Home > Thoughts > Zen and the Art of life

Zen and the Art of life

This is a bit of a departure from our more “family stuff” posts, but…well, it’s a blog. So I thought I’d share something else that’s going on big in my life.

One of my best friends signed up for the Washington National Guard back in January. For the bulk of this year he has been working toward various fitness and other preparedness goals to make sure he’s ready. Today is his last day on the job with our company for at least four months. He’s off to the enchanting summertime weather of rural Georgia, leaving behind the ungodly August swelter of Seattle. (Or maybe I have that backwards.)

Anyway, my “so long for now” message to my buddy reminded me of some important takeaways from some books and a movie that I think are pretty powerful. First, there is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Oddly, both my mom and another best buddy gave me a copy within about 20 minutes of each other. I read it last month and, while I’m sure it means different things to different readers, the big takeaway for me was the reminder that you can only be who you are; if you try and bend to a mold of someone else’s making, you’ll be constantly at odds with your true nature.

That’s kind of the takeaway for me from the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, which we watched last night. The big idea that resonated with me is that regardless of the expectations others place on you, only you can make the choice between chasing what is expected of you and what you are truly passionate about. If you have really found that, you are a rare breed. If, like me, you continue to search for that, then you are blessedly restless and will remain, to a certain degree, ill-at-ease. Unfortunately our world is full of people who have never heard the voice calling them to something bigger, more real, resigning them to a drab life on a hamster wheel, just putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m now reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. I’m about a third of the way through and some of the takeaways are the same. He was weird and did a lot of drugs, but his story is very Zen like – living life in the moment, savoring simplicity, and being real. (Bear in mind that I’m not saying that about Kerouac; I have no idea beyond his reputation. I’m speaking only to the message I’m getting from the book, now 1/3 of the way through.)

That’s about it. Just thought I’d put that out there as musings du jour.


  1. Mom
    July 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Reading your blog in bed w/dogs- Thanks tons for the iPhone. I love it. Another book you’ll like along your current path is “Investment Biker:On the Road with Jim Rogers”. Kind of Wall St zen.

  2. July 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Actually read that many years ago. It’s indeed a great read. Probably worth picking up a copy, since I think I passed mine along some time back.

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