Prostitutes in Phuket

Archie knew Barry, Oliver and Allen went way back, but Archie was new to the division. He put on his best kiss-up face and strode over to the group.

“Hey Arch! Did you meet any more ladyboys in Thailand?” Oliver bellowed.

Archie turned a bright shade of red. The group burst into laughter as Oliver and Allen launched into a description of Archie’s activities with prostitutes in Phuket. It was a literal blow-by-blow of events in which Archie could not even remember participating. Besides the lurking dread he felt upon the sudden realization that he had possibly slept with a Thai transvestite, he felt he could almost die of embarrassment.

How could they bring this up in front of the Chief?!

From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series, Archie.

The Secret to Happiness- My Inner Thongsuk

I can still hear the click-click-click of her flip-flops as she swayed down the hallway. I can see her clear as day, in her white blouse and long wrap-around Thai skirt. Early every morning she would sweep, tirelessly and somehow gracefully, every inch of the house’s teak floor. She would do the laundry, some by hand in a bucket, suds flowing down the pavement beside her while she scrubbed. She rhythmically ironed all of the clothes. She would cook fantastic meals and she would wash the dishes by hand. She seemed content and always had a joking remark at the ready. She had warm eyes, a wide smile and a wicked sense of humor. She was Thongsuk, our maid in Thailand.

All of the foreign families had maids in Thailand, and likely many of the Thai families did too. But Thongsuk was exceptional. Only as an adult do I now realize that she personified the Buddhist ideal of accepting what is. As an elementary-school-aged-child I only knew she was authentic and warm — genuine and funny.

In the afternoons I would meander out to the backyard where I would find Thongsuk. With a sideways glance and a mischievous glint in her eye she would respond, “You have eye!” to my very American greeting, “What are you doing?” Perhaps feeling low due to being deemed “too skinny” during the school day, my latest schoolgirl crush not noticing me, or any other such youthful worries, she never failed to cheer me up and put things in perspective through her presence alone.

Some days I would retreat to her kitchen and sit with her while she worked. I would happily eat the crunchy little fish that she set in front of me with their heads still intact while she bustled about getting that night’s dinner prepared for us. I was fascinated by her little altar to Buddha in her modest maid’s quarters. I felt instantly at peace when I was with her. She was inspiring at a time when I did not know what it meant to be inspired. She was my friend — I loved her.

As an adult, I find myself frequently channeling my Inner Thongsuk. I myself can be extremely restless and distracted. I am always working on a new project and don’t feel content unless I am creating and moving on to the next thing. But I have realized that the secret to being happy is to accept what is. I find peace in having no, or low expectations. I practice being present in mundane chores. I actually enjoy washing dishes by hand and cooking large meals.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t have goals and work toward accomplishing them. Thongsuk had an outside life that I knew almost nothing about. I’m sure she had her own worries, goals and struggles. But in today’s productivity-obsessed, fake-positivity-spewing world, how many people do you know who are truly happy or content? My experience is that most people in the United States seem pretty darn miserable.

Expectation is the root of all heartache. Desire is the root of all suffering. The quotations abound. That’s correct, the secret to being happy is to anticipate nothing. If restlessness, unhappiness and misery is all you have to lose, why not give it a try? You just might find your Inner Thongsuk.

This article was originally published on brainhackers.com and also on OpsLens.

Check out Europe’s leading mind coach – Karl Morris Mind Factor

Soil Life: An Interview with Aaron William Perry

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of digging in the dirt in our yard. I would spend hours digging up worms and huge rhinoceros beetles, as well as unearthing rocks and breaking them open to find beautiful glimmering crystals inside of the otherwise unimpressive-looking slabs of rock. My very first experiences were with soil, rocks and creepy-crawly living things. Perhaps I was a lonely child, or, more likely, I instinctively knew that connecting with the soil can actually help one thrive.

I recently spoke with Aaron William Perry, the founder of the Y on Earth Community. The Y on Earth Community is an action-oriented educational non-profit organization that provides curated seminars, workshops, and immersive leadership retreats, as well as a diverse array of digital and print resources dedicated to the transformation of our culture, society, and economy toward stewardship, regeneration, and sustainability. They connect the dots between personal, family, and community strategies for enhanced health and well-being on the one hand, and global strategies for stewardship, regeneration, and sustainability on the other hand. The organization serves as headquarters to a growing global network of ambassadors, and hosts the Y on Earth Community Podcast, on which notable authors, scientists, business leaders, influencers, and sustainability practitioners appear as guests.

Mr. Perry has authored several books, many of them centered on the topic of well-being. Soil features prominently in many of his books, to include a set of children’s books, one of which is aptly titled Celebrating Soil.

Mr. Perry describes five key practices for feeling better, to include more movement like yoga and walking; eating organic, natural foods; connecting with and touching the living soil in our gardens (and houseplants); connecting with wildlife and nature; and cultivating special well-being practices like meditation, aromatherapy soaks, reading books, and socializing with friends and family. I asked Mr. Perry if he had to choose one thing that the everyday, average person could do to feel better, what that one thing would be.

His choice was the fundamental importance of connecting with the soil, which, when we touch and hold it with our bare hands, causes beneficial microbiology to pass through our skin into our blood, enhancing serotonin production, helping reduce depression, anxiety, stress, and even – according to recent scientific studies – helping boost immune system function and cognitive performance. Soil is central to our experience as human beings – hence the etymological connection between our Latin-derived, English term “human” and the term “humus” for soil, also related are “humor” and “humility” both of which we could all probably use more of in our lives.

Mr. Perry explained his five core Thriving practice themes: Soil, Movement, Food, Nature, and Wele (which is the middle-English term meaning “well-being,” from which our contemporary term “wealth” originated (giving us a clue that true wealth is rooted in well-being, wholeness, and a healthful life). He emphasized the importance of connecting with plants. Whether houseplants, foods and medicinal herbs in the garden, flowers in the yard, or trees nearby, these are all living creatures who possess the alchemical power that converts sunlight into food and life-force energy, which we too often write-off as some simple scientific process called “photosynthesis”. He says that when we truly connect with, befriend, and cultivate relationships with living plants, we open our hearts, minds, and bodies to the wonders of the Viriditas of which the medieval mystic and polymath Hildegard von Bingen spoke about 900 years ago – the “gold-green healing energy of the Divine life force that flows through the plant kingdom”. Human life is impossible without the plants, and at the personal level, thriving is not likely without a deep, intimate connection with living plants.

Mr. Perry talks about ways people can “get smarter”. He covers this in his books also, as part of overall well-being is related to using your brain. His number one choice to accomplish this smarter life? Again, connecting with the soil is key. Also, slowing down, gardening, and sitting with your flower patch and/or the trees, observing, listening, relaxing, and receiving the deep A.I. – the “Authentic Intelligence” that flows through the living biosphere of our shared planet Earth. He states that this connection is our birthright and is an essential requirement for any of us who want to truly get smarter – and feel better – in our own personal lives.

Reading to increase your brain health and well-being is something I truly believe in. Read, be curious, and always strive to learn something new. It does not have to be text book reading, fiction can also help your brain grow and thrive.

Mr. Perry’s latest book Viriditas: The Great Healing Is Within Our Power, has been described as an eco-thriller and a novel that makes serious topics fun to read.

This article was originally published on OpsLens.

Clear Your Conscience With a Bag of Rice

…With blurry images of his nights with random Thai women filling his head, he headed to a local church and dropped off a bag of rice. It made him feel better about himself when he donated to people in need. It made the nun with the paddle go away.

There was a distinct chill in the air and, having lived in Thailand for so long, Archie definitely felt the cold air. His phone chimed with a text from Waan. He still hadn’t told her about his relocation….

From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series, Archie.

Patriot Day

You may not even be aware that it’s Patriot Day. I mean, if you rely on your phone’s calendar, as many people do, to let you know which holiday or remembrance day it is, (real remembrance days, not just the Facebook “It’s National Doughnut Day!”) then you would have no idea that today is Patriot Day.

Mind you, my phone calendar (it’s an iphone) does have all of the Muslim holidays and some holidays of which I’ve never heard, but there is no mention of Patriot Day on my phone for the remembrance of the thousands of innocent people brutally murdered on September 11th. It used to be on there, but sadly, not anymore. Why was it removed? When did this happen?

I used to annoy the girl whom Annie (from my series, Mingling in the CIA) was based on by reminding her that pretty much every day there is a holiday in some country across the globe. I’m not against putting all of the world holidays on the calendar. But if the reason some companies are including only the Muslim holidays is to be “inclusive” and “tolerant”, then by this same logic we would be including Loy Krathong and Songkran, in addition to many others.

Some day, when we no longer see memorials for September 11th on television, a mention on the calendar would be one small way to ensure we remember and teach generations to come about what happened on that September day in 2001. Let’s not forget.

If you’d like to read my September 11th article for OpsLens, please click here.

You Can Never Have Enough Sanuk

“You go your place. Her place mai dai!” She exclaimed.


The woman bustled off, the sound of her flip-flops clacking down the hallway. Glancing down at the paper she handed him, he read the figure of 66,500 baht.


Seems a little expensive for a couple of beers.


Archie shrugged his shoulders. Headquarters was paying the tab, so he wasn’t too worried about the price.


“Hey, how much does she charge?” Archie heard Oliver yell after him as he left the bar with Hom on his arm…

Tahiti, Anyone?

“Yes, I was hoping I could pick my next assignment today. I have some big things going on and I think I can coordinate some of my ops with my current assets so there wouldn’t be any turnover required. I could keep them all and still easily run them from Tahiti, or alternatively, Fiji would work.” Archie paused.

Henningway met Archie’s grinning face with a blank stare. It seemed he blinked fifty times.

“Do you speak French?”

“Well, uh, no but… I figured I could get by,” Archie stammered.

Henningway went back to looking at his computer screen.

“It looks like you’ll be coming to Headquarters to serve as…” He trailed off. A look of disbelief came over his typically blank face. “Chief of Operations of this group,” he finished, somewhat reluctantly….

Book Launch Day! Are you ready to meet Archie?

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s REALLY like to work at the CIA, you will have an awakening when you read my books. My series of short reads, or novelettes, Mingling in the CIA, takes readers into the lives of the CIA officers I met during my time there. You’ve met Annie, you’ve met Bloud…..

This time, join me in Thailand for some debaucherous fun! Are you ready to meet Archie?

The Trash is Passed! And Rewarded…

…Bloud eventually managed to finagle his way into working outside of the office, instead of being there every day to further poison the atmosphere. It seemed Vicky’s perception of Bloud had changed pretty dramatically and the decision had been made to allow him to become a satellite employee of our office, in preparation for future overseas posting. There were quite a few beach locations that Bloud was proposing as his next assignment, and to my surprise Headquarters was entertaining these requests. For the time being, he was going on very expensive TDYs to different paradises in the Caribbean [text was redacted here]. Written from various barstools in tropical resort towns, his cables never made much sense, just a barrage of babble that someone in our office or at Headquarters had to rewrite. He could not be bothered with actually writing cables documenting his work, a secretary would surely be needed to do this for him. It pained me to see these trips get approved when it was pretty clear they were a colossal waste of money…

Chief of Hissy Fits

As Chief of Operations, Bloud wasn’t very impressive…

…Bloud was in charge while Lawrence was gone, but that was not saying much. He had taken to throwing hissy fits and closing himself in his office any time he received news from Headquarters that he did not like. He would leave the young officers who needed his guidance out in the cold while he sulked behind a closed door. He had also begun a weekly ritual of cooking a slab of meat in a crock pot for the whole office and we were all expected to eat it and listen to him blabber on while the young officers kissed his butt. I dreaded being herded into the office kitchen for these little get-togethers…

Slab o’ Meat