Split the cost, split the gain

love flickr aleksandra

I am a person who divulges all to those who I find similar wavelengths with. I have no real interest in being fractured or splintered to offer only parts of myself to different parts of people. Probably why I have a hard time understanding people who keep so much of themselves hidden away or held back. I don’t know that discipline or that preference.

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I was watching “Iyanla: Fix My Life” last night because…well, I cannot explain myself and retain any self-respect or dignity so shutup.

ANYWAY. Bat-shit crazy Iyanla, in her best impression of Rafiki, was speaking to a family who were having issues coming to terms with their son’s homosexuality. As the son pointed out that he felt that his parents, specifically his father, didn’t address his sexuality, he didn’t feel that he was being ignored – which Iyanla was suggesting. Her viewpoint was that the father was denying the son’s existence.

Her point was that – whether he felt his sexuality defined him or not, it was part of his fullness and that when he walked into a room of people who would not get to know his fullness, they could easily and simply sum him up as a gay man.

I guess I got the point. I, too, feel my sexuality is just a flavor of my personality but to ignore that part – even for myself – is to deny the fullness of my existence. And for someone else to ignore that part of me is to not fully know me, love me, appreciate me or accept me.

I’ll buy that.

_____

I have these weird moments where I feel unjustifiably ‘wise’ in comparison to other people. Or at least help others come to terms with shit they are unwilling to face head on or deal with in the simplest of terms. Sometimes I think maybe I should have gone into counseling. I guess I still have time to do something about that if I really want it.

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This is in my mind on repeat. The drama. The tension. The Bond-ness of it all.

A lack of resolution.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fO07POv5IU

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I have been having this itch of ‘What’s next?’ in the last few weeks. I think it’s that time of year where you reflect on the year and your life and get stuck into that weird and unproductive pattern of hindsight judgment.

I learned this week from my training class that hindsight is a trap. The best thing you can ever do for yourself is to recognize what happened and LEARN. And apply what you’ve learned as you continue to move. Motion is more important than planning. The planning is a tool to help organize movement but does not account for the entirety of the journey. If you stick to the plan, you’ll be in grueling pain.

That’s the thing I’ve learned both professionally and personally this week.

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I feel released from pain. Released from torment. Released from obligation to this world, from capitalism, from societal expectations, from people’s judgment, from all the baggage of the past.

I feel equanimous and at peace. That state makes others really uncomfortable. Being at ease is so foreign to so many that it it’s terrifying that others don’t understand that an absence of all feeling is a neutral state of bliss.

Those who try to be happy all the time – and I’m talking about the people who FORCE themselves into that state – are no different than coke addicts doing lines one after the other. Addicts chasing the high. The same could be said for those who wallow in pain.

I watched Sarah Silverman’s recent standup special and she made a really good point:

If you quit being cunty the whole world will stop being against you!

Amen. The people who think the world is out to get them are so wrapped up in their own perceptual shit that has nothing to do with the rest of us who have to deal or interact with them. Just stop being shitty.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bZfzscQMjU

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Photo courtesy: Love/ Flickr by Walisz

 

Surviving the retrograde

Screen Shot 2013-11-10 at 2.13.31 PM

For however long, I kept seeing people blaming and talking up the fact that Mercury was in retrograde. Truth be told I had no fucking clue what this meant so I looked it up.

First – some info on Mercury himself:

Mercury comes from the Latin word merx, or mercator, which means merchant. Mercury is the name given by the ancient Romans to the Greek mythological god Hermes.

Mercury is depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat, indicating the ability to travel quickly. He was the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses and, as such, governed communications.

In 1782, Mercury became the first symbol of the United States’ postal service. Today, he is the Icon of an International floral delivery service.

In astrology, Mercury influences travel, literature, poetry, merchants, and thieves. He is cunning and witty at a moment’s notice. But he is also recognized as a trickster and prone to misbehavior.

In terms of the retrograde, it’s apparently the illusion that the planet itself appears to stop in its normal rotation and proceed backward.

According to astrology, retrograde can apparently cause a lot of friction and mishaps and confusion and the recommendation is to make no big or long-lasting decisions during Mercury’s retrograde. The point of the time, so ‘they’ say, is to be reflective of the past and review the past.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stmjb9EHzg0

As if I need the planets to start moving backward to do that.

But interesting, considering the last post I left here. About how my own retrograde is counterproductive, especially in terms of relationships. You just can’t go back to where you’ve been with who you’ve been. Because everything is changed. In life, there’s not a lot of do-overs but there’s plenty of opportunity to learn, grow, move forward and evolve toward a better state of self.

I’ve come to see that you can only open yourself and your heart to other people and invite them in. But you cannot expect others to do the same or to respond. That’s not the norm. When it happens, that’s the magic. That’s the moment of sparks and tinglies. And those aren’t promised to you through life but you have to be open to them and not assume you know where they’ll come from or when.

It’s about being open to things. That’s really hard. To be self-caring and self-loving to a point to think you’re deserving and ready for an influx of goodness beyond the environment you’ve created for yourself. And that’s where I’m at. I’ve created this space for myself where I’m truly happy and content and I see nothing but potential and goodness around me but I’m not truly pursuant of it for the sake of ‘getting.’

It’s about just being present and allowing others to stand by your side and inviting them to be part of what you create and eventually creating something together. That’s the ideal. That’s the vision I still believe in. I still believe I’ll be loved in ways I’ve so far only imagined up.

But even the journey here was rough. But the point is I made it.

Image: Hold me tide/Ibai via Flickr. 

A changed perspective.

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You choose what you want to see. In life. In people. In yourself. Perspective is nothing except perception married with (or soaked in, however you prefer) lots of emotional layers and subtext and history and baggage that you bring.

So it always feel like a slap in the face when your brain is jarred from the repetition of categorization and processing to see a new reality in front of you. Call it a trick of the eye, but sometimes it’s just a shift in the brain.

And usually for the better.

Because you’re wiser. You know that your eyes can only tell you so much. That sometimes life is not exactly how you see it – something that can either destroy you or empower you.

I welcome the moments of being shaken awake. Because those moments define who you are and whether you refer to fear or you refer to blaze a new path. Bravery personified.

Also coming to grips with allowing goodness in the door and not holding out for history. Being able to let go of the past and truly be in this moment, in all these little moments and just relish in the here and now with an open mind, an open heart, and the ability to smile.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

30. Nothing but a number.

james pepper illustration

Approaching 30.

I think this may be the most settled and calming period I’ve had in a long time. With aging comes the hard swallow of realities that your life may not be what you thought it would be by the time you reach age X. But in lieu of panic, there’s something very ‘Ok’ about it, too.

My highs and lows are less dramatic. There’s less drama for the sake of drama, born out of boredom or needing entertainment.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, having a green tea and hearing the barista discuss with a patron her rekindling of romance with a previous boyfriend and the ease within which they may or may not be getting back together. I recognize her nervous casualness in which she describes their interactions. I’ve told those same lies at times. That, “No…it’s not that big of a deal. We’ll see what happens…I’m just being the bigger person” et al.

When inside I know she’s eager to make this work again this time. To fix whatever broke down before and to revisit this relationship with fresh eyes and fresh breathe and more resilience toward being totally open. But there is a moment when you do realize that you can’t make two people be a thing sometimes.

I know it well. And it makes me happy. To know that we’re all built from the same kind of DNA. That we’ve got all the same basic emotional blueprint and capacity.

How does that relate to being older? I don’t know. I think if I sat here and heard her three years ago I would have had less of an appreciative smirk upon my face hearing her. In fact, I probably would have stuffed my headphones in my ears to avoid such drivel.

But now closer to 30 than 20, I’m loving the mellowness that comes with age. The comfort that most people describe – comfort with just being who you are and being less worried about comparing yourself to other people, changing yourself for the sake of another, and not punishing yourself every day with self-doubt, self-loathing, self-denial, self-punishment.

The fact that as you get older, you become closer to yourself.

I certainly thought I’d be further along by the time I hit 30. In terms of money, in terms of career, in terms of dating – that all of these things combined would have eventually led me to feeling more ‘successful’ or ‘fulfilled.’

Truth be told, I think all of these things happened and I do feel pretty accomplished. I’ve pushed myself – in some of the most extreme and in some of the most minuscule ways – to leave my comfort zone in terms of all the things above and more.

I’ve been addicted to constant change and yet I love the static nature of my core lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong – for the most part, I’m a misanthropist through and through. But as I get older, I find more sentimentality in the little things in life. The acts of kindness I witness which inspire me to be more kind. The acts of humility that inspire me to be more humble and to listen more and talk less. The acts of care in the smallest of ways that inspire me to constantly turn down the dial on my dramatic tendencies.

I’ve learned through so many bruised-knee moments emotionally that my walls erected around my heart typically don’t serve me well. And that there’s something more empowering about being totally forthright and tending to my own well-being first rather than compromising for the sake of trying to ‘keep’ another around.

And at 30, I’m finally at a place where it’s much harder for me to justify being in a relationship I don’t feel utterly tingly about from the get-go. And I realize that it’s a battle of being someone who is holding out for that when it may never come. That what I’m expecting may just be illusory.

I used to pity people who settled down for the sake of settling down. But no more. I get it. Sometimes you just want the company. You just want the warm body and companionship there. It’s about forging a life together, regardless of all the other ‘stuff.’ I think I tried to do it. But I couldn’t. I’m not one to be backed into a corner – whether by another or of my own choosing.

I want what I want. And I’m not taking whatever comes my way. And that attitude could be COMPLETELY detrimental and leave me a sad spinster.

If that’s the case, it’s okay, too. I may just be one of those people who is alone. A wild horse that cannot be saddled by any person. I have a hard time kneeling in deference to anyone. There have been less than a handful who have made me want to.

So if the one that makes me want to wants to in return, I’ll follow indefinitely.

Always the case of being ‘all chips in’ when I feel IT. And when I don’t, I cannot fake it.

The same could be said for every part of my life – job, hobbies, etc. I become oddly addicted to the new high of anything that I’m interested in. And when I’m done, I’m completely done.

With age also comes the beauty in being less hurt by life. That when things do not go your way, it’s not panic-button worthy. And the things that are meant to be will always manifest themselves (repeatedly in some cases). I believe in ‘signs,’ if you will.

People come and go and return. In most cases, it doesn’t make any sense and for someone like me, I want to know why. But there’s never a reason. Making peace with that…that only comes with learning acceptance. And *ding* not being in control of everything.

I appreciate these moments more. Instead of being dismissive or distrustful, I choose to see the silver lining.

It’s a moment to reflect on what IS going right and to be more grateful for the things that have happened as if by chance and luck. It’s a choice in what you choose to focus your reflection upon. Pain or personal growth?

Perhaps familial health scares and my own fear of death (or let’s be honest – control of ANYTHING), make me more “So what, who cares” about life.

And that’s helped in relationship building, demolishing and reconstruction. When you see your own steadfastness emerge, you see how things in life aren’t SO delicate or precious. It all comes and goes in a blink of an eye – so just bravely face the day and go for what you want.

“Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet.” A quote allegedly by Seneca, a first-century Roman philosopher. Later appropriated & revised by Oprah. But the sentiment is true.

I think that there is a lot to be said for going through practice & preparation before you are then presented with the opportunity to act.

In many ways, I’m still learning every day. About myself. About others. About how to engage in the dance between the two.

Sanding down the rough edges, as it were. And happy for the experiences drifting in my life. And those that drift away. All the while having proverbial popcorn to enjoy the show, not knowing how it will end or the twists/turns in the story.

Getting older means being more forgiving toward one’s self in terms of trying to ‘be something.’ What if existing happily is enough of a lasting impression upon this planet? What if kindness is the most impressive feat you could accomplish while you were here?

What if the entire point of being here is to just soak it all in? And just nod in simple agreement.

I’m eager and excited for the crazy and winding path that lay ahead of me with brambles, exquisite vistas and delightful road warrior companions that join me as our narratives intertwine for however long they might. And being able to revel in the stories of others and just like a book, step into someone else’s experience and feel the emotional impact and be thankful for the sharing.

So here’s to 2013. Turning 30. Turning over new leafs. And turning pages as I continue writing my story. No rules for foolish hearts, as they say…

Photo courtesy James Pepper/Flickr.

Wisdom in the wound.

“What do you blog about?” is a question I get a lot. Well, truthfully I should just start responding, “Men and God.” Although, that feels very shallow. Or it seems overly pretentious like I’m writing the next missive that will unlock the mysteries of the eternal questions of who made us and why we’re here.

Nope.

You won’t be finding that here.

My blog is more or less a diary. It’s where I take a lot of mixed emotions and pent up intellectual quandaries and lay them out on the dissecting table. How archealogists dig to unearth clues about the past, ascertaining cause & effects through time, I think this is my place to do that with my own psyche.

Frightening at times but always with the intention that no matter what kind of admission I make in this space, the point is to go through the exercise in an attempt to find light and resolution.

Wisdom in the wound.

That’s been the title of this post that has sat empty for probably over a month. While I’m not a big tattoo person, these words have stuck with me since I heard them.

The point of them is that you have to go to the darkest of places in order to make sense of yourself and by choosing to do that work, you will forever be changed.

While the phrase itself may sound heavy and dire, the actual meaning is the polar opposite for me. That regardless of any card that life deals you, you have to look for the lesson. And in doing so, you set yourself apart from the generalist category of victimization. Because when you only see the wounds that life has inflicted upon you and see no way to change or see no way to alter your viewpoint/outlook/opinion, you are openly casting yourself as victim until your death.

I choose not to be victim. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like a lot of vodka and pity parties from time to time. I put a cap and time limit on my own pitying. Then I know it’s time to do the intellectual work.

Regardless of whether I blog, go have drinks with my friends, see a therapist, have casual sex, eat a whole pizza, etc., I know that in the combination of all those things, is the healing. Another amazing lesson to have learned. That you can write and write and write, but until you put yourself back on the saddle and into practice, you’ll never get better.

My mother, who reads this blog despite telling me repeatedly that she doesn’t and is therefore a liar (yes, I just called you out), has a hard time understanding why I put this all out there. I mean, let’s face it. The internet is public domain. It’s not private. I’m offering up some delicate cuts of meat to the world.

However, the point of that is not about getting a response. I’m not sitting here hoping that 50 people comment on my blog, my writing, my life. I’m not out looking for sympathy or pity.

In fact, it’s a very selfish process, writing these little narratives.

But occassionally someone does stumble across the ones I feel most comfortable sharing and will tell me that they can relate and that it was helpful to read what I’ve written. I cannot lie and say there isn’t any gratification in that. It’s nice that from a place where I sometimes feel so alone, there are people who get it. Get me. Even if it’s just a digital beacon to let me know that there are other lighthouses out there. Empathy.

My therapist asked why would I blog since other people might see, namely people like lurking ex boyfriends, etc. I couldn’t answer. Why don’t I just sit and write in a Lisa Frank trapper keeper? One, it would be hard to find one these days and I don’t want to pay for it. Two, I don’t know.

I guess that part of writing this publicly is taking ownership of my own faults and faculties. It’s one thing for me to sit and write in a journal that can be full of vitriol but when putting things here, I do acknowledge the feelings of others in most cases. I don’t call anyone out by name. I attempt to see the grace of even those who I have felt completely burned by.

It keeps me responsible in a sense. To be fair in doling out the medicine instead of assuming that I’m right in how I feel and that I should interpret those feelings as fact. As the wise prophet RuPaul has said, “Feelings are not facts.” This is true.

In many cases, the arc takes place over a lot of posts. There are angry posts. There are sad posts. There are posts about finding resolution and moving forward. There are posts about missteps and regret. All of them together build to still only deliver to the read a slice of myself.

Someone told me that I seem so much happier and exuberant in real life. I am. Because this is where part of me lives so that the other person you see in real life gets to be present. There are times when they bleed onto one another, but I see my blog as more of a tool than a consistent outlet.

I understand where my therapist and my mother are coming from. Hell, I understand the limits that people should have when putting themselves on display on the internet. But I also believe that I’m not doing anything but being true to myself and true to the others around me.

It’s difficult when people who are in my life read this blog and want to make assumptions or decisions based off of what I’m writing without continuing a dialogue offline. To only use this as the prime source material would be flawed.

These things are not the easiest to dig into with people and it can be heavy to discuss which is why I tend to do the heaviest unloading through these words rather than in discussion. Perhaps one day that will change as I evolve and the people around me change and I find more comfort in opening up in ways I hadn’t up until that point.

The other caveat about this space is that it challenges me (and others) to realize as highly cognitive beings and emotional ones at that, we can change over time. Our thoughts today may be turned on a dime by tomorrow. What I believe right now to be scientific fact may be fiction by end of week. There is no such thing as gospel. There is only the passing on of intellectual polaroids. Tiny snippets and snapshots of space and time and milestones of growth and regression and hope and hopelessness.

So if this is the first thing you’ve ever read, welcome aboard. And if you’ve been reading on and off for a while, you may have come a little closer and thanks for going up and running your lighthouse on the foggiest of nights.

 

‘Havoc’ falls short, not nearly as bright

“Alanis,” I usually respond. I find that I seem to ask the question a lot on first dates, “Which artist or band do you first remember actually paying attention to the lyrics and discovering that music could mean something?” I know, heady first date material. Of course, I get great answers. So when asked in rebuttal, my response is, as mentioned, “Alanis.”

There’s always been something about the lyrical quality of Alanis Morissette’s writing that has felt invasive, permeating my strongly built walls of protection in saying things that I felt, but didn’t have the guts to say or own even internally. But the emotional hooks were put in place and as she began to write about these moments of self-awareness through the lens of her relationships with people, I, too, felt a sense of ownership of not only my feelings, but the reactionary nature of them.

Alanis has been sort of a guidepost for me in terms of life changes. Being a few years older, each album has served as a benchmark of my own evolution, whether it be in terms of relationships (intimate or not), self-care, self-discipline or just awareness of the world outside me. And because this knowledge came as a secondary lesson from the actual story within the songs themselves, they’re completely relatable – whether you got the lesson at the time or not.

There have been plenty of times where I don’t connect with what the song is saying or about and five years later I return to know exactly what the intention was and the place it came from. Again, just a road map of places you’ve been or places you know to watch out for in the future.

However, it seems that perhaps Alanis has taken a turn on the course of life that I am either unable to relate to at the moment or has become more concerned with the lesson giving than the revelation of the lesson itself.

Her new album Havoc and Bright Lights feels like a step backward musically and a fumbled attempt lyrically.

As a new wife and mother, her life has changed in many capacities that I – as a gay man – can no longer relate to. But again, it doesn’t prevent me from trying to lift the lesson out of it.

But perhaps the problem is that it all feels too self-help. And being Alanis, I know going in that it’s going to be heavy on the Debbie Ford psycho babble, which I can abide by up to a certain degree. But the problem with this album is that it’s musically not interesting enough to lift the lyrical components up and it all feels a bit empty as a result.

The moments you can discern Guy Sigsworth’s brilliance are delicious. But then there’s the glossy production of ‘live band’ laid atop Sigsworth’s sonic creations that leaves the songs feeling inconsistent and never truly strong enough to stand on their own for repeat listens.

“Guardian,” the first single, leaves no lasting impression and doesn’t sound new in the catalog of Morissette thus far. “Woman Down,” while more catchy, again feels like something from Feast On Scraps.

“Til You” is one of the few songs I found endearing and fresh. While the sweeping, sonic ballad is nothing new for her, when Alanis does them right – they’re pretty superb.

Then comes “Celebrity,” which is a disjointed affair that attempts to blend too many sounds and flavors in one song. It’s a mashup basically of “Moratorium” and “Would Not Come,” without reaching the level of either.

If it’s not evident that this album is all self-help, the song titles themselves should give it away. Like with “Empathy,” which is a bumbling lyrical mess. This could be a throwaway album track on a Natalie Merchant track from 1999. So it’s not terrible, but it’s not what I expect of Alanis.

“Lens” is probably the most Jagged Little Pill-esque track and has a chorus that is catchy enough to be put on repeat. It’s just another track – like most – that feels like it’s been done before on a previous effort and probably with greater success. The entire album does come across as the pt. 2 of So Called Chaos. For better or worse.

“Spiral” is a non-descript 90s female empowerment type of song that bears no more commentary. “Numb” at least counters it with a more interesting production.

Then there’s the terrible “Havoc,” which any Alanis fan will remember as a song called, “Not All Me,” a melody not that terribly great to begin with.

“Win and win” is another eastern-tinged track that promises something but doesn’t quite rev up enough to deliver. It’s a lilting affair at best, but not one of the worst tracks on the album. “Receive” is another track where I ask myself, “Was I supposed to by an accompanying self-help book in order to relate to this?”

The only other standout track for me on the album is the closing number, “Edge of Evolution,” which clearly has Sigsworth all over it. But it’s also something we’ve never really heard from Alanis before, with this melodic pattern and stuttering drums. Finally we get a slow-build and a chorus that delivers. Many seems to loathe this track and perhaps my attachment to it is because of my love for Flavors of Entanglement, with this track being the closest evolution – so to speak – of that cosmic sound working well with the live band production. My only complaint is that the vocals feel so background to the track itself, as though there isn’t a strong enough lead vocal.

Maybe the lesson here is that my own story is no longer going to mirror any of the storytellers of my youth. That my own narrative is going to be uniquely my own and that the lessons are no longer coming from this faucet. But the ride thus far has been good and perhaps it’s just a matter of time for me to have to come back to have a better appreciation for this sound and the lyrical content.

But until then, I’ll return to one of my favorite tracks that is totally rooted in self-help but somehow blends it into a song that I find completely relatable. And a reminder that it’s always about the journey toward total self-acceptance and being whole:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6kLbDHu0yc

Coming around again.

18 months.

Huh.

It’s funny, fun, weird, humorous and utterly enlightening. So I guess I’ll see what happens.

However, it’s really good to just come back to some people that perhaps there wasn’t space or time (or readiness on either part) for. Sometimes people are placed in your life for purpose and it can take you mere minutes or a lifetime to understand and enact the purpose & lessons that subsequently come from that person, whether they are aware or present for the changes or not.

Sometimes people are just meant to be catalysts for change. And sometimes people are meant to be part of your life forever. It can be hard to decipher between the two. But once you do, you learn to let go much easier of the people who are only their to push you.

Some things and some people just come around again. Be humble. Look skyward with humility and appreciation.

That’s been my biggest lesson at the present moment in my life. Being totally more appreciative for what I have. That laundry list of total recognition will be coming shortly.

This week is a big week for me. Excitement. Nervousness. Pulling it all together. Stepping up to the plate to shine.

httpa://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3qFK6tPtP4

In other news, upon a recommendation from a guy I went on a few dates with, I picked up this book and am excited and intrigued by the time I’ll spend with it.

Move in the right direction.

Better yet, just move.

I dig the Gossip and I’ll admit – I’m late to the party on their latest album, especially this single. But you know how certain songs come to you when you’re ready for them. This is that moment.

I feel as if I’m finally moving in the right direction. No point in reminiscing. It’s less about even thinking or being cognizant of WHICH direction and just getting granular (and yet being observantly macro) about momentum and motion in any direction.

About getting back into the swing of things. And going with the flow. And just having opportunities present themselves and (with a wink) accepting them for what they are.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12zPU-8bsTE

29 years.

29 years. My how it’s flown by. Weird to think how good I feel at this moment and space in my life. Let’s be honest – the 20s are shit for most people. Tough, challenging, heartbreaking, life-defining, etc. A decade of evolution at breakneck speed without much of a map to lead you in the right direction.

Time spent surrounding yourself with people who begin to help define you (or help incriminate you) and then people whom you find yourself running from as soon as they’ve taught you that little nugget of wisdom that they waltzed in for.

It has taken me many years to feel comfortable within my skin and to have this ocean of peace drown all the chattering self-doubt that’s been present for such a long time. All that negative self-awareness has been a very durable friendship to me and it’s been difficult to give it up for behavior and actions that are more life positive.

But it’s been time.

Time to give up the old hangups. To put away the old crutches that served me well for so long. To look in the mirror and see what WAS there versus what wasn’t. To see the beauty in the totality of myself rather than dwell on the flaws or lacks.

2012 so far has been the year to, as the Florence & The Machine song goes, shake the devil off my back. I’m proud of the changes I’m making to be more honest, open and preservative of my ideals. And equally proud of the stretching happening to constantly move me further out of my self-imposed boundaries of comfort.

There’s something to be said that life is truly what you make of it. I have a very simplistic life and I like it that way. I like my state of peace. It’s hard for me to allow chaos to overtake it and disrupt it – but I see the benefit of chaos in that it colors a life and, as I said before, is the catalyst of change and growth. You can’t become whole without being pushed to places that are dark and ugly. Equally so, you have to go to the places that are light and beautiful and not be afraid of those either.

I think many people revel in the darkness of the soul. It’s hard to be light of heart and see/feel/embrace the goodness of what life can be and what it is if you just step back and let it be so.

Oddly enough, it also seems that I’m better today at loving myself and understanding what that means when it comes to my relationships with others. And it’s challenging to then offer solace to another who isn’t yet there. But as a very good friend told me via this book, when it’s time – it’s time. Just keep pace, placing a foot in front of the other.

It feels great to stop looking beyond yourself for fulfillment. Talk about taking the pressure off other people and removing any expectations from them. This shift has allowed me to become more appreciative of people as is.

Being able to burn the moral code you impose upon yourself and others just makes everyone so much more enjoyable. You become less “plugged in” to things that make you angry, because you stop denying those qualities in yourself. That took a good 29 years of learning, with the last 6 or 7 firmly putting that awareness into place.

At this point, with a year left of my 20s, I’m hopeful. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m ready to push myself even more. I’m content with what I have made of my life so far but hungry for more, as always. So the adventure continues.

Funny how you strive to find the roadmap to feel as if your life has structure only to then reach a point wherein you forego the map and let go.

That’s where I’ve wanted to be. Now I’m here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWhMrLae-7Y

A single thought, captured in time.

Last night before bed, I had a single thought:

There will never be another you and I’m learning to live with that, sans devastation or constant comparisons. You were/are brilliant to me.

The fact is that none of us can replicate or duplicate another person’s bearing they’ve left upon our life. The quicker we learn this, the easier we begin to allow others in of their own merits and see them for the unique qualities, traits and gifts they offer up.

Instead of lamenting the time wasted in comparing and sizing up, I challenge myself to stay in this present tense. To open my eyes, open my ears and to open my heart up again to new impressions and new imprints.

The picture above is a man who plays the violin at O’Hare airport. It strikes me how similar his story could be to Joshua Bell’s 2007 experiment at the L’Enfant Plaza in Washington. I’m sure you’ve seen the video passed around on your social networks but it is an amazing and wondrous thing to think we spend so much time in our own heads that we truly cannot see another person for their innate beauty and talent.

Continue reading A single thought, captured in time.