Cycles

•July 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

5 years ago today, I wrote a blog on honesty. It can be found here.

Today, I wrote something personal, and now, I’m writing something public.

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The oddity of cycles is something I’ve always been fascinated by. I find it fascinating that I have similar life experiences during the same times of year, often times, for many years. Similar things happen to people during similar times. It’s pretty weird.

Looking back to where I was last year, the year before, 4-6 years ago, I have the same heavy heart. So many things are happening to where life is squarely “in flux”, but the timing could be crappier. I’ve got a lot of important dates in the summer and all I want to do is nothing, or at least swim my life away. I want to spend time with those I love, and not be worried about stupid adult obligations. My heart is full of love, but heavy from the weight of life. It’s enough to consume a person. But at the same time, I feel hollow and empty.

So the questions are this: 1) What does this all have to do with happiness, since this is a happiness blog, after all? And 2) What does honesty have to do with anything?

To answer #1, it’s really quite simple. Happiness is not just the act of thinking positively, or acting happy all the time. It’s striking the balance between what we want, what we are, and where we are in life.  Which leads to #2: Being honest with yourself is the first step toward being honest with the world. Living as your authentic self and representing yourself honestly and kindly to the world are just as important as only allowing the truth escaping your lips. It’s a tight rope to walk and if you’re not careful, you will end up on the pavement. It’s difficult to keep going when the rope wobbles, but once you’re out on the rope, you are at risk, and you can go forward or backwards, but it’s extremely difficult to stand still. Standing still is certain death, and it’s not respecting the rope (life) or the walk. Only when we live honestly and authentically in all things, while walking gently through this life can we really appreciate that the wobbles remind us that we’re alive.

What would we learn if things were easy? If we just walked through each day without resistance? First, it would be boring as shit, and second, we would never learn a thing about ourselves or about the world. We’d never have the opportunity to find our inner selves, our inner strength, the strength to keep moving forward… so many things would be lost without turbulence.

During times of stress and chaos, I find myself trying to reflect on these ideals. It brings life back into perspective and reminds me that I’m still learning and that I’m still alive. I don’t “feel” alive some days, but it’s only when I’m just going through the motions. Don’t just go through the motions.

Thanks for reading!

 

Intelligence and the gift

•June 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I came across a brief video online today about the 6 things that prevent intelligent people from being happy. Of course, considering myself a smart person, I watched it. It was less than a minute long, because, come on now. There’s no way we’ve got time in our busy lives to watch something much longer than a minute.

Anyway, the following things are what this video (substantiated by unknown sources):

  • Overthinking
  • Having high standards
  • Being hard on oneself
  • Reality isn’t enough (always looking for meaning, lessons, or purpose)
  • Feeling alone or misunderstood
  • Higher IQ’s have been linked to psychological issues like anxiety and depression

So of course, since I’m an intelligent person, all of these things resonate with me. I am notorious for basically every single thing on this list. But the question is, does it inhibit my happiness to a certain degree? You betcha. All the time.

I agonize about virtually all aspects of my life, internally and externally. It’s an impossible position. I can never be good enough, nor can anyone else. Every single misstep, I turn it over and over and over and over in my mind. All the things that I should have said differently, done differently. Every bit of it. It’s extremely stressful to be human. I feel as though it cannot possibly be just me who does this. Other people, regardless of intellect, MUST have a similar human experience, right?

I watched another brief video the other day about sacrifice versus “giving”. For instance, giving your time to a cause that you feel passionate about is a gift. But feeling obligated to go to a function because it’s expected of you is sacrificing your happiness or your desires, which is placing you as a victim, rather than a benefactor of your time and energy. This also struck a chord with me. I often find myself in situations in which I feel pressured to attend or to do something that I’m not particularly interested in. Like going to a birthday party where I am going to be ignored by the hosts because other guests are “more demanding” and require doting, where I will not know anyone else, or the other attendees are generally unpleasant to me.

Attending this party feels forced. I’m not going to enjoy myself, and the other people around me aren’t going to be enjoying my presence. It’ll be awkward and lame for us all. However, because I feel guilty and other people place blame on me for “not supporting” the person who’s birthday it is. So I go to the thing. I sit there quietly, until it’s acceptable for me to quietly bow out. This is sacrificing my time, my energy, and my dignity, since I am a grown-ass woman who cannot set and maintain healthy boundaries with people.

Meanwhile, the same weekend there’s another birthday party. This party I’m excited about. This one is for a person that I really enjoy spending time with. I also like their family, who will also be attending. These folks like me and my family. We can sit and bullshit for hours and I love it. I literally cannot get enough of this group of people. This is a gift. I’m receiving a gift by attending. I get the gift of surrounding myself with people who appreciate my presence not only at their party, but also in their lives. Not only do they bring value to my life, but I theirs.

Being of value is something that I personally hold very dear. I don’t buy things that I do not need, because the things I purchase must bring value to my life. They must be useful and enrich my life in some way. I feel the same about the people in our lives. If they don’t enrich us and make us better people, they are a sacrifice, not a gift. Constantly sacrificing for the sake of others leaves us hollow shells. It does not give us the opportunity to enrich the lives of others or to bring value to those around us. We cannot share our gifts, and that is a shame indeed.

Sunrise

4:45am

Worry and the art of letting go

•June 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Anxiety, worry, fretting, and similar feelings or actions are really just the inability for human beings to let go of something. It could be a person, a situation, the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s”… but the crux is that there is something that we are attached to, that we cannot let go of.

I am just as, if not more so, guilty of this. I have severe anxiety about things that are TOTALLY out of my control. It’s so very easy for me to point out to other people, their turmoil and anguish is simply because they won’t let go of something. I recognize these traits in myself all the time, but I often feel powerless to stop the train. I end up rolling things over and over and over in my head, obsessing until things are blown so far out of proportion that it barely is recognizable to the initial problem. So not only can’t I let go of something, but I also explode it until it’s a mountain, instead of a molehill.

Clearly, not all issues are “molehills”. Some things that cause stress are exactly the opposite of a molehill. Some of the things in our lives are literally life and death. These things are not what I’m talking about here. Very serious issues warrant a certain amount of “letting go” too, but often come with a number of smaller problems that also must be dealt with.

However, with all things, there’s perceptions and levels of sensitivity. It’s important to focus on SOLVING the problems, rather than obsessing over how they’re impacting your life. The best way to “let go” is to solve the problem, so that it goes away. Dwelling has never solved a problem in and of itself, nor has holding on to pain and hurt feelings. I know many people who are close to me that are literally giving themselves physical health problems due to their inability to let go of pain. Old relationships, “what-ifs” and more have caused debilitating anxiety, heart issues, weight gain, fatigue, depression and more in these folks. It’s painful to watch from the outside, and it’s difficult to be on the receiving end of their struggle.

It’s extraordinarily hard to be an empath, dealing with your own struggles in this life, to then be the dumping ground for other people. This causes worry for both of us. In now in your boat, feeling what you feel… stressing with you. It makes you feel better that I’m there to comfort you, but it makes people around you feel worse. Letting go of the need to rescue those in need is a serious struggle toward self-care. It’s a battle I often lose for the sake of being “there” for those that I love. And the struggle is real.

I don’t have any advice for learning to let go, however, recognizing is the first step I guess. But I can say for sure that I’m good at recognizing but bad at letting things go, and also creating healthy boundaries. It’s something I work on daily.

Good things happen to bad people…

•May 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I often find myself wondering exactly how it is that bad things happen to some of the most wonderful people and how great things can happen to some of the Earth’s most abhorrent.

I have this overwhelming sense that the world should be “fair” but simply isn’t and shit happens to people who are largely undeserving. Recently I read an article that tackled this exact thing. So, part of the hangup about bad things happening to good people is that we see the world as “just” or have a deep sense of “justice”, and good things for bad people is contrary to that ideal. However, this article posits that YES, the world is in fact “fair”. Simply put, the Law of Attraction- we create our own reality.

In essence, even if horrible people BELIEVE they are deserving of good things, they’ll get them. And on the flip side, if amazing people BELIEVE they’re not worthy of all that the universe has to offer, they’ll simply attract the negative things they worry about. Like attracts Like.

Now, the rationalist in me says that’s total bullshit, because again, justice. I mean, I cannot fathom that when horrible things happen: poverty, assault, kidnapping, murder, etc. these people are “asking for it” in the form of attracting it with their “vibrations”. That simply cannot reconcile in my head. At the same time, I’ve seen people quite literally manifest miracles out of thin air. The dream job, a sudden windfall, and more, have fallen into the laps of people, myself included.

So that really begs the question: Why cannot good things happen to only the “good” people? This is assuming that the construct of good and bad are based on sort of the collective conscious that things like rape, murder, theft, lying, etc are bad and charity, selflessness, joy, service, honesty, trust, etc are good things. Are they just not positive enough about themselves?

The article goes on to point out horrible employees as an example. How is it that shitty people who do nothing but brag, step on others, are disrespectful, and more manage to be continually promoted and held in high regard within organizations? It’s because they are CONVINCED that they’re great, so much so that they never shut up about their achievements, and they truly BELIEVE they deserve it, despite their clear character flaws. Whereas the “good” people, tend to be humble, with a deep sense of humility and candor. Rather than bragging and stepping on others, they will generally SHARE the accolades with their teams, or humbly and quietly stay out of the limelight.

So, my natural train of thought is how can one be humble and true to oneself, while also attracting good things? In other words, how can I gain and still not be a dick? Personally, I’ve found this a tough balance to walk. I am not one to brag about my achievements, but at the same time, I know that I am deserving of good things. I’m convinced that I still need to work on shifting my mindset to really solidify my stance that A) I am deserving of all the good things the universe has to offer and B) That I can still be humble while knowing this fact.

Thanks for reading!

Social media unrest

•February 20, 2017 • 4 Comments

I’ve been sort of back on fb just over a week now. It’s exactly the same as I left it. The same bullshit politics and tragedies. The same people lamenting or embracing where they are in life. The same pictures of food, memes of animals, and photos of stupid people being themselves. 

Several people I know have recently taken breaks from not just social media, but all media and even become reclusive. Because of the terrible things, the bullshit politics, and the really awful things being spread, they simply had to take a break. These individuals are some of the strongest people I’ve ever known. That’s how you know the environment is toxic. When the people who can withstand the most get out, you know it’s beyond time. 

Social media has been an exceptional tool in our modern world. It’s successfully brought closer the furthest corners of the world. But at what cost? Are we truly to believe that spreading vitriol, trolling, cyber bullying, and hate crimes online are what these tools were meant to be used for? I certainly can’t imagine the creators could have even considered to what lengths human beings will go to hurt others, even in virtual spaces. It’s almost easier in these arenas because there’s an element of anonymity. 

While I’m absolutely not the first person to posit these questions or make the ties between hate and being anonymous, I am discovering the true nature of things for myself. I can’t say I’m a fan of what I see. It’s actually really sad. Moreover, it’s frightening that so many people are misinformed (probably myself too) and spreading hate and lies. It seriously makes me wonder if it’s worth it. 

My husband has gone about a week after removing all his friends from his friends list. He only still has his account because a couple of the groups he’s part of are really important to him. A couple car groups, an insect group, and a plant group- all of which he uses to ask questions about things that matter. The insect group is for our garden, and the plant group was for him to figure out what ‘weeds’ we had in our backyard. Both have proven quite helpful. 

But isn’t this what social media was designed for? Sharing information with people sometimes a half a world away? It seems like we’ve come a long way from that aspect. I’m hopeful that we can get back there before it’s really too late. 

The overwhelming reality

•February 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So I was looking at my blog and realized this quasi-fledgling endeavor of mine has become part of what I refer to ‘Internet overwhelm’. Everyone knows that the internet is FILLED TO THE BRIM with more information, opinion, and the unknown than any one human could ever consume in an entire lifetime. Even people who are readers or people who stumble upon this particular blog, seem to be suffering from information fatigue.

This concept ties directly in with the recent posts over here about Facebook in particular, but social media generally. In a way, I’d consider blogs as social media. What I find most intersting though is that blogging seems to be less two-way interaction than other forms of social media. Of course there’s a comment section, which I encourage readers to make use of, it’s less immediate and public as posts to social media.

There’s this feeling as if between our personal lives and the atmosphere in the world, many forms of sharing just become part of the larger backdrop, and very little stands out anymore.  It all just becomes the hum around us.

After my break from social media, these nuances are becoming more clear and I’m categorically less interested in participating. Strangely and surprisingly, my husband who is an intense social media user, all but deleted his fb account today. He wants to keep in touch with a couple people and maintain his presence in a couple of niche groups, so he didn’t delete it completely. But he removed all of his friends, with three exceptions, myself being one of them.

He sent the friends he wants to maintain messages containing his email and phone number, but then promptly deleted them and moved on. I’m proud of him. I doubt I’ll go to that extent, but I have already found myself frustrated and annoyed with the state of these things.

What about you, the readers? Care to weigh in on your opinions?

Thanks for reading!

Facebook free update

•February 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

So the week without facebook has come to an end. I had forgotten about it completely until I saw my husband scrolling through his feed Sunday morning. I turned to him and said, “Well, I guess it’s back to facebook?” He shrugged and sort of smugly stated that it’s been a week and it was Sunday.

Much to my chagrin, I decided to check in and see what had been happening since we took the break. Honestly, I didn’t miss much. I missed some tags in funny stories or photos. I missed a bunch of bullshit politics that have no purpose but to make me want to flee the country in terror. And I also missed a few photos that friends posted of their kids and fur babies. Otherwise, facebook is dead to me.

I find it funny how little is actually shared on social media. Most of it is really just rehashing the same memes and the same disgusting news stories. There’s nothing new, unless you haven’t yet hidden your friends and family with opposing viewpoints. And even those things aren’t new, just showing the same facts from the opposite perspective. Theoretically, that would be a good thing. However, 99% of those news stories are only created and shared to be divisive, not to actually broaden the sphere of information in the world.

I’m thinking that while I won’t be attached to scrolling fb anymore, I won’t be completely abstaining either. Just taking a moment to check in and see what I’ve missed will be ok, but anything more than that will make me want to kill people. As my friend’s mom recently said, “It ain’t worth my peace”.