So I’m something like a thousand dollars short for Thailand — also, this isn’t a please donate to me pitch

Because here’s the thing. There’s always going to be a little risk if you’re doing something out of the ordinary. If you believe in it, and it’s not well-trodden path, there’s going to be uncertainty.

In two weeks, my mom, my girlfriend, and I are leaving for half a month in Germany. Then I leave for Thailand on January 4.

And I don’t have enough money to be completely sure it’ll be groovy and righteous for six months in Thailand. Couple that with spending half a month in a Westernized country with Westernized prices, before I even get to Thailand, and you’ve got a recipe that may make some people nervous.

But you have to allow for a little risk. It’s probably not what a lot of people like, right? That you’re most of the way there, but just a little short? So you become anxious.

But it is how it is, and there’s a reason you’re a little short. Sure, because you didn’t start saving sooner. That’s the superficial reason. But there’s a deeper cosmic thread that made you a thousand dollars short.

You don’t know what’ll come of being a thousand dollars short, and immediately branding it failure is premature. Sometimes diving into the unknown and being unsure what’s going to happen is the best move you can make because then all manner of anything can pop the hell up at it’s own volition.

Don’t be so sure it’s risky or a mistake just because your mind tells you it’s “bad.” Often, there’s a reason for it.

Death was crouched on your shoulder since the day you were born

If I could do it again, I would go to a four year college right away.

That was my manager. He told me he’d done two years of school at my local community college, and then went to a public school a few hours away. And I said, Shit, dude you’re killing me.

Because I’m torn on this subject. There’re two options when I return from Thailand; go to my local community college and save money on university fees, or go to a four year school, get charged out the ass for class, and have a rip-roaringly drunken good time.

And coming from a late twenties manager, the encouragement to go to a four year school and have a great time sounds really, really good.

I don’t want to go to community college. I don’t want to live with my parents. I don’t want to go to shitty parties. It’s just not the college experience.

But I started thinking.

Getting drunk for four straight years and having a righteous time is great. Don’t get me wrong. If I was given a free ride at school, I’d do it. Without a doubt.

There’s liquor, there’s bud, there’s beautiful girls, and the chance to enjoy it with your best friends. You can stay out until the wee hours of the morning every weekend and boast about how you only got two hours of sleep, then had to go to class, then immediately crashed afterwards.

Those things are great. Everyone loves them. But sometimes we forget the low’s.

The girls crying in bars because their friends // boyfriends // llama they had brought left them. The bro who thought it a good idea to throw punches. What goes up must come down, and the world of form is a cyclical process between pain and pleasure.

And no matter if you’re on the up, or the down, it won’t last.

One day, they’ll just be stories.

And what was once had will be missed, because it came from outside.

What is wrong with experiencing it for what it is, you say? Just having it and letting it go just as easily.

Because it’s never easy. Who do you know who serenely let’s go of something that was once good to them? A boyfriend or girlfriend? Explosive break-ups happens because it was once good, and now it is no more.

Maybe it’s the product of my doing psychedelics, but I see time and death’s influence everywhere — not in a depressing way. Just a constant reminder — time passes, the world of form changes, and death gets closer with each passing day. And that’s not in a depressing way: it’s a fact of life. Don’t mistake me; I love getting myself into a good drunken stupor with close friends as much as the next guy. I love smoking with my girlfriend.

But one day I won’t be able to do either of those things. One day my friends and I will be separated, or one day my girlfriend and I won’t be able to enjoy a bowl together.

And what do I have then?

I’m not ripping on sense-pleasures. I love them as much as the next person. I love partying, and I love rollercoasters, and I love sitting down with my first cup of coffee in the morning with an excellent book.

But one day, I may not have those things. And what is there then?

A sense of loss. But there is a state that is one of stillness.

There can be a peace, an inner stillness that prevails in your heart until the day you die. It’s possible because Jesus has shown it to be so, and the Buddha, and other sages down through the generations.

Please don’t be so distracted by the pretty things here that you forget what matters. That death was crouched on your shoulder since the day you were born. That stars are so beautiful, and the universe is so large that what happens here doesn’t really matter.

I’m not ripping on sense-pleasures. Enjoy them; I do. But please don’t be so distracted by the world in your mind you forget what matters.

On gratitude

For a daily writing blog, I’ve been slacking a tad.

When I’ve sat down to write lately, I’ve been dreading it. Procrastinating. Feeling like I’m trying to pluck an idea out of thin air.

So — since it’s approximately 12:12am, I want this to be a short post of gratitude. For two people; one whom I rarely speak to, and the other whom I enjoy talking with every hour of every day.

We’ll begin with the one I rarely speak with. There’s this dude. He’s a runner dude. We were never too close in high school, but every time we had class together we would crack jokes and laugh our asses off the entire time. He was the kind of guy you always love seeing but never make plans to hang out with.

He texted me out of the blue about half an hour ago, saying he came upon my blog via my Instagram, and he wanted to say how he enjoyed it.

I told my girlfriend about it. She told me the exact same thing; and how she was sad I hadn’t written for a few days. How every time a new post comes out, it’s like a little present for her. Shit. I’m not sure why, but those two comments were really, really nice to hear.

They’re actually why there’s a post tonight. I was going to shower and head to bed without writing before he texted me. Before my girlfriend talked to me. And for those two people, I want to express my gratitude.

 

To my beautiful girlfriend, to my favorite runner dude, and to my audience on here who’ve never met me, yet read my work anyway. Thank you so much, you fine, fine, people.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

I cried through that whole damn little book

Little sidenote: I didn’t post here yesterday because I actually posted on Reddit, instead. It kind of blew up there, so I feel obligated to post the link here

I started a book yesterday morning. I finished it yesterday night, and gave it to my girlfriend. I made her swear to begin the book last night — doubtful — before I gave it to her.

The book was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I cried through the whole book.

It’s the story of a college professor who contracts ALS, a disease that progressively destroys nerves in the brain and spinal chord. The disease moves up Morrie’s body from the legs, and he gradually loses control of everything.

One of his close former students, Mitch, goes to visit him every Tuesday as Morrie’s body gradually degenerates. They have conversations about life. And the shocking part is Morrie is still as old, sweet, and kind as ever. He faces his impending death with a serene grace. He is a light in the face of a condition that could easily turn someone cold and bitter.

I cried through the whole book. And I almost stopped because it was so painful to read.

But if I had, I wouldn’t have felt the compassion and sadness that came out of it. I wouldn’t have texted my family I loved them. And when my girlfriend came over the other night, I probably wouldn’t have given her a massage or carried her to my room from her car.

There’s a funny contradiction — most people think strength is weakness, and weakness is strength. Being strong and unfeeling is how you don’t get hurt. Being open, crying, and showing compassion is weak.

You can play power games with your friends and loved ones. You can focus on possessions and yourself.

But you will be unfulfilled through it. And when you’re gone, no one will remember the games you “won.”

But you’re loved ones will remember you. And those you loved with your heart, they will remember you.

It’s the only thing that’s important.

Do you want the discipline to craft an incredible life?

Do you want the discipline to craft an incredible life?

Most people daydream of effortlessly carving on an eight foot wave, controlling a soccer ball anywhere on your body as if it’s an extension of yourself, contorting into sublime yogic positions, or scaling a challenging crag with only mild difficulty. A lot of people would love to tastefully produce a beautiful sketch, bluff a friend at poker, or craft a stunning display of food.

But more often than not, people will attempt to learn a new skill for maybe a week. Then they’ll quickly get frustrated, and stop.

How do you create a platform that elevates you above the undisciplined majority of people?

You build a foundation.

Before, wherein my life was a chaotic sprawl of desired skills, and I yearned for inner stillness, building a foundation first provides a framework to grow from.

So, my essentials are thus; every morning I wake early enough — I try to, typically nowadays I’ll do my essentials while I’m at work — to read for at least fifteen minutes.

Next up, meditate. I meditate for sixteen minutes in the morning. One minute for settling, the next fifteen for actual meditation. I’m at peace for at least the next hour after I meditate, and sometimes the whole day. It’s a reminder of the stillness that exists when you don’t identify with the mind.

Then I write one journal page, more if I wish. At least one is required. I used to do three pages every morning, but it became such a hassle that I shifted to one required page a morning and I love it. I can always write more if there’s something troubling my mind.

After that, I write a blog post. This is negotiable, however. Not negotiable for me, but for you. I write a blog post every day because I enjoy writing. If it’s more your fancy to be a photographer, film-maker, surfer, then create your persona around that. But have it be incorporated into your life every day.

Then I try to do one physical activity a day. For me, my go to is the gym if I’m not doing anything else like rock-climbing or playing soccer. This is an important mood booster, and I feel revitalized every time I work out in some form. Anything that will get your heart-racing for half an hour a day.

If you implement these disciplines into your life not only will you feel better every day, but you’ll also be developing the willpower to learn new skills that start quite difficult.

And then, there’re the add-ons. The exciting additional skills. The hobby that’s purely recreational. .

From this essentials with one add-on perspective, you have the bedrock for a fulfilling day, and the opportunity for new growth in whatever field you deem worthy.

And there it is — a framework for living excitedly.

Go ahead, fuck shit up. It’s encouraged.

Don’t constantly espouse the virtues of the good man

To stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.

Marcus Aurelius

Stop talking and just do.

Don’t speak of how well your meditation is going, just meditate.

Stop talking of what you’ve recently discovered in your writing, and just write.

Don’t constantly espouse the virtues of a good man — we all know them. It’s much harder to show the virtues of a good man than to speak them.

Pertaining to spiritual studies; in Eastern philosophy, there is the concept of the mind, the ego, the outer self. And swiftly following, the True Self, the Presence, and the inner self.

The mind is your thinking self. A voice in your head that comments, judges, and remarks. It is your ego, and it says, “I’m eighteen, I played soccer, I’m a badass // loser // athlete // dork, and in a month I’ll leave for Thailand.”

And that mind-self blankets and obscures your True Self. If you want to run a little experiment to feel this True Self — believe me, you have already; it’s impossible to not have — then try this: Ask yourself the question, What is my next thought going to be?

Then close your eyes, and wait.

Inevitably a thought will come up. But did you notice that when you were waiting for the thought, it arose after a brief interval of no-thought? That no-thought is your conscious presence. And it’s just the surface. That’s your True Self, and it is infinitely deep. That’s not according to me. That’s according to Jesus. And the Buddha. And the Indian sages called the Upanishads. And the Sufi poet Rumi. And the Sufi poet Hafiz. And Gandhi.

The state of eternal peace, joy, and love is a reality. It’s simply obscured by your mind. When you can go beyond your mind, that’s when you’ll discover the state of infinite stillness.

And it’s already happened to you. Very likely. Do you remember when a sunset stunned your ever-seeking mind into quiet? And there were no thoughts, there was just presence? That’s your True Self coming to the forefront by a sight so beautiful it paused your mind and you were there without obstruction. Without looking through the hazy and altering perspective of your thinking mind.

On your spiritual trek, your mind will want to analyze and assess the validity of your findings. It will weigh how far you’ve come on your journey. The problem is, once you go into your mind you’ve stepped out of the no-mind, in Buddhist speak.

Your spirit exists beyond the mind, so anytime you logically try to assess what’s happening you’ve lost the thread of peace you were looking for. There’s a reason so many enlightened sages have said it’s only once you’ve stopped seeking that you will truly find.

It’s because your mind does the seeking, and once you let it be at peace you simply are. And that’s where the peace is.

Stop seeking enlightenment, and be.

You should start burning wood

You should totally have more fires.

Grab some bud, a couple of brews, and invite a few friends over. Someone asks you what you did last night. I tamed nature with lighter fluid, you calmly reply. Disclaimer; don’t use lighter fluid; or do, actually, I’m just some random guy on the internet, and lighter fluid is awesome.

There’s nothing better than staring philosophically into seductively dancing flames as you contemplate the meaning of the universe.

And you smell like bonfire. The smell of bonfire is right up there with musk and Patchouli with Tobacco in top manly scents.

Image result for bonfire candle

Boom. Check and mate.

So, how do we get this fire started for them beginner’s out there, hmm? For the enterprising young arsonist, we here at the Alessandro Trapasso blog recommend a patented three step process.

  1. Get some small, highly flammable material like twigs, leaves, and newspaper. Make it into a small ball that will catch fire and generate a moderate amount of heat.

Bonus! Did you know that if you save your dryer lint and stuff it into the cardboard roll from an empty toilet paper roll that it makes a perfect starter log? 

      2. Get some larger sticks, like small branches, and throw that shit on top of the highly            flammable starter material to create a small pyre.

3. Throw some logs and heavier wood on there to get a long-burner going and voila!                 You have a delectable fire that you can sit around for hours and enjoy with all your               friends.

It’s so easy a dumb-shit could do it.