Intimacy in Boredom: Being Bored Is a Good Thing

Boredom isn’t all bad.

Recently I’ve been finding myself increasingly boring.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been meditating more, or not dating, or letting go of my entanglements with women, or because of the quarantine. Or maybe it’s because I’ve actually been pretty boring all along and I just haven’t noticed it.

Why Cool People Are So Cool and I Am Not

Often when we think about being boring it seems like a judgment. Good people, cool people, interesting people aren’t boring. In fact, they are the opposite.

Interesting people are always thinking interesting thoughts, going to cool events, hanging out with interesting people, and having cool conversations about all the interesting thoughts they think and the cool events they’re going to attend.

So we try to be interesting because being boring is bad. But why is it bad?

The Mind of a Child

One of the first things I learned as a preschool teacher was to always give my kids something to do when we stood in line to go to the bathroom or get into the playground.

We sang baby shark, or 5 little ducks, or any number of songs that helped them focus on something other than waiting to do something. Because waiting is boring and bored kids become restless and start hitting each other and crying.

And when we’re honest we see that our own minds are like little kids. Boredom is seen as bad because when we’re bored our minds get restless. We stop being able to avoid what it’s doing and what’s underneath our thinking.

Put me in a line for a few minutes and I’ll think about what I’m doing later, check out the cute barista behind the coffee bar and then try to think of something clever to say. (Recently I’ve been noticing the alarming amount of mental capacity I’ve devoted to finding something clever to say to women).

I will do almost anything to stop myself from being intimate with what is happening because I don’t like what shows up.

When I slow down I feel the depth of rush I can live in from time to time, my loneliness, my heartbreak and longing, my fear and anxiety, and everything else that lurks in the shadows.

When I get present, I feel the people around me. Their deep desire to love, be seen, and be understood. And the tremendous gap many of them feel but operate on top of.

Sure I have my zen moments. Breathtaking sounds of a bird. The simple curves of steam rising from a cup. yadda yadda…

But mixed in with all that magic is my own sweet suffering. No wonder I don’t want to be intimate with all of that.

I’m So Boring

The more I watch myself, the more I see how boring I truly am. How the same obsessive thoughts, the same cycle of desire and fantasy, the same tragedies, the same dreams of freedom, play over and over again in my mind.

The more I see all of this, the more I’m asked to love myself. Not as the incredibly interesting, funny, wise, confident, brilliant, loving man I want the world to see. But rather as the arrogant, needy, horny, bored, frustrated, tantrum-throwing man, I would rather wish I could shuffle off.

Boredom Breeds Humility

Being intimate with yourself is extremely challenging. Because you don’t simply see what you curate for the world, you see all of you. And you either like it or you don’t.

As TS Eliot says
“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”

Being intimate with yourself is incredibly humbling. Which is why most of us would prefer to avoid it entirely.


Can You Help Me Meet Myself?

Can you help me meet myself?
Because that’s what you said
That we could never hope that someone would meet us
Not fully
That we could only
In the slow tenderness
Of long nights
And long cries
Meet ourselves

And so
If we’re no longer looking

For an empty piece
For a heart to match our own
For a forever person
Because nothing is forever

All we can ever really hope for
Is for someone to help us

Pick up the broken pieces of the mirror
That we’ve been cutting our fingers on
For so long
That we don’t even remember what a hand
Not covered
In dried or wet blood
Feels like any more

Can you help me?
Pick up these fragments
So softly
That I no longer cut myself

And turning the image
Towards my own tired eyes
Red from grief
Full on longing
And a glimmer of hope

So I can see myself
As you see me
As my friends see me
With love
And understanding

Can you help me?
Reach through
This shard of an image
To touch my own hand
And feel the softness of my own skin
And the warmth of my own heart

Can you help me?
Meet the me
That will show up with love
And give it
Even when I’m certain I’m not worthy
Even when you’ve left me
If even it’s simply to go on a trip
Or to the bathroom
Or for someone else
Or for a destination beyond the beyond

Can you help me?
As I help you
Arms entwined
Each with our own jagged edges
Looking at ourselves

Until we look up and notice each other
Meeting those me’s
And smile


Accept It or Change it: Eliminate Suffering In Your Life

If the world were full of angels, or robots, or digital avatars things would have the possibility to be perfect. But the world for good or for ill (and often both) are filled with humans. Humans have the potential for other worldly creativity, love, passion, dedication, sacrifice, and possibility. But they have the equal potential for stagnation, hate, boredom, laziness, selfishness, and scarcity.

You can look at your own life and you can see both. Elements, moments, events, etc that show your divinity, your endless possibility . . . AND failures, bad habits, shameful episodes that show your frailty, fallibility, and even your dark evil parts.

Because of this we often encounter other people and people-created institutions that annoy or frustrate us. The DMV, tax bureaus, bosses, retail stores and clerks, and all sorts of other things. We often wish these things worked differently and so we commit a two way sin
We refuse to accept things the way they are
We have no clear commitment to change these things.

This is where suffering comes in. If we can accept things, even if they are bad, we can be at peace with them. Even if this takes time and work, acceptance is a powerful human trait.

And of course, there are some things we don’t want to and probably shouldn’t accept. If we’re unwilling to accept something our only other choice is to commit to changing it. If we don’t, we’re essentially committing to suffering.

Because A – Things don’t usually change on our time table and B – when we refuse to accept things that we aren’t working on we tend to get very whiny and victimy about those things.

Committing to changing something is daunting because a true commitment to change requires we meet the thing we want to change fully where it is and become responsible for it being or occurring differently to us regardless of other people, situations, circumstances, history, or habits.

And this is hard because we like to blame other people for showing up as humans (even as we ask forgiveness for how we show up that way) is one of our favorite things to do.

But all progress is dependent on people doing just that. Seeing what they can’t accept and working to change it despite the obstacles that arise.

So we’re back to our BIG choice again, do you accept it or do you commit to change it?

Because even if it doesn’t change, working to change it can give you meaning, drive, hope and possibility. And even though acceptance might be hard, accepting something that is can liberate you from the suffering attached to it.

So you’ve got to pick. Change it or accept it. And no matter which you choose, you will be literally creating your world from choice rather than from the resignation that suffering so often causes.


10 Prompts for Deeper Conversations with a Friend or Colleague

Have you ever felt like you want to get to know someone better, but you just have no idea where to start?

In life, it’s safe to say we’re going to meet and interact with all different kinds of people…

On a few lucky occasions, we’ll come across a person that we get along with right away. Usually we know this because our interactions with this person provoke a feeling of trust or comfort. It feels almost effortless to get to know the person, and equally effortless to share personal details about our life…

On the other hand, there are times when we know right away that we are not compatible with someone. Maybe their core values or views conflict with our own, or maybe it’s as simple as their tone of voice just rubs us the wrong way…

But what about the people that we just simply want to get to know better? Maybe you have a hunch that you’d really enjoy someone’s company… but it’s hard to bridge the gap between the niceties of “Hey, how’s it going?”, “I’m fine. How are you?” to “Hey, did you end up deciding to take the day off to visit your cousin in the hospital? I’ve been thinking of you both…”

A client of mine actually reached out to me the other day asking for some ideas on how they can create deeper conversation with their colleagues on a weekend trip they were about to embark on…

And this got me thinking…

When looking to have a deeper conversation with someone, where do you start? Obviously you don’t want to scare anyone off by probing if they’re not very comfortable with you yet, but at the same time, maybe that’s the person who could really stand to gain from opening up about their life. What’s more, sometimes I find that it’s almost easier to confide in a person you don’t know very well, compared to confiding in a spouse or a family member.

In search of how to aid my client in their request, I came up with a list of 10 different ways to invoke deeper conversation with someone:

1) Have each of you make a list of the things that you’re most curious about the other person then take turns answering questions about their area of interest

2) Each of you shares one regret you have in life and what you learned from it (repeating as many times as you please)

3) Each of you writes down 5 answers on individual pieces of paper (answers that involve simple ideas or concepts) then, place each paper into a hat and take turns drawing an answer and trying to come up with the question that you think your answer is responding to.

4) Time Machine Time! Share something about who you were or what your life was like starting at age 5 and working your way up to your current age in increments of 5 years. (What was life like at 10 for you? 15? 20? And continuing on…)

5) Talk about the future you see for yourself and the future you see for your kids. What will the world be like for them and how might you help them prepare for it?

6) Talk about what you love about your romantic partners and what you want to learn to love and accept more of.

7) Discuss what you are most grateful for.

8) If you could change something about the way you were raised, what would it be?

9) Each of you choose one problem you are currently facing, then take the time to share, discuss and reflect on them together.

10) Throw all these questions away and simply ask in each moment what could I say that’s more true? What could we talk about that would matter more? What am I hiding or holding back? What if I shared more of my heart in this moment?

The beautiful thing about this process isn’t just that you’re about to gain a new friend! You also stand to gain from being vulnerable with this person, and will learn more about yourself through these conversations!

If you try any of these conversation-starters out, let me know how it goes!

Happy conversing!


Environment vs. Declaration

We often wait for the right environment to declare. It’s sort of like we have a seed and we’re waiting for the right environment to plant it. Except we don’t really know what kind of plant we’re growing. All we have is this seed, a small hard object, with potential.

When we develop the courage to plant the seed, a plant will begin to grow, as it does we can tell if the environment we’ve placed it in is right for it, is it getting enough sun and water? Are there bugs around that hurt it?

Our declarations are not so fragile, but if we are unwilling to plant them we never learn.

Start first by planting, by declaring, and then as you live into that you’ll know almost instinctively if you’re in the right environment.


What Would I Love, What Would I Limit

Mostly people create from limitation or from dreams. Both are powerful, but both ignore the possibility of the other side.

When we live in dreams we imagine more freedom means better, when we live from limitation we think more clear boundaries means better. But seeking safety in a world that’s never safe or absolute freedom in a world where we’re tied to physical bodies doesn’t honor the wholeness of life. Which is part freedom, part limitation.

Instead, we can create even more when we sit at the feet of each teacher. Figuring out what we dream about and then trying to bound up those dreams into a plan, as well as creating strict limits and then working to fill each little square with as much life as possible. Both can be places of beautiful art and brilliant innovation so long as we remember that it is both the endless possibility of life and the proud presence of our mortality that gives life its sweet seasoning.


What Are You Willing To Create Bad Art For?

Most people would be willing to write a book if they knew it was going to be a bestseller.
Most people would be willing to go on a blind date if they knew they would fall in love.
Most people would even be willing to run into a burning building if they knew they could save a life and survive the experience with only minor injuries.

If the outcome is guaranteed the risk is minimal.

But choosing to do something, anything that really matters is risky.
In fact the more meaningful it is, the riskier it often becomes.

This is especially true of making art. Most people will never read this blog post. I doubt it will end up in the great books of history, but I’m writing it anyway.

I have a commitment to serve those walking the path of awakening: leaders, CEOs, working mothers, high school students. It doesn’t matter to me.

If you’re on the path I am committed to serving you.

I put in a few hours a week to write posts that will serve people on that path.
Some of them are not very good. Some are perfectly fine. Every now and again I write something truly transcendent and even then most people won’t read it.

I am willing to write bad posts that no one will ever read to serve my commitment.
I hope the posts are good, I try to share them with the world, I hope you’ll read them.

But my commitment is steadfast and enduring.

So the question is . . .
What are you willing to create bad art for?
What work are you willing to do even if it’s obscure and affects only a handful of people?
What are you willing to risk, to do something that matters?


My Whole Team QUIT! And How To Let Go

I’ve been thinking a lot about the choice to let go of something. Hope, people I care about, how I want things to be…


I recently took Facebook off of my phone and Ipad. I rarely go on to check it, just to post and share.

This didn’t feel that hard to let go. I notice an urge to go back and check it sometimes, but generally I just don’t, it’s that simple. If I can survive the urge I stay with letting go.


Recently my amazing assistant told me she wasn’t happy. At first, I tried to figure out a way to get her to stay but I don’t want someone to work for me if they aren’t happy. So we agreed to give it the weekend.

Over the weekend I stayed up SUPER LATE working really hard out of fear and panic. But I eventually saw what I was doing. I relaxed. I accepted. I let go.

So on Monday when my other assistant said she was quitting too it was fine. I felt some fear and I accepted it. I ended up talking to the last remaining member of my team on Wednesday of that week and we got clear it was time for him to move on as well.

I let them go. I was scared. I was sad. But it just felt like what wanted to happen. I relaxed and let go.


There are a few things in my life I continuously struggle to let go.

The need to try really hard.
Remembering my ex.
Dreaming about my future partner.

All of these feel impossible to let go of. Especially in the moment.

Pushing really hard is easy for me. Life has often felt like a bare knuckle boxing match and I just need to punch my way through.

Over and over I see myself doing this and I let go, but it comes back again and again.
I’ve sort of given up on the idea that this will ever go away completely.

Every time I feel resistance, I feel sadness. Part of me wants to reminisce, part of me wants to let go, part of me wants to feel grief.

Slowly I let go but there’s often pain. Even in the clarity of the path ahead.

Finally I often dream or fantasize about who I might be with next.
Having children.
Making love.
Laughing together.
The simple feeling of peace waking up next to someone.

Again and again, I try to let these go.

These are especially difficult because the fantasies often feel really good.
Sometimes they’re painful because it makes me feel even more lonely now.

But slowly I let them go.


Moment to moment these things seem like they never move at all.
At times I feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

But when I look back I see them slowly shift and melt.

I work less hard than I used to.
I go long stretches without thinking about my ex.
I forget about the fantasies and am just here in my life.

In these moments patience is the hardest thing for me to muster
I want to let go faster.
Which generally has me hold on harder.

But slowly, gently. I am learning to let go.


40 Things You May Not Know About Me

Recently I turned 40 and I was thinking a lot about my life and everything I experienced.

And while I share a lot about myself online there are still many things people don’t know about me. So to commemorate my birthday I’m going to share 40 things you may not know about me. I hope that as you see me, you’ll be more willing to see and share yourself.

  1. I once ran a fair game where I convinced people to put on a chicken suit, get inside an inflatable ring, and fight each other with oversized boxing gloves. The game was called sumo chicken boxing and people had to pay for the privilege.

  2. I once sang Christmas carols for Vice President Al Gore while his election fight against George Bush hung in the balance (he looked very tired)

  3. I volunteered for several summers as a counselor at a Buddhist summer camp. My counselor name was counselor Tofu.

  4. I have performed at the famous Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville and the best response I got was for a set of parody songs I wrote about balding. (Secret balding guy being my favorite)

  5. When I had hair I’d get self-conscious about the bald spot in the back of my head even though most people didn’t notice it. Which is why I usually wore a hat.

  6. The main reason I keep my head shaved is that I like the simplicity of it and I think I look better without hair.

  7. The only reason I didn’t have a beard for three years is because my ex-partner didn’t like how it look and felt, but I generally prefer having a beard and usually grow one every year.

  8. I left college with only 6 credit hours to finish. It took me an additional 6 years to finish those credit hours and finally graduate college (I had some stupid righteous story about it for a long time which I had to eventually admit was dumb)

  9. I almost had a minor in both dance and communications but didn’t get enough credit hours to finish either. My favorite dance classes were improv classes.

  10. In high school I was an award winning debater and speaker. But I really shined in mock congress where I introduced bills to annex Canada (I mean it’s basically the US anyway) and to turn Tennessee into a perfect parallelogram (It’s so close!)

  11. I once performed Mozarts Requiem in Carnegie Hall and it’s still one of my favorite pieces to this day to hear and sing along with.

  12. Until college I identified as a libertarian and voted for George Bush in the first election. It wasn’t until I got exposed to more ways of thinking that I slowly became more progressive. I now support universal health care and raising the minimum wage among other things.

  13. I was a soloist and select group singer in my church choir growing up and link many of my early spiritual experiences to performing music in church.

  14. My first ‘drug’ experiences were smoking cigarettes I had bought when I had gone to Germany to visit my sister (who was studying abroad). About once a month I would sneak out late at night and smoke behind the house where I grew up.

  15. For ten years I was a pack-a-day smoker. My preferred brand was Camel lights, though I would sometimes smoke camel reds and parliaments. Sometimes I still miss smoking, but not that often.

  16. My first ‘business’ was selling glass pipes that I bought from a friend of a cousin in Florida and resold to my friends at college. I made a pretty good profit, but I wasn’t great at the business side of things.

  17. In college my freshman roommates and I were so messy, tour guides would bring tours by our room to gawk at the spectacle and we had to write letters of apology to the housing services at the end of the year.

  18. While many people know I lived as a Zen monk for two years, few people know that for a year I serve as the Jisha or attendant to one of the Zen masters. It’s a position of great honor and I had to learn to anticipate his needs and prepare meals for him during retreats. I often made specialized grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese plates with ornate decorations.

  19. One retreat we did every year at the monastery involved going out to sit at dusk and then making our way back after dark. I learned that you can see a path with your feet if you walk slowly enough.

  20. Though I loved my time at the monastery a year after I left two senior students accused the teachers of abusing power and being narcissistic. I talked to several ex-students and tried to understand why they had left. The stories they told me changed my view of the community and it’s why I no longer practice with those teachers or endorse other people going to the monastery where I spent two important years of my life. I’m still very grateful for their guidance.

  21. When I was in my late twenties I did an epic trip across the US and hiked more than 180 miles in national parks. I finished my trip by going to India for a month which was the first place I encountered Buddhism and meditation. That trip had a HUGE impact on my life.

  22. I ran for multiple student body offices in high school and didn’t win a single one. I thought being smart mattered, but really I wasn’t very good at being popular.

  23. For a long time my favorite color was green but it slowly turned to red over the past 5-10 years.

  24. I didn’t have a cell phone until a couple of years after college and I resisted getting an iPhone for years because I thought they were excessive. I still feel this way about new technology until I have it.

  25. Part of the reason I originally moved to Portland was because I wanted to live somewhere I could go skiing. I trained and worked as a ski instructor my first winter but stopped after my car broke down and I decided not to get it fixed. Then I didn’t ski for 8 years.

  26. I lived without a car for almost a decade and really resisted buying one because I loved the simplicity of life without a car. And although I’m glad I have a car now I still miss the time in my life where I didn’t use one.

  27. In high school I put highlights in my hair several times. In college I dyed my hair fire truck red and at one point had my hair in dreadlocks. I’m lucky that not many pictures of these choices exist.

  28. I was pretty involved in boy scouts until I broke my left arm at camp while riding on a rope swing. After I broke my arm I immediately asked for a stick to bite on when they set my arm. Then I rode in the back of a pick-up in the rain to the hospital but the break was so bad that the rural doctor refused to fix it so I had to ride inside the pickup for two more hours to go to a different hospital before having it set.

  29. Almost ALL of my romantic relationships have either started out as long distance relationships or have ended up being long distance for a significant portion of our time together.

  30. For over 10 years I used marijuana almost daily and was a proud ‘pothead’ for most of it. Though I wasn’t aware I was numbing myself to life. At the time it felt like a good way to cope with all of my feelings and the out of control racing of my mind.

  31. I was born in Germany and lived in Greece until I was 3 years old. On the night I was born, my grandmother got confused and fell down the basement stairs. We ended up going to the hospital together.

  32. Apparently I was anxious to get into the world because my mother wasn’t in labor long and when I was born dislocated a shoulder when I was born. Apparently, I was in a rush to get here being born at 4:18 in the morning.

  33. Though I love camping as an adult, I only went camping once with my family growing up. When I asked my parents why they told me that I whined the entire trip and was so annoying they decided never to take me again. (I of course remember having a great time #kid-memory)

  34. I am incredibly romantic and have been my entire life. I have written a series of letters for a partner I wasn’t going to see for 3 weeks so she could open one from me each day. I have bought overnight tickets to surprise a partner with flowers. I have written countless romantic poems and songs. I’ve even saved old receipts and trinkets in relationships and love creating complex and beautiful romantic experiences for partners.

  35. I was a successful middle and high school wrestler all because I didn’t make the soccer team in middle school. I was a three-time regional champ and placed 5th in the state my senior year. The hardest part was making weight and I tried things like eating a liquid diet, running in a plastic suit, and sitting in a sauna all in order to lose weight.

  36. I didn’t lose my ‘virginity’ until I was a sophomore in college.

  37. I’ve been a writer my entire life and even attended a writing camp when I was in middle school. Though I didn’t get serious about writing until the last few years. If you search well enough you can even find some of my angsty college writing on the internet.

  38. I have few food preferences, but I hate cheesecake, cheez-its, and goldfish crackers.

  39. I remember most of the important songs I learned growing up. For example, my claim to fame in elementary school was getting the lead in the school musical in which I played Christopher Columbus and I can still sing much of my big solo number (which was of course not about the murder of indigenous people)

  40. While I’m incredibly loving I have a hard time letting love in. But when I do I apparently make a face that lets you know you got it in there.

Ok, that’s it, there are 40 things about me. My hope is that as you read this you’ll see yourself in this and also realize that each of us is rich, deep, and different even as we are boring, ordinary, and the same.

Which is something we can only see when we let others see who we really are.



Stop Moving Backwards - An Interview with Life Coach Jaclyn Costello

Have you ever waned to stop moving backwards, let go of the past, and really live your life?

This week I had the chance to speak with Jaclyn Costello from
I discovered Jaclyn when  I read her article “Now is the Time to Heal” on

We talked about what life coaching is and why it’s hard to change your life. At the end she shares a great exercise to help us let go of the past and start moving forward today.

[vimeo 61387146 w=500 h=375]

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Interview Questions:

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1. Your website says you do Progressive Life Coaching, What is that and how is it different from regular life coaching or other types of self improvement work?

2. How did you get interested in working with people in this way?

3. Are their elements of mindfulness and fitness you use with clients? and if so how do you use them?

4. How can people transform their lives is a lasting way?

Jaclyn Costello Interview Mindful Fitness Movement

Jaclyn Costello Bio
I am a writer, professor, & life coach, living in Las Vegas, Nevada where I currently teach at UNLV and run my coaching business. I recently finished my first book of fiction (Artifact), as well as my first book of poetry (How to Be a Human)– both of which I’m sending out at this moment to potential publishers and agents.

After years of trial and error, I’ve chiseled down my life purpose to three things:

1) exploring the world, spirituality, love, and the far reaches of the human condition
2) expressing what I know through stories, novels, and poetry
3) helping others become empowered in their own lives, ease their suffering and fears, reach their greatest potential, create loving relationships, and achieve peace of mind

To read more about what I offer, come on over to Or to learn more about me as an artist/writer, visit All the best!

Finally I want to thank Jaclyn for talking with me. She was a pleasure to talk to and I really appreciated her wisdom and insight.

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