how come some nights are so dreadful?! it seems that every anxious thought creeps into mind as i’m trying to fall asleep. my insecurities are magnified and suddenly i’m arguing with my favorite friend in my head. i replay the day, i mash up conversations, i check my alarm twice, i think about what i’m not going to eat tomorrow and how i’m going to work it off, i can’t seem to find a rational thought. i realize i become upset for no good reason at all, or for lack of closure, that is. it’s like i can’t say goodnight without someone saying well done, the end. what should i wear, how much can i work, who should i see, when is yoga, how much money is not in the bank, what do i need to do to succeed, and who is going to help me?! yes i have some of these thoughts during the day, but for some strange reason at night they turn on me. they are no longer my challenging friend but my failed enemy. i’m fighting myself, and it’s a continuous battle. “not to think less of myself, but to think of myself less” -if only! the irony is i’m alone at night, so the only person making me furious is myself. every night is your reset button so the next day you can do it all over again, for better or for worse. the conversations, stimulations, and accolades are dead. there’s no more affirmation at night. all outside voices are quieted, naturally, but my head won’t have it. my heart is tired but my mind is never at ease. what is that? i’m even starting to sound narcissistic. i think i’m so important my mind just won’t quit, it doesn’t have time to stop thinking about me. so there we have it! it’s funny because most things that bother me before bed disappear in the morning. my life is still amazing, just like it was the day before. so all these frets and fears are for nothing. they come and go with the wind, so letting go all together would free me up a lot. just a lot. there’s the rare case of not having dealt with something in the present moment, and being tormented till the next day of release, but this is most common, especially for people like me who don’t always speak at the opportune time. i can leave you with this…i have yet to figure out this little night demon, but it’s nothing a glass of wine won’t cure. on a deeper level, i know how to rest and sleep peacefully, but these things are out of my control. i think there’s a willingness, a surrender that has to happen in order to let go. if i’m never weak, how will i ever find strength, and why would i need God if i was always strong?
I really loved the four agreements. In fact I feel like I should just keep reading it over and over because it seems to keep my mind in one piece. I felt like I had a continual whisper of wisdom in my ears, reminding me of these four agreements-Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best. The First Agreement-Be Impeccable With Your Word. My word is power. This chapter was really convicting because I desire to be a woman of my word. I want my yes to be yes and my no to be no. Growing up I had a really hard time finding my voice. I had opinions but I kept them to myself. I didn’t want to express myself with words because I was afraid of upsetting others, so I learned to use dance instead. I’ve found my voice and I use my words…but impeccable words? Impeccable means, faultless or without sin. An impeccable word is magical sword that transcends all fear and only comes from a place of love. This is the challenge.
As much as I value all these agreements and find them somewhat all intertwined, the one that resonated with me the most was the Second Agreement-Don’t Take Anything Personally. I fall short of this in my career and relationships. Taking things personally is putting myself in another’s world. I realized this is a very narcissistic way of living-thinking that I am always being thought of. The way I treat or respond to people has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with what’s going through my mind. So why would it be different if the roles were reversed? When I do take things personally, I become anxious and emotional, letting the smallest opinions magnify my insecurities. For some reason I’ve always been so quick to defend myself, because I never wanted to feel weak or be wrong. Over the past few years I’ve practiced constraining my defense mechanism, and now i’m lucky if i make it out of a yoga class without tears. You see, this has everything to do with me and nothing to do with the other person. They’re not the problem, I am. To hold your own, maintaining poise and placidity requires self awareness and assuredness. All day long I can feel hurt and defeated if i choose to remain in that state of mind. Staying mad at someone is using them as the excuse for dealing with wounds that have been unintentionally tapped into. This stems from fear. If I wasn’t afraid in the first place I would have no reason to be upset.
Taking this in the other direction, I find myself thriving off of complements, approval, and attention. Not in any way extreme, however, i’ve used these to guide my level of self-acceptance. Even lies I tell myself “I’m not good enough, I’m not skinny enough…” if I choose to take these personally I’m eating myself alive, or rather letting myself get eaten up. When I choose the path of self-assuredness, not taking things personally, I’m free of hurt and suffering-for-nothing. One of my favorite quotes “little things affect little minds,” this really struck me when I was going through the book. Not taking things personally created so much room in my imagination for lovely things, rather than blowing up my mind with lies. For me, the Third Agreement-Don’t Make Assumptions-helped cultivate the Second Agreement of not taking things personally. I always play the blame game and get upset, without even seeing the reality of the situation. Without an ounce of grace, I’ve already sipped the poison. My eyes were opened to that fact that I make assumptions to feel secure, and create nonsense to put myself at ease. Why do I always feel like I need to have the answer? That’s the beauty, not always knowing. If we always knew what people were thinking or why they loved us, that would blemish all of life’s intrigue. That’s what makes marriage so absurd, male and female are opposing humans, yet for some strange reason are naturally drawn to one another. When you think of it, marriage is the most enchanting yet disastrous idea. The man will never understand the woman, nor the woman the man. The fairytale fusion is only another disappointment in human perfection. We are not meant to be perfect.
Which brings me to the Fourth Agreement-Always Do Your Best. The most comforting words “my personal best will be different from moment to moment.” This bit of wisdom removed the heaviest weight from my shoulders. I always want to do my best, but I can’t. If I can’t do my best I don’t want to do anything at all. But I can do my best if my expectation for my best is a variable. As long as I’m living from a place of love and joy, my best is my best and the rest is out of my control. Making these agreements involves breaking bad habits. We have to let go of how we perceive ourselves and what we think our story is supposed to sound like. From the time we were children our human tendency was to play, be happy, explore, enjoy life and love. If we’re not happy with our dreams, maybe we should create new ones. Master the dream, live in the present, find freedom, and most importantly…believe and breathe!
“When you transform your dream, magic just happens in your life. What you need comes to you easily because spirit moves freely through you. This is the Mastery of the spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life. This is the goal of the Toltec. This is the path to personal freedom” -Don Miguel Ruiz
“friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “what! you too? i thought i was the only one.”
i was thinking the other day about how some people don’t actually know me and i began to feel as though i was too guarded. however, i freak out over the thought that people may know too much about me, and will use any information against me at some point or another (hence my lack of trust in humanity). the truth is, i always find myself leaving conversations wishing i would’ve said more. i’ve noticed that people rarely like to leave the surface subjects, always pocketing the deep concerning questions, perhaps out of fear or discomfort. god forbid we grow from an uncomfortable situation. why not kindle the reality of struggles, hopes, pain, fears, values, etc., in one another? i would hate to keep pretending we don’t all deal with the same issues. rebuke and smite are not always a bad thing, when coming from a place of love, they graciously bear kindness. unfortunately there are not many people that like to go deep; thankfully i have superhuman friends that go there with me. los angeles is home to some of the most shallow people i’ve ever encountered. a popular question around town…”what do you do?” don’t get me wrong, i’ve used and abused this phrase myself. i’m just trying to figure out a less pretentious way of getting to know people. if i don’t want to share with someone what i did over the weekend, what i plan on doing this week, or who i like…chances are, i won’t be asked. only a certain kind of soul really wants to engage in your life in such a manner. the rest just want to see a familiar face and spew their feelings out on you, without having to carry any of your burdens. selfish? maybe. should we stop being friends with these people that only want to take and never want to give? no. sometimes our role is to just be a friend. situation reversed, i’m sure you’ve had coffee with someone and couldn’t stop thinking about yourself long enough to ask them how their job was, if their relationship was thriving, or if their dreams were coming true. conversing is counseling. have friends, be friendly, and don’t forget to be a good friend.
i met a 62 yr old man that seemed so bothered with life-tired eyes, worn skin, undone teeth-he was a piece of work. his cynical tone and rude comments made him appear that much more unpleasant. i didn’t try to be nice. curious about his story i asked unassuming questions, and although a story is never an excuse, its always the explanation. he told me he saw his wife every 6 weeks, because she lived elsewhere for work. he told me it was better that way. he worked a few days a week for hobby, and didn’t have much else to say but humbly brag about his past life as a musician. something in me shifted. i couldn’t help but have an overwhelming outpouring of empathetic grace for this strange human. he was guarded, sad, lonely and tired…but so was i. i’ll probably never see him again, but i walked away that night knowing exactly what i don’t want out of life. sometimes catching a glimpse of ourself in someone else throws light on our weaknesses, and although recognizing our flaws is not what we want, it may be exactly what we need. my point is this: see yourself for who you are and engage in the present, or regret will indefinitely be your worst enemy. make your life before it breaks you. oh and here’s a thought, if you’re thinking about yourself this much, that’s most likely you’re first problem. by the way…this is coming from someone that’s got it all wrong…
want to indulge in a tasty treat without the weight of guilt on your brain and thighs? tis possible! my head in the freezer, i substituted a bag of blueberries due to the fact that ice cream was no where to be found. i was already drinking almond milk (#latenightsnack) so i unloaded the frozen blueberries in my cup. this little combination sparks much for the imagination-spoon to mouth sensation, frozen yogurt imitation, and fruit variation. some things are worth trying…treat yourself!
despite life and its obstacles, i’m gifted everyday with what i perceive as daisies. (i love daisies, because daisies are the friendliest flower: ) these sweet surprises are gracious reminders that life doesn’t have to be lived in vain, and although at times, surfaced notions such as “what am i even doing?” and “what happens next?” haunt me, i’d be a fool to surrender to the weight of anxiety caused by a lack of contentment. disappointments always come, but having learned that gratitude is uniquely evoked in each of us through different sources, illuminates the unknown. little moments can bear heaps of joy in the most obscure places…coincidental run-ins, dreams in reality, white puffy clouds, jars of olives, sweat, climbable trees, hummingbirds, connected dots, music all day, story endings, bitter wine, morning coffee, friends in love, warm nights, shooting stars and so much more. i’d like to infiltrate my daily doubts and worries by recognition of all the beauty encompassing me. fostering grit, gaining certainty, and gladly accepting life for the uneasy, ever-evolving adventure that is it…one daisy at a time.
You know when people talk about how they love being alone, but they’re always calling asking you to hang out? I am not one of those people. I sincerely relish solitary time, yet the only downfall is that if you are disappointed after spending time with yourself…you are the only one to blame! I like a healthy balance of company and aloneness. If I’m engaging in too many social events, I become a terrible friend to be around because of my inability to stay present. My mind wanders, and I find myself lost in thoughts that I had not taken the time to sort through. Extreme isolation can be torment. I have a tendency to drown myself in egocentric behavior, which manifests in a controlling psyche. I am incessantly arguing with that evil little voice in my head, and burdening myself with such high expectations. The conclusion: pay close attention to your feelings and desires, because what you need may be different from what you want. Care for yourself and move towards those bright moments of sanity, taking every thought captive while putting aside the lies of the world. Be fearless in facing yourself and humans; embrace who you are now, not who you’re going to become. Finally, find pleasure in giving to others…these are the little things that bring us lasting joy.
The other day i was reading an old blog by Paul Tripp and i stumbled upon the phrase “socially acceptable madness.” Of course i thought of myself right away, because well… isn’t everything about me, not to mention my name’s written all over it, literally (sam). So i was thinking how society allows for us to be crazy, basically pushing us to the edge of ourselves. Thrown in a downward spiral by the weight of unnecessary pressure and unprecedented rules. The strive for beauty, success, wealth, love, happiness, thinness, power, acceptance, etc can easily make anyone mad! I’m too often swallowed in wants and suddenly find myself behaving like i said i never would, betrayed by my expectations, and lost in irrational desire. The beauty though, is that aspirations can be reached through grace and sanity, not lacking in struggle, but conquering with a sound mind. Doesn’t that sound so lovely?
ya know how some people say they left their heart in ny? i’m pretty sure i found mine…