Tag Archive | pleasure

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. This was not always true. My depression would always lift after a while and I would be happy again. And often, even with depression, I would still have desire, hunger, fear. Often, I would see a carnival or amusement park or jewelry and just have to have it, even as an adult and even while depressed, I would experience joy at seeing an amusement park and run to ask my dad to take my sister and me. Even with depression, I felt the joy. But there was also that other kind of depression that would come and go and I would not have any desire at all. This depression would occur too often but was not the most common. Then all depression would leave me and I would be happy.

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 some of 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 too often 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 psychiatric 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 the midst of depression, there were always moments of joy, life, zest, beauty…Often, my depression was deep pain but on less common occasions, it was numb, lifelessness. This was even worse but especially made everything more beautiful when it would lift.

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!) ūüėÄ

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 was rare.

This went on for years and years, and more years, off and on with genuine happiness thrown into the mix here & there. 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 more. 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. (There were definitely occasions back then when I was not depressed at all and wanted it all but depression was frequent back then.)

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, off and on, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead.
This was not always, I definitely experienced happy intervals along with depressed episodes and waves but it was too frequent.

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

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

When depression lifts completely or layers lift…

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, when depressed, 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.

When not depressed, or even less depressed,
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. Before, it was not constant but it was frequent. My happiness was genuine when it would lift and my happiness would stay a while but that depression would always come back and sometimes quickly or it would come and go quickly off and on.

It is less frequent 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. This is how it has always been for me since I was 13 years old and a depressive episode would lift. It was never mania, just true happiness that really stands out after so much darkness and pain.

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 was so happy. At 21 years old, like at most other ages, I experienced deep depression off and on but also, deep, deep happiness.

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
ūüėÄ

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

Serendipitous Strength

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(that’s fake blood on my face for a haunted house attraction for Halloween)

I love funny and silly surveys for blogs and Facebook, like a list of weird, stupid, funny questions…would you rather be ridiculously rich financially but butt ugly physically or amazingly gorgeous, beautiful beyond belief physically but dirt poor financially? Would you rather eat hair or lick a toilet seat? Would you rather be in a dark, creepy room alone or in a well lit room with Michael Jackson? lol They’re funny questions. I would choose to be poor and beautiful. And I would lick the toilet seat over eating hair any day. Loose hair is disgusting. Aack! And I like Michael Jackson but not creepy dark rooms alone so I would choose the lit up room with him. ;-D

But anyway….i came across this question

Would you rather be buried alive or stabbed to death?

Horrible thought, right?!

But I find it enlightening. It provoked me even more to think about the strength deep within me that I accidentally found and accidentally developed.

I would choose to be buried alive.

Not so long ago, I couldn’t even imagine saying that. I just couldn’t imagine.

First of all, if I am buried alive, maybe I can find a way out or someone can find me before it’s too late. Being stabbed is so violent!
There are rare(at least I hope being buried alive is rare!!!) cases where someone has been buried alive and somehow escaped or was found before it was too late.

I used to have an extreme fear of being closed in with or without others there with me. Closed in anywhere. Even a large room or building. I would avoid closed in places like the plague. Then my fear got somewhat better when I was eighteen years old in college. In this one building I wasn’t aware that we were allowed to use the stairs. It turns out, we actually were but I never knew til a long while later. Everyday I had to go in that building I had to desperately hope there were others waiting to go on the elevator when I was because I couldn’t bring myself to go on alone. I used to go early and just linger around the hall waiting for someone who was going on. (creepy, right?! :-O lol) I never said that I was waiting. Just when I saw someone going on, I would too. If the person got off before the floor I was going to, I would get off too then walk up the steps to the floor I was going.

Then I met a girl. When I was 18 years old. One who had the same class and we got talking to each other and I found that she had the same problem!
One day I got to the elevator and she was waiting too! And she told me she’s seriously afraid of small places and won’t get on without someone else! What are the chances?! I was embarrassed at first and wouldn’t really tell people but I opened up about it when I met her.

We conquered our fear together. ūüėÄ

I always thought of this fear as a weakness and never met anyone else that I knew of who has it this bad, my dad is like this but his never seemed as bad. Everyone I knew could get on with no problem, it seemed.

And when I met her, I was sooo happy! Lol Also, we were both very shy until getting to know someone better but we both had no problem with public speaking because it’s just something we had to do for class. We both loved meeting people we never met but were often too shy to initiate socialization first. But somehow we found each other! I haven’t seen or talked to her in many, many years. But the impact is everlasting. ‚̧

After that, I got more used to going in small places, elevators with people and I was mostly only panicked when I was closed in alone. I often had nightmares of being closed in or trapped somewhere alone.
I couldn’t even stand walking by elevators or being in the same building with one. This was always the only thing that scared me about hospitals. I would shake walking through narrow staircases even with people. I felt like my body was turning to jelly.

One day when I was a teenager I had to get on an elevator alone. I was in the US Constitution Center at some event and the only way to leave the building was to get on an elevator. They said I had no choice. There was no one else around and the security guard said I had to get on the elevator so I did. I went into a serious panic and I pressed my fingernails into the skin over my hip bone and just kept scratching until it bled and the doors opened. I was so scared, that was just what I did, unconsciously.

I never worked on this fear specifically but during my personal development journey, my quest to find healing, working on myself to help heal my depression and cope with tmjd “cluster headaches” without realizing it, I was conquering my fear of being closed in. With my personal development plan I teach myself and train my brain to know I can handle and conquer anything. To know I will always be free no matter what position I’m in in this life. To know life is a gift no matter what. To see positivity and opportunity in any situation no matter how dreadful. I trained my brain with meditation and quotes and music and songs and writing to stay calm and composed for the most part, in any situation no matter what, no matter how painful physically or emotionally. I still struggle with this a bit sometimes, especially with severe physical pain. I’m much better at handling deep emotional pain than very severe physical pain. A certain level of physical pain that I experience occasionally can still seem too much to bear.

It’s at a frightening level and it’s not common that people ever feel it to this extent. Not even prescription pain pills can touch it.
But I work on myself constantly and even when I’m freaking out aggressively over a tmjd cluster headache, I still keep telling myself I will survive.
I was trying to heal my depression and cope with it and cope with those head attacks.

And much to my amazement this was helping me all along with my fear! My phobia(i wasn’t actually diagnosed with a phobia but it may have met the criteria, I don’t know for sure) wasn’t destroying my life because I was just able to mostly avoid small places but there were some occasions I couldn’t and had to be closed in somewhere.

Some people have a phobia where they can’t avoid the thing they fear or even if they can they can’t help but dwell on it constantly and it runs their lives. That was never me but there are occasions I embarrassed myself in public, especially as a kid, when I had to go on elevators or narrow staircases. And occasions I was extremely fearful knowing I had to go in a large building where there’s elevators. Somewhat recently I went on a job interview. I did not get the job but I had to go on an elevator by myself, they wouldn’t let me on the stairs going up, I asked, I was told no. I wanted to run out but I had the interview scheduled and I knew it wouldn’t be good to have them waiting and I never show up, years ago I would have been out the door so fast with the interview the last thing on my mind. So I reluctantly got on the elevator, alone, and while my heart started to speed a bit because of being closed in and for a few seconds I was overwhelmed in immense fear, like panic, I handled it so well. No panic. No breakdown. Just staying calm. It was so surprising. And just as much of an accomplishment as getting a job! Maybe more?
It wasn’t a happenstance. I worked to get to this point. (though unknowingly lol) I am so strong now. In so many ways.

Then leaving the building I had a choice to take the stairs or the elevator. Just a couple years ago I would have taken the stairs without a second thought. Even last year. But on the interview I made the CHIOCE to take the elevator alone to get more practice and was even more calm than the first occasion going up! What a great accomplishment for me!
It may not seem that big to some people but for someone like me, it is a tremendous thing.

Also I don’t like closing doors to small rooms even in my own house but in the bathroom there are parakeets flying around and we have to close the door. I was getting a shower one day and had to close the door. The handle is broke and I got locked in! I went into a bit of a panic. Not a full blown panic, but an intense fear, I guess you can say. Not how people with panic attacks do. Not that bad. But I was pulling the door and banging on it hoping someone would hear. No one did. But I calmed down and reminded myself. Life is beautiful no matter what. I have the sunlight streaming in the window, I have my senses, the parakeets, meditation, Buddhism and Stoicism ….the window is too small for me to fit through so that wasn’t an option. And it’s on the second floor, it wouldn’t be safe to jump. I don’t want broken bones or whatever. But just some years ago I would have jumped if I could, risking injuries. I was there for like 20 minutes before I finally got the door open.

A couple nights ago I went to the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary with my sister and my dad for the Haunted attraction. It’s a real abandoned prison that is in a state of semi-ruin, almost 200 years old. It’s said by ghost investigators to be truly haunted all year. Lol It’s open all year but the rest of the year is just a prison exhibit to learn of its history, which is very interesting.

For the Halloween attraction every October, we get to walk through the dark prison inside and out in the courtyards when it’s at night, in groups. It has lights flashing, people screaming, monsters walking around, “prisoners” trying to attack us through their cells, monsters, all kinds of creepy, scary stuff. There’s lock down, the infirmary, night watch, an abandoned bus in a junkyard and other attractions we walk through. Things randomly and unexpectedly jump out at us, sometimes screaming and with weapons! There’s 3D things and people jumping through walls at us. They come right up to us with weapons holding them over our heads or up to our faces. Lol Isn’t it insane that people actually take pleasure in this? But something about a certain kind of fear is quite thrilling for people. Like amusement park rides and sky diving. And scary movies & books.
Also, I think our brains are not aware of the difference of what is real and what is not. Seeing, hearing horror in movies and things, the human brain cannot distinguish the difference. We know it’s not real but some part of our brain does not know and it has a negative/fearful effect on is, even later. That’s why too much fake horror isn’t good for us. I used to have a psychiatrist who told me that and I noticed it too when I read too many horror books close together. It has an unpleasant effect. He advised me to avoid fake horror all together. It’s not good for anyone and especially those prone to anxiety or depressive conditions.

It’s fun. And scary. I’m not afraid of monsters and ghosts and stuff but it’s kind of startling to have people looking all dead with blood all over them, screaming and with weapons jumping out in the dark at me with just an eerie glow around the prison.

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(inside the prison – imagine walking up this long hallway knowing at any moment something or someone can and probably will jump out at you. Lol creepy!)

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(it was the perfect night for a haunted house – or prison – because there was a full Moon or almost full Moon and I kept seeing it when we walked in and out of the prison into the courtyards)

They’re not allowed to touch us and we are not allowed to touch them. But this year they had something different where the bravest of the brave can wear a bright pink glow necklace they give us and this gives the monsters (the actors working in the prison) permission to touch us, grab us, snatch us, hold us back, separate us so we lose our groups, toss us into secret passageways, and do other terrible stuff. I haven’t been there in a couple years until a couple nights ago. So this was new to me.

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I love haunted houses and stuff but my one fear has always been being separated and ending up in a small, dark place alone. This still scares me. I fear dark places as well but not as much as small or closed in places.

But I decided to be brave that night and wear the necklace. I was abducted, strangled, held back, got my hair pulled, forced by two monster dentists to sit in a dentists chair so they can pull out all my teeth…they put the loud thing all the way to my mouth then I escaped!

I was almost forced into a small cell and into a weird tunnel but I ran screaming. And the monsters laughed at me. Lol

Most people did not take the necklaces and some who did decided to take them off and toss them so the monsters could no longer touch them. Even my dad took his off and hid it.

Chicken shits. Lol ;-D

I was one of the brave few who kept mine on throughout the entire prison, not once taking it off. Yay me! Lol Although at one point the thought occurred to me but I sucked it up and kept going.

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(me with my medal of honor lol)

It took nerve. Especially when most people were not wearing them so there was not many choices for the monsters and so the few of us who were wearing them were the ones who kept getting all the attention. At one point I was the only one wearing a necklace where I was and two monsters came up and said since I was the only one wearing one right there, I was the “chosen one.” I was snatched while everyone around me ran away, even my dad and sister (thanks everyone! Lol) and had my hand held under some device that came down and was supposed to pierce my hand but when it touched me it was just rubber. Lol

I knew I could have been dragged and possibly tossed into a secret, small, dark place alone. But I took the chance. I would have NEVER ever been able to make that choice, probably even a year ago.

The thing that really inspired me to take and wear the necklace is in the beginning a monster said “you came here for fear so get all the fear you can get…” encouraging us to take the glow necklace. This also inspires me in general, to take advantage of every opportunity in life to live to the fullest, whatever “the fullest” is to me at that moment. To soak up all I can, all the thrills, the beauty, and feeling there is to feel.

Being alive is an opportunity to take in everything we can, to feel. To live. To experience. To grow. To love. To make mistakes. To learn. To feel pain and beauty, sorrow and joy. Misery and happiness. To take full advantage of our senses.

I been to this prison for the Halloween attraction a couple occasions years ago. The first day I went for the haunted attraction I was hugging, holding hands with, and clinging to people I did not know. Lol It was my first year in college, I was eighteen years old, and I went as a group with other college students, all girls and one boy. The boy wanted us to go first because he said he was the only boy. But we told him no, since he’s the boy he had to be in the front.
Lol we were holding onto each other like our lives depended on it.

It’s one of my favorite memories. And after the event was over and we were walking up the dark street outside the prison, a drunk person jumped out at us and we all screamed. He wasn’t trying to scare us and just looked at us like we were all nuts.

Now, being buried alive would be way, way more terrifying than going on an elevator for less than a minute! And being locked in a room.
And way more horrifying than a fun tour through a haunted prison for Halloween.

But I know now that I would survive emotionally as long as I survived physically. I would go into a deep meditation and have my Buddhist and stoic principles and my life philosophy and inner Truth, my authentic Self to help guide me til I become physically free. I would still be frightened and panicked at some points. And maybe feel as if I can’t go on but I know I can. I have my life philosophy that I work on every single day without fail. I can survive anything as long as I stay alive. As long as I’m free in my mind, I am free. Truly free. You can be free too if you’re not already, with lots of hard work and practice. We don’t have to allow anything or anyone to restrain us.

If you work to heal one aspect of yourself you can be strengthening yourself in deep ways you don’t even realize in other aspects as well.

I want this for everyone. Whatever pain, physical or emotional, whatever fear or problems, I want us all to find a way to conquer it. A way to cope.

I never ever thought my fear of being closed in could be vanquished but it is. It’s also not completely cured. My heart still races in small or narrow places, sometimes I still think there’s no way I can be closed in alone and survive with my sanity intact, I still avoid closed in spaces for the most part, but I conquered it and can handle it now. ME! I can’t even believe it!

If you are ever in a situation you are 100% convinced without a doubt you can’t or won’t survive, remember, it feels that way, it’s not true. I never knew I can ever survive the depression and tmjd cluster-like headaches but somehow I did. I survive each one. My conviction was deep, that I couldn’t survive but I do survive and now my conviction is even deeper that I can and will survive whatever comes my way.

And you can too, whatever it is. It can get better. <333 ‚̧ Much love, hope, & strength to you.

Xoxo Kim

Another Fall in Philadelphia <3

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“I prefer Winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” ~Andrew Wyeth

I’m so thrilled and filled with immense gratitude that Fall is finally here! It feels like being embraced by a long lost friend! I am just bursting with joy! The day is cool and the nights have been so cool. There are crunchy leaves all around and Pumpkin goodness in every store! I just love it.

I love living in a place where we have four seasons, each very different than the one before and the one after. The thrill of a new season is enthralling! 

I love Hall & Oates, two Philadelphia boys and one of my favorite groups since I was a little girl, for as long as I can remember. I have been listening to their song “Fall in Philadelphia” and my heart wells up with even more gratitude and thrills! Fall in Philadelphia is just the best, nothing can be better! The cobblestone streets, Center City, the Eastern State Penitentiary, the brilliant colors, old buildings, people everywhere, septa busses, trolleys, tour busses, the beauty and love that throbs through the city…
I am beyond blessed.





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Also,

I’m reading a novel called “The Bird Eater” which is said in the reviews to be one of the scariest books ever written! Even people who said they never get scared over books or movies confessed to being scared out of their wits. Lol ¬†I only read like forty pages and I think there over 200. I have been waiting till Fall to read it so I can read it on cool nights all wrapped up in blankets with my little pomeranian boy!

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It’s very good! It’s like we’re unsure if the main character is mentally ill/psychotic or if there’s ghosts haunting him!

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Also, here are some of my favorite Autumn quotes!!

1.) Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling, and they’re falling like
they’re falling in love with the ground.
Andrea Gibson

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2.) ¬†I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L.M. Montgomery

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3) Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

4.) I want to say something so embarrassing about September that even the leaves start blushing and turning red.
Jarod Kintz

5.) Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.
Chad Sugg

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I’m falling for this season already. It’s magic!! ūüėÄ

I hope everyone is having a wonderful first day of Fall!! ūüėÄ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=Lxpjj3Bp5zg

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 Xoxo Kim

Cool Nights {it’s like a heatwave}

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“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” ~Eleanora Duse

This is exactly how it feels to me to acknowledge the beauty of Nature. I have always been aware of the profound beauty all around me even while in severe emotional or physical pain. Mindfulness of natural beauty and the thrill it brings have come easily to me for as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl I would be in awe of the simple joys of living. The blueness of the sky, the sparkle of the rain, the dramatic colors of sunsets, the scent of cold air, the fragrance of grass and soil, the seasons changing…but I never realized this as a “thing” or concept or way of life until years later when I decided to create a personal development plan to heal my depression and I learned about mindfulness and gratitude at deeper, more conscious levels.

I decided to take my natural ability and habit of being aware of and thankful for the beauty all around me and make it even deeper, a conscious, intentional habit.

This to me is truly living. And it’s beautiful and also helps me cope with pain of any kind. But even when I’m not in pain it’s a thrilling way to live. Living generally mindfully with a conscious frequent attitude of gratitude, not just as a fleeting mood or feeling, has a dramatic impact and healing effect. Being mindful of my mindfulness itself also uplifts me often, knowing I have this ability, that I accomplished this lovely way of living.

Mindfulness or awareness or acknowledgment of beauty and blessings, an attitude of gratitude as a conscious, intentional way of life are incredible life changing habits but they are not cures for anything. When we accomplish this and develop these habits we will still feel pain, unhappiness sometimes. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be when you think about it, right?! That’s what it is to be alive. To feel both happiness and unhappiness, pleasure and pain, joy and sadness, thrill and blah feelings. But those habits can help us cope when something unpleasant is occurring.

Summer is my least favorite season but I love all four lovely seasons. They all have their own blessings. One of the things I will miss most about Summer is the beautiful insects/flying creatures/kreepy krawlers….lol

The bumble bees and the butterflies, the fireflies and other beauties.

Many days this summer there was a bumble bee drinking nectar out of a bright orange flower on the street where I live. So many days I would walk by the beautiful vibrant flowers and see the bee there sucking through the center of one of them. Truly amazing to see such beauty! 

I got a few photos one day. 
I will also miss the flowers. But I usually don’t dwell on what I miss. Instead I focus on Now. Whatever is currently here is really all I have. All any of us has. It’s great to look forward to, hope for, and plan on things in the future but generally I believe it’s best to honor Now. Now is still Summer and right now it’s a heatwave.

95 degrees in September!! For real! It wasn’t even this hot all Summer!¬†

But I see signs of the impending Fall. Pumpkin lattes and coffee and donuts are already out!
I get in holiday and season spirit very early. In July I’m already ready for Fall and in October I’m ready for Christmas and snow! Lol

I think pumpkin coffee is more thrilling in cooler weather though and if I get it now in the midst of a heat wave then on the first crisp, Fall-like day it won’t be quite as thrilling. Still totally thrilling but not as much of a new feeling.

So I guess I will wait on that. Right now I’m drinking toasted almond coffee!

Here is a list of my favorite things about Autumn!

1.) Pumpkin Everything 

2.) Cool nights

3.) Fall fashion (although I dress like it’s Summer all year except I wear hoodies in Fall) I love seeing photos of Fall fashion and other girls wearing it. It’s just usually not the style for me to wear myself.

4.) The colorful leaves on the ground

5.) Halloween themes and Thanksgiving things. I believe in gratitude all year round but it seems everyone else gets in the mood for gratitude around the holiday season

6.) Hoodies

7.) the feel in the air, the mental feeling of Fall

8.) apples 

9.) Fall colors – brown, yellow, orange, red…

10.) candy corn!

11.) the fragrances of Fall -cinnamon, apple, cool air, pumpkin

12.) hot coffee, cocoa, tea…it’s just more magical in the Fall

13.) ¬†my dog loves the Fall & Winter! She gets quiet all summer and on really hot days and isn’t as playful but as soon as Autumn is in the air, she gets all wild and playful and happy! She’s a big pitbull and loves blankies and pillows! She loves snow too!

14.) The Eastern Stare Penitentiary – the old prison has exhibits all year I think. To learn about the history and all but in the Fall they have the haunted attraction! We get to walk through and monsters jump out at us and there’s all kinds of gory stuff and creepy sounds. I don’t always get to go but I always see the advertisements and stuff and it’s fun! The first day I went was years ago in college with a group of other students and we were clinging to each other, holding onto each other, hugging each other like our lives depended on it! Lol it was fun! One funny memory I have is the group of us consisted of all girls and one boy and the boy was the most scared and tried to make us stand in the front and we told him since he’s the boy, he should be leading the way! Lol ¬†I was so afraid we were going to be separated and I would be alone in small, dark places! When it was over we got outside and there were candy and caramel apples and monsters dancing and flashing lights!¬†

15.)  longer, darker nights

16.) Halloween decorations 

17.) Halloween lights

18.) pumpkin pie, apple pie, coconut custard pie

19.) cranberries!

20.) candy doesn’t melt in cool weather¬†

21.) Everything 

22.) hay rides

23.) apple spice 

24.) apple cider 

25.) sweaters 

26.) jack Рo Рlanterns 

27.) cool, windy days

28.) it gets dark early

29.) crunchy leaves

30.) sweet potatoes 

Fall just thrills me so much!

And since it’s still summer I will honor it with some lovely summery photos I took!¬†

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This little beauty was drinking nectar through this bright orange flower all August long! I used to stand there and watch with wonder.

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This fly was basking in a light rainy afternoon one day out in my backyard. I captured him and the glistening drops on the vibrant green leaf.

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A different fly on the same day on a flower or leaf stem. Aren’t they beautiful?! Flies really can be quite lovely and I have great photographer skills, don’t you think?!

I think so too! ūüėÄ

Xoxo Kim

p.s. check out “Cool Night” by Paul Davis!! one of my favorite songs since I was a little girl! ‚̧

Today is one of those days…..<3

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I woke up after a night of restless sleep. I have been struggling with a bad flare up of my chronic facial pain disorder. I haven’t slept much in over a week and haven’t consumed much other than water in four days. I try to eat something everyday and can’t. The pain is just too much. Even soft things are hard to chew.

People think I’m losing weight because I want to. That’s not the case at all. I don’t want to, I just can’t eat. I’m kind of sick looking. My face is swelled slightly and my eyes are pink looking and puffed underneath because of the pain and lack of sleep. My skin is pale looking.

I’m exhausted and fatigued. Today I decided to walk to a store and buy mashed potatoes with beef flavored gravy! Yum, right?! I came home, put it on the kitchen table and my dog had to go in the backyard and doesn’t like the yard door being closed with no one out there with her. So I went out with her and came back in and guess what?! My cats ate my potatoes! And they were kind of on the expensive side for someone like me with very little money! Can you say, disappointed?! Lol oh well there goes that.

So what kind of day is today?

¬†I woke up fatigued, restless, hungry, in pain, exhausted, and achy and I feel nothing but…..pure joy! That’s right, sheer joy!¬†

I’m generally very happy but the joy I feel all day today isn’t a regular, general happy.

You know that joy you experience when you hit the lottery, buy a new car, meet a new friend, a new romantic love interest, get a job offer…it’s kind of like that! But none of that happened to me today or recently!

I can often tap into that kind of joy when I try but today it’s just here unexpectedly but definitely welcome!¬†¬†¬†¬† ūüėÄ

I had a flashback memory today of when I was a little girl and my mom and dad would take me to Center City Philadelphia at night and we would buy hot chocolate chip cookies and lay out on the grass under the black or navy starlit sky and eat them. There were so many fireflies lighting up green and all people would just lay out and look at the stars and stuff and one night a man said to the fireflies “Hey turn out the lights!” lol it was so funny and we all just laughed.

There’s a kind of childlike joy that we often don’t feel as adults. Things that were so amazing and thrilling back then just often don’t have that feel anymore. We may still love them but they don’t as frequently provoke that deep joy. I love when I can tap into that now. And I believe we all can more often with mindfulness.

Today

Music sounds so great, the air is sweet and caressed by a sweet floral fragrance. Outside is bursting with green, flowers, sunshine. There’s a sweet breeze in the air.And my long hair got stuck in a tree walking to work today! Lol ūüėÄ It’s always fun when that happens! ;-p

It’s a beautiful Spring day. Except today is the first day of Summer here in Philadelphia! My least favorite season!¬†

But it feels more like Spring.

I love the wonder all around.

This just goes to show that someone CAN be happy even when things aren’t perfect or there’s problems and lots of pain.

And when I say pain, I’m talking about bone deep pain, soul shattering pain, like it’s gripping my very essence. But you know what else is gripping my very essence? Love. Deep love. Not just the the love directed at certain people and objects, and things but just deep all encompassing Love.

My pain disorder can leave me feeling and being so broken. I’m not referring to depression. But the broken-ness that comes along with having a chronic physical illness or pain disorder. I’m broken but I’m so beautifully whole. There’s a kind of irony to that but it’s beautiful.

“Find a place inside where there’s¬†joy, and the¬†joywill burn out the¬†pain.” –¬†Joseph Campbell

It doesn’t completely burn out the pain but it does lessen the power of it, it breaks the bondage.

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin

I hope you are well wherever you are and experiencing bone deep joy and love.

Xoxo Kim

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My sweet, looong List of Happy. <3 :-D

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I recently stumbled across a blog post about “List of Kinds of People I Seriously Hate”

And to my dismay I am on that list! Lol Well not me personally but one of the kinds of people she “seriously hates.” lol How rude!

;-D

She seems like a very outspoken girl though who is very sure of herself and isn’t afraid to state her views and just be herself, not fearing what others will think or say about who she is. And I think that’s generally something to be appreciated and respected so I wasn’t too annoyed and she also loves animals so that’s alright with me! ¬†Anyway, she can’t stand girls who wear low cut shirts, especially when they post pics of themselves and that’s totally me! She said it’s totally slutty and any girl like that will be taken right off her newsfeed or any social media list! But it’s just my style is all! Always has been, always will be! ;-D

She said her and her friends tried to write a list of happy things and it was so much harder than writing the list of negative things.  

It surprised me that so many agreed with her. I’m the opposite. ¬† I find it so much easier thinking of things I love. I only planned on writing like 20 something things and just couldn’t stop! ¬† Now it’s way over 100!

But when I try to write a list of things I don’t much care for, I get stuck before even getting to ten usually! ¬† Lol! I guess I’m a little too accepting or easy going?! ūüėÄ
Mostly the things on my negative list are : unjust discrimination, animal cruelty, prejudicial attitudes, abuse, homicide….things like that.¬†

Also, I think “happy lists” are often more unique than “sad lists” because the unhappy lists are often universal. If you think about it, who really does like unjust discrimination, diseases, sore throats, child or domestic abuse, homicide…? Pretty much no one. ¬†

But not everyone loves the color pink or rainbows or babies! 

So happy lists are quite unique.

Inaccurate grammar, Girls who do the duck face, post pics of their messy kids and food all day, piss and moan about their drama, are slutty, post 50, million pics of themselves in restrooms, half dressed, political rants…..don’t annoy me. I don’t mind seeing their stuff or whatever. ¬† Whatever floats your boats, girls! Lol

I’m not the most judgmental girl in the world which also means I don’t really judge people too hard who judge me negatively. ¬† I’m mostly, understanding of your lack of understanding, compassionate even with your lack of compassion, empathetic for your lack of empathy, accepting of your lack of acceptance.

I don’t like it much but it is what it is, right?!

ūüôā¬†

Anyway, though, Here’s my list of happy!
Inspired by that girl’s list of not so happy! Lol

1.) animals

2.) shopping for makeup, clothes, books

3.) iced coffee especially when it’s really sweetened¬†

4.) meeting people I never met before

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5.) finding new quotes, songs, and poems that resonate with me in a deep way

6.) snowstorms and the first snowfall of the season

7.) When the seasons are changing to the next one – it’s something magical

8.) photography

9.) looking into a mirror and loving who/what I see

10.) the feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s something small

11.) making someone smile

12.) random acts of kindness

13.) helping someone 

14.) the way it feels to put on comfy pj’s and fall into bed after a long day

15.) hot tea

16.) cake

17.) rain

18.) Hello Kitty

19.) journals and stationary stuff

20.) blogs

21.) my long hair

22.) gentle summer breezes

23.) all the different shades of green that appear throughout Spring & Summer

24.) novels and plays with deep, profound meanings

25.) poetry 

26.) getting a new handbag

27.) learning a new life lesson or being reminded of ones I previously learned

28.) salt n vinegar chips

29.) babies!

30.) art journaling 

31.) walking in warm or cool weather 

32.) seeing people happy and doing well

33.) friends

34.) mindfulness meditation and activities 

35.) Buddhist teachings 

36.) philosophy 

37.) dreams while I’m sleeping and remembering them when I wake up

38.) being aware of beauty all around 

39.) my senses

40.) restaurants

41.) gratitude 

42.) parks 

43.) beautiful buildings 

44.) kind strangers 

45.) Oldies songs, country songs, love songs 

46.) Happy songs and sad poetry 

47.) the sky

48.) the moon

49.) getting caught in the rain

50.) taking a picture that turns out more perfect than I expected 

51.) love of all kinds, romantic, platonic, universal

52.) walking through a large shopping mall

53.) being surrounded by people

54.) hugs!

55.) making someone else happy

56.) Belly laughs that hurt

57.) the way it feels when laughing almost lifts me when I’m depressed sometimes or in physical pain

58.) Center City Philadelphia and all the beautiful buildings 

59.) buying someone a gift or cup of coffee/tea

60.) people who are open-minded, understanding, and empathetic for other people’s situations, problems, lives…

61.) all the colorful leaves of the fall

62.) Blueberry coffee (coffee with blueberry flavor in it) with cream and sugar

63.) fun/deep conversations with a stranger on a bus or at the bus stop

64.) connecting with people

65.) feeling one with all that is

66.) pretty candles with a sweet fragrance 

67.) being able to listen to the same song over and over and never get tired of it!

68.) unsuccessfully trying hard not to laugh at something hilarious that I know I shouldn’t be laughing at

69.)  serving people at the store where I work 

70.) coca cola

71.) romantic comedies

72.) anything sappy and cheesy 

73.) the sun and sunrises and sunsets

74.) Morning

75.) nightfall

76.) sunny afternoons

77.) hot cocoa with whipped cream on a bitter cold day

78.) gray days as well as sunny ones

79.) miserable weather 

80.) bright, clear blue sky with big fluffy white clouds

 81.) different kinds of accents people have

82.) learning phrases in other languages I don’t know

83.) getting a new or old book

84.) bookstores

85.) nail polish that stands out

86.) bright colored socks

86.) anything pink

87.) the color red – especially dresses and handbags, and lipstick on girls who can pull it off

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88.) the color green 

89.) sweet messages

90.) feeling deeply inspired 

91.) feeling motivated and taking action for the better

92.) twilight

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93.) finding beauty in unlikely places

94.) sweet memories

95.) When a certain scent takes me back to a place long gone. The bittersweetness of nostalgia

96.) old writings, books, plays

97.) flowers

98.) remembering a song I forgot long ago

99.) When pain isn’t as bad

100.) being filled with deep wisdom and sharing it with others or people sharing it with me

101.) Girls in five inch stilettos 

102.) animals playing 

103.) my online friends on Facebook, the blog, 365project…

104.) the feeling when a package comes in the mail for me!

105.) Happy surprises

106.) everything related to weddings 

107.) animal rescue organizations

108.) movie theatres 

109.) the feeling of laying in bed at night reading 

110.) trampolines 

111.) learning something fascinating 

112.) teaching someone something fascinating I learned

113.) making someone’s day better

114.) physical closeness – waiting for a bus with people, standing in lines at a store with people, sitting next to people….

115.) finding something with the letter “K” on it

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116.) peanut butter

117.) french vanilla cream horns

118.) university/college campuses

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119.) things not going as planned but then working out even better! 

120.) posting sweet song lyrics 

121.) snuggling under blankets with dogs or cats

122.) skyscrapers 

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123.) street signs and city lights

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124.) the sounds of the city

125.) busses and trolleys

126.) people who build each other up instead of dragging each other down

127.) tomatoes 

128.) walking in a light mist

129.) Indian food

130.) fruity or Hawaiian body spray 

131.) the way it feels using a new shower gel or hair product 

132.) facebook

133.) lemons in soda and iced tea

134.) warm places in the Winter

135.) being deeply inspired to create 

136.) birds flying around outside 

137.) the love of being greeted by my dogs when I walk into a room.

138.) lovers holding hands

139.) old people – they’re cute.

140.) reading about/hearing about someone’s dream finally coming true.

Wow! Life sure is good, isn’t it?! ūüėÄ

I never expected to feel this way at the end of this. So uplifted, warm, and in awe at how many amazing things there are to be so happy about. I did not list these all in one sitting; it took like two days but at the very end I felt so warm and light and like I can jump for joy!

Sometimes I create lists like these in my head at night as I’m laying in bed but it feels even different when I write out a super long list like this. When I think like this at night, the joy often keeps me awake! Lol. So I try to think of more mellow, serene things. You know your life is good when you can’t sleep at night because of too many GOOD thoughts! ¬†¬†

I don’t have a “real” job, not much money, I live with family, not on my own, I have a depressive and chronic physical pain disorder but I can still say that life is beautiful. ¬† Beautiful with all the simple joys, all the sweet wonders that cost nothing or next to nothing. ¬†
ūüėÄ

May you realize all the treasures you are truly blessed with and feel inspired to list them and not be able to stop!  

Xoxo Kim

30 Days of Lists – Day #3 Art Journaling Tips & Ideas

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I have always loved journals, drawing, writing…but I would always start a journal then eventually stop until a while later, lose it, and start a new one. I never knew why exactly until recently. ¬† I have never been a perfectionist at all but I have felt low occasionally for not being some definition of perfect. ¬†I never usually tried to be perfect at most things but I wanted to be without even trying and felt low for not being that way. The reason I always give up journaling/drawing and stuff, I realized is, I have terrible handwriting and drawing skills. I always knew that but never quite realized, consciously, that my view of it was interfering with me. If you look at my handwriting you will seriously think a first grader wrote it! It’s not my choice either! ¬† I can’t write neat or small. It’s very large and sloppy. ¬†It’s funny though and I laugh about it. ¬†

A stranger once saw my handwriting and said I have serial killer handwriting.   His teacher told him that when he was young, he said. Lol!

And when I write in cursive I can’t even understand it myself. So yeah.¬†

And when I draw, it looks like a little kid’s artwork. But I have finally come to accept that it doesn’t matter. It’s still healing and still fun and still great to draw and write in journals. It’s different than writing in an online blog or in a memos section in some electronic device. Both are great! But journaling in a notebook is more of a “hands on” experience.¬†

So I won’t let my serial killing handwriting get in the way any longer! ¬†

I love looking at people’s art journals online. It inspires me and is aesthetically pleasing. But I have found myself occasionally comparing myself to those people with me coming up short. ¬† “Why can’t I draw that good?” “why couldn’t I think of that?!” “why doesn’t mine look that artistic?” “how can she do that and not me?!?!”

But I decided to silence that monster and just focus on what I’m doing right. It’s art journaling, it can’t ever be wrong! ¬† I let those other journals inspire and please me more than make me distressed or envious that my skills aren’t that great. ¬† It’s a hobby, not a job that must be perfect. ¬†

I am so thankful that I now realize why I never stick with artistic stuff. Because I get fed up with my handwriting and lack of skills. And I’m thankful I now realize that it doesn’t have to be an issue. ¬† Comparing ourselves to others in negative ways is an ugly thing. Now let’s stop.

I recently began a new art journal. ¬† And I will stick with it. I will fill it up with kiddy drawings and serial killer handwriting until it’s overflowing and be very proud! ;-D

So today I am listing some ideas for journal entries and some tips. This is somewhat new for me and I’m just learning and exploring and haven’t tried a lot of this. ¬† So if you’re also new to it, we can learn and explore together! ¬†

And if your an expert already give me some tips! Lol

Some of these I thought of completely on my own, others are inspired by other places I seen.
And I will add the links where I got some ideas at the end of this post.

1.) song lyrics – try to capture some lyrics to a song that has some sort of meaning to you. Maybe write the lyrics and draw around them or not write them in words but draw them out. Maybe scenes of a song or just the emotions they inspire in you.

2.) quotes Рdo the same as above but with a quote 

3.) draw yourself as your favorite character in a book you read. Pretend that’s you. How do you feel? Put yourself in that character’s place.

4.) least favorite character  Рstep outside your comfort zone and try the above suggestions but instead draw yourself as the villain or your least favorite character! 

5.) random scene – choose a random scene out of a book. Maybe randomly flip to a page and draw what you see/read on that page. Or search your memory for just some scene and bring it alive in your journal.

6.) favorite scene – do the above suggestion but choose one of your favorite scenes instead of a random one. Or even draw your least favorite or uncomfortable scene!

7.) Be inspired by something you always wanted to do – Is there something you want to do so badly but just never have? I have for so long wanted to dress up in a beautiful dress and go to some fancy expensive restaurant for no reason other than just because! Lol I wear just pants and shirts everyday. I dont have much money and whenever I got dressed up before and hair done it was for some big occasion like a graduation, a wedding, prom or whatever. ¬† Imagine going all out, getting all dolled up for no reason other than sheer pleasure?! Some people may think it’s a waste but to me it’s just a thrill! :-D. I don’t plan on making a habit of it. I’m not materialistic generally but once in a blue moon is ok! Everyday of your life is a special occasion!¬†

8.) worst pain you have ever felt – art journaling is healing for both physical and emotional pain. It can help ease the pain sometimes but even if it doesn’t it can help us cope with the pain. I have a depressive disorder that doesn’t get cured but comes and goes in symptoms and full blown episodes. Many days now it’s like I don’t even have it. But I do and it always comes back. Art journaling is amazing for coping. Also, I have a physical pain disorder. ¬† A chronic facial/head pain disorder. It’s so bad and interferes with my life when it flares up badly like right now. Like my depression, it comes and goes. ¬† But with the physical disorder I am usually always in some degree of pain, often mild. The mild usually doesn’t interfere with my happiness or my life in general. It’s just there. But the moderate to severe pain is pure raw agony and I feel so broken. ¬† So very broken. There’s no safe, effective medical treatments, just home remedies that help. Sometimes severe flare ups come frequently over and over lasting for days to weeks. Sometimes they don’t show up for months and months. They come on without warning. Sometimes waking me in the middle of sleep. ¬†Since there’s very little I can do to ease them after they appear, I have to find ways to handle them and cope with the pain. Healthy ways. ¬†Physical movement and expression of the pain often help. Like I said, not help alleviate the pain usually but just cope with it.
Sharing comforting quotes with others when I’m in pain, knowing I may be helping someone else, helps me too. ¬† I can’t bear the thought of knowing there’s others in the depth of pain I’m in. And even worse! I can’t fathom it. But capturing my pain in writing and drawing helps so much. Physical pain brings with it, emotional pain, panic, and fear, distress…and it’s important to handle it effectively.¬†

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9.) a moment you felt shocked – draw/paint how it feels to be shocked.

10.) let your unconscious mind and hand lead the way – don’t think, just draw or paint or write or cut out and glue….see what you create.

11.) What does love feel like to you ? Capture it

12.) your idea of beauty – what does beauty feel like?

13.) capture a poem you like in an image 

14.) draw a fantasy you have

15.) capture a dream you once had while you slept or the feelings it provoked or still provokes in you

16.) capture yourself exactly as you are but with one difference Рmaybe something you have been wanting to change about yourself or something you would never want to change about you. Maybe this can make you more grateful for all that you currently are or motivate you to change that one thing for the better.  

17.) draw a feeling you used to love when you were little РI have always loved being in school with all the other kids. Especially when we would do unusual activities like turn the lights off and watch a movie or have a holiday celebration. I still remember how it felt. How it felt to be a child. A child in school with all other kids doing fun activities.   I can never feel that again in a  moment because I will never be a kid again. And I will never literally be in that place again.  But I cherish the memories and would love to capture them in an artistic way.

17.) meditative experience – try to meditate while creating. ¬† Literally try to feel what you are capturing, doing, feeling. Feel it. Don’t just draw mechanically or make it obligatory. Try to live in the moment¬†

18.) don’t just focus on the end result. Savor the process of creating. ¬† Sometimes I have trouble with this. I can’t wait to see my masterpiece and I neglect to cherish the very process of creating.¬†

19.). Try not to force your journal to only be a certain way. Let it flow. ¬† It doesn’t all have to be positive or profound. ¬† It can be sometimes negative and sometimes “trivial.”. Every entry doesn’t have to be pretty or have some great meaning or underlying message. ¬†

20.) what’s it like to be very scared? What’s your biggest fear whether it can really happen or not.

21.) What is it to be lonely?

22.) to actually be alone? 

23.) Express, draw, paint…how it felt when you were rejected? maybe for a job or a university. By a potential lover or friend or family member.

24.) keep in mind that your content doesn’t have to make sense to anyone, not even yourself. It can be abstract, confusing, mysterious, and nonsensical. Even if you decide to share it, you don’t have to feel the need to explain it. ¬†I love a little mystery. ¬† My favorite kind of poetry and artwork is obscure kind. Especially when it kind of seems to make sense but doesn’t. ¬† I often like to write, poetically, without explanation . And when I read poems and view artistic stuff by others, I love when they don’t explain it. I love drawing my own implications or interpretations. ¬† But you certainly can explain if you want! You just shouldn’t have to feel like it’s your obligation.¬†

25.) Express your gratitude list artistically

These are just suggestions; I’m in no way saying they are the only right way and anything else is wrong. ¬† Some of these are great for some people and not others. Do what’s best for you, of course, even if above I stated something else. ¬†

Your journal doesn’t just have to be about drawing or painting or coloring. You can cut things out and glue it onto your pages. Someone suggested old pieces of mail, glue it on and color or paint over it. Cut out magazine pieces or cloth and glue it on. Anything you can think of!

My journal doesn’t look anywhere nearly as artistic as some I have seen! But instead of viewing that in a negative light, I see it as a fun challenge! I have all these blank pages to make more and more creative and soon mine will be looking great!

I have drawing pencils, watercolor paints & pencils, colored pencils, markers, magazines, and glue and scissors for now.

Just by starting this new journal very recently and listing these here today, I learned even more about myself. I found a deeper part of me. A part I forgot about. I was able to summon some old experiences, feelings, memories that I forgot about but are still very important.  I learned some new or forgotten fears, how really capable I am of healing and coping, how deeply certain things both old and new have affected me in both good and bad ways.

I have been able to somewhat distract myself and push the physical pain and my fear of it to the back burner of my mind as I focus on this.

Remember you don’t have to show your art journal entries to anyone! ¬† It’s up to you. Even though I’m very shy, I’m also very open about my experiences, emotions, opinions…and I don’t mind sharing with people. I love to. But many people say they love knowing their journal is just for them, never for anyone else to lay eyes on. No one else has to judge it, critique it, or know of its content.

As open as I am, I like to share most of my ideas and things with people on and offline. But sometimes it does feel very good to have a secret of my own. Not because the secret is too embarrassing or awkward to let people know but just because it’s a little thrilling having some things only I know. I don’t make that a habit but there are a few things I like selfishly keeping to myself! ¬† Lol. One example is my dreams at night. I dream often and frequently remember them. And for some reason I like keeping lots of my dreams to myself. Again, not because they’re embarrassing or fear of judgment but it’s sweet just having something for me! Lol
I love remembering dreams I had and knowing there’s no one else in the entire world who knows this but me.

It’s especially thrilling since I’m not usually like that and I usually share so much about myself.

So it’s up to you to share or not to share your journal entries! ¬† What I would really recommend though is that you decide only after your entry is done If you will share or not. Go into it deciding that this is just for you and that you won’t share with anyone. Then when it’s done you can decide to share if you want. I recommend this because if you decide that you will show people your entries before you complete them, you may unconsciously hold back something or feel too pressured that it has to be perfect or at least presentable, something that others will appreciate. You may unconsciously start to create more for other people than for yourself. ¬† This defeats the purpose of art journaling. Your art journal is not a public blog for yourself and everyone who comes across it. It’s for you and only you. ¬†

It’s meant to be healing, expressive, creative and if you feel pressured to make it a certain way then you may not get the most out of it. So be all that you can be, do what is best for you and only you then decide if it’s meant for anyone else’s eyes.

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If you have any tips or ideas or any links to pages about art journals please let me know! Whether you are also somewhat new to art journaling, already have been engaging in this for a while, or never tried it! I would love any ideas! All are valuable to me! Thank You!!

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Thank You so so much to everyone who reads, shares, likes, “likes,” and comments on my content! I appreciate you so much!!! And I hope you find something helpful here.

Xoxo Kim

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P.s. I totally forgot the links!!

Here you are:

http://www.blacksburgbelle.com/2010/10/50-art-journal-prompts/

Love & Humanness {Oneness}

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” We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.” ~¬†
Tim McGraw

I’m currently reading a book by Leo Buscaglia called “Personhood.”. I had this book for quite a while but never got around to reading it until now. I still have much more to read but I love the whole concept of the book. It’s not a philosophy or political book or even really a psychology book. It’s a personal development book about living up to our full potential, loving and connecting with others.¬†

Dr. Buscaglia explains how no matter how different we are than each other or no matter how similar we are to one another we can connect with each other through our basic humanness. We don’t have to have very similar life experiences or relate or identify with each other in very significant ways to deeply connect with each other.

We are similar in very basic ways. We are alive. We all have a story and all experience pleasure and pain and have needs and desires.

I have always loved people and often feel deeply connected with others whether I know them well or not. I have so much gratitude & appreciation for the lives of others.

Recently I was with my mom, dad, and little sister in my dad’s mini van and we were driving in Center City, Philadelphia at night and there were lots of people walking, standing, sitting….around the city.

Some were homeless and dirty, dressed in rags, some were dressed warmly and smiling, talking on cell phones, waiting for busses, giggling with one another, some looked sad and distraught while others appeared to be happy and carefree. Some were alone, some in groups. ¬†I noticed short people and tall people, young and old, men and women,Asian, African American, Latino, Caucasian…

Some spoke languages other than English. One pretty young lady with long blonde hair who was with a man was laughing wildly like she had no care in the world. They were smiling and genuinely joyous. I couldn’t help but stare, maybe to the point of rudeness. They looked perfect together standing beneath the city lights at night laughing with wild abandon. I had no choice but to smile myself. ¬†They were speaking a language I couldn’t understand.

Then they started walking towards my sister and me as we stood on the street corner waiting for my dad and mom to come for us. We went to a bookstore and there were no parking spaces so my dad had to drive around the block til we came out.

When the girl got close to me she smiled¬†, looked directly at me and said “Bonjour soeur.”. And continued walking. ¬†
I can only speak English and I wasn’t completely sure what she said to me but in high school I took an Italian class and some days conversations of other languages came up including conversations about the French language.

I got an idea the girl said “hello sister” in French to me. So I looked it up on Google translate on my phone and discovered that is in fact what she said.

It warmed my heart. I couldn’t understand her language but I certainly understood her smile, her laugh, her beauty, and the spark in her eyes, her need to reach me…

And she saw something in me that inspired her to reach out with a warm & friendly greeting.

So we had the language barrier but that doesn’t prevent human connection.

We all speak different languages, have different cultures, different experiences, different skin colors, and ethnicities, sexual orientations, nationalities, political views, religions, opinions, and many other differences but our smiles, laughs, love, beauty, and basic humanness connect the same.

As I was looking at each person I asked myself “Is it weird to love every person I look at, to feel a strong sense of gratitude for the lives of people I don’t know and will probably never know and never see again?”.¬†

It may be weird to some people but weird or not, it’s what I often feel. I don’t know those people but I know they are someone. They bring a light to this world. They all have a name, a face, a life, a breath, a story, a dream. They have a heart and they experience pleasure and pain, desires, and needs.

We may have sharp differences and experiences, opposing views, disagreements but we are not very different underneath.

Leo Buscaglia, in his book, describes some very brief experiences where he met someone who he could only connect with through their basic humanness. Because of language/culture barriers or because of dramatically different life experiences, these people he encountered were only able to connect with him through being living humans but still the connection is deep, satisfying, and rewarding.

He describes a woman he saw one hot afternoon while he was in southern India. She was in a faded sari and walking. He noticed she seemed strong and erect and determined. She had a large, heavy water pot balanced on her head. There was no sign of where she has been or where she was going.   
He writes this: “She paused for a moment and our eyes met. We knew each other.”

Not a word was spoken, yet these two people connected deeply. 

He writes of the “beautiful, toothless old farmer in Nepal” who allowed him to stay overnight in his house with all of his family and animals. Leo Buscaglia writes,¬†

“Conversation, beyond sign language, a smile, eye contact, a touch, was impossible.”

This farmer had no idea where the USA is, never spoke to a Western person, and never traveled in a car. He never heard of history, knew nothing of politics, and knew nothing at all beyond his village life. But Dr. Buscaglia writes, 

“Still, for an evening we were brought warmly together. When the time for parting came, feeling that we would probably never meet again, we walked arm and arm to the village’s end and wept. We are still together.”

He writes of the young anxious business man who helped him find his way in Tokyo when he was lost, the Brooklyn, NY teenager who told him that he helped him create his purpose, the Kindergarten child who he laughed with in a lunchroom.

Dr. Buscaglia writes this about his experiences, 

“For these few brief seconds of our encounters, I was and still am that Indian woman, that Nepalese farmer, that Japanese businessman, that New York student, that Kindergarten child. We were all one in the same thing, humanness. When our minds could not meet, our hearts were the common bond. When our speech was a mystery, it was solved by our eyes and arms.”

&

“Some moved in technological wonder, others in primitive magic ; some rested in material opulence, others in the greatest simplicity and even desperate poverty; some were equipped with strong formal educations, others simply used their natural mental endowments, enriched by experienced. But, whatever, they all had a strong common tie – their humanness, their deep need to survive, to realize their experience, to love and be loved, to overcome loneliness and isolation, to use their creative endeavors, to make things more comfortable and beautiful for themselves and their loved ones, to attempt to understand their world and their part in it.”

And this:

“Each of these people were the history of all people, but all were also a part of the unique history which only their lives would write….”

Isn’t this beautiful?!? We are all connected. I am you. You are me. In so many ways.

The homeless people you see, the financially struggling, the rich people, the ones you feel are way out of your league, the ones you feel that you are above in some ways, the “losers,” the “saints,” the lucky ones, the unfortunate ones, the people who seem to have it all, the ones who have next to nothing, we are all each other.

Some of the most deepest connections, conversations, experiences I have known, have been with random strangers or people I just met, on the busses, in hospitals, walking the streets..

I am very shy but very open to people.  

If ever you feel lonely and isolated, remember there’s a whole world full of people. Ones who will walk with you for a while, embrace you, make eye contact with you, listen to your story….

“Do not feel lonely, the¬†entire universe¬†is inside you.” ~ Rumi

Xoxo Kim

Until It Is Carved in Stone

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(second photo not mine)

Hello darlings, I’m here to knock your socks off this lovely morning. ¬† It’s just after 12:00am. Yup! ;-D

Have you ever read a play called “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder? ¬†I have and it’s amazing. It’s beyond amazing. It was produced and published in 1938. It won the Pulitzer Prize.
It takes place in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

I first read it when I was twenty – six years old. And whoa am I so beyond pleased that I did. Thank You to Sarah Ban Breathnach for mentioning this play in her book “Simple Abundance”!!!! Sarah Ban Breathnach is another one who has one of the biggest impacts on me with her beautiful writing.

The play is about a young woman, Emily, who dies during childbirth. She’s twenty -six years old. ¬†It starts out when she’s a young girl and it’s all about her and her family and friends and all the people in their small village of Grover’s Corners. ¬†It’s so small everyone knows each other.

The girl dies at age twenty – six years and she “wakes up” in the afterlife where she meets again, all those who she has known during their living years. ¬†The girl, Emily, is freaked out, grieving, and just devastated that she lost her life and can never again have it back. ¬† She was always a happy girl with a wonderful life while she was alive, but just like most of us tend to do, she usually took most things for granted. Never stopping to just be and allow gratitude, wonder, and awe to surge through her at all the simple joys like the white fence surrounding her house, coffee, flowers, the way people look at each other, the simple ticking of clocks and folded laundry…

Other than people dying throughout the play, the play is extremely uneventful and has received criticism for that fact but the very essence of being uneventful is the whole point of the play. It is the heart, the gut of it, if you will.

Mr. Wilder intended to show people through his wonderful play, how beautiful, wondrous, amazing, lovely… life IS even when it’s so simple, monotonous, agonizing, ¬†and lacking in big events.
While this may seem like a play depicting an idealized view of American life, it actually is not. ¬† The message is that life is good while being painful, it’s heartbreaking but breathtakingly beautiful. ¬†

One character in the play, Simon Stimson, is a pivot of this message. He struggles with alcoholism and is known as the town drunk but he serves as a message to people . He is a tortured soul who constantly cries out for help but people refuse to help. They are steeped in denial and overlook his desperate pleads for help. ¬†He eventually dies by suicide. The message here is that society, friends, family, people….we ignore, deny, repress, overlook so much of life. Even when one of our own is desperately pleading, screaming out for a helping hand.

   In the version I have, there is a beautiful forward by Donald Margulies.  

Donald Margulies states, “You are holding in your hands a great American play. Possibly the great American play.”
He goes on to say if you have read this play many years ago, perhaps in school as a requirement for some class, you will greatly benefit by reading it again.  But now, read it more mindfully, soak up the incredible message this play conveys.  Draw on your own life, your own experiences to really receive the deep wisdom of this play.

Donald Margulies admits that he is envious of any person about to begin reading this play who has never read it previously. He loves this play passionately but reading it again isn’t the same as reading it for the first occasion, he says. ¬† But he is a teacher/professor and gets to watch others experience again and again which he loves. ¬†

The title of this play “Our Town,” itself, is a pivotal message. The town in the play, “Grover’s Corners” is a representation of human life everywhere. ¬† It can be extended to all of American life and beyond, all around our world. ¬†We are all human and we all share basic human traits no matter our culture, country, society, nationality, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, political views, experiences, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, opinions…

“Our Town”, as Margulies states, is a “microcosm of the human family…”. It is all towns. ¬†Everywhere. ¬†This play captures the universal experience of simply being alive.

Act III of this play is breathtaking. Mr. Margulies states that he was shattered by it and that is how I feel as well.  Shattered then put back together once again but not without a few scars, a few breaks, a deep enthralling sense of enlightenment and compunction.

You know someone is a good teacher when that person can slap you with a truth so profound it brings you to a sense of ruin, leaves you with a sense of pudency, remorse for old ways, living and never knowing. ¬† But it’s good to have someone or something break you down to the bone, pierce you to the core, punch you in the gut , knocking the wind out of you, ¬† shatter you just to build you back up with a new sense of life, a new philosophy, a newfound strength, rebirth.¬†

Let it rip your heart out, shatter it to pieces, almost beyond recognition then let it glue it back together and move you forward with some scars to remind you to be mindful of the wonders of being alive.   The wonders we ignore, overlook, and slap in the face day by day.

Now I will leave you with some poignant quotes or lines out of this play.

In the play when the stage manager is interviewing one of the main characters, Mr. Webb, about their town, Mr. Webb says this:

Very ordinary town, if you ask me. ¬†Little better behaved than most. Probably a lot duller. But our young people here seem to like it well enough. Ninety percent of ’em graduating from high school settle down right here to live-even when they’ve been away to college.”

Mr Webb: “…No ma’am, there isn’t much culture; but maybe this is the place to tell you that we’ve got a lot of pleasures of a kind here: We like the sun comin’ up over the mountain in the morning, and we all notice a good deal about the birds. We pay a lot of attention to them. ¬† ¬†And we watch the change of the seasons; yes, everybody knows about them. But those other things – you’re right ma’am, – there ain’t much….”

When Emily died and found herself in the afterlife she insisted on looking back at her previous life. ¬†The other dead people strongly advised against it as it would be too agonizing and despairing to see a life we once lived and can never , ever return to , but sweet, innocent Emily just had to see for herself. ¬† They urged her to choose an “unimportant” day as opposed to one she viewed as very important. ¬†One dead woman told her to choose the “least important” day of her life as it would be “important enough.” ¬†And it would still be incredibly painful.

Emily chose her 12th birthday.

Here are some things she said as she looked back, as if watching a movie.

Emily: “Oh, that’s the town I knew as a little girl. And look, there’s the old white fence that used to be around our house. Oh, I’d forgotten that! Oh, I love it so!…”

Emily:(softly, more in wonder than in grief.) ¬†“I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? ¬†Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything. – I can’t look at everything hard enough.”

Emily: “Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. ¬†Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama. I married George Gibbs, Mama. Wally’s dead too. ¬†Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. ¬†We felt terrible about it – don’t you remember? ¬†But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for one moment we’re happy. ¬†Let’s look at one another. “

When asked if she was happy looking back, Emily responded, “No…I should have listened to you. ¬†That’s all human beings are! ¬† Just blind people!”

Here is what Simon, the suicide victim says after death to Emily:
Yes, now you know. ¬†Now you know! ¬†That’s what it was to be alive. ¬†To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those…of those about you. ¬† To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. ¬† To be always at the mercy of one self – centered passion, or another. ¬†Now you know- that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to. ¬† Ignorance and blindness.¬†

Emily:
Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. ¬†Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute?
Stage Manager:¬†No.¬†(pause)¬†The saints and poets, maybe they do some.”

Think back to days in your life, maybe a birthday, a holiday, a special event, a graduation, a wedding….what was important to you then? ¬†The perfect napkin patterns? ¬† The perfect gift? ¬†Being a perfect entertainer? Spending a certain amount of money? ¬†Looking good? ¬†Getting gifts?

What was really, truly important? ¬†Napkin patterns and “perfect” gifts? ¬†Or looking into each other’s eyes. ¬†Really looking. Hugs. ¬†Warm embraces. ¬† Really tasting that hot tea or coffee. Looking up at the sky and feeling awe surge through you. ¬†Genuine friendships. Tucking your kids into bed. ¬† Really listening as we speak to each other. ¬†Stopping to see the flowers, to feel the sunlight, to hear the cars on the expressway, the birds chirping, to feel the warm blankets at night. ¬†Cuddling with your fur friends. ¬† To smell the honeysuckle and the roses and the warm cookies baking, to feel the rain on our skin , the soil beneath us.

Think of any “ordinary” day. What about clocks ticking? ¬†What about the refrigerator buzzing? ¬† What about the cars parked on your street? What about the concrete beneath your feet? What about the feel of air on your skin? What about the walls in your house? The ones you look at every single day. Do you ever stop to notice them? ¬† Or are they so mundane you don’t give them a second thought? ¬† What about when you’re making your coffee or tea? The sugar and cream going into it? ¬†Look at that. Really. ¬† Just look. ¬† When you brush your teeth, get a shower, wash your hands, inhabit your body and your life. ¬†What if you died but were allowed, for a few minutes to look back on this life, wouldn’t you miss all this? ¬†Miss it ALL with a passion so potent it can knock the stars and the sun into oblivion?

It’s not just the big things, the holidays, the birthdays, the weddings, babies, and graduations. ¬†It’s not just the pretty things, the sky, flowers, sun, butterflies and birds. ¬† It’s everything. ¬† All of life. The cars screeching in the streets, getting out of bed. Walking, driving to work, standing in lines, paying bills, stress. Wouldn’t you miss all that? ¬†
What if your life changes dramatically? ¬† What if someone dies on you? ¬† What if you are stricken with a long term illness or chronic pain disorder? ¬† What if a close family member or friend, a pet becomes terminally ill? ¬† What if you become paralyzed tomorrow or something else drastic happens and your life doesn’t look like this anymore? ¬†Oh, how you would long for the mundane, your old monotonous ways, your old stress and concerns.

It’s too late for them, but not for us. We are still alive. ¬† Still so blessed with this gift. THIS life.

And now with this awareness.

We can wake up and do all the things alive people can do. You can die at any second whether or not you realize or believe it.  

Isn’t Thornton brilliant? ¬†Isn’t he still touching people long after his own death with this wonderful play? His beautiful, profound message?

You can die right now.

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So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and go make eye contact. ¬†Go smile at a stranger. ¬† Go embrace someone. ¬†Go look up at the sky. ¬† Hold hands. ¬†Sit in a warm, cozy cafe with a friend and truly listen. ¬†Go listen to people. Listen to what they say. Listen to what they don’t say. Take advantage of your senses, of being alive, Share a banana split with your mom, sister, or best friend, hold a door for someone and really want to, buy someone coffee or tea, And if you plan on getting married, forget about the napkins if they don’t turn out right, if you plan on celebrating the holidays, forget the “perfect ” material gift. ¬†The true gift is your presence and your love and care.
I am a blessed girl. Truly.

Now.

Xoxo Kim.

P.s. And oh, yes, go read “Our Town” please. Ty

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

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‚ÄúThere is no such thing in anyone‚Äôs life as an unimportant day.‚ÄĚ ~ Alexander Woollcott

“Life is a banquet, and most¬†poor suckers are starving to death.” – Rosalind¬†Russell

“So the sidewalk is crowded, the city goes by
And I rush through another day
And a world full of strangers turn their eyes to me
But I just look the other way

They roll by just like water
And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst” ~ Joe Cocker (and other singers)

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” Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.‚ÄĚ ~ Robert Browning

Heart’s Flowers <3 {—–{—–@

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“Deep within the sanctuary¬†
Of ourselves there is a glade,
Where the grass is always greenest,
And the flowers never fade.
Nowhere is a garden sweeter,
Than the one love’s own hands tend,
Where affection falls like sunlight, 
Warming and awakening. 

Everlasting are the blossoms, 
That are nourished in the heart,
Little lights and little shadows,
Who can tell the two apart?
He who plants the smallest kindness,
Sows indeed a mighty seed,
For through years, like little acres, 
…Only love uproots the weed!” ~ Grace E. Easley

I came across this poem today by Grace E. Easley 

Isn’t it lovely?!

It may be hard to feel or recognize but with self work and some inner exploration and authentic self excavation we can find/create it. We can meditate, write freely in a journal or wherever you want, answer deep life questions, ponder, and reflect to find our truth and love deep within no matter what the outside world brings to us or around us.

When we nourish and cherish ourselves and tend to our deep inner needs, we can grow and find that we are all we truly need to be joyful. Nurture yourself. Care for yourself. ¬† Give to yourself. Love yourself. As well as others. Little lights & little shadows. As the poem states, “who can tell the two apart?”.¬†
Pain & pleasure. Darkness & light. Happiness & sadness. Weakness & strength.  They contrast each other and one seems painful while the other seems like a gift.   The truth is negative feelings and experiences can also be gifts to teach us and guide us and allow us to truly appreciate the goodness and realize it.   

A life of all profound joy & happiness & positivity, if it were possible, may be good to a certain extent but if we just always felt a pure state of pleasure, happiness, and joy with no pain, no negativity, no darkness, no struggles would we ever be able to truly, fully, recognize and appreciate the goodness? What if there were no struggles or adversity? Can we ever truly grow and have depth and substance? I think adversity and challenges help us become. Become all we can. Grow and appreciate. I would never recommend to go out intentionally looking for direct troubles and inflicting pain upon ourselves or others just so we can grow or help others grow and learn but troubles and problems are inevitable as long as we’re living and so we can use them to our advantage and sculpt ourselves into someone who is stronger and wiser. We can choose to view them in a more positive light. ¬† We can practice seeing them as blessings in disguise instead of a curse, an affliction, seeing ourselves as victims.

I think it’s good to sometimes take certain risks even if we don’t look for direct trouble. ¬† By loving, we risk losing or rejection. ¬† Filling out applications, we risk rejection. By trying we risk failing or not succeeding how we want to. By speaking up, we risk ridicule or criticism. ¬† But all of this can teach us and strengthen us if we let it.¬†

These are some of my thoughts for the day. I hope everyone is having a beautiful day or night wherever you are and if not I hope you find some consolation & healing when you need it most.

Xoxo Kim