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First Days, Take Two

In March of this year I decided to leave my hometown of Boise Idaho for Portland Oregon. There were many ups and downs and ultimately I only managed to stay for three months. However! I made a new best friend and traveling partner, Brady, on top of the life changing experiences I had then.

I stayed in Boise for two months with Brady. Aside from the wide open sky and positively daunting heat, we survived. Now I'm back in Portland, ready to have all new adventures and to not be so intimidated by my first time away from home!

I packed my oldsmobile, loaded up my dog, and helped Brady get his car ready and took off! When we merged onto the freeway a woman in an over-sized truck came barreling up the on ramp headed in the wrong direction. What a scary way to start the drive! The only other interesting thing about the drive through Idaho would have been the new 80mph speed limit. Nobody was driving that fast, I believe that everyone on the road was being a chicken.

I cruise controlled my way to Pendleton Oregon and after a desperate run to the bathroom, I found Brady. As we parted ways in our separate cars I made a promise to myself not to lose him this time. This plan worked surprising well and we made it all the way to our current place of residence without too much trouble. I even drove in my first rush hour traffic! Some of the forest area along Mount Hood was on fire on the trip. A helicopter was lowering into the river right next to my car for more water. I've never seen anything like it.

A Better World Starts with a Better You: 2012

On Kelby Barker

I have been into self-improvement for a long time now. For almost five years now I have religiously followed a number of authors who speak to becoming a bigger, badder you.

However, the pursuit has always felt a little hollow to me. Becoming a better you has always felt to me to necessitate an overly inward eye. Many years ago I took a pledge around a campfire to live my life for others. While I was just a kid at the time, the pledge is still something that I take seriously, something that has been fed by my activities since.

This campfire experience is one that came back to me several years later when I sought to learn more about Buddhism. My interest was academic rather than spiritual, but I was struck by something on a deeper level nonetheless. I was watching a video series with basic information about what it was to be a Buddhist, and I was struck by a statement the monks said ad the beginning of each installment. "... to achieve enlightenment for the betterment of all beings..."

That is how self improvement reconciles with altruistic, charitable living.

That is how I want to live my life.

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