Tag Archive | personal development

Empowering

…your thoughts have far less impact on this world than you would like to think. If you’re willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you will see that the vast majority of them have no relevance. They have no effect on anything or anybody, except you. They are simply making you feel better or worse about what is going on now, what has gone on in the past, or what might go on in the future. If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you are wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. You will someday come to see that there is no use for that incessant internal chatter, and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out. Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.

This is out of a book called Untethered Soul. It is a personal development/spiritual/self-help book. Those are my favorite!

I began reading the book a while ago and it doesn’t hold my interest. Usually when a book interests me, I’m already hooked after the first couple pages but this I can’t seem to get into. So I stopped reading it then started it again then just deleted it. But out of nowhere, the book started stalking me! Lol I began seeing it in person in people’s houses then soon began seeing people sharing it on social media and raving about how incredible it is. So I decided to give it another try. I haven’t given it much of a chance. The first few pages did not resonate with me even after reading them again. And I found it kind of boring. It doesn’t ring my bell. Lol

But I decided to give it another go! It may turn out to be the most inspiring book to me!

This excerpt I shared above is a good one out of this book! It does resonate with me and is very wise!

One thing that can help when our head is full of chatter that serves no purpose is taking a few deep breaths and focusing on each inhalation & exhalation and remember to give our time & energy to things that serve us well. Why give power to thoughts that are useless and negative like wishing things are different than they are? Instead we can choose to engage in productive things like breathing exercises to quiet the mind & calm the body. Just a few minutes of conscious breathing even just once is so powerful.

In case anyone is interested, I think the core message of the book is

To thine own self be true.

But also, it seems to be about going beyond the self.

So that’s interesting!

It’s on amazon Kindle and also there’s a physical copy.

If you read this book already, did you like it? I would love to know!

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are!

Xoxo Kim❤

Thou shalt not steal

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Recently I heard Christian people on the radio talking about the Ten Commandments in Biblical Scripture. I’m not a Christian woman but find their conversation deeply inspiring. The men were saying the language (I forget which one but for this post it’s not very important anyway. I think it may be Hebrew?) directly translates into English as “Do not steal”  but often we hear\read “thou shalt not steal.” The men said this second phrase “thou shalt not steal” is much more powerful than “do not steal” and before they started explaining I was a bit confused. At first glance, at least to me, a command such as “Do not steal” seems more direct and assertive, even threatening, than “you should not steal.” Telling me not to do something can be an implicit threat or warning “Do not…or else..” where telling me I shouldn’t do something seems a bit more passive or laid back. It doesn’t seem like a command or demand. It’s more like just someone’s little opinion.

I’m not a big fan of telling others or myself what we should or should not do. I think “should” can be too limiting and contribute to feelings of failing or too much pressure. But soon I realized what these Christian men were talking about and it’s very powerful and can apply to us all, not just Christian and other religious people.

“Should” or “should not” is more like an internal thing while someone else’s commands, laws, rules, threats, abuse, opinion…..are external and cannot affect us if we do not let them. “Do not….because I said so” is authoritarian and someone else’s rule slapped onto us. It may or may not be a good rule but it’s external and we can rise above whereas “should” is something moral, internal. Of course someone else’s opinion of “should” is external and “should” is subjective but it’s more of an internal truth.

There are some things, in my opinion, we really should not do, like kill innocent beings, steal, spread vicious gossip, sexually assault….to name a few. That’s my truth and it’s more powerful than someone else telling me not to. It’s illegal for me to kill an innocent human but it runs deeper than the law telling me not to; I truly believe I should not kill an innocent person (or any innocent sentient being) and if I ever did I would have a bigger problem than being in legal trouble. I would have an internal struggle knowing I did something very wrong that resulted in the pain or ending of someone else. It’s not illegal to kill most insects at least where I live, and I don’t negatively judge those who do, but I do not kill them on purpose and when I do accidentally, I have a struggle within. And there are occasions people said things to me meant to have an effect I did not allow it to have. There are occasions I experienced domestic violence and was physically forced to do or not do something that wasn’t my choice but I did not let it destroy me and know it’s not a reflection of who I am and that this life is still beautiful with so many beautiful things and I kept my mind calm even though externally it was chaos. When I am abused the abuser is degrading itself, not me. Murderers, sexual predators, bullies, those engaging in vicious gossip only degrade themselves not those they hurt or try to hurt. We may be hurt, broken, devastated, traumatized, petrified, bleeding, bruised…..but we are not as destroyed as those who tried to destroy us. And we can stand up & rise again.

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(not my photo)

Abuse of any kind, vicious lies being told about us, others trying to control us, societal expectations…..these are all external and can affect us greatly if we allow it. But with work, practice, meditation, self exploration, self love, other positive things….we can rise above and others cannot touch us. Even if they do physically, it will not drag and keep us down or touch our essence. What matters is what we know, our own truth, knowing, attitude.

It’s what’s inside that is more powerful than the outside.

Much love & light to you always! Thank you to everyone who reads my content & those who comment! When I see a comment I always or almost always respond usually with a comment back or a “like” and if I seem to ignore it it’s very likely I did not see it. I appreciate every comment & everyone who reads! I have a whole lot of catching up to do! I got a new job recently and worked nineteen days in a row! But I love it! ❤😍😀

~Hugs~

xoxo Kim 

Sometimes we can all use a reminder <3

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I’m reading a novel called “When Crickets Cry,” and it’s beautiful, I read over half. It’s quite the page turner. 

It’s another one of those books I got just because I like the title/cover. I think I mentioned here before that I do in fact judge books by their covers. 😀 It’s ok though, it’s usually a positive judgment!

;-D

And here, I actually love the content as well!

I’m going to write about it later after I read the entire thing. I have so much highlighted throughout the book that I find beautiful and inspirational and there’s one thing I want to share today.

This is an excerpt or brief conversation out of the book.

It’s not a big spoiler in case you’re intending to read the book; it doesn’t give anything away to ruin the ending (not that I read the end but I’m assuming it’s no big shocker, however the concept does hone in on one of the main themes of the book) or anything. But if you would prefer not to know anything at all until reading it you know to stop reading here. This wisdom applies to all of us whether or not we read this book. 

A retired heart/transplant surgeon is talking to another character, the other character is the narrator of the book so he’s telling this of his conversation with the retired surgeon:

Surgeon:

“‘I knew a farmer once,’ he started, staring out over the fence. ‘Think his name was James. Had an orange tree, a lot like that one. It hadn’t bloomed in several years and wasn’t looking too good. Still had green on it, but not much. One morning I caught him standing next to it, sizing it up and murmuring to himself. In one hand he held a hammer, and in the other he held three twelve-inch spikes. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me to stand back, and then he drove one of the spikes into the trunk, about knee height. That nail split the thin skin on that tree, and the farther in he drove it, the more white ooze seeped out around the head of the nail. He drove a second at waist level and a third about here.’ He raised his hand level with his collarbone.” 

The second character asks:

“‘Why?’ I asked.”

Retired surgeon:

“That’s exactly what I asked him. You know what he said? “

Second character :

“I took the bait. ‘What?'”

Retired surgeon :

“‘He said,’ ‘Sometimes trees forget they were meant to blossom and just need to be reminded.'” 

Second character :

“I look at the three spikes and asked ‘Why not ten spikes?’ He shook his head and eyed the tree. ‘Nope, three is a good enough dose. Don’t want to kill it, just remind it.'”

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I think this is perfect. Sometimes we do need reminders that we are meant to bloom, meant to be fantastic, to be amazing. And it’s good to gently remind others as well as ourselves. 

Have you ever given up on who or what you are for any reason? Maybe you kept trying and not succeeding how you intended. Maybe you were criticized by others in some way, rejected, hurt, broken, exhausted….so you just quit.

Maybe quit something specifically or just quit participating fully, in this life, just walking around feeling stagnant, bland, blah, depressed, maybe succumbing to your bed or walking around like a zombie, not taking advantage of the gift of life we have all been blessed with.

It’s ok, you just need a gentle, sweet, reminder now and again to get back up and embrace you for you.

Since I’m prone to depression, I need reminders, sometimes frequently. Reminders to get back up and blossom into the me I know I am underneath the despair and pain.

I also appreciate the message of gentleness here. 

“Nope, three is a good enough dose. Don’t want to kill it, just remind it.”

We don’t want to be preachy or offensive, giving unsolicited or uncalled for, unwelcome advice, or use a condescending tone. There are appropriate occasions and appropriate ways to provide someone with truly uplifting, comforting, and inspiring reminders. 

It’s almost never good to say “get over it,” “pull yourself out of it,” or “it’s not that bad,” even if we’re intending this in a positive way, when to that person it really feels like the end of the world.  

It’s good to be firm but warm in some cases. 

We can use our intuition or knowledge to detect what stage of the problem someone is in. For example, if someone just experiences a breakup of a relationship or loses a person or pet to death, it’s probably not at all helpful to be saying potentially inspiring, motivational,  or uplifting things like “you’ll move on, find someone better, heal quickly, be happy again, recover….” those things are appropriate in some cases, at some stages but it’s too soon when it just occurs. No one really wants to hear it when two seconds ago, the person’s heart was ripped out and trampled on or when the person is currently in the throes of the deepest, blackest depression. 

At first it’s good just to attempt to provide a sense of comfort, listening, a hug, just being present, helping the person with everyday tasks to make things easier…

Also, sharing quotes, songs, and books on social media just to people in general is a great idea, then people can find it that way and can embrace it or leave it without it being in their faces or condescending. If it resonates with them, they can pursue it more, if not, they can click it off.  

Please, don’t give up, find your little specks of “green” that you still posses like the tree in the little story above. So much wisdom. Then nourish those bits of green in you until they blossom into beautiful vibrant leaves like the dawn of Spring. Keep going, baby, you got this!

😀 

Xoxo Kim ❤

Possibility

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“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”~
Thomas Merton

There may never be a perfect moment for beginning. You don’t have to wait until things are different, better, perfect…don’t wait til you lose five pounds, have more money, are married, have kids, graduate, go on vacation…begin now! There is no better moment than here right NOW!

😀 There are opportunities in everyday to do at least one thing you want. Exercise, apply for that job, reach out to help someone, take that first step…

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”~
John Lennon

Yes! We don’t even need the answer, the destination, the results right this instant! Just that glimpse of possibility is enough to give us that spark of hope!

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you take it all one day at a time […] You try to walk in the light” ~
Marie Lu

Yup! Live for right now! Forget what held you back yesterday, the arguments, the negativity, the grudges, the attempts that did not work out, the mishaps…today is a new day full of endless possibility! 😀

“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time.” ~
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Look within. Build yourself up. Empower you.

“Just because an apple falls one hundred times out of a hundred does not mean it will fall on the hundred and first.” ~
Derek Landy

Just because it never worked out before now and you found yourself falling over and over and over, doesn’t mean that one winning moment is forever out of your reach. Never give up on what you really want.

😀

I wish you the best in all you choose to do for you and others for the better. Much love to you.

Xoxo Kim

On Empathy

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

I have thin, super thin, psychological boundaries but I have learned to handle it well and I see it as a true gift and pure strength. Thin psychological boundaries means I often have difficulty emotionally separating myself and others. When someone suffers either physically or emotionally or experiences pleasure or joy, I feel almost as if it’s happening to me. It literally hurts me, even physically when someone else hurts. And elates me or fills me with sheer joy when someone else is thrilled or elated.  Even if the person isn’t someone I like much or someone I don’t know or even on TV or a fictional character in a book. 

One day a psychic program on TV was on in my house.  I don’t believe in psychic abilities or that psychics are real but it can still be interesting. 
I was sitting on the sofa while it was on and saw parts of it. 
The psychic lady said a lady’s neck was snapped by a murderer in some room in a house somewhere that the psychic lady was standing in and the psychic lady got all worked up saying she has to get out of there because she was so disturbed over what she “saw” and she said she “saw” marks on this lady’s neck and she was holding her own neck and my neck started throbbing and felt all bruised and my head and face started throbbing on the one side, the side where I usually have the cluster-like headaches, and I was holding it the rest of the day off and on! And I felt the dead lady’s neck injury and the psychic’s emotional distress all day. I know it was “empathy pain,” not really something wrong with my neck. Not an actual headache. I was still happy that day, it doesn’t usually overly interfere with my own life.  And I don’t believe what the psychic lady was saying but I believe she may have believed it. Or believed it to some extent. Or is great at acting.

 I felt so connected to that psychic lady, deeply connected. Both of us did not have a neck injury at all but both of us experienced both physical sensation and emotional distress over someone else’s painful situation. I often get “empathy headaches” when someone has a headache. I usually keep it to myself so as not to or appear to be taking the attention or sympathy off of the true sufferer. 
 
There have been occasions I was so overwhelmed over someone else’s pain or sickness I succumbed to my bed for an hour or more. I can handle emotional pain better than serious physical pain so it’s often the physical pain that overwhelms me more when someone else experiences it. Both kinds of pain can be just as bad and painful, it’s just that severe physical pain is more difficult to me. 

It’s ridiculous and a bit uncalled for to have empathy to this extreme. I can still be empathetic without going to this extreme but it’s not my choice. I don’t have it like some people are said to have to the point they’re almost “psychic” like they feel an overwhelming sense of dread then something terrible happens. Or their chest hurts then someone in the room has a heart attack. It’s just when someone is already suffering that I see of or read/hear about, I feel it too. 

Also, unlike with some people similar to me in this way, such as my sister, I don’t feel overwhelmed in crowded places or have to retreat to a place of being physically alone to “recharge” or recover. I can handle crowded places and various people all around me. In fact, I usually prefer it to being alone. I am an extrovert even though I’m very shy around people I don’t know or don’t know well. And I can be around many people and not have to come home and rest afterwards.  I feel energized and uplifted in a room full of people, even if I don’t interact with them in anyway.  Just being physically near people lifts me.

I used to see my extreme empathy as a blessing as well as a curse but now I just view it as a gift. While it can be exhausting, annoying, ridiculous, painful, feeling as One with others can’t be a “curse.”

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I can usually sense people’s true emotions even when they are lying or pretending. I usually catch micro-expressions (the split second facial expression people reveal right before they show a different one – it’s the true feeling before they pretend to feel something else or try to cover it up. If they are angry, for example, anger will briefly flash across the face before they put on a fake smile) easily and can often sense people’s anxiety, elation, or anticipation. Sometimes when one person in a crowded room is extremely anxious I pick up on it even if I don’t know which one it is. I can often sense the overall mood in a room full of people. Whether most people are happy, thrilled, anxious, in a hurry, gloomy….not just see it on their faces but actually feel/sense the energy. 

I also understand situations really well even if I’m not involved or never have been. I can just clearly imagine things happening and why. I have a deep understanding.

I think authors of fiction books need a very developed empathetic ability. I’m not talking about being caring and compassionate but a deep, thorough understanding of how situations work even if they never been in a similar one. An incredibly deep imagination. They have to get in the heads of various kinds of people, even people who are so very unlike themselves, to bring their characters to life if they want them to be of substance, realistic, well developed, and believable. They have to imagine, deeply, how certain situations play out and conjure up the emotions of those who would be in those situations even if they themselves were never in those situations. They have to put themselves in that place. It’s absolutely amazing the skills fiction writers have! I love it! 

It seems that we often overlook their incredible empathy. We often acknowledge their incredible writing skills and even their amazing intelligence, maybe even the fantastic research they had to do for the book’s theme, but look at that empathy! They can write an entire book as if they are that character or in the character’s head! Mind blowing! I don’t see/hear people praising this enough! It’s the same for actors who have to play characters and not just act, but feel, literally (mentally)  become a whole other person! Incredible! 

Empathy. 

 It runs deeper than just caring and compassion. Someone can still be caring and compassionate but not really *feel* or understand someone else’s situation.

And someone can experience a kind of empathy but not feel concern or compassion. For example: I feel the pain of others even just watching movies that aren’t real. There are scenes in movies where a “bad” character is getting hurt like getting hit over the head or something by someone trying to protect themselves or others and I felt like my own body was being hit even when I wasn’t feeling much compassion for the character, even when I was happy when a character was getting revenge.
I have experienced empathy without compassion and compassion without empathy. They often go together but not always.

There are occasions I was empathetic and understanding enough to know something I wanted to say or write to someone would emotionally hurt or infuriate  that person and I said or wrote it to intentionally inflict pain or anger upon the person out of my own anger. I was empathetic in some way but not very compassionate in those moments. My empathy led me to know to some degree how the person would feel and I wanted the person to feel anger or sadness or pain. This isn’t usually a good thing and I think empathy is better used to help heal, not hurt. We also need compassion. 

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Most people have a basic ability to experience empathy; it’s a natural human trait we have that develops as we are growing up. It’s related to compassion. Certain experiences can deepen some people’s empathy. Some are naturally more in touch with theirs than others. And we can learn to deepen our basic empathy into something more. Paying more attention to people and all sentient beings, tuning into our own emotions, drawing on our own various experiences, meditation, trying to better understand, imagining what it must be like to experience something, focusing on the fact that when we suffer or hurt it’s a similar feeling to what others feel when they suffer and hurt…

Empathy isn’t just feeling someone else’s pain but also experiencing another’s joy, happiness, and pleasure.

I have known people who won the lottery, like 100 or 1000 dollars, and I felt like I just won. When I hear of someone getting a new job, job promotion, getting married or engaged, having or adopting a child, getting ready for vacation, I feel it too. The thrill, the anxiety, the anticipation, the sheer joy, the love. I can’t be feeling it exactly how they are as I have my own body and mind/mental/emotional experiences. But I can strongly and deeply sense it.

There’s a definite and deep connection. 

It’s hard for me to get jealous (although I have experienced jealousy and probably will again) of people when great things happen to them when I can bask in the joy and beauty of their experiences almost as if it’s my own. When one person wins, we all win.

I think about things like this often and was recently thinking about it again when I saw the news at work. 

It was startling to see on the news that in some countries people are dying of infectious diseases in the streets.  When they are sick or injured they are left for dead. 

One man of an African country, the man who inspired me to write this post here, was shown on the news laying outside dying of an infectious disease. He was writhing in pain and sickness and laying in a puddle of his own blood, a result of the disease’s progression. 

There were people standing around watching, sure to keep their distance so as not to contract the disease themselves. And then there was the person filming the horror. 

Some moments my empathy or feeling of connectedness is deeper and some moments I don’t feel as connected to what is before me.

The moment I saw the sick, dying man in excruciating pain and sickness, I felt more connected. I felt it with my whole body. A longing to take all the sick, hurting, dying people in my arms so they can feel my touch before they go or before they heal. So they can know someone cares, even if I contract the disease myself. What I felt was both empathy and compassion, a perfect combination. Empathy can inspire greater compassion. 

Imagine laying sick and in pain while people surround you at a safe distance and watch, you’re still so alone. No one will touch you. No one is coming for you, until after you die, to remove your infected, contagious body. Imagine them all staring at you, fear in their eyes, utter helplessness. For some of them, all they can probably think is that they’re glad it isn’t them. Truly, deeply imagine. 

But I felt an instant connection to a stranger across the world, briefly flashing across a TV screen. Someone of a different language, a different country, a different nationality, different culture, skin color, ethnicity.

I have never been deathly ill or left for dead. I never been to his country but still I know that underneath we’re the same.

Strip away all the outer layers of culture and language and color of skin, distance, financial status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and other experiences and underneath at a most basic, primitive level, we are One.

Our basic humanness exists the same underneath no matter the color of our skin, our level of education, career labels, class status, our location in the world, financial situations, our various experiences…..these things are important in some contexts, they contribute to different experiences and struggles for different people and it’s not always good or wise to overlook them, it’s important to acknowledge their circumstances(skin color, country, ethnicity, status in other contexts…) so we can get a better idea of their struggles and pain that may be different than our own, but in some cases they are completely irrelevant. Like in the case of raw pleasure and pain, sickness and health, living and dying. 

I’m not advocating for general “color blindness” or anything of that sort, like saying we should all literally ignore our differences such as skin color or class status. That isn’t good either because then we overlook the unique experiences and struggles that someone in a different situation than us may have. 

If we mentally block out or ignore the color of someone’s skin, ethnicity, or other factors or characteristics that are different than ours, in the name of compassion or “all getting along” then we automatically mentally block out or ignore the struggles that come along with those factors or characteristics.
People who say things like “I only have one race, the human race” or “forget skin color, we’re all human or all bleed red and that’s all that matters…” or something like that, probably have very good, loving, intentions but promoting that and living that way is NOT helpful. 
Ignorance in this way, is NOT helpful or wise or a good thing. 
This can contribute to lack of empathy and understanding of people’s situations pertaining to their own circumstances different than ours. 
It’s ok, even necessary to acknowledge diversity but accept it. But in some cases differences are irrelevant. 

Any one of us can be in the position that sick and dying man was in, our country and our money and our education or language or ethnicity won’t definitely protect us against diseases or death. For some people, truly understanding and realizing this in their heads, can deepen their empathy and compassion for others. And it’s just as bad when it’s someone else as if it were myself or someone I know. Just because I don’t know him doesn’t mean he’s a less important person than someone I do know. Or less important than me. It doesn’t mean it’s good to just go my own way ignoring his suffering. 

Some people are more at risk than others because of their location or discrimination they encounter and some have access to better health care but none of us are immune to suffering or pain and dying of disease or injury. And none of us are immune to being targets of cruelty or the indifference of others against our suffering or pain or sickness. 

Another thing I saw recently that disturbed and actually offended me(and I’m not easily offended at all) is people getting all happy over some podcast about *real* murder victims. They were talking about how thrilling it is to watch or listen, how they can’t wait for the next ones, how it’s so exciting, how fascinating! Not once did I see any one of these people expressing sympathy/empathy or compassion or sorrow for the victims and their friends/family. These are REAL murder victims, flesh and blood, like us, like people we know, some of them children, some adults, who were brutally murdered in cold blood, some tortured, raped/sexually assaulted, destroyed and discarded like they were nothing, not characters in a book or movie or story, real people. I understand taking interest in these stories but no one here displayed sympathy in even the most subtle way, not even an underlying hint of concern for those involved in the devastation, expressed in their tone. It was all just pure pleasure for their own benefit of sitting around listening to it and having fun while drinking coffee all warm and cozy at home. It made me cringe.  

I don’t believe for a second that these happy people who “can’t wait” for the next podcasts about homicide victims, these people who are “so thrilled” over victims murdered in cold blood, tortured and thrown away like trash on the side of the road, are horrible people or sadists, or that they aren’t generally loving and compassionate and empathetic. They may not be, generally, any less caring or empathetic than I am. I don’t believe they were taking pleasure in the pain itself that the victims endured.  It’s the mystery and thrill they get to experience, secure and embraced in the comfort of their own safe homes in their pj’s with their cups of coffee.

 But they were too “detached” in my opinion, in this, here, case. It’s complete thoughtlessness. They were too wrapped up in their own lives and pleasure they put up too much of a barrier. So much so, they are thrilled over real murder victims. It hurt me to witness and I know if it were their own friends and family members or themselves abducted, murdered, targets of rape and other sexual violence, it wouldn’t be so thrilling. They wouldn’t be so eager to see what’s next. I can just imagine a devastated person close to one of those poor victims reading that people are sitting around getting off of the violent, senseless deaths of the people they knew and love. It’s dangerous to let ourselves become numb to the real tragedy, suffering, and pain of others. Even when those are people we only see through a glass screen on a tv or voices we hear through a phone, radio, or words we read through a computer monitor. Even just distant echoes of pain that come to us through some invisible radio waves in the air. Those are real people. That is real suffering. 

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I think it’s important to always tune in to our empathy and compassion whether or not we have ever experienced something similar to what someone else has. And whether or not we know those people well or at all. We do know they are someone, someone just like us. 
Like us, they have/had a name, a story, a dream or goal, needs, and desires, love, joy, pain, sorrow, and happiness. 

Let us be happy for those who are well and happy and successful and full of joy and have compassion, concern, understanding, and empathy for those sick, injured, and in pain, dying, grieving, struggling in any way. But we don’t have to not allow ourselves to be happy because other people are struggling. It’s ok to be happy for our own blessings. Gratitude guilt is not necessary. It won’t help anyone or anything. Dragging ourselves down or not allowing ourselves joy, thankfulness, or happiness, just because others are not well will not contribute to overall goodness to the world, all it does is put more unhappiness or suffering into the world. 

And also, one day we may not be as fortunate in the ways we are now so there’s no need to feel guilty anyway just because we are well and others aren’t. As I said, none or us are immune to tragedy and pain. Next week my house can burn down, you may experience the break up of a close relationship, someone we know can die, we can be diagnosed with a terminal illness….But no matter what, there’s always something to be thankful for and happy about, even in pain, chaos, destruction, grief, depression, anxiety, homelessness… 

I think we do need some emotional boundaries but not too thick. A healthy kind of detachment is good to prevent burnout, exhaustion, being overwhelmed…. but not when it’s blocking our empathy and attempts at true understanding to some level. Not when we are so detached we forget the real suffering and pain of others. Not when we’re so detached, we feel pleasure associated with someone else’s horror or painful circumstances. 

It’s great to experience gratitude for our own happy circumstances and everything but not good, in my opinion, to get so wrapped up in it we forget about those who aren’t so fortunate now, in the ways we currently are, or tune out the depth or degree of their pain.

Empathy won’t always cure diseases or take away someone’s pain and it likely won’t help us in one country be able to immediately help someone dying in another country. But it can motivate us to reach out in some way, maybe to people physically near us who appear to be struggling or people we know online, or reach out to write to people with more power than us, like politicians or people in charge of something related to the issue at hand, or ones who have good things happening to them and we can share in their joy, letting them know how happy we are for them, how proud or thrilled for their accomplishments or fortunate situations, maybe to write a comforting message to someone in need, maybe just to share a link with info about a health condition or situation that needs awareness, to bring more awareness to it and help educate more people. And maybe someone with more resources can see what we share or post and help in ways that we cannot yet help. 

Instead of merely thinking “I’m glad it’s not me” or “that could have been me…” and just going about our own lives forgetting the pain of someone else, we can still feel gratitude for our own fortunate situations but extend our empathy and compassion and realize it’s just as bad when it happens to someone else. It’s realistic to expect people to be thankful some tragedy or unpleasant circumstance is not happening to them but everyone is someone just as important as ourselves and our own friends and family and they feel suffering and happiness the same way too.  We can shift our focus a bit – instead of just being thankful we, ourselves are ok, we can focus more on compassion for those who are struggling in any way.

~Hug the hurt
Comfort the sick

Kiss the broken
Befriend the lost
Love the lonely~ 

And when something amazing happens to someone, even if we wish it would happen to us, instead of resentment, we can bask in that person’s happiness. 

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Deeper empathy along with compassion can help decrease all kinds of things, bullying, cyber bullying, unjust discrimination, sexual violence, other forms of cruelty(against all sentient beings), apathy, even wars and stuff if enough people around the world including those in various governments would better tune into and develop their own empathy and compassion.

Empathy & compassion are great for practical purposes but they also are just amazing traits to possess. They make us better for them. I’m no better than someone who is less compassionate or with less developed empathy but I believe it’s better to have those abilities than not. I’m not better than a sadist, a murderer, a psycho or sociopath with no empathy, but I believe those people would be better people than they are now, in another way if they develop their empathy and compassion.

Not everything is just for practical purposes or actions. Sometimes it’s intentions or just what we are, our essence that counts for something and is beautiful. 

Empathy & compassion, especially a combination of both, can inspire and motivate us to act, reach out to others in some way whether just a simple act of comforting words or volunteering time or money for a specific cause or even just inspire us to hold our tongues when we feel like lashing out or motivating us to proactively speak out against someone else’s callousness, which can have a positive effect. 

Let us remember when we see someone suffering whether it’s emotional or physical pain that is the root of it, human or not, that it’s a very similar feeling that we would feel if it were us. This can make it more real to us and motivate us to reach out in some way, even in the most simplest way, a warm smile, a gentle touch, a kind word…even if it’s not similar to what we ourselves would feel, it’s still important to be empathetic and compassionate but realizing how similar we are underneath can help deepen our empathy. 

And let us not be overly jealous of those who are experiencing joy, happiness, and success even if we are not. Let their accomplishments and happiness inspire and motivate us, not contribute to us being depressed or jealous. It’s best for all of us when we are happy for and encouraging to one another. Let’s celebrate each other and bask in each other’s happiness and success and fortunes. 

There’s enough happiness to go around. 😀

Here are some links about Metta (universal love/compassion) & Empathy.

This explains what Metta is, the benefits, and the importance of cultivating an attitude or lifestyle which has Metta at its core.

http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction/what-is-metta

Another explanation of Metta.

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

Here, the link below this, is fascinating research on the brain and empathy. Research reveals that when we are happy and things are going well, we are less likely to empathize with those not so happy or well. We are likely to perceive their pain or suffering as less than it really is. When we ourselves are not doing well, we better empathize with others. We are more likely to validate or realize the seriousness of someone else’s pain or low feelings. In fact, we’re more likely to evaluate someone else’s happiness as less than it really is when we ourselves are not happy. I suspected this before learning of this research. I saw evidence of this in certain situations including the happy people in warm, pj’s at home, drinking coffee while being thrilled over real murder mysteries and not expressing empathy, sympathy, or compassion for those involved.

There is good news. We don’t have to make ourselves suffer to empathize with others. Empathy & compassion are not fixed. 
Compassionate and empathetic people can become less compassionate and empathetic (so it’s important to regularly maintain our empathy and compassion) and those who are not very empathetic and compassionate can become more empathetic and compassionate. 
Some suggestions to maintain or develop empathy, compassion, and an attitude of kindness are meditation, routine mindfulness activities, volunteering to help others, meditating/imagining ourselves in pain and knowing others feel that too…

It’s also suggested that vigorous physical exercises can help deepen a person’s empathy. These exercises can feel physically uncomfortable and help us realize more what it’s like for others who are hurting in some way.
Let’s not go overboard and exercise so much it’s unhealthy but a reasonable dose of routine aggressive exercise can be quite healthy, both physically and emotionally. 

It’s important to do all we can to care for ourselves, be happy, be healthy, be grateful, but keep in touch with the suffering or pain of others.  

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/the-neuroscience-empathy

Desktop link to a video for a lovingkindness meditation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=desktop

Mobile version of the same video:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=m&persist_app=1
 
Even if you are already a very loving and kind person in general, you and the world can still benefit by practicing this meditation or ones like it. Meditation is calm and soothing and even if we are already or are naturally very compassionate and loving, we can still experience setbacks and it’s important to maintain whatever attitude or lifestyle we want to generally live. Like working out, we must keep up with it to keep it going strong. 
Even if we are naturally a certain way, we can strengthen it by making it more intentional and consciously applying it or deepening it.
It takes some practice and maintaining but is well worth it! 

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May you be well.
May you be happy. 
May you be peaceful.
May you be loved.
 
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

My (somewhat recent) Dream {you can be greater than anything that can happen to you}

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As I posted here previously, I have vivid dreams that I frequently remember. Sometimes they’re inspirational.
My dreams aren’t usually bad, negative, or scary. They’re often strange. Bizarre beyond comprehension. And when not bizarre beyond belief, usually just quite ordinary like an extension of a normal day.  But I can often gather little parts of them, bizzare or not, that can be analyzed or interpreted. I like my dreams. They seem so real. And I love that I remember them so easily, I even remember dreams I had years ago.
My dreams are so profound and so intense, like I can experience my emotions in my dreams just as strongly as during my waking hours. 

I believe that dreams are usually just stuff we have been thinking about consciously or unconsciously whether it’s important or not so much. I think it’s often just our brains releasing everyday stuff in symbols or images as we sleep. Like a kind of replenishment. I think sometimes we have certain dreams for a certain reason that we aren’t consciously aware of. Some deep, seemingly unreachable, part of the Self is attempting to reveal something.  I love the mystery of dreams and I think they often try to take unconscious thoughts and put them into the conscious mind.

Sometimes I know things unconsciously that I don’t realize in my waking hours. These messages come to me during my slumber and I’m often blessed enough to carry the message out of the dream and into my wakening. 

In another post I mentioned that I have a recurring dream while I sleep sometimes, when I’m depressed and suicidal or having suicidal thoughts. The dream is someone chasing me and trying to kill me and in my dream I want so desperately to live and will do almost anything to survive. I’m passionate about living. My desire to live in this dream is overwhelming and I would do almost anything to save myself. This is a dream I usually only have when I’m depressed and having some degree of suicidal thoughts.

I believe it’s my unconscious mind letting me know I really do want to live, deep inside I want to live, not to listen to and give into the deadly thoughts and urges, that the depression is deceiving me into thinking I should die. The depression is clouding my Truth. My Truth is pure like sparkling white snow glistening on a cold Winter day. But depression comes along like a speeding truck headed straight for me, leaving tracks of mud upon my pure Truth. But no matter how much mud and soil and sludge it leaves upon my Truth, my inner self, my Truth and my authentic Self is still pure and sparkling, still fierce, still strong. No pain can take that. My Truth is that life is always a blessing even when it doesn’t feel so, that there’s always beauty and hope and something to carry on for, something to smile about and be thankful for even when pain or circumstances are overwhelming. No matter how much it hurts. Even when it feels like it will never get better, like all hope is lost. My truth is that I have a purpose and always will. My truth is that I want to live to inspire anyone I can, to share my own story, my happiness and sadness, my joy and pain, my beauty and my uglines, my strength and my weakness,and bring hope and healing to anyone in need.

A few months ago, I have been depressed again and had another dream. I dreamed that someone died. A woman named Angie. She’s not someone I know for real, I don’t know where my mind got her. I don’t think she’s based on a real person that I know of. But I read a fact about dreams that says when we see faces in our dreams they are people we once saw in our reality whether we remember seeing them or not, even if those people were never significant in our lives, even if we saw the face only once, and even if we haven’t seen them in decades. Our brain can’t make up faces. 

The faces/people we dream may not, in the dream, be based on who they really are in reality. It’s just the same physical face/appearance, nothing more necessarily. The example I read is that as a child we may have watched a man pumping gas into our dad’s car then years later dream of a serial killer and it’s the man pumping the gas! His face! Lol So while the face is real he wasn’t necessarily really a serial killer, he was just a man pumping gas whose face made it into a dream years later and the brain made him a serial killer. In the dream the serial killer isn’t that man we remember pumping gas at one point. It’s that our brain just took his face to incorporate into a dream.
Now, I have absolutely no clue how true this is. And if it’s true I have no idea how someone found this out. How does someone know our brains can’t make up faces that never existed? Maybe it’s common sense how someone knows but I’m lacking that common sense or maybe some research reveals it somehow. Some kind of neuroscience? It’s fascinating but I don’t know much about it. I did go to college for psychology and took many brain classes, even held an actual human brain in my hands, along with a spinal cord. My professor had/has a human brain collection in her basement. They float around in jars of fluid. Lol please don’t ask because I don’t know! 

She’s some kind of brain researcher in a lab and keeps the brains for her own entertainment. I would too! Lmao
This sounds like something out of some kind of science fiction or horror movie but it’s reality. So yeah.
I don’t remember over half the shit I learned back then. But it’s ok at least I’m humble enough to admit it! ;-D
It’s funny because sometimes I dream about this fact about dreams and faces that I’m not sure is really a fact. Lol
As a matter of fact, it’s only in a dream that I remember first learning it! 
I don’t remember learning this “fact”/fact while awake. I dreamed about learning this then one day I woke up and thought it was just some weird thing I dreamed out of nowhere. Then I looked it up and saw it’s actually said to be a fact! So I must have learned it and forgot but my unconscious self remembered and had it tucked away until I fell asleep one night.
I haven’t found any reliable sources to support it.
So anyway, if this is true, Angie in my dream who died, must be real since I saw her clearly in my dream. Maybe her name isn’t really Angie. 
Maybe in reality she’s not who she was in my dream. And hopefully she never really died.

Maybe I saw her on a bus one day years ago or in a class in college or in a picture on Facebook….who knows?
But in my dream she died. In my dream I did not know her well at all but the news of her death devastated me. This isn’t quite a stretch or unrealistic as in my reality I find the death of someone to be devastating, even the death of people/animals I hardly know or don’t know at all. Of course, it’s not as deep as for people who actually knew the person/animal but I am just filled with sorrow over the losses I hear of. I can see on the news that someone died or I read a Facebook status and am somewhat somber the rest of the day off and on or even the next few days. It’s not always equal for every one that I see. Some things hit harder for whatever reason.
But in my dream I was in a room full of people who all knew the woman who died. I don’t know where I was in the dream but in the dream it made sense. I think it may have been inspired my the building of the mental health clinic I go to for medication. There were big wooden tables and chairs, like lunchroom tables,  and a lady in charge….in charge of what I don’t know…., she was going around to different people with a clipboard and paper and pen and when she got to me we sat on the chairs, facing each other. I was grieving and felt a kind of fear and I sensed this woman before me was trying to push the problem under the rug, not wanting to talk about the issue directly or in depth because it was painful and uncomfortable.
She asked me questions I can’t remember. She wrote down my answers. I even remember the paper in the dream, clearly. It was white with black text and black boxes to write the answers in. 

Then the last question she asked me I do remember. She said something like: “What is the one quote you want to live by, choose a quote you truly believe in, one that is important, a quote you want to be the foundation for your life?” I thought about it for a few seconds and almost instantly a quote popped into my head. For real I was depressed and in my dream I was depressed and grieving. When I’m depressed I often have certain insecurities thinking I’m not good enough for anything or anyone and in my dream that’s how I felt.
I was afraid to answer. Feeling as if my answer wouldn’t be good enough. Just because it’s my answer, because nothing about me is ever good enough, it seems. I don’t always feel this way, only sometimes, especially when I’m depressed. And in the dream I felt this.
In reality I was feeling a bit hopeless. 
It carried over into my dream.
And the quote that came to me in my dream:
“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I told the dream lady(who I must have also seen in my waking hours if that fun fact is in fact true, but I don’t remember her either, in my reality) and she happily wrote it down. She seemed impressed and she said to me “Now, you always remember that, don’t you ever forget it.”
And then I woke up.
I was and still am in awe of the beauty my brain creates when I sleep.
Of course my brain did not make up this quote. If only…lol if only my slumbering brain were THAT brilliant!
This is one of my favorite quotes that helps remind me whenever something bad happens, whenever I’m in pain of any kind, depressed, struggling with insecurities or painful memories of any past event or day, grief, struggling with tmjd “cluster headaches”….that no matter what it is, I can be greater if I let myself. I can be greater than anything that can happen to me. No matter how painful or devastating or tragic or sad. I have the power within to rise above it. And that goes for you as well. We can all be greater than anything that can happen to us. We don’t have to give our power to other people, situations, events, pain, things, or anything. Generally and ultimately, no circumstance, no person, no thing has power over you unless you allow it.
We have the power over ourselves. 

In some special cases, people do have the power to control us, situations get the best of us but in the long run, overall, we have the power over ourselves. We can choose to take it back when it seems to be taken away and pro-act.

Sometimes I let my pain, both physical and emotional, repress my Truth. I let it conquer me and my life’s philosophy. I let everything else, everything I know to be true to me, take the back burner and my pain prevail. But then it comes to me in my sleep because it never really left me. It’s still my Truth. It was there all along. And my dreams remind me… 

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I encourage you to listen to your dreams and your truth. Not everyone can remember their dreams at all or enough to interpret them or glean any inspirational or useful insights but if you do remember them, it’s possible a part of you deep inside is trying to tell you something. Listen. Listen to your inner Self. Not just your dreams while you sleep but your waking Truth. 
You may have values, opinions, philosophies, virtues that you generally firmly believe in or live by or want to honor and live up to eventually if you don’t already. But pain, either physical or emotional, situations, unpleasant experiences can cloud those truths and they become muddled and repressed and the pain becomes your truth instead. 
Maybe the pain tells you you can’t go on or that there’s no reason to. Maybe it tells you you’re worthless or that there’s no hope, no point, no purpose, no beauty, nothing but pain. Maybe it tells you that you aren’t good enough, beautiful enough, not equal to everyone else. Maybe it’s just so painful it feels like you have to die to end the pain, whether physical or emotional, or just curl up in solitude and give up on everything.

You can find and develop your Truth and authentic Self through reflecting, thinking, tuning in, meditating, writing, looking for evidence throughout your every day and your whole life to see what you really believe deep within, think about how you handle or have handled various situations and how you felt about the situations and how you handled them(were you sorry you reacted a certain way? Proud of your actions? Was there some sense of dissonance with how you reacted and how you felt? Did the two match up?), think about how you really feel deep inside around certain people, in certain circumstances, reaching out to others, photography if it’s your interest, searching through books, magazines, images and words and seeing what jumps out at you. What captures your heart and resonates with you? It doesn’t matter if you know why something captures you or not or if you never knew something appeals to you til now. Your deeper self knows. I got this idea off of author, Sarah Ban Breathnach, searching through magazines, stores, catalogs without the intention to buy anything, just listen closely and see what calls to you, what clothes, objects, jewelry, vacations, people… call to you? Which ones tug at your deepest parts? Which ones make your pulse speed a bit faster? Which ones make you tingle all over?….glue pictures to paper or a journal and it’s your self discovery journal/journey….keep up with it often to keep in touch with your deep inner Self who may be buried beneath layers of expectations of others or society as a whole or yourself that you think you should be, buried beneath fear, anxiety, pain, and anything else. 

Your pain is very real. But pain clouds our judgment making it not sound so we forget our authentic Self and our deeper Truth. Don’t listen to that pain when it deceives you. Definitely listen to your pain, tend to it, embrace it if you can, accept it, let it teach you and strengthen you and deepen your wisdom, but not conquer you and delude you. That’s not you. It’s part of you for sure, maybe even a significant loud part that screams in your eardrums, screams in your face. But screaming and throbbing and being loud doesn’t make it true. The true you is what deserves to be honored even when your Truth isn’t screaming and loud. It’s quiet and gentle and calm and warm and deep, whispering  inside but it’s evermore worthy of being honored than that loud, screaming pain that demands you to give up and lose all hope and joy. It’s more powerful than pain and delusions, quiet and gentle as it is.

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Sarah Ban Breathnach is amazing! I love her and she’s one of my greatest heroes, though I never met her in person. I would love to though! The book I referred to above with the self-discovery activity is “Something More – Excavating Your Authentic Self.” She also mentions self exploration and authentic Self activities in her book “Simple Abundance.”

Her books are mostly directed at women but they really can help anyone.

I wish you much love, hope, healing, happiness, and joy. And I hope you will always make the choice to honor your deeper self, your authentic Self, your Truth. Even when other people don’t like the true you, even when it’s hard to honor yourself. Always choose life, always choose you.

Xoxo Kim