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Reflect Out Loud

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

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people

Sage

I burned sage for the first time today.
I guess I burn sage now.

I was never really a fan of the smell. 

But I sort of am now.

I want to talk about influences and how powerful they are.

The people we spend time with leave an imprint on us. 

This is fact.

Who are we allowing to influence us? Are the influences leading to positive outcomes or negative?

Am I allowing the wrong people in? Have I been pushing the right people out? 

A lot to think about.

I am in an interesting period right now. A period where things feel like they’re moving really slow but at the same time they’re moving nonetheless.

 I am playing a slow, long strategy game. When I analyze the facts it’s going to take some real COMMITTED ASS FUCKING effort to get my small ass off the ground and into the next level. 

It might mean less socializing for a bit. It might mean less time for adventures. It might mean closing off to others and being more invested in myself. 

I keep asking whether it really does have to be that extreme? Do I really need to make these strict changes? Do I really need to start saying no? To start pulling away? To start being highly frugal and make big sacrifices? 

Sacrifice my comfort. Sacrifice the person I really care for. Sacrifice my energy. Sacrifice my time. 

A lot to think about. 

And now my apartment smells like sage. 

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Memories

Sometimes the memory of you surfaces above my subconscious where I tightly stuffed the records of you, double shutting the lid covered in bold red tape I’ve labeled “KEEP OUT.”

I pause —

Everything pauses.

All but blurry images of us that unravel in my mind like a movie.
Stop. Fast forward. Rewind. Repeat.
Slow–motion–play.

The commentary that comes to mind when I think of you is something along the lines of “What the fuck was that? What was the purpose of our worlds colliding? Was I supposed to learn something from this? Why did you appear to bruise me? To scar me?”

I pause in search of the answer —

Silence.

At times in my head I imagine scenarios where some future circumstance magically unites our paths. We’re older now. Different. Molded. Morphed into something new by the experiences that shaped us. The look exchanged in our eyes are more mature. And in this moment it all makes sense. I finally understand. You finally understand. And there is peace.

John

I will tell you about John.

John is a good guy. He walks around trying to do the “right thing.” He smiles at people hoping people will smile back. He yearns to connect; he yearns to be accepted and to accept back.

John loves all people. Even people with three or four heads and eyes. Even purple people, blue people, orange people and invisible people.
John is very curious.
John is scared sometimes because he doesn’t like pain. But he does like it when the nurse comes along and rubs alcohol on his boo-boo. It makes him feel loved. Like someone cares about his well-being.

John likes to play. He wishes he could play all day. He wishes he could climb trees and pretend he is a pirate looking out into the ocean for some loot and new found land.
But there is a thing called “job” he has to do.
John doesn’t necessarily dislike the idea of a job – he understands how important functions are to a well operating society. What John doesn’t like is when he is forced to play roles he doesn’t feel comfortable playing.

John wants to walk around the world and give everyone little paper hearts because he wants people to remember how to love.
John wants people to know how to see not just with the eyes, but with their whole entire being.

John gets angry sometimes. He gets angry when the world expects him to be more than what he already is. It is not that John doesn’t want to be more – or “expand” as he would call it, it’s that John wants the freedom to grow at his own pace.

John doesn’t like when he is corrected in a condescending way.
John wants to be the best John he can be and wants to be spoken to in a loving manner, not in a punishing manner.

John is tired now.

I will share more about him another day.

Trust Yourself

There are so many people out there saying so many different things that it can become really overwhelming sometimes. One particular type of statement that really gets on my nerves is the one that sounds something like: “It’s not this, but THIS.” The problem with this kind of statement is that sooner or later someone else will just say the exact opposite: “No, It’s not ‘THIS,’ but THAT!”
People will always have something to say about life and how it should or shouldn’t be, but at the end of the day it’s not their place to tell you what you should do or how you should live.
Only you have the power to decide what to do with your life and in which direction to stir it.

Instead of asking what others want from you or what they think you should do, start consulting your own being. Next time you get an urge to ask your friends what they think you should do, stop for a moment and look inside yourself and ask your very own self: “Hey, [speak your name], do you think I should do this?” Start to look within your own self and trust your decisions. Everyone has an opinion, and YOUR opinion is just as valid.

Trust your intuition. Trust the feelings that are guiding you. Let your own person shine. Let your ideas flow. Stop worrying about earning the approval of others and begin to approve yourself.

Every day tell yourself these words:
I am enough.
I approve myself.
I accept myself as I am.
I am capable of making my own choices.
I trust my own being.
I believe in myself.
I believe I will succeed.

Let your own voice be heard. Free yourself from needing the validation of others and start looking to yourself for validation. It can be tempting to want others to pat our backs so that we can feel we are accepted and belong, but once you start to accept yourself it will not matter who is for or against you because you will have everything you need – YOU.

Only YOU can walk your path and only YOU are living your life.
Your life does not belong to your friends.
Your life does not belong to your family.
Your life belongs to YOU – and YOU are the author of your story.
Be free to live your life according to your liking without fear of the judgement of others.
As long as you are not hurting yourself or others, there is no reason to be afraid of being yourself.
YOU ARE FREE TO BE YOU!

A Few Words on Conditioning

And so you’re born. Welcome.

You are given a name.
You are placed in the care of people.
These people also have names. They have beliefs, ideas, language, culture, tradition, a level of education, possessions, habits, behaviors and their interpretation of the world.
They teach you the world as it is known to them.
They will teach you how to use your mouth to refer to objects.

Say, “Mama.” 
-Mama
Say, “Dada.”
-Dada.
Say, “Cup”
-Cup.

Next thing you know you can use your biologically developed vocal chords to produce sounds to represent externally perceived objects.
As you age your concepts become more complex.
“My mama is in the market.”
“My dada is reading the newspaper.”
“The cup is on the table.”

You are taught the ideas of the people raising you.
“No! It’s not nice to use your hands to eat. Use the spoon.”
“You have to pray before eating your food, God is watching you.”

You begin to be shaped by the information given to you by those who raised you.

Then you go out into the world. You perceive new people. New places.
These new people have different ideas from those who have raised you.
“What do you mean you have to pray before you eat? There is no such thing as God!”
“Yes there is. My moma and dada told me there is so. I believe them. They wouldn’t lie to me.”

Now you have conflicting ideas.
You are exposed to more modes of thinking. You are exposed to new experiences which you never thought possible.

Everything you engage with at any time is molding you. Changing you. Making you.

Then you realize that you are more than your experiences.
“My mama told me that I am Tom. But is that really who I am?”

You might have a name that was given to you. But that’s just a sound. A sound in which we use to communicate among ourselves in order to reference points in space.
You are not your name.
You are not your beliefs.
You are not the voices in your head.
You are not a label.

You are life.
You are breath.
You are consciousness.

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