now blogging at Black Dog Barking

Hello dear reader,

I have set up another blog where i’ll be making updates from now on: i decided (somewhat on a whim) to ride a bicycle around Australia to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and addiction. You can follow the adventure at Black Dog Barking, and i would really love to see you there: the more the merrier, and the louder the din we make about this epidemic of psychological (and spiritual) ill-being, the better.

Much love,

Ryan Bodhi Abhijan (Bodhi)

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Ryan Bodhi Abhijan, forager to the stars

Writing to Mum again, I gleaned a bunch of details and asked a few more questions, but refrained again from going too much into why I’m asking – it feels like a thing I should keep private here, though here be not private.

Turns out I was a week early and left struggling for my life beginning Christmas day … the sticky lung, stuck in the humidicrib designed by the same guy who apparently invented a low-cost iron lung – Edward Both, an Aussie legend. I was in there to avoid infections, and am waiting to learn how many days exactly I was in there (i know it was around a week, somewhere between V and VII days).

What I didn’t go into yet, is something i learned when i was seeing Rebecca (apsychotherapist and holotropic breathwork facilitator) in Adelaide in 2013, which is that my early experience as a baby may have established a sort of pattern based on how long i was in the humidicrib.

I am learning that, in general, when a newborn is separated from the mother’s breast at such an early age (understood, in psychology and spirituality, to be significant lifetime traumas), it’s not uncommon for the child to develop what Freud and Jung called “oral complexes”, which are a contributing factor in the development of oral addictions – smoking, drinking, eating. I began identifying as a “binge alcoholic” long before i realised i was an actual alcohlic – i guess the week was a perfect structure for me, work work work as a workaholic all week, then binge on the weekend.

There’s something in that, and understanding these as traumas and doing meditations to re-experience them through the adult perspective is a way of healing that trauma and beginning to move away from the complexes and the addictions they often cause. Addiction is a symptom, as well as the cause of other symptoms – that’s a perspective and distinction the Western system often fails to notice. I’ve written before about how love is the cure for addiction.

I also asked about Mum’s experience of breast-feeding with me. I have a hazy memory of biting the recess lady on the breast at kindergarten, but maybe i picked that memory up from this song:

I’ve also identified that i often feel grumpy when i’m hungry, but that’s changing as well as i embrace my inner forager.

Fuck yeah foraging!

Ryan Bodhi Abhijan, not unco

Writing to Mum just now, asking for information about my birth, i signed off as Ryan Bodhi Abhijan, a format i used first on a zine i was putting together yesterday.

I began to explain that construction, but realised that sharing such information is generally just an unnecessarily confusing overshare (UCO or, to make an acronym from a typical 90s descriptor for the clumsy, UnCO). You don’t know what i’m talking about, neither does she, so going into it hereorthere, it’s bound to cause a social fumbling of sorts, and anyway, it’s the sort of thing i want to allow to percolate in my being fornow,

because who wants to appear uncoordinated?, even when you know you’re more coordinated than ever.

One thing, though, is

i have been exploring the meaning of my names and finding there are parallels between my sannyasin name and my birth name, which is both surprising and unsurprising:

i feel both more myself as Ryan and more and more ever-renewed as Abhijan; both more in touch with what i thought of as my old identity and more in touch with my new, old self …

a lot of conditioning, major ego structures and behavioural patterns are dropping away, and i am becoming more and more a master of myself,

no less,

and to do so has required going back through my experience of childhood and re#membering it from the perspective of adulthood.

It’s some#thing like past-life regression, and is an actual thing. It’s an actualthing like past-life regression.

I have been doing meditations recently that are helping me to recall the chronology and details of my childhood,

and i am seeing that my former memory-set had been woefully patchy and sketchy, likely a combination of general natural suppression of traumatic experiences and a pretty hectic history of chronic pot and alcohol abuse, not to mention all the sugar, mainstream entertainment and tobacco, plus coffee and pohtaytoes.

But the memories are coming back and i’m learning to respect the sacred herb again, so there’s hope for much positive re#membering,

which feels like un-dis-membering my soul or,

soul retrieval,

really,

and it’s happening naturally, without loads of awareness raising drugs, intuitively,

so that’s cool!

But it’s not the sort of gnarly esoteric decoding you want to just drop on Mum in an email because you’re having some sort of unexpected sexual and spiritual awakening with your new girlfriend under the guidance of three super moons and an offsetting solar eclipse, yeah. I don’t even know what that means, and it’s confusing enough to understand it, let alone relate that understanding – like acid … you don’t #shareyouracid stories with Mum, you just don’t. Just send a nice, polite enquiry about the details of your birth.

life hacking @ Target

I am currently downloading Yosemite from the Mac app store using the free in-store wifi at Target and, while i am reluctant to jinx the process by either bragging about it or by using what scant broadband is required to keep this WordPress backend open, i am excited about it enough to consider blogging about it AT THE SAME TIME.

These are my early forays into hacking. It’s a 5GB update that i wouldn’t be able to download through any of the wifi networks i’ve found around town. I could buy a data package for my phone and use the personal hotspot, but why would i do that when i can use the broadband of a chain department store and get some sun while i’m at it?

I feel like such a hardcase. I even took a selfie with my sunnies on to illustrate the point:

my best Matrix-character impression

my best Matrix-character impression

But i looked silly, so i took my glasses off and took this:

honest eyes

honest eyes

Makes for a good GIF, no?

creepy

creepy

Curiously, i tried the second hit on Google for a gif maker, but the domain was blocked by Target. The first hit was not.

Anyway, so this started this morning when the machine i’m typing on decided to have another conniption and not boot up.

I thought i had fixed this problem with Dwayne, the guy i found in Bendigo. It seems we fixed some of the problem, but not all of it. I don’t know,

because what happened is the machine started demonstrating the same symptoms as it had before, which seemed to be caused by a dodgy stick of RAM — that’s what Dwayne and i concluded, after we put the machine back together with only one stick installed, and hey presto!, it was working again, although now on one cylinder.

So i’ve been using the machine with only one 2GB stick of RAM installed where there would normally be two, totalling 4GB. And everything was fine until this morning, when it seemed to go kaput again.

So i wrote to Dwayne and he called me right back, and we decided i would get some precision screwdrivers to remove the remaining single screw on the backplate so i could get at the RAM slots.

I got the screwdrivers and was on my way to buy some carrots (another story) when i saw Kerang Computers across the road. Thinking it unlikely they would be stocking random chips of Mac RAM, i went in anyway, figuring there was only one way to know for sure, thinking, It might not be the problem, but i need to get that stick of dodgy RAM replaced at some stage, so maybe i’ll try my chances.

The guy was kind of a twat, but i tolerated him for long enough to discover he did in fact have a random chip of Mac RAM out the back, and the 2GB version that is apparently quite rare these days (this machine being from mid-2010). (Tolerating twats for long enough to get what i need is another aspect of life-hacking i’ve been exploring lately: by being self-righteous about not dealing with twats was only cheating myself.) It was even the same brand as the other chips the machine was running, and the code digits printed on the label were EXACTLY the same as on the chips i already have.

While i was in the shop i opened up the back of the machine and tried the troublesome chip to just see if indeed it was that chip that was causing the problem — sure enough, BEEP BEEP BEEP, the tell-tale sign the RAM was knackered.

So i’m feeling pretty bad-arse at this stage, standing in the store wearing my cycling duds, manually repairing a computer i thought you couldn’t even get the back off, feeling like a hacker, even though it’s not actually hacking.

But it is hacking, if you consider hacking to be the manual manipulation of systems that would otherwise prevent you even general access.

That’s a wild oversimplification of the term ‘hacking’, and it says more about how i perceive Apple computer systems than it does about the systems themslves, but it’s still hacking to me because it has involved problem-solving, resourcefulness, and a bit of lateral thinking.

Instead of just running to the nearest Mac shop (which is probably in Melbourne anyway, and therefore considerably out of my reach), i am:

  • fixing this problem myself, with the help of a guy i found on the internet;
  • while camping on a lake in the Victorian countryside;
  • and commuting into a small country town (where the best of Australian country and western is playing on the public speakers, presumably as a loitering deterrent);
  • where i am using freely available hi-speed wifi to download a 5GB software update from Apple in California.

Now that’s pretty cool, by anyone’s estimation. Perhaps not cool enough to warrant such a creepy gif, but cool enough for me.

Cool enough for me, yep yep yep!

So far:

  • i have downloaded 2.5GB in the hour i’ve been sitting here (during which time i had an overly zealous conversation with Mum about facilitating the sort of inner change that might eradicate greed from the world);
  • the battery is at 43%, which means i might make it all the way to the end —
  • if the school kids don’t drop on the place in about an hour and start STEALING ALL THE … free wifi …
  • or if my login doesn’t cut off after the hour limit,
  • after which i guess i can log out and log back in with one my many and varied email addresses.

Yes yes yes! Life hacking!

fuckyeahlifehacking …

aaaaaaaaaand the download stalled because i reached the hour limit,

aaaaaaaaaand now i have to start the 5GB download all over again:

ow,

this reminds me of trying for weeks to upgrade my software in Thailand.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

my greatest fear is enslavement by fear

As a cycle tripper, people often ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of trucks or robbers or snakes or whatever?” Lions and tigers and bears, essentially — mythical fears.

The question often surprises me because I think my greatest fear is enslavement by fear.

This dawned on me this morning as i was commuting from the lake where i’ve set up camp, to Kerang where i come to work.

I remembered the question and thought, Sure i’m a little bit afraid of those things — i have a natural and healthy wariness of them.  But i cycle because i value freedom, i camp because i cherish nature as a cathedral, and i trust people because i’m a philanthrope — i love humanity.

The alternative, which i experienced for a decade in publishing and i guess the twenty years before that, is no longer tenable to me.

The alternative to freedom is the enslavement of fear.

No thanks! I’ll try my luck with the lions and tigers and bears.

how to change plans and stack your bike like a zen monk

I told you i would change my plans: i am not doing the Quamby loop i wrote about on Friday, because instead i caught up with Max, who i met on the road around Koondrook.

Standing outside the supermarket inhaling a chocolate bar, a woman called Gale approached me and said, “You must have been in town all day — we saw you riding about earlier.”

Indeed, i had spent the afternoon at the library, and was always intending to stay the night somewhere in Kerang to met with Max and his friends by 8:30 the next morning at the clock tower. Talking with Gale about where i might camp the night, it slowly dawned on us that of course i should call Max, so that’s what i did.

Max's remarkable backyward is basically one big vegie garden, with tomatoes growing up out of the bricks and grape vines growing down from out the gutters — paradise

Max’s remarkable backyward is basically one big vegie garden, with tomatoes growing up out of the bricks and grape vines growing down from out the gutters — paradise

That night, sitting around Max’s kitchen table with my tent set up in his vegetable garden, he reckoned there was nothing much worth seeing on the Quamby loop, and that even if i did make it all the way up to Ouyen, it would be a two-day hike through sand if i wanted to get to the pink lakes.

I really want to see the pink lakes, and a two-day hike would not be beyond me if i had the right equipment. Alas, i do not.

So we brainstormed and i decided i would explore another idea i’ve been entertaining for a while: camping outside a town and commuting in to use the library/pub/cafe as my office.

So that’s what i’m doing now, but not before i joined Max and his friends on the long way to and from Barham — a 75km team ride, averaging about 30km an hour.

Such an average is a new personal best for me, but it’s really not a personal best when you achieve something like this in a team.

I bounced at the end, doing burnouts around the clock tower. It was a clean fall and i felt remarkably zen about stacking it into the gutter. After i picked myself up and dusted myself off, it was a chance to feel the body go through its natural response to a mild trauma, shaking and wobbling and generally letting go of the fright — and then, of course, getting straight back in the saddle.

Curiously (and perhaps sadly), stacking my bike makes me feel more alive than most other mundane activities. What a brilliant end to a magical day.

And now i’m at the Exchange Hotel in Kerang, standing up at a perfect-height bench-desk, about to knuckle down on the typesetting i couldn’t finish on Friday, my tent holding the fort down at Lake Merange.

Life’s good.

keeping up with road crew looks easy in a still frame

keeping up with road crew looks easy in a still frame

but this is my wait-for-me face, which i call Come Give me a Sweaty Hug

but this is my wait-for-me face, which i call Come Give me a Sweaty Hug

and this is the view i was blessed with on the way to Lake Meran for a well-earned rest. Wondering why i live this way? Well, this is pretty consistently the view out my window.

and this is the view i was blessed with on the way to Lake Meran for a well-earned rest. Wondering why i live this way? Well, this is pretty consistently the view out my window,

whoop!