Saturday, November 20, 2010

..

Standing on the side of the road with my thumb outstretched in the 110 degree heat index, I wanted nothing more than to wash the soup-like mixture of dirt, sweat, and sun block off of my skin. We’d been standing there for nearly three hours and my backpack had become sufficiently glued to my body with sweat. It was only the second day of our hitchhiking adventure.

We were stuck in a small village outside of Hagerstown, Maryland; 85 miles from where we started, but still 330 miles from where we wanted to be - Columbus, Ohio. Another hour passed without a ride, and as the sun rose higher, our moods sunk lower. Searching my mind for a boost of morale, I remembered something a friend of mine told me just before I left, “Think of hitchhiking as a walking trip with the possibility of getting rides,” he said, “not the other way around.” While this statement held some truth to it, it didn’t stop me from being upset. The first day we never waited more than 20 minutes for a ride; but now we were waiting twelve times that!

I told my friend Jon I was taking a break, sat down, and closed my eyes. Whenever I start to get upset, I try to think through the problem logically rather than emotionally. I was obviously upset because we covered any distance yet today, but then I asked myself why not covering distance upset me in the first place. Cars continued to zip by, and I couldn’t think of an answer. We didn’t have to be in Columbus by a certain time, nor was there any real reason for us to go there at all. I was getting upset over nothing at all. The entire basis for this trip was to experience true freedom and live without any worries, even if just for a week. To quote Robert M. Pirsig from his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with emphasis on “good” rather than “time.”” The destination didn’t matter; the emphasis was upon the journey alone. Ten minutes later, someone picked us up.

I look back on that trip and I realize that I try to look at everything with focus on the adventure and not the result. I don’t want to go to college to get a degree just to make a six figure salary later in life; I want to go to learn everything that I can and meet new people and experience everything I never thought possible. The same way that I don’t want to work all my life just to be a rich old man; I want to make a difference in the world and overall be happy with my life.


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Monday, August 9, 2010

.

oof .
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Monday, July 26, 2010

No Shoes


Haven't posted for quite some time; though it would seem that I can't pinpoint the reasoning as anyones fault in particular, but more as something that just happens with no one to blame.

I could, for instance, say that not posting is because I've been traveling, though that would be a lie because while true - what is better to blog about than travel stories.

I might also blame being an american teenager. Why sit on the computer and talk when I could be enjoying one of my last free summers?

I could drop girls, jobs, family, or the feeling that no one wants to read what I say all as valid excuses; but what it boils down to is not why I haven't been posting, but that I haven't been posting at all.

Now I can't promise I'm going to be posting on any sort of regularity, but I can promise that if the thought even crosses my mind, no matter how stupid or worthless the idea is, I will be sure to stop by.

Okay.

So since the start of summer, I haven't really worn shoes at all. I've been kicked out of 27 public places, suffered 2 minor gash wounds, and been gawked at an incomprehendable number of times. The bottoms of my feet are pretty ridiculous now (a friend and I actually picked the hottest day to walk laps around the Walmart parking lot), and I'd be willing to bet the callouses on my feet are stronger than most of your shoes. Rocks, glass, thorns; it ain't shit now, I just brush it off and keep walking.

I would also go as far to say now that I'm a master at hiding it from store employees. Here are a few tips:

1 - There's a certain distance that makes your feet widely visible; 10-30 feet. If you can avoid being in this range, whether inside 10, or outside 30, you should be solid.

2 - Side entrances are your friend. Speaks for itself really; less people = less eyes.

3 - Avoid shorts. Bare feet are much more noticable with shorts. I prefer to have long pants that are centimeters from scraping the ground, for the extra cover.

4 - Walk quickly and use obstacles like people or clothing racks or any other type of merchandise to seperate yourself from employees and the death spot - cash registers. Be a ninja.

5 - If you ever have to enter any sort of food establishment, get as close to the counter as you can as quickly as you can and use it to block the lower half of your body.

6 - Be confident. Make eye contact and act like you know what you're doing. They can't look at your feet if they are looking at your eyes. Be the alpha male.

7 - As a general rule, most people just won't care. They'll either think your crazy and not want to mess with you, or generally just not notice because they are too wrapped up in their own robot bullshit. The people who do care, only do so because its their job. Avoid them.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week 2-3.5

Insight

"I want to dig a hole. A monstrous crater, smack dab in the middle of a high school lawn, or public park. When people stop and ask me why I'm digging, I'll look up and reply 'You gotta put your problems somewhere, bro,' and continue to dig. Maybe if I dig long enough I'll eventually find treasure." - Tee Engelke

I've never read a biography of any great man whose life has been a continual uphill progress. Every great man has been shit on numerous times, whether his fault or others, before coming out on top. It's important to remember this always. This last month, hell, the last 6 months, have not been very fun. Once the shit starts piling up, it becomes an arduous task to stick to your beliefs and goals. However, this is the time when it's most important. Everyone relapses, but what separates people from others is where they go from there. Giving up is not an acceptable option. Ever.

Week 2,3,3.5


Physical:Learn to Juggle

Messed around with this quite a bit this month. 6 Flashes, or 18 consecutive catches is my current record. I'm pretty proud of that, to be honest. I want to continue to work on this. I don't see myself ever being very serious about it, but it is fun to pass the time.

Structural:Wake up immediately
The few times I did experiment with this, I found myself tired and cranky throughout the day. There could be other factors in this, like not getting enough sleep, or just having a shitty day, but I would not recommend this to anyone else. Enjoy the little escape from reality that sleep is.

Mental:Read 2 book/week from a different literary period
Only have finished two books this month. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac and The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy.
Both are excellent reads. I plan on picking up some more of Keruoac's more popular work, like On the Road soon.
Dharma Bums - Buddhism, climbing mountains, drinking wine, hitchhiking, writing poems, living in the woods, parties, meeting new people every day, self-exploration.
"
See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures. " - Kerouac
The Kreutzer Sonata - Society's views on women, morals, debauchery, capriciousness, modern 'love', corruption of the mind, reasons for having kids and families.
"The way she saw the situation was like this: she'd been giving some extremely weak and fragile creatures [kids] to look after, creatures that were susceptible to an infinite number of disasters. For these creatures, she felt a passionate, animal devotion. What was more, although these creatures had been delivered into her care, the means by which they could be preserved from danger had been concealed from us, but revealed instead to complete strangers, whose services and advice could only be obtained for large sums of money, and even then not always." - Tolstoy 72


I want to continue to read daily for the rest of my life. There is a feeling I wish I could describe better that happens when you come across a profound new idea in a book. Your brain stops for a moment, then rewinds and forces you to go back and read it again, if only to ingrain what you just learned. A wave of relief washes over and you suddenly feel enlightened.

Social: Create and maintain a Facebook
Done.
http://www.facebook.com/bryan.augstein

Musical:Play the Sax (20 mins daily)
I probably played sax about 13 days this month. I do enjoy playing, I enjoy creating all kinds of music, it just isn't as important to me as it once was.

Creative:Learn a new origami creation daily
Did not get to work on this very much. I made about five creatures early this month, and then tried to recreate them today from memory and failed terribly. Strangely, I'm okay with that.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't Think

Today I encountered an interesting dilemma. This isn't the first time I've encountered it, but the first time I've noticed it and been able to pull some thoughts from it.
While talking with two different friends, about two different, but somewhat serious topics, I found myself drowned in a sea of "I think."
"I think this. . ."
"Not trying to attack you, but I think. . ."

I aim to remove this word from my vocabulary. With think, comes uncertainty in what you speak, and with uncertainty, comes doubt in your ability. I find this stems from two main ideas -the desire to not be wrong, and the desire to not offend.

Firstly, you can never be wrong in your beliefs. When new evidence comes along, you may change your belief, but you were never wrong to begin with. You will always have time to correct yourself later. Speak what you know, but be open to learn.

Secondly, the desire to not offend is just silly. Nothing that is said cannot be mended or clarified, which is most cases, is all that is needed.

Don't think. Know and believe. Be confident in your beliefs - years of experiences is what has brought you to them, and they can never be wrong. Don't ever doubt them.
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adaptation

While training with Dim from Montreal he taught me "if you know you can make a jump, you have to." Of course safety is always in mind, but there are so many things besides safety that can turn us away from something we know we can do. If we can better observe the situation with the goal to better understand what we are capable of then we allow for further gains in the process of adaptation.

It's this process of adaptation to our environment that is a key element of Parkour. We take things that are hard and train them until they are easy, and in this way we grow. This method is not exclusive to parkour, it can be applied to all aspects of our lives. The goal of this experiment is to modify the mental environment to encourage adaptation.

It goes to say that these mental jumps, the ones that we know we're capable of, should be taken in stride. If we seek challenge, and do only things that make us stronger, and understand that we can learn from all things and so become stronger, we become infinitely capable. The only risk is that we might learn something.

"You only learn when you're uncomfortable." We can grow from this constant search for challenge, to bring discomfort towards our understanding. The adaptation is what we've achieved when we overcome confrontation, wherever we may find it. The goal is to (paradoxically) seek peace in chaos.



Let us become adept at adaptation,
to look for opportunities to leap in any direction
(and understand that every moment is an opportunity)
and in so to always strive

to find peace in chaos .



Stay Positive
Be Proactive

Love

-Jesse
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 1

Insight
"'This thinking has stopped' but because I had to think it no thinking had stopped, but there did come over me a wave of gladness to know that all this perturbation was just a dream already ended and I didn't have to worry because I wasn't 'I' and I prayed that God, or Tathagata, would give me enough time and sense and strength to be able to tell people what I knew (as I can't even do properly now) so they'd know what I know and not despair so much." - The Dharma Bums pg 34

Knowledge is truth - seek it and share it with others.

Physical:Learn to Juggle

Haven't made any serious moves on this yet. Messed around for a while a few days ago but that just left me with ruined fruit. I've been attempting to not use any outside sources/advice for this, but to just use my memories of Zac and Pyro and all they've said about it over the last 3 years.

Structural:Wake up immediately
I feel as though this goal needs a little explanation. Everyday when my alarm goes off I hit snooze 3 or 4 times, clinging to a bit of mindless dreaming before I'm ready to start my day. In an attempt to see what effect it will have on my body, physical and mental, I'm going to get up and start my day the second my alarm goes off, not 20-30minutes later.
Today was the first day I've actually had to set an alarm, due to spring break. I woke up, but then found myself wasting time doing nothing because I wasn't used to being up 20-30minutes early. Need to experiment with perfect timing for success.
Mental:Read 2 book/week from a different literary period
So the first week is almost done, and I'm only about 1/3 of the way through my first book. 2 books a week is a little unrealistic, but as long as you learn something, failure is completely acceptable.
I've been reading The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I've never read Kerouac before, though he's been recommended many times before to me. I like this book a lot so far. A big side topic in it is Buddhism, something I've never really encountered before. Will give a more indepth write up when I finish it.
Social: Create and maintain a Facebook
I hate facebook. And all social networking sites for that matter, but maybe I can learn something from this experience.
http://www.facebook.com/bryan.augstein
Musical:Play the Sax (20 mins daily)
I've only been able to play 1 day so far. It's difficult finding time that won't disrupt someone else in a small apartment with a baby, but I will be trying harder. On days I am unable to play I have been making an effort to be more musical in some sense, either whistling or writing a quick lyric or two.
Creative:Learn a new origami creation daily
The only thing I've been able to make up until now is cranes. The first day I decided to learn to to make a star wars fighter plane. Waaaaayyy out of my range. Spent hours confused at how to do it, and then eventually realized I needed to start smaller. So I made tiny little pig. That's all I've made though, definitely need to devote more time to this.

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