Monday, March 31, 2014

Boom Boom Boom...

My Puritan-esque introduction to the birds and bees; my mom uncomfortably walking into my room, handing me an outdated book, then wordlessly leaving my room, made the topic of sex a very difficult road to travel throughout my life. Until now.

Sexuality used to be a little mouse in the corner, out of my grasp, however, I am at a point where I want to claim my sexuality, but my initial reaction is fear due to seeing it as a larger than life project. I think, just like anything else, the key is taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. And, even though I may be conservative with my words, this is a big step for me and I'm boldly going where I've never gone before.

“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.” 
― Erica Jong

Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Road Again...

In less than four days I leave for another adventure on the road. This time a 26- foot-long school bus will be my humble abode. I don't know many of the trip's details, other than I will be with my friend Peter (purple hat), and that we will be wading through rivers, taking dips in hot springs, and riding bikes on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

There is nothing like the feeling a blank slate of possibilities invokes. Nothing.

I'll leave you with a thought from Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton, "Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of your clothes -  with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating."  
My soon-to-be bed.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Trust is Difficult but Necessary...

Trust means relying on a person's integrity, strength, and ability. As for me, my trust is shaken due to a recent purchase via the internet. The details are as follows: The Ebay seller said she would ship the item as soon as my funds cleared. I was hoping to receive said item prior to leaving for California, but learned my method of payment would take a week or longer, not in time, so I used a credit card to expedite the process. I then called to stop the initial check, but when I learned it would cost $35 to do so, I decided to email the seller to notify her of the double payment and ask that she send the check back to me.

I have yet to hear from the seller, despite my subsequent emails, and find myself caught up in what if and maybe scenarios. Maybe I should have paid the $35? What if the seller spent the money on a cruise? Maybe I'm too trusting? Or, just maybe I should take my own advice from my "Feeling Goal Time" post and let go of the details, accept the situation, and allow it to unfold how it will. Yeah, that's what I'll do...  



Friday, March 28, 2014

Stand For Something...


The conscious life is lived with an open mind and it asks for nothing less than all of you. It catches the imagination on fire, while illuminating a path of passion. And as for fear? Fear only serves to inhibit the road to awareness and what is truly possible.

"Come to the edge...We might fall. Come to the edge...It's too high. COME TO THE EDGE...And they came...and he pushed...and they flew!" - Christopher Logue

The conscious life will never give you more than you can handle, but the positive aspects it brings will be more than you ever thought possible. If, in each and every moment, we work to connect to our highest good while focusing and responding to positive aspects in the world around us, we will then create a truly worthwhile existence. ~The Psyhologist's Philosophy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Write Now...

Since my first journal, fit with lock and key when I was 5 years old, writing has been a part of my life. I currently have a stack of journals 15 deep on the hallway bookshelf and contained in those pages are moments of extreme pain and unrestrained joy. The words from my past remind me that the passage of time creates distance, and in that, lies healing.  
The article "Five Ways Writing Can Save Your Life," explains how the components of self-discovery, reflection, meditation, imagination and action are at the core of the writing experience. I can say from experience, as I near the end of my third month writing daily, the act of taking thoughts and emotions and translating them into words is a truly satisfying experience. I've learned there is no wrong answer, that the only expectations that exist are ones I set for myself, and it's better to try and fail than to do nothing at all. 

I'm glad I enjoy writing because as intimidating as 279 more days of blogging seems, I know taking it a day at a time will make the process go smoothly. 

Well, that's all for this evening. Good night, and if you too decide you may want to start a journal remember: "Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." -Robert Heinlein

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unmask Thyself...

I've been told twice now about Phoenix Jones, the real life martial artist and superhero of Seattle who is part of a citizen patrol group that prevents crime. My childlike wonder came out at the prospect of bad guys being punished and banished from the streets. A little introspection about the man behind the mask makes me see a man with a big ego who seeks to avenge the bullies from his past by perpetuating the same cycle he believes he is ending.

There is a saying that goes, "don't fight fire with fire." So, if you don't like something, don't add more of what you don't like to it. It seems very backwards to right wrongs with more wrongs. When I heard Phoenix Jones was a martial artist, that about did me in. It appears he may need a refresher course in the philosophy of what makes a true martial artist: 

~One of the most priceless gifts of martial arts practice is to get to know yourself internally and externally.
~Our main goal is to use the body to reach and learn to master the mind. Once you have mastered your mind you will have no desire to ever fight.
~In real martial arts, even when faced with the situation, you can stay calm and centered.
~Through practice we become aware of what we think and why. What shapes our values and beliefs, then we can step back and look at it with more of a pure mind.
~Consistent effort over time is needed to achieve greatness in anything. 

Lastly, a conscious life is lived not behind a mask, but with eyes and a heart wide open ready to give one's strengths where they can best be served. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feeling Goal Time...

Details. Details. Details. You see, lately all I've been thinking about are details, and I could not be more bogged down. Sure, I understand the need for an engineer to get the specks correct on a 747 airplane, or for James Bond to dismantle bombs just right, but that level of scrupulousness in every day life is just plain crazy talk. A few detailed-crazed-characters come to mind; the overbearing parent, the controlling friend, and the addicted lover, each of which make reoccurring appearances in our lives. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff  is a book I don't even need to read because the title taught me everything I need to know.

How I Roll...
The trick is to let go of the details and to set a feeling goal. For example, my goal in writing this blog is to feel relaxed and at ease. Even while writing this very sentence I noticed myself becoming self-conscious and then slightly anxious about what I was writing. Then I remembered my feeling goal so I relaxed and let go of the self imposed pressure. I don't know if it will work for you, but try it and let me know what you think. Til next time, flow on.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Who I Am...

One of the hardest things I've yet to admit is I am loved. For some reason that sentence scared the shit out of me writing it. I struggle with what part of me is lovable, especially when I know how easy it is to find the parts of me that are perhaps not so lovable. 

At times, people become a mirror in which I look to to find myself in, and if I know someone is struggling, I tend to think perhaps I should be too. This may sound silly and possibly insecure, but that's the way it goes when you look to others for your self worth. 

At this point in my journey I'm more concerned with pleasing myself, and I have enough experience to know when I focus on what I want everything else will line up. 

Lastly, I want to thank those of you who told/tell me you read my blog daily. There were days I wanted to give up, and if it weren't for the fact that you were out there reading this, I don't know if I'd be as sane as I am.

 So.... thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No Fear...

Writing this blog every-single-day is a struggle. Sometimes I don't know what to write about and sometimes, even when I do, I second guess what I write. I also get confused to whom I'm writing; myself or other people and believe that is what keeps me from being more vulnerable. I took a big step towards letting my inner self out when I put myself center stage in front of my writer's group (pictured below).


You see the guy sitting highest in his chair? That's Henry. He's reading a passage from his love squared (not love triangle) novella. He spoke right before Alisse sang a song (she's not visible in this photo), we all clapped in rhythm to. Megan, the woman to the left of Henry, shared her fear that no one would read what she put up on the message board, and of course we promised we would. When it was my turn to share, the group facilitator Robert (to the right of Henry) and India (far left) pushed me to share more from my perspective and thought I should try to relate to the reader more.

Although, I appreciate their feedback and heard what they had to say, I still am unsure how to apply their advice. I assume as long as I continue the path I'm on I will find out.

As for the group, their "been there done that" attitude let's me know that I'm not alone on this journey and for that I am grateful. That's all for now.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eye of the Tiger...

Our perspective or, more precisely, our point of view is the sum of all our life experiences until now. Since no two people have the same life experience, perception of reality differs from person to person. This is what is meant by "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" in that the senses of the mind, cognition and understanding determine one's vantage point.

Depending on the person's perspective - fearful or secure, hostile or peaceful, hopeful or pessimistic - it will dominate the way they perceive reality. However contrasting another's perspective may be to your own, it is not your job to change them, nor is it your job to convince them to think or feel like you. Rather it is your responsibility to accept others as they are, to deepen your compassion for them and then return to your inner peace, knowing that all is truly well.   
"The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something you must know it.
The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror
showing you the person you are. 
To change the world, you must change yourself."
-Unknown

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lost Centipede...

I remember when I was young I would dream about being a private investigator; stealthily catching bad guys in dark alleys. Then, when I was a teenager, I wanted to be an accountant until my dad told me I'd pull my hair out by the time I was 30. I like my hair so I decided that wasn't the profession for me. The question of what I want to be when I grow up, despite having a successful career and a master's degree, is something I still don't know the answer to.

I admire Vincent Van Gogh's passion and commitment to painting. Despite dying poor and having only sold one painting in his lifetime he said, "I can't change the fact that my paintings won't sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture."   

In past times I've tended to look to others for approval with choices I made, not knowing if I was on the "right" path. But, much like Van Gogh, I realize it's not about right or wrong, lucrative or not, socially acceptable or shunned, it's about passion, love and a life lived, not deferred for acceptance. When it's all said and done, wouldn't you rather be regret-free and happy?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Into the Cave..

Sometimes it feels as though the weight of the world is too much and getting out of bed to meet the day seems like a chore. When I hear a story of a young girl dying in a car crash or observe a once loving and supportive relationship turn bitter or listen to people's pessimistic beliefs about the state of the world, it sometimes almost cripples me. Even though I know there is a great amount of good in the world, the dark side of humanity is oppressive at times. That being said, in order to get past the pain, we need to connect with ourselves in the way only a good friend can do.

When we make ourselves a priority we set aside time for self reflection. We quiet the mind and turn our internal radio station to silence. From this space we soften ourselves to receive healing in the only place where healing ever exists, in the now.

Not a progressive and fatal neurological disease, not losing a home to a fire, nor any
other challenges put in the path of these two along the way could divide them. They
are the epitome of strength and resilience. They are the true American love story.  
 
We then are able to let go of the need to control the world, its lightness and darkness and accept it, in all its glory, just as it is. In the words of Joseph Campbell, "We are not on a journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner Is Served...

What keeps you from loving another person? Did they do something to hurt you? Do they not look how you want them to look? Do they act in some way that is inappropriate to you? Whatever the excuse or justification may be, remember that you, and you alone, are the only one who has the power to withhold love from others, as well as from yourself.

There comes a point after adolescence and the teenage years when each of us is confronted with adulthood. In order to make the transition to a more mature existence, one must make peace with their past, along with full acceptance of themselves as the ultimate authority.

Picture for a moment if you will writing down on a recipe card the ingredients which go into making you, you. Nothing is left out - personality traits, accomplishments, losses, traumatic experiences - it all gets written down. Separately, the ingredients may not seem that tasty, but when you combine them all together, a delicious meal is made.

"To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections." - Sandra Bierig
People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/helenfishe559834.html#k5bp1t0UftSUMCCo.99
People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/helenfishe559834.html#k5bp1t0UftSUMCCo.99
People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/helenfishe559834.html#k5bp1t0UftSUMCCo.99
People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/helenfishe559834.html#k5bp1t0UftSUMCCo.99

Now, get to work making a scrumptious dish...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Detach From Attachment...

Each day I learn something new. Some days the lessons are easy, whereas other days the lessons pull the rug out from underneath me, leaving me lost and confused. When I look back at my most difficult moments, it’s always been attachment that has caused me the greatest amount of pain.

In Buddhism, non-attachment is taught to decrease suffering. This process is a never-ending journey and one that requires continual questioning. A good question to ask yourself is “What in this moment am I attached to that is causing me pain?” Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one, your health, or a belief system but whatever the cause may be, attachment only makes the experience worse.   


Our egos are a powerful force that takes over the mind and won't let go. Eckhart Tolle says, ”The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” 

Ommmmmm...

Monday, March 17, 2014

One Step at a Time...

I love Jim Henson's movie The Labyrinth. The scene that stands out more to me than anything else is when the main characters - a young girl, a large monster, and a little man riding a dog - need to cross "the bog of eternal stench." After a discussion about fear and uncertainty, the large monster lifts his head to the sky and bellows a long, low tone. All of a sudden large boulders roll to form a path where there once wasn't one, leading a trail over the smelly bog. As they walk, each step is matched with another stone positioning itself into place, at just the right moment.

Uncertainty is intimidating at times, however, trusting in the unlimited possibilities that lie before you, will help make the journey an effortless one. 

From the book Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman's Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific, the author, Roz Savage's explains, "It felt as if everything that had happened so far in my life had been leading me to this point, preparing me for this task, and that I was uniquely equipped to pursue this quest. It was a perfect collision of personality, past experience, purpose, and timing."

Our questions may not always be answered how and when we want them to, but that's no reason to concede. Trust the answers are on their way and then, the next step will most likely appear.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dedicated In Love...

Leonard Knight. His name may not be one you've heard before, but once you've heard his words, you will never forget him. "I don't go to church, I just love and want to join the world in love."

This man's lifelong work building Salvation Mountain, deemed by The Folk Art Society as one of the six folk-art sites in the world worthy of "preservation and protection" was entered into the Congressional Record, in 2002. His work, made popular in the movie "Into the Wild" directed by Sean Penn, made him somewhat of a local hero in this "godforsaken" and desolate desert area due to his 30 years of craftsmanship and (over 100,000 gallons of paint).

It's been over a year ago since my time living in Slab City, and experiencing Salvation Mountain on my way into town or to bathe at the local hot spring. A friend who currently lives on a school bus converted home in the area, spoke to me just this morning about the "grandest celebration of music and dancing" he'd ever seen. He shared that in the middle of the celebration a group of locals took Leonard Knight's ashes, who died a month prior, and spread them on the very mountain he dedicated his life to.

For one man to dedicate over 30 years of his life, day in and day out to something bigger than himself, with the sole desire to spread love, is one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. May his story provide you a torch to light the paths of others to love as he loved. Maybe it's building a mountain or maybe it's simply loving a friend, family member, or partner a little more each day, but wherever you are pulled, take Leonard's example and do it with all your heart.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Apologies ...


If you only get one spin you get in this life, quit apologizing. Apologies, whether forced or otherwise, stem from emotional guilt and are used like get out of jail free cards, cashed in only to serve an unconscious selfish need.

Unfortunately life doesn't hand out do-overs, which means each of us is left with a portion of internal regret over past mistakes made. However difficult regret is to bear, if you are in fact truly sorry, then you will move forward with the knowledge from the experience and the wisdom of how to act in the future.
For the next time, think about possible outcomes of your decisions and how they will impact those around you. You aren't expected to be perfect, nor should you expect others to be perfect either. If together everyone works at being a little more thoughtful, a little more honest, and a little more loving in each and every moment, we will have a renewed trust in those around us, so there will be no need for sorry.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quicksand of Life

How do you draw the line between what is and isn't your business with regards to other people? Do you use a magnifying glass to peer into the lives of those around you or do you prefer to sit back on a mountain top and watch from above? It appears the extent to which we get involved in other people’s lives (of which we have little control over) provides a glimpse into our own psyche and discomfort with uncertainty.



What do you know about quicksand? Thanks to Hollywood, most of us think it's a very quick and dramatic process. However, the part that's misrepresented is a less than exciting reality; remain very still, make small, slow movements, arms spread, and the individual floats to the surface rather than a precipitous sinking. (If you’re at all interested, this is due to our body’s density being greater than that of sand.)


To decrease the quicksand-like drama in our own lives, there needs to be a more evolved approach in the way we view human behavior. Although common sense, reason, justice, logic, and fairness are wonderful governing bodies to turn to when trying to understand the world we live in, they should not be the end all be all. Situations aren't always black or white, nor will a one size fits all response be the best way to handle them. Therefore, in order to understand and better deal with these situations with a new, more objective viewpoint, there needs to be a letting go of the old rules. Or, more precisely, when confronted with a sticky situation, stop flailing and just float...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Play Ball...

On a fly ball in baseball, the general rule of thumb is for the outfielder to make their first move a backwards step. This action leaves the fielder more prepared to handle deeply hit balls. This also happens to be a good idea when dealing with people, too.

Remember this important fact: no two people are the same. This truth means conflicts will always exist in every facet of life, no exceptions. To take the first step back and handle conflicts effectively, we must hold or pause momentarily to gain composure. The act of holding allows enough time for the premature, impulsive decision making to pass so that it can be replaced with a more rational, levelheaded approach.

"Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves." ― Ronald A. Heifetz 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shiver Me Timbers...

Abandon ship
There is the moment in the movie Titanic, after the ship hits an iceberg, the captain calls for a reversal in the engines. If you've seen the movie, you know that the engines don’t automatically change the boat's direction; there is a slowing of the forward movement until it pauses at neutral, and only then do they begin to turn in the opposite direction.
Change direction

Similarly, the beliefs you hold have a certain momentum attached to them. When, for instance, you think the thought I am a worthless person enough times, the thought gets strengthened to the point it becomes a belief, and then you're headed directly for a large iceberg. Listen closely to the definition of "belief": a psychological state in which an individual holds a premise to be true. This definition says nothing about the belief being true, rather that the belief seems true because the individual thinks it so.

Just like changing the physical body from a beer gut to a six-pack is not possible overnight, so too does a un-mentally fit individual need to hit the affirmations deck or do appreciation exercises to get started. Caring that you feel good in single moment may sound crazy, but if you don't shoot for the moon and miss, how will you ever land among the stars?  

Now, get to work!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wonderland Twins...

There is an interesting new addition to my summer plans. I, along with my Dad and Chris, are headed on a 10- day hike around Mount Rainier on the Wonderland Trail.
After the excitement subsided, I panicked, when I remembered I had a blog to write. It appears I will have some double writing days to do to keep my resolution and will need to call upon a trusted friend to post them in my absence.

In other news, tonight we celebrated my nephew's Connor and Wesson's birthday. They are fraternal, not identical twins, but as you will see in the video below, it is impossible to tell them apart. Although Connor doesn't like the "Curly Connor" nickname given to him by his peers, it does serve a necessary purpose.

Lastly, as my brother and I can attest, my Dad never liked his picture taken when we were growing up. I don't know why but he didn't. I can say with some certainty, he is much more comfortable, especially if his grandchildren are near. He has gone from camera shy to camera fly in a manner of a decade and I dig it. Enjoy the video!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Just Do It..

Shortly, I am heading to my first-ever writing group. I can tell by the couple extra minutes spent on my hair and the current spin of the dryer, meaning my usually-worn-wrinkly shirt is getting unwrinkled, I care what the group thinks of me. My fear of judgment has had a strong hold over me in the past and kept me from following my heart, but not today.

Even though I have a great number of successful firsts under my belt, it seems whenever I push outside my comfort zone my sense of security is shaken. In this case, presenting an intimate aspect of myself - my writing - to a group of my peers touches a place inside that makes me want to run away and hide. Listening to my internal dialog - this isn't important to me and I don't care what they think - is untrue because I know I do care. In any case, it's time to face my fear. Wish me luck... 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Tree....

When you look at a tree, what do you see? A tree, right? A tree doesn't pretend to be a flower or a shrub, just because it doesn't want to be a tree anymore. The same is true for each of us. For better of worse we are who we are with each experience adding a square to the completely unique quilt of our life.

"For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain." - Henry Longfellow

Don't resist the moments to come. Let them flow. If you're sad, be sad. If you're lost, be lost. There is solace in this. Breathe in and start again, releasing the past. A new moment, a new day awaits. How will you answer its call?

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Spoon and a Boat...

Today's relationship lesson comes from a  spoon, a sugar jar, and a boat. Let's get to it...

In the mornings Chris and I enjoy drinking coffee with sugar. There were a couple days in a row when the usually present spoon magically disappeared from the sugar jar. I know myself and know that in my hurried morning routine I most likely forgot to put the spoon back in the jar. Chris commented a couple of times about the spoon's absence (which seemed ridiculous to me) and on the morning of the last day I will ever forget to put the spoon back, I understood our disagreement had little to do with a spoon.

I'll get back to the spoon in a moment, but first, I need to get explain the boat. Relationships are a lot like boats; if there's a hole in it, working together is the quickest, most efficient way to fixing it. More often than not, when a hole presents itself, our trigger response is to panic, blame, and avoid; each of which leads to the boat's inevitable demise. In order to remain afloat, it's important to remain calm, genuinely listen to each other's ideas, present solutions, apply a fix, and keep each other accountable.

Back to the ending of the spoon story. The morning after we blamed each other over the importance of the spoon, I found a note in the sugar jar. It said "I don't care about the spoon. All that matters is that I love you." My response, which he found shortly after was, "I love you too, and for that reason, this sugar jar will always have a spoon in it." 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Signature Recipe...

Writing an article each day before midnight has me feeling like Cinderella, excitedly watching the clock all day, the whole while waiting for inspiration to hit. At other times I take to my keyboard like the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland,
drunk on confusion and rambling nonsensicalness, praying to fill a page. And yet even other times, I sense the distinguised psychoanalysts and philosophers of the past looming over my shoulder, whispering their criticisms in my ear.

That being said, the presence of the above three is what makes this an especially delicious dish; with its pinch of pressure, dash of silly, and dollop of prudence. And, most importantly, no meal is complete without its topping of truth and seasoning of love. Now that you have the secrets to my signature dish it's your turn to make yours. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's Not Personal...


I've dealt Texas hold 'em poker for 10 years. The procedure of taking a deck and spreading it, scrambling it, shuffling it, rifting it, shuffling it again, then cutting it is done without a second thought. There is, however, one aspect to the game which requires my attention more than anything else and that is the players. When tension mounts and frustrations flair, there's no telling what unwanted things might be thrown my way, from cards to obscenities to insults. At any given moment my job duties vary from traffic controller, baby sitter, to ringside boxing official.

My job has taught me about the game of poker and even more about myself. I've developed tolerance and patience in unmanageable moments, and learned how to deescalate situations using humor and distractions. Yet, the most valuable lesson I've learned is to not take things personally.

My Momma told me, "Don't judge until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes," and she's right.


There's no telling what the person next to you has gone through or is going through, and if I've learned anything from these past 10 years is that it's more important to give that person a break, in their less than wonderful moment, than anything else. It may not be the easiest thing to do or what everyone else around you thinks you should do, but believe me, it is the right thing to do. And remember, it's just not personal.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Peek Within...

 It's interesting writing in a blog daily. Whether I'm irritated or tired, I write. And, for better or worse, when I push the publish button, there's no going back. What used to be a terrifying act - making my words visible for the public eye - is now slightly less so. I mean, I still question myself and wonder whether people will like what I write but there is a quiet confidence growing in me as well. I've learned that I know what I know and don't know what I don't know. In other words, I've come to understand just how empowering letting go of ego and defense mechanisms are. Allowing who I am to roam freely, without the fear of rejection or imagined peer criticism, feels like walking around with a winning lottery ticket in my pocket.

I know my heart is in the right place - wanting to connect with and help others - and although I struggle at times to find my ultimate reason for doing what I do, I know it's there, gently tugging my sleeve and beckoning me to push the button.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Here's a Thought...

There are sources that claim we think 50 thoughts in a minute. I don't know about you but that number seems high, so for the sake of this argument and assuming we've been doing our zen meditation work, let's drop that figure to a more conservative ten thoughts a minute. Even at ten thoughts a minute that still puts us at a whopping 600 thoughts in a hour. Six hundred thoughts an hour! How many of those thoughts are positive or negative? Logical or illogical? True or false? And, perhaps most importantly, how will we ever know?
In the past I've attempted to be happier by controlling my thoughts only to discover it's as difficult as rowing a boat upstream. In a raging river. Without a paddle. Simply exhausting. That being said, I've found by simply accepting a thought as is, it tends to create a more natural, in-the-flow perspective that ultimately brings peace of mind. In the event a persistent thought causes discomfort say, "I am thinking the thought" followed the the subject or theme of the thought. In doing so, you will find the thought becomes less personal, and the power the thought has over the moment diminishes. Give it a try and let me know what you think (pun intended).

  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love, Me

Dear Jaclynn,

You are awesome. It may be hard to hear this but I am very proud of you. You stand up for what's right, even when it's difficult. I know sometimes you feel sad and alone but also know you deserve love and respect. I will be here for you, even when you think no one else is. Find hope in the hopeless moments and you will know peace.

Love, Me

I was going through my journal and I found this letter I wrote to myself. I wanted to share it because I think it's beautiful.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

You Know Better...

In North Carolina earlier this week, there were threats directed at a 15-year-old girl after she asked her school principal to start an atheist club. In Arizona's state House of Representatives, a bill was passed 33-27, allowing businessmen to discriminate individuals based on sexual orientation and religious beliefs. In the comment section of my Oh God Where Art Thou  article, a gentleman posted religious scriptures, unnecessarily so, then was questioned by an individual for his subjective viewpoint.

Religion, politics, and culture are modalities that can either unite us or keep us separate. The above examples do the latter, focusing on exclusivity while strengthening a perspective of bias. The melting pot of humanity includes Christians marrying Muslims, Cambodians marrying Chinese, Republicans marrying Democrats, woman marrying woman, making the line of who is who and what is what less and less identifiable.

That being said, let's heal the wounds of injustice by acknowledging our uniqueness, celebrating our similarities and treating others how we would like to be treated.
"Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open." -J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)