my dharma journey to mental healthiness

a person standing in the gray mist, the distance lost in fog.
lost & trying for found

We don’t get do-overs in life. We wake up and, boom, there we are. The past is the past, and now is now. No wonder I feel as discombobulated as I do at times. Mindfulness at least lets me know: You are here, and it is now.

I am lost. Living a life devoid of values for as long as I did means I spent those years wandering aimlessly. And now I have no fucking idea where I am.

This isn’t hyperbole. It’s an accurate description of what it’s like for me trying to figure out what to do with my life beyond working five days a week and making sure I get laundry done. I know the things I want to do, but actually doing them befuddles me. I can sit down and make a plan, but it’s like Lewis and Clark planning their trip thusly:

  • Get horses
  • Buy supplies
  • Head west
  • Discover Oregon

They’d have ended up in northern Wisconsin with a plan like that. Or at least that’s how my life feels.

How do I use the values I’ve decided on to orient myself and move towards my Pacific? Well, one thing about L&C: once the planning was done, they started moving west. They kept going. They adjusted along the way. They found unexpected help (Sacajawea). They kept going.

Enough of the colonizers.

Because my mental unhealthiness is rooted in anxiety, my issues with living a values-driven life (my inability to do so) can be described thusly:

over-thinking everything into a state of paralysis
fear (of just about everything)
overwhelming lack of self-confidence
boy do i hate myself for being a fucking loser
it’s easy to waste time, vast amounts of time – and that includes stuff i gotta do, like shopping and sleep


I got into the VA health care system. I got professional mental health care. I worked hard to begin getting healthy. I continue those efforts. I took the risk of getting a job, and then making the choice to work full-time, and now to continue to work so I can get an apartment (ok, studio) of my own. Just a few years ago, I was hiding in my 10x10 room, willing to let depression swallow me because I could just go along for the ride for the rest of my life.

Today, I’m planning how to spend a month in Japan next year and do a lot of long-haul bike touring for the next 20–30 years. So, yea, it’s true: I am having trouble figuring out how to live my damn life, or at least how to become a person who gets good ideas for excellent projects and then makes them a reality. But I’m also someone who lacks the cardio for running and who doesn’t have the bike yet for a cross-country trip, whether it’s this country or in Europe or Asia.

Start running, a slow mile or two.