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Reflect Out Loud

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

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future

Existential Crisis

So let me tell you about my existential crisis.

I’ve been tossing and turning the “Why am I here, what is the actual point of all this” question in my head for longer than I could remember. I’ve explored theories, entertained fantasies, looked to reason, theology, spiritual texts,  philosophy, science, but nothing really satisfied my query.

Existential bullshit aside, I’m also carrying around the weight of the reality I am currently in.

I am at a point where I am trying to figure out what truly matters to me.
Which is such an annoying task because I’m always changing! If I could only stick to one goddam idea and emotion, that’d be grand. But I’m constantly being pulled in different directions by my moods, desires, feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

One day I wake up feeling confident about a particular decision, set on doing particular things, while the next day I don’t want that same thing at all. My mood is completely different. My desires completely shift. 180.  Example: I am considering moving to Texas or Florida, even though I JUST moved to California (but more on that some other time).

I am currently giving myself a reality check.
Taking inventory.
Like: You’re 30 years old, you’re making this amount of money, you’re working this type of job, you’re waking up this time in the day, you’re eating these types of food, you’re talking to these types of people, you’re spending these many dollars, you’re doing x y z, a b c…. and if you keep going in this direction you’re likely going to be experiencing these particular results  in your future (whatever they may be).

I wish some genius could take stock of everything I’ve done and am doing, enter it into some kind of excel formula and come up with my future trajectory.

Which is what I’m trying to do now… with my average intelligence… and without an excel formula.

Other factors of reality that are hitting me in the face.
I’m aging.
It sucks.
My body isn’t as energized as it used to be.
I can tell my skin is different. My face is more mature. My hair texture is different.

I know on a fundamental level the best thing I can do is to accept myself as I age. The best thing I can do is be kind to myself. To be able to gracefully let go of what was and embrace what is. I know the best thing I can do is to make peace with the new identity I am growing into while having the maturity to release the attachment to the old image of me.

Yada. Yada. Yada.

I know. I get it. Anything outside of unconditional self-regard, self-love, self-acceptance is a recipe for suffering…

BUT – I’m still gonna complain about it. I’m still going to acknowledge how shitty it is. I’m still going to say I would rather not lose my health, beauty, strength, energy, memory, etc. A girl’s gotta vent, ya know?

Anyway…I don’t intend for this post to be about me complaining. You can hear me complain some other time…

My intention is more to share on my struggle towards understanding the real meaning and purpose of life. But given that I don’t have an actual answer yet, and maybe never will, I am trying to create purpose through living a life that feels meaningful to me. I’m trying to figure out right now, in this pivotal point in my life, what is actually going to fulfill me so that I wake up excited to be alive, rather than dreading what I do in the body that I do it in.

There are a lot of details that go into creating a meaningful, fulfilling life – and I am currently trying to figure out what those details exactly look like for me, while also accounting for the fact that I constantly change my mind/feelings/moods.

So in other words, how can I create a life that is fulfilling, meaningful and flexible.

Something like that….

Turns out I didn’t really talk too much about the existential crisis in itself… which often trumps all the day to day “What am I going to do with my life” type questions and goes deeper to ask “What even is life, and why was it given to me and what am I really supposed to be doing with it, if there is even such a thing as ‘supposed’ to, and if there’s not, how do I know that to be true — and who the hell am I anyway, and why does it matter or not matter?”

….

Sometimes I wish I could just be a normal person who didn’t even care or who didn’t even wonder.

 

 

Metamorphosis: The Butterfly

What does it feel like to be a butterfly? To be born again? To leave the old life behind; old customs, old body, old places. To embrace the new and tread the allure of unfamiliar territory?

Is it something like growing out of your kiddy shoes; you know – the ones that lit up when you walked? Or like silently packing your last  sweatshirt as you whisper goodbye to the teary eyes of the person you once thought was forever?

Is it like the heavy heart and slow motion hand that unwillingly closes the novel that enraptured your soul? Or like the volcanic laughter that erupts when you hear a good joke?

Is it like the feeling of Dejavu? Or more like flipping through long forgotten memories captured in still photos stored away in the depths of your closets?

Maybe it’s like a delicious morning stretch after a sweet night’s sleep? Or perhaps like a pink-fire sunset melting into the ocean?

Or could it be a little of everything? Not so much one more than another. A bittersweet conglomerate of past, present and projected future, whose colorful eyes fiercely vibrate to the dream of you. Of you who are becoming. Of you who are awaiting to birth.

*Image credit to google images

Be Here First. You’ll Get There.

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Mary Hemingway

Resisting your here and now because you want to be there and then will only create in you more emotional pain. You can eliminate additional, self-caused pain by accepting where you are in time as well as disidentifying from negative thought patterns.

There are times when our present circumstances are annoying. Of course you’d rather be in some future, more pleasant moment, because THEN you won’t be dealing with whatever drama is currently present. Totally understandable. Nevertheless, wanting to escape the present moment only adds to the already uncomfortable situation. For example, you have a job interview to get to but you miss the train so you’re probably going to be late. “FML” status, right? It doesn’t have to be.

Thinking to yourself over and over “I should have left earlier” or “I wish I was on the train” or “I will never get the job now” or “Why can’t I ever get anything right” or “Ugh, if only I never stopped for coffee” or “Ugh, where is the next train!!!??” or whatever other thought of this nature, will only add to the negative feelings you are already experiencing.

So what to do?
Be here now.
Be present with your situation without mentally projecting future outcomes and without blaming yourself or criticizing what is. This doesn’t mean become passive about your life and allow the world to just stomp over you. No. Quite contrary! When you allow yourself to accept whatever the moment is presenting you with, you approach your circumstances in a more peaceful, level headed manner. Instead of adding negative commentary to your already unwanted circumstance, you simply accept that this is where you are right now but it doesn’t define you. Missing the train is your present circumstance, and that’s it. There is no further need to add fuel to this fire with unpleasant thoughts. You accept that you are waiting for the next train and if there is anything else you can do about it, like take a cab for instance, you go ahead and do that. You do what you can do, and if there is nothing else you can do, you allow yourself to experience the truth of your moment without resisting what you can’t control. Breathe. Look around you and admire something beautiful. Take this moment to read or write. Take this moment to appreciate life and find something to be grateful for. If nothing comes up, allow yourself to just be present, breathing, being alive. Becoming frazzled will not solve your problems, instead, it will create additional pain in your life.

The mind will want to project all your worries and fears, but it’s only trying to protect you. It goes into “OMG, I am freaking out” mode because your mind wants your success and so it’s only natural for it to come up with reasons as to why missing the train was a horrible, horrible thing. Thank your mind. It is a tool that is only here to help you! Tell your mind that you appreciate it worrying about your well being and success and that you are going to relax now and breathe.

If anxious thoughts keep coming up, focus on your breath. Don’t attach to them and become identified with them as your ultimate reality. Remember, your mind is only trying to help. Let the thoughts pass like a cloud. Realize that you are not your thoughts. Breathe.
You’re ok.
Be here in this moment.
And from here, surely you will get there.
It starts with here. It starts with this moment.

Finding Purpose in the Little-Big Things

Sometimes I get down on myself because of where I am in life. I get stuck thinking that I should be doing more, accomplishing more, believing that through my accomplishments I will be finally fulfilled. I keep thinking that once I have a high paying job, a nice house, a nice car, a couple of degrees on my wall then I could look at all the things I’ve achieved and say “OK. You did it. Your life is now perfect.”

Where did I get this idea? Why do I think that fulfillment comes from external accomplishments?
I mean, sure externals can bring fulfillment, but if you’re like me struggling and straining through the externals in hope that your strain will later bring fulfillment – then maybe we need to refocus ourselves.

I keep thinking I need to achieve some big thing so I can prove to myself and the world that I matter.
But today I woke up with the realization that I don’t need to do anything in order to matter. I already matter simply because I exist.

I realize that I need to appreciate the little things and that these little things are really big things in and of themselves. I was wallowing around thinking I have no purpose because I work a “meaningless job” at a storage company. Then I realized “Hey, wait a minute. I do have a purpose. I am the storage girl. My purpose right now is to be the best storage girl I can be. My purpose is to smile and give good service to my customers and to make sure that everyone who comes in looking for a place to keep their stuff is helped in a warm and friendly manner. I am the storage girl for now and this is my purpose right now.”

I was undermining myself simply because I didn’t feel like my job was meaningful. But it is. Even if I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, that is meaningful too. If flipping burgers is my job, I simply need to know that for now my purpose is to be the best burger flipper I can be! Or if I am a cleaning lady, my purpose right now is to just be the best cleaning lady I can be.

I realize now that no matter what position I am in, whether it is president or servant, I have a purpose to fulfill in my particular place in time. I need to know that my purpose right now is whatever that purpose is right now and that I am not less than anyone else simply because of the title I hold.

I realize also that I have a tendency to compare myself to others making me feel inferior because I believe I should also be doing what others are doing. I need to understand that I am ME and not OTHERS. And that whatever I do in time is just as meaningful as what other people are doing because in the grand scheme of things we are all operating for some greater purpose – to move forward in time.

I need to improve my faith. I need to learn to trust that tomorrow will be ok and that I will be provided for. I don’t need to work-out the future, I just need to be here right now fulfilling this very purpose in time. I need to understand that my worth is not defined by my accomplishments even though that’s what our society often wants us to believe. This kind of mentality only serves to discourage us when in truth we are all the same.

Ultimately, what I am saying is: This moment, right here, right now – this is my life. My life is not in some future place or in the past. My life is here and being here is my purpose. I don’t need to feel like I must accomplish some great thing in the future in order to feel great. I am great because I exist. Life has chosen me to come to be and to be is my primary purpose. What I do at any point in time is big. Just coming in to my job and helping people get their storage room is big. Life has all these little moments that make big things. Let’s marvel in the little-big things of every day life.

Just relax in this moment.
Let yourself know that this moment is enough.
Let yourself know that tomorrow will be ok.
Let yourself be here and now.
Whatever action needs to be taken in this moment, take it.
If no action needs to be taken, just be.
You don’t need to plan your whole life.
You don’t need to compare yourself to others.
You are enough just as you are in this moment.
Your presence is a big accomplishment in and of itself.
Marvel in the little-big things.
Your purpose is to be and that is very, very big.

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