Tag Archive | appreciative living

Sunrise <3

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Today is April 18th but when I post this it will very likely and very annoyingly claim it’s April 19th because when I post after 8:00pm, it deceivingly says it’s the next day. I can change it but I won’t. When I change the date, it changes the links to my posts then in the e-mails when people click on my link it goes to an error page. How annoying!

Today I woke up at 5:45 AM because my dogs woke me up and I just decided to look out the window and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I saw a beautiful sunrise!

I rarely, very very rarely see a sunrise! A couple of mornings I even got up early to attempt to see a sunrise, I checked the night before to see when the sun would be rising and got up to see it and it wasn’t there! At least not where I was looking! Today though, I saw it serendipitous-ly! I was thrilled!  

Sunrises, to me are symbolic of hope and life and new beginnings and rebirth.

Today I’m inspired to share some fantastic quotes about Sunrise!

Here goes!

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” ~
Bernard Williams

So true! No matter how dark it seems now, there IS a light still glimmering to carry us through! I struggle with depression in episodes and severe physical pain in episodes and sometimes I’m not depressed or in physical pain but I have some problem that feels so hopeless or insurmountable but I always try to remind myself that nothing is hopeless. 

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“The biggest cliche in photography is sunrise and sunset.”
Catherine Opie

I think this is true. Many, many of us become aware of a dramatic sunset or sunrise and that’s a great thing! Sunrises and sunsets are the simple life treasures we can experience at no cost. I think there are different depths of taking pleasure in or experiencing them. We can take a quick glance, feel the beauty and hurry on our way without really feeling it. Or we can be obsessed with sunrises and sunsets just to get a beautiful photo for our cover photo on Facebook or blogs or instagram to impress people. That’s good too but I think it’s even better to take full advantage of the beauty all around us, soak it up, absorb it, feel it in every cell of the body. Not just to get a picture to share on social media. In my opinion if we can only do one, it’s usually more important to experience life all around than just take pictures. Luckily we can find the perfect balance of doing both! 
Also, while sunrises and sunsets are absolutely lovely, there are even simpler, more overlooked, mundane treasures all around us. 
Like the edges of buildings and the reflections of sunlight streaking the concrete, spaciousness, streetlights, bricks, just little everyday things that make up our lives but we rarely stop to appreciate.

Example:

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I love the way the light reflects on the wall and the pole and I love the traffic sign!

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Spaciousness, emptiness, quietude, stillness, beauty, serenity

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I was struck by the beauty of the daylight creeping in through the window that evening I was at work and reflecting off the freezer doors.

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“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.” ~ 
Horace Mann

Yes let’s cherish every moment we have been given.

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“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.” ~ 
George Washington Carver

I love how this quote conveys appreciation and mindfulness for a simple moment right before a “big” or dramatic thing, the more obvious thing that usually gets more attention. An unidentified moment often overlooked.

It reminds me of this quote:
“‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”~A.A. Milne

And my previous blog post:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-simple-unidentified-moments-3/

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I was hanging out with Buddha reading and drinking tea! What better way to spend my day?! ;-D

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“There’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same.” ~ 
Carlos Santana

Sunrises and sunsets are everyday occurances but it’s true none of them can ever be the same. They’re all unique and all beautiful. They never get old! 

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I love the beauty of the setting sun and the way it reflects on the top of the car and that water tower off in the distance! What beauty that exists in this life! And all we need to experience it is our senses and an appreciative mind!

I hope you’re having a beautiful day or night! I’m at work right now and it’s a cool night so not very busy!

Much love to you and may your heart be open to receive the beauty all around us in whichever form it exists.

😀

Xoxo Kim

Spring is in the air! <3

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But not really!

Today is the first day of Spring!

And this is what we get!

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(this pic showed up by accident but he’s cute so I’m leaving it – he’s my baby, Woody, almost eight months old!)

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What a hilarious joke it seems the uni-verse has played on us! 😀

Lol it looks like Winter is milking it for all it’s worth, going to snow and be All frigid until the last second it possibly can!

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I love it! I’m so so happy it will be warm soon! And life will
Blossom
all around! Green & flowers and a floral fragrance in the air! 

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Google flowers! @—}—-}

But I’m so happy for one last snow blizzard until Winter/the end of Fall comes again! Yay! 

It’s a Winter Wonderland today and I walked in it to get my mom a coffee! It was beautiful but eventually my head was throbbing terribly because of the cold, I thought I would pass out. Or die. Lol ok, not really die but it was almost as painful as brain freeze when I eat ice cream too quickly! 

The quote in my daily quote book for today, March 20th is:

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we’d have a pretty good time.” ~ Edith Wharton

Isn’t this so true?! How often have you heard someone say or have you said or thought yourself something like “when it’s warm/hot outside and I can go on vacation, I will be happier, when I lose 20 pounds I will be happier, this weekend I will be happy, when I have kids I will be happy, when I find true love or get married I will be happy, when I grow up/get older, graduate college, get better grades, I will be happy, when I get a job or another job I will be happy, when I have more money I will be happy, when I have a place of my own I will be happy…?”

I’m definitely not innocent of thoughts like that occasionally, thoughts like “when…..then I will be happier.” While I’m often mindful of and happy right now, there are definitely occasions I begin to think I need more or “should” have more. And then it leads to a very low feeling, negative comparisons to others, or even a full blown depression. 

But the truth is, we can be happy now. Let go of the conditional happiness concept and living too much in the future. Let go and allow the beauty and joy of right Now to seep into our essence and soak it all up! Be happy now!

The external things that we think can lead to happiness or can bring us fleeting happiness will not last very long and are not necessarily as purely blissful as we think they are. Warm weather comes then leaves eventually and we’re stuck in the bitter cold, vacations end and we have to come back to reality, people can leave us, we can put weight back on after the hard work losing it, fashion trends eventually end after buying all those expensive clothes, people die of heatstroke and exhaustion in the Summer, freeze to death in Winter, suffer with horrible allergies in Spring & Fall, are used for money and have lots of financial management when they are financially rich, have the pressure of having to keep up their grades when they have a perfect gpa, even great things like kids and relationships and money, a great job,….come with consequences that aren’t always pure bliss, the thing is to practice and learn to be happy NOW or at least in general under any circumstances. 

Pay attention to the gifts right before our very eyes. It’s great to have relationships with others, have kids, get a new job, shop for new clothes, experience the seasons, have money, get amazing grades in school…but we don’t need those things to have a sense of happiness or self worth. They can bring us certain joys and a certain kind of happiness and blessings we won’t have without them but we can also have joy and true happiness and blessings without them. They complement our happiness and our self, not complete us.

There are great things and drawbacks to just about  every stage and phase and season of life. Let’s cherish them all and appreciate now!

Coincidentally this is what we talked about and meditated upon in class last night. Then today that is the quote for this day!

Also, I read that today brings with it a Super New Moon, a Total Solar Eclipse, and the Spring Equinox! All of which symbolize new beginnings! A perfect reminder that no matter what happened, no matter how stuck or depressed, or broken we are or have been, there is new hope and a blank slate to turn around and begin again! And we can begin right Now! ❤

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Much love to you! ❤

Xoxo Kim

The Vinegar Tasters

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Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply:
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.”

Within the last month I have experienced quite a few profound losses. I lost a human friend as well as two of my pets to death all in a month. All very shockingly and very unexpectedly. 

It’s seriously like the worst emotional pain imaginable. The deepest kind of sadness. 

 Then I lost my job, unexpectedly, because the owner is selling the business(i knew it was happening but not so soon). I don’t have much work experience other than years at a store and some work in college I did as a peer educator so it’s not easy finding another job. Not because I wouldn’t be good at it but the employers are wary of taking on employees without experience for whatever the job is. I don’t have much experience for exactly what I want to do but I am very confident I will do a great job and I’m also quite confident someone out there somewhere will give me a chance one of these days! 😀

Then I lost my Temple University system account (e-mail and things) because someone hacked it or tried and it showed suspicious activity so the University suspended my account and since I cannot yet pay back the student loan, they can refuse to talk to me when I call Monday and not restore my account. I use my account for everything even though I’m no longer a current student there. 

Then the media card in my phone broke (it keeps working then not working because my phone itself is too full of files and stuff which I need wifi to transfer it all to a computer, which I will do when I get wifi) and I lost all my pictures and all my songs and everything else on the media card. I think it’s all still there, just can’t be accessed yet. This is very trivial next to the deaths of my friend, Diane, and my pets, Dylan &Lizz , but it is very distressing, especially on top of the other losses.

A few days ago while getting a shower and experiencing raw grief over the losses of my friends(human and animal), it doesn’t go away but the severity and rawness fluctuates – acceptance to seemingly unbearable, back and forth, I began thinking more about the seasons of life and how pain and loss are inevitable. Whether it’s a very tragic, devastating, senseless, unexpected loss or a natural but still devastating loss to old age or a loss of a job or place to live or something, these are all stages and phases and seasons of living and we can learn to accept them. Acceptance doesn’t mean not experiencing pain or not trying to make things better. It doesn’t mean not speaking up against something we disagree with, not taking action. It just means acknowledging that painful things are part of being alive, whether they are fair, unfair, unjust, happen to most people or are rare…., and working along with these painful circumstances and seasons of life. Not denying them, not wishing them away, they won’t go away. Just soaking up every horrible emotion and also the beauty that comes along with it. Using it to our advantage, to strengthen us and our empathy for others, to deepen our wisdom. And knowing we can be happy and filled with joy along with the grief and any other pain. 

Grief and missing someone and happiness in life can reach a point where they are not mutually exclusive. We can feel both, grief/sense of loss & happiness/joy. It’s the same with physical pain and happiness and even with having a depressive disorder. We can have struggles with these and other things but ultimately be happy. 

The more I ponder this, the more I see the beauty in it and accept it. 

“More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning; I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness, and affability? And as time requireth a man of marvellous mirth and pastimes; and sometimes of as sad gravity: a man for a seasons.” ~ Robert Whittinton

I’m reading a book called “The Tao of Pooh” written by a man who finds deep and ancient wisdom threaded throughout the Winnie the Pooh series, Benjamin Hoff. I had this book for a while but never read it yet and coincidentally, I picked it up to read at 4:00 in the morning, not completely sure what it’s about, and I realize it’s about just what I was thinking about during and after the shower that day, accepting and working along with, and even cherishing, all of life, painful and happy, good and bad, joyful and sorrowful. How comforting! How beautiful and inspiring.

In the book, the author tells a little story of “the vinegar tasters.” A painting of three men, said to be Confucius, the Buddha, and Lao-tse, the author of the oldest existing book of Taoism.
These three masters are standing around a vat of vinegar. Each man has dipped his finger into the vinegar and tasted it. Each man’s reaction to the taste is different and each of their faces displays a different expression. 

Confucius has a sour look on his face. The Buddha has a bitter expression. And Lao-tse is smiling.

This painting is not to be taken literally but allegorically. Each man is a representation of “The Three Teachings” of China and the vinegar they are tasting represents the Essence of Life.

So the painting is an allegory for our reactions to life. Confucius, in the painting, views life as sour. He believes that the present is not properly aligned with the past and that the government of man on Earth is out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of the Universe. He has a thing for long ago and reveres the Ancestors and ancient rituals and ceremonies in which the emperor, or Son of Heaven, acts as an intermediary for limitless Heaven & limitless Earth.   

The use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all add up to an incredibly complex system of rituals, under Confucianism. Each ritual is used on a certain occasion for a specific purpose. A quote to convey the gist of this concept is “If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit.” This shows the extent and rigidity, and a kind of perfectionism, of the ideas and rituals of the school of thought of Confucianism.

As for Buddha, the second man in the painting, life on Earth is bitter. It’s filled with attachments, illusions, and desires that lead to suffering. To him, in the painting, the world is seen as inherently full of traps, a generator of illusions – a revolving wheel of pain for all sentient beings. According to this Buddha in the painting, we must overcome “the world of dust” to obtain inner peace and reach Nirvana (complete liberation, zero suffering), which translates literally to “no wind.”  We must eliminate all the unpleasantness in life, all our struggles, to be truly happy. 

The author explains how the optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism, making it more positive, after it extended to China(it originated in India). But the devout Buddhist often viewed the “bitter wind of everyday existence” as an interruption to the process of reaching Nirvana.

To the last man in the painting, Lao-tse, the one pleasantly smiling, there is Heaven on Earth. The harmony that naturally exists between Heaven & Earth and has always existed can be found by anyone at all in almost any circumstances, during any occasion, as long as the strict rules of Confucianism, which leave no room for diversity and imperfection, are not followed. 

According to Lao-tse, in his Tao Te Ching, , the “Tao Virtue Book,” Earth is essentially a “reflection of Heaven.” It’s run by the same laws which are not the laws of humans. These heavenly laws are said to affect the spinning of distant planets as well as the activity of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. 

 Lao-Tse in the painting story, believes that the more we interfere with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the more difficult it is to reach harmony. The more we interfere with the natural seasons of life, the more forcing, the more trouble. 

The author, Benjamin Hoff, states 

“Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.”

(pp. 4) 

Lao-tse sees life, in all its pain and beauty, as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons. Life is our teacher, our chance to awaken to deep wisdom. Unlike the Buddha in the painting who advocate for turning away from “the world of dust,” Lao-tse advises us to “join the dust of the world.” He speaks of Tao, the Way, the “law” or essence governing everything in Heaven & on Earth. 

Tao cannot be explained in words. It must be lived, experienced. It’s acceptance of life as it is. It is basically and simply working with our life circumstances, pleasant or unpleasant, appreciating all of life, life itself, letting our experiences teach us, working with every single thing that happens in everyday life, going with the flow.

As I have mentioned, it’s not about not working to fix problems that can be fixed for the better. It’s not about never experiencing pain. It’s about acceptance of life, both beauty and pain, and not denying our emotions or circumstances. Acknowledging what is and just flowing with it. 

Lao-tse believes this naturally brings us happiness.  

We can experience great happiness even in the midst of imperfection, struggles, pain…but when we work in harmony with these circumstances, “Taoist understanding changes what others perceive as negative into something positive.” (pp. 6) 

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Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~ John Ruskin

According to Taoism, bitterness and sourness are results of being unappreciative and interfering with the essence of life. Life itself is sweet if we understand it for what it is. This is the message of The Vinegar Tasters.

This painting or story is not really about religion or debates or disagreements;it’s a metaphor for life that can be incorporated into any of our lives irrespective of religion or absence of religion. 

I find this concept to be deeply inspiring and very helpful to remembering during difficult and painful situations such as depression, grief, loss, stress….anything.

You can find different versions of the painting in Google images. I found none worth sharing here. In most of the images I looked at, all three men look miserable. Lol

I’m wishing you lots of love & happiness! ❤

Xoxo Kim ❤

The Miracle of the World <3

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett

This quote couldn’t be more true! Everywhere we look, there is some kind of beauty. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, what season we’re in the midst of, what mood we’re in, if we’re healthy or sick, grieving or in some other kind of pain, homeless or live in a mansion, financially rich or poor, Alone, lonely, surrounded by others,
whatever struggles we have, there is some form of beauty to soak up, cherish, and celebrate. ❤

Celebrating beauty is what I’m doing here. Here are my pictures and some of my favorite quotes!

😀

“This world, after all our science and science, is still a miracle: wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think it.” ~ Thomas Dekker

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(I was waiting for a bus today in the freezing cold but it was well worth it because the scenery is so beautiful and I was surrounded by adorable little sparrows! I noticed the cute little fuzzy heads they have and the caprice of their tender wings, fluttering all around)

“Oh, the wild joys of living! the leaping from rock up to rock, 
The strong rending of boughs from the fir-tree, the cool silver shock 
Of the plunge in a pool’s living water.” ~
Robert Browning

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~
Kahlil Gibran

“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.” ~ Paul Valéry 

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Life is what we make it so let’s make it beautiful.

Live everyday and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ~
Mary Jean Iron

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 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Find the good and praise it.” ~Alex Haley

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“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

”The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” ~Richard Bach

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(my adorable girl, Isis Summerjo)

“I’ll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again” ~Steve Winwood

“O, with what freshness, 
what solemnity and beauty, 
is each new day born; 
as if to say to insensate man, 
‘Behold!
thou hast one more chance! 
Strive for immortal glory!'” ~
Harriet Beecher Stowe

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“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” ~Anne De Lenclos 

~Heaven is Earth~

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(night in the city)

“There’s beauty up above and things we never take notice of
You wake up and suddenly you’re in love.” ~ Billy Ocean

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(me!<3 <3)

“And I guess we never learn.
Go through life parched and empty,
Standin’ knee deep in a river and dyin’ of thirst.” ~ “Standing Knee Deep In A River” (Dying of Thirst) 

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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” 
Confucius

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“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
~Agatha Christie

“Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.”~
Henry Van Dyke

“I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautful life” ~Darryl Worley ♥

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“I’m thankful for a pair of shoes that feel really good on my feet; I like my shoes.
I’m thankful for the birds; I feel like they’re singing just for me when I get up in the morning… Saying, ‘Good morning, John. You made it, John.’
I’m thankful for the sea breeze that feels so good right now, and the scent of jasmine when the sun starts going down.
I’m thankful…”
~Johnny Cash

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“Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.” ~
Abraham Maslow

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The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.

~Veronique Vienne

I hope you find the beauty in each moment no matter how low your mood is or how much pain you are experiencing or how bored or stressed or distracted you are. We can’t always be happy but we can find something in each moment to grasp and hold and see the joy in.

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(I don’t eat steaks [unless they’re vegan ones] but this building is so pretty, all lit up and surrounded with people)

Let’s surrender to each fleeting moment and absorb all the beauty and love Each one
provides.

Much love to you. ❤

Xoxo Kim ❤

Starry, Starry Night

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“Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.” ~ Don McLean ❤

Recently there was this one night the sky seemed to be filled with more stars than usual. I have a camera that reaches the stars(my phone camera almost never can capture them) but my camera is lost and kind of broken(my dad broke it by cracking it against a table or something and it fell apart, sort of). I always hoped for a camera that can beautifully capture the night sky then last year I got one, not the best, probably, but an ok one.  It’s in my house somewhere but I have no clue where. And it’s a small house! Lol I don’t yet have a way to get my pics online off the camera because the camera needs wifi or to put the pictures on a computer first. And my computer isn’t set up because it needs wifi to be set up. 
So I carelessly tossed it aside. 
I should be getting wifi soon, now I regret it.

I was in awe over the beauty of the starlit night! I kept trying to take pics with my phone and it kept only capturing one star, the brightest one.
Then in one picture, it got two stars. 
 I was thankful. Sometimes it can’t even capture one.  But I wanted the whole sky full of stars to show up. 
It was amazing! They were literally twinkling!
I kept imagining what that would look like in a picture and how I would love to have and share a picture like that!  

I kept thinking “if only I was more careful with my camera!!” 
And 
“I really hope when I get a good camera or find mine, the sky looks like this again! “

It was a worse feeling than not having a camera at all because it was like a feeling of “being so close…” I have it and could have captured the stars but it’s lost because I was careless.

Like when playing a crane machine and it completely misses the desired object and it’s like “oh well.” but when it picks up the thing you want and then drops it before it makes it to the slot it’s like “omg! So close!! If only it would have held on a second later…!!” lol

 I couldn’t shake the feeling. “If only….” and “I hope…” But it was the kind of restraining hope that holds me back, not an exhilarating kind. 

And it’s not every night there’s that many stars! And big bright ones! All twinkling!  
I really felt so strongly that I was missing out.

I went back out into the backyard to look up at the starry starry night and it took my breath away and I was reminded that that’s really all that matters. Experiencing the beauty, not capturing it. 

I wasn’t missing anything.

While it’s amazing to get beautiful pictures of our experiences and the beauty all around us, sometimes the desire, activity, or opportunity to capture it can hold us back.

When we forget our phones, lose our cameras, our battery drains….and we can’t get a pic we can feel that we’re missing out, we can feel a sense of loss, a sense of a missed opportunity. 
And sometimes we can get so wrapped up trying to get the “perfect picture” that we neglect to savor the moment itself. 

Girls, (and maybe some men?) haven’t you ever had a day where your makeup looked so perfect or your hair, better than usual and it kind of felt like a waste because you weren’t going anywhere or your plans did not work out? And in some way you almost wished you did not look so good? Because there’s like nowhere to go, no one to see it. Lol I know I’m not the only one! 

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(this isn’t my picture, I don’t know the original source but it’s funny!)

That’s kind of like this experience. Like, damn, the sky looks so good! And I can’t capture it! 

;-p

I heard on the radio a couple years ago that there’s a study that shows that many people feel that it’s more important to capture and get “proof” of the fun occasions and beauty they experience than actually experiencing it. According to the radio program, most teenagers who took the survey said they would prefer not to experience something amazing if they can’t get a pic than experience it and not get pictures! I don’t know how accurate this survey/s is/are since I just heard it briefly some years ago and did not hear all the info. But I know this phenomenon is definitely true for some people. 

I have met people who felt this way and I have felt a touch of this myself on some occasions. Not that I would prefer not to experience something great if I can’t get a pic but feeling so disappointed and anxious if I couldn’t get one to the point I sometimes let the disappointment and anxiety ruin the moment.

Looking up at that starry, starry sky I was reminded that living is much more important than capturing or “proving.”  Both are great but we can’t always have both. And why let disappointment ruin the actual moment?

I almost never let “picture taking” take away my focus or experience of what is happening. That is a common problem now in society, at least the one I live among. People are obsessed with capturing and showing the fun they’re having and beauty they’re witnessing and instead of living the moment, they pull out their phones/cameras and play with them, posing instead of being natural, looking into a phone or camera instead of each other. I believe I manage a healthy balance of capturing the moment but also living it. But my problem is when I can’t capture it in at least one pic, I have felt so very disappointed. 

And it’s the same with the makeup, who cares if you’re not going anywhere or seeing anyone? Just bask in your own beauty, put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty. 

(and meet me tonight in Atlantic City ;-D lol)

It’s worth it! We don’t need a special occasion or to show anything. Wear that clingy dress, the diamond earrings, use the expensive utensils and sparkling crystal wine glasses, buy yourself flowers….each moment we’re alive is a special occasion. 

I’m thankful the sky showed me. Lol 

Also, I choose to look at the bright side! At least I got the biggest, brightest star! Lol And it looked like it was a falling star after a while!  It was like curving or something. Fantastic! 

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So pretty!

This is definitely not an airplane (my sister insists that it is but I kept my eyes on it since it was a small speck hanging over the rooftops) or the moon. It somewhat resembles one but it’s a star, I’m sure of it.
I know what an airplane and what a star looks like(although one night I did mistake a traffic light for the moon so I guess you can’t be too sure of my judgment….but this I’m sure of!)

The moon was on the other side. And it stayed in one place all night, not moving, just sparkling, until it decided to curve like this. I kept running out to check on it all night. And took like one hundred pics.  All shitty ones but I still like them.

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(this picture has two stars! I had to lighten the picture a lot to make them more visible. Very hard to see but they’re there!)

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I couldn’t imagine why I saved this picture and was about to delete it then I realized why! If you look closely you can see the shadow Of me standing on the tips off my toes desperately holding my phone up to the sky as high as I possibly can hoping to just get a few stars to show up! And also hoping the neighbors in the back wouldn’t think I’m some kind of creeper taking pictures through their windows. I promise it’s only the stars I was spying on. ;-D

It is a funny picture, kind of pathetic. Being this desperate but oh well….lol

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Don McLean – Starry, Starry Night

Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHnRfhDmrk

Desktop:

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

I hope you’re having a great day and a beautiful starry starry night!! ❤

😀

Xoxo Kim

Random Inspiration #9 {Beauty (and mystery) in the Mundane}

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Adventure is great, holidays, celebrations, weddings, buying new things, shopping sprees, vacations, new jobs, promotions, and new experiences! Those are great things to experience and pursue if we’re into those things. But we don’t always get the chances to do those and we don’t need them anyway to be happy and have fun, thrilling lives! There’s so much beauty in the mundane, extraordinary in the ordinary, simple joys in everyday.  Let’s cherish, savor, and deeply appreciate them!

Check out my post in the Page section on the menu:

“Small Things Forgotten”

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/small-things-forgotten/

This page explains my goal of reclaiming and shedding light on the simple, often abandoned things, the mundane aspects of our lives like the colors, the textures, the hues and simple conversations, lines and edges and our favorite books and knick knacks and the sounds in the streets, the wetness on bottles of drinks, the fragrance of cookies baking or food being cooked, our kitchen table or dresser even if it’s plain and just getting old or boring now, the rooms in our house, the streets we walk each day, the ground we walk upon, the hills, buildings, and trees we pass by on our way to work…and how they are beautiful even when they’re not, merely because they make up our lives each day, every single day and they are part of us. They are no less important than the big celebrations and vacations and holidays and weddings, all the “big” things many of us often wait for, search for, hope for, and sometimes feel incomplete, jealous, depressed or low without, either because we want them and don’t have them or because society as a whole says we should have them and if we don’t, we can feel like outcasts or less than successful.   

I love to take pictures of “ordinary” or “boring/plain” objects making them look beautiful, mysterious, obscure, nostalgic, or difficult to detect what they are.

Like this one:

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Can you tell what it is?!

I can’t either! Lol And it’s my own picture I took at work of something we see/use everyday! I remember taking the picture of whatever it is and trying to obscure it, mystify it. And it worked a little too well because now I can’t figure out for the life of me what it is. To me, it looks like packages that come in the mail but I’m nearly certain it’s not! 

I even searched the place all day one day looking for it and to no avail! I think the point of this photo Activity

of de-focusing or obscuring objects is to have others guessing, not our own selves but oh well! I guess that just goes to show my madd skills! ;-D

Here are some links if you are interested about photography and photographing everyday objects and tips to taking pictures with a smartphone.

http://digital-photography-school.com/the-16-most-photogenic-everyday-objects/

http://thephotographerwithin.com/2014/01/make-everyday-objects-look-amazing/

http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2013/08/07/close-up-photography-creative-ideas-for-photographing-everyday-objects/

(Caution: this website uses cookies and they can store them or access them on your device so if that’s not ok with you, you may not want to click it)  It’s about taking pictures of everyday objects such as a strap on a shoulder bag, a lemon slice in a drink…and making them beautiful in pictures or de-focusing them to make them more interesting and not being able to tell what they arE

How
fascinating! 

http://digital-photography-school.com/5-ways-to-take-better-smartphone-photos/

Even if you aren’t interested in photography there are other ways to appreciate and express gratitude or joy for the simple gifts of living like writing/poetry, drawing or painting, or just basking in the beauty, soaking it all up with as many senses as you have!

😀

Here are some of my pictures of simple, everyday things and inspiring quotes I have come across that convey, in some way, the message of how every “ordinary” day is beautiful.

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Can you tell what this one is?!

If you can’t tell, why should I?! Lol
;-D

“You can be in love with one thousand views and skylines and souls and minds at once. Don’t apologize for your burn, your passion, or your enthusiasm. Enthusiasm propels the world.” – Victoria Erickson

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Hmmm….;-p

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ~ 
Frances Hodgson Burnett

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt

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“Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.” ~ 
Desmond Tutu

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.” ~ 
Boris Pasternak

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What in the world? An x-ray pic of a spinal cord?!?! Or maybe it’s just a weird pic of a Center City Philadelphia building. I sent it to my mom in a text and said guess what it is and she couldn’t so I said it’s a spinal cord and she screamed “Eww oh my god Eww!!” and deleted it instantly. Lol 😀 She believed me.

“I have loved the stars too fondly
to be fearful of the night.” ~ Sarah Williams

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Light graffiti!

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” ~ 
Bill Moyers

“As a matter of fact, I deliberately look for the mundane, because I feel these stories are ignored. The most influential things that happen to virtually all of us are the things that happen on a daily basis. Not the traumas.” ~ 
Harvey Pekar 

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This looks like cold hard cash. That’s because it is! It’s someone’s penny collection. I don’t know whose though.

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The perfect snack. No mystery here. MmmMmmm

“What I like about The Sims is that I don’t have a normal life at all, so I play this game where these people have these really boring, mundane lives. It’s fun.” ~ 
Gerard Way

Lol Remember this quote the next day you crave a more adventurous life! Some people would give anything for a bit of simplicity. ;-D

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One of those containers to keep coins in with a toy camera effect on the pic.

“Actually I think Art lies in both directions – the broad strokes, big picture but on the other hand the minute examination of the apparently mundane. Seeing the whole world in a grain of sand, that kind of thing.” ~ 
Peter Hammill

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Busstop.

“The heart of the theater is the play itself, how it dramatizes life to make it meaningful entertainment. To achieve depth and universality, the playwright must subject himself to intense critique, to know human character and behavior, and finally to construct art from the most mundane of human experience.” ~
F. Sionil Jose

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” Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
Under my umbrella
All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella, we employed it
By August, she was mine” ~ The Hollies

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And this is???

The rim of a

glass soda bottle (or a photo of one) dressed up in a leaky toy camera effect!

“I think you can find all the elements that you can find in great literature in mundane experiences.”
Harvey Pekar

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Can you guess this one?

.
.
.
.

It’s raindrops on my dad’s car window! With a street light in the distance.

“every time we go out into the world we can choose to be alert to see what we’ve not seen before. a trip to the corner store can contain a multitude of universes. it only requires a conscious decision to “tune in” and activate all the senses to be open to what we don’t know yet” ~ Keri Smith 

And we can look at things we see everyday in a different way than we usually do! 

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The picture on the left was taken after 10:00 at night! Right when a lightening bolt ventured across the sky! And I took the pic on the right just a few seconds later after the lightening disappeared! Isn’t it amazing?! A lightening bolt lights up the whole sky like that but it happens so quickly we don’t realize.

What a beautiful lesson to us! When we’re completely in the dark, we can find just one sliver of light or spark of hope, joy, or beauty that can light up our world.

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Purple rain.

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Rainy night in my dad’s car under the blue, blue Moon. That’s my dad’s Kindle lit up in the window.

I read a book called “a new adventure everyday 541 simple ways to live with pizzazz” by David Silberkleit.

The book is about how we don’t have to travel to be adventurous, we don’t have to bungee jump or climb a mountain, we don’t have to take big risks and don’t even have to leave our houses to have a thrilling adventure. Those things are fantastic and I definitely would love to and hope to engage in some of those one day but as I have said, they are not necessary to be adventurous. 

And the author of this book IS an adventurous person in the sense I mention above. He has traveled to various places and tried new things, took risks, and engaged in big thrilling activities such as rock climbing, sailboat racing, scuba diving, motorcycling, visiting other countries…..he believed that was the only way to be adventurous and have a thrill. Then after forty years he realized that being adventurous can be more simple but still as rewarding, it can mean “discovery of a unique new color of silver reflected in a cloud after sunset or a conversation with the person sitting next to me on a New York subway, just to see if maybe we have something in common.” He also lists: asking his father what he remembers about being his age and telling his best friend something he would have never told anyone before.

In his book he lists many simple, inexpensive activities we can do every single day to bring some adventure into our lives without traveling the world or jumping out of an airplane. I hope anyone who wants to travel and rockclimb and go sailboat racing will! That sounds like a lot of fun! But many, probably most of us cannot do that often but we CAN explore and engage in mini but still thrilling little adventures each day. 
Some suggestions the author gives are: admire the small businesses – introducing yourself to the owners and having a look around even if the products or services offered are something you would never use, greeting everyone you see that day without waiting for them to say hello first (I’m so shy so this is definitely a thrilling adventure for me that takes guts!), go on a scary ride at a theme park, pay attention to the name tags of employees in the stores you go to, write down all the things you need to forgive yourself for then burn or bury it or float it down a river, make a compromise with someone, take a whole day and do not criticize yourself, draw self portraits in different ways including two using only your left hand. 

The possibilities are infinite!

The point is NOT to avoid big adventures like traveling and sky diving if that’s what we want but to also cherish the simple forgotten things all of us always have access to. 

Let’s not overlook all that we currently have no matter how simple! 😀 And let’s use our creativity and imagination and see what we can do with all the things we have every day to make them even more thrilling!
I wish you much love and passion and thrilling adventures whatever you choose to do! ❤

Xoxo Kim  😀

Random Inspiration #6 {Thoughts on Love}

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“For the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world.”~
Gautama Buddha

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“When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

You don’t have to pray but you can wish everyone the best whether it’s out loud or just a philosophy or way of life. Everyone feels pleasure and pain just like us. Let’s see them for the people they are underneath.

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“A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.” ~ Mother Teresa 

“Intense love does not measure. . . it just gives.” ~ Mother Teresa 

Give without expecting or demanding.

” Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~
Buddha

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” You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”~
Buddha

“There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love.” ~ Mother

We all have love to give. Tap into the love deep within you.

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” A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~
Leo Buscaglia

” Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~

Leo F. Buscaglia

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” ~
Mother Teresa

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” There are not kinds of love, love is love; there are only degrees of love. Love is trusting, accepting and believing, without guarantee. Love is patient and waits, but it’s an active waiting, not a passive one. For it is continually offering itself in a mutual revealing, a mutual sharing, Love is spontaneous and craves expression through joy, through beauty, through truth, even through tears. Love lives in the moment; it’s neither lost in yesterday nor does it crave for tomorrow. Love is Now!” ~

Leo F. Buscaglia

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“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”~
Mother Teresa

“Love revels in and grows in the moment and the joy of the moment.” ~

Leo F. Buscaglia

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“We will only begin to forgive when we can look upon the wrongdoers as ourselves, neither better nor worse. We need to remember that we coexist as mortals in the world, together, the wronged and the wrongdoer, and that, in our common humanity, the situation could readily be reversed.” ~

Leo F. Buscaglia

We can all make a mistake, maybe a vicious intentional act or a stupid, careless, thoughtless act. But it doesn’t mean we are not ultimately or generally good. Let’s look at each other and connect, realize our deep similarities and forgive and extend love and compassion.

“I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.”~

Leo F. Buscaglia

“A total immersion in life offers the best classroom for learning to love.”~ Leo Buscaglia

Let’s take full advantage of this experience of being alive. Love everyone & everything we can. Live fully and mindfully. Make the most of everything.

“Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” ~
Leo Buscaglia

“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.” ~
Author Unknown

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

“I am here to serve. I am here to inspire. I am here to love. I am here to live my truth.” – Deepak Chopra 

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

“Love everybody for who they are. We’re not supposed to try to change people. We should allow people to be who they are and love them as they are.” ~ Dolly Parton

Surrender to universal love.

“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.’ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”

~Carl R. Rogers 

“You may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”
~John Lennon 

Love has everything to do with it ~ “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
– Henry David Thoreau

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. ~Norman B. Rice

Will you be the one bringing light to that person standing in the shadows?

I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives. ~Tracy Chapman

Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Love can be 
an emotion, a strong affective feeling, romantic or platonic, for someone or a strong like/feeling for an object, an activity….anything even if it’s never acted upon. And love can be an action, a verb, an expression, reaching out to make the world or someone’s life a little bit better whether it’s a stranger, friend, lover, family member, enemy, a difficult person…when we reach out to make the world better, we reach out in love.

Truest, purest love is all encompassing, love for the self, for all sentient beings, for life itself, for the world, wanting happiness, inner strength, and peace for everyone.

😀

xoxo Kim ❤

Fear & Hunger

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(me then & now)

“Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

It seems that some emotions or feelings such as fear of death or fear of anything really, and desire for things or people we can’t or shouldn’t have are viewed negatively by many people. Viewed as a weakness, a flaw, something to avoid at all costs. There are self-help books and teachings designed to help us not be afraid and to not desire. Not to fear death or how to overcome the fear of death, not just overcoming an unhealthy phobia but even just any natural, primitive fear of death. Not to feel desire, to not want things we do not have, to just be content with what we already have or to be happy with very little. To not want more. To not want material things because material things are bad and desire is reprehensible. To not feel disappointed if we can’t get more. 

It’s like a rebellion against the media, advertising, commercialism, and consumerism. 

These are good things. We don’t want fear taking over our lives or being too frequent. And it’s not good to ignore our current blessings just to want more, more, more. 

Too much restlessness and ungratefulness are not good. 

We often think of disappointment, the feelings we have after not succeeding or getting what we want, wanting what we can’t have, as a bad thing. Sometimes we may feel guilty for acting or feeling ungrateful. 

Maybe we feel wimpy for being afraid. 

But fear, hunger, and desire are beautiful things. They are not bad. They are not an indication that we are bad or wrong or ungrateful or that we need fixing. We don’t need self help books or anything to help us completely obliterate fear & desire.

It’s fantastic to be happy with very little or with everything we already have but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things with gratitude while also desiring other things now & then. 

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I see things in a way that I would never have if I never suffered with depression. I see through a lens of depression, even when I’m not depressed. (it’s a good thing) I see through depression tinted glasses. Even when I’m very happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

No matter how happy I am, no matter how healed I am in general, I will never lose touch with my depressed self and the deep wisdom it has shown me. And I don’t ever want to lose touch with that part of me.

There are lessons and observations and truths bubbling in my core, ingrained into me, resting in the crevices of my brain, that I would not have come to realize any other way. 

For many, many years I suffered with depression and often, very little to no desire, hunger, or fear. Many days, I did not want anything. I did not fear anything. I did not care about anything. There was no hunger for life. No hunger to win. No hunger to get better. 

I often did not care if I lived or died. 

When I was a little girl I wanted everything. I wanted every toy in every store. I wanted to go out and play with my friends. I looked up at the sky and I hungered for more. I hungrily devoured the scents, the feels, the sights and sounds, the tastes of Nature. The taste of salt water as the strong Ocean’s waves washed over me, the feel of the dirt that got under my fingernails as I rolled around in the lot my friends and me played in. The blueness of the sky that pierced my matching oceanic blue eyes as I stared innocently into the sun until it blinded me and all I saw were specks of unknown galaxies and dark black shadows of mystery. Mysteries lost in the whites of my eyes, sparkling amidst the invisible spaces of my corneas. 

Mysteries I longed to know. But loved the obscurity of. 

My immense love for water bugs, roaches, and my wonder at maggots turning into flies almost matched my love for caterpillars, butterflies, songbirds, and the
colorful flowers that bloomed into Spring. This seemed to baffle most of those around me, both the other kids as well as adults. How could anyone love such ugly, repulsive things? The other kids would run screaming at the first sight of a big brown roach while I would drop to my knees in awe and watch closely as one would turn over and play dead. Then I would playfully imitate the scene, lying on my back with my arms and legs crumpled up, tongue sticking out, trying hard not to laugh. I loved the disgust on the faces of those in my audience. 

Or I would watch a white maggot squirm and wonder what they’re made of. What makes them white? What gives them the ability to move? Do they have insides like people? Like me? Does a maggot have a heart? My innocent, curious little girl thoughts swirled around inside my head. There was no Internet I was aware of. I couldn’t easily look it up like I can now. So I wondered. I contemplated. I entertained an infinity of ideas, in my little girl ways. 

The Internet is a great gift to the world but the absence of the Internet in childhood is also a great, valuable gift. I am happy I had no Internet. 

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 Bumble bees never scared me like they scared the other kids, even after I was painfully stung by one in the neck and my mom had to remove the stinger as I yelled in anguish and confusion. I would chase them just to catch a glimpse of that yellow fuzz that decorates their bodies, getting as close as I can, feeling a deep connection to another living, beautiful creature. Not very unlike myself. I wanted to run my finger along that fuzz. I never killed insects or bugs out of fear, dislike, or to capture that magical green glow of fireflies in my hands, on a hot Summer night. 

I knew that would be one of the worst offenses anyone can commit in this life, like stealing a star out of the sky and keeping it all to myself or taking a jellyfish out of the ocean just to see through that thick clear gelatinous body
all the way through to the spineless depths of her being. 

I would look up at a navy, starless midnight sky and just know somewhere deep inside there were no stars because they all burned out, not being able to stand the heaviness and constancy of my endless, annoying wishes. I felt that they had secrets I was never meant to know. I felt both sadness and awe. Awe, a feeling of great wonder, deep inspiration, and a strange kind of fear and respect. 

I couldn’t think in these words or concepts at such a young, innocent age. But I felt it in my bones. I felt it venturing throughout my veins and electrifying with each pulsation of my beautiful heart that pounds through my chest. The rhythm of life pounding through me. 

I still feel it. 

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As a little girl, my friends and me would build tents out of sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and beach towels, building tents to huddle in and play house together, and pretending as if these tents were our hideouts deep into some lost, secluded woods where we were being chased by a big bad wolf or a deranged stranger, I noticed the rough and smooth sounds of the sheets and nylon sleeping bags as they gently brushed together. I was struck by the infinite beauty of something so simple. Time stood still. 

Listen to that! It’s like music!” 

Kim, you’re just crazy!” 

Maybe. 

I would eat fun-dip candy until my tongue bled and stung, like catching a mini falling star on the tip of my tongue as if it were a snowflake. I would stare at the white stick streaked with my blood, my beautiful life sustaining fluid, in awe. There was something wondrous about eating delicious colored powder until my little tongue started leaking pink-red blood onto white. There was something thrilling about that sting. The coppery, metallic taste in combination with the sweetness of powder. I loved the burn in my chest. I would happily run to inform my mom, as if it were my greatest accomplishment. Holding up the white stick to show her this magic I discovered. But my wonder was never met with satisfaction and praise as I always hoped. Instead my mom would tell me to quit eating the candy. 

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Unlike most kids I knew, I happily anticipated going back to school when Summer ended and shopping with my mom for school supplies, shoes, and clothes. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day back. Happy, grateful thoughts raced across my mind. I wanted to get up and dance. I wondered who I would meet. What would I learn? Even now the memory of that feeling thrills me. The great potential of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, the thrill of new teachers, and learning new things I would run home to proudly share with my mom and dad. Wondering what desk I would sit at, what kids I would be grouped with, who would my work partners and playmates be…

I loved shopping not just to get the stuff but the whole feel of shopping for it with my mom, seeing all the other shoppers, the feel of the back to school spirit all around me, the endless commercials advertising impressive things for going back to school. The scent of new, blank notebooks with white, lined pages just waiting to be filled and freshly sharpened pencils and broken crayons in a multitude of fascinating colors with fascinating names. “Tickle me pink.” 

The big fruit scented markers in a disarray of colors and soft, squishy pencil erasers that felt like rubbery cement upon my fingertips. The various shapes of pencil sharpeners. I even loved the idea of white-out and couldn’t wait to make mistakes just to get to white it out. I loved the containers it always came in, the little bottles and then the other kind that came out, no longer like liquidy liquid but a little sponge that smoothly glides across the paper. 

I always loved how it smelled mixed with paper and ink as it wafted up to tickle the scilia in my nose. In school we were not usually permitted to use pens so I had no use for white-out so my mom and dad would buy me it for home. I cherished the opportunity to give out valentine’s day and Christmas cards with paper hearts and candy canes taped on and would usually make one up for every kid in class. It felt so beautiful making them all happy with a sweet little card and I always had some to bring home too with sweet little messages of friendship. 

I loved the feel of being in school surrounded by other kids, cared for by teachers. Immersed in the glow of the whole environment. My hungry curiosity soaking up all the information my little brain could hold. I took in all the fragrances of the classroom, the smell of food, pencil lead and shavings, washable, markers, non toxic paint, clay…,the chatter, the laughter, and all the emotions swirling about, through the air. People, children & adults alike, always told my mom how “crazy” it is a girl can love school so much. 

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Each day after school, I couldn’t wait til my friends came out and we ran through the streets and the abandoned lots. We snuck up onto the railroad and secretly climbed the gates to trespass into people’s backyards with the possibility of getting caught hanging over our heads, both thrilling us and frightening us. 

As I sit here and write this, I can smell the fragrance of the green grass that filled my nose and lungs in the Summers all those years ago, I can smell the sundrenched metal on my hands after climbing the fence surrounding the big lot we played in, I can feel the richness of the soil we buried treasures in and searched for wiggly worms in with our bare hands and little fingers, I can taste the magic of the glistening snowflakes as they landed on my tongue in the dead of Winter, I feel the crisp Fall air as it caressed my skin, I feel the rainy mist and the floral beauty of Spring as it bloomed into my essence after that long, cold slumber finally ended. I hear the childish screams and laughter, the innocent taunts “takes one to know one! Last one there is a chicken brain…! I’m rubber you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you! Traitor! Dirtball! Kimbo Bimbo!!

I can still hear the songs we listened to as our small bodies happily danced up and down the street, the songs that skipped and stopped and started back up as a result of my scratched up CD’s I never took good care of. I can feel the sunlight dancing upon the rain puddles after a heavy storm and the bruises and burns of the scrapes, like little sun beams, that adorned my knees as I did somersaults, went tumbling endlessly down the hills we used to play upon near the railroad, only to smack hard into the low concrete walls that surrounded the sandy, rocky spaciousness when I reached the end, and burst out laughing.

My Earth colored hair soaked in mud and sweat and grit as it tangled into an unrecognizable mass of chaos and beautiful destruction. 

I can taste it today.

I sit here and my head overflows like cauldrons of emotion, nostalgia, longing, joy, happiness, pain, a deep ache way deep inside in some mysterious place of me I can’t quite identify, crackling and sizzling to the brim, on an old stove as brilliant purple and orange flames swallow it up. I see colors and stars and thousands of burning suns and glowing moons, everywhere.

It reminds me of a line in LeeAnn Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance”. One I reference often.

“…get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.”

I was satisfied with the beauty all around me but I always wanted more. I got my fill but I kept that hunger. Each day I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the dirt, the snow, the grass, the rain and oily, muddy puddles my feet loved to dance in, the leaves, the worms and rolly pollies….I was astounded by the beauty in every form it came to me. My senses passionately, greedily devoured every bit of it. I was filled with wonder & awe. And I was very aware of this wonder and awe that always breathed in my lungs and flowed with my blood like a starry serenade.

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I desired things I couldn’t always have. I wanted every toy, every book, every pair of shoes the instant I saw them and I would throw brief conniptions Sometimes on the rare occasions I was told no. I thought it was the worst thing to want and not get.

I also felt fear. I feared my own death even though I was too young to truly understand the full concept. I feared getting lost. I feared getting sick. I feared deeply. Fear did not take over my life but I experienced a healthy dose.

But then I gradually developed mild depression and I saw beauty still but not to the same depth. I couldn’t quite feel it as much. But it was still there. Then my lowgrade depression turned to severe, unbearable depression that consumed me in its darkness, pulling me into the secret black waters of its depths, I was submerged in despair, hit like a bag of bricks, with this thick, heavy darkness, and I saw beauty but almost never felt it as deeply. It jumped out at me and I noticed it to some degree, still noticing the simplest things it seemed no one else noticed or cared for, like the taste of cold air, the sounds of crickets, the smoothness of floor tiles, the cars and trucks sloshing through the rain in the flooded streets, the soles of shoes squeeking on bright white floors, the light reflections bouncing off of metal, the smell of hospitals and medicine and healing, the salty taste of longing, the way my soft hands feel in warm weather as they softly stroke utility poles and the wood of public benches, in fact, I seemed to notice it even more now…but it was shadowed by gray and darkness. I wanted to want it. But I just couldn’t to the extent I once hungered for it. And on those instances I paid too much attention and I did begin to really feel beauty again, I would shield myself against it, feeling as if I don’t deserve it, that this world is too beautiful for someone as ugly as me.

I noticed the city lights softly bathing the pavements and streets, the sounds of trains rolling across the tracks, the Beauty of the

soft rhythms of car horns in the distance late into the night while most of the world around me remained asleep, laughter out in the streets, the starlight illuminating the night, music notes riding the air as neighbors played love songs all night long, the wind that danced through my long hair. The scent of soil after the rain, the taste of cold air, the feel of soft fleece against my delicate, sensitive skin that brought me a sense of comfort, the sense of unity that surrounded me during the holidays, the creaking of floorboards beneath my feet, the green glow of fireflies, the gentle creases on people’s faces, the laughlines and the wisdom, the curve of shoulders, the little hairs in the big, dark, moles on the face of the girl I used to see on a bus often, the things I have always known are beautiful that others believe are ugly or not worth noticing.  And it was all incredibly beautiful but I closed myself off to it. 

I forced myself not to notice it. I wanted that beauty but I did not want to want it. I believed I wasn’t deserving and it hurt me. I have always been blessed with an ability to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate things, incredibly simple and mundane things, in a way it seems most around me almost never do or never notice and appreciate in the same way I always did. I have always loved simplicity and monotony. And not just the things themselves but the fact of experiencing them, the whole experience itself. And I have always lived in gratitude and some degree of mindfulness even before it became my intentional way of life. Even before I knew what gratitude or mindfulness even is.  

I was never quite able to put it into words. 

I was not brought up this way. It just lives in me. It always has. It always will. 

Most children are more mindful and grateful than adults I believe, it’s a child’s nature, but mine seemed on fire and still is to this day. As we’re growing up, we often lose that sense of childish wonder to some extent, just getting caught up in the obligations and expectations and stresses of everyday life. Mine was hindered by depression but then brought back to life by depression way more intense than it was before depression. 

Now even in the throes of a deep, deep depression, I don’t shield myself against that beauty. Instead, I cling to it for my life.

When I’m depressed, I can’t feel it to the same depth usually, as when I’m not depressed but I still easily notice it and can feel it to some degree. And I seize it and hold on tight. 

Like a lifeboat out on some distant shore waiting for my grasp, promising to save me if only I reach out. 

That wonder never left me completely. 

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Even in a mental hospital under suicide watch for weeks, as a young woman,  when I got my hands on a pen without anyone knowing (mental patients weren’t allowed to have pens) I was thrilled beyond belief. A doctor accidentally left it on a table and the second he walked away I snatched it up and it hid it and when we had to sign in for a group therapy session I was just the coolest thing around,  signing my name with a pen in big bold, blue, letters, while every other patient had to use a pencil.     ;-D

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And the day I found a paperclip in the visiting room and hid it because it was just the most amazing thing to have a prohibited and somewhat sharp object in my possession while under suicide watch. I got both the pen and the clip taken off me when they saw me strolling the halls with them in my hands.

:-/

My mind drifts back now
to that moment my sense of taste returned while in the cafeteria, after what seemed like an eternity.

I am sitting around a small table with my friends who are not my friends but intimate strangers, all held together by some kind of lonely bond. No laces in our shoes, plastic forks and spoons, strings removed out of our hoods, plastic bracelet around my slender wrist bearing my name that then seemed
anomalous to me.

Struck by the sharp taste of the potatoes, struck in a delicious way, like meteor showers.
blasting through my whole being. Still so deeply and heavily depressed but

holding onto that moment as if my life depends on it. A moment surrounded by people who understand my pain and bizarre thoughts. 

When they took me to the court of mental heath and I was the star of the show, I was fascinated. It felt so bizarre and so intriguing to be the center of attention, everyone talking about me but not to me. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to and no one spoke to me til the end when my lawyer and me lost the case and I was involuntarily hospitalized even longer. I sat in a zombified state, lifeless, sedated not by medication but deep emotional pain. But some moments my hunger returned. My hunger for knowledge, my fascination for how laws and courtrooms operate. 

Even in my deepest, blackest despair in a mental hospital I stood with a young man, another sick patient, as we marveled at the vibrancy and color of the life in the courtyards outside the windows, just beyond our reach. 
Tantalizing and beautiful. And heartbreaking. And breathtaking. We stood in breathless wonder, even while held in the agonizing bondage of our sickness, invisible fetters keeping us chained in darkness and psychosis.

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He brought my attention to it, bringing a small spark of life back into me, a thin sliver of feeling to my zombefied state when he showed me the solitary flower that seemed to blossom just for the two of us, reminding me that life still exists beyond the pain as he showed me a bright red flower bathing in the golden, fiery, sunlight. Even the thin sliver of life, that

sparkle of electricity that surged through my body was enough in that moment. Just enough. This reminded me and continues to remind me to grasp and embrace whatever gems of beauty are before me, surrounding me, within me, in any form they exist. No matter how much it hurts or how lifeless or hopeless it feels. There is always something to hold. Something to move forward for. Even if it’s just a tattered thread blowing in the bitter
cold winds of despair. 

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I think of the nights we are kept awake by the sound of each other’s insomnia and the silent but screaming tears the night weeps onto our surface and into our core, and those moments we are able to laugh with one another as if we were never sick, as if we never knew the lifelessness and horror of depression and psychosis. Laughing uncontrollably without holding back, everything else is pushed aside for a moment, all the despair, the hallucinatory voices & figures that
stalk
the
nights, the suffocating loneliness,  the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.

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I recall the day a group of us got together and decided to trick the psychiatric technicians and pretend we were talking to people who weren’t really there. She knew we were faking and laughed with us playfully warning us “just wait til the doctors get here and see if you get to go home any time soon, you’ll never get out of here!” We quit real fast!

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And the day I was going to be discharged to go home which happened to be the day they were having an ice cream party but not until later, after a couple of us had to leave. I wanted ice cream and to sit around with the others and I seriously, very briefly considered telling them I was still suicidal. I wasn’t. But it was almost worth it to pretend. Just weeks before I would not even get out of bed for breakfast. My hunger got stronger each day.

I have always known a certain awareness that most others I know or encounter seem oblivious to.  

There are moments I have felt lonely in my ability to see and appreciate the things it seems many or most overlook. It reminds me of a scene in Edith Wharton’s, Ethan Frome.

“He had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty. His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion. But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege. Then he learned that one other spirit had trembled with the same touch of wonder: that at his side, living under his roof and eating his bread, was a creature to whom he could say: ‘That’s Orion down yonder; the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones – like bees swarming – they’re the Pleiades…’ or whom he could hold entranced before a ledge of granite thrusting up through the fern while he unrolled the huge panorama of the ice age, and the long dim stretches of succeeding time. The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. And there were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills, the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, or the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: ‘It looks just as if it was painted!’ it seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul….” (pp. 24)

I was shocked the moment I first read those beautiful lines. Pleasantly shocked. I feel myself in those words and in the small but profound spaces in the middle of each little lexeme. 

It can be frustrating and also beautiful to feel as if those around me cannot or won’t share in my sense of wonder at the simple beauty all around us. The forgotten. The ignored. The abandoned. 

The things I make it a point each day to reclaim. 

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(I STILL do this when I get happy, thrilled, overwhelmed in joy!) 😀

It’s one reason I love poetry and photography and novels. They have the potential to capture beauty, ugliness, pain, and ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Shedding light on dark, abandoned places and spaces. Places and spaces I have always longed to color with the beauty of my Truth. 

And it’s beautiful.

They have a way of replicating wonder and awe and fossilizing them. Bringing them to life. Bringing them to the surface of consciousness. Threading them throughout eternity like a beautiful tapestry of gold and red, fire and ice.

I have always had a poetic way of seeing things. My head spins the world into poetry and song. 

It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible even to me. But it’s always wonderful.

So even in my desperation, my depression, my despair, and lifelessness, I often noticed and wanted these beautiful things but I closed my heart to them, shut it off as if encased in thick cement. 

Sometimes I wanted to want things and couldn’t.

Other occasions I wanted things I did not want to want. 

Still, other occasions I wanted nothing and did not want to want anything but to vanish into nothingness or die a horrible violent death to match the horrible violent feelings inside me. 

This went on for years and years, and more years. Until I finally decided to get myself better. I asked for help. I work on myself relentlessly to be the best me I can be(not a perfectionist).

Now I feel beauty everywhere, every day. And I feel fear. Fear for myself. 

Have you ever been crossing a street or standing at a curb on a pavement and a car seems to be coming too close to you and a bolt of fear runs though you? Or have you ever been in a car and another car almost hits the one you’re in or actually hits it and you feel a bit shaken for a while after and you feel it’s a bad thing? I don’t think most people have true near death experiences but I think many/most of us have experienced at least one of those mundane occurrences like with cars coming a bit too close, maybe an encounter with a creepy stranger, walking up a dark street alone and hearing footsteps or seeing/hearing something that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Or a person driving a car you’re in a little too fast and you fear for others but also yourself. 

All these experiences may shake you up a bit but that is an amazing thing!

It shows that you are healthy. You’re meant to be afraid when you think you’re in danger. 

Desire.

Have you ever walked through a store and saw expensive things you strongly desired but couldn’t have? Jewelry? Designer clothes? Beautiful furniture? Antiques? A lovely handbag? A gorgeous dress? Ever laid eyes on a beautiful house you couldn’t buy? 
And then you felt low for not being able to buy them…for not having them…

Have you ever wanted to win a game so badly or a competition of some sort? Ever wanted to be accepted to a certain school and graduate? Or applied for a job you desperately wanted?

And it did not turn out how you wanted it to and you felt devastated…

This too is a great thing! It’s healthy to want, to need, to hunger….and to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out.

Just like when a very physically ill person is too sick to eat or even want food then the person begins getting better and appetite and physical hunger returns and the person’s doctor or mom says how great it is. Because it’s healthy to want to eat. 

Have you ever shielded yourself against beauty and things you want, feeling as if it’s wrong to want them or feeling as if you deserve none of it?

I encourage you to embrace the beauty around you and within you. Embrace your hunger, your fear, your desire. Whether or not you act on it. 

It’s healthy to want. 

Wanting is more important than getting.

Desiring, itself, is to be cherished, valued for all that it stands for. For all that it is. 

It shows you are an active participant in life. 

I had this epiphany, I guess you can say, in greater depth one day recently walking through Target. I saw so much jewelry, real and fake, I wanted but could not get. I felt disappointed. The way I wanted it was more than desire. It was hunger. The bracelets, the earrings, the necklaces, the bags that can make a girl go weak at the knees!…and then I remembered various occasions years ago walking through that very same store, seeing all that jewelry but not caring to have it even though I loved it, or wanting it but not with the same enthusiasm I would now, because of being depressed, or wanting it and becoming more depressed for not being able to have it.

That’s when I realized more how great it is and feels to desire what I love. Even when I cannot have it. I don’t always desire material objects like that even when I’m not depressed; generally I’m so happy with just the things I already have. I can often walk through stores without wanting everything I lay eyes on. And that’s a good thing too. But it’s not good to have no interests because depression or guilt saps it all away. Some people have reached a certain level of spirituality where they want almost nothing and do not fear death even when it’s currently staring them in the face but not because of an illness, because they have trained their brains to not be concerned with material things or external factors. They are happy this way. They are not numb. They are alive. This is a good thing. Most of us, though, are not spiritual like this or to this extent. So when we have desire and fear, it’s good. 

I think it’s hard for non depressed people and maybe even some depressed people to realize this. It’s ok to want and not get and then be temporarily devastated or angry or disappointed. It’s healthy to a certain point.

After years of pain, numbness, and lifelessness, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead. 

When I used to think I was going to die, I was usually either happy or indifferent.

Seeing a speeding truck coming at me only provoked my concern for others, not myself. 

I still get like that but generally I’m not that way anymore. I’m like the little girl I was before all that. I experience hunger & fear again. Often.

I realize how beautiful it feels to want to paint my nails, to want to put makeup on because it’s fun, to want to walk through a store and buy things even when I don’t have the money. 

I wanted these things sometimes even when I was depressed but not to the same extent. They often felt like hassles or obligations. Or just tainted in gray. Dull gray. Or the color of vomit. A faded kind of green. A lifeless shade of green-gray. 

Often, I would see things I wanted to want or see things I knew I would want if I wasn’t lost in a vicious kind of darkness tearing me to pieces, choking me, swallowing me whole. 

Now I want to paint my nails. I want to choose eye shadow of various pretty colors to complement the vibrancy of the blue of my eyes.  I want to wear pretty clothes that look amazing on my beautiful physique. 

I want things I can’t have and it hurts. 

And it’s beautiful.

I still get depressed and am consumed by the dark pain or I get the other kind of depression, the kind that numbs me and I feel nothing, which sometimes feels worse than the unbearable pain.

But it’s not in general anymore. It’s just episodic now. And I realize more and more the deep, primitive beauty of hunger & fear. 

When I come out of a severe depression, when it starts to lift, I am hungry. Ravenous. Not hungry for food but hungry for life and everything in it. Hungry for the colors in the wind, the textures, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings and fragrances. Food tastes better than I can ever remember, an out of this world kind of deliciousness.. Music and songs are beautiful in an unfathomable way, my mind feels clear and hope is restored.

My judgment can be trusted. 
 
I become ravenous, rapacious, like a starved, wild animal. My eyes, my mind devour anything they can. 
It’s like I can’t get enough.
It reminds me of a blind person who was blind his/her whole life then all of a sudden can see and it’s overwhelming. Everything jumps out at once, the sensory input is too much to bear at once, dizziness, confusion, clashing, mind-blowing.
But it’s beautiful because the person can see.

I was blind but now I see.

It reminds me of the novel “The Secret Garden,” a beautiful story of growth, hope, and rebirth. 

It reminds me of when I had emergency surgery on my kidney when I was a girl of twenty-one years. I couldn’t eat for days, I was in pain and had an IV drip for a couple days. When I got a little bit better, I was starved. I was hungry.
I craved food like never before.
And pizza fries and Coca Cola never tasted so good.

I feel the entire universe inside me in all its perfections and flaws, all its beauty and pain. Its joy and misery, happiness, and despair. And I am born again. 

When I look up at the sky or at a bumblebee or at thin blades of green grass or weeds, I see poetry and music and paintings. When I’m in a dark room and I look at a door, ajar with just a streak of light seeping in through the narrow crack, I see photography. When I look at strangers on a bus or walking up the street, when I see traffic speeding in the rain on a dreary gray day, I see novels flash across my mind. When I think of my pain, I feel a story. A story to be written and told again and again to reach out and touch someone else for the better. 

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I’m not manic. I know what mania is. I don’t have it. It’s an illness and the people struck with it can’t think clearly even when they think they can and have clouded judgment. I can remain and think in a calm manner even when I think and feel this way. I know I am not invincible. My judgment is sound and I am not delusional in this case I mention here. And I know there are reasonable limits and rules I must adhere to and I do.  Mine is not dangerous like mania can be. But what I describe here may resemble that illness. It’s not to be confused with it. Mine is an awakening, an awareness triggered by an illness of the mind, one that has ravaged my brain for years.  It’s not an illness itself. I don’t always feel this ecstacy when I’m happy. Sometimes it’s more of a calm serenity, a quiet joy. But it’s just as fierce. 

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If you want something you don’t have, it’s ok. It’s best not to let it take over your life and make you miss out on all the goodness you do have and it’s usually best I believe, not to feel our worth is dependent upon external factors but it’s ok to desire, to hunger. And it’s ok to be angry, disappointed, devastated for a while, that we can’t have it yet or ever. Even if it’s something  trivial like jewelry or a fun vacation. Bask in the beauty of that hunger to be better, to have more, to get away…bask in that desire and the disappointment.

Sit with it.

Then remember all the greatness you possess and are and let that disappointment And desire dissolve.

And be happy now.

Did you ever think of disappointment as a good thing? 

I’m here to open you up to another perspective.

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You don’t have to be someone with longterm depression like me to get an idea of what I write of. That’s one reason why we write, to help others understand and discover wisdom without ever experiencing what we have. And to let those with similar experiences know they are never alone.  

The worst thing is not to want and not get. The worst thing is to be dead. And half dead. To not want at all because you are too lifeless to care. Or too lifeless to have the energy to even begin to desire or fear. And it’s ok to be half dead. If you are half dead then you are half alive. And you can awaken that other half. 

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When you have a brush with death and your body turns to jelly, bask in the beauty of that fear. Embrace it. Keep tasting it. You’re alive. And you want to be alive.

Revel in the wonder of that trembling.

Trembling in awe. Trembling in fear.
 
Trembling. 

Don’t shield yourself against the beauty you know. Try not to mask your desire and fear with feelings of guilt because we’re taught it’s wrong to want, to need, to fear, to get.

Let’s be happy, thrilled, overjoyed with the simplest of all the beauty around us. And nOt too

disappointed too long when we don’t get what we want. And let us keep reaching for the stars. I have always been naturally inclined to notice and love the simple beauty but I learned to strengthen my nature, make it more conscious, intentional.

Keep wanting more, keep desiring, keep trying, keep fearing. 

Get your fill to eat. But always, always, keep that hunger.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nICs–86Vng

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw&app=m&persist_app=1
😀

Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/113/113-h/113-h.htm

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4517/4517-h/4517-h.htm

Xoxo Kim