Sorry–I just can’t get over it! Sunset tonight. 55 degrees and sunny at the end of November…Some dreams do come true…
I’ve been busy adding new pages to this website, hence no great effort has gone into posting lately. Check out the new links in the right column to some of my artwork, essays, and a new tribute to 30 Seconds to Mars. You may have to refresh the pages to see progress on sites under construction. Enjoy!
Random thought of the day:
A Japanese dentist confirmed my suspicions that brushing after breakfast and lunch is for etiquette, while brushing before bed is imperative for health. Of course, I may not be the best person to take advice from on this topic as I usually only brush once a day before bed (unless I know I will be talking to someone in very close proximity during the day!). I also didn’t see a dentist until I was 20 years old, and got my first cavity at the age of 25. I suppose that was the tradeoff from receiving my father’s genes: poor eyesight for good teeth.
Interesting thought on alcoholism: I once heard a woman psychologist theorize that alcoholics are generally very sensitive people at heart, who, for one reason or another, drink in order to numb their sensitivity to the world. They may have, at some point, been chastised for their sensitivity, and therefore drink to get rid of it.
One good thing about moving is the opportunity to go through your valued possessions and reminisce. I rediscovered some of my old journals from high school & college. One entry in particular caught my attention, mostly because I don’t remember writing it. I will share the following notes, scribbled passionately on 2 folded pieces of paper and stuffed into a journal. The theme was decidedly Love & Hate (the pictures are from my recent trip to Montana). Only looking back could I see that it wasn’t really about love/hate (it also gives you an idea of the neurotic way I will analyze something that is bothering me)!
Inseparably intertwined with love
Objects of love become objects of hate
Nail biting, stomach churning, teeth gnashing fury from within
Hate is only as strong as its polar opposite, love, once was
Hate & Love are both supressed for reasons of uncertainty
Both are powerful and intimidating, especially to the bearer.
Hate can drive a man to accomplish when used as fuel
Hate is the difference between what one expects and what one gets.
How, then, does one control hate?
Should one control hate?
“Choose your battles” must apply
Does the admirable man ignore small hates? Large ones?
Is hate an option?
When someone does something unexpected in a manner which defies your system of what ought to be done by others, are you justified in hating the act?
What other choices are available?
What is important is how the hate is expressed/supressed/dealt with
Ignoring acts which are hated leads to inner turmoil and self-questioning. A man in disharmony with himself can not participate in rational decision-making. Supressing hated acts is a form of self-doubt, and does not lead to resolution of the past mind with the present mind.
Lashing out against the object of hate is the most violent way to deal–it is always intrusive upon the hatee, and is usually fruitless.
Why do I bottle my hates? Why can’t I lay them on the table; a contribution to humanity: Here is my set of values–what do you think about them?
A need for control? Is it insecurity about what I value? Is it a short-term escape from confrontation? Because I bottle-I expect others to bottle-when I have something to say, I expect that you have something you are also not sharing with me. A deep, engrained need/want for security/peace/harmony causes me to compromise my values (which themselves change so fast in my college years, it makes my head spin in confusion).
By analyzing love, can we learn about hate?
“The need to love & be loved”
Does forgiveness play a role in the control of hate?
Forgiveness: Reconciling the difference between what you expected and what you got. Is forgiveness kin to suicide? The miniature murdering of the way one feels?
Hate is the strongest feeling one may entertain when one does not get what one expects.
Hating others is a form of self-hate:
The only thing we really have is our consciousness: “Your level of expectation determines the limits of your reality.”
Expectations are based on one’s entire life experience; they involve every aspect of one’s life. When those expectations for others are not met, the first attack is on the hater – “Was/Is my level of consciousness inadequate? Why did I expect that if it was not to be?”
If hate is determined by a level of expectation, what can we rationally expect from others?
Is complete forgiveness possible?
Trust is built on fulfilled expectations.
Yoga lesson learned today:
When you are uncomfortable, or in any physical or mental/emotional pain, the mind races to distract you in any way possible. But this is the easy way out. Avoidance of pain is avoidance of life, since pain and joy are on two ends of the same spectrum. Like Kahlil Gibran says, the more sorrow carves out of your being, the more joy you can hold. Pain is a reference for how happy you are right now.
If pain is endured healthfully, you will find that you build more endurance for it. In yoga, by acknowledging the pain, and keeping the mind focused on the breath and settling into the pain, we push our tolerance a little farther, and the result is greater flexibility and strength (physically and mentally). Easier said than done, but well worth the effort.
Ladies, listen up! Toward the end of a 2-1/2 hour phone conversation with my dear, older, half-brother the other night, I think he may have let slip 2 golden rules to keeping your man happy in a relationship:
1) Nothing is more sexy to a man than a woman that is totally into him
2) Be nice to him
They sound simple, but anyone who has tried to maintain a long-term relationship knows these are many times the first to go out the window when problems arise.
Men have delicate egos. I have a theory that the reason men are, on the whole, so self-conscious, is that they are constantly comparing themselves to other men. Not only are they always mentally sizing themselves up next to other men, men never hesitate to unabashedly point out other men’s faults when they get together in groups. “He so bald, he’s so fat, he’s a minuteman, he’s so short, he’s gay, etc., etc., etc.” To make it even worse, they will point out a man’s faults when eligible women are around, resulting in a complete humiliation. At least women usually only bash on other women behind their backs. Not sure which is worse.
Anyway, my point is that men need women to feel good about themselves, so use your power! Understand that your man spends all day trying to prove he’s good enough. So the next time he comes at you in a bad mood, instead of reaching into your back pocket for that ace you’ve been saving for a few months, refrain from jumping into the death spiral of negativity and try instead to be nice, reminding him that he is the center of your universe. Besides, it’s best to bring up issues when both parties are relatively calm and open. Communication is best done in a spirit of love and compassion. I am going to try this myself, and if you have any experience in this, I’d love to hear about it ;)
My mother taught me the card game Solitare when I was a young girl. I had always wondered whether every game was winnable or not, or if I was just lacking some key strategies. I did some online research at the beginning of this year, and learned that not every game is winnable, but that by following basic strategies, at least 1-out-of-3 games could be won. So I spent a few months playing 3 games a night on my cell phone right before bed. What I began to learn about myself was remarkable, and taught me a lesson in manifesting your own destiny. I began to see the same effects in other areas of my life as well.
I carefully noted my mental process throughout each game, and found that my intentions greatly influenced how far I would get in each game. If I was optimistic and played as if I could win, I usually would win or get much farther in the game than if I had had a bad day that day, or generally felt negative or pessimistic. Also, if I had left a game unfinished from the following night (believed that the game was over and had given up), I would often be shocked to pick it up the next night and see one or more plays that I had missed the night before.
What this showed me is that when you have a belief in your future success, you are more open to seeing the opportunities, the doors to your success, that are right in front of you. However, another true experience of mine demonstrates how important open-mindedness is in situations:
I was watching a movie/documentary that claimed that the Native Americans could not see Columbus approaching in his ships because they had never seen ships before. Now, I consider myself an open-minded and scientific-minded individual. But the assertion that people would be physically unable to observe something outside of their world-view seemed absolutely absurd. However, the very next day, after ordering lunch in the deli at work, I stepped over to the condiments counter to grab a napkin. I knew that was where the napkins always sat, so when I scanned the counter once and didn’t see them, I scanned it again, this time slowly right to left, then scanned the other counters in the room twice, to make sure there were no napkins available before troubling the woman at the register.
I felt humbled and very surprised when she gracefully pointed at the very counter I had been standing a foot away from, and said “The napkins are over there.” I followed her hand gesture to the same counter, and I still didn’t see them. After shaking my head, then looking back at her and seeing how confident she was, I looked hard again. Sure enough, there were three or four piles of square pink, green, & yellow napkins in the middle of the counter. Because I was expecting narrow, rectangular, white napkins in a straight pile, I could not see the colored napkins.
I learned that our vision of the future, and thus our success, is easily shaped by our paradigms, which may be faulty. Paradigms and dismal visions of the future should be challenged regularly, or you will blindly pass by opportunities.
I started thinking about this again due to my recent upheaval & move to San Francisco. I think that because I chose to follow my initial epiphany with an open mind, the entire process has felt strangely “guided,” as if success was inevitable, and opportunities have clearly presented themselves at just the right times.
It started with my revelation on that Sunday night that it was time to leave Bakersfield. It was like my buddy Norm had said about finding a life partner: you know it’s the right one when you cannot picture future events in your life without them. I felt like I had received a vision of the future, and it was not at my home in Bakersfield, and so I had no choice but to leave.
Then, the next big decision–where to live in San Francisco. The foster dog I had been caring for mysteriously disappeared one day, which oddly didn’t concern me very much. I had a feeling that she had found a good home, while her running away conveniently eliminated the stress of having to find her a home quickly or move with both a dog and a cat. Then, after responding to only one other add for housemates (a no-go since the lady had failed to mention in the ad that she owned a canary), I came upon the ad for a room for rent on Treasure Island that allowed a cat. After leaving a message for the ad, I knew from the voice on the voicemail that I would be living at that apartment. A more tangible confirmation of my decision came to me after partially moving in two nights ago. I was taken aback to notice that there were two geographic maps posted in the hallway outside my bedroom–the exact same 2 maps of Europe and Africa from 2 separate issues of National Geographic magazine that I had chosen for my bedroom wall in Bakersfield.
My decisions and opportunities regarding work have also come very easily–For example, the massage space for rent in San Francisco also came to me so perfectly that it seemed orchestrated. Upon developing a phony massage business plan for my final massage school project, I came upon the ad for this shared room for rent at a terrific price, in downtown San Francisco. I decided to base my business plan around that price. I remember getting very excited seeing that add, and feeling a burning sensation throughout my inner body, like the space would be perfect for me, even though I hadn’t even graduated or committed to pursuing massage therapy full-time. I immediately inquired through email about the space and committed to a long-term lease. At first, the therapist curteously replied back, saying that she had decided to go with someone more experienced. I was somewhat disappointed, but not crushed, and replied with a grateful thank you for the information.
About a week later, I received an email back saying she had not found the right person for the space and would I like to stop by and have a look. The second I walked in the office I knew it was meant to be mine. It was perfectly decorated, with an ambiance much better than I had imagined, and the confirmation (to me!) was that a “W” magazine, one of the few I subscribe to in Bakersfield, was out in the waiting room. I received my keys to the room last week.
Several other items regarding work have fallen right into place, but I will save them for later. Part of me doesn’t want to jinx my future success by revealing them now, while the other part of me knows that success is inevitable. Either way, I will end this discussion now.
I’m learning that by following my intuition, and allowing myself to cling to a dream of a bright and successful future, that the opportunities and decisions become vividly clear, and I truly can make manifest the destiny of my choosing.
The Halloween moon looked cool next to these trees on the mountainside during my freezing, invigorating hike to Bozeman’s “M” yesterday evening. I needed to get some exercise and fresh air after my 2 pound burrito at my favorite Bozeman restaurant, La Parilla.
I finally finished reading Autobiography of a Yogi yesterday, and obtained many new insights and ideas (like the idea to dress up as Cosmic Consciousness for Halloween!). Taking it all with a grain of salt (my experience), I was interested in the concept of India’s banished caste system, and how it relates to my life personally:
“The origin of the caste system, formulated by the great legislator Manu, was admirable. He saw clearly that men are distinguished by natural evolution into four great classes: those capable of offering service to society through their bodily labor ( Sudras); those who serve through mentality, skill, agriculture, trade, commerce, business life in general (Vaisyas); those whose talents are administrative, executive, and protective—rulers and warriors ( Kshatriyas); those of contemplative nature, spiritually inspired and inspiring (Brahmins). “Neither birth nor sacraments nor study nor ancestry can decide whether a person is twice-born (i.e., a Brahmin);” the Mahabharata declares, “character and conduct only can decide.” Manu instructed society to show respect to its members insofar as they possessed wisdom, virtue, age, kinship or, lastly, wealth. Riches in Vedic India were always despised if they were hoarded or unavailable for charitable purposes. Ungenerous men of great wealth were assigned a low rank in society.
Serious evils arose when the caste system became hardened through the centuries into a hereditary halter. Social reformers like Gandhi and the members of very numerous societies in India today are making slow but sure progress in restoring the ancient values of caste, based solely on natural qualification and not on birth.”
My personal take on it is that I see myself contributing in all 4 sectors. I started in my youth as a laborer, and through education, I’ve taken on the second tier with my white-collar job as an engineer/project manager with an oil company. Eventually, I see myself gravitating toward the more contemplative nature, spiritually inspired and inspiring. I believe that when I am ready, I will be a leader, but not until I’ve gained enough wisdom and can consistently be honest and truthful with others and myself. For now, I’ll be content to labor or use my mental skills as I grow in the latter 2 areas.