Searching in the dark

As I related in my most recent Penultimate Day post, many of last year’s posts related interesting dreams as I pursued the very elusive target of having lucid dreams. I can no longer recall when the pursuit began but I’m sure it’s been well over a year now. As much as I would love to experience awareness and lucidity in a dream and be able to influence dream events and ask question of awareness behind the dream, I’ve pretty much admitted defeat.

Am I trying to hard? Or am I wound a bit too tight? Is my subconscious a black hole that won’t allow any light to escape? Sometimes I feel that way. Was there something so traumatic in my early childhood that caused me to go into lock-down mode for a lifetime? I just don’t know. I recall having a fairly normal and reasonably happy childhood although I can only recall maybe two distinct memories prior to my sixth birthday.

I’ve explored various methods to illuminate the secrets of my shadows. I’ve tried yoga, meditation, automatic writing, pendulum divination, I-Ching, along with trying to remember my dreams in the hopes of achieving lucidity in them. I don’t know what else to do. So far, nothing has penetrated the wall.

Sometimes I wonder if, starting at the age of six, our memories of prior events begin to be put away into some kind vault or a time capsule. Why are we denied these memories? Is this a common occurrence. Is there a universal need for the subconscious to shield us from the trauma of early childhood?

These are the questions for which I seek answers. What in my early childhood formed me into what I am today, into what I was as a young adult, as a teenager, as a preteen, as a schoolboy? I’ve gone through many changes over the last 65 years but there are many traits that have remained unchanged. There are many behaviors and defense mechanisms that I have not been able to unlearn. How did I learn them in the first place?

From a Jungian perspective I’m quite sure there are secrets locked away in the shadows and I have yet to crack the code that will open the locks and break the chains that imprison my childhood and my potential as an adult.

I don’t have the answers and the answers are as elusive now as they ever were. Maybe Douglas Adams was right about the question and the answer being mutually exclusive.

“The Question and the Answer are mutually exclusive. Knowledge of one logically precludes knowledge of the other. It is impossible that both can ever be known about in the same Universe. Except, if it happened, it seems that the Question and the Answer would just cancel each other out, and take the Universe with them, which would then be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable. It is possible that this has already happened, but there is a certain amount of uncertainty about it.” ~ Prak in Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams


Starting a new year

It’s been quite a while since I checked in here. The holidays were good. I brought in the new year with a group of friends but I missed bringing it in with family.

I’ve been having mixed success with my goals and intentions for the new year but I guess that’s to be expected. I’m trying to get back into my yoga practice and other physical exercise. So far, the exercise is going better than the yoga but I’m determined to make a go of it. My meditation practice slipped a bit during the holidays too but I was getting back in the groove on that. Actually, going back to work has thrown it all into disarray.

I’m sure that getting back into the habit of these practices will help with lucid dreams by helping me find the mindset and energy to foster my dreams. I hope so because I’ve been in kind of a dream slump lately. Recently I recalled two dreams in one night and one morning I recalled bits of what might have been three dreams. Lately I’ve noticed that sometimes when I wake from a dream and before I open my eyes, I’ll try to replay the dream in my mind to commit it to memory before I write it down. What often happens is that random and obscure waking life memories will intrude upon the dream memories and soon I’m unable to tell them apart. All I’ll be left with is a vague idea of what the dream was about.

The biggest change for me so far this year has been employment. I’ve been retired for almost two years so I haven’t been looking for a job. Last week I was contacted by my supervisor with the company I was previously with. They’re starting up a new project in the area and he was reaching out to the old crew to see if there was any interest. They’re on board with me working part-time though I said I could work full-time for a while to get the project off the ground. Since they’ve already paid out my employee stock option, I’d have to pay it back if I went back as a full-time employee. I don’t want to do that.

Now that I’m two weeks into the project I’m starting to have a few reservations. Going back to work after 20 months or so of retirement has been a big adjustment. I had enjoyed quite a bit of freedom to do whatever I want and I’m giving up a lot of that, at least temporarily. I’m still adjusting to getting up in the morning and commuting. However, one thing is different from other jobs. I’m working because I want to, not because I need to, and that’s a big difference. If I decide that that I don’t want to do it any longer I can quit with relatively few repercussions.

Since I had documented my processes during the previous project, my team lead wants me to do the same for this project. It’s not as easy as it would appear. Before I’d documented the processes I’d been doing and refining over several years. This time I’m trying to write the processes from scratch as we are developing them. That takes a different strategy and it’s harder to visualize.


“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

“Here in your mind you have complete privacy. Here there’s no difference between what is and what could be.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws

“We can never see past the choices we don’t understand.” – The Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded

“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.” ~ Audre Lorde

Penultimate Day – 2017

It’s been an interesting year. Whoever coined the phrase, “May you live in interesting times” probably could not have foreseen 2017. We are, indeed, living in interesting times and I’m sure the next few years will be just as interesting, if not more so.

But now to summarize the year I had. It was interesting but mostly in a good way. I managed to keep most of my ranting confined to my private journal though I did make public some of my commentary on Mankind’s War on Nature.

Throughout the year I supported my grandchildren’s various activities. I worked in the concession stand with my son to support the marching band and drove my granddaughter to Sayaw FilipinOH practices and performances.. My wife and I hosted a graduation party for my eldest grandson. They’re growing up so quickly. I still vividly recall holding them has babies.

I found myself becoming more involved in the local Filipino community, attending numerous events and being asked to assist in administering social media and web platforms for a couple of Filipino and Asian groups. I’ll be getting more involved in those things in the coming year. I’m going to have to learn Tagalog. I think it’s going to be an essential skill.

This year I attended my 45th high school reunion. It was a low-key affair and since the class 60th birthday bash three years ago, we’ve been getting together annually. I think I attended three weddings but, thankfully, no funerals.

I did more reading this year on my Kindle, ebooks, online magazines, and actual paper books. Topics were diverse and included BASH scripting, quantum physics, naturist fiction, yoga and spirituality, British history, witchcraft in New England, the Children’s Blizzard, lucid dreaming, and Harry Potter.

I’ve been viewing an eclectic mix of stuff on YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on a myriad of subjects and I’ve binge-watched a few series although there were a few series that I watched for a while and stopped watching for various reasons. A lot of those that I stopped viewing were starting to bore me with the same old story lines, characters stopped developing, or the plots were just getting too incredulous or predictable. I’ve almost completely stopped watching a lot of talk and news shows because I was getting tired of hearing the same basic rants. Generally, I don’t place much value in simply being entertained, I like learning stuff.

What about 2018? I’ll continue to pursue the elusive lucid dream. I find it interesting and I see in it a lot of potential for personal growth. I’m interested in exploring my shadow and seeing what’s there. If I’m to believe all the self-help gurus out there, then I’ve been missing out on a lot damage and trauma. Even if I’m not there are still a lot of mysteries lying around in my unconscious that need looking into.

12-15-17 Update

What I’m reading
I finally finished reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley. I made plenty of notes.

I began Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton. I think watching the second season of The Crown on Netflix renewed my interest in English history. I’m only in the first chapter and I’m finding interesting genealogical information. The chapter talks about Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror’s queen, and mentions that her ancestry goes back to Charlemagne. Maltilda has another husband, a man named Gerbod, by whom she had a daughter, Gundrada (or Gundred), who eventually became the wife of William de Warrenne, first Earl of Surrey. There’s some speculation that Gundrada may have actually been the daughter of William and Matilda. Genealogy works in strange ways. History seems more personal when it’s about your own ancestors.

Events I’ve attended
On Tuesday I attended my grandson Nick’s first band concert. He even had a trombone solo. He and the rest of the Sixth Grade Band have only been playing since September but, with practice, they’ll improve and sharpen their skills.

Nick-171212-04 (copy)After the band concert, we made our way to the high school for the choir concert. I don’t have any grandchildren in the choir but at the end, they bring up all the choir alumni for two songs. This is Jacob’s first alumni performance so we were eager to see him on the stage again.

Reality-CheckI still haven’t had a lucid dream but I’m starting to see positive indications in my dreams. Two nights ago, although I didn’t remember any dreams, I did recall an image of two hands with one pushing a finger through the palm of the other. The image looked like a crude drawing.


This morning I had a dream in which I squeezed an egg until I broke the shell. I looked at my hand and saw no yolk or egg whites, only the shell fragments. In the dream I attributed the lack of a mess to the fact that it was a dream. I did not become lucid so I’m not sure whether or not I was actually aware that I was dreaming. It may have just been the way the way the dream was playing out. Still, the idea of lucid dreaming is working its way into my dreams which is encouraging.

Quotes I’m pondering
“The real you is not a body. Your body is merely a suit of clothes. Physical birth was not your beginning and physical death is not your end.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“No one and nothing can free you but your own understanding.” ~ Ajahn Chah

12-08-17 Update

Events I attended
On Saturday Tina, Abi, Nick, and I attended the Phil-Am Christmas party. As usual, it was well-attended and there was plenty of food for everyone. No one goes hungry at a Filipino event. There’s another party hosted by the Ilocano group tomorrow (Dec 9) to which we’ve been invited. My wife isn’t Ilocano but that really doesn’t matter.

There are probably more holiday parties that I not aware of that I’ll be attending. At the moment, I don’t have anything on my calendar for the 16th other than the Dayton Warm Breezes clothing-optional party.

I attended high school band concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Concert and Jazz bands played on Tuesday. Abi played several percussion instruments in the Concert band and Ben played trombone. Ben also played trombone in the Jazz band and one song featured the trombone section. Before the concert began Ben and some other members of the band did a couple of songs on recorders. They sounded pretty good. (WHS Recorder Band)

Wednesday’s concert featured the Symphonic Winds and the Wind Ensemble bands. Ben played bass clarinet in the first and trombone in the others. Rumor has it that he’s also been playing the tuba. He’s quite talented and has a gift for music. The recorder band again played during the intermission.

Other stuff

I finally got around to putting up the Christmas tree and stringing the lights over the weekend. The corner where we usually put it has been taken over by my son’s video games so we moved it nearer the front part of the living room. I was concerned about having it near the cat tower but other than knocking a few ornaments off, he’s been pretty good about the tree. That’s unlike my other son’s cat, Mac, whose favorite hiding place is inside their tree.

Quotes I’m pondering
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin

“The reality is that when we hold back our true nature, we lose.” ~ John Douillard

11-24-17 Update

There’s not much this week as my wife and I start to get into the holiday season. Since the “official” start of the holiday season seems to come earlier every year, I’ve already publicly declared my neutrality and my status as a non-combatant in the annual war on Christmas.

The wife and I attended a birthday parry on Saturday. The celebrant was only two but it occurred to me that these celebrations for small children may be more for the adults than for the children. It gives the grownups a chance to socialize with other adults and have adult conversations.

Of course there was Thanksgiving. For the last six or seven years, we have gathered at my son’s house and this year was no exception. We ate well. I took a moment to think about my direct Pilgrim ancestors who made that perilous voyage in 1620 and the extreme hardships they faced in their first year in the New World. On the whole, the Pilgrims had a good relationship with their Native American neighbors. They were more open-minded and tolerant that the Puritans who followed them

Then there’s Black Friday. an event in which I do not participate, let alone celebrate. I consider it to be the antitheses of the holiday season as it promotes and celebrates the extremes of greed and avarice, capitalizing on the delusional idea that our value as human beings is dependent upon the monetary value of the gifts we give and receive. Black Friday brings out the worst in many as they fight for the best deals on material goods so they can boast about how much money they saved. It’s called Black Friday for an obvious reason.

I saw an interesting article the other day: A 1903 Proposal to Preserve the Dead in Glass Cubes

In 1903 Joseph Karwowski received a patent for a method of preserving the dead by suspending them in glass cubes but it was never put into practice. Early in the 20th century, a casket company in Oklahoma did produce and sell glass caskets.

At the very least, the idea of encasing the body of a deceased loved on in glass seems creepy, even disturbing. The process described in the process ignores the fact that even if the body is hermetically sealed in glass, the process of internal decomposition will continue with rather gruesome results.

In my later years, I’ve given a lot of thought to death and my own mortality. Death is inevitable so I figure that I may was well face it without fear and with a positive attitude. I have trouble understanding why we strive to persevere the dead for eternity. I have yet to attend a viewing or a funeral service where the deceased appeared natural and lifelike in the casket. I generally find they appear a bit disturbing.

When I do finally leave my body, I’d prefer not to have a funeral but if there is to be one, I’d like to it to be as simple as possible. A plain pine box (covered) will be fine. I don’t want my body to be pumped full of chemicals or have botched plastic surgery performed on it. There’s no need to preserve it as I won’t be using it again.

As for how my survivors dispose of my body, I would like it be be in an ecologically responsibly manner that benefits the world in some small way. Use my remains to nourish a tree or use my cadaver for medical research or transplant some of my organs into someone who has a need for them. I’d even be fine with leaving my corpse in the desert so the buzzards can pick my bones. Even that’s more beneficial than a perfectly preserved cadaver.

Quote I’m pondering this week:
“One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking—a detour, an error.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

11-17-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’m still reading Dreams of Awakening but not as often as I probably should be. I’m currently reading about developing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation.

Event I attended
The Wayne High School Marching Band held its Sounds of the Stadium concert on Saturday. The concert highlights the songs they played during the season to include football games, band festivals, and various local festivals. They featured the seniors in the band for one number and it was a treat to see my grandson Ben play and dance. After the concert, the percussion section stayed on the stage and were joined by most of the band for a a bit of dancing. The trombone section came out for some trombone spinning.. It’s too bad that the after show never gets included with the concert DVD. It’s great to see the band get down and have a good time.

SOS-171111-57The band still has one more performance this season, the Dayton Children’s Parade on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It’s quite a show. Everyone in the band strings Christmas lights on their instruments. Ben uses LED lights on his trombone so it really stands out. If they spin their trombones in the parade, it should look spectacular. I’m not sure how Abigail will attach lights to her cymbals.

Projects I’ve been working on
We had a couple of really cold nights recently and the leaves fell from the trees pretty much all at once. It took a couple of days but I got all my leaves moved to the curb where the city will eventually come around with their leaf sucking truck. To move the leaves from the back yard, I get them into a big pile and then move them onto a big tarp and drag them to the curb. It”s a lot easier than blowing and raking them the entire distance.

My Linux desktop began to get a little more flaky and locking up unexpectedly at least a couple times a day. I’ve always had some minor issues with Linux Mint on this particular computer. I think there may have been a few compatibility issues with the AMD chipset. I looked around online for a suitable refurbished desktop PC and found a Lenovo M91p at Micro Center in Cincinnati at a reasonable price. It was advertised with a 500GB hard drive and while getting system information prior to installing Linux, I discovered that it actually had a 2TB drive. My lucky day! With that much disk space I decided to keep the Windows 10 installation and dual boot it with Linux. (I had originally intended to delete Windows.)

I had set up a similar computer for my wife a while back so I swapped some memory bringing her computer down from 24GB to 16MB and taking mine from it’s original 8GB to 16GB. Once I’d done a backup of of my old PC I took its memory and brought the new system up to 32GB. Once set up, I did some tweaking and it’s running pretty nicely. I still haven’t brought up and configured the Windows 10 partition. I’m not in any particular hurry as I’m not particularly found of Windows 10 though I like it better than 8. When I have to use Windows, I use 7.

2017-11-12I’m not sure that this is a project but I’ve been seeing friends on Facebook doing a black-and-white photo challenge. Though I haven’t been challenged, I thought the idea was interesting so I began taking and posting a daily black-and-white photo. This has kind of renewed my appreciation for the medium of black-and-white which I believe is a very underrated and powerful medium.

Something I learned recently
While getting a haircut earlier this week, I told the stylist that I parted my hair on the right. She explained to me how my natural part was actually on the left and proceeded to show me how parting it on the left let my hair fall naturally and that by parting it on the right, I had to force it to stay in place since it was going against its natural inclination. And to think I’ve been parting my hair on the right for as long as I can remember, for over 50 years. She cut it so that I could part it on either side and decide which I preferred. So far, going with the natural part seems to be working well for me.

Quotes I’ve been pondering
“You don’t have to explain your dreams, they belong to you.” ~ Paulo Coelho
“No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.” ~ Thomas Mann