Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World



86 Days and Counting

Today, I realized (thanks in part to my ADHD son, who is keeping track) that we are 86 days away from the single most massive transformation in our lives in history, a relocation from northern Idaho to SoCal, specifically the greater Los Angeles area.

People around here, 90% of whom are former Cali transplants themselves, whether during the infamous Great White Flight of the 1970s or the more recent migration of conservatives to the north, ALWAYS ask us first and foremost, without reservation or shame: “WHY?”

We typically answer from the top-down, with higher-prioritized reasoning first, followed up by ancillary rationale.

  1. Friends/Family: The vast majority of our #SASFA19 shipmates are located in SoCal, spread out between the Greater LA area and San Diego. These people shared 20,000 nautical miles across 12 countries and 4 continents with us. We shared bouts of seasickness in the Bay of Dismay (Biscayne), we suffered through the neverending pork served by the ship’s kitchen in our daily buffets, and last but most important, there are countless thousands of priceless memories we shared together that are ineffable to bystanders and non-participants of the Semester at Sea experience.
  2. Housing: Up here, housing has gone crazy, as with the rest of the country. Idaho is now one of the top fastest-growing states in the United States, and the housing market cannot keep up. No offense against our current landlord (because he’s fucking awesome), but our house is 1300 ft2, 2 conforming bedrooms, 2 nonconforming beds down in the basement, and a bathroom that seriously more resembles a coat closet. Seriously, two people cannot walk by one another in the bathroom, even if they tried. And it’s selling for $500,000. Half a freaking million. That same half-mil will get you a 4-bed, 3-bath house in Cali in the right neighborhood with marble, travertine, and maybe even a swimming pool.
  3. Scenery: Here in CDA, we have mountains and a lake. That’s it. Oh, and like 7 feet of snow in the winter, so you can really only enjoy all that for <50% of the year. Once you’ve seen part of it, you’ve seen it all. From those who have grown up here, there is nothing super special about it. Period. In Cali, we have the beach and ocean. There are cedar forests. There are vast and diverse deserts. There are mountains and canyons. Hell, we have the Grand fucking Canyon within reasonable driving distance. In comparison, eight hours’ drive south from where we currently live? Boise. Fucking Boise. To get a “real” change of scenery, we have to head west, to Seattle or Portland.
  4. Opportunity: There are literally HUNDREDS of colleges and universities in the LA/SD area. HUNDREDS! I personally have the opportunity to spread my professional wings and fly. Additionally, I could do consulting, writing, videography, publishing, and significantly more than what is available here, where there are literally FOUR institutions I could potentially work for, and one of those would require an hour commute every day. That. Is. It.
  5. New Perspective: In SoCal, we have exposure to vast amounts of other cultures, whereas, in north Idaho, we have “Whitopia.” Look, I’m indigenous, and my partner is Scandinavian with some indigenous lineage as well, but it gets old after a while trying to constantly morph our perspectives into the majority view of the area. This area is—no shit, 95% white—and that homogeneity gets old after a while. Okay, it’s been old since the early 2000s when we moved here and recognized it, but after doing Semester at Sea and being surrounded by cultures from all over the world, we’ve realized that Whitopia isn’t for us. Look, I’m not (completely) judging all the white folx moving up here to be around their own, but at the same time, we feel like that dilution of character and color has gotten to a point where we can no longer stand the tribalism that comes from it as a whole. This last summer, the constant flag-waving MAGA parades and “All Lives Matter” bullshit, combined with grown-ass adults yelling at us and our children from the passing cars got old REALLY fucking fast.
  6. Adventure: In fall of 2019, we took a really big chance. We packed up everything we owned into a 10×12 storage locker and took a rental van to Seattle, where we boarded a plane to Iceland. From there, we visited Poland and Germany before we boarded a ship that took us all over the world. We had NO idea what to expect, and the idea of uncertainty was addictive. We want that for ourselves again, for better or for worse. We want to experience this world for all it has to offer, or as John Keating in Dead Poets Society said, we want to suck the marrow out of life.

86 days.

Damn, that seems short. We still have to order the Pod to move. We have to go buy boxes and tape from Lowes. Hell, I have to pack up (carefully) the pop culture museum that is my office at work. We have SO much left to do that 86 days doesn’t seem like enough.

One way or another, it will be.

And I, for one, welcome the change.

Now Available! Put the F**king Phone Down: Life. Can’t. Wait.

Put the F**king Phone Down: Life. Can’t. Wait.

YouTube covers-02

Most of us can barely muster a fleeting moment of calm before yet another notification buzz demands our attention. As a result, Americans currently spend an average of nearly 7 hours a day glued to their tiny screens, or the equivalent of an unpaid full-time job. This lack of control over attention produces disastrous effects on mental health, such as increased risk of stress, depression, and anxiety, while the impact on our relationships can be catastrophic. Continue reading “Put the F**king Phone Down: Life. Can’t. Wait.”



Today, I saw a man infected with rage.
Shaking his fists with furrowed brow
Belying his cry of war.

Today, I taught my children peace.
In war, there are no victors.
Anger spreads only the disease of hatred. Continue reading “Today”

Write Your Own Obituary

Deep in thoughtThe topic of death terrifies most of us. Facing our own mortality is neither a pleasant thought, nor is it one that most of us would choose to entertain on a daily basis. Even as I type the word “death,” I am suddenly reminded of the absolute truth that all of us will die, including myself and all of those whom I love — or not.

With this week’s passing of Westboro’s infamous Fred Phelps, I am reminded once again that death comes for us all. It matters not how we live our lives, for death is an immutable event and one of life’s few universal commonalities, though the chosen trajectories of each life may dictate the timing of our day of ultimate atonement. Continue reading “Write Your Own Obituary”


Today, I saw a man infected with rage.
Shaking his fists with furrowed brow
Belying his cry of war.
Today, I taught my children peace.
In war, there are no victors.
Anger spreads only the disease of hatred.
Today, I heard a child curse.
Racial slurs and innuendo
Tarnishing a young mind.
Today, I taught my children respect.
There are so many ways to wrap a present,
But no matter what, they all are gifts.
Today, I saw faiths mock one another.
You’re wrong and we’re right,
Each said, one to the other.
Today, I taught my children to care.
No matter who is right, my darlings,
With love, you will never fail.
Today, I saw the depth of despair
Alone in the street, with nothing to eat,
While people passed, unaffected.
Today, I taught my children hope.
Hope for change, hope for the best,
Hope to be strong, and hope to rise.
Today, I heard touting in arrogance.
Bravado, braggadocio, and brass,
Superficial, scornful swagger.
Today, I taught my children humility.
Sometimes the strongest remain unknown.
While the greatest among us will serve.
Today, I saw a world in turmoil.
Every woman and man for themselves,
Stirring the chaotic downward spiral.
Today, I will ignore the world.
Today, I will make a difference.
Today, I will make a gift to the world.
Today will become tomorrow,
While tomorrow will become better,
For today, I have taught my children.

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