Minimalism – Returning to My Philosophical Roots.

Happy Mani’s Day!

Since making my decision to reign from teaching ASAP, I have been reviewing my minimalistic philosophy of life. Mostly, on the practical side, I have to reduce the shit in my possession so I can fit everything into my car and go back to Michigan. But the rest of it is renewing some things I had forgotten. Stuff remembered that would have helped me with what I am going through now if I hadn’t remembered it too late.

Does this give me joy?

Does this give me sense of purpose?

Does this add value to my life.?

These are the questions at some point that I stopped asking and got off track. Had asked them about teaching or some of the things I have bought with my money I would probably have had a better sense of purpose and more money. So as I prepare to move back home, stuff is leaving my life.

I first learned of this concept many years ago when I was still a Christian reading Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline and then I read his later book – Freedom of Simplicity. Now, one might say this is a Christian thing until you realize every major viewpoint seems to have some discussion about Minimalism in its most base form – living simply. Stoic philosophers sing its praises without even a reference to a deity. Does it fit with the Nine Noble Virtues – I would say ‘yes’. It is more important to work with purpose than accumulate. More important to work on one’s self than acquire things from others.

This last few days, I have been getting rid of things and with each trip to Goodwill or each tip to the dumpster, I feel the load of life’s burden getting lighter. I have fewer things than last week and yet I feel like I have gained something – freedom from the desire to possess.

One particular trial in this was not as one might expect – my books. but rather my games. I have a load of Avalon Hill wargames I collected in my younger days that I have had through many travels and moves. I have held onto these forever and yet today I set aside 2/3 of them to take to Goodwill. I asked myself – ‘when was the last time you played this? It came up surprisingly often – ‘never’ and at other times ‘decades ago’. Some collectors will have them if they stumble into the right Goodwill and find them. But it felt so good – like giving up a dormant part of the past so I am open for something else to enjoy or be more productive. Letting go and gaining freedom. That is simplicity, that is minimalist philosophy. It brings real peace.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


I Cried Today

Happy Sif’s Day!!!

I Cried Today. I don’t cry often. I am not one of those macho guys who think crying is a sign of weakness. At the same time I was raised with the notion crying is not a manly thing to do. I am part of that generation. I don’t rationally have a problem with it, but I think subconsciously I get a little disappointed in myself whenever the tears roll down my face.

I have made a decision to resign from my post as a teacher of social studies in my school as soon as I can and go back home. I had to and it sucks.

On Friday I was facing a lot of facts about my situation and they felt it – massive anxiety. The Grey’s ultimate effect. It was strong too. I knew what lay ahead and that was a breakdown. And then I caught myself and realized what was going on. Just. In. Time. Nervous breakdown avoided. How did I know it was a nervous breakdown? – because I have had one before.

That time not only did it nearly destroy me, but I went through it without any help only realizing what it was after the fact when I pulled myself up from it and looked at the symptoms in retrospect. My therapist back then told me I was lucky to be standing. But, I always get up. Keep going. That is so ingrained in me.

So today I told my family that I was giving up teaching and coming back to Michigan. The reaction was mixed. Part of that was a friend of mine who I also posted came over saying he would take my bed, desk, etc. but he had to take them today. So I tore some things down and they hauled them away. I felt weird about it, but I need to let things go. Minimize things. They were things I had bought with the money I had earned teaching, but I need to let it go. They are just things.

The problem is I then had an epiphany right after my friend left. I don’t like disappointing people. I don’t like people looking at me like I am a failure and here was another failure. For the last five years, I have felt like I am both disappointment and a failure and at that moment I cried. I am so tired of trying to redeem myself against myself. I feel like I have failed my kids and friends so many times. It sucks.

This killed my marriage. I needed to talk about how I felt like a failure and a disappointment to my ex-wife and I couldn’t because of respect for her feelings. And I had to keep it inside. It killed us because I couldn’t talk about it. I needed to talk about how I felt I had let everyone down and was a disappointment to her in particular and I couldn’t because as she put it. “That’s the past and it just brings up bad feelings”. So I respected her feelings and died inside. Then it overflowed and killed our marriage too.

This epiphany solidified in front of me and my tears came. I know one thing I can’t stay here. I feel like I am running away but in truth, I was running away by coming here. I just didn’t want to admit it. Somehow I need to break this family curse of being silent. The Grey’s power needs to be broken. I just don’t know how to do it.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Why I am Leaving Teaching for Good

Happy Thor’s Day!

I spent a lot of time during the Christmas Break pondering what I needed to do for the future. I had concluded that I needed to return to Michigan after year one in Texas but what about teaching itself. “Do I even like to teach anymore?” was the burning question this holiday season. The answer became ‘No.’ Slowly what has developed is a list of things of why, not only I need to go back home to Michigan, but also why I need to leave the profession of teaching far behind. In the end, I have a lot of personal, professional, and philosophical reasons to leave it behind and go do something else.

Personally, the list is pretty long. 1) This job triggers my high-functioning depression a lot. I do not enjoy life as a whole right now, and I am fighting through it and trying to get back to coping mechanisms that keep it from being overwhelming. 2) I don’t like Texas or Houston very much. It’s not the people, it’s the environment. 3) I am very alone here in this situation. My family support is very distant and that is my fault. 4) I don’t enjoy the job anymore. I don’t know how this happened, but right before the break I simply thought to myself ‘I don’t like this anymore, not any bit of it.” 5) I feel like I am back in the ministry emotionally and in my last year before I left that profession – and it has only been a year and a half. I am already struggling to keep going emotionally, and that is not a good sign. I don’t seem to have the ability to leave work at work with this one and that is not good for me personally. 6) The money is good, but if I am looking at the possibility of even retiring, I need to do better. Or do I need to simply go into business for myself? Lot questions here, the one positive I will be taking home from this raid into Texas is a lot of my debt will be paid off.

Professionally, There have been so many changes this year that have robbed me of what I enjoyed about the job. I liked the process of writing lessons and figuring out what to do each day, adjusting as I went. No, our team pretty much wrote everything out ahead of time and I feel like we are being forced into a style that does not fit me. I also was told by some that I wasn’t really teaching. What they meant was I was not teaching the way they were taught in school that teaching is. I find this narrow conception of what teaching is to be my largest issue with my colleagues who graduated with education degrees. I also feel the profession of education has too much about it like this.

Philosophically, I am way too libertarian for this job. Public education is all the things we libertarians say it is. Operant conditioning is bothersome at best to me. I now know why the media uses certain terms so much. It’s about conformity, not freedom. I actually find myself applauding my students who are rebels. I am also becoming more supportive of parents who decided on alternative forms of educating their children. This system is built by politicians and bureaucrats and it shows. The fact that one cannot be a teacher and be vocal about issues without the risk of losing one’s job is also bothersome. Time to leave as soon as practical.

So, the plan is to finish the year, pack my bags, and return to Michigan. I don’t as of yet what the future will hold. What do know is I need to get out of this place and profession. I need to return to my people and a place I love and enjoy and go from there.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


The Morning Routine: My Opening for Each New Day

Happy Mani’s Day!

A couple days ago I wrote about what I resolved to do this year and now I am starting to work on the nuts and bolts of things. January’s focus will be to get the morning routine down. I want to lay out the ten things in the morning routine and list some of the details and motivations for it. This is mostly for my benefit to give myself clarity of thought. But it doesn’t hurt to share what you are doing with others in order to give inspiration or even open yourself up to suggestions.

1 – Get Up Early and make the Bed: Sounds simple right but there is a significance to it. If all else fails that day: I got up early, on time, and made my bed. There is nothing better than climbing into a made bed at the end of a long day as well. My wakeup and bedtime become the bookends of the day and I want it to be good at both ends.

2. Meditation on the Nine Noble Virtues: I actually put in my contacts before this but it is necessary because the NNV re on a poster on my wall. In five minutes I can read through them about three times and sometimes I pause to think about something. The point here is to remind myself what values I hold, and what my real motivations are.

3. Full Body Stretch: I need to get some flexibility and strength back in my joints but also this tends to be a very meditative time for me as well. I suppose I should mention that all of this is done naked at this point. I go to bed naked and I fail to see the point in getting dressed until after I shower. For stretching, being nude is actually very liberating as it gives very good freedom of movement.

4. Weightlifting: I have gone to more of a routine that is only two sets with 15-25 reps from now until the end of summer. The goal is fat burning and to lean out as much as possible. I have a dumbbell set at home so I don’t even need to go to the gym for now.

5. Good Breakfast; My diet is shifting to low carb and low salt. This is for the above-mentioned fat burning but also my blood pressure was high at my last visit so I need to cut the salt for both that and wat retention. A good breakfast starts all of that.

6. Hygiene Routine: I would put this Shit, Shower, and Shave. Ultimately I am just getting the hygiene done so I am ready for the day.

7. Get Dressed: Pretty self-explanatory. On days I work, it’s getting dressed for work Otherwise it’s shorts and a T-Shirt for home or something else if I am going out that day.

8. Reading – I was going to do 3 chapters a day, but my Goodreads goal is only one book a month. So 1 chapter a day. With non-fiction, I am adding the read it again and take notes second run so this should make the 12 books a year make more sense.

9. Write for the blog: I am going with; 1) Write the rough draft one day and 2) Then edit and post the next. This is a conscious effort on my part to write every day but also to pay more attention to editing. Something that every writer needs to pay attention to more often.

10. Get Ready for Work (if needed): Self-Explainitory. Balance of time (if any) is spent resting.

The whole point is to get off to a good start personally each day with the daily goal of focusing on myself, and then keeping everything else that day in that context.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


The New Year: “Be It Resolved…”

Happy Sol’s Day!!!

Anyone who knows me also knows that I do not hold much to New Year’s Resolutions. I do however believe in a quarterly assessment of my goals and vision for myself. If the new year is valuable to me it is in the assessment of progress and a change of course that is planned. A course correction and seeing I am completely off course, time to chart from where I am at to where I would like to be next year. I think this year I will head in the direction of ‘be it resolved by the end of 2023, I will…” Then list the needed things to change.

1 – Be it resolved that by the end of 2023, my morning routine will be well established.” My routine every morning will help with a lot of my coping mechanisms. In fact, most of it is a list of my coping mechanisms in action. 1) Get Up Early and Make Bed, 2) Meditation on the Nine Noble Virtues (5 min), 3) Full Body Stretch, 4) Weight Lifting, 5) Good Breakfast, 6) Hygiene Routine, 7) Get Dressed, 8) Reading – 3 chapters, 9) Write – Rough Draft or Edit and Post for the Blog. Yes, I will be writing every other day from now on. The main focus here is me and keeping my depression from hitting me by keeping myself healthy and mentally focused.

2. Be it resolved that by the end of 2023, I will return to Michigan. I need to get back to a place where my depression bothers me less. It is closer to family and hiking, camping, etc. I love. Michigan people are my people. Houston just incites my depression. too much

3. Be it resolved that by the end of 2023, I will change careers from teaching to something less stressful and just as or more lucrative. I need to finish my contract, but after that, I am done. This means everything currently must be up to snuff as far as credentials, professional development, training, etc. Then on to what? I don’t know that yet. Kind of like returning to the land you left to find out what has changed that you can take advantage of. I guess part of the challenge will be the discovery.

4. Be it resolved that by the end of 2023, I will more actively pursue my new love – my shieldmaiden – if she will have me. I need to find her first. But something tells me the way to attract such a woman would be simply to be the best man I can be and see who is attracted to that. I think the only thing I am going to do here is, move to Michigan and then just be me. I do think I am going to be growing a full beard. Something like the gentleman below but my coloring will be different. Going to make myself into the healthiest, most masculine, and the sexiest old man I can be and see which female warrior is attracted to that. Time for this Odin avatar to find his Frigg.

5. Be it resolved that by the end of 2023, I will be at peace with myself in better ways. 1) I need to write beyond the blog., 2) I need to find that outlet I need to be a voice. The Rabyd Atheist was my pulpit for a couple years, but I stopped because I realized how dangerous it is to have social media career and be a teacher. I actually am taking a bit of risk even with this blog. This is probably one other good reason to change to something that does not have that risk. 3) Have paid off as much debt as possible by the end of the year. The move is going to take money, but I think most of the small bills will be gone by February, and then it is my car. If I move back to Michigan with nothing but student loans, I will be in good shape.

So there it is – my five – “Be it resolved”. Should be an interesting year.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Thoughts on 2022

Happy Sif’s Day and Happy New Year!

I look back on 2022 with frustration and some sense of self-discovery. It’s amazing how much those two go hand in hand.

My frustrations stem from a lack of satisfaction with where I am and what I am doing. I dislike Texas for a lot of reasons. I don’t enjoy the politics of it; the sub-tropical climate without any season to speak of; unless you count moving from green to brown of the foliage at times. The people are friendly enough but their viewpoints on life deeply seep into Christianity. The Bible Belt is alive and well. I reminded of a Viking saying about Christians – “Don’t trust them – they talk peace but carry a sword”. Christians are on the defensive so they are apologetic and kind. Just wait if the tables ever turn. I remember the 80s and 90s all too well. Politics, Climate, Religion, and Oh, Yes. Houston is without a doubt one of the worst-designed cities on the planet. One of the costs one expects in a city is that its design would help with is transport costs. But no, Houston is designed in such a way that you have to drive everywhere, even down a couple of blocks because public transport is a joke and sidewalks are non-existent as far as I can tell. Overall, I would say the environment fits me like a size 6 shoe and I have 10 and a half feet.

Top it off, my dissatisfaction with being a public school teacher has grown to the point that I want to be done at the end of the semester. I will finish out my contract and call it good. I hear most don’t last between 2-5 years so I am in good company. For me it is a little different – this job requires me to care too much – much as I did as a pastor. This is bad for me personally for a number of reasons. I am burnt out from caring about so many. I just can’t do it much longer. I hope that makes sense. It’s not that I don’t care about people, but the direct involvement in a lot of things in everyone’s life – I just can handle based on the simple fact that I get tired of doing it. I am worn out from that, I now understand I am probably too old to get that fire I used to get from helping people like that back. I will send myself to an early grave with the stress of my emotions. I no longer can help at a deep level without it triggering a lot of the Grey for me. My empathy is killing me at this point.

It’s this fact that has triggered The Grey a lot for me. It has led to the self-discovery that when I help others, I fail to take care of myself. This is not about selfishness – it’s about self-preservation. I getting too old for this shit. I have a lot of goals I have yet to achieve and this is not the way. My self-care has suffered and I can’t let that continue.

So in Viking Spirit, I am planning on ending my raid into Texas this summer and heading back home – north – back to Michigan. I can handle one more semester as long as I know it is the last one. But also during this semester, I need to get back to my coping mechanisms that keep the Grey at bay and make my life better overall. I need to once again put myself first. Getting Back to lifting weights, proper diet, writing, reading, meditation, and plan simply being a voice in the world for the NNV and Reason. To live the Viking Life in the modern age.

I suppose the one positive of raids is the plunder is good. I have made more in the last year and a half than four full years of ministry. That said, teaching is a tough job that deserves more. I think I can do better now that I have some measure of what it means to focus on things. Just wish I had a shieldmaiden by my side to help me with the burden of life. That would have made things easier. I haven’t found any shieldmaidens in Texas, maybe they are all northern gals. So I would be headed in the right direction. Tomorrow’s post will have more details on my vision for 2023.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Happy Yule!!!

Happy Thor’s Day!

Just wishing everyone a happy Yule season!!! I suppose the one good thing about having a pagan outlook on some things is that you can respect nature enough to acknowledge the changing seasons and their importance in people’s lives.

I hope to be writing more regularly after the holidays; but in the meantime, I wish you all the best this holiday season.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


The Flexible Nature of Pagan Philosophy

Happy Thor’s Day!

A commenter recently asked if I would explain where I am now to help understand my journey from Christian Pastor to the present. I would and have been classifying myself as a Pagan Atheist for some time now. The Atheist part is easy to understand or so you would think so. Simply put I do not believe in gods, goddesses, or even spiritual beings or forces because I do not find the evidence for the existence of these things to be at all convincing.

The pagan part is more difficult to define outside the spiritual side of it. Paganism throws around terms like “sacred, divine, etc: but my previously stated lack of belief in such things as spirits and gods or even sacredness throws a lot of that aside. In this expression of spirituality, one does find a philosophy based on a genuine and real world. People looked at the world around them and came up with observations that still hold today but wherever they didn’t understand the why or how – they made things up like religion and gods.

Of all religions, paganism is grounded the most in real life to me. It upholds the virtues of mankind as central. For me, the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) has become my code of life and there is really no requirement to believe in the supernatural to follow after the NNV. It could also be noted that the NNV provides a connection between most people as things like ‘courage’ ‘truth’ or ‘self-reliance’ can be discussed between people regardless of religion or philosophy.

I can easily sit down at a table with a Muslim, a Christian, and a Pagan and discuss what it means to have honor. We all would have differences in what honor is, but the basic idea would be there for all of us as a starting point. The differences would be in how ‘honor’ would be expressed. Those differences would be obvious, but what honor is would be understood. at least at a core level.

I chose paganism because of its practical truths such as the NNV. But also the viewpoints tend to be grounded in reality. That said, how the reality I interpreted can vary from pagan to pagan in very different and unique ways. There is really no right or wrong way to be a pagan. Most do have as a core three central cornerstones, but some of these cornerstones include the belief in things that are not proven, but a kernel of truth is still present that I can uphold because I think the philosophy works.

It should be noted here that I have looked at where ethics and morality come from and I don’t find that religion is the source of these things, but rather humans create ethics and philosophy as a society for the purpose of mutual benefit for all. Religion comes along and simply gets created to uphold the virtues and philosophy of life that already exist. Religion is a preserver of traditions but often has nothing to d with creating those traditions in the first place. It also has a tendency to pervert those traditions in the name of acquiring power for both the ruling and religious classes in society. Taking the good functioning element and seizing control of it and claiming divine origin is a classic religious staple.

Perhaps an example is in order. Marriage and in particular the nuclear marriage of one man and one woman. From an evolutionary standpoint, this works. You don’t need to be religious to see that. This issue is what came first. I believe people were living in nuclear arrangments for literally millions of years before religion came along and claimed the origin of marriage and the nuclear family that followed was of divine origin. It simply worked and became something valued because it worked.

But back o the cornerstones of basic pagan belief. 1) There is a belief in the importance or sacredness of nature.2) Reverence for ancestors and 3) acknowledgment of the divine within ourselves. If I were to take the spiritualized nature out of these things it becomes 1) The understanding of the importance of the natural world. 2) Respect for those who came before us and 3) recognition of the value of each human being including myself. I want to do a post on each of these things, so I will leave these cornerstones for the moment.

The point of this post is this is my interpretation of these and that is perfectly OK in paganism. Paganism is flexible and its philosophy is malleable. It can be shaped more specifically for each individual. That to me is more realistic that a philosophy that dictates terms to the individual they are forced into. Pagan philosophy is a tool for understanding the world and our role in it, not a dictator telling us what to do.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Archiving the Past

Happy Tyr’s Day!

I suppose one of the most notable changes to the blog at this point is that I have archived a lot of the pages into the “Grey Wayfarer Archive”. The point of this is to put all the past aside and look at what I want to do now. The pages at the top of the blog may change but I don’t want to forget where I have been. There are a couple survivors in my page filing system.

The first is “The Grey and the Wayfarer Posts”. It chronicles my battle with depression and so it is probably the best thing to keep up there as a reminder of where I have come from. I also plan on writing more of these so having it front and center is probably a good thing.

The second is “Skald Tales and Poems”. This is where all my creative work is displayed and it’s more of a quick way to reference it all when I need to. I plan on doing some creative writing and it will still find its way here. This is also where the reader can peruse my creative work for their enjoyment.

The rest has found its way into “The Grey Wayfarer Archive”. I want to save this stuff but I want to do things differently for the blog this time around. The purpose is clear to me. I am using this stuff as the roots of a large more expansive tree. I hope.

My main point is to keep the name but have a somewhat fresh start when it comes to how I organize my new content. My struggles are far different now but have the same cause. This requires a different approach when an old issue takes a new form.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.


Re-Imagining The Grey Wayfarer

Happy Sol’s Day!

I haven’t sat down and written in forever; partly, it is the lack of inspiration. The other part of it is the time excuse but that is what it is – an excuse. To be fair to myself, I am learning a new job that is time intensive. That said, I have made a point to keep working at work and home at home. So is it a time thing or a making the time thing and then being disciplined about it. The latter is more likely. Mostly, I have just been wrestling against my depression.

Yes, The Grey, my old traveling companion down the road of life. It is at least a consistent companion if nothing else. Mostly it stems from being alone most of the time. I make enough money to survive and get ahead on paying debts but not much after that. I spend a lot of time at home alone. I thus do a lot of thinking -gasp – and that is a dangerous pastime as everyone knows. I am wrestling mostly with my future choices. What do I want to be?

I was the Rabyd Atheist for a while but the thought that kept running through my head was “is this what I want to define me?” I now think while I remain an atheist with a great deconversion story, I want that to be it. There is more to me than being an atheist and I want to search that out what that might be.

I am a social studies teacher in high school, but that is losing its allure as well. I think after so long as being the guy who called the shots, I don’t see that as often as I feel every time I turn around someone is joggling my elbow. Teaching is a craft to be sure but I find it time-consuming and frustrating for the above-stated reason. Honestly, I would rather e writing and hiking somewhere. Is it possible to make a living with some other job and still have time for the things I enjoy? It’s something I need to research.

As to this blog, I am Re-Imagining it to be something else. I still follow pagan philosophy and the Nine Noble Virtues. The issue is the application for me these days. Putting things into practice. So perhaps It is time to journal on these efforts again. We will see. In the meantime, you can see that I am still around and alive and well, despite the Grey.

I remain.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher.  The Grey Wayfarer.