The Word of the Day is “Surrender”

Part 1 – Admission

Feral housecats (ones that live in the wild) don’t meow once they become fully grown and set off on their own. They are solitary animals, the introverts of the animal kingdom. When they are held in captivity (which I am not sure they consider captivity) they continue to meow at their “owners”. I put that in quotes because the moment a cat realizes its a captive, it becomes mean and I believe insane (if a cat is mistreated in the home and locked indoors)… Cats, unlike dogs or horses, or humans… Cannot be “broken” they just get more and more angry and wild until one day they escape and never come back, or they die angry, distant, and mean.

I believe I have one of the happiest cats on earth. I named her “Maya” after the 3D animation package. She is a pure bread “ragdoll” cat. The breed gets its name from being so docile that they have very little fight instinct, and they go limp whenever you pick them up (when I pick her up she purrs about as loud as the neighbors lawnmower). We call her the “noisy floof” because she has many vocalizations and has trained us, as her pets… to respond to words she reserves for special occasions. “Meow” is her standard word to for “you haven’t yet inspected my food bowl this morning to assess whether or not I can see the bottom of my bowl, you must do this now or I will follow you around until you show me that you know I have food” (full or empty bowl, this meow continues until I at the very least stir her full bowl with my hand). She has many other words “Maaama” is the vocalization for my wife, “herrooo” is when she is alone and afraid and trying to find her humans, “mreaaa” is to inform us our adult step daughter is awake… She says “mraw” when she wants us to drop an ice cube from the freezer for her to play with… and according to the fire fighters “Heeeelp” is the word for “please save me from this fire, I don’t like it”. This resulted in 20 minutes of being grilled about wheather or not there could be a child hiding somewhere in the house, while I sat in an ambulance with oxygen on my cats face trying to calm her. She held me with a death grip for days after the fire.

The house fire we had was truly the closest to death I have come in my life. I went back into the smoke filled house twice to try to save my cat. On the third attempt (having barely made it out the second time) my son-in-law (a marine) said “if you try to go back in for the cat again, I am knocking you out and dragging you to the curb”. He meant it. My blood pressure which is usually high read 80/40 due to carbon monoxide inhalation. Firefighters were at the house within 3 minutes, and I told them to not fight the garage fire, to first go in and find my cat. The thought of her alone in the dark shouting “Helo” broke my heart, she was my closest friend during my divorce, and my only company that seemed to care about my whereabouts and well-being between that divorce and meeting the woman who would become my wife. I know she can never be “broken” but Maya chooses to stay with me and this family, because she cares about her pets.

My routine with her since she was a kitten, is to wake up, and privately play cat with her for a while. She gives me my morning meows (until I get my coffee and can pay attention to her). Once I do that, I follow her on her morning trip to her food bowl as I said above. She eats for a little while, and afterwards she comes and finds me and we go on our short patrol, checking each corner of the house to make sure nothing has changed, if it has she meows at it util I show her it’s okay that we have a new couch, or new end table. Since the fire this patrol has been very important to her as our rental home is frequently adorned with new additions. I could leave her to patrol on her own, but I don’t know how else she would know that the new furniture is okay. She currently seems to believe that every new piece of leather furniture is a conveniently spread out set of scratching posts… we are working on correcting that, but again… cat’s cannot be broken… So in some ways I have surrendered to the idea of textured leather stuff. I don’t intend to inform my cat, that she is unsafe in her own home.

So why do cats in the home never stop crying? Same reason humans in captivity never stop being miserable… they never had a reason to stop complaining about things, because they have never become full grown and self sufficient. Humans rely on grocery stores, clothing stores, and most of the time an employer. It doesn’t occur to broken humans that for millions of years we survived without domesticated food, without farms, without television to ease our boredom (that we wouldn’t have time for if we were hunting and gathering and making leather clothes that will last us the rest of our lives). Humans, unlike cats however, are easily the most broken species on earth. We take this worthless thing called “money” and infuse it with this concept of “value”, we allow something called “debt” and we give the majority of our time away (the only real currency) to someone who uses that wealth to control our actions. Most humans “work jobs they hate, to buy shit they don’t need” – Tyler Durden.

Like a cat, I have decided I will never be owned or broken by anyone. As I wrote in “Bangerang” I have a deliberate “Peter Pan Complex”. I believe as someone who makes games for a living this is somewhat of a requirement. You can’t design a game if you forgot how to play. This isn’t to say I am not good at my job, I believe I am. It means I refuse to have anyone believe they own me because they conjure bits on a computer screen every two weeks that I can use that to buy food I could grow myself, meat I could hunt myself, and furniture and clothing I can make myself. When companies realize this, they tend to try to wall me off… wouldn’t want the sense of freedom spreading. Wouldn’t want the sense of unchained fun to become a new culture of play. If we are free how would we ever work more than 40 hours a week to finish a game?

We would though… our games are like our children. We raise them through pain and trial and error and then we send them stumbling into the sun to be beaten by critical bullies, and if we are lucky they are received well and sell like crazy. This is a side-effect of loving what we do though, it isn’t something we need to be policed or controlled or mandated in order to do. If the team is having fun making a game, the game will inevitably be fun… You don’t have to break an artist, inventor, engineer, or designer to get them to produce art or amazing games, you just have to put the right tools in front of them… we will do the rest.

Part 2 – Drop Your Weapons

Stones, bludgeons, knives, swords, guns, tanks, bombs… As a human race we have for some reason been dumb enough to constantly try to kill our way to peace… On my desk I have an ironic quote “Beatings will continue until morale improves”. This seems to be a common philosophy in the corporate world. Right next to it I have a wood burned quote that I live by “It is often fun to do the impossible” – Walt Disney.

It appears we are getting better at this killing for peace thing (Killing without a care, not actually achieving Peace). To me the notion that creating widows and orphans somehow creates more security, is the sheer definition of insanity. We try to scream and shout and cry our way to happiness (or good products)… We all have tried to shout our way to understanding, even though we fail every time. We know in the end there is one true way to peace, and it is when someone is willing to surrender and just… let… go. Put down their weapons and approach an enemy as a friend in honest vulnerability. In the world, this is dropping guns and greeting someone from another culture with curiosity and attempt at understanding.

We see the Chinese assembly line worker and say “that is a slave that needs liberation” however, most of these workers are a hell of a lot happier than Americans. They have a role, a discipline, and dedication, they take pride in what they do in a form of tantric meditation. This is not easily explained to a westerner who seeks capitalist wealth (greed)… That when someone’s basic needs are met by a socialist or communist government, the result (if done correctly like Sweden) is focusing all your effort on a craft that contributes to society. The Chinese are not broken workhorses, they are (for the most part) delightful and happy cogs in a well oiled machine. In one of the more socialist countries I have visited, Sweden, they have 10 square miles of single owner stores with some of the most dedicated craftsmanship I have ever seen… Why? Basic needs are met. No one starves, no one goes without healthcare, everyone has a place to call home… after that… what they have left is their passions and dreams and unchained productive creative outlets that they eventually turn into a store front. They all have guns, and no one has to use one to put food on their children’s tables. Here in the US, we have a larger population per capita percent of black people in chains than we had during slavery. We have legalized racial slavery and don’t even call it that. Broken horses working in prison camps to make our jeans or dig our ditches for free (actually these for-profit prisons collect payment for day labor while also getting room and board from the tax payer). Broken…

Part 3 – Say Sorry

Every argument must end with someone willing to admit they were mistaken, or were misunderstood. Miss-taken… When I admit a mistake I am not saying I am wrong… I am agreeing that I was misunderstood or that I misunderstood something. We must realize we don’t have to be “wrong” to be sorry… To admit we were mistaken is to admit that for a brief moment we began to create different realities. We simply have to walk through a doorway of admission, hand in hand together, both wishing to realign our worlds.

Mortal humans fly banners that separate us… separate us by nation, by subdivision within the nation we wear colors of red and blue for bloods and crips… We divide into factions of factions each bearing it’s hue or its mark. We stand out for our differences, hold others down for theirs. We call this “pride”… One of our seven deadly sins worn like a badge of honor as we spit on those who are actually just like us but wear a different costume. The KKK and Nazis band together and march in the street as the oppressed white male (who has every opportunity, but thinks the universe is supposed to be handed to you on a silver platter and doesn’t think they should have to earn it).

We as humans are easily able to walk through the forest and admire the trees… Each a different color, a different shape… And yet we still stroll, un-angered by these differences… Some trees are smaller, and some bent… Some straight and some even grow into each other. We don’t judge these trees for their differences we simply enjoy the peace of the woods… And yet somehow we can’t approach human beings this way… Why do we show more respect for a plant than we do for the individuality of humans? Why can we show love by allowing a tree and yet we can’t allow each other? Why are we willing to surrender to the forest so easily without even thinking about it? Probably because we don’t think we know better, what the tree needs to be happy… than the tree itself.

Then I began to realize why we fly a white flag when it is time to surrender… Because it means we are accepting all flags, all colors, all banners… We are saying I give in to your needs if you would only agree not to hurt me.

Part 4 – Offer Unconditional Love

My love for my wife is unquestioning and unconditional surrender… In all things I surrender to her if I am not too late to shut the open garage door that is my brain-mouth barrier, and haven’t yet let slip words of war.

I fly a white flag that says I accept all of your colors all of your thoughts as truth, all of your opinions will be respected, all that your love I will covet and protect for you, all that you are I will allow… Not as one allows a child to eat ice cream… I will allow you to be all that you are and love all that you love just as the air allows you to draw breath from it… I will accept you the way a river bed accepts the water that flows along its banks…

Whenever we begin to create separate universes through misunderstandings and mistakes, I will agree to return to her truth. I will agree to bend my reality and see hers as the one that I need to somehow help correct the vision of me within… I will do this because that’s what unconditional love is… It is the willingness to forgo all pride… All ego… All that which separates us. I know that she will also alter time and space for me with her unconditional love of who I am… I know together, if we are always able to bend our universes together, then we will never break…

In my practice of Vajrayan Buddhism I have (as is encouraged) designed my own morning prayer… my unique sun salutation that I will share with anyone who chooses to learn it… I invented it when I was young, but since the fire I have embraced it as my true path to faith. It begins with the recognition that we are separated.

  1. My soul believes it is a separate thing, that is torture
  2. Through the self-reflecting mirror of interaction with other separated souls, I learn to see myself through their perspective
  3. Through that reflection I learn to understand myself… I learn to know myself and all the aesthetics of my machine I pilot through life.
  4. Over time I learn more and more even when separated I can reflect on this interaction that allowed me to learn about who I am
  5. I use my Ch’i (my energy) to alter time in order to learn to love and be loved more
  6. From within my temple (my body) I grow and mend and heal in order to achieve inner peace, and it is only through that peace I learn happiness and become worthy of the love I receive in earnest.
  7. From detachment of selfish need, I can tap into the source of consciousness and through this connection of inner peace I can directly channel unconditional love into the world. Through this love:

6. We improve this temple. It is through improvement:
5. We increase our positive ch’i. It is through positive ch’i freely given:
4. We alter time for the better of all that exist. It is through time:
3. That we are able to embrace ourselves. It is through embracing ourselves:
2. we are able to provide a positive reflection of all those we encounter in life and steer them towards the path of happiness. It is through that joy:
1. we realize that no matter how far apart we feel… we are never alone in this universe.

Part 5: Accept it in return

I surrender to everyone on bended knee with heart in hand lifted towards them and ask only that in return love and never try to hurt me. If you try to I am prepared to heartlessly defend myself… for my body is a temple and shall be protected.

Through this act of complete surrender knowing I still possess the warriors strength, I can appear as vulnerable as a ragdoll cat, friendly, with sheathed claws, and no desire to fight. I have found my freedom in that surrender. My wife and my home are my sanctuary. She was and continues to be my salvation, and my peace… I am a refugee from a world of pain and life of starvation and suffering and she has rescued me from that prison of my own mind. She is my first true home… My first true heaven. She opened her gates to me, accepted all of me into her world, has fed my soul. She washed away my scars, she wrapped me in warmth and shown me I am stronger than I could ever imagine… All through love.

Part 6: Love

Together we will create our bliss… We will teach others the way to peace and happiness and love, is only through surrender… Surrender is not a weakness… It is an agreement to never pick up a weapon against a friend or foe unless a blade is sailing at your throat… However like a house cat, if they ever believe this surrender and offer of peace somehow makes us a slave… we will swiftly teach them otherwise. Surrender means “I will no longer be an aggressor”, it doesn’t mean I will be your victim or your prisoner. It means I will not try to stab you anymore. I have always called myself “Sun Wu Kong”… I see myself (a white pasty skinned redheaded Buddhist) as the Monkey King… the body guard of a Buddhist monk on “a journey to the west”… My job, is protect those who would harm this message that is being brought to us through the veil of Science Fiction in the form of “Jedi” and “Super Heroes”… The message however is entirely Buddhist (Jedi = Vajrayana Buddhism, Taoism, Hindu, Shinto… the religions of the peaceful warrior)… I am one of Nilo Rodis-Jamero’s disciples (no… not because he designed Star Wars and Star Trek… but really, through direct apprenticing, after he raised me with Star Wars and handed me Buddhism through science fiction I ended up magically working directly with him for a couple years as the only two people on a game concept… and he trained me to work the way I do). Nilo is the most famous man no one has ever heard of… He was the inspiration for “Yoda” in “Star Wars”, and designed pretty much every aspect of that film, pushing credit to whomever felt the need to take it. this is how I work as well now… I don’t need credit if my art makes it into the world. One reason this blog is anonymous for anyone who doesn’t directly know me.

I have always said my fathers were Chuck Jones, Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Stan Lee. They raised me far more than my own father did. Today I call “Deadpool” my spirit animal, and have a Chinese alter setup to pay tribute to him (because my kung Fu teacher is still very much alive). This is both a joke, and a reality. The reason I hold true to the spiritual ideals of Deadpool is because I am a trained warrior who would never use a gun (he tends to forget his ammo bag). He also, always carries with him his sense of Humor no matter how horrible or dire his situation is… So I look to that as an example of how I wish I could be and try to always find the humor in things (like losing every material possession I own, and immediately turning to my Buddhist roots in a way to thank the universe for the gift of having no material possessions). My family all lived, even the cat…

You cannot find unconditional love like this with force, you can’t demand it, you can’t beg for it or cry for it, bribe someone for it with money… or even ask for it… You must give it… Give into it, with your entire heart and spirit… To receive unconditional love with no weapons, you must first put your guard down

I will lift my white flag of surrender and my wife will paint it all the beautiful colors of the rainbow, She will create a new flag for us to fly… A flag of peace, and of home… Our home.

3 thoughts on “The Word of the Day is “Surrender”

  1. Thank you. I really appreciate so much about this musing you’ve shared (not the least of which is recognizing the Feline Language, having been adopted as a pet by a beautiful feral girl named Luna, and then by a honey-and-habanero girl, Baby Cat, who hisses if called by any names she doesn’t prefer).

    Liked by 1 person

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