Mid-Oct. ’19 Update: New Job, New Momentum, Plus a Rant on Why Sugar is Harmful and Unethical.

A lot is moving, momentum is building, and yet I suspect the potential for stagnation is always there lurking, like a bad habit you can’t kick.

This new momentum is from the following areas of activity:

  • I have started a new “part-time” job (8-3 at a strawberry farm). It is physically taxing, but I am getting valuable hands-on experience in farming. It is doubly taxing (energy and time) as I have two bike rides and a train ride to commute to and from work. Working with plants primarily, as opposed to people, has proven to be a positive move for me. Financially, it will take some time, energy, effort, and studying before I am at the financial and professional level where I was with teaching English, as I am essentially starting over career-wise. However, now that I am in a  field that is more suited to my interests and motivations, I feel that I will pass that level rather quickly, and reach much higher levels eventually building this new berry farm/eatery/park business than I ever could have in education. If you are not familiar with my venture, think Knott’s Berry Farm toned down, humanized, improvement-minded, and socially beneficial.
  • Concurrently with my agriculture experience, I am planning to pursue a distance learning course in berry farming, through an Australian University. It is reasonably priced, and likely will compound and solidify what I am learning every day at work. I will continue my more focused, independent study of blueberries and strawberries through books. I have been limited to Japanese books that I could find at the library up till now (first pay day!). Being forced to read books of intense interest, has made my Japanese reading much more palatable, and I find that I am progressing at a rate never before realized. Thanks to the kanji (Chinese characters that often have a pictorial reference), I can understand much of the content despite at times not knowing the correct reading. Comparatively in English, it is like understanding the Greek or Latin roots of words to help understand unknown vocabulary. My Japanese reading and vocabulary have improved due to the limited resources available. Perhaps I should continue to develop this reading skill of Japanese books through the berry farming education domain.
  • I am beginning to share my writing (The Journey of Troy). This will be released chapter by chapter as it is finalized. It may take a long time, due to time restraints, but it will be written and shared. I have decided to release the audio (on Jamendo – a free audio sharing site) simultaneously, as many people (like me) prefer to listen rather than read. Eventually I will add a YouTube channel for this. The feedback (from likes and new followers) thus far on this blog has been very motivating. Thank you for all who take the time to read, listen, and give feedback or share with others. I did not know what the reaction would be from sharing my creations, but I am grateful for any and all feedback. Eventually, I will record and share my music creations as well here on this blog. I have 6 songs that I have been crafting for the last 2-3 years that are finally starting to take shape.
  • I have decided to decouple the pursuit of survival income from my creations (writing, music, and volunteer-oriented business). This has freed me from a lifetime quandary of how to square my love of creating and volunteering with the realities of the current monetary and profit-motivated incentive system of modern society. I will continue to pursue some kind of financial support for my creations and volunteer-based business (on the horizon). I have decided to use Patreon, and direct donations eventually, to support my creations, if the public deems them worthy of support. This will be how I move forward with my pure motivation of wanting to improve my surroundings, without the unwanted influence of money. I can continue to write, play music, clean playgrounds, etc. as my budget, family commitments, energy, time, and level of financial support permit. Even in an ideal scenario, I would not want to live off my creations. Somehow, that would lessen their value to me, and would inevitably lessen their quality in the long run, as I would tailor my content to what the consumer “wants”, rather than what I feel the need to create and do with my life.
  • I have cemented my 4 am wake-up! I did not think I could do this one, but it has proven invaluable now that I leave for work at 6, and have a a solid hour to meditate every morning. Can’t relate how much this helps in words, but this habit alone compounds quality to my day at an immeasurable degree.
  • Further cleaning up my diet. I have eliminated saltine crackers (one of my last craving-inducing foods), and now only eat flour (homemade pizza, tortillas) a couple times a week. Next step is to find a healthier replacement for white flour. Thanks to a YouTube video, I have learned about pranic foods, and am currently in the process of eliminating onions, garlic, chili peppers, and eggplant from my diet. I also have cut my morning coffee intake in half (2+ cups down to 1), and cut out all post-morning coffee/tea. Eventually, I hope to drink coffee sparingly, 1-2 times a month, but this habit will take a while to accomplish. Why all this effort to clean up my diet? I get asked this more than anything. The answer is simple- peace of mind. First to go was tobacco 5 years ago, then came meat and dairy (cheese was hardest!), eggs, alcohol, coke (all sugary sodas), sugar, and now negative pranic foods/drinks. Eliminating all of these add a level of internal peace I have never felt. The simple lack of cravings that accompany these things makes up for all the temporary pleasure that they provided. If you have every smoked a cigarette, then you understand the concept.

Why processed sugar is harmful and unethical

I had an epiphany regarding why sugar instigates so much craving. There was a study which compared sugar soda vs. diet soda with people who were tying to lose weight. The subjects who consumed diet soda gained more weight than their sugary drink counterparts. Why? The answer is revealing- the sweetness in both drinks preps the body for some incoming energy, by way of stimulating the tongue’s sweetness receptors (aspartame). When the body receives 0 calories (in the case of diet soda) after all that foreplay, the body revs up its appetite to go after that promised punch of calories that it was robbed. That in turn causes the subject to overeat, to satisfy the diet soda’s unmet promise of a pay-off. The diet soda was stripped of its energy, causing the body to search for more. Now take a step back, and look at sugar’s effect in candy, crackers, drinks, cereal, chips, bread, sauces, etc. It is in everything. When food is processed, a lot of the nutrition gets stripped away (much like the calories in diet soda), and sugar is added as a preservative, but also for flavor, likely to make up for the immense flavor that natural, fresh foods contain. Those who consume sugar daily are immune from the subtleties of such flavor due to sugar’s potent overbearing sweetness- sugar overstimulates the taste buds, just like drugs, porn, violent movies, and cartoons overstimulate the pleasure center of the brain. The good news is the taste buds can recover in a matter of weeks. So when the body tastes something sweet that has been stripped of nutrition, (as calories are stripped from diet soda), the body revs up in a similar way to the soda, causing craving to commence. If the food producers are aware of this, and likely they are, then they are consciously causing personal misery and discomfort in the same way that tobacco companies did when they engineered the plants and added all kinds of chemicals to make cigarettes more addictive. This is unethical, and downright wrong. We should expect more. Until we can create more humane, and respectful products for our fellow humans, I urge any and all of you to cease consuming sugar for this reason alone- it is the source of immense personal suffering. Any steps you can make to free yourself and those around you (kids!) from the intoxicating and craving-inducing effects of sugar, the more quickly we can correct our course.

With that I leave you, hopefully in peace, happiness, and more inspired than you were before reading this update of my consistent mission of improving our collective situation.

A  group of paintings to consider: Thomas Cole’s The Consummation, part 4 of a 5-part series, The Course of Empire, of the  stages on civilization. Check it out here.

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The Journey of Troy, Chapter 3 Released

https://thejourneyoftroy.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/the-journey-of-troy-chapter-3/

Support is always welcome! https://www.patreon.com/PerryHWilson

Below is the coloring of a very helpful 7-year-old.

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The Journey of Troy- My First Book

Here it is, the beginning of my first book, to be released free and online as I complete the text, art, and audio for each chapter.

The Journey of Troy, Chapter One

https://thejourneyoftroy.wordpress.com/2019/09/04/the-journey-of-troy-chapter-one/

and the audio, free to listen/download on Jamendo:

https://www.jamendo.com/track/1681863/the-journey-of-troy-chapter-1?language=en

May all benefit from this creation in progress, including you!

4:00 am Start? Am I crazy? (Aug. 2019 Update)

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I am on Day II of my new personal challenge- to wake up at 4 am every single day.

It came about through an interesting concoction of events:

  1.  I was exposed to a Mindvalley commercial on YouTube, with a sleep “expert” who was talking about how if you follow your chronotype and get up consistently at the same time- then you don’t need as much sleep as we are normally told. (I knew this from another source, but this reminded me of the importance of getting up consistently at the same time- even on weekends)
  2. I randomly woke up at 4:15 a.m. two days ago, felt fully rested, and decided to meditate before the rest of my family got up.
  3. I was reviewing old blog posts when I stumbled on my 2nd most popular post (right behind my recent Super Smoothie post), when I tried to get up at 5 am and exercise every day. That effort eventually failed, but it did give me some experience on multiple fronts, and helped me to learn about myself in the process.

The first day (yesterday) was tough, just like when I tried the 5 am challenge last year. My body crashed mid-morning, and had to nap to recover. But today, Day II, I have been in the most amazing mood all morning. Everything seems more positive, more clear, and less stressful. I must add that getting up at 4 am has helped me to return to my twice daily Annapanna and Vipassana meditation routine, so that is likely part of it- yet I feel that it is getting up at 4 that is the real reason. I have yet to crash, and I feel like a steam engine is behind me pushing me steadily along.

Granted it is only 12 pm., a long way to go before this habit is cemented, but if I can attain it, it will do wonders for the rest of my day, most importantly to my meditation consistency.

As this is an update blog, I must report that this morning I have set up my first job interview since closing my language school last month. I am excited at the prospect of working on a strawberry farm. I am not sure of my chances, or how long I will want or need to work there, but it would be a great springboard for my future berry-growing, smoothie shop/park venture.

I also have been nurturing some strawberry seedlings of my own this month. I received a group of parent plants from a family acquaintance, and in just a couple weeks I now have more than 100 young seedlings. They are still growing, not mature yet, so now I must focus on the yard preparation of cutting grass, tilling the soil, adding fertilizer and lime, and deciding on my options in regards to environment controls.  This is a tall order considering the limited resources for this.

It just so happens that this month I restarted reading Critical Path, a book by Buckminster Fuller, which has helped my mindset immensely. It is a must-read for anyone who is on the ropes vocationally, or is making a job/career switch. It is not mainstream (but hopefully someday will be!), and that is what is good about it. Among the gems of wisdom that I have thus far accrued from this masterpiece:

  • The more that I work for myself and my interests, the less effective I will be. Conversely, the more I work for the benefit of all, the more effective and ultimately successful I certainly will be. I believe this to be true, from the gut-feeling reaction I have to it as well as my own personal experiences and hardships with “business”.
  • The geodesic dome- a spherical structure, (think Epcot Center), that is perhaps the most feasible means of indoor agriculture- a way for me to take things to the next level over here with my berry farm, and perhaps enclose the indoor part of the park as well. The town I live in here has no indoor recreation, so when it rains, there is nowhere to go. I hope to fix that. There is also no vegan eating options- another thing to correct. (Side point- Recently, I have been letting my ever-slimming body start to get to me. I have had periods where I was doubting my decision to be vegan, particularly when I have no emotional support. However, I realized that my new body, lighter and thinner (and healthier) than ever is the human body of the future. As Buckminster Fuller points out in the book, humans #1 capacity they hold over others in the animal kingdom is the information processing capability, and ability to find relations and connections between disparate elements, as opposed to our physical strength(bears), vision(eagles and bees), sense of smell (dogs), hearing (bats), or speed(cheetahs). Essentially, what is special about us is the brain and thinking ability- which is aided by a thinner belly (according to Jim Kwik, as the belly size decreases, the brain size increases!) and a diet rich in Omega 3 fats, leafy greens, avocados, blueberries, walnuts, chia seeds, dark chocolate, etc.- exactly what are in my Super Smoothies. So perhaps becoming vegan is the way to improve our cerebral function as well as realize our potential as conscious protector and biodiversity instigator of the planet. At the moment we are going against that potential, through our consumption of toxic foods and drinks, psychological warfare through marketing/advertising/politics, overly violent, sensual, and uninspiring entertainment- to name a few of my grievances with modern US and Japanese culture. Whoa that was a rant. My apologies, but that felt way too good to delete.
  • The best way to focus one’s energies is to focus on improving the livingry of all, (as opposed to the weaponry) from the inside-out, by producing artifacts that will help turn the Earth into a planet of billionaires, standard of living-wise. Politics is not the way to change the world, it is always playing catch-up with emerging crises and new artifacts. Better to act as a responsible individual working on behalf of all in the most beneficial and effective way for that individual to act.

In any case, a great read, I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. Don’t work for the man! Work for us all, in your own way. That is my aim, and this blog is all about helping us all reach that next level of human and global development- where we no longer look at each other as adversaries, but as fellow humans trying to achieve some level of peace and happiness.

As another shout out to Jim Kwik, from KwikBrain (a self-development podcast I highly recommend), he said something in an episode that was very profound to me:

“People are getting really good at things that don’t really matter.”

That hit me hard, as I was in that category in my previous job. Likely, you too. But it is never too late to start getting good at something that does matter.

Getting up at 4 am, writing this blog, learning how to grow berries, opening a vegan eatery/park, that is my way, at least for now, to start doing something that matters. It feels right.

By the way, my asthma and psoriasis are still at bay, thanks to quitting and closing my school, and listening to that inner self that seems to know when you are on or off track. I have successfully stopped eating potato chips, (referenced in my post Personal Growth is Hard), and am now almost at the stage where I am putting only extremely healthy things into my body. Saltine crackers and white flour are next on my list of things to purge, but I am content with my vector for the moment. Can you say the same? I hope so. Have a great rest of your day. Thanks to my new 4 am start and consistent meditation, I think I am going to have a great rest of my life.

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The Super Smoothie – The Continuing Quest for the 100% Nutritionally-Complete Smoothie

I have taken my morning smoothies to the next level, and they are ridiculous. I am not sure if it is due to their nutritional content (which my body likes), or their taste (which my mouth and brain like). Whatever the case, this is a shoe-in to be the anchor item on the menu for my up and coming vegan take-out/eat-out shop-farm-park. The name of future shop, you ask? Super Smooth.

Try for yourself, it is unbelievable.

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All-natural, no sweeteners, and of course- vegan.

  • frozen bananas (about 1-1.5 medium bananas)
  • frozen blueberries (about 10 or so) (home-grown- so up to me, not my budget!)
  • two tablespoons pure cocoa powder
  • 1-2 dates (pitted)
  • 1-2 spoons of dried goji berries
  • 4-5 walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of peanuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/4 to 1/2 avocado (for increased nutritional absorption)
  • soy milk (up to you), more= easier to drink, less=thicker.
  • chilled water (up to you), ditto from above.
  • 2-5 leaves of bok choy or spinach, etc.

That does it, blitz it, or blend it, and add toppings of your choice.My current favorites are dried goji berries, and fresh or frozen blueberries from my garden.

Here is a screenshot from Cronometer, a nutrition-tracking site (free to use basic service).Screenshot_2019-08-27 Cronometer Track nutrition count calories

As you can see, quite nutritional for a beverage, or for breakfast for that matter. I am still fine-tuning, trying to improve the quality, taste, and nutritional efficacy and density. Stay tuned for further updates! Till then, enjoy this! I do, every day.

https://www.the-next-level-up.com

Saying Goodbye to my Teaching Career: and perhaps to my battle with Asthma and Psoriasis (My July 2019 Update)

Living in a way that aligns with one’s virtues, and moving in the direction that aligns with one’s potential and core truths has benefits that at times are only visible in the rear-view mirror. Sometimes it has felt like I have been wandering around listlessly, until I made one step in the right direction, and everything just started feeling right.

I have only had this experience twice, and both times were connected to leaving a job behind. This 2nd time, it is a career- most likely, on the chopping block. I say most likely, because there seems to be some possibility that I will return to the education domain, albeit in a different way, style, and/or subject matter.

The first time I had this corporeal sensation of rightness, for lack of a better term, was when employed at a distance from my wife and one-year-old son, whom I had to take to nursery school, breaking my heart each and every morning. One day, after returning to work after two weeks off spent together with my son, I just decided in my head to give notice of my departure at my 2nd full-time job ever, after an 11-year stint there at a private after-school language school in Japan. The memory of it all is now very fresh, the anxiety, the unease at how we would handle the income decline, etc. Yet above, or perhaps below all of those feelings was a feeling that I had woken up somehow- started listening to that deep self that knows when you are moving (or not moving) in the right direction. I recall a specific sensation I had never felt up to that moment- a tiny muscle in my lower back that instantly released its tension, and relaxed completely and totally. Was it my body’s signal that I was on the right track perhaps?

This time around, now 5 years later, as of last week, I was in the same boat. A job that didn’t seem to be fitting me anymore, a direction that didn’t propel me forwards but rather in a circular keeper (to use a waterfall reference) which keeps me locked from escaping the current suffocating reality.

This last Wednesday, I had an interesting day at work, when only one student out of a usual seven showed up for class. I had the chance to catch up on some meditating, and my own reality started becoming clear. My school was near its end, and I was ready to let it die. I had been subconsciously limiting or preventing the growth of my school at first, but then intentionally later, not recruiting new students, and avoiding the chance to grow or even maintain the size of my school.

The main reason was the social/emotional energy that my growing boys required of me forced me to minimize how much I used at work, and so I chose to focus on my boys over my education career-which I never felt comfortable with anyway.

Perhaps most clear to me, for the last year or so, is that my emotional and social energy has finite limits (as of yet), and since becoming a father of two very demanding and wonderful boys, I must make priorities of where I use that energy, lest it be watered down to the point of being effective at neither teaching nor parenting.

Also, my need to refuel, so to speak, through creative pursuits, exercise, diet, meditation, etc. also became blatantly clear, after years of psychological and physical issues: psoriasis, asthma, delusional parasitosis, alcohol and tobacco dependency, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, to name a few.

Similarly to the first time I experienced this corporeal message, my body gave me a quick signal that I was indeed listening to myself. My asthma had been quite manageable for the last few years, since I quit smoking, and became vegan. But suddenly, around 6 weeks ago or so, I started needing my inhaler at night, sometimes before bed, sometimes mid-sleep. Then it was regular, nightly, and at times two times during the day or night. Something was worsening my condition, and I had no clue as to what it was. Everything else in my life was going in a better direction, I had given up sugar about 2 months prior (now 3 months ago), was riding a bike and walking more than ever after getting rid of my car, and I had started taking Calcium supplements and doing pushups etc. to strengthen my muscles and bones. At first I thought, maybe the calcium and magnesium supplements were the cause of my sudden and mysterious worsening of my asthma, as I had started taking them at the same time my asthma worsened. Then I thought maybe the lack of more vigorous running that I had given up due to a much more active lifestyle was to blame, but that internally didn’t make any sense either.

Then, unknowingly, as I made my decision internally to close my school, and change my path- my asthma completely went away.

Similar to the tiny muscle instantaneously relaxing five years ago, my breathing problems suddenly vanished. It has been about a week now, 5 days since the final decision was made, and I have not needed to use my inhaler even once.

Not only that, but when considering my options last week, weathering a self-induced mini-panic attack, and discussing a strawberry-growing opportunity with a not-so-supportive wife, the psoriasis on my hands suddenly erupted into full-blown mode. My psoriasis is kind of a blessing, for it is a very visible and painful reminder when my body is in a tail-spin, and can serve as a warning that I am pushing myself down the wrong path, not taking care of myself, or not doing enough to replenish my social/emotional reserves. Like the asthma, my psoriasis went into almost immediate remission upon coming to terms in my head and heart about my school closure. Even as I write this, the eruption’s remnants are still visible, but mending faster than usual- with a different look to them, a finality perhaps to the roots of the condition perhaps? Have I found the source of my own psoriasis and current bout with asthma? If so, what is this source?

Perhaps the answer goes back to my 10-day Vipassana retreat in Kyoto a half-year ago. During the break times, when not meditating, I spent much of the first few days obsessed with my work. Mentally, I was working out a fantasy of  transforming  my  language school into a learning center, where I would volunteer rather than be paid for my efforts. The students and parents would donate rather than pay a fee. The students would choose to come rather than be forced to come. Students would have control over the content of their learning rather than me or what the parents expected. It is/was a beautiful vision that I hope to one day implement, to steer the field in a good direction- away from the profiteering and business-side that has ruined me as a teacher.

In the end, a lot of my personal problems seemed to revolve around my work, not what perhaps, but how I was doing it. And of course, money was integral to the problems and solutions, as it tends to be. Education, like medicine, should exist in the public domain, in my opinion. I understand the argument for private schools and after-school programs, but I think it is a path that leads to a world that no one wants to live in. The goal indeed of my transformative idea was to remove money as the personal motivator for teaching, and changing to a donation-based NPO where volunteers share their time to support students would likely do such a feat. Of course, the hard part is how to earn a living if one is not earning a living teaching. The same can be said for writing, music, (my other interests), etc. -those areas that are particularly fragile to the corruptive influence of money. That is a subject for a future post perhaps.

In March, I indeed attempted to put such a plan into action. I even had a trial for two students who were trying to change classes.  Maybe the idea is ahead of its time and society doesn’t know how to handle it yet, or perhaps my implementation or explanation of it was flawed. For whatever reason, it flopped, and I abruptly ended the idea after exposing all of my students to the possibility of a “self-directed learning” class, with no interest received. Perhaps I can revisit the concept once I have the funds, emotional/social energy, or time to devote to developing it. Emotional/Social energy and funds are things of which I do not have in abundance at the moment- at least I have other foci at the moment towards which I want to focus my efforts.

So, here I am. Essentially broke. Essentially having been teaching on fumes for the last few months. Three weeks to go before the doors close for good. Knowing the end is in sight will likely propel me forward enough to close in style, with my chin up.

Where will this decision lead? Somewhere new, decidedly, and that is a great thing, and my body knows it too.

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