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Paradigm Shifts (‘Tis the season!)

Paradigm Shifts (‘Tis the season!)

 

Hi Readers,

Before starting this post, be sure to check out this video below about Paradigm Shifts. It does a great job of showing what happens (quite frequently at times) when we start to TRY to understand what it is like for other people in times of frustration. I can’t speak to the actual intent of the creator of the video, but it’s a really heartwarming message.

So what is a paradigm shift? Quite simply, it is a change from one way of thinking to another (http://www.taketheleap.com/define.html) and is thought to be transformational in nature. I may be offering a mere cursory perspective on the subject, but I’m not here to give a lecture. I would simply like to posit that given a change of perspective, an amazing transformation can occur. For example, imagine you are in your car, driving to… wherever (the drug store, work, or the yarn barn), and you have planned the travel time pretty well (so you think). You are playing Adele at full blast as your scream out your own personal version of “Set Fire To the Rain.” You are thinking to yourself “My singing is pretty good! Maybe I can make a youtube video, get lots of hits, and may my way onto a talk show! I am sooo smart and cool…” As you merge onto the freeway, your focus quickly changes as traffic comes to a dead stop. “F*ck!” you say to yourself, either in your head or even out loud. You planned for traffic, but not this! This isn’t right. Where are all these *ssholes going anyway? Shouldn’t they be working, having brunch, making scarves or something? So you eek your way to your exit, and as you are about to take the offramp, you notice a car quickly sneaks into the lane, YOUR LANE, without waiting their turn with the rest of the folks. They do it so fast that it makes you hit your brakes rather abruptly. “How dare they?!” You want to give them the “I hate you look,” but as they are in front of you, you are S.O.L. (sh*t out of luck.) So you make sure to tailgate them so they know they did wrong. You notice something about them – anything really: their car make and model, any bumper stickers with stupid personal views and opinions, and indication of their age or gender. You want to hate them. You have good reason to. But what of it?

Changes your perception, change the worldDo you want to hate them? Do you want to teach them a lesson? Do you want them to suffer? Do you want them to feel the anger that you feel being slighted? Possibly. Probably. Maybe. Only you can answer that. Chances are you feel compelled to see the other person in a negative light. But holding that negativity, with nowhere to go, may not be good for anyone. After all, long after they pull away and leave your sight, you will still have unresolved anger towards a person you might possibly never meet. Like holding on to a toxic poison. Another driver may piss you off, and probably will during the holidays, and that driver will get the wrath of the first driver. By the time you get home, who gets the wrath next? Your family? Your neighbors? Your pet parakeet Charlie? When you’re on edge everyone is annoying. And what’s worse, if you are alone, the only one to beat up is yourself. Nice. So instead of enjoying your reruns of NCIS, GLEE or Jersey Shore, you are marinating in stew of your own vitriolic hatred. Bravo!

So… where is this going? You can change. You can release the anger. You can change your perspective on things and release that which causes you discomfort. This is only my personal viewpoint here, so please take it as such. This has helped me deal with the anger I feel towards others, and I am simply showing you all how my mind works in such instances.

So here goes. Take this person. Hmmm. Her name is Laura Spaghetti. She drives a beat up Honda Civic 1998. On the bumper there is a faded blue sticker which reads “My child was student of the month at HoneyBees Elementary.” So they cut you off. They are horrible people. They deserve derision right? RIGHT? Well… what if they didn’t? Hear me out. What if they weren’t out to get you, weren’t doing it to get the better of you? What if they had a really good reason for doing their driving faux pas?

ImageNow here’s the fun part. What IS the reason? What COULD be the reason? Have you ever been so pressed for time you absolutely had no regard for the feelings of other drivers? Ever? I have. I have had some times where I have been seriously late for something very important. I have been in a hurry at times when I fear for the safety and well-being of a friend or a family member. I have had horrible days – truly dismal days, where I was so distraught I simply couldn’t get my sh*t together and where driving was even difficult. I have been nervous, distracted, in love, in jealousy, in hatred, beyond worry, and damn near hysterical. When it comes down to it, I have had times when I have driven like a jerk, and was grateful that the other person didn’t take it out on me, didn’t blame me, didn’t hurt me or make me feel worse than I already had been.

So I think of Miss Laura Spaghetti, and what she might be dealing with. I think that she might have a child but can’t afford a new car. I think that also that she might not truly like her job if she has little choice but to continue just to support her family. She could have just gotten fired and is wondering where to go to make sure she has food for the next week.

I think of these things not because I believe them wholeheartedly. Truth be told, she could be on her way to IKEA to buy some forks, and didn’t want to wait all day to get off the freeway. Hmmm… But… one way of thinking puts me in a bad mindset, and carries forth through my day. The other way of the thinking, where I try to understand the other point of view, allows me the freedom to truly rid myself of that poison.

The holidays can bring out the best in people and consequently the worst as well. I sometimes hate to try to see the other point of view, because it isn’t fair. But what’s less fair than that is having to argue with that stranger in my head all day long. I really don’t have the time, nor do I care to take on that task. I want to be happy.¬† I want to understand rather than judge.

I want to be free – and so I am.

-Jon

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A popped-collar reverie…

A popped-collar reverie…

Gettin’ ready for the big game.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be rich. Living on the upper east side in Manhattan. A driver to cart me around like a precious cargo, or important delegate of a foreign nation. Not having to worry about finding my own way, because I’d have a plan laid out for me, most likely by my parents. Will it be Yale or Brown? Hmm…

So being a wealthy legacy may not be all it’s cracked up to be, but it certainly has its advantages. Ideas to spawn, businesses to acquire, the power, the money, the sex, and debauchery. Who wouldn’t love it? Although I was always a sort-of middle class child (sometimes lower middle, sometimes upper middle) I often dreamed of having it all – having more. Or just relish the idea of being able to travel around the world on a whim. Had I the money, I would most likely do more than that. I would want to help people. I’d set up scholarships, help rebuild the torn parts of the world. I would give opportunities to those who didn’t have them. Is that so bad? Well, they say that power corrupts (where are you Lord Acton?) and that all great men are bad men, or something to that extent. So therefore I ask, must I corrupt to acquire? Even for good reasons, can one be nice on the way to the top? Certainly the Spring Breakers had it wrong because all THAT debauchery ne’er did make a star. So what’s a young man to do? How can he make it to the top? (I hear the word “humility” ringing in my head over and over… get out, get out!) It has been so ingrained in me that I shouldn’t want things, that I should always be satisfied. Yes, I see the value of being grateful for what I have. That should always be the case. But does that mean I can’t want more? Does that make me a prima donna?

I think ur a contra…

All music references aside, I again set my imagination to a cushier environment. Going out to The Hamptons for the summer, and seeing my friends (all with popped-collared polos btw). Yes the rich still do have issues, and yes they most definitely have troubles, but they also have another thing – leverage. This of course is all theory and speculation (ok, maybe outright guessing)… I wouldn’t know frankly. Does one tend to stay wealthy when one is brought up around money? There are many who have made their fortunes by their own making. What is it that makes these people tick? How do the manage it? What makes them special? Do they want it more? Do they work harder for it? Well I’ve known many hard-working people who are just barely getting by, and many talented people who are still waiting for their “big break.” So again I ask, what is the distinguishing characteristic?

God I love books…

Sorry if this whole entry sounds entirely trite and inconsequential, but therein lies my issue. I am curious. I want fame, I want success and glamour. Damn it, I want it all! The Ivy League education, and the vacations around the world. I want to work hard and play hard. I want to taste ALL the spices of the world, and by extension the spices of life. It’s not too much to ask for, I’d say. But I suppose one can always dream. Back to reality. Today I will just be grateful that my family is ok, and that I have running water. ūüôā

xoxo

Tenacious Rookie (aka Jon)

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Travel, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

 

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Aboard a plane to NYC on 9/11 (Part I)

Aboard a plane to NYC on 9/11 (Part I)

It was around 5:45 am (PST)¬†on¬†September 11, 2001, and¬†my brother and I¬†were heading to New York on a flight to JFK Airport for a funeral. We were set to meet¬†up with my parents who have been there handling my grandparents¬†estate in Queens¬†and other¬†affairs.¬†The plane¬†had been¬†delayed for a couple hours (I don’t know¬†why)¬†and would have landed before the catastrophe had Jetblue been on time (hmm), but on this fateful date,¬†we were to experience 9/11 in the air.

I remember waking up very drowsy (as I had taken a couple Excedrin PMs at take off) and the girl next to me had woken me up to inform me of the horrific events taking place. She pointed to the tv screen (yes, I got to watch the whole thing on tv while still in air above New York). She said “look, we’re under attack!” My response to the crisis was a surprising and oddly apathetic “I don’t like these political movies…” and proceeded to go back to bed.

 

She again nudged me and insisted I look at the screen. I again contested her persistence to watch a boring political thriller, when she told me “no, this is REAL!” I had no answer at that point. Really, what was there to say? Stuff like this just doesn’t happen. Well, in my generation, it hasn’t happened here in the US. Events like this happen in far away countries and affect populations of people I have never met. No, this was here and now, in our own home and happening to people I knew. I was born in New York and had family and friends in the area. This was just too surreal. I began to feel the horrific pain and sorrow knowing something tragic just happened. The country was holding its breath at that moment. You could feel the tension and shock everywhere we went. It was written on the faces of everyone we saw. Every glance was an acknowledgement that whatever happened was big, and we can’t be sure if it was really over yet.

I remember the pilot mentioning that we couldn’t land in JFK and that we’d have to land in an air force base in “Newark.” Well, what I thought they said was “Newark” (ie New Jersey). What they actually said was “Newburgh” (ie New York). The geographic distinction made a big difference later¬†in this strange and surreal tale. So we landed, not knowing what the hell was going on or what they were going to do with us. I don’t suppose most flight attendants have first hand experience with these kind of scenarios. I remember them all trying to do their best, and helping us all stay calm.

My brother and I had never experienced anything like this. The highways were closed, and the airplanes were all grounded indefinitely. We had no information about where we were, what we were going to do, and we had no means of contacting our parents and loved ones. Later I found out what had happened while we were in the air, and how my parents thought we might have been on the flight that crashed. I can only imagine what it would feel like to lose a parent and then to think you have lost both your children, in the same week. I thank god my brother was there with me.

¬†We disembarked and tried desperately to call our parents but to no avail.¬†With all the telephone activity¬†during that time, we¬†couldn’t call our parents for a great while and reassure them that we were ok. We were told to wait until a bus comes to pick us up and bring us… somewhere. Hmm… Well needlesstosay, some people were wondering why not just wait at the base? Well, they expected us to wait a while, and an air force base just couldn’t accommodate us all. After all it was a pretty big flight. I sometimes wonder if I will ever meet those people again.

(end of part I)

Thanks for reading,

Please feel free to comment,

-Jon

 

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Il dolce attraversiamo

20110908-100813.jpgThe joy of sweet nothing or “il dolce attraversiamo” is a concept foreign to most americans. Well it is certainly foreign to me. With so much pressure (often self-imposed) to perform and to be productive, it is easy to lose sight of the simple joys of life; the joys that don’t cost a lot of money, and often none at all; the joys that exist with seeing our close friends, eating our favorite food, watching a video of our childhood, having your family ask how you are doing, or simply sitting at a coffee shop and listening to all the people around.20110908-100745.jpg
Often the silence of “sweet nothing” can be the most uncomfortable thing of all. And vacations and rests can prove often very challenging and emotional. As I sit here at Philz Coffee in San Francisco, washing my clothes at the “sit n spin” (yes, that’s the name lol) I realizing a lesson that came to me as I was watching bridesmaids (and yes, bridesmaids the movie; please don’t judge me) when everything turns to crap, and the world seems bent against you, there are always saving graces. I can choose to acknowledge them or I can choose to ignore them. But as Shania Twain says (lots of pop culture in this blog entry haha) “up, up, up, you can only go up from here.”
I will try to enjoy the sweet nothing and focus less on my little worries and try to be a little less productive today.

Thanks for reading,

Comments always welcome. ūüôā

-Jon

 

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