This Blog Is an Attempt to Chronicle Joy, Pain, and Life Experienced in Accordance to the Truth of My Heart.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Serial Experiments Zander

Please pardon the delay in updates. I have happy news- my new laptop has arrived! It has taken a few days to get set up, and I am still working at making everything work right, but I am very pleased, and very afriad. Afraid, because I have a powerful addiction to the internet, and to computers. I want to have one of my own, to customize, fine tune, and harmonize with. And to be online, fully online with a fast connected and my own machine is to become submerged, connected- integrated. Integrated into the reality that is the internet. Integrated into that vast hub of lives, the great data nexus of our age. The so called sea of information, and the greatest thing about it is that it is still a primordial sea. To be part of that is a glorious feeling. Very addictive. And most of the internet is fluff, at best. Wastes of time and energy, drainage points for life. Elovutionary dead ends we have yet to prune. I am afraid of losing life to these distractions. Of being totally sucked in an owned by my addiction. I think it is a very realistic fear.
But I have other options. I am priveledged with an awesome array of fantastic options. I live in a time when the internet is still embryotic, and very impressionable. I, we, all of us, are in a perfect position to shape the development of the internet, and with it the future of the human race. Quite a privalege indeed. We can choose whether the internet will be a wasteland of distractions, porn, malware and ads, or a coperate playground. We can decide whether it will be a new mailbox, encyclopedia, dictionary and directory. Or we could make it an auxillery soiaty running parallel to our own. A new way of integrating the entire human race. A tool for connecting with people in ways that we have never imagined before. Right now, it is all these things. It will always be all these things. The internet is like a person. It is never just one thing. The question is which parts of it we will feed and nuture.
Now I have become quite sidetracked from my original point, so let us tie this diverging post together. The internet is like a person. It is like the reflection of a person, or the mind, spirit, and emotions of those who have created it. The internet is a mirrior for ourselves, and for humanity. If we think it sees us darkly, not clearly, it is because we do not like what about us it is reflecting. But it doesn't just reflect- it invites us to come in and play. It creates a playground duplication of whatever mental state is dominate. I am afraid of what my internet habits will tell me about where I truely am right now, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I am afraid that given the opertuity, I will get lost in the parasitic, vampiric sections of the internet. The parts that will just suck my life away. The part of the internet dedicated to connecting with people, to sharing ideas, innovating, helping, giving, integrating humanity- this is the part I want to be addicted to, to be dedicated to. Just as I wish to live in accordance with the corresponding part of myself.

The latop's name is Lain.

P.S. You either get it or you don't.

Monday, July 21, 2008


So I finally bawled. I’ve known a good cry was coming since Mary died, and it just took five days to happen. It’s amazing how therapeutic crying is. I feel so much better, just from five minuets of crying. Yesterday, I was distracted, scattered, and discombobulated. So many big things happening in such a short period of time-my brain was fried. This morning I was irritable, taking everything personally. But now, now I am good. A weight has evaporated.
I am pretty scared right now. I am scared because I might not be able to go to Leuven, and I might not find out if I can go until after the deadline for Carleton registration. I am afraid I am still sabotaging myself, and that I am not doing all I want to do with my life. I am afraid of going to Leuven next year, and the change it represents in my life. I am afraid of other things that I cannot explain briefly (await later posts). I am afraid I am holding the pain of loosing Mary under the surface, and it is festering there.
I am angry with myself for holding the pain it, and not dealing with it. I am angry at myself for putting off doing the paperwork for so long that I might not be able to go on exchange to Leuven next year. I am angry with myself for still not being able to keep my living environment clean and tidy and organized. I am angry at myself for being afraid to go to Leuven, and angry with myself for still sabotaging myself.
But being angry with myself… surely that is being self-defeating as well. I need to let it all go. The past few weeks have been filling with the preparations, ceremonies, and trappings of letting go, but none of them replace the simple act of release, only try to facilitate it. I have not been able to fully let go yet. I started the process with the cry, and continued it with this post, by my work is not over.
You know, I have been moving forwards a lot recently, growing a lot, but I have put all my energy on development, on becoming, and barely any on letting go. On shedding the old and useless. Taking up new burdens, while still carrying the weight of the past. Growth always involves change, and change invariably involves death. Mary is dead. Another part of my identity turns out to be another shade of Zander. I release them to the wind.
I have a lot to blog about. A LOT of stuff. Things have recently been happening so fast, life become so dense that I’ve felt intimidated by the task of blogging it.

Before I forget, here is this weeks list.

- Get in passport forms! Tuesday at the latest!
- Push ups ever day. I commit.
- Drive at least once. I need to start practicing again.
- Work towards letting go.
- Work on the script for Keir
- Get a doctor’s appointment
- Call the CORRECT people about getting another copy of my high school diploma

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jot Notes From a Funeral

We came in waves, sad waves creating the current to carry Mary from the world of the living.

The coffin seems charged. To touch it is to touch something between worlds. Something defiantly not Mary, yet still feeling of Mary. A symbol for Mary. Its called a symbol.

Its like a glancing blow by the enormity of life and death.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

For this Week

It is late, but I have another list of things to do this week. I like this practice, I am going to continue using it.

-Do push-ups every day (already not completed).

-Read a chapter of Alexander's book.

-Send in my application to renew my passport (Remember this from last week?)

-Work on movie script for Keir (again).

-Call about getting another copy of my high school diploma (This also looks familiar...)

-Get a doctor's appointment (I'm healthy, I just need proof of said fact so I can get my VISA

-Have another list ready for next Monday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


There is a lot I want to write about, I know I can't get it all in one post.

Mary is dead now.
She died shortly after midnight, July 16th, 2008. She was forty-six years old.
On July 15th, 2008, my mother turned forty-seven years old.
My mind is still struggling with this fact.
I visiting Mary two hours before she died. She had been non-responsive since noon.
Everyone in the room had this tight, sad, warm little smile, myself included.
As I stood beside Mary's bed, my mind did not want to believe she was actually there, so close to dead (it was obvious she was close to death).
It kept telling me I was looking at an image on a computer screen, or television.
Goodbye Mary, and thank you. Thank you so very, very much, from the bottom of my heart.

I don't know when her funeral is going to be. I don't like the kind of things most people say at funerals. I think my favorite thing I've heard said was at a funeral was a quote by Kahlil Gibran. Ironically, said funeral was a fictional one on a TV show.

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility." -Kahlil Gibran.

I've always thought funerals were far, far more for those who loved the deceased, than deceased herself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Last night we had a fire for Mary. A few dozen of us came together, lit a fire, and Mary came outside, probably for the last time in her life. The lighting of a ceremonial fire is rooted in Haida tradition, and several Haida elders were present. We prayed, made offerings, and then there was a time for individual prays, silent or out loud. It quickly turned into everyone taking turns telling Mary how significant she was to them, how grateful they were to know her, and how much they loved her.
And you know what? We shouldn't wait till people are dying. We really, really shouldn't. It is a maddness of our society. We are all ingrates! (I say with my tongue in my cheek). Other cultures have a much more highly developed sense of gratitude. Yet we have so much to be grateful for. And, odd as it may sound, there is a tremendous joy and power in gratitude.
I didn't write down insights that I had during the fire. I didn't want to interrupt to whip out my notepad and pen and start jotting notes. They were so clear I was sure I would remember. But now, they have lost coherency, and I find it hard to even begin to express them. But I know they had to do with an intimate relationship between death and gratitude. Almost as if one was the shadow of the other, or perhaps a boundary.
Mary is dying, and in doing so, she is showing us how to live, I remember saying this at the ceremony. I remember saying that it seemed to me the cerimony was as much for us, as it was for her. The essence of it, was letting go. Mary, getting ready to let go of her mortal coil, and the rest of us, getting ready to let go of Life-With-Mary, and begin Life-Without-Mary. And I think maybe the key to that, to making the transition, for all of us, is gratitude. By being grateful for something I incorporate it into myself. I am running out of words to explain what I am trying to explain. By being grateful for something, I move away from needing it to actually be present, to actually exist, because by being grateful, I have created a verson of it within myself, independent from the actual object. Gratitude blurs the subject-object distinction. And now I have been sufficiently removed from my original insight, that I will stop this here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dr. Gonzo is described as being "One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
This line always stuck in my head. I've felt that was some times, like I was some strange prototype. Sometimes I fear that I am. But I have not recently. Not since I've started this blog, anyways. I have just been feelings damn good.
The sun is shining today, a rarity, as anyone who has lived on Haida Gwaii can tell you.
I am not going to finish everything on my list. And that is okay with me. The list is a mental construct representing things I though at the time needed doing. I have the freedom to add, ignore, scratch off, or delay any item I want. The quantity of list items completed does not imbue value to the week, it is not a report card, and it is not a measure of failure or success. Instead, it is a guide for organizing my time.
So the question that matters- the only question that matters- is Do I feel like I have been squandering my life?
No. No I don't. I feel good about this week. I have lived well- beautifully, even. And I'm feelin' good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Things to do, life to live.

I have a friend who is dying of cancer. She is only a few weeks younger then my mother, and has two children of her own. She is days away from the end of her life. It is clear to me that “July 2008” will be written on her gravestone, for she shan’t live out that month. With her death so close, I have been reflecting on my own mortality. I also just finished watching The Doors for the first time. It surprised me to learn Jim Morrison died at 27. With this as a mental background, I was reflecting on this blog, one weekly goals, and on something my father, Alexander, said earlier. He said about a month before going on a long trip, he made a list of everything he needed to do before he left. As it grew closer to the time to leave, some things he would scratch out because they were completed, and others because he recognized they didn’t actually need to be done. One way or another, he said, just about everything would be struck off when it was time to leave. My small weekly goals, I have come to understand, are to little. I am still afraid to jump in to the proverbial swimming pool, just dipping in my proverbial toe. There are things I want to do before I die. Things I really should do soon. So here is a list (or maybe technically a few lists) of things to do in the next week, this summer, and before I die. I will update it about once a week.

In The Next Week
-Write to my Uncle Brian and my Grandfather Stu
-Send in my application to renew my passport.
-Work on movie script for Keir
-Call a short list of friends, keep in contact with them.
-Call about getting another copy of my high school diploma
-Select my university courses for next year
-Sit with Mary before she dies. (DONE, but want to do again)
-email Pascal about working on a graphic novel or webcomic together.

This Summer
-Finish a science fiction short story about Eusocial humans that I started.
-Write a short book about providence.
-Finish the script for Keir
-Get a letter of permission from Carleton.
-Get a Student Visa so I can go abroad next year
-Get into better shape
-Become more grounded, balanced, and disciplined.
-Finish reading and editing Alexander’s book.
-Hike up Sleeping Beauty Mountain.
-Hike to the Pesuta Shipwreck.
-Visit North Beech and Tow Hill.
-Give a gift to my elders

Before I die.
-Father children. Note the plural. Raise them with their mother.
-Give to the world. Make a large-scale contribution, and change it for the better.
-Travel the world extensively.
-Learn to think in another language.
-Practice playing the flute
-Complete my Bachelor’s degree.
-Learn Calculus, discrete mathematics and advanced algebra.
-Hike up the East coast of Graham Island.
-Travel on a Sailboat.
-Learn about enough about tracking, wilderness survival and wildcrafting that I could live alone in the forest indefinitely .
-Live on Haida Gwaii for a consecutive year.
-Return to Yasodhara Ashram
-Take the Yoga Development Course at Yasodhara ashram.
-Study Philosophy, including Aesthetics, formal logic, Nietzsche, phenomenology, more Plato, whoever wrote “The Doors of Perception,” Descartes, Leibniz, and more.

I will add to the list as I think of more.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One Week.

So its Monday, and it has been about a week since I started this blog, and about a week since I made the commitment to this new way of living. I mentioned earlier that I had a strategy, but never explained it. I will do so now.
The strategy was to spend no more than 24 hours a week doing all those distracting things that waste my time. Watching movies, reading books that are just entertaining, aimlessly wandering the internet, watching TV, reading webcomics, sleeping in, etc. That comes out to about 3 hours, 25 minuets a day. The rest of the time I would have to spend working (at my job), sleeping no more then 8 hours, eating good foods, doing good work (art, food gathering, etc), moving towards my goals and dreams... I think you get the idea.
And after trying this strategy out, I don't think it will work. I think it is too lax, I am very sorry to say. Too much room to spin around, doing almost nothing, and not counting it towards the 3&1/2 hour daily limit. I have too much room to stagnate.

I need to set small, manageable goals for myself, every week. Nothing big, but some step, something to move me along the way. Keep myself placing one foot in front of the other on the good red road. It will also give me lost to blog about (not that I am in any way running out of material.

A friend and fellow blogger David Scrimshaw made a brief comment when I announced I was starting a blog.
"I just subscribed on my google reader.

If you're not just some flash in the pan I may even blogroll you.

But just so you know, you don't have to endure any more optional pain in order to keep my attention."

Upon reading, I immediately felt a snap of indignation. Of course I am not going to be a flash in the pan! This will last, my commitment will last! But then I realized that his statement was entirely justified. The one about being a flash in the pan, I mean. This could very well have been, and could very well still be. Yet I do not believe it will. I want this blog to live, so I will make it live.

So I will make another commitment, and first I want to thank some people who have helped this blog, and me.

Thank you, David Scrimshaw, for grounding me with your comment. Thank you, Alexander, for all your love and support and insights. Thank you, Keir, for your support, caring, brilliant ideas, and laughs. Thank you, Manon, for your support, encouragement, and giving birth to me (that probably hurt a lot more then getting a tooth drilled). Thank you, Woodsy, for your rigorous devotion to commenting on my blog, I felt heard and cared about as a result. Thank you, Lilia and Ady (who really, really should meet each other), for your comments and attention. Thank you, Ashly Colton, for your awesome blog, your compliment, your attention, and for sharing my blog with others. Thank you, Zander, for doing the work to write this blog. Thank you, Haida Gwaii, for being my home, and for nurturing and sustaining me. Thank you, everyone who reads this, for your attention.

I commit to continue working to live in accordance with the truth of my heart, to set manageable goals to work towards this, to maintaining this blog, to not wasting anyone's time with junk content on this blog, and to be happy.

This week, I will write send a number of letters I should have sent weeks ago. This includes, but is not limited to, letters to my Uncle Brian, my Grandfather, and to the government of Canada so I can get a new passport. That is my goal for this week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Love Letter to the World, Written Well Past My Bedtime.

I want to create. I want to exhale and have galaxies form in the wake of my breath. The tension of the potentially is a tightly wound ball near my heart. It is love. Creation and love blur in my breast.
I want both. How else to carry my love to the far corner of the Universe but to create? So what is my medium? It is these words, which seem such flawed vessels for my meaning? Is it Life? How can words suffice when I want to gather the cosmos in my arms and hold it close to hear my heartbeat. So I give. I try to give to this beautiful work, and it is such privilege to give. I am grateful. And yet…it is hard to find a gift for the world. All tat exists the world already has, so I must create for it.
Now I have come a full circle, because again I feel like what I wish to express cannot be contained in any medium. Symbols fail, and are faulty, fractured. I wish I could touch you all directly. But what is this word? “Touch.” I could spit the word. A linguistic key to a detailed structure of concepts. I say touch, and if I have words my words wisely, you think of gentle contact, care, a kind of intimacy, and communication. Yet it lacks the power of simply laying my hand on yours.
The word has failed. When I use it, people don’t know what I mean. As a society, we lack a unified concept to associate with the word “love.” So many use it too sparingly as if they must bloodily and painfully sacrifice their heart each time the word is used. So many use others without any meaning attached other then “if I use this word, I will be given things I want.” When I love you, I feel joy at your very existence, or that you have existed; I feel joy, and happiness. They tangibly exist in my being, and move me towards radiance. And it is within me. I require nothing from you, and am grateful, so very grateful, you do exist. I want to thank you. Thank you. And there is more, well beyond the limits of words. This is the heart of one of the concept structures I tie to the word “love.” Love has enough concept structures to make up its own city. Does it mean the same for you? That is not a rhetorical question, please comment with one of your descriptions/definitions. It’s all tied to one word! Oh, how that word has failed. So in what medium can I truly, not darkly, express love, this love for which our language is too clumsy and imprecise?
Sometimes I think only life itself is a sufficient medium, and I need only to live, beautifully. But life is such a hard medium to master.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Around the beginning of June, a lovely young woman walked into my work, and we briefly spoke. As soon as we begin talking, a rare thing happened- I stopped spinning around in my head. I was suddenly grounded. As our brief conversation continued, she was able to, as Neal Stephenson would say, condense meaning from the vapour of nuance. In short, she was someone I wanted to, at the very least, have as a friend. We never exchanged any proper form of contact information, but she knew where I worked, and I knew the name of the sailboat she was working as a cook on that summer. So yesterday, when the captain of that sailboat came into work, I quickly jotted my name, email and phone number on a slip of paper for him to pass on to her. He didn’t mind at all. I also wrote a brief note on the paper.
I would like to chat with you again some time. Drop me a line anytime.
I told a lie there. I would love to chat with her again, but I lost my nerve, I wrote “like,” instead.