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"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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Happiness is a Lifestyle

And then it dawned on me… happiness is more than just a feeling, it’s a lifestyle.

If you want to run a marathon, you have to train.
If you want to perform a song, you have to rehearse.
If you want to be physically fit, you have to exercise.
And if you want to be happy, you have to practice.

It is easy to be happy when life’s smooth sailing. When you get the promotion. You get the house. Your health is phenomenal. There is money in the bank and that new stock you just purchased skyrockets beyond belief. When you catch all the shiny green lights underneath a clear blue sky on your merry drive to work. When the bartender buys you an extra shot of whiskey. When your in-laws never make it to the Sunday brunch (just kidding with that one… haha).

But being happy only when unicorns are splashing magical pixie dust on your path is too conditional to yield lifelong sustainable happiness. Life can be a straight up asshole sometimes. This is why if you want to live consistently happy you must practice happiness as a lifestyle and not simply as an emotional response to desirable experiences. Happiness is a tool you can whip out of your pocket especially when circumstances are trying. It’s like that Optimus Prime type Swiss-army knife you’re gonna wanna carry around with you wherever you go. Because what happens when things don’t go exactly as planned? What happens when you don’t get the promotion? When your finances become unstable? When your health is compromised? When you have to change that flat tire in the middle of a snow storm? When the in-laws actually make it to Sunday brunch!?  (Yeah. I went there!).

I’ll tell you what happens. Happiness often gets thrown out the window.  It gets donated to the nearest Goodwill along with those purple suede bell bottom jeans you have no idea what possessed you to buy in the first place! But this is when you need happiness most.

Absurd, right!? Being asked to be happy when situations have gone wrong.

But here is my question: Do you want to be happy or not?
If you answer yes, then two things:
1) You must seriously choose and commit to be happy
2) You must act in alignment to your choice to be happy

CAVEAT: IT WILL NOT BE EASY. Just like it isn’t easy to get those 6 pack abs everyone so desperately wants.

The ease of the challenge will depend on how much a particular undesirable circumstance impacts you. For instance, it’ll be much easier to exercise your happiness muscle when a simple undesirable circumstance, like spilling some coffee on your white shirt occurs, whereas losing your job will require having had quite some practice.

There is more to be said on the subject as it is not as straight forward as I’m describing it to be. There is an entire process that involves processing and accepting your current emotional state before actively choosing happiness as the preferred state of being. I will write another post to clarify in more detail exactly what this process entails. For now, I kind of just want to throw this out there to get some kind of ball rolling.

But essentially, what I have noticed is that if I want to lead a consistently happy life, I have to actively practice happiness as a way of being and not only as a response to my desired experiences. This doesn’t mean I’ll always get it right and it doesn’t mean that it’ll always be easy (and that’s okay), but the more I make happiness a regular habit the more happiness I’ll experience.

*Image credit to google images

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Changes

It amazes me how quickly things can change.
How a moment ago we were laughing and holding each other only to never speak again. Would it have felt different if I knew it’d be the last time I’d see you?

I am having a hard time coping with parts of my life’s unfolding. My aging face. My thinning hair. My changing body. My desire to be somewhere further along.
I’m having a hard time with loss. Loss of identity. Loss of youth. Loss of health. Loss of people. Loss of possessions. Loss of status.

I know there is only so much I can do externally to keep it all together. I know that I have to learn to gracefully accept what I cannot change and stop resisting what I can’t control. But it sucks. Damn, does it suck. Why can’t things just work and be my way? Why does it have to be so difficult?

Part of my struggle is internal. Because I cannot sit comfortably with the way things are. Because I tell myself a negative story about my external situation and assign a negative meaning to what is happening to me.

I know that if I want to experience lasting inner peace and satisfaction I have to commit to being kind to myself. I must commit to seeing myself as beautiful, worthy, enough, complete, deserving, lovable and ultimately safe regardless of my external situation.

I’ve started to do EFT – an acupressure form of therapy that helps heal emotional wounds created by excessive patterns of negative thinking. I like to watch and follow along to Brad Yate’s videos. I’ll share a link here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Ua7T01cdY

I am also working to exercise some faith. Faith that even though things may not be completely the way I want them to be right now, that in time, they will be.
Work in progress.
 

 

Reality Check

I have finally come to accept and realize that reality is ultimately this: sometimes shitty sometimes not so bad. There are days where everything will flow. Someone will hold the door for you. The train will arrive right when you get there. The local coffee shop will treat you to a free pumpkin spice latte. You’ll find a dollar waiting for you on the sidewalk. And then there are the days when it seems like Satan has crawled out of hell with a personal hit against you. You open your eyes and there are already 5 missed calls, 3 voice mails and 14 messages demanding your attention. The dog chewed on your favorite pair of sneakers and decided to poop in the kitchen. Apparently you didn’t get the memo that they were doing construction and shutting off the water in your building from 7 am – 1 pm. There is no free latte and the $3.97 cup of coffee you just bought happens to spill on your perfectly white blouse. These are the small occurrences. Sometimes life is out to shower you with the big accomplishments – the wedding, the house, the car, the new job. Yet at the same time it’s out to fuck you – the cancer, the receding hair line, the breakup, the gigantic debt that haunts you in your sleep.

So what to do?

I realize you have to take the good with the bad. Roll with the punches. There will be moments where you will be smiling, joyful at all the wonderful things that you have created and that life has lined up and synchronized for you. And then there will be moments where it’ll all be shit. A landfill of steaming shit surrounded by hungry and pregnant flies. You will cry. You will get angry. You will feel lonely, lost, confused. Unsure of what to do and which direction to take. You will experience loss and it’ll hurt. There’s no way around it. The way is through it. But it won’t be shitty every day. It’ll also be fun. Exciting. Awe-inspiring. There will be so much laughter. Romance. Connection. Moments of peace, clarity, calm. You’ll be energized and filled with enthusiasm and zest for life. Just as the ocean waves rises and crashes back down, so will you.
It’ll be easy and it’ll be hard.

That’s just the nature of reality.

Thought Thread – A Free Write, Sort Of

Thought Thread

Days like these I want to dye my hair purple, get a half sleeve tattoo and say, “fuck you.”

I’ll do it eventually. You’ll see.
Not that you care.

Sometimes I don’t care. I laugh when it’s not funny.

I am angry.
Partially.

At myself. At you. At the world.

I wish I wasn’t an enemy to myself 80% of the time.
My inner critic is off the charts. Stabbing me left and right.
Leaving me a bloody, wounded child.

That’s me being dramatic.

What in the living fuck do I have to complain about anyway?
There are people starving and going through real shit – and here I am, sitting in the comfort of my home sipping a glass of wine complaining about why I feel life has been a little less than kind to me.

What a joke.

Whatever.

I’ve been using the word “whatever” a lot in my writing lately.
Whatever that means.

I’ve come a long way in some ways.
I am proud of myself.
Not always.
But sometimes.

I love myself – sometimes.
I hate myself – most times.

It’s a terrible thing, you know? When you live as your own enemy.

Whatever.

I miss you. And you’re probably okay without me.
I’m okay without you too. But it was nice seeing your name pop up on my phone making me believe you cared.
Whatever.
I’ll just listen to sappy music and sip more wine until you finally fade away.

I don’t understand myself.
I hate what I’m doing but I keep doing it. Because the pain of staying hasn’t yet grown stronger than the pain of leaving…perhaps? That’s what they say, anyway.

I want flat abs, but I eat fried food and chocolate.
I often behave contrary to the results I want.
I get possessed by a side of myself that despite knowing better acts against good sense. Then I beat myself up about it.

I beat on myself all the time.
I’m always waiting outside for me at 3 o’clock. With a bat. And a taser. And 5 other friends.

I’ve been working on it, though.

Whatever.

 

I want to say more of what’s on my mind.
Be raw. Genuine.
Say fuck off more often to the people I just don’t care about.
Stop pretending.
But it’ll probably get me fired. Or excommunicated. Burned at the stake. Or all of the above.

So many of us are so goddamn sensitive.
Ya bunch of sissies.
Myself included sometimes.
Can’t handle an ounce of criticism and I’m all ready to jump off a cliff.

In the ever lasting words of Red Forman…
“dumbass.”

Sigh.

I give too many fucks.
I need to retract about 849598 fucks. Maybe that’ll stabilize me to the point of giving just enough fucks to not be too nice or too mean.

I used to think I was a good writer.
Now I sound like an idiot.

Whatever happened to the poetic side of me?
I haven’t written a poem in a while.

I like country music.

I wonder if this is really good-bye.
Why is there a tiny, little piece of me that thinks otherwise?

I don’t care.
I’ve listened to “Bored” by Billie Elish more times than I can count. On repeat.

I’ve listened to other songs too. And I’ve cried.
I cried because of you.
I cried because of my dissatisfaction with life.

I bought a pack of cigarettes.
I don’t consider myself a smoker.
But every now and then I will buy a pack.

There’s certainly a history of addiction in my family.
And a pervasive pattern of separation.

Guess I’m doomed.

Whatever.

I want to flow with the wind.
Be one with the stars.
Melt into the nothing.

There are moments where I am overtaken by bliss.
Everything is so perfect.

It’s temporary.

Everything is fucking temporary.
Like your morning embrace.
And the fleeting, gentle touch of your lips against mine.

Whatever.
I used to imagine going back in time quite often.
Now I find myself more intrigued with the future.

If I ever get cancer, I will not treat it. I’ll just watch myself die.

Moods are so transient.
I go from one extreme to another.
Then I swim in the in betweens.
I am all over.

How can I make long lasting decisions when my moods are not long lasting and ever changing?

666 is (was) the word count as I start this sentence.

I don’t know where I stand on the subject of God anymore.

I have a very complex idea about it all.

New year, new me, eh?
Fuck clichés.
They annoy me.
Not always.
Sometimes they speak volumes.

I need to be more open minded.
There are still things that bother me.
I think that if something is bothering me than I have not yet come to understand it. If I truly understand something, it shouldn’t bother me, unless I am being preferential.

I think it’s okay to have preferences, though. As long as we’re not spreading hate.

I prefer chocolate over vanilla ice cream. But I don’t have to spread hate against vanilla.

I also think it’s okay to spread hate – as long as we are in a simulated reality program that isn’t ultimately real and we are just having the experience of hate but not spreading hate in reality.

 

Whatever.

 

There’s more I wish to say.
But at the same time I am over it.

I want to be more okay with myself.
With who I am, what I believe and what I like.

I don’t want to dim myself because of you.
Fuck you.
Not in a mean way.

Sigh.

I am not a fixed being.
I am fluid.
I care.
I don’t care.

 

I can’t define myself or my feelings.
Every moment is too different from the next to say I am the same.

I wish I could pause the perfect frame.
At least the perfect frame in my universe while at the same time giving you space to define what’s perfect for your own goddamn self.
Fuck off.

Would I want to stay forever or leave?
What even is forever?
Too many questions with no answers.

It seems like life is about loss.
You lose everything in the end.
But what is the end?
The actual end.

Whatever.

Should I go back and make edits to this or leave it raw and completely vomited as is?

I’ll probably leave it.
(I’ve made some edits)

Who cares.
In a universe that appears to be so big, all of this is practically irrelevant.

I fight myself on my thoughts regarding relevancy and relativity. And it annoys me. Because it’s like one giant god forsaken Rubik’s cube that I can’t ever put together.
So I end up throwing it in a corner in a fit of rage.
Then I’ll pick it up again 2 months later after a drunken night in the city.

Right now I am annoyed.

And sad.
And a little excited.
And a little I’m missing you.

And a little okay.

Quite okay.
Quite alright.

Quite.
Quite the motha fuckin’ soup.

Wow.

How long have I rambled for?

Probably more than I’ll ever be proud of.

This is probably one of those posts I’ll scroll through and pretend it doesn’t exist because sometimes I become embarrassed of myself.
Probably because somewhere along the way I learned that it wasn’t okay to be me.

Whatever. Whatever. Whatever.

Ugh.

Sometimes I want to SCREAM.

Scream so loud and pull my hair.

I’ve done it before.

I’ve done a lot before.

Though at the end of the day, I think I’m a pretty good person.
Like I wouldn’t be able to throw you in a fire knowing full well that I could when it’s all said and done type person.
But why?
Because I want to be perceived as good?
That’s another long topic I don’t care to elaborate on right now.
But my inclination is to think that it’s just fucking stupid to hurt others for my own gain. My inclination is to want to be just fucking dandy without anything or anyone having to do or be anything for my pleasure. I am my own pleasure.
Is that selfish?
I don’t fucking know.
Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.
There’s no winning.

Maybe I’m just love sick.
Am I craving your love or my own?

It’s hard to live dependent on externals.

I wouldn’t want to be alone.
I think it’d be nice to sleep hugging each other forever.
Dreaming all sorts of dreams yet knowing we are in actuality just eternally safe in each other’s arms.

BARF.

But fuck it, if I was alone it’d at least be nice to be my own friend.
Kind of like a kid with an imaginary buddy, ya know?

I think I am officially done elaborating on anything any further at this time.

If you’ve read this far, wow, I’m impressed.
I can barely stomach it myself.

But then again I’m probably my biggest hater.
Isn’t that weird?
When did I learn to be mean to my own self? Probably because of you.

Probably. But who knows?

WOW.

 

I think I’ll officially end with, “whatever.”
Because really, fuck it.

What…

ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obscure

Where did we leave off?
Somewhere in the blur.
Somewhere between cheap bottles of wine and fragmented memories.
How many times will I try to piece it together?
Make sense of the story until it feels ok.
Dissecting every inch to find the aha moment.
Wishing I could fade back in the arms of time to fix it.

Why? Why? Why?
What did I do wrong?

From walking on clouds to plunging from heaven.
Hands scraped in the asphalt when I broke the fall.
It stings.

Doctor, do you have medicine?

“Time,” he says.

Sigh.

Walk.

In a world that is moving faster and filled with constant demands and pressures, it can be easy to forget how awesome you already are.

We get lost in trying to get to the next goal. The next semester. The next title. The next iPhone (Boy, who can keep up with these things!). The next promotion. The next party. The next trip. The next whatever it is.
Yet there is so much to marvel in what you’ve already accomplished. So much to appreciate in the here and now. So much to enjoy in this experience today.

When we’re running frantic trying to keep our lives together in order to build something for ourselves we tend to forget to enjoy the process. To savor the unfolding.

This is your life – right here and right now.
There really is no place to run to because once you get to wherever you’re running off to there will be a new destination set for you then too.

So stop running.
Walk.
Breathe.
Enjoy today.

Take it easy on yourself. You’re doing great! Just enough for today.

*image credit to google images

Okay

This is a note to myself.

Making or feeling like you’ve made a mistake is okay. You can adjust from there. You shouldn’t feel afraid to be you and say what you feel and express yourself freely. If It’s not reciprocated be ok with it and let it be and let it go. Adjust from moment to moment. Forgive yourself moment to moment. Don’t beat yourself up.

You’ll be okay.
You are okay.
Don’t be ashamed for your feelings.
It’s so okay. You are soooo okay!
I promise you’re okay!
I promise you’ll be okay!
It’s all okay!

Ramblings…

“Experience life in all possible ways —
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light,
summer-winter. Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience, because
the more experience you have, the more
mature you become.”

― Osho

Ramblings

What’s there to talk about? The same old thing, the same old stories.
It’s not really “old” though when I really think about it. Every moment is so unique, decorated in its own way, in its own flavor.

I feel like I am going in circles. Chasing something I can’t even describe.
There is this empty feeling I can’t seem to fill.
It isn’t always there, but it’s there, nonetheless.

I want to be happy. Don’t we all? But there are moments where I’m simply not.
Maybe I am ungrateful. And truth is, at times I really am.
I am over trying to cover up the dark side of my self.
Yes. I lie. I cheat. I envy. I hate. I get jealous. I have negative thoughts.
But that’s not all of who I am.
There’s that childish, innocent side. The side that dreams of love, rainbows and peace.
The side that sees no wrong.

There’s also the in between side. Which is a little of everything. That’s who I really am. All of me.

What’s the point of all this I keep asking myself?
What should I live for?
Do I live to chase money so I can buy houses and cars and clothes that leave an impression on people? Regardless of what I do I’ll leave an impression.
What kind of impression do I want to leave? And do I want to impress you or me or a balance of both?
What kind of person do I want to become? What kind of feelings and experiences do I want to be having? How do I even begin to learn what is truly important to me and how not to live to impress others?

I have a hard time answering these questions because I have a long list of “shoulds” implanted in my brain.

According to whose “shoulds” should I live?

I allow too many people to take space in my head and influence my decisions. I feed energy to too many stories.

I also change a lot which makes it hard to even decide on any one thing.
So I am trying to boil it down to experiences and feelings rather than particular details.

Here’s a list:
I want to experience and feel:
Happiness
Pleasure
Peace
Contentment
Confidence
Trust
Fulfillment
Relax
Laughter
Love
Kindness
Belonging
Creativity

Here are some experiences and feelings I want less of:
Fear
Anxiety
Doom
Panic
Hate
Envy
Pity
Lack
Depression
Loneliness
Rush
Confusion

There’s probably a few more I can add to both the lists but this seems enough for starters.

So now that I’ve narrowed what I want to experience and feel more of… how am I going to go about my life to embrace more of those wants?

Good question.

*image credit to google images

Surrender

I think of you less and less, but sometimes familiar places and lingering traces bring me a whiff of what used to be.

I’m learning what it means to be free. To answer only to me. It’s not a feeling I am accustomed to since for as long as I know I’ve lived in large part for others.

I feel like I’m getting closer to understanding what it means to live life. Yet at the same time it seems all too far.

I’m feeling proud of my accomplishments. Taking life one day at a time even when I get really antsy. I don’t have a choice. Surrender is key during moments where I just want to run away, hide or freak out.

I cried on the floor the other day. Then I stared to laugh. I alternated between crying and laughing. Realizing how silly it is to get lost in my emotions when it’s really nothing but a feeling. Realizing how sad it is that one day I’ll have to say good bye to everything I love and possess. A part of me thinks it doesn’t have to be that way. That maybe there’s a way out. That perhaps we can conquer death. Or perhaps we never really die – just simply transform.

There are countless unanswered questions. I’m starting to think it doesn’t even matter in an ultimate sense. Truth is, I don’t know. But truth also is, I want to find out.
Except instead of putting so much pressure on myself to have all the answers NOW, I’m realizing I feel more free when I just allow myself to unfold one moment at a time without straining to get to some end. The journey is the answer.

I’ve grown tired of searching only to find more questions. I’ve learned that not knowing is completely okay and that whatever is, is. It doesn’t mean that I won’t question, it just means I won’t freak out if I don’t know something yet. The pressure is off and the enjoyment of the process is on.

I’ve decided to stop rushing to some place other than here and now. I am learning to surrender and play with life. To let go and not grow upset over small things – or big things. I am learning that life is as serious or as simple as you make it. I am choosing the breezy route – which is the same as the rocky route but my state of mind is really what decides the difference.

Namaste.