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Tag Archives: joy

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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I will be grateful for this day…

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Hello World!

Lately I have been feeling great. I am not sure why. Whether it is the world around me, or a change in attitude, I seem to be bouncing back from my daily swings into slight sadness. It’s not depression, mind you. I have been there, and this feels different. I have known folks who can’t get out of bed from their Depression (here’s the clinical definition: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001941/ ), and those too scared to even move through life. That is a road I have seen, and I have gratefully never followed for too long.

No, today I am simply feeling blue. This is okay and perfectly normal. After a period of joy, it seems logical and reasonable that one would experience a slight letdown. So yeah. I am. Crestfallen, or whatever. So I felt compelled to take stock in the things in my life which already produce happiness. I just need a little change in perspective and attitude. Whenever I find myself a little bit blue like this, I find that doing a gratitude list really puts me back on the path to joy.

So here goes:

I AM GRATEFUL (see gratitude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude )

I am grateful for my carpet: Because I remember a time when I had cold, hardwood floors, and a tremendous heating bill.

I am grateful for my computer: Because I remember a time when all I had was a word processor. I feel lucky and privileged to own such an advanced piece of equipment.

I am grateful for my family: Because I remember a time when I lost my mother to heart disease, and the toll it took on my brother and father.

I am grateful for my friends: Because I recall the lonely times when they were the only ones around still speaking with me. I have the best friends in the world because I know that despite having wonderful lives on their own, I know I can always depend on them when I am in need.

I am grateful for my Netflix: Because I remember when I had no choice of what to watch on TV, and only had a few channels to choose between.

I am grateful for my job: Because I remember a time when I didn’t think enough of myself to try hard.

I am grateful for my money (and lack thereof): Because I realize that the freedom to spend is a choice I make, and that it affords me wonderful luxuries. (ok, moderate luxuries, but luxuries nonetheless)

I am grateful for my food: Because I have seen how a lot of the world lives in poverty, and how significant it is to have all this wonderful food at my disposal. With Farmer’s Markets, Supermarkets, Food Trucks, Michelin Restaurants, and varieties of food from all over the world, one never finds a lack of things to eat in the Silicon Valley.

I am grateful for my healthcare: BecauImagese I remember when I was sick and had no one to turn to. I had been so used to having a health plan that the prospect of not having one frightened me. It was incredibly confusing and nerve-wracking trying to figure out how to get services. Eventually, I was offered help by wonderful Enrollment Specialists and Case Managers, but I never forgot that feeling of not being able to just run over and get some antibiotics for that pesky bronchitis I tend to get… I have Kaiser now and I love it. There may be problems, but there are usually a host of benefits that heavily outweigh the challenges these days.

I am grateful for my mood: For I remember being so scared to sleep that I would shake, so afraid to speak up that I would stay silent, so scared to joke that I would only cry.

I am grateful for the weather: Even on its worst day, Silicon Valley still has pretty tame weather. I have seen houses ruined and people die from storms both at home and abroad. A little rain here and there is no big deal.

I am grateful for my freedom: Because I have seen those who don’t have the power of choice.

I am grateful for my mentors and those who help inspire me everyday: Because I remember when I didn’t even think enough of myself to write a blog. This is for you. 🙂

Ok, I feel better… 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Feel free to comment and share your own gratitude.

-Jon

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Il dolce far niente

20110908-102335.jpg The joy of sweet nothing or “il dolce far niente” 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.
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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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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All Things Bright and Beautiful…

Okay, so things are going well. Better than they ever have before. (Insert all the self-glorifying ego inflating stuff) So… what else is there? Well, happiness is as happiness does. I never attained happiness. One sideways look and I’m torn to shreds. One off hand remark, and I’m a scared little boy again. There is no guarantee that this ecstasy will not be fleeting. Ok maybe not ecstasy, but more joy and serenity. Peace and calm. It’s a novel concept for this late late 20 something.

I realize that the joy I feel has less to do with the little trite exterior things and more to do with the fact that a sideways look just doesn’t hurt as much, that off hand remark doesn’t ruin my day. That’s the joy. That’s the greatness. If I look at my life critically and realize that there are no guarantees, my happiness can be freed of all wants and needs. I’m not a saint, hell, I’m not even half the good-boy I pretend to be. But I am learning, and I do appreciate what I have been given. I have to remind myself that there is pain in progressing, there is discomfort with growth, but opens doors, and allows change to come through and work its magic.

I find that every crappy day, every sucky moment, is an opportunity to become stronger and wiser. Well, that is if I choose to look at what’s going on. I also find that blogging and writing helps me discover what lies beyond the pain. There is a flower growing in the dirt, so to speak. I just have to tend to it and watch it grow. Ok, so enough of the cliches and pseudo-spiritual crap. This is life, and I’m living it. I’d rather run away sometimes, but I am beginning to see the joys of enduring the everyday, the mundane, the hideously idiotic, and the beautiful construction of existence.

Thanks for reading,

Please feel free to comment.

-Jon

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Wellbeing

 

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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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