Book Review: Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn

I purchased this book with the hope that it would be a good “sharing book” to introduce people to minimalism. Because this book never takes the tenets of minimalism to their obvious conclusions outside of personal life–conclusions about government spending, for example–it is a good introductory book for the person who is currently trying to buy his happiness both with his own dollars and with the dollars of the taxpayer at large.

The conversational device employed seems more than a little contrived in places, but other than that the book is a quick and enjoyable read. The author uses a semi-autobiography to show how minimalism gave both himself and his best friend freedom from debt, freedom from jobs that controlled them, and freedom to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

This book is not a “how-to” guide, although it does mention enough ideas and techniques for the reader to implement minimalism in his own life. Rather, it is a “why-to” manual that focuses more on benefits and advantages than on specific implementation protocols. Probably the most valuable aspect of the book from a sharing perspective it that it stresses how the author and his friend found increasing happiness tied to decreasing possessions. The most common question I get when explaining that I practice minimalism is “are you ever happy?” Those who are seeking to purchase happiness are keenly aware that it doesn’t work, and will key in on the author’s experience finding happiness.

All in all, it’s not the most practical book on minimalism I’ve read, but it is what I was hoping it would be: A good introductory book to give to the person who is far from minimalism.

Book Review: Bachelor Pad Economics by Aaron Clarey

I first discovered Aaron Clarey when Amazon recommend his book Enjoy the Decline based on my purchase of Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men (also an excellent book). Despite the typos, I was impressed with the content of Enjoy the Decline, and started following Clarey’s blog. When I noticed he had also written a book billed as “the young person’s indispensable guide to choosing the right major,” I downloaded the free Kindle sample. Within 10 minutes, I had purchased the book for my sister, a high school senior. She found it helpful enough that she loaned it out to a number of her classmates after finishing it.

So when Aaron announced that Bachelor Pad Economics was available for Kindle, I immediately bought it.

The first thing I noticed was that the quality of the copy-editing was much better than Enjoy the Decline. However, the down-to-earth style and vernacular were not sacrificed–the book still reads like a friend speaking to you, it just has far less misspellings and missing words. This improvement in editing, coupled with more professional-looking cover, make the book feel more like a book and less like blog selections with a cover slapped on.

As a mid 20’s male who already practices minimalism, read Enjoy the Decline, and fairly regularly reads Clarey’s blog, some of the material was familiar to me. I expected as much. However, even I found plenty of new and valuable information. I had never even thought about most of what is covered in Chapter 13: Legal prior to reading this book. The passage about owning a home in many urban areas having become a liability rather than an asset due to exponential and unconstrained increases in property taxes was another thing that particularly stuck out to me

I would definitely recommend this book to any man who is looking to improve his financial situation, or plan his financial future. Clarey doesn’t lie to you, and when the future isn’t pretty he doesn’t try to paint it rosy. This book will help you avoid dangers that no one else is talking about. (For example, possible 401k confiscation.) While the book was worth the money for me now, it will be most valuable to those aged 12-15, who have not yet learned any of its lessons in the school of hard knocks. I have brothers in that age range I plan to gift with Bachelor Pad Economics in the very near future. If you care about a kid in the same age range, I suggest you do the same.

Of Weddings and Baptisms

I’m now at the age where the frequency of friend’s weddings has dropped from a frantic frenzy to a steady stream. Recently, I was talking to one of my friends who is engaged about his wedding plans, and for the first time I started to actually think critically about weddings, which I’d never gave a whole lot of thought to before. I’ve come to the conclusion that the way we usually do weddings is wrong.

My friend told me how much money his wedding was going to cost, and I was flabbergasted. Far more than I have ever paid for an automobile for a celebration that lasts only hours? It certainly seemed wiser to me to spend the money on a down payment for a house than on a wedding. After all, it is the marriage, and not the wedding, that is the point, isn’t it?

As I thought more about it, I came to see that the modern extravagant wedding is not only ill-advised, but also wrong. Think about this. What is a wedding? Webster’s defines wedding as “a marriage ceremony usually with its accompanying festivities.” Allow me to posit my own definition. A wedding is a public ceremony in which two people publicly commit to give up their individuality and join their lives together as “one flesh” for the remainder of their lives.

Fair enough?

What does that definition remind you of? I’ll tell you what it reminds me of: baptism. Yep, baptism. Why? Well, baptism is a public ceremony in which a person publicly commits to give up their individuality and become one with Christ for the remainder of his or her life. There are other parallels too: when two people get married, the woman takes the name of her husband (i.e. Mrs. Jones). Likewise, when a person is baptized they take on Christ’s name (i.e. Christian). Both weddings and baptisms are cause for celebration, but both are just ceremonies. More important than either ceremony are the commitments they represent.

With me so far?

Once I came to the conclusion that baptisms and weddings are closely related ceremonies, I started to think about how much more money we spend on one than the other. I couldn’t find any statistics for the average cost of a baptism in the US, but I’d be willing to bet it is under $100. The cost of the average wedding in the US was easy to find. According to, it was $28,427 in 2012. When I first saw that number, I thought that for sure it included honeymoons, and so I scrolled down to the financial breakdown to see what it was without the honeymoon. I was shocked to see that the 28.5 grand figure was for wedding only, excluding honeymoon.

The disparity is amazing, especially considering that both ceremonies are usually performed by pastors in a church for free or a nominal fee. It reminds me of a passage from the book of Haggai:

Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” —Haggai 1:3-11

Now, this passage is talking about how God withheld blessings from Israel because they prioritized their own homes over the house of God. In principle though, is our elevation of our commitments to fellow humans far above our commitment to God any different? I think not. It speaks to our priorities.

Spending extravagant sums on a wedding doesn’t ensure the marriage will last. If you can publicly commit to the all-powerful Creator of the universe who gave His only begotten son to save you from your sin and remake you in His image as part of a regular church service without spending thousands of dollars, you can publicly commit to a fellow fallible human being in the same way. After all, which commitment is more important?

The New Christianity

Christian used to mean a follower of Christ and his teachings. It doesn’t anymore. At least, not if “Christian mommyblogger”  Jenny Erikson is allowed to define the terms. It seems Christianity is about following “God,” which apparently is a euphemism for “myself.” In her article, How My Husband Found Out I Was Leaving Him, she rails against her church and pastor for engaging in the terribly un-Christian behavior of believing the Bible. Quoting from her article:

My husband defended him [her pastor] as doing his pastoral duty. I looked him straight in the eyeballs and said, “The fact that you are defending this man’s actions yesterday is one of a thousand reasons I cannot stay married to you.”

That was a month and a half ago. I’ve spoken to two other leaders at my church, and they have both defended My Pastor’s actions that day. And they have both asked me time and time again to ‘repent of my sin.’

Did you know that apparently it’s up to men in the church to decide if you have cause for divorce, not God? I keep wanting to ask them if they’re going to tell God on me, but thus far have managed to refrain.

So that’s the story of how my husband found out I was leaving him. Last I heard he’s still going to My (ex) Pastor for council on the matter of his broken marriage.

Because I’m sure that guy has my best interest at heart.

Notice that she’s not getting divorced because her husband engaged in fornication, the justification that Christ stated was acceptable in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. No, she is divorcing him because, among other things, he dares to defend her pastor when she is upset with her pastor for doing what is unquestionably his duty as a pastor. However, she knows that her frivolous divorce is not a sin, despite the clear words of Christ stating that it is a sin, because obviously when Christ said “except for fornication” He really meant “except for fornication, or defending a pastor doing his job, or any other petty offense.” Clearly the leaders at her church are in the wrong for assuming that Christ meant exactly what he said.

Oh, and that thing that her pastor did that she was so mad about? Well, when he heard a rumor that she was about to serve divorce papers on her husband he tried to contact her, or as she put it “began harassing me the next day via phone, email, and text.” When she repeatedly ignored his attempts to contact her, he called her husband (who answered his phone) and gave him a heads up. Of course, this gave her husband a little time to digest the news, cheating her out of the pleasure she intended to get by giving him a surprise emotional shock.

Clearly the pastor was in the wrong here, and not the woman needlessly tearing apart her family and practically bastardizing her two daughters and robbing them of the benefits of a two-parent home.

The tagline on Jenny’s blog reads “God, Family, Politics, Wine (In That Order).” I really have no clue what she means. Obviously, “God” does not mean Christ, whose words she blatantly disregards, nor His Father with whom Christ is one (John 10:30). Clearly “family” doesn’t include her daughters (whom she refers to in the article as Thing 1 and Thing 2), nor the man she married.

I guess this is what Christian means now.

Barbells and Bibles: How to Share What you Know Without Being a Jerk

Today, in the gym, a guy asked me to critique his form. That’s not necessarily a noteworthy occurrence, except for the fact that this guy was a crossfit instructor. For those of you that aren’t familiar with crossfit, for many of its practitioners it’s practically a religion–to them, crossfit is the only way to work out. However, this crossfit instructor wasn’t too proud to ask a guy who was clearly doing a non-crossfit type workout for advice on form for front squats and push presses. We ended up having an interesting conversation between sets, including discussing the merits of doing kettlebell swings to eyeball level or continuing them above eyeball level. Why did this guy, a crossfit instructor, ask me for advice? Probably because I was doing strict form deadlifts, and because I carry a lot of muscle mass at a relatively low body fat percentage.

I’m out of state for some training right now, and the accommodations here are in two-man rooms. This morning during a class break, I was asked “Is it true that the first thing you do as soon as your alarm goes off in the morning is read?” I guess my roommate likes to tell stories on me. After I replied that I indeed do read first thing in the morning, I was asked the reasonable follow-up question of why. I replied that I like to read from my Bible to get me in the right headspace to start my day. One of my fellow classmates actually said, “that’s a cool idea.”

When I go to the gym, I don’t give out unsolicited advice. I see people all the time doing exercises that aren’t really going to do them any good, like leg adductions, but I don’t go up to them them and tell them that what they are doing is worthless. People can be very sensitive about their workout routines, and no one likes a stranger telling them that they don’t know what they are doing. However, when asked I am more than happy to help people. One time a co-worker, having seen me do heavy squats, asked me to help him with squats, which was a weak point for him. By helping him correct his form, I was able to increase the weight he used by over a hundred pounds in a single workout. The reason that he was willing to listen to my advice was because he asked me for help, rather than me offering it unsolicited.

My philosophy on sharing religion is pretty much the same as my philosophy on sharing fitness advice–I don’t do it unsolicited, but I don’t shy away from answering questions or sharing what I know with people who ask me to. Like workout routines, religious beliefs are something that people are sensitive about. Many religious people do not seem to grasp this concept. Either they will alienate a person that they could befriend by telling them how their religion is wrong, or when asked by someone why they do what they do or believe what they believe they shy away from the question. While I won’t go up to the person doing leg adductions and tell them that what they are doing is worthless, if that person comes up to me and asks me why I do squats I’m not going to say “well, I do squats and you do leg adductions, we both work out our legs so really it’s just a matter of personal preference.” Instead I’m going to explain how squats work the whole body, stimulate testoterone production, and stabilize the entire lower body and posterior chain while working the adductors in a stabilizing role more than they would be worked by straight adductions.

In both the gym world and the religious world, people take exception to, and generally disregard the advice of, the person who comes up and tells them that what they are doing is wrong. Don’t be the person who does that. At the same time, it’s pretty low down to hold back your knowledge when someone comes to you and asks you to share it. Don’t be the person who does that either. Both of those kinds of people are jerks.

Don’t be a jerk.

Thoughts on Fear

One of my goals in deleting Facebook a little over a week ago was to use the time I previously spent on Facebook to write more. Unfortunately, the power cord to my computer broke, and I was unable to post  here until my new cord arrived in the mail today. However, I did manage to put my time to good use, reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Orwell’s 1984. And while I’m glad to have taken a step closer to literacy by perusing two books that have contributed so much to thought and conversation, neither book impacted me as much as a 23-page short story that I re-read this week, and have read several times in the past: Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”

The fact that Francis Macomber dies is of no more import than the fact that Winston Smith lives–Macomber experiences more of life in his few minutes of manhood than Winston does in his entire existence. And the victory over himself that Macomber achieves is far more worthwhile and laudable than the victory over himself that Winston Smith achieves.

I also find it interesting that in a story published in a woman’s magazine (Cosmopolitan) in 1936, Hemingway identifies an issue that has become prominent in American social commentary as of late–the self-neutering of American masculinity. The people who seem the most disturbed by this trend are not the men themselves, but women. Women write articles in the Wall Street Journal asking where the good men have gone, and before I deleted Facebook I noticed an amazingly large proportion of my female friends “liked” a website called The Art of Manliness, which is a men’s website dedicated to reviving traditional manliness–everything from being handy around the house, to taking the initiative in dating and relationships, to chivalry. And while the term boy-man is often used in these bemoanings, it is always presented as a relatively recent phenomenon. It is interesting then, to see that Hemingway used the same term in 1936.

It’s that some of them stay little boys so long, Wilson thought. Sometimes all their lives. Their figures stay boyish when they’re fifty. The great American boy-men. Damned strange people. But he liked this Macomber now. Damned strange fellow. Probably meant the end of cuckoldry too. Well, that would be a damned good thing. Damned good thing. Beggar had probably been afraid all his life. Don’t know what started it. But over now…. Be a damn fire eater now. He’d seen it in the war work the same way. More of a change than any loss of virginity. Fear gone like an operation. Something else grew in its place. Main thing a man had. Made him into a man. Women knew it too. No bloody fear.

Macomber hated being a cuckold. However, up until this point, his wife consistently takes advantage of him because he is afraid of her. That fear makes him not quite a man, but it also makes him manipulable. When he loses his fear, when he becomes truly a man, it scares his wife because she knows that she will no longer be able to take advantage of him and control him. 

“You’re both talking rot,” said Margot. “Just because you’ve chased some helpless animals in a motor car you talk like heroes. “Sorry,” said Wilson. “I have been gassing too much.” She’s worried about it already, he thought. “If you don’t know what we’re talking about why not keep out of it?” Macomber asked his wife. “You’ve gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly,” his wife said contemptuously, but her contempt was not secure. She was very afraid of something. Macomber laughed, a very natural hearty laugh. “You know I have,” he said. “I really have.”“Isn’t it sort of late?” Margot said bitterly. Because she had done the best she could for many years back and the way they were together now was no one person’s fault. “Not for me,” said Macomber.

Fear is the ultimate emasculator. Francis Macomber conquered fear, and though he died, he died a man. Winston Smith, on the other hand, was conquered by fear in Room 101–if not before–and though he lived, he lived as less than a man. It is better to be unafraid in death than afraid in life. In the words of Shakespeare’s Francis Feeble, as quoted by Hemingway’s Robert Wilson, “By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God a death and let it go which way it will he that dies this year is quit for the next. “

Facebook No More

I’ve made some changes in my life lately. You could say that I’m downsizing, but that wouldn’t capture the essence of it. You could use the word simplifying, but that isn’t quite it either. Perhaps the best explanation is that I’m primitivizing. Every meal I’ve cooked in the past two weeks has been in a cast iron skillet–I haven’t even touched the microwave. And my foods have been simple, single ingredient foods: eggs, milk, turkey bacon, gluten, cheese, spinach, almond butter, and the like. And I think its time I made some changes in how I use technology.

Writer Jack Donovan responded to popular articles bewailing the growing number of young men who delay “entering the real world” in favor of immersing themselves in sports and video games in their parents’ basements by claiming that modern technology has largely rendered the type of physically active, large motor movement work that men are biologically suited for–and mentally predisposed to–obsolete. In his view, sports and video games are a way of vicariously experiencing making a difference through physical action–a simulation of an experience men used to regularly gain through work before physical labor came to mean taping boxes shut.

Thankfully, I have a job where I can make a difference though physical action. However, I’ve found that I’ve been simulating another important experience–social interaction. For me, Facebook has become a sort of masturbatory form of communication where I trick myself into thinking I’m interacting with friends when in reality I’m clicking on a tiny drawing of a thumb. Let’s be real; clicking on a thumb is in no way meaningful communication.

For a while now, my main reason to check Facebook has been to see if any of my highly attractive female friends have posted photos of themselves. I’m going to miss that aspect of the site for sure. However, for every pulchritudinous photo in my newsfeed, there were bound to be several solipsistic statuses and even more solipsistic photos of what someone happened to be eating for supper. I have come to the conclusion that Facebook feeds solipsism.

So, I’m deleting Facebook. I’m going to make a conscious effort to send more emails, make more phone calls, and write more letters (revolutionary concept, I know). In fact, I’ve already started. If you want to connect with me on a real level, my email is I’d be happy to call or write you, if you send me your contact info at that address. And if you are one of the aforementioned pulchritudinous females, you are more than welcome to send me photos. 

Guns and Violence

A gun is an instrument of violence.

Sure, a gun is an inanimate object, a simple tool, but all tools have a purpose, and the purpose of a gun is to kill. This is different than being a weapon: hammers, axes, and shovels are all weapons, but each of them has a practical application other than the application of violence. Firearms have no other such applications. Of course, firearms aren’t the only tool whose only practical use is the application of violence; other prominent examples would be swords, spears, bows and arrows, bombs, artillery, and tanks. What sets firearms apart from the other examples is that firearms are the most advanced and effective dedicated tool for the application of violence commonly available to the average individual. The more advanced tools generally require either specialized knowledge  or a team of operators, or both, while the less advanced tools require increasing physical prowess. It is only the firearm that allows the technically untrained and physically inept individual to apply violence against others.

Guns give the capacity to perform violent actions to those who would not otherwise have that ability.

Think about the school shooters covered endlessly by the media. They were all large, muscular football player-types with the ability to physically impose their will on their peers, right? Oh no, that’s right–they were frail, wispy fellows who were picked on by their peers and lacked the physical ability to stand up for themselves until they upped the ante and brought a firearm. Guns transformed them–in both their minds and reality–from the vulnerable to the powerful in a way that spears would not have.

Guns democratize violence by making it equally available to the strong and the weak–and this democratization of violence is necessary in today’s society.

In the past, the application of violence required a level of physical prowess and skill. Whether it was spearing bison from horseback or going to war against a neighboring tribe, men were simply more biologically suited than women to perform the violent activities necessary for the day-to-day continuation of society. However, these activities were inherently risky, which resulted in men bearing the brunt of physical risk in society. In compensation for the expectation of being subject to much greater risks, men naturally developed certain privileges, which were proportional to risk in order to ensure that men would remain willing to risk their individual lives for the benefit of the tribe. However, modern society decided to do away with that arrangement. Now that women earn up to 8% more than men with comparable jobs, and any type of male privilege is looked on as reprehensibly evil (although for some reason female privilege is still ok), there is no reason that men ought to feel any duty to bear the lion’s share of physical risk. In theory, women ought to have to register for the draft at 18, as there is no justifiable reason to require men to pay the majority of the cost of maintaining a society that benefits women more than them.

Of course, all that is at the societal level. However, those societal influences have led large numbers of both men and women to reject the traditional marriage model, in which the male provided physical and financial security in exchange for the domestic and sexual attentions of the female. The prevalence of divorce and of female-centric divorce laws that almost invariably award custody to the woman have further contributed to the redefinition of the family. Furthermore, the average US male is now so out of shape from sitting behind a desk all day that he lacks the physical ability and confidence to stand up for himself, much less for others. All these factors have erased the old system in which the strong protected the weak, and replaced it with a system in which the strong are discarded and the weak protect the weak. And when the weak protect the weak, weakness abounds.

When weakness abounds, the only way to apply the violence necessary for the continuation of society is through a tool that does not require strength or skill–and guns are the only tools that fit that description.



The word may conjure up in your mind images of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, military members, Boy Scouts, UPS drivers, NBA players, Hooter’s waitresses, or even prison inmates. Truth is, we all wear uniforms. Some are more obvious, like the ones listed above. Some are less obvious, like the politician uniform, or the hipster uniform. For politicians, it’s a solid black or navy suit, with a solid white or light blue shirt and a solid red or blue tie. For hipsters, it’s skinny jeans, a flannel shirt a size too small, and a cardigan.

Sometimes, the differences between uniforms can seem to be pretty subtle. For example, in this photo, one can clearly see the the “dress blue” uniform of each of the five branches of the US military. To someone familiar with these uniforms, it is easy to identify which branch a serviceman belongs to just by looking at his cover, without even seeing the differences in the rest of the uniform. However, some people may not be able to correctly identify all five uniforms even when the entire uniform is visible.

What uniform do you wear? I’m not talking about a uniform that you wear for work, but the uniform that you wear every day. When people see you, they form opinions about you based on what you are wearing, just as surely as if you were wearing a recognizable uniform. The question is, what does that uniform say? Do you wear the uniform of a well-dressed person? A redneck? A frumpy Wal-Mart person? When you are wearing the uniform of an organization, your appearance reflects on that organization, but when you wear what you choose, your “uniform” reflects on you.

What image do you want to project? Do you have pride in your “uniform?” If not, maybe it’s time to make a change. 

Reflection: Living in the Moment

The summer after my freshman year at Union, before heading to Wakonda to work, I completed the IRR “summer program”–a month-long technical rescue and survival training course held in the shadow of Lone Cone. As part of the training, we each did a 72-hour survival solo, wearing only street clothes, and taking with us only a knife, 5 feet of 550 cord, a metal match, a pencil, a sheet of paper (to write notes which would be left twice a day for our evaluators to read to know we were ok, since human contact was forbidden), a Bible (optional), a water filter, and two one-liter water bottles. We were offered the chance to earn extra credit by spending 24 hours within arm’s reach of a tree, without a fire and with only the 2 liters of water in our bottles. Although I didn’t need the extra credit, I knew immediately that I had to accept the challenge.

Like an idiot, I decided to do my 24 hours next to a tree at the end of my solo–by the time I walked to the tree with my freshly filled water bottles, I had spent 48 hours without food. I picked a small tree in an open area with a southern exposure, and laid down next to it. As the sun rose higher into the sky, I began to realize that choosing a souther exposure at roughly 7,000 feet of elevation might not have been a great idea. Despite my rationing, my supply of water began to dwindle. At some point, the heat combined with my lack of nourishment must have caused me to lose consciousness, because the next thing I remember is one of the evaluators shaking me and talking to me, and not being able to see him clearly, understand what he was saying, or figure out what was going on. Once I did figure out what was happening, I was upset at the evaluator because I thought the contact with him would cause me to lose the extra credit, and possibly credit for the entire assignment. He assured me that it would not be held against me, made me drink some of my remaining water, gave me some more water because of the heat, and left. With the extra water by body was able to regulate my temperature, and the rest of the day was pretty easy, albeit boring. Then the sun went down.

One interesting thing about high elevation is the amount of temperature swing that is fairly normal. I asked later how cold it got that night, and was told that it got down to 16 degrees. It certainly felt colder. Wearing only my canvas work pants and a flannel shirt, I was freezing. at one point I thought about trying to run in place to warm up, but after almost 3 days without food and an exhausting day of enduring heat, I just didn’t have the energy. I curled into a ball with my arms around my legs to conserve heat. Soon, my entire body began to shake violently, in what felt like a caricatured case of shivering.

As I lay curled on the ground shaking, I did not feel misery. Oh, I did at first, but soon that faded and my entire consciousness became aware of only a single thought: “I can make it another moment.” I never thought about making it through the night, or even through an hour or a minute–just through the moment.

I had another similar experience in Nicaragua my junior year, when we spent 24 hours on a boat in open ocean as part of our open water survival training. Cold and wet as the boat bobbed up and down and back and forth, for a time in the middle of the night I again found myself enduring moment by moment. Sometimes something similar happens when I swim a long distance. Somewhere around the 2-mile mark, I usually want to stop and rest for a second. Instead I keep going, one stroke at a time, my whole consciousness absorbed with simply performing one stroke.

I like to refer to that phenomena of the consciousness being whittled down to just the present moment as “living in the moment.” I know that phrase has been used in many ways, but that’s what it means to me, and I’m trying to apply it more to my everyday life.

Not that life is some pain to be endured by focusing on only a single moment at a time–I don’t mean that at all. However, I think that sometimes I focus so much on the future that I don’t fully live out the moment that I am in. Whatever stage I’m in, I always seem to be in a hurry to get to the next stage, to “get on with life.” Sometimes, I’m afraid that I miss valuable opportunities by always being in a rush to get to the next thing. The experiences where I truly lived in the moment, such as my survival experiences, remain indelibly etched into my memory, because I experienced them to the fullest extent possible: to the point where my consciousness was aware of nothing else. How many times in the past might I have made equally lasting memories by simply choosing to experience to the fullest the situation I was in?

I don’t know, but I intend to give myself less reason to wonder in the future.