Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are we becoming a world where nobody looks up?

Yesterday I was in an elevator texting a friend on my way down to the lobby. At the 6th floor, a woman got on and gave me friendly hello. It took me a moment to get out of my texting mode until I looked up and returned her greeting. When we reached the lobby she smiled and said, "we're becoming a world where nobody looks up." I told her that I agree and that it's a shame, but I have become a part of this world.

Is it true that we've become more focused on contacting people virtually than interacting with those around us? Is it such a bad thing that we sometimes stay more connected with our loved ones through texting and email, even if it's at the price of interacting with strangers we see daily?

On one hand, it is a little disturbing that the probability of meeting new people per chance seems to have gone down. Most people talk on their cell phones, text, or even email while walking through their neighborhood. If a stranger was to slip or loose their balance, would we be able to come to their rescue in time before putting the phone back in our pocket, or before our attention has shifted from the virtual world to our exterior surroundings? What if someone needs help with directions, but you pass by without noticing because your face is focused on a new email? What if that stranger could have turned out to be a new best friend or even a significant other? Are we preventing ourselves from spontaneous experiences that might enrich our lives?

On the other hand, with the modern smart phone, we're able to stay in touch with the loved ones we have even more. Through texting we have the ability to instantly check in on a friend or partner, and stay intimately connected to our circle of relationships. And if you don't end up meeting a new friend or lover through circumstance on the street, you could surf the web on your phone and go to, facebook, twitter or to find someone new.

What is the trade off? Which way of life is more important to you? Is it a bad thing that the world is becoming more connected through technology and smart phones? Or do the positives outweigh the negatives where through this technology we are improving our relationships with friends and family, and changing the way we do business? I think the next time I'm in the elevator and the door opens, maybe I'll just hold off on texting until I reach the lobby...

Monday, September 13, 2010

BCS Video

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inappropriate Laughter

There have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve become embarrassed from laughing during a seemingly inappropriate time. I think this can happen to many of us. We find something funny and attempt to hold in the laughter in the hopes that it will subside. Instead, it usually fights its way through our calming mantras and copacetic reasoning only to explode and release out of our body. For instance, it might come when you meet someone new who looks like your Aunt Martha’s dog, Sparkles; or maybe when a friend is talking to you about a difficult situation at work, but all you can focus on is the boogers poking out of their nose. I remember when I was a kid I thought it was hilarious that when you really stare at a person’s face for a while it starts to change and look oddly goofy and completely different than what you’re used to. This is especially weird when it’s a family member or close friend. Whatever the case may be, often times we feel an uncontrollable urge to laugh at an inopportune or “unsafe” time.

However, laughter cannot be predicted or contained. We all have varying senses of humor and can get a feel for what might make us laugh, but do we truly know for sure what we’ll find funny? Laughter at its core is uncontrollable and reactionary, and that is what makes it so much fun. It’s a break from the calculated, organized, and survival of the fittest mindset that pulls us through the day to day.

So, what would happen if we didn’t try holding in our laughter during one of these instances? I suppose the people around us could get angry and upset, frustrated or confused. But if we’re open and remind ourselves that we’re just human, maybe these outbursts don’t have to be considered such a faux pas. Maybe we can talk it out as it happens, explain, and mutually understand that it’s just the nature of laughter. After all, laughter is one of the best forms of releasing energy and to prohibit yourself from this pleasure just doesn’t seem right. Laugh away I say!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Success, Security, and Prosperity:

Throughout our lives we are encouraged to succeed in a world that judges itself by measuring accomplishments based on conventional standards and goals. I think most of us primarily focus on career, money, family, and achievement. In your circle of family and friends, who would you consider to be successful? Do they seem to fit these typical traits of success or do you view them as successful in a different way? It seems like an awful lot of pressure to achieve these ideals; and sometimes they appear to be stacked on booming high pedestals, reaching up towards the sky with no ladder or Jetson’s car in sight! The truth is that every one of us is faced with some sort of adversity in our lives, and success is really only defined by the individual. However, whether a person accepts the societal pressures of achieving “greatness” or if he or she has a different perspective of success depends on one’s view of life. For some of us, success might be to become a world leader, rock star, or millionaire. However, for others it could mean creating a close family, helping others in need, or having the courage to try something new. There are so many different ways to define success, and I think it’s important to be mindful of what it means to you.

Another piece of success is security. I think comfort can come from having success because the more we believe we have accomplished something, the more secure we feel in society. However, at the same time it’s possible to be the other way around, and I think feeling safe is a form of success in its own right. This type of safety is different than feeling secure economically or interpersonally, and instead comes from within you. This safety empowers us to be in tune with ourselves and helps us branch out and succeed in the life we desire. When we stay true to ourselves and harness the innate power of the love of self, we radiate our uniqueness. At this point, success comes naturally from simply being who you are.

This power can be unleashed only if we limit the internal and external criticisms that we face throughout our daily lives. When we notice these judgments and realize that they don’t serve us, the chains of resistance are broken and we become free to prosper. This enables us to reach a new plateau of safety as we grow and flourish.At different times throughout our lives, we are challenged to move beyond our current state of being in order to change and better ourselves. The profound power of feeling this security guides us through adversity and helps us to succeed and prosper toward a new level of consciousness. We are the sum of our experiences, thoughts, and feelings; and by advancing, we expand our awareness and develop new senses of purpose. In this perpetual reorganization of ourselves, we continue to change based on what we feel we need from moment to moment. During this evolutionary journey we may move “forward” or “backward” but it is in these movements that we prosper through dynamic change and new experience.  However, in order to reach this level, I think we need to be secure in our own skin before we can move ahead toward the next stage. Then again, navigating our life’s path, succeeding in our own way, and reaching this point of safety is prosperous in and of itself.

-- This is an article I wrote as a guest writer for The Golden Age Tribune. It can be viewed on their website by clicking the link below.
My Article

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why so serious?

Sometimes it can be fun to let go of absolutely everything and get lost in playtime. What is playtime? Well, it can be any number of things as long as you allow your mind and body to break free for a few moments from responsibility and worry, and then concentrate on just having a fun time.

Whether it's checking out new DVDs online, reading a new mystery thriller, or dancing, taking this time for yourself can help rejuvenate your innate need to de-stress and let go. It's worth it even if only for a few minutes. And afterward when returning to your usual daily activities, you will feel refreshed with more energy and new found perspective. Give it a shot and let more fun into your life! Embrace the child within!

Monday, May 3, 2010


A Tai Chi teacher once told me that when we smile we bring energy up the body and it is a quick and easy way to transport us to a place of happiness. He illustrated by smiling and pointing to the two outside portions of a grin that face upward. It made sense to me after I smiled for a few moments. My head re-aligned, my posture improved, and I felt an overall feeling of well-being emerge out of nowhere.
Whether it’s walking to the subway, sitting in a car, or waiting in line for lunch, we spend a good portion of the day carrying around a face with little expression. Now imagine smiling more frequently during some of these situations. Do you think it will affect your mood and energy level? Does a smile immediately alter your way of thinking? Also, is it possibly to suddenly feel great from going through the motions and smiling at nothing in particular?

If you have a few moments, consider taking part it a small smiling exercise where you smile constantly for 30 seconds. You do not associate it with anything and try not to hold any images in your mind - simply smile. How did it feel? Were you surprised by the result? What did you notice about it? What did it bring up for you? What did you think about?

Now, the second part of the exercise is to smile again for 30 seconds, but this time concentrate on something that does make you smile. How was this part of the exercise? What made this experience different than part 1? Was it different that part one? Did it bring up something completely different for you?

Here is a little bit about what I experienced while taking part in the exercise:

Part 1: In the very beginning I felt great from simply smiling, but then it somehow became harder. I wasn’t used to smiling for 30 seconds straight. I thought it was interesting because it shows how even though I love to smile and laugh, I do spend a good part of my day not smiling. I also noticed that I started giggling a little bit. I think it was out of habit because when I smile it is most likely followed by a laugh. It is a type of conditioned response, and by going through the motions of smiling it naturally brought on some laughter. I also discovered that my breathing became much easier and deeper. With each inhalation I felt like I was receiving more fuel and became very energized. There seemed to be less thinking involved, and I was calm and more in the moment of the smile. It was refreshing to realize that I can make more an effort to smile throughout dull points of my day in order to get into more of a relaxed and happier mindset.

Part 2: This exercised was harder for me. I thought about my family while smiling and it felt great. However, after a few moments I had the urge to switch my focus and think about something else. This reminded me of how many of us feel gratitude for our lives, but sometimes it can be difficult to stay in these pleasant moods for an extended period of time. I know that for me I sometimes struggle with staying in the good moments because I become pulled to switch back and think about negative things and stay in worry. It can occasionally be easier to be stuck in this state where the cycle of fear and the unknown is drayed over continuously without resolution. When we get caught in this regression it seems safe somehow, as though it is what we’re suppose to be doing. I think it hooks into our survival instincts because we look out for things that could possibly prevent us from achieving our goals – economically, socially, physically, mentally, etc. However, this is a trap because no matter how much time you spend worrying, it doesn’t accomplish anything and is not beneficial.

Back to part 2 of the smiling exercise – I think the reaction to this part of the exercise is also dependent on what he/she is thinking of while smiling. At first, I thought about my family, but then I tried something simpler and imagined a little puppy following its mother. I visualized the look on both their faces, and felt vicariously joyful. I could feel the love – even though it was not real. Then again, if I imagine something and think about it, doesn’t that make it real within my own reality? The memory of thinking about it is there, so how is that different than experiencing it? That’s just something to think about!

The most important thing I noticed from this exercise was that I felt happier, and more energized, simply by smiling for no more than 30 seconds. It put me in a good place in just an instant. It shows that you can do this exercise anytime to change your state of mind, zip up your energy, and see things from a different and more pleasant perspective.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Laughter is a pillow that provides comfort, rejuvenation, and steers us on our dreams' path. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Laughter between friends

It's fun to laugh almost anytime and anywhere, but there is something special about laughing with a good friend. In good company we open ourselves up which allows us to speak more freely and feel more comfortable being who we are. This provides a perfect environment to let go and it creates a powerfully safe space for laughter.

In general, we become best friends with people who have similar senses of humor. We find humor in the same situations, observe the world through the same lense, and appreciate similar moments that bring meaning to our lives. This all comes together with never-stale inside jokes, reminiscing on memorable experiences, and connecting simply through facial expressions and body language. With a long time friend, there is an endless supply of laughter that can be unleashed and enjoyed at any time.

This laughter reaffirms the connection to ourselves and our friends. It supports an internal feeling that tells you that you belong and are in sync with life. In these moments, our perception of the world is clear, and we understand a piece of our purpose - to effortlessly enjoy being with others and experience together. This companionship helps us define ourselves, and the bonds we create link us to a harmonious sense of belonging.

Monday, April 12, 2010

in between

in between

an image on the horizon
hot, foggy, and blurring the lines
unable to materialize or
philosophize the purpose of it wavering eyes

a feeling so close, but freezing cold
with an appetite seemingly unsatiated
does deja vu signify movement toward change
or repetition of an abbreviation

fighting to see the clarity of the sky
even though there are no clouds floating by
I keeping asking myself why
is it hinting on how to say goodbye

closing my fist around decision
doesn't mean there is a clear vision
but this surge of anger forces my hand
to open and give in to the demand

of not knowing my place and circling
mysteries may never be solved
unless accepted through a new
perspective balancing good and bad

right and wrong
creative and boring
with an altering steadiness encased in belief
this in between place, there must be relief

Yin and Yang

How can there be so much beauty along with such terrible ugliness in the world? On one side of the equation we have sunsets, hugs, ice cream,  and puppies, while on the other side there is war, genocide, hunger, and disease. Why can't we just have the good? Why do people suffer? And if there is an all powerful creator, then why did he/she create this dualistic universe? What is the point?

Perhaps we need both the good and the bad to appreciate the experiences we go through in life. For every new love or delicious meal, there is a breakup or someone going hungry. If it were not for bad, would the good even be good? But so much of the bad is not just bad, it is cruel, heart-wrenching, and often times intolerable. It just doesn't make sense why this is the way it has to be.

However, maybe this is the only way life could exist - with the yin and the yang. Perhaps, whoever created all this knew that this was the only way to grow, learn, experience, and live. That it would be impossible to truly have a fulfilling life without some struggle and hardship, without the bad to shine a light on the good. It still doesn't make sense however, why there would still have to be such terrible things such as cancer and prejudice. Couldn't we do without it? But maybe, just maybe, it's all a part of the contract - that there was no other way. Perhaps, it is our destiny to surmount evil and overcome its choke hold on society. Maybe this negative energy can be transferred into something else while still somehow keeping the universal yin and yang equilibrium.

With so many human beings and animals there are a countless number of experiences, situations, struggles, and difficulties, but maybe these allow us to enjoy the good, no matter how small the benefits. A young boy with cancer is in no doubt a difficult and tragic situation. But the closeness he feels with his family and friends, or the experiences he has having a catch with his father or watching his favorite movie with his sister, may be an even more rewarding experience because of his unfortunate situation.

Are we all meant to have different degrees of struggle? And why do some seem to have it tougher than others? Is it a part of our over-all purpose here on Earth? I don't know if there will ever be answers to all of these questions. However, in thinking about these issues, we have the opportunity to open up our minds, let go, and appreciate the good that we do have in our lives. I feel that there is always good to be found, and no matter the size, it has the potential to grow larger and larger, and swing life's momentum towards hope.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I was looking at a friend's calendar for April, and I noticed their handwriting looked familiar but still unique. We learn to write letters and words at a very young age by attempting to copy examples. However, even though a classroom of students receive the same instructions, they still interpret and write differently. Some might be more similar than others, but every writing style is unique. How come?  If we are given the same instructions, why wouldn't our styles be the same?

This is just a small example of how we are all unique, and create our own identity. I find it interesting that when we meet someone new, we usually use familiar adjectives to describe ourselves. One person might say that they're "easy going," "compassionate," and "sweet." But how can just a few words really give another person a feeling and an impression of who you are? And if someone were to use more specific adjectives such as "precocious," "gregarious," or "aloof," would that help us get a better understanding of who this person is? What is a true representation of someone's personality? Are there more suitable ways to get an idea of a person's disposition?

Of course, there is also the famous saying, "actions speak louder than words." We get to know someone better by observing their actions over time. This is how we discover more about our friends and decide on the type of people we'd like to interact with. But at the same time, just as someone could lie when describing their personality, they could also mislead through action. However, I think it's fair to say that consistency is an important factor here because if someone continually repeats a similar action, such as talking behind someone's back, then that action becomes embedded within their being.

On the other hand, what if someone is very shy and has trouble showing his/her personality through action? Is that person more defined by his/her inaction? Similarly, an individual might act in a particular way in one environment, but then change their demeanor in another. In this case, one might show different variations of their personality, depending on the situational setting. This can occur when being with family, co-workers, friends, lovers, strangers, authority figures, etc. These deviations can also be affected more specifically; for instance within different groups of friends, or when being around one side of the family. So, if there are multiple factors that can alter one's presentation of his/her personality, does that mean that action, along with verbal description, is not a completely fair indicator of one's identity?

These characteristics can morph from moment to moment. Therefore, the pure essence of a person cannot be absolutely defined through specific words or actions because they are always in fluid motion. However, through observation and some sort emotional interpretive process, we can get a sense of a person, and grasp a feeling. The beauty is that this feeling has the propensity to change because we change. We are not fixed beings and continually learn and adapt to life. At the same time, through growth and discovery we do seem to form a set of core values, morals, and opinions that guide us though our decisions and actions. I believe this core can be somewhat defined by the proportion and balance of our displayed and described characteristics. Therefore, the mix of how someone presents and describes him/herself through actions and words is in fact unique and showcases their individuality. Additionally, the combination of the feeling a person gives off, and the distribution of his/her many actions, together provide a sense of a person.

This motivates me to not only reconsider how I view myself, but also how I look at others. Instead of pigeonholing ourselves and the people around us into classifications and stereotypes, I think we could all benefit from reconsidering that every person is unique and in a category of their own. We know who were are, because that's just who we are.

Discussion Questions: What do you think defines a person? What is a true representation of someone's personality? How do you define yourself?

Sunday, April 4, 2010


How do you know if you're making a right decision? How can you tell if something is the best choice for you, and that you'll be happy with what it brings? These are a couple of questions that fascinate me, because of their subjectivity.

For instance, if I choose to go outside without suntan lotion because I don't feel like putting any on, and then subsequently become terribly sunburned, does that make it bad decision?  What makes a poor decision? I think most would say 'yes' it was the wrong choice because I hurt myself. However, on the other hand, I followed what I wanted to do. Even though the outcome resulted in a nasty sunburn, I still did what I thought was right for me, and could learn from it. I think I'd be more inclined to wear the suntan lotion the next time. But if I chose to put on suntan lotion the first time I wouldn't have learned about the consequences of being in the sun unprotected, and I would not have had the experience of being burned. I believe one makes the right choice by following their own path of what feels best for them.  If we were to live our lives deciding on actions based on the outcome of avoiding all possible pain or despair, would we still be living a full and dynamic life?

I think this also hooks in with the idea of perfection. Sometimes, I get caught feeling that I should carefully analyze every decision in order to make sure it will be the best for me. If I make all the "right" choices and try to be the most perfect I can be, won't I be happy? Not necessarily, because even though I think I'm making the best choice, that doesn't mean I'm following what I want to do in the given moment. There is a difference between thinking about what one should do versus what he/she feels like doing. The need to try and make the best possible choice can put tremendous pressure on myself, and I would think, anyone else who gets into this mode of contemplation too. When these thoughts surface, I can decide whether or not I want to stay in them, depending on the right feeling place. But with all the pressure to be perfect, this more often than not does not provide pure happiness. In my case, I usually do not like the overwhelming desire to be flawless and like to remind myself that life is only perfect because of all its imperfections.

In addition, I think that if everything was perfect, there would no longer be laughing, crying,  happiness, or sadness. We would lose our reference points to these emotions, and the scope of our feelings would diminish from the lack of emotional movement. Without emotional adversity, there would be no growth, and feelings could disappear altogether. What would we feel if everything was always the same? If the definition of perfection is to not make mistakes, then a perfect life would be unavoidably trite and lack substance. This is one reason why I think a better definition of perfection is to be imperfect, and a perfect life is to embrace the balance and range of all we experience.

Discussion Questions (feel free to comment!): How do you know if you're making a right decision? How can you tell? What does perfection mean to you?
"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person." - Dr. David M. Burns

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Letting Go

I've repeatedly discovered that balance is one of the most fundamental elements in life. My great-grandfather used to frequently say "everything in moderation," and it's so true! It makes sense that people need to share their time and not obsess over one thing or another. Sometimes it can feel difficult to change from silly to serious, as though it is just too much effort. However, the interesting thing is that transformation can occur by a simple change in perspective. It can happen in an instant and completely alter your current state of being. It is an especially powerful tool that can be used to let go of our fears and worries, and it also helps us get back into a more free and natural flow.

When letting go of troublesome thoughts we stop the repetitive negative thinking and become settled in the moment. Life really is just a series of moments, and we have the choice of concentrating on the past, present, or future. When we focus our energy in the present, we stay in each moment as it arises, and let it be. I think we become more centered and at peace because all that we experience just is. We move our attention and ease into a more organic state of mind.

Laughter is one of the best ways to discover this state. If you're in a disturbing mood and cannot seem to break out of the usual monotony; a funny joke or silly moment can transport you to another place. It creates a displacement from the world around you, and provides the freedom to let go. The best is when we become pleasantly caught in a chain of laughter that never seems to end. There is a unique high that circulates throughout the body and leaves you with a satisfied feeling that many call a "good laugh." There is movement seemingly everywhere including the mouth, lungs, stomach, chest, back, arms and legs. It often results in belly aches, coughing, and trouble breathing, but amazingly these are all side effects that we love to experience! Through movement, this pure laughter has a way of clearing stagnant energy out of the body and acts as a present moment transfusion for the mind. After such fits of laughter, I always feel refreshed, cleaned out, and back in touch with myself.

One good laugh a day surely is the best medicine, but what's equally important is to allow one's self to be open to the laughter and appreciate these moments where letting go. It contributes to balance and helps refresh our place on the spectrum of life. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Montage of sunset photos and video clips with music from DJ Divone's Dance Party.
"One" by Lovely China Day
"Scream Pilots" by Moby


Have you ever wished you had superpowers? How would it feel to have superhuman strength, invisibility, telekinesis, or the ability to fly? We see portrayals of superheroes such as Superman and Spiderman, and might think how amazing it would be to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or travel around the city on a string of webs. I've often daydreamed about flying and soaring through the air from place to place. However, the truth is that most of us already have superpowers; we just take them for granted.

Unless handicapped or disadvantaged, most people have the superpowers of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. We go about our day using our five senses interchangeably and almost always all at the same time. We've all gotten used to using our senses and don't usually give them a second thought unless we sustain injury. However, when one takes the time to truly appreciate these powers, he/she realizes that the ability our senses give us to interact with the environment is truly astounding.

The power of sight gives us the ability to visually place ourselves in the world. It allows us to take in the magnificence of life in its many forms. This can range from flowers, trees, and sunsets to architecture, art, and the shape of the human body. The spectrum is really endless because there is so much beauty in all that we see. It is such a gift to be able to experience what is shown all around us through sight.  By taking the time to appreciate this invaluable form of perception, we discover how vision adds even more than three dimensions to our lives.

The power of sound works hand in hand with sight. Their relationship is very synergistic because much of what we see can create sound waves. What's very interesting is that sound is always created by vibration and movement through a cause and effect reaction. In one respect, our ears are built-in didactic instruments that assist us in learning about consequence. However, simultaneously, our ears also give us the ability to add more substance to our reality, and deepen the connection to our surroundings. There is so much beauty in sound, and the prime example is listening to music. I couldn't imagine a day without it.

The power of touch allows us to engage what we see in a different way. Through touch we gain a visceral sense of feeling. There are so many different types of surfaces and textures that enhance our many experiences. Are these feelings more or less real than the wide array of emotions possessed by humans? They're both real, just in different ways. Externally, through touch we can feel various ranges of pain and pleasure. This provides us with tangible connections to everything around us, and adds another layer to all that we experience. Internally, our emotions are more complex, but similarly slide along a wide spectrum of feelings that also generate both pain and pleasure. All of these reactions help us interact with the environment and ourselves in special ways. What would it be like not to feel anything?

The powers of taste and smell provide us with another two abilities that enhance our perceptions. Every bite of our favorite food gives us pleasure and comfort. So many different types of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, breads, and sweets can give us a distinct eating experience that will not necessarily be the same each time. Similarly, almost everything we encounter has a smell, and whether pleasant or revolting it delivers yet another level of experience. It has also been said that smell is the strongest sense associated with memory. We've all had a time where we smell something so familiar, that even if we cannot pin point what exactly it is, there is still such a strong memory that surfaces to the forefront of our mind.

All of the five senses can transform external feelings inward and create an emotional response. When someone sees an old friend after many years apart, he/she would most likely feel ecstatic and nostalgic of old times. When listening to music we can appreciate complex instrumental and vocal arrangements. However, there are often secondary reactions where we not only hear the sounds, but also create in our own very unique way a set of emotional feelings and connections in relation to the music. When we hug and kiss the ones we love, the affection does not just feel good to the touch, but it also brings warmth within our hearts. And the smell and taste of a slice of pizza from where you grew up can transport you to another time and place, and bring with it a rush of emotions not felt in years. These are not just ephemeral external sensors used for the sole purpose of helping us navigate space. Instead, these powers are in fact super because they act as a gateway to even more profound feelings and experiences that enrich our lives.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Laughter as an Escape

Everyone has had moments with friends and family where conversation becomes tense. We may be talking about someone we know with a health problem, a friend's recent breakup, or arguing in a confrontation. Whatever the reason may be, our breath becomes constricted and uneasiness takes hold. It is hard to stay in an uncomfortable place. Who enjoys talking about the death or heartache of a loved one? Who wants to argue with a good friend? I've found myself stray from these conversations, where I try to bring up a different topic or tell a funny story, all in the hopes of enabling others to laugh. I think this can be beneficial at certain circumstances. We may require relief from emotional exertion and over analysis. By changing the subject and bringing a warm and humorous attitude to a discussion, a person can help create a moment of release where one is desperately needed. But I've come to realize that occasionally moving on through laughter doesn't always allow us to 'move on.' In some instances, we navigate a course in search of a safer place, farther away from the anxiousness. However, I think sometimes we travel down this avenue on a path of fear.

How could it be harmful to bring laughter to a conversation in order to feel more comfortable, relaxed, and in control? It’s not. However, I believe there can be times when it is not necessary to heal and alleviate discomfort through laughter. I think turning to laughter in such a case might prohibit someone from growing, changing, and gaining new experiences. For me, this makes sense in my mind, but when such a situation arises, it can be difficult to follow through and stay in the uncomfortability.  I believe that by understanding this mechanism better, and noticing how I sometimes do use laughter to diffuse a situation or camouflage my feelings, I will increase the chance of breaking the pattern. The next time around, I might do the very same thing, and that's okay. However, since I know the processes behind it, and acknowledge my fears, I think I will eventually be able to take a new step. Of course, that is if I choose to do so, given the situation.

I've recently found that it can be exciting to gain new experiences even if they might be unpleasant. In a way, it is reaching towards another level of maturity. I think being afraid of a feeling and taking action to avoid it, does not protect me from it. Instead, it gives it more power, and prevents me from learning and living a dynamic life.  Therefore, by staying more in these moments of fear, acknowledging and experiencing them, even if I don’t ultimately change my routine of escape, I am exploring a deeper understanding of myself, and opening the door for growth. I see it as taking on new directions as I participate in life’s journey of discovery.

Friday, March 5, 2010

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” - Buddha

Soul Meditation

I could feel my heart beating and its flow resonating beneath the exterior of my flesh. A state of being, self-awareness, with the feeling of humanity lies within. All emotions are present, wanting to break free, asking to be released and experienced. I could cry, I could laugh, I could scream, I could move, I could think. But my goal is not to. I am silent, I am reserved, and I am observing all that is within. What is this? Is it a beast waiting to be unleashed onto its master? Is it freedom awaiting its independence? The power is frightening at first, but it is soon realized that this force is ours. Ours to share with others, ours to create, ours to expand, and ours to enjoy.

It makes sense, but then what is sense? It feels right, but then what is to feel right? This is who we are, who I am. The soul’s vessel to learn and grow. It is encased within a physical body, trapped for some. But there is always a choice for you, and a choice for your soul. The force within can be harnessed at any moment, and change your perspective. The perspective of life is what you choose it to be.

The soul as our true selves, chosen to take a journey through corporeal form. This form is and always will be imperfect. Unlike the Soul which is undefined and only imaginable. This journey begins through the world of the exterior. But it always returns to inside. To the reflection. It is within our power to reflect without the judgment, to observe everything as an experience – none good or bad. These experiences exercise the soul.

At times this can be overwhelming, with so much happening at once. Such emotions as loss, anger, and jealousy can become so powerful and conquer our thoughts. But they don’t need to conquer us.

Am I trapped? I don’t believe so. And belief is freedom. Belief is choice. Belief is what’s inside. This marks the experience of our soul and guides its journey through the physical world. What kind of journey would you like to embark on? What do you want to share with your soul?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You should definitely read this post...

We are all a part of a global culture, but at the same time we have our own worlds. We live each day and learn from the people we encounter, create and revise thoughts and ideas, and try to enjoy life to the fullest. There will always be ups and downs, forks in the road, and decisions that keep us up at night, but we do the best we can.

At the same time, we also ask others for advice, look to our mentors and elders for guidance and mutually depend on those we trust to better ourselves. But, there is a slippery slope between giving a suggestion, and telling someone what they SHOULD do. It might not seem like a big deal, but when another person tells you what you should do, they take away your power and your ability to experience something for yourself. They could give you great advice and know what to do, but it is coming from their perspective, and it is based on their own experiences. It is impossible to know exactly what will be "good" for another. And even if a person does not follow a suggestion, and it leads to a "bad" result, who is to say that they weren't meant to learn from the mistake? What makes something beneficial? Isn't that open to interpretation as well?

I think an easy example to use would be if someone has a stomach ache. One friend thinks you should pop a Tums, while another thinks you should have a peppermint. Both have worked for each of them, but it doesn't mean either one might help you. If they don't form it as a suggestion, then it forces upon you the burden of doing what they say, or else it is implied that you will not make the correct decision. But maybe there is no right decision, and what you choose to do will help you learn and become more independent. If you ask others what to do, then who are you?

In a broader sense, we all see strangers every day - commuting to work, shopping, going out to dinner, etc. Some look like us, wear similar clothing, and have the same favorite meals, while others are completely different and foreign in our point of view. But does that make them weird? SHOULD they be more like us? Why? In a society that eats and poops judgment, we are trained to continually evaluate and decide the good from the bad. Are they really on two polar ends of the spectrum, or perhaps they are more subjectively defined by the individual?

It is amazing to just notice all of these little worlds within the world, and acknowledge the creativity in all of us. Next time you walk outside, observe the people around you, and appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of our society.  Only a suggestion...

Friday, February 26, 2010


I recently went to my favorite museum, the Museum of Natural History. I've been there many times before, but it is such a huge place, with new exhibits presented year-round. When visiting, I'm usually able to find new sections I have yet to explore, with plenty of tidbits of knowledge to learn about.

There was a hallway decorated with photographs of different types of birds in the section, "On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight." The photos were so sharp and it was almost as if the birds were right there with me! I especially liked one shot of a snowy owl with her wings outstretched while flying towards the camera. I could see right into her eyes, and it seemed as though I could tell she had a sweet disposition. Maybe this was not only a snapshot of the owl flying, but also a brief reflection of her spirit. All of the birds in the exhibit seemed to show personality, and I gravitated toward studying each photo in order to try and get a glimpse of the subject's identity behind the lens of the camera.

I also enjoyed checking out the Africa and Asia sections. I think I had walked through this hall before, but this time the displays of instruments really resonated with me. It was amazing to see how the drums, bongos, and guitar like instruments were so consistent with what we have today. I liked discovering how the placement of the cords, the hollowed out centers, and the tuning pegs of the guitars were all so similar to what they are today. It certainly shows that even early on in human culture, we had an innate desire to express ourselves and be creative.

It was almost as interesting observing the other people walking through the museum. There was mainly a mix of families and tourists, and I noticed the interaction between them. Sometimes, there was one member of the family who played the role of tour guide. They would do their best to explain and interpret the displays and clearly enjoyed sharing their knowledge. On the other hand, some people walked together, but were silent while taking in the exhibits. There were also a couple of examples where kids would run around and investigate things on their own and cause some mischief. Then their parents would demand that they stop. I can understand a parent's desire to positively influence their children. But it made me think about what the children might believe when they continually hear "no" or "stop it" without any discussion. It doesn't give them the freedom to discover and explore things on their own. This may not only influence their behavior inside the museum, but also their development and maturation in the future.

It was fun to visit the museum and learn more about nature and culture through the exhibitions. But it was also intriguing to observe a small cross section of the other people there, which inadvertently provided a special exhibit all on its own.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Where did laughter come from? Throughout human history was laughter an important part of surviving? Would cavemen laugh along with each other to help make a rough day of hunting and gathering seem like a distant past?

How does a baby know if something is funny? It seems as though they are laughing and smiling as much as they are crying. What are they so happy about? I think they are in tune with living in the present and enjoying life in its most simplest form. Babies observe, react, and share their feelings. What more can a person hope to do? When life is broken down to its most elemental parts, we find out how similar we all are. Sometimes, all we want is to smile inside and radiate it out.

Most sincere laughs are stunningly beautiful. The mouth starts closed and calm. Then the smile breaks free and leads the way to reveal our teeth. One might think this would be threatening, but instead an honest smile is inviting. In the next step, the laugher’s mouth opens wide with a strong breath that supports an incredible and jubilant force. What is this sound? And why would the human body want to make such a noise? We show our teeth, gather energy, and then release a booming form of expression. And yet, we spectators do not fear, nor do we see the laugh as an act of aggression. Instead, we empathize with the laugher, and often times impulsively join in. We are brought to a place with no cares or worries. Where boundaries disappear, thoughts vanish, and all that remains is joy. At this point, we just are.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What is success measured by? Is it the work you do and the type of accomplishments on your resume? Is it having a loving family with strong, unwavering relationships? Is it getting out of bed in the morning? Or maybe it could be, not being afraid of failure and the difficulty of pursuing of your dreams?

There seems to be more questions than answers when it comes to success. Even if one accomplishes all their goals in every way, would their life be a complete success? Or perhaps, success is having a complete life. Maybe, all it takes is moving. Moving along to the beat of your own drum, down the road you choose, and the streams you decide to swim in. Maybe success is simply being proud of who you are, no matter what you've done or how it compares to any type of measurement. Measuring success piles on the criteria to which you criticize and judge yourself.

Then again, this criteria and overall push can help you feed off ambition's hunger and allow you to reach high goals. This is once again creating a type movement we all uncontrollably long for, because without motion (physically, emotionally or spiritually) we may become stagnant within a bubble of emptiness.

But can one trust this hunger to succeed, and implicitly let it decide our lives? No. Instead, you can acknowledge it as a part of your life's path. This allows you to discover that you, yourself, have the power to create your own success. It becomes clear that success can be anything, because it is defined by you. Then, success is simply living your life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nice To Meet You

I've found that introductions often times seem to be pre-scripted. We ask the same usual questions in order to try and get a feel for this new person. What do you do? Where are you from? What brings you here? And when these mundane questions are emptied out of the tank, and the routine is over, we usually just part ways.

However, there are certain occasions where the conversation does not end there, and we enter the early stages of a great friendship. This is rare, but when these moments find us, a new person in our lives somehow opens up the world. We feel connected and assured that we are not alone. There are others who think, feel, and act like us!

I remember one time this happened to me in college. I was in a film production class, and we were put into groups of four to create a video. I met up with the three others to discuss our project. Once we began, I discovered that another guy and I had a lot of the same ideas. We could not stop laughing and joked around while also brainstorming with the rest of the group. I felt as though we had not only met before, but had also always been friends.

This happens when two people are on the same wavelength and frequency. There is an instinctual connection that feels very natural and comfortable. I believe the main ingredient in this phenomenon is
sense of humor. In a way, I think our personality is defined by what we find funny and how it filters through our perception of life. Humor centers us within a world of chaos. It brings us together, and its laughter opens the gateway to life's main purpose. When everything is reduced to its lowest common denominator, we discover how we all just really want the same thing - to laugh and have fun.