First, of course, the gray water update: two days ago, the driver never came to suck out our 1000 gallon bag, which was odd because we’d come to what I thought was an agreement of at least once per day.  It’s a long drive down a bad road for him, and gray water disposal was closed over the weekend, which is all someone’s problem certainly, but ours is — you know, this 1000 gallon capacity bag just getting bigger and bigger.  So the next day, when he came, we were politely like “where the hell were you” and he was totally surprised; he said our mutual boss had told him we’d reported not needing gray water service.  I replied that we had reported no such thing, and to just come every day, and called our mutual boss.  He said, “Well you guys texted me you didn’t need anything.”  I said, “No we didn’t.”  He said, “Yeah, I’m looking at it right now…oh nevermind, that wasn’t you, that was someone else.  My bad.”

So, next day, bag getting fuller and fuller, no gray water driver.  We call and say where’s the guy.  Mutual boss says, “You know it’s just hard with disposal closed on the weekend.”  We’re like…?!?!  Should we just have showers at the front, open moat of accumulating gray water in the back or what.  So they send the driver — he’s stuck in the middle again as usual.  I say, “Can you please just come every day.”  He says, “Yeah, that’s what I told them, but they said hold off because of disposal.”  There’s no cell service where he is so it’s impossible to communicate directly.  We call our mutual boss again — “We def need gray water service every day, at least.”  “Okay, okay, got it.  I’ll send him every morning.”

So lots of crews come off the fireline last night and this morning, showers showers, lots of filth to clean up in the stalls, gray water bag getting bigger and bigger.  We’re just trusting, you know, the driver’s gonna come in the morning.  No driver.  We text.  “Oh okay, sending him right now.”

So, this really basic logistical thing is like Groundhog Day, and must be reinvented with each new rising of the sun.  The gray water driver camped 500 feet away from us continues to luxuriate in the shade all day, dedicated solely to the kitchen.

Okay no more about gray water, that’s plenty.  Let’s see, what else?  We’ve managed to work our way back into a good barbell lifting pattern.  We tend to gain momentum, get interrupted with travel etc., struggle to find our momentum again under always-new circumstances, on and on.  With momentum of even several days, certainly a week or more, the most magical things happen.  The lift session itself doesn’t occupy that much time, and it’s fun and interesting, but it’s apparent that it sets into motion a chain of body events the rest of the 24 hour cycle, as you get some good lifts in back-to-back.  The very deep sleep is one of them, and the low grade but satisfying achy-ness that sets in — it’s a lot different from “soreness” per se — and a mental quietness.  I don’t know why or how, but the monkey mind is dramatically stilled after a good lift.  It’s almost as if the muscles themselves have a libido drive, of sorts, that we’re mostly unconscious of.  But the satisfaction of their libido, in the form of well-designed exertion, feels exactly like the satisfaction of traditional libido.  You’re kinda blissed and tired for a while, and then eventually you wanna do it again, and all the other mind stuff that seemed to matter a lot, before, recedes into a very hazy distance.

A lot of spiritual gains, in fact, come through the body and not the mind, and you’ll encounter more and more emphasis on body-focus.  Pausing, throughout the day, to “check in” — feel the feelings in your body, listen to them, make them a more conscious part of your reality.  Our mind is a bully and doesn’t consider anything that anyone else has to say very valuable, which is exactly why those spiritual gains can be so big — guaranteed the biggest blowhard in the room is not the one you’re going to receive your next epiphany from.  And your mind, our minds, are absolutely the biggest blowhard in the room.  They won’t surrender the mic.  You can’t pry it out of their fucking hand.  It’s like Don Lemon trying to regain some semblance of control at that DNC Town Hall disaster — it can’t be done.

And I’m just as shitty at it as anyone else.  I am absolutely not on my high horse about “oh, just check in with your body” — it’s hard!  It’s actually hard.  My mind convinces me, quite thoroughly, that there’s nothing besides it to be aware of.  It’s like being cornered at a party by an exhausting person that you just can’t get out from under, except, tragically, you are that person.  So, I have basically zero advice on meaningfully incorporating body wisdom as a spiritual practice, but that’s okay because I’ve found my own hack.  I think one of the things that’s so fun about barbell lifting is that it just takes that exhausting person at the party and drops them off in the middle of the Baltic Ocean, and the rest of you is like a chopper flying away while they holler — “You should be doing something else!  Everyone is judging you!  No one thinks you’re interesting!  There are too many flies and wasps!  There might be a customer and that one Facilities guy thinks you should hand them their towel instead of letting them get it for themselves!”  It’s pretty fun to see the smart ass with all the answers suddenly have no answers.  And it’s pretty fun to see the much-maligned, constantly neglected body mind come surging forth.  It cannot help but come surging forth — you create a vacuum that evokes exactly that.

So, perhaps too abstract for some, but I think it’s worth making the point that it’s very very very difficult to create a set of circumstances where this bully salesman charlatan big talker monkey mind aspect of our consciousness is derailed for even a moment.  I mean, it’s the ultimate mansplainer.  Meditation, which like barbell lifting, is nearly useless unless you spend a string of days, preferably weeks and months, dedicating some time to it.  The momentum builds.  Meditation teaches us to recognize and gently sideline the monkey mind; barbell lifting is a little more direct, rendering it temporarily bound and gagged, in a sense.

Oh man, here’s nice thought: waking up in Hawaii, which is always a nice day, in a nice house with Nick and my brother Abe (the current plan; he’s house hunting) and having the time and the right setting for all my favorite spiritual practices.  I generally wake up early when I’m not embroiled in a life or cold weather pattern that makes me want to check out and stay unconscious for longer.  I’d love to wake up, stretch, pad around, maybe jump into the pool for a second, or not.

Enjoy the personalities of my favorite people, gently going about their business.  Nick checking his cryptos and slugging his first protein shake of the day; Abe programming a game or a new language or making tofu breakfast toast.  The animals: Milo skittering around excitedly but more and more calmly every week, with his loving, trusting eyes; Buffy carefully navigating the specifics of her world in her softly abashed, baby-like way; Kimp the cat stretching out to his full, impressive length across a variety of surfaces, and looking wise and Chinese-y.  It would be nice if my dad could be in this scenario too, fussing around as he always does with his resin art, or his music, or the next little house project, or falling asleep in his Laz-E-Boy recliner with his headphones on and some hardcore conspiracy shit playing, unnoticed, on his iPad.

Get some coffee, sit down a write a blog.  Eat, digest a little, and then either go out and work on my surfing next, or a lifting in the garage with the menfolk, with the big door opened up obviously.  Either, or both, whatever.  Put on my favorite floaty, gorgeous clothes, eat more, settle down for a couple hours of audiobook narration, which I always enjoy when it’s not crammed into a stressful box of time, type thing.  I enjoy translating the words into vocalizations, which is meditative in itself.  It’s just this simple, inner-world attention kind of thing, almost like driving equipment that runs very well along a road that has just the right amount of hills and curves for interest, but no hazards to speak of.

Well — I have run into audiobook narration hazards before, in the form of, for instance, a scene with lots of dialogue between a motorcycle gang, a rival Hispanic motorcycle gang, and some Italian mobsters, with a kidnapped-but-totally-okay female protagonist in the mix — the girlfriend of one of the bikers, obviously.  That was an accent throw down that I was hardly ready for, let me tell you.  I made it happen, but — anyway, it’s usually not like that.  It’s usually like two or three people talking, max, and I can easily just sort of allow their characters and patterns of speech to come through.

I jumped in on book three of a series, one time, and had no idea that the handsome hunk in the series was from New Zealand — I’d been voicing his character as an American, which got weird when multiple references to his sexy accent came along.  Oops.

Anyway — I like narrating, and it’s fun when I have nice calm space in the day I can dedicate to it, and it’s even more fun when Nick and I co-narrate books, as we’ve been doing lately, to the great chagrin and alarm of his mother.  I like to look at him and try to make him laugh when he’s navigating through particularly racy or bizarrely emotionally charged passages lollll!

So, a couple hours of that, then maybe smoke part of a cigar, and then walk the bugaboos, and either go into town for dinner all together or make something nice at home.  Meditate and/or pray before bed, and legitimately thank god for my life and my loved ones.  Maybe there’s some CDL work in the mix, twice a week or something, we’ll see.  Or maybe it will make sense to get back in the truck school business at some point.

Music, more songwriting, more recording of scratch tracks to send to Jeff, more work on the oil field book, all of it just being there and enjoyable.  I really do feel oriented to so much enjoyment, in the basic area of my interests and avocations.  I’ve noticed, or maybe a better word is “admitted”, that there are just a couple of things I like to spearhead on my own, very specifically, and then the rest of my persona is geared around being a great helper type person.  We always emphasize leadership and individual assertion, and not really how nice it is, and useful, to be a truly great helper, but I like being a helper.  I liked sitting next to Nick yesterday afternoon and handing him things, making his life easier, while he changed the oil, oil filter, fuel and air filters on our generator.  I could have figured out how to do all that on my own, but it was so nice to just help.  I like to help cooking, help brainstorming, help creating.

I used to get kind of stressed out at work, at the truck school, because I was new to their particular culture and had already gotten in trouble for trying to explain the pre-trip in a way that made sense, etc.  So I would tell myself, on my drive to work, “I’m just a helper.  I’m not really in charge of anything.”  (True, by the way.)  “I’m just someone a little further down the road who’s here to offer insight as it occurs to me, and otherwise just have fun and enjoy these great personalities.”

It’s been a big insight for me, emerging kind of slowly — there aren’t many dog sleds in the world where I want, or need, to be the main dog in harness.  And of those sleds, like this blog or songwriting for instance, or how I narrate or drive — I don’t have to “try”.  It’s like, no one can stop me from pulling that sled, or if they do I feel very antagonized.  All the rest of the things, the infinite things of the world, I’m happy to just help out with.  This may not sound like a big deal but it’s a big deal to me.

Oh, which reminds me — I’ve been meaning to write a blog on how much I appreciate YouTuber Helena Hart Relationship Coaching, and the fascinating world of examining masculine and feminine energies specifically, but I’ll save that for another day.  Suffice to say, as a woman raised in a time when it’s characterized as, like, a moral failing to NOT climb the ladder of any given power structure, to NOT take charge (whether I want to or not), to NOT get into power struggles like it’s my full time job, to NOT identify victimization and misogyny everywhere, it’s super nice to just relax into my own feminine energy and let others around me masculine-ly perform their brains out.  And to admit to that unforgivable crime, in the age of female liberation: I like to be a helper.  It feels good.

The guy came and pumped out our gray water bag while I was writing this blog, and I delivered a nice cold fruity fizzy drink to him, and also I saw a very large, yellow butterfly flit all around, in my direct view, which is the first time that’s happened in a long time.  Feels like a great day at the fire camp.