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Maybe this is what it’s supposed to be like

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When I go through my day feeling moody or distant, I know I’m not participating in life the way I want to.  Then I become more bothered about being bothered, and I begin to perpetuate the negative feelings.

“People shouldn’t act this way”, “Why is it so difficult to find parking?”, “That shouldn’t have happened”, “Why can’t I be more like her?”, “It shouldn’t have to be a struggle”.

I am no longer in the moment, not functioning up to par, and I am not enjoying life; all because of thoughts that are arguing against basic everyday things.

When I’m notice myself caught up in fighting against the moment, I ask myself this:

Maybe this is what it’s supposed to be like?

Maybe this is what life is supposed to be like if I’m doing it.

Maybe taking part in an active, busy life is supposed to be like this.  This, with it’s imperfections and inconveniences, anxieties and abnormalities.  Maybe following my dreams is supposed to feel scary and doubtful at times…probably a lot of the time!

Maybe this is what a loving and respectful relationship is supposed to be like — allowing the other person time and freedom to do what it is that they need to do to pursue their own dreams.  Maybe it’s supposed to be teaching me how to be self reliant and open hearted.  Maybe it’s supposed to feel this way because I want to be in a relationship that’s so understanding.

Maybe arbitrary things happen because I live in a world that functions surprisingly well considering there’s 7 billion of us.  Because if life didn’t feel like a rollercoaster at times it’s probably because I’m hiding at home playing it safe and making excuses.

Maybe this is what it’s supposed to be like to be alive and living and take a part in the world.

Maybe nothing’s wrong.  Maybe this is all right.  Alright.

It’s so interesting how just a simple idea injected into a moment can make such a difference.

It stopped everything in it’s tracks, including the painful struggle.

I had all these thoughts constantly passing through my head about what every little thing means, when really sometimes the best thing to do is to assume that it’s all a part of what it is that I want to be doing.

It’s not always fun and flowing perfectly, but maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be like.  And maybe that’s really good.

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The first step we can take towards improving the world

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A man was shot a few blocks away from my house on Friday night.

The next morning as protesters were marching the streets, we sat at home discussing the ailments of the world while the TV commercials pleaded for aid for starving children in between detailing stories of historical disasters.

It’s times like these where I feel conflicting emotions of both gratefulness and guilt for what I have, and I know I’m not alone in experiencing this first-world moral dilemma.  A desire to better the world while despising the world.  Wanting to care for fellow humans while simultaneously fearing them.  Self-righteousness and powerlessness sets in. Then wanting to wallow in emotions.  Then wanting to tune it all out.

Then what?

Then focus on being happy. That’s the first step towards improving the world. When I don’t know where to start, I start there.

In being happy, I don’t mean ego-driven happiness steeped in self-indulgence, but the kind of hopeful and peaceful happiness that comes from doing inner work and acknowledging my place in life.

When I walk around feeling sad/angry/scared, I affect those around me.  My mind and attention is not on what’s happening around me, but what’s on the news and on people’s minds. I’m not as upbeat and social.  I see others as possible threat rather than what is really there.  I don’t feel like reaching out or smiling.  I bring no extra happiness into the world, and thus haven’t done my part in what little piece of the world I have.

The majority of us aren’t in a position of power to directly influence major change, and so we point fingers at those who do.  When they don’t do what we want, we act out from our fear and anger, which at that moment changes nothing — if anything it perpetuates conflict.

It may seem difficult to justify prioritizing personal happiness while so many people are struggling, but why add more negativity and struggle to the world if it isn’t needed?  Our water, food, housing, and income would be an outrageous luxury to someone else — it would be an insult to not acknowledge what comfort and happiness these everyday things really do bring us.  From a life of this kind of luxury, why not afford to smile more, to share more, to take more time to understand each other and show more love?

Just because we choose happiness today doesn’t mean that we’re endorsing everything we don’t like about the world.  We won’t forget about our morals, goals, and concerns when we decide to be happy; we’re just making a conscious decision to approach change from a place of inner strength rather than indulging in fear.

When we’re upset it’s natural to want to communicate it to others, it helps us connect and understand each other.  But when that communication turns into dwelling in negativity, that’s when we are neglecting our personal duty to ourselves to carry on in the face of whatever is going on and resume responsibility over how we’re experiencing life.

There’s no reason to feel guilt about focusing on feeling good.  When we choose to feel hope we can express it to others and do our work from the angle of positivity.  It’s how we do our most honest and constructive service to ourselves and others.   It’s the biggest power we have, and when we keep it for ourselves rather than allowing ourselves to be powered by other people and events, that’s when we can harness it for the greater good.

Some things to think about to begin to move back into a place of happiness:

galaxyheartLook around and admit, accept, and appreciate all the everyday luxuries that we have.  Coming from a place of such relative wealth, we can act from a mindset of security and strength rather than fear and lack.

galaxyheartThink about how other people are feeling a similar way, worried about the same kind of things.  What kind of support would you like to be able to bring to them?  Words of kindness during their time of stress?  A positive vibe?  A smile? An unjudgemental ear? An air of peace?  How would you like to be for your loved ones?

galaxyheartNotice what change comes about from going through life upset.  Is that the kind of change you want?  Is there a different approach you could take that could improve the outcome?

galaxyheartKnow that there’s nothing weak about taking responsibility for the way we feel.  Anger is the easiest emotion because it rises out of pure reaction.  We don’t even have to try, or think.  It takes strength and growth to reassume our power and to decide how we wish to use it.

galaxyheartRemember, it’s your life.  You get to choose how you wish to see things, experience situations, and go about living.  Each passing moment is adding to your life, and how you live affects those you are close to.

galaxyheartThis is the first step to adding to the change you wish to see.  How will you choose to contribute?

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Relationship Goals

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Letting go of the idea that someone else is supposed to do it for me or with me.

Letting go of the idea that I need someone to tell me I’m doing it right & give me approval.

Letting go of the thought that someone needs to care for me, notice what I’m doing, want to be with me & only me.

Letting go of the idea of what a relationship — any relationship– should be like.

A relationship is respect, freedom, harmony, and fostering growth. 

It isn’t a crutch, an excuse, a shunning of identities and personal responsibilities.

It’s two people sharing time, space, interest, and respect.

It’s your choice to act as you will and associate with whom you do.

You cannot use anyone else as an excuse.  

No one is holding you back from fully being who you are or getting to where you want to go.

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Home is where my head is

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I was so tired of the rudeness, the pushiness, the celebrity talk, everyone always in a hurry and ready to whip out their egos at the slightest provocation — I was so happy to escape Hollywood and be back home for a week.

Oh Hawaii.  I didn’t go in the water once, but I spent lots of time sitting and basking in the newfound appreciation of a place I spent 27 years in but was always wishing for more.  I sat at my grandpa’s house and listened to my mom talk about when she was in high school.  I sat at the top of a Diamond Head bunker and watched the ocean crawl up to the city.  I surprised myself by being surprised when other drivers allowed me into their lane or waved me to turn first.  I felt myself relax in the pit of my stomach.  I finally discovered the beautiful energy of a place I was so tired of when I left.

Then I felt it.  I wasn’t ready to go back to Los Angeles.  I half joked to my boyfriend about moving and we found ourselves scrolling through craigslist “just to look”.

On the plane back to California I felt funny inside.  6am in LA was cold and our disgruntled airport shuttle driver took a piss in our neighbors driveway after dropping us off.  In the following days I began dreaming of moving somewhere more secluded, relaxed… pleasant.  I wanted the island vibe but without having to be so remote, I wanted the natural beauty but not too rustic.  I wanted the ‘perfect place’ — so then I could be happier and work on my life.

Then a week from my return it happened. The return of my brain. I scribbled hurriedly in my notebook:

” I’ve been thinking I need to get away to some natural secluded place to be peaceful and be away from it all, BUT I want to be able to be a part of a bustling society so I can connect and practice and I want to be close enough to clients and still be able to travel and eventually get my monkmobile (dream camper van).  THIS IS THE PLACE.  IT HAS EVERYTHING.

So stop thinking that I need to go somewhere or get something new… THIS IS IT.  THIS IS WHAT I NEED…EVERYTHING I NEED.

I’m away from Hawaii to love & miss & appreciate it but I’m not too far away, and I’m working at a place that’s in the heart of the community, and it gives me freedom.  I can go hiking close by and still be right where it all happens….  These encounters with people and different experiences are what teach me so much and are vital to growing strong in life.  This is where I learn and expand.  This is perfect.  This what I need! And want.  It’s all here, all happening, right now.”

The truth, blowing my mind yet again.

I can’t always be seeking for a change of scenery and a “better” place.  Change is good, but true change develops inside with life’s challenges, new experiences, and ups and downs.

Other places may be easier.  They feel familiar and comfy and safe but I know that what I really want is adventure, new inspiring people, and allowing myself to grow as a human being.

Where ever I go, there will always be things I will become tired of, disappointed at, and angry with.  There will be times where it won’t feel conducive to who I want to become.  I will find myself blaming the place rather than acknowledging that it my thoughts about the place that give it whatever meaning I’m experiencing.

I’ll make my mind a better place to be.  This first before all else.

I noticed that since I’ve been back I’ve carried more of that chilled out energy within me.  I was looking at LA from a different viewpoint, one where I was more apt to laugh and be intrigued by things rather than immediately judgemental.  I remembered how much I wanted to move here and why.  My mind flipped and I saw again how much I am enthralled by living here.  How could I have forgotten?

How I interpreted the situation was all in my mind.  Everything always is.

And I can always return to the feeling of that Diamond Head sunset by holding that kind of space in my mind.

It’s never about where I am.  It’s where my mind is.  That is such freedom to know….

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Life is too short to not allow yourself to be you

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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 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. 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, so how exciting that those are the things I have a say in?

I’ve been doing a lot of thought about what really truly makes me happy, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  Not in my 16 year old punky 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!

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.

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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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The importance of having a 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.