Wednesday, December 31, 2008

oh what fun it is to get a flat tire on christmas eve, hey!

No, really, I am not being sarcastic. While my husband and I were driving up to a Christmas Eve party along dark, twisty, remote roads in the rain, the front tire went flat. It was a first for us, and somewhat exciting for me. The most noteworthy part though was the fact that I was the calm person. I honestly was not freaked out in the least; I calmly called a couple people to get the phone number of the people we were visiting (who were only 2 miles away). I didn't start, or even think of, bemoaning the fact we would have to buy new tires now. It was just a new experience that I was happily enjoying.

My husband and I even commented we couldn't have gotten a flat tire at a more perfect time.

  • We had easy, quick access to friends & family who came to our rescue with a better jack, a huge umbrella, and their experience.
  • It occured a day before our 3 hour trip to visit my family, so it was much better getting the flat & fixing it beforehand than it would have been on the trip.
  • We could actually afford to replace the tires.
  • Not to mention giving us a valuable lesson in How To Change Your Tire; now go out and buy a flashlight.

And here's that awesome synchronicity that I love:

The people we were visiting (and who I called for help) had done some television insallation that afternoon. Turns out that they had wired something wrong and unplugged the phone, so it was out for the whole afternoon. Only minutes before I called though did they realize this error, and plugged the phone back in. Voila! My phone call got through to them without a hitch.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the universe gave me the day off

Here's an synchronicity anecdote if you ever needed one.

So last Monday I showed up to work except this time the door was locked. The Friday before I had just been given a key to the office, but for the first time ever I decided to leave my purse (which had my keys) home that Monday morning. My other co-workers are supposed to be there, and I do see a light on, but no one was answering my knocking.

I decided to call the phone number I had saved for the office (which ended up being a direct line to my boss, who wasn't in, and thus my message never got to my co-workers). Then I called my husband, and he dropped me off at the mall. I did a little shoe shopping, and spent the rest of the day at my husband's office relaxing. I was anxious that I hadn't gotten a call though on my cell phone from my co-workers. But I figured if they needed me, they would call since that previous Friday I had also given my number to my co-worker.

The next day everything is normal: the office door is unlocked, my co-workers are in, and I explain everything that happened Monday. Turns out they were at work yesterday, but stepped out of the office for a little bit to get breakfast. They say they saw me get in the car with my husband when he picked me up just as they were coming back from getting breakfast. However, my co-worker forgot that she had my phone number and so didn't call me. She only remembered at the end of the day.

So are you ready for the twist?

I was doing my time sheet today, and opened up last pay period's time sheet. Turns out that I forgot to assign myself any hours for that Monday I missed. So if everything had worked as they usually had, I would have worked but not have gotten paid for it.

Crazy, eh?

Thank you, Universe, for honoring my time sheet, and giving me the day off :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the office

At times I feel the office is my nemesis. I become more sluggish, irritable, and drained when at the office. Of course this is why I left in the first place. The reason I decided to take on this 4.5 month office job was to catalyst the monetary income so we could pay off our credit cards once and for all. That way I could enroll in massage school and be able for afford it since our credit debt would be extinguished. Everything lined up perfectly with me getting this job. I know it is something I want to and need to do in order to go to massage school as soon as possible. But it's quite easy for me to forget this while I'm sitting under fluorescent lights in a broken office chair, staring at a computer screen, waiting for any work to come my way.

Maybe this is the sealant for confirming that I can never happily work in an office environment. Maybe this is a little lesson in temporary sacrifice/uncomfortableness for a greater good. Maybe it's to show me that being mindful and at peace isn't just something you learn and keep without constantly working on. I may have spent 8 months cultivating balance and serenity, but that can all easily fly out the window if you let it. Hmm, that one hits a chord. Because that's what I seem to be reminding myself. When I get frustrated at the super slow computer, I literally close me eyes, take a few breaths, and just try to settle down again. I didn't use to do that at my former job.

My husband has started helping me by reminding me of the bigger picture-- that I will finally start training to be a holistic massage therapist once this gig is up.

But boy, it is already challenging and I have only been at the office for a month.

Still, there are joys too. I really like the people I'm working with. They're all genuinely nice and caring.
.........................................................................................

Something else I was reflecting on:

Food


I have taken an interest again in eating healthy. That is another struggle I try to handle, some days better than others. I am aware that there is a connection between what your body consumes and your physical/mental/spiritual well being. Yet time and again I let sweets and pizza into my body. Just tonight we ordered a pizza. And just yesterday I ate some pastries, after already eating many more pastries the entire week. I don't know why I crave the sugar. I have been craving it more since giving up drinking several months ago. I thought it would cease over time, but it hasn't.

That is still not excuse enough though. Here are some websites that I like to frequent:

101 Cookbooks I especially recommend the sushi bowl recipe

Mediterrasian Oh everything here looks divine! My husband and I love Asian and Mediterranean food so I was very happy to discover this site this week.

Quinoa Porridge Please give this one a try. It's quite delish & healthy. It originated from the Clean Eating Magazine, which is a treasure in the sea of cooking magazine out there.

So that is what has been on my mind lately.
And so it goes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

past lives, present lives

I don't think I've ever talked about reincarnation here, but it is something I believe. Along with reincarnation, I believe in something called pre-birth planning. That basically means we all plan the major & most of the not so major things that occur in this life for the purpose of learning valuable lessons. I just got through the book Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth? by Robert Schwartz. It is a wonderful read, and completely inspiring. It's one thing to believe in pre-birth planning. It's another to read someone's life story and then learn why they chose to go through certain challenges (like alcoholism, paralysis, blindness, or the loss of a loved one), and find out what their souls were hoping to learn from it. I will have to give it another read through just to help sink the message into my being.

A quote from the book concerning things we perceive as tragedy:

There is always a reason...The true measure of a person's evolution is their ability to turn a negative into a positive. To dwell on the negative and use judgment and fear-based thought would not feed the truth of the matter such as this. The concern should always be how to make the most positive use of one's time, whether one's time is in a wheelchair or running a marathon. There is always a positive and negative. Such is the duality of Earth.

...

We would ask those of you who find yourselves thinking judgmental thoughts about the perpetrators of what you see as harm to know that there is always a positive outcome to be served by the misery. We would say to you that misery is the illusion. We would say that people who open a newspaper or turn on their television, see world events, and judge them as negative are simply taking the easy road and not thinking things through. There is always something deeper. There is always something more. There is always meaning. We hope that the examples in this book will help to teach people to think two and three times about the meaning and value of diversity and how it is the catalyst to growth.

page 308
It makes me reflect again on the people I have had in my life. I don't know even half of the reasons why I chose to have various people in my life. I do have a feeling why I have certain members of my family though.

Mother: To teach me that I am not responsible for other people's happiness. To do what I can but not to feel guilty or burdened by her decisions.

Father: To teach me not to rely on anther's words and opinions for self-esteem and self-worth. Yet to love them despite their sometimes seemingly cruel actions.

Brother: Oh boy, he is a toughy. It is literally only this year that I've been able to come to terms with him. To teach me to love someone in spite of actions that I highly disapprove of. To love in spite of actions they have taken against me. Even if it means cutting myself from their life so that I don't reciprocate the negativity said person is living. This past Thanksgiving was the first time in a long, long time that I've been able to spend an evening in his presence, not gripe at him, not take offense from him, and actually enjoy myself because of his company.

My Husband: To help me learn to love myself.

There have been situations that at the time seemed like the worst thing that could be happening to me. But because of those situations I have learned some hard lessons really quickly, and am grateful for them now. They may not have been anything compared to blindness or paralysis, but in my bubble sphere, it was equatable.

Friday, November 7, 2008

nurtured by nature & children

With the start of a new job I have taken, I now reflect on my time from March (when I left my job) to November. It is odd that during these months while I was scanning for the "big picture," I was unable to see it. I told myself to take the time to feed my spiritual thirst, nurture my soul. I read a number of spiritual books, revisited the Bible, meditated and reflected. At times I was restless & confused, and other times quite restful & content.

About a month or two after I left my job I contacted my cousin who lives in the area. From there a quick and close relationship developed between myself and his family. I helped with the gardening, I babysat the kids, I enjoyed the simple life. That's all it was to me at the time, simple, pure living. I look back and now see that I was being nurtured by my family, though they had no conscious clue. They would actually jokingly apologize for having me over doing work for them all the time. I always said it was my pleasure. It was my pleasure tending the earth, and learning from their children.

I must say that babysitting even just once a week for their children taught me how counterproductive being uptight is. You just can't happily be uptight with children, or in life.

With me taking this new job and having to leave babysitting, I had felt guilt for "abandoning" my family. Before that I had stopped tending the garden for a variety of reasons, partially due to my social uneasiness with returning staff, partially due to re-enjoying being quarantined in the apartment, so to speak. I felt guilty on both fronts.

But now I really think it is just my time to take my new self and set forth on my path once again. After going through Life Boot Camp at my old job, re-cooping & being nurtured over the summer by my family & self, it is time to re-emerge. I do have a dream of being a holistic massage therapist. I wasn't sure it was what I wanted during and after college so I let it go. I started thinking about it again seriously during my last job though. Since then my convictions have only gotten stronger, and now I believe it is time to earnestly pursue this dream.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There is something else to be said of this period where I felt in limbo. I might as well mention it here instead of a new post. During the portions of this time when I felt restless and confused, I wondered if I was wasting my time, my life, with this spiritual stuff. It is normal to have doubts about ones beliefs, and that's what I was having. When you're in a vulnerable position though, it's not particularly helpful and can feel magnified. During these doubts I would wonder if maybe I was a bit crazy. Though these instances were not often at all, and were overcome, they are not enjoyable things to be thinking when you're alone in an apartment and unemployed.

My fluctuating uneasiness with my unemployment has to do with the fact that our society equates one's monetary worth with one's value as a person. The reason I left my job was because I realized I valued my quality of life more than the nice paycheck I was receiving. The summer was a continual test to place my quality of life over the quantity of money I was receiving. My husband can testify that I wasn't Miss Perfect Zen during this test. I was relying on my faith in my spiritual beliefs that this was all for a reason, that I was learning something from this. Through it I gathered strength and resolve.

The day after I had my hasty job interview & was hired, I was reading Sanaya Roman's Spiritual Growth. I got to Chapter 13: Going Through The Void. Let me quote one section here:

The void occurs when you are letting go of an aspect of your personality self that no longer fits who you are becoming. It represents a new level of surrendering your personality to the guidance of your Higher Self; it is the birth of a new part of your Higher Self into this reality.

The void is a state of transition and change.

You will experience the void again and again as you grow. In this state you may feel that your life is changing rapidly, something new is coming, or your foundations are falling away, leaving you nothing solid to hang on to. You may feel like something is happening inside but not see any changes in your life yet. It is not a comfortable place for your personality, which likes things to be certain and secure.

The void can come when you are between projects, have just had your last child leave home, or have quit a job and do not yet know what to do next. One of your close friends may have left or you need to move or find a new home. It sometimes feels like you are entering a new world where the game is played differently and you don't yet know the rules.

pg 128

That pretty much sums up what I was feeling even underneath my restful and content times. I was quite delighted to read this section as I was now emerging from this time. Then yesterday my husband bought me a new book I wanted called Healing Hands by Barbara Ann Brennan. I had already read a few pages at the bookstore the previous day. When he brought it home yesterday the first thing I did was flip to the last page and read this:

When you understand that life is experienced as a pulsation, you expand and feel joyous, you move into the silence of peace, and then you contract. [...] But remember, by the very nature of the expanded high energy state, you will later contract, and feel more of the separated consciousness that is inside of you. The sheer force and intensity of the spiritual energy knocks loose and begins to enlighten the stagnated dark soul substance. As it comes back to life again, you experience it as real. All of its pain, aner and agony. You may say to yourself "Why now I'm worse than I was before I started." Let me assure you that this is not true. You are more sensitive. After experiencing these ups and downs, these expansions and contractions many times for each personal issue, you will find that they do clear away. Months later you will say, "Wow! I don't do that any more."

pg 280
This was speaking again of the conditions one experiences with major change. It was completely reassuring to read this, and the former excerpt, the days after my re-emerging and acceptance of my new job. Then today, while gearing up for my holistic massage therapist dream I visited the website of a massage school I want to attend. I notice they have an open house event where they host a free hour introduction into massage therapy. The date for this event is on my upcoming birthday. Who is to say if this is purposefully symbolic or not, but either way I registered for the event.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

throwing in some politics



Obama victory sparks cheers around the globe

By JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writer

PARIS – Barack Obama's election as America's first black president unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill, and many said Wednesday that U.S. voters had blazed a trail that minorities elsewhere could follow.

Read Rest Here

_____________________________

When it came to American politics, I was a jaded, cynical, wants-to-move-to-Sweden kind of person. I have a negative association with the word "hope." I had no faith in American people. So damn, last night and this morning I am filled with love, hope, and elation. I love the word hope now. I believe change can really happen again. And I have to give mad props to Barack Hussein Obama who flipped my hope switch on. I did not think that was possible. No, I do not think he is going to solve even half of our problems, but I want to and am going to try my damnedest to help out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

my ever continuing challenge

You can choose peace no matter how others are acting

When you have unhappy emotions, don't think another person caused them. If you are angry, stop blaming another person for making you angry. Instead, work directly with your feelings of anger. Learning about why you are feeling angry will do more to take you higher than trying to figure out how to get the other person to change.

Waiting for others to act in certain ways to be happy is making your happiness dependent upon something outside of yourself.[Underline added] It is turning your power over to other people and allowing them to determine how you feel. Calm emotions come from knowing that what you feel is your choice. You do not want your good feelings to depend upon another person or an outside situation. Put your energy and time into going higher and making your own life work.

-- Spiritual Growth by Sanaya Roman, pg 93

This book and her other book Personal Power Through Awareness are like my holy Bibles. This particular passage is one of the cruxes in my life, and something I work particularly hard on. It has become almost a reflex now for me to question why I feel certain emotions, and to find the root cause of them within myself.

For example, the other night I was telling my husband I wanted to do something special for him just because he's been doing so awesome at work and has just in general been really supportive of me and caring. But then he fired that back at me, saying I already do so much for him that make him feel special, and he would rather do something special for me. It boiled down to him not having any ideas at the moment on what to do for me, and he asked if there was anything I wanted or if I had any ideas. I didn't.

After some more pondering I suggested just buying me some bath supplies. He responded with "Uh huh."

That response actually made me really angry with him. I didn't say anything but I was fuming inside. It's unusual for me to get that angry over petty stuff like that so I started deconstructing why I was feeling this steaming anger over a two syllable comment.

I first determined that I was angry he did not seem excited over my suggestion, or that he even approved of it. I realized I wanted him to want to give me the gift. I didn't want him buying me anything out of some felt obligation. It further boiled to I want him to want to get me gifts. His "uh huh" comment made me feel that he did not want that at all. I haven't dug any further into why I want my husband to want to get me things. I'm guessing it has something to do with me equating it to him loving me or thinking I am worthy, and not letting my value as a soul stand on its own.

Second, his comment made me feel that my suggestion was stupid. Of course it wasn't a stupid suggestion, but I was placing my suggestion's value on whether my husband thought it was the peachiest suggestion on the block. I was not letting my idea be independent from others' opinions. I wanted approval for this small idea I had.

My husband has this uncanny ability of knowing when I am angry and when I am lying about my emotions. So when he asked if I was okay (code for "What's bothering you?") I just stated that I was feeling anger because of his response to my suggestion, but that I knew it wasn't his fault, and I was dealing with it. I used to hide these sort of emotions from him but over time learned it was better to just share them, even if I thought it might upset him.

He responded it wasn't that he thought my idea was stupid, but that he didn't think it was personal or big enough. He then had an idea at that moment and asked if I would like him to do his own surprise idea instead of the bath gifts. We hardly ever surprise each other, so I got excited over that and will be finding out this weekend what it is :)

Anywho, that's just a small example of how I have learned to examine my feelings instead of automatically blaming other people. Of course this is still challenging, especially when other people's actions cause me to think I am stupid. I am more prone to get angry at them and just wallow in my anger at them. I kid you not, I got angry at a lady handing out samples at Whole Foods... I was actually pretty pissed at her because I thought she thought she was better than me, and made me feel rather dumb. I wanted to be angry at her, to try to get a footing on my dignity and ego again. I never really looked deeper into why I got that angry. But I know it was all just Lea issues of feeling inferior and had nothing to do with the sample lady at Whole Foods.

Still, this quoted passage has been invaluable in improving my quality of life and my outlook on human dynamics.

daily inspiration from Dr. Wayne Dyer

Oct 30:

I meditate every day to nurture my soul.

Meditation gives you the opportunity to come to know your invisible self. It shatters the illusion of your separateness.

Oct 31:

True happiness resides within me.

Most people are searching for happiness outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is something that you are, and it comes from the way that you think.

Go here for more daily inspirations

Friday, October 24, 2008

divinity found in a bathtub

Baths are underrated. They seem to be viewed as an archaic means of cleaning oneself, or reserved only for children or elderly. But I seriously think much can be gained for one's serenity by taking a simple, quiet bath. I would have laughed at this notion before I started indulging in baths again, but now I urge anyone with a bathtub to take advantage of it.

I live in a simple apartment with an average bathtub, no fancy clawfoot tubs for me. I light a single candle, add some fragrant, moisturizing bath products to the warm water, and set a book down next to the tub. When my body submerges in the warm water, my blissful spirit emerges and says, "Ah, yes, this is wonderful. Thank you for this break." I'm always moved to passively meditate, quiet my mind, and just be. More often than not I read a few chapters from a frivolous chick lit book or a spiritual book. Then once my mind has awoken from its peaceful nap and my muscles have let their guard down long enough to have a siesta of their own, I rise from the tub more lifted & energized than after 8 hours of sleep many times.

It is comparable to the time I received a real massage. I would not have believed how much a massage could release stress and let your spirit soar until I experienced it myself. That is a main reason why I want to become a massage therapist. I don't think massages or baths (anything that lifts the spirit) are frivolous, pretty spa treatments that should be reserved for only those who can afford it. My experiences with them have been freeing and beautiful. Hopefully when I get going on my massage therapist path, I can extend these experiences to the less fortunate. Everyone deserves to have a time out in a serene sanctuary where their spirit can relax and smile a bit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

snail mail

My stepmom-in-law [further referred to as just stepmom] surprised me by sending me the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Apparently it was featured on Oprah, of which I was unaware. Either way, it was a really good, insightful yet still entertaining read. My mom was interested in it so I passed it on to her. It's a book I recommend and which will make you want to visit Italy & eat dreamy pasta if anything. I also liked her explanation of what God is to her.

This gift spurred me to want to send my stepmom a thank you card. I had several pretty thank you cards that I haven't had a reason to use. I figured why only thank her for the book when I have an opportunity to also thank her for just being the great person and friend she is? And why not just use the rest of my thank you cards and do the same thing for the other loved ones in my life? So that's what I did, with two cards left over. I only included family members but I'm trying to think of who I can use the other two for. I want to mean it to whoever I send them to, not just feel like I should use them up.

I sent them out yesterday. Hopefully it lifts their week a little more.

Still, I have loads of pretty stationary that I always never get around to using. My mom has been in a funk and I thought maybe I can send her some poems that either I like, or she may like, using this stationary. She never gets anything but bills and junk mail (like the rest of us) but she loves the written word. So I will send one and see if she likes it. If so, I have a nice reason to use my stationary.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quotes

These are some quotes that help me in particular. I would say the first three quotes are the things I have a hard time with most in my life. But I have been working to better myself, love myself, and know it is all very worth it.

  • You are not responsible for making other people's lives work; they are.
  • You don't need to change yourself; you only need to love yourself.
  • Give all the people in your life permission to be who they are. As you do, you increase your ability to love and accept yourself just as you are.

-Sanaya Roman, Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self

  • Love and accept who you are, not who you will or should be.
  • Do not feel responsible for everyone's happiness. Only they can choose it, you cannot choose it for them.
  • Compassion is the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

-Sanaya Roman, Personal Power through Awareness

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

am i who i think i am?

There are some pages from Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema that are really speaking to me right now. I would like to type up all three pages but that would be rather cumbersome and possibly infringe on some sort of copyrights. It is difficult to decide which small part to quote but I think this is a good start:

Insight into the constant flux and flow of all phenomena, including ourselves, brings the understanding that there's nothing in this world worth keeping, worth holding on to. Insight releases one from that resistance to other people's viewpoints that can make life so immensely difficult. Other people have other viewpoints. The only answer to that is: "May they live long and happily." Attachment to one's own viewpoint only shows that one hasn't yet grasped impermanence. When one sees constant change in everything, so that one can never really say, "I am this," then a first breakthrough into depth perception happens.

Chapter 9, page 112.
The a large chunk of the sub-chapter The Happiness of Insight, from which this excerpt was taken, discusses how there is no permanent "self." Just like how emotionally we are not always giddy, sad, angry, lonely, the same goes for the how we see ourselves & the viewpoint we have at that moment. In high school I was what you may consider a Republican. I didn't think immigrants from Mexico deserved any sort of rights. I thought ethnicity had nothing to do with a person's current class status. I thought America was the shit and everyone else should back off. My worst folly was that after September 11, 2001, the beginning of my senior year in high school, I was proud that I had already had a prejudice against Muslims before it became a popular prejudice. My aunt had dated someone of that religion who was really bad for her, and so I just ignorantly lumped everyone of that religion together as chauvinist pigs.

But now I am the polar opposite in my viewpoint. I changed. And I am only now starting to not regret thinking what I did in high school. It allows me to better put myself in the shoes of someone else who may think like I used to. My husband has a harder time doing that because he has always, since a child, strongly believed that everyone of every sex, ethnicity, religion and age is equal. He also has always had an analytical mind so that he could see right away that our history effects where we are today, and could see why circumstances of 50, 100, 200 years ago would effect the status of certain ethic groups today. Through him I can better see how what I went through in high school has its positive advantages as well.

So from my own experience of having made radical changes in my viewpoint, I can understand a little easier that our self, our soul, is not defined by our ever changing viewpoint. For all I know, I may read something tomorrow that may sway me to be the most hardcore free market, capitalist in California. I couldn't say that the new Lea is the real Lea, and the high school, college and post-college Lea weren't me. But if I know that the next week or decade I may change again, then what's to say the current viewpoint I hold is Lea. If I do think my viewpoint defines myself, then, as Ayya points out, that means I am a million different Leas all piled atop each other since birth.

Ayya states if you choose "to be that many different people, life becomes even more complicated than if we were none of them. How about choosing to be none of them?"

Ayya best sums up the discussion with this:

This insight is very threatening to our ego concept. Why is that? Because "I" want to be! To be what? To be whom? To be where? For what reason? All are viewpoints, conditioned through our thinking processes. The happiness that arises when one lets go of all that, is the happiness that is embedded in acceptance and peacefulness. Nothing needs to be achieved, accomplished, or changed. All is as it is.

Chapter 9, page 113.
The last two lines link back to the broader Buddhist concept, and are a bit harder to swallow. But it is very relevant to our concept of self as well. It also links back to my post "a perfect misunderstanding."

Lastly, since starting to take up this mode of thinking and not defining myself with my viewpoint, it has made it less difficult to not define others by their viewpoints. And oh my, how easy it is to define others by the viewpoint you don't like. I have a few specific people in my life where I honestly can't have a conversation with them but, because they are family, I must see occasionally. It is definitely a learning exercise trying not to judge and hold that person in contempt. A welcome and needed exercise nonetheless, otherwise I would never interact with anyone I didn't agree with.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the good morning experiement part deux

I've been riding my bicycle earlier in the mornings now so there aren't as many people walking and I'm zooming by a bit too fast to say "Good morning" to people.  But I managed to wish a few people (cycler & pedestirans) just that this morning despite my bike.  Really, everyone else initiated the good morning except one.  I even had one lady who was walking her dog initiate a wave and good morning as I was riding towards her.  That compelled me to wish the other guy further up on the bridge a good morning.  I was wondering at first why she wanted to greet me, but then remembered I was smiling (probably like some crazed but happy lunatic) which usually invites others to share in your merriness.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

rollercoaster in emoland

Last night was a doozy.  My husband and I got into a disagreement over money (of all things) and had some unhelpful misunderstandings (where I was trying to help at one point and he thought I was antagonizing him).  At one point while we were discussing something, and he said he didn't even know why I was acting a certain way, I realized that I didn't know why either.  At that moment when I realized that, I just felt blank.  Empty.  I had no thoughts on the matter but confusion at me being blank.  That didn't help much either.  

Later, there was a period of time where he was by himself in the bedroom and I in the living room with only my insane thoughts swarming my mind.  Whenever there is some sort of tension or heated discussion that results in me crying, I usually place blame and burden upon myself.  It's unwarrented and quite ridiculous, but my emotions (when feeling down) tend to snowball into a huge, negative "I'm a horrible person who is driving my husband crazy and will eventually lose him because of my stupidity!!!" catastrophe.  Except now I at least recognize what I am doing when in this stage, and eventually try to tell myself to stop these untrue thoughts, that I am not a horrible person, that Aaron loves me no matter what.

After said unpleasantness passed (as all things do), we had a very loving and intimate day today where we talked all evening and made a pact to spend more time together (not just being in the same room, but doing activities that really involve each other).  I am glad that this came out of the ride I took through Emoland last night.

And this is just me putting out there that by no means am I where I'd like to be one day mentally, but there is progress.  I still have my moments where my emotions freak out like anyone else.  But I am also trying to practice mindfulness of these emotions that like to parade around as myself, but really just like to manipulate me into self-destructive actions.  Not that all emotions do that, just the ones I have most trouble with.

Ah, the joys of learning :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

the fountain

I sit here feeling. The feelings are not tangible beyond my body. They course through me, and through billions of other people. They are not objects of mass that a person can pick up & touch, but they are the basis for which many people act out their lives, creating and destroying objects, feeling high and feeling low and passing it unto others.

Sometimes, sometimes doing it before I realize that I am, I imagine the wide array of feelings people go through. I imagine as many scenarios happening in people's lives this very moment, or collectively from the beginning of human history to now. I really try to feel what others are feeling. The odd yet amazing part is it truly feels as though what I feel is what other people were or are feeling. Or when I start to feel a glimpse of new feelings, I can only imagine that someone else felt the same thing, multiplied by 10 or 100.

I prefer when I imagine the collective feelings of our planet. So much pain, so much beauty, beauty in the struggle for happiness, pain in the confusion of the paths people are taking. It's overwhelming & wondrous & utterly, blindingly beautiful. It always moves me to tears and keeps me afloat.

The beauty, the beauty, the blinding beauty of what we all are, were and ever will be.

[inspired by a top ten favorite movie of mine: The Fountain]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the good morning experiment

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to say Good Morning to the people I pass while walking home. Usually I do the just-look-straight-ahead thing, and get very nervous or feel awkward when passing people. I will want to say Hello or Good Morning, but then get too caught up in what they might think of me, "Will I just be annoying them?" That sort of stuff.

All in all, it was a great success! I gave out 5 Good Mornings and got 4 back. The last lady was hooked into an ipod or something, and was the only person who seemed slightly annoyed. I also got an unsolicited Good Morning from a cyclist that passed me (and I happily reciprocated), which was the first a cyclist ever talked to me. So that was nice. There was one older fellow who was shirtless and walking towards me. I seriously doubted if I wanted to say anything to him, fearing he was a creepy, potentially belligerent guy that I didn't want to encourage. But when he got closer, he said, "It was just too hot out," with a laugh, which immediately put me at ease, and I gave him a hearty Good Morning. He returned my Good Morning with much enthusiasm too. It was an interaction that I would have avoided at all costs before, but am glad I put myself to the challenge. I just felt happier and lighter after my Good Morning exchanges, especially so after this shirtless guy one.

There were a couple times I didn't say Good Morning because the people were having a conversation or the person looked like they were taking a few moments to enjoy the river view. I was okay with that. So I'll continue to say Good Morning or Afternoon to fellow path walkers, and work my way up to just random people I may see elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

reminder

"What have you been putting up with that you would like to change? Start by releasing your attachment to having things remain the same. Embrace the new! Bring higher patterns, new habits, relationships, and positive changes into your life. Decide to stop giving away your power, being a victim, or feeling you have to accept some situation in your life because you have no choice. Connect with your soul and Divine Self. Draw in the strength and courage to make changes you have been wanting to make. Decide to make your life work and take the actions required to do so. Then, as the energies become more intense, you will find them lifting you even higher and expanding your life in new and wonderful ways."
--Orin & DaBen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

so fuckin happy

As I sit here, reflecting & basking in recent experiences, I can honestly say this time in my life is the happiest I have ever been. More so than my wedding day which society labels the happiest day of your life. I could cry from joy.

The apartment is now so easy to clean.

Aaron's into his second week at a job he's loving.

The farm job is the first ever job where I don't feel it's a job. I feel like I am getting paid to have fun & learn.

My body is getting in good shape quickly from the farming & biking routine.

I have successfully abstained from alcohol even when Aaron buys some.

I work 4 extra hours a week to earn a weekly bag of seasonal, organic veggies, eggs, garlic & etc which has made our eating habits way healthier.

I have family here that I actually like, get to see a lot & have fun with.

So thank you Spirit, God, Allah, Yahweh, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Me, for this peaceful, beautiful period in my life.

And thank you for this Ranch Dip Recipe! I've been making my own ranch so give it a shot if you want something better than the store's:

* approx 1/4 cup Spectrum Naturals Eggless Vegan Light Canola Mayo
* approx 1/4 cup Organic Valley sour cream (a bit less than the mayo)
* tad bit of water to thin it
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
* 2 chopped garlic cloves
* dash of cayenne pepper
* dash of onion powder

Ingredients can be adjusted to taste.
The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors seep throughout. I just finished eating it with farmed tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and carrots, divine!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

wax & wane

Lately I had been feeling stuck. As though life & my learning was moving at a snail's pace and I was impatient to get moving already. In March, April, May and beginning of June my life felt like such a whirlwind of change & progress, all of which ebbed & settled into what I have now. Now I am okay with that. In my head I had these plans to start massage school right away, and the more into the year I saw that may not happen, the more irritated & concerned I became. It will happen one day, just not as soon as I had planned. Until then, I should not and will not let that sully the perfect days I am living at the moment.

I appreciate now the slower, comfortable pace of the snail. I am not lacking or wanting anything. The part-time jobs I now have are perfect for me. I do not even consider the farm to be work since it's just so much fun & fulfilling for me. Babysitting a 2 yr old & 5 1/2 year old for 9 hours is work, but I enjoy that as well, and am learning quite a lot from it. Plus, it benefits my cousin's family nicely.

My husband just got a job that is second best to what his dream job is, and can still support both of us very comfortably.

So now I will take this time to appreciate the nuances of this less chaotic life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

unemployed & stir-fry mayhem

My husband has been unemployed for almost 2 weeks and it has not been stressing us in the least.

Granted we do have a nice chunk of cash in the bank so we can pay the bills, but I think I would still have been stressing about it if a younger version of myself was experiencing this.

Not so with Version 2008 Lea. We have truly been enjoying this time together without a worry attacking us. My husband is actively looking for jobs but there is no point stressing about "What if...."s since whatever is going to happen will happen. All we can do is try our best & see what becomes of it.
.....................................................................

On a different note, my husband and I occasionally go to this small cafe/diner. As far as we can tell the owner/chef is the only one who works there (I think we saw his wife there once working too). It's not a chic place & with the little business it gets I don't know how it stays open. However the man who works there is always all smiles and warms our hearts.

Today we ate there & were the only ones in the place. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and my husband ordered a chicken stir-fry. It took a little while before the man came out with our food since he was the only one cooking it. He gently placed the tray with my food, a ketchup bottle & cup of water in front of me, and my husband's stir-fry in front of him. I was smiling & saying thank-you when I reached for my water. Suddenly, before I realize what's happening, I knock my cup over and drown my husband's stir-fry & rice. I gasp and am just flabbergasted that I knocked my water over like that. The man had worriedly asked if I was okay since I had gasped, then takes the water logged plate away to cook up a replacement.

Man, I felt so bad! I wanted to cry for ruining the food this sweet, older man who sits in his cafe & reads the paper when there aren't any customers had cooked. It reminded me of a time in Santa Cruz when I saw this elderly man on the bus. He looked endearingly cute with a worn, tweed jacket, gold wedding band and a red backpack. Either later that night or within a few days we saw that same old man in downtown Santa Cruz. Except this time he was holding a cardboard sign asking for money because his family was going through hard times. His head was hung low looking embarrassed to be asking for money. Straight away my husband and I went to the ATM and pulled out a $20. But by the time we got back to give it to him, he was gone. I walked up & down downtown, trying to look down side streets, to find him but I never did. Nor did I ever see him down there again. It really broke my heart. I felt I had let him down somehow.

So that's somewhat how I felt in the cafe for ruining the food. My husband comforted me, saying we can't control everything that happens otherwise we wouldn't learn nearly as many lessons, if any at all. I reminded myself several times I didn't do it on purpose. The man came back smiling with a new plate of stir-fry & I was able to eat without feeling that heavy, tear-inducing guilt. I still would have rather it that I didn't spill my water, but felt that nothing was worse for it. When we left I gave him a tip equal to how much the second plate of stir-fry cost, which made him smile even wider & thank me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

a complete 180

Astonishment & disbelief were what I first felt when I learned today that the job my husband really wanted, the one we were told he had, the one we had packed half our apartment & reserved a room in Santa Cruz ready for a move on Tuesday--when we learned that he didn't have that job anymore. At least there is now no definite date as to when the university will hire anyone for it.

This all meant that we were not moving to the town we really wanted to go. We had just spent $90 on a storage unit we did not need. And that my husband now has no job waiting for him after tomorrow.

Yes, it blew me and my husband away. He's more recovered now. I was numb for a bit but I think I'm on the right road to recovery. It was just a boatload of change for the span of two weeks.

It was funny too because when I wrote my previous post (before this news came) I thought I shouldn't think in future terms such as "I will miss..." because I have no way of knowing really what the future holds. How do I really know I will miss something? How do I really know I will be in a different town next week? I don't. So I should focus instead on appreciating things in their moments, not of what feelings I may possibly be feeling should certain events possibly happen.

basil, beans & a preying mantis

Today was my last day volunteering at my cousin's farm. As I arrived I stopped at the apricot tree and picked two juicy, plump apricots. Delicious. Then I found my cousin. As I waited for him to finish washing his hands, I petted the cow some. I daresay she liked it since she put her head through the fence so she could be closer to me.

I harvested a couple rows of basil, which were planted alongside some green bean rows. God, it was so peaceful & beautiful. It's very smokey here due to the California fires, but the sun still managed to cast beautiful, warm rays of light across the basil, the grass & the other plots of thriving vegetables. The basil aroma was quite therapeutic too as I snipped the delicate basil stems. While snipping I happened to come across a very small & incredibly cool preying mantis! Later I escorted another preying mantis away from the basil cooler and into some other greenery. Maggie, a dog, would come visit me every once in a while too. I will miss the animal interaction very much.

There was a moment where I stopped, gently leaned back into the blossoming, light purple green bean flowers with their tiny pods growing long, breathed in the freshly snipped basil aroma, took in the rows upon rows of lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes and what have you that the sun was blessing with light, and just smiled. It truly was perfect.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata", Copyright 1952

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ego freak-out

Wow, did I have an ego freak-out or what? This past Saturday I read a few bits from Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema. It spoke of Equanimity (Even-minded, like a go with the flow mindset) vs. Indifference (along with a few other topics) in Chapter 4. For whatever reason, my ego flipped out on me. For about 15-30 minutes (or longer) I questioned what I had been doing for the past 4 years.

Was I really a better person now?
Was I doing this all wrong & screwing up myself?
Was I really just indifferent instead of even-minded?
Was I really just hurting people and being cold & callous?
Was I being selfish in not being what others wanted me to be?

Did I just waste 4 years of my life cultivating my mind in this manner?

Thankfully my husband was here too. He asked if I thought any of this was true, what was my solution to it? I said I didn't know, my thoughts hadn't gone that far. He said the ego will give you no solutions, just problems. Afterwards he meditated (I always typo 'medicated' & have to correct it), and I did the same. I like to do light visualization meditations, and this one refreshed me back to my giddy, airy, light self.

I haven't had those depressed feelings in a while. I have experienced depressed emathy recently, but not the depressed where you feel really desolate & hopeless as though it's really you/yoursoul that's feeling it. It was nice being able to "snap" out of it. Back in high school, it took a few years before the depression subsided.

And so onward I continue, whether my ego likes it or not.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gandhi's autobiography

I started reading Gandhi An Autobiography. I have owned the book for years but for some reason never started reading it. I am convinced the reason is because I wouldn't have understood it nearly as clearly as I do now.

What's funny is I started it two Fridays ago. A week passed before I read any more. During this week I made a vow (one could say) to stop drinking alcohol. The second Friday, when I picked the book up again, Gandhi was talking about how his vows (ie: vegetarian diet, non-consumption of alcohol, monogamy, celibacy) have been liberating to him. On this topic I'm not very eloquent so let me quote the passage that resonated with me deeply:

The importance of vows grew upon me more clearly than ever before. I realized that a vow, far from closing the door to real freedom, opened it. Up to this time I had not met with success because the will had been lacking, because I had had no faith in myself, no faith in the grace of God, and therefore, my mind had been tossed on the boisterous sea of doubt. I realized that in refusing to take a vow man was drawn into temptation, and to be bound by a vow was like a passage from libertinism to a real monogamous marriage. 'I believe in effort, I do not want to bind myself with vows,' is the mentality of weakness and betrays a subtle desire for the thing to be avoided. Or where can be the difficulty in making a final decision? I vow to flee from the serpent which I know will bite me, I do not simply make an effort to flee from him. I know that mere effort may mean certain death. Mere effort means ignorance of the certain fact that the serpent is bound to kill me.[bold added] The fact, therefore, that I could rest content with an effort only, means that I have not yet clearly realized the necesity of definite action. 'But supposing my views are changed in the future, how can I bind myself to a vow?' Such a doubt oftern deters us. But that doubt also betrays a lack of clear perception that a particular thing must be renounced. That is why Nishkulanand has sung"

'Renunciation without aversion is not lasting.'

Where therefore the desire is gone, a vow of renunciation is the natural and inevitable fruit.

(Last paragraph of Part III, Chapter 7- pg 207)

This is what I felt when I woke up last Monday at 3:00AM, my mind clear and my body horribly intoxicated, when I decided I was not going to consume alcohol anymore. I just spent this past weekend sober, the first weekend sober in a long while.

If I had read that Gandhi passage before I took my own vow, I know I would not have really understood what he was saying. But it was simply amazing to read over those words and to really feel the new truth I felt in them. My vow for sobreity liberates me from my ego's desire to get drunk. The part of me that loves myself does not want to trash my body anymore, and by taking this vow, I am free to carry on with my life without giving my ego any reason to indulge in "just one drink" with friends on a Friday night...which inevitably turns into two, and then three drinks every Friday night, and then maybe Saturday too....and why not an occasional weekday too to help with the stress?...

No, I am free from that.

falling in place

A few radical changes have been made this past month, but it doesn't seem radical since the previous months have been leading up to it.

Let me preface with some history: Late 2007 until early 2008 I was working a job that turned into a stressful nightmare. But it forced me to do a lot of things I would never have comfortably done before. It really made me grow quick. The ultimate lesson I learned from it is love for myself is first in my life. I didn't want to sacrifice my life & happiness just to satisfy a job or society.

After I left the job in March, I became a stay at home wife. I really wanted to take this time for myself, to recover, to detox, to heal & to learn more. And more than less I've been doing that. A month ago I decided to contact a cousin of mine that I knew lived in the area. I've known this for months and months, but just never contacted him. He was happy to hear from me and invited me over for dinner with his wife and two young daughters.

After that things quickly started falling into place. I was looking for a part time job because I felt ready to go beyond my shell again. My cousin's wife at this moment needed a new babysitter since the one she was using was moving. Babysitting is a job I've always wanted to do since I love kids, but couldn't since most businesses want education credits. My cousin offered me a summer gig in his garden to help weed & maintain it. This is another thing I've always wanted to do, being hands on with earth & such, but never had the opportunity or desired skills for it. My cousin's family have quickly and quite comfortably been added to our life here. Had I contacted them months ago, I'm not sure the same outcome would have happened. I was super stressed and probably would have felt too drained to maintain a relationship with them. Who knows though.

Either way, it's been a very pleasant change to my life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a new leaf

It was only a week ago that I said this:
Then I start thinking that maybe I should just stop drinking. We usually drink 2, sometimes 3 times a week, majority being the weekend. But I can never imagine myself actually giving it up. Cutting back, yes, and I should. But never fully giving it up. Sigh.
3:00AM Monday morning [5/26] I decided I was going to give up drinking. Wasn't something I planned on at all in this life, let alone so soon after those italicized words. It was 3:00AM Monday morning when I woke up in bed with my clothes on and did not remember how or why I was in bed. The last memory I had was being on the patio with my husband, drinking & conversing having a good time and it was still daylight. It appeared I had a blackout again due to alcohol. 3 beers & 3 strong margaritas had been consumed.

I learned later from my husband that we had been out talking & whatnot, when I suddenly said I didn't feel good, and came inside to lay down. I'm glad I did fall asleep because I felt like shit when I woke up.

So it was then, with an intoxicated body but a clear mind that I said I never wanted to blackout again, never wanted to put my body through this hell voluntarily again. After I have one drink I can't stop myself from having more. But I can choose to not have that first drink in the first place.

Then I actually grew somewhat excited at the prospect of being free from alcohol. There's always that slight pressure to have a drink if everyone else is. People think it especially odd if you do drink but turn down having one while everyone else is liquoring up. But now that I will have the "I don't drink" line on my side + my family's history with alcoholism, I won't feel the need to buckle and have "just one drink" like everyone else.

Yay for my body. It's quite happy now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

just do it, eh?

Yesterday was quite the learning experience, quite an amazing day. I've been reading a few things on emotional telepathy for some time now; about picking up other people's energy and cultivating a method to not be affected by others' negative energy. One new thing I read was when you first wake up, consciously reflect on how you feel. Usually I'm quite optimistic, rejuvenated and imagine grand things I can accomplish for the day. (Though when I was working my previous, super stressful job I'd wake up with dread. That's a different issue, but definitely a sign you need to detox & relax.) How I feel when I first wake up is what my energy is when it's basically just my own. The book Personal Power Through Awareness offers a few exercises like accessing how different people make you feel when you are around them, or about to see them. See what kind of thoughts crop up when you're around certain people or at certain places that normally wouldn't occur to you at home. Another thing I read in it was how usually the people you are closest to are easier to pick things up from, (probably something to do with how much empathy you have for them versus others).

That's all background for my cool day yesterday.

So I woke up all bright-eyed and happy. My husband went off to work and I stayed home, was awake for a little while, and then went back to sleep. When I woke up again I just couldn't get myself into "me" mode, like my personality was detached and some depressed person stepped in my body. Now I was sad the previous night due to my drunken state. But I didn't think that could be causing this lethargic, just empty state I was in. I spent the whole day sleeping or being a depressed grouch when awake. I spoke to my husband for a little while during lunch, but he wasn't in a good mood either, so I basically hung up on him & went to sleep. At one point during the day I thought maybe I was picking up on my husband's energy or something because this was just really unusual for me. It wasn't until 4:00 PM that I really got up, got dressed, the usual, though I was still feeling empty.

Despite my state, I knew I wanted to get some chores done. So I took out the trash, started the dishes, just going through the motions at least. It was when I was stirring the mac & cheese that I really told myself "just be happy." It was as if the clouds dispersed and the sun finally started shining. I truly felt happy in an instant. I even started laughing it was so incredulous & genuine. I've done that numerous times before but this was the most dramatic time so it just felt really cool.

Hardly a few minutes later my husband came home. While eating dinner I asked, "Have you ever just told yourself to be happy and were amazed when it just happened?" He relayed that that is what he was thinking when he was driving home. He said he was depressed at work today (and had been for the last couple work days), and realized he was letting himself be depressed. He's working a job that, although it's a good job with good people, he is not passionate about it. I knew he was stressed at work again, but not that he was getting into a depressed mood over it. I told him how I thought I was feeling that today because it was just a really weird, foreign day for me. We did some other stuff later that confirmed we could, and probably were, experiencing each others energy & feelings.

For the rest of the evening though I was just happy and my husband was in a positive mood too.

I don't know how to fully express how interesting yesterday's experience was, but I was glad to have gotten to go through it. All day I had been in a funk and in an instant I made a 180 degree turn around mentally. Twas quite dramatic & exhilarating.


It makes me want to focus even more on cultivating positive energy and sharing that with the world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

right & left, left & right

After reading My Stroke Of Insight the other day, a cluster of ideas kept my mind awake last night. In her book she talks about the difference & functions of the right side & left side of the brain. Right side being focused on creativity, peace, oneness [along those lines] and left being focused on logistics, plans, self-interest, functioning. (Again, best if you read the book than just take my word on this.) Before I read that book I created another blog where I just type mundane, day to day crap, even ranting & complaining some in it. So last night I realized I could compare my two blogs to the two sides of my brain: New Blog = Left, This Blog = Right.

In the book and in other readings I've done, particularly Dan Millman books, there is talk of the need to balance your life. Jane Bolte Taylor (Stroke book) presents it in a more scientific way of balancing your left & right side. If you're just living from the right side, you couldn't get anything phyically accomplished, couldn't communicate with others who were using their left side, and couldn't function as a "normal" person in this society. But if you spend too much time functioning from your left side, you'll be really stressed, unhappy, obsessed with things that don't truly matter, and possibly too self-centered. You need to balance.

Dan Millman presents it in a more spiritual but practical manner of "head in the clouds, feet on the ground." There is a reason why he's a reknowned author and I'm not, so I encourage anyone to read some of his work & not directly take my words as his.

Both authors offer awesome techniques on how to accomplish this & why it's for everyone's betterment that we try.

I guess I'm more reflecting here than making a point. But the combination of Millman's books with Taylor's book really struck a cord in me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

her stroke of insight

I just finished reading My Stroke Of Insight by Jane Bolte Taylor, PhD.

Quite awesome and an easy, short read. Though by no means short of inspiration, truth & general awesomeness.

Watch this short, fascinating lecture to get a glimpse of what the book is about. Just watching this lecture it quite awe-inspiring itself.

Monday, May 12, 2008

go with the flow

I intend, I intend, I intend.

I intend to go with the flow. I have read and believe that stress is created when you resist what is happening. As in, say you receive an unexpected $1600 bill in the mail and you simply don't know how you're going to pay it. You're going to get stressed worrying about what to do, agonizing Why Oh Why Did This Happen, and nothing will be the better because of your stress.

This example is happening to me and my husband. Actually this particular Random High Bill In The Mail happens to us on a cycle it seems, so we obviously still need to learn something from this. Anywho, at first we would get really stressed out about it, especially when we were in college with literally NO money to our names. But once we accepted the situation, stopped resisting, and instead calmly tried to figure a way to move forward, money fell into our laps one way or another.

My husband and I did spend about 48 hours bitching and lamenting about this situation, but now we're in the move forward phase. And we know we didn't need to bitch and lament, that we were attached to some self-pitying and vocalizing frustration with a certain woman who had a hand in creating this bill. I intend to one day not feel we have to go through that extra, negative step. I do congratulate ourselves on not spending a week or whatever moaning & groaning.

During the initial shock & frustration period, there was one phrase that helped put me back at center: This too shall pass.

That's one reason I want to tattoo it on my forearm. It is a reminder I wouldn't mind having around all the time. And it really does help me keep perspective.

At the end of the day, though, it's all for a reason.

I intend to learn from it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

a perfect misunderstanding

Right off the bat, I believe we are all perfect. We can change our behavior, how we view the world & situations, change our physical appearances, and before, during & after all this, we are still perfect. Why? The answer to that is a whole other conversation, but for me it's basically that we are here to learn important lessons. We are acting and thinking in whatever fashion at the moment to learn something.

Now what saddens/confuses/frustrates me (depending on my mood) is when people think that if they thought of themselves as perfect, it would lead to dangerous behavior; that they would think themselves superior to others & commit mass genocide; that they would sit around all day becoming lazy & soft.

I think what some people think is if they are perfect, that status somehow makes them superior. When really, we are all equally perfect. For if we view others as perfect and equal as ourselves, and we love ourselves truly hence loving others truly, dangerous behavior would not arise.

Instead loving, compassionate acts would spill forth because we would want to help ourselves and others. We wouldn't want to sit around the TV all day for the rest of our lives because that would be unloving for our mental and physical well being. Rather we would want to show respect for our bodies & minds and keep ourselves fit.

If you viewed another human being as equal as you, then you would not want to harm, abuse, or oppress them. You would want to be kind, help when you could, and they would understand when you couldn't.

At the moment, I am saddened when I hear the excuses people come up with for why they can't love themselves wholly or think themselves perfect. They think if they did, they would get "worse," in fact it's the opposite. But I remember I used to think like that as well, and here I am now. So there is hope. Anyone can change.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

keep the peace

I just got done reading a hell of a book: Rogue State by William Blum. I would suggest reading it. Many critique it as being one sided (which it is), the topics and facts being taken out of context (probably true) and criticizing the fact Blum doesn't have any "real" qualifications to write about American diplomatic affairs. However, the same goes for the history books that are in our public schools and reported "news" on various media networks. So take what you can from this book, do some research of your own and form your own opinions, that is what I suggest.

In any event, after reading this hellific book, I felt tremendous despair. I was mentally paralyzed, not knowing how to think or what to do next. And then my mental training started to kick in. I prayed (in the nonreligious sense) and thought of peace. I hoped for peace for humanity. I thought of love, of the positive things we are capable of. Some of my cynicism did kick in still, and I joked about never wanting to pay taxes again. But in the long term, I will still pray for peace. I will do what I personally can to contribute to a positive cause. I can't save the world by myself, but I can help it by loving myself and my fellow humans, even the ones that sometimes trigger my despair.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Love your face

Since high school I have had very noticeable acne, which of course was one of the banes of my existence. Even into and after college a fair amount still persisted. I felt this was wholly unfair, as I was always told it would go away when I became an adult. During these years I tried a variety of face washes, scrubs, what-have-you. Sometimes the blemishes were reduced but never enough to my satisfaction. I am 23 now. A few weeks ago I decided to stop hating my face, and to just love & accept it. This was the only face I had and I was wasting time & energy hoping for a different one. Miraculously after consciously making an effort to love my body & face, the blemishes started to drastically go away. My face to smoother and clearer than it has been since the late 1990s. I had no expectation that this would happen but it sure is welcome. Even if the blemishes come back, I will still love my face, and continue to make a conscious effort if I feel my love wavering.

Friday, April 18, 2008

laundry

I did a large load of my husband's T-shirts yesterday. When he got home he thanked me but that did not satisfy me. I had expected him to jump for joy that he now had 15 clean shirts to wear and rejoice at seeing old shirts he had forgotten about. I thought he would think it close to a miracle that I had washed all these shirts. Later yesternight I realized I had these expectations and was attached to the ecstatic outcome I expected from him. I realized that and consciously let that go. Instead I reoriented my focus on the fact I did something nice for my husband and wouldn't have to go scrounging for shirts early in the morning before heading off to work. I also then found it funny that such a menial thing like laundry could affect me so if I let it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Introduction

Hello. This website is a place for me to share reflections I have on life (using my life in particular as the prime example). I have made this public on the off-chance someone comes across this and it starts them pondering things they hadn't thought of before.