Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Nicaragua 2019

I own a piece of a property in Nicaragua, as I wrote about in this earlier newsletter, and I stayed there from December 4 to December 14th.  I finished reading Jordan Peterson's first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief and it changed me.  I started reading Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist on the plane on the way there.  Coelho's book was a gift from a nearly perfect stranger I met at jury duty in November. I leaned over to peak at the cover of her book and she held it up for me.  I'd heard of it on the Tim Ferriss Show (a podcast to which I subscribe). I'm lucky that I get a lot of books either from or because of smart people I know or listen to.  I haven't gotten to read that much in a very long time, and that's probably why it changed me.

I was already on a path to see value in doubt, and my (non) experience in Nicaragua increased the value I see in it.  I call it a "(non) experience" because I got to do nothing so much.  There were lots of things I did do, including seeing two pigs mate, cutting down fast growing trees so that slower-growing (stronger, and longer lasting) trees can get the sun they need to grow, befriending some dogs who serve as alarms, eating clean and healthy, locally grown food every day that I didn't have to prepare, and sleeping from dusk till dawn, which was about eleven or twelve hours.  And there were fireflies.

Doubt is hope, and which word you use is based on whether you're being optimistic or pessimistic.  At the same time hope is not a strategy, and many people recognize the seeds of destruction in hope. If all you do is hope, failure just becomes more likely.  It's taking action, even when you doubt that you will succeed, that increases the chances of success. An open mind will learn from failure, and learning is a kind of success too. My younger sister Anitra who died of breast cancer almost five years ago, gave me a shirt from a program she worked, "Supercamp," with seven keys to success on it, and one of them was "Failure leads to success."

Today I heard part of Tim Ferriss' interview of Marcela Ot'alora.  He asked her several questions about how one "sits for" someone who takes MDMA or some other psychedelic substance for the purpose of healing. Now that I'm writing this (fulfilling a promise I've been making to everyone who asked me how my trip was), I think a good way to put it is that I went there to "sit for" myself as I allowed it (myself, which I'm objectifying as my body and the experiencing spirit that lives in it) to do whatever it wanted. There are a lot of things for which I take responsibility when I'm home, and I got to let them all go.  I came back and take on these responsibilities and more with more energy and optimism than I had before.  It worked!

I've been making the claim that "I don't get bored."  It's not really true, but I like to make it as true as I can.  Being bored is an extreme luxury if you really think about it. Most creatures usually have something that needs to be done by a certain time, and they will work on doing that thing. If there's enough time, they will lounge around instead, and eventually, the need overtakes them and they get up and do it. I went to Nicaragua because I like lounging around.  I did a lot of it, and I still like it and do a lot of it.  I didn't have enough of an Internet connection to plan my next one, so I'll go work on that now.

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