EMBRACE CRAPPY

This is me in 2000, my first time surfing. Zero athletic skills, and 10 years of desire to do it – I wish I’d started 10 years prior! Still didn’t stop me.

I see people who want things, that have goals, and they never start. There is an excuse – “I don’t have this thing, I don’t have this skill” etc.

You need nothing to start. Or rarely. Obviously if you want to be a snowboarder, you’re going to need some gear – but you can rent it, borrow it, or beg for it.  When I was a teenager, I panhandled to make money to buy a snowboard (I only did this twice). You don’t need anything fancy, you need the most basic thing ever to begin.

But what about other things, more simplistic goals like, “I want to get in shape” ?

Can’t afford a gym membership, don’t have workout clothes or shoes, or whatever it is – nonsense. Go to a thrift store or go for a jog in your jeans and bare feet. Get a book from the library about using your own body as a gym. Go see a friend and wrestle. It makes no difference. Don’t have time? I do toe lifts as I work, I lift myself up on the counters and hold myself up for as long as I can if I am stuck at the counter. At home I do push-ups, I ride my bike to the store, I dance to music with my hulahoop. If I feel a burst of energy, I take advantage of it.

There is no strict way to do something. But there are millions of ways to tell yourself you CAN’T. Either way, you are right. If you say you can’t, you won’t even start. What a way to defeat yourself. LAME.

For me, my fear was “There are already too many people blogging, especially inspirational/self-help style things, so why would anyone listen to YOU?” Plus I have no skills at making fancy blog pages. I did have a website for eons, but that was years ago, and the space was given to me by someone, plus it was very basic html, not code – to do all the technical blog stuff is off-putting, but I finally said screw it and just started to write, anyway. If people like it, I’m stoked, and that makes me want to write more. But more importantly, I want to like it, I want to enjoy it, and I feel accomplished. I can learn tech stuff as I go, or pay someone else to do it eventually.

Isn’t the reason “I want to” more important than the many reasons NOT to persue something?

If you truly want to do something, you will. Forget the set-backs – those happen with anything. People don’t get good at things immediately. Everyone fails. Failure is good – then you know what doesn’t work.

I mess up all the time, even with things like my diet. I don’t let that stop me from persuing what I want -  ULTIMATE HEALTH! (imagine that being said with an echo through a loudspeaker) – if I have a screw-up, I just start over the next day. Those times are rare, but I accept that they may occur. This is paramount – accept that you might have bad days, or big hurdles, or even tiny mishaps – so what? You are still moving FORWARD. Just because you walk down the street to your destination, and need to turn around to pick up something you dropped, doesn’t mean you don;t turn back around and keep walking.

If you wanna do something, write down all the ways you CAN! Ignore the naysay in your noggin – that is just a lifetime of brainwashing by others. Everyone else is just like you – people who have accomplished amazing things, or even minor things – they start somewhere. The fantastic were always at some time the mediocre, or even the crappy.

Embrace crappy. Be the crappiest you can be so you can move up from there.

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This post by Keri Smith came up today which is amazingly similar to what I just wrote, so I am sharing it with y’all – great advice.

Your True Nature

Sometimes I wonder how I became so defensive, so snarly, so irritable.

I am not generally those ways, but I sure can be! I have a cruel streak that swims through me like a minnow – I always manage to block it with nets, but it is there, lurking, nasty. It is always repressed, but the knowledge that it exists sort of scares me.

I know I’m not alone. I am naturally a sweet, kind person. So how did all this start?

It’s different for everyone, of course, but mine all started in elementary school when I was the easy-to-pick-on kid – I never fought back, I just cried, or lived in fear of everyone else. Maybe this is why I am such a loner – wow, epiphany! Avoidance of pain then = antisocial now!

But the ability to be mean – that cultivated in high school, after a decade of being picked on – I finally snapped, and it worked. I was suspicious of everyone, always thinking I would have to defend myself. I’ve never really lost that – but I’ve never lost my original, sensitive self, either.

I hate hurting people. I don’t like being in any sort of situation where my defenses get riled up. Most of the time they are not necessary. I have a hold on them, usually, but it can take a lot of effort . Sometimes I want an excuse to be mean. After some thought, I realized why – so I could “get back” at all those people who tormented me as a kid, who I never got to stand up to. SO I can prove to myself over and over that I am not weak, that I can be strong.

But random people, or even people I know – they aren’t those childhood demons. They’re just as messed up from their childhoods as I am. But underneath any nastiness, they are still the sweet, beautiful innocents that want to thrive – everyone wants harmony, everyone wants compassion, and everyone wants to feel gritty enough to survive.

Lashing out at other people is not in our nature – it is just an effect of what has happened to us early on (and sometimes later) in life. Our base beliefs are formed within the first seven years of our lives. It is not our faults. It IS our responsibility to change our triggers, though. We need to come out of the victim state – in ALL ways. Make every decision a conscious one, and if you find yourself lashing out in a way you normally would not, be aware of it, and then think about who you are really angry with.

I used to fantasize about my high school reunion, hoping someone would bring up rumours from back then, so I could shame them. I used to hope everyone would be fat and wrinkled, and I could be the sole slender, youthful one – so arrogant, right? But this would have been my great revenge. I don’t think about that anymore – I still think it would be awesome to look fantastic, but more so I can help people discover a healthy lifestyle and NOT because I want to feel above them all.

It’s trite – I am not that sensitive, picked-on child anymore – but I still identify with her – obviously. That child still wants to be able to stand up for herself. Since she can’t go back in time, that fire may spew to someone completely unsuspecting, or someone who loves her.

Once you really tap into this, then you can remember it every time you interact with someone. It also makes you much calmer and clear if you do get into an argument or fight with someone else, or  if someone treats you poorly. You can actually come at it from a place of intellect, instead of your ego/emotions which all stem from SOMETHING in your past. Figure out what that is.

I just want to mention that there are definitely times you want to be angry, to be defensive, to stand your ground. But this isn’t about those times. This is for those times where you take things out on other people and it’s not deserved, the times where you end up feeling guilty, the moments you wish you could change.

You were born a sweet, loving thing. Remember that is your true nature. BE in the world that way – your world is reflected back at you. You see the good, or you see the bad, and if someone is being nasty to you, you will either respond back in the same way, or you can choose to be kind, and they will most likely mirror you back.

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(Not sure where the image is from originally – found on Pinterest.)

School of Life: Autodidactism

I think eschewing school and learning stuff on your own is super impressive.

I am likely to want to listen MORE to someone who is self-taught – why? Because they did it out of pure love of their subject – they threw themselves into it, not taking the easy route, not paying for a piece of paper – they live it, love it, drink it, devour it. Whatever it is. Generally the work produced is highly original and innovative.

Not saying that having a coach, or a mentor is a bad thing – I’m just talking  typical school. It’s insane the amount of money people pay for schooling on things they could learn from BOOKS or VOLUNTEERING.

I took a vet assistant course a few years ago – six grand. Six months. Once I was working in a clinic I realized I could have learned everything I needed to know by volunteering at a clinic. Yeah I wouldn’t have made money volunteering, but I could have saved that six grand! I could have worked another job and lost nothing!

Obviously some things you have to go to school for – I wouldn’t trust a self-taught surgeon. But I’m not talking about those sorts of things. I also took a course in multimedia. What a rip-off. I could have learned all that stuff on my own, through tutorials, books, etc. That school doesn’t even exist anymore – if you’re going to go to school, be wary of where you go. If you really love the curriculum, go for it. I am not hating on all education, far from it, I just mean it is possible to do it yourself. Some people think if they have no money or privilege that they are screwed – wrong.

Another problem with typical school is the time-line, intense schedule, and disruption of other facets of life – so many people screw their health this way, do not sleep, are constantly anxious, worried about marks, and cramming info into their heads that they do not retain for more than 24 hours, just to pass. That is not good learning! Self-teaching means go at your own pace!

I know that teaching yourself still means learning from others – books are written by other people, but they are passing along knowledge – and if you have a library, you have access for free. If you are on the internet, almost anything can be found for free – not saying it’s right to pirate things, however, if you learn something from someone and then say, make a living out off what you learned – you can go back and pay that person, right?

Some of the most amazing people out there are/were completely self-taught. You don’t need a formal education and student loans that will take you decades to pay off (except for very specific things) – MOST things out there are doable on your own and that money you would have spent can go to better things like TRAVEL – which is the best education you can get.

Books are your friends, man. Get used to reading lots of them. Immerse yourself. If the books you want or need are not at your library, do inter-library loans – lifesavers. If you want to buy cheap, go to bookdepository.com – amazon is good, too, but bookdepository is the bomb, and then you won’t be supporting anything other than bookselling (if you buy from amazon, they have some questionable products as well, as in the whole debacle recently getting them to stop selling whale meat, and they did).

Volunteer, read, and DO.

Just start something, who cares if you know how? I used to not do anything until I’d read enough – well, now I just start and learn as I go. Even if you do go to school, you don’t stop learning once you’re done (I hope). I used to think I had to know how to use wordpress or whatever to start a blog – I stopped thinking that way, fuukkit. Moved on, signed up, started writing. The fancy-pants stuff can be learned along the way.

Some people won’t do ANYthing unless they have the right gear, clothes, schooling – some people won’t even go to SCHOOL unless it’s the BEST one. Really? Okay, that’s a choice, but I don’t think it really matters unless it’s something super elite like being a surgeon or a lawyer. For real.

Some people won’t even start exercising unless they have the right shoes. Man, just go to the thrift store, or post on freecycle. Until you get a better shoe, go for a jog in your boots. Who cares? Excuses, excuses. I danced around my bedroom to some crazy tunes with a hulahoop for like 45 minutes today – the music was so good I couldn’t help myself. I am no expert with my hoop, and I don’t have much room for tricks, but that didn’t stop me, no way. I was too into it.

I see no problem taking classes – but this is a lot different than going to a long-term, very expensive university or college. With classes you can pick and choose your specific subjects. It blows my mind that some people go to university/college and don’t even know what they want to do with their lives!

Basically I think that if you are wildly passionate about something, you will learn by experimenting, putting yourself out there, and practice – these are generally free things – but if you are REALLY dedicated, you will be successful with or without schooling.

Snipping Ties

I’ve always been the type to want to keep people in my life, no matter what. I figure, if I loved them or cared for them at some point, then I always would.

I forgive very easily. I have not had things done to me that I find unforgivable – even if I am angry for a long time, eventually I move past it, and want the person back in my life in some way, or at least to make peace with them.

I stay curious – I wonder how they are, what they’re doing, how their life is. I give a shit.

This has changed recently.

It began when I was on facebook, and was getting random rude comments from someone I had dated in 2003, someone who I still really liked and admired. The comments were completely brash and uncalled for.

The first time I considered deleting him, but part of me didn’t want to let go. The last time he did it, I really mulled it over (not for very long) and thought, “What is this person adding to my life?”

I came to the conclusion that he really added nothing. He had at one point (sort of) but staying connected with him really was doing me no good, so I bit my lip and hit the unfriend button.

Instead of feeling regret, I felt relief.

I’ve done this before, in real life situations – it sucked, but the relief always came. I always thought it would lead to panic, but instead it cut the ties to negative influence.

My nostalgic ways are lessening. I have always looked backwards, and now want to look forward. I’ve learned enough from my past, and still learn now – but my past  has already shown me what I need to know – I don’t need to cling to it.

Within the last month I’ve dropped three people I kept a hold on. One was a friend who never forgave me for something minor and accidental – I held hope for about 4 years that she would come around, but she never did, so I gave up – that hopeful energy is now released and can be directed elsewhere.

Another is an ex-boyfriend who I never really got over. I felt as if when he came to town, he only ever invited me to his shows as a way to get a bigger audience. I didn’t feel that way at first, but when I asked to hang out outside the show, I got no responses. This has happened for years. I sent him another message saying  I would stop pestering him and “See ya, have a beautiful life.”

I am not angry or hateful to any of these people – I just am letting them go so I can move on with my life and make room for others. I wish these people nothing but love and happiness – I do still care for them, but in order for a friendship to be worthwhile it has to be reciprocal!

I have enough acquaintances – I want real, strong friendships, and that is what I want to focus my love on – not broken threads.

Though, sometimes, people surprise me and come back into my life – bigger, stronger, more loving! I love when this happens, and I do welcome people back with open arms, as long theirs are outstretched too.

So snip the people out of your life who do nothing to uplift you and accept your love, whether it be in real life, your business, facebook, whatever. You only get a limited time in a human body, you might as well make it as positive an experience as you can.

Dystopia vs. Utopia

I love positivity. I love inspirational speaking, books, etc. I also love dystopian worlds, zombie films, stories of abandonment and isolation – why?

Because I love survival stories.

It is absolutely amazing to me the sort of situations people can adapt to and survive in, escape from, and in turn become strong, independent, and inspirational human beings.

I also love stories of people who undertake seemingly impossible journeys just to prove that it can be done. These people inspire me WAY more than some actor or celebrity that the majority of the world seem to fixate on .

Imagine that our world is a dystopia – oh, wait, it is. Don’t deny it, it’s true – at least the way society is run.

The PLANET is beautiful – it’s utopia. You’re looking to get into heaven or something when you die? How do you imagine it? You can’t possible imagine anything other than what you know – even fantasy worlds are made up of things we meld together (unicorn = horse with a horn. Pegasus = horse with wings/bird. Godzilla = huge lizard. Hell = underground with fire. You get the picture?) So, in thinking along these lines, our idea of heaven would just be a restructuring of the images and ideas we have already been exposed to, meshing them into what we would perceive to be the most beautiful, calming place. All of the things making up your picture of heaven would be THINGS THAT ALREADY EXIST IN THE UNIVERSE, just linked together, hybridized.

So…with this idea in mind, look at the planet around you. It’s already heaven. Make a list (mentally or written) of all the AMAZING things on the planet – things no one could ever invent, things that are just aching to be looked at, admired, and fill you with awe.

Shit, the thing that gave me the biggest thrill of my life? Swimming beside whale sharks. For real. It was unbelievable, surreal, and nothing in some imaginary afterlife could come close to an experience on the planet. (even if it could – you don’t know for sure – so enjoy what is here!)

If you believe you are a soul, then why on earth would you want to LEAVE the heavenly realms to take on a physical body, especially knowing that life here “sucks”? Because it doesn’t! You have eyes and a brain and senses – a soul does not. It can’t taste or touch or smell. It can’t eat a mango. It can’t swim under a waterfall. It can’t be ravaged by a sexy lover under a willow tree.

The structure of society is what makes our world a dystopia – and that’s why I like those stories. I like to see how people get out of those situations – they  could be possible guidelines for survival. They’re freedom-lines. They show us what we are capable of.

It’s quite baffling that so many people out there think they are not capable of simple things. You really think you can’t lose weight? Just stuff yourself full of fruits and vegetables – AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. Endlessly. You will lose weight. You think you can’t leave your job/partner/family/insert-thing-here? PFFT. If you say to yourself you can’t, you are right. Yet people have escaped other COUNTRIES, regimes, imprisonment, sex slavery,  poverty – they’ve overcome loss of limbs, the use of their entire bodies, and yet  they accomplish amazing shit – BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THEY COULD.

I also love utopian books – the Anastasia books are some of my favourites. I had to really push through some of the parts that made me uncomfortable (anything to do with God or Christ – they are not really Christian books but they do talk about it sometimes) – it shows what a world COULD be like, and they have so many beautiful ideas and it is a world I wish could exist – and could, if we all thought that way.

It really upsets me when I see someone undermining themselves – I see every possibility in someone – I know they can succeed and that self-sabotage is the #1 killer of people – and I don’t mean physically, I mean MENTALLY.

The suicide of the soul is the main thing that leads to early death. If you don’t think you can do anything with your life, you will be drawn to all the abominations in the world, and they are countless. People feed their bodies instead of their souls – they need excitement but can’t find it naturally, so turn to drugs, or crime, or risky sex, or mountains of fatty fake foods, or whatever vice they have – SHOPPING – all so they can have a quick thrill. Then they feel like garbage and have to do it over and over again until they die from disease, overdose, someone else killing them over something, and on and on.

Sure there are accidents, but if you are living a huge fulfilling life, then you can be taking your last breath and think “I really fucking lived it up, man.” and have no regrets. You can be captured and feel so angry and self-sustaining that you WILL find a way to escape and prevail. You won’t give up.

You want to live.

The people who inspire me are the ones who survive, who prevail in less than ideal circumstances.

The people in these types of books (fiction or non-fiction) feel alive. They want to live. Most people have never had a situation where they draw on that survival mechanism – they do not know their own strength, or their own passion for life.

This is why so many people do not change, do not see beauty, and waste so much time – they have to have a near-death experience to have it happen. And still a lot of people actually give up! Many people will actually just lay down and die – and even more sad is when doctors tell them to prepare for death. This is just malpractice as far as I’m concerned – there are many other options and the people who do survive so-called incurable diseases always find it on their own and prove the doctors wrong.

I considered being a doctor. I wanted to be one and heal people the RIGHT way. However, there are always people who do not see value in themselves, or putting effort towards a truly healthy life. They will still want the pills despite having the knowledge. I know people who KNOW how to be healthy, but they do nothing. When they get to the end of their lives, they are going to wonder if they could have lived longer, and that they squandered the life they had.

It’s like finding a jewel and doing nothing with it (I read that somewhere and liked the analogy).

I don’t ever want to feel that way. I am making changes in my life still, and many of those decisions are not easy. Certain things need to happen because it is MY life and I am responsible for my OWN happiness. I want to create my own utopia – no one is going to do it  for me, especially society! Society wants to keep  us down, and we are headed that way because we are brainwashed!

Wake up everyone! I want the best for all of you. For all of us! We can never have enough beauty and inspiration surrounding us. Become a beacon! There are never enough – I can read for HOURS and days and weeks and months and years about people who have changed their lives, done inspiring things, and accomplished greatness – sometimes things that seemed impossible! You and I can also be these people!

Everyone is the same. We have the same physiology, biology, and brain functions (the majority do, anyway – if we are exposed to the right things, and have proper nutrition and lifestyle – the possibility is there except in extreme circumstances). We can do anything – there are even maps out there – other people have done it, so go find someone getting results you want and mimic their movements. Still be yourself, but damn, just get some momentum. Pave your own damn way. List every possible avenue, then make up some more.

Another cool thing about reading dystopian books (or watching shows) is since you are not in that situation, you can look objectively and see what you’d do differently to survive. It’s easy to be judgmental when you aren’t in someone’s situation – and I’m not telling you how to live. I’m just telling you to think.

Everyone has dreams and ambitions – yet they are usually too comfortable and think they are not important enough – they think they are too small, not powerful enough, whatever. Everyone out there with power and influence is one of two things: born into it, or worked damn hard to get there. BUT, in both situations…they believed they could do it. No one could be a king or a president unless they felt they could be, and had support and were led to believe they were that powerful. Everyone is born complete devoid of any biases, beliefs, or special qualities other than pure innocence. Take two babies and switch them – one is born from royalty, one is born in the slums. Switch them – the royal baby will grow up with the same beliefs as the people in the slums, adapt to poverty, and most likely stay that way. The baby born in the slums will be raised to be a king. Swap them back, the same thing would happen depending on their upbringing.

This isn’t really news, but the beliefs we grow up with make us who we are – and we can CHANGE these beliefs – it is so easy to be a victim. “Oh this happened to me – I was abused – I grew up in a broken home – I have bipolar disorder, I’m an alcoholic” – whatever. You want to feel important like everyone else – you don’t think you are, and so you CLING to that label in order for people to PITY you – then you get attention and feel important. You use that label forever. Even people who have given up alcohol or drugs for 20 years still refer to themselves as addicts. Why? I know the reasons people will say, but – why cling to that label when instead you could refer to yourself as a vibrantly healthy dynamo who had a glitch you overcame? Then you have an empowering self-image!

You might not like me saying it, but that’s okay. If you don’t like it you probably feel insulted and deep down you know it’s the truth. It sure was for me, so I can say it with conviction. I was the “depressed girl” and it was my way of getting attention. YES, I was depressed. I am not negating that these things are REAL and debilitating, BUT – don’t let them DEFINE you. Don’t GIVE UP on yourself.

Your beliefs are cemented within the first 7 years of your life. Think of this – say you are Christian (and I’m not picking on religious people) – you are a FIRM BELIEVER – this belief was most likely formed in the first years of your life. If you grew up in Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan,  Israel, or as an Australian Aboriginie – you would believe something else, guaranteed. You limit yourself when you cling to a label or religion. Everyone’s belief is the “right” way – or so they think. It’s not – it just places limitations, and then you CHOOSE to believe that you must follow those. All because you were indoctrinated that way. If you think you are accomplishing things because of a higher power – it’s actually YOU doing those things. It isn’t through the power of a perceived being who controls you – why are people so afraid to admit they are powerful? That belief in a god is just a belief in themselves – BECAUSE they think something else is providing the ability. It’s a placebo! You really ARE that amazing!

Most people try a few things to overcome their issues. “Oh I’ve tried everything.” No, you haven’t. And I know this because I still see people out there who give up because it’s “too hard” – as soon as you think it’s too hard, you stop looking, you stop being open, and the right avenue will be completely invisible to you. I only found my path when I broke open my brain and started to really see what was possible.

Thomas Edison had something like 700-10000 “failed” attempts at making a light bulb (depending on your source) – this is a very widely used example. What about other people? My favourite is Bethany Hamilton, deciding to surf after losing her arm to a shark. She tried  surfing again and failed, almost gave up, until her father fashioned a little strap on her board to help her dive under the waves. She now surfs at a competitive level with one arm! Can you imagine even attempting something like that? Could you even believe it was possible? Probably not – but she and her family kept looking, and now she is a huge inspiration, moreso than any other surfer I can think of.

Laird Hamilton is another surfer I think of, who made huge innovations in surfing waves that were seemingly impossible to surf – but he found ways, with other surfers, to increase their speed using jetskis to pull them in – therefore allowing them to do something “impossible.” I like to use surfing examples simply because I love surfing. But I can think of tons of other people, too. And a lot of these people just decide to go do something, just because they believe it can be done. They might not even have experience. Ffyona Campbell started to walk around the world when she was in her late teens. She accomplished this feat over the next 11 years. She even admitted to cheating for 1000 miles (due to pregnancy) and went back to redo those miles, EVEN THOUGH she still had accumulated enough to quality for a Guiness world record. The point is – she just went. Colin Angus circumnavigated the earth by human power – rowboat, bicycle, walking. An amazing journey and riveting – I suggest reading his book Beyond the Horizon.
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What about all the Jewish people who hid in the woods to escape the Nazis – who lived for years that way?

What about Aron Ralston? Would you cut off your own arm to live? Are you worth enough to  yourself to endure that type of pain and sacrifice a limb to LIVE? You don’t even have to! Your choices are much simpler and less painful than that!

Even the way we “survive” now is based on things people discovered within the last century or so. Our methods of refining and packaging foods so we could get through scarce, cold winters – these got to be thought of as “progressive” and if you thought otherwise, you were considered to be stupid! This in fact is what led to the onslaught of diseases in the last century – the “survival” foods – great in survival situations, but survival is not progressive. It is what I consider meat-eating to be – not natural, but purely for survival. It would explain a lot to do with our physiology and origins – being nomadic, fleeing situations, moving into different territories without proper food sources – to survive, humans found other things to eat. I can ramble on forever, but the initial point I was making was that we can use dystopian ideas, survival situations, as inspiration. How can we AVOID those situations, how can we get OUT of them? We live in dystopia NOW – how will you get out of it?

Really all you must do is remove yourself from how society works (I don’t mean get out of it completely, or isolate yourself) but start to think differently, find your own rhythm, and discover the beautiful heaven you are already in. It’s the reason you are here, inhabiting your body. Your soul wants a gorgeous, perfectly-functioning body to inhabit so it can experience the GOOD and BEAUTY on the planet, before it goes back to ether, before it has no way to smell, breathe, or love in a physical manner.

I am not even religious. I don’t even know if there is a soul. Even if there is, and if it can be reborn into a new body, you will still not have the experience you can have NOW with THIS brain and THIS body.

There are two ways of looking at life on earth – shit-hole, or Eden. Even if you think it’s a cesspool at this point, it can be transformed back to its original, gorgeous state. We have that ability, and choice – even if you think you as a single individual amongst billions have no effect – the numbers grow and grow, and after a time, we will be the majority, and the healthy, positive, conscious people will be the only ones left.

The Time-Sucks – Keeping Us Down

It just sort of hit me a minute ago.

I’m watching some dumb show, and WHAM! Epiphany.

You read it and hear it all the time – that media and everything out there is a distraction – to keep you down. To lead you off in another direction, instead of going toward the things you could do, or contribute, or accomplish.

How many nights do I spend reading blogs, looking through pictures, getting “inspiration,” or watching some random show? I say I don’t watch TV – well, I sure watch documentaries, movies, youtube – and the occasional show.

But how often do I spend my time on working towards my goals? Very little, especially in contrast to all the other things. It really hit me just now because I noticed the time, and what did I do with the few hours of my evening? Sweet fuck-all.

So, from now on, I am going to spend my extra time doing those things – working on this blog, working on my novel, working on my other book – all the things that have been dancing in my head for months or even years – where is the output?

It’s there, but the little white flag of “Hey, check THIS out!” has caught my brain’s attention, and before I know it, it’s time to go to bed and get up for work, where I spend all day warming myself up  and yearning to do awesome things in my free time, or on the weekend. Not to mention my goal is to work for myself and do work that can be done from anywhere.

Well that ain’t gonna happen while watching youtube or looking at pinterest. It just ain’t. All those minutes add up, like pennies to millions. I am not missing anything, and neither are you. Ever notice that when you watch youtube, for instance, there is a huge amount of other things on the side of the screen you might be interested in? And suddenly hours have gone by? What happened? You may have learned something (depends on what you watch) but really all you have REALLY done is sit in your chair for a long time staring at a screen. Those extras are there to DISTRACT you – at least if you are doing this, LEARN something!

So yeah, stop reading my blog and go do some shit you wanna DO. Take one step, then take another tomorrow. Just a reminder!

Lightbeams: Abigail Geraldine

Lightbeams is the first of an ongoing series of interviews with people who live unconventional lifestyles.

Abigail Geraldine

An artist, photographer and writer who whisked herself away to New York from Singapore to immerse herself in a creative lifestyle. She lifestreams and shares her work at silentinfinite.com.

Exuberant greetings to you. What’s your name?

Hello! My name is Abigail Geraldine.

What are your most intense passions?

Creating. Exploring new worlds. Communicating. Connecting. Experiencing that I am a part of the living universe. Understanding myself.

How did you cultivate these passions? Did you always have them? How did you discover that you wanted to aim your focus on these particular art forms?

They were always latent, though they expressed themselves differently over the course of my life. I was always creative, but not everybody would have considered me ‘talented’: I’m not a child prodigy. I just really, really love creating. I love how I feel when I create: like I’m connected, irreversibly, to a vast network of life.

The experience of true love and bliss that accompanied my creative moments along with the experience of intense suffering when I was not allowed to be creative is what helped me make the decision to focus on this with all my heart, mind and life.

Do you survive solely on your artistic endeavors? If not, what else do you do to survive?

Right now I’m in the process of working towards letting my work support me full time. You’ve caught me in the very moment where I’m putting everything I’ve got into it once more and hoping everything will finally align after years of trying to figure it out. So yes, I am doing this full-time right now, there’s nothing else I do to survive.

How did you develop your talents? Are you self-taught, or did you learn through typical means?

Both. I took a few semesters of digital filmmaking classes and one semester of photography classes at two different art colleges over a period of 5 years. The most meaningful learning to me has always been self-taught, though. I make the biggest leaps when I decide to self-educate because I know how to nurture my own talent best.

Art school was actually harmful to my creative process – besides being exorbitantly expensive, it was too focused on superficial elements and not enough focus on inner development and sensitivity to beauty, which are the most important things for me as an artist.

What was your life like before you decided to do something different?

It was a nightmare. There were some moments of bliss, but mostly it was a difficult struggle. I had to learn how to help my mind and emotions work for me. I kept finding myself in situations with people who only wanted to hurt and squelch me and in places where I had to compromise my identity and deepest beliefs in order to survive.

Who or what inspired you to move forward with your life instead of just moving within everyone else?

I looked to other artists. I fell completely in love with so much 90s music from America (Pearl Jam, Mark Lanegan, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, Skinny Puppy, Fugazi) and realized that there was a different path, where I could hope to live as a whole person. I wouldn’t have to live a double life anymore. I would be able to live fulfilled, whole and always sharing my creative gifts.

I also discovered spirituality through people like Nisargadatta Maharaj, along with Buddhism, Sufism, Christian mysticism, Theosophy and esoteric thinkers like Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.

It became very clear that there was a whole other side to life expressed in art and spirit that most of society simply ignored.

Did you have to overcome anxiety? How did you push through it to get to where you are?

Yes. I had to overcome severe anxiety and depression – which I think are very sane reactions when one is trapped in a society that does not acknowledge one’s deepest potential or that is actively hostile to one’s natural way of being in the world.

The interesting thing about healing yourself from anxiety and depression is that you learn to let your mind and emotions work for you. I healed myself through learning healthy mental habits, excluding certain types of people from my life and basically learning to truly love myself.

What did you have to give up in order to live the way you do? Was it worth it? What did you get instead?

I’ve had to give up a lot of things I hated anyway, in order to get things I really love, which is wonderful! I’ve traded in an unfulfilling relationship for true love, a country I absolutely hated for one that feels like home, a lack of opportunity for so much hope and possibility.

One thing that was tricky was actually releasing the attachment to any kind of conventional success – but this is also wonderful because I’ve always wanted to have an incredibly unique life anyway.

What sort of opposition did you get from other people?

I’ve had people belittle me, bully me, get me to doubt myself, put down my dreams and project their own unhappiness with life on me. Basically I’ve had people make me feel that there was something gravely wrong with me, simply for thinking and acting in a way that is natural to me.

What sort of support did you get?

I’ve had people accept me unconditionally and offer me true love, with absolutely no strings attached – which has been one of the most beautiful and heartening experiences of my life. I’ve had people unexpectedly come through for me in the most difficult situations. I’ve had people appear out of nowhere, help me out, and disappear again. And sometimes, things have seemed to work out like magic – with no resistance.

Photo by Brainwomb.

What do you consider to be paramount to living a full and unconventional life?

Self-knowledge and self-love.

How would you define unconventional?

An unconventional life to me is one lived in harmony with one’s heart and out of step of the template existence that most people lead which involves grasping at illusions of success that neither truly fulfill or satisfy. An unconventional person devotes her life to self-actualization rather than social approval. She thrives instead of just surviving.

You mention going through a lifetime of incredible personal darkness – what steps did you take to get through it? What are the most important lessons that you learned?

I focused on what I wanted to create, summoned the courage to deal with my shadow (really this was a necessity and still is an ongoing process), and relentlessly created positive energy (through thought, feeling and action) in the direction of where I wanted to go.

I took practical steps too: I made damn sure that I moved out of my country of origin to a new place where I would be free to express myself and grow creatively and intellectually.

I learned that paying attention to your consciousness truly changes your experience of reality and in very big ways. When you can take steps to ensure that this moment is fully and truly lived, experienced and appreciated, there is a very real result in physical reality. When you choose to become love, it can’t help but shine through you, transforming your experience of life.

Do you have a personal mantra?

Actually I don’t! :)

What gets you through periods of inertia?

Inertia is something I have to deal with a lot now, because I’m going through a major life change and I constantly feel the fear of stepping into the unknown. Here’s what I do to release it:

I focus on being intensely  present – just breathing and sometimes listening to music. Inspiration often follows.

I immerse myself in the creative process and enjoy it thoroughly.

I lead myself to remember how good love feels, and how incredible it feels to share it. This often leads to action, because love reaches outward.

I fantasize about the potential we have as human beings to create new realities through art and science. I think about how much of the universe we have yet to discover, and how each generation does the work of reaching just a little further…

I know you are attuned to the positive – do you think it is important to be positive at all times, or should we embrace a darker part of ourselves, too?

We should absolutely discover our shadow and understand how it relates to the parts of ourselves that are easier to deal with. I’m not so much attuned to the positive as I am to the constructive and creative. Creation often implies destruction of some sort within the process. When destruction is in service of the creative process however, it is ultimately creative/regenerative. So, I try to see things beyond the binary of positive/negative, which isn’t always easy! :)

Does health play a roll in your life at all? How important do you think health is in order to really live the best possible life? What healthy habits do you have?

When I was depressed, I changed my diet to include more raw food as well as organic produce (where possible) and was amazed at how it affected my mood. I think health is really important and it’s definitely something I have been hoping to focus on more. I cook quite a lot, buy organic as much as possible and try to make sure I have some raw component to my diet.

Photo by Morrissey Photo.

Describe your typical daily lifestyle.

Right now I have no typical day. I’m still adjusting to a major life change and this will probably become clearer in the next few weeks. Suffice to say, I create as much as I can every day :)

How would you advise someone who wanted to break free of a regular life and become what they truly dream? Please give concrete examples as well as some possibly wild ideas.

Pay attention to your dreams – both the kind you have at night as well as the fantasies you have about what your life could be. In contemporary society, too many of us are naturally disconnected from our desires after a lifetime of socialization. We must rediscover our fundamental desires to understand what will really fulfill us on a deep level.

Release the need to have a conventional life in any way – if you’re clinging to conventional success, the transition is going to be that much more painful. Love your unique path.

Have no guilt about giving yourself space and unconditional love. Take as much time as you need. Realize that transformation can’t be rushed or forced.

Realize that you are loved infinitely and that you are infinite love. Tap into that through poetry, music, dance or whatever suits your fancy. Remember that you are loved exactly as you are.

Be present. Breathe deep.

Jettison negative people, beliefs and circumstances from your life regularly.

Change your physical/social environment. For me, moving far away from the culture I grew up in – from Singapore to New York City – helped me expand my idea of what was possible in this world. It helped me let go of any absolute ideas I had of morality. I realized that there is no absolute right or wrong. There is only what works for you and what does not. This made me realize how precious free will is and that all of us have full freedom of choice.

How much does reading affect your life? Any must-read books you suggest to everyone? How about blogs?

Oh yes. I read a ton, though less these days.

Books: Rob Brezsny’s ‘Pronoia’, Daniel Pinchbeck’s ’2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl’, The Essential Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks), Morihei Ueshiba’s ‘The Art of Peace’, Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Hope in the Dark’, Carolyn Elliott’s ‘Awesome Your Life’.
.

Blogs: I love yours!

Also:
Awesome Your Life: http://www.awesomeyourlife.com
Parallax: http://www.parallaxweekly.com
Jessica Mullen: http://www.jessicamullen.com
Coilhouse: http://www.coilhouse.net
Roots of She: http://www.rootsofshe.com
Evolutionary Landscapes: http://evolutionarylandscapes.net/
Live Lightly: http://ilivelightly.com/
Deapologize: http://deapologize.wordpress.com/
Cynosure: http://s.rvxn.org
BellyHeartSoul: http://www.bellyheartsoul.com/
Cosmic Outlaw: http://www.cosmicoutlaw.com/
Biorequiem: http://www.biorequiem.com/
DestroyX: http://destroyx.com/

Do you have a muse or someone in particular you admire (can be more than one).

Refer to the blogs above! :)

Any other words of wisdom?

Love feels really good. True love feels like the reason we are alive.

~~

Thanks Abigail!

Do you live a creative, unconventional, or free lifestyle? Please email me (or comment below) and tell me about yourself and I may interview you, too!

The Future

That time I climbed a mountain.

There’s that cliche about living every day like it’s your last.

Do people actually do this? I think it’s pretty unlikely. Maybe you can do that  if you have zero responsibilities.

Inspired by watching “The Future” I just had a thought. What if we did this every month, instead? We could draw out a map and plan what we want to do before we “die” on that last day of the month.

How would you structure that time? I would definitely go somewhere hot, with waves. I’d ravage my boyfriend as much as possible. If I was single, I’d be lascivious and revisit all the wonderful lovers in my past, and find new ones, too. This is the last month of my life, of course.

I would lavish my dog with attention and take her for many beautiful hikes through the mountains. Most of the time, though, I would write, swim, surf, and eat luscious things – durians and dandelion flowers.

Today I thought: In our lifetimes, we either contribute, or we consume. Most people consume. I don’t necessarily mean buying – I find the majority of human beings just take, take, take – they don’t put anything OUT there, or put themselves out there, doing something important. Is it just fear, or laziness? I think laziness stems from fear – everyone wants to do something amazing.

There needs to be more giving – even if you sell the things you create, that is still giving. As long as it is meaningful. Make it available. Toss beauty into the air like confetti, construct a paradise amongst the squalor of regular existence. When trapped, a moment of beauty you come upon can make all the difference  – it can be the beacon to continue on, the lighthouse bringing your boat to the shore of what your life could really be like.

I would want to spend my last month contributing. Especially since I know my “last month” will go back to square one the next month. And hey – if I do in fact have little time left – then I really would have spent it doing worthwhile things. And I don’t necessarily mean “for the greater good” – even though I think that is important – but I mean for ME. For my  own happiness. So when I am about to die I can say I really lived.

So I think I am going to do this – construct my month, at least within my means right now. I could easily take a month off and live in the tropics for that time with my credit card – maybe I should.

Who do I want to see? What do I want to read?  What do I want to learn? What to I want to teach? What do I want to do? What do I want to make? What do I want to experience?

You could ask yourself the same questions. It’s much easier to imagine doing everything you want in a month than in a day.

I don’t think it’s feasible to live every day as if it is your last – because you never know when that is. And so I might spend my last day watching a movie on my computer or making a banana crepe, or WORKING. Blech.

If I have a longer time frame to think about, then I can actually get going.

Imagine, someone says, “Tomorrow is your last day alive.” How could you even DO what you want to do? Say your dream is to go to Antarctica (it’s one of mine). You couldn’t even get there in a day. That’s not fair!

Seriously, I say screw it. Write down the things you want to do most, and even if you have to take a leave from work, use your credit card, whatever – do it, and do the things you want most. Maybe this IS your last month alive. Who knows?

This is why it’s good to focus on experiences instead of acquiring more stuff.  When you get to the end…you really won’t care how much shit you have, you’re gonna regret the shit you didn’t DO.

Overwhelmed by the State of the World?

I get this way. Often.

Sometimes I will cry in the middle of the grocery store, like I did today when reading National Geographic, images of a rhino with her horn cut off by poachers, found the next day searching for her lost baby. It sent me into a fury. I started hating the world, people, society, HUMANS.

When I rage, though, I feel compelled to do something – instead of pure hate that goes nowhere, I try to flip it around, and think of how I can make a positive difference.

It is so difficult to live amongst these things – generally I avoid the news – I do want to know what is going on, but I cannot deal with constant bombardment.

I think we are all either desensitized or numb. We have to be, or we choose ignorance. It’s a survival mechanism. I get shit from some people for avoiding the news, yet they choose to ignore the atrocities that happen to animals so they can go on eating their meat and dairy, or wearing their skins. They ignore the underlying issues, the ones not broadcast in the mainstream. The ones “they” want to hide.

We all contribute to the evil in the world in some way. There are probably only a handful of people out there that can say they live a completely cruelty-free life. They are most likely unknown.

We do our best – but only with the knowledge we HAVE. However, we should always be taking steps forward to be even better. Small steps are too small – our world is fucked. You should especially care if you have children, or want them. You should be completely outraged at the things you know about, and take action to abolish them.

The most powerful thing you can do is BOYCOTT. Money makes EVERYTHING happen in this world – 99% of the bad things that go on are due to greed, on some level. It makes people ugly, desperate, and robotic. They forget their true sensitive natures. We are all sensitive beings, but these things are so shrouded – we can’t handle the horrible happenings, and we numb ourselves – with food, mindless entertainment, alcohol, and everything else. We are so empty, grasping at air – what can we possibly do to UNDO the turmoil we’ve caused? How can we even begin to fight the “powers” that seek to destroy us and become rich because of it?

We just don’t contribute. Start getting angry. Start saying a big FUCK YOU to even the smallest ways evil seeps into your life.

Even hatred can be turned into a passionate, powerful beauty. IF the hatred is turned into a force for the greater good. Sometimes anger can be glorious, uplifting, and staggering, if pointed in the direction of utopia.

We all want utopia – but at the expense of all others? At the expense of our world, of our animal friends? Of our health?

We are not overpopulated here – there is plenty of room for us – but we live in a completely unsustainable way – we are dependent and greedy, we want everyone to do things for us.

Power comes from being self-sustaining. Feed yourself, free yourself.

Here are some ways to get out of that system:

+ Grow your own food. You can do this in your own home, yard, balcony, communal garden, random patch of land, windowsill, rooftop, alleyway.

+ Learn to forage. This will come in handy to save you money, give you major nourishment, and if the world goes to shit sooner than later,  you will be able to survive.

+ Freeganism. So much food in the world is wasted. Get over the “yuck” factor and celebrate the “free” factor – plus the point of keeping things out of landfills.

+ Adopt a natural, biologically appropriate diet – this will free you of health problems and the medical system/pharmacuetical industry.

+ ReUSE things. Instead of rushing out to buy something every time your stuff breaks down, get it fixed, or learn to fix it yourself. You do NOT need the latest model – you are just fueling horrible industries and being brainwashed by media. People always forget the reuse/reduce, and focus mainly on recycling.

+ Seek out alternative sources of news.

+ Be suspicious of everyone trying to SELL you something you don’t NEED.

+ Become so clean internally that you have no use for make-up. Take care of yourself so well that you have no need of doctors or cosmetic procedues.

+ Shun television – and if you must watch something, be very aware of what is being pushed upon you. Question the motives behind everything you see. Be aware of how you are being manipulated. It is strong, prevalent, and more damning than you realize.

+ Read something that is actually going to teach you something. Cultivate some interest outside of what the media wants to brainwash you with.

+ Focus on things that will make you strong, independent, and alive, instead of focusing on vanity, indulgence, and things. Strength and vivaciousness beat out fake beauty and materialism.

+ Unschool yourself. Then relearn. If I ever have children they will not be going to public school, unless they REALLY want to. I wish I had left. Children have a natural curiousity that tends to be squashed by regular education. It is a babysitting service, and built to spoil us. The whole point is to mold people into an obedient workforce.

+ Just say “Fuck it” if something scares you. Do it ANYWAY. I was scared shitless to start this blog because there is so much out there already. I’m not freaked out by much, though. Some people are too scared to do anything! I think that is so sad.

+ Don’t get too enmeshed in the negative. There ARE a LOT of positive things in the world – be a PART of that. BE positive. Find ways to overcome “problems.” There is ALWAYS options! No money? You can find ways to get around it. I went on a 100% raw diet when I was working part-time and making minimum wage. It was #1 priority so it happened! Make whatever is most important to you YOUR #1 PRIORITY!

+ Get a bike and ride that everywhere. It doesn’t have to be new or expensive. If it’s raining, get some raingear. Or take the bus. I personally hate the bus and have a car, however, I am riding my bike more often in order to rely on the car less. Cars are necessary for some things, but not ALL things. I certainly could not get jugs of spring water with a bike or a bus. Eventually I want to ride my bike to work, unless the weather is atrocious.

+ Buy independent, or thrift-store wares. Use freecycle.org. You will save money big-time AND not contribute to heinous corporations.

+ Question the source and ethics behind EVERYTHING you buy!

+ Choose a cause and really throw yourself into it. If you have time to watch TV, you have time to take action, even in small ways.

I know a lot of these suggestions are not new, but they are simple. I’m surprised more people don’t implement them. And I know a few of these will seem a bit off-putting for some – well, do you think the world is in good shape? Do you like being brainwashed and having your life controlled by people who just want to take advantage of you and steal your money, money you give your life away for, when you could be spending it doing things you WANT to be doing? Do you like contributing to the mass destruction of the place you LIVE upon?

We have a huge responsibility to take care of the natural resources that sustain us. The hugeness of it does not all have to be taken upon by one individual. It is ALL of us, taking care of ourSELVES in this way, that will add up.

It is impossible to have a million dollars without pennies involved, and in the same way, it is impossible to have an effect upon the world’s worst issues without first lessening your own impact. You have no right to complain about the state of things unless you are doing as much as you can.

I don’t think everyone needs to change overnight – in most cases that would not be feasible, and even I have not changed everything I want to change. BUT, I do a little at a time. There are major ways to not contribute that are EASY to do RIGHT AWAY. Just STOP buying things that support evil industries! Simple! There are always alternatives!

The earth will heal, but we have caused so much destruction. We are the scourge of the earth…which is SO DEPRESSING because…

WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY AND ABILITY TO BE THE MOST AMAZINGLY GIVING, SENSITIVE, CREATIVE, CONSCIOUS BEINGS IN THE UNIVERSE.

The best you can be – be it. It is probably BETTER than you can fathom. I could not imagine being the person I am today several years ago. I could not even dream of it – it took small steps, constant searching for betterment – in myself, FIRST. When you take care of your own needs you will have the clarity of mind and the healthy body to take you into the rest of the world, with strength to fight and help others.

You don’t need luck – you need self-love.

~~~

Just living is not always living. Look at your life. Can you call it a blessing? Can you call it a gift, a present of existence? Would you like this life to be given to you again and again? – Osho