Untitled for 25 Years

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I’ve taken a short break after my birthday, sorry for the absence. I wanted to spend some time with my family and friends and girlfriend and think about what to do next, where to go and what mountain I’d like to climb soon. April will likely be scarce for blog posts because of this small break but I hope you’ll forgive me. I want to make the words I deliver to you better. I am trying to do that they best way that I know how.

My fundraiser for Polar Bears International is live on Facebook until the 14th, so if you have a few dollars and would like to help save the polar bears, please consider donating to them.

I can’t think of a better way to open the blog post this week.

There is a lot of pain in this world. There are so many things that we fight against daily. The physical and the mental tribulations that we go through can be a lot of weight. A friend of mine was hospitalized due to the failing of her kidneys a few days ago, she is better as of writing this. At the same time, I’ve just purchased a laptop to replace my current rig, which has dutifully served me for the course of the last seven years. I’ve grown attached to my friends and I’ve watched friends pass away. I’ve seen children brought into this world and I’ve had to buy new bikes because mine were broken beyond repair. I’ve been brought great joys from card games and friends have had their multi-thousand dollar collections stolen from their vehicles. I have been given jobs and had them taken from me. I have loved the abused and I have unknowingly abused the loved. Our life is a cycle and we repeat things whether we want to or not. Each movement in your soul, big or small, can cause lasting ripples that will change you forever. There is no greater joy than pure love and there is no more melancholy silence than the fear of death.

I found myself in a strange place after taking a short break from my business after my birthday. I wanted to maintain momentum but I had nothing to write about, I was floating on the sea with both paddles in my hand and too many docks to choose to land in.

So instead I decided to write without purpose and publish the results, good or bad, for you to see. I’m so excited for all of the projects I’ve undertaken, and I hope to expand on them in the future, but as my birthday came and passed this year I’ve reflected upon my life and the things I’ve chosen to do. Twenty-five is shaping up to be wonderful and I am by no means an old man yet, despite what some may say. I am excited for the future, even when I am lost.

Today I googled “How can I help?” As I was without something to write about in this blog post. I came across so many self-help books and meditation guides, religious institutions claiming a new way to save a soul and more I laughed to myself reading it all through. Not from sadness or despair, not even close. I was comforted that there were so many resources available to those in the world who haven’t found their purpose or who don’t know what they want to do. It was wonderful seeing so many different plans and places to guide a life when one feels like they have no guide. It can be difficult to choose a future and to pursue it. Trust me, I’ve chosen thirty just for myself.

I guess what I’m saying here is that I hope you’re well. Whether you are 25, 18, 48 or 71 I hope you are well.

I hope you are well and that you continue to be well for the rest of the time you have here.

I am blessed to lead this life with you in it. Thank you one last time for giving me another birthday worth celebrating.

This life is a gift, take the present. Unwrap it and use it. It is, after all, the only thing we have any certainty in.

Lifeisnotmeanttobeawful+

www.linmtba.com 4.18.18

Congratulations.

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Happy  Birthday to everyone today, mine is coming up soon + in celebration, my book, The Darling Bones is on sale all month! check out the sweet deal here + pick it up, enjoy it, and then keep coming back. I have some more sweet stuff on the way later this month!

The desire to overcome punishing weather in the midst of a devastating storm sometimes feels like a quiet whisper in the middle of a concert hall.

Congratulations.

If you woke up this morning, congratulations on another day. I’m happy you’re here. I am happy you’re alive. Whether you might regard yourself as an enemy to me is of no consequence. I have no enemies. Sometimes we face new days with great trepidation, fortunately for you + I the world will find us at our lowest points and try to beat the hair from our heads.

There are absolutely no guarantees in the world we live in. One day I am going to disappear and most people probably won’t really care. I will be surrounded by laughter and love and peace.

I admit that peace has lately been a distant bird, singing somewhere in another forest but I can hear it gently chirping. If that is all I find in this life, I know I will have peace. I will take it for myself in the quiet moments, in the whispers, in the thunder, in the fire and famine, I will remember the song of that small bird.

I hope that today you consider something, you exist and there is little reason for that existence. Which is wonderful, because it means something.

Should your heart be beating today and your eyes scanning these words, you can surely say that you have been blessed with life and with purpose. No matter the season you are sensing at this moment, winter winds or spring bloom you are still alive to see it all. The world will always revolve and you can take that peace to heart.

This season will end, be it good or bad. I take it to heart that I have much to be congratulated on. As much as you do, you know.

If your relationship just ended, congratulations.

If you’ve just had a baby, congratulations.

If your job just fired you, congratulations.

If you just started your job, congratulations.

If you lost your phone, congratulations.

If you just quit smoking, congratulations.

If you have a few days left to find a home, congratulations.

If you woke up this morning, congratulations.

Congratulations, because every single day, you are allowed a new life. Everything that has plagued you, or burned you, or burdened you for years will be gone in a moment. You will have time to start over, it might take work, it might take time, but you can always rebuild anything you have. Just remember, congratulations, for feeling the way you do today.

It means you are alive and there is nothing to be more thankful for than that.

Finding Out You Were Asleep When Your Dreams Passed You By

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Welcome back to Gravity, My Enemy. I’m unveiling a couple new things as the month goes. Make sure you peep my Instagram for links to cool stuff. +

@alvatobiasbooks

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I am known nearly famously for my terrible sleeping habits. I don’t sleep according to any set schedule, I just kind of fall over when I feel tired and wake up with just under the necessary time remaining in order to get ready and get to work the following day. I’ve tried all manner of adjusting my sleep schedule but it doesn’t stop my body from sending me off to bed whenever it good and well feels like.

I’ve gotten a lot of information from friends about their sleeping schedules and how they manage to get their days knotted into one tight little bow. Some, like my father, can operate on a full day with five hours of sleep. Bed at 9 PM, up at 2 AM. Easy. Others take their sleep routines in multiple cycles. Four hours here, two hours there, and two more hours somewhere else. Others take one long break as the sun sets and they wake up as it rises and so on. There is a myriad of ways to sleep and to do so adequately. There has been a multitude of tests run to determine the appropriate sleeping cycle for the average person and it dictates that we are best fit into one of two groups, one singular sleep every 24 hours or a biphasic pattern, which means a shorter night with a short nap in the day. Others consider polyphasic sleep a possibility as well, but the numbers are much smaller.

Sleeping, at the end of the day, is an important facet of our livelihood. Without sleep, we die. When we die, we stop existing. Obviously, we would be wise to lean more towards the other option. I complain regularly that my body is incapable of sleeping for less than 8 hours now when I used to be able to stay up for days on end with minimal negative side effects. During the first pass of The Darling Bones, my loveable test demo (first book) gone awry, I was sleeping roughly twenty minutes for every twenty-four hours in a sequence of thirty days. On April 1st, I passed out and literally slept for two straight days. Do you know what that is like?

Of course, I could regale to you the tales of my sleeplessness and all of the wonder that came from them. The nights that became stories and the moments that became a memory. I am fond of those times but looking back, I’m thankful that my body literally refuses to allow that to happen anymore. When I’ve run my clock down, I’ve run my clock down and I become something of a husk. Without the drive to push forward and anything I do comes across as actual garbage. (I’m sure you’ve seen it on the blog and on the YouTube channel, those are unfortunately the main indulgences of my sleepless nights.)

Of course, all of this being said, I am awake for long enough in the day. Working at my job for somewhere between 5-10 hours depending on the workload and then coming home to game and spend time in leisure for 3-5 more, depending on the workload.

I am awake often enough for myself nowadays. I can manage all of my work if I dedicate to it. I can balance everything and still sleep between 6-12 hours a day, depending on the workload.

I’ve come to accept this for one reason I had not taken account of when I was writing the first edition of The Darling Bones…

When you sleep for so long, you inevitably miss days. Of course, that isn’t to say I am working tirelessly to set my circadian rhythm in a more… economic way. I would rather be awake and living every day with 6 hours of sleep giving me enough energy. It just takes time.

In the event you find yourself looking at the clock in desperation, next time you are face to face with a big project, consider relaxing for a while. Lest you evolve to become like a husk yourself and meet the Grand Somnambulist.

To be honest with you, I don’t believe in sleep. If I could operate on no sleep every day I would do so willingly and happily. I appreciate the sleep I get and I make sure I do it regularly nowadays, but it isn’t for my own health, well… not entirely.

The Somnambulist possessed me one night and I found myself down the hall of my apartment, leaning on a wall, coughing violently. The back of my throat burned with a sour, fruity sensation. Perhaps an intestinal infection, or perhaps a symptom of my loss of sleep. My body knew nothing of its whereabouts for a time. It was as if I was living a dream. A nightmare of my own creation in which the words I wrote fell flat, the songs I sang were out of pitch and every single keystroke that plays the rhythm of my life was just slightly off beat.

I awoke and felt the burning in my throat as the Somnambulist released me, a sinister force still held my eyes closed. When I could manage to hold them open I saw it…

Sauntering off, out of my apartment as the sun rose. He had been following me for a while and continued to do so afterward, begging me to fall back and sleep. To close my eyes for only a few moments so that he could wrap his slender hands around my head once more and drag me down the hall like a hay-stuffed puppet.

I had become a victim of my own circumstance.

They say that evil spirits like Vampires and Ghouls will not enter your home unless invited. Of course, this isn’t always a matter of directly inviting them in. Many, if not all documented will aim to trick you and push you to that end for their own gain.

The Grand Somnambulist is much like this, urging you day after day to keep yourself awake, to write one more chapter, to record one more hours worth of content. To push your body to its limit and when you’ve had enough, he will gently lay you to your sheets and tuck you in, comforting you along the way before his fangs protrude from deep within his throat, wrapping around his tongue like a twister, boring himself into your skull and resting within your mind until you have been overcome with the urge to sleep.

He is not just one being. The Grand Somnambulist is everywhere, in everything, waiting for you to run your clock down enough for him to sneak in and torment you in your waking and sleeping life.

When you are awake, nothing is as it seems. You become forgetful, you become weary and nervous. Anxiety swells to become a menace that you can no longer face alone but you find yourself so often resorting to sleeping instead. Knowing that just one more nap will make it go away. One more long dream. One more long nightmare and you will be free.

This is so, but he does not give in so easily.

Even now I can feel him, patting my bed and whispering to me, that it is time for sleep. That I should be resting. I have been under a great deal of stress and I must take this time to rest, to be apart from the waking for a while.

Of course… I don’t listen anymore.

When I was asleep. I missed so much. So many events, so many opportunities, so many friends. Because twenty waking hours turned to thirty and my sleep stretched from eight to fourteen and I could no longer stand to be under the immense pressure that I had put upon myself.

The worst part, about those dreams… is that if I were to have been awake, I wouldn’t have missed so much of my life. That is the greatest bargain chip he has to offer, that for a few more hours of consciousness, you can accomplish more than you could if you would instead lie down and sleep. When you’ve racked up a debt that is impossible to pay, he comes for you. All of your dreams you held when you were awake and alive become nightmares as the words draw longer, each brushstroke falls from the canvas and your head bobs, behind you, he whispers…

“Just a few more hours, and then you can sleep… I promise.”

www.linmtba.com

Two to One

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Back in the day, there was a Greek myth about Zeus creating man, how we were originally built with four arms and legs, two heads and so on, but fearing our power he split us into two pieces, cursing us to forever search for our other half as punishment evidently for being cooler than a God.

I’ve used this myth before in a few places, a best man toast, a couple other blog posts, and in day to day conversation with others generally speaking to them about relationship troubles and the purpose of relationships. While I can’t accredit this myths factuality to anything in particular. I’m saying that I don’t have the answer to whether this was true or if it was some made up social media post about people to be inspiring.

What I can talk about is the message sent here.

In counting all of the human’s attributes, they glossed over something much more important to the facets of a relationship.

We were born with two ears and one mouth.

Which means that in all things we do, we should use those ears more than we should use our mouths. All too often I find myself more willing to speak on things and tell others about my life, or how to fix their problems when the reality of the situation is that I should be silent and listening, valuing their time much more than I should be valuing my own. Even as I write this I can think of moments within the past two days in which I should have been listening to others and not talking over them. It isn’t intentional, I believe I have important things to say.

Of course, that is the root of the problem then, isn’t it? We each believe that what we have to say is valuable and others need to hear it. Yet, the information we have that needs to be conveyed will still be there at the end of a conversation and we must be delicate in framing what we respond with.

Have you ever been speaking with someone and zoned out, forgetting or not listening to what it is that they’ve said. I tell others often that when I’m working I don’t want to be bothered. If I am in my office writing or doing some other task, I can’t be bothered because if I am I won’t be able to regain my focus. This has led to more than one scenario involving someone I care about feeling as if I don’t listen to them when they are speaking. I wanted to argue this point here and explain that I had set up a time to work and a time to relax, if that can’t be followed what is the point of setting those things up? So on and so forth, but it shurks the actual responsibility of my friendship or relationship to ignore them through and through. It takes the issue I am writing about and turns it into a me issue, an excuse, not a them issue.

Should we consider ourselves a higher caste than another we would know that they would have no need to speak to us? There is nothing they could say that we wouldn’t already know, there is nothing they have to say that would bear any weight. We would be above them. This is the mentality of someone who chooses not to listen to another human for their own selfish needs. I’m not saying that there won’t be times where people will say things completely irrelevant or unnecessary to you but that doesn’t mean every word out of their mouth is spoken without purpose.

The fine details of our lives are spoken through the subtext of our actions and words, we convey how we truly feel or think through the way we speak and how we behave. It is much like knowing someone is upset because of the way they tell you they are upset. They could not admit anything and you would still know because there is a sorrowful lilt to the way they say it.

This is the purpose of our ears. Two mechanisms affixed to the sides of our skulls so that we may hear. We may hear the way others love. We may hear the way others hurt. We may hear others flashes of joy and excitement through their tone, despite the words coming from their mouths. We should be doing this twice as often as we speak, as well. Not everyone will come to understand this idea. There are people in droves who believe the things they say are really important and should be heard by everyone and that is okay, some people are just more important than us. Some people don’t have the desire to listen and understand or listen to feel.

Sometimes, though it frustrates me to no end, this even includes me. I know, hilarious right? The author admitting that sometimes he gets talking a bit too much. You’d think the downsides of my profession would inherently be something much less obvious.

Today, I challenge you to listen to another. Find something within them that is worth hearing, worth considering, listen twice as much as you speak and really devour the things you hear. Especially what you hear between the words and the sounds of the trees or rivers or cities. This world is rife with sounds of life and that is the most powerful notion I have felt in a long time.

We are here, we are alive. We will be gone one day and on my tombstone I’d like it to say something like, he spoke often, he spoke well + good, but the testament to the man buried in this ground is that he was able to listen through your words and hear the feelings you felt, the things you were afraid or embarrassed to say and he helped us bring them out.

True Blue + Black

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In the event of a collision, brace yourself on the nearest passion or friend or purpose and hold on.

Nothing can destroy you.

Often times I am reminded of the steadfast and stalwart parents who raised me. Parents who looked the biggest struggles of their lives eye to eye and refused to blink in a way that often I don’t think I could do. That being said, my family is 100% the reason I am the same way today.

Of course, like everyone there are moments when I am faced with something that pulls at my soul in a way I never want to feel and I will feel the sliver of shivers run through my bones but that does not change something integral about my personality.

Something my mother and father both instilled in me from a young age.

Once, I locked myself out of the house in the middle of winter. My parents were visiting friends and though I had gone into my room. So they locked the door behind me as I went about my snow angel business. When I was finished freezing in the snow banks in our front yard I went to go back inside and found that the door wouldn’t open. I pounded on it and called for my parents or their friends, praying that I’d be heard and they would hear me.

They didn’t. I was terrified, and when the realization set in that I was likely going to die out in my yard I took things into my own hands and decided to make an attempt to get back inside. Eventually, I knew my parents friends would leave. So I hopped the fence to the front yard and met the garage door and the front door, pounding on them until my hands bruised. I sat there like that for a while until eventually those inside came up from the basement to let me inside. Turns out they had been in the basement and couldn’t hear me calling them.

As you can see, this story doesn’t necessarily end with me getting out of a sticky situation myself. It’s true, I relied on my parents then but I am older now, though still relying on them for much more than I’d like, I also know that there are things in my life that I will not have them behind me for. So, it is in these moments where I should think of the possibilities… what happens when we don’t have those who regularly support us there to lift us up anymore?

We should take our problems by the throat into our own bruised hands.

Choke those demons in front of you and throw them away.

Of course it won’t always be easy, but everything can be broken into smaller projects. Everything can be taken down to the small grains of sand that collected together to form a stone. It took super heat and energy but eventually every new diamond emerges from its old shell of coal.

I lost my job in the fall.

I was denied for something like nine jobs I had applied to, the rest beyond the nine rejections simply didn’t reply to my application.

I didn’t write a single successful piece for any of the writing anthologies I had taken.

I was faced with the massive challenge of picking up at perhaps the lowest point of 2017. I didn’t let on much that I was struggling so hard but I was. This year ended in a whirlwind of extreme joy and immense pressure.

I wonder what other material shares the same qualities, bringing extreme joy and enduring immense pressure.

Diamond.

Every event we are faced with demands a solution. Every problem and every scenario has an ending, it is up to us to determine where that ending lies and how we will get to it.

This brings me back to my parents, who, although occasionally frustrating, each of them made certain that this concept was chiseled into my memory with not one stroke misaligned.

My dad would regularly tell me I needed to get into a stable career, something to make sure I had the money I needed to do the things that I wanted. Of course, at the time I blew off this notion. It didn’t matter then what I did or how I did it. I would find a way. Of course that is still true today, but I’ve discovered that there is another step.

Find something you love.

We all need work. We all have a passion and a skill. No one can truly float along life without money, as much as it frustrates me that we base our entire lives around the mental weight of green paper we must obtain it to continue living. There will always be a way to make money, and money will always have a purpose. Of course, money doesn’t necessarily mean bills and coins. It could be gold or supplies. There will always be a use for some sort of tender, some sort of item that we can trade around.

This concept was lost on me until I grew up a bit and started working, finding a job that I loved. The food industry. I ate up every shift I was given, bathing in the joy of cooking or bartending, absorbing every interaction with customers good or bad. Some days I needed to vent, but that is a part of life. It is another one of those struggles I was always told about. My dad’s words were much more important than I first realized, and they still held a meaning that I hadn’t gleaned as I grew older. A job is not just a place to be for a few hours. It isn’t just a way to make a living. Since I started working in restaurants I have had a desire to do nothing but that while I write. Cooking, baking, serving, all of the things involving food appeal to me. It makes me happy on a base level.

Still, the point of what pops told me so many times was that it was a stepping stone. If I had that outlet, that passion, that place to go to do something I loved, it would help me face down bigger challenges I would eventually face. The same can be said for most things. If you have something you are passionate about, please, right now I urge you to go commit to it. Draw yourself into the loop of that passion. Woodworking, reading, writing, art, making YouTube videos. Whatever it is. Dentistry, coding, marketing, business management, sewage containment. Everyone has a purpose and a joy to be fulfilled in their working life and too few are able to do it successfully. Embrace that thing and go for it, full speed ahead. Challenges will come, you must face them. It is nice to have an island of sanctuary when you need it.

My mother, on the other hand always told me to finish what I started. I once joined the youth soccer team and I absolutely hated it. I was chubby and didn’t like to run. I wasn’t good at soccer and so I stood on the field for most of my play time. I picked my nose and watched the ball go back and forth as it came close to me and rolled away. I came home one evening begging to quit because I hated it so much, but mom told me no. I started it, I needed to finish it.

Eventually the season was over and I didn’t sign up again, but I learned something valuable. Things are always in motion. I played defense, which was remarkable because I was so poor at defending. It’s hard to focus on kicking the ball when you have your finger in your brain stem. Still, things moved. That soccer ball moved, your obstacles will move. You will be able to progress and you will be able to take knowledge from each moment you live.

Those things have been instilled in me since I was just a boy, and I will never forget them.

When things become difficult, when faced with something insurmountable remember that you are not Atlas. You are not a god. You are a man, and man has something remarkable about him.

We don’t give up.

So don’t give up.

Take your bruised hands and start to push. If pushing doesn’t work, kick. If that fails, find a new path. There will always be a way around. There will always be a way out. There will always be a new obstacle and there will always,

Always,

Be a way for you to overcome it.

All you have to do is start moving.

www.linmtba.com

Feel Every Yard (BIG Announcement!)

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Before I get to the post today, I promised you a couple things from Wednesday. Sorry if it was a tad bit misleading, I wasn’t about to shout out some cool stuff if I wasn’t sure it was happening, but here we are.

So, first of all, I’ve been releasing a few shirts over on Teespring for Random Acts Creations. Year One through Year Four shirts/hoodies/v-necks are available now + I don’t plan on pulling the stock ever. I’m working behind the scenes to release a spring line towards the middle of April this year. It will be full of rad stuff like hoodies, T-shirts, and phone cases. (There is more but Imma keep some of it a secret!)

Second, I’ll be releasing a compilation of poetry from the blog itself (edited and updated, I promise.) Some of em were pretty rough around the edges but They’re shaping up nicely + you’ll be hearing more about them towards the third quarter of the year.

Third, I’ll be putting out another blog compilation this November, Year Five is going to come with a lil bonus though, I don’t want to give you too much about it, but I’ll tell ya you might want to keep some space available on your wall. 😉

All of that being said, if you’ve made it this far, you can check out my website, freshly updated and looking super fly to see my release schedule every single month. I’ll have days scheduled for blogs, poetry, YouTube videos + anything else I’m doing. Don’t think I’ve been forgetting about some of the older stuff you all loved. Over on the S+I Facebook page i’ll be bringing more happiness and inspiration than ever before. Snapchat will be live with some new tutorials just for kicks and I have SO much more. 2018 is just getting started and your favorite hippy is swinging harder than ever.

Best believe that.

It’s funny how they say time is money when we are so reluctant to spend time but we will freely throw away our time. Before I get into this week, I hope that you spend much more time this week than you do money, it is so much more valuable and so much more appreciated.

Last week I was having a conversation getting to know a new coworker and discovering their interests when they told me something I have said to others. We were talking about his passions and his dreams and he told me that he wanted to travel, he was going to set up a motorhome and just drive around the country in the next three years. That his dream was to see every state in the US and then he continued by saying something I have said countless times before.

“I know it seems stupid…”

Right before he launched into the description of his dream since he was a child, he wanted to touch every piece of dirt in the USA and he looked away from me in shame as he told me that.

It rang a bell inside of me that has been softly ringing since the day I picked up a pen.

I remember when I was that kid, unsure of my future with lofty goals and dreams, this grand desire to be all that I am working to become, an author, a YouTuber, a poet, a musician, a business owner, a chef, a friend and a blogger among so many other things. I remember being in that exact same place, telling others that my dreams sound stupid.

That was before I found The Buried Life, I’ve written about the show before + in case you’re new around here and have been hiding under a rock, they set out with this idea to cross off items from a collective bucket list and along the way help others cross one item off of theirs. The show + corresponding book inspired me so much that I decided to do the same.

It’s funny how these things that cross over into my head overlap so often. It is a still small reminder that my purpose is clearly defined and I cannot stop building for it, fighting for it and praying for guidance along the way.

I lost my job and began to panic about making money, how I could support myself still, how I could keep moving forward and what I could do to pay my bills, when I was provided for as if by magic I silently prayed a thanks and kept moving, without realizing that I had begun orienting my time beneath making money. The time I spent with friends decreased, the time I spent working increased and I began to trip up a lot, wondering if I was worth it or whatever.

Well that’s some shit if I’ve ever heard it.

Talking to my friend I was reminded of the madness that my life has become and how I enjoy every last second, every last wasted cent, every last smile and tight embrace between myself and those that I love.

This life is so much more than we always think it is. In the midst of darkness, for you or me, there is always light. You have your purpose and I hope that you consider it if you feel lost today. You have dreams and goals somewhere within you, you have a calling and there is no greater sin than wasting you valuable time.

Spend it instead, searching for the next step and moving forward. If you want to become an author, start writing. Streaming on Twitch? Download the app and go. There is no back tracking as long as you are aware that you are accomplishing goals and dreams with every new step you take. So don’t stop stepping.

Just get out there, climb in your motorhome and hit the road. We have a long list of items to work through, it is going to take a minute…

…and every minute will be worth it.

Thank you so much for reading.