Tag Archives: shoulders

Reading Out Loud

Reading Out Loud

In fifth grade we would play a game called “popcorn” where the students would take turns reading out loud and when that student had read enough they would yell out “Popcorn!” and the name of another student, who would start reading where the previous student left off.  The process would repeat until the entire section was complete or the teacher got tired of hearing the word “Popcorn!” yelled in as many different ways as the class could come up with.

Once the “cool” kids (who were really just bullies) got a hold of the popcorn torch, I pretty much lost all chance of getting to read out loud.  One day my eagerness to read out loud caught up with me.  I couldn’t contain my excitement for the story and was reading silently along, eager to see how the story would unfold, when I started whispering the words only loud enough for me to hear.  Unfortunately I was so lost in reading that I started reading out loud along with the “cool kid”.  The girl looked up at me, confused.  She and I made eye contact; I shrugged my shoulders as if to say “opps” and blushed as she continued to read.  Luckily, no one else seemed to notice.  The awkwardness only lasted a second because I once again found myself engulfed in the story.

On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

On Meditating with a Buddhist Monk

While meditating with a Buddhist Monk in New Zealand, I was watching my thoughts about the recent conversations I’d had with all these foreigners I’d met at this stop in my journey. If someone could take a picture of the thoughts floating around me as I saw them in my mind, they’d see heaps of little scenes floating fluidly around my head:

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The french guy talking about how he doesn’t like girls who have square football player shoulders, then, realizing that I do, he backed down off the topic and said, “But with bodies, all that really matters is how it feels.”

—-

The annoying little 11 year old boy, who, after insisting to his parents that he could help me dig a trench across the driveway, didn’t help. He just wanted to tell me stupid dirty jokes that only an 11 year old would find funny.

“Why don’t you find my jokes funny? Everyone else does.” he wondered.

I replied, “Everyone else is just humoring you.” Frustrated, he stormed off.

“Good,” I though, “it worked.”

—-

How the people I was staying with for a few days insisted that I carry buckets of water up the hills on their property from their stream to water the newly planted trees.

“You should really invest in a water pump and a long fireman-type hose, you wouldn’t even need to lay in pipes, just plug it in, walk it up and you’re good.” I suggested to the owner of the property, as he struggled to carry two buckets of water with his back brace on.

“No, a little hard work never hurt,” he said after pouring water over the last of at least 30 newly planted trees that needed to be watered.

“But it would save you’re back,” I said as it started to sprinkle.

—-

The man’s wife asked me to hang up the new drapes she bought.

“Do you have an iron?” I asked, “these creases won’t hang-out anytime soon. I can iron them really fast and it will look so good.”

“Oh no!” she condescendingly said, “you can’t iron this fabric, it’s polyester, a type of plastic, it will melt. The creases will hang out in a week or so.”

“Umm, I’ve ironed plastic before, you just use a low setting.” I replied looking really confused, but then remembering that she just doesn’t know I am the master of fabric, I command and fabric obeys, “But okay, I’ll put them up like this then.”

After hanging the curtains, I smiled at how shitty it looked. And thought, this is business, the customer has to have it their way.

—-

That same french guy who, when asked if he’d want to take home a New Zealand girl with him after his year-long visa ended, responded, “No, I could never make a woman choose between me and her country.”

—-

When the meditation ended, I boldly asked the monk a question. “In yoga they teach to clear the mind of thoughts and to give the mind a break from them, but you said that in Buddhism, one is supposed to embrace the thoughts as if you are one with them and think them through. How do you cope with having too many sad thoughts in succession? How do you keep pushing through the same sad thoughts that come to mind every time?

“You just keep thinking them through…all the way to their end, every time, until the the mind is satisfied with it, then it will no longer plague the mind. And you will be free of it.” He replied.

Coping Skills

Coping Skills

There are just inevitable situations in life that are so sudden and/or traumatic that recovery indeed takes a long time…. and actually you’re never the same person as you once were. This not only happens because you enjoy the new found “you” who has emerged out of your psyche to keep the body living, but also because pieces of you are in fact dead. Once over the mourning period, you get a new rigor and enthusiastically fill into your new shoes. Despite nature’s euphoria melting over your head, things still happen that can be stressful. Luckily the new you is well equipped to shrug off many incidents as normal errors in the process of discovery, but there are some situations that are not granted this stress-exempt status.

As with the rest of life, you find yourself simply reacting to these stress-situations as you would any other situation without realizing how much negativity you are actually piling on your shoulders. The effect of your push to maintain this new, more positive outlook is that perhaps too many negatives are overlooked and continuously overlooked and continuously overlooked, and habitually overlooked……

Then at some point your love affair with your new self fades and you’re back in the swing of real life. Looking back you can think of millions of happy thoughts to make you laugh out loud on elevators or completely space out in meetings…. but also there are those horribly unhappy thoughts that make me cringe with humiliation and dread.

My post traumatic life is filled with situations that haunt me, not because these situations were of any significance…. but because I have lost my ability to handle intense situations involving human interaction. I see people as way too complex for me because I can never know for sure what they really mean or what they are really thinking. My openness has caused me to get myself into situations that ended up being way more than I was told I was getting myself into. They are not all negative, which is worse because I can’t handle the fact that I can never get that love back.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

“At every moment of my life there open before me divers possibilities: I can do this or that. If I do this, I shall be A the moment after; if I do that, I shall be B. At the present moment the reader may stop reading me or may go on. And, however slight the importance of this article, according as he does the one or the other, the reader will be A or will be B…If the reader has resolved now to go on reading into the next moment, it will be, in the last instance, because doing this is what is most in accordance with the general program he has mapped out for his life, and hence with the man of determination he has resolved to be.” – Ortega

I sense that people put too much of their own well-being on the shoulders of others. We forget at times that the people in our lives are just that, people. They are living their own lives while expressing their compounded experience as it has affected them and just as prone to mishap and misunderstanding as anyone else.

Our social structure is lacking (there is much more to real life than what the TV has conditioned you to notice and react to). It is no ones fault. If we continue to place the burden of our own happiness on people’s reactions to us, we will most certainly be let down in some way, at some time. Why? Because there is no ‘supposed to,’ no one is supposed to do anything. Actions have to come from within and once a person is placed in a situation to ‘act’ on what is expected, disappointment will result either within the person who masks himself by conforming or in the social sphere that made the action a requirement for acceptance.

Then there comes blame. Should a friend not comply with the group standards he is blamed, most horridly, behind his back by those he once thought to be the best of friends. They aren’t the best of friends, if they were, they would sit down and work out with him what has caused this confusion, instead they sit in a circle with uppity fire behind their eyes, taking turns to spill out the green ooze of turning ones back on a close friend by each, in turn, sharing from their ‘oh so high and mighty points of view’ (keep in mind these are his condemners here, who believe that their methods and approached to life are by far the best!) why and how he has let them down. Are people so bored and pathetic that they must pick at living aspects of their surroundings for their entertainment and emotional highs?

How does this make sense? How can someone live up to expectations that you put on them? Expectations that you require as entry into your world, that are based on your own experiences… not his! Had you not expected those things of him, perhaps you would not have been let down and perhaps you would actually see all the times he was there for you. Who was there during all those times you just wanted someone to talk to, to listen to you, or to hang out with? Who was it that you drank with and laughed with and made memories with? Who was it? and now you sit there building your bonds of hatred against someone who has done nothing wrong, but simply been himself. Perhaps, if something went astray, he actually needs you to be there for him this time…and all you’ve done is just….talk….shiiit….

“Behind the bitterness…is concealed the belief that harmony will be reestablished of itself once evil has been ejected. [The] task therefore is purely negative: there is no question of building a society but only of purifying the one that exists.” – Sartre