Deconstruct Your Problems

As I look at my problems – analyze and deconstruct suffering – it is not difficult to see that comparatively speaking my problems are minimal to nonexistant. For comparison’s sake I point out that I have not and probably never will be seriously concerned with whether or not I will have enough food to eat or be protected from the elements.

Things I consider to be issues are whether or not to upgrade my handheld computer to the latest operating system and run the risk of having my old programs not work, thus having to find new programs and configure them. Or whether I’d prefer to eat at a Mexican or Thai restaurant for dinner. Or if I really don’t want to eat more sugar that I’ll have to drive to the south end of town to buy the special sugar and dairy free frozen dessert before the shop closes.

And as I meditate on this vertigo-inducing look at the relativity of “problems”, I realize that all of these examples and more are actually indicative of something that I would consider a legitimate problem for someone in my position, and really the source of my personal suffering is that gadgets and being served and eating gross desserts really only function to distract me from accomplishing anything meaningful.

I have only one problem: I don’t spend enough time developing my spiritual life. And that I’ve created a life in which making the time for my practice is rather difficult. Because I have a job (a few jobs, actually) and material ambitions. Oh, surely I can pat myself on the back for working in a yoga studio rather than a shopping mall, but how different are they, really? (Well, the answer to that one is rather complicated, and hinges on how you – and the studio’s clients – define “yoga”.) I trade time for money, and with the money I rent a house, buy costly health food, have high-speed internet, and pay off debt. Somehow, in my awkward schedule, I find it nearly impossible to carve out more that a quarter hour to practice: meditation, taiji, bodywork, martial arts.

All the things that are most important to me are the first to be sacrificed in the name of an urban lifestyle.

Chin High

I love to write, and I love to write for this journal/blog. I craft entries in my head for days, weeks even, imagining a perceived audience anticipating my update quietly. But the posts don’t get written, and my drawling mental drafts get weary and frayed. I plan to write. “Today I’ll make a blog post”, I think. I put it on my “To Do” list, which is any variety of scraps of paper, chunky felt-tipped letters on a dry erase board, note books, post-its, text on a mobile phone. But the posts don’t get written, the list is too long.

I begin to get miffed at myself, and even resent the perceived audience. I don’t get emails or personal tribe messages inquiring to my well-being, so I imagine that nobody is out there, or that nobody cares. And that’s not really important, and not really why I write. So, before I give you a bulleted story as to my excuses and perpetual priorities, I’m just going to say:

Maybe I’m taking a vacation from the ‘net for a while. Maybe I’ll not be planning to write another post, to be a blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you shouldn’t wait for another entry in my journal. Instead, you send me a personal message on tribe. Send me an email. Get on Skype and add meĀ as your friend. Figure out what Twitter is and add mojohito as your friend. Dial 415 992 5525 and see what happens. Leave a voice mail message. I’m really easy to learn about, find, talk to. But I don’t have the time to make the time to sit down and write to you a beautifully worded entry about all the events listed below. I’m re-prioritizing, and instead of blogging, I meditate. Instead of abosrbing information, I integrate. Instead of thinking, I do. Here’s a sample:

> Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center. I work the front desk as a receptionist, I update the website, I make fliers and you know what? I’m making print adverts that get published.
> Tahoe Yoga some more. I facilitate taiji sessions, five days a week, in addition to the desk job.
> Hito’s Homemade. The kombucha is thriving, and so is the market for my humble project. Heatherlee and I are working together on this, 50/50 and splitting profits, but it’s difficult to keep up with the work necessary. It’s probably a black market operation, but the Health Department doesn’t return my phone calls, so I don’t know.
> Great Basin Community Food Cooperative. I’m the webmaster, which means I maintain and update the website, and think a lot about how to make it better for the people who use it. I also maintain the bulletin board and the events calendar, which get a lot of spam, which takes more time to delete.
> GBCFC cont’d: I’m doing ordering, which is about five hours every week or every other week.
> GBCFC part III: I’m still on the Board of Directors. But I’ve quit the other committees, and stopped going to meetings.
> Healthy Beginnings; It’s a Lifestyle Magazine. My first professional article will be published in the May issue of this local magazine. I expect to have future articles published locally, and move up from there. I love to write.
> Canemasters: at my first ranking test, Grandmaster Mark Shuey Sr. was impressed with how quickly I’m improving, and skipped a rank. I’m in the Cane Masters International Association, and I ought to be teaching the exercise routine classes for folks with limited range of motion and recovering from injuries within a month or two. Still have a lot of work to do before I’m ready to teach self defense.
> Bodywork. I finally put in my application to take the National Certification Exam for Massage and Bodywork today. Really looking forward to practicing shiatsu legally, but I’ve got a lot of anatomy studying to do.
> Dharma. I think I’m finally beginning to learn what this means, thanks to Lama Marut of a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. I STRONGLY encourage you to check out his website and subscribe to his podcast: I’m finally putting some things aside and taking up a daily meditation practice. Finally, I’m beginning to understand.

No doubt that I am forgetting at least one major project in my life. Like the garden, or the house, or living healthy relationships, or experimenting with computer networking, or writing for, or…

Oh, and my parents have bought the piece of land near Chico, and them and Brother Cheetah expect to move out of Reno in June to begin the farm.

Look, go back up there, and find the part about how to reach me, and consider trying. The future is now. It’s wide open. Be alert, bring your awareness into your body, into your breath, each moment.

You might have money now, but soon enough you will find that Love is the only currency. And that’s not bullshit, so you better get your karma in order.

Like music? Listen to Roots Manuva’s “Awfully Deep” and be moved by some urban spiritual warrior hip hop dub like you’ve never heard.

Keep it real.

In Solidarity,

Over and Out

The Popcorn Situation

In case you didn’t already figure it out yourself, here’s the proper way to handle the popcorn situation:

I used to love to pop my corn in an electric wok cranked on high and a little bit of oil, with the lid cracked to let steam escape. But since I’ve learned about healthy oils and toxic oils and what happens to oils when they get heated and so on, I’ve developed a better system.

Firstly, get yourself an older air-popper popcorn machine. The new ones are crap. Spend two-fifty at the Reno Sparks Gospel Mission and get the grubbiest one you can find. Grubbiness indicates a long and healthy use. Pop your corn. I often use paper grocery bags folded over for popcorn; they’re mobile. Get the popped corn in the bowl or bag before adding the toppings, including and especially oil:

The best part is to use a lot of unrefined flax seed oil; it adds a delictible greasiness to the popcorn, and just so happens to be rich in essential fatty acids used by the brain.

For saltiness, my favorite is nama shoyu – raw, unpasteurized soy sauce – a nice probiotic. But for a kick I use ume plum vinegar – sweet and tart and salty, a real dynamic flavor sensation. For these two I put them in little pump spray bottles and mist the popcorn. Pretty clever, huh?

Optionally, add some nutritional yeast – or again more daring: spirulina or alfalfa powder!

Seriously, folks, you can turn popcorn into a uber-healthy superfood delivery system.


I am pleased to report that Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center in Reno is up and running. The Center is absolutely beautiful, and a dream to work at every day. The first week was slow, but attendence has been steadily increasing and we’re starting to see some normal numbers. I’ve been facilitating tai chi every day for the past week, and, not surprisingly, I’m very much getting into the flow. For the most part, my only students have been my parents and Heather, and I am thrilled that my folks are taking to tai chi so enthusiastically. Constant tai chi and yoga practice is radically shifting my world. Between classes (when I’m not at the desk) I sit on the couch and drink tea or kombucha and talk about healing arts with other people hanging out in the space.
I’m taking direct steps towards the National Certification Exam for massage, because – although shiatsu is distinctly different from massage therapy – I need National Certification to get a state massage license to practice shiatsu. Maybe I’ll do massage for TYWC, but my real vision is the nutrition/shiatsu/tai chi combo based on Taoist Five Element model. It’s very effective and from what I’ve seen. no one else around here (Reno/Great Basin) is doing anything similar.
Heather and I are moving out; we’re getting out of the big house shared with my parents and brother Cheetah and moving into our own big house! If all goes according to plan. It’s a beautiful four bedroom on 3/4 acre in the valley. It’s one of the older houses in the neighborhood, totally bikeable around town. The place is bigger than we need (and heating will be an issue in the winter), but we’ll have lots of room for our various experiments and have plenty of space for meetings, potlucks, guests, and wrestling.
The place was a punk-rock flop house for years, run primarily by various combinations of the Salliberry sisters (3 brilliant and crazy young women who are long time friends); everybody who’s anybody in the Reno hipster scene has lived there at some time or another. Now, for whatever reason, all the roommates are moving out at once, and the place is up for grabs, including a fair bit of antique furniture and a lot of salvaged doors. Maybe a drum-kit, too. Heather and I are taking it, in two weeks.

This will be a very interesting experiment if only for one reason: for the almost 10 collected years that I’ve lived in Reno, I have always lived in this same suburban house with my folks. It’s worked out well, I’d say, but I’ve always felt isolated and dependent on my (lovely) car to get around. I’ve thought I’d like Reno much more if I lived in town, able to bike and walk to get around. Now I get to impliment that notion, utilizing a house reminiscent of Fight Club as home base.

We’re getting serious. Plum flower poles. Jungle gym. Slackline. Octogon?

I can’t believe I forgot to mention: I’ve been appointed a position on the Great Basin Community Food Cooperative Board of Directors! I hope that I can now more effectively help provide leadership for our budding food store intoooooo the FUTURE!

And some good news and some bad news:

The good news is that my Magyar-Romanian friend Bori has been accepted into Oxford. I don’t know if she ever reads this, but she deserves congratulations!

The bad news is that sustainability hero Old Mill Farm manager Cas severely wounded his hand almost two months ago. He’s expected to make a full recovery, no thanks to our government:

After applying for workman’s compensation he was instead fined $15,000 for not having a guard on the table-saw, adding insult to injury. Does the person who made that decision sleep soundly at night? S/he’s certainly not helping anyone – this fine not only affects Cas and his family, but everyone in Mendocino who relies on OMF to provide beyond-organic meat and vegetables! I don’t often curse people, but this development makes me furious. Sorry Cas. I’m losing sleep over it, seriously.