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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Good friends (the only social security I will ever know)

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Wow, so there is really nothing like a hard hit to my ego to remind myself of what’s important. I can get upset so damn easily sometimes, it makes me wonder where in lies my true faith? Do I place it rightly upon those who care for me? Or do I place it upon false idols and hollow dreams?
I often take a chance and try to dream, try to wonder what if I could be better, faster, stronger, more popular, less afraid, more attractive, smarter or wiser. I wonder what is wrong with me if I can’t simply achieve such things. I beat myself up for all my shortcomings. I do this not for lack of love and support, but for apathy in not seeing the invisible strings of love and attachment which bind me to the world. Ok, maybe I’m getting a little out there for a blog post, or maybe I just can’t articulate what I’m feeling. Either way, I feel like gratitude for friends always gets me out of this funk. Recently I spoke with my brother who lives in New York and has a rather busy schedule. We talk when we can, bit it is often hard to match schedules. When we do talk, I always feel better, I always feel like things will be alright. The same goes for my friends. Although I didn’t grow up with most of them, they still hold a special place in my heart. I know I fail to mention this to them as often as I should, and show them even less than I tell them, but they always seem to be there when I am in a bad place and need some support. So it is to you, my friends, my family, and friendly strangers, that I dedicate this blog. Without your support I’d never dive into the inner recesses of my mind and pull out that which pulls at my heart strings. I find very few things in life that can have the same healing impact as a good friend. And in a world of social climbing, status seeking, multi-tasking, body centric consciousness, risk taking, and perfection seeking, I need that safety. I crave that security, a social security, and probably the only social security I will ever know. Cheers to you buddies.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment.

-Jon

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Emotional Wellbeing, Spirituality, Wellbeing

 

Giving It Up! or “How liberating my money liberated me”

Giving It Up! or “How liberating my money liberated me”

The idea of giving is not a completely new concept for me. Despite this, I have only recently discovered the utter joy of giving. By giving I mean money, cash, dinero, moolah, ducats, and scrilla. I’ve often felt joy in volunteering, but sometimes people don’t want my help, they want some dough. So why debate the seemingly unspiritual nature of money, and offer people exactly what they are asking for?

MK Gandhi

In the past, when people asked me for money, either a homeless person, or for a charity, I would often think “wait, I’m young, and barely making a living, I have tons of bills, and I can’t even afford a decent pair of pants!? Grumble, grumble.” And my head goes to a place that is utterly shameful. I began to think “why don’t they simply (insert unreasonable expectation here)” or those people always “yadda yadda yadda.” Looking back on this, I really feel like I was not doing my Berkeley education justice. Yes, if I give someone five bucks, I will not have that five bucks. But if I am someone who gives five bucks regularly, and still manages to have a happy life, I am more effective and connected than before. I would have learned how to be happy with less. And despite the fact that I have no clue what people will actually use the money for, I enjoy giving, I enjoy seeing someone hold their head up a little bit more than they did before they met me. I want that to be my life. I want to be that change that I want to see in the world. (Thank you Mahatma Gandhi!) 

Animated by positive thoughts

Well, at first I experienced a lot of hesitation. I was scared. After all, what will happen if I give my money away? Will I go hungry? No. Will I become homeless myself? Probably not. Will I become utterly miserable and regret my decision for years and years to come, pining at all that I could have afforded had I not helped my fellow man (or woman)? NOPE! In fact, I feel more secure in my happiness. I feel free from the bonds of money. I would hold onto my money with such a tight grip when it comes to others, but when it came to my own spending, I was often quite reckless. Now, don’t get me wrong, giving away money will not help you necessarily save up for that hawaiian vacation, but maybe, just maybe, I will find so much joy in life that when that Hawaiian vacation does come around, I will have already experienced joy before I had even left the mainland.

Nowadays, I find that giving makes me feel more involved. I feel like I can actually make a difference. I can

The awesome Humpback Whale.

volunteer and help with my physical presence, and expertise. Or I can help by feeding some of the benefits I’ve been afforded to those to whom they haven’t been afforded. I had to struggle to get where I am today, but I see how I can pay it forward. I am not going to clear my checking account to save the whales any time soon, but I won’t say never. 🙂 By being a part of possibility for others, I AM possibility. I AM giving. I AM love. These are gifts I have given myself. The money may not always be there, but I have granted myself something much greater in return. The satisfaction that I can BE who I set out to be. If I create that world around me, then I am, in essence, creating the world I want to exist in. So I choose to live in a world full of possibility, generosity, kindness, understanding, and empathy. And let me tell you, it sure ain’t bad. In fact, maybe I will help them Whales!

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment.

-Jon

 

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Passage of Time…

Passage of Time…

I was looking at my calendar on my iPhone recently, and was oddly temped to continue flipping through the dates. As I was passing days, weeks, months, and subsequently years, I began to feel something. I’m not exactly sure how to articulate the feeling, but I believe it was a combination of sadness and nostalgia. I began to think, where will I be on this particular day? What will my life look like? Will my friends still be alive? Will I be alive?! The initial onslaught of emotions took a brief holiday from my conscious and allowed me to continue with my silly calendar-flipping.

I first stopped on February 16, 2012 where I would be turning 30 years old. I assume not much will have changed from now until then. In fact, I am very much looking forward to my 30’s. My 20’s were full of many not-so-fun life lessons, and various financial mistakes (did I really need that many ipods?!?). No, my thirties will be great. Not necessarily less chaotic, but just different – a whole new set of life lessons. Having survived this odd adulthood transition, I feel confident enough to face those challenges to come. No more Top Ramen! I swear. So on I go, into the future…

I stop next on February 22, 2022… Cool date! Well, it sounds cool anyway. I makes me think about what kind of world it will be in 10 and a half years. Will things be better? Will robots replace most workers causing mass-joblessness? Will we have blown each other all to bits, save a few post-apocalyptic survivors a la Mad Max beyond Thunderdome?! Well, by this point I will have turned 40… Wow, I wonder if I would have gotten my life together enough to have kids? Or even a house? God, time is moving fast! I might start to get down about losing friends and loved ones… I have many friends older than me, and this will definitely be a difficult thing to deal with… Ok, well on I go again….

Next stop, December 25, 2031. I am 49, and the same age as my mother when she passed away (God rest her soul). Aside from pondering my mother’s existence, I would also look at my own. Maybe by this point I will have settled on a house, had at least one major relationship (over 10 years I hope), looked at adoption, and began to build a nice nest-egg for the future. Retirement is still quite a ways away, but not nearly as far as it was when I began writing this blog. 😦 Hmmmm… Well, more friends, family and possibly lovers leaving/passing on… and young ones growing up… Grandkids for some on the horizon… It’s the circle of life I suppose. Ok, so on the road again…

I go a little spin happy and end up on June 2, 2044. So at the age of 62, I should hope I have gotten all my daredevil stunts out of my system, because things will always tend to fall apart, eventually. I am no exception. I might look at retirement soon, but this might not be an option for me. If I have any sort of medical issues or other unexpected financial struggles, I might not have much of a savings, OR retirement. Chances are I won’t collect social security for another 20 years after, so I guess it’s no end in sight quite yet. Although I am getting up in age, I still have to stay on top of things. I still have plenty years of work to do yet.

Ok, so at February 15, 2052, the day before my 70th birthday, I pause. I got such an eerie feeling. Something tells me I might not make it to this day. I know it sounds oh so morose, but I feel compelled to write the truth. After all, I can’t lie to you (whoever you are…lol). But who knows, this might be another marker in my existence. Just another milestone. God help me if I’m not actually able to retire yet… Man! I would definitely begin my crusade to become the crankiest person I know. Haha j/k…I am not sure where I will be living, but I sure hope I still have friends, I hope I still have my spirituality, and, most of all, I hope I still have my sense of humor, for that’s what will get me through the years. Friends, Faith, and all that is Funny…

Thanks for reading,

Feel free to comment (and if you don’t have plans on Feb 15, 2052, please let me know, maybe we can have coffee).

-Jon

 

The anti-socialite…

The anti-socialite…

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After talking with a coworker regarding her recent trip to Latin america, it occurred to me how much we value our privacy here in the United States. Ok, so the typical disclaimer still holds, not all of us are like this. Some of us actually have healthy networks and close family ties, and yet some of us distance ourselves from family and friends and pride ourselves on our independence. But is it independence we are seeking, or interdependence? As the song goes “we get by with a little help from our friends” but to what extent? As adults we have our own schedules, and must “make time” to be with those we care about. WTF? And as much as I hate the fact that I am included in this group of borderline anti-social “date makers”, people from other cultures allow me to look more critically at that strategy, and force me to look at my priorities. (As I blog, I realize the irony of writing about anti-social behavior rather than engaging with my fellows.)
I have been trying to negotiate this scheduless frame of mind where people aren’t “time slots,” but rather priorities. Having a set schedule allows me to do what I want and have some sort of advantage by being uber productive. Even if this were true (which it may not be), does it necessarily make me happy? No way! I often find myself happier when broke and in the company of friends than well off and alone. This is a total oversimplification, but it makes sense. After all if we as humans were meant to exist with others and bond socially, then it would follow that we should thrive when amongst others. This is easier said than done. After all, people can be manipulative, greedy, mean, hurtful, jealous, ignorant, annoying and negative. There is a veritable fountain of reasons NOT to talk with other people. But then again, there are those people in our lives that are like gold.

These people just hit all the right points and really make me feel good. These people are rare and do not come by easily, for they have good boundaries and self-respect. They won’t follow me down that negativity rabbit hole or attend my sad and pathetic pity parties. No, they have better things to do. But they can really offer a lot – guidance, a tether for emotions, empathy, support and understanding. They provide that interdependence that I so crave without being dependent or so independent that they don’t need my friendship or even want it. They are to be cherished, for it takes a lot of sifting to get to these people. But boy is it worth it! I assume you all can think of such people in your lives that play this role.

So can I be interdependent and still have a schedule? Well yes! But that’s not quite the point. The point is that schedules can be helpful, but unless I am actually willing to be flexible, I lose all meaning my life. I may be dedicated but I am not hard-headed.

Bend, not break, like the reed.

Thanks for reading,

Please feel free to comment,

Jon

 

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Meditation is, like, hard and stuff…

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Okay, so it need not actually be hard to meditate. It is a practice which I often forget, forego, or simply disregard (after all, I still haven’t watched all the “charmed” reruns on Netflix)… I have heard of the various positive effects of meditation on physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, mental wellbeing, as well as increased focus, energy and clarity of thought. So why don’t I do it all the time? Well, focus is not easy. I sit in a quiet space, breath deeply, close my eyes (you know, do all the meditate-like stuff) and begin to relax. But shortly after I begin, random thoughts begin to plague my focus.

Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman said meditation is “the need for the meditator to retrain his attention, whether through concentration or mindfulness, is the single invariant ingredient in… every meditation system” (1988)

So my current practice of meditation (if you can call it a practice) involves being aware of the world around me, focusing on the sounds, smells and sensations. Sometimes I will simply acknowledge things, and tell myself as I am viewing them. It sounds simple, but I tend to get lost in this meditative mindfulness. I find it help slow down my day, and for a minute I get to experience timelessness. It is a real joy and I am trying to do this several times a day. There really is no excuse for me not to, as it can take as much or as little time as I want. It really depends on how much I’d like to enjoy the moment. Sometimes I would rather get things done, but it is my mindful state that affords me the joy and appreciation for all that I have. I have the here and now, so might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

Thanks for reading,

Please feel free to comment,

-Jon

 

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Hot New Workout Playlist – September, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Here’s my current top 15 songs for working out. They carried me all the way through my killer workouts this week. Check ’em out and let me know what you think. They are all available on iTunes, btw.

PS: I’m always looking for new music to add, so I’d love to hear what is making its way onto your ipod these days.

Crank it up and work it out!!!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment. 😉

-Jon

  1. I’m In the House (feat. [[[Zuper Blahq]]]) by Steve Aoki

 2. Reptile’s Theme – Skrillex

 3. Sexy and I know it – LMFAO

 4. In the Dark – Dev

 5. Hello – Martin Solveig + Dragonette

 6. Moves like Jagger – Maroon 5

 7. Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan

 8. Tonight Tonight – Hot Chelle Rae

 9. Born this Way (Dada Life Remix) – Lady Gaga

 10. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People

 11. Turn Me On – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj

 12. Pass at Me – Timbaland ft. Pitbull

 13. Darlin’ (Adam & Eve Song) – Tahiti 80

 14. E.T. (Benny Benassi Radio Edit) – Katy Perry

 15. Rabiosa – Shakira ft. Pitbull

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Music, Workout/Fitness

 

Clouds (Something wicked this way comes)

Clouds (Something wicked this way comes)

“Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.” – The Smiths

Although many of my fears are based in the external world, things that frighten and scare, like verbal threats, physical violence, financial troubles, overdue bills, breakups, being laid off, getting sick, or simply bad weather. Inclement weather doesn’t have to necessarily involve an actual storm. Sometimes the storm can exist within, a metaphorical storm, that involves not lightning or torrential downpour, but one’s deepest fears and insecurities. It is a cloud that follows me and reminds me of all that I lack (or fear that I lack). For me this cloud has grown twisted and expansive from shyness, insecurity and self-doubt. Every day my unconscious seeks out that which makes me wince. It is a persistent bee that seeks to sting and follows me down every path I take. No, this cloud is here to stay, so I better understand it, before I let it get the best of me.

Happy but evil cloud...

What does it look like? It appears to be somewhat light and fluffy, like an insignificant ball of fluff. It doesn’t appear scary at first, but over time has proven itself quite deadly.

What does it communicate to me? It tells me that when I am happy, the “other shoe” is always about to drop and that I can’t sit still and enjoy my happiness. It prods me, and lets me know of potential dangers to come, all the while it envelopes me and does not allow me to see clearly. Quite simply, it clouds my vision. (pun intended, albeit a pretty poor one).

What messages do I want to send to it? I would like to communicate my frustration with it and thank it for it’s protective nature. But I truly need it to let me be, and allow me to opportunity to have an outlook that can things as they are, and enjoy things as they are, and to walk through things with eyes wide open.

The evil cloud shows its true self...

Does it really have any power? I can let it have power so much as I ignore it. Although it will never dissipate, it will back down with confrontation. This cloud, much like myself, will listen to a loud voice, and respond to aggression. The more I allow myself to be controlled by that which seeks to undermine my resolve, the more I am held back from that which allows me joy. If I am always looking for things that might attack me, and make me feel bad, I will ALWAYS find them, and I would never allow myself the opportunity to live in the present. I would always be worried about the past or the future.

I am here in my room, and writing this blog entry, I am not doing anything else. I am paying close attention to the sounds in my environment and the tapping of the keyboard. I will enjoy the calm before the storm, and I shall not fear it, for I know that this shelter, this quiet is always available to me, should I choose to exist in it. My problems are truly of my own making, but they are still a part of me. I accept that, as a homeowner accepts a bad mortgage; I may not be able to get out of it, but I can always re-fi.

Thanks for reading,

Please feel free to comment.

-Jon

 

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