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10:59 am - Monday, Sept. 27, 2004
Life Without Beliefs

Life Without Beliefs

Sat 9/25/04

Well, it seems I have a powerful impulse to kill time, instead of doing anything remotely interesting in my off hours–My effort to stop wasting so much time on the internet has been matched by a rise in my desire to play solitaire, one of the greatest time-wasters ever invented (You'll either very this very amusing, or else very sad: When I "win" playing computer solitaire–which is rare–the computer gives me this little round of applause, and I absolutely can not hear that applause without getting up and taking a bow).

But anyway...

During my work day, I often jot down a bunch of things in my "pocket journal" that I want to write about later in here. But often as not, I never quite get around to it (The entries where I write about a number of things in short, unrelated "bursts" are usually inspired by the aformentioned "pocket journal").

I want to get better at actually "getting around to" those thoughts, because sometimes–not always, but sometimes–they're a lot more interesting, or would at least lead to something more interesting, than whatever it is I end up writing about.

So here goes...

When I make an effort to be more positive, I always notice how much other people complain. And it's not just "look at me" or "pity me" or whatever; it's how people bond.

There's a lot of that going on at Borders–A lot of commiseration about our crappy jobs, about how we'd like to be home, or pretty much anywhere else, etc and so forth). There are other things to talk about, I'd imagine, but that's a subject pretty much everyone can get behind.

Similarly, there's a girl at the store, one of the newer people, who's pretty much universally disliked (I know I certainly don't like her). And I've noticed that, like the "crappy job" conversations, "I hate Allison" conversations are "bonding experiences" for people at the store–We may have our differences, but we can all get together on the fact that Allison is really, really annoying.

So what's my point?

Being "positive" is more difficult that it first appears.

(P.S. In a small nod to being a better person, I said hello to Allison yesterday without being prompted. I know–Call the Nobel Peace Prize people, quick!).

Discovered recently that I am on the IMDB website (IMDB=Internet Move Datebase).
It's not nearly as "official" as I first thought--Basically, anyone who's done anything can submit it for a listing–but it's still pretty cool.

>/p>(I'm listed for that student film I did, way back when. At the time, it was Missing Breath, but it's now called Traces, which I think is a big improvement.)


On Thursday, I went to pick up some headshots at Cinema Prints (I have to get new headshots soon!), and ended up spending the afternoon browsing at Meltdown Comics, then at Guitar Center down the street.

I didn't buy anything, but it got me thinking about money.

I've talked about how I don't try different things because I'm afraid I won't be good at them, can't deal with the frustration, so on and so forth, but it occcured to me yesterday that another big "limiting factor" has always been money (Not the first time I've found myself thinking of my lack of fundage as a "limiting factor"). When the funds are perenially, severely limited, it's hard to justify "trying" a cd or dvd or movie I'm not certain about, or pursuing some new hobby I don't know if I'll end up following-through on. Instead, when I'm out-and-about, I often have an impulse to buy this or that, to try this or that, but end up telling myself, "You don't have the money, Jim...".

That's a big reason I want the money. I want, not just the freedom to do the things I want to do and have the things I want to have, but the freedom to spend money on things I might enjoy, to try things that might be interesting. To just "try stuff".

Monday 9/27/04 (10:52 a.m.)

Now where was I...?

Addiann made a comment in here, when I wrote my entry about "change", that said, in so many words, "Maybe one way to feel less like a ‘victim' of change is to initiate some change yourself from time-to-time".

I think she makes an excellent point.


After I wrote about "wanting to stick my head in the sand" about the current presidential campaign, Kathy B. forwarded me a thing from Michael Moore's website that basically said "Quit your whining, you wussies! It ain't over till it's over".
And you know what? It ain't.


There's some risk to being less of a "victim" in life. There's a certain "comfort level" in being the sad sack, in being overwhelmed, in being needy. But I've gotta believe that challenging that "comfort" is a risk worth taking.


Somewhere in Buddhism Without Beliefs, the author says that what the Buddha taught "was not something to believe in, but something to do" (Hence the "without beliefs" part of the title).

That idea really resonated with me. And not just in the context of the book, but with my life in general.

I've been accused, more than once, of being too much "in my head" (Especially since "my head" is often not a very hospitible environment). And I know for myself that I allow my "bad thoughts/beliefs" to have their way with me way too often.

But even "good thoughts/beliefs" are pretty much meaningless unless they're followed up by action. In fact, I'd go as far as to suggest that if your "beliefs" aren't followed up by action, they may not really be your "beliefs".

I've always thought I was going to "think myself out of my problems", when in reality, my thinking has more often than not been the problem.

But while I still think I can "reason things out" to a certain extent, take a mental step back and figure out better ways to deal, to be happier, etc, I think my mantra has to become "Don't just think/talk/write about it–Do it".


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