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Reflect Out Loud

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

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pain

Ache

My head aches.

My body aches.

My heart aches.

My stomach aches.

My soul aches.

Was it one drink too many that eventually did it?

I’m tired of being the one who’s always wrong. Despite my every attempt it just seems like I’ll never be good enough for you. I’ll always be wrong. Always be not enough. Always be the crazy blonde girl who jumped on stage.

I don’t like who I see in the reflection mirrored in your eyes. There’s this distorted image of me. There’s me looking away because I can’t make any sense of why you’re staring at me.

Are you trying to figure out if you like me enough to stay? Have you made a decision? Will you ever?

My brain aches trying to decode your mixed messages.

I’m tired. I’m old.

I’m exhausted from overthinking. From trying to “figure it out.”

From wondering if you’re just waiting for someone else to come along so the “place holder” I’ve become can just be discarded like an over used tissue paper.

Actions speak louder than words. And all I hear you saying is “I care. But not enough.”

 

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Hurt

I’ve been so hurt before.

And I could point at the world and say “You. It’s your fault.”

I could point at life and say “You. It’s your fault.”

Or I could point at me and say “Me. It’s my fault. For not being mature enough. For letting my emotions rule me. For allowing such things as ego to run me. For allowing my attachments to get the best of me. For not knowing how to let go. For not knowing how to surrender. To be okay in the face of what is. To accept that not everything goes my way. And that there are things that I don’t like. And if I can help them, great. And if not, it’s okay.”

I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out.

All I know is that I want to heal. And I want not to be ruled by my emotions. Especially not the destructive ones. I want to live awake. Live consciously. But most of all, live happily, freely, abundantly, peacefully, connctectedly and in love.

Corporal Punishment

“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

I was beaten as a child. Threatened.
“I’ll throw you across the walls and step on your neck,” my mom would say.

I was beaten by my grandmother too. I never liked her. She was mean to me.

I also have a vivid memory of when I was beaten by my uncle. I guess I deserved it that time because he was beating me for getting into it with a girl at school.

I was beaten by my sister. I remember having a black and blue eye from the silver latch of the belt she was using. I must have been 5 years old. 6 at most. Because all of this happened in Brazil while I was growing up.Then we moved to the U.S. I was still beaten by my mom occasionally, but less so.

I don’t condone what they did, but I also don’t blame them. It is common in Brazil to beat your kids. This was their level of consciousness. This is how they grew up, this is what they thought was right.

I don’t agree with this kind of treatment. I was a child. And I don’t think any human child deserves to be beaten.

 

(My eyes get a little watery when I revisit these memories for too long)

I would wish I was born to a different family. Especially the nice ones I would see in movies.

I wonder what the correlation is between my getting beaten and my struggles with self worth, self-esteem are?

I don’t usually go back to the past and think about these things. I don’t even hold a grudge in my heart or blame my family for doing what they knew in their level of consciousness to be right at the time.

I just wanted to share this part of my story with you.

I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood. Not the worst either – but certainly could have been better.
I have some memories of being picked on at school. Pushed. Bullied.
But that didn’t last very long.

The quality of my school improved when I went to High School. Though there were still some kids to be afraid of there.

I tried my best to navigate my life with what I had. And surprisingly ended up the way I am – with a heart full of love and forgiveness.

I don’t hold on to the bad that happens to me. At least not for long anyway.

The negative experiences affect me, of course. Challenge me. Fuck me up a little.
But I do everything I can to transcend them.

I want to leave a better world behind. I want to be the best me despite the hardships.

I’ve experienced some pretty difficult situations in my life. Many in my childhood that I never knew how to process and didn’t have the most educated family to support or guide me.

I accept my family though. I accept where I came from. I appreciate who I’ve become.

Of course if I had a choice to have had a more wholesome upbringing I would choose that in a heartbeat – but what’s the point on dwelling on that? I rather let go of the past and be grateful for who I’ve become despite my difficulties. I rather be thankful for this really amazing life I am fortunate to be experiencing and creating now as an adult in this world.

Sometimes I think I harbor some negative energy – and I think it may still be from the past experiences that have shaped me in who I currently am.

I’m actively working to transform that every day, though.

I really and truly believe in a beautiful world filled with beautiful people living wholesome lives. This is the world that I want to create for myself. This is the world I want to contribute towards creating.

I am a huge advocate of peace, love, forgiveness, compassion and all things good.

I want to transcend my limitations. I want to transcend the lodged fears that make me feel like I’m somehow not enough, not worthy or stupid.

I don’t experience this all the time. But I experience it sometimes.

And I just wanted you to know.

 

Also, don’t feel bad for me. That’s not why I wrote this. I just want you to know me more.

 

Don’t think my story was all grim. There was so much laughter and so much good!

 

This is just a little bit of my darker days and simply a part of the story that shaped me as a whole.

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.
 

 

Let Go of The Outcome

“The root of suffering is attachment.” – Buddha

I resonate with the above quote.
When I cling to people, places, material possessions, status, you name it, whenever the target of my clinging is threatened – I experience emotional pain – a.k.a “suffering.”

Sometimes that emotional pain is also linked to physical responses in my body. My heart beats fast, my stomach sinks, I feel nauseous, my temperature rises, I cry, I curl into a little ball in a stew of emotions.

I experience this roller coaster of symptoms when I lose.
When I lose that which I have become attached to.
Sometimes it even happens when I imagine loss. Or perceive loss.

The guy I have been dating is showing up online on a dating site.
So what does my heart do?
It tightens.
What does my mind do?
It races.

“Oh. I guess he’s still searching. I guess I haven’t made a big enough impression to get him to stop seeking. I guess he’s not that into me. I guess I’m not enough for him. Maybe he’ll meet someone else he’ll find more interesting and move on happily while I’ll be back to square one.”

Attachment. Fear based thoughts.

But what if I let go of the outcome? What if I pull back and re-frame my response?

Truth is – nothing belongs to me. Nothing is mine. I simply get to share temporary experiences in a fleeting, changing environment that I do not and cannot possess. Yet in an attempt to hold on, to keep for longer, to experience more of – I attach.

I say, “I want you.”
I say, “Be mine.”
I say, “Don’t leave.”
I say, “I don’t want to let go.”
I say “I don’t want to say good bye.”

And when I do this, I hurt. Because I am trying to hold onto what time is literally ripping out of my tiny little hands.

see-them-floundering

So then what is the way to relieve this?

Non-attachment. Letting go. Release the hold.

No attachment to the outcome.
No fear of letting go.
Pure surrender.

Does that mean that I don’t love? That I don’t care? That I don’t experience fully? No. Quite the opposite.

Every moment becomes extremely meaningful, because every moment is unique, special, fleeting, and forever elusive.

Through non-attachment every moment becomes lighter because it can pass through you without getting stuck. It can just come and go and there is no fighting to keep it, no fighting to get more of it, no fighting for its return. Everything can just be.

It can come and it can go.

And when it comes – what a joy to have it.
When it goes [breathes out]  what a joy to see it go.

This is true freedom.

*image credit to realbuddhaquotes.com

Loss

I keep writing about loss lately.

Time keeps robbing me of people, places, things and experiences. It is painful.

I keep telling myself I must learn to let go. Learn to let go even before I lose something, because then when that day comes it won’t affect me since I’ve never possessed it anyway.

I’m going through a big transition soon. I’m scared, but also excited for the change.

I feel a lack of strength lately. A lack of motivation. Fear that the future will be darker than the past.

Yet despite this large part of me that feels so afraid, there is still a little light inside that shimers and whispers, “It’ll be okay. Don’t worry. I got you. You’re safe.”

 

Fleeting Time

“How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line, can’t define what I’m after”            -O.A.R

It’s like life keeps making me reasses everything.
Can’t hang on to anything. 
 
Everything is temporary. Nothing actually belongs to me. I can’t hold on to anything. And I lose everything. Nothing lasts forever. And I don’t like it. I don’t like it when things get taken away from me. It hurts. 
I want to hold on to things. People. Places. Things. Statuses. I don’t want to let go. 
 
I’m selfish.
I want things for myself. 
I want things and people and places to fulfill me.
To validate me. 
To be a reminder that I am safe and that I haven’t lost. I want to be reminded that I’m okay. 
And that you’re here. And I’m here.
And that you haven’t left. 
And that I haven’t left.
And that everything is the same.
And that it won’t change. 
And that it’s perfect.
 
But it’s not.
Because everything is stripped away from me.
I work so hard to have it all taken away.
My face becomes wrinkled.
My bones become weak.
Everything breaks.
People walk away. 
They die.
They change.
Things are no longer how they used to be.
The corner deli is gone.
This town looks completely new.
What’s left of what used to be?
What’s left of us?
I miss the days when we would roam the city. 
When we didn’t care about buying houses and wedding rings or proper diets. We just stuffed our faces with bubble gum. We just played on the street throwing our shoes in the air because we thought it was funny. 
 
I miss feeling young.
Now I feel old even though I am young.
 
The realization that my time is shrinking is upon me.
That with each day that passes the end of my life approaches. Which could be at any moment. 
At any moment I can be robbed of everything.
And one day I will be.
Time will come knocking on the door and it will say “Time’s up.” And just like that everything I thought mattered won’t matter anymore. Because I will be gone. 
 
Gone like everything else that’s ever left. 
And like everything else that will soon leave after.

A Prayer For The Suffering

A Prayer for the Suffering

God. Life. Universe. Energy. Higher power. Source. Whatever, if anything, is out there help those who suffer. All who suffer, may their pain be removed. May peace reign on Earth. May health abound. May food abound. May joy abound. May peace abound. May hearts be whole and minds tranquil. Awaken our hearts and mind. Liven our spirits. May humanity prosper in love. Love come over us and wash away the pain.
Love come over us and wash away the hurt.
Shine light on our consciousness.
Bring peace to our homes.
Love we welcome you.
Love may you reign.
Help us. Help us.
Let love reign.

In love, may it be so. Amen. Amen.

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.

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