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Reflect Out Loud

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

The Shelter… And My Reflections On The Right To Death

I’ve been meaning to tell you about the shelter.

It’s where I work now. Among 134 homeless people. 

I work on the women’s floor. My office sits by the middle-front of the unit surrounded by 54 beds separated by shared cubicles where the women rest their heads every night next to the little property they have.

This job is teaching me about gratitude. Resilience. It’s awakening me to make smarter choices in finances, health, family. It’s teaching me what NOT to do. 

I am seeing how blessed I’ve been, despite my hardships.

I fight back and fourth in my head about this “blessed” mentality, though. Because some people are fully responsible for where they find themselves. Sometimes it’s not a matter of being “blessed” or not but a matter of taking control of your life, making healthy choices and not fucking up.
 
But there are times when people are just struck by sudden misfortune or they’re dealt challenging cards right from birth. Yeah, I give those people a pass — but not forever. The tools, resources and help is out there if you take it, apply it, and make the best of your situation. 

Reflecting on this topic makes me want to talk about death.

I’ve been meaning to write on this subject FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW.

Contrary to popular opinion, I am a HUGE advocate of euthanasia. 
Not only for elderly people who are suffering with no chance of recovery, but for ANYONE who does not wish to live.

I think people should have the full right to life but also a full right to death.

Why shouldn’t I have a right to my death? It’s MY life – so why do I not have the right to say at what point I want it to end , especially if it’s going to end one day anyway? Shouldn’t I get a say of exactly when if I so wanted to? My vote is yes.

I’m totally digressing from my original topic – the shelter – and am opening a whole other can of worms here. I know.

But part of the reason I am connecting the two is because of the suffering I see. 

I don’t know what happens after death, no one does for certain, I don’t think. 
BUT if we knew that death is in fact a “get out of suffering card” why shouldn’t it be an option for people?

Why should people continue to live in suffering when they can be at peace through death if that is what they truly wish?

I believe in assisted suicide.

I believe that people should be granted a funeral at their time and date of choosing. 
I believe it could be a beautiful and peaceful ceremony where the dying person can choose to pass away into peace rather than remain alive in suffering just waiting to get hit by a truck or slowly die of cancer or even violently kill themselves. 

I know this is a strong statement. And not a lot of people will agree.

But I am sticking to it. 

I am speaking for those who are suffering and in pain and who would rather rest in peace than live in suffering. 

This is what they say:
“I am hurting. I don’t want to live in suffering. I don’t want to be here at all. I just want peace and rest. It’s my life. I have the right to say what happens to it. And I choose to opt out of this suffering I am in. If death truly is the cure to this suffering, please let me have it.”

I’ll probably talk more about this in a future time, but for now – these are my reflections on the matter.
 

 

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Reflections On Trust

What would it take to get you to trust? To let go? To believe that you are supported by universal flow? That every little thing that has ever happened to you whether labeled “good” or “bad” served a purpose?

I’ve been asking to learn to trust.

But I think it’s easier for me than some.

My cross doesn’t seem too heavy compared to others.

There are people going through extreme hardship. Their basic needs are being threatened while I’m over here privileged to be complaining about the pimple on my cheek that threatens my self-esteem as I eat peanut butter spread on a rice cracker. Ya feel me? 

What about them? 

Do they have the right to say: 

“How could I trust when the medical report shows I’m stuck with this disease for the rest of my life?”

“How could I trust when I lost my home and my family?”

“How could I trust when I have no food to eat?”


Hm…

Let’s talk about resistance for a moment.

Reality is.
Whatever is, is. 
“It is what it is” as they say.

In every moment we have a choice.
We can resit the present moment. We could fight against what is by choosing to stay angry, upset, blaming the world, and festering in the dissatisfaction of the hand that was dealt to us.

Or we can choose not to resist. We can choose to remain in trust that despite the deeply shitty shit that is happening in our life it serves a purpose and we CAN withstand, learn, grow, manage and overcome it.

Hm…

But still,
I wonder about the people who just aren’t even aware they have that kind of power.
They are caught up in the struggle for their basic needs and ain’t got time to be talking philosophically about trust and all that airy-fairy, let’s hold hands and have faith type thing.

Perhaps, then, it is our duty to help shed that light. “Our” meaning we, the stronger ones. Perhaps it is our duty to help the weaker. To extend our hand and pull these people up from the ground. But not as so to enable but to support and enlighten so that they can have the foundation and tools to awaken to their power and come in to trust.

      
  

Don’t Give Up

I wish you could see how strong you really are.
How capable.

How everything you’ve ever wanted is but a choice away.

That if you believed and saw the light within you’d be unstoppable.

I am learning that in order to make life happen you gotta really want it. You could have your dreams or you can have your excuses but you can’t have both.

It doesn’t even have to be difficult. There are ways to break down big goals into smaller bite size goals that can be easily accomplished. 

What do you want?
Really. 
What do you truly want?

Are you afraid to dream big?

Or are you able to dream but tell yourself it just isn’t possible?

Well. 
I’m here to tell you that you CAN dream big and you CAN make it happen.

The thing is, that BIG dreams require BIG action.

Are you up for the work?
Because nothing comes without energy. 
Energy will be needed to bring about that vision into reality.

It can be done in easy, small steps.

Are you willing to be patient?

Great accomplishments take time.

Are you willing to enjoy the process and be happy in the here and now as you move towards the climax of your life?

Are you willing to remain present? Remain joyful every step of the way?

Are you willing to stay committed? Encouraged even when there are unexpected setbacks?

Life is unpredictable. We gotta learn to adapt. Adjust. Be flexible.

Play. Dance. Move with the flow.

Know that you have everything it takes, keep at it, and don’t give up.

 

I Wonder…

I wonder… are we addicted to feeling sad? scared? worried?
Because it feels too weird being happy.
It feels too weird to let our guard down.
Because letting our guard down, letting our system relax, means danger could be lurking at any corner.

We must be on hyper-vigilance. Looking out for any possible threat.
Interpreting every detail. Staying two-three steps ahead of the game just to be safe.

Can’t let anybody fool me.
Can’t let myself get hurt.
Can’t let them try to pull a fast one on me.
Can’t let myself stay behind on the race.

Are these the kind of thoughts that are keeping us stuck?
Because we are afraid to swim in peace because you never know when a shark is gonna come out from under and just rip your feet apart when you stop looking?

Am I just too scared to let go and truly be happy? Truly start seeing miracles literally unfold right before my eyes?

Is that too crazy?

Is there something actually really beautiful happening right now but I am just too scared, too “real,” too worried to see it?

What would have happened if I actually let go that night? If I actually allowed myself to truly love you? If I wasn’t scared to say yes. If I wasn’t trying to run away. Would I have turned around and seen the light? Because there would have been no better moment in my life.

What If I were to swim without fear. Walk without fear. Dance without fear. Laugh without fear. Speak without fear. Breathe without fear. Play without fear. Simply exist without fear.

What would that look like?
What would that be like?

Believe In Yourself

Sometimes Pandora will shuffle and land on a song that reminds me of you. Of summer. Of New York City. All combined into a perfect little memory of moments where I felt so happy. So free. So fun.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about believing in yourself.
Standing on your own side no matter what.
Ignoring what anyone thinks of you and focusing on what you think of you, and making it be the best thoughts you can possibly think of.

Change the narrative.
Empower yourself.
Cheer yourself on.

Be like an obsessively loving parent who leaves sweet notes in your lunch box and cuts the crusts off your sandwiches in the shape of a heart.

If you feel like giving up but you know this path is what you really want then push yourself a little harder. A little further. A little longer.

Take breaks when needed. Come back to it when you’re rested.

Remember not to take life too seriously. Have more fun. Laugh more. Don’t rush. Breathe. Trust.

Be on your own side.

Be Kind To You

It’s easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to ourselves.

We say to ourselves, “You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid.” Things we wouldn’t dare say to someone else. As if others are somehow more worthy.

The way we talk to ourselves is so important to our wellbeing. It ultimately determines how we feel. It becomes so heavy to walk around with an evil critic between our ears constantly tearing us down; reminding us that we’re not good enough and that’s why people walk away; that’s why we never get the promotion.

We learn to pick at ourselves from a very young age. Sometimes we learn it from our parents who scolds us saying “Why can’t you be more like your brother, he always gets A’s?” Or from teachers who call us out in front of the class shouting, “You gotta keep up with the class, Junior!”. Sometimes we learn it from bullies. From grandma who pokes fun of us at thanksgiving dinner with her unfiltered comments, “Mija, you should really hold off on that cake cuz you already got plenty of layers on you, don’t you think?”

We learn it from the media who tells us that beauty is a certain weight, height, shape, color, and lips that are about mango size. We learn it from our boss who overlooks our efforts but promotes lazy Betty who you know you do far more work than she does on any given day.

But where or when we learn to self-hate & self criticize matters much less than what we do about it. What REALLY matters is how we decide we’re going to treat ourselves once we awaken to the fact that we’ve adopted the habit of being our own worst enemy.

See, the world can say whatever bullshit they want – but as long as we don’t take it on board, as long as we don’t adopt the BS for ourselves then we’re Gucci.

What we say to ourselves and what we think about ourselves is the defining factor in how we’re going to feel.

We have to learn to be kind to ourselves. To forgive ourselves. To nurture ourselves. To support ourselves.

We can’t be bullying ourselves and expect to feel good.

We are in our bodies 24/7 for the rest of this life – wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t have to walk around with a critical enemy narrating attacks in our heads all day? Yes! It would be liberating.

Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if it felt like the voice in our head felt like a supportive friend, a loving parent, an encouraging coach, a forgiving partner? Ahhh yes! It would be amazing.

And this is possible.

We can learn to be kind to ourselves.

We can learn to be on our own side. To believe in ourselves. To feel enough. To feel good in our skin. To feel proud of ourselves.

The same way we learned to be an enemy to ourselves through past experiences we can learn to be our own friend.

Practice today. Practice loving kindness to yourself. Practice saying:

“I forgive you. I embrace you. I accept you. You’re not stupid. You’re valuable. You’re so worthy in every way.  There is nothing bad, ugly, or wrong with you. You’re so lovely. You’re so supported. I am here to cheer you. I am here to walk with you and be kind to you.”

Say good things to yourself.

Uninstal the old program that is clouded with bullshit from the past. Install the new version of you. The version that is kind, loving and accepting.

You’re worth it.

 

 

Ramblings…

Ooh, a text message.
Oh. Never mind. It’s just the lyft ride receipt.

Another day in radio silence.

Oh well. I guess I’ll just keep swiping left and right until maybe someone new comes along. Someone who turns you into just another blurry face in the crowd.

Sometimes I become so detached from my body. Suddenly voices sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown — wah wah wah. Objects are just shapes. Colors penetrate my eyes but I make nothing of them. For a moment I just exist. It’s like I’m a rag doll being tossed around but it doesn’t hurt because I’m disconnected to my body – I’m just watching myself being thrown around – being unraveled by time.

Sometimes I don’t care. About anything. Or anyone.
I see no purpose in life or in anything – especially if it’s true that after all this is just death – the end. No more.

Speaking of death… there’s SO MUCH I have to say on this topic. And a lot of it is contrary to popular opinion. But I don’t care. At one point being gay was contrary to popular opinion – and so were women’s rights – but look at us now.
I’m going to dare to be bold enough to speak up for those of us who just don’t care much for being here. But not right now. Right now I’m tired.
And I just want to write whatever comes to my mind without much effort or thought.
But I think this is where I’ll end it.
Because I’m super exhausted.

And I’ll tell you more about why in the moments to come.

Peace.
Love.

Gnight.

 

Re-route

Nothing is written in stone. And if it is, jackhammer the shit out of it, turn it into pixie dust and blow it into the wind.

Exploration. Do it. Lots of it. 

You don’t always know exactly what you want or exactly what you like until you explore, experiment, and test things out. 

You may start out super excited about a project, hopeful that it’s going to be a certain way but shortly come to realize “Oh, just kidding. This is totally not for me. This is not even close to what I thought it was going to be.” 

You might make a decision only to realize it wasn’t the best.

And that’s totally okay! Exploration is a huge part of our life experience.

And guess what? Discovering that something isn’t quite what you had hoped or imagined it to be doesn’t mean game over. It doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck. It doesn’t even have to be seen as a mistake, but rather an experience that allowed you to gather more information on what you want and don’t want – what you like and don’t like.

News: At any point in time you can always make a new, different choice.
It might involve going backwards.
Changing course completely.
Starting over.
Or rerouting.

Like a GPS that re-routes every time you take the wrong turn, you too, can recalculate your direction to find your way towards your destination.

Hate that job you said yes to? Fuck it, find a new one. 
Is that person you’ve been feening for showing no genuine interest? Adios mi amor. Moving on!
Is that environment not the best for you? Relocate.
Tired of that same old hair style? Change it up!

Looking to save 15% or more on car insurance? Switch to…. lol JK! Not promoting anything here – just being silly.

Anyway…

Point is, my amigos, that at any point in your life you can decide to re-route. You can say “This is no longer working for me and I am making a change.”

You don’t have to be stuck where you’re at -there is a way out.

Change is possible! Totally possible.
Don’t beat yourself up when you realize that the grass you went chasing after was not only not greener but it was actually that rough, fake, synthetic shit. Is that a double positive? fake, synthetic? (Whatever).

Just tell yourself that you’re an explorer. That you’re here to learn. That you can unsubscribe to what you’ve signed up for – and that’s totally okay!

You’re living and learning. You’re a beautiful exploring soul and at any point in time you have every right to just take a different turn, recalculate what’s no longer working, and move in a new direction.

You’re the driver of your life. It’s okay to make the wrong turn and it’s also okay to re-direct your path.

You are not stuck.

  

Release Control

There are things you can control and there are things you can’t.

You can do your part – whatever that is and then you can fold your arms, sit back and wait for the universe to respond. After you do your part, you gotta release control. It’s crazy making to do anything other than simply relax because there is literally nothing else you can do but wait for the response.

The response may not always be what you like it to be. Because in your small mind you think things need to work out a certain way, in a certain time frame.

The wild fact is we forget that we live in a massive reality with so many moving parts it’s actually mind blowing.

THINK ABOUT IT DUDE, we are in a huge planet spinning in a galaxy surrounded by other huge planets. But forget those other planets for now and let’s just zoom into our own. 

Think about everything that is happening right now simultaneously as you unfold. Think about the people in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, North America, Australia – and okay, I guess Antarctica. 

Think about all the animals, all the insects, all the plants, all the mystery underneath the ocean.

WHOA.

There is a massive amount of movement going on around us ALL THE TIME.

Within all this commotion we zoom to YOU. To your story. To your particular life within your particular family, friends, circumstances.

And then there is that thing you really want – the health, the relationships, the finances, the career, the house, the pumpkin spiced latte. 

And you want it now.

And guess what? Although there are no guarantees in life, because you can literally just die today and there goes everything — when you do your part, you will get yourself closer to everything you want.

It may not happen the way you want. It may not happen in your time frame. It may not look exactly as you pictured it – but it will happen if you keep doing your part and release control when your part is done.

And hey, sometimes things do happen exactly how you want them to. Sometimes you ask for a raise and you get it. Sometimes you apply for the job and you get it. Sometimes you ask out the cutie from the office on a date and she says “Yes.”

Hooray! Sometimes it works just as you want it, when you want it.

But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it’s 10x more challenging than you dared even imagined.

tenor

This is when you do what you gotta do and then you cross your arms and wait for the response. The more time unfolds before you, the more data you will receive to know how to proceed forward and adjust accordingly.

So release control.
Control what you can and what you can’t just breathe, chill, and enjoy the ride. 

Life doesn’t have to be some serious fucking project we have to make a huge deal out of. It can be easy. It can be fun. If you let it.

So let it and release control.

*image credit to tenor.com

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