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...