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Resolutions & Progress (pt. 1)

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for this year?  

I did. Or, at least, something like a New Year’s resolution. 

We may have much in common, you and I. Maybe you have experienced some significant hardships and disappointments or setbacks over the past few years. Maybe you have felt stagnant or lonely or lost. Through the different phases of my life, I have often found comfort in two assumptions: 

  • Everything changes. 
  • Any time is a good time to practice character building. 

This past December, I took a look at my life and set down my goals for 2014. I called this list: “Goals for a long and prosperous existence.” 

Now, it is July. We have travelled together over halfway around the sun on a giant spinning ball that is the only such place capable of sustaining life in the entire known universe. I consider this as good a time and place as any to re-orient myself to my own journey. 

After all, any time is a good time to practice character building. 

Do you feel like you have made any progress toward your goals in 2014? 

We may have much in common, you and I. Maybe you will not accomplish all of the goals you set for yourself in 2014. Maybe this does not bother you. Maybe, to you, the purpose of setting goals was not to get to an end but to begin moving in a direction.

My Goals for a Long and Prosperous Existence:

  1. Quit smoking. 
  2. Eat more vegetables.
  3. Exercise regularly. 
  4. Strengthen meditation practice. 
  5. Walk the Appalachian Trail. 
  6. Strengthen creativity practice. 
  7. Renounce worldly ambition.
  8. Practice smiling.

Haiku - 6/12/2014

Atop the ridge,

The town falls away.

Mist rolls off the blue mountains.

Haiku 6/7/2014

Birthdays are markers,

Like blazes on a trail, or

Pen lines up door frames.

Windblown

Dust scatters
as
windblown
Leaves
or

People

For Maya Angelou

Though muteness was considered your delicous temptation,
Your voice will echo
So long as the human heart
Dares to dream.

Hot and Fresh

Good morning, coffee.

When I wake up,

All I want is to feel you

On my tongue.  

River Markers

First, nothing.

Then, something.

Again, nothing. 

The river rolls on

Regardless.  

Haiku 04/20/2014

Yesterday, the grass was cut.

In two days, cut grass. 

Bodhi lawn mower. 

(Haiku 4/17/14)

Barren winter land

Held by sun and moon.

The phoenix always rises. 

We have nothing but our lives here and now as we live them from moment to moment. The past as an actuality is gone, and exists, if at all, only as memory and condition. The future does not exist at all, except as potentiality and possibility. There is no other, better place to be than where we are right now. If this place and situation are vexing to the spirit, the problem is within ourselves, not inherent in the place or situation.

~ Dogen, “The Importance of Faith”
from How to Raise an Ox

How to Raise an Ox cover photo

(Haiku 4/15/14)

In an empty bar,

He boasts loudly,

Conditioned to prove his worth.

I had a feeling that all over American such stupid arguments were taking place on street corners and in bars and restaurants. All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else’s nose to prove they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say, “I don’t take any shit!” and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him.

~Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks

Jack Kerouac and Williams BurroughsJack Kerouac & William Burroughs, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks

Waking Up (Nobody’s Dream: 1.1)

He woke up in a cold sweat as the sunlight poured in through the open window. There was the sound of birds chirping and cars starting with engines revving. The people around him in houses similar were waking up to wash their bodies and put on their clothes and drank their coffee and climb into their cars to drive on into another day of office chairs and desks and papers and files. 

He sighed a deep sigh and rolled out of bed.

He always wanted an everyday life. He had been preparing for it from the time that he was born, doing the things that were expected of the children of his town. He studied. He played sports. He had friends. He went to college. He took out loans. Had a career track. He got a job. Met a girl. Bought a home. Had dogs. A white picket fence. He bought his clothes at the mall. Fashionable. From the fashionable professional clothing store. He jogged. He looked the part he was expected to play. And he looked good.   

Time passed. He worked for deadlines. Met his commitments. Paid his bills. Loans. Credit cards. Car payments. Mortgage. He was defined by his accomplishments. Accomplishments that to him had always felt  empty for as long as he could remember.

He was stuck. 

He knew it. The world turned as he spun in circles. 

That day was the day. For whatever reason, that morning was the moment when something breaks that can’t be fixed. As he rolled out of bed he looked casually at the clock: 8:00 am. He was already late, for the first time. Another hour would not change that. He wondered about the faces of the people at his office as they were unlocking doors and sitting in chairs and turning on computers and filling mugs with shitty coffee and non-dairy powdered creamer and lining up outside his door and sending him emails and meeting requests and papers to be filed into appropriate folders in appropriate cabinets. 

What would happen if he didn’t show up? What if he quit? If he stopped spinning in circles?

Would everything fall apart?

Did Putin just out West the West?

J Utah

To Task - (Haiku)

Be mindful in work.

Over twenty-four thousand

Opportunities.