introduced to cannabis in 2017 in the form of honey for my Sleepy-Time Tea. This was all for the targeted purpose of helping me sleep better in the wake of a hard break-up. Well, you should know that cannabis wasn’t the only car I was test-driving. I also tried meditation; to help me sleep but more generally to help me slog through my post-breakup sadness and uncertainty. Since it’s hard to blink twice these days without hearing about the profound benefits of meditation, I committed myself to getting onboard the meditation train. Here’s how it went down and what I got out of it.

Geez I had to be patient! It wasn’t until my 6th or 7th WEEK! of nearly daily attempts to “meditate” that I felt I’d finally achieved some brief, minimal, level-one meditative state of mind. That’s why most people that try to meditate give up after a few days. For the first month and a half of daily attempts to “meditate,” it was never more than just normal me sittin’ in a chair with my eyes closed, trying to both hold still and relax, while thinking about my breathing. Day after day I did it, but I swear nothing was happening. In other words, I never once felt like I was in a meditative state of anything. It was always just me sitting there like a chump in my regular old everyday mind. (Though, I guess I’m not counting the many times I feel asleep.)

So what happened? When did I finally slip into something more than nothing? 

I will describe finding yourself in a meditative state like this. You know how when you enter one room from another there is sometimes a slightly different atmosphere to it? It’s kinda like that. Think of a 1970’s era newsroom at a busy newspaper- all the reporters shouting into their black corded phones, interns and cubs rushing all around with notes in their hands. Then the editor calls you into his office at one end of the floor. It’s walled off with glass. You enter and close the door behind you. The sights, sounds and general hub-out of the main room are still there, just beyond the glass walls, but the atmosphere of the editor’s office is clearly different. Slipping into a meditative state is sort of like that, though the contrast in atmosphere one would feel in the above scenario is far greater than most would find when meditating. Nevertheless, I think this analogy gives you the basic sense of it. 

Do you now want to know the big secret? I mean, do you wanna know what happens when you cross that threshold into a meditative state?

A whole lot of nothing! It’s my experience that once that threshold into a meditative state is crossed, nothing changes in terms of what I’m doing. I keep-on counting my breaths just like I had been and see how long I can hold onto it. My way of counting breaths is to count both inhales and exhales from one to ten and then back to one again. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s super-boring- just counting your breaths, I mean. And it’s not easy since the mind has a mind of its own. But if you’re able to do it steady enough and for long enough, it does appear to be a portal into meditation…. into the inner-space cavern of your mind. 

What I got out of meditation is so hard to quantify. After meditating month after month, I felt better. But was that the mediation? Or that I was sleeping better with the aid of a few molecules of cannabis? Or simply that more time had passed since the breakup? Best answer here is going to be D) All of the above.

Whether mediation by itself helped me feel better or not takes a back seat to my feeling of accomplishment for simply crossing that meditation threshold. Though I’ve not taking the meditation highway very far- I’m barely beyond the on ramp -I do believe there is good value in it. One of the most helpful things I tell myself as I prepare to meditate is this, For the next 15 minutes (or however much time I’ve carved out for myself), I have nothing to do. That right there feels like a respite.

Meditation may be a whole lotta nothing….but there’s definitely something to it.


Writing as Therapy

As you will learn in a post that’s coming up about three into the future, two months ago I began doing a very curious type of therapy. One and a half months ago, I started writing this blog.

It would be normal to assume these two events are connected. Nope! It was more of a lucky break. I approached each of these endeavors totally independently. It’s not like the therapist told me to start writing a blog; though I do recognize that would be a very typical therapisty type of suggestion. All over the world therapists are saying it right now, Have you thought about keeping a journal?  

I totally get it now!!! 

At least part of why therapy works (theoretically) is that when you talk about your baggage and start to figure out why you turned out like you did, that new-found knowledge helps your present-self manage life a little better. Journaling, or writing the type of blog this one is, has me trekking backwards into territory I hadn’t trespassed on this thoroughly since childhood. 

The Maybe I’m Jesus! post is a prime example. When I began the post my intention was to tell you about the day I thought I might be Jesus; a day I’ve long thought of as both foundational and shamefully funny. In order to tell the story, I had to set it up. That’s when I found an old cigar box of nascent memories and underlying truths.

The process of writing that post showed me that my upbringing was far more strongly anchored in Christianity than I was previously aware. My next awareness was of just how shitty and F’d up that whole charade was. I should be raging mad about it. In just a few posts ahead I will explain to you why I’m not. 


The very next post- Cannabis for an Alien, Part III -finishes off my cannabis chunk of the 1 More World puzzle. [Adios, Yrag!] I must say, this was a very challenging topic to write about. There was so much I thought was worth saying. The problem was how to organize the content in a way that flows. But the biggest challenge of all was how to make it interesting. I aimed to make it a good read for both cannabis newcomers and longtime “potheads.” I welcome any comments regarding how well I pulled it off. 

Lots more awesome posts up ahead… Do you like mushrooms?

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Gary is a Solar Technician and writer living in Boulder, CO, who loves to play Ultimate frisbee!!

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