Category Archives: Modern Life Support

My Personal Development Go-To’s

Facebook has reminded me that 7 years ago today, I found a blog post on a now defunct website that contained a couple of documents on it.  One, A Light Unto Yourself, was a kind of mantra for daily living.  The other, In Case of Emergency, a series of thought exercises meant to help you find perspective and guidance when in the midst of an emotional situation.

I’ve shared these documents with friends and family since then, and still have printouts of both posted on my cube at work.  I haven’t read through them completely in some time now, so I think I’ll take advantage of Facebook’s reminder and re-read them, as well as share them again.  I don’t live by every single item in either of these documents, but they are handy quick references that at least help me get my mind directed towards living better.

A Light Unto Yourself (PDF download)

• I make the conscious choice to be free, and to hold my freedom as a priority, not to be compromised.

• I take full responsibility for my happiness and know that it is never dependant on anyone or anything outside of myself.

• I prefer my essential & intrinsic happiness to the temporary fulfillment of desires.

• I value my inner peace more than I do winning, defending my identity, proving my point, or reactively expressing momentary emotions.

• I refuse to be reactive, and to let my emotions be controlled by others.

• Anger does not guide my hand. Fear does not inhibit my action. Desires do not govern me. Attachments do not bind me.

• I do not engage in self defeating behavior.

• I accept that which I cannot change.

• I have no need to control or possess others.

• I do not depend on others for validation or approval.

• I understand that my feelings are natural, and so make no apologies for them.

• I make plans for the future, but remain open in order to respond to each moment directly.

• I make no attempt to appear different than I am, regardless of who I am around.

• I do not define myself in terms of material.

• I allow others the freedom of being themselves, without judging them or attempting to change them.

• I can forgive others because I understand that we all act according to our current level of consciousness & understanding.

• I am my own authority.

• I am complete in the present moment & therefore do not look to the future for fulfillment.

• I am free to give love, without condition or expectation.

• I know that my identity is self defined and self imposed. My only binding identification is with consciousness, through which all else is experienced.

• I participate in the things in life without becoming attached and identified with them.

• I realize that my separation from others & from the environment is conceptual only.

• I have no strict idea of myself in which I must conform to.

• I see the impermanence of all things and so do not cling unnecessarily to them.

• I realize that all perspectives are fragmentary & incomplete.

• I do not need an external authority to tell me what is right and what is wrong.

• I allow others to be free by dropping all demands and expectations of them.

• I learn from the past, but do not allow it to interfere with the present.

• I am neither above, nor below anyone, and so make no comparisons.

• I realize that anything that I don’t know from direct experience is hearsay and speculation.

• Though I cannot always control my thoughts, I can control which ones I pursue and give energy.

• I understand the difference between what exists in thought and what exists in reality.

• When I am alone, I am not lonely, my presence is all pervading.

• I respond to reality according to the circumstances instead of depending on readymade answers.

• I see that if my thoughts have no correlative in physical reality that they are little different than imagination.

• I know that all answers lie within and that they can only be obtained through experience.

• I know that there is no such thing as second hand wisdom.

• I will help anyone that I can knowing that ultimately the responsibility is theirs alone.

• I realize that when I become disturbed that nothing is missing. Instead, something has been added and is obscuring my inherent peace and stillness. That my attention has deviated from the present moment.

• I am a light unto myself.

-John J. Patton


In Case of Emergency (PDF D

• Guide your attention to your breath, and follow it as it goes in and out. This can create space, provide some relief from the relentless thoughts & return you to the moment.

• Try to zoom out and expand your perspective. Sometimes seeing our problems within a larger context can give us a different outlook on them .

• Take a moment to consider how others feel as well, as we are all under stress for varying reasons. Remember that your loved ones, spouse, children, etc. are also dealing with life’s difficulties. (This helps us to take the spotlight off of us and step out of the exclusive mindset we often get trapped in.)

• Realize that your problems and the emotions that accompany them are temporary. They are impermanent. (We tend to view things with a high degree of severity, as if they are eternal, when in fact most of them will be soon forgotten.)

• Make sure you are not engaging in self defeating behavior by feeding the fire with negative thoughts and energy. Become aware of your internal dialogue.

• Remember that acceptance is another word for freedom. Acceptance is a choice we must first discover is available, in which the psychological pain of inner conflict may be eliminated. If something is already the case, or is inevitable, acceptance is the only intelligent response to it.

• Is the way in which you are handling this problem conducive to the goals you have on your spiritual path? (Can expose hypocritical behavior as well as be a good reminder.)

• Is your resistance to what is happening more valuable to you than your inner peace?

• Is what is occurring directly causing your emotion, or is it your position towards what is occurring? In other words, is it your expectations that are being injured, rather than you yourself? What would you lose by accepting rather than opposing? Is it even possible?

• Become a witness to all that is occurring without identifying with it. Observe as choiceless awareness only. Drop all opinion and judgment and just watch. You are not that which passes before awareness, but awareness itself.

-John J. Patton


Observations on Five Years of Game Conventions

Origins 2016 is in the books.  I’m home now, staring at bags of games to unpack and attempt to find places for.  I could really go for a nap, and I’m dreading going back to work tomorrow. I also feel compelled to dump another stream of consciousness onto an unsuspecting interwebs! Click through for Deep Thoughts by Copac!

Read the rest of this entry

About Last (Sunday) Night and other lessons from GenCon

Boy howdy that's a pretty 80s movie poster there

Boy howdy that’s a pretty 80s movie poster there

It’s time for my Modern Life Support take on GenCon 2014.  Don’t worry, I’ve got more posts about games in mind if you’re not into this sort of thing.  In this post I’ll be talking about what happened to me Sunday night, as well as some overall lessons I learned from this year’s event.  Click through for the cringy, personal stuff! WOO!

Read the rest of this entry

Depression lies

So, I’ve been doing alot of RT’ing and tweeting about this topic, and I figured I’d stop and just compile my thoughts in one place, and get some stuff out of my head at the same time.  And being a couple days before GenCon, note that this has nothing to do with games.

Robin Williams has reportedly taken his own life.  That sentence is about as wrong a sentence as I’ve ever typed.  A man who for decades poured his heart and soul into his craft and gave millions of people across multiple generations joy and laughter.  That man took his own life.

FUCK YOU DEPRESSION!!  God dammit.  Depression lies.  Depression twists and distorts our perception of reality.  When depression is strong, it can leave you feeling like you have nothing left.  Trust me.  I’ve been there.  Thankfully I’ve never been there so severely that I considered taking my own life.  But I have been to the point that I didn’t know what I had to live for.  And I didn’t see a way out.  Depression is a god damn liar.  And the worst part of depression is when it starts to wax and wane.  And it’s at those times when it’s the hardest to see when it’s lying to you and when what you’re seeing and feeling is real.

Depression is real.  It’s legitimate.  It’s not just people being sad, or people being weak.  You are not broken if you are depressed.

If you think you might be suffering from it, talk to your doctor.  Get a referral to a mental health professional.  DO NOT JUST START TAKING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ALONE!  Drugs can help, and your doctor will likely prescribe them, but they just take the edge off.  They normalize the levels.  Talk to a therapist.  See a counselor.  If you don’t feel comfortable with them, DO NOT GIVE UP! Find another one.  When you find one you’re comfortable with, and that you feel you can trust, open yourself up.  Tell them what you really feel inside.  Don’t try to self diagnose.  Don’t try to say what you think they want to hear you say.  Say what you feel.  OWN YOUR FEELINGS!  Warts and all.  Own them.  They are a part of you like everything else.  If you ignore them, they will fester and become harder to ignore.  Only then will you start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know.  And you’ll learn tools that can help you diffuse depression and combined with prescription drugs, and let you lead a normal life.

DO NOT TURN TO ALCOHOL!  Alcohol is a fucking liar too.  At least for me, alcohol felt like the one way out.  And it was.  For a few glorious moments, depending on how shitfaced drunk I got, it all went away.  All the demons, and the sadness, and the worry, and the stress.  All gone.  For a few moments.  And then, they came back.  And they came back stronger than when they left.  And they stayed stronger for longer.  And the only way out I felt was more alcohol.  Alcohol does not help you deal with depression.  It strengthens it.  And it tears down any barriers you had worked on to keep it at bay.  If you take to heart nothing else I’ve ever said, take this.  DO NOT DRINK IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION.  PERIOD.  END OF STATEMENT.

I fight my depression battle every. single. day.  I have to stay vigilant to be aware of when it’s getting bad.  I have to study my situations and my past experiences and learn about triggers that exacerbate my problem.  I have to realize when I’ve gotten lazy and let myself slide too far and I have to put forth the extra effort to get back to where I was.  And I lean on my friends and loved ones.  And that gives me some shame.  But I know it’s what I have to do.  And I cherish them for letting me do it.  I would not be here without those people.  And you can find people like that too.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Ever.  Don’t feel ashamed or weak for how you feel.  Ever.  You are not broken.  You do not need fixing.  You just need help.


Modern Life Support – Panic Attacks, Expectations vs. Reality, and Stress. OH MY!

Not pictured: Me, hiding in a restaurant bedroom

Not pictured: Me, hiding in a restaurant bathroom

Man, if I was in Dorothy’s shoes, my feet would be KILLING me.  Also, I’d be freaking out big time.  I’d be so stressed out just from the munchkins singing, I’d go back in the house that killed the wicked witch and never come out.  In my head, I’d be saying “I’m not supposed to be here, this is wrong.  This isn’t how this was supposed to go.”  I know this because I went through a couple situations at Origins 2014 that left me feeling the same way.  Read on to hear more about them and what I did/didn’t do and what I should/shouldn’t do in the future.  Apologies in advance, this post got super long on me.  I won’t blame anybody if they decide not to read it 🙂

Read the rest of this entry

Modern Life Support: Imposter Syndrome

Hey! So, yeah! That big burst of blog energy I had post-GenCon has died down a bit.  Mostly due to some family stuff, and being a member of a wedding party for some upcoming nuptials.  I’ve got a couple topics/games I had considered writing about, but haven’t had the spark to write about them yet.  Until now.

WARNING: This post has practically nothing to do with games.  Consider yourself warned.

Read the rest of this entry

Modern Life Support: Mental Illness and Gaming

I used to write on a tumblr that I called Modern Life Support.  I used it to talk about personal development topics and my own personal struggles with depression and anxiety and finding my way through this crazy thing we call life.  I hope to be able to bring some of those thoughts over to this blog, and connect them to my experiences in hobby gaming.  A good gaming friend, Eric Leath of the Games And Grub blog recently shared some details of some personal struggles he went through at GenCon that resonated with me, and I wanted to share some thoughts regarding mental illness and my encounters with it in my hobby gaming experiences.  NOTE: I am in no way a mental health professional.  I have zero training.  I’ve been through therapy and work with a psychiatrist.  All that I share is my personal opinion.  But first, I’ll give a little back story as to why I started Modern Life Support, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry