Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is it about the Eyes?

Eyes are the door to one’s soul. Yet more and more I feel like I am surrounded by empty meaningless looks. People avoid the eye contact or when they do look you in the eye, you get zero emotion as if they were dead…

Occasionally you look at some stranger on a train, or on the street, your eyes meet and it’s like an electric shock. You suddenly have the urge to come over and talk, because you know you will be understood. It’s like you belong to the same “tribe”, members of which are scattered on earth but one look is enough to be recognized.

It also happens that you can’t stand looking someone in the eyes. It gives you chills, strange vibe which you subconsciously try to avoid. You dislike the person without even knowing why (you will probably find out later, once you get to know him), but difficulty maintaining an eye contact is usually the fist warning sign.

Eyes happen to be one of the most powerful weapons in a human’s arsenal, maybe even more powerful than wittiness and outstanding verbal skills. Some people hypnotize you with their eyes, you almost get addicted when you crave those looks, have a strange longing for seeing those eyes again. Sometimes a person’s eyes penetrate you raising a feeling of nakedness and helplessness. There are eyes that evoke calmness and inner comfort: they relax you and encourage at the same time.

Eyes will always give you away, they are a reflection of your inner state. You try to look happy, but no one will buy it because misery is streaming down from your eyes. And when you happen to like someone, there is no way to hide that peculiar gaze that gives butterflies in the stomach. And when you are in love, you can look into the eyes you adore for eternity if not longer.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who Do You Talk to When You Can Talk to No One

So I have this thing, and it keeps bugging me. And bugging me. And bugging me. It simply won’t go away - looks like it settled inside my brain for a long time. Day after day, month after month I am circling in the same pattern of thinking without getting anywhere. If only I could spell it out just like I do with everything that’s bothering me. But in this case it’s a taboo, closed topic, partially out of my determination, partially out of delicacy of the situation.

I’ve thought of a number of people who I could share it with for the sake of getting some relief. I’ve actually done a mental exercise of “telling” the story to someone: imagined what words I would use, anticipated the reaction. But it didn’t go beyond the rehearsal because I am pretty certain that I will never have the courage to actually say those words. And I will never find the right person to share it with. And I will never get the right reaction. And I will never get relief I seek. So what should I do to ease this burden?

There is a solution to everything but in this case it seems like letting the matter dissolve in time is the only option. But how long is it going to take? I’ve tried to distract myself in so many ways, but my mind keeps rejecting those fake distractions, so I gave up and faced the problem. Longing is the word here. And when you long for something that you cannot have, when you want it to be cold and hot at the same time, when you want to have both fire and water in one place… It makes satisfaction totally impossible but doesn’t diminish the pain, turning it into a paradox that even this writing won’t solve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nothing is What It Seems

How often does our mind lock some random notion as absolute? We just decided once and forever that we like something, or dislike something and follow our preferences without second-guessing them - simply because at some point n years ago we labeled them in a certain way.

These days I happen to revisit so many of my previously set views, trying to question them in a manner of “what if the opposite holds true?” What if all this time I was holding on to the dumbest misconceptions that presented my biggest self-imposed limitations? Maybe it’s time to doubt everything I believe in order to see behind the horizon? The biggest problem with preconceived notions is that they distort our perception: it’s like we’ve placed too many “stop” signs and now we bump into them wherever we go, which greatly limits the amount of directions we can take.

It starts with small things – let’s say you try avocado for the first time, don’t really “get” its taste and declare that you don’t like it. If at some point you reconsider and have a new attempt of taste-testing, you might be surprised that you actually like it this time around. If not – you won’t have a pleasure of savoring so many wonderful dishes that contain avocado. Which is not that big of a deal, but this kind of limitations add up, and before you know it – you realize how few things you enjoy in life. You find that you lack happiness, because there are not enough things that you truly like, - you try to find your way out of your misery cave, but you stumble with every step – remember your “stop”-signs? You don’t remember why they are here, but you are still convinced it’s for a valid reason.

What if it concerns a bigger side of your life? You decide you are not made for parenthood (in fact you’d make the happiest mom or dad ever), or that your dead-end job is the best you can do (and you never make a move to prove otherwise), or that living with the person you don’t love is the only option because you happen to have a child together?

It is always safer to put a “stop” sign by default. But then we get too busy with life to go back and think again, weighing all the pros and cons, considering all the possibilities. And knocking down all the “stop”signs at once is quiet a daunting task too – but you can do that little by little, one by one. You will be surprised how many “go” signs should have been there instead.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"I Hate My Life"

“I hate my life” – I heard from a friend today. That’s a shockingly strong statement. People in Haiti sent praises to God in spite of all the devastation caused by the powerful earthquake – they live on the street, many of them have no water or food, but they are still thankful because they are alive.

It’s difficult if not impossible to be happy all the time. There are things you can hate about your life – such as your current job, or your scandalous boss, or your dead-end relationship. But saying that you hate your entire life is pure ungrateful because you deny all the good things that are in your life. You fail to notice and to acknowledge the positive, placing your entire focus on the negative. You poison the atmosphere and begin to spread negativity around. Then other people, who are struggling too but don’t give up hope, begin to avoid you. Life is difficult as it is, we are all well aware of that, why would we need someone to remind us time and again.

As a rule discontent is a driving force of progress. If you don’t want to be stuck you need to move, you need to change things around you, sometimes you need to change yourself. Stop putting up with thing you don’t like, there are millions of things in this life that you would LOVE doing! Many people prefer to waste themselves claiming that there is no better alternative –CRAP! You tried a couple of choices, didn’t like neither, but still decided that you have to settle for something, hopefully for a lesser evil. I have no other choice is your verdict. But life is abundant with choices, sometimes you just change one thing, and as a chain reactions other aspects of your life begin to transform. You don’t like where you live – so you move; you see new places, you meet new people, form new relationships. You don’t like your job, but you don’t know what else you can do – try yourself in a totally new field, even if you’ve never imagined working there. Who knows maybe you will like it. Or at least you will learn that you don’t, and cross it out from your list, moving on to the next option.

Experiment, test your limits, do crazy things, smile, joke. Start conversations with people, don’t shut within yourself, you never know where some brilliant idea or useful advice will come from. Ask questions, think over the answers, read more, educate yourself. There is a million things you can do and only after you fail in each one of them you can rightfully declare, “I hate my life!”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Day Has Come

Some days are not meant to go well, no matter what you do to reverse that. Once you realize that today is just a bad day – the best thing you can do is just patiently wait till this day is over. You can suppress thinking by some brainless activity like playing a video game, or distract yourself in other ways so as to minimize any interaction with people (because it won’t go well either) and to make this day end faster.

And as some magic rule, the next day always brings relief – as if rewarding you for making it through the previous 24 hours. You wake up rested, you feel light and full of energy, you no longer hate the world. This is my day today: everything feels just right. I got enough sleep, I was on time, I was finally productive at work which put an end to the “I-am-so-useless” feeling. I found a new friend online (in fact she found me, some distant relative) – but she turned out to be a sweet girl, looks like we have a lot in common and could become friends. And I always welcome a like-minded person to my life.

So comparing yesterday, when I was trying in vain to drag myself out of the swampland, and today, when living feels easy again, - I am yet again convinced, that things cannot go bad forever. Relief is just around the corner. “The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” A black stripe is always followed by a white one. I just wish my life was comprised mostly of days, when living doesn’t require so much effort. I know that I am who I am because of all the hard time I’ve had, but maybe I would be a better me, a happier one, if life took it a little easier on me. For now I am just grateful for another break.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Drag Yourself Out

Today is the most depressing day of the year. At least according to some news site. Lack of vitamins and sunlight is intensified by the fact that it’s Monday and we are still in winter. So we are doomed to feel down today and there is no way around it… or is there?

Earlier I felt very much at the bottom of the deepest hole ever. And the morning fight that started out of the blue made me question if a better tomorrow will ever come. I stared into one spot on the way to work, and I didn’t feel like talking to anyone upon arriving here.

But thank god there are people who don’t feel as down today. They are still capable of talking, joking and laughing – they are capable of inspiring me to put an effort and get myself out of my self-imposed misery. It can be the most depressing day of the year but I can still make it worth living. Even if I do a trivial thing like shopping for a new dress or getting myself a fancy dessert – forget the unplanned spending – I can still improve my mood. I can take matters in my own hands instead of surrendering to the flow. I can read an inspirational blog, story, news. I can write to people to encourage communication. I can plan a vacation even if I will never go on the trip.

Waiting for someone to come and save you from your misery is pointless. Submitting to depression and suffering is easier than fighting them, but it makes it so hard to regain control once you give it up. So I take a deep breath, put a smile on my face and start an adventure of saving the day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making Decisions for Others

I happen to have a good healthy common sense present in most situations. I tend to think clearly when other people panic or get carried away by emotions. So little by little I learnt to take charge and make decisions for others, convinced that I am doing them a big favor since they cannot make the right decisions for themselves.
But lately I’ve been contemplating if I have the right to tell others what to do. I know my opinion matters and they agree with me most of the time. The problem is they already have a decision, even though they partially realize they are making a mistake, they are pretty determined that something will still come out of it – so why not risk it? They will listen to me politely and thank me for the advice, or they will try to contradict me with their vision of things, - regardless they will take the step they initially planned to take. I will be left suffering from the world’s disharmony and my failed attempt to bring things to order.

First I was convinced that because I have this super-inflated common sense and strong logic, it’s my destiny to protect people around by giving them a good advice. Now I am not so sure. Maybe they need to have this sort of experience when they screw up, learn their lesson and move on. Maybe they don’t need protection from pain, because pain is also a part of their life, which they intend to live to the fullest. And besides I cannot be around all the time to make decisions for them, so they will have to learn the process, getting a few bumps along the way. But most importantly, what if they are right, and I am wrong? I will use all my skills to persuade them to take the wrong path and will be held responsible?

So for a time being, I will be away from my decision-making desk, of course you can always leave me a message, but I will take my time to consider whether I should get back to you…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Waiting

Waiting doesn’t always equal to doing nothing. Some things need to be waited out even if it means that you have to fight the urge to take action. “Well-wishers” will keep whispering in your ears that it’s time to move on, that you’ve been stuck in the same place or the same situation for too long. But maybe once in awhile we should trust our guts and simply wait. Maybe in order to move further we need the right wind to fill our sails, so that we move in the right direction.

More and more people get unsatisfied with their jobs. There are always things to dislike but even in spite of the unprecedented unemployment rate, they believe they should change a job for a happy life to begin. What if you are only half-dissatisfied and know that getting a new job doesn’t guarantee you full satisfaction? In fact you are afraid to make things worse so you’d rather wait till you have more experience and expertise; you need it to be more clear in your head what is it that you want to do.

The same applies to relationships – even if it feels like moving on (or out) is not such a bad idea, there is always a question – where to? Loneliness? Endless and fruitless search? Do you exit a half-happy relationship because you believe there are more perfect things awaiting? How many perfectly happy people in perfect relationships have you met? And where does reality stop and utopia begins?

Waiting is the answer. Shift your focus away from these major questions, do some things that you like, get new experiences. When the time comes, life will give you a sign. In fact it will give you several sights knowing how short-sighted you are. All the circumstances will inevitably lead you to the realization that the situation needs to be addressed. Until then just wait.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What a Beginning

It’s a tough month, a tough week. It’s testing me in every imaginable way in different aspects. It’s testing my emotional strength which doesn’t happen to be at its highest point. It’s testing my wishes and dream as if I am being shown: is that what I REALLY want? Will I know what to do with it? Am I where I am supposed to be?

Because my emotional side is getting out of control, I have to appeal to my senses. To step aside and look at everything as if it’s not even me – but someone else. So turning off me emotions for a minute, I can clearly see that things got overheated. I will last longer if I don’t stick up my head for a while. Things need to cool down for me to clearly assess the situation and figure out what to do next.

So for now I will have to use the approach that always helped me when things got out of control and none of my actions could change anything. I am turning myself off. I become invisible, a walking-but barely talking manikin, a surface with no filling. I will send my feelings on emotional break – to the most distant non-existent meadow, where soft green grass and a sweet aroma of field flowers will heal my soul. I will come back when it’s time, stronger and wiser.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

To New Beginnings

Sometimes hope is all we have left. Hope helps overcome fear and face the facts. No matter how bad things are – there is always a way out. In fact too often it happens that a misfortune is simply a beginning of a new road that leads to new unimagined before happiness. There is an angel-guardian for each of us. Just as you think you can’t take it anymore, something unexpected happens. A phone call, a random encounter on the street, an article read – and suddenly you know exactly what to do. Or you feel some sort of relief and comfort just as you were about to give up.

If you don’t believe that things will get better, then nothing will keep you going every morning, when you just open your eyes. You will have no strength to get up and fight, and win. You will have no energy to wait till winter is over and spring is here to recharge you. You will have no enthusiasm to keep your heart open, so you will fail to notice any new opportunities that life throws at us in abundance.
Don’t let your heart freeze so that even the hottest rays of the sun are unable to melt the ice. Stay hopeful, hang on to anything good that you can find in your daily routine: a smile of a child, a pretty photo, a kind word. If you believe with your whole heart – even giant mountains will begin to shift aside out of your way to happiness.
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