“… the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk….”
Everybody has a story and it is not yours. And, most likely, you are not even part of it. For most of the world you do not exist.
What’s the population of the world? 7 billion
How many people will get to know you or see you in your life time? Google states that an average estimate is 10 thousand people.
Let’s do the math:
7,000,000,000 – 10,000 = 6,999,990,000
For 6,999,990,000 people you do not exist, never existed, and will never exist… The same can be said about those 6 billion, nine hundred ninety nine million, nine hundred ninety nine thousand people. They do not exist in your world. You will never meet them, never hear of them, will never know they existed.
Can you chew on that for a moment?
Once in a while I can hear my own heartbeat. I feel it more than I can actually hear. It never ceases to amaze me. Like a clock work, without skipping a beat, it continually pumps.
Most of the time it happens when I am perfectly still surrounded by dead silence. I catch myself being uncomfortable with the silence but can’t pinpoint the reason for the discomfort.
Heartbeat should be calming and soothing and, if anything, it should bring peace and harmony. However, the more I stay in the silence the louder my heartbeat gets. It seems like silence becomes breathless rather than breathtaking.
I don’t ask questions like, who am I or what the purpose of my life is; I already have those answers. So, if the existential turmoil is not the reason for my discomfort, then what is?
Does the silence represent the unsettling awareness of my own heartbeat or does it represent the unsettling awareness of the fact that everything has a heartbeat and it might stop or cease to exist without a warning?
“There is great strength in what seems weak, great instability in what seems strong.” ~ Tao te Ching
Most of us have a messy past. Painful memories, bad choices, unresolved situations, heartbreak, and etc. And sometimes that past has hurt us so deeply that we have developed an emotional attachment to it and we just can’t let go.
Maybe we have a moment or two when we are able to see life the way it is and not the way it comes to our awareness through the filter of the past experience. These moments do not last long and we go back exactly where we started in the first place. We can’t focus on anything else and can’t leave the past behind. It always somehow creeps in our thoughts and reminds of itself hindering the ability to appreciate moments that are in front of us.
It is truly amazing how people keep punishing themselves and either hold onto the resentment or keep repeating same behavioral patterns expecting an alternative outcome.
Most likely, it is because people are longing for a different outcome, for some kind of resolution, maybe an apology, maybe a different choice, maybe another chance to make it right, and maybe they believe that somebody owes them something. And, instead of allowing themselves to learn from the experience, leave the past behind, leave anger or grudges behind, let go of the pain, or find closure, they choose to hold on to all of that and drag it with them through the reminder of their lives.
Holding onto your past is like keeping a photo of every single person that you have met so far and carrying them with you wherever you go. It’s not like you need to show these photos to your friends, coworkers, strangers and tell the story of how you got hurt and what happened.
You do not need these stories or photos to be able to live through a situation that is similar to something that you have already seen or experienced in the past. And you do not need a constant reminded of something that you can’t change. You need your memories and experiences to be a guiding light. Something that you use to learn and grow.
Cleaning up doesn’t always mean forgetting. It just means – letting go of stuff that is not relevant anymore. Letting go of feelings that hold you back and keep you trapped. Past belongs in the past. Today is the day you live.
So, where do you start? Start with forgiving yourself and accepting the fact that nobody is perfect. It is ok to love imperfection.
Everyone is afraid of death. You. Me. Them. Every single one of us. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it. It will claim us all, one by one.
If death is inevitable and nobody can change the outcome, then it should be no brainer – focus on something that you can change. You can live your entire life being afraid to die and then realize that you have never lived.
Fear itself is just a perception of something we do not know or want to avoid. Shouldn’t this feeling be used as a driver to do things that make one’s life worth living? Things that we are afraid of, things that we think we are afraid of, things that seem to be something that is unknown and get deemed to be scary.
Fear is adaptive because it protects us but you can’t live your life in a bubble if you want to live an emotionally satisfying life. Fear is engrained in our genetics and it keeps us safe. Human brain always keeps an eye on everything that can potentially be dangerous or deadly – food, heights, enclosed spaces, elevators, shady people, and etc.
However, letting fear to take over one’s life can be detrimental. You are preserving yourself from imaginary death by robbing yourself of an opportunity to find out what life is and what amazing adventures it can offer.
There is no recipe to what happiness is. There is also no recipe to what living is. But one thing is for sure. Not letting yourself see what’s on the other side and living in constant fear of “what if” is far worse than some discomfort you might experience making first steps and finding out that it was not as bad as you thought.
You should be afraid of wasting your life by living in fear. You should be afraid to allow fear to dictate what you can or cannot do. You should be afraid to wake up one day and realize that you have spent your entire life being afraid and choosing all the safe options, and your time has run out.
“Game over” – should be your fear and not “what if”…
That time of the year when people suddenly need to come up with a new plan of attack – resolutions, better health, new dreams, new goals, new me, new you, new approach, and etc.
News flash, most of the time Jan 1st is identical to December 31st. You wake up the same person and the day goes on the same way as it was going the day before. Life doesn’t judge. Life doesn’t have time boundaries – we do.
What we do with our time depends on us and not the calendar.
Being kind only during holidays is not going to get you extra kudos of appreciation. Buying a cup of coffee for a homeless person around holidays is also not going to make you a better person.
Holidays are tough because of all the commercial buzz around gifts, around family quality time, around being more thoughtful, around being the best you can be.
Homeless are hungry other days too. Abused animals are hurt, hungry, and need medical help every single day. Single parents struggle every day. Abused women and children need help and protection every day. Elderly people are abandoned and forgotten every day.
I could go on and on….
It makes me sick to my stomach to look around at all the cheerful decorations, all the cheesy commercials, all the lights, all the music, and seeing how fake people become.
I enjoy Christmas. I enjoy my time by the fire place with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. I also enjoy family time. But somewhere deep down in my heart I can’t fight the feeling of sadness and disappointment.
Another year, another Christmas, another fake: let’s be nice to each other, let’s be kind and thoughtful, let’s be aware and generous, and let’s feel good about remembering and reaching out to those we do not think about for 300 days or till we get reminded that it’s time to buy gifts and get festive.
I am all about being thankful and thoughtful. I am all about reminding myself that there are less fortunate. I am all about being kind to people around me.
Some people will say that I must be bitter or unhappy or jealous. Not really. I just can’t buy into being fake.
Let’s just stop for a second and take a breath.
Seeing a coca cola truck drive by all festive and lit up, is entertaining. Seeing amazingly done commercials, also eye catching and soul warming, but the fact that their product is extremely not healthy and their diet product linked to cancer and diabetes, that’s just a minor detail.
Going to the mall and seeing all the discounts and huge sales and being able to afford to buy things that you might not have been able before the discount, is great. But to think that the markup on that item is mind blowing and that they still make money off you even with a huge discount, is disheartening.
Seeing a homeless person with a new blanket and a few present boxes, heart melting, but seeing the same person 30 days later being passed by by the same gift giver turning his/her head the other way to avoid eye contact, is, again, heart breaking.
Seeing people donating money to all kinds of charities during holidays, honorable, but ignoring any other engagement from these charities during the year and not even sparing $5 dollars, is being a hypocrite.
So, pardon me for being a negative Nelly and refusing to ignore the truth and the ugly reality of this. My consciousness doesn’t allow me to be fake neither during holidays nor during any other day of the year.
At first, I wanted to write about being more kind. Then I wanted to write about anger. A bit later I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to share my frustration and then I wanted to share my displeasure with the ignorant people who can’t see beyond their own selfish needs and wants and intentionally stay narrow minded. I wanted to but then I changed my mind.
There is only one world that we share. There is only one little bundle of air, water, and earth, and we together are trying to either save it or destroy it.
There is a whole bunch of us, amazingly knowledgeable and experienced but ignorant at the same time. We either know a lot about one thing and nothing about anything else or we know a little about a little, or we are just full of empty air and think that we know everything.
Some days I feel like I am running around with a plunger trying to unclog the shit that I have produced in my own life. I can also see others joining me with their plungers randomly buzzing around and helplessly hoping that the answer to their ability to breathe freely is unplugging something.
Unfortunately, it is all just for fun. You can run around with the plunger but if you create a world around yourself by making wrong decisions, by surrounding yourself with wrong people, by not choosing to be who you are, or by choosing to follow rules that you do not understand, then you just feel foolish and still are that person with a plunger.
Your life is only yours to live. You have only one chance at it. You can take as many plunges as you want and, most likely, right after somebody has already told you about the same plunge they took, but as long as you learn to appreciate the journey you are on, you should be able to realize that the freedom to inner peace has nothing to do with blaming others or yourself.
People do what they think is right. People might cause a lot of problems, they might anger you, and they might hurt you really badly, but remember, you are also that somebody who does the same thing to others.
Start with being kind to yourself, everything else will somehow fall into places.
“….Have you ever quenched your thirst with an unfilled cup? Or drenched yourself completely in a heavy rainfall, under a clear azure sky?
Have you ever emotionally moved the heart of a heartless soul? Or became the soul of its bleak shadow, latched unto transience?
She may ask me how’s my day going, but all those lumps in my throat talk in tiny wisps of smoke, telling her that today feels like the first day of drowning….”
Those words dig deep and turn everything inside out.
It’s almost Christmas and I have been feeling like I am drowning for some time. The truth is, usually around holidays I have to start paying attention to how I feel and thoughtfully adjust the direction I go with my thoughts.
Some things are hard to change, especially the ones that have been engrained in me since early childhood. Christmas had never been a happy time. It always brought pain, sadness, emotional distress, and some level of depression.
As I figured that life is an amazing journey, I learned to not live in the past but use it as a guiding principal.
Realistically, as life is an ever changing river that can flow calmly one moment and become a raging rapids caring beast and, all it takes is a minute, we have to learn to float and enjoy the flow. You can’t control it, but you can control how you feel and how much enjoyment you can get out the journey.
You can choose to fear everything, you can choose to be afraid of all kinds of possibilities and spend your precious time worrying about what can happen, or you can trust that whatever comes is as enjoyable and as awesome as it can get.
It’s been years since I had an episode of sadness and it seems I can’t shake it off. Christmas don’t excite me, the spirit of holidays has not come, and the peace and harmony is nowhere to be found.
I just hope that this is time to reflect – the time when I need to stop, take a deep breath and check, if I am still authentic.