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Author: Eric Walker

All the things I want to write but haven’t yet

For now I shake myself loose from myself and let it fall onto the white digital space of this blog as if crossing unmarked snow. That’s how I stay connected.

I want to write about my failures in relationship, in business, in money, in parenting

Like the other day I told my son to “buck up” after he started crying over something I declared “should not fuck your day.”

I, of course, want to wrap it up – each small, small piece of my life with a pretty bow of a last paragraph because I think, it’s gotta be a story of how I overcame it all.

Thing is – most things I haven’t overcome. That’s not entirely true, but I definitely slip all the time.

I want to write about the time I lost everything, and the steps (A through Z) that I took to pick myself up from the floor – but I don’t know which time I should choose.

I want to reiterate – again and again – how often I slip along the way, regress, devolve, wake up to the nightmare, then climb out because the Saber Toothed Tiger is hot on my ass.

I want to write about how I have disappointed my most important people, then felt guilty and ashamed. Then cried over the loss.

I want to write about how embarrassed I am to tell people the truth about my failures. How I FAILED yet again.

I want to write about the time the heat got shut off on my birthday, or the time I missed my daughter’s birthday because I was in jail.

I want to write about the time I was on a date and paid for her beer with a hundred dollar bill. She tried to be funny, “Whoa drug dealer!” she said. But on the inside I was embarrassed. Because indeed, I WAS selling drugs. And, that 100 dollar bill was from the check I’d cashed at Walmart. Because I shut my bank account down when the overdraft fees added up.

I want to write all the things I already know before I hear them. Because that is why I am in the world.

I don’t know where to start.

Maybe I’ll start with – how all these years of mistakes later – I often think about the dogs that got left behind – starting with Luna and Buddy, but mostly Redwood. Oh Redwood! I’m sorry, it was my fault.

Somehow through all of these things I write, I want you to know that I’m funny too, but how do I show that? It never comes through.

I want to tell you about my Junior year in high school English Comp. When I turned my rough drafts into the teacher, I had wiped boogers in the margins. She circled them with red pen and a question mark. Is that funny to you? (hilarious to me!)

I imagine an entire collection titled “Notes from a Dirty Young Man” like Bukowski’s “Notes from a Dirty Old Man.”

I want to be ironic, and tell of my season trying to “hook up,” and instead, attracting women who want relationships, but aren’t ready for them despite how ready they think they are, and absolutely missing all the fun.

I want to write all of these things with a new computer, my feet in the sand sipping a fu fu drink and the ocean as my soundtrack.

These are some of the stories I want to tell, and they have written themselves all over my life.

I want to describe how comfortable I am with the uncomfortable, the awkward. How much I cringe before clicking POST.

I want to peel back my resentment of white women who “eeny meeny miny moe” where to best focus their activist energy (as if posting it to social media is “activism”). I want to champion a project that collects all of their disavow posts for an anthology, Best White Women Disavow Posts of 2017. I will relish in Amazon reviews that call me an “…ist” word ie. misogynist, narcissist, racist, fascist, etc.

If I wrote that, I’d have to tell you about my Dad’s sense of humor too.

I want to write a memoir of all the times I have lived and died in Kalamazoo, MI.

I want to tell you about my son Ben in Florida, age 12. How he only has a vague idea of me, but I know every detail of him, and my confidence that a day near where he knows as much.

I want to tell you about the time me and mom walked around Timothy Lake. Her bunyan and broken elbow. Her stick shift Ford Tempo I learned to drive on the logging roads of Mt. Hood. Our break down in Ogden, UT. The way she would cry and how it made my skin crawl.

I want to write a manifesto persuading you to show your work, think out loud, fail on the way to succeeding, imperfect on the way toward better than good enough.

Since I want to leave behind this easily found trail of little posts and stories, I want you to do the same. Because no one is interested in resumes, THIS is the resume.

I want to tell about the time I was ahead of the curve. And how, sometimes, if you’re ahead of the curve, you’re actually just wrong because no one around you has lived into what you know you see. Because you don’t have to be “right” very many times to know being right isn’t the point.

I haven’t written about any of these things. Not yet. They are still stories that are being written. Maybe I’m not far enough away from them. I don’t know.

Right now, I’m laying flat – debating with myself whether I’m saying it grammatically correct – is it “Laying flat” or “Lying flat?”


… I so often have the urge to shake myself out from myself and fall onto this digital white space that we call Facebook or Instagram or my blog, because that’s how I stay connected to myself.

And, I’d know that you like me after I’d confess that I love myself, because you’d just smile, giggle, and say, “I know you do” but my stories don’t end that neatly.

How I Interrupt Destructive Patterns and Condition Myself at the Same Time

Picking myself up from the floor after a home workout.

There is an easy on-ramp in my neurological pathway that I call the “highway to hell.”

Have you ever gone the wrong way down the highway and there’s no exit off for miles and miles? And dammit! you missed the turn-around, the one only for Troopers that we use anyway, doing 70 with someone on your ass. You’re running late too.

That’s my highway to hell feeling: missing out on something, traveling in the wrong direction, time running out, not enough, fear of loss…

I can feel it kick-in.

To use another metaphor, it’s like the old lizard brain makes an all-call over the PA with instructions to upgrade everything that was “important” into something “URGENT!!!!!” And due tomorrow.

Once that barn is on fire, I turn grumpy, make rash decisions and have no patience. Forget about kindness towards the people I love most. Often my children. After I see that I made them feel bad, I beat myself up about it. It’s terrible and unproductive.

That’s why I call it the highway to hell. Because it is, and it clouds my thinking. I’m not at my best when I flip the blinker toward the on-ramp to hell.

I don’t analyze it anymore.

I don’t need to talk about it endlessly. I don’t try to stop it from happening. To the contrary, I need it to happen. It’s my cue. It’s the trigger that alerts me to begin breaking the pattern.

Since it’s a habit, or a neurological pathway that has strength, I have to interrupt the pattern. Because it is strongly ingrained, and I have to completely change direction in order to avoid that perpetual escalation. This I have learned, is crucial because – it’s the same with any habit – there needs to be a new pattern of thinking, feeling, behaving that must be created, and in order to do so, I know that I must first annihilate the old pattern.

I use exercise for this. I trust exercise. It’s my go-to.

Right now, it takes me about 15 minutes to drop myself to my knees. It usually begins with burpees. Often ends with planks. A lot of squat hops in the middle. the other day, it involved a kettle bell.

To be specific, I used this exact workout. See the picture below.

#NoGymJanuary for me.

Besides a kettle bell, I’m not gonna touch a weight. I’m more interested in eating greens and proteins, getting a full night’s sleep and prioritizing 15 minutes a day, five days a week… for now, for January.

This month, I’m focused on routine, good sleeping and eating habits and body weight strength. This is my stability. If I don’t have these basics down, then I won’t hit the gym with the right frame of purpose. I’m looking at the year of body positivity, with focus on scaffolding each month.

My goal with this workout is to rip through it like a crazed pitbull. All out, no breaks, just high intensity three minutes at a time. Then adding on one calisthenic each three minute cycle until I’m doing all of them.

This is not mystical.

This is what I actually DO. This is not magic. This is how change in the world, in my life, happens. Has happened. This is how I a pattern can be broken.

My off-ramp is much stronger now (and so am I). If at first, I was with a machete in hand, finding my way off through the messy jungle. Now, it’s at least hard gravel. The road has been warn. I have rerouted some of the old neurological pathway.

At least, I can say, this is what happens to me. But maybe it can work for you too.

We all have to both drop ourselves to the floor, and then pick ourselves up from the floor – all the better for it.

What the New Year Means to Me

Lucan Christmas 2017
December 31 is the period at the end of the sentence.

January 1 is the capital letter – new sentence.

It’s a celebrated reminder that every day is a chance to reinvent. I’m always in motion. And, if I’m awake, I decide: forward or backward. January 1 is a chance to start from scratch. There is something beautiful about starting from scratch. Because all labels I ever claimed are now just vanity. I am a zero. I don’t say I’m anything, everything starts, and I do or not do.

I’m not looking for the end of the road. I’m at the first step, and I can see the next step. That’s what the New Year means to me. By the way, any day can be your “Jan 1,” you choose.

The Solution for Being Offended (by everything)

“If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation.”


The quote above is 1,900 years old. Proof that even then we felt that it was easier to police the outside than examine our inside.

The real and fair solution is less politically correct but effective. It’s to stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine – and vice versa.

Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens – victims and privileged, religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal – as adults. Human beings are not automatons – ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control. On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended. We have the ability to discern intent. We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own. This is the great evolution of consciousness – it’s what separates us from the animals.

What also separates us is our capacity for empathy. Yet how empathetic the speech we decide to use is choice for each one of us to make. Some of us are crass, some of us are considerate. Some of us find humor in everything, some of us do not. Those of us that believe it and live our lives by a certain sensitivity cannot bully other people into doing so too. That sort of defeats the purpose.

Control and discipline of one’s own reactions make for a successful person and a functioning society. I don’t think you want to live in a world where that isn’t the expectation of each of us. I don’t think you want to see the things that will need to happen when the burden of making sure everyone is happy and not offended is put on the government or worse, a corrupt and bitter media system.

That media system – by the way – is paid by the page view. Thus motivated with real financial incentives to find things to be offended about. Because offense and outrage are traffic triggers. Some call them Social Justice Warriors, who, despite their sincerity of belief, also build huge platforms by inventing issues and conflicts which they then ride to prominence and influence.

This is called a Rage Profiteer. From the President down to the last kneeling football player. They get us riled up, they appeal to our notions of fairness and empathy (because who likes to see someone else’s feelings hurt?) without any regard for what the consequences are.

I’ll end with what I started with. Stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine – and vice versa.

Parenting reminder

Homework doesn’t matter, grades don’t matter – only what the process they represent matters. My children are not a reflection of me (their parents), they depend on me (their parents) to raise them into adults who can be reflections of who they uniquely are.

My PFC Natural Grocery Store of Kalamazoo

I really appreciate my PFC Natural Grocery here in Kalamazoo.

I thought about it today. I come to my PFC just about every day. I am making this post from the parking lot, talking into my phone, feeling appreciative.

Sometimes I’m here for breakfast on the run, in which case I get the breakfast burrito. Perfect for after a workout at the Western Michigan University’s track. And a coffee. They are getting better with their brewed coffee.

Often times, it’s lunch from the bar. They do the best chicken.

More than that, it’s the staples. The following items are part of my regular grocery list. I get them all at my PFC:

Ground beef, chicken thighs, eggs, milk, bread, rice, oatmeal, pasta, etc and whatever else might catch my eye that’s for sale. Like the ice cream sandwiches, which me and my kids bond over at the picnic tables located outside. Today it’s the organic fuel high protein milkshake with 26 grams of protein for $2.99. They always have deals easily marked.

At the co-op I can say to my children, “Get whatever you want as long as it is real food and it is healthy for you.” Then I will watch each of them do their thing, make their decisions and come back to the bar or the picnic table outside and we will eat together. As a parent I am happy about that.

Most of all though, it’s where me, my kids and my co-parent hang out together. It’s where we meet. It’s our community place. It’s where we know and where we are known. Kalamazoo would not be the same without this place and I will always support them. There is something for everyone here.

Lastly, I love what they are doing behind the scenes to support community, equity and justice for everyone in our town. I have been so excited about their change for change program, which is at check out customers are given the opportunity to round up their change to support a local non-profit.

Support the PFC Natural Grocery. They are the good guys.

Oh, and bananas are free for kids. Carrots are only a dollar.

Moving on

I am amazed at how we manage to recover from a harrowing event, how we can move-on from sadness and memory to laughter and joy — that resilience, and what it means when, say, six months later life has changed.

I am amazed at how our heart works, how it lives, how it beats beyond the moment and after an inciting moment. It keeps musical time until it feels where the old boundaries were, and pushes further out yet.

Our bodies follow and push too, and push further and further. In-sync with our steadfast thumping heart. Until we are so far away it’s as if whatever we’ve pushed out or pushed off from only exists in the story we tell ourselves and others.

I am amazed with my beating heart, and my body that follows a little further each day.

Most moments don’t preserve. They are no match for the consistency of a beating heart. Knowing that creates a dull ache in the pit of my stomache because I want to preserve everything. But eventually, the old boundaries are so far away that I begin to feel the pleasures of true freedom.

The one you long for

“If you become the one you long for, what will you do with your longing?”

Thank you, Rumi. Your impossible poetry grounds me after just one sentence

I might lack the art to decipher it, but I think you’re asking, What if you are the only one you seek and the only one to seek?

You are telling me that when I fall in love with myself, I reclaim my heart.

You are telling me that instead of seeking someone else to complete me, I complete myself.

You remind me that I love and honor myself for being exactly who I am right now

You remind me to keep turning the pages from my book of transformations.

You remind me that I am the center of my heart by being who I am, and more of who I am.

Sometimes I know things before I hear them, and when that happens, that’s why I am in the world.

You inspire me Rumi! Your words are why I am in the world today.


Ode to the Eastside

My kids ride their bikes in the road. When the cars approach, they slow down, veer off to one side, then wave. It doesn’t matter that their bass speakers are thumping and the muffler is dragging.

A gang of adolescents were walking down the center of the road with bottle rockets, fire crackers, cursing profanity, reckless. I see trouble coming so I meet them before they pass my house. I approach and ask that they politely refrain from such stuff as they pass my house. My small children are playing in the front yard. They respectfully oblige.

Midnight: an unrecognized car has pulled into my driveway thumping rap music. It’s rattling the windows of my sleeping childrens’ bedroom. As I walk out to the car, I smell the sweet smell of marijuana. I say, You can park here on two conditions:

1). you turn the music down and
2). you pass that joint to me.

Moments later, I’m high and listening to the quiet.

I live in one of Kalamazoo’s lowest socio-economic neighborhoods. Not enough is ugly. Black is the color. Some folks are forgotten in this neighborhood, but I have yet to see a child unhappily riding bikes in the road.

I strive to be

Whenever I feel embarrassed about revealing myself with people in the world, or at this blog, I rephrase the thought in my brain. It goes like this: I would be embarrassed if I didn’t because when I talk to people (you), I want them to reveal themselves to me also. It’s like, ‘Who am I to ask you a hard question if I won’t come forward first?‘ That’s the way I want to be in the world.