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Resistance

resistanceI have a lot of it. Part of it is the control freak in me—I want things to go my way; I want things to be done the way I would do them. And part of it is simply my inability to accept—people as they are, circumstances, life. Certainly I would be more at peace if I could consistently stop resisting and start accepting.

But then there’s Resistance with a capital “R.” Every generation seems to have some flavor of it, but coming of age in the 80s/90s, it was all about Fuck the Police, Raging Against the Machine, Fighting the Power, and Feeling Stupid and Contagious. And I still have that, engrained in me, but tempered with practicality and a certain docility that comes with age and responsibilities. Still, those things—racism, corporate greed, corrupt government, social and economic inequality, things that destroy the environment—are all worth Resisting, no matter what I want for myself or my family.

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“The Swear Jar”: Insight On Acceptance

When I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas a couple years ago I also got a free subscription to GQ. I’m not a magazine subscriber, and not sure I would classify myself as a “GQ magazine type of guy,” but alas, somehow that subscription keeps getting filled. There are some great articles in there (and their ridiculous deals don’t help the matter).

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Photo by Franck Allais

Anyway, as I’m skimming the backlog of articles from the August issue, I came across The Swear Jar by Jay Kirk. The gist of the story is he swears *a lot*—like at his 6-year-old a lot—and with the help of his wife, devises a punishment which includes ordering a giant African millipede online and sticking his hand in it’s cage as a punishment.

Before you laugh, take a look at some of the pictures of this thing. It can be 15″ long AND shoots effing cyanide. Yeah. This might paint a picture of the masterfully written article and the situation:

Using the tongs and a pair of pliers, I managed to convey, awkwardly, the deli container into the roomy interior of the Critter Cage. Pinning the deli container to one corner with a paint stick, I used the tongs to pull off the lid, and then, feeling like I might faint, tilted the container, and out rolled the millipede with a hard click on the glass. For a second I thought it was dead. But then it began to uncoil. I took a few steps back as it slowly lengthened, lengthened out some more, and then erected itself against the glass, antennae probing, its hundreds of blood-red legs rippling, moving in peristaltic waves, scritching at the glass like a thousand tiny ink black bird talons.

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Unplugged from The Matrix: Being Alive in Reality

the_matrixThis past couple years I’ve unplugged from the Matrix. Unlike the popular movie, it hasn’t been so dramatic as joining an underground militia to start a human revolution against machines, but the plot is actually pretty similar.

If you’re somehow not familiar with the movie, the basic gist is that people in the future become slave-batteries, powering machines, and are kept subdued by having their brains tapped into and fed fake realities. It all seems real until you’re unplugged from the matrix and shown a much harsher, but ultimately freer reality; a reality in which you have choice. In my own life, I’ve started focusing on my problems, stopped drinking alcohol, started working on my spirituality, and started realizing that in everything—even how I feel—I have a choice.

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Expectations: Pre-Meditated What?

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Expectations are pre-meditated resentments.

I have come to learn that this is simply true. And although I’ve accepted this as true, it’s amazing how often I still fall prey to this old habit of creating and holding onto expectations. Part of my work with acceptance and gratitude has helped me improve how I look at and deal with life, and another big piece of “project self-betterment” is trying to eliminate those damned expectations.

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Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Giving Up

acceptanceAcceptance is a word I’ve struggled with in the past because I often equated it to giving up. And because I looked at it in that light, I fought it hard and I fought it often. Until relatively recently—the past year or so—anything that wasn’t the way I wanted was unacceptable. Either there was something I could do to change it, someway I could look at a problem differently to fix it, or just flat-out work harder to make it the way I wanted. I even approached people and their behavior in this way. I always said I couldn’t change people, but I thought that I could make choices that would then “steer” people in the direction I wanted. I couldn’t just accept how others were and the choices they made.

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