Thursday, December 30, 2010

Farewell 2010


So it’s time to turn the page. To take one more close look at everything that’s about to become history and move on. The world keeps spinning no matter what. You may not always sense the movement but as you sum up everything that happened in 2010 you acknowledge this invisible commotion that brought you to this day but you are not the same. Some parts of you came off, got lost beyond retrieval, and it’s hard to tell if you feel relieved, or reminiscent, or both. You feel liberated by the newly acquired wisdom but unanswered questions remain too. So if you think that 2011 will bring much ease and rest to your mind, think again because there’s no such thing as absolute enlightenment after which you get to bring your mental work to a full stop. It never ends. So prepare yourself for another year of digging, getting surprised by what would come to the surface. We cannot absorb the whole world, we discover things selectively, our vision and thinking can process this much information at any given time.

Simple days, small events form into a beautiful piece with entwined patterns. The tempo of your life will vary – some days too fast, occasionally barely moving, but the progress will be made continuously. You may fool yourself with made up goals, draw complex maps that will lead you to your final destination, or at least the intermediary one if you are not sure what the final should be. There is no last point in life that you can reach – be that for education, creative agenda, love or self-development. It’s all evolving, always a comma, always to be continued… never “The End”.

So see you in a new year, may it be the one of mostly happy thoughts - I hope sad thoughts will be not as big of a source of my inspiration. To new discoveries in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Itchy


Sometimes I get tired of living with "it-could-be-worse" approach. I am dying to scream that it could be better. We must be grateful for what we have and I am so SO grateful. But I’ve started on the road that was too wide for me, now I am walking on this narrow path that keeps getting smaller. It’s suffocating to know that there are bigger roads out there I don’t dare to take. It’s like finally getting to your dream world of exquisite color and shape just to see all the beauty moving away from you, folding down like cardboard, leaving plainness and emptiness.

I’ve seen my mom withdrawing from the outer world for years, the tiny apartment being the sufficient fraction of the world, giving her enough refuge from disappointment. She likes reading history books because there she finds something she failed to discover in our present time. She embraced religion, which does nothing but prepares her to leave this world, redeem all the sins and leave. I’m sure there is a place for her in this world that she could love, where she could be different, it’s just that she gave up too soon.

I don’t want to go like this with submission and humility inflated enough to cover disappointment. I want to put up a fight, to show my teeth, to turn myself inside out, to see what’s hiding under the sea of layers.

You can’t suppress your wants, ignore that constant itching that’s meant to keep you moving forward because the world is so much bigger than playing it safe. If true happiness is strictly internal, why bother with the world then, why leave the house day after day in this self-proclaimed quest for adventure to bring your life to the desired fullness? Should we seek to take a bigger space in the vast world of possibilities or surrender to the safe smallness allocated to us by the restraint of our choices? Where can I find courage and inspiration to live bigger? Maybe it’s time to whisper to the universe the words I’ve been denying myself the right to even think of, “I am grateful, but give me more”.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow in New York


As a result of a monster blizzard NYC came to a standstill. The beauty of nature with her extreme powers and surreal manifestation. All I hear is complaining: limited transportation, stranded cars, streets remain unplowed for two days, residents imprisoned by snow, unable to go to work.

I enjoyed by imprisonment, I indulged in this unplanned doing-nothingness, not feeling burdened by this forced standstill. I walked on the snow with the neighbors’ kids, we played snowball fight and made snow angels. I was the only adult out there without a shovel, plainly enjoying the snow. In places where it remained untouched it lay in these splendid smooth waves carved by the intricate power of wind. The blizzard seemed to turn everything into a chaos but as the winds settled there was this white perfection glistening in the bright light of the day sun.

Frustration. We don’t like when our routine gets disrupted. We are the planners and the executors, and we have no room for chance. We can always find someone to blame for any inconvenience: government, global warming, bad luck. We dismiss natural phenomena as interruptions, focusing all the attention on overcoming the unforeseen obstacles: "how do I get to work with all this snow?" is a task at hand. Only children are happy, they get to stamp and “swim” in all this whiteness, cover themselves with snow from head to toes and be blissfully glad it hasn’t started melting yet.

Standstill. Full stop. Pause. A chance to take a real look at your life when you are forced to stop running. What do you have? What are you? What’s left when job, projects, commute, shopping are all halted? Playing freeze tag with time, trying on idleness, running out of thoughts and feeling imprisoned by the chased-after freedom just because it showed its face for a change.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Year's Resolutions



What do I want to do differently next year? How much in my life do I want changed? Some days I want to change most of it, but largely I’m plainly content with how it is now. The most radical changes I dream of require a lot of courage or bold anger and I don’t seem to have it in sufficient quantity yet. So as always it comes to waiting, taking it one day at a time and waiting.

I know I should be praying for a lighter heart that would accept more, judge less. And I should be asking for my mind to be more open to break through the self-imposed limits. I also need to learn to ignore those little trifles, empty annoyances that can greatly poison your life once you start playing closer attention. It all goes away. Why worry, why feel anxious when you can just trust your destiny, believe that you were put in these not so pleasant circumstances not to get aggravated but to learn something valuable. Challenges keep us alert.

I feel like I am not the person I want to be, I fail myself and my high expectations. I often grit my teeth after saying all the wrong things again, acknowledging it post factum. But maybe I will never be that person as much as I aspire to, maybe the whole concept here is to soften my imperfections just enough for me to accept them and let be.

Let me be. Maybe less thinking, hopefully less thinking next year. More events, and projects, and fuss to wrap my mind around. Definitely more people to be present in my life, more fulfilling communication. Less indifference and cold, less emptiness. I am ready to welcome another wave of life- or thought-changing discoveries, find ways to weave them into my life to elevate it to the next more advanced level. To learn constantly, to forgive easily, to be there for others. To attract – not push away. Create magic, have adventures. Inspire. Expand. Love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Challenge to My Comfort


I resented the new discomfort with all my heart. I pushed it away, I screamed inside my mind “I don’t want any of it!” All I really wanted was to maintain the status quo, to have my comfy life unchanged forever. Dreading how much I would be inconvenienced made my mind spin, blowing my fears out of proportion. I actually got really annoyed with myself this morning, when I realized that with all my excessive worrying I actually forgot to put snacks in my son’s schoolbag – boy, I am in trouble tonight!

My flexibility and open-mindedness were put to test and I wasn’t scoring too high. I told myself: A. you can handle it. B. It’s temporary C. you might actually enjoy it. Gradually I was building my way up from rejection to acceptance. I will embrace this inconvenience, this change; I can actually be pretty cool about it if I stop trying so hard. I will have no expectations, do minimal planning and just let things take their own course. I will fail less with poor planning than doing everything perfectly but with a disgruntled heart. I will stop creating and multiplying problems in my head, instead I will try to relax and actually enjoy what’s coming my way.

I am learning flexibility here! Once I tame that grouchy demon, I will loosen up and have some fun. And if tomorrow you tell me that the whole thing is canceled, I will be as relieved as disappointed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coincidence


Last night I was reading poems to my son. One of them was about a bagpipe and a turtle, so I asked if he knows what a bagpipe is. He didn’t so I explained it to him the best I could and promised to google it for him when we have time.

This morning, when I got off the train on 34th Street, the first thing I heard was the sound of bagpipe playing. This subway station, always swarming with tourists, attracts a lot of performers who try to make some extra money. I’ve seen men playing drums, synthesizer, saxophone, and a whole bunch of Asian and African instruments, which names I don’t know. Not once anyone with a bagpipe.

I connected the two dots, tied in my gloomy morning mood, freezing winds outside, the memory of the warmth of my son’s room, the book with its deep wisdom behind silly lines, my hopes as ever-present extensions of my disappointment. My silent prayer – please make me feel better today, I am so tired of carrying these heavy feelings around, of drugging myself with books to silence my loud thinking.

Hearing the bagpipe playing was a magic moment, that lasted only seconds, but it was enough. Thank you, I thought, I feel good now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Feeling Small


How do you fight the feeling of being too small? What do you do to proclaim to the world that you are so much bigger and keep growing, it’s just that much of that growth is invisible to the eye? With the innate urge to prove ourselves, to persuade others that we are worthy the air we breathe we still get caught in those moments when everything gets questioned: why sweat? who cares?

But when we quit the tiresome process of self-establishment, when we stop peering into the strangers’ eyes, begging silently “Believe in me!” a strange thing happens: we do become smaller. It’s as if some of our parts evaporate once they cease to be evaluated, judged, approved by others. Many of our essential qualities become atrophies if we are no longer willing to promote and share them with the rest of the world.

It’s easy to cling to your failures, past, current and future; to sulk; to feel masochistic satisfaction from being unappreciated. You can always seclude yourself in that small world of yours that you created by thoroughly assorting the constituents. Nothing will cause you pain, only comfort and peace. So you shrink without challenges, the aspiration to achieve, to win, to overcome obstacles. You are feeling so small because you deny yourself the opportunity to engage in the intricate commotion of external life.

You might feel naked when you display what’s inside, things you’ve been hiding forever, but keeping it all to yourself will eventually lead to their erosion due to lack of use. Come what may, good or bad, but share yourself with the world, show what you are, what you may become, feel as big as you were born to be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Empty Space


When you arrive at the conclusion that your life needs filtering, it means that you’ve been wasted yourself on incompatible components for too long and your functioning mechanism is too worn out to continue working in the same mode. You need to start applying some principles of exclusion, sort through the clutter and figure out what stays in the closet, what needs to be put away, what gets disposed.

That’s the way life is: you cannot be everywhere doing everything. As the age and the level of responsibility are progressing, you need to be more and more selective what you spend your energy on. It will scare you at first: if you are cutting off these huge chunks that were an essential part of your existence just yesterday, what is left then? The phantoms of loneliness and boredom still bear enough influence to chase you back into your all-conforming form. What if dismissing your half-friends will thin the crowd around you to a threatening level? You envision yourself all alone, howling like a desperate animal, so you hurriedly agree to another boring socializing event to maintain the illusion that you are still part of the circle.

Filling the vacuum does not happen overnight. It may take years to find things that are you. Multiple times you’ll get steered away from your course by fake promises, lured into what you think would make you fly whereas it would only push you deeper underground. But eventually you will get your foundation and commence building the solid weather-proof structure. Your life, played by your rules.

We could all use a magic compass to show us the direction. And it’s probably always there floating in the air right in front of us. The problem is sometimes we cannot spot it because of all the clutter we’ve been diligently bringing in for years. It’s time to sort through the piles, remove the distractions and get the clear view back. Vast vacancy will let you see the light better.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Days


Some days I can’t find a single good thing that would help hold me together. I am surrounded by blessings, which on those particular days fail to glue my heart pieces back; their light can’t break through as if all of a sudden I am immune to all the joy and happiness; I am only capable of absorbing darkness and misery. Those are the dark days when magic is gone and I fall through a deep dark cold tunnel down and down… Of course I fight, I have the whole arsenal at my disposal – things that can help brighten up my day. But when nothing works I take my defense system down and let the cold stream take me wherever it wants. Then the law of underwater currents works: when you try to resist them, they only take you deeper down, they drain you of all the energy, twist your limbs. But once you succumb and stop fighting, they bring you back to the surface and let go.

The darkness always tries to pull us in. This is its way to remind us of its gloomy existence. Many times I used my hands to cover my eyes: if I don’t see it I may pretend it doesn’t exist. If I don’t pay attention it will leave me alone, spot someone else. Alas, we don’t live in the world of pure light, there are shadows all over, dark places never reached by the rays of sun. When shadows try to imprison us we are to put up a fight and that’s how we build resilience and learn gratitude. After violent stormy days the sunny weather is no longer taken for granted, it is appreciated up to every second.

My dark days are scarce for which I am grateful. Some people live in months, years of darkness, their will suppressed, soul diminished. I only take the occasional dive deep down, which hurts nonetheless but nothing that I wouldn’t be able to handle. Once I resurface, I move on, I don’t look back, no questions asked. The light is bright, the magic is back, there’s harmony and the soothing rustle of the wings of my guardian angel.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aftermath


What are you left with every time you step over yourself? Feeling of excitement from your victory, pride for your courage, satisfaction from successfully defeating your fear? But there is also sadness, this temporary freezing emptiness from some inexplicable loss. For something is gone, a piece of you was forsaken the moment you summoned all your strength and reached for the stars. This sweet bitterness passes through the winner: I could have been on the ground, still gazing the stars, separated from me by the infinity. The infinity that can be covered in a few steps, or left as infinity should I choose so. The determination to battle leaves a dreamer behind. Touching a star means one star less to glare. The triumph of the victory is always saddened by a sacrifice it takes to turn a dreamer into a warrior.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall Colors


Fall is a source of the most beautiful pictures. I was one of the numerous eager photographers in a rush to capture the short-lasting beauty called autumn leaves. You take a number of shots but every time you press the “view mode” button you feel a slight disappointment. Not that, not what I wanted, not the way it is. And then you suddenly have it – one precious shot that doesn’t only get it right, it magically transform the real fragments into a mysteriously perfect piece of art: the color, the symmetry, the proportions – all are ideal.

We are trying to make the best of our lives but mostly get a number of mediocre days. Those are not feel-bad days yet they still lack that breathtaking excitement, something that cannot be faked, forced and summoned. A rare combination when all the ingredients happen to be in place and produce a hot steaming dish of happiness. Our true shot, a sparkle, a gem. Every morning is a promise, and every evening new hope is conceived: there is every chance it can happen tomorrow.

I enjoy my one good shot that makes everything else possible. Some people master photography and multiply their number of delightful photos. And all of us try to master the science of living: to minimize the amount of failures, to strive for perfection. Yet somewhere very deep insight we have this intuitive feeling, that our best shots , the ones that make us gasp, have a somewhat divine nature. Just like some days are beyond our understanding or control, the days when we let the gust of wind carry us away without putting any resistance. The days when pretense is put aside, the grand rehearsal is over and life is lived as it should be: in all the color, precision of line and simple beauty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do You Know


I don’t particularly like when people preach: first you need to figure out what you want and then go for it. Right, that simple, eh? You just sit down for 20 minutes, consider all you options and voila! – you are all set for life. So let’s see… do I want to be a doctor? – nope, teacher? – not really, work on Wall Street – hmm, maybe… But do we even know all the options? And how can we be sure we will really like what we’ve chosen for us? Yet people shake their heads when you tell them about your trial and error method: hey, guys, I will just go with the flow for now and figure something out along the way.

Or they will tell you there must be an absolute certainty in your decision by the time you are 30 (32? 35?). Some people find their true calling when they are 70, some never discover it at all!

I do believe we get signs consistently throughout our life journey. Little hints here and there that suggest a direction you haven’t considered before. You get a taste of new things, but sometimes it’s just the first part of the puzzle, and you have to solve the rest for yourself, untangle the thread and follow it to the final destination, where success and recognition are waiting.

It's not like I enjoy going about life half-blindfolded. Of course there are certain things that make me feel at home, yet I don’t know how to turn them into something bigger, more meaningful, something with a purpose and potential for personal fulfillment. Yet if I have to hold out I will do so with patience and dignity. I will find my door even if it takes knocking on a thousand wrong ones. There is a destined path for each of one of us: sometimes it’s covered with foliage, or hidden by shadows and lack of light, or its boundaries are indistinct. But it’s there, waiting for you to discover it and take it all the way. I will get there, not sure when but I will, just don’t rush me, don’t judge me, don’t give me ill-fitted advice: I don’t want to take the wrong trail and get lost.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Inside


A soul is beautiful because it’s composed of pure light. Yet there will always be someone to tell you otherwise, to make you feel ugly, to despise you and mix you with dirt. Call them the evil, the enemy, often disguised as “friends”, someone jealous, or spiteful, or neglectful or simply someone deprived of love, taking it out on the entire world. The worst damage they could do is force you to forget about your light within, the soul breathed in by God at your creation. They make you believe that the light is dead and you are now at the mercy of the dark. But the light never dies out, it’s our divine core and it cannot be destroyed. Our weakness is that we allow the enemy to distract us, to look away, to lose faith. This enemy often resides within – we let depressive thoughts take over and cast shadows on everything that used to make sense. Our weakness is that instead of putting up the armor, we take it down. We let the dark winter winds blow at our light with their mighty strength till it’s almost extinguished. We fail to remind ourselves that the light never goes away.

We try to seek protection in others and it doesn’t always occur to us that we can look inwardly to find the comfort, to recharge the fading spirit. Going to the very beginning, the invincible core, the heart of the soul. We were made this way – unique and beautiful. We were given enough powers to combat the enemy. And we will constantly be attacked: even as we try to withdraw and shield ourselves with isolation, then WE will turn into attackers, shooting doubt onto the good in us. This struggle is meaningful. When fighting for the light we worship the light, when giving up all that we have left is indifference.

If you are under attack, if the wounds caused by the enemy hurt unbearably – just pause for a minute… Phase out the noise till you hear the divine silence. Ignore what you see but look inside. Find your light, stick with your core, feel whole and win this battle. You are beautiful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Words of Wisdom


A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouth-watering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-Self.


It is said that all that you are seeking is also seeking you, that if you lie still, sit still, it will find you.


When a life is too controlled, there becomes less and less life to control.


Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Day, Another Sunset


I wish I could write more. I wish I could catch those quickly-passing breakthrough thoughts and pin them down with words. But alas, a big gluttonous giant called life gulps days and weeks in a blink of an eye. I miss the moments, I lose precious thoughts, my ideas and little discoveries are too evasive if not eternalized with words. Life is more than just paying bills and fulfilling one’s duties. It’s a spiritual journey. There are grand things that matter more than our daily hassle, the glorious things that are always within reach hence can be easily postponed… I am too tired today, I can find the meaning of life tomorrow. And the sun is down, and another day is lived ... or wasted.

I wish I could write more to get just one inch closer to the truth with each post created within, whispered by the unconscious that is always at work, even when I am too busy to observe, contemplate and remember.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It



I am still processing the book I just finished reading – “Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It” by Maile Meloy. The book is great on its own – I couldn’t help but admire the precision of each sentence, phrases that stick to your mind and re-emerge when you least expect it. There aren’t many descriptions but it’s one of the most “visual” books I’ve ever read, when you can see everything so clearly like you are a silent witness, as if you are actually there. But it’s the idea at the basis of the book that strikes me the most, one of those obvious notions that somehow we fail to notice and acknowledge until someone points the idea out. It leaves you astonished: I knew it but I didn’t know it!

It’s one of the biggest ironies of life – wanting everything, wanting the opposite from what we have, wanting both the things even knowing that having one excludes the possibility of the other. We are being torn by our contradictory desires, trying to establish what it is that we want more and stick to the choice derived in the torturous battle of mind. When we choose one way we cross out the other still secretly longing for it, half-mourning the loss. If we try to have it both ways, to float in the middle, we are burdened by guilt and dissatisfaction from having it only half-way. We begin to hurt from hurting the others.

“The force with which he wanted it both ways made him grit his teeth. What kind of fool wanted it only one way?”

A mindful approach can provide some relief. Acknowledging both the wants, consciously choosing one, giving yourself reasons to justify the choice may quiet down the troubled mind. We can control our actions but can we ever be truly in control of our desires? Can we stop wanting something because that’s an order given by sense which knows better? Or we just learn to live with this paramount longing, our secret wants, unfulfilled desires, rebelling occasionally, trying to have it both ways but always failing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Far Do We See?


Many of us are living a life of self-imposed confinement. We are engaged in an often meaningless routine that fills our days. We are doing the same things over and over finding comfort in boredom and predictability of yet another weekend, month, and year. We think we can expand the boundaries any time we want yet we are barely ever inclined to do so.

It always marvels me to discover that there’s more space for us in this world than we initially claim. It never occurred to me to join a local library – I thought I simply didn’t have time to read. But once I did, it’s amazing how much reading time can be squeezed into one day. So now I devour book after book discovering a parallel universe to my feelings, emotions, and dreams in every one of them. I used to watch whatever was on TV – annoying reality shows interrupted by even more annoying commercials. Then I signed up for Netflix so now I devote my time to watching quality movies that linger with me for days – and that’s the effect a real movie should have on us.

Breaking my weekend routine was a long overdue breakaway as well – I was getting really sick from this feeling of drowning in the household chores. Now we go somewhere every weekend – beach, park, movies. It was a struggle initially since I had to fight down the ever-present excuse that I just want to stay home. Now I anticipate every weekend, making plans, checking the weather. Last weekend we rented a boat on the lake in Central Park, something I’ve never done before even though I’ve lived in New York for 10 years. Why?

Why do keep denying ourselves little pleasures of life that are at hand’s reach? Why are we the ones who limit our experiences? We get really inventive with finding excuses (lack of money, time, mood, company, inspiration, etc.) instead of directing our inventive minds toward eliminating the limits, expanding our territory, establishing more presence in life than this shallow existence. Some people never see the trees, the sky – it’s enough for them to assume it’s all there: all they need to do is to lift up their head and see, which they forget to do day after day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Makes the Best of Memories


Sunday. Cozy evening. My son and I are both curled up on the couch reading our books. Well, reading his books, because I am in the middle of “Ghost Camp” from the Goosebumps series he so graciously let me borrow. Suddenly my son jump from the couch, performs a series of weird actions such as holding his breath, spinning, rubbing his tummy and yelling out “1,999”. I pick up his book, read the page it was left open on and sure enough come across a verse containing detailed instructions on how to get back to the past. And my almost-seven-year-old boy believes that after he performs all the crazy steps he will travel back in time. He, who just recently told me that dragons don’t exist. I play along. I say let’s do it over step-by-step… now, hold your breath till you turn blue, spin around fast… He complies with diligence and looks rather disappointed when he is still there in the middle of our living room, things unchanged, year 2010. “Mom, maybe it’s because I didn’t turn blue when holding my breath?”

I smile about it all morning today sitting at work. I am glad childhood found me again through my son. I am happy to retrieve long forgotten experiences and beliefs. Believing in miracles against all odds. I think last night for a brief magic moment I almost expected that the incantation will be followed by … something? Do we really want to be adults all the time? Or are there are occasional moments of doubt and hope that there’s some truth to the most absurd of phantasies? If something is so real in your mind, it doesn’t need to be real in the outside world, it isalready granted some sort of existence by the power of your imagination.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feel and Fly


My emotional side is not my enemy. It’s my partner who doesn’t always play along. I may choose to get angry with myself for overreacting or find ways to sooth my emotions so that I was still capable of acting. I am so incredulous at times at how nervous the simplest of events make me, disappointed that my reactions are beyond all reasonable limits. Quite annoyed, I throw myself at the rocks, make myself endure unnecessary challenges, trying to toughen up.

How can I succeed if I feel like an ostrich eager to bury my head in sand with each disturbing sign or experience? No matter what exquisite tricks my mind sends to my nerves to make them calm down, they are of little help. When I am nervous I am nervous. With all the embarrassing physical symptoms.

The thing is I have to live with it. I thought that avoidance may ease things for me, but boy was I wrong. It only made me more susceptible to even minor changes, which now leave me shaken and displaced for days.

We all operate in unique ways. Some things we never learn to fully control. Some of us might be too delicate for the harsh world of battles, but the same delicateness makes us feel at home in the world of emotions. We feel beyond the acceptable dimensions, see beyond the horizon, beyond tomorrow. We see between the lines, we absorb the invisible. We, people who feel too much.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Compromise


Being overprotective of yourself can backfire one day. When you closely guard your sense of happiness and avoid doing what makes you unhappy, you create some artificial vacuum – a perfectly customized environment where you can relax and take all your masks off. The problem is you still have to get out of it to deal with real life issues. But being detached from reality for longer bouts of time makes it more and more difficult to re-enter the not-so-friendly environment called life and face the challenges it presents. You can’t wait to go back to your hiding.

They say all the happiness (or unhappiness) is in your head. Regardless of the external circumstances you can maintain your level of happiness with inner peace and calm. Do you trap or free yourself by practicing escapism? Maybe instead of denying the vast chunks that constitute the external life it’s better to learn to co-exist with all of it? No matter how hard you close your eyes and shut your ears there’s no way to keep the noise out completely –it will reach you and bother you, if you are not prepared. Isn’t it easier then to embrace it in some quantity?

Your head is in the clouds but your feet stay firmly on the ground – are both possible?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Decisions


It’s amazing how some challenges may split your personality and provoke the never-ending inner debate, the heated discussion of the pro- and con- opponents, which managed to coexist peacefully in your mind before. The problem is you don’t know who you should side with… On the one hand your ambitious driven side is pushing you forward, to face the challenge, to take the leap, to make a change. You realize that stagnation is almost dangerous to your sanity. And then your defense system issues a response that you are getting too old to chase after victories, big or small, that life is not all about reaching a new mark every single day, sometimes it’s all about just living, pausing mindfully to take in moments, given things, what you have right this second - not some future possibilities from the dream world. So you want just to take this day and live it as it is, grateful and humble, without having to spend it constructing your better tomorrow.

So when all your back-and-forth thinking is put on a scale and what you can see is the equilibrium, you turn to alternative resources. You try to pay more attention to the signs that life is supposed to send to us at times of uncertainty, when we are at the crossroads. Trying to interpret these signs (or what you take for them) drives you crazy because it only confuses you furthermore, clarifying nothing.
In the end you just feel so worn out that you silently scream: I have no answers to anything! I don’t know what the next step should be – I am not even sure if this step is needed! But maybe it’s true that the history is already written? And all this daily hassle is only meant to occupy you but changes nothing, because the time of choices will come when it is scheduled. You breathe out and release the tension that has chained you.

You do you stuff. You try your best to keep all the anxiety away. You trust the highest power that everything will be fine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When and Where


We frequently feel lost in life. The intense feeling that only yesterday you knew exactly the direction you were moving in but today the knowledge is gone, you are in the unfamiliar surroundings, you don’t know how you ended up here and what your purpose was. And it’s okay because it’s pretty natural to switch directions multiple times in life (it’s more unusual not to), one of those tricks the newly acquired portion of wisdom plays on us: you thought this would make you happy, it didn’t quite – not a big deal, just keep looking.

So when you are stuck in one of those “what’s next?” spans and the answer wouldn’t present itself immediately, you may want to look at your current life from a different angle. Just like on a roller coaster – you climb uphill, and then you pause briefly before you start moving at crazy speed: down, back up, down… non-stop. That pause is life too. As one door closes and the other (others?) has not yet opened, it doesn’t mean that you temporarily ceased existing. Just quite the opposite – you can live very fully even if it’s just in your head. You can do all the pondering you kept postponing till better times. You can learn to make solitude from your enemy to a good friend. And you can catch and enjoy so many previously unnoticed moments simply because you have more time now.

Me? I signed up for a library account and went from occasional reading spells straight to reading fever. I get to absorb all the stories in the world, anything I can get my hands on. Maybe it’s truly a bliss not knowing when and where your life will take another crazy turn, roll out at ever changeable speed, barely leaving you time to catch your breath. For now it’s time to enjoy a rare moment of tranquility. What do you do when you don’t know what tomorrow holds but today you have so much time at your disposal? Do you make use of it when you get to slow down?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Reality Hits too Hard


It could have been a beautiful life if there was more magic in it. If it stopped being so real and feeling so real but was more like a dreamy fog curling around you, deforming the objects, making them into something else than they initially appear to be. We would look for a hidden meaning in things, sense the important facts of life rather than know them (or think that we know them). Sensual, dreamy, soulful life where unimaginable happens on a daily basis and miracles take a consistent pattern.

We often make a temporary escape into the world of color and form (art), sound (music), dreaming the impossible in real life dreams (fairytales and movies) which provides some relief and inspiration. But if we stay in the real for too long, if we keep reading the news that contain nothing but horror and violence whereas a fairytale book is collecting dust on the shelf, if we devote too much attention to solving everyday problems in order to feed the ever-hungry life-planner inside of us with accomplishments and achievements - our downfall begins.

Your life may feel real but the harshness of this reality hits you hard because there’s nothing to soften the blow – you gave up dreaming, believing in miracles, looking for magic in ordinary things because at some point you figured it’s a waste of time that you cannot afford, because you need this time to acquire real things, things you can touch, store, show off. Reality sucks the soul out of us if consumed in excessive quantity. It needs to be diluted with a hearty portion of fantasy not to extinguish that light in our eyes we used to have in abundance as kids.

It’s better to be a delusional dreamer than a soulless shell, a sleep-eat-work zombie. Don’t bury the child inside of you, let him guide you occasionally into the world of magic where you can feel free to believe in anything worth believing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Return


It’s good to be back when rediscovering your old daily routine feels like an adventure. Stepping on a familiar path with uncertainty because being away for almost a month turns you into an alien thrown into the foreign land. It takes a while to get back in tune with the rhythm of the city, your old schedule , your old life, so well-known at some point, strange and erratic now.

I dread and love those days of readjustment – when you are no longer there and still not here. I actually admire this feeling of being in between because you get to see things so clearly, as if you were temporarily detached from life: not a participant, just an observer. But very quickly life swallows you again, you must be present in it with your entire essence, solve problems, return phone calls, answer the “How was your trip?” question for a hundredth time… Planning, organizing, running out of time, taking a break, taking a deep breath, trying to figure it all out, what you can change, things that can be improved, what you should leave alone till better times.

Vacation allows you to slow down so you find it somewhat hard to catch up with the real life pace once you are back. In a week or so it will feel like there was no vacation, only photos and some vague warmth in your heart will be the proof that it did happen. It’s not a bad life. I missed work (thought I probably missed lunch breaks more – since I get to spend them in the nearby bookstore) . I missed planning what I will wear to work the following morning. I missed looking forward to weekends since when you are on vacation every day is a Sunday. Vacation was. A lot happened. I recharged physically and emotionally – those blessed three weeks of non-thinking (at least in the old familiar way). I was with my family discovering new ways to be with them, to coexist with them because we are all a couple of years older and wiser. Now it's time to come back to reality loaded with uncertainty, questions, puzzles, coincidences, occasional disappointment and non-stop dreaming. I am back - I whisper.

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Such Thing as Bad Summer


It’s suddenly August and summer is suddenly almost over. Summer clothes go on sale and back-to-school ads begin to appear. August is when cicadas are the loudest – their “songs” resonate with my inkling that’s something big is about to end. And then there will be a new beginning, so it’s kind of the calm before the storm. You only get this kind of sadness once a year – when summer is approaching its final run: you begin to reminisce about the warm sunny days even though it’s still nice out. You can’t get enough of the light, the breeze, the smell of the ocean in the air.

August is when we pause. Slightly tired from the beach, swimming, all the summer activities, we prefer to sit on the porch and indulge in inertia. Very soon we will have to compose ourselves and embrace the new beginning. Get back into the crazy running cycle with long to-do lists in our hands. Kids go back to school, coworkers come back from vacation – our lives suddenly become so crowded, and noisy, and eventful. And as the days get shorter we cannot help the feeling that we are running out of time because there is so much to accomplish.

Yet there’s still one month left before we accelerate. Still some time to dissolve in the warm summer air, in tranquility and daydreaming. To let the departing season give you one more hug, feel its breezy breath on your cheeks, steal as much of its light as you can fit in your heart, where you will lock it to let it out little by little when the cold days begin their reign.

Monday, August 2, 2010

broken


Even the strongest of fighters break.

And in anguish they crush what’s on their way.

In split seconds they destroy anything of value.

Because they lost faith.

Emotional exhaustion bigger than the world.

Winning rough battles and breaking over nothing.

Born with desire for happiness but is there ability?

They break and after the storm comes silence.

And they are left numb.

They sweep the pieces off the floor but is there a way to put a broken heart together?

And is there a button that turns off thinking so that apathy could set in?

Because even the strongest of fighters break.

Sometimes It's All Said in a Song



Rascal Flatts
"I'm Movin' On"

I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on

I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on



Friday, July 23, 2010

Unattached - Free?


I made a curious observation lately – how little I am attached to anything. Getting attached to things or people means experiencing pain when losing any of them. Separation anxiety. I used to have that: living in the boarding school when I was 15 I kept thinking that I was finally having a good life and how bad that it would be over within two years. How sad that I won’t see most of these young kids ever again, never find out how they came out after all… I used to connect much easier and once it happened, it always hurt to let go. Living with a bunch of roommates when I was 19 – happy, carefree days, but even back then I lived with a shadow that those days would come to an end and the uncertainly of the future was always hanging in the air.

And then I got attached to New York, such a deep addiction, when it began to feel like the polluted New York City air was all my lungs were willing to accept from now on. I felt terribly homesick away from the city I used to hate when I only moved in. Unlike many people I had no desire to travel: I had it all right there, discoveries could be made every day without ever leaving New York.

Then the things… How annoyed was I when friends wouldn’t promptly return my books they borrowed. And how reluctant I was to give away my son’s baby clothes. And how petrified I felt at the idea we might lose our wonderful house due to foreclosure. And the sadness of thought that so many amazing coworkers that became my friends will be gone soon because of the company’s troubles.

I don’t know a precise moment when my ability to attach started fading away. Suddenly it no longer mattered if I lived in this house or any other house, worked at this job or any other job… Things that were lost no longer upset me. I once thought – what if the house caught fire, which things will I try to save? I think I will take my son’s hand, grab my passport (out of fear of bureaucratic harassment I guess) and walk away.

I even feel more detached from my body: before "we" were a whole thing, now it’s my body and I. I find it funny some mornings to look in the mirror and think: gosh, she looks so puffy, let’s try to fix her up. I spotted a gray hair and I thought I should probably give out some womanly reaction now and do some whining about the I-am-getting-old subject whereas in fact I didn’t feel upset, because me is still me – whether I’m 20, 30,70… I am very eager to travel now. And to disown so many things I have. And spend more time outdoors where nothing and everything belongs to me.

What is it? Finally feeling free or failing to find where I belong? Realizing that the biggest riches are within us or the disappointment of not finding those riches in the external world. I still own my memories. I may dislike my feelings and emotions at times, but it’s something that I own too because I feel what I feel since I am who I am. I still get to wake up every day with a vague expectation of what today holds for me. As many days as I am given. Those mornings are mine, the sky is mine, the dreams are mine. We truly only own what no one can take away from us. We own our thoughts even when we don’t have enough words to express them. And once we find love within that’s ours too. Forever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does Anyone Ask How You Are Today?


“Why are you sad today?” asked the cart guy from whom I buy coffee every morning. A bunch of ideas swirled in my head, a hundred responses raced to be spit out – about all the pain, and disappointment, and things that go wrong and how I don’t know if I can fix them…On feeling lost, and hurt, and so desperately lonely... I opened my mouth to explain, to complain, to confess and then, surprised, I heard myself say “It will go away”. And it did.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Happiness is Real Only when Shared"


I watched this amazing movie "Into the Wild" about a month ago. Just as with any good movie and book everyone will discover some unique ideas and message that would speak to them directly. The ideas of freedom, non-conformism, breaking free, touching the lives of others with your conviction and sincerity. To me - it was mostly the idea of setting up on a long journey to find things that were always there, but it was making peace with them that the journey was really needed for.

"Happiness is Real Only when Shared" - the words scribbled by dying Alexander Supertramp with a shaky hand are not just striking.This is the biggest discovery he has made. Simple words that keep coming back to me ever since.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank You, Silent Words


It’s an important realization that even if you are deprived of certain things you can still strive to live fully. There will always be some variables missing but instead of sulking about those couple of things that lack from your life, you can try to make the best out of what you do have. I did a mental exercise of listing all the aspects of my life where I am missing out therefore I cannot be fully happy. I got terrified by how much is missing from the picture. Then I thought of all my blessings – and I was immediately cheered up: boy, am I lucky! No wonder I keep switching between extremely happy to utterly unhappy pretty much on a daily basis.

Last few months have been a period of silence for me. I am coping all right but since I have a major need to express myself, there’s a grand monologue that goes on in my head for hours. I don’t talk to my husband, I don’t talk to my coworkers, I clearly don’t talk enough to my friends and family – but everyone is busy with their lives. I am a different person when I talk because words get so much weight off my chest so I lighten and move forward. With all the words inside me I’m stuck because I feel so heavy.

Yes, this silent period has been a challenge but it lead me to writing as a partial substitute to talking. It’s amazing that when you have a need so desperate you take on things you would not consider under normal circumstances in hopes of finding some relief. As one blogger wrote, “you don’t know what you know until you write it”. I still find it striking to see what words are coming out of me when I write. It’s like – did I really think that all this time? Is that how I really feel? Is that what bothers me? I had no idea some wounds were so deep, but the healing power of writing is undeniable. I leave it all here and move on with my life. And only the silent observer in me is rolling her eyes – how come she is living with all this pain, a seemingly upbeat person with these sad and desperate posts.

I write the first sentence and then I pause because I don’t know how to go on. But then it starts pouring out of me. And it’s not always to support or develop the idea of that first sentence. It’s like the small talk is over, the ice is broken, let’s get down to business. And I write and my own writing is a revelation to me each time. Because if only I let myself write non-stop, let my fingers on the keyboard take control, I can finally get the truth out. Things I’ve been hiding from myself for so long, for all my life. And often I don’t want to reread it, it’s enough that I got it out of my system. And occasionally I don’t even want to publish it. But as I keep writing, I gradually find my voice.

The power of silence, the power of words, the power of good little things in life that make the absence of big things a little more tolerable.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day as Night


Even on days when your life seems to be falling apart there are beautiful moments that simply cannot pass unnoticed. Little details that get you through the day by breathing some almost unperceivable hope in your exhausted mind. The mind that tends to go global and gets frustrated if it doesn’t crack the mystery of life in one day. It’s impossible for all the answers to come right to you and there is no readily available solutions to all your problems. It’s okay to feel lost and to know that you will feel equally lost tomorrow. It’s okay to hibernate once in a while. To observe. To contemplate. To have a blank mind. It’s okay not to look or feel your best. And to struggle with words and even thoughts. Living for days with the feeling like you just woke up and don’t quite understand where you are – it’s probably okay too.

But most importantly it’s totally okay to take it easy on yourself. Taking on every day of our existence is quite a challenge. We don’t get a life instructor with the life package. So when we make mistakes, move in the wrong direction or don’t meet our own expectations we shouldn’t take all the blame. We come to this world ignorant, often rely on misconceptions taught to us by others or our own instincts, which may fail at a pretty good rate too. You sail swiftly with the favorable wind, but when it subsides, your take your sail down and remain still. You don’t move forward for some time – just stay in the moment, letting little wonders of life in, waiting for a miracle. This is called self-acceptance.



Friday, July 9, 2010

Post Quarrel Thoughts



With all the ups and downs of the past year, there was one distinct feeling that suddenly emerged to the surface – barely noticeable at first, but ever strengthening with power. The feeling, the acknowledgment, the discovery – three very simple most obvious words: “THIS IS ME”. Not someone I wanted to be, needed to be, or pretended to be – but just the way I am. Take me, ignore me, love me or hate me but THIS IS ME. Those are the most liberating words. Their purity separates me from the falseness of the world, from “THIS IS NOT ME”. Because being me I have a lot to give, but being someone else I am an empty vessel. We all have a fire inside that keeps us warm and alive, doing the right things ignites our fire like dry wood, chasing after false notions puts it out. And then we are surprised why we feel so cold, so dead…

I often feel like I am inside of a deep dark tunnel, there’s some light at the end but so far far away. Even if I never reach the light – as long as I keep moving forward I will be fine. I will feel lighter, I will have my direction and my purpose. Because when darkness pulls you even a few steps back, it makes you feel devastated. Climbing out of the dark is painfully hard. Holding on to light means living with hope – and sometimes that’s all we’ve got.

So this is me living in the wrong world. I am absolutely sure my world exists, I can sense it, almost envision it. But I can’t reach it. I know clearly well why –there’s still not enough knowledge, I started realizing things just recently and I still have trouble admitting the truth, accepting what holds me down. I got my roots too deep in this relationship, it will take years to break away. Or one day. Who knows. To embrace freedom. Or loneliness. Who knows. I’ve had my freedom once and I didn’t particularly like it. I want to belong but the right way. The only possible way that allows me to stay me. This part of my life is pretty tangled. At this moment it’s still easier to ignore it, to focus on other things, downplay its importance. But one day I will summon my courage, sit down and sort things out. For today knowing that THIS IS ME no matter what is good enough.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Day to Forget


Spending a day in the company of my male coworkers. They are wearing fancy suits and each has the latest model of an i-phone, i-pad, i-whatever. They are composed and competent at the business meeting, eloquent speakers, persuasive sellers. But being on the train with them was like being in a war zone. They were laughing so hard people would get up and move to the next train car. Their jokes, their hard core humor. Everybody and everything gets ridiculed. Diminished. Mixed with dirt. The voices penetrated my head, my brain, my spirit. Their fits of laughter like tsunami plunging on me, each wave hurting me more and more. Endless stories beginning with “we were so drunk that …” What is THIS? Who ARE you? What are you SAYING? I was in a slow-motion horror movie. My energy was destroyed, spirit crushed, their ridiculous stories hitting me like rocks thrown at an unprotected body.

I didn’t say much. I could only manage an awkward out-of-place smile. Endless trip, endless meeting, endless torture. I was probably in the center of their cruel jokes the minute I escaped. The day ended but I felt no relief. I was DAMAGED! I wish I could erase the whole day out of my memory. But it keeps coming back as if I froze in astonishment.

How can we protect ourselves from ignorant cold-hearted people who seem to dominate the world? Werewolves in suits. Well-groomed monsters. No soul behind their corporate language. If the whole business world is like that – I don’t want it. I don’t want to be part of it with my awkward smile and terrified mind. I am a woman. I am sensitive. I am vulnerable. I am not them, nothing like them, don’t want to be them. I anticipate a big career change. If a job has no soul I don’t want it. If I need to lie I don’t want it. If I have no will to care I don’t want it. If I am to be surrounded by cold, ignorant ruthless men I don’t want it. I don’t want to let the corporate life hurt me even more than it already did.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What if You Start with Love



Things always work themselves out. And sometimes you are perplexed by the outcome. So that’s how it meant to end? And I’ve been wondering all this time, playing with all the wrong guesses. Occasionally the situation will get a predicted development so you can exclaim with self-righteousness, “I knew that!” But not always. Some circumstances are simply out of our hands. It doesn’t strip them from meaning and significance for our particular life. Everything has a meaning. And a message. But too often we shut our eyes and close our ears, refusing to see and hear, because interpreting the signs can act against our ego. “You need to be kind to people” the universe seems to be saying. But people are not kind to me – is your initial response. You need to take down your armor and act with love – but love leaves me vulnerable because we are living in a cruel world...

Living in New York makes you tough, but how do you know when it’s too tough? When you are scared to let the shade of emotion out? When meeting people you start off by judging them? You scrutinize them to anticipate any possible ways that they might hurt you. And then you decide pretty quickly that you are not up for pain so you won’t give them a chance to get to know you, so that just to hurt you later on. You become an expert of avoidance – avoiding eye contact (eyes give away your true emotions), avoiding conversations, avoiding encounters. In the end this approach leaves you invincible. And being alone is the price for that.

How do you undo the damage which it clearly is? Is there a way to melt your emotional coldness? I read about one solution which seems pretty doable and powerful: you start off by loving people. Pretty simple, eh? But can you really turn around when you are, let’s say, at work – look at all your indifferent coworkers and think in good faith “I love you all!” Can you think the same about some grumpy customers waiting in line at the supermarket? Or some person who gave you a look of pure hatred on the subway just because you happen to be white? Or someone who is deliberately hurting you with their words because you disappointed them by being yourself? Nothing is that easy. I just set my foot on this path and I realize that it takes constant control and self-discipline.

What are the gains? You set yourself free in a most surprising way. You are giving without asking for anything in return so there’s no room for disappointment here. If you begin with love it allows you to see people in a different light – you actually discover that they do have something they are worth loving for even if it didn’t seem like it at first glance. We all have our stories that shape us, but even a seemingly heartless person is warming up if you shed some love light upon him. Giving love costs us nothing because we have limitless amount of it yet it’s something we as a rule guard most fanatically. The usual mindset is that sparing love without a good return is a poor investment so it needs to be preserved till a better occasion presents itself. But I believe that with love the less you give it – the less you have it.

It’s a new beginning for me – to practice unconditional love for everyone I meet in the course of my life. But it already makes me feel calm and protected. I strive to create an aura of love and warmth around me and it won’t be achieved quickly or easily. And I will probably slip at times. But it feels so damn right to at least try. And even though it will probably be awhile before I see the impact on my own life, I am sure it will change tremendously. I also want to believe that practicing love will inevitably lead to more positive healthy thinking and provide the antidote for selfish and self-destructive thoughts.

I love you all and I wish you happiness!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Can You Get the Best Out of the Worst?


We all at times find ourselves in unpleasant situations. Our immediate natural reaction is to start searching for a way out: even if you can’t figure it out right away, the process will provide some consolation because you are doing something as opposed to staying passive, so eventually things will change for the better. What if you have to stick around for a while? What if you have to endure something that absolutely poisons your life and everything that’s good in it? Is there a positive approach to endurance that seems to be stretching your limits too far?

In the last couple of months I went from almost liking my job to hating it enormously. There’s a number of reasons to that: I lost my entire team, I am working on a failure project that keeps dragging without an end in sight, my daily tasks got tedious and pointless, I get no guidance from the upper management so I am left there on my own to do meaningless things that have zero effect on success (or the absence of one) of the project. So my only motivation is that I still get paid but even that can end rather soon since the company has financial difficulties and just laid off one third of its work force.

I already made a decision to get another job, the trick is I am going on a 3-week trip at the end of August so it would be quite unreasonable to make a move before September. I made a conscious decision to stay here for the summer (or till I get laid off whichever comes first). It means continuing doing things I don’t believe or see any point in because that’s what I am getting paid for. It means pretending every work day for the next 2+ months - pretending that I am working, coming up with innovative ideas, projecting future success. Fake, fake, fake. It means trying to control my face so that it doesn’t give away my emotions, so I need to look at least neutral, not sour as I feel. It means having to compose myself every morning and “push” myself out of the door of my house. It means taking a deep breath before getting off the elevator on the 10th floor of my office building. It means taking another deep breath – a happy one this time – getting on the elevator at 5 pm, because the day is over. It means buying a lot of books to read my sadness away. It means reading a lot of blogs at work in hopes of improving my level of positivity. It means wanting to live in the future instead of the present moment.

I made a decision and I am willing to stick with it. Yet I imagined it to be easier – I will just come in every morning, minimum activity, zero caring, go home – forget it. I didn’t expect that living with such disgust would be so utterly difficult. And there isn’t a single thing to hold on to for strength. No friends left in the office (smart people quit in the right time), no exciting and distracting assignment (apart from reading blogs which is self-assigned). Nothing is there to help me feel better about the whole enduring process. So as always I have to come to my own rescue and dig some good out of the mud. So here’s how you can find positive moments in an unpleasant situation:

- You learn. Most importantly you learn something about yourself that can only be learned through a hardship. Now I know I will never be able to grow thick skin and I don’t have to. Being sensitive, caring too much, taking it personally can be a curse in the wrong setting. But it also what makes me different, it gives me a heart, it’s why most surprising types of people feel attracted to me. So hopefully I will be able to find a job which will allow me to stay sensitive and emotional as I am.

- Who said endurance is a bad thing? You read about ascetics who practice self-denial to achieve spiritual discipline. So I am sort of doing the same. A little bit of suffering is good for your soul. You become humble and you accept your lot. You even begin seeing everything in a different light, through the “martyr’s eyes” so to say and there’s certainly something to this experience.

- You will appreciate what’s to come. Sometimes you really need to hit the bottom to enjoy the going-back-up process, to be grateful for the good things in your life, to know exactly when your life took the right turn and feel good about it because you have something to compare to. You now know what you are not cut out for and will stay away from doing it. You understand better what you need and what you don’t need. And what’s most important, when the whole unpleasant situation is over, you can commend your spirit for enduring the hardship with grace and not letting it break you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Because I am Angry


It’s easy just to be angry at the whole world. Once you start, there’s no end to it – and you suddenly have a million reasons to justify your anger. The world is an unjust place. We all deserve happiness. And we all just wait for it to fall down on us from the sky and we’ll plunge in and swim in the ocean of euphoria.

But going back to anger… It’s easy to act like a little child who stomps his foot and yells, “I want it, I want it all, and I want it now!” Boy, do we all have an endless list of unsatisfied wishes. And once some of them come true, we quickly forget how badly we wanted them and move on to wanting yet even more desperately other things we are convinced we deserve in this life. I remember a girlfriend of mine who was single for years: once she finally got some kind of a boyfriend, she tried to get the most out of him to compensate herself for the loveless years. She wanted to be showered by his love, attention and generosity. She grasped him with the zest and energy he was unable to hold up to, so he removed himself from the picture pretty quickly.

I keep thinking about the constructive-destructive nature of our “I want”. It’s what’s driving us to move forward, progress and achieve success. It encourages us to learn and grow. But if we lose patience, if we get angry at the entire world for not getting what we want today instead of tomorrow, it’s a sure beginning of enormous discontent and self-destruction. We no longer notice or appreciate what we have – we are too busy focusing our attention on what we don’t have.

In these moments it’s useful to keep repeating this saying as mantra – the right things come in the right time. There are no random people in our life. And someone is hurting you only because you did your share of hurting in the past. You really have just one option – to try and become a better person. To suppress your anger. To forgive. To give love without asking for something in return. And as you begin to change, you will know for sure that you are moving in the right direction. It will feel right. Your ocean of happiness is right there waiting for you, stop hitting your imaginary breaks and you will discover a shortcut.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coming Back from a Different World


I think I’ve been mixing up the reality with imaginary world for a while. On the other hand invisible doesn’t mean surreal – my perception of things and emotions felt very real to me, they are just not the kind to share… Any way coming back from a different world evoked some serious thinking – is there a way to combine two realities: the one that’s in my head and the one perceived not just by me but also by those around me. And I need to find a way otherwise it will haunt me as some unhealthy obsession. At one point I began to fear that I am losing my sanity but labeling anything out of ordinary as crazy is probably not the right solution. Let’s call it being different: some people look at a person from the standard set - name, age, occupation, hobbies, etc… I see way beyond this : I try to grasp the soul – feelings, emotions, fear, pain. I try to see right through the external shell and get to the core of it which I call the truth. It’s not subjective because it’s not thought over, it’s felt on the intuitive level and can hardly be explained.

What scared me the most these days is how seeing through people affected me emotionally, up to the point of shaking and almost suffocating. I wish I had the explanation. You meet someone’s gaze for a split second and begin to shake. You are hit by the power of one’s eyes. Having visions was an even bigger puzzle. Let’s say you keep a normal conversation with a person but on some parallel level the two of you in a tight hug - and you see both realities simultaneously. I am not afraid because the development of things cheers me up in a way, but I can clearly see that it’s hurting me too. I’ve been fighting the gravity that was pulling me with surprising power and the worst (or the best) part was that I didn’t feel like fighting. One more signal and I would probably have dived right in. I don’t know. I am still perplexed. Meeting with enigmatic and powerful people that attract us in a supernatural way is sure a challenge. They pale our reality and arouse something inside that I didn’t know was there. As if I was stripped of all my layers, pretense didn’t even matter anymore because the invisible things got all the power. Being attracted to someone, longing for someone does not always have a logical explanation and just needs to be endured. And I am not sure how I am going to act next time I have a similar experience, but for now I am on a break. Just some vague memories and my dreams as a reminder...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Truth is True?


A human soul must be the most complicated and complex phenomenon on Earth. Years of mistakes and erroneous decisions may pass before we find ourselves on the right track of finding our true meaning in life. Sometimes we may get a hint and start moving in the right direction, but many times we are not even close so we keep bumping into the walls or give up all together.

But as we try to unravel this most important puzzle of our lives and determine the purpose of our existence, we must support this existence because a body-to-feed is attached to this mysterious soul of ours. So we work hard, then we work harder, then we get dissolved in this whole work-pay-bills-plan-the-future routine. There’s no time to be wasted on philosophy – we talk career opportunities, innovative technologies, endless new gadgets and information overload. We turn into robots. We watch movies and read books that require no thinking, their primitive ideas are spread evenly onto our brains as cream cheese on a stale bagel. These no-brainer movies and shows are produced for our sheer amusement and barely ever contain a single solid idea to contemplate about. And there’s a reason to it: we are too busy with our work and too lazy because of all the new technology.

Sometimes it terrifies me to see how the evolution oversimplifies a human nature. There is so much to us – we are all multi-faceted individuals, so unique, each with their own set of talents and skills. But all the uniqueness gets pushed back because we need to keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of life. I miss the time of great movies and amazing books, when one single phrase would suddenly resonate inside of you, shake your whole world. Now I get frustrated that book after book I attempt to enjoy fail to stir any kind of emotion in me – as if someone has chewed the food before placing it in your mouth and all you have to do now is just swallow it. I miss ideas behind the words, searching some hidden meaning, solving riddles, making discoveries. Each morning when on a train I stare at meaningless faces and try to understand why is it that we should give up on living and start existing; why there’s no fire in the faded eyes…

There’s so much good in me that’s dying to come out yet I feel like an actor without the stage and the audience. This need to find an external expression to my inner world is reflected in the clothes I wear, the words I choose, the blogs I comment on. I don’t want to suppress my personality, I don’t want to escape my delusional world because as made up as it seems, it is still more real than the robotic reality surrounding me.I am filled with a whirlwood of emotions and daring ideas, and who said it's worse than to feel nothing. I want to celebrate every day of a meaningful existence, every shade of emotion, every unrealistic dream and every discovery I make about the complex phenomenon of my own human soul.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Playing With Fire


I had a week of excruciating agonizing physical pain. And even though my body didn’t exhibit much tolerance and gave out a good portion of moaning and groaning, my mind was calm with acceptance. What kept me sane was knowing that any kind of physical pain, no matter how strong and intolerable it seems, eventually comes to an end. And once we heal, our brain will block all the memories of the torturous experience. It’s like recovering after the c-section: I remember it was pretty bad but I don’t really remember the details.

Emotional pain is a different story. You never know when you’ll finally feel relief, you are never sure if you really hit the bottom. How long is it going to last? What can you do at least to ease it, since you know that you can’t make it go away completely? It enslaves you, guides your actions, distracts you from what’s important in your life. Emotional pain is unpredictable and often illogical. Just when you think it’s finally getting better something will trigger the new downfall – back to collecting your pieces… It’s like one step forward, two steps back…

Coming out of it emotionally drained, you promise you will never ever let it come to that again. You will live a quiet turmoil-free life and stay clear of potentially hazardous situations. But life is life – and we inevitably get drawn into a precipice. We long for a taste of a forbidden fruit even being somewhat aware of the consequences. But the attraction becomes too irresistible: you tell yourself – I will just get a tiny bite, and then another one, and one more… Before you know it the addiction is too strong to fight and you are back to the hell where the price for seconds of happiness and pleasure is hours, days, weeks of that agonizing emotional pain you’ve once promised to avoid. So having one foot above the abyss, ask yourself if it isn’t too late to stop…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Time For Happy Thoughts


It’s good to have things happening, to take a break from all the self-analysis and self-digging. I’ve been busy at work, going out with friends, going to the circus with my family on Easter Day, watching lots of good movies, eating delicious food. I managed to free my mind from all the issues and thoughts it’s been trying to process and just live my life. No over thinking – just taking everything in and let things be. And I love it this way, being able to live in the moment without projecting too far into the future or letting the past haunt you.

I am able to see the true brightness of colors, food tastes better to me. And how can I not enjoy life when spring is finally here at its full strength! Last night I opened the window and breathed in the warm breezy spring air filled with the aroma of the blossoming trees. I thought – no matter what happens in your life, spring always comes and fills you with happiness. It’s the time when we are reborn, just like the new leaves start growing on the trees out of nowhere. We shed off the weight of the winter mood, the gloom, the dark thoughts, our sleepiness, - feeling lighter, rejuvenated. We open our toes and our hearts, put on summer clothes and bright smiles, getting some tan and some adventures.

Spring is the time when we long for love but this time I don’t search for it externally. I feel it inside of me, always present, filling me with light and forgiveness. It’s good to know that I can let it shine through, reach random people, and still have plenty left. Because love has no limits and no boundaries, it’s endless and eternal. As long as we don’t push it away from our hearts, it will grow and blossom inside of us, empowering us to live our lives the right way.

It's spring and I am very happy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Day



I have my ups and downs. But today was a big day for me. I got my pay raise. I had a very successful presentation for our biggest client, which I had to put together on a short notice, since they “forgot to notify me of the upcoming meeting”. People walked over to me afterward in order to express their gratitude. That meant a world to me not only as acknowledgment of my professional growth, but also as a reward for fighting big personal battles day after day. I feel down a lot but I try to look and act happy because happiness and love are the ultimate goals in this life. And you don’t stand a chance to be happy if you let your emotional weakness and depression drag you down. I cannot afford to lose respect for myself, my dignity, because then I will never summon the strength to get out of bed each morning. So nervous or not, I get out there and talk. Because I’d rather be defeated than become a coward in my own eyes. Because I am ambitious and stubborn. Because to me lack of progress is regress, staying in one spot is the same as moving backward. Because at the end of the day I know that I was born a fighter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In The World Of Fantasy


Sometimes I lose touch with the reality. I feel like way too often my imagination lifts me up and carries me to distant non-existent places, showing me things that could only happen in my dreams. But at the same time I believe that imagination is the biggest part of our survival kit: it gives us a temporary escape from reality when we can no longer deal with it. Some bright made-up images keep me awake at night filling me up with aspiration and hope, but that’s another story.

What I find puzzling is how there aren’t always distinct boundaries between the real and imaginary worlds. A couple of things observed in real life find a way to almost instantly tie into a beautiful fairy tale. Life is less dull and monotonous if you fill it with fantasies based on the real things. You may get carried away by the whole process, but when it’s time to come back to earth, you shake all the things you imagined off your mind and go about your daily routine with focus and seriousness that are naturally expected of you. And then to your biggest surprise you discover that some things you attributed to your imagination are actually very real. This makes you question other of your numerous fantasies and anecdotic conclusions: what if there’s some truth in them as well? This will overwhelm you to the extent that you will want to stop this confusing process of day-dreaming. You try to stay real, take people for what they are, interpret events solely based on the facts. You are too afraid to miss the realness of your life just because at some point you decided that staying in the imaginary world is more fun.

But a dreamy mind can only stay sober that long. And yet again based on just a few signs I made such a lovely story of which I am the main character. Every morning I tell myself it’s not real, but every night I wake up to relive the details of my fable. If only I knew if I want to ever know the truth or not-knowing makes me safe and reasonably happy, because I can always adjust the story line in my mind just to my liking. I think between the real and the imaginary, the truth has to be somewhere in the middle. Not everything that we see is what it really is, and not everything that we dream of is fake.
 
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