Off the Grid

by Johnny Pain


So I’ve been a bit off the grid for a minute.

Life deals us interesting hands at times, how we play them is up to us and is determined by our character traits, values, environmental influences, emotional condition, etc. Things aren’t always expected, and blessings sometimes come with all of the care and compassion of a serial rapist. Life is amazing in its complexity and it’s shear unexplainable nature.

Creation or Evolution, which is it? Crazy when you stop and think about it isn’t it?

Reflection and meditative thinking can be valuable and productive practices. Sometimes life is such that our capacity for such thought is stifled by the bustling world around us. We become caught up in the fine details, the mechanics of the life that we are losing with each passing second rather than existing in that second in the most valuable manner that we can. We spend time like lottery winnings, mad money, not like we would spend investor’s dollars. We don’t seek return on our time, or live it with a sense of responsibility for its success.

Then shit happens.

As some of you know I lost my cousin Darlene on the fourth of July. That holiday has always been a busy one for me. It is one of my best friend’s birthdays, and is also the anniversary of the death of John Eugene Sheaffer I, my Pop Pop, hero, and the realest G that ever walked the earth. The news came early in the afternoon and I was crippled with grief. I loved my cousin in a way that few love anyone. She was a wonderful human being and growing up with her was truly a blessing that I will be forever grateful for.

She was just 28 years old. Not very deep into a life that should have been so much more. Her story is sadly not terribly unique, but is heartbreaking nonetheless. She battled addiction, and was happily moving towards rehabilitation. This was evident in her diary, which she kept every single day of her life from about ten years old on. She wrote that she was finally happy to be back home with her family who loved and cared for her (and away from those who abused and literally raped her) and how excited she was to be ridding herself of her addiction. She was to begin the rehabilitation process while under house arrest just 48 hrs after the time that she died.

She bore three children, two boys, and a girl. The boys are 8 and 7 and the girl 3. The girl’s father is in jail for beating and raping her as we speak (with his then two year old daughter in the room during the events), while the boys’ father is off shooting heroin and ducking child support. How anyone could not love these children is beyond me. This is all beyond me. I guess my scumbag characteristics only go so far.

Her parents, my Aunt and Uncle, are amazing people. They both played a major role in my upbringing. I spent countless weekends at their house and made countless memories. I was present in the courtroom yesterday when they were awarded full legal and physical custody of all three children, a move that sadly was surrounded by some uncertainty due to the legal representation of the two fathers.

Since the day of Darlene’s passing I have not gone more than 48 hrs without being with the kids. I love them like my own, and they are as attached to me as my own son without a doubt. I will be there for them for the rest of their lives and will be one thousand times more of a father to them than either of the two sperm donors ever will.


So I’ve been a bit preoccupied. Throughout this ordeal I have touched a barbell exactly twice. I went close to a month eating one meal per day and sleeping like an insomniac on a coke binge. My book projects went completely back burner. Social commitments were pushed aside entirely. Everything went back further than the back burner.

Now I am in the process of rebuilding my body, my businesses, and my mind.

Many great success coaches and self help gurus talk about balance in life. “Work/ Life balance” etc. Everything should fit nicely on a pie chart in equal slices. Equal energy should be spent on all things that are important to your life in order to maintain balance and happiness.


Anyone worth a shit that has been successful in anything in life has skewed the fuck out of that pie chart in one way or another along the way for periods of time. This is necessary in order to make your life matter.

If training in the gym is your blinding focus at this moment than attack the weights and make this time matter.

If you are busting your ass on a work project that will land you a sweet promotion and bonus that will enable you to enjoy a well-deserved vacation with your family, then pull the all nighters and get it done.

If you’re pursuing a relationship or repairing a failing one, go for that.

If it’s number one to you, do it.  Numbers two through two hundred will be there for you tomorrow.

What is most important to you at a given time, and where you choose to allot your focus is something that only you can decide.


23 Responses

  1. sapper09


    I am so happy that everything worked out with the custody of your cousin’s children – although it is ridiculous that it was ever in doubt to begin with. The less those kids have to do with the individuals (I won’t use the term “father”,as they clearly haven’t earned that) you mentioned the better. Hopefully this means they can now settle in to a stable life with your aunt/uncle and start to move on.

    You have shown great strength and integrity through the last couple of months, and I take my hat off to you. Good luck getting back into the swing of (slightly more) normal life.

    Take it easy, mate,


    September 6, 2011 at 12:49 am

  2. This article was touching…I can’t explain it. Good job stepping up and being a man. Priorities brother…priorities.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:22 am

  3. Stuart H

    Good to hear.

    September 6, 2011 at 5:08 am

  4. COMike

    Thanks JP, helped me keep some things in perspective. Thanks.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:49 am

  5. Jesse

    Hey John,
    Thanks for manning up and helping those kids out. Life ain’t easy and any pie chart can go out the window when shit hits the fan. Way to take care of business that needed to be taken care of. Family first!

    September 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

  6. the-junk

    Thanks for the article, I feel I learned a lot from it.

    September 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  7. Squatsteve

    Excellent article. It really helps put everything into perspective when you got so much shit going on. You certainly wear your heart on your sleeve, and are not afraid to do what is right. Take care man.

    P.S. Cute little girl. Not too sure about the tatted up guy next to her though. 🙂

    September 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

  8. Very touching, thanks for sharing. The children will forever appreciate the things you have done, and will do for them. Continue to be the positive influence in their lives.

    September 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  9. b

    i swear every time i think life is just a random boat of BS i bump into something that makes me rethink that for the millionth time. maybe there is some omnipotent watcher making sure i float towards helpful people, places, things. see, i was just cruising along in my numb ass way, you followed me on twitter and i came here to check you out. and bam. frickin’ awesome post. good to know about the kids getting a home (always need good news) and the whole pie chart lecture was just what i needed today.

    so thanks and stay strong.

    September 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  10. Vim

    They’re lucky to have you man. Hope things carry on getting better for you all.

    September 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

  11. D Long

    I always hoped that if push came to shove I would be “that guy”…when it came down to it you stepped up and did what needed to be done. The way you handled this entire situation says a lot about your character.

    September 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  12. JamesC


    You are truly someone to look up to.

    September 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm

  13. Andrew

    Hey man good to hear everything worked out and thanks for these articles they always make me sit back and think and want to get after it.

    September 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    • A-W

      Good to hear big man, thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you and your family.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:10 am

  14. Walrus Yalp

    Keep on truckin’ Jp. You a have a great program and a bunch of good people working with you. I look forward to this site being a success and hope some good things come your way in the near future.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  15. Jacob

    Being a man means doing hard shit sometimes. Inspiring. Good article, thanks.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

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  17. Jared

    Three letters PMA. You have it JP, you are displaying another aspect of what it is to be villian

    September 11, 2011 at 2:37 am

  18. Mikus

    Appreciated the thoughtful and honest post. I hope that things are slowly, persistently improving. I also happen to subscribe to the family-first philosophy… but hope to take your other advice to heart about devoting 100% to an upcoming project/promotion.

    I am a big follower of SV… and hope to come up to Greyskull sometime in the near future (in Dover, DE).

    I have missed the podcast recently, and appreciated the new stories of you guys shitting your pants. It’s all about balance after all.

    September 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

  19. rob powell

    I have been keeping up with you blogs as often as possible.
    Your right it isn’t easy. f+ck the Pie Chart. For me, life is always going to be throwing something out at you.

    The main thing is to take everything as a chance. Every closed door leads to an open one. when the volcano blows and screws everything up, the lava cools and becomes fertile for things to grow again.

    I can only say this just keep on doing whatever you are doing and wanting to do. It’s just about being awake. Being awake while you are doing what you are doing.

    Gurdjieff said the following: “The only difference between the people sleeping at night and the people walking around during the day, is that the people walking around don’t realize they are still sleeping.”

    My kids are already out of the house. There isn’t a day that goes buy where I don’t think about them.
    I know those kids you have now are precious and I am sure you will help make a difference in they’re lives.

    looking forward to your future thoughts and books.

    September 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  20. Jonas Brand

    Thanks, man…I really needed to hear that. Seriously. Very moving.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  21. Thanks for that Johhny.

    And sorry to hear about your loss, keep pursing the dream man.

    October 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

  22. laurence

    Thanks for sharing that JP. I hope you are doing well.

    October 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

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