Showing posts with label personal intentions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal intentions. Show all posts

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Year, New Metaphysics Haul

A new year brings a new visit to the metaphysics gift shop to freshen up Life's pages.  Okay.  Well, something like that.  You all know what I mean.  Anyway, I do this just about every January, so I'm back again with another Dreammaker haul to share.  
The first thing I asked when I stepped in the shop Saturday was whether the proprietors had anything new.  New crystals.  Incense.  Gemstones.  Anything worth a try for the upcoming year.  It's been a year since I last stepped in the place, and because I like trying new New Thought items, I had to see what was new.  Experimenting with different powders and such, but not so ritualistically.  If you will.  

I ran out of my Anna Riva powdered incense from two years ago, so I decided to head in this direction for 2016.  There's so many to choose from, though.  I went back and forth during my visit.  You have the incense powder you burn for attracting love, finding success, and meditation.  There's even a powder as specific as winning a court case!  (I pray I never have to indulge myself in that specific blend.)  
I decided to get the incense blend for better business and healing–both self-explanatory on their purpose.  But outside of their function, I really love the actual aroma of each.  The better business has the same lemon/lime scent as Anna Riva's money powder.  (In parts, it smells like money.)  And the healing powder has a peppermint and spicy vanilla scent.  According to Anna Riva's website, this particular powdered incense is best burned on Sunday's.  As a purifying and protective fragrance lingers throughout your home. 
That's right.  Quick money herbal spell mix.  I had to grab this one.  Especially after getting off the phone with a student loan company the day before.  As well as standing for eight hours at work previous to my Dreammaker trip.  A grueling and mind-numbing eight hours I must add.  Anyway, I've never had a herbal spell bag before.  And it was new so why not?  I dropped a pinch or two into my crystals/gemstone pouch and'll burn the rest.  You know.  To see what cracks and crevices of life some little money will seep through.
(Note: this stuff doesn't burn well.  But let's be clear: anything I buy from a metaphysics and New Thought gift shop is hardly used in its traditional sense.  It's usually about fun and experimentation.  So I wouldn't count on me to understand the exact purpose of this mix.)

I was long overdue for a new smudge stick.  My previous one is just that: STICKS.  So I finally got a new one for cleansing and purifying space, body and mind.  Oh, and crystals/gemstones.  
But check this.  I read an article not long ago that linked burning white sage to clearing bacteria out of the air.  So the Native Americans continued to have it right.
Well, that's all I got for.  Here's to 2016.  More progress.  More growth.  Evolving with good people and better opportunities.  Remember to visit the Dreammaker website for your own New Thought gifts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cashier Confessions | WEEK 2

Here we are with WEEK 2 of my "Cashier Confessions" (formerly "On Break... Motivate") series.  This week I talk about sharing your ambitions with co-workers.  Should you share them?  Or should you not.  I lean toward no.  Be discerning if you feel the need to.  Or move in silent.  I also talk about being grateful for you job underneath your own terms and not the fear others slip into your mind frame.  It's perfectly okay to want better and to feel it.  By Thursday I wanted to talk about arguing with co-workers.  So not necessary, but often we find ourselves in those situations.  If you know you deserve better and strive for it outside of your 9-5–let your co-workers have the place.  And Friday I leave the work week encouraging everyone to take pride in having a vision.  Because many people don't.  

Monday (12/7/2015)

Wednesday (12/9/2015)

Thursday (12/10/2015)

Friday (12/11/2015)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cashier Confessions | WEEK 1

I created this series of videos (certainly more will come) while taking a break on my 9-5 day job.  It can be stressful and discouraging having to work at a job you don’t like or have a vision for.  And it can be even more stressful and discouraging when you know your passion is calling you.  That’s how I ended up here.  On this blog.  On Spreadshirt and Zazzle.  On Youtube.  I needed to open up my own space for opportunities.  And that’s what I’ve been doing the past three years.  And loving it all along the way!  So these videos are here to motivate and encourage those in my shoes.  As well as anyone else searching for a change–a miracles of sorts–in their lives.

Anything can happen, people!  Don't give up!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Help Me Utilize Laura's Couch

I have to find a good place to start with how I concluded my experience and understanding of How to Rule the World from Your Couch by Laura Day.  Without rambling, of course.  

I picked Couch up from my public library’s self-help section. Now did the “self-help” in self-help apply once I finished reading it? I’m… honestly… not sure.  I’m leaning toward accepting it has, considering I read the book cover to back without skipping any pages. So I was dedicated and invested, though not totally convinced of Day's self-help methodologies. Conversely, in a subliminal pull, I kept reading because the cover seemed so comfortable and promising in itself.  Don't you agree?

Nonetheless, let me run down Day’s unique (though not nearly so) approach to self-help.  She insists on the highly necessary use of our natural intuition to supply the assistance we need to produce positive changes in our lives. According to her, we could use our intuition to manifest (though she may not use that word) financial, relationship, and business changes. Furthermore, her definition of intuition comes sub-categorized and packaged into applications of mediumship, telepathy, body heat telepathy, remote viewing, precognition, and healing. I know, right. Sounds a little too supernatural and occultist. Personally, these subjects aren’t new to me.  I spent my teens researching all things related, and my 20s consuming books written by famed psychic, Sylvia Browne (God rest her soul). Nevertheless, it appears Day takes the psychic/supernatural element out of these subjects and rearranges them with a less than esoteric definition.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Course: Separation, Fear, Conflict

It’s been a while since I've grasped A Course in Miracles.  The truth is that I didn't re-recognize, during some emotionally distressful situations, that I had it available to me.  Nonetheless, through a few recent events, I found myself drawn back to the book.  So as of late I've committed myself to reading a page or two every morning before I get out of bed, to energize my spirit with a concisely positive approach to the day.  Not that I go into each day thinking negatively.  The Course just sets a whole different tone and succinct realization to each morning.  See, I read somewhere that what you think and believe within the first twenty minutes of your day will determine the proceeding twenty-four hours.  I kind of noticed that to be true one morning when I decided to picked up A Course in Miracles to soothe the rumbling in my mind.  Scratch that.  The fear in my mind is more precise.  I’m not a student of the Course, per se.  I don’t believe I have the capability to grasp something as spiritually illustrious.  Nonetheless, I find treasures in simply reading the book and finding that contrast between what I’m going through and what could inspire a positive flip on the situation.  The book is just insightful and penetrative should you take the time to read closely.  Much like Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, I take on A Course in Miracles to help realign myself to the changes I want to see in myself.  It's like a voice, or an invite to do better.  

So in this post I want to share two passages.  I don't read the book out of order, but somehow I came across these two at the right time.  Talk about how the Universe is in resonance…

These are passages from Chapter 2: The Separation and the Atonement.  Just to be clear, A Course in Miracles is not a religion, despite its use of Christian rhetoric or verbosity.  According to it's a "self-study spiritual thought system".  So there you have it.

III. The Altar of God
[Pages 40-41]

"You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate.  An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable.  Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way.  As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning-point.  This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight.  The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute.  But the outcome is as certain as God.

"Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement.  All solutions the physical eye seeks dissolve.  Spiritual vision looks within and recognizes immediately that the altar has been defiled and needs to be repaired and protected.  Perfectly aware of the right defense it passes over all others, looking past error to truth.  Because of the strength of its vision, it brings the mind into this service.  This re-establishes the power of the mind and makes it increasingly unable to tolerate delay, realizing that it only adds unnecessary pain.  As a result, the mind becomes increasingly sensitive to what it would once have regarded as very minor intrusions of discomfort."

I think that those two passages can electrify you without a studied explanation.  Especially for those who struggle with trying to live their purpose/passion, while finding themselves separated from doing so by worldly demands.  I find myself truly aligned with these two passages because I have (and still am to be honest) experiencing that tolerance of pain, having to concern myself with those worldly responsibilities that don't necessarily lift my spirit.  Even as recent as last month where I turned my back on something that I knew would only cause me to go backwards in my journey.  While I didn't handle that situation as best as I could, I couldn't ignore the calling that there had to be a better way out of my current situation that didn't require me to go back into my old situation.  With that said, we have to hold on to our visions with the faith that they propel us into our truths.  In a sense, a vision is a kernel to life.  Without one... I could only imagine...

IV. Healing as Release from Fear
[Page 42]

"Only the mind can create because spirit has already been created, and the body is a learning device for the mind.  Learning devices are not lessons in themselves.  Thier purpose is merely to facilitate learning.  The worst a faulty use of a learning device can do is to fail to facilitate learning.  It has no power in itself to introduce actual learning errors.  The body, if properly understood, shares the invulnerability of the Atonement to two-edged application.  This is not because the body is a miracle, but because it is not inherently open to misinterpretation.  The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world.  Its abilities can be and frequently are overevaluated.  However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world."

How often do we hear that we create our life/experiences via our thoughts--our minds?  Often enough.  With that creation of circumstances does your body go out to experience what your mind has created.  While I've always been familiar with this philosophy, and try to utilize it myself, I've never seen it described in the context of how your body does the learning that your mind creates.

VI. Fear and Conflict
[Page 49]

"Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do.  This situation arises in two ways: First, you can choose to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively.  This produces conflict behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged.  Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so.  This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain.  In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do.  This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow.  Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind.  Your mind is therefore split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic.  Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type, but will not obliterate the fear."

After my morning reading, this passage struck me the most.  It beat to me like no other.  Almost like a beacon to my current concerns.  This is probably where I'm at the most right now.  Merging my way out of the dilemma illustrated in the passage.  I won't shed the details, but this passage's truth is that profound for me at this moment.

So are you familiar with A Course in Miracles?  What are your thoughts on it, or the passages?  Could you relate to any of them, finding yourself muddled in your own thoughts while searching for clarity?  Comment and share your thoughts below.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

She's in the Dunes

Forgive me, but I am still trying to find the right words to describe Kobo Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes.  So many simple words can circle the reading experience.  Strange.  Suspenseful.  Mysterious.  Engrossing.  Weird.  Metaphoric.  Sand.  I suppose I should first express that I enjoyed the book.  I was anything but bored by it; it made good company while I sat in a hospital waiting room a couple of weeks ago.  Nevertheless, I have yet to fully form a view of the book in its entirety, because it's so multi-layered with potential expressions and thoughts.  However, I have a clue concerning what I left the book feeling--or even what I learned.  But for certain there are layers upon layers of material worth an appropriate and systematic analysis (I sound like a computer guru there).  Some may end the book believing something differently, however.  And some (truthfully like myself) may remain reeling through the psychological breakdown of a Japanese entomologist trapped in the vortex of a village surrounded by spilling dunes of sand.  Which affords him the undeserved privilege and responsibility of containing the dunes from ruining a village he doesn't even belong to.

But first let’s talk about what the book is about.  A quick summary before I try to work my thoughts out on a book that clearly needs a re-reading.  Opening the novel outside of a railroad station on an August afternoon, we meet Niki Jumpei.  As I mentioned, Niki is an entomologist.  However, it’s much more of a budding hobby.  Niki’s actual profession is that of a school teacher.  So in pursuit of his side passion, he spends a quiet vacation hunting for bugs in an unnamed area near the sea.  From the beginning we (the reader) are given facts and speculations related to his character, as a sort of set up to his impending disappearance and breakdown.  One speculation tackles his unmarried status while sharing a home with a woman.  And other speculation of the more stereotypical generalities point toward his possible homosexuality.  

After missing his bus ride home, Niki finds himself at the mercy of three old men who glide him--in a sincere manner--toward a pit in the dunes near that village.  In that pit lies a single home--or shack.  Offering him food and board for the night, the men direct Niki toward taking a rope ladder down into the pit where he will meet the woman offering his boarding.  While Niki, with the woman, is calm, if not strange, he is unprepared to spend the coming days with her and makes it clear that he is simply there for the night.  She giggles slightly in turn.  However, Niki’s situation is anything but amusing when the next day he proceeds to climb out of the pit only to find that the rope ladder is missing.  Trapped, his official role is to help the woman with maintaining the spread of sand encompassing the village.  This entails hauling swells of sand out of the pit via the three men’s dropping buckets.  Should Niki decide not to take part, the exchange of water for work will end.  It’s more or less there that he realizes he is captured.  Nonetheless, the real intrigue lie in the solitary woman residing comfortably in the pit.  And so, the psychological arguments and metaphoric unbinding begin.

The summary sounds like a fairytale because the tone of the book is like one.  Nonetheless, if I could pick up and examine one aspect that I’ve gathered from this book, it’s that sometimes we have to weather our storms and make the best out of what we are given.  That’s not to say that I wasn't enraged at Niki’s situation--just as he became.  However, as the story progressed during his eventually Niki conformed to his situation.  Or the idea that the carte blanche way of creating your life is an internal deception.

If you're read this book, what do you think?  Do we live life unaware that we are trapped, yet strongly believing that we are free?  Regarding my personal circumstances, I believe so. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Faux Prayer Beads and Dreamcatching

Happy Sunday, Comic Towel Readers.  Can I say that?  Maybe.  Anyway, with a birthday coming up, I decided to buy things.  Lots of things.  Things besides books--although I got books!  In any case, Saturday (2/15/14) turned out to be such a great day.  I don’t know about you, but I love spending my Saturday mornings, moving into Saturday afternoon, out and about.  There’s something about the glow of a Saturday sun that just livens me up.  I could attribute it to those childhood years of watching Saturday morning cartoons before heading out shopping and begging for books.  So there’s this irrefutable desire in me to spend every Saturday out in that sunshine shopping before lunch.  Thankfully, I got to do that yesterday.  Something about between 11am-2pm glow while out shopping and eating on a Saturday just… there are no words for what that does to my inner child. 

I spent doing much of the same (buying stuff and eating) as the evening rolled around.  I ended up at Import Treasures and damn near had to hold myself back from spending.  This place is fantastic.  Had I thought about it at the time, I would’ve taken pictures of their various products to show.  Though… that might’ve upset the clerk.  Anyway, the place sells things like huge, vintage Chinese vases, lucky bamboo plants in porcelain pots (I almost got one featuring a quartet of happy panda bears).  They also sell Japanese furniture like decorative cabinets, hall pieces, and Oriental-themed landscape paintings/bamboo scrolls.  The majority of said furniture items were stamped with SOLD stickers and awaiting customer pick-up.  Assortments of figurines, bust art, sculptures, and woodcarvings line the back of the shop.  We’re talking Native American inspired pieces to pagan/deity inspired ones.  There’s Buddhist, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, and Greek figurines and products aplenty.  It just goes on and on, sedging into crystals, stones, and salt rock lamps traditionally used to purify the air.  I almost got a Chinese porcelain tea cup, although I don’t drink tea.  It was just beautiful.  Damn me for not taking pictures.  I was just too excited and found out quickly that I needed to find something and leave.  I shopped there before, leaving with some maneki-neko (lucky cat) figures instead of engaging with my impulse to reach for the higher priced items.

So I kept it simple, drawn to two of the smaller items presented in this post.

"Xiao Kou Chang Kai" is inscribed on the back
It may or may not seem apparent to you in the photo, but this Laughing Buddha Pendant prayer bead tassel is made of anything but wood.  Much to my sorrow, it’s made of plastic.  At least the beads are.  The pendant portion is copper, according to my best guess.  I suppose there shouldn’t be a difference between prayer beads (or mala) being made of plastic versus the usual wood.  At least I hope after I've already snatched this item up squealing without the forethought that it was made of plastic instead of wood.  Maybe its purpose is for d├ęcor, as opposed to its usual practice in creating tranquility and inner-peace in its bearer.  I haven’t yet decided, hedged on the fact that I’m not exactly a practicing Buddhist to begin with.  Nevertheless, there was simply something about it that I was drawn to; I've never had anything like it before.  I wouldn’t’ve noticed it behind a stage of child-size floor vases had I not asked my guide to direct me toward something I may need within the store.  I can’t say that I’m going to burst out in a synchronized mantra recital as I draw the beads toward me.  I can say that it’ll have the same effect similar to a placebo pill; my mind will instantly register a smiling Buddha radiating prosperity and good fortune my way.  It's a lucky charm after all.  Then again, maybe I’ll try to ignore the niggling “plastic” concerns and see if there’s a practical purpose for the item in terms of Buddhist/Hindu tradition.  We all start somewhere.

I’ve never owned a dream catcher before… until now.  There’s not much I can say in line with its origin and purpose, at least to those already familiar with the craft.  But I will say that I was attracted to this one--out of many in the shop--by its color and the chimes.  The feathers are natural and, unlike the Buddha pendent tassel, the beads are real wood.  This points to another little nugget of knowledge I’ve come to understand that gave me pause to the Buddha beaded tassel.  While we all know that the Native American legend behind the dreamcatcher is to capture bad dreams, what I didn’t know until recently is that the wooden beads and feathers aren’t there for decorative purposes.  They are actually meant to attract and guide good dreams and thoughts into the individual, mainly positioned above his or her bed.  

Anyway, thanks everyone for sticking with me.  I just wanted to share these light and sweet little goodies added to my collection of other goodies.  I have a last question though, are there any thoughts on how some goods such as Buddha pendants and dreamcatchers are often commercialized?  Is that an actual concern or am I over-thinking some of this?  Do you have any experiences you would like to share?  If so.  Do so.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Dream Maker Purchases

What’s up, everybody.  Listen, I wanted to share a couple of things I bought over the weekend at my favorite metaphysical gift shop located within the city.  The place is called The Dream Maker (here’s a link to their website:, and my best friend and I absolutely love this place.  We kind of discovered it over a year ago during a time where a few unexpected twists were happening in both our lives and relationships with others.  However, in a general sense, we've always loved and believed in stuff (I really don’t mean to use the term “stuff” lightly) like this.  Nevertheless, the Universe and its timing during periods of necessary growth and change is always on point.  Our Dream Maker visits helped “charge“ and motivate positivity into our lives.  Or at least helped point us in the direction of alignment with the positives.  It started with collecting crystals and gemstones (which I suppose I should share) and moved into collecting all sorts of other things, including this jade frog I keep near my door to attract money.  I adore the frog regardless, though.  

My intention on this weekend visit was to find a large quartz crystal point to help jump start my established crystal/gemstone/rock collection for the New Year.  However, I walked out with all Native American items, along with a bill that was shockingly less than $40.  I had a lot of assistance in making my decision; the shop keepers/employees are extremely friendly, helpful, and suggestive.  Every time my best friend and I leave the place we always smile about how good we feel.  We're always excited about carrying on that feeling with our new acquisitions.

It didn't take much convincing for me to purchase this shiny abalone shell.  I looked at many handcrafted boxes and bowls to see what would suit as a new bed for my crystals/gemstones to rest inside before deciding the shell might work and look cool at the same time.  As always, the shopkeepers and their little item description tags helped move my decision.  Apparently, abalone shells are known for providing growth and clarity within individuals, as well as assisting with smudging practices/ceremonies.  Considering we’re talking about metaphysics, this is vibrationally speaking.  So I went about picking me out a nice one, as you see here.  However, I didn't use it for gemstones after I floated around the shop catching my eye on something else I could use the shell for.

One of the shopkeepers was busy rearranging a shelf of new items while I was picking through other Native American products, and reading up on something called wishing paper.  As I am somewhat easily excitable and loud in places like this, the shopkeeper eased over to explain their new product called incense powder.  Ordered by a company called Anna Riva, they were new and selling really well in the shop--according to the shopkeeper.  Curious as I am, I saw that each bottle had a tag explaining what each mixture of power represented.  One simply titled “Job” was self-explanatory.  However, there were others like “Desire Me” and “Drive Away Evil” that really had my curious.  I decided to give this a go, asking the shopkeeper if it would be okay if I burned the powder incense in my new-found abalone shell.  He said it would work, but I just learned that heat transfers quickly through the shell.  I burn very little powder on a stable surface after nearly melting a hole into my PS3.  Anyway, after a short deliberation between choosing the “Five of Love” powder or the “Quick Money”, I chose the “Quick Money” powder.  Hey, I want to travel aboard some time this year.  Don’t judge me.  Besides, the “Quick Money” powder smells amazing.  Straight out of the bottle it has an airy lemon scent.

Unsure of the practices of using incense powder, I researched Anna Riva’s website (I’ll link it here: to get some facts.  According to the site, using “Quick Money” required the user to write the amount they wish to receive on a piece of paper.  Place the paper underneath the instrument housing the burning incense and repeat each day.  I’m on day three and I can say that after five months I finally made another sell in my Amazon Marketplace shop.  Not to mention Sunday I found a dollar on the ground at work and gave it to a customer who was short on change.

The last thing I’m listing was actually the first thing I picked up during the visit.  I was just attracted to this item right away.  It’s a brass chime if I’m not mistaken.  There really wasn't much discussion over this item while I was in the shop, only that I was interested in this particular color.  Nevertheless, my intentions was to use the chime as a means of musical meditation.  Something about the tinkering of the chimes exudes calmness.  If anyone has any information or suggestions for its use, please pass it on to me.

Toward the end of our visit, the shopkeeper and owner took out some of the flying wish paper that I mentioned earlier.  They were allowing some customers to try them out, seeing that this was a new in-store product.  Made mainly out of rice paper, the purpose of flying wish paper is to send your wishes out into Heaven/Universe where they can come true, or manifest into your life.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give it a try.  While it was difficult to write clearly on the paper itself, I let my intentions do most of the “writing” as I took an extra three minutes making my inner self clear.  After you write your wish on the paper, you roll the paper up into a tube then light a match to it.  The minute the flame touches the paper, the wish paper takes off.  Because we were inside we lit the paper and watched it lift, almost smoldering in the air.  The shopkeeper caught the burnt paper in plastic baggies and instructed us to take them home and release them there.  I did so the next morning before work, but hours before then, I walked out of The Dream Maker feeling both elated and comforted by the whole experience.

Can anyone guess what I asked for on my paper?  I'll hint that it was two things.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

India.Arie's "Break the Shell"

I just had to share this song by India.Arie.  Since her latest album, SongVersation, came out back in June, I’ve been trying to find ways to share my love of its material through my blog.  There is just so much to examine on this album, and so many lessons in relation to our lives as we try to better ourselves.  All of this is told consciously through Arie's amazing voice, of course.  And since I like taking a closer look at life here, I felt like this album would provide a perfect source to do so.  

The song I’m featuring is India.Arie’s song “Break the Shell”, a powerful song about feeling and living life while in display of our vulnerabilities.  Many times we allow our past and circumstances to build walls around us, walls that keep us from breaking out into our Truth and living the life that we desire.  How often do we suffocate our Truth to maintain that veneer of personal dishonesty, or to feel connected with others while disconnected inside?  What kind of freedoms do when gain when we break down our walls and allow the world to see us fly?  Listen to the performance, read the lyrics, and decide.

"Break the Shell"

I met a prophet dark as the night
She could see into my soul
Said she'd been watching and had some advice
She said shadows make you whole
A Life without pain is a wolf in sheep's clothes
'Cause if you listen to the lessons that it holds, you'll
find the gold

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

I can remember when I was a child
How the grown folks seemed so crazy
Why are they so angry?  Why are they so loud?
And when I grow up that's never, ever gonna be me
That was the moment that I decide
That I would build a wall just shy of 6 feet tall, too
strong to fall

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Courage is not being hard
It's time to peel back all the layers
You put between who you're meant to be
And who you are
And go be who you are

So much disappointment to finally understand
That there is no such thing as perfect
We're all simply doing the best that we can
And we have the choice to live or truly be alive
This is your life

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Child it's time to break the shell
Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
You cannot fly, until you break the shell

Do with these words what you will
It's time for us to be for real
You'll be stuck on the ground until
You finally break the shell

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

1996 and Intruding Thoughts

“The Boys sit transfixed before the small computer screen. A green line, indicating the brain wave activity of the Naylor woman, scrolls across the screen. On the other side of the wall, she’s in bed, tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable. They catch their breath in excitement as the words appear at the bottom of the screen; This pillow is too soft. Paulo can’t help himself; every time he sees that a tingling occurs at the bottom of this stomach. To be inside of someone’s mind has to be the sexist thing in the world. There was nowhere left on earth to go, no new frontiers. This was it; they were touching someone’s soul. Each time that it’s his turn, he trembles just a little as he “answers” her. The pillow isn’t too soft. Your head is too hard. After typing those words, he presses the “send” key and there is a slight hum from the satellite dish. Leave me alone. Jesus, would you look at that. She heard them. They’ve done it a dozen times by now, but every time it’s like a little miracle. So this is what it feels like to be God, Paulo thinks."   

This frightening excerpt comes from Gloria Naylor’s fictionalized memoir, 1996.  It’s considered a fictionalized memoir because of the interlocking narrative, sectioned between Naylor’s first person perspective of events (considered reality) and a third person view.  The third person narrative (proposed as fiction) provides readers a glimpse into the villainous acts of the government “squad” used to torment Naylor because of a small series of misunderstandings that inaccurately labeled her an anti-Semitic (those who are discriminating towards Jews).  As a book submerged in Naylor’s familiarity with government surveillance and conspiracies, her accounts left me wondering how probable her experiences were as well as what were the odds of finding myself in something similar.  Should you find time to read the book, you will see how disturbingly easy Naylor arrived to her situation.  And I say that without arguing whether her accounts are fact or fiction.   

Nonetheless, I also left the book wondering whether some of the fleetingly negative criticisms I have for myself are produced from within.  Or are they manufactured thoughts by some other source, as seen in parts of Naylor’s situation?  I suppose the safest choice is to settle with those negative thoughts being constructions of my own.  This may keep me from falling into that whole state of believing that the world is out to get me.  Nevertheless, I’ve always taken into account that nothing--and I mean nothing--in this world can be contained within our knowledgeable grasp.  Meaning, anything can absolutely be.  Nothing is impossible.   

So if those negative voices in our head are not manufactured, as they were in 1996, where do they pop up from?  As the depraved Paulo referred in the passage above, are they from God?  The better question is how true are those voices and should they always be acknowledged when we are faced with decisions or realizations about ourselves?  What percentage of them are thoughts influenced by the beliefs of others?  And how much of those thoughts are residual from our childhood experiences?  That’s what I really wanted to get to.   

So when our mind is wrestling with something, how easy is it to stay impartial and allow the debate to pass?  Is it helpful to stuff down the negative thoughts with positive ones?  Or should the negatives be just as accepted.  Because the mind won’t shut off, will it?  Every bad thought it shares does not pertain to you, though.  That's to be realized.   

Imagine the feeling of relief when we make peace that we are not that stupid voice in our head.  Instead, we’re just there to “listen” to it play out if we choose to.  We don’t have to participate with its corrugated reasoning.  It’s easier that way, but why is it so damn hard to reach such a state?  I find myself wondering this when in my head I am debating the behavior of others based off a decision I’ve made, of course translated through the lens of negativity.  See, a schedule was posted at work, and me being a first shift associate, suddenly found myself relegated to working two second shifts as the MOD, or manager on duty.  At the beginning of the summer I explicitly asked to move and stay exclusive to first shift.  Here, I could continue to have the personal space I felt required to better myself.  As far as the MOD status, I could have sworn that I turned down being a lead back in March.  Trusting my instincts, I should add.  So I was thoroughly perplexed looking at the schedule.  I was not going to get paid to watch over the second shift team members’ work, and should something happen within the store, I wasn’t willing to take the heat and stress crashing on my shoulders.  Nonetheless, I didn’t put up a fuss looking at the schedule, besides the managers had all dipped out!  I simply wrote a post-it note that read something like this:   

“I am not interested in managing second shift or working its hours again.  Thanks.”   

Well, that became the talk of the store.  People began to believe that the real second shift team lead was quitting (management put me on those two days to work her days off).  People thought I was quitting.  People became concerned for the store’s coverage.  Some were even proud of me.  But as for me... I (in my head) just kept thinking that I should have handled the situation differently.  Why?  Because I--once again in my head--believed I had upset some people by causing them to rearrange matters that inconvenienced others.  I am the type of person who tries not to make a fuss wherever I go.  I try to keep things mellow and fun.  For me to outright say “I won’t accept this” is almost unusual.  Granted, I speak my mind and take a no-bullshit approach to certain areas of my life.  However, I was also taught to take on my responsibilities however they come.  Nevertheless, it really did bother me that management felt they could just throw me into such a position after discussing months ago that I didn’t want such.  Still, this negative tape in my head kept insisting that my insubordinate “violation” of other employee’s time and space might’ve been doing too much.  What gave me the right to protest management’s decisions (besides the fact that I wasn’t going to get paid for it)?    

So when a certain employee may have forgotten to speak to me one day, I think it’s because of my demands.  Or when a manager eyes me across the room, I wonder is he ready to give me the boot (which I probably would gladly take) or cut my hours for making such a bold demand.  Is everyone mad at me?   

But it’s all an illusion, you see.  Those things only exist if I make them so and making them so starts with hooking myself into the negative thoughts that encourage them.  Things like my personal intentions and motivations play a role in my decision to spend my good times chasing a better life.  So if those choices ask me to stand up for myself, I must oblige.  It is much more rewarding to congratulate myself than berate myself over the falseness of guilt and negative illusions, which would once again turn into an inner battle begging me to quit the job all together.   

Nevertheless, I suppose the point of this post, in relation to Gloria Naylor’s novel, is to not allow anything, including your very own battling thoughts, to control and wear your purpose.  On all accounts, stand up for yourself throughout inner and outer circumstances.

Naylor, Gloria. 1996. Chicago: Third World, 2007. Print.

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