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Personal Philosophy

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I think it’s very important for one to have a personal philosophy; emphasis on personal.

I feel that the most interesting people are the ones who have adopted an array of philosophies culled from all over the world, while the most boring and predictable are the people who have chosen the preset ideology of a few main groups to define their entire lives.

Those who have cultivated their own philosophy are often open to changing it’s definitions as they go along in life, thus allowing a mindset which fosters growth and learning.  Anyone who acts with ‘guru status’– having it all figured out, knowing for sure that they’re right and you’re wrong, aren’t open to changing their ideas about anything– is a sure sign that they are probably the complete opposite.

A big problem with major philosophies is that they’re so publicly well defined and often packaged in the form of political or religious views, ethnic enclaves, lifestyle groups, subcultures, established schools of thought, and so on.  It’s easy to stand for something that has already been well defined; to put a societal label on yourself and speak, dress, and act the part.  The dangerous thing is that because it’s so easy, we can quickly fall into preset mentalities and forget to question the reasoning behind it.  Why do we do things?  Why do we choose to believe these things?  Are they the best suited for us?

A personal philosophy is more difficult to define, very individual, intimate, always in flux, the work of a lifetime.  It can be shared but should never be forced upon anyone.  My personal philosophy is my own to follow.  Should I find others with whom I mesh well and provide mutual inspiration, that would be wonderful.  Should someone completely disagree, that’s also perfectly fine, we can keep it to ourselves.  If everyone respected every persons’ right to a personal philosophy, there’d be much more peace in the world.

A main reason why I began this site was to have a place to put my thoughts and take a look at my own philosophies.  “The life monk” is a working title of my overall philosophy — I am always studying life, appreciating it, discovering it, training within it.  I am always searching, questioning, being interested and curious. My goal isn’t heaven or moksha, it’s to simply keep learning and living in the way that best suits me.  The happier and better I am, the more I can be there for others, the more I can give to the world.

Personal philosophies are the one thing that we can put together entirely ourselves at our own discretion, and create our own individual approach to living.  Although we may predominantly adhere to a well-known philosophy, we have full liberty to edit and add to it as we wish, to tailor it to our own personality, attitude, lifestyle and goals.  We can freely choose the mindsets that work best for us…and that is super exciting.

I think it’s so beautiful that our ways of thinking about and seeing the world can be tended to and cultivated.  It’s the workings behind the way we feel and act in our everyday lives, and it will be there until the end.

Philosophies are like computers, or gardens. It is integral to know what system I’m operating on, to know what seeds have been planted and are flourishing in my mind.  They can be upgraded and fertilized at my will.  They can be uninstalled and weeded.  I can program/plant everything from scratch if needed.  And it’s all always in flux.  It always wants to grow.

 

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When big changes are conceived

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Sometimes it’s a deep yearning.  I always wanted to know how to talk to people, to not be so scared and shy.  Through awkward self-induced challenges, self learning, and some faking it till I made it; I went through some pretty big changes over a few years.  A decade and a half later, I’m still working on figuring it all out.

Sometimes it starts slowly.  For me it started with typing a note to myself in a dark room, admitting that my 6 year relationship wasn’t going to work out in a healthy way.  It hurt so much to look at those words.  I wasn’t ready to end anything yet, but now I was aware.  That awareness helped me open myself to what was best for me.

Another time it was a quick slap in the face — in the form of a full body rash.  Dermatologists were stumped until I tested extremely high for a dust mite allergy.  My embarrassingly sub-par housekeeping had finally affected my health in an unignorable way.  What was previously a burden was suddenly very important.  I scrambled to clean up my living space and researched dust like a fiend.  Changes happened fast, my rash slowly dissipated, and I admitted my mom was right all along.

There are times where it simply just dawns.  I was preparing for my first big move whilst staring at the mass of clothing piled in my closet.  It was the first time I had really stopped to look at everything I owned.  I was dumbfounded by the things (often thrifted) that I had accumulated.  Things I didn’t even like that much, it just seemed like a good buy at the time. I realized my shopping strategy was 1).Is it cheap? 2) Does it sorta fit? 3). Buy it!!.  I learned a lot about myself in that moment simply by looking directly at what was right in front of me every day.  It’s shocking how many things I tend to “not see” when I’m in the middle of it all.

Most recently it’s started with just taking a look at my fears.  I’m afraid of things related to car maintenance.  I’m afraid of transitioning into a field of work outside my comfort zone.  I’m afraid of my grandpa passing away.  I’m afraid of positive yet new lifestyle changes.  I’m afraid of losing my income.  I’m afraid that being too afraid is limiting my potential.  I’m afraid to work on these things, but I really want to.

Looking back on all these stimuli  for personal change, I realize that they all stem from some kind of desire  planted in the middle of a comfort zone.  That moment of epiphany where I allow myself to make a confession to myself and acknowledge a truth that I was previously glossing over with daily life ongoings.

This is a reminder to myself that changes are essential to growth.  They will feel uncomfortable, awkward, scary, difficult and intimidating.  They’re supposed to feel that way.  That’s the mark that the change is starting to process.

So don’t judge it by how it feels or the time it’s taking.  Look at the little things along the way, the things you were missing while you were lounging in the comfort zone.  Relish the feeling of a new experience, no matter what size.  This is life, life is learning and growth and new feelings and reckonings.

The big quote I’ve seen floating around is:

“Are you really happy or just really comfortable?” 

This is just life, and it all has to start somewhere.

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The unbecoming of me

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I could blame living in Hollywood, I could blame society, I could blame the media…from the billboards to the ads on my sidebar.  But in truth it is all a choice how much I want it to affect me.

I’m giving up trying to be my best self.  I realized recently that forcing myself to be well-behaved, to say the ‘right’ things, to try to always analyze what I should best do in a situation to get the best result that I want — it’s completely missing the point.  It’s isn’t authentic and it’s trying way too hard to become rather than to just be.

More than ever before I noticed I’m obsessing about looking ‘right’ to people, creating the right image verbally and visually.  More than ever I had been feeling alienated because I’m not in-the-know about the most recent movies, shows, celebrities.  More than ever I’ve been feeling like an outsider who may not have any business here.

And that’s when I realized that I was doing all the alienating. No one has been pushing me away or overtly judging me — in fact I’ve been making closer friendships and enjoying more heartfelt conversation.  I’m the one who’s been saying “sorry, I’m weird, I don’t watch much TV,” and taking extra notice when I have nothing to say in a group discussing such matters.  I’ve been judging myself harshly — no one else.

I ask myself why I’m so into self-improvement and practical philosophy, as if I need an excuse to be so into my own matters.  Where am I trying to get to?

I’ve always been attempting to morph into a strong-minded, kind-hearted, fun-loving, life-embracing woman who does the highest good for herself and others.  There was always this perfect version of myself that I knew I could get to if I kept learning and growing.

But what happened in the meantime was that I began to repress things that were natural to me.  One of my new years resolutions was to watch more movies so I could be more in-the-know.  While taking my life coaching course I began to over-analyze whether I fit in with what a life coach ‘should’ look like, and began to mentally berate myself for not appearing more professional.

I realize now that I was probably more of a strong-minded, kind-hearted, fun-loving, life-embracing woman a decade ago; running around in cut-off army pants and facial piercings, and joyously taking in all life had to offer.  Now I see that I’ve repressed that outlook, that acceptance, that punky self-pride and relief of rebellion.  Now I find myself looking at fashionistas strolling around and wondering if I am wearing something acceptable in their eyes.

Giving up my goal of becoming my best self has been replaced with just being my genuine self.

I know that underneath the fears I’ve been trying so hard to conquer, is a person who is all those loving qualities I’ve always wanted.  I know that’s who I really am, and it’s only when my self-doubt kicks in that I become someone lesser.

Instead of trying so hard to become, I’m going to focus on un-becoming.  Unbecoming all the filters, restrictions, judgments I’ve subject myself to — me, no one else — and stop fighting myself.

The more I’ve tried to cover up and go against my own grain, the more spite I’ve held towards myself and others.  I know that changes will be made much easier once I stop fighting and let myself be me.

So, ok. This is my life, and this is the real me.

 

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It’s up to me if I want to focus on the good or the bad

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In between the news headlines, the people who always block the intersection by my house and prevent me from turning, the desperate egos, the street creeps, the liars, the scary stories of things going badly around the world …are everyone else.  Those just trying to be good people going about their day.

It’s so easy to forget what is always left out.  It’s silly-sarcastic-cynical to say “wow, look at all the people that didn’t try to take advantage of me today”, but it matters just as much, if not even more.

It’s up to me to decide where I want to put my focus and what kind of experience I will have.

All the people who drive nicely.  Women who give genuine compliments to other women.  People in seemingly worse situations who have easy smiles and peaceful attitudes.  First impressions being proven wrong in a good way.  Hearing of others’ sweet experiences. Looking at everything that is going right already.  I have limbs that work, all five senses, a roof over my head, clean water and so much food.

None of those things are any less true than the negative.  In fact they’re much more vital, relevant, abundant, and important.

It’s good to be cautious, informed, and to have an opinion against the less than savory things; but they should never become so big that they obstruct my vision on what else is really there.

What’s really there…here… right now, is me on a comfy ottoman, fully alive and well.  There are people everyday around me who help keep this complex and crazy planet running, as I do when I go to work.  All of us doing our own little parts, just trying to get by and find our individual bits of happiness.

Wrongs of all scale should be acknowledged and dealt with accordingly, but it’s up to me how much and how long and I want the sorrows of the planet to burden me after they have happened.

Focus on what’s really there.  So much good is happening every second and it shouldn’t be missed.

When everything seems wrong, it’s always because I’m focusing on everything that’s wrong.

When I right my mind, my experience will follow.

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A rule for love… (wanting vs needing)

You must put yourself on a pedestal first before you put anything or anyone else up there.  It’s a mistake I’ve made in the past.148a4dc228f31d1b8fe4be0114d6bc50

It’s not that you should never rely on someone to respect, love, and honor you; but it’s about relying on yourself first.  Giving yourself all that first before you expect it from anyone else.  You shouldn’t ever need it from anyone else.

Needing is what creates dependence, blindness to reality, weakness in mind and emotion.

Wanting another’s love to supplement the worthiness that you give yourself has the ability to be a beautiful thing.  Something like that can flourish because there is no needy black hole sucking the life out of another.  Wanting is a natural human desire, while needing is born out of ego and unattentiveness to self.

It’s about knowing that when you give yourself love and respect, if the other person ends up failing to do so one day it’ll ultimately be ok, because you can keep generating it for yourself.

It’s completely alright to enjoy and cherish everything you have in the moment, but also to not lean on these wonderful things like a crutch that you cannot stand without.  Appreciate them greatly but don’t make them who you are.

But it’s not about being so big that you cannot be broken.  It’s about knowing the risk and taking it anyway because you know that trying it out and doing your best is better than living a life of playing it cold, boring, safe, and never knowing.

It’s normal to feel pain when there’s friction or when something comes to an end.  It’s normal to feel emotional, needy, mournful.  It’s what love is about.

Everything is in flux.  Such is love, such is life.

So it’s never about being bulletproof.

But it’s about acknowledging regeneration.  Understanding that things going other than wished is normal.  Knowing that with the right mindfulness and personal kindness, life will again lead to something just as beautiful.

It’s about being responsible for yourself and loving for yourself.

Enjoy who they are and be proud of them but don’t make them who you are.  Allow them to fuel you. Allow them inspire you to make you feel about yourself the way you feel about them. Notice how it ultimately comes down to your feelings about yourself.  The better you feel about you, the better you can be for them.

The same goes for beloved objects.  Enjoy and be proud of your Ferrari (metaphorical or real)  but don’t confuse it with who you really are.  You’re a person.  It’s a beautiful machine.  It doesn’t make you attractive and rich, it’s just there for you to appreciate.

Don’t rely on it to build you up and make you feel like a million bucks.  It’s up to you to live up to your own standards.  Make sure that you feel like a million bucks with or without it, and then you know you’re genuine.

That is a real person.

What is the difference between a person who feels like a million bucks without a Ferrari, versus the person who can only feel that with with a Ferrari?  The person who doesn’t need the Ferrari is the one who will enjoy it to the fullest and will remember the experience fondly even after the car is no longer in their possession.  The person who needs the Ferrari will feel everything they’ve been craving to feel about themselves once they get the car, but then will fret about their importance, create drama about their significance, and then feel like they lost it all when they no longer have the car.

The former has strength and resilience, while the later is weak with dependence.

So before you yearn for the person or thing that you think will make you the person you want to be, realize that whatever you think you may momentarily gain, you’re still you.  This is why people become so devastated upon losing something.  They think that whatever they had made them who they were.

Love is great, but make sure you’re wanting it for the right reasons instead of looking for something to complete you.  Once you come from a place of self love, you will be all the more lovable and life will be twice as amazing.

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What I really really want (And how I’m going to get it)

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What I really, really, really want:

To be in the best shape of my life
To make a living helping others realize their best selves
To have deep and meaningful and loving relationship and friendships
To become the best me that I can be
To travel the world
To be a loving, strong, resilient, beautiful soul
To express myself and be creative
To truly love & respect myself
To live a life of no regrets

And I will get there.

Because I’m going to do my ultimate very best.

One of the biggest things I’ve realized is how much effort we really put into the things we say we really, really want.  So many people, especially me, have said something to the effect of: “I’m really trying and I want this to happen, but it just doesn’t seem to be working out.”  Or there’s a distraction. Or a bump in the road.  Or it doesn’t seem practical.  Or someone doesn’t approve.

Yet if I really, really, really want this thing…am I really truly trying really, really, really hard for it?

Am I doing my ultimate very best?

The answer always strikes me in the best of ways.  Because I am forced to admit that no, I’m not doing my very best.  Because I’m afraid.

I’m afraid that if I do my very very best and I fail, I’m an even bigger failure than if I just “tried”.  I’m afraid that the effort would be wasted.  I’m afraid of being afraid.

Yet if I’m TRYING, and nothing much is happening yet, what good is that doing?!  That means I’m “just trying” for something that I really, really want.  That has no balance or reason to it.

I firmly believe that if I try my very best, even if never reach my ultimate goal, something would have come out of it all.  A new path, new connections, a new outlook on life.  And at the very least, on my deathbed I can look back and smile and say that I tried my very best; as opposed to wishing I had tried harder.

So I’ve begun to catch myself before I start to complain about something.  And I ask if I’m really doing something about it–really, really, really trying my best to do something about it.  And if the answer is no (it always is), I shut up and remind myself that I have the power and potential to do anything I want.  The potential is always there, just waiting.  It’s up to the person owning it to use it and make it worth something.

So I look at my list of things and ask “why not”?

Because I’ve been holding back out of fear of failure. Because I’ve been lazy.  Because there’s not enough time or money.

Then, “What could I do right this moment to try harder than before?”

I could change out of my home clothes, put on my shoes and go on a hike.  I could stop eating out so much and save money for my trip.  I could spread more ideas to more people regardless of the reception I get.  I could replace my time-wasting with productivity.  I could create my own style from scratch. And that’s just the start. I could do so many things that I’m not doing, and I make a long list and look at it.   It’s proof that there’s so many ways.  I just need to bring the will.

And the days that I do bring it are the days that I feel awesome when I finally get into bed.  I may not have seen any direct results that day, but I know that I did my best to take a step towards what I really want.  And that feels SO much better than just trying. Or thinking about trying. Trying to try.

And some days trying my best feels most honest when I’m allowing myself to relax and have time to myself.  It’s not always about going at full speed.  It’s being aware.

And it can be a long and slow and sometimes painful process, but it’s in the name of trying my very best for the things I really really really want.

So what do we really REALLY want?  How badly?  And how hard are we trying?

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The difference between being self-absorbed and loving yourself

 

Self absorbed people are the ones who are operating on fear and inner weakness.

They appear to only be thinking about themselves but it’d be more correct to say they’re thinking about everything else in relation to their personal worth.  Being self-absorbed is a bit of a misnomer given that they are completely outside-absorbed; relying on everything outside of them to make them feel good about themselves.

This is why they use others, squander their money, act out for attention and lie to people including themselves.  It’s because they’re trying so hard to feel important, in control, loved, and worthy by attempting to mold the world to benefit them; and of course that ultimately never works.

They may come off as ultra confident and in control, but once something that they rely on fails to support their worth as a person, they begin to break down.  They’re reliant on manipulating everything on the outside and are too afraid to look inside.  They find they are unable to cope and have great difficulty finding value within themselves or having any idea of who they really are.

They are unstable, whether or not they’re aware of it.  Their facade and fortress are made up of things completely out of their control, and huddled behind those walls is someone who is deathly afraid of the truth.  They may appear to be happy, but truly happy people don’t carelessly hurt themselves or others.

On the other hand, people who have self love are operating on inner strength and genuine love and respect for themselves.

They are inner-absorbed in that they are fully aware and focused on what is going on inside of them and generating their own feelings of self-worth and love all on their own.  They ultimately rely on nothing external to keep them going, thus they will not feel the desperate urge to hoard and manipulate people and things to keep themselves afloat.

They understand that by putting effort into working on their own inner conflicts and by being responsible for their actions and perspectives on life — despite what may be going on around them– they become that much more adept and unburdened when actually dealing with the external things.  Because they are so self-fueled they do not buy into the manipulations of drama, societal pressures, or other people’s definition of success.

It’s not that they don’t enjoy and aspire towards wealth, love, and the finer things in life; it’s just that they are able to fully enjoy life with or without these things.  That is the powerful thing within them — that they can fuel their own flame, thus even in cold or dark times they will be able to survive and eventually rebuild themselves.

People who are have self love are the ones doing things because it makes their life fun, productive, and worth living; not waiting for so-called signs of success to show up first before they can enjoy living.  They are truly independent, regardless of their current living situation or bank account.  They are ultimately the ones who are able to give the most to others and the world because they are their own powerhouse and aren’t trying so hard to take from everyone else.

I present these not as black and white, but shades of grey that we all have inside of us.  It’s never about being perfect.  It’s all about simply being aware of why we do what we do and recognizing the power to choose which side of the spectrum we wish to come from.

One of the biggest blocks in my personal self improvement has been getting around the idea that I am being self-absorbed by focusing on my own life before anyone elses; and people I’ve coached have also expressed the same worry.  I know it can feel counterproductive to work on personal thoughts when you have concerns about other people or situations, but everything outside is ultimately interpreted and experienced via who you really are on the inside.

The benefits of cultivating such inner love are so influential and productive that it cannot be seen as just a pretty-sounding ideal.

It is the epitome of true strength and personal independence.