279 /// They Are Changing Me

I’m feeling that good kind of tired this morning. The kind that comes after physical exhaustion rather than mental. I spent yesterday evening celebrating my nephew’s 4th birthday at the trampoline park nearby along with his young sisters.

When I arrived, I swore I would not get out there much with them, but I quickly found myself sucked in by their adorable enthusiasm, and the next thing I knew I was playing, running, climbing, and jumping right along with them. It’s been a long time since I have moved my body for the sake of simply feeling where it meets the world and what it can do within those limitations—if such limitations do exist.

Before we left, I even considered signing up for a monthly membership just so I could bring them again and let them take me away on their little adventures, exploring and learning about the world all over again. I have forgotten what it’s like to see the world with new eyes. Children have their own wisdom and I’d like to spend some time in their world seeing from their point of view.

I rode on a new route at work today and talked at length with another coworker about how much we have both learned from the child we serve on the job. This year I got to spend quite a few afternoons with a young girl on the Autistic spectrum. She is non-verbal, so communication was difficult at first. I am not good at being still, observant, or patient enough at times, and she takes her time warming up to new people.

Limited seating forced me to sit next to her and since the driver we were with learned the route quickly, I had time to get to know her. I would talk to her softly, asking if it was okay for me to sit by her, if she had a good day, and if she was excited to see mom. She didn’t respond verbally, but I began, slowly, to notice the way she turned from the window and tried to look at me when I spoke. I noticed her eyes widening. I noticed when, after asking for a high five, whether she would push my hand away or run my palm.

Thinking she didn’t like me much I told mom that was all I could get from her and to my surprise she got very excited. Apparently, the hand rub meant she liked me. I began to notice more. I noticed sly smiles and short bursts of laughter and marked when they occurred. I noted the days she was getting specific snacks or when dad joined mom at the bus stop to greet her. When needed, I repeated myself slowly. I was patient with her responses and did my best to learn the basics of her language.

I have been working with these children for years and there are many such languages I have learned, but they are the ones the screamed their needs in every gesture and misbehavior. I had yet to take in something calmer, slower, subtler. I feel challenged again. I feel opened to something new.

I used to hate having to switch routes so much. I get so attached and I have never handled change well, but these past couple of years I have gotten to meet more students than ever with wide-ranging needs, and ways of interpreting the world have opened my eyes. They are changing me and always for the better. They are teaching me more than how to listen; they are teaching me new ways to speak.

I wish I could teach others in turn what I have been taught, but it would only be a hollow mimicry, flat and fake. I suppose the real lesson they are teaching me is what it is I am really called to do in my work. It is up to me to show others how to be open to their wisdom too.

Totally Insignificant

Here it is not a matter of ordinary specialisation, which mankind has practiced from time immemorial, but of dividing up every complete process of production into minute parts, so that the final product can be produced at great speed without anyone having had to contribute more than a totally insignificant and, in most cases, unskilled movement of his limbs.

The Buddhist point of view takes the function of work to be at least threefold: to give man a chance to utilise and develop his faculties; to enable him to overcome his ego-centeredness by joining with other people in a common task; and to bring forth the goods and services needed for a becoming existence. Again, the consequences that flow from this view are endless. To organise work in such a manner that it becomes meaningless, boring, stultifying, or nerve-racking for the worker would be little short of criminal; it would indicate a greater concern with goods than with people, an evil lack of compassion and a soul-destroying degree of attachment to the most primitive side of this worldly existence. Equally, to strive for leisure as an alternative to work would be considered a complete misunderstanding of one of the basic truths of human existence, namely that work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.”

— E. F. Schumacher, “Buddhist Economics

The Hard Work of being Lazy via The School of Life

“The point of ‘doing nothing’ is to clean up our inner lives. There is so much that happens to us every day, so many excitements, regrets, suggestions and emotions that we should—if we are living consciously—spend at least an hour a day processing events. Most of us manage—at best—a few minutes—and thereby let the marrow of life escape us. We do so not because we are forgetful or bad, but because our societies protect us from our responsibilities to ourselves through their cult of activity. We are granted every excuse not to undertake the truly difficult labour of leading more conscious, more searching and more intensely felt lives.

The next time we feel extremely lazy, we should imagine that perhaps a deep part of us is preparing to give birth to a big thought. As with a pregnancy, there is no point hurrying the process. We need to lie still and let the idea gestate—sure that it may one day prove its worth. We may need to risk being accused of gross laziness in order one day to put in motion projects and initiatives we can feel proud of. ”

I’m struggling to send an email, just one email. I’ve written it and rewritten. I’ve had it proofread by two different people and then rewrote it again.

It’s hard to explain what you do to other people, and harder still to explain it to your bosses. They decide if what you do is right, or enough, or worth paying a person to do at all. It’s hard to meet expectation that weren’t spelled out explicitly and it’s hard to know what people want when they never told you they wanted anything.

I’m probably way over thinking this.

It’s hot out today, like really, really hot. Today Denver hit 100 degrees in September for the first time, ever! Considering the what it felt like outside we were able to keep the house relatively cool, but we are still miserable. We won’t be sleeping until late tonight I’m sure.

We spent the afternoon lunching at my favorite place for my wife’s birthday with her family. I didn’t pick the place; I was just pleasantly surprised to hear where we were going.

Other than that I got caught up on some words here and worked out how I plan to post the drafts I missed getting out on time because of my trip. I’m going to finish them and progress on a few other pieces and projects I have been hoping to start. The rest of the week will be busy to make up for the time I took off but I don’t care. It was worth the trip and the rest.

Today I head home. The visit has been wonderful, and though I feel very different and very out of place here, I’m a little sad to go. I wish I could have all of my family with me back home. I wish I could see them all whenever I wanted and that time and money were never any obstacle.

Siblings are highly underrated and deserve more praise, more love, more forgiveness, and more work on our part to keep them close. Half the strife between any two siblings is mostly the parent’s fault, or at least cause, anyway.


Airport security was much easier this time and I am so happy to have upgraded for a window seat. The clouds are beautiful from here and flying through them is just incredible. It’ll be just a few hours before I am home and to be honest all I can think about is when I can get on a plane again! I don’t understand how people can be so humdrum about it. To be so high up traveling at 100s of miles per hour is damn near magical to me.

But, I’m happy to be back on the ground and back with my wife, back at home where it’s safe.

I arrived to my destination safe and sound yesterday morning and spent the rest of the day getting settled and enjoying time with my little sister. I’m here for her baby shower (which is later today) and since we didn’t grow up together, and since she is going through such a big life change, there is no end to all the things we feel we need to say.

We have a lot in common for two people born 6 years apart, lived miles and miles apart and were raised by different mothers, and are even now still living in different states with different cultures, norms, and climates. Genetics express more in us than I think many of us want to believe, or maybe it’s that I want to believe so badly.

The air here is hard to breathe. I’m used to high altitudes and dry air, but it the scenery gorgeous. There are trees everywhere and they aren’t like the trees in Colorado at all, these’re as tall as skyscrapers to me and breathtaking. I miss the Rocky Mountains for sure, but the greenery here is tempting me to stay.

I’m on the plane now flying somewhere over Kansas, or Missouri, or Tennessee maybe. My seat is awful, I can’t see out of the window and I have two men flanking me who are taking “man-spreading” to an extreme. It’s too early and too dark to read without getting a headache but too uncomfortable to sleep. Still, I love it. Take off is thrilling, like a roller coaster, and the little bit of turbulence we’ve encountered has been more exciting than scary.

I made it through security obviously but I did feel lost and airport personnel were visibly irritated with me, but I know it will be easier on the return trip. I have the hang of it now.

It’ll be less than 2 hours before we touch down now and 2 days before I’m back home again. I can’t wait for both.

Today is easy enough, so easy that I’m worried I’m doing something wrong. I’m working, sure, but I don’t exactly feel challenged, but I’m also not sure I want to be. I know that doesn’t make much sense. I guess I’m conditioned to believe work should be hard and stressful and when It isn’t I worry I’ll be perceived as lazy. At the same time, I love when work isn’t hard but I also feel like I’m missing out on opportunities or growth because I’m not constantly pushing myself if I wallow in the comfort.

Productivity is super confusing.

But it’s my last day before I take an extra, extra-long Labor Day weekend so I’m trying not to fret about it. I took off tomorrow for my trip, and Tuesday too for my wife’s birthday though we have no plans yet at all. I already gave her her gifts and I plan to pick up something for her while I’m in the Carolinas too but she deserves so much more so I’m keeping my schedule open for whatever she may want to do.

Today is the first day of the first step of my position change at work. Today I was taken off of my route, the route I have been doing for years with kids I have known for years and shifted to a standby packing, meaning I can fill in on routes that need it, but my real job now is to ride on routes with other drivers and assistants to make sure they are doing ok.

My goal is to help them do their jobs better and support them through tough situations and adjustments during a time when management is just too busy and bordering on too impatient.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to do more fulfilling work and I am especially excited to have so much choice and control over what I am doing, but damn is it scary! I’m doing my best to keep my cool on the outside but inside all alarms are sounding. I have only just begun to leave the comfort zone and already I feel overwhelmed and panicky, but I’m letting the alarms sound and still moving forward too. It will get better.