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Tag Archives: fear

Negative Calories (aka Don’t drink the poison)

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Sometimes I can’t believe the shit people say… Sigh…

Is it right to be judgmental? Must everything be black or white? I like to think that there are many shades of gray. The critique I hear about musicians, actors, actresses, sports players, and even friends, and acquaintances can be so… well… mean. I get that we as humans like to make judgements. If we did not, we’d never sit on a chair, because we’d be forever considering and debating what a “chair” is, instead of saying “it has a flat surface, and four legs and a back support – it’s a chair – and then sit. Well, when it comes to others people, especially friends and acquaintances, I often feel pulled into opinions and critical judgments – as if I am supposed to not like certain people, to judge people harshly, to make them feel less than. As I grow and learn, I often see how hateful and mean people can be.

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“#*%$(@!?!” – some angry dude

Just this weekend I experienced the misplaced rage of a driver who shouted “get off the road you assholes” to me and my friends as we were out on a bike ride, and at a stoplight. I have recently read that Don Miguel Ruiz suggests not looking at the person doing the shouting, but instead at my reaction to the offense. Did we deserve to receive such hateful words? No. Were we being safe and respectful of others on the road? Yes. Did we do anything to warrant such anger from a stranger? Absolutely not. SO then why would I even be bothered by this? Human nature tells me that anyone in that situation would be bothered by being yelled at. Well, is that really true? Do all people feel such low self-esteem that a comment by some angry passerby really makes them re-evaluate their entire existence? I’d hate to think so. In fact, I bet a lot of people would tell me that they wouldn’t even be the least bit affected by that.

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Beware of the pizza dude (caveat emptor…)

Letting the anger and hate of others slide right off sounds easy enough, but what if you weren’t in a place to take that so easily? Should one blame themselves further for letting it happen? Well that certainly wouldn’t help matters.

So what is there to do? Avoid ever going outside? Stay away from any public setting for the rest of your life? Not an option. The answer again must come from within.

Don Miguel Ruiz speaks of a Magical Kitchen in which one has all they could ever eat – all the best food in the world. Someone shows up at your door one day, and offers you a pizza. There is a catch. If you take the pizza you have to obey that person. If you have all the food you could ever want, you wouldn’t think twice about giving up your freedom to a stranger with a pizza. You have what you need. You don’t feel any compulsion to give in.

Now imagine the same scenario without the advantage of having any food at all. You are starving, and the stranger offers you food. You take it. You need to. You are willing to do anything to get it. Even give up your freedom. You can’t help it. You are dependent on this handout.

Ok, so this is all metaphorical obviously. If you already have something in excess, you won’t be tempted to become dependent on it from another. Although in this example we use food. One could also apply the same logic to love. When I love myself in excess, the hateful words of another are meaningless to me. Not because I have a witty comeback, or because I am completely numb, but because I really have no place in my life for such negativity. It just doesn’t fit. It bounces off without effort.

That’s where I want to be. I want to exist in a place where the negativity of those around me doesn’t stick. I often hear half-compliments, things meant to be witty but are also seemingly hurtful. Maybe I am just way too sensitive. I see a lot of gay men do this to each other – talking about how they want to be accepted by society, while at the same time, they talk about each other like an enemy, like they hate them. They critique, judge, and make cutting remarks about looks, style, body, talents, social standing, class, and intelligence, to name a few. Sometimes I wonder why people who are still being treated like second-class citizens treat each other like they are less-than. I see racism and sexism too. Teasing people about the way they look or where they come from. It bothers me. Well, I must say that I choose to steer clear of it when I see it. It’s a deal-breaker for me. I guess it makes it hard to make friends sometimes. I feel like people like when other people feed into their hate and negativity. Since I try to avoid it, I often avoid the people who display these traits. Despite the challenges of finding good friends, who aren’t critical or judgmental, who aren’t racist or sexist, age-ist, or class-ist, there are good people out there. I value the friendships I have today for the fact that those in my life are positive influences. They are the best friends I could ever ask for, and I truly love them.

Society will never understand our love... :-)

Society will never understand our love… 🙂

P.S. – It is good to be happy.

Thanks for reading.

-Jon

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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A cloak of invisibility (or fashion in times of Lent)

ImageOccasionally I freak out. Not like in a outwardly crazy sense, but more in the way that one usually keeps hidden. At times I feel like I am simply a child “acting” like an adult. Navigating each day like a dream where there are no rules, nothing is certain, and danger potentially lurks behind each dark corner. Ok, so most of the time I can keep it together, maintaining a good exterior facade and putting on a game face which says “I’m okay… got everything under control. I got this… Really… I got this.” This is certainly not how I feel on this inside. Under this mask, I am worried. I am concerned about the future. I worry. A lot.

ImageI suppose this all comes from worries I’ve held since I was young. Don Miguel Ruiz posits that we inherit a belief system growing up, which we cling to ad infinitum. Being scared, we react with anger, we transfer our “poison” to another, and we feel better. We become such wonderful masters at doing this that it becomes second nature. It is now part of who we are. Becoming less divorced from our surroundings, we now inherit those traits which have been taught to us unconsciously by society. Well, I suppose we have to be good at something! I just would have wished that something to be a positive aspect of human relations. It feels like control, this reactionary existence. It feels empowering to know that we can rid ourselves of potentially negative feelings simply by transferring them to another. But do we ever “really” get rid of these unwanted and often uncomfortable emotions? I think not. It almost seems like a game of tennis – hitting a ball back and forth, the final “receiver” of the ball is the loser. But wait for the next round. That goddamn ball is heading right back for ya! And not only is it on its way, its more powerful than before. You “opponent” is seriously pissed off, and wants you to lose. Seems so petty, this struggle. Where’s the love?! Where’s the humanity?! Why even play the game at all? Well, we are taught that we must play the game from a very early age. Just try to quit, you might see a bit of resistance from your fellows. A “Carlos Castaneda” sort of way of dealing with the world. Image

One wonders whether there are shades of gray as far as judgement and perceptions of one’s connectedness to social norms. Are you drinking enough of the “Kool Aid”? Certainly the Kool Aid drinkers want you to join in. You must text back immediately, you must email withing 24 hours, you must attend a gathering you committed to, you must work during the day, and sleep at night. Eggs are for breakfast, and cake is for dessert. You must answer your phone. You must have a cell phone, an email, a facebook, and so on…

Ok, so not to indulge too much or get too “out there,” I will try to bring it back to my original topic – worry.

So let’s say I have been pretty much trained like a dog to react to certain stimuli with fear, anger, and a compulsion to release any uncomfortable feelings. It certainly seems plausible. Ok, so if that’s true… what to do?

I don’t want to release any “poison” to those around me simply to relieve my own tension and anxiety. I love my friends and family, and the world around me. I don’t want to be in conflict with the world. The world/universe is my god, and I want to be at peace with my god. Therefore the answers must come from inside. An undoing. A willingness to suffer a little discomfort. To finally let a part of me die so that another part of me can live – Wait, wasn’t that the premise to Harry Potter? Hmmm… I digress.

Anyway! So, upon this Lenten season, I see this as an arbitrary opportunity to let part of me die. To finally let the waves of discomfort subside. What does not kill me makes me stronger (said the great and wise Kelly Clarkson). So I need not be afraid. Lent is a time for transformation. I look to those who have survived the Holocaust, both physically and mentally. How did these folks find freedom in such an oppressive environment? By seeking freedom from a sacred place – a place within. A place that no one, no matter how strong or cruel, could ever desecrate. But transformation is not easy. As my mentor and friend David Bruner says “Practice makes permanent.” I must find a new belief system, and guide myself through everything I do with my new beliefs. I need not seek the approval of the outside world, for I know that I am loved, and that I will come out stronger on the other side.

Happy Ash Wednesday folks. And may the odds be ever in your favor! 🙂

Thanks for reading.

-Jon

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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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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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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. 🙂

-Jon

 

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Monster from Within

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Sometimes it can be difficult to get through the day. Most of the time, life seems alright and nothing more than mild depression or joy seems to take place. But other days, life can seem rough. And what’s more, it may not be clear why. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and I am not sure why. I didn’t have sugar before bed or anything, but I woke up terrified. Sometimes it’s the things I can’t articulate that overwhelm me more than anything else. At least with a challenge that’s laid out in front of me, I know what to fight for and what to prepare myself against. But this morning was something different. Sometimes the monster is not like something in a Harry Potter movie, but something inside of me. Another form of destructive beast. The kind that takes on friendly forms and eats me from the inside out. I speak of course about a monster that has no name, one that lies in the deep and waits for a vulnerable time to strike. It cares less about the injury and more about getting me down.

For days like this I have to tell myself to press on. Fight the good fight, or don’t fight at all. Do whatever it takes to not let it take control. I took a hard look at all the wonderful gifts I have in my life and decided to focus on that. And although I felt sad and anxious, I walked through it all accepting the fact that I can be a neurotic young man sometimes. 🙂

So having pressed on and weathered the crappy morning of uncertain despair and hidden sadness, through the love and joy of the world around me and the wiliness to not only push through my emotions but also accept that I have them and maybe they will sting for a while. After all I am not a robot. I get knocked down and I get back up. It’s not easy. It just plain isn’t. But it is possible. With faith that everything will be okay, I can walk through anything. So I will choose to hold that in my mind the next time I wake up less than wonderful.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Wellbeing

 

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