Monday, September 29, 2014

personal legends

editorial: i wrote this the other night and thought it too "unfinished" to publish...not too raw, per say, but it just doesn't feel closed. which, when it boils down to it, is my current state of being.

so with that, read on, my friends...





"when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream." 

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

it is in amazement that i observe the wonders of the universe on a daily basis; how people, situations, nature, all of it comes together to send a message. understanding that language, speaking that dialect, is absolutely dependent upon perspective, upon personal strength, openness, acceptance, peace.


peace.


peace is a good one. a tricky state to obtain - or maintain - for me personally, since it requires stillness. stillness in the figurative sense rather than the literal, although the two are not mutually exclusive, they do not necessarily come as one. they aren't synonymous with each other. I struggle with stillness at times, as do we all I would imagine, as it requires fully accepting the present moment. at the very least it requires feeling the present moment, and the present moment is often tinged with past experiences, joys, sorrows, and expectations for the future. this is not stillness. this association, this search from the brain for similar or like experiences from our mental rolodex, this automatic habit of the heart to seek out like situations, emotional parallels, is a diversion tactic to avoid living, feeling, reality. many times this may serve as a defense mechanism to avoid suffering through something painful, or a warning indicator to caution fully enjoying what is actually happening, but it also prohibits us from seeing things as they truly are. it morphs people, places, and circumstances, which is neither fair to those affected, nor is it fair to me, to you, to all of us.

the inability to be still, to listen to our own heart, steers us in the wrong direction. it leads us astray.


let me speak solely for myself here and not be presumptuous:



it leads me astray.



I know this, thus I try my darndest to keep the communication open. but, see, I shut my heart off for a long time. I suspect many of us have done this, oftentimes without consciously realizing we were doing it. the heart, however, the heart knew, the heart knows that we did it. and so i am working on continuing to show my hear that it can trust me, that i will be there for it in the best of times and the worst of times. that, even in times of sorrow or disappointment, that we will work through ti together and it will never be left behind.

i spent the last two days re-reading the alchemist. a coworker brought it up just as i had noticed it on my bookshelf. not sure I've mentioned this before, but it was time. as soon as i started, it was as if i had not eaten in a year. my heart, my soul, the universe inside of me, they all wanted more. it was as though the world placed it on my nightstand at just the right moment.


interesting how that happens.


i have half-joked that i am going through an existential crisis, that i am questioning where my life is going so as to do it the most justice i can while i am still living it. so as to fully satisfy the greater purpose for why i was given the opportunity to embark on this awe-inspiring, incredibly eye-opening, and so often brutal journey called life. it is said with a twinge of sarcasm so as not to freak out those who aren't ready to embark on their own journey. it is meant more as a reminder to myself that, at the end of the day, that is the ultimate goal i have for myself, that God has for me. i am in search of my own personal legend.

i am closer. i have hunches, feelings. i am actually fairly confident that i am aware of what it is, but i defer not to any sort of confidence within myself, but more so to confidence in that God with align the universe so that it steers me in the direction that is meant for me.

my first inclination was to say "right for me", but that would imply that there is a right and a wrong, rather than the fact that i choose to go down this path. that i choose to follow the signs. that i am consciously trying to operate from that place of openness i spoke so passionately about earlier.

call me crazy, but i am broadcasting this to everyone. ok, not EVERYONE, but many. it is a reminder to myself. it is my own accountability group. i am putting it out there in the universe, without judgment, with implicit faith in the fact that i must take risks, but still maintain an air of caution for those not altruistically motivated.



i know i will encounter difficulty, trials, tribulations.



i prefer to call them lessons.



i hope to be rewarded, but i need not count on anything. i know that, by virtue of embarking on the journey, i already reap the benefit.


i already grow.


that's some pretty existential shit, right there.


much peace,
b

Sunday, September 21, 2014

let me tell you a story...

let's start this story with a chubby, weenie of a girl that gets shoved to the floor by her best friend in the world. said girl sits, deflated, and begins to cry once the shock wears off, which likely equates to 5 seconds or less. her parents witness this situation from the sidelines, quietly observing the interaction and, upon seeing their only child is wounded, albeit emotionally, they advise what most parents in that situation would recommend - "Go on! Push her back! - only half in jest.

the girl, still wailing from what innocently started as play, continues to cry and fight back, responding the way most children would - "No, I can't! I feel bad doing that!"

no joke.

now. let me clear up a couple of details regarding this situation: spanish was my first language, as my parents do not speak English, so words have been changed as to be more accurate to you, the non-spanish-speaker (yes. i'm talking to YOU). next, this did actually happen, only the girls in the scenario are approximately a year old. how many children have begun carrying empathy and consciousness by age one?


welcome to my life.


let me introduce myself. i was conceived the first time my mother had sex. that should set the tone. nine months later, i was subsequently born and adopted by Cuban immigrants at 12 days old. although my mother loved me dearly, she was the ninth of eleven children and was not on board with raising another child. understandable, really. so they tried to ensure i'd go to a spanish family since my father was Cuban as well. i'd love to say that i'd have been better off being raised by my biological family, but the truth is, i couldn't have asked for better parents. although i don't quite recall when i first realized that, i do remember somewhat always being aware of that.  perhaps it was the fact that they didn't go anywhere unless i was invited, or that i was constantly reminded of how their life was truly complete when i arrived. regardless, the message was clear:

i was special (unique?)

before you start wondering why you purchased an autobiography under the guise it was to motivate you to find your life's purpose, i assure you it was no illusion; we will get there. but you wouldn't take a girl to bed without buying her dinner first, would you? (don't answer that.)

the point is, in order to know where i was headed, i needed to look back on where i had been. not just where i had been; it was vital to recap to myself what i had experienced = perceived or not - what living my life had looked like over the last 34 years. without doing this, i was a collection of memories, experiences, one-offs that coincidentally fell between the birth and death of one individual.

nothing in life happens by chance. if you know one thing about me, know that i believe that.

looking at life this way keeps me digging, keeps me curious, keeps me peeling back layers - which, by the way, get thinner and thinner once you are well-versed at peeling - and turning up new reasons as to why certain things happen.

so back to where i was, before i was able to fully embrace my current place and endorse where i was going, i needed to comb through my experiences, my life, and find the common threads.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

living in colour...spelled the british way to seem more interesting!

there have been so many signs that have been presented to me recently. signs that point in a direction i have only dreamed about, and dreamed about in the secret crevices of my heart of hearts. the dreams that one dares to dream, that lie somewhere over the rainbow.

these dreams are what are making me feel i am living in color, and yet, there is still a layer of fear that i continue to battle. let's be honest, there are multiple layers of fear that i continue to peel away. but can i say that the more that i offer up of myself, share my true, authentic, fully-present self to individuals ready to accept the gift of that, the more i am rewarded. the more i feel overwhelmed at the reaction, the connection, the gratitude i feel from others??  it is that openness, that sharing, that is truly the biggest gift i - or anyone - can give to someone else. it is the very act of sharing what you inherently possess - your heart of hearts, your naked, vulnerable, deliberate person - that resonates. it screams from the rooftops and whispers in the darkness. it is the blind caress in the middle of the night that is instinctive, unpretentious.

it is raw.

...and it is scary.

funny, after writing that down, my first thought is that i tend to often put that in there, the fear, the hesitation, and i wonder why i feel the need to interject that when i am not entirely sure i own that fear. sure, it is scary, but SO WHAT? the more i feed that wolf, the stronger it gets...the greater it is able to fight at winning the war, and if there is one thing i am becoming adept at clawing out of, it is the rabbit hole of fear, of negativity, of impossibility.

I REFUSE TO THINK IMPOSSIBLE.

i am spiritual. i believe in god, a higher power greater than myself, than this life. faith is a huge part of who i am, who i have become, and who i will grow into...and if there is one thing i know and truly have blind faith in, it is "through him, all things are possible." i know - with more certainty than i would care to admit anything - that whatever it is that i am capable of, that is meant for me, that i can DREAM, and BE and DO, i know that it is ALL POSSIBLE, no double negatives here, just possibility. HUGE POSSIBLITY.


and you know what?!?

here's the best part:




that possibility...that HUGE POSSIBILITY...it is there. it is here.

it is present, and living, and thriving, in ALL of us.

Every. Single. One.


how 'bout dem apples?!? what better news can you receive, can you fully embrace, what better gift can you get than the certainty that whatever you can DREAM, you can DO?!?

now i am not saying it is meant to happen, or that it is the right thing for me, or you, or any of us. i, for example, dream of lying on a beach, after having won the lottery, obviously, and sipping on daiquiris all day while my perfect little blonde children frolic in the sun Coppertone-style. and i eat dessert for every meal without hesitation because it will provide me the nutrients i need to survive and dessert is WONDERFUL. AMAZING. like manna from Heaven itself.



especially ice cream.



in reality, i have not (yet!) won the lottery, live an hour from the beach, and have an alcohol tolerance that would probably prohibit me from imbibing in no more than 3 daiquiris - max (ok, maybe 4). my daughter - the only child i have - is a gloriously dark-haired hurricane of excitable brown curls, flailing limbs, and emotions so prominently displayed on her face that it would be impossible to guess her volume dial is turned to anything but FULL THROTTLE except for just after she wakes and is still slightly sleepy. and that dessert concept? well let's just call that hypothesis something i'm diligently working on with mixed results...except that you can rest assured that dessert not being anything shy of AMAZING? well, i can confirm that with a high statistical degree of accuracy.


especially ice cream.


but i digress.



it is not in the literal sense that we hold endless possibilities, but in regards to our inherent potential to become our true selves. to fully embrace our strengths, our faults, our wins, our losses. the possibilities that are inherent in there being a greater purpose to our existence in this universe, in this world, on this continent. in this state, city, building, moment.

everything happens for a reason. or season. not just people, but places, situations, joys, sorrows. ALL of it is for a purpose, meant to contribute to how we view the world, treat others, treat ourselves. we raise our children to be respectful and kind and brave and caring. and then turn around and cuss someone out for cutting us off.


or so i hear.

just to clear things up, that cussing in traffic story is about a friend..


but that, folks, is what makes this rad, gnarly, phenomenal, heartbreaking journey The Greatest Ride We'll Ever Be On. that is what will keep us sitting in the seat, despite almost getting sick while it is in motion. actually, it keeps us on after we have already gotten sick. the potential of that unknown. the fact that each day provides us an opportunity to start anew, to wash away our past and create our future.

now, the risk-lovers out there are going - sweet, man! while those more risk-averse, the at-least-partially nurtured trait that i am trying to steer clear of, are shaking their heads and tsk-tsking away at the thought that someone would venture out to do anything that is not SAFE, or MANAGEABLE, or PLANNED WELL. i challenge you to fully embrace yourself - your true, inner, secret self - and ask yourself about dreams deferred. dust them off, dig them up, rehydrate those raisins in the sun where potential once lived, and brainstorm, dream, foster a way for them to be incorporated in your life, in a realistic way.

remove the tourniquet and let the blood flow back into that limb you've tried to ignore exists. look for a way, MULTIPLE WAYS, to add that color back into life that has so slowly faded over time.

there is a reason the clich├ęs, the stereotypes, call working women and men, "suits", "drones"...that jobs and companies "suck the life out of you".

it isn't because they are awful. it is because they are not the right fit.

it is because you, me, all of us, have a purpose greater, higher - different, even - than we let ourselves reach for. even see, at times.

i challenge all of you, myself, everyone i come in contact with. i challenge those who choose to be a part of my life, even if in the periphery, to search for that, dig deeper, ask the difficult questions.



or, you know, i will ask you.



lord knows i am still not only searching, but on this crazy ride called life, self-discovery, self-fulfillment.

i am chucking out the window the notion that "social success" and "personal fulfillment" are equal to each other. what that does is equates all of us with things that may not be in line with our heart of hearts, our passions, and our purpose. 


and i refuse to choose one or the other, personally. your choice may be different, but that is the beauty of the journey towards self-actualization: it is yours, and yours alone. it looks different to everyone, and no two are exactly alike.



it is the Fingerprint Of The Soul.



as i try to find a match for mine, to figure what exact combo of loops, whorls and arches it possesses, i discover something new. about myself, about my life, about others. i give of myself and am honored with the gift bestowed upon me by others: the sharing of their own dreams - whether buried deep, actively seeking oxygen, or in the land of the living thriving as a reality.


those gifts, those sacred spaces, those moments where i see others step into the light - oftentimes to their own surprise - that is when their brilliance shines so brightly it feels like staring into the sun. it is the moment we all come alive, even if for a second.


those moments, one after another, are selfishly the gifts i am most grateful for.


those are the foundation, the impetus. they are the building blocks that lift me, support me, propel me towards being fully present - or at least working at it - each and every day.


it is time to live in color.

please join me.


it is insanely worth it.


with love,
b