“Love is a strange emotion. It is ever evolving. Lust is transient. With time, one realizes that love and togetherness are two different things. Very few people are lucky enough to experience the two emotions simultaneously.” -Randeep Hooda.
Happy Holidaze everyone! I hope today’s blog finds you swell. If there’s one thing people enjoy during this bustling time of year, it’s unity and community. However, my inquiry is, why make this an annual event? While the Christmas season is important, aren’t the people you love special 365 days of the year? One of the important lessons that nearly dying has brought me is that time is of the essence. While I was in ICU in acoma, unbeknownst to anyone my Father had been listening to a voicemail of me singing him happy birthday, and when He thought He had accidentally deleted it He sobbed, thinking He might never hear my voice again. That story was so touching, I am now utterly joyful to sing him happy birthday every year that I’m with him. That little tidbit only reveals the kind of heart that our immediate loved ones have toward us.
You can easily fill up your days with tasks, but you cannot create more days on the calendar. Therefore, besidesthe things you have to do tolive in this wild world, try to fill your free time with things that are meaningful. Because our existence on this plane shouldhelp us to grow as people. You can’t do that with your face stuck in social media! I advise some face timeaway from thescreen with people that help you grow. As difficult as some people are to deal with, deal with them because the challenge they present actually helps you. Understand that other people are like water that rushes around you and shapes who you are. This happens in nature as well when rocks are reshaped by the river running around them.The different currents result in varying shapes, just likedifferent people you encounter shape you. Lest we forget, the water never breaks the rocks down, only reshapes them. If you’rerunning into people that tear you down rather then build you up,jump into another river!After all, life istoo short to spend it with toxic people. IfI’m going to go out, I’d rather go out with a bang then bea slowly smoldering heap of dark smoke. When you spend time with healthy individuals, they will exert lightintoyour lifeand thus you’ll go out with a bang rather then a dull thud.
“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”
― Chuck Palahniuk.
I have always felt a little out of place or like an observer of this great big fish bowl earth, that’s teeming with life. This was especially true after I was injured and found myself displaced from where I had been thriving in New York City. I woke up at the bottom of a pity pit in a hospital rehabilitation center in my home state, back where I started before I moved away.I had hit a snakein life and slid right back to the beginning of the game. This couldn’t be more true since I had to relearn basic life skills that I had at one time already mastered. You would think a clean slate would be a good thing, but notso in this case. I had witnessed all the dominos Ipainstakingly set up, tumble down at the push of a bad life circumstance.I would soon be tasked with rebuildingit and that’s what I am now, a full time construction worker. The sixty four days I spent in the hospitaland even more before that saw me inching towards the starting line.Although I had a supportive crowd cheering me on, I had lost my “tribe.” A group of fun like minded people that helped motivateme to be better were missing from the hospital setting.Therefore, I went to many therapy appointments(after discharge) with a different kind of tribe. They weren’t bad just fellow people that were hurt like me, so it was dark and depressing in that village. I missed the glittering happy atmosphere that I had been used to, sinceit lifted my spirits. Although, I certainly tried to get back there with weekend workshops like Blogcademy.(Glitter!)However, aftertwo days of sunshine, on a Monday I had to return to that same dark village that was therapy; never was the importance of your atmosphere so obvious to me. Since then I have stumbled unexpectedly into members of my tribe(like this)which always makes me feel much better.Each day as I run into these like minded individuals and recover more, Ican see the entrance to my village getting closer and closer. Never take for granted or underestimate the importance of beingwhere you feelyou belong, it will save your life!
“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” -Louisa May Alcott.
The Jersey Shore is a testament to resilience, community, and triumph. It is a place that was nearly destroyed and its residents run off after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Yettoday itstillstandsstrong and as beautiful as ever. Just as the ocean waves rushed in causing destruction, the residents have returnedand rebuilt.Within the borders of the beach you’ll find a community of close knit families, tourists, and friends. Just as the towns along the shorehave survived and are thriving, so are these relationships. Infact I enjoyed a week in Lavallette New Jersey at the shore because of one of these relationships. It is one that like the shore itself, has withstoodthe tests of time andthe battering ram of ahorrific hurricane. In this caseit was with long time and much loved friends that have been with me since beforethe massive stroke. Anything that canwithstand such an event deserves recognition. Because,stories of victory are few and far between outside of superhero movies.However, there are plenty of real life superhero stories.Theygive us hope, they give us strength, andremind usof why we keep on going. Therefore,we need to hear even morestories like these. Surrounded by the newly rebuilt homes and beautiful beach front, I observed a community that rallied together and rose up under theEast Coast sun. There was life, laughter, and plenty of love coursing through the streetsthat were once threatened with total destruction. Itreminded me that even though life mayput us throughunsuspected andseemingly insurmountable circumstances, we can still emerge on the other side of them just as strong. Indeed we can emerge even stronger than before! They refine us like the ocean waves smooth out rough rocks and bits of glass. The relationships thatsurvive the storms with us are like little protective cacoons of love. Just as we become stronger because of the storm, so do they. Whileit’s difficultto find any thankfulness for theselife storms, I am thankful for the aftermath. Thesestorms leave survivors stronger, with wisdom, and highlighting the love we sometimes forgetexists.
Stretching out over many miles and through space and time there exists invisible threads that hold us together. What is it that keeps us close despite time and distance? There are those places in the heart reserved for a special unforgettable few. If you’re lucky those few will be many. Itnever ceases to amaze me that even if far awaysomeone can have aprofound emotional impact on us. This holds true foryou too, and forthose of you that have experienced your heart shift inside of your chest, or a tear has welled up in your eyebecause of the impactofanother person on your particular piece of the world. This bond seems to only be strengthened by theshared experience of trauma. When we go through inexorable circumstances, be it with friends or family, those invisible bonds become solidified. Because, when you come acrossthose who willingly(and happily)hold you up duringlife’s disastersyour more then happy to neverlet those storms stealthem away from your heart. In fact surviving a disaster together only brings us closer!Without the darkness and shadows that lifesometimes presents us with, we couldn’t then see the sunshine and lightin life.The shadow proves the sunshine. It is because of those dark moments that our light onesare able to shine even brighter. Within the light we’ll find those unforgettablefew. They inhabit the depths of our hearts, the caverns of our memories, and remain on the other end of our invisible thread.Aftersuffering the event of almost dying and losing it all, I have gained and found more love then I ever knew previously. Nearly all of this love came from the people on the other end of those invisible threads. They were always there it just took an act of darkness to bring themto light. A bigger tragedy than what actually happened is that I didn’t see them sooner, and so many of us don’t. Therefore, even though the threads are invisible, when you slow life down enough to consider it, they will become more clear to you. Don’t go too fast and miss them.
“Faces that have charmed us the most escape us the soonest.”- Walter Scott.
Everyone had left the room, so in earnest my Grandmother and Imade a rope of tied together bedsheets,and I put Her on my back andthrew the sheets out of the window. Thentogether We scaled down the side of the building and away to safety and intoaworld of happiness.At least that’s what I envisioned as I sat next to mydying Great Grandmother in a rehab facility bedroom. The family had come to the conclusion that She was soon to be departing Earth, so everyone had come to visit Grandma before She left. However, when I was left alone with Herwith this vision in my head, I started to describe the adventure We’d have together while She giggled. Of course in reality both of us were pretty much stuck in that room. I could no better sling Her on my back as much as She could make Herself young again. Sometimes, as hard as we try it seems impossible to change ourselves. Even though I wasn’t able to make our comic book adventures come true,it doesn’t mean thatnothing else is possible. In realityWe can’tall jump out of windows, even though in our dreams we can.Luckily, in thisWorld our dreams are possible ifgiven the right environment and the chance. Even though I may not have been able to whisk my Grandmother away, Her wisdom still remains. One that taught me to to get up andget dressedto meet the day even whenno one isgoing to see it. There’s something to be said for an effort thatdoesn’t beg forattentionbut is simply for ones self. This illustrates that youdon’t need validation from others to be complete.Atwhatever age until She was 97, my Grandmother got ready and dressed for the day even if She was alone just watching television. How appropriate that a Woman that had lived through the depression taught me to have class and to value what you have. By enduring an era that was so well acquainted with lacking Shelearned to value and appreciate whatShe did have. That’s something we all need to realize and work on.
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane.
You hear it often “be mindful, be present, and you should meditate.”These aren’t just new age guru mumbo jumbo beliefs but they’re actually right!I’d venture to guess that I’ve spent most of my life somewhere else, and definitely the past two years. In fact, the majority of us are not where we actually are at any given moment. Whether our minds are adrift or not, many times were wishing we were elsewhere. Either we are looking to the distant past or the near future. Our“modern society,” is really talented at keeping most of us discontent with where we are, always wanting more. The funny thing is, when you stop wishing to be somewhere other thanwhere you are,suddenly life becomes much more enjoyable!When you let themind wander less and focus in more on your present surroundings, it allows you to savorlife and be in the moment. As an example, for many months I only wanted to be back in my beloved city of New York. However, once I chose to silence the noise, I realized that I was actually enjoying where I was. It’s easy to lose sight of where you are when advertisements and social media frequently remind you that you could be somewhere better. It’s as if we’re a ratrunning through a labyrinth of distractions, all the while completely missing the point that lies in the center. When you take away all that noise suddenly the point is much easier to find. What I realized is, that New York City will still be there when I’m ready to return, but my Parents(with whom I live) won’t be. As much as I have griped and protested about my current situation, the fact is I havehad invaluable time spent with my family. One of whom supports andloves me through it all. Therefore, I wish(not again!) that I’d realized this sooner. For if I had, the past few years would’ve been far less painful. When your mind wanders away from the present moment it really hurts you. Not only do you miss out on a part of your life, but also lose focus on your present goals. In a way it’s like self sabotage! Bylookingin a different direction you lose track of your chosen path, and lose ground(ie time. If your particularly goal orientated this is crucial to know! By being present and focused on your current situation, it allows you to see clearly the bull whose horns your going to grab.
“To the world you may just be someone, but to someone you may be the whole world.”
It’s strange andsometimes emotional when I unexpectedly(or expectantly)stumble acrossobjects from my life in New York City. Essentially, while I was in a coma(not knowing if I would live)friends andfamilypacked up my belongings and my apartment. So there I was out of commission and my life(hanging in the balance)packed away into numerous boxes. They made the trek from New York, to New Jersey,and then Michigan. While Ieventually followed them. From time to time, I will be doing something and randomly see or find something thatused to live in my New York apartment. With each object I find,it opensup theflood gate of memories. I can remember when I bought it,where it was from,what I did that day,and see it in it’splace in my apartment. Everyobject holds a story. Since my life has taken a radical turn, these objects afford me the feelings that I imagine a true explorer gets.When my eyes and fingers touch upon an object from my life before themassive stroke, I feel like an Alien discovering something from a past civilization,of a time gone by. This is becausethe situation I’m in now seems so unreal. Although the objects are not foreign to me,in some way they are. Why? Becausebefore I was completely unaware of the reality that I’m enduring now. This hasgiven me the point of view of an outsider. When I’m holdingsomething in my hand(or gaze) I can actually take it in as if it weren’t mine. Leaving me to see it in a new way.Intheway that an explorer might see something and wonder what kind of life it once had. Although I know the life of my own belongings, I miss the girl that bought them. I’ve been in what seems likean alternateuniverse for the past two years. I’ve been working on bringing that girl back from the other universe. I remember everything,but even so I worry I’ll forget. I don’t want to forget what it feels like to be able to walk freely,tie a shoe,run,jump,and generally be able to controlmy body. Those objects remind me of the girl I used to be(physically)and I want Her back. I even think back to how oblivious I was to the struggles I now face(and have) wishing Icould somehow eke out some ofthose feelings back into the present. Howfortunate Iwas to beunaware of the things I know now! Those objects hold this otheruniverse within them. I wonder whatIwould do if I had known then, what I know now. Ah,yes it’s theage old question,and the answer is everything. We takeso much for granted, that it’s so important to live and enjoy life as much as you can.
So yes, I tend to spill my guts a lot, in a nice big messy pile on display for bystanders to see. Why? Am I an exhibitionist? Am I a masochist? Do I enjoy committing social suicide? I am unsure. Am I too honest and open? yes, probably. While I don’t see it as a negative, one must be cautious. It seems there are many sides to the die, as Weezer attests to (12 sides and more!) and in relation to people you may not like or expect every side. I have learned not to trust so easily (unfortunate) because people are not very nice after all… I have learned a lot so far in my 27 years and mostly how important it is to guard your heart. People will rip it to shreds given the chance. I am weary of this, I am down trodden and tired of experiencing this in myself and observing it happening to others. How and why do people become so.. I’m not even sure one word can sum it up.. Selfish? Cruel? Immature? Self Centered? Judgmental? Pretentious? For me this is the ugly underbelly of human nature, sure I believe people are good to a point, but I meet, like each of you have, people from time to time that test this belief. I also realize that it seems all of humanity is lurching and groping for some sort of connection, answers, LOVE. When Lennon and McCartney penned the lyric “All you need is love” they were quite right. Its simple, its true. However we have made a mess of love. It seems to me I see a lot of empty souls wandering these streets and some of them have hurt me but I know, I know, I only feel sorry-for them and secondly for me.. because Ladies and Gentleman we are in a sad state. You are much more valuable than you can imagine. If you’ve ever been in an atmosphere of turmoil and then been lucky enough to experience one of harmony/caring/kindness then you know the difference. If not, I’m sorry, your one of the many who needs to experience a revolution. One in thinking, in atmosphere. People are lonely; dissatisfied. Why? What’s filling your void? We’ve all got one and at least for me I know what fills it. Love. This can come in many forms. Don’t buy what the world is selling. Find your worth, it will change your life. Don’t give up even if people seem to keep pushing you down, after all, the night is darkest before the dawn. (and yes I stole that from The Dark Knight)
Not to be a Debbie Downer but a few if not a lot of questions have plagued me from time to time since I settled into Ny…
I am close with many people in my family and friends that I left behind in Michigan… at least I hope none of them feel I “left” them… anyway… I just saw an opening in the road to fulfill a long time daydream of mine and decided to take the chance. So far besides having a ridiculously nice apartment just fall into my lap as well as an amazing job/opportunity (not without much hard work of course) I do feel I was led here for one reason or another and I haven’t quite figured what that reason is yet. I miss my cousins (aka the closest to siblings I will ever have or want!) badly, my parents and best friend(s). I struggle with thoughts of feeling bad for not being around or participating more in their paths of growing ever taller and older. I am not sure when I will be done with N.Y. … I never had a plan here, I just came.. jobless with little money and only a guarantee of a room to reside in, the rest I figured out along the way.. I’m still figuring it out. I am from time to time restless in thought and body.. I am a traveler at heart; an adventurer; a risk taker; (not always good) and I doubt that will ever wane from me. I always seem to learn the hard way (unintentional!) and dive right into the deep end, sink or swim. I can only hope this path leads somewhere on the up and up. Progress, thats all. At this point I am at the “What’s next?” and it feels slow and dragging. I aim to stay positive however and I generally am… I think a vacation is in order as soon as work allows. I need some space. Home is absolutely where the heart is. Where and who is your home?