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Reflect Out Loud

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

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transformation

Traces

I see the evidence of the imprint you’ve left manifested in my reality.

And now, in this period of uncertainty, it is unclear how the timeline will unfold.

There is more on the chess table than I can control.

There are images, stories in my head that leave me discouraged. With little option but to let go. To stop wanting to put a square peg into a round hole.

*Breathe*

I’ve been in this place before.

It is time to take a different approach. To do different to get different. To stop doing the same old thing in the face of a new reality that beckons me to morph into new form.

It’s the process of going from caterpillar to butterfly. A butterfly whose wings are marked with the imprint of the past who shaped it.

I will always carry a little peice of you with me. You’ve marked my life in ways that influenced my path; influenced my story.

*Sigh*

What a wonderful and messy life this is.

 

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Change The Facts

Realizing it is half the battle.

At one point or another you stand before yourself facing the reality you’re currently in. You see that what you’re doing is not working. You notice that the choices  you’ve been making and the habits you’ve formed are not compatible with the version of life you want to experience.

You’ve been saying yes when you mean no.
You’ve been overly nice.
You’ve been giving more than you’ve been receiving.
You’ve been laughing at jokes you don’t even find funny, only to keep the peace and eliminate how awkward it would be if  you were to dare to hurt anyone’s feelings.
You’ve been playing small. Asking what everyone else thinks before asking yourself what you think.
You’ve been scared to voice your opinion. To stand alone if no one else agrees.
You’ve been downplaying your value. Not trusting your own self for fear of getting it wrong, as if it’s possible to get EVERYTHING right ALL THE TIME. 

Coming to realize yourself in your patterns is the first step. Good job. You know now. You’re aware now. 

But here is where it gets tricky.
“What the fuck do I do about this new found knowledge of who I am, who I’ve been, where I am and more important where the heck am I going and who do I need to be to get there?” 

I’ll tell you what you’re gonna have to do. You’re going to look at the FACTS and then you’re going to CHANGE THE FACTS.

Fact is: I say yes when I mean no. New fact is: I say no when I mean no.
Fact is: I am overly nice. New fact is: I’m kind, not stupid.
Fact is: I give more than I receive. New fact is: I’m fair – take it or leave it.
Fact is: I hide what I really feel. New fact is: I tell it like it is.
Fact is: I’m afraid to speak my opinion. New fact is: I speak and stand behind my opinions without fear, even if it means standing alone.
Fact is: I don’t trust myself. New fact is: I trust myself.

See, knowing that there is something about yourself or your life that isn’t quite in resonance is only step one. Without step 2, which is to turn the current facts into new facts by LITERALLY and PHYSICALLY causing a REAL change in both thought and behavior you’re only left with realizations. And simply realizing it is not enough. There needs to be an added element of FUCK THIS SHIT, I’M UPGRADING MY THOUGHTS AND MY BEHAVIORS TO MATCH THE EXPERIENCE OF LIFE I TRULY WANT. 

Will it be easy? Fuck no.
Will there be challenges. Heck yeah. 

But let me tell you dear friend, it is better to fight for the life you do want then to live in defeat stuck in a miserable reality you hate. 

What have you been realizing lately? What are the facts? And tell me, what are the new facts? Get clear on it and get to work. I’ll be fighting for the same over here on my end. Let’s make it happen. 

Victory be upon us.

Grace.

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

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

Crumble. . . . .

“I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean. A vapor in the wind.” -Casting Crowns

My heart cries….
As I see what I thought be permanent crumble.

Total security, as I know it to be so far, is not real. Everything is changing. Breaking. Dying. Making room for the new to be born.

Latest Meditations

Meditations:

-You are the one with the answers to your deepest questions. Although you may search for the perspective of others, which can broaden your own, ultimately it is all up to you to decide what is truly best for your path.

-Worrying about the opinions of others makes you insecure and afraid to just stand in your own light. Let it go. Stop worrying about others. Your job is not to make anyone approve of you – your job is to just be and approve of yourself.

-People can’t read your mind. If you want something, say something.

-You have to take action to see results. You can’t just wait around and expect that your dreams will magically fall from the sky. If you want to change something you have to actually take the steps necessary to bring that change into effect. If there is nothing you can do at this very moment, you rest; if there is something you can do at this moment, you do it.

-Complaining drains your energy and doesn’t solve anything. If there is a problem you’re concerned with, focus on the solution. Go straight to the source and express your concerns for the sake of moving forward in a healthy way. Stop wasting energy and time saying the same thing over and over like a broken record.

-Not everyone will like, understand, or accept you. That’s okay. Focus on the people who do. And even if there is no one you can fully count on – count on yourself. You are never alone when you have yourself.

-Be courageous and stand for what you believe in in healthy ways. Kindly and firmly up for yourself. Take actions that will leverage you forward even when they feel scary. Once you begin to move forward you’ll see it’s not so scary – every step will be revealed to you as you move.

-Be patient. Not everything happens instantaneously. Sometimes you have to take one step – wait – one step – wait – one step – wait. Some things are a process. Some things transform faster than others while others may take quite a while. The important thing is that you remain consistent in your part and let the rest fall into place in time.

-Be consistent! You can’t achieve anything great if you do it one day and give up for 5 days. Keep the process. A bucket will eventually overflow when the drips of water are consistent over time.

-Most importantly BE PRESENT. You will miss your whole life if you are running around in your head trying to figure it all out. Be here now. Enjoy this moment. The breeze. The lights. The tastes of food. Whatever it is for you – just experience it. This doesn’t mean “don’t think or analyze at all.” There is a time for everything. There’s a time to think and analyze and figure things out. Thinking steals your life when it’s the only thing you do. Experience your life – don’t be lost in your mind.

-When you feel anxiety breathing deeply really helps. Just focus on your breath and not on anxious thoughts or feelings. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Remind yourself that everything is temporary and that this will pass. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. This will pass.

-You don’t have to try to fit in with others when you know you are clearly different. Be who you are and inspire others. It’s okay to be quirky. It’s okay to be you. There’s enough space for every being. There’s enough space for you to shine. Intelligence conspired together to make the atoms that compose your being. Intelligence inherently knows that your unique expression is needed. You are needed. Be who you are even if it’s different from others. Different is okay. No two atoms are the same. That’s what we need. You.

Whether Here or There, I Am Still Me

“Wherever you go, there you are”  – Jon Kabat-Zinn

I realize more clearly that no matter where I go, I will follow. And what I mean by this is that I can’t run away from myself. I can change my environment, move away, change jobs, change friends, change partners – but I will still be the same consciousness dealing with the same issues no matter what new circumstance I am in. I can’t run away from myself simply by changing the external world. I must change my internal world first; I must face myself, not run away. If I change myself from the inside, then it will not matter where I am because I will be just fine.

For instance, sometimes I am shy to express myself and I think that if I move where no one knows me, then maybe I can feel less shy to express myself. But then I find myself visiting new places only to find the shyness still present.

Or sometimes I feel awkward about how I look in a bathing suit so I think that maybe if there were less people at the beach I will feel more comfortable. Yet even with very little people at the beach, I still feel awkward.

See? I am externalizing an internal issue. I keep saying things like “When I move, I will feel better” or “When people grow nicer, I will think the world is a better place.” But the more I meditate and experience life, I see that I need to work on my internal issue, not the external world. Sure, having the external conform to my ideals help, but so long as I still have an internal conflict, no matter how perfect everything in the outside world is, my experience will still be distorted by my warped perspective. But better yet, if I build a strong, loving, and accepting internal world for myself, then no matter what is going on in the outside world I will still be peachy! Change, my friends, happens from the inside out.

I need to look in myself and see what is it in ME that I am projecting out into the world – and start by fixing that. One step at a time.
It’s a journey! And even though it may hurt sometimes, the process is so rewarding.

Becoming The Change

Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

I sometimes get caught up in trying to change the world and forget that the change needs to happen in me. Sometimes I worry too much thinking I must teach kindness and teach love and teach peace, all the while forgetting that I must first BE kind, BE loving and BE at peace (or whatever else I wish to see) and then the rest will follow.

The Bible has a nice quote that says: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” (Titus 1:15). You can interpret this is many ways. The way I like to interpret it is: If my intentions are pure and if my perceptions and actions stem from a place of innocence, then all that I see/perceive/intake/experience/observe/feel/etc, will consequently be pure because the lens through which I observe and engage with the world is not a lens of malice but a lens of innocence. I must be like a child – despite having developed the physical form of an adult and having undergone numerous life experiences, I must continue carrying an innocent heart, becoming a living testament of purity despite my moments of flaws. As long as I am human I am subject to failure — and that’s ok because infallibility is not a property of humanity. It is not my perfect acts that will make me pure at heart (because I can do everything right in action yet in my heart I may hide my intention of doing right for mere approval or for the desire of praise or for whatever other motive) — a pure heart is pure because in it abides no malicious intentions — but should such intentions creep in (and believe me, they do all the time), our good and faithful friend, the mind, can help the heart be guided back to its pure, innocent state.

It’s only natural for the heart to be presented with what exists – all the possibilities for good and all the possibilities for bad. It is then up to me, a conscious and aware being, to ultimately decide what I will harbor within me.

AS OF THIS MOMENT, I AM NO SO CALLED “SAINT” LIVING IN SO CALLED “HEAVEN.” I AM A SO CALLED “HUMAN” LIVING ON SO CALLED “EARTH.” 

Sometimes I can be judgmental as hell.
I say or think things like:
“People are rude and need to change.”
“Some people are so disrespectful, boy, I tell ya! I just want to smack some sense into them!”
“Look at these freaking hypocrites, man, no morals.”
“Ugh, I can’t stand these damn politicians, so crooked.”

I even judge myself at times.
“I am so irresponsible! I am constantly late to work.”
“I can never do anything right.”
“I am so out of shape. I have to be more disciplined.”
“I am so dumb. I will never get anywhere in this life.”

All these thoughts, all these mean, condemning words I have allowed to abide in me have become basis for my perception. I have allowed my mind to be receptive to and my heart to feel that these negative words and thoughts I profess are real and true. I have allowed my inner space to be infiltrated by negative conclusions. (I am using the word “negative” here for lack of a better word… I can’t think of a more appropriate word right now to refer to the “yuckiness” I have allowed to abide in the space of my being).

I must be the change. If the change does not happen within me, even if everyone else in the world has already changed, I will not see it or realize it because the filter of my perception is set to the channel of malice and not the channel of innocence. The moment that I change my perception, inevitably my world will change. But it can’t be a half-assed change – it has to be fully real.
I can fool my spectators and become like an actor in the theater who plays the role of a hero, but I cannot deceive myself in thinking I am truly the hero I know I am pretending to be.
I must truly embody that which I wish be.

If I want peace – I must be in tune with peace.
If I want patience – I must be in tune with patience.
If I want kindness – I must be in tune with kindness.
If I want understanding – I must be in tune with understanding.
If I want innocence, I must be in tune with innocence.

How could I experience peace if I am in tune with war?
How could I experience understanding if I am in tune with ignorance?

I must channel my experience.

I must be that which I wish to see.

Once I am that which I wish to see, it will not matter if someone says to me: “Psst. Hey. Look. See that rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy person? Look how terrible he or she is!”  Because the moment I am what I wish to see, when I look out at the world I will not see rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy, terrible people. Instead, I will see kindness, sharing, sincerity, humility, honesty, truth, reality, worthiness, wonderful, people. Additionally, I will see love. I will see friendship. I will see compassion. I will see forgiveness. I will see understanding. I will see beauty. I will see life. I will see perfection.
I could then respond saying. “Hm. I hear what you are saying. I do not deny the existence of your claims but I do not see it as you see it because in the space of my being I have made the conscious choice to abide in perception of the good, the beautiful, and the blameless, because that is how I wish my world be.”

I am not denying the existence of the bad, the ugly and the guilty.
Let what IS – BE.

I accept all that IS, and as a conscious, aware being, I choose to embrace, be, perceive and act through that which is good.  May in goodness I abide and be.
_____________________________________________________________

BUT TO RAP UP THIS DISCUSSION FOR NOW….

I am not saying “Let’s be passive about everything and ignore and PRETEND there ISN’T any bad out there.” What I am saying is: If you are conscious and aware, choose the good and cast away the bad. If harboring condemning ideas in your mind such as “people are rude” make you see the world as a bad place, consciously make the effort to harbor loving-kind ideas such as “if there is such a thing as rude people, let ME BE KIND, that there be one less rude person in the world.”

I will embrace and cultivate tools such as patience, perseverance, kindness, forgiveness, understanding or any other helpful tool that will enable me to be the change. Will I succeed 100% of the time? Hmm…Given my human circumstances probably not. So if and when I do not succeed, I must be 100% merciful with myself during my moments of shortcomings, acknowledging that I have limitations but not allowing my limitations to stop me from persevering.

There’s a line in the 1997 Disney movie, Flash, where a boy fights to be able to keep and care for a horse he falls in love with and when told “you’ll never make it” the boy responds saying, “Then I won’t make it. But it won’t be because I gave up.”

I may never be perfect, “but it won’t be because I gave up.” I must undoubtedly believe in myself as well as believe in my dreams, utilizing my belief as fuel for transforming my dream into reality by actually living that which I wish would be.

I cannot completely change my world through force or through demand. There’s billions of us out there and it’d be humanly impossible (or perhaps tremendously unlikely and would require an unfathomable amount of effort) for me to externally transform the world to fit the very real and possible utopia that for now exists only as an imagination in me.

I cannot make or demand a person be kind.
I cannot make or demand a person be respectful.
I cannot make or demand a person be loving.
I cannot make or demand a person be in peace.
I cannot make or demand a person be good.

I can only make these things be true for myself and in making it true for myself I can hopefully inspire you to do the same for yourself.

If together, we call forth the good, I promise, our world will be good because all the conscious and aware beings abiding in it have willingly chosen to make it so.

To end this post…

To end this post, I just have to say this about all of the above I just said:

1. All this is just a bunch of words, and words are only symbols. So don’t take everything I said here TOO literal.

2. In the end all that matters is that: YOU ARE THAT WHICH YOU ARE, and not I, not anyone, or anything, could ever define you because only your very essence defines you, and your essence does not depend, and does not require any words.

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