black diary -- a story of choice

online / addendum / number ten

preface

To fight the demons of the past, the fear for future disaster and to maintain my freedom, in the face of a dominant young wife, just turned 40, and to increasingly dominant children, age 10 and 6, I will open my black diary, to reflect on ongoing issues, describe the dilemmas, and just write in order to find rational solutions, to cope with real or imagined problems. Having such a diary will give me the opportunity to take emotional distance, while staying rational in the middle (is that a proper word?) of the situation, in particular when these situations pose issues with repect to my identy, self-image, ability to cope with challenges, and fight any possible fear of failure.

22/1/2020

I might even use the material for public writing, if needed, to establish my future fame, and reinforce my (digital) immortality by means of (virtual) poetry ...

chapter 1 -- life

24/2/2020: In the middle of the night she woke up and screamed. I have to puke, she said. Three times she got out of bed and puked in the toilet. After that, she lay close to me, warm and sensitive. Deep warm love, as simple as that. In the morning I got up, business as usual, exercise, breakfast, and the children to school. After all, I cherish the memory of skiing, especially after sharing on facebook, our prison-like room, with family.eliens.net, we are the aeliens in dot.com. We are, aren't we? And, looking my fate in the face, there they are, the five stages of dealing with health and self: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The whole series of mental states. Not included is the aspiration: barefoot urban warrior. And, I still have to buy a ringband for my diary. Black, of course!

When it comes to choice, is it gravity or discipline? Anyway, it is important to practice energy work, to apply instrumantal aggression, when circumstances require, and action. It is, indeed, the dissolution of the pose into the endless flow of life, from the black word to the colors of the rainbow, the expression of life in its full vigor, blah, blah, blah ...

I am now reading the biology of belief. I started reading it when we went for skiing, as an attempt to reduce the stress of social pressure, and as a weapon against the possible fear of skiing. To explain, after reading about the principles of natural movement, I now had to move myself, starting a bit stiff and with the impressions of touching the void, that is meeting the mountains, still in my mind. Due to the busy time before our stay in the skiing place, radio NST (non-stop thinking) was constantly on, loud and clear, that is noticable in an unavoidable way, however confused. My solution to skiing was just to keep warm and adapt, no need to show-off, and just take it slow. Fortunately, this worked, with the occasional mistake. But, to be honest, I did like the falling. In the end, I even experienced my personal elegance, as a relief from worry and fear.

chapter 2 -- movement

25/2/2020: Reprogramming belief, it might be possible, but I would rather say, just stay aware of the tension between protection and growth, the rest seems to be just words, cheap moralism, be aware and move!

The dichotomy, protect/grow is reflected in the dilemma to adapt to the common norm, to conform myself to a suposed standard, or stand-out as an individual, sometimes with special skills and elegance or at the other end as an absolute beginner, stumbling and hesitant, although this may also be regarded as adaptating to common standards, if done with sufficient modesty. Following the biology of belief, again, obviously it is the context, stupid, meaning it depends on on the circumstances, and it requires a personal judgment to determine what is most appropriate in the given context, depending on the people that are present, characteristics of that particular community and, of course, personal asspirations, to stand out or be invisible!

26/2/2020: Coming to think of it, in doubt there is always an element of fear, like when to make a turning wheel, or, for the handstand, moving into upside-down. It is a moment when one needs to bridge the gap, conciously, but in an off-hand way. After all, it is a game of chance, sometimes it works and sometimes not. A matter of probability, in which one has to find the proper balance, between risk and challenge, by an effort to defy gravitation, searching the experience of flow, that is characteristic of the performance trance.

27/2/2020: Writing my black diary reminds me of (reading) touching the void, in particular now it directly affects us in our financial affairs, that is money. We'll wait and listen. But in some sense, it makes me sick, or should I say stupid. I do not want to learn how to become stupid, and about two and a half year after my coronary attack, I don't want to become sick. So, what is the key to all this, solitude, silence or space? Remember, life is a game,but then the question is, on what level do we play? Where am I now, in denial, anger, bargaining, depression or acceptance? I don't know, let's fight!

I just saw that corona is a part of coronary, which means that I was already partly affected before all this virus shit began!

28/2/2020: Yesterday, after kempo we went to cafe de Tuin, It was very busy. At the long table was a guy, who as I later learned was only 33, who was joined by a nice blond girl. They both drank Corona, the beer. I looked atv the Corona bottle, and then at them, and they smiled. We started talking, after they jokingly apologized for drinking Corona. It is the beer they emphasized. I explained that with a chinese wife I was in the middle of the whole thing, and at the risk of being infected with a mind-virus. They understood, and we had a nice conversation, jokingly shaking hands, as an explicit gesture against ignoring future risk and anxiety. I wonder what they thought of me. For me, I enjoyed the crowd and the music, and I realized how off-beat I was, that is no longer frequenting busy cafes, as I used to do, say 30 years ago. In a way, I even lost interest in the type of adventures these places offer, also as a way to protect myself from inadvertent adventures, as I explained to my fellow-kenshi. Keep training, I thought, as so many people of my age and much younger suffer from complaints, ranging from back-pain to depression. Movement seems to be a proper solution, in a somewhat paradoxical way, to find rest and restore balance. Well, you know, it is one way to reduce the impact of radio NST, non-stop thinking!

Coming home, she asked, how was your training? I didn't tell her about the Corona-incident. Then, after I said nice, not so many people though, she said you have to watch this NOS broadcast, there is a message that the first corona-case was found in the Netherlands, it is only one hour. No, I said, I don't want to watch this shit. Mind virus! But, nevertheless, I searched online, and found a page with information, and a collection of video fragments about the virus and the effects of the pandemic.

chapter 3 -- ritual

29/2/2020 There is everyday the daily dilemma, well many of them, starting with get up or stay in, and usually ending with reading or go to sleep. To keep it simple, my solution is usually time-based. With an eye on the clock, I do what I think I have to do, in a ritual manner, you might say, keeping for quite some period already rather strict metrics on my behavior, that is exercise and tasks, both intellectual and domestic, which then also makes me easily annoyed when others do not comply, and deviate from the simple standards that I have set and to which I feel subjected. And for clarity, these include the standards set by my wife, even if I sometimes disagree with them.

And, again, for clarity, it spells DD, meaning daily dilemma, even though it does not present itself in the same way every day!

1/3/2020: Too many domestic tasks, I didn't have the chance to stay in bed and sleep, deep in the darkness of my thought. The children seem happy though. I observe them, human life, spontaneous, even though already infected by the cultural virus of entertainment. Playing games on their phone, computer or ipad. Domestic life, now too nervous and busy not because there is too much to do, but out of fear and anxiety for the pandemic threat. What used to be a beer is now a virus.

I take socializing after the birthday party, where I have to collect my daughter, as an excuse not to go to kempo. Another dilemma solved for today. How stupid. I took the opportunity to do the tax application. I thought done is done. But when the outcome was different from what I expected, I got lost in it, and discovered that I made a mistake earlier in the year, that is, I payed the tax for 2020, leaving me short on money for the tax for 2019, which is 2000 more than I expected, due to the high capital for the children, that they got from their grandparents. Being lost in this web of confusion, I forgot about my exercise, and only stuck to a meager 420, that is 7 sets of 60 today. Stupid. Now I have to call the tax office tomorrow to see if my mistake can be corrected.

1/3/2020: Almost eleven in the evening and I am wondering, did I really forget mu exercis, or did I just forgot to write it down, amounting to a total of 9 sets of 60, that is 540.

2/3/2020: Again I got lost in the institutional labyrinth. Fortunately, there is no risk, only symbolic frustration, that is, it might take some time to have all the accounts balanced. I regret, though, that I tried to be so smart!

3/3/2020: I feel a bit guilty that I removed my facebook post, that was already liked, replacing it with another one, that has a better or different view of the bridge. I could have left the old one so that they could be compared. This morning I thought of making another post: exercise -- facebook run., with an appropriate photo. However, walking in the street, I saw nothing that I liked, and I wanted to finish my business at the pharmacy, that is get my pills and the money I paid some months ago, that they still have not refunded yet. And then, of course, there was another dilemma, shall I take a nap or read. I decided to continue reading the code of the universe,, but not after doing another round of exercise and some coffee!

4/4/2020: The DD for today was, to begin with, get up or stay in bed. I got up, taking much less time than I first thought, and did my exercises, happy I was able to maintain my discipline.

Before bringing the kids to school, she said: We support each other. Too sentimental I thought, and I told her in the same words. Just words! After I came back, we had a quarrel, about washing hands, on returning home. But before doing that I just wanted to complete another round of exercise. Yesterday, she complained again about tho small house, and somehow she is always in my way. Dominant, not willing to compromise. Next week I will be 68 and perhaps someday I will run away.

chapter 4 -- dilemma(s)

5/3/2020: All financial things seem to be arranged now. I even paid the twenty euro for the interclub seminar, yesterday, It seemed I could get away with it, but the organizer send me a message, explicitly asking to transfer the money to the kempo account, which I promptly did. Next time, when money is involved, I will very likely not go, and I will see how long I stick with kempo. I will miss the people though, I think, as well as an excuse or reason to go out.

We now also have for over a month food delivered, to keep us from going into the supermarket to buy food, as long as the pandemic is likely to last. Not my thing, taking so many precautions, but then again, food is food. And, finally, I have to express my disappointment with schools, and even my children.

Why did my youngest not accept my graphical solution to the problem of making sums resulting in 7. Apparently, they learn the conformist approach using standard formulae, instead of gaining insight into the ordering of numbers. I should not care, I think, but I feel distance, and perhaps that is my most crucial daily (returning) dilemma!

8/3/2020: I bought a stack of cookies, and some more honey, just to make sure there is enough. As I told my oldest daughter we're in the ban of the virus, and I even considered to notify the school principal of children who did not get tested for the virus, while suffering from a fever. Such moral vigilance.

In the meantime, life goes on, the house is being re-organized, within the limits of my tolerance, that is. But life annoys me. Life goes on, but it has a definite flavor of meaninglessness. Why is that? And what is the remedy? Sound? Or reading about sound? Or just reading? It does kill the time, but leaves me with another daily dilemma. Should I not go out and take a walk? Or should I just go to bed, and take a nap?

8/3/2020: What shall be my daily dilemma today? Stay in and read or go out! Remember: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance ...

8/3/2020: Another daily dilemma, write or not write, in addition to go to kempo or stay home, play music or be silent, take a nap or read. At least we had a quiet morning without the children, after an intimate evening and a restful night. You might call it the shower miracle, The machines are working again, after watching the good place, which turned out, as we will later discover, to be the bad place!

8/2/2020: Did you buy honey again, she asked. We crossed eachother on the stairs. she was in a hurry because her bike has a flat tire. So she pushed through, but despite the lack of time, turned around to scrutinize the plastic bags, as I did some additional shopping after bringing the girls to school. Her face turned into a grimace. Honey, she said, why did you buy honey? I told her not to micro-manage me, then went up and shut the door. Enough of being oppressed. After putting the stuff away, I did my exercise, round 5, and started reading about the beat generation.

chapter 5 -- battle of love

11/3/2020: Big sky mind, empty hands, adapt to the unexpected, vigilant, always ready to hit back or run, barefoot, enjoy the energy and surprise, unwishfull thinking, step by step, avoiding the pitfalls of health and security, thus saving time to explore space and mind, where the words converge to experience, energy, as the result of work and play, a never ending battle, a battle of love.

12/3/2020: We just had my more or less ceremonial birthday dinner, 68 years, I have reached my goal, now waiting for the next, 75, although the intermediate 69 is, seen as a reverse image, also interesting, and a year further on track, wherever it leads.

Yesterday,I went training, and, ironically, I seem to have catched a cold due to the open windows, one of the things that responsible people do, for reasons of health, to prevent infections. Smart people, but unfortunately, I am sensitive to these things, as I am to smart people. I hate smart people, and in the current situation, there is ample opportunity for smart people to act and impose their moral standards, often with disruptive consequences, like me catching a cold.

Today's daily dilemma is, at this moment, shall I go for another round of exercises or not. Perhaps it is enough, and perhaps not!

13/3/2020: Sell or not sell, or only half, or two-third of my stocks, that are plummetting down rapidly, already more than 700 euro for the last month. Following my motto, I don't want to think, I decided to sell all and save the remaining money for the near future, as to be able as my wife puts it, to enjoy life, and cover whatever cost arises in say the next five to seven years,

I wanted to wait until I would become seventy five, but apparently my mind was on a different track, and I hope the money will be delivered soon!

14/3/2020: Coronavirus, mind virus, media virus. On the playground, in front of our house, we discussed the impact of social media on our attitude towards the current pandemic, and where our supposed dutch rationality fell short in comparison with the measures taken in the countries surrounding us. Our prime minister announced that we should avoid shaking hands, where most other countries already decided that the schools must close their doors. It is not easy to deal with fear, nor with fear for fear, to be the victim of fear. Anyway, as many other people will do, we will let our children not attend school and keep than home, not necessarily with meaningful tasks though. Anxious parents are inclined to develop a program for their children when they stay at home. We have to allow the children some freedom, however, not to take away their energy. Let them have some fun, while I am waiting for the results of selling my stocks, in order to have acces to some personal capital.

It's like a horror movie, says my wife. Like a movie it is, and the best remedy is to enjoy watching it, whatever the drama displayed.

15/3/2020: The dutch dilemma, Finally they took a decision, at 17.30, schools, cafes and sport dubs will be dosed, from 18.00 onwards. Many postpone it until tomorrow, not so much as an act of civil disobedience, but out of a sense of profit. Closing means loosing money. Open tonight might save a few euros. Nevertheless, although I totally agree with the decision to close schools, cafes and clubs, it also makes me a bit anxious. How will this decision affect the stock market? In other words, how much will I get out of my account tomorrow? Well, it is, after all, just money, but still I hope for a good result. My wife is optimistic. For me, I find it hard to bring up the patience. I am looking forward to look backward, hopefully grateful and satisfied!

chapter 6 -- alternatives

16/3/2020: The prime-minister mentioned three alternatives: (i) impose voluntary quarantine upon the weak and elderly, (2) do nothing, let everybody freely move around, (3) close the country down, in dutch -- leg nederland helemaal plat. Alternative (i) seems to be the most reasonable.

In a way, alternative (3) has my preference, but I recognize the old sentiments of my youth. Shut the system down, let me free! Ironically, after writing down the third and last option, I started writing in dutch, but I stopped myself in time, not only for the sake of communication, but also to prevent regression to long forgotten sentiments. Forgotten or denied, you choose!

17/3/2020: Watching online yoga course. Meant to support people in their distress, and struggle against the restrictions on their life, imposed by the measures taken to fight the corona pandemic. The virus has an impact on our life, emotionally, but also financially and in a broader sense our attitude towards life, and of course the issues that arise, such as how to obtain the necessary supplies, and for many, most importantly, how to deal with the children, that is, more generally, to keep life meaningful, and not to get lost in empty consumption and boredom. For that reason, I bought a bike, yesterday, and we did a twenty kilometer bike-tour today. Not a bad beginning, good to have some aerobic exercise, and a sustainable solution to regularly go outside in the coming period, when the weather allows.

We are still watching the online yoga course. You may turn on the light she said, we are invisible. So, after all, at the end of the day, I received my favorite superpower, I am invisible, and may turn on the light. Now, as also admonished by the online course, keep breathing and enjoy life!

18/3/2020: To keep it short, finally my financial affairs are arranged, or should I say, financially, finally everything is settled, that is, I sold the stocks and was able to put the money on my saving account, available for immediate spending. With the admonition -- please observe silence -- under the heading of-- corona virus, mind virus, media virus -- I made what could likely be my last post on facebook, with in a way a bad taste of all the moralistic and opportunistic messages that currently appear in the social media. Perhaps it is time to apply social distancing to the media as well, the social media, that is. To be clear, I have almost forgotten everything about the other media.

Interestingly, this period of quarantine seems also refreshing to many people. How many I do not know, but today it was explicitly mentioned for the second time! And the truth is, however confronting, there is perhaps a necessity, that is, perhaps it is time for a drastic reorientation of our personal lives and society. Not strictly personal for me, but in a general way, how we think about the values that govern our life, with respect to lifestyle, the role of institutions, and the goals we set ourselves. Blah, blah. I know. Enough bullshit. Please observe silence!

chapter 7 -- variety

19/3/2020: From yesterday: I broke the glass! And the relation? Shortly after that:... and then I looked at her face and I thought... yeah, what did I think? Well, today, after a good night sleep, we are a team again. Yesterday, we discussed the issues and agreed not to take dramatic steps in a hyper tense period. Somehow, the anger dropped off. Not my second skin though, which in these times, resembling urban war, I need more than ever, to feel comfortable and ready, indeed, ready to fight, whatever!

20/3/2020: The quarantine continues. Note my modified spelling, obtained after an online lookup. Todays dilemma is meaning versus pleasure, or, trying to get meaning out of this period, versus giving in to hedonic impulses, either in the sphere of consumption or adventure. No, there will be no elaboration now, but as I indicated before, there can be variety in the flavors of lunch!

21/3/2020: We went to the park, early in the morning, to be outside, avoiding the crowd, and get some exercise. It was cold, 3 degrees, when we get out, but exercise keeps you warm. Warm enough, and staying healthy in this period has a price, suffering the cold is part of it.

Ironically, I see the cancelling of cinedans almost as a personal revenge, for not involving me, a well-deserved punishment. And for the rest, life goes on, depressing, with tension, leading us easily to the verge of quarrel, and to some extent, a release, just let go and enjoy the freedom, in time if not in space, no need for a schedule, deadlines and hurry, all these are counter-productive. Yet, there is a need for structure. but that, ideally, takes a process of discovery, and an effort to suppress the disgust from all the moralizing words and images that are thrown at us via the social media. Also the online course becomes a virus, as a colleague of my wife noted, a mixed mind and media virus, playing with people's need for guidance and structure.

22/3/2020: The streets are empty, the sun is shining. The whole atmosphere is depressing, a reflection of the fear, due to the virus, spreading in our mind and media.

Short moments of satisfaction after a successful post on social media, but quickly disappearing to make place for the nervous strivings that a meaningful life brings with it. There is some sense of community in our anger towards people who break the rules of social distance. Agression takes over anxiety, soon to be replaced by forced calm, attempts to play the role of influencer, and manifesting good behavior complying with high moral standards. To regain control of our habits, and re-establish new habits in this bizarre period, that seems to be the problem we all face. Our freedom is limited, we feel the need to communicate, yet the social media do not satisfy this need.

Sofar the children adapt well to this new regime, eager to satisfy their parents, and with some effort this will hopefully continue, yet the limit is easily reached, our moods are on the edge, and we will have to see to what extent our values agree. Let's enjoy the freedom, despite the reality of its abject origin, the corona virus, leading to mind virus, media virus and now also the online course virus, with all these faces, eager to please, with their radiant hope of recognition, smiling, and straining to make a generous contribution to our common well-being!

23/3/2020: Keep social distance. I have been eager to express my opinion about the intricacies of the virus in a (virtually) poetic way, via facebook, to show my face, so to speak, and have my voice heard. Satisfying for my self in some sense, or perhaps in some non-sensical way, but all in all not with much impact or recognition. Perhaps I should stop, but then I would miss the relief, which might be needed to avoid domestic terror.

chapter 8 -- experience

2313/2020: Are we heading for a total lockdown?

24/3/2020: Regret takes us back in time. The last time I went to kempo was when I got a cold. It was when there was explicit attention to te corona virus, and when we explored how to limit the impact of kempo exercises on our health. Also, the windows were opened, to create a healthy atmosphere. As I said before, health makes me sick. Indeed, I got a cold. Almost two weeks later, it is almost over, but the occasional sneeze and cough seems to be enough to keep me at home.

Time passes, it is all part of this flurry of events, that forces me to take distance, not only social distance, but distance from our common habits and practices as well. And in the light of the measures taken and the predictions for the coming period, it will have a strong impact on our near and perhaps farther future.

25/3/2020: Where am I? Who am I? Good questions, for later!
Question: Do I have enough paper for writing?
Answer: I don't know!

28/3/2020: Why writing? To offload tension or boredom? In fact, the last days we have been busy with arranging the online school sessions for the girls. Noisy and chaotic. Is this effective? At least it gives some distraction. Today we went out, provocational, from my side, with masks. Some people looked at us, with a mixture of amusement and appreciation. Social distance, I told them. And mental distance, I added.

My facebook post, however appropriate, even my wife shared it, did not get so many likes. With a picture of the market, it asked (implicitly) is this how to keep social distance? Well, life goes on, obviously people are in need to communicate.

30/3/2020: You just do your exercises, she said, in an angry voice. We just looked at the possibilities for rearranging the bed, so that there might be some extra space. Then the futon was wet at the underside. Fortunately, it will be warmer soon, so the window can be open. With warm weather it will be impossible to stay inside, implicitly expressing the wish to have a house with a garden.

I am almost looking forward to be on my own, without having to listen to the complaints, go hunt for your suburban dream. But then, I'll do my exercise, and then, what, solitude or plain lonely, in search for adventure, likely, self-destructive. Stay calm, take a break, and do your exercise. Up to 600 per day, as she recorded in her quarantine diary yesterday. Yes, my daily dilemma, stay calm, or what. It is a difficult period. for all of us.

31/3/2020: Fresh flow of air. Mind meeting, zoom in. Info-demic, cold and pain, indistingible, yet there. We survived the crisis, break away, break up, move out, dreams of comfortable living, never true, but anguish, counting out your prosperity. Observe silence. I'd rather like my solitude, with perhaps a glimpse or tiny spark of hope, or adventure. Girl at the door, smiling. Seduction is for everyone. Rational? Adventure, you mean. Including what some call the lower layers of life. Always there, even if sometimes forgotten. Relax now, there might be something later. Part of the X-demic.

1/4/2020: We went out for a walk, to talk, and to walk. Take a break from our voluntary semi-lockdown, to avoid a total breakdown, the dissolution of energy.

Task done, I did some writing. Time for a break. One minor update to life (another web page) and I can go upside-down and improve my posture and possibly endurance, to maintain a habit of steady progression.

2/4/2020: Before smoking, a few words, obligatory writing, even of it is a story of choice, instead of gravitation, where there would not be an alternative to the experience of forces impinging on my life. I do have a choice, I do have a voice. Yes to exercise, no to re-location, even in case of a lock-down.

Finding a pattern of life is not dependent on a house with a garden, that would be another lock-down, known as the suburban nightmare. No for that. Yes to life, the children, freedom of choice, and come what may, a voice!

chapter 9 -- keep moving

3/4/2020: Take a walk and have a talk. A walk with a goal, to get stuff from school, so that our daughter can continue the work, offer the online lesson. Scratch, talking kids, a friendly tutor, the room filled with noise, educational, the children enjoy themselves and learn from it, perhaps not in the educational sense, but the experience, being online, finding a way in the chaos.

Day by day, we both keep writing, a diary, one black, the other one aboat the family, how we deal with the crisis, that is the pandemic, which affects us all, in different ways, the corona virus, which started everything, the mind virus, that exposes our triggers and makes us vulnerable most of the times, and the media virus, that is now using the previous ones to continue its spreading with amplified force and vigor, the corona info-demic, offering online courses, solutions for health and well-being, and artistic utterances to give relief from pressure and suffering, and, not to forget, fear, because fear and anxiety are still building up, intensifying the atmosphere, possibly leading to emotional casualties, or panic, the more so because there are significant financial threats as well. The strong will survive, or not!

4/4/2020: Sleep, stalks, meeting points, but off the point, unfocussed, regaining concentration, blurry thoughts. Another day, creating new habits, dissolving old ones, struggling with cookie addiction, take a rest. but don't sleep too much, eat but don't enjoy too much, avoid the risk of overdoing, nervous, an atmosphere of fear, attempts at communication, passing the line, but sustaining the continuity of life, dissolving into the flow, interrupted by the realization of how bizar this all is, frightening yet doable, while cutting off visions of the future that are at this moment not real, to much wishing and counting points destroys life of the moment. Breathe and keep moving.

And I almost forget to mention, habits, you know, clue, routine, reward. Going out is already a habit, but due to circumstances, the routine is now taking the bicycle, instead of walking. Fortunately, I can manage, even if I don't like it. How I deal with my habits when we follow her suburban dream, I do not know. There will be exercise, that is for sure!

5/4/2020: I am trying to open your eyes, as a favor. There is a quarrel on the balcony, opposite of where I sat, smoking and eating cookies, after a long day out. We stayed in the sport field of "door wilskracht sterk" or is it "sterk door willskracht", I saw both DWS and SDW, I think, but perhaps I am confused by the memory of DWS from my childhood. In the middle of industrial style buildings, which includes the school of my eldest daughter, I did my exercise, slightly bored but determined to practice and got through tha slight pain in my back, due to squat-lifting the box with soy-milk. Next time I (should) shift the box.

Another virus/quarantine day, the temperature now reaching 20 degrees, and anyway being outside is good for my eyesight, I think, and hopefully the blurry vision dissolves when-going more often for a bike-tour or walking, which still would have my preference, but would of course, perhaps be too demanding for her. Her suburban dream, that is the projection of her tension of the small house and the increasingly busy urban neighbourhood, the Jordaan, worries me. Worry, no it frightens me, and invokes the threat of a depression. Anyway, I would take, no that's wrong, I will not take any responsibility, and very likely go along, see what I can make of it, and if it fails, simply hit the road!

6/4/2020: Days of finding habits, strengthening habits and unlearning or changing some other habits, either because the opportunities are limited, or because they need change anyway, like eating cookies. Fortunately, the move to suburbia (potential) drama has been resolved in favor of using the money for travelling, for example in Australia.

Exercise done. Writing done. The day is complete with regard to self-imposed obligations. At five we will have a video chat with my son. I will likely stay a bit on the background, envying his place, with a slight worry about the future and his ability to cope with it. For myself, apart from the relief, there is also a bit worry, since my back hurts a little bit. With some care, I can do my exercises, and my technique, avoiding pain, will improve!

hapter 10 -- impact

7/4/2020: Life continues. I considered dropping my discipline, but I think that would be stupid. Take it easy, yes, but without discipline, and focussed exercise, life would degrade, and I think I would feel weak and incompetent. Simplify, yes, obliterate, no. Or should I look at it in a reverse way, upside-down, so to speak. In practice upside-down, in theory continue reversal.

Anyway, we resolved the housing issue, and what remains is zooming in, online school, kempo training, utterances of potential influencers on social media. Keeping in touch, even with a feeling of disconnectedness. Looking at the face of my son, with a distance, yet sentimental, enjoying the miracle of life, envious of the energy and souplesse of the girls, with disregard, that is acceptance, of the noise they produce. As long as there is noise, there is life. Illumination and awakening, by acts, words, and experience. Bullshit? Well, that depends on how you look at it.

8/4/2020: Today, there is a true dilemma, either to follow my regular schema of (upside-down) exercise, or to go out with my wife and the kids. On the bike, which I to some extent, dislike, but with kids and wife, which to my luck I assume, is an important part of my life. Just imagine, I would be on my own, a life of solitude and possibly adventure, but still alone.

With a slight pain in the back, after lifting a (too) heavy box, I decided to relax, and turn off the alarm, for the second time this week. Am I relinquishing discipline? To some extent yes, but perhaps it was time for a change. Anyway, the quarantine situation is temporary. If we, that is I, survive, I can always return to the old style discipline. The future will tell, and we will see! Take it slow!

9/4/2020: The dilemma, let go or not is resolved. Of course, don't let go. Keep up the discipline, with counting. But, after the back-pain crisis, when it was not even sure I could resume it, with an eye for quality, and not only quantity. What is the point of points? Points, of course. But they'd better be valuable. And apart from that, keep breathing, and a straight spine, satisfying both spiritual and somatic needs. Discipline is one way to manage anger, instead of shouting, overcome the fear of toppling over in upside-down, slow, steady, and if possible silent, working on strength, flexibility and endurance. Upside-down is ART, in other words, more words!

10/4/2020: It was with fear that I started to do my upside-down exercise yesterday, after one day of almost complete rest, due to the pain in my back. Facing the wall, I hesitated for minutes, making an attempt, then waiting, reasoning with myself to try again, endure the pain, avoiding any further damage. It worked, and I survived the day, slowly testing my range of mobility and adapting my movements, to minimize pain and effort. Today, most of the problems seem to have gone, although I am shill careful, and keep reminding myself of the zen motto - somatic: dan-tian breathing with a straight back, and spiritual: i keep my focus with a mind at rest, striving for no-mind without suppressing thoughts, but rather let them go as gifts that help me to deal with the situation, a period of isolation and threat, where every choice may have an impact for the rest of my life, which I, based on reading a famous novel, might paraphrase as-my side of paradise, although it reads (and feels) like another air-conditioner nightmare, with the looming threat of suburban life, hopefully blocked by financial barriers. Better enjoy the noise of domestic family life, with occasional escapes in the form of urban walks or travelling adventures!

11/4/2020: Back on track, three at home, after a night with interrupted sleep, I just woke up, feeling stiff and restless, then outside on the playground, three more, to a total of six, a bit stiff in the back, driven by a slight fear in the back of my mind, and then, after reading of mice and men successfully completing the whole series of ten, the fear and anxiety slowly dissolving, regain my mobility in other words, and re-establishing my confidence in solid discipline, even in times when my mind is wandering. The most optimistic way to look at it is as a zen state of mind, struggling without giving up, in search of clarity!

chapter 11 -- discipline

12/4/2020: With reluctance, as a consequence of trying to avoid the obligations imposed by ritual habits, I started my writing for today after another round of exercise, upside-down, against the wall as not to risk my delicate hands. Although, as I used to say, I prefer the air or space as a guru, occasionally I take a step back and accept the wall as my guru, like most people that practice yoga.

This morning it was very busy on the playground. A group of parents hid a number of easter eggs around the place, and the kids were swarming around, looking for eggs, ignoring the issue of distance. I spread my arms, not willing to give up my place, and a girl ran into my hand. She smiled, it was fun, but she got the message. A second time, party of a group of running children, she came again into contact with my hand. One of the parents saw this, and shouted: I will call the police. I told her to do so, and that I would give them all information. I just extended my arms and the parents should instruct their children to keep social distance. Later I asked the opinion of my wife, but then she started arguing I should have gone to another place, when she told me so. And she kept arguing, so I told her to stop arguing, or as I wrote later, I asked for an opinion not a final judgement, and don't decide for me, she shouldn't even try, I think, I make my own decisions. Right or wrong, but of course I will try to avoid a repetition of this kind of clashes with other people, and, to be honest, I didn't like these people from the start, apparently they were english, and they live in the neighbourhood, with their children on the same school as ours.

As for my wife, as I wrote after the incident, she becomes too dominant and if it becomes too much I will run away. Even though I wrote that when I was still emotional, I mean it, I will refuse to accept being dominated or be too much limited in the way I want to live my life. This is not a new theme, it has arisen over the last half year a number of times, and this was actually one of the reasons to start writing my black dowry, a story y choice!

She stayed in the children's room this afternoon, to sleep a bit and work. It as getting late. Is she still sleeping? What a period! Outside is sunshine. Inside is the darkness of boredom and anxiety!

13/4/2020: It is cold. Another day, there is some domestic tension, it does not seem to bad, but of course I can be mistaken. Whatever way, I feel a bit lonesome and empty. I watched out of the shadows, with headphones, the white ones, because the black ones were broken. Crunched, because the wire of the white earphones were too short. Those who tell the story rule society. This was the leading phrase, with other empty phrases like tell a vision and program, meaning as much as program or be programmed.

My wife is awake now. No idea how long she slept, but her mood seems OK, at least in relating to the children. I will continue reading the artist as a young man. I read it before, but I am getting old, so I forgot most of it, and my line is already for a long time the artist as an old man!

14/4/2020: Slowly the tension releases, and I am on my way to become invisible again. Slow, silent, shadow, coupled with endurance, flexibility and strength, should get me through this period.

Observe silence has now become a political subject, with support of the family, a life of solitude, with a practice of body habit, that is discipline and control, aware of space and time, with occasionally my vision expressed online, in facebook. Face reality and free the mind of rage and suffering, in other woods, face reality and play the game. Where are we now? Just focus. All I need is attention and respect and of course time to experience.

15/4/2020: A move to suburbia, a house with a garden, no, there is no dilemma, simply no, for simple reasons along the familiar three dimensions: financial, social and linguistic. And, as a warning, better prepare the financial and legal issues before you start! Of course, there might be an exception, but that is unlikely given the issues on the three dimensions, in other words, unlikely to be affordable! And another thing, too many complaints, too much criticism, no, I am not afraid to be on my own. I know myself, and when I look back on my life, there is no regret. Doubt, criticism, and wondering, yes, but regret, no! In effect, I might even welcome another challenge. Embrace space, as I said on facebook, but please allow me the space. If that is not possible, it will mean the end of our life together! And again, who was shouting? Please give me some credit, and I do not (only) mean in terms of money!

chapter 12 --- reference

16/4/2020: Just when I decided this should be my last post on facebook, my kindle stopped working, that is it did not sync to get my latest purchases. What is happening? Is my digital territory breaking apart? And, if so, what? Am I being punished for my gregarious reading and use of digital media. That would be ironic. Should it happen in this period of isolation due to the corona pandemic, I would feel tortured, punished, for whatever sin is possible, I would say, just after finishing the artist as a young man. Somehow all my digital equipment is outdated, on the verge of breakdown, I fear.

17/4/2020: Yesterday, Interrupted by my wife's rehearsal for her yin yoga teacher training lesson, in which she compares and bridges qi gong, vinyasa flow and yin yoga. Interesting, and it might be the start of being active in this period, in the only way possible, zoom from our living room, which had only to be slightly adapted for that purpose. I finished reading the artist as a young man, in which surprisingly I recognized a number of things, due to our sharing a catholic youth.

Although in a much more mild degree, many of the temptations and terrors are recognizable. And, as I wrote yesterday, I made the decision not to post on facebook anymore. I am happy to see that my wife's ping pong post is well appreciated. Who wins? One got it right! Surprisingly many likes. In that sense, I have almost no friends. Nor in real life, for that matter, I must cherish what I have, children, but for the rest I am not scared, I even like it because I am a wanderer, even if I live for more than 40 years in the same place. That has been my base for freedom, and it still is, secure, solid and cheap.

My next reading project includes the evasive obvious, the mutual impact of movement and awareness, planned when I was suffering from a back ache, but still relevant now, when there is no longer an immediate health issue, apart from the concern for my mental health, naturally, and moving on the other half of the Bell curve, the one not concerned with health but performance, is still an issue, both from a competitive perspective, as well as having goals to live for, that is a reference for habits, self-control and discipline.

18/4/2020: Is this where I want to go with my life? We played ping pong outside, leaving the children at home, playing with their toys. We started out exploring, slow, fast, different strokes. I was not in a competitive mood, and was slowly getting into the flow of play. She proposed to have a match. Two out of three makes the winner. Eventhough we were close, I lost all three, in a way happy to get it over with. Yesterday, my mood was competitive, and I won, I guess today her mood was competitive and she won. We're both getting better, about equal it seems. Who will win tomorrow, that is in our next match, is an open issue. A game of chance, I might say. Anyway, it is good to be out, and practice a different skill, and, no, I will not post on facebook. 19/4/2020: Today is sunday. My final task of today, keeping to my schedule of habits, is writing. Actually, I did some writing already, in an answer to a post on facebook, addressing the issue of what the role of shorinji kempo is in the current situation, that is the isolation of people incurred by the corona pandemic, and our (dutch) intelligent lock down. Referring to a previous post on facebook, which recorded how we met in the westerpark, I emphasized the notions of stance and posture, but by giving the definition equally structure and both mental and physical preparation for possible confrontations. I repeated that this period requires a zen-state of mind to be able to withstand the threats that we may encounter, physically and mentally, as a way to overcome fear and be ready for action, in response to whatever reality hands us.

It is a game of chance, I wrote, we do not need to be enlightened to be able to cope, just open for challenges, not afraid, but accepting these as part of our life, for which we can prepare by practicing the teachings of shorinji kempo!

20/4/2020: After a bit of search, I found my dilemma for today: relinquishing the wall as a guru, and categorically select open space, indoor and outdoor, as my preferred way of practicing.

This morning, we went to the DAM square, early, before seven, to do some shooting for qi gong promotion, taking the empty space in front of the palace as a background. Beautiful, with the light of the early sun on the upper half of the palace. We also did some for my upside-down. A still image was the best we get out of it, due to the cold and my level of alertness. That motivates my resolution for today.

chapter 13 -- tasks

21/4/2020: My final task for today, another entry into my black diary, even though I, against my original intention, posted another entry in my online diary, which I created today, as a means to store personal material. Unfortunately, the image part does not work well on other computers, macs and chromebooks, but I do not care, and very likely this will be my last post, unless something comes up, that incites me to do so. The post was with a photo of my youngest daughter against a backdrop of sparkling water, too beautiful to let go, so I have to suffer a few more likes, and that should be it.

However, added to my discipline will likely be the daily walk, as another habit, to train my feet as well as my eyesight, and to get a view of urban life, which in itself is a refreshment, necessary to keep in touch with my living environment!

22/4/2020: The sword and the pen, the two tools of the warrior, even if the sword is purely symbolic and is only represented by the physical and mental strength and for most the pen is increasingly be replaced by the keyboard, or, worse,the phone. Today, I did not post on facebook, even though I took a photograph of the water near the bridge leading to the westerparkbuurt, which I included in my online diary under the name view. The girls were visible and I linked it to the home under my virtual poetry site, to emphasize that is was a relief to be away from home, and enjoy the scenic urban setting. The diary seems nearly full, or should I say, finished, so perhaps I should leave it at that. unless I include a rest page, which gives access to another layer. Rest, layer, shift, These are all possible names, or wait and see, which is likely what I'll do!

I also wrote a generic comment or reply for my next contribution to facebook: I share my vision with you, just read it! Of course, underlined means a reference to eliens.net.

23/4/2020: Yes, the money is there, but I am not interested. After a whole day outside, in the westerpark, the domestic situation explodes. Then go get a place for yourself, she said. No, that is not the way how it works. After all, this is my place, I live here already for more than 40 years. And it wouldn't be the first time to break up. I wonder, is there life after life? We just see how it will go, and go with the flow. There is still space in the zone!

24/4/2020: Papa has to come along. By insisting I should accompany them, since apparently I was the only one with the correct address, my youngest daughter saved our domestic life together. After a hug, we both felt a relief. Otherwise, our being together might have ended in a dramatic way. So I can say, after a hug at the end of the day we are back together again.

In the morning I wrote: now she is out! Where is she and what is she doing. Later, when we went out together, it was clear she was nervous, tense and anxious. I understood now what was driving her dominant behavior, not that I would ever fully accept that, but it made me a bit more patient, and perhaps I should say strategic, including an effort not to rush our life together. I could live alone, and to be honest, sometimes I look forward to be on my own, and see what life brings me, sadness, surprise, and possibly adventures, After all life is life. But it would also be a pity to give up the company of the girls and also of an ambitious young wife, who at times does look very lovely, and whose physical presence and warmth I still enjoy.

It is a period in which I feel more and more disconnected from people, and as I wrote yesterday, some like to zoom-in, others, like me, prefer zooming out. Solitude, it is an individual choice, another way to be invisible!

25/4/2020: My new phrase, as a variant on the original kempo phrase ken zen ichi nyo is pen zen ichi nyo, which means as much as the fist, the mind (that is intellectual thought) and spiritual well-being are, or, better phrased, are intended to be, one. It is a reminder of the fact that although no-mind is a good thing, rational thought should not be eliminated.

Now, she is annoyed again, because she asked me to allow her to say that she doesn't like living in the neighbourhood any more, and when asked to allow me to say that I find that depressing, she said she wanted to stop the conversation. Dominant, that is what it is, and it becomes more and more clear to me that I don't want to move from this place, since I am afraid that people are even more annoying in other places than in this neighbourhood.

chapter 14 -- strategy

25/4/2020: It started already in the morning. she went out and when she came back, she wanted me to finish my exercises. No, I need five more minutes, I said. In the end, I waited for more than ten minutes before we left, as usual, but that didn't matter. I had already finished my exercise, and used the extra time to start my computer. Anyway, as a reaction to all this I wrote: another day starts with tension, we have a different schedule, as she remarked, in other words, my words, we are not well synchronized, or, as I added later, we live in different worlds, which we might unfortunately, and I sincerely hope that does not happen, become a reality. So, I repeat, as a reminder myself, ken, pen, zen ichi nyo!

26/4/2020: Another day of ken, pen, zen is one. I started by writing: it more and more looks like the virus breaks into the relation, will it spread and break through? At the end of the day, after an urban walk, and meeting with friends in the neighbourhood, most of the tension seems to be gone, and I find myself in a fairly mild mood, having finished all my tasks for the day, including writing (almost), satisfied with myself and the way I coped with the tension, and happy to meet people and communicate about anger, fear and depression due to the solitude and isolation of the lock down.

It beats me why they call it an intelligent lock down, but when I hear about other countries my first reaction is: stupid, so there must be a point to it. Yet, breaking my earlier promise, I posted again on facebook, under the title urban, showing a more perfect handstand, in an urban environment, not yet meeting the golden line, but I am getting closer to it, which might in the end be a suitable goal for finishing this period!

27/4/2020: For today, enter the zone for a challenge. From the bubishi vital points, to the common sense prescription for self-protection. A new interest in urban warrior material. The main shetement is that the purported self-defense is often not effective, working with the BAR (body alarm response), also known as stress, as well as surprise incident, should be part of the teaching.

As for myself today, and the family, part of the day out, not too much tension, of course there is worry on the background, but most of it seems under control!

28/4/2020: I read, just fake it. So I like the posts on facebook, but with minimal effort and attention, just a waste of time. And, no, I am not zooming in, but rather zooming out, in search of solitude, taking distance, but without a full disconnect.

Today, she told me she hates her mother, and rather want her to die. Her mother keeps telling her she is a bad mother to our children. I totally disagree, Actually, I think an element of selfishness and ambition works positive, there is enough care, but now they can also take her as an example. But when she detected a hole in my shoes, I told her she acted just like her mother, authorative and criticizing, Mind your own business. But we agreed on no broken shoes or clothes. I told her to be satisfied with 90%, and otherwise you know what to do, Walking back, she told me that she liked her urban walks because of the solitude. I told her that after this period I also feel the need for solitude, looking around in space, letting my thoughts float freely, and no rush, hurry or other petty thoughts.

This period I make an explicit effort to stick to my discipline of exercises, including the writing as you have just been able to read. Enter the zone, and take the challenge.

29/4/2020: Ready to fight? Not yet, but I am learning. Anyway, discipline comes first, again I finished my ten rounds of upside-down. Today, with some focus on endurance, that is keeping my stance for a number of breaths, up to six or more, not yet comfortable with ten though, and to be honest, I dislike the effort and I do not want to lose the flow.

For today, what can I say. The phrases I wrote down are domestic prison, ritual drops, symbolic cleaning, random walk and sound tension. I did not post any of them on facebook, with a slight feeling of ambivalence, of not expressing my self, but I do express myself via likes, partly based on liking what I see, even though I do not always honor these post with a like and partly strategic, as in, do you see I like it, now where is your attention for me. But of course, I pretend to be invisible and not in need of any superficial likes, not backed up by serious attention,

What do I expect, nothing. After all, I have my discipline, and I am prepared for possible answers to silly requests, by strategy, for example, enter the zone and meet my challenge!

chapter 15 -- challenge

30/4/2020: We are concerned about the continuity of shorinji kempo in Amsterdam. A high ranked official told us at a lunch, for which we were invited by him, in the period we were at hombu for our third dan exam. We, that is my mate and me. Now, he is out, and I am on the side. Yet it was no surprise, when I was called this afternoon, with the invitation to have a beer on the playground. Actually, I did feel the beer, it made me slightly dizzy. The rest as they say is history, and may be reported elsewhere. My role in this has been to bring the conversation back to the conflict, the possible solutions, and, moreover, our common interest the future of shorinji kempo in Amsterdam.

1/5/2020: After washing the dishes, a task to avoid the blame game, my last task in the line of ken, pen, zen, yes it is the pen, some more writing to finish the day. My complaint, somehow she always takes priority in space, does not listen, and even interrupts me when I start talking, and today I didn't even like her food, but still, I think, she means well, is itchy, and in my perception over tense, mentally exhausted, also due to the conflict with her mother, and the worry about the family, another symptom of tension and anxiety.

Today, I posted the moving hands, with as the motto politic hand. It served as the basis for another digital experience, with material I collected in the past, for serious games. What I forgot to mention yesterday, in terms of challenge and inspiration, we need mu-shin, no-mind, which is in some sense part of the performance trance, that in retrospect is one of the important things our sensei was able to establish, partly due to his japanese background and his attitude of mystery, and partly because he was an actor, an actor with a serious interest in martial art though!

3/5/2020: One minute past eleven, my day is almost finished, but for one more task, writing about my daily dilemma in my black diary, which is a dilemma I should possibly reconsider. In short, two posts on facebook, actually three if it includes the urban qigong post of my wife, with my last post cycle added to maintain ownership of my timeline. The first post was about like, showing the like-shooting machine-gun, and indeed keeping track of facebook and delivering the appropriate likes is almost a job in itself, but I wonder whether anybody saw the connection, even the three people that liked it. And for the rest, indeed I should take a rest, and continue reading about vital points and deadly strikes, tomorrow!

4/5/2020: The quarantine period started in a bad way. First, I caught a cold, because the windows in the dojo were opened as a way to decrease the chance of infection. Then, I hurt my back by lifting a box with food supplies. It was too heavy, but I still did give it a try. Of course, I succeeded, but I had to skip one day of (upside-dewn) exercise, fearing I would have to give up my habitual series of handstands.

During that period there was also a lot of tension, and disputes, about moving to another place, for example in a more natural area, read the suburbs. It took only a few days to come to a firm resolution, no, I will not move. With the additional comment, perhaps it is time to separate. In the end, of course, we did not separate, and the whole issue seems to be off. As a matter of fact, we both enjoy the urban walks, and she even started a series of short urban qigong videos, which might result in (pop-up) qigong lessons somewhere in public space.

Today started not well. She mostly ignored me. This perlod has an impact on all social interaction, even domestic. Fortunately, as the main challenge, I keep to my daily discipline!

chapter 16 - practice

5/5/2020: Training the iron hand, extending it to my feet, I hurt my left foot, which aggravated the pain in my leg that was already there. Slowly it goes better though, and with a somewhat ironic smile, I repeat: no pain no gain. It is a matter of being dead or alive, so to speak, the title of a book I am currently reading. About self-protection, with references to self-defense and martial art.

This morning, again, started with a little quarrel. No, I don't want to buy tobacco for you. All right, then I do it myself. But she came back with three packs of my favorite tobacco, enough to bridge the period until the next delivery.

The weather is getting better, so I went out for some exercise in the nearby field. I wanted to post this on facebook, entitled practice: search goal - play, but the photo I took did not reproduce well, and the clouds I substituted for it did neither, so I eliminated the post, with my last post now being city: blind vision, with the heading: think place. Only one like, so far. another reason I deleted the practice post. Apparently, nobody is willing to look under the surface. I hope I will no longer feel the urge to post. If the urge is there I will do it, or if somebody asks me, for example implicitly by a challenge: ethic point with as the heading life: goal mission. Yes, indeed, I already gave the answer without being asked!

6/5/2020: I may as well write my daily diary now, as I just washed my feet, ordered a new book, watch my back, and smoked a sigaret. The atmosphere is tense, and my wife withdrew in our tiny bedroom, closing the curtains, after angrily shouting to our eldest daughter. This morning I wrote literally; and then she asked me to clean up the tobacco on the floor, watching, read monitoring, while I did it. I refrained from saying: then stop making a mess, everywhere using space in a messy way. Nor did I say: well, go and find your clean house. In suburbia, I might have added. The asian obsession with hygiene, ineffective, authorative, and with regard to their own-tradition often counter-productive. Empty rituals, what do you mean, washing your face with a dirty cloth. Samu? Come-on, I am not a monk, I am a warrior! What do you mean, go with the flow, natural healing, traditional medicine, and all that shit if you don't live by it. After that, I went to the park and did three rounds of exercise, Relieved? No, the tension is still there!

7/5/2020: My daily tasks, almost obsessive, too many notes, as if forcing myself to write everything down, pretending to be honest, to find my way, in the end too much noise, and perhaps an empty ritual that should be dropped. Outside, I practice my eyesight, following the art of vision, do my handstands with an occasional count to six breaths, and today even read from my kindle. Outdoor reading, ready for the coming summer!

My wife is now into qigong, ready to teach urban qigong in the park. Great style, great technique, and great initiative. She likes teaching. I do not, to be honest, but I think it is an excellent target goal, and a good way for her to deal with her tension and anxiety. It might even foreshadow a (sort of) career change.

Today in the park, no photos, stiff legs, and a blurry view, but altogether comfortable, and a good way to spent our time. Back at home, panic, when the shower drain did not work. But it was easily fixed, and when I showed her the ball of hair, which are mostly hers, she understood. After that she kept talking to me about yoga schools, their political struggle, and the satisfaction with both the kids yoga and urban qigong. I only half listened, but then again, I am happy she does it!

Walking back with the kids, I was struck by the combination of the bridge and the houthaven building, and was too slow to take a photo. A missed opportunity? Or should I consider myself lucky that I do not impose the obligation on myself for another post on facebook. Really, my fans are not worth it. I should be kicking off! What's the use of empty likes? Really!

8/5/2020: Looking at my own generation, the group of people that now organize reunions in my place of birth, I feel even more disconnected. No real friends, a distant relation with my wife, but, I admit, lovely children. How far will discipline lead me? At least I found a way now to read also in the open air. Going out, biding my time, exercise, reading, and trying to re-focus my blurry look. Stiff and with hurting feet. What a life! But I continue and I am not yet willing to give up my discipline. Looking at people's faces, and listening to how they talk and shout, teaches me enough!

chapter 17 -- effort

9/5/2020: Every day writing! Why? To relieve myself of the guilt of not doing it, if I wouldn't. But also to keep track of life, daily, in this period, where I also feel the threat of depression, strengthened by the feeling of stiffness in my legs, and painful feet. What happened to the barefoot runner? After two months indoor quarantine, did I loose my strength in my feet?

Fear? My wife said, people have no fear, referring to the people partying outside. No, I said, they express the energy of their fear, that they do not recognize as fear. Adrenaline, the hormone of fear, obviously at a higher level in most of us then in ordinary times. And for the rest, being a bit tired all day, watching my back, that is reading it, suffering the noise. After going to the park with the kids, look at my wife's gi gong exercise, do my handstands, the full series, again. After commenting with one-finger zen at the guy who took the 10 pushups challenge in a creative way, although the use of his fingers was likely fake. one like, nobody asked what I meant, and I doubt that they know!

10/5/2020: Keywords for tomorrow are gift and action, In short creative experimentation with minimal effort. For today, the keywords were edge code and adventure, basically meaning editing the story of life in a rational way, with as an underlying message that rational thought is a highly underrated skill! No real dilemmas today, at least not at the surface. The main issue is to keep the energy to make the effort to engage in interaction with other people, meaningful or not, and fulfill the requirements of my daily discipline in exercise and writing.

11/5/2020: Another day,.. I suffer a bit from the cold, and the dilemma is, give in to it and wear warmer clothes, or withstand it, by self-presence and occasional suffering. Health makes me sick, and the fear for health even more. Still, I am human and wish to stay human, even if I have to give in to the fear. Anyway, another day.

I refrained from posting a drawing of my youngest daughter in which she portrayed the family, me as a thin black skeleton, but I could not resist posting a photo of the sun in the willemsstraat, with as a motto school life -- learn.

12/5/2020: A long day, started with a walk to Noord, following my wife who wanted to make a random walk, my phrase, Me following her. Feeling cold, I left after she told me she liked to be on her own, not talk, but just listen to music. I felt useless, I told her later, meaning I had no personal reason to be there, and I felt cold. So I walked back, took a photo of the new buildings, and put that later on facebook, happy to go back to my little corner and finish reading my book on combat violence. Later I went to meet her at the westerkerk, and she seemed happy to see me, explaining that the noise and chaos in Amsterdam this morning made her nervous. Leaving Amsterdam, for me, no way, but I understood what she meant, and was happy we could leave it at that.

Later I made a call, to ask how the outdoor training had been, and after that we talked for more than an hour and a half about the future of shorinji kempo in Amsterdam. Somehow, I feel still connected, even though I am more and more on a personal line, not really involved, but in an indirect way still there. Funny, how after such a long time he seems to become a good friend. naturally, I emphasized that he can count on my support!

Is this the end of the day? It seems so, time to sleep, and the children don't have to go to school tomorrow, so I can go back to bed after my exercise!

13/5/2020: When I get up at six this morning, it was cold, but there were almost no clouds and the sun was bright. About four hours later it was cloudy and there was some heavy rain. Today's dilemma was: is the wall my guru? I decided not, but was not satisfied with the result, only a few almost stable handstands. With the wall I would do much better. So, for tomorrow, I have to think about how to deal with that.

The keywords I did not mention yesterday: school walk, but these were already treated implicitly. But most importantly, when I left I didn't see a step, a sort of hidden stairs, and I fell down. Again, as with skiing, I experienced the little shock as a pleasure, and although I fell on the side of the hip, there was no injury, but definitely the excitement of falling down, gravity, spontaneous movement!

chapter 18 -- play

14/5/2020: The pen and the sword. The latter represented by the daily series of exercises, the former by my diary, explaining the dilemmas that occur in this period of quarantine. Everybody feels such dilemmas, also my eldest daughter, who is now struggling how to approach playing the piano. Are you still playing music, she asks me. I am thinking about it, I answer, which is true. But are you, I think, and I carefully ask whether she does play the piano, which she can do quite well. She even has some excellent youtube clips. Nine weeks already. she said. She must feel lonely, I think.

The morning started in a bad way, again. Tension, an apparent lack of energy. I went out, with the older one, to buy a new pair of pants. Black, the usual thing. When I came back, she did not even look at it. Busy with cooking. I vacuum cleaned the whole house, changed the bed sheets, etcetera. The usual complaints, with a stressed look on her face. Enough, I thought and I closed the door of the living room. To be honest, I indeed got a bit enough of that, and even feel again the urge to be on my own, somewhere in a warm place. Solitude, OK, but why suffer the cold. With dinner, most of the tension was gone, at least we were friendly. When she repeated what she did today, I told her: self-inflicted suffering. And, as you may guess, implicitly, stop complaining. She probably will not, and that is OK as long as she respects my limits, and leaves me some space. Before dinner, the girls were sumo wrestling, and kicking. I told them to be careful, a few times, in a harsh tone, but enjoyed watching them, cute and violent in a friendly way. Indeed, children need to play and fight. And, I am afraid, adults too!

15/5/2020: A simple solution, take the wall in the morning to reduce the sound produced and to limit the risks. Amazing how limiting the risk improves the actual movement, in particular in the early morning. Apparently, there is an element of fear that in some circumstances plays an important role. However, later in the day, given enough repetitions, this fear seems to disappear and the movements more precise, with the risk of unbalance and falling almost gone. Before my wife left this morning, she talked proudly about her performance. I noted the following keywords: performance self-expression. Later I added; practice as the ultimate harmonizer, from a totally different source, my own two hands.

16/5/2020: Performance as an incentive to practice. The last sentence, I read today, at the beginning of a new section, about playing the piano, with my own two hands. I even practiced my self today, improvising, of course. It might be the start of a new element in my daily discipline.

Running might become another part of it. When I went out with the girls on their steps (in dutch) I ran after them, slowly, first with some trouble to catch my breath, but more smooth along the way. And, yes, this morning I took the wall as my guru and it might indeed be the fear factor, that is the absence of risk, due to the wall, that makes the difference in finding, and maintaining proper balance, almost corresponding to the golden line. Again, also here, it is practice that harmonizes body and mind, that allows me to listen to my soul. Ironic? No, why would I be ironic? Eventhough the reverse of QI is IQ, the intelligence quotient. Please allow me to be stupid, to make mistakes, and enjoy my practice. Energy work, as I often call it, but with attention to find my balance. Seriously! And I even consider to become smart!

17/5/2020: Performance dream, action I wrote in my facebook post for today, realizing how important performance is as a complement to training and practice, or in another quoted phrase: practice is a harmonizer of body and mind. Later keywords were: challenge -- follow vision, as a replacement for listen -- no challenge, anticipating a possible challenge for either 10 pushups or the covers of (old) records. My current mood is to disconnect, disconnect from online challenges, online zoom training, and even group meetings outside. Let me stay on the side of it and I may later join.

I like my self-imposed solitude, and whenever one of the girls, including mother and daughters, transgresses a limit, it is my first and direct threat, I will run away. Mildly agressive, but serious. Then again, this is a period of survival. It takes discipline, but also has its rewards.

Even I cannot withdraw myself from a mild form of sentimentality, when I see the little girls play, and even more so when they try to provoke me, which seems to be a hard thing to do, in their experience, as they told me, my flowers. Well, it is in a way part of the performance of my life!

chapter 19 -- keywords

18/5/2020: There are eight keywords for today. Most important of these are performance and relation. Performance gives meaning to training and practice. When the performance element, or rather I should say, performance trance is not there, something is lacking, as apparently these days in shorinji kempo. Whether it is yoga, qigong or martial art, or even simply meetings in life, performance is part of it. The flow of being together, In other words, no performance, no flow, no life. Adapting to challenges is the key to forgetting yourself, and simply being immersed in whatever you are doing.

I started today with writing, lock down, screw up, but I forgot why I wrote that, so in that sense, I did screw up. Also, it took quite an effort to maintain my self-imposed discipline of 600 handstands, but finally I did it and even though I considered to stop with writing my daily notes, I did that as well, just to keep the practice going. Am I satisfied with it? That is totally unimportant, time will tell whether it was relevant or not. For now, it is simply self-expression, and a way to practice, the skill of writing and the use of my hands other than for smoking and Chand) stands.

19/5/2020: I am in the middle of guarding my digital immortality, while reading about self-defense. stress, attacks, it is all part of life. Especially life in this period of a world-wide pandemic, due to the corona or COVID-19 virus. Today's dilemma was mostly about bringing up the energy to exercise or rather to complete my full round of exercises. Tomorrow's dilemma will again be whether to take the wall as my guru or the open space, starting early in the morning. And to be honest, getting out of bed just before six o'clock is a daily dilemma, one that I am able to cope with (almost) every day, even though I am getting used to going back to bed after one round, and enjoy a light slumber in the warmth of our bed.

And for the rest, yeah for the rest... My wife will stop her diary within ten days, at the beginning of june, when most of normal life will be resumed. For several days, already, I am in doubt whether I should continue writing on a daily basis. But so far, I like it, and if I would have to make a choice between posting on facebook or writing my notes, I perhaps would drop fake book. Oh, sorry, facebook!

20/5/2020: Today, today, today, what shall I say, say, say. Well, let's say hello, hello to the world, hello to all the smiling faces, hello to the noise of urban life resuming its legitimate place in the city, now that most people think the pandemic is over. Is it? I don't know, but there is still doubt, and fear. But most people have been close to a depression and are eager to get away from it. The result is, as usual, noise, both in terms of lively behavior, which is lively, and nice, even if it seems at times a bit over acted, as well as voices that spread messages of moral strength, ecological recovery and human love. Sentimental noise, that is, In other words, shit. But I love it, at least I pretend I do. But to be honest, without the children, I would not be able to fake it. They are lively, and with only one letter difference, lovely.

And yet, I couldn't stop myself from yet another facebook post, screen vision -- trust, portraying a warning message at the entrance of the park. Inside the park it becomes more and more noisy, with many people getting out, to rest, or for a work-out, apparently enjoying life, carefree, Or is it, from a more critical perspective, also just acting out, but sometimes it is not so bad to tell yourself that life is good, even if it takes an effort. And, let's be honest, by effort I was able to complete my disciplinary exercises, ten times sixty upside-down stands! i

21/5/2020: So many keywords, as the expression of a worried mind, on the hottest day of the year, so far, including i think, money, and a high level of distress because of the status of my payment for my digital immortality domain -- eliens.net. When trying to resolve the unclarity, that is checking whether the payment was made to the right account, the printer broke down which fortunately got resolved by pushing the paper, even though another worry presented itself, to buy ink and paper.

Later we went to the woeste westen, a children play ground in the westerpork, mimicking a natural area, I don't like it so much because it is full of well-meaning parents and their noisy children I refused carrying the swimming stuff, because I wanted to enjoy walking with my hands free. Then my wife began to call me names, you act like an old grandfather, you do nothing for us, you only think about yourself. Indeed, I think about myself, and I don't want to be degraded to a domestic servant by a dominant woman. I'd rather be on my own, and if my digital immortality becomes jeopardised, bad luck, I want to live my life my way!

chapter 20 -- gravity

22/5/2020: The black diary has changed color today. From mild grey, it turns into an explosive black, with light spots that shatter the eye, the eye that leads to words, and things to watch, my history. It seems that the last period of my life will now turn into another episode of about 15 years, with nice stories to tell and two more kids. The kids didn't say goodnight to me when they went to bed, so their mother won the game. Another failure in my life, the bubble bursting again, exploding into pieces, that, due to gravity, will become part of the ground. That will be where I have to regain the power to stand, with daily discipline, finding my balance in a field of forces and turbulation. Silence is required to conquer the noise, and stability to find my peace, to stay calm and be prepared to fight what comes on my way.

The silence must preferably be extended to facebook, even though I could not resist to create a bubble page under warrior. The simple reason for this apparently unavoidable break up is dominance and authorative behavior from my perhaps soon ex-wife. But we had an agreement that you would not spend more than hundred euro on books. And this month I already spend 180 according to her. 150 according to my calculations, but, indeed, I might be wrong. For now, it means distance, personal distance, mental distance, and physical distance. It is a bit unclear how to manage that in such a small house and a two-person bed, but still I do not doubt that she means it. For me it might mean an aggravation of social distance with the outside world. Well, we just have to see how I will deal with that. I told her that, to my mind, she acts too much as in following the scriptures. An agreement is not a strict law, but a guideline, and should be taken more liberal. But she is highly tense, and easily annoyed. I told her that it would be ironic if we would not survive the quarantine. I have been reading intensively, and indeed got carried away. But then again, if distance is needed, let there be distance. You may start the music. It is time to dance.

22/5/2020: To be honest, I feel sad. I deleted my post on facebook: think -- self art -- bubble, since nobody had given it a like. Earlier in the evening, I went out for a walk, when the girls returned from their walk. I enjoyed the walk, and even managed to run, for short stretches. It gave me back some of my energy, and the determination not to be a coward. What needs to come will come, and in these circumstances it is best to ignore the shit, and stick to my discipline,

23/5/2020: At least she took the effort to tell that she was leaving to teach qigong in the park. I am still in doubt whether I should take a positive look on our conflict, or just expect the worst. I guess both will be best. But, for the record, I did not sleep well last night, and even got up to smoke a sigaret. When she complained about the noise, I told her that I did not feel good. Where will we go from here? Patience,I told myself earlier, when I could not fall asleep.

For clarity, her authorative approach is unacceptable, and for such small amounts, that would block my reading if I would give into her demands, unreasonable! For this moment, slowly, with not much more than passive resistance, silence and solitude, I take it as part of my bubble project, the self as art. Step by step, and upside-down!

24/5/2020: The birthday of my first born son. I remember telling his mother, look I want to have a child. Children bring joy in the world, and they seem to be the only ones, as long as it lasts, childhood, I mean. As adults, they are usually boring, although my son is still OK.

Today, I remembered that I started this (black) diary, with as a subtitle, a story of choice. Incidentally, this coincides with my last post on facebook, yesterday. And today, another difficult day, in which I even confessed my tendency of depression towards my sister, the meaning of choice, that is being able to take decisions, became more and more relevant. The original subtitle was, a story of gravity, but I decided to change that, emphasizing my role as an active, autonomous agent, which is the more relevant as my wife grows more and more dominant and authorative. as well as irrational, emphasizing minor details and ignoring the overall context, and the need for individual freedom, and respect, I should add. I seem, nevertheless, to be relatively well prepared now, and with avoiding the risk of aggression and escalation, the story of choice can unfold itself.

chapter 21 -- adventure

18/1/2022: No pain, no life, I told the guy at the shop where I bought my tobacco, and indeed, even the ancient teachings learn that suffering is an essential part of life, constituting our identity, and even may be seen as a challenge to build strength and resilience. In his case, it is a dislocated shoulder, but he keeps working, he said smiling. In my case, it is stiff legs, and my feet hurt. Also, more than in the past, I suffer from the cold, but with some effort, I get through it, and enjoy walking in the streets and park, meeting people, often resulting in short conversations, with strangers, as well as people that I vaguely know, usually ending with a friendly smile.

We have just finished another period of lock down, for more than a month. The dutch government was overly strict in my opinion, and the effect is dramatic, in the sense that it is hard to go out for a longer time, since it is not possible to find warm shelter with a coffee and some snacks, just to relax in a comfortable way. Also, the sport clubs and dojos are closed, which means no work for my wife, and no training for me, resulting in a significant reduction of social contacts and community life, as well as an increasing focus on domestic life, with all apparent opportunities for tension, and the risk of conflicts.

In the last year, our (small) apartment has been renovated, a significant change, motivated by my wife's desire to live in a clean, easy maintainable, house, and have what are now current luxuries at her disposal, a dish washer, electric cooking, and electric heating, inspired by the current trend of functional minimal design, that she intensively studied on her phone, by watching clips. I miss my tokens of identity, that we eliminated in the process of renovation, my punching bags, my old black guitar, posters with my favorite images, and even the dusty carpet, on which I used to do my exercises. The hard floor, however clean, is far less comfortable, also when I just sit and read. I adapted to this by keeping a strict regime of exercise, mostly taking the wall as my guru now, but it took quite an effort to get used to the space, and repeatedly I complained to her, that she had destroyed my space.

Another result of the renovation is that I did away with all my equipment, computer, big screen, tablet, and reduced myself to a simple chromebook. But after getting a new phone, recently, I started investing again in gadgets, in particular pens and tablets, for drawing and writing. the results of which, indeed, were posted on facebook. In effect, my addiction to posting got far worse over the last year, and is still lingering, although lessened by the set-up of a new online framework of sites.

Recently, we celebrated my wife's 42nd birthday, the number of the universe, and I will become 70 soon, both landmarks, in some way, and, yes, we are growing old. When she asked me to take a video of her blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, I mistook the red button for a recording sign, instead of a button to push to start recording. Stupid, she said, and repeated that three times. Stupid, you have no common sense. These remarks triggered a reaction in me that might easily be taken as aggression, but was actually an expression of being desperate, induced, as should be clear, also by the low mood due to the lock down, the isolation. After a few days of taking distance, we looked at each other, and, in a process of what might be called self-therapy, decided to manage ourselves better.

Using the 5 C's, I made clear that I do not care for compassion or care, but that I value and require connection, communication, and consistency, and would otherwise prefer to live apart. How would life be in my seventies? I was twenty in the seventies, and will live my seventies in the twenties of this centuries, as long as it lasts.

But having taken distance, and looking at both the past and the possible future, we both confessed or decided, for that matter, that we attach value to being and living together, with eachother, as a family, and continue our adventure, exploring life and the world, in both (creative) work and travel, together with the children. A rational choice, yes, but with deep emotional layers as its foundation. Now, let's see what the future will bring us!

afterword

Finishing the diary took a lot of work, that is completing in a format not consisting of loose notes, but more as a systematic whole. All the material presented here was written on paper with my 0.5 2B pencil, the favorite tool of my life you might say, with which I wrote books, and made drawings, models and portraits, life size. The conversion to a digital format was made using one of my favorite new tools, which converts handwriting to printed text, in an amazing way I must say, better than what I have ever seen in the past. Still, it was a lot of work, it almost felt like a regular job, sitting for days behind the tablet, and then the computer, and to finish in time before dinner, or whathever task was at hand. Once, I started the conversion, I decided to continue, partly because the preceding circumstance, that is a quarrel resulting in a serious conflict, and my mood, in need of action regulated by discipline, and to exercise my skill in writing and complete the full manuscript, not intending to publish it, but with the intention to put it online, in such a way that it could be read, without any potential inflictions on the privacy of the persons involved or referenced. In other words, this work should be taken on an appropriate level of abstraction, displaying conflicts and emotions that might overcome anyone, and as an exercise in writing, that in some sense completes earlier attempts, starting with afragment that I wrote sitting on the marketplace: On the market. I like the offside, being on my own, aside of the group, being close, but not too close, within my control. I hear my name, but it is not meant for me. Remember, don't call me by my name. And, while writing this, my daughters are playing. A nice collection, or should I say a nice re-collection, while my wife is teaching, or, more likely, just finished, taking a break, before returning home to take up her domestic obligations. In the meantime, I hear my name being called, but I know it is not meant for me, but for the market sales man, who just tapped me on the shoulder, to get my attention for the girls, my daughters, who want to take a round on the market.

Although I usually only take notes, with keywords, as illustrated, among others, by my compulsive posting on facebook, I did enjoy the flow of writing, resulting in anothher passage, when I wass sitting on the playground, watching my children: On the playground. The children don't really need me, my wife is teaching, biding my time. Wow, says a mother to her daughter, who is making a fast round on the carrousel. People are people, that is obvious. And I just sit here, practicing my writing skill. Existential, as some would call it. A survival mechanism, I would say, to talk my way out of it. But there is hope, in one word, if you need energy, then eat!

And when the time came there, now almost two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, I decided to give writing an other try, as part of my daily discioline. After some months though, I switched back to online media and made posts with keywords, and at some point images of the clouds and sky, focussing on light and reflections, a poetic approach in it self, but by principle unintelligble, and, in some sense, poetic, covering what in the traditoon of zen is called the dark enigma, and, taking sensitivity for light as a symptom, may also be seen as sign of threatening depression, due to our cave existence as a result of the lockdowns during the pandemic of the last two years.

Be it as it is, the work is finished, although I might later include an addendum of additional fragments. But let it be clear, the fight is not yet finished, and it remains important to avoid giving in to depression, and bringing up the energy to work, exercise and withstand the threats of everyday life, which may become very personal in issues of health and well-being. This sentiment has been given form in another site I created, write & fight, of which the introductory page reads as follows: The metaphor of a fighter is indispensible in coping with issues of life and death. Any weakness in this respect will revenge itself by inflicting physical and mental damage that could have been avoided by a proper fighting attitude! The war goes on, and the warrior will walk his or her way.


A. Eliens