Estoy Exhausto

Estoy Exhausto (I’m Exhausted)

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My mind feels foggy.  At this moment I am dumb from being tired.  I remember this feeling well from my days at the office.  In the field (when I would drive around New York and go up to rooftops in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx) I would always feel refreshed.  But I was targeted for upper management, so 95% of my life was to take place in the office.

I mean this is sad.  It’s 8:28PM and it feels like 1:28AM.  It’s a combination of emotions from working the past 3 days and not getting paid enough to survive.  I kept good records of my cash flow for the past 6 days and I spent 707 quetzals and only made 649 quetzals.  This doesn’t include the 125Q/week for rent either.  This is me being pretty careful, buying groceries, and only going out twice a week for drinks in a party town.  I am going out tonight though to clear my head.  Tomorrow I will talk to the owner about these silly wages and the ridiculous schedule.

The company is supposed to be all about helping the little guy, why don’t they pay their employees enough to survive on? I’m not yet sold on the company mission to help struggling farmers.  Some workers may be illiterate, but the farm owners aren’t stupid.  Charity is the most demeaning and suppressing force for those with low standards.  The worst thing you can do to a bum on the street is give money.  Unless your goal is for them to remain a bum.  There are some that are mentally sick, and that sucks.  Sick people either get better or die.  Death is part of life.  I told my roommates last night if they want to keep seeing animals (in this case roaches) in the kitchen, keep leaving food in the sink.  Maybe I’m being too much of an idealist.

Eating a bowl of refried beans mixed with chips and chopped veggies is starting to make my head come around.  I think it’s the bullshit and boredom of a job that drains you more than anything.  An honest day’s labor feels pretty damn good at the end of the day.  A job that you have to try to distract your mind all day makes you feel wretched because you are constantly having to lie to yourself to stay there.

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The reason pickup-artist books don’t work is they don’t derive off of a true confidence.  They create an illusion that is easily broken.  Without real integrity in what you’re selling, you may trick a customer every now and then, but they will soon catch on.  Right now I am very unstable with supporting myself.  This can only create an attraction between another person who is in-between food sources, so to speak.  

This could be me making excuses, but the truth is that I find it difficult to exude confidence when I haven’t even reached the lowest levels of survival.  My attention has been on securing a food source and shelter, not a social circle.  Or if you look at Spirit, Body, Mind, Social, by not having a good food source, one or more of these will be out of whack.  

I could steal and kill for food, and while that may generate an amazing level of confidence, I would have such inner turmoil with values and morals that I’m not sure what would happen.  Maybe like in the movie Natural Born Killers I’d get total peace of mind.  Maybe I’d just become psychotic and bizarre.  Anyway, the point is, if you want to have confidence with picking up a partner, you first have to have confidence.  Confidence in life.  Confidence that you are taking good care of yourself.  That’s what the whole looking good thing is all about.  Trimmed fingernails and well groomed hair are signs that a person is so good at survival that they actually have transcended to a level of self-pampering.  This is the basic idea behind Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

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It’s so sad that we take pride in how hard we can work.  How long and miserable can we grind out for someone else.  How much shit can we eat to build someone else’s dream.  If you are not a business owner, you are suffering as cheaply and as long as the owner can possibly get from you without you leaving.  That’s economics.  Your life is a quantifiable resources.  How much is your life worth?  Exactly how much you are getting paid.  I am talking with my boss tomorrow to tell him that I have an offer if he wants me to stay there.  He will pay me twice what he is paying me and I am going to work half as much.  If he can do this, I will stay.  If he can’t, then I’ll go get a job that allows me to have a life.  Jobs should be treated as freelance, because they are.

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Text from Jiddu Krishnamurti:

—===[[[   So the controller is the result of thought, thought based upon knowledge, which represents the past. And that thought says, ‘I must control that which is happening now’ – right? The actual. The actual is being, say for example, envy or jealousy, which you all know. And thought says, ‘I must control. I must analyse. I must suppress it, or fulfil it’. So there is a division – right? – the division created by thought. Are you following? So in this there is deception. Right? The deception lies in the idea that the controller is different from that which is to be controlled. Both are created by thought. Right? So the controller is the controlled. I wonder if you see this. Right? So if you really understand this, go into this very seriously for yourself, you will see that the controller is unnecessary, only observation is necessary. You understand? When you observe, there is no controller or the controlled, just observing. Observing your envy, say for example, envy, observe it, without naming it, without denying it or accepting it, just to see, the sensation, this reaction, which arises, which has been called envy, and to look at it without the word. You are following all this?

Then when there is no word, because the word represents the past – you are following all this? – and when you use the word ‘envy’ it strengthens the past. Right? So there is a possibility of living without any sense of control. I am saying this not as a theory but actually. The speaker says what he has done, not what he invents, that there is a life without any sense of control and therefore no sense of conflict, no sense of division. That can only come into being when there is only pure observation. Got it? Do it and you will see. Do it! Test it out.  

We are only examining what is actually taking place. And to observe what is actually taking place one must look, without the response of the past shaping it. From that pure observation there is action. That is intelligence. And that is also the extraordinary thing called love and compassion.   ]]]===—

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little tiny gummy bears.  Osititos! in spanish.  I will often toss a little balloon of these drugs on the bar and offer them to strangers

In developed societies, we have this strange idea that we can reach our potential by working more and working harder.  The human mind is like a muscle that requires rest.  Young athletes get into trouble often because they dont believe they need rest.  After giving in to their coaches wisdom, they realize the immense benefit of recovery.

Once a person takes a few days off from work, they feel more accomplished than the previous 6 months of constant grinding.  Doesn’t that seem the opposite of what we are taught?  If you observe the emotion associated with feeling accomplished, it is clarity, larger perspective, connectedness.  These could also be used to describe the state of mind after a good rest.  Instead of feeling this once after finishing an 8 month project or completing a certification, this feeling could occur almost on a daily basis.  Being overly-diligent is just putting this feeling on hold.DSC_0307

Once you do accomplish a great feat, how long does that feeling last?  Sure, you can always look back with pride at how you used to feel and try to renew this feeling by sharing the accomplishment with others, but that is living in the past.  It will never feel that good again.  Former world champions feel like former world champions.  The search for pleasant emotions remains a part of your daily routine.

At the moment I am employed at a job that takes all of my time and doesn’t pay enough to support my lifestyle.  I forced this situation against the natural flow of things (I turned down several other job offers), because I wanted to do what I love (coffee) for my job.  Confucius said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  I now think: do what you love for work, and you will no longer love doing it.

My uncle warned me about this.  His passion used to be skydiving.  Then he became an instructor and it completely ruined it for him.  I go to coffee shops to clear my mind.  Working at a coffee shop all day long, all week long clouds my mind.  Worst of all, when I go to a coffee shop, I just think about the process.

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Israelis are actually pretty cool

Let’s face it, if there is any culture more hated more in hostels than Americans, it’s Israelis.  They travel in packs, rarely branch out to meet other nationalities, and speak the disgusting language that is hhhhhhhhhhhhhHebrew (read as if you are hacking a loogie).  My fear and loathing of the strange culture was compounded after living in Key West, where 300+ t-shirt stores are constantly yelling fake bargains at you with an Israeli accent.

So what is wrong with these strange animals?

There is a hostel in Antigua that is known as ‘the Israeli hostel’.  95-100% of the guests are from Israel.  Spanish is not widely known and some don’t even know English (see, there’s my U.S. arrogance).  It is as if they travel the world in the comfort of their home, completely missing the potential experience around them.

Every now and then you can find a Israeli loner.  One who avoids the pack because he/she wants to see what Earth is like.  That person doesn’t need a support group to order lunch.  If you are lucky enough to befriend one of these explorers, you will learn a lot.  You will also break formed stereotypes of their root culture.  It’s like digging through a dozen books on a subject and finally finding one that is readable.

Dor is one of these Israeli loners.  When I took 8 Israelis up the volcano, Dor left the comfort of his native language to occasionally talk to me about photography, coffee, and travel.  He designs/builds ornate sets for plays and television shows.  He also sells his photography and sells things on Ebay.  About the same age as me, he is doing well enough to order a new $800 camera, without batting an eye, after his lens broke.  A drunk German guy asked Dor, “So are you Jewish or Muslim?”  Dor said, “I’m vegetarian.”

This is how I got my insight into the Israeli culture.  I would run into him around the city and at party hostels and bars.  On his last night, he invited me to have a beer at the Israeli hostel.  At this point, I was totally wasted from hitting a joint too many times (I have a mega-weak tolerance for weed) next door.  I can’t carry on a conversation when I’m really high.  I observed instead.  

Although I didn’t understand the dialogue, like watching a foreign film with no subtitles, there mannerisms were without aggression, totally relaxed.  They shared everything from drinks to cigarettes to blow.  The bar in the hostel looked like one in a luxury hotel.  There was a nice deli/coffee shop downstairs.  Everything was so spread out and clean that I did not feel like I was in Central America.  I felt like I was back in the States or Scandinavia.  There was even a hot tub.  No wonder they never leave.  It’s insanely comfortable here.

They just all took care of each other.  When the security guard told us it was closing time, there wasn’t a big fuss from drunks like last call at a bar.  They all got up at once, efficiently cleaned the party lounge and headed for the door, maintaining their conversations as if nothing changed.  I saw a respect for one another that made me envious.

Later that night I asked Dor about the money stereotype.  He explained with his permanent smile that they don’t value money very much.  According to him, Israelis would rather give you food, clothing, shelter, information, and any other form of hospitality before money.  He explained how money just doesn’t mean that much and it is used as a last resort.  

Now this could be a very convenient and overly-abused excuse, but it makes sense.  It could be one of the deep gorges that separates it from other cultures and causes a great deal of confusion.

Another nut I’ve been trying to crack is Indian (the country) child rearing.  Working at a mostly vegetarian restaurant, I got to see lots of Indian children running wild and shouting at their parents, who unfazed, maintained polite conversation in an otherwise peaceful restaurant.  Although I have not immersed myself in Indian culture yet, I theorize that they are simply letting their children be children.  I bet they look at us with the same horrified curiosity when we shout at our children.

I believe that all cultural stereotypes have logical explanations once you have all of the information.  Standing afar full of fear is how the game is usually played.  Let’s hope the internet and an increase in world travel will shed light on the fact that we all have the same brain anatomy, the same psychology, and good reasons for doing the things that we do.  We will also realize that all human beings desire the same end: to feel good.

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“It’s either real or in a dream

There’s nothing that is in between”

-Jeff Lynne

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“Psychologists found that something like 98% of our thought processes are completely repetitive…Realize that it is possible to be conscious without thought…the identification with thought is like dreaming…One could say that the next step in human evolution is to rise above thought…Up till now, humans have been totally identified with thought.”

-Eckhart Tolle

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The boss dropped my schedule down to 3 days, but said they are too new (only been a company for 3 months) to give pay raises.  I said ok, because I do enjoy making and learning about coffee.  I also have time now for a bar job or volcano tour guide, which both make 2 or 3 times as much.  So I’ll have a job for each of my bi-polar personalities.

What did I learn?  If you want more free-time, ask for more money.  If you want more money, I’m assuming you could ask for less free-time…?

DSC_0002 Painted with 2 espressos, 2 mochas, and scrubbing a couple of roasted beans on the canvas.  Also started with pencil.  It’s funny, to me, the reactions people have to art.  Most of the town is unnerved by the alien ship, you know, because they aren’t real.  Danielle was “creeped” out by the cross, because she didn’t know it was an actual view.  My friend, who is Guatemalteca, has a fantastic sense of humor and just saw it as art.  Let’s all spend 10 minutes trying to find out what it means!  

What it means is I had a baby hit of a bong before me and my boxing teacher drove up the hill on his dirt bike to paint away the beautiful afternoon in the sun.

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“Stormy seas make a skillful sailor.”

-book that Patrick Storey and Kenzie are reading

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