Mindfulness problems

The present moment is all we have. I get that.

I’m quite happy resting in awareness – experiencing sounds, sights, feelings.

I can even turn my attention back in on itself and realise that the “I” at the centre of my experience is just a story, an illusion.

A couple of times I’ve quit my job and focused exclusively on this.

What I struggle with is getting back to the dirty business of living.

Trying to be nondual in a dualistic world.

Talking to people, working with clients, exposure to advertising…it’s all about expectations.

And more specifically, emphasising what we lack and how our lives would improve if only we had it.

We’re currently unhappy with how things are and want them to be better; a results-based measurement.

It’s hard to maintain a curious, playful, and present attitude when dealing with society’s bullshit.

Instead, I get sucked back into thinking if only I could fill this big gaping void of psychological desire, I’d be happy.

It’s fine if you live in a Buddhist monastery, surrounded by like minds with food on your plate.

But in the real world, mindfulness is much harder.

Look down

I dislike running.

But I still do it, because it makes me feel good afterwards.

During the run though? Hell no.

I constantly fantasise about when I can drag my sorry body home.

Because the mental pain of running is like an ice pick to the face.

However, I noticed a curious phenomenon recently.

When I angle my vision slightly down, this normally despicable activity becomes marginally more bearable…

To the point of getting closer to what cool kids would call the flow state.

Because all I’m focusing on is the next stretch of tarmac instead of seeing a long, dread-inducing, road ahead of me.

I feel this is a good metaphor for life, and essentially summarises almost every self-help book ever written…

To stop wasting time worrying about a future that hasn’t happened.

So in sum, just look down and take the next step.

Losing ourselves

I was out on the motorbike today and felt that in much of our ceaseless doing, there’s the ultimate desire to lose ourselves.

The Buddhists would probably call this ‘no mind’.

Most people probably don’t think about their choice of activities, but everything from Netflix to playing tennis is essentially an attempt to forget your insignificant existence for a short time.

In that forgetfulness exists a small sliver of peace…

A short respite from an annoyingly whiny voice in our heads that constantly questions, doubts and compares.

Where exactly you discover this little nugget of respite varies from person to person, but it seems essential to health and well-being.

So whether it’s interacting with fellow humans or gardening in nature – if there’s an activity that gets you out or your own noggin and into the world, even briefly, seize it like a lion.

Say yes, do more

I have a few regrets in life. Here are 3:

  1. When I lived abroad I had the opportunity to work with a famous film star. Due to not liking my then job and the proposed work encroaching on my social life, I said no. Frequently, I ponder the missed potential of my shortsighted decision.
  2. My friend once invited me on an international motorcycle trip after breaking up with his girlfriend. Having initially said yes, I was infected by a bout of anxiety and cancelled. I still imagine the fun we could have had on this adventure.
  3. Recently, I saw a friend who was working with a semi-famous band. After meeting him and a couple of the band members for a coffee, I inexplicably turned down free tickets to the evening gig, despite loving their music.

Number three was the final straw.

Instead of an open approach to life, I’ve realised just how limited I’ve become.

I’m reminded of the Yes Man film and original book by Danny Wallace, who, after a breakup and subsequent social withdrawal, decided to live the yes man mentality for a year.

Unsurprisingly, adopting this philosophy led to a series of random and unexpected adventures, initiating chains of events that would transform his career and subsequently marry his future wife.

Reviewing the regret of my previous decisions, I know I need to make a change.

Instead of allowing fear and negativity to prevail, I’ll try to accept the offers that life presents, treating existence as an adventure.

Which decision, in the present moment, is more likely to be storyworthy? Sitting in my pants watching Netflix or saying yes to the next invitation?

AI content

I’ve started testing AI content for my other website and l hate to admit it, but it’s producing better articles than 90% of cheap freelancers.

Add a skillful editor at the end and you have yourself a pretty solid article.

Obviously, these services aren’t great when covering complex topics or referencing accurate scientific research, but they provide a sound starting point for further refinement.

Enough to satisfy the arbitrary Google God anyway, which is ranking these AI ‘authors’ as readily as their human counterparts.

There is of course the argument that search engines will eventually dispense their income-destroying algorithmic penalties due to the increasing number of AI spam sites emerging.

But I’d say they have their work cut out identifying it, seeing as most of Google’s top ten search results are just regurgitated garbage anyway.

Some people have a problem with the ethical side of it, one argument being that the internet’s becoming unsufferable, a wasteland of disconnected words.

And I’d have a hard time disagreeing.

But then, the web has been shit for a while now, largely due to huge media corporations harnessing SEO and buying their way into the top spots, pushing the average blogger off the cliff and into the internet void.

And the fact is, many of these same conglomerates are also leveraging this emerging technology, making it almost impossible to compete as a one-man band.

The fact is, these tools will only get better, and good or bad, they’re here to stay…

Until every human endeavour is rendered obsolete and we exist in a deep, dank pit of impotence. Can’t wait.

Twitter vs Reddit

I’m drawn to Twitter, but the problem with the platform is that it’s preachy. Users trick themselves into the illusion that they’re masterminds of existence, with everything figured out; or else they willfully perpetrate the act to lure people into their self-confidence honeypot for personal gain.

Reddit, in contrast, is for people who don’t know and for the most part, don’t pretend to. It’s a forum for people asking questions, however ignorant, and other people trying to provide (mostly) helpfully advice and amusing comments. I think that’s why on the whole, I like Reddit more.

Because all I know for sure is that no-one really knows anything. Everyone’s just a lost little child suckling on the breast of uncertainty.

This duality also exists for my two websites. On one, I’m positioned as a subject matter expert, dispensing advice and suggestions. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do communicate from a place of confidence to inspire more belief in my readers.

This blog, in contrast, is my personal Reddit. I’m open to sharing my complete insecurity and confusion in the face of a big, scary, spider-like world. While I’d love to share this message in my normal existence, it’s a difficult act to balance. Hence in Frightspear, I’ve created a more informal, personally vulnerable space.

I suppose there are two ways to assess these approaches:

  1. Which style do I derive more pleasure from? This website probably. It’s certainly more enjoyable sharing my unfiltered thoughts and dark, sinister musings.
  2. Which approach is more helpful for the reader? Does the positive positioning of my other site instill more confidence or is this personal diary approach more helpful/interesting? Only time will tell.

Paid to exist

Most of my time on this spinning space ball is consumed with figuring out how to get paid just to exist. In other words, to be me.

Like many people contorted in the strange, disturbing digital-technology dance, I desperately claw and bite toward the promised land of passive income.

Once achieved, I can spend my time stroking local cats or sitting on a porch whittling wooden figurines, enough benjamins in my bank account to do some serious pottering around each day.

It’s not that I desire sexy cars or humongous houses – rather, I want to buy the freedom from expectation and obligation. No more listening to twatty clients or contending with undesirable tasks.

My first foray into getting paid to exist was setting up another website – definitely on a topic I’m interested in, but with one main drawback…

I’m rather identifiable on that website, meaning I’m playing the social game of acceptance, watering down much of the content for non-threatening public consumption. Though the writing is good, it’s only one part of the majestic creature that is me.

My raw, unadulterated, cynical side is angry that it doesn’t get to express its full sarcastic self. Instead, I have to stay on brand, appeasing the search engine algorithms and any businesses who might one day consider me professional enough to pay.

So that’s why I’m here, penning more diary-like entries, because this is the content I personally enjoy reading and the types of articles that by writing, make me warm and fuzzy inside.

Am I expecting it to make me enough cat-stroking money? Not really. Am I hopeful that one day it might? Absolutely. So if you want to be my sugar momma or dadda and buy me nice things, feel free.

Then I can sit on my porch, wooden figurine friends in hand, fully indulging the nihilistic vortex of despair.


My uncle passed away recently. It wasn’t sudden or unexpected. He’d been ill for a long time, and was bedbound in a nursing home at the end.

It was incredibly sad to see, having been fiercely independent his whole life, despite a host of chronic health problems; the like of which would have been a perfectly understandable excuse for inaction.

When I think of him, I remember this determination to remain active and engaged in life, to confront each day and overcome his challenges anew.

He was driven and diligent, working every day of the year except Christmas and Boxing Day. A hugely practical man, he was a creative thinker and tinkerer, able to fix or mend almost anything. He was also stoic, a product of a previous generation, always dressed in a shirt and tie and reluctant to discuss his emotions.

But more than anything, he was a rock in his community, who knew everyone and helped wherever he could, volunteering and leading local initiatives for the general good.

Goodbye, uncle. You will be much missed.

Dog owners

I’ve always thought dog owners a strange breed. Walking around with a dog on a lead shouting commands says much about a person’s character. It makes me wonder, are they trying to compensate for something?

Is a feeling of helplessness or disarray in their own lives encouraging them to exert control over an ever-loyal companion? Perhaps this is an unfair take, especially having just adopted a cat myself (who I’ve even tried on a lead for fresh air due to her previous house cat status) and selfishly enjoying the daily love and cuddles.

However, the cat-human connection seems far more symbiotic than the master-subject dog owner dynamic where there is a deeper, more guttural need for an animal to heed its human’s commands.

Interestingly, this is a massive taboo subject and often can’t be discussed or explored rationally with dog owners, who perhaps unsurprisingly, become extremely defensive when their ownership motivations are called into question.



Search engines are becoming increasingly rigged systems, from the tactics of SEOs trying to climb the results to big spenders flashing cash to nab the most visible spots.

And despite being a massive hypocrite, ‘working the system’ myself through content marketing in my day job, I frequently find myself searching for [keyword + reddit] to get unbiased and unincentivised opinions in my downtime.

Furthermore, it seems that most of the top results chosen by search engines are faceless entities or brands with zero personality, producing guide after affiliate-powered guide. Which is why I was interested to come across Marginalia, a new option that tries to surface personal blogs and websites for entered queries.

The result? I [kind of] like it.

It feels a bit like browsing the web back in the good old days, more akin to stumbling around drunkenly in the dark before uncovering a little gem in the rough. In this way, the experience feels much more serendipitous, revealing some splendid thinkers and tinkerers that don’t play the normal SEO game.

It’s certainly not a functional experience when you really need a particular resource, but rather a great option when you want to dive down some random rabbit holes for pre-commercial online nostalgia.