Thursday, January 29, 2015

Barriers - Blow them up!

Working on a project in my office today and was searching for some music to keep me engaged. I recently came across (again) Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR. While looking through the offerings I ran across Macklemore with the song "Same Love", which from the first day I heard it on the radio in Seattle struck a cord in me.

The word BARRIER as defined by the Oxford Dictionary: "A fence or other obstacle that prevent movement or access." Additionally, the origin of the word is from late middle English, denoting a palisade or fortification of an entrance.

I realise that I also feed into the stereotypes I grew up with, like boys don't..... or only girls do....  I now understand that those stereotypes were just a BARRIER to acceptance and letting people stagnate in not challenging their own believes they either grew up with or developed over time. Boys Don't Cry, only girls wear dresses-makeup - nail polish, boys don't show their emotions, boys play with guys not with their own penises (I was admonished by my step father busting into MY bedroom unannounced insisting this was a learned behavior. I still suffer with some of these puritanical believes about self love), boys are only supposed to fuck girls (never introduced to making love, because love wasn't present in my house growing up), parents are supposed to fight with each other often - loud and violently enough to break my mom's shoulder (this was less than 2 yrs into their marriage), it's ok for men to get shit faced as a coping mechanism to deal with their issues (then take their emotions - which they clearly have - out on their wives and small children) because they are too weak to look inside, Blacks are X, Mexicans are X, gays are X and realize they need help and these stereotypes go on and on because of the disinterest to break down a BARRIER. I have lived with lies most of my life both as a child and some of my adult life as well.

As an adult I have chosen to break the chains of my past, but what I didn't realise until recently is that I am chained by others. The lies that were hidden because BARRIERs had to stay up to keep people safe. By caring what people close to me think, I allowed myself to be bound to their beliefs and lies (sometimes under the disguise that the lies are "cultural")  as a way to get closer. What really happened is the bondage just constrained me and the BARRIER that was between us was still there but now I was stuck. The BARRIER is still there but my chains have been loosened and will soon be finally cut. Now it's up to me to continue to break down the BARRIERs I have put up, others have taught me to have, and the one's society has told me should be there.

What BARRIERs have you allowed to be put up? What BARRIERs have you put up for yourself? How do they serve you (if they didn't serve you in a positive/negative way they wouldn't still be there)?

Maybe it's easier to just keep bound up and keep the BARRIER in place. I understand, for many years I choose for that to be my truth. Is that who you really want to be?



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Serendipity

When I reflect on my life, it seems to wander around a bit. And what I mean by this is: new interest and new people wander in and out of my life. Ever since I was a child I had a nomadic life and moved often. I have noticed that the ones that are supposed to be in my life right now stick around and those that aren't leave. This might be odd for people who haven't moved around as much as I have. Unlike others, I am not a collector. I have nothing that I collect for a hobby, passion, or obsession. I take in only what is necessary or that is purposeful. I own less than 10 DVDs, even less CDs. My interest in things develop slowly, and go in waves. I don't gather people around me to make myself feel better, or keep me from being alone. What actions I do spend in my life, like writing, are my self expression through words (I can't really call it writing) has been present several times in my life and it is resurfacing again. It never really went away, I just had other priorities and now I can be more serious about it. 

Many of my experiences, interests, or people that come into my life some would say are serendipitous. Serendipity is defined as "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way."

I like the idea of Serendipity, where things happen in my life by chance in a happy or beneficial way, but I think we invite occurrence and events. We welcome in what we think we need in our lives. 

There is a quote from a movie that "We accept the love we think we deserve." Perks of Being a Wallflower. I think the same can be said for people in our lives. We accept the type of people in our lives we think we deserve. What do you deserve? Are those the type of people who are around you? 

Sometimes someone comes into your life when you least expect it. Not someone who kicks the door open but someone who just happens to wander inside. Even without knowing it, this person rearranges things ever so subtly with the best and most kind of intentions. One day you wake up and realize that you have been changed. Your first reactions to boredom, or frustration is no longer acted upon but instead considered as an option instead of the only answer to the situation. Or the real question is did I allow this? Or what it me to begin with?

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What do single people do with their time when alone?

So it's a rainy Saturday night. I sit here with nothing to do. The thought of watching a movie or a series of some kind would be like watching paint dry, but yet I can't think of anything productive or interesting to do. When I was in school I would draw, when I had a house I would remodel. I guess I don't really have a hobby or I am in hobby limbo.

I read an article that was quite shocking about how people prefer to give themselves electric shocks than to be alone with their thoughts. Am I one of those people? I actually think I am. As much as I say that I am a loner, I prefer to be alone, I really don't enjoy just spending time by myself, without the typical media distractions (youtube, netflix, or pandora). You know somedays I don't actually see another physical person all day, let alone talk to one. Do you live a life like this? Could you?

I think this is why I started my blog to get my feelings out, but I think sometimes its not enough. My feelings of expression come fast and I can't put them down fast enough and they get lost. Are they worth capturing, or like many thoughts are they just fleeting and unless you do something with them they are nothing?

I am not actually sure what the point of this entry is. Its not to make you feel sorry for my solitary existence, or call me up to want to spend time with me, but maybe like a few other posts last year, its a record of how I feel as a marker in time. I could just be a record of my own naivety. Of course I people who get into relationships so they don't feel like they are all alone on the planet and going through the motions for no reason.

Well dear readers, that is all for now. I may choose to further develop this post at another time.




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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Alone on Holidays?

I originally started this blog post two weeks ago before Christmas was here. With the holidays I just didn't get to the things I wanted to and instead spent time with friends and got to know them a bit more. Since my time is open today I had some time to reflect on things and thought I would finish this post for myself, and you my readers.

My life circumstances have changed dramatically in the past 4 months. I have gone from feeling alone while in a relationship to no longer being in that relationship and feeling more loved than I have in years. Over the past months I have purposefully had deeper conversations with friends about what is really going on in their lives. We are more intimately connected now than any other point in our lives. I believe this happened because I have consciously opened my heart and my mind to invite and welcome others to me.

I blogged about being ALONE before. This is the first holiday season that I have not been coupled up in nearly 2 decades. Yes, that is a long time and because of this I can say that I have felt less alone this holiday season than I have in the past. Holidays past I would go over to someone else's family's house for lunch/dinner for the umpteenth time where I would sit/stand around and attempt painful small talk. I find it so difficult to be so superficial for so long and never really building any intimacy and real conversation.  It's not my place to call out the big elephant in the room (well only with the close friends and my own immediate family). Thankfully, for the rest of the holiday meals I have left I can choose who I spend them with.

My intention was to spend my Christmas Eve, Day, and day after at a nice hotel on the beach with my two adventure companions. I wanted to bring a stack of books, my journal, and my laptop and continue my reading and writing and introspection. Instead I reconnected with a long time friend, his girlfriend, and his dad over cards and dinner. I also had two of my social circles touch briefly which I haven't had happen in a very long time, much too long in fact and hoping to change that in the new year.

I enjoy surrounding myself with a TRIBE of people whom I can be my honest self and more authentic self. To me there is nothing worse than having people in your life that you are physically close to but can't be authentic with them. I understand it isn't possible at work most of us but with friends and family that is a different story.

How about you my dear readers?  Were you alone on the holidays? Did you have people around you to celebrate with that didn't really even know you? Do these people really know you, your challenges, or your goals? Or did you stand around making nice small talk about grandma's lovely fruit cake (which no one ever finishes a whole slice)?

Were you yourself this holiday? Were you your true self?

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Monday, December 22, 2014

My Words - My Truth

While living and speaking consciously in the past weeks, I have made a few realizations:


  1. I use "we" often when speaking about my own life experiences and past because many of my memories and experiences are wrapped up with others. I feel sometimes using "we" can feel exclusionary instead of inviting in sharing my experience with others. 
  2. I enjoy talking and learning about others but I can only do it so long and need to retreat to my own thoughts and feelings to get my energy back. 
  3. When speaking with others whom I haven't know for very long, I realize that I tend to get short with people whose opinions do not match my own. I feel this is my own form of judgement. Instead I will choose to express that own options differ, positively reinforcing my own position on the subject and still maintaining a positive interest in continued dialogue with others. Alternatively I will listen deeper to the other person and ask more in depth questions as to better understand their opinion and thereby understand my own position on my opinion. 
  4. I use the word SHOULD often to in my thoughts, writing and speech. Using SHOULD leaves me feeling like I haven't reached my own goals or potential. My own feeling of inadequacy drives me to behavior that is incongruent with my long term goals and it takes a few days to get back in touch with myself. I choose to use alternative words to change my behavior and reinforce my own values and goals.
  5. I really miss writing and blogging about my inward journey. Its really important that I continue my journey and blogging helps me to do that.
  6. When someone is desperate I retreat. When someone doesn't need me thats when I want to attach the most to someone, otherwise it falls back to the co-dependance I grew up with and I choose to not repeat that cycle again.

Are you living your life consciously? Do you speak to yourself and others consciously? If so, what things have you noticed about yourself in building relationships with others? 

Are you satisfied with how you are or would you like to consciously change things to better get in touch with your true self and open your heart to people around you?

Take sometime this holiday week to accept yourself and express your appreciation for others in your life.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Words to live by for 10 weeks

Recently a friend reminded me that what we think drives who we really are. He is a specific speaker and asks follow up questions in a discussion if your are not.

It reminded me a quote that I saw once. I choose to embrace these ideas for the next 10 weeks.

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
 watch your words, they become actions;
 watch your actions, they become habits;
 watch your habits, they become character;
 watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I have been asleep and not living purposefully for too long. I choose to put myself in the direction I desire to go.

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Reading between Lines

Echosmith is a band I first heard on KCRW, they have been circling in my ears recently so I have been binging on them for the past 7 days. In the car, in my office, and on my twice daily walks.

Upon further research I learned that the member of Echosmith are all in the same family and grew up less than 10 miles from where I currently reside. Their musical influences site bands like The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, U2 and Joy Division among other bands. I grew up listening to these bands and enjoyed them. Going back and listening to some of their songs now, I realized that I know but a small segment their music. 

At first listen it sounds like a love song but then you notice the listener is being warned, told not to look closer that your story is the safest place you will ever be. 

The first listen through this song I didn't know what to think, catchy beat interesting chorus reminding me of going to grandma's house. Upon another listen the singer is giving a warning not to come too close, not to actually see the truth that is just below the surface.  Words associated with both love found and love lost, words star crossed, drowning, broken, and lost.

The listener believing their own truth of the relationship with a warning if they are looking for truth don't go looking for the singer. 

Running where you want to be, running headlong into love like young people do. When I was young I wanted to fall into love, feeling the butterflies in my stomach, getting nervous to talk 

Things I associate with falling into love. Or more specifically opening your heart for love. Butterflies, because I don't want to say the wrong thing I actually care what the other person thinks of me (this is incredibly rare for me). 

Excited to see the other person because.... why exactly? At first you see the excitement of getting to know another person and sharing your stories, finding things in common, places you like to go to, songs you enjoy and where you were when you first heard it, your passion for travel, the outdoors, and pushing your physical limits. 

Then as things get more comfortable you begin to feel safe and secure when they hold your hand, or when you have had a bad day they embrace you and everything fades into the background. And as you get to know each other from sharing you get lost in their eyes looking for what your future will be together, walks on the beach, sharing Christmas traditions, getting your first place together, spending weekend morning in bed together sharing your bodies and kisses.  Or because the person you see in their dark eyes is so much better than the person you see in the mirror? You see the best parts of you and all of your faults dissolve.

But I think this song is about the last part when the honeymoon goes away. When the facade we present to new people starts to reveal our faults and baggage that we have kept hidden around the corner. When after dinner we don't automatically reach for that stick of gum or check to see if salad is stuck in our teeth. Comfort settles in and people let not only their guards down but also get lazy. Their dark side and half truths (unspoken words that they have kept back and not yet revealed because they are embarrassed they would not be loved if they spoke their truth), and that bag of porn at the back of the closet.

When you no longer consider the other person first. And realize the last time you have done something for yourself. Something only you enjoy doing without asking when you will be back or who you will be with. Then you wake up one day and don't recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror. Instead of the seeing the best things about the other person all you see if faults and reasons why nothing will work out. All the effort you used to put into the relationship you keep reserved for yourself because you can see that the efforts hasn't been matched for the longest time. 

They make me feel safe? Their touch makes you go crazy? You get lost in their eyes seeing a future of being together of forever being loved? 


Almost like a warning that love is a place of darkness and 







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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Following Bliss - Originally written on Jan 7, 2009 *updated

Originally I made this post on Jan 7, 2009, just a few sentences on BLISS and a reference to me following "The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die" written by John Izzo.

I don't remember reading the book or going through the internal work of embracing those five secrets, but I do remember my intentions with writing the post. My intention was to get to my place of BLISS and an overall expression of self love. Because this is the case I will not judge myself harshly for not loving myself enough to follow through. Nearly all of my life I have been quick to judge myself and provide self-deprecatingly harsh words when I didn't live up to my own exceedingly high standards. This judgement I grew up knowing all too well, forced onto me from a non-birth parent.He used it as a trap to keep me down, which I fell into without wanting to or even knowing I did. As with much of life time heals and I am learning that with time and effort it can grow likeness of oneself to fondness to appreciate to something that might feel like love.

A writer friend of mine suggested that "there's no such thing as great writing, only great rewriting" so I have accepted his challenge and revisiting this post. Very few people in my life over the years have challenged me but when I reflect on the biggest growth and positive experiences in my life they have come from challenges given to me by others. I am naturally competitive and the past 10 years haven't had anything to really pursue more than just trying to feed myself and survive. Challenges I put myself too seem to just fall to the side most of the time.

My current challenges from others are :
Rewrite your work. 
Open your Heart (to yourself and others). 
Be Intentional with Your Words.

Reflecting back on my original title of "Following Bliss", somethings in my life give me BLISS. While I am in this state of BLISS, everything else in my world falls away, and I just breath, exist, and embrace the experience. The first entry for the word BLISS as defined by Oxford Dictionary is "perfect happiness, great joy." The second entry I find more curious and more specific to my idea of BLISS, which is "A state of spiritual blendedness, typically reached after death."

Think about this for a minute, BLISS is a state of spiritual blendedness typically reached after death. Have you ever felt this before. Felt that it would be ok to die? Or less morbid that life was so perfect in that exact moment that nothing else matters? I would be curious to what those would be. Can you post a comment on what moment that was please? For me I alluded to a few of my BLISS points in my post Tell Her You Love Her.

So if you want to find true BLISS, John Izzo suggests following his five secrets. These would be:

The five secrets as outlined below:

  1. Be True to Yourself
  2. Leave No Regrets
  3. Become Love
  4. Live the Moment
  5. Give More than You Take

My original post was in 2009, but recently I have written about Be True to Yourself and a little bit on Become Love. My creativity is weening off so I will say another rewrite and future post about the 5 secrets will come.

I will leave you with this. When did you have BLISS last? How did it feel to you? What made you feel this way? Would you want to feel this more often? How can you make that happen?

Please share this blog with people who you think it would benefit. Post your comments below. Don't be afraid of your own voice, passion, or self love. Live every day like it's your last.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Tell Her You Love Her - Communicate Deeper

This post was inspired by the Echosmith song entitled "Tell Her You Love Her."  The song reminds me of the joy of love that I have felt only a few times in my life. It's not just the joy of love but also having the courage and confidence to say it aloud to someone and honoring yourself enough to just be swept up by love and away with it. 

For some people love happens easily and often, but for me loving someone is rare and has only happened a few times in my life. My love for the world around me happens in moments of time. Things like the first hard acceleration up the Crest on my Ducati, the sound of the gentle rain on the sounds of the leaves, the smell of an amazing meal, or the smell of pine trees while showering in the sky, pulling on a freshly laundered and pressed dress shirt, the twilight evening of the Italian sky while dining al fresco, and a stormy day at the beach with big waves crashing in the distance make my heart swoon.  But to love someone? Love someone so much that you are willing to give away your heart and everything familiar? Its only happened once in the past 10 years. As much as I tried to make that work out I now realize that it takes two people to work at a partnership. I am gathering up the broken pieces of my life and reassembling them. I am not sure what my new life will look like, but I know the lessons I have learned will not be quickly forgotten.

The song also makes me reflect on fact that if I was still that young & naive man that lost his mom too soon, I would say the joy of love is all that the song reminds me of. But alas, my adventures and experiences have spanned two decades since then, and my travels have taken me half way across the planet, and with many more highs and lows than I can count. Considering this, what "Tell Her You Love Her" also reminds me of is my own perceived short comings when it comes to building relationships. Recently, I've been more attentive to the words and questions I have asked people, and even now as I write this that isn't exactly true. 

Music has always been a big part of my life. I listen to a song and I can slip into my memory of another time and another place when I first hear the song. Even bringing up the emotions I was even feeling at the time. For this reason, I tend not to over listen to songs from my past so I don't wear out those emotions or become over sensitized to them. Many times in my life I have enjoyed something so much that the novelty wears off and I don't enjoy it as much anymore.

Not just song but also objects bring up emotions and memories with me. Of all my worldly possessions the one I tend not to look at or smell too much a candle that is associated with my mom who passed away over 20 years ago. My memory of how the candle became into my possession I do not recall, but its my own thing that I have from my mom. Many people have food smells that remind them of their mother but my mom wasn't gifted in kitchen. This black odorous candle propels me back to when life was simpler, I was more naive and happier with the simple things in my life (I had so much less and it was ok). 

A few years after my mom past and often recently, I ask myself why didn't I really get to know my mom for the woman she was instead of just my mom? I now realize that I haven't been asking deep enough questions from people around me. My relationships have been limited because I didn't have the skills to make them more. Most of my life I have strived for being a better me, and interpersonal skills are the same. I have a desire for deeper more meaning full connections and I am committed to push past my current level. I want or more specifically I need deeper relationships with people in my life. As I become with my true self I open my heart and soul to connect better with others. My whole life I have pushed back the idea that I belong (in a community, with a group of people, at work, or even in America) but recently I am rebelling against my rebellion. Asking deeper questions like "what if I connected deeper with people around me" and "what could I do to draw closer to those around me" and "how much better would my life be if I did this?"

What I want is to be able to become better connected with people in my life, but realize just like me we have trained responses. There are social mores when someone asks "how was your day" we naturally put on our game face and say, great, ok, good, etc that really doesn't reveal what is really going on with us, even when it's just below the surface. 

I want to be the friend to others like the friend I would like to be. This is a idealistic view, but I don't think reaching for the stars is so bad when it comes to developing interpersonal relationships.

So here is what I normally get:

Me:  "how are you?"
Response: "good how are u?"
Me:  "Good, what are you up to?"
Response: "nothing, you?"
and on and on it goes. So I read an article recently 

Questions to ask instead would be:
  • When did you feel loved today?
  • When did you feel lonely?
  • What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?
  • What did I say that made you feel unnoticed?
  • What can I do to help you right now?
  • Did you feel lonely at all today?
  • What's going really well with work right now?
  • Or ask specific questions about things going on in their life.
You know no one has ever asked me these questions to really understand me and what I am going through. Nor to really pull me closer to them and truly be connected in a more intimate way. I hope to use some of these phrases and develop more to pull those in my tribe closer to me.

Enjoy the song and I am curious to what emotions and thoughts it brings up for you.




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Thursday, December 04, 2014

tribe

*I wrote this post quickly and will continue to revise and add to this as my experiences and understanding of myself continues to proliferate.


TRIBE is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader."

My idea of TRIBE is interchangeable or supplemental with the word FAMILY. A reader suggested not including children in what I view as family isn't going to be widely accepted. I would never purposefully leave out children because they are part of our social fabric. Children keep us honest to ourselves, modest to our accomplishments, and a reason to continue to make the world a better place. I didn't mention children possibly because I don't have my own, or possibly because I didn't feel included in my own family and their decisions as a child. Possibly why I never decided to have them, and yes having children my dear readers is a choice, you know where babies come from and how to prevent them.

But I digress, back to the TRIBE. I use TRIBE to explain the type of people that surround me by choise (either because the decisions I made put me in direct contact with them or actively seeking out people out for their skills, education, or life experience). TRIBE has a very visceral connotation to most people, and that is my reasoning for using the word. I want my TRIBE to be an emotional exchange, a place where everyone feels safe and connected, free to be themselves but still have mutual respect for everyone (especially their feelings), and a place people can be honest even if it means saying their truth that they have never uttered to themselves out loud, a place that they can feel supported and seek guidance, and a place that they can feel empowered to share their talents and gifts to others in the tribe.

Rereading this sounds too good to be true, but if you think about a TRIBE in the rainforest, everyone is responsible for certain tasks. Each of your tasks added up with my tasks added up with everyone else's tasks make our TRIBE able to survive. Why could this not be replicated in the modern world? Perhaps the successful people have already figured this out? Or could it be fear (unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something or someone is dangerous) which is in the future and you have no control over so leave it in the future keep moving forward.

Just so we are clear, my tribe would have nothing to do with any bullshit reality show that tries to recreate a TRIBE which competes for prizes or encourages manipulations and lies.

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Alone

Most of my adult life I have felt alone. It could be because as a kid I moved many times back and forth across the country which means I have changed schools ALOT. To put that into perspective, I have attended 10 different schools between Kindergarden and 12th grade. Take a moment to think about that, it means sometimes I moved twice in a single school year. Making friends was something I always had to do, or just be ALONE until I moved again.

Only a few people I know grew up living in the same community and attended high school with some of the same kids they attended elementary school. Most people I know have only moved a few times at the most when they were a kid. To put it simply, I have no idea what that would be like. I have a great imagination so I could create a story line of how they are connected, what life events they have shared, experiences they have gone through, even how they wore some of the same halloween costumes. Stories are stories, but I can't imagine what the emotions would be like (good or bad) with having school and life being familiar to me, living in a community that you felt connected to even belonged in.

I've lived my life as a nomad and an outsider and to many of the normal human experiences as well. Even something as simple as being invited to a friends wedding has only happened to me 4 times in my life, one of the times was my own sister. Maybe I am not alone in my feelings. Maybe my dearest readers you also have felt that longing to belong and not live on the outside.

Every few years even as an adult I wake up in a new place, everything different even the bed I sleep on. My space (place I live) isn't surrounded with books, mementos of my travels, pictures of my friends, or even furnishings that make me feel safe and secure when surrounded by them. I take only my memories in my suitcase moving from place to place. Discarding all but only a handful of my earthly possessions every time.

Familiarity is a luxury that I have never afforded myself, either through life circumstance or life choices. Forcing myself to endure life change and having to fight to make connections and understand my place in my new world allows me to reinvent myself often, but I have also lost myself along the way. Now is the time for me to create my home and surround myself with people whom I can be myself with and hope to pass on a bit of the love that they have shown me.

2015 is about creating my tribe and not being/feeling alone anymore. The definition of ALONE as defined by Dictionary.com is "separate, apart, isolated from others." Living in Los Angeles for the past 2 years I have felt this pretty often. Even people who are supposed to be your friends don't make time to connect with me and after a little bit I get the message and disconnect entirely from them. This process of connecting and disconnecting seems to happen often in my life, similar to flow of traffic on a busy after noon. The green light connects me with the cars who have gotten further down the road in front of me, the red light separates us again.

Being ALONE is near to impossible these days. Although I spend most of my time alone, I am learning to connect with friends throughout the day. I don't mean Tweets, or posts on Facebook which I feel just get lost and the energy they are sent with gets spread thin. But instead a primary connection (phone, text, meeting). Everyone gets to busy (including myself) and they forget that the simple act of touching and a smile can make a difference in the world.

Because how I approach things and how I view the world, most people can't understand the things I see, which I guess in a way is why I started this blog. To help the world understand how I see their world and makes me feel a little less alone.

I attribute this post to the song ALONE by Armin van Buuren, filmed in Los Angeles, shows multiple scenes of people who are disconnected from others around them. What they can't see is that they are similar to people in close proximity.

Even when I feel alone, I know support is just a text or phone call away. Remember that even in this big world we are never alone reach out to people in your tribe and say hello.









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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

What is Family?

Over the past couple of Thanksgivings I have spent it with what would appear from the outside as part of my "Family". But not until Thanksgiving of 2014 did I realize how as much as past holidays gave the appearance of being with Family, on the inside something was always missing. I invested my time this year with people who were kind and loving and even as a "Gaijin" (as it's called in Japanese) I felt accepted for who I am. 

Family accepts you for how you are and even promotes and supports who you are when you don't. A good friend recently has been presented with what some would say is an unsurmountable challenge, but with the help of his family he is learning that it is surmountable and will still be loved and accepted for who he is regardless.

The Oxford Dictionary defines FAMILY as "a group of parents and children living in a household." Personally I think this definition is at least one generation outdated (about 20-25 years) since if I look around my community very few are fit this definition. Another Oxford definition of FAMILY is "a person or people related to one and so betreated with a special loyalty or intimacy" which is closer to a more current view of FAMILY. Not so berate Oxford but I propose this definition of family both from my beliefs and what I would like from my own FAMILY is "a person or people related by beliefs or customs and so betreated with a special loyalty or intimacy and acceptance." I challenge you to create or critique my definition as well. In my heart of hearts I believe FAMILY is who you make them. In my own life, I have had strangers treat me with more kindness and love than people who elected for the responsibility of being my FAMILY but treated me without kindness, love, and could provide no nurturing environment for me to thrive (although I did despite this).

Who do you spend your holidays with? Does your FAMILY look and feel like the outdated definition? Or have you elected to create your own FAMILY or tribe to be more inclusive and supportive and stretch across the blood lines?

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Trust and Commitment

I started this blog because I felt I had something to say and share. My life has changed quite a bit since then and maybe my perspective as well. Because of this my frequency of posts has changed but somethings in my life are still the same. Like I said in a previous blog post, along the way I would like to create my own tribe which I believe I am slowing doing. 

I write this blog for myself. I never thought I would have any readers of this blog, however a reader asked me to write about the topic of trust and commitment. And since my recent theme has be about yourself or myself I am going to continue along the same theme.

When most people think about trust and commitment, they think about it in terms of trust and commitment to others. With everything that has gone with my life this year, I know that I have spent too much time looking externally for answers. I have a plethora of life experience, I would dare say more than most people ever will. So my journey of introspectiveness will continue and suggest you take a quiet moment to reflect if you trust and are committed to yourself.

The Oxford Dictionary defines TRUST as "Firm belief in the reliability, truth, and ability of someone or something." I don't believe I have ever had a firm trust in myself. I am self confident yes, but trust in my reliability, truth, and ability is something entirely different. 

I ask you these simple questions:
  1. Do you trust yourself? 
  2. Do you keep your promises to yourself? 
  3. Do you trust that you have your best interests in mind? 
  4. Are you committed to your goals? 
  5. Do you even know what your goals are to be committed to?
  6. Do you speak your own truth to yourself? 
  7. Can you believe in your own reliability to yourself? 
  8. Can you believe in your own ability?
My mantra this year, is if I can't love and be comfortable with myself who else will be? I don't mean the you that you show people because you want them to like you. I mean the you that sneaks up on you in your sleep, or comes out when you are frustrated or desperate. Can you embrace your true nature and speak your own truth? Can you love the little kid inside and speak like an adult to him telling him its ok that he is safe and loved no matter what happens?

I honestly can say most of my life I would have answered a resounding NO to everyone of these questions. You may have said no quietly to yourself when you read the same questions. So what answer do you want the answer to be? Can you commit to know trust and love yourself?

The Oxford Dictionary defines COMMITMENT as "The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity." As many of my older posts elude to, I am not sure what the point of my existence is. Most of the time I don't love myself and judge myself for just taking up space in time and using up resources. Its funny but someone who was close to me doesn't even consider these questions and just exists and consumes. I am not saying either position is right or wrong, but I feel more comfortable thinking there is a reason for me to be here, that I have helped people, even if just through this blog.

I ask you these simple questions:
  1. Are YOU dedicated to your cause or activity? 
  2. Do you even know what causes or activities you are dedicated to? 
  3. How can you be committed to work or a significant other if you don't even know what you are committed to for yourself? 

Trust and commitment are important, especially to yourself. I would go further to say that you should only be concerned with trust and commitment to yourself. Without belief in your own reliability, truth, and ability or simply SELF TRUST how can you trust anyone else? Additionally, if you are not dedicated to your own cause or activity or  SELF COMMITMENT how can you be committed to anyone else? 

I leave you this song by Adele that made me think about trusting and commitment to me.

This is dedicated to everyone who thinks about others first instead of looking internally for the warmth and love we all desire but rarely pay ourselves with first.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Self Love starts with Friendship with yourself

Recently I've been doing alot of self reflection on what love means to me. Both love to & from others, and Self Love.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Love as: An intense feeling of deep affection (tender attachment). So it makes sense that Self Love is having a intense feeling of tender attachment for yourself. When I reread that statement it makes me think if I have ever had Self Love. I honestly can never say I have been very tender to myself, or had much of an attachment for myself more than a couple hours at a time. Which not that I think about it, thats pretty sad. I know myself better than anyone else, even the dear reader of this blog. :)

Can you say that you have Self Love? It reminds me of the quote I have heard many time recently.

“If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

-RuPaul


So maybe Self Love is too much to ask for right away. I mean unless you really know yourself well how could you possibly love someone you don't really know? When Nietzsche wrote:

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 

maybe he had a point. If we can't be friends with ourselves then how can we truly want spend the rest of our lives with us? So I pose this challenge to myself and to you as well. For the next 2 weeks, treat yourself like you would your bestie. Be kind, gentle and more loving. Take yourself out to do things that you enjoy, or stay in and read a book together. Really embrace spending time with just you. Maybe try starting a journal to keep your thoughts about how this is going so you can look back on it sometime and read what you wrote and what your frame of mind what.

Remember Self Love starts with a friendship with yourself. 

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