Archive | July 2014

Social Media – Developing Healthy Skills and Balance

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I received a lifehack e-mail with a link to a list of reasons why social media can be detrimental to our health.

It’s titled, 
You Should Be Aware Of These 10 Effects Of Social Media On You

By Amanda Rife 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/you-should-aware-these-10-effects-social-media-you.html

Amanda Rife writes:

“Technology is a useful tool, but many people don’t know how to use it properly which can easily become damaging. As much as you may love your Twitter page is it really worth the toll it takes on your health? That’s for you to decide after you read the following 10 ways social media negatively effects your life:”

She brings up some interesting and important issues and great points with some basis of truth to them and I am elaborating and adding my own views about each one, here.

After each number is her reason why social media may be damaging to us. Under each reason is her view and under each of her views is my own opinion.

1.) Reduces person to person interaction.

Amanda Rife writes:
“Not only do you spend less quality time with is people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed by you when you’re paying more attention to an electronic device than them. Eventually the people around you will even stop wanting to hang out with you.”

My view: We have complete control over how frequently and in which ways we use our social media accounts and our phones, computers, laptops, ipads…and whatever else we use to connect to a social media resource. Connecting with people online and seeing people in person are both great and both have advantages that the other does not. One doesn’t have to take the place of the other one. Social media allows us to share photos, statuses, posts..and comment, tag each other in ways we can’t do in person and allows us to meet people and reconnect with people we would have never met or encountered again if not for social media. Seeing each other in person is different than seeing each other through a screen, we can hang out, look into each other’s eyes(if we can see), hear each other’s voices(if you’re a hearing person), have coffee, tea, food together, laugh together… They’re both great and we don’t have to give up one for the other. It’s all about balance. You can put your phone away when you’re out with someone in person and just because you “see” that person online everyday doesn’t mean you don’t have/want to see the person in person when you can. Social media doesn’t control you if you don’t allow it to.

2.)  Increases your cravings for attention drastically.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Posting vague statuses on Facebook to grab others attention could easily become a nasty habit for people who use social media frequently. The never ending competition for likes and notifications can consume you.”

My view: What can be said about this (and other points brought up here) goes beyond the scope of this post. Many of these are deep psychological issues/aspects that are issues that can have posts of their own. Example: What Amanda Rife states here is true for some people. They need “likes” and comments and shares to feel validated and they want competition, to get more love than others. But that’s not Social media’s fault. That’s an inner issue of the individual self. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to get that kind of attention, to get “likes,” comments, shares…and while it’s great to have that kind of attention, it’s an honor to know that people like us and our content and there’s nothing wrong with desiring it, it’s an indication of a problem to feel that we need it to make us feel worthy or important. It’s a sign of a psychological problem that needs awareness and tending to if we become literally depressed or anxious or feeling excessively low to the point it seriously affects our lives if we don’t get attention on social media. I think the inner problem is what needs to be addressed, not just push it under the rug by criticizing or getting rid of social media for it. It may be helpful to lay off the social media accounts if we are the kind of person to need attention to validate us. It may be very helpful to stay off twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…but that psychological problem of ours will still be there and may manifest in other ways if we get rid of our social media accounts. It’s not social media, it’s us. Social media can be our wake-up call, to help us realize we have a problem, not caused by social media, but being triggered by the opportunities it allows. We can then use this realization to our advantage, working on and exploring problems we would have not known we have if not for social media bringing our attention to it.

3.) Distracts from life goals.

Amanda Rife writes:

“It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in social media that people will neglect their real life goals. Instead of aiming for the dream job by obtaining useful skills people, especially younger people, tend to strive for internet stardom.”

My view: Again, this is something we have complete control over. We can use the Internet and social media for just the opposite, to inspire us and motivate us to fulfill our goals and even come up with new ones. We can meet people, discover new ideas, and have our creativity sparked by the people and things we encounter through social media. Anything can distract us so we don’t work on our goals, TV, work, laziness, and more, we can get wrapped up into anything and become a slacker, not just social media. It’s great and very effective to manage our amount of time spent on each thing that takes up part of each day, not let one take over everyday.

4.) It can lead to a higher risk of depression.

Amanda Rife writes:

“According to recent studies the more people used social media the more negative feelings they experience, including depression. This could partiulalrly harmful to people who have been previously diagnosed with depression. If you beginning to notice you’re feeling down on a regular basis it’s probably time to take a break from your many social media.”

My view: This is probably for different reasons for different people. I suspect one of the the main culprits is negative comparison. We know how our lives really are, every aspect, every event, every thought, every problem…but with everyone else, we only see what they choose to reveal. Some people only reveal the positive aspects of their lives and keep the pain and problems hidden. For some, this is because they want everyone to truly believe they have The Perfect Life, for others it’s not that they want, necessarily, to be judged as having a perfect life, but they fear being judged negatively if they complain on social media outlets, for others still, it’s not at all about coming off as being perfect but they want to use their social media accounts just for uplifting quotes and happy thoughts, as opposed to using them to vent or disclose unpleasant situations or thoughts. They just aren’t drawn to sharing their whole lives, pleasant and unpleasant. When we are struggling and we see photos, posts, and all kinds of happy updates by people who seem to have it all, this can contribute to us feeling low about our own lives. And if we are prone to true depression, it can trigger an episode or the onset of a full blown disorder. A couple of other culprits of social media contributing to depression are cyber- bullying and friend rejection, people blocking and unfriending others, not responding to requests or comments and messages. If you’re prone to depression, this can be a serious trigger. 

Giving up all of social media may be a solution for some but I think the underlying depression and/or insecurity is what mostly needs to be addressed.

5.) Relationships are more likely to fail.

Amanda Rife writes:

“No good comes out of online displays of jealousy and snooping. It may seem like an easy option when it comes to dealing with relationships, but in reality it does more damage than good. In fact, studies show that the more a person uses Facebook the more likely they will be to monitor their partner, which leads to arguments and crumbling relationships.”

My view: Again, this is not social media’s fault but the fault of the persons involved. It’s how we go about handling our circumstances while also using social media. Relationships and the use of social media are compatible. We have to use our common sense about what is wise to do and not do in terms of social media. Or learn what to do and not to do if it’s not common sense to us. It’s all about our underlying insecurities and issues, not the social media. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to see and reveal all kinds of stuff that can bring out our insanity if we allow it to. We don’t need social media to spy on or stalk people, it just makes it easier to engage in those unhealthy things. If we feel a strong desire or need to obsessively monitor our lover every second of every day , the problem is either us or the lover. Maybe I’m very insecure and my lover is trustworthy. Or maybe I’m not overly insecure but he is being really suspicious and there is some reasonable explanation for my monitoring.

But the true underlying problems would likely be there with or without social media because they lie within us. They are what need to be addressed.

6.) Excessive use of social media stunts creativity.

Amanda Rife writes:

“I can speak from personal experience that social media is the easiest way to stunt, or kill, the creative process. Surfing social media sites, especially Tumblr. in this scenario, has a numbing effect on the mind that’s similar to mindlessly watching television. If you plan on being productive today shut off those apps!”

My view: This definitely has some truth to it and the word “excessive” is the key word here. Nothing is good in excessive amounts, that’s why it’s excessive! It’s also about being mindful and active in all that we do. Mindlessly scrolling through a bunch of mindless drivel thrown about by others is bound to numb anyone’s creativity and decrease our IQ a few points! But when we are mindful of what we’re reading or looking at and fully engaged, our creativity can deepen and we can come up with new ideas. While looking at pics on Tumblr, reading blog posts, Facebook statuses, or anything else, it will benefit you to pay close attention to what you are doing, thinking, feeling, reading. Is it serving you well? Is it inspiring you, motivating you, challenging you? Do you feel peaceful, calm, happy? Or is it just mind numbing stuff you’re surfing through because you feel you have nothing better to do? If so, you definitely have better things you can be doing! Finding something else to read or look at, meditate, tune into your surroundings, the scents, the feelings, the sounds, the colors and textures…your possibilities are endless.

7.) Cyber bullying is alive and well.

Amanda Rife writes:

“People feel too comfortable on the web and say things they wouldn’t normally say in real life. If you’re not the one say horrible things, you’re still inevitably going to be exposed to it. And if you are one of the people talking trash? Cut it out! You’re not as anonymous as you think. With the rampant cyber bullying on the web, people are also becoming more rude off the web as well.” 

My view: This is so true. Cyber-bullying is something we have little control over for the most part. For those of us who aren’t cyber-bullies, we still have to witness it or just really negative, uncalled for comments everywhere. Have you seen the YouTube comments on even the most inspiring, positive, beautiful, uplifting videos?! Good grief, they’re horrible. I rarely even read the comments because they’re so dumb and uncalled for. Internet trolls are everywhere and unfortunately here to stay. I suggest you don’t feed them. It’s what they want. So let’s let them starve. They are people who feel so low about themselves and their own lives so they insist on attempting to drag others down with them.

And it can crush our spirit to see even when it’s not happening to us, personally. Being a witness to uncalled for negativity can be so life-draining. But we can develop habits and skills to not let it get to us to the point it’s overwhelming and leads us to depression or anxiety. We can stand un-buffeted against the negative attention seekers who get off on inflicting pain upon others just for thrills. Focus on your own positive qualities and all the love and positivity you receive and remember as much as it sucks being bullied or being the target of cruelty, it has to suck way more being a bully. To sink to that level, there has to be something seriously wrong. Pay the callous comments no mind, I suggest you don’t respond to bullies directly but when you see it happening to someone, you can write positive things to the person to uplift her/him.

8.) Constantly comparing yourself to others online will make you miserable.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The digital persona people display on Facebook is often much different that what actually goes on in their lives. After awhile you may feel like you know your online aquainences better than you do, creating a social gap. Try to remember that everyone is just as human as you are.”

My view: Like I said in response to #4 about depression, negative comparisons aren’t good. It’s not healthy for us. When we’re comparing ourselves negatively to others we’re either making ourselves out to not be as good or making ourselves out to somehow be above the other person/people. It’s uncalled for. We all have good things and bad things and it’s all about our attitude. We can’t control what other people put on social media but we can control our own attitudes and reactions. Like Amanda Rife says, we are all equally human. Focus on the goodness of yourself. Bask in your own beauty while truly, relishing the beauty of others. 

Let other people’s happiness, accomplishments, success, and beauty inspire you and motivate you, not depress you or trigger jealousy.

If you really feel utterly miserable because of someone else on social media accounts, analyze yourself, think about why this is. Do you feel like you are lacking in some respects? Missing out? Then do something to fulfill yourself. It doesn’t matter what others think. Do what you have to to bring joy to yourself as long as you are not hurting or directly interfering with others. And if someone is trying to intentionally make others jealous, unhappy, miserable, you can unfriend, block, ignore that person and get on with your own life.

9.) Loss of sleep.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The light emitted from your various electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time for you to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is already difficult enough without extra complications. Perhaps it’s best if your phone doesn’t stay with you though the night.”

My view: This is true but has nothing to do with social media itself, really. If we have our phones by our side in bed, we may see the little flashing lights, hear beeping or other sounds, or just be so tempted to check Facebook and other things. Over and over and over. But this has to do with discipline. Self control. Get into the habit of sleeping at night, not playing with phones. If it’s really too difficult, the phone can be put in a different room while going to sleep to make the temptation less irresistible.

After a while it becomes a habit. Then it will be easier and easier to resist until eventually your brain is trained to not think of that phone and Facebook or Twitter at night. 

10.) Lack of privacy.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Between social media websites saving (and selling) your personal data and the whole NSA mess involving unsolicited government access of personal data including email, Skype calls, and so much more it’s very clear that privacy and the internet don’t mix at this point in time. If you post every last thought that pops into your head it could just as easily come back to haunt you in the future.”

My view: This is really very simple. Don’t ever put on social media, anywhere including what you think are personal e-mails or inbox messages, what you don’t want everyone to see. Even if your account is blocked so only people on your list can see, someone, somewhere, can get access to it if those people really want to. Once you put something out there, it’s out there for good, somewhere, even if you delete it and it looks like it’s gone. It can be retrieved. People can get into your e-mail box and any other thing you have on the Internet. Whatever you would never want others to see, keep it to yourself or tell someone in person if you can. Any other way is not safe. But this is a choice. When we put something stupid out there, it’s on us. It’s not Social media’s wrongdoing, it’s ours. Many people don’t realize that when we put something out there into cyber-world, it’s here to stay. They think it can be easily removed because there are “delete” buttons so it’s important to educate people.

Social media itself isn’t the problem. It’s how we use it and perceive it. Social media is limited in its power over us. It mostly only has the power we allow it to have. We can empower ourselves to have a healthy, balanced, positive relationship to social media and those people we connect with online.

We can greatly benefit by developing healthy skills and habits and cultivate a positive attitude about ourselves, each other, and social media. Social media provides us with amazing opportunities and has much potential for great things. We don’t have to give it up to avoid all our problems that arise while using it. It’s ourselves we need to work on.

It’s not the use of social media that is the problem, it’s misuse.

I’m very thankful Amanda Rife brought up these important issues. It is crucial to address them in this age of social media where so many feel that it has a power and mind of its own, where people feel like victims in the face of struggles made possible by social media. Social media is a blessing, certainly not without its negative consequences and distress in some cases, but it’s definitely a positive thing if we allow it to be and use it wisely.
,
Xoxo Kim 

On being humble

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“When we embody love, we are the most powerful being in the universe.” ~ Emmanuel

I wasn’t always as developed as I am now. While I have always been empathetic, compassionate, loving, and understanding of others, not all of those qualities of mine were always as deep or as vast as they are today. I used to be more judgmental than I am now, sometimes criticizing people or things without thinking it completely through if it’s really necessary, sometimes overlooking the fact that I also do things that can, maybe even “should” be, judged critically.

“The praise that comes from love does not make us vain, but more humble.”
 ~James Matthew Barrie

I think for most of us, we evolve the longer we live, the more we experience even if we don’t realize we’re evolving. And when we do realize we are becoming wiser, more educated, more aware,  it’s possible to let it run away with us, let ourselves become a little bit too stuck up or arrogant, too proud, let our heads get too big.

Sometimes I feel so enlightened in some respects. I see things so much more clearly than I did before. I see how wrong I was in some ways about some things. And there have been occasions when I caught myself becoming too full of myself, arrogant, judgmental when I would have an encounter with someone who I perceived as not to be as “enlightened” or aware as I am.
Someone who still holds opinions that are not very evolved or opinions I disagree with or someone who handles those opinions in ways I don’t appreciate or wouldn’t do myself.

Like when I would meet someone who did not realize things or know things that I now know or realize.  And I would criticize the person for it, totally neglecting to realize that at one point I did not realize this or something else, either and that right now at this very moment there are things I don’t know or understand, that I am so less developed than I will be in years to come, with age and much more experience. I’m not the most enlightened being on Earth and likely never will be.  And that’s ok.

It reminds me of when I would take certain Logic and critical thinking classes in college. In the beginning of one class, our professor told us that in a few weeks we would already know so much more than the average person about reasoning, arguing, debating. He said we would begin to see all the flaws in people’s reasoning in everyday life. People around us, people on TV, commercials, everywhere. He said him, as a Logician with extremely advanced reasoning skills and nearly flawless logic, couldn’t turn off his ability to instantly detect flaws in reasoning even when he would be out with friends having a simple or trivial conversation, watching TV whether it was comedy movies or political or religious debates, reading, everywhere. His knowledge of Logic, fallacies, arguments…is so superior he can’t help but just see how everyone else’s logic is just so flawed. He often had to resist the urge to correct everyone everywhere. 

I had a few philosophy professors who told us, although probably mostly in jest, that we may soon regret taking the class because all of  a sudden everyone around us becomes so “stupid,” unenlightened, or unreasonable that it’s nauseating. Lol 

They said we may become arrogant, inpatient, intolerant of everyone who has never taken a logic or critical thinking class. And it was true. I did start to detect flaws in people’s reasoning everywhere I would go, even in simple, everyday conversations. I noticed how fallacious so many arguments really are. Sometimes it was so frustrating to know so much more than the average person about certain things.

And years later when I began to actively practice and meditate upon universal compassion and general tolerance more than ever before and realized it’s the best way for me to be, I started to sometimes catch myself judging others who weren’t that way.

Sometimes I would give myself a pat on the back for being “just so much more evolved” than most people I know or come in contact with.

When someone would get worked up during an argument, sling an explicit insult at an opponent, argue in flawed ways like I used to do, I would be critical of those people, praising myself for being “beyond that.”

Now I quickly correct myself if ever I catch myself doing that. I’m usually patient in the face of other people’s impatience, gentle with other people’s aggression, non judgmental of someone else’s judgments, tolerant of other people’s intolerance and accepting of someone else’s lack of acceptance. I understand that not everyone will be understanding and I have more compassion than I used to, for those who lack compassion. 

Constructive criticism is often a good thing but it can be delivered in a humble way. Assertiveness is necessary in some cases, firmness and unwavering confidence and strength in the face of some injustice.

Love & compassion & acceptance that I write or speak of, in no way means backing down and not speaking up. It doesn’t mean letting people get away with things they should not get away with. It simply means knowing bad things happen, injustice exists in the world, people have differing and horrible opinions and do horrible things but we don’t have to sink to the level of getting even, wishing horrific things on people as punishments, slinging insults and hurting others to seek retribution.

It’s possible to be firm, assertive, grounded, loud, opinionated but loving. 

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It’s important to stand up for whatever our Truth is, to advocate for what we believe in, speak out against injustice, abuse, cruelty in any form, to defend those who need us, speak up for those who need supporters…but we can do this while promoting love instead of bashing those who disagree. “Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.”

It’s not always easy but I believe it’s worth the struggle.

I’m very into Buddhism which teaches universal love and compassion. I’m not a Buddhist but I read about it everyday and practice many of their principles. There are more things I don’t know and understand about Buddhism than things I do know and understand. But I learn more and more each day.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to incorporate many of their virtues into your own life.
And it’s compatible with religions including Christianity, Judaism, and others. Some people disagree or don’t realize. But Buddhists don’t necessarily believe in any specific god and their principles can go along with the principles of various religions.

You can think of Buddhism as a philosophy or as a religion.

Monastic Buddhists are seriously dedicated, hardcore Buddhists who follow everything in the Lamrim, every principle in excruciating detail and lay Buddhists are looser in their views or lifestyles. They take Buddhism seriously but don’t necessarily follow every principle of Buddhism.

One of the things I love completely about genuine Buddhism and true Buddhists or pro Buddhists is that they teach and promote certain principles and ways of life but they do not enforce them or judge those who do not adopt those views, attitudes, and ways. They teach, guide, advocate for but fully accept that others will not and they embrace those people anyway. This way they remain peaceful within and allow others to be what they will.

I think sometimes when some of us become enlightened on something or think we have and realize we were wrong or utterly ignorant or clueless previously, it can instill embarrassment into us, embarrassment that we did not know or realize this all along, it’s now so obvious, how wasn’t it always this blatant? And the humiliation is so strong we want to avoid it, repress, deny it and run fast away instead of facing it. So what do we do in this case? What makes it easier to avoid confronting ourselves on how wrong or clueless we were before? What’s often easier than admitting I was wrong? Judging, criticizing others who are in the place I used to be in, those who know less about something I now know more about, those with an opinion I once shared but now converted to a “better” one. It’s easier than confessing that I was wrong before and now realize or have become enlightened or changed. It’s easier to verbally attack the me I see in someone else than the real me, my own flesh and blood.

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I believe it’s important to stay humble no matter how much more I think I know. Or how right I think I am.

There will always be those who know more than me and those who know less. Those who are more primitive and those more evolved, people who are cruel and seem stupid and those whose intelligence is way out of the average person’s league, people with extreme compassion and deep understanding of others and ones who couldn’t care less to try to understand, open minded and narrow minded, educated and uneducated, enlightened and still in the dark….and to me, they all deserve compassion, empathy, and to be embraced in universal love even if they don’t display that same love or care to be embraced in it. I can still wish them the best and let them go their own way while going my way. That is true, pure, selfless love. At some point I have been and will be again, many of those things I mentioned above. 

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~Hug the hurt
Kiss the broken
Befriend the lost
Love the lonely~ 

I believe in Universal Love, higher love, all encompassing love and compassion, being One with all that is. 
Not everyone will agree and that’s ok.

Random parts of me <3

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A while ago I did a blog “challenge” called “If you really knew me…” (https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/if-you-really-knew-me-3/ )
which is a list of things about the person that people may or may not know. I decided to do another one with more random facts about me! 😀

If you really knew me, you would know….

 I’m not aL ways a realist. I’m a dreamer. For example if I were to get married and I were also rich and the man I was marrying isn’t rich, I wouldn’t sign one of those prenuptial things saying he can’t have half of my fortune if our marriage were ever to dissolve. I wouldn’t believe or want to ever believe our love would ever end. It’s realistic to know that marriages, relationships, love…ends but I prefer to live with my head in the clouds knowing our love isn’t going anywhere but deeper into each other’s hearts and there’s no need to prepare in the case of a future divorce. And I believe my love is usually unconditional and that I would still love and want him to share in my riches and I want to believe he wouldn’t milk me for all I have that he would love me unconditionally still and not want to take everything just because we’re breaking up. Also, if I were a girl planning to get inked, I wouldn’t be against getting my man’s name tattooed onto my body. So many people are dead set against getting a lover’s name marked onto them. But not me! And if we broke up and he took everything and I was stuck with his name scarred onto me, I would still be happy I risked it all for love. That’s true living, true loving. I live in some utopia. And I wouldn’t have me any other way! 😀

I love the sounds of the city especially at night. The cars and voices and laughing, the music…It all stands out to me in a profound, beautiful way. I love laying in bed late at night and hearing people out in the back or out in the streets, talking and laughing and living. There’s something amazing about knowing that people are awake and alive while I’m in bed at night. 

Rain is one of the greatest loves of my life. Sometimes I can’t quite find the words to describe the depth of joy it brings me and the thrill that surges through me when it rains. Or even looks or feels like it may rain.  I am exhilarated by the mere thought of rain. I feel so alive in the rain. So secure. So liberated. Whenever I walk in rain or mist I am completely free. No matter what may be going on, no matter what fears or concerns are troubling me then, they disappear into the rain. Every insecurity I have that comes and goes, temporarily, goes out the window when I walk alone with raindrops pelting upon my soft skin, streaking my long hair, kissing every inch of me. 
And I become the rain.
Something about it is so protective like nothing bad can ever happen to me when it’s raining. The sounds, the scents, the tastes, the feel, the look…it’s all so perfect. 

Dreams – I often remember my dreams, always have. I rarely have nightmares, almost never.  Sometimes my dreams know things before I do in life, and they send their wisdom to me during my slumbering hours. Sometimes I don’t consciously realize something or I’m convinced of something that isn’t true and I go to sleep and it’s there that the answers manifest. Sometimes I get depressed and suicidal and believe I want so desperately to die and I sleep and I dream. This recurring dream that comes often when I’m depressed. A Dream that someone is trying to kill me and in my dream I desperately want to live. In my dream I do everything to survive, whatever it takes. I run, hide, do things that are impossible in my reality, I find solutions when I think there are none. The emotion, the desperation, the Will is so strong, so overwhelming. So real. When I wake up I know what this dream is telling me. To live.
Once, I had a dream about myself. I was torn about a decision I made. I wasn’t sure what to do. Deep inside me I felt that I knew the truth but still wasn’t sure. I felt a voice deep inside me, I heard it say to listen to my intuition, to surrender to that pull, that tugging deep within, it always knows what I need, want, desire, crave. It knows best. My deep wisdom inside me, in places I’m not all conscious of, knows what’s best for me. It whispers quietly, gently, waiting for me to receive. Waiting for me to welcome it with a completely open heart and let it sink deeper into me.
When the uncertainty and pain and negativity and fears and defeat and demands of society, life, and others are screaming loudly, blood-curdling screams, that quiet, gentle whispering wisdom is more powerful, still.
I’ll never forget that dream and I carry it with me, every day.
My sleepy dreams are why I have a B.A. Degree in philosophy.

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Cold – I get cold so easily. In 100 degree weather a light wind can blow and I can become freezing wishing I had a hoodie. I also can’t tolerate cold like most people can. Although cold weather is some of my favorite weather. I’m always wanting to turn the air conditioning off, open windows to let the warmth of the sun stream in. One morning, recently, I woke up in my bed in 80 something degree weather wrapped in three quilts with my air conditioner turned as low as possible and my bedroom door wide open with just a ceiling fan swirling.

I’m a city girl and no place will ever have my heart more than my own city but for my whole life I have felt drawn to the countryside, to the warm South. I have always loved Texas though I  never laid eyes on it. I will visit one day and make it a point to visit again and again.
I always dreamed of Texas and I feel a deep pull in me to be there. I yearn for the quietude, the green, the southern accents, the nature all around…my dream is to live there part of every year, probably in the Summer. One day a novel found its way into my arms completely randomly and unlikely, like magic, and I read it and it takes place in Texas and is one of my favorite books and made me want even more to go there.
I also feel drawn to Aspen, Colorado and my dream is to visit some Winter again and again. I long for the cold, the glistening snow, the pine.
I find it so beautiful how I can be so deeply drawn, mysteriously called to people, places, and things and not know why at a conscious level but something deep inside me must know.

I have a strong stomach and like to seriously gross people out just for shits and giggles. My mom and sister don’t have such strong stomachs and when I see or think of something that I know would make them disgusted or queasy I burst out laughing and run to tell them. One day my dog threw up and as I was cleaning it, I described to them, in great detail,  the contents of it and said “MmmmMmm this is making me hungry…!” they were so disgusted and appalled. 

I think everything is hilarious. I laugh everyday and play annoying, immature jokes on people. Taking my mom’s phone when she isn’t looking, talking in silly voices to my sister that annoys her, sending dumb or perverted jokes in text messages….lol

I love poetry, especially obscure poetry with a kind of darkness to it. I love when the meaning of the poem isn’t very obvious but seems to make some kind of sense. When the author doesn’t explain it and allows the readers to interpret however they will and guess and wonder at the author’s intention or just make up their own meaning to it.. I like to write poetic things which have a certain meaning to me but if I allowed someone to read them I would like the person to apply his/her own meaning.

I love to read and am deeply inspired by just about everything I read. My brain hungrily devours the words and concepts on the pages. When I read novels I fall in love with the characters and the places in the books. I miss them when the book is over. And days, weeks, years later I still cherish the memories of reading certain books that have spoken volumes to my heart and living in the book’s world when I did. I find reading to be very comforting. To be wrapped up in another world, another place, another time.  I am sad when the book ends. I feel a kind of emptiness. 
But I like it. I love being touched so deeply.
Before I usually wouldn’t even read novels. I saw no point. I only wanted educational stuff but I’m happy I changed. I was really, really missing out. I love books with profound messages, valuable life lessons, beautiful writing, characters with true substance, page turners that I’m happy to fall asleep with and thrilled to wake up to.

If the only way I were able to live is to be supported with feeding tubes and plugged into machines, I would still choose life not because I’m afraid to die or let go but because I have a will to survive and my life can still be beautiful and valuable even if I need extra help.
Brain dead, which is often as good as dead, is not the same as brain damaged or disabled. So if I’m not brain dead in significant ways I would choose life.

Sometimes I have difficulty sleeping at night because of happy thoughts. Thoughts that are so overwhelmingly positive I want to get up and dance, jump for joy, blast sappy love songs into the night, because I’m bursting with love and gratitude for all of life. Because I just read a good book or am in the middle of reading one, because I can’t stop thinking about wonderful inspirational, uplifting quotes I have come across, because I think of sunsets and sunrises and life itself, because I think of beautiful people I know, have known, and want to know, because my music won’t stop playing to let me rest….sometimes I actually do get up at 1:00 or 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and dance around my room in the dark with my earphones in or dance in the bathroom and it annoys my sister when she comes through my room to get into the bathroom and I’m in there bouncing off the walls. I’m not manic, just happy. 😀 i find it not in my best interest to do gratitude meditations, even sleep ones, at night because they keep me up with all the goodness that comes flooding into me. I’m just bursting at the seams some nights, like a child who can’t sleep because she wants to get up and play.

I can fall asleep anywhere and sleep through anything, on a public transportation bus with screaming kids, on the floor of a crowded public place, outside, in class when I was in college(I got in trouble more than once for sleeping in class), with music blasting, at someone else’s house, with dogs barking….lol
And if I get woken up I can easily go right back to sleep.

I struggle with a chronic physical facial pain disorder and also a Depressive Disorder but in general I’m very happy and joyful, with a childlike wonder for life. When the disorders flare up, I can cope very well now, usually. I’m naturally very happy but also I learned to strengthen and develop positive habits and life philosophies to help me even more. My pain is often my main inspiration to write here and I write about it a lot in a positive way. I learned and am still learning many positive life lessons and always discovering deep wisdom inspired by the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of life.
My pain culminates to unbearable levels at some points but my love is always stronger.

I think lives that have good, bad, beautiful, and ugly aspects are the most beautiful. Some people want to be “perfect” with no pain, no problems, nothing but good. It makes sense but in my opinion it also makes for a shallow kind of existence. I would never go out looking for or bringing pain upon my self or anyone else intentionally but since it does exist, I find the beauty in it and embrace it all. There is depth and substance in a life of pain and happiness, joy and misery, beauty and tears, laughter and ugliness. I’m more beautiful for it all.

I love when people are raw and open and honest about themselves and share their life story, proudly displaying their names and faces, not holding back. It’s deeply inspiring to see/hear/read people spilling their lives and hearts to all who will
listen. I want people to know my name, to know me, the good, the bad,the ugly,the beautiful

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.” ~  Muriel Rukeyser

Xoxo Kim

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Tomorrow Is Today <3

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(this isn’t my photo – I found it on Google images)

One of my favorite singers is Billy Joel. I love, love, LOVE his songs. Billy Joel is a very loving person, so many of his songs are about love, often romantic love. Not all of them are happy love songs but they’re still beautiful. Some seem to be about rejection or unrequited love.

His song, released in 1971, “Tomorrow Is Today” is his real suicide note that he decided to put music to and turn into a song.

YouTube video for the song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=b9WAQHn_gmo

 It’s a beautiful song riddled with his pain and despair. He attempted suicide and fortunately lived. This song “Tomorrow Is Today” is about how every day is the same, nothing new, nothing good so there’s no point in living. I understand this deeply. There are many days I have felt every day is the same, bland, blah, full of pain, anguish, misery and so what’s the point. But there are many days I felt every day is the same but loved this beautiful life for it. Everyday is full of beauty, love, simplicity and I can’t wait to wake up each day to it. When every day is packed with joy, love, and beauty, it doesn’t matter if each day is identical. It’s enough. 

“I don’t care to know the hour
‘Cause it’s passing anyway
I don’t have to see tomorrow
‘Cause I saw it yesterday”

This line:

“Still I’m waiting for the morning
But it feels so far away
And you don’t need the love I’m giving
So tomorrow is today.”

Sometimes it seems we wait and wait and wait for something that just won’t come. It’s like an eternity away.

‘And you don’t need the love I’m giving so tomorrow is today.’

I know the feeling, as I think many/most people do, of wanting something I don’t have, attempting something and not succeeding, loving someone who doesn’t love me back…

Billy Joel sings that someone doesn’t need the love he’s giving and so tomorrow is today. Everyday is bland or painful because the target of his love shows no interest in receiving or returning it. This can feel so lifeless.

I think this is a common problem so many people know. Giving and giving only to not receive any appreciation. Loving and loving and not being loved in return. Wanting and wanting but never getting.

And while these things are excruciatingly painful, we can learn to cope with them and realize that we don’t need a specific target for our love. And we don’t need to give merely to receive. The mere feeling and act of giving and loving is satisfaction enough, rewarding enough with no expectation of getting something more for it. We can bask in and soak in the love deep inside, extending it to everything and everyone we can. It’s amazing to have specific people and things to love. But those aren’t the only things to love.

Just feel the love coursing through your veins every second of every day for each moment, even without a specific object. It’s just there. Living and breathing in you. Love for all living sentient beings, for this life itself, for the uncertainty and the beauty surrounding you. For heartbreak, hope & healing. This feeling of immense love can be masked by other feelings, painful emotions and thoughts, at some points but it can be summoned to the consciousness again and again.

We don’t need gratitude for our gratitude or appreciation for our appreciation, love for our love. We don’t need to receive to give.

The person Billy Joel loves in his song may not love him back or show any sense of reception of his love but he can take all that love he has and put it out into the world, lavish it on all those who do need it. Someone out there somewhere needs his love. He can turn it on himself and bask in the beauty of his own love. And it doesn’t matter if that person needs his love or not, he can still go on loving her/him….
It can be painful but also beautiful.
Rejection hurts. Abandonment hurts. Not being known hurts.
But Love heals.

It’s incredible that tomorrow is today and yesterday is tomorrow when every day is soaked in Love.

Loving someone who doesn’t know you exist or doesn’t return your love, wanting something you never seem to get, giving and not receiving can contribute to someone wanting to just lay down and die but we can take that loving energy and reverse it, let it fuel us to live instead. To live more, love more, give more. Shifting our perspective to view loving as more important than being loved, giving is more important than receiving, and appreciating is more important than being appreciated. 

Receiving love and appreciation are also great but if you don’t feel loved or appreciated for whatever reason you don’t have to lay down and die. Let your own love revive you and breathe in you.

When there’s so much deep love just bubbling in my core it’s often hard to feel anything else. It’s hard to loathe anyone or wish bad things for anyone, even those who do things I don’t like. 

I can still stand up for and speak out against things, constructively criticize things, disagree with and debate while still feeling/expressing love.

“Oh, my. Goin’ to the river
Gonna take a ride and the Lord will deliver me
Made my bed, now I’m gonna lie in it
If you don’t come, I’m sure gonna die in it
Too late. Too much given
I’ve seen a lot of life and I’m damn sick of livin’ it
I keep hopin’ that you will pass my way”

I get the feeling that when he falls hard for someone, gives someone all his love and it’s not returned to him, it really takes a toll, it depresses him, breaks him, even to the point of suicide contemplation and attempts. When he can’t have someone he wants in his life it drives him to just fall to pieces. But as I mentioned when this happens, we can take our love and direct it at ourselves and the universe as a whole. This is so healing. It won’t take away our pain completely or make us forget the ones we love who abandon or reject us but it can help us heal while helping others be/feel loved.

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You can’t give too much love.

Sometimes people have an interest in developing a platonic friendship with someone who has no interest in being friends with the person, sometimes it’s a romantic love interest not returned, some days it’s doing extra work for someone who couldn’t seem to care less, writing blog posts or creating YouTube videos or posts on any social media that don’t get much attention or get negative attention, applying for schools or jobs and being rejected….all of these things can be devastating to different people in different ways, to different depths and degrees.

But don’t give up! Whatever you do, say, however you love will resonate with someone, somewhere,  someday, somehow. Maybe not today or tomorrow but someday. Hold on.  

Someone out there can and will love someone just like you and needs, desires, craves exactly what you have to offer whether it’s the kind of friend you can be, the kind of lover you are, the abilities and qualities you have that are perfect for some jobs, your writing, your ideas, your points of views and angles of looking at things. 

Your beauty is valuable to this world.

And someone out there somewhere needs you.

We all have different kinds of personalities that are compatible
With and appealing to certain other personalities but not other ones.

Some people will love you, want you, crave you, need you and some won’t. That goes for all of us.

“And some day if your dreams are leavin’ you
I’ll still believe in you.” 

This is a perfect example of love and loving someone unconditionally,  even when that someone may not love us back.

We can still believe in that person and wish the best for him/her. If I truly love someone I want the person to be happy even when I’m not the reason for that happiness. I will still believe in the person even when that person doesn’t believe in or love me Or her/himself.

As painful as it can be, it’s also quite liberating.

In 1985, Billy Joel had another song released  called “You’re Only Human (Second Wind).”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=3AG_ororx8E

It was written to remind people to never give up, that suicide isn’t the answer. Ever. It’s never the way to go. Sooner or later you’ll get your second wind. You may want to lay down and die now but later things will start looking up and it’s worth waiting for.

“It’s not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You’re gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It’s alright, it’s alright
Though you feel your heart break
You’re only human, you’re gonna have to deal with heartache.”

As long as we live we will experience pain, heartbreak, loneliness….and that’s ok.

“You’ve been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you’re thinking everything’s gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong
But hold on
Till that old second wind comes along.”

No matter how bad things get or feel, how much it hurts, how much you want to die, things can get better if you just hold on.

Hold on til that second wind comes along!

Xoxo Kim

P.s. It’s so weird I’m listening to my old memory card with different songs on it and I forgot what songs are on it and as I was writing that above paragraph, the song randomly came on! The “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” song by Billy Joel!! 😀

Summer Lovin’ <3

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Summer is my least favorite season. It’s the one season I wish were much shorter than the rest. I don’t wish it were non existent. Mostly because I think it makes Fall even more thrilling after a long hot summer ends. But I still like Summer and having four seasons. I feel that it’s a blessing to live in a place where we have it all, warm, hot, cold, cool, rain, snow, sleet, thunderstorms, blizzards, lightening…. To me, Fall & Winter possess endless things to be joyful about.  Things that warmer seasons don’t have where I live. I’m mostly happy all year. But Fall & Winter bring many more things to be joyful about. I love the themes. The holiday themes, the crisp and colorful leaves, pine, and snow themes. Cozy nights and hot cocoa. Pumpkin coffee, tea, and pie. Cool nights, hoodies, blankets, big fluffy warm pjs….I will never understand how someone can not love all that! Lol 🙂
And I love when Winter melts into Spring and the world around me is born again after a long cold dreary Winter. Spring is symbolic of hope, new beginnings, and rebirth. Life blooms all around. It’s perfect. Not freezing and not usually too blazing hot.
Summer is just kind of blah. Like an extremely hot Spring long after the world has first bloomed around me.  
Summer gives me headaches and melts my reesse cups! Eww

I am still generally happy and joyful in the summer but there’s not as many specific summer themes that thrill me like the other seasons. Poor summer just doesn’t have as much of my heart. There are definitely some rare bitter winter days I desperately wish were summer but usually not.

 I’m not miserable or depressed all summer just because I don’t like it as much but I do catch myself sometimes making mental lists of all the reasons Summer kind of sucks.

Lol

Last week though I received a lovely e-mail called “Summer Lovin'” which is a list of 23 things about Summer that Dani DiPirro of Positively  Present has to smile about.

(http://www.positivelypresent.com/2014/07/summer-lovin.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PositivelyPresent+(positively+present) )

At first I thought her post was about loving Summer because she really loves the season. And I still got the idea to create a list to turn something less than positive into something positive but I soon realized that Summer is not her favorite season either. She did what I thought of, turned her unhappiness about something into happiness! 😀

This is perfect for me because it’s just what I need to uplift my spirits about something I’m not usually head over heels in love with! I think we can all benefit by this habit. When there’s something you aren’t too thrilled about whether you just aren’t crazy in love with it or you outright detest it, try making a list if you can, even if you have to struggle hard, of anything you can think of that is some way good or positive or benefits you, even if you would prefer not to have it and just not have the benefits. You’re stuck with it so take those benefits and run with it! 

Here’s my list of Summer Smiles 😀

1.) My hands don’t swell up and aren’t cut open in the summer. My skin is smooth and regular. I usually would prefer Winter and just suck it up that the cold damages my sensitive skin but I can’t help that it’s summer so I will bask in my lovely smooth hands while I have them. Lol

2.) the almost constant sun and long daylight. I don’t like excessive heat but sun is good for us. Not too much but a lot of daylight is good. It’s uplifting and it’s often easier to sit outside and do some walking in the sun than in the unforgiving bitterness of Winter air. Daylight has a positive effect on our brain chemistry whereas colder, darker weather can have the opposite effect, resulting in depression or low moods for some people. When I’m out walking in the winter it often feels urgent usually. Like I have to hurry up and get where I’m going, out of this cold.

3.) there’s so much to take photos of out in Nature when it’s all warm and bright. Bare tree branches, gray skies, and snow and all are very beautiful. But after a while it seems to me there isn’t much else. Especially with just a cell phone camera. It often can’t capture the beauty of barrenness as well as a professional or advanced camera. In summer there’s an abundance of color and life all around! It looks brilliant captured by any camera!

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4.) carnivals and amusement parks! That’s unheard of in Winter and just wouldn’t be as fun!

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5.) summer magic in the air. All four seasons have their own kind of lovely magic that is different than the other three. Just a “feel” in the air.

6.) people watchin’. People come out half dressed in excessive heat. And are fun to watch. Lol  and I like not having to be all covered up all day.

7.) dog walkin’ – all the doggies are out walking and in dog parks!

8.) I would say vacations but I’m not the biggest fan of going on vacation. I like where I am. But everyone else seems to love vacations and going away. So I’m happy for them. I can just imagine the thrill you must feel going away if you’re someone who loves it. I’m usually the opposite. I feel a thrill coming back home! Lol

9.) sitting outside in the chairs of pretty restaurants under umbrellas, sippin’ sweet delicious iced tea with friends!

10.) ice cream, iced tea, water ice and Popsicles. These are good all year but Summer somehow manages to make them more appealing. Just like hot tea, coffee, and cocoa are good all year but more inviting in Fall & Winter in my opinion.

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11.) I work at an ice cream shoppe all year but it’s more active in Summer so I have more chances to interact with various people!

12.) it’s not freezing cold. I usually prefer freezing cold over disgusting humidity and excessive heat but I don’t want excessive cold either. But when it’s hot and I prefer cold I can still be thankful I’m not freezing. Just like if it’s way too cold and I prefer heat I can still be thankful I’m not burning up. Talk about positive thinking! ;-D

13.) jumping into an ice cold shower or walking into an air conditioned room after walking in out of scorching heat! Feelin’ good! :-p

14.) the vibrant blue sky and fluffy white clouds

15.) being in a car with the windows down and warm wind blowing through my long hair

16.) walking in warm rain

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17.) the Ocean is healing and beautiful 

18.) laying in lush green grass soaking up the scents of summer 

19.) fireflies

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(I took this pic of fireflies one night!)

20.) laying out at night watching the stars

21.) It’s not flu season!!! I never had influenza but lots of people around me have. It doesn’t look fun! :-O

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22.) citrus & tropical scents are some of my favorites and are sweeter in the summer!!

23.) I love summer colors like peach, pastels, yellow, orange…they can be worn all year but certain things are just more magical in certain seasons! Like these colors in the summer!

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24.) strappy stilettos – in the summer, your toes won’t freeze off if you wear them and there won’t be slippery ice, sleet, and snow!

25.) Summer sales! Yesterday at Bath & Body Works, my friend and me got all kinds of goodies for way less money! I got two delicious body lotions for less than seven dollars that really would have been about 22 dollars! All citrus & tropical and other summery scents are on sale now!  

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I never realized I would be able to come up with so many summer positives! It wasn’t even hard! Once I got my brain on track to see the cheer and joy of Summer, it all just start flowing to me!

And I was sitting at the kitchen table actually feeling the summer magic and possibilities  come flooding into me after writing this list. I realize on various occasions how creating happy lists can really uplift me even more than I anticipated. It’s even better than mere mental lists! Something about writing out all the goodness really has an amazing uplifting effect! 

It really is a good habit to get into, everyday just writing a list of things to be happy about!
😀

Xoxo Kim 😀