Things I am learning from some uncomfortable shit in 2017.

  1. My pain is in direct correlation with the amount of control I try to have over my life and others lives. When I accept life as it is, I am able to experience suffering and joy as unique blessings — love notes from life. This does not apply if you get kicked in the junk, that’s different.
  2. I am more at rest when I accept people as they are. I’m trying to think about people like trees. I don’t judge or evaluate trees for being gnarled, twisted, straight, leafless, barked, needled, or bushy. Some trees feel more relaxing to sit beneath, but I don’t blame or benefit the trees for the way they are — they just are. Thank you for this picture Ram Das. Also, your name is rad. You can say some dumb shit and it’s going to be a little cooler because “Ram Das” said it. Congratulations.
  3. It is powerful sauce to listen to others without offering feedback. If feedback is asked for, then it’s my experience, strength, and hope that are valuable. If I tell other people how to live I’m literally stealing life from them. Stealing is bad juju.
  4. I lack the luxury of resentment. Perhaps some people can hold onto it without giving themselves insanity blisters. Not this guy. I learned this year that I have yet to meet anyone that is not doing the best they can with the tools they have been given. FYI, life is super-duper hard. Some people are more brave than others, but that’s a mystery to me. I don’t have that in lock-down, do you?
  5. The people who I’m the most drawn to are those who have suffered beautifully. They walked or were shoved into the blazing fire. They screamed in torture. They wept and raged. They came out scabbed, maimed, blistered, and forever changed. But they came out free. They are now resurrected people. They still have their wounds, but they are resurrected and brimming with life. These people have a PhD in badassery earned from fist-beaten failure and oceanic-disappointment.
  6. Lying and self-protection are some of the most brutal wounds a person can inflict on another human being. (Raises hand). These are also often the direct effect of wounds received, regurgitated, and passed forward. So it seems to me that this world is in dire need of both honesty and compassion. Honesty tells us how we have offended and hurt. Compassion makes a way for offenders and offended to accept one another. This is a mystery and an act of an incredible universal mysterious power. Dr. Strange is a smurf compared to this shit.
  7. Breathing is the center of the universe. I am thankful to share it with all of you. Each breath is tea with God, coffee & cigarettes with Jesus, hugging buddha, secret-hand-shaking Mohammed. Breathing is spiritual sex, actually even better than that. I know hard to believe, you have to practice to get it.
  8. I can make it through anything. Any-freaking-thing. One. Day. At a. Time.
  9. If you want to know who your true friends are — your family of families, I recommend becoming an alcoholic. I also recommend recovery so you don’t die, but never-the-less, it’s a good litmus test to see who is ready to stand with you. Those who can’t, weren’t ready. It’s not their fault. Let them go.
  10. The best answer I have for “how are you ?” is “I have a lot to be thankful for”. That’s the damn truth. Every day. You know what would suck? Losing your teeth because of addiction. I have my teeth. I’m not addicted to drugs. I am super freaking thankful for my teeth. You know what’s amazing? My feet. I walk on my feet every day. Holy shitballs. I have feet. Do you have any idea how weird and wild color is? I can see color! Wake the shit up Matthew. Life is incredible even at suck level eleven. I might feel really uncomfortable, or I might feel wild with excitement. All of this passes like weather. Thankfulness. Gratitude. These center me so that I’m not blown around like a windsock puppet.

In 2018, may we have safety. May we have peace. May we have love. May we be courageous. Maybe we do peace. May we be love.

I am short on new jokes. If you got anything out of this post, please respond with a joke. Dad jokes get bonus points.

Matthew Smith is either two wily bear cubs stacked in a trenchcoat or a full-grown man — some days it’s hard to tell.