Becoming unopinionated, unattached and uninterested — dying with a bundle of secrets and unread love letters

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I am a BIG fan of stating the truth, especially if it’s about L.O.V.E. One of the most often comments about my personality I get surrounds something to do with how open I am with my feelings. Why the hell is this so unique? Why are people so guarded? To die with a bundle of secrets and unread love letters? I understand the HUGE vulnerability that is easily avoided when playing nice, neither disappointing or over-loving people. But playing nice also avoids the huge benefits after reaching out and calling someone who never calls you or speaking opinions that someone else silently shares.

Unfortunately, I am meeting the negative symptoms of asking for what I need and stating my most honest feelings…no love letters in return. Although I do not agree with the majority of people trapped in the dungeon of fear, maybe their heart strings aren’t played as often, sustaining the capacity of their love life. Maybe I am at the point where I need to be more accepting of the dual power of open surrender — beauty and defeat.

In order to be understood, we have to explain ourselves but the risk in that is having the other people not agree with our personal explanation of a situation or feeling. Defeat is evitable in fighting for what we believe in. I’m realizing that becoming unopinionated and unattached is more painful than the pain of being honest. And I’d rather repair my heart strings from overuse than perserving them to be buried with my body when I die. What I am seeing is that we need to take more emotional risks in our society.

Then, there’s the other question: how much do you trust before you close down? I am beginning to question my level of trust in the external world. But if I choose to close down because of hurt, I am trapping myself in the dungeon of fear; I am giving in! So I guess all that can happen is to continue to ask for what you need, find people who can fulfill that, trust those people are more than few and far between, and keep exploring our unique passions: opinionated, full of love and wonder.

So if you are daring enough, I invite you to uncomplicate your relationships and call someone you haven’t talk to in awhile, speak up to those who are not best for you and those who are. Be honest; real with yourself first and then others. And never stop trusting, no matter how f*cking bad it hurts. Five years from now, you’ll look back and laugh with even more love in your heart!

Why do we do what we do? Questioning purpose and meaning in our existence

With a new job, new town, and new community upon me, I am finding myself asking the question, why am I doing what I do? Of course, there are the obvious reasons: professionally, personally, financially, all the logical reasons add up. But what I am curious about is why we do what we do from a more organic level; the driving force of our existence. Is it a love-at-first-sight kind of thing or is it a coerced ‘doing’ that we try-on in order to one day transform into the ideal character we design in our minds. And are we doing it for our own personal desires or for someone else’s?

When I think about all the different people and all the different trades to “do” out in the working world, I am suspicious to how many of us actually ‘do’ to better our state of ‘being’? Do we ‘do’ to avoid, to stay busy, to feel important, to camouflage, OR to truly seek out that which seems to be our destiny? The hard part is we never really know. I mean, intuition is magic but truly understanding that in the midst of trying to survive in this complicated world makes our destiny seem like a booby trap of struggle, simplicity and a dark unknown.

For me, moving from the non-profit office atmosphere to the high-paced intensity of restaurant work is so dynamic that I literally feel moved. My emotional being is quickly coming to realize that our ‘being’ knows best how to distinguish between those things that we ‘do’ that makes us happy and those that do not. A paycheck or promotion can only temporarily convince us of that. Like all things of moderation in life, the truth is becoming clear that what I do will never be 100 percent what I love. But if I mindlessly do not show up being grateful for the 80 percent of those aspects I love, what is it worth to my personality?

And beyond what we do, who are we when we do what we do? If you find yourself not feeling the same spunk as you do when you punch-out at the end of the day…DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Or if you can’t because circumstances are hard, CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE and do ONE thing different. I am a firm believer that if we keep our ‘being’ thriving, our ‘doing’ will bloom into bliss.

Can we exude the same integrity no matter the job? I am now recognizing that what we do does matter to who we are although people are right when they say, “a job is just a job.” Why do you do what you do? Ask yourself that 10 times fast 🙂 There are way too many YOU and DOs to get the question straight! So we all must have mindfulness to our intention around our purpose in life. What must drive it all is passion! And sometimes it takes the persistance to push through the unpassionate parts of our ‘doing’ to cultivate more compassion for the suffering of others.

With enough compassion, our passions slowly come to fruition…we are lead to where we feel fulfillment. Another hard part: the passion fluctuates. As we grow, we want to prove to ourselves we can do more, sometimes finding ourselves in over our head. Or on the flip side, we get stuck thinking there is no farther to go and we end up limited in our capacity. So as humans, we have to constantly question our purpose, take risks, but also be patient as the passions fluctuate and find their rhythm. Can you find those qualities about what you do that you inherently love and expand on them rather than getting lost in conquering just to conquer? Your purpose is your own! Get to know it, the good and the ugly.

 

Selfless respect: who is it really about?

I’m back to working full swing in the service industry and boy, is it a 180 turn from my non-profit work back in the city. The rhythm of multi-tasking through the daily tasks of a restaurant came back like riding a bike (thank god!) and it has been thoroughly joyous to connect with the locals. This is definitely one of the few benefits of living in a small town besides FREE parking: a tight-knit community of people who you build sustainable relationships with. In the city, it took me about two years to start to see the same results that I now see in a week here in Tahoe. Proving that size does matter!

Since I’ve been in my new chapter in Tahoe, I have been faced with two situations that point to one common theme: respect and service to others! The most obvious of the two is my job — literally serving people amazing food. Being a manager is the bigger picture view to any of my previous service experience. When it gets busy and I just can’t get around to doing it all or some hungry, annoyed customer comes in with an attitude, how do I learn to not make it about me and how stressed or defensive I feel? Chances are most times, I will forget that it is not about me, and will want to respond with the same attitude back because I feel hopeless in providing great service.

However, I believe that it is possible to stay selfless in the midst of chaos. The only way to make change is through consciousness!! So, back to the basics. I know that when I have one million things on my plate, the only thing to do is clean one off at a time and breathing through it with honest effort is what prevails over being a hot mess. It’s funny how in our own lives, we can get away with being an internal ‘hot mess’, abusing the most genuine parts of ourselves. But when it comes to serving others, people get turned off by us when we try to do it all without direction or intention. That’s one of the beautiful parts about connecting — we realize that we shouldn’t have to put up with some of the stupid sh*t we do. We learn from others those things about us that are out-of-balance.

Sometimes it feels like we’re right and they’re wrong (ok, most times). So what I’m talking about here is actually seeing ourself in the situation and taking responsibility for our attitude, especially those moments that are not our best. Uniquely, can we respect ourself enough to respect others? And is showing genuine respect for others a gateway to respecting yourself? I think the more I slow down, the more I see the correlation that binds the two: self and other.

Feminists, biologists, hippies, and buddhist spend hours and books talking about the relationship between self and other. I find that the only time the normal layperson is forced to analyze and build off this limitless connection is when one of two things arise: tragedy/hardship or extreme love. The other 90 percent of the time, we are all walking around subconsciously thinking mostly about how our personal ego feels.

And this is where my second situation comes into play. Despite being surrounded with this new sense of community, adjusting to a long-distance relationship brings up random feelings of longing, jealousy, frustration, and wonder.

As much as I am coming from trust and acceptance of where our lives are at, my ego still tries to bring up the doubt card when I least expect it! So I pose this question: can we love enough to respect others’ needs and circumstances? Can I honor our relationship for what it is rather than wanting more? Because we all know why I want more…for myself.

In my life, I am beginning to see that service can be beyond the normal definitions from which we assign it. Service can be as simple as respecting others needs while removing your own. Most times, it is our own wants and needs that cloud the truth for another person. Then, we end up feeling alone and not good enough. And the vicious cycle continues until we are willing enough to invite in other’s perspectives.

Whether it is someone significant to me or just a customer along the way, our path is not the same, we are simply crossing (and hopefully connecting). As much as I want to cling to made-up ideals, everlasting love from another, and happy customers who are more patient than I am!, the only truth is honesty, breath and love. As corny as it sounds, we have to surrender to the service of respect or we will be of disservice to our own happiness. So ask yourself who is it really about?

The joy in the struggle : tackling simplicity to be the WHOLE as you are NOW

YOU ARE YOU regardless of what you DO!

Why do we actually seek out challenge? As a society, we are all hypocrites! We complain all day about ‘challenge’ and yet we all secretly scheme in our minds how to construct the largest obstacles that are the basis of challenge. It is quite ironic how there can breed such a joyous outcome after facing the dark and niddy griddy. The practice of overcoming simplicity invites in complex creativity to expanding our existence. By testing the edge of our capability, we recognize the beauty of the free fall — the reality that we are more than we originally conceived.

It’s the all-known yin and yang. If we get stuck in the easy or habitual routine of the day-to-day, we look back feeling a void in our hearts. And if we push ourselves too hard, we look back and wonder why we didn’t stop more often to look around and cherish the moment; free of stress or worry. The yin and the yang is the joy and the struggle that collides into fulfillment.

In our culture so often we are push to do more and be better. Of course, if we don’t then we are not as good as… However, recently, I personally have been breaking down old beliefs that intensity measures success. Just today, my dear friend sent me a video of a man named Bashar who speaks of intuition and intellect. Bashar makes such a valid point:

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FALL APART TO PUT YOURSELF BACK TOGETHER. DESTRUCTURIZATION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DESTRUCTION. DISASSEMBLE THE OLD IDEA AND REASSEMBLE THE NEW ONE!

Bashar goes on to talk about how you (we all) have to break old assumptions to become the whole as you (we) are. Not the ideal ‘whole’ that we construct in our mind; the inherent wholeness you have and have had all along. You have to redefine the whole as you are, not as you should be. You can transform yourself easily and lovingly, but you have to choose that…This conscious choice of melting into the person we wish to be NOW is contrary to what we most likely are taught growing up. We build these beliefs that we are only a sliver of the whole and that we are only sufficient once we achieve….

I’m coming to realize, however, that once we get over and accept the fact that our existence can be BOTH simple AND wonderful, our success skyrockets because we can focus on those qualities of ourselves that are most valuable and thrive off those. My old boss and mentor taught me that I (we all) have to be great to be great. Not be great because someone else is great like that too. Comparative success can generate stress, negativity and fear. Not to say a little competition isn’t healthy. But turning the individual focus inward and highlighting our unique assets allows us to radiate rather than dissolve.

So get over it! Realize it really is only as hard as you make it! And if you need challenge, then make it hard but if you are needing comfort and ease, let go…surrender to the reality that you are whole. There is joy in struggle because we push pass our old limits. Then the question becomes, what is the struggle? For me, my struggle is being more calm, less controlling, and easier on myself. The most difficult part comes in truly REdefining our ideals to embrace our TRUE self. We are all not professional athletes, actors, scientists, musicians, chefs, etc. Criticizing will get us no closer. Who are we and what is our OWN struggle?

I want to create a complex and intense struggle of go-go-go, so I don’t have time to connect with ALL parts of me. It’s easy to push through, help others and achieve goals. It’s much harder to sit still, get to know ourselves beneath the confines of our mind and honor the fact we can’t do it all! It’s so easy to get trapped into this culture of addiction and over-working/eating/drinking/exercising/divorce (the list goes on) because we see false images of ‘making it all happen.’ But if we live by that, why are we wanting to be great? For _____? or maybe _____?

What about to just be great! Simplicity in its true form! GREATEST at its simplest. YOU ARE YOU regardless of what you DO! So here are my five tips to being the whole YOU:

1) Identify the struggle.

2) Disassemble the old beliefs that inhibit overcoming the struggle.

3) Reassemble the new beliefs that will support your transformation.

4) Be vulnerable enough to try (more than once!).

5) Be great to be great! Nothing else.

Let me know what happens?! I, too, am searching for the joy in the struggle rather than the pain. Remember, you don’t have to fall apart or lose any part of you because you’re already whole. Now it’s just time to belief it!

Sat Nam!

CHANGE: One sentence ends. A new paragraph begins…

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written!! And I’m officially a Lake Tahoe resident. What?! It’s here and surprisingly, I’m more ready than I anticipated. I am farther from the “ideal” than I ever dreamt of but also way beyond the person I idealized. Ironic, no?? Life always gives us the beauty of paradox in change occurs. We are pulled from one thing and pushed toward another; mostly only confusing us along the way.

Being in a new environment, yet with familiar people, I have come to the realization that if I am not 100% connected to the ME in me, I will become the OTHER in me! That old “self” of hatred, ego, fear, judgement, blah blah blah, that we all know too well, is buried underneath the awkward acceptance of change.

This calling to adapt is an unconscious reaction that breeds light rather than darkness. Coming from a background of anything and everything in excess: years of an eating disorder, lies and false hopes, hours of accelerating living and breathing –>

resting in a peaceful array of contentment becomes the double-take of insecurity I’m used to criticizing. Can happiness be natural and unforced? How many times in a day do we question ourselves?! The best thing about change, however, is the ground is raked away so we are left to fall — from this, we find the ground!

I’m a General Manager? What?! No! Yes! Wait…I’m still the same but somehow the slow process of vulnerability and determination leaves us with a lack of a title, but a fulfillment of purpose. Whether it’s a career or a personal shift, it’s so funny and yet beautiful at how we end up where we originally planned to be but without knowing it…AT ALL!! This is divine power — our existence at its best!

On the other hand, saying goodbye to those closest to me is a slap in the face to any fantasy I draw up. Yes, it is not all easy! So what do we do with that dark shit?? We cry. That is a known. And maybe, along the way, we accept the uncomfortable truth, despite resisting it 100%! We are where we are. And if we forget our roots for one moment, our integrity is compromised by the misinterpretation of egoic logic (a.k.a. total bullshit).

Last night, I watched Brené Brown’s phenomenal Ted talk on shame vs. guilt. The end of the talk really spoke to me and I believe it is a universal battle for us all in this day and age. Ultimately, we all want to be a badass! But in the end, those that love us most don’t give a sh*t about what we do (or if we are badass!); they care about us from an organic place of love. As much as we want to close off when it gets ugly — change forces us to expose, reinvent, and transform ourselves to a being far beyond our limits.

As I step into this new chapter of my life, it’s happening without resistance or control…it is REAL TIME! And oddly enough, I am intuitively happy — despite the goodbyes and periods at the end of the sentences. New paragraphs are forming, creating the story of my life. We all are leaping vastly or slowly creeping into the new paragraphs of our book of life. Whether we want to resist it, control it, or let it all go, there can be no shame about who we are. We have to be sure that our body, mind, and soul are connected on a level that is genuinely good! If we are used to coming from negativity, trust seems like a bunch of BS because we cannot know for sure that we will not fail, be beautiful, accepted, unhurt, unwounded, etc.

I believe the saying “the world is your oyster” symbolizes that we can be hidden, discovered, and cracked open to discover the beauty within. No oyster is overly attractive on the outside — the beauty is deeper beyond appearance. It is the taste, shape, and texture that molds the unique quality to the oyster. The more pleasurable the oyster, the more shape and texture, not to mention taste it has…this is life!

For me personally, sentences are ending, paragraphs are beginning; oysters are being discovered and all norms are being defied by the raw realness of CHANGE. My goal is to love, resist and love again–hopefully finding peace at the end of the essay! We are never mentally ready, yet divinely prepared so trust and write as often as possible. The longer the story, the more adventure we have to share with others!

Namaste

Forced to face it all — harsh reality at its best

NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME…YOU STILL HAVE FARTHER TO GO! That is my lesson of the day! It’s amazing the effects of stress. And it’s like water…once we’re thirsty, our body is way past dehydrated. Yesterday at the acupuncturist, when I started explaining my “issues”, I realized, “holy shit, no wonder I have no energy…I’m STRESSED!” Yes, complete CAPS are required here. My body is talking to me and I’m not listening very well.

As much as I try to eat and live healthily, I am battling my health despite it all. And what does that invoke? Frustration, sadness, betrayal, judgment, curiosity, eye-rolls, head-shakes, screams in the car, etc. This is one of those times that I realize I don’t have control and at the same time, I feel deeply disconnected to insuring my existence. When does matter completely abolish mind? Not to say that I haven’t come so far from my past nightmares, but I still have so far to go…and that is full-out disappointing, and yet humbling!

Cold feet,

chapped lips,

racing mind,

spinning in circles of unknown curiousity,

forced to face it all,

harsh reality at its best.

Magical tragedy,

paradise unimagined,

dreams hydroplaning farther from the surface of reality,

colliding with metallic shards of hell,

forced to face it all,

harsh reality at its best.

The music stops,

the ego is slaughtered,

vocal cords snipped,

left bleeding an artistic expression of sorrow.

Truth at its strongest is a fierce animal,

ready to attack and abuse your expression of individuality,

strip you of independence,

leaving you naked with wounds,

swollen with fear of abandonment,

dried up with sugary regret and salty remnants of hope,

treading muddy water,

searching for the shallow end to find ground and stand tall,

forced to face it all,

harsh reality at its best.

When forced to face it all,

pre-conceived notions rip at the seams,

bringing truth to the forefront,

unrecognized and uncategorized,

harassing our emotions to comply,

teasing our actions to rebel.

So we lie on the cold pavement,

alone and full of wonder,

forced to face it all,

harsh reality at its best.

Gazing upward,

the stars reveal mystical understanding,

that pain will transform to healing,

the cold will warm,

and we will collectively join in the jungle of revealation,

forced to face it all,

harsh reality at its best illustrates the sliver of light that brightens our humanity:

no matter how far we’ve come,

we still have more to go.

So enjoy the ride,

be scared and fearless,

keep your heart warm and never look back!

The deeper meaning of life: non-profit, REAL difference

This week, I am at coordinator retreat with 12 coworkers. We are blessed to be atop of Tomales Bay overlooking the green hills of Northern California. As blessed as we are to get away and collaborate in peaceful paradise, we all are dreaming about those “grass is greener” moments as we identify the hard and REAL issues for young inner city youth. We are uniting to bring awareness to and brainstorm solutions to the toughest issues facing youth success in San Francisco.

In the quietness of the foggy, wet morning the stillness invites time for me to contemplate. I see the deep seeded necessity for balance between the constructive, powerful time where energy is exponentially increasing and the time of rest, reflection and relief. No matter how hard our jobs are, we have to walk away at the end of the day knowing we tried as hard as we can. My staff is wonderful at creating space for both and this example is uplifting.

Amongst the high-pitched laughs and games, the focused discussions provide the necessary honesty to shaping brighter horizons in the future. After growing up in a relatively privileged area in small town Colorado, sitting back and listening to the intense troubles arising for the coordinators are enough to take my breath away. Not only is tragedy or violence or mistreatment happening, it’s happening on a daily basis. This sad but true reality gets me thinking…how do we walk away from conflict in our lives, especially when others need our support, knowing we don’t have the solution? How do we find the balance of providing healthy tools and resources, but without overextending ourselves? Can we continue to take care of our personal well-being when others are fighting against their circumstances?

Even beyond the constructive programmatic work, the personal stories of family, struggle, defeat, addiction, hardship, and growth brings another level to the authenticity of our human existence. The coordinators’ stories offer me the perspective of how we all individually come from diverse, shattering, yet enlightening and inspiring paths. No matter how hard or easy each upbringing was for a person, each story had the light and the dark. And when I look around at the motivated stares in their eyes and their exhilarated smiles, there becomes a sweetness to the bitter end. And the end begins to look like the beginning of possibility.

Being here at retreat makes me realize that there is truly a DEEPER meaning of life. By deeper I mean more meaningful and fulfilling. I am motivated by their dedication to exuding self-agency and the willingness to support those who have none.

That is…truly perfect, joyous and better than any yoga class, fashion bag, or electronic toy can provide us. The connections that we develop that are truly positive and satisfying are few and far between. I feel so blessed to work in a non-profit, REAL difference setting. Because the truth is that there is more hardship than comfort, and the happiness can only come when we relate, connect and thrive. The happiness does not come when we think that there is something more ideal out there that is impossible to achieve. Rather than putting all expectations on ourselves, the true solution comes to fruition when we collaborate; acknowledging that we are equal and imperfect despite where we come from. Sharing with these amazing individuals is motivating me to continue forward and find my balance not just for me, but so that I can serve others farther beyond my current capacity. Even though we are a non-profit, we make a real difference and for me, that means is priceless!

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” ~Albert Einstein

Namaste