I was hoping I didn't jinx myself by telling a friend at the dojo that my mood swings were gone. But that hope, itself, is part of the grasping and wanting. My greatest fear, my only desire, is that I not fall away from this sense of fluidity and freedom. And if I try to hold onto the fluidity and freedom, then I will lose them. So all I can do is breathe, concentrate on what I'm doing, and...have faith, I suppose.

The universe is miraculous well beyond my comprehension.

Have smart kids? Don't remind them, it probably hurts their performance in school. Smart kids typically know they're smart, anyway. I don't think anyone needed to tell me, certainly, and I underachieved all on my own. Everyone was very frustrated that I wasn't "working up to my potential," though. That happened about the time school started getting harder, though not more interesting, and everyone tried to convince me that doing better in sixth grade would pay off somehow. Doing better in eighth grade might have; I don't know how I might have turned out if the woman who interviewed me at Loomis hadn't looked past my grades and let me in. My Loomis interview file--my application was quite bad--has notes on it like "What a dud this kid would be". I still keep in touch with the registrar (who showed me the file), and the general consensus is that I definitely was not a dud.

To this day I don't really know why I've had no urge to take my abilities and do something everyone else would care about. It's certainly within my ability to do well at anything I'm passionate about (except math), and while I am and will be a talented and good software engineer and architect, I doubt I will make groundbreaking strides in those fields.

I think what it boils down to is that when I was a kid, I wanted to be a "technologist", which isn't actually a job, but is more or less what I am now (actually, I think I was born into it). But when I reached adolescence, and the full force of my moods hit me at the same time I developed a sense of spirituality, my only heart's desire became and has remained "inner peace". I wanted all the noise in my head to quiet down, for my mind to stop jumping around, and to understand myself and who I really was. Along those lines, I always thought I could be a Zen Master or something, and then maybe I'd be well-known that way; but that was before I had any idea what it means to have a spiritual practice, to work on yourself over and over, to do it for no other reason than that It's That Thing You Do, because you feel you have to, for yourself. But it's been four and a half years at aikido, and now I know, and the truth is a lot simpler and better than you'd think: there's no point to any of it. Practice is only for itself, and means doing everything in our lives with presence and engagement and awareness. Life has no meaning, because it doesn't need one! Everything and everyone is already complete.