Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy, prosperous, wonderful New Year!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm in Love


For years I struggled to find meaning in meaningless relationships. There were times when I was so numb inside that sleeping with as many women as possible was my only reason for living. At my worst, I surrendered myself to something much, much worse: utter loneliness. It was at those times that I prayed for someone, anyone to sleep in my bed. Just as long as I didn’t have to spend another night alone.

And then, suddenly, I found it.

I was walking down the street about a year ago when I saw Her. She was out shopping for Christmas presents with her mom and her sister. As soon as our eyes met my heart rate shot up uncontrollably and I actually had to catch my breath. I had become a romantic cliché.

At that point I really had no choice but to approach her AND her family. Definitely NOT my usual MO. I introduced myself and engaged in some banal banter with all three of them. Her mother was curious. Her sister hated me instantly. I didn’t care, so long as I was able to have Her near me.

In the end, I snagged an email address. After a week of emails and phone calls back and forth I earned my first date.

I still remember how nervous I was that night. I was more than nervous. I was terrified. But it turned out to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime conversations. We talked about family and friends, about our careers, and our life goals.

About half-way through dinner the conversation turned to simplicity. And I couldn’t control myself any longer. I had to tell her EVERYTHING.

I told her about being materialistic. About being a selfish asshole. And, of course, about trying to find meaning in empty loneliness.

She listened intently, interrupting me only to ask a relevant question or two.

“But are you a good man?” she asked eventually. I told her I was. She then kissed me. Deeply.

I was reborn that night. Apparently, redemption is attained through the grace of a good woman. Even for a wretch like me.

It has been a year since that first date. And my love for Her has deepened to a point where sometimes I don’t even know where I start and she begins.

I love this woman because she was made for me. And I was made for her.

She is my sun. My spring. My biking simplicity. When she stands beside me in the rain I smile. And when I kiss her lips it always feels like the beginning of the road once more.

There has never been a sweeter wine, nor a more evocative dream, than her lips on mine.

I am in love.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Back

Hello everyone!

Going to make this short. Just wanted to say thank you for all you support this past year. I am still amazed at the amount of emails, calls and text that I still get even though this blog has been inactive for a while.

I’m actually planning to get back to blogging with a vengeance real soon. Be prepared for a shift in focus. I have a feeling AVS will be evolving, just as I have been evolving. That’s the way it should be.

Take care everyone,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011



I had a beautifully disturbing realization this past week: I couldn’t remember the last time I talked to my mother. I really couldn’t. This realization was even more delicious because I was pretty sure that I hadn’t even THOUGHT about her for what seemed like several months. Not for a single second.

And why should I? Over the years this woman has been emotionally manipulative. She has hurled insults. She has literally THROWN things at people. She has belittled everyone that ever cared about her. And she has done it with an insatiable, uncontrolled rage. But I guess regular readers already know that.

Let me be clear about this. My mother is not a two-dimensional monster. I understand and respect the reasons why she acts the way she does. In fact, I actually love and admire her greatly. You guys have no idea what she has been through. She is one of the most courageous and intelligent people I know.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t care anymore. I really don’t. I’m tired of feeling sorry for someone who is often only interested in making me miserable. I’m over trying to reach out to a person who is so emotionally damaged that they are incapable of sharing love. I’m sick of being yelled at. I’m done being the adult.

I’ve decided to simplify my life once again. I’m basically not talking to my mother again. Ever.

I can’t express how happy this makes me feel. The happiness is reinforced by knowing that I am not doing this out of some sort of hurtful need to spite the woman who gave birth to me. I am simply doing something that will bring peace and tranquility to my life.

And yes, I’m aware that there are some practical impediments to this decision (family gatherings, calls initiated by her, etc…) but believe me, I’ve thought about them and they can all be overcome.

The bottom line is that sometimes distance may be your only option. If you are fortunate, you may be able to use that distance to find simple, peaceful understanding. Not only for yourself, but for those you love.

Tonight I feel completely free.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blogging Redux

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I still get tons of emails from people who want to know why I stopped writing. Many are long-time readers who love the blog and want to read more. Some are clearly new to the blog and are just curious about a specific post or topic. And, of course, there are those “other” readers who still wish to kill me or who are otherwise happy that my “sexist,” “cocky” (horrible pun definitely intended), “hateful” vitriol is out of the public eye.

The truth is that since mid-2010 I haven’t really felt a need to write on the blog. It isn’t that nothing of consequence has happened since my last post. In fact, some incredible things happened during the last six months or so. It’s just that I don’t run my life by internet. I never did. Long-time readers know that the focus of this blog was never to provide commentary re voluntary simplicity. This blog was never conceived as some sort of simplicity newsletter.

I started this blog to try to understand the source of overwhelming unhappiness. Somewhat surprisingly, the blog was actually instrumental in allowing me to chart a course towards a certain amount of healing and genuine understanding. But the blog itself was never the answer. It was merely a tool I used in the middle of a tempest. And it was a tool I stopped using once I got to shore.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I feel like blogging. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Falling Off a Cliff


Well, I’m glad that’s over.

After nearly 2 years of nearly uninterrupted exhilaration, spiritual awakening and ongoing personal transformation I suddenly fell off a cliff. Big time.

I’m not going to lie. The past couple of months have been difficult. But I’m here to tell you that all of that is behind me. And I think for good.

There are probably a dozen reasons why this happened. Here are just some of the big ones:

1. The Road Was Postponed. I had to postpone my South American trip for any number of reasons. This will probably be the subject of a future post but let’s just say that the gradual realization that I would not be getting back on the road was, somehow, too much to bare.

2. I Hit a Wall. I probably hit a wall in terms of personal development. There is only so much change you can make over a period of time. I was probably too demanding with myself. Too focused on getting to the “change” without truly appreciating the value and beauty that lies in the “journey towards change.”

3. Love. After several years doing my best to avoid a serious relationship (and reaping the exciting, yet ephemeral joys of being single) I was suddenly open to love. Real, substantial, meaningful, scary love. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was out of my element. In the end, I was undone by fear of commitment and my own insecurities. More on this later.

4. Habit. When all is uncertain, when frustration reigns, when everything that is good for you feels like hard work you embrace what you’ve known for years. In my case that means embracing my inner asshole.

There is more work to be done on the personal development front. I know that. What has changed is that I am no longer tied to some artificial schedule. My to-do lists still reign supreme but they exist in the context of a much more holistic process of “change.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have sent emails, texts and/or otherwise reached out over the past couple of months. All that stuff helped. Believe me.

And to those in the press who have been trying to reach me, all I can say is that I am fine and that I still prefer to express myself via the blog. Not looking for publicity. Not interested in fame. I just want to continue doing what I have been doing over the past two years: challenging myself to be a better person with simple, brutal honestly.

Thank you everyone,


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Taking Stock


Well, I’ve hit a wall. I can’t continue on this path. That much is clear. Time to try something new.

And by “new” I’m referring to a variation on the “time out” I did recently. The focus is simple: regain focus. Hopefully, this will allow me the time to examine where I am, why I am where I am, and, ultimately, how I can move forward again.

This “time out” involves the following over the next 30 days:

*Heading out with friends once a week only. Meeting up with large groups of people, all very much interested in partying and debauchery, is at the core of this current downward spiral. The idea is to limit these activities as a precursor to finding my way back to a healthier Jack.

And no, I don’t think going cold turkey on this would do much good. I would rather have access to people I trust and care about once a week than to cut off contact completely. At least I should get the chance to evaluate whether my current friendships are helping or hindering my progress.

*Limiting drinking to the once-a-week get-togethers
. I’ve noticed that drinking is clearly exacerbating things whenever I am out with people. Better to limit this as well.

And no, I don’t think I have a drinking problem. I’ve cut off drinking quite a bit over the past couple of years. Up till this past month my MO was clear: give me 2 glasses of Cabernet or 3 bottles of Sam Adams and I’ll be good to go for the night. Twice a month. At most. The problem is the combination of alcohol with my current state of mind. Need to reevaluate this as things progress.

*Limiting sexual activity, if any, to the days I meet up with friends. I think this is self-explanatory.

*Taking the time to contemplate my situation. The idea is to have enough time to really understand why I am where I am. I need to interrogate myself in a serious and honest way. There is clearly a disconnect between my actions and the person I want to be. I just have to figure out how to identify the source of that disconnect and chart a path towards safety.

I’m fully aware that there is no guarantee that this “time out” will work. But hey, I’ve learned that in life nothing is guaranteed. I’m going to give this a shot because deep down, I still believe in myself. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t.

And if it doesn’t work, well, as suggested in comments to my previous post, there are other alternatives to consider.

Wish me luck.