So this day has come to an end. Work/Nap/Work. Pretty basic. Pretty straight forward. This weekend while at Barnes & Noble, while waiting in line at their Starbucks (forgive me Father for I have sinned) to pay for my Fiji water, which on one hand was under priced considering 1) where I was buying it and 2) it’s name brand water, but on the other hand over priced because 1) it’s water, I discovered the couple in front of me were overlooking a small book. This book contained funny pictures of cats with funny little captions. I thought this book stupid and for stupid people. The one I remember was a picture of a cat with red eyes and a caption that read “There is too much chlorine in the pool”. Today, I discover that one of the books I bought from Amazon is a collection of pictures of dogs with captions. So I felt hypocritical, even though I didn’t really know the contents of the book when I bought it, and the saving grace of the book not having humorous captions, but pieces of Zen Buddhist wisdom.

I took the phone from my mom tonight and told her that I thought that Katie was feeling a bit down or had some things on her mind and I wanted to have the cordless phone to keep by me, just in case she called. So mom says to me “I wish I had a man that was that attentive to me,” (maybe a bit of a paraphrase, this happened a half hour ago, so I’m hazy on specifics) and I tapped the book about dogs and nodded knowingly. Yeah I do that, nod… knowingly. I told her that Katie had recently praised me for being what I am, and I had replied that if all the guys out there put a little effort forth, they too could find such a place. Through the course of the ensuing conversation with her I found myself reflecting on my recent path in life. Vocally, I described to her that I’ve come so far in the last year and all I did was try. I’ve transformed from a horrible wretch to something, although certainly not complete, better. All I did was try. I didn’t do anything gigantic or hard, I simply realized three things, what I wanted, and what stood in my way, and what I had to change or do to get from Point A to Point C while getting over the Terrible Point B. Perhaps the difficult part for some, which keeps a person from trying, is simply find the obstacle which is Terrible Point B too intangible.

TBP is easy for most people in the formula of external things. Let us say that Point C is looking good for summer so you can wear a hot bathing suit (vanity mmm). Point A is where you are now, pasty and flabby. Seeing what TBP is and what to do to get over it is easy, doing… maybe that’s harder. In the self-modification/improvement/whatever you want to call it sense, it’s hard to see, but easy to do. TBP is yourself.

In the Western world we have something called “self hate”. This concept is almost unknown by our Far Eastern brothers. We find problem with ourselves and fester on it. I know I did. I know I still do. I’m not done with myself yet. Punishing myself for my faults only caused me to have more faults in which I would punish myself for. The famous “vicious circle” manifests. How is the cycle broken? Punishment stops. Being critical of these faults and flaws, certainly does not. What replaces punishment is work. The focused dedication and will to change. Simply believing that I could be more compassionate and understanding and hopeful and faithful was enough. Admittedly, sometimes the act of being a decent human being felt awkward early on, and sometimes still does, and this is easily understood, I wasn’t used to it. But it comes with practice, like anything.

Also while I thought, the precursor to the Way of the Dog came while watching movies… I watched a movie or two with a female friend who commented that she wished that she could meet a guy who was like Generic Hero. I think I’ve learned more about humans through movies than I have from the Bible. This might sound a bit messed up to say, but it’s true not because the Bible doesn’t have anything to say about humans, it’s just that 1) I’ve spent a lot of time watching movies and not so much with the Bible and 2) The time I used to spend with the Bible I don’t think I really contained the understanding I needed to find what I needed in it, this had remedied itself with the continuing relinquishment of self. What do the people around me want me to be? “Fitting in” through dress or action or speech is a waste of time. No friend or group of friends wants you to “fit in” by doing things exactly as they do. Unless they’re shallow and need a peon to make themselves feel better about themselves, but we’ll talk about that another day. Amazingly, I’ve only recently (today) realized that the reason I got along (and still do) with such a variety of people is because of warmness, understanding, and I know how to keep my mouth shut. My Most Avid Reader will probably find many instances in which I haven’t been those things to her, but that’s because I treat her differently than every other human on this planet, sometimes for her benefit, and admittedly, sometimes to her detriment.

And goodnight, reader.