04.30.20

fear, ambition, and the enneagram

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:51 pm by Administrator

for most of my iife, my experience of the world has been tentative. I’ve been cautious in relationships. I’ve been wary of commitments. I’ve worked to minimize risks. i’ve been more attuned to my failures than my successes. and in every job or commitment i’ve ever had, i’ve never been totally satisfied, and i’ve always had an exit strategy at hand. I credit this tentative experience of life to my innate temperament as a 4 and to the perspective of the world ingrained in me by my parents, who experienced tremendous insecurity as a result of war, displacement, abandonment, and immigration.

over the years, i’ve been coached by people who know me well to lean into life a bit more: to take risks, to seize opportunities, and to be more entrepreneurial. my wife has been principal among these influences, pushing me to envision more for myself and to spend less time counting costs. here and there, i’ve experienced situations in which I have succeeded in going against my grain and taking a difficult step forward. but mostly what i’ve learned over my career path is that there is something fundamental to my personality and upbringing that continues to restrain my general experience of life. I’m always afraid of who or what will undercut me. I’m always wary of the personal and material costs of overcommitting myself.

all of this is fairly typical for an enneagram 4, whose general posture toward life is introverted and insecure. while others seem to live such effortless and successful lives, the 4 struggles with everything—career decisions, family decisions, who to work with, what to work towards, what to wear, and even how to engage in small talk. everything in life, great or small, is a self-defining and self-threatening exercise for the 4. I may not like this life of incessant struggle, but there is comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this particular experience of life. it’s for this reason that many 4s do retreat from the rituals of ordinary living; and the lucky ones create for themselves autonomous lives of incredible creativity and influence.

I have spent almost my entire adult life fantasizing about my future life as a highly successful writer, even as I have spent my entire medical career feeling sorry about the professional life I have been consigned to. yes, it does strike me as selfish and irrational (as is typical for a 4), but I can’t deny that my sufferings as a doctor have been real. there is very little room in the medical profession for reflective solitude, flexible living, and creative self-expression, and I have suffered greatly for lacking these things. I admit this even while recognizing that in the eyes of others I have an enviable job and important opportunities ahead of me. this is the irony of life: what looks like success often reflects a pedestrian lack of discernment, because the work we do is fundamentally meaningless. life is profoundly empty. for forty-three years i was ignorant of this fact; but over the past two years, this simple truth has enabled me to begin reducing the suffering that I inflict upon myself.

all in all, I have come to recognize through meditation and self-discovery that while my tentative approach to life is unnecessary and constraining, ambition and achievement are equally unnecessary and futile. the path forward for me is not the path toward bold achievement but rather the path toward unorthodox liberation. most likely what this will mean for me is that my growth will not be characterized by resilience and generativity but rather by radical commitment, integration (both within myself and with others), and abundant creativity. I would be disappointed in myself if in ten years from now I were still grinding away at a job that I didn’t love. it may sound preposterous and impractical, but I was meant to be produce a great work of art, if not become that work of art in the most total and consuming manner.

per the enneagram institute, the enneagram 4 feels “exempt from ordinary ways of living”. this statement used to strike me as extraordinarily vain—but I understand it entirely now. to flower completely and to exemplify the full range of what the universe affords us through consciousness, the 4 must be at odds with society, in his frustrated struggle to belong to others. the sadness and the pain of the 4 is her gift to the universe, a reflection of the intrinsic pain that comes with human consciousness. the life and death of the 4 is the path to enlightenment that others can follow, a path that demonstrates that while death may be the end of singularity it is also the promise of euphoric reintegration with all life. in this function, the 4 expresses his truth most clearly when he does with his life the thing that only he can do—individual, creative, and utterly revealing self-expression that defies social convention and forces a transformation of belief.

here in my mid-forties, I am discovering this wonderful thing about myself: that I am as unhappy with work as I have ever been, and I am as sensitive to all the pressures and pains of our world as I was as a child. I will never settle down, find my niche, and discover my worth as a human being. no, it is in my perpetual longing for belonging that I will discover the very structure of my life, as imparted by the cosmos. I do not exist to do work or to be responsible to others; rather, it is in the process of having work and responsibility imposed upon me that I unravel, and it is in the unraveling that I give to the world my art—a short and difficult life, a death without meaning

04.27.20

way too early projections for the eagles in 2020

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:21 am by Administrator

in may 2019 I had these predictions for the eagles’ 2019 season:

2019 Predictions

9-7, 2nd in the division.

oddly, our home schedule is significantly more challenging than our away games this year. I think we’ll go 5-3 on the away games (losing to the falcons, vikings, and cowboys) and go 4-4 on the home games (losing to the bears, pats, seahawks, and either the giants or redskins just because). we’ll see much of last year’s sloppiness on offense carry over into this season, simply because Carson Wentz won’t make that leap with Mike Groh coaching him. the o-line will not look good coming out of the gates and neither will the defensive secondary, which frankly lacks talent outside of Malcolm Jenkins.

I was wrong about the division, winning playoff games, and losing to the bears and pats. I was right about our record, our offensive sloppiness, and the ineptitude of the secondary.

let me start my predictions for the 2020 season by predicting that there will be a 2020 nfl season. it will be a very weird season for a couple reasons. firstly, they’re going to eliminate the preseason. second, they’re going to reduce stadium capacities by at least 50% and require any season ticket holders with risk factors to sign waivers. third, they’re going to require weekly RNA testing of all NFL players and coaching staff that take the field, and of course anyone who tests positive on game day will not be allowed to play or coach. my guess is that at least 5% of nfl players and coaches will miss games in 2020 purely because of a positive COVID test, and some teams may lose up to a quarter of their starting players for a few games. fans and players are not going to be happy with the 2020 season, but that’s how the cookie is going to crumble. the nfl season has to proceed; donald trump, roger goodell, and the forces of american capitalism demand it!

as an aside, isn’t it ironic that goodell’s name repeatedly autocorrects on my wife’s computer to “godless”?

the eagles are in decline, and there’s nothing we could have done in the 2020 draft to change that. taking justin jefferson in the 1st round and then landing denzel mims or kristian fulton in the 2nd wouldn’t have changed the fact that the eagles lack compelling talent at too many positions to keep up with the rest of the league, and the coaching isn’t strong enough to make up for our overall mediocrity. I am predicting that carson wentz will regress in 2020, and the eagles will go 6-10, losing to cleveland, arizona, green bay, seattle, new orleans, pittsburgh, baltimore, dallas at least once, and new york at least once. it’s a rough slate, and the eagles will be thoroughly exposed. fans will be all too happy to practice social distancing and avoid the stands at the Linc, as the team utterly melts down by midseason. jalen hurts will play in 3 games this upcoming season and start 2 of them, and he’ll definitely show enough on the field to get the talk started about which QB is truly the future. that talk is going to culminate in a massive off-season trade that will change the fortunes of the franchise and put us back on track to compete in the playoffs.

with that context, here are my predictions, big and small:

1. wentz dips to a 60% completion rate, finishing an injury-shortened 14 game season with 28 TDs and 10 interceptions. we’ll trade him to indianapolis after the season for three 1st round picks.

2. jalen hurts in his two games as a starter will rip a 100+ rushing performance in one game and toss 3 TDs with no interceptions in the other. the offense will look so much faster and more dynamic with him that there will be no one bewailing pick 53 by the end of the season. hail howie!

3. we will trade for yannick ngakoue at the trade deadline once it becomes obvious that we need to begin rebuilding our pass rush. derek barnett won’t get it done in 2019, and brandon graham will begin his descent after a wonderful run in philadelphia. we’ll sign yannick to a mega-deal with all the cap space we’ve kept in reserve, and that will begin our reversal of fortunes starting in 2021.

4. jim schwartz is going to find a new job in 2021. he may not be officially fired so much as given permission to seek other coaching opportunities, and he’ll find something. but the eagles’ defense in 2020 is going to be so bad that he won’t be graduating to a head coaching job.

5. ertz, sanders, and desean jackson are all going to have utterly wasted seasons in 2020 thanks to wentz’s ongoing inefficiencies. we’ll be trading zach for a 3rd round draft pick a year from now, and d-jax will retire, officially ending an era in philadelphia.

6. the cowboys will win the nfc east (of course they will), and they’ll lose in the 1st round because they have no soul.

7. with two 1st rounders in the 2021 draft (thanks to the wentz trade) and two 3rd rounders as well (thanks to the ertz deal), the eagles will stock up on WRs and DBs (exactly what the fans thought we would do last week in the 2020 draft).

8. when the 2021 season kicks off sixteen months from now, the jalen hurts decade will officially begin. with a revitalized pass rush featuring ngakoue, a run-oriented tempo offense featuring hurts and sanders, and a short passing game capitalizing on the speed and playmaking ability of targets like goedert, reagor, and jamar chase (one of our 2021 1st round picks), the eagles will be incredibly fun to follow and a playoff contender for years.

04.26.20

the day we drafted jalen hurts

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:55 am by Administrator

i’ve been listening to dave zangaro and reuben frank bewail the jalen hurts pick. they look absolutely crushed. guys, my heart goes out to you. i’m sorry for your pain. you’re asking all the logical questions. why did we take jalen in the 2nd round? what does this say about our commitment to carson wentz? why didn’t we take a guy who could step in as a year one starter?

i don’t want to add to your troubles, but there’s one more question i want you to ask yourselves: why did thirty-one teams pass on drafting russell wilson in the 2nd round back in 2012? there’s a bonus question: why did eleven teams pass on drafting him in the 3rd round?

i’ll bet you that the answer for most of those teams was pretty simple. we have a starting quarterback. we can’t afford to waste a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a backup. we have more pressing needs. he isn’t a fit for what we’re doing. he isn’t going to make a difference for us in the 2012 season.

those thirty-one teams included the philadelphia eagles, who drafted based on need and took mychal kendricks at pick 46—mychal kendricks who couldn’t track the ball, overran routes, single-handedly gave running back david johnson one of the greatest games of his career, and left us with so much dead money on his way out of town that we’re still feeling the sting of his departure. do you want to know what i think of those thirty-one teams that passed on russell wilson in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft? stupid asses.

it’s not like teams didn’t know that russell had the potential. we’re not talking here about a total sleeper that nobody had a good read on. even howie roseman came out after the draft and said that he’d been hoping russell would fall to the eagles in the 3rd round. 31 general managers didn’t pull the trigger because either they thought they had the QB they needed already, or they believed that they had a more pressing need to address in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft. of the 43 players that were taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds before russell wilson came off the board, 8 of them have made a pro bowl, and none of those 8 hold a candle to wilson and the impact that he’s had on the league. so i think i can rest on this point: the 31 general managers who chose to pass on russell wilson in the 2nd round of the 2012 nfl draft made one of the worst mistakes of their professional careers. i don’t care if you already had aaron rodgers in his prime on your roster; the right move for every team in 2012 was to draft russell wilson. you take the star, and you worry about how to make it work later (if ever).

is it unreasonable of me to imply a comparison between jalen hurts and russell wilson? maybe. or maybe not? back in 2012, the knock on wilson was his size; he was considered 3-4 inches too short for a pocket passer. but he clearly had the arm strength, accuracy, and intellect to be elite at the position. jalen hurts is obviously a totally different kind of player, but he also has great arm strength, accuracy, and intelligence. his long ball doesn’t look good on the game tape, and there are concerns that he’s got to see his guy open before he can commit to the pass. is it a fatal flaw? maybe no less of a hurdle for him than the 3-4 inches of vertical challenge that russell wilson couldn’t do anything about. i’m willing to bet that howie roseman wasn’t the only GM who saw something at the NFL combine that convinced him that hurts was more than just a developmental prospect. and if roseman saw enough to convince him that hurts has the potential to be a great NFL quarterback, then he absolutely did the right thing by nabbing him at pick 53. you take the star, and you worry about how to make it work later.

every draft pick is a risk, but i’ll grant that the risk that howie roseman took at pick 53 was perhaps an unusual one. it’s a risk not only because of the usual bust potential associated with any quarterback prospect but also because of the effect that the pick will have on carson wentz’s psychology and the general chemistry of the team. it’s the kind of risk that a GM just won’t take if he’s early in his career, uncertain about his prospects, and under pressure to deliver immediate results. but howie roseman isn’t in that situation. he’s got a super bowl under his belt; he’s got the full faith of jacob lurie; and he’s got enough experience now to see the forest for the trees. he’s gotten schooled by the likes of john schneider and ozzie newsome in more than a few drafts, and he’s learned the hard way what it takes to be a GM in the NFL. roseman isn’t trying to eke out wins in 2020; he’s grabbing value without regard for our opinions because he knows that the fate of the franchise hinges on the stars that it drafts. it’s that simple. it’s that fucking simple.

philadelphia, come off the ledge. seriously now. just take a couple small steps off that ledge, wipe the tears off your face, and take a deep breath. you’re hyperventilating because you missed out on baylor wide receiver denzel mims. I understand your misery. all I can tell you is that you might have just gotten russell wilson in the 2nd round. we took the right risk; we made the right call. step off the ledge and don’t kill yourself just yet. the ride just got a little more interesting, and it’s probably worth seeing what comes next.

go eagles

04.25.20

jalen hurts: wow

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:11 am by Administrator

my first reaction when i saw pick 53:

balls

what a ballsy move. i was solidly impressed. i’m going to explain why this was a questionable pick for several very obvious reasons—and why it was the right pick for the eagles nevertheless.

taking jalen hurts in the 2nd round is a questionable pick for a lot of reasons. first, for a backup qb selection, it’s an awfully high pick for a team that has an established starting quarterback entering his prime. second, it’s a pretty early pick for a quarterback that most analysts do not project to be a solid NFL starter for several years. third, it’s an opportunity cost for a team that has plenty of holes on its roster, most notably at linebacker and safety. and fourth, it’s a pick that’s going to have zero impact on the team’s win totals in 2020.

but it’s the right pick for this eagles team for a couple of really good reasons, and this is why we can’t simply call it a fail.

first, jalen hurts in the mid-2nd round is a potential value pick. and by value pick, i mean that he’s a penny stock that we might be able to sell for $100 in a year or two. that’s something that a linebacker or cornerback can’t offer us at pick 53. the main reason jalen hurts wasn’t considered a first-round prospect is because his passing mechanics aren’t refined. we all learned at the combine that he doesn’t lack for arm strength or accuracy. if we put jalen hurts out there for 3 or 4 games over the next two seasons (a high probability given that we’ve got Mr. Glass as our #1 starter) and hurts shows that he’s responding to NFL coaching, then he’s a guy we can sell as the full package—athleticism, running ability, pro-level passing, and leadership—that’ll be worth at least a couple 1st round picks. if that’s what hurts is able to give us by 2022, then this draft pick was a massive win for us.

second, and related to reason #1, it absolutely makes sense for us to look for deferred returns here because we’re not a player away from winning a championship. i know that we paid a steep price for darius slay this year, which would seem to suggest that we’re in the business of winning now. but most of the rest of our front office moves (or lack thereof) really do suggest the opposite: that we’re trying to rebuild this team and get younger. roseman didn’t make a move at the 2019 trade deadline (very controversial) and then he moved on from malcolm jenkins (equally controversial) because he’s a realist; this eagles team isn’t poised to win a championship in the 2020 season. like i’ve written previously, this is not an eagles roster that’s talented enough to sustain a playoff run. we’ve got an above-average offensive line that’s possibly already in decline thanks to andre dillard’s mediocrity, and we’ve got a d-line that’s strong but definitely past its prime. in terms of competitive edge, that’s all we’ve got. i wouldn’t even say that we have a top-10 quarterback; carson wentz by virtually any metric i’m looking at places somewhere between 10th and 15th best in the league, and i’ve personally identified at least seven quarterbacks i’d rather build around right now: mahomes, watson, wilson, murray, jackson, burrow, and tagavailoa. we’re a team that’s been in a slow but steady decline since the championship season, and there’s no better way out of this rut of mediocrity than to pocket a potential star QB for future dividends.

lastly, it’s the right pick for us because carson wentz and doug pederson are simply not working out for philadelphia. i pin two seasons of absolute offensive futility on the two of these guys and their awkwardly ineffective relationship. we’ve seen no improvement from wentz since his second season, and i think that if he fails to improve as a QB in his fifth season, then it won’t be too early to sell him to the highest bidder a year from now. i have to believe that dealing wentz is at least a possibility in roseman’s calculations, and why wouldn’t he consider it? wentz is as highly marketable as he is ultimately unreliable. his diva tendencies, his woeful inefficiency as a passer, his brittle body, and his indecision in the pocket are all potentially fatal flaws that the eagles have been able to disguise with clever PR—but when i look at carson wentz, i do not see a quarterback who can take us to a super bowl. jalen hurts might be the guy that we sell for a couple 1st rounders in a couple years; but perhaps it’s equally likely that carson wentz is the player we sell off for an even prettier price as early as next year.

i like hurts not just as an asset but as an eagles guy. he’s resilient, he’s a leader, he’s a winner, and he’s amazing on the field. knock his long-ball accuracy and his indecision in the pocket all you want; but in an RPO offense featuring a strong o-line and great tight ends, jalen hurts will be flat-out deadly. let’s showcase wentz en route to another 1st round wild-card playoff loss next year and then sell his ass. mark my words: when the jalen hurts era begins, we’ll all instantly remember what the eagles looked like when michael vick was at his very best. the days of middling offense and 62% pass completion rates will be behind us when we let jalen loose.

roseman, here’s to you bruh. wishin here that you get the last laugh.

GO EAGLES

04.24.20

do the deal

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:26 pm by Administrator

though I’d like the eagles to take a cornerback (ideally kristian fulton) with pick 53 tonight, there are actually two things I’d more strongly prefer that the eagles accomplish with their 2nd round pick.

1. get yannick ngakoue. I’m going to beat this drum until yannick gets shipped off to another team. if pick 53 plus rasul douglas and a 4th round pick is what it takes to get ngakoue, let’s get this guy. we have the cap space to bring him on board. Barnett is not the future. the future is YNG!

2. trade for trent williams. as i’ve overstated many times, I didn’t like our entire 2019 draft class, and I specifically didn’t have dillard on my wish list because he’s got no anchor (i.e. he’s physically weak) and can’t run block. moreover, he proved in limited action last year that he can’t pass block at the nfl level either. he’s not a developmental prospect; he’s a bust. maybe only jeff stoutland and the eagles know this right now; but if we hold onto dillard for much longer, the whole damn league is going to know. let’s send pick 53 and andre dillard to the redskins and make him their problem. I’m all in for trent! t-will can hold down the blind side for at least 4-5 more seasons, and for sure if he wants a weekly dermatology appointment let’s make sure that’s part of the package.

howard, I admired your patience last night, even if the rest of Philadelphia anguished when you refused to trade up. you did the right thing. now do what you do best: deal pick 53 for a star in the trenches. it’s time to shine roseman!

Go eagles

on to day 2

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:44 pm by Administrator

I can’t say that I saw the jalen reagor pick coming—but I did suspect as early as february 22 that he was the kind of receiver howie roseman would be looking for in this draft. here was the “howie roseman scenario” that I predicted two months ago:

the Howie Roseman scenario:

1. we go out and buy either chris harris or byron jones to address priority #1—cornerback.
2. we sign cory littleton to a big money contract.
3. we re-sign rodney mcleod to a 2-year team-friendly deal to avoid laying out big bucks for the likes of clinton-dix.
4. we renegotiate malcolm jenkins’ contract and make him one of the top-3 highest paid safeties in the league.
5. we double-dip at speed WR in the draft, taking jalen reagor in the 1st and kj hamler in the 2nd before drafting a safety and cornerback in the 3rd.
6. we move on from jason peters, to commit to dillard’s development.
7. we move on from jordan howard and commit to miles sanders as the undisputed 3-down back.
8. we trade alshon jeffery and a late draft pick to cut our losses and start the youth movement with reagor and hamler at wide receiver.

I was wrong at linebacker and safety, as we didn’t sign a free agent linebacker nor did we retain jenkins. but the reagor/hamler speed receiver idea is still in play and would portend a total makeover of our offense.

how do I feel about the pick? back in november, I projected reagor to be a top-20 prospect in this draft based on his elite speed and playmaking abilities. he fell off my radar a bit after an underwhelming final season at TCU, as other prospects like jefferson and mims finished the season strongly. that being said, reagor showed enough on the field to establish his up-side as a guy who can blaze down the field, juke just about anyone, and come down with jump balls. if his 4.22 at his personal pro day had been his nfl combine time, there’s no question he would have been taken higher. so did we get value and high potential with this pick? we absolutely did.

I didn’t like the pick at first, partly because I was bummed out that lamb didn’t fall to us, and partly because I was still angling for patrick queen in round one. but on the morning after, I’m optimistic about what the reagor pick means for the eagles. it means that we’re committed to opening up this offense, and I’m all for it. welcome to philadelphia jalen.

though I predicted 2 months ago that roseman would double-dip at receiver in round two, I don’t think it’s the best move at all. cornerback is for sure the bigger need to address now, as slay and robey-coleman are on short term deals, and as we are possibly on the brink of losing douglas and jones as well. our depth at cornerback is paper thin, and we don’t have any elite talent to boast of aside from darius slay. cornerback absolutely has to be our focus in round 2, in my opinion.

I don’t think the eagles will move up in round 2, as the main impetus for a trade-up in round 2 would have been a desperation play for a wide receiver (no longer necessary), but I think we will likely move up 10-20 picks in round 3 for either a linebacker or an o-lineman. here’s my wish list for pick 53, in rank order. we’ll have a shot at at least one of these 21 guys, and we’ll probably have a great chance at one of these top 5 based on my mock projections.

1. kristian fulton: I don’t care where he’s ranked on people’s mocks. this is the 2nd best cornerback in the draft, and if he’s there at 53 we have to take him.
2. xavier mckinney: if he’s still there for some reason, this is a no-brainer for us.
3. tee higgins: it seems inconceivable tee will fall to 53, but his up-side would force our hand if he were there.
4. trevon diggs
5. antoine winfield: I like his fit with the eagles, and I think he’d be a starter in year one.
6. aj epenesa: everyone knows I have doubts about derek barnett. aj epenesa will be a steal if we get him at 53.
7. josh jones: we shouldn’t necessarily be hunting for a tackle in round 2—but if dillard sucks (and he might very well suck) then jones would be too good to pass on.
8. ezra cleveland: same reasoning as for josh jones
9. jaylon johnson
10. yetur gross matos
11. laviska shenault: he’s a gamble but a really high-upside gamble. this would be a fan favorite pick here.
12. chase claypool: chase is a massive target with shocking speed. even with two tight ends in the passing game, we could probably carve out a role for him.
13. denzel mims
14. jeremy chinn
15. grant delpit
16. michael pittman
17. logan wilson
18. trey adams
19. kj hamler
20. antonio gandy golden
21. amik robertson

04.22.20

ACEs, dad, and last entry before the draft

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:54 pm by Administrator

there’s a strong emphasis now on primary care screening for ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), so I took a provider training on-line yesterday mostly to understand the programmatic requirements for coding, billing, and the like. in any case, I took the ACEs screener and scored a 3 out of 10, which qualified me as being on the high end of the “lower risk” category. the three questions on which I screened positive were as follows: “did you live with anyone who was depressed, mentally ill, or attempted suicide?”; “did your parents or adults in your home ever hit, punch, beat, or threaten to harm each other?”; and “did a parent or adult in your home ever swear at you, insult you, or put you down?”

ACEs raise the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease. I fall into this category, having had high blood pressure since my mid-20s, which is extraordinarily unusual. I’ve always suspected that my hypertension, problems with insomnia, and prior struggles with depression had something to do with my childhood experiences, but the ACEs training kind of made that all crystal clear for me in a manner that I couldn’t ignore. in fact, as I sat there reading the statistics around ACEs, traumatic memories flooded my mind, almost as if to evidence the human realities beneath the numbers.

I remembered the fights between my parents; my father raising an axe over my mother’s body; my six year old hands holding down my father’s as he attempted to fish a knife out of a kitchen drawer. I remembered the times when my dad referred to me with profanity, when he chased me around the kitchen table with his fists held high as if to strike me. I remembered the nights of sleepless terror, the mornings when I was afraid to go to school for fear that I would find my parents dead when I came home. I cannot remember the number of times my father threatened to buy a gun and kill the three of us.

they say that the goal of ACEs training is prevent the cycle of intergenerational trauma from continuing. I think of what I experienced in my childhood home, and I know that I am not doing the same to my children. I could never do this to my kids. just the idea of threatening my eight year-old daughter in the way that I was threatened cuts at me in a way that is nearly indescribable. no, I believe that the cycle of intergenerational trauma will end with me, buried in my heart even as it shortens my life and causes me suffering even now. I will bury it in me, and my children will not know what I experienced, and they will not pass it on to their children.

I understand, through the lens of my relationship with my father, how and why people remain in abusive relationships. even now, I see the man he wanted to be. beneath the violence and the cruel words and the unpredictable moods and the ever-present danger surrounding him, there was real love that he felt for me. because I knew that, I was able to forgive him. even now, I think of him with kindness. but I know the truth now, more and more with the passing years. my father did things to my mother and to me that were inexcusable, and I will carry the damage of those things in me for the rest of my life. it is the reason in the end that I cannot believe in a god who would put to death his only son. there is no room in my world for fathers who are cruel to their children. I want to spend the rest of my life, however long I have left, releasing my suffering, rather than sublimating it. I do not seek forgiveness from god or from the universe. I only want to heal, to let go, and to move on, without bitterness or shame.

still, I see so much of my father in me—how he saw the world, how he feared other people, how he internalized his suffering. I wish I could tell him in my own way that I continued his journey, I found a way through the pain, and I’m thankful for what he gave me so that I could choose my end. we were two chapters of the same life; his chapter was about something that needed to be forgiven, and my chapter was about forgetting and letting go. they are two very different things.

the draft is tomorrow, and I know in the end that I will not get what I want: neither ngakoue nor queen. we will move up in the draft to grab henry ruggs or justin Jefferson, and we will undoubtedly relinquish not only our 2nd round pick this year but probably a 2021 1st or 2nd round pick as well. it’s too high of a price for too little of a marginal reward, and I’m already upset about this but still capable of holding this feeling and transcending it. Howie roseman is going to do what he always does: chase waterfalls. he’s mostly been a good GM, so in the end I will have to take the good with the bad. every year, I think that the eagles can do better for themselves; but now is as good a time as any to recognize that this football team has nothing to do with me and that there’s truly nothing I can do to save them.

Go Eagles

the nemesis

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:17 pm by Administrator

you think that your nemesis is leaving; but your nemesis will remain within you, taking you to disintegration, consuming you in thoughts about how others perceive your value, driving you to conquest on the one hand and submission on the other.

what is about to change is not your circumstance. no, what will change is you, in your ability to hold the thing in you that causes you your suffering. you will grow so attuned to him that you will be able to name him in everything. he, not your surroundings, will be the thing that you attend to. you will grow so adept at holding him that your life will look like a discipline of mindfulness. you will not let him out of your sight. and by holding him, you will begin to discern, however faintly, the other thing in you that does not belong to the ego. this person, which is beholden to nothing and to no one, is already well and wants nothing.

as you hold the ego, adamantly and powerfully and relentlessly and compassionately, the conscious and aware person within you will begin to influence your world. you cannot monetize that influence. you cannot plan that influence. you cannot construct a journey around that influence. you simply have to live and let it be. it will be transformative for you and for others. live in that transformation. as you live in it, doors will open, and other doors will close. you have already experienced it. it is inevitable.

see your life not as structures or as pathways but as this transformation, from ego to awareness. it is the non-intuitive life that balks at ideas of progress and success, that resists the logical or obvious decision, that regards everything with neutrality and love. once upon a time, you refused to cheat on a test. another time, you refused to take hundreds of dollars hidden in an ironing board. still another time, you gave money to a homeless man. you did these things in defiance of logic. you did them to reclaim life—real life. think on these things and be that man. you don’t belong to these people and to this world, not the way they imagine themselves and it. you transcend these things, as do all conscious and living creatures.

you see, you embarked on this exercise to plan milestones and feats, but there are none. you could leave this job today if you wanted to, and somehow you would survive, even as you changed. you could pursue wealth and probably find it. but the best aspiration is not the life of easy retirement you hold out as your ideal, that your father dreamed of all those decades. no, the best aspiration is freedom from suffering, which only you can grant yourself regardless of your circumstances, by learning to hold the ego with discipline, intention, and love. the world does not exist to test you; the world simply exists, as do you.

04.20.20

why the optimism? science, not politics, should prevail

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:48 pm by Administrator

twelve days ago, I had this to say about the PPP loan:

it’s obvious that many small-medium sized businesses will not survive 2-3 months of lock-down and the enduring demand shock that is sure to follow. the fiscal stimulus as it is currently structured will certainly help larger businesses with cash reserves and good connections, but I’m not sure it will be accessible enough or sizable enough to save much of our service economy from going belly-up. I’ve heard that the small business loan applications are no cake-walk, and while the relief will help manage operational costs in the short term, it won’t replace lost revenues over the long term. a lot of people will have to walk away and start over

here we are less than two weeks later, the PPP funds have been exhausted, and while the little companies languished, the bigger mouths got to eat. as with COVID’s impact on the united states, this is something we all should have seen from a mile away.

i can totally understand the protests erupting across the country, as people are beginning to resist extended shelter-at-home measures. in a podcast i participated in a few weeks ago, i predicted social unrest in the U.S. in response to the lock-down. it goes against the grain of our culture to submit ourselves to a greater good. and it does not help that we lack a sufficient safety net for those whose housing and basic survival depend on day to day earnings. here is where our economic system is really hurting us; we’ve designed a society that strongly incentivizes production over communal welfare, but now this very society has to convince its citizens to prioritize communal welfare over their short-term economic self-interest. the irony is beyond bitter. it is as if our competitive struggle for survival and prosperity over all these years really was a ruse; and only now are the adults stepping into the sandbox as they realize just how much these hunger games are ripping us apart.

why is there optimism for a rapid recovery? why is there hope in a v-shaped recovery? why is there sudden widespread belief that the virus is not so dangerous after all? what is it that I’m missing? we have a virus that cannot be contained and that will continue to be avidly transmitted person-to-person throughout the world until a vaccine is developed perhaps 9-12 months from now. if we reopen the state economies in june, we will still face the imminent threat of COVID reentry into our communities, workplaces, and schools. most americans rightly know this and will thus refuse to reassume their former patterns of living, even when public venues and businesses reopen. moreover, most americans will continue to fear for their jobs if they were not already laid off, and this will only serve to further discourage them from borrowing, spending, and investing—all the things necessary to maintaining the velocity of capital exchange that drives the service economy and allows businesses to grow and to hire. reopening the economy now is like blowing the whistle and going over the top of the trench, just to charge straight into a line of enemy machine guns. if they’re compelled to do it to scrape out a paycheck, Americans will do it—but with dread in their hearts.

if we want to do this right, then science, not politics, should prevail. a national lock-down should be enforced. it should not be lifted region by region; it should be lifted only when incidence across the country has been assessed and determined to be minimal—which will require broad-based synchronous testing across all states. even then, lock-down measures cannot be lifted until mechanisms are in place to continuously reassess incidence at the community level and to immediately impose quarantines as needed where clusters are identified. admittance to public facilities would have to be restricted based on rapid viral testing, and all international travelers as well would have to pass rapid RNA screening before being permitted entry into the country. all of this requires a public health infrastructure that we entirely lack right now—so the approach i described just now would not be possible for at least several months. that’s not cause for optimism, in my opinion.

04.16.20

life

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:08 pm by Administrator

it’s been a hard, dark, and deflating season at work. on top of dealing with the fear, anxiety, and resistance of my providers, I’ve also had to deal with continual second-guessing and negativity from a member of our leadership team. I’ve tried not to take it personally, and on most days I’ve been able to tap into an awareness that enables me to hold my suffering. but there have certainly been some days when the discouragement has weighed on my consciousness and fostered the belief that I cannot continue with this work.

today, I asked for am impromptu meeting with another member of the team, and we talked through his frustrations with the same individual. he talked through his feelings for more than half an hour, while I listened. I told him about the enneagram, and I talked about this idea that even the most unpleasant people do not act out of malicious intention but rather out of an innate craving for love and acceptance. even at their worst, they are seeking something that is good.

then I thanked him for being not only a great colleague but also a good person. I could see it on his face: he needed to hear that. then I went to my office, found myself in a different state of mind, and proceeded to write down the names of every provider in the company that I manage. next to their names, I wrote down the thing that I am most thankful for during this time of lock-down and crisis. for one provider, I gave thanks for her kindness and unflappable composure at all times. for another provider, I gave thanks for her remarkable ability to make every pregnant patient feel valued and loved as human beings. and for another provider, I gave thanks for her decades of self-sacrifice and devotion at this company and for the love that drives her to do her work with excellence every single day. I wrote down twenty-five names, and I wrote down twenty-five things that filled my heart with gratitude and well-being.

there was a change that came over me when I sat down to do this exercise. and when I looked up from the page, I realized that this office, this place where I do my work, is not a place where I come to punish myself every day. this is a place where I bring the best that I have to give and where I receive the gifts of all the special and loving people around me. even the man who gives me a hard time every day is doing his best to give this organization everything that his remarkable intellect and his wealth of knowledge have to offer. I do not like him, but I am blessed to work with him.

today was a day that I needed to live in my own way. I am an emotional man, and I live to give thanks even as I crave affirmation. when I lack that connection, I have to find it. today, I determined that my work was going to be about human connection. I made that connection my own way; I did my work the way I needed to. and because of that, I came alive in a place where I was dying

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