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Life is short and then you die. But in the meantime…

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I find myself thinking of death more often. Somehow it wasn’t there when I was flying around on the backs of motorcycles 10 years ago, but now I find myself thinking about it while driving to work.

I realized that my biggest fear (more than giant centipedes and Frank the rabbit) isn’t about death itself, but about dying before fully being myself. I and know the only thing holding me back from myself is me.

In the end, in the very last moment, it’s just me and my thoughts and experiences. That’s all my life will eventually amount to.

That sounds depressing but it really isn’t.  It’s freedom.

I live, I experience and interact, and then I die and face whatever does or doesn’t happen after that.

Life and death happen all on their own– I don’t have to worry about executing those intricate and inexplicable phenomena. What I do have control over is what I do in between all that. The experiences and interactions are all I’ll ever truly own (and all I can ever take with me), so how exciting that those are the things I have a say in?

I never thought I’d still have unnatural colored hair at 30, but I do; and all while comfortably knowing that it’s not for attention or rebellion but for my own happiness. How lucky I am to live in a time where I can so easily alter my appearance to suit my inner expression; how rich a society to be a part of when I can dress myself beautiful things and go to wonderful places.

I used to get on myself about vanity, so I dressed like a tomboy and loathed anything that I deemed shallow or unnatural (like make up and girly clothes, although facial piercings and hair bleach were fine, apparently). I wanted to make sure I was 100% free from societal expectations by showing how hideously unaffected I was — which was ironically a great affectation in itself.

I’ve made lots of mistakes. But that’s life and I learned a ton and I’m so glad I went through it.  I’ve now been doing a lot of thought about what really truly makes me happy, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  Not in my 19 year old rat-tailed way, but in a genuine understanding of my own true brand of self expression.

I want to be as honest as possible, to myself, to my readers and clients, to everyone.

Since I realized this, a great heaviness has been lifted. I’m no longer expressing myself for (or against) society or friends or lovers or parents; I know this is fully me.  And so many things I’m still experiencing inner conflict over — I didn’t realize so many things I gravitated towards were for ideals that I didn’t even truly like!

On the other end of the spectrum I no longer believe that “vanity” is a weakness.  Humans embellish themselves, whether it be with mud paint or priceless jewels.  We all crave to express ourselves — it’s only when we rely on the external factors of the affect of that expression that it can become neurotic.

I’ve always envied girls who seemed to innately know exactly what their look and style was; the ones who seems to feel right at home without having to jump around experimenting in all sorts of styles that always felt a bit like an act.   And it’s way more than just fashion, but acceptance of who I really was as a person.  I found I had to make a conscious decision to accept everything that I am and celebrate that.

It has to make sense to me, first and foremost.  I am me so why seek anything but what works for myself?  All the contradictions and multiple niches that I never fully fit into and the oddness that I still feel are great things.  I am my own unique niche.

Life’s too short to not be the biggest, best, funnest and fullest expression of myself.

One day I’m going to be dead.

I’m not immortal but neither are judgements from others and “shoulds” from society.

100 years from now this all won’t matter.  So I will make it matter while I still can.

BIGGEST.  BEST.  FUNNEST AND FULLEST.

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What is the good life?

 Kahala, March '11

The big question is: how do I compromise living a comfortable life with objects and events that enhance my experience, while not living a life of excess and unnecessary spending?  I want quality, comfort, function and freedom in things that please me aesthetically; yet I want it to be simplistic, natural, and unwasteful.

In the past I’ve chosen possessions haphazardly– I cycled through stuff within mere months.  I was clueless as to what I truly liked.  I’ve had to learn to consciously differentiate between what made me feel good and what was just a moment of fancy.  I think that the real good-life is one in which happiness is chosen consciously above all else.

I don’t ever want to impose unnecessary conflicting influences upon what I really am.  I think it’s very possible to make excellent choices for things that I desire, while keeping an eye out for things that are pleasing in all aspects , whilst not being excessive.

I believe that our lives and our experiences are created by us. I believe that the good life is freedom, passion, happiness, adventure, health, love, and peace of mind. I believe that both simplicity and extravagance is wonderful in moderation and should never be relied upon or glorified. I believe that the basic foundations of a happy and healthy life are the most important thing. I believe that relying on anything for self importance is neurotic. I believe that I should be in touch with what I do and why I want things. I believe that everyone has their own unique brand and should foster these individualities and never measure themselves against others.

I believe that my brand is to help others realize the creative potential of their minds. I believe I’m here to live life in such a way that demonstrates the ability to live frugal, self-made, yet luxurious in it’s own genuine way. Luxuries of the celebrity kind are facades. Luxuries come from within and are the manifestations of passionate living.

Life is art, craft your experience.

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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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