Category Archives: Reflection

Time keeps on slippin’…

I thought the “time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future” song was a Donald Byrd song. Nope. It’s Steve Miller Band!

(Donald Byrd is awesome, tho.)

…into the future

Dozens of friends graduated this weekend. It was a great time seeing them, celebrating, connecting.

One friend asked for advice, which I gave, but I think my more concrete advice was to his younger brother: “Don’t flip off the wrong person.”

Which in more positive words is just, “Be kind.”

You never know what will affect others

More than anything in the past year I’ve tried to be kinder. Not only to friends and family, but to myself, to strangers, to other people’s creative endeavors. Even to the idea of a business. To corporations that should do more right by their workers, and to politicians I completely disagree with.

It’s beyond the “Don’t be evil” à la Google, and more about being more active in reaching out and expressing gratitude.

Not where I expected this post to go!

(But I’m going to publish anyway, like Bill O’Reilly did that one time.)

Screenshot of old draft posts.

The oldest draft on the blog database is almost a year old.

I don’t know what I’ve done over the past year, but I do have concrete evidence of things I haven’t done. Things I have done that I haven’t yet shared. Like my impromptu trip to Guasti, California, inspired by a copy of Boom: A Journal of California found in the racks at Barnes & Noble.

Share stories

Okay, okay! I’ve done things. Not all all the things, but I know this much: Things I have done and will do. Things I know and create, stories I’ve heard.

I want to share them with you.

Surfers with Santa Cruz Island on the Horizon

Share things like this!

And I want to hear your stories, see things you create. Beyond a +1, Facebook post, or RT, I want to move toward…

…a Solidarity in Life

My favorite parting with good friends as of late is: “Solidarity in life.”

I like to say I was talking with someone, or asking “Can I talk with you?” as opposed to using “to.” There are YouTube videos out there about how to leave a more optimum voicemail, or to have the best voicemail greeting. When I answer the phone I say, “Hi, this is Andy,” to stem off confusion and the small amount of stress that comes from one voice trying to find another.

Addendum

Hopefully there are enough transitions, segues, and words for you to connect what I’m thinking. I am hungry right now and about to take a shower. Yesterday I didn’t write a poem for the first time in almost half a year. My refrigerator ought to be stocked and I’ll make sure this time to remember the reusable bags.

Solidarity in life, reader.

Resilience and toilet paper tubes

A perspective I’ve taken on lately is that life is a series of moments. A few of those moments happen in the bathroom. And in the bathroom sometimes there isn’t toilet paper.

Just an empty toilet paper roll.

Waiting and probably so useless as to whatever purpose you may have, or have already had, in the bathroom (unless, of course, you’re making binoculars).

This is where the following two toilet pictures were taken. Thought beautiful scenery would do some good.

(This is where the following two toilet pictures were taken.)

A mindful practice

Why is toilet paper so often shifted to the sink counter? Or to the toilet water tank? Why do toilet paper rolls sit empty next to their associated appliance? Spending that extra bit of time after scrambling around for the toilet paper, or having to rip the cardboard off the holder, is usually the last thing on my mind.

I mean, it used to be!

Be the change you want to see in the world.

This outhouse has an ample material supply for no-strength toilet paper roll binoculars.

This outhouse has an ample material supply for no-strength toilet paper roll binoculars.

I did remove the cardboard rolls!

Cardboard rolls, removed!

A couple years back, I committed to myself that whenever I see an empty toilet paper tube—at my place or a friend’s place—that I would remove the tube and put on the nearest roll.

A fertile commitment

Going from this commitment—which is as of yet iron clad in all reasonable circumstances—I started daily meditation, daily flossing, and daily poetry writing practices. Yes, some of my poems are like:

Tired
Here I am again
Use more time

And I’ve waited to the end of the day for meditation, fudged a bit on what counted as “meditation,” and maybe I forget to floss now-and-then. It’s okay though!

Home is where you sleep (and floss).

Home is where you sleep (and floss).

Let’s take a step back

A former supervisor of mine forgot to mention me in a congratulations ceremony once. I understood how that happens, but was confused and sore about it. While discussing it later, my supervisor said that they would never intentionally do anything to hurt me.

I turned that into what I call “a bedrock.” I trusted it completely, and really, I still do.

Toilet paper rolls as a bedrock?

Yes!

Toilet paper tubes are not the best replacement for tectonic plates or for what underlies arctic tundra. But! They are a surprising and lasting bedrock for inspiration and resilience. Especially resilience. Because, after all…

…if everything else goes to shit, I can still replace the toilet paper roll. (And go from there.)

Have a great series of moments today! Solidarity in life, friends.

"Solidarity Moss" is down for whatever!

“Solidarity Moss” is with you!

The Hugging Story

You know small, forgettable comments or things that happen, but actually hang around and affect your life for years?

For me, one of these moments has to do with hugging.

It changed how I approach hugs, how I think about things I say, and I realize now how much unknown impact you and I have. If we’ve hiked together, drank together, or otherwise hung out, this is one of the first stories I share.

It started at a crosswalk…

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The summer before my first year of college, I went on an epic kayaking trip with fifteen other students, most of whom were also starting college. We bonded, kayaked, and even played an abstract, paperless version of tic-tac-toe[1].

A few months later, after grocery shopping[2], I ran into a friend from the trip at a crosswalk.

We hugged, of course.

Then she told me something like, “That was not a good hug. You should give better hugs.”

The next few years

I'm moving into a room.

This is actually from the start of my second year. Such young. Much short hair. Wow.

Hugs weren’t on my mind.

They weren’t a priority. I don’t remember if my hugs were skillful or unskillful. There was no self-reflection on hugging. I didn’t even remember the comment!

I have asked friends if they remember how I was. Most don’t remember but a few have said, “Yeah, Andy—you kind of were an awkward hugger.”

Hug reflection, it’s a thing

At some point in the past three years the crosswalk comment came back to me. More often after hugging, I began to consider how it went. Was I satisfied or could it have been better? Was it appropriate? How could it be changed?

I strove for improved hugs, fitting to whatever context.

La Jolla Valley

The world is so cool!

Anything can make a difference!

I’ve admired people who can wink well. I recall, and still smile, at smiles from unknown strangers.

I also remember words yelled out of car windows at me—and instances when I have spoken with or about others in hurtful, unskilled ways.

It has been almost ten years since the hug comment at that crosswalk. It bothered me—and inspired me—to take action and improve my hugs, which, based on years of reflection and increased participant-reported satisfaction, has arguably happened. (When I traveled to South Korea last summer, friends said they would miss me, but some said they might miss the “Andy Hug” more.)

Empowering other people to hug for me!

“I, Andy King, entrust Steven Jordan to greet and hug in my stead for the duration of my absence. 6/15/13.”

Questions

Because why not!

What small comments or actions have affected you? What small things have you done that affect others?

Could you make a small intention to take something you do daily and build positive change in whatever way from it?

Comment below, or post them elsewhere using #commonchange.

Have some awesome moments sometime soon!


  1. The traditional tic-tac-toe square is assigned numbered quadrants, starting with one in the top left and ending with nine in the bottom right. Two players say numbers turn-by-turn and you just imagine Xs and Os on the board. Try it sometime!  ↩

  2. I grocery shopped at La Jolla Village Square in La Jolla near UCSD. This shopping center has the most poorly designed parking lot of all time. It is even reviewed one star on Yelp!  ↩

The Picnic Spirit

There’s the Christmas Spirit, the spirit of the game, esprit de corps. We drink spirits. Spirits are both haunting and holy. What about a Picnic Spirit?

Now, have you heard Bob Dylan’s “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues”? I hadn’t either until an hour ago when I Googled “the picnic spirit.” Queue it up right here:

https://soundcloud.com/gaslight-caf/talkin-bear-mountain-picnic

Stay in m’ kitchen
Have a picnic
Have a picnic in my bathroom

Bathrooms?! Bears?!

…bear with me here.

Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands

This past Tuesday I wrapped up an eight week course on backpacking skills. The first group backpacking trip went into the San Rafael Wilderness on the Cachuma Trail. We saw the Hurricane Deck cliff face; we saw Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island; we saw Hell’s Half Acre. We saw a lot of nature and shared a lot of stories.

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I like all that, but isn’t this about picnics?

The backpack leader and her partner made a resolution to have more picnics[1] this year. I pictured a woven basket, checkered ground cover (similar, actually, to the ground cover I was using under my tent), maybe some wine and fruit and cheese, sandwiches, and a stray ant or two.

I just lost all m’ picnic spirit

Guess the Drapers aren’t down with Leave No Trace.

What does make a picnic?

Is it being outside? The checkered ground cover? The basket?

I propose it’s the picnic spirit.

At this level, picnics take on a meditative quality. A sense of soaking in your surroundings. A sense of intention around eating and being present. A bon vivant and sense of play.

I think that is going toward what the picnic spirit is, or could be. It’s like the year round, secular, Christmas spirit!

Great! But will there be cake?

When I came back after the trip, I found out two of my friends began a weekly group picnic at a local park. Which is awesome and inspirational. I know they had drinks—probably wine?—and they will likely have cake, sometime.

If you wanta have a picnic, that’s up t’ you

Truth! It is up to me! And I really am lovin’ the sun setting later[2]! It’s perfect for more hikes, for more patio sitting, and for more picnics. I am totally down for more hikes and picnics.

But don’t tell me about it, I don’t wanta hear it

Oh, Bob Dylan!

Dear reader, I would love to know if you’ve picnicked recently, if you have a fond picnic memory, or if you plan to picnic! Just comment below.

Cheers.

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  1. The origin of the term “picnic” comes from a French practice and is not connected to lynching in America.  ↩

  2. The time change (which has an interesting history in America) was eaten up while backpacking where hours of sun are more important than the particular time.  ↩