The authenticity of being

To be one’s authentic self, one first needs to appreciate the joyful consequence of simply being, shedding all important sounding concepts, represented in our language by words such as “meaning” and “purpose,” words that mislead the thinking mind’s egoic self, inflating the two labels beyond tangible reality to a deceptive vitality. There is no set route; everyone has a different path, their own discretely unique cross to bear.

Yet, still, the destination remains the same — death. The road taken to meet the end of this mortal existence matters not; it is the recognition of what “is” that imbues the soul with the joy of being. The absolute acceptance of what “is” brings peace and contentment, regardless of the consistency and character of any individual suffering.

A pond’s beauty lies in nature’s glorious brutality of authenticity. Is the pond any more magnificent, frozen, or flowing? Each physical state brings the candid charm of being, a trait beyond the measure of senses or ken, sanctioning a momentary parting of the veil, revealing an ephemeral you, gazing back, still in utter clarity, brightened by an unexpected expression of the soul.

The Surreal thing

January 2, 2024

It is surreal to consider that it was just one year ago I started my Parkinson’s comeback. Much has changed in the past 12 months as my Parkinson’s “progressed,” a word ordinarily reserved for positive characterizations.

Although my symptoms have indeed worsened, my mitigation efforts have added significantly more “time of useful consciousness” to the day, as we used to call it in the Navy. The last year has been progressively more difficult, but since when is easier better?

2023 was busy. Blue Water: Born a Pisces, Poseidon Has Always Been My God was released, while the completion of this essay is evidence that work on a sixth book continues.

Travel this year included three flights to the East Coast, the first to say goodbye to my mother and another to celebrate her life several months later. Our final flight east was to mark my son’s graduation from Nuclear Power School, a prerequisite to becoming a U.S. Navy submarine officer.

I was fortunate to see my grandson and his father several times in 2023. The latter relationship has not been without the occasional bump, but we both stuck with it to the point where I now love my son-in-law, well, like a son. And then there is our daughter, who works full time while raising our grandson and preparing for a second boy, still finding time to call her mother daily.

A week of fishing in Alaska with two old Navy buddies, one who brought his adult son, was another highlight, and I was privileged to make five new friends, all down-to-earth and fun.

What 2023 has lacked in ease has more than compensated with the joy of authenticity’s grace, bringing a fresh resilience. And so, the game continues…

2023’s final sun.

December 31, 2033

It is odd – according to common thinking – that as each year gets more difficult for me, my happiness and sense of contentment proportionately grow greater as well. There are many reasons for this, but I believe the crux of the answer lies in perspective.

I honestly don’t feel anything for what the future holds for me—I am just so thankful to all my family, friends, and followers for believing in me through your support and tolerance of what sometimes can look like childish antics. I’d make a New Year’s resolution, but we all know how they tend to turn out. In my heart, I’ll always be 15.

Happy New Year, everyone; I am forever grateful for each of you and your role in my life. Here is to your sense of peace and contentment for 2024, regardless of life circumstances. And a final thought (about now, it becomes painfully clear why the Universe has decided to take my voice – he just won’t shut up, will he?): Easier does not mean better, especially in life.

I love you all.


12/25/2023 Christmas

Like most people, my wife and I have spent much of our 32-year marriage too busy to notice time slip away. One clear morning, we woke up as sixty-year-olds, with used-to-be kids living much as we had when we were young, leaving us to wonder what the hell happened.

I used to think the phrase “our time” was a hackneyed attempt to climb on society’s prescribed bandwagon just before twilight. Yet, as Parkinson’s progresses, the time spent with my wife is absent petty bickering, and the boundaries between “me” and “we” are adoringly blurred. Like no other, my wife recognizes that, for me, occasionally risky challenges are how I exercise my soul. Despite full-time work and being an involved, loving mother and grandmother, she still manages to act as my caregiver.

She is one of the few who “gets it” when I say I neither want nor deserve sympathy and that things are perfect exactly as they are. It is refreshing to be often still surprised by my wife’s thoughts and feelings. During a recent conversation, she appeared to be growing frustrated by my constant movements and slurred speech, irritants that can prove intolerable to watch. I asked her what was wrong. Her answer was not what I expected. 

“Nothing is wrong. I was thinking of how often, day after day, you have to dig deep, I mean really deep, into reserves that you can’t even know are there.” No pity or sugary platitude; no drama, but instead a simple acknowledgment of what “is.” My wife is real.

I am grateful beyond words for my wife, a graceful angel of authenticity and exquisite spirit, as she reminds me through everyday actions that life is precious simply because it “is.” I love you, and Merry Christmas.

The next hill

December 4, 2023

When I go hiking or just a walk around the neighborhood, I rarely think about traversing the hill at the end. There is nothing to gain by ruminating about how it will be painful and prolonged. Instead, I think about my next few steps, breathing vitality into everything surrounding me.

Living in the present is a much-discussed concept that travels deep into the soul. I only began to realize this as my Parkinson’s symptoms started to accelerate nine years after deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, when it dawned on me that dwelling on future physical decay isn’t exactly conducive to a life of joyful peace.

I’ve come to think of life as walking on a conveyor belt: how fast you move toward an inevitable end (i.e., death) might be partly in a person’s control, but even if you come to a complete stop, you will still be moving to the same end. The faster we accept this truism, the sooner we can enjoy the peace and joy of the present moment. Fighting back at Parkinson’s while accepting the steady loss of capability does not alter the eventual outcome, nor should it change our capacity to feel joy and happiness.

By concentrating on what you are doing at any particular part of the day, whether exciting, uncomfortable, or boring, there is always something funny about the situation. The universe thrives on irony. Recognizing this trait as intrinsic to all aspects of form lightens life’s mood, making the trip bearable and fun, and promotes living in the moment on a deeper level than mantras or blanket positivity.

The home of resilience and grit, irony is a sure sign that you are living in the moment, always moving toward the light.

Defining love

November 12, 2023

Children are born with intact awareness and understanding of love’s miracle of simplicity. It is only society’s enculturation that needlessly complicates a comprehension of perhaps life’s most fundamental truth—just as essential to evolving beyond western culture’s spiritual stasis, the royal lie of scarcity, is a common marker of awareness that “I am nobody,” not to be confused with reducing the statement to society’s lowest level of introspection, “I am a nobody.”

In revelation’s epiphany, basking in the unequivocal rawness of calm that ensures, and reassures that “it” (life and death) is all really okay, its assumed corollary, “I do not exist,” is also on the path toward enlightenment for that person, understanding that you are also everything.

Love is similar.

Love is everything. And love is nothing. The apparent contradiction is, in my opinion, beyond the thinking mind’s ken; it cannot be understood by the thinking mind. It can only be felt with the heart. This may be why there is such confusion with romantic love and the extant truth of love as a universal energy of endless possibility.

Love is the energetic building block of matter, of form. Love creates all that we know and think we know. Love is everything; and equally true is that love is nothing, maybe because our ability to imagine nothingness and the personal expectations that determine our individual realities are devised and fabricated by love as well.

Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best: love is the universe’s common currency.

Roll out

October 20, 2023

Why roll a book out at a restaurant? Why not a bookstore, or library, or any place where there was not an existential threat of BBQ sauce saturation?

Those who know me are deeply aware of my penchant for doing things unconventionally. After today, however, I see clear reason for the venue’s propriety. Tomorrow’s Book signing will be the third (or is it the fourth?) at the BBQ Joint, each more successful than the last. Some of life’s most interesting conversations have occurred for me here amid splattering BBQ sauce.

I first started coming to The BBQ Joint when I was interviewing a now deceased friend about his unique experiences in World War Two and Vietnam, most of which is still highly classified, has little to do with flying, and was not available for public dissemination as late as 2015/16 when the interviews occurred. Reliving experiences that can only be described as horrific, in the end the raw emotion became too much for him and for the sake of his sanity he bowed out. A part of me was relieved.

The owners and workers at the BBQ Joint are all either related or are as close to family as can be conceived: they give generously of their money, time, and at home atmosphere to ensure the young sailors stationed on Whidbey have a home here as well. My conversations with Tim, Sonna, Kyla, and Courtney are as real as they get. It is a place of authenticity and kindness.

I hope to see you all tomorrow 21 OCTOBER, at The BBQ Joint from 12 noon to 3:00 for a book signing.

Love to you all. Peter


October 16, 2023

I first saw this rainbow on my way home from the boat. What struck me as curious was the apparent grace with which it altered its fundamental radiant message. First seeing it framing a wooded area, the notion of a relaxed description, such as “the nature of nature” was perfect for that moment. Once the final 90 degree turn of the dock was made, the rainbow had changed its position and its aura, adopting a far lighter tone as the rainbow’s two ends draped either side of the marina store, not exactly a spot of terribly lofty conversation.

Able to keep sight of the rainbow for most of the ten minute ride home, I marveled at how effortlessly the rainbow changed not just its location but its tone and message as well.

Once home, judging from social media, the rainbow was widely seen: if was, indeed, one of those rare moments in modern Society of relatively widespread shared humanity.

It is clear to me that the rainbow was reflecting back to us the tone of our present mood and focus. Truly observing the greater world around us can teach us much about ourselves. And it was refreshing to read about so many people seeing beauty reflected back at them, kinda made me feel like I was a part of something bigger, mysterious, and exalted,, watching humanity from afar, blessing us as one.

Life changing

October 12, 2017

Six short years ago, Greg and I were partaking in some “shark repellent,” the night before we departed on a plane to make the 18-hour boat ride to Guadeloupe Island, Mexico to cage dive with Great White sharks.

Twelve years out from a life-changing young onset Parkinson’s diagnosis, I viewed this as probably the final organized adventure of my life. Turns out, I was correct.

I enjoyed the Great White trip immensely, despite coming home with few photos actually taken by me as I practiced solid environmental awareness, “taking only pictures and leaving only Go-Pros,” as Parkinson’s curious selectivity required a dual sacrifice of both of my Go-Pros to Poseidon.

Only making one or two dives a day (most on board made considerably more daily dives, with the record high going to Bob Scarevaza, owner with his wife Kelly of Anacortes Diving and Supply, something like 27 dives in a single day).

With my days of organized adventure behind me, do I feel sad or depressed? Not in the least: there is truly a time for everything, and I still manage to enjoy nearly daily unscripted adventure, usually due to some Parkinson’s induced foibles…what I feel mostly is Melancholy’s fullness of purpose.

Just reward for a life well lived, and as the sayings go, “I ain’t dead yet.” Sorry, Satan, not today.

Life’s eternal bargain

My first indication of a visiting vessel was the coffee-grinder-like sound of a bow thruster. My passengers—a former Recon Marine father and his 37-year-old son—helped  the newcomers tie up, and before long, the steady beat of conversation drifted through my boat’s open window. I joined my friends outside. Our neighbors, a mother, father, and 28-year-old daughter, carried an effortless air of kindness as the conversation deepened.

We explained to our three guests, none of whom were veterans, that we were out on the water to help the son make peace with himself and the haunting memories of years earlier as a combat Marine in Iraq. I had offered to listen, assuming long resolved my 1991 war experiences flying the Navy A6 Intruder. Recently nominated for a Purple Heart, this well-deserved decoration had stirred up my friend’s long-dormant trauma. I cautioned my friend to prepare himself—having a bone-chillingly honest discussion of his wartime experiences would almost certainly involve a few tears. I had no idea how many of those tears would be mine.

Ten minutes later, we were all—new neighbors included—reduced to tearful hugs. In a discordant affectation of reality, I realized that the son’s trauma reflected my own as he attempted to reconcile haunting memories and circumstance-forced participation in the horrors. My combat experiences wore on me for precisely the opposite reason: I acknowledged responsibility for killing dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people, but this would forever be a number shrouded in mystery and left to my imagination to ponder in the lonely night stillness.

And in the middle of this emotional mess was this caring family, strangers, offering an example of warm humanity as they attempted to lighten the burden of our pain. The moment provided a snapshot of how life could and should be, of the unconditional love that we all would do well to emulate

Even while reliving life’s most disturbing memories, there lies goodness, guardian angels arriving from beyond to offer solace to life—and death’s—eternal bargain.