Tag Archive | self

Get to know me survey!!! yeeeaaa!!!

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This is a little “get to know me better” bloggy survey!  

So here, get to know me better! Lol ;-D

1.) Define yourself in eleven words.
Empathetic, compassionate, alive, mindful, positive, trusting, happy, depressed, loving, amused, inspired

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2.) Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m a very shy extrovert! I love my own company but also love to be around people! I’m not the life of the party, I’m the quiet girl waiting for someone to come talk to me but I feel very uplifted and energized and hopeful in a room full of people whether or not I  know them, even if no one is talking to me. I may come off as reserved or socially anxious or introverted or a loner but that’s totally not the case! I’m just shy. But I eventually will open up. You’ll be sorry! Lol j/k

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3.) What kind of food won’t you eat?

Cantaloupe, Eww! 

4.) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Ahh, this question! I never much cared for it. Lol I just go with the flow, bask in the beauty of now. I’m not much of a planner, especially not that much into the future!

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5.) If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would you be?
This would probably be interesting but I’m not so sure I would trade places even for only a day. There’s no one I want to be other than me. It would be enlightening though to see the world through someone else’s eyes, to live and breathe as someone else. I may like to trade with multiple people throughout the day to get various perspectives. If I can only choose one, I would probably choose someone very different than me in some way like someone of a different culture or religious view or someone with an unusual experience so in combination with my own views and experiences, I can try to deepen my understanding of the world and others in general. 

“She woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself.” ~ Tyler Kent White

6.) What is your best quality? List two. 
My compassion. I’m not always compassionate but generally I have very deep compassion for all living sentient beings, even those who seem difficult to me. I don’t always feel or act on compassion, I can be cold, an asshole, angry…but for the most part I’m very compassionate. And I try to get better and better. 

Also my lighthearted attitude and how easily amused I am! I can be in severe pain, physical or emotional and still find laughter and lightness often. It’s a fantastic way to be. It’s so inspiring. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. 

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7.) What book has changed your life? Why? A book called 3:00am. I wrote about it here before! It’s a fictional murder mystery with the main character being someone with a very rare  sleep disorder with no known cure and the book really conveys the message of how each minute, each moment, each breath we take is extremely valuable, important, worth acknowledging and savoring. The man in the book only has one hour each day to be awake so he plans literally every minute individually to get the most in life, he goes for a run, reads his favorite books, goes on the Internet, talks to his dad…and plans each and every minute to live to the fullest before he falls asleep for 23 hours. The story is a reminder that each of us only has these moments right here, right now. We don’t have this disorder but we too only have a limited number of minutes to be awake/alive

I don’t always live like this but after reading that book I am changed and realize and live in such a way more than I used to, so that each minute counts and is the best it can be. 

“Let’s cherish every moment we have been given; the time is passing by…” ~ Kool & the Gang

Here are a couple excerpts:

“Those minutes are my life, I nearly scream. Those minutes that you take so much for granted because you get a thousand of them each day are priceless to me. Your life is measured by title, wealth, and status. My life is measured in grains of sand, trickling from one teardrop to the other.
My nostrils flare when I’m angry and I wonder if Ray feels a small gust of wind. Taking a calm breath, I ponder telling her that I’m Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. I don’t.” 

(Henry Bins is the disorder named after this man who was the first in the world to be diagnosed.)

“It’s like Christmas, each minute a beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. Should I allow myself an extra minute in the shower? Could I read three more pages of my book? Run another quarter mile? Watch a YouTube video? Watch the swimming pool scene from Wild Things, twice?”
Check out my post if you want:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/300am/

8.) What is your biggest problem/s in life?
One would be my struggle with grief. Also my physical pain disorder and depressive disorder but they are not constantly severe or always a problem. Grief never goes away as long as we live and can be quiet and mellow then out of nowhere or as a result of a trigger (a certain song, place, memory, person, picture…) become raw and violent. The raw & violent moments of grief are very hard to deal with. I found a way for the most part, and I’m getting better and better with it, to make space in my head, life, self…for this grief and other pain, to live in harmony with the rest of me. It’s not always easy but it doesn’t have to interfere with life and happiness. I am blessed, I don’t have many problems or serious things going on. It’s mostly because of my attitude. I am generally, naturally optimistic and cheerful even though I also struggle with depression. So my natural optimism and cheerfulness strengthened with intentional habits and techniques can make problems seem less serious and easier to cope with. Also, problems and pain can teach and strengthen us if we allow them.  

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9.) Who is your role model?
I don’t have one. There’s really no one I try to be like and live up to. Except the Buddha, Buddha Shakymuni, I try to live up to his ways. I want my love, my compassion, my happiness, my selflessness…to mirror his. I don’t always succeed at it and still have a long way to go probably. I am very mortal, fragile, weak next to him, but it’s so good to try. I practice Buddhist meditation, listen to Buddhist songs, attend classes, have Mala recitation beads, and try to live each day inspired by Buddha and practice his Teachings. Dharma is my inspiration and guide. There’s so much I don’t know but I’m learning more & more about Dharma.  

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10.) Do you have any insecurities? What are they? Yes and I love to be open about my flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, problems…because it can inspire others to accept their own and reach out to people in need. I know I can be criticized or mocked when I share, which I do not want to happen, but I think it’s worth the risk. I have already had things I shared about my mental health condition used against me, I had Facebook friends who used it against me and wrote intentionally rude things about my psychotic condition. When we share our less than perfect aspects, other people can feel less alone and more accepting of themselves and others. It’s worth the risk of being attacked or assaulted verbally. (in my opinion) Also, I like people to know much about me.
If they love me anyway, very good, I’m so honored! If not, I will love them and send them on their own way. ❤ For the most part, I'm a confident girl, not insecure. But sometimes I have a limited thought or insecurity that flares up, especially when I'm depressed. Sometimes I struggle with feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. I have often felt the more people I know and friends I have, the more valuable and worthy of life I will be. And the less I have the less valuable I am. And I never had many friends, sometimes I had none or felt like I had none. Sometimes I get jealous of people with lots of friends and big families. The truth is, we don't need lots of friends or family or any to be happy and worthy. Most people probably are happier with friends/family than none. We are social creatures, meant to socialize and be part of groups. I am happier having friends but it's still possible to be happy without any. And other people and things outside of ourselves do not give us value or importance. I'm much better with this insecurity but still struggle now and again with it especially if I'm depressed. It seems like an adolescent problem but I still struggle with it.  Another insecurity, sometimes I feel that I'm not cut out for living or “meant” to live, not in a spiritual or supernatural sense but a depressed sense like I'm so done with living and everything even when I have no specific external problems going on, even when good things are happening, it's a very deep and dangerous feeling or delusion. It's a strong belief and feeling that I am not compatible with life and do not want to be here. It can be very brief lasting just a few minutes or hours up to weeks or months. When I experience it I think it's true and often this is when I come close to killing myself or seriously thinking about killing myself. Also, another insecurity I have very often when I'm depressed is that everyone thinks I should be dead, not that they want me dead necessarily but think I just should be and I feel I have to justify my existence. This is one of the more common things I struggle with. When I'm depressed I often have a strong sense of embarrassment like everyone who looks at me can see right through me and thinks “She has no reason to even exist, she should just die already, what's she still doing here?” This feeling or delusion is also dangerous and I am more likely to kill myself I think, when I experience it than when I do not. When I experience this I often feel that people are mocking me and whispering about me and thinking I am inherently flawed. It is a very difficult thing to endure. It's not that I think everyone always thinks about me but when I feel this way, I think they think it when they are around me or whenever they do think of me. And it's not uncommon for me to experience, unfortunately.  I would never want people to think I have no insecurities or flaws or am never less than happy! I want to be positive and cheerful but genuine. 

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11.) What do you believe?
??? Well let's see, I believe we are all One, One with each other, the whole uni-verse, nature, the stars and moon & sun, animals….I often feel very connected to others and the world around me. I always have since I was a little girl but never knew how to put it into words. I am all for universal love, wishing everyone the best, wanting everyone to be happy and well, not at the expense of others though. When one person wins, we all win. When one person or animal dies, a light goes out on all of us. Your suffering is my suffering, your happiness is mine. Even if someone gets the job I want, I can be happy for that person. If someone has what I desperately want and do not have, I can still be happy and congratulate the person. If it's difficult at first, I can tune into my wisdom of Oneness.
I don't always feel this way even though I believe it. Sometimes I'm depressed and do not feel connected to anyone or anything. Sometimes I'm lonely or jealous or uninspired. But I always find my way back. 

12.) Does blogging enrich or better your life? Yes! Both the people I meet/communicate with and my own writing. I write for others and myself. I know every post may not be read by someone or “liked” or liked but it's still worth it to write and share. It will always be here for anyone who may find it and for me. I don't always publish everyday but I do write for the blog every single day. I am inspired almost everyday, some days the whole day, some days only one moment but each day I find something to inspire me or just feel inspired. I am inspired by what I read, see, feel…..and love to share and uplift or inspire others as well. Writing for here helps me think more clearly and in a more deep way. Sometimes my own writing inspires me! I have a whole collection since 2012 to look back on whenever I want. Once in a while WordPress suggests an old post to read after I publish a new one and I check it out and it's years old and still so inspiring! It's especially helpful when I'm depressed or in severe physical pain and I look back on an old post of mine and know I felt that way and can feel that way again. Other people's positive thoughts and writing can be so uplifting, inspiring,and helpful but there's a certain kind of hope and inspiration knowing I felt that way myself once and have it in me to feel that way again. My cover photo on Facebook says “Life is beautiful.” I don't always feel that way. Often but not always. And when I'm depressed/suicidal or having an agonizing headache, when I see that, I am reminded that I once felt that life is beautiful and can feel that again. Can feel that way NOW! Or soon. 

Most of the stuff I post here is timeless and can apply to anyone. I share my own experiences but try to in a way so anyone at all can relate. Not everyone has depression or headaches but when I write of my experiences with those, I try to make it so anyone can take any problem no matter how minor or serious, and relate. Most of us have basic empathy to relate to one another and we can deepen it.

I feel that writing for here also strengthens my positive attitude in general. It reinforces it, maintains it. I would be positive anyway mostly, but this deepens it and helps me be positive in moments I may not be without it. 
It helps to strengthen my habit of looking on the brighter side of life. I write here of my struggles and my positive way of handling them. Sometimes I don't feel like handling them positively but I am reminded of what I share here frequently and often get inspired to be more positive. It's like a reminder to myself while also potentially helping or reminding others. And I love when I get comments, likes, and shares. ❤

Since I make this mostly a positive place but also genuine, I do admit my flaws and less than pleasant qualities and situations but I highlight my strengths and good qualities and it carries over into life off of the blog. I remember to admit my weaknesses but also appreciate my strengths and blessings more.

13.) What kind of music do you like to listen to? 
I love all kinds but especially Oldies, country, and inspirational! I love love songs and ones with deep meaning and positive messages. I also like angry death metal! Lol! When I was young I felt in some ways that I could relate to it and identify and also found it hilarious. Now I still find it hilarious and laugh hysterically at the same songs! They never get old!  

14.) four facts about yourself:

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1.) green & pink are two of my favorite colors 
2.) if I were to die I would love if my organs can go to someone in need “Don’t take your organs to Heaven, Heaven knows we need them here!” 
In fact, I would love to give one of my kidneys to anyone in need even when I’m alive. I heard the transplant is more likely to be a success with a living donor. Want my kidney? You can have it if you desperately need it to live(I’m not going to sell it to people trying to get money or something…)!! Just let me know. (if I’m allowed to give it, I heard living donors who want to give a kidney to a random stranger must endure some grueling hours of psychiatric evaluation. And I have severe, severe depression but I’m not trying to die, I know what I’m in for! But the doctors may think I’m not thinking clearly because of my history of suicidal depression. But I can assure them I am! I just want to help! It is not without risks and won’t be always easy, but it’s worth it and the medical people make it as safe as possible. I want someone to live. I have two perfect, beautiful kidneys, I only need one!! I have no money so hopefully it doesn’t cost anything on my part! Lol) I don’t want anything in return other than someone living.
Since I was a young girl I have been deeply touched and inspired by the idea of organ donation even though I have never been personally touched by it. 
I always had a strong desire to help. 
I have known for as long as I can remember that I want my organs to go to someone else when I no longer need them. The only reason is that I want someone else to live. There are so many waiting for an organ and there are many organs that would save people’s lives but the person does not consent to donation. Every single eligible person can help.  
I don’t care who they go to. People have asked me, “But what if your heart goes to a ‘nasty,’ ‘undeserving,’ ‘no good,’ …..or whatever other unpleasant adjective….person?!” First of all, most people are not nasty or no good. So that is unlikely. Also it’s better to take the chance of saving an “unworthy” person than not and a “good” person dies. But anyway, everyone deserves to live! 

But I don’t judge those who refuse to donate their organs before or after death even though I wish everyone would after death! I understand and it’s your choice. Organ donation is a beautiful gift and it’s amazing how doctors can perform transplants! What a gift! To have parts of someone else to keep us alive! To give parts of our self to keep someone else alive! Incredible beauty! 
Thank you doctors, nurses, technicians….& organ donors/families & beautiful people!! <333 ❤ Thank You, thank you!! So many people are alive NOW because of the love of organ donors and their families and the love and hard work of the medical professionals involved. 

3.) I'm reading a beautiful novel, that I just found accidentally, about a heart transplant and the pain & beauty of the families involved, how one young woman lives because another young woman died, the guilt and gratitude she experiences and the resentment the dead woman's husband has for the family who received the heart. It's called “Irreplaceable” and conveys so many mixed emotions both painful and beautiful that all involved experience. 
4.) I have hipbone length hair and don't ever want it any shorter. 

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15.) What eleven words do NOT typically describe you?
Motivated (I’m a lazy bum), organized (I’m a slob & a wreck), greedy (well obviously! See above, I’m ready to give you my kidney!), athletic(sports bore me…and I’m lazy!), aloof(i love being close to others both physically and emotionally – I love hugs!), stressed(I’m often calm and handle things well and work well under pressure), dramatic (I’m quiet and balanced – usually), loud (I have a tendency to scream when people walk in my room {it could be an axe murderer for all I know!} but other than that you won’t even know I’m here!), tenacious (the description for zodiac sign for me, insists that I am/should be stubborn but I’m quite the opposite!, I am extremely easy-going, trusting, and have even been called a “push-over” on occasion!), sensitive (in the sense that I’m not easy to offended or hurt emotionally, I can handle criticism, jokes, sarcasm…), moralist/sanctimonious (I don’t like acting like I always know what is right or acting like I live better than anyone else)

Is that eleven? I sort of lost count! 😉

I hope your day is going amazingly!! 

And hopefully you got to know me/know me a bit better?!

If you want, take the survey and let me know! I would just love to see your answers! One of my favorite things to read is “about me” pages & random facts about people. It’s so fun seeing little glimpses of who someone is. ❤

Hugs & love to you, always!

😀

Xoxo Kim 

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30 Days of Photos – Day 13 – {I’m Beautiful Dammit} <3

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“Well, I woke up one morning,
flossed my teeth and decided,
“Damn, I’m fierce!” You look good!
You can be just like me! A goddess? Yeah!
Don’t just pussyfoot around and sit on your assets.
Unleash your ferocity upon an unsuspecting world.
Rise up and repeat after me: ‘I’m beautiful!'”

Day 13 of the 30 day photo challenge is to get a picture of our own self, specifically the face.

I got quite a few pics of me today! August 13th. Here goes:

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And without makeup:
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And here’s a few recent ones but not today ones:

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I’m not usually this vain! Although I do love taking pictures of myself! I’m just having super, super fun with this photo challenge, taking new pictures for the topic of the day and going back and finding previous ones! 😀 And today happens to be photo of the self day! lol ❤

And here is a song I love, featuring Bette Midler:

I’m Beautiful – mobile

I’m Beautiful – desktop

I love this song about celebrating our own and each other's beauty which includes physical beauty. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the physical beauty of a woman, including our own. It's fantastic to celebrate!  

We're often made to feel that physical beauty is wrong to celebrate, that it's shallow or stuck up or wrong to others who may not feel as beautiful. But it's not shallow or objectification  unless that's all we see and care about and it's not stuck up unless we act like we are better than others. And loving our own selves, expressing our appreciation for our own beauty in a truly loving way can inspire others to do the same with their own beauty. 

The most important beauty, in my opinion, is within. But that doesn't mean we should not also cherish the physical.

And physical beauty comes in various forms, dark, light, big, small, tall, short, long hair, short hair, blonde hair, black hair, gray hair, orange hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, wrinkles, curvy, scarred, stick thin, tattoos, young, old, middle age….there's no specific definition but we can cherish it when we encounter it. ❤

Also, non physical beauty comes in various forms, tender and quiet, fierce and assertive, loud and bold, simple and laid back, bitchy or syrupy sweet, inquisitive or just going with the flow, badass or gentle, witty and funny or thoughtful and warm, motivated or not…or a combination of all of these things. Let's embrace all that we are while encouraging, accepting, and building up others. 

Let's celebrate our own and each other's inner & outer beauty! ❤

I love how in the song she acknowledges her own beauty & strength while encouraging others to do the same. Confidence is sexy and it's even sexier when it's humble enough to allow other people to be just what they are and seeing beauty in it. 

And in this song, they make it clear that we are not “too” anything. We are perfect how we are. 

“I'm not too short, I'm not too tall,
I'm not too big, I'm not too small.
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
I'm not too white, I'm not too black,
I'm not too this, I'm not too that.
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
Ooh, don't lemme start lovin' myself!
I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, I'm beautiful, dammit!”

And it's our responsibility to live how we want to live and maintain our own happiness no matter what other people say, do, or think.

“Too wack, too smart, too fast, too fine,
too loud, too tough, too too divine.
I said you don't belong. You don't belong.
Too loud, too big, too much to bear,
too bold, too brash, too prone to swear.
I heard that song for much too long.
Ain't this my sun? Ain't this my moon?
Ain't this my world to be who I choose?
Ain't this my song? Ain't this my movie?
Ain't this my world? I know I can do it.”

It's one of those “feel good” songs it's almost impossible to hear or read the lyrics and not be inspired and uplifted. It's a combination of inspiring, upbeat, and funny. They encourage us to feel beautiful and not just feel it but scream it off the rooftops! 😀

If you got it, flaunt it! And if you don't, flaunt it anyway! 

(many years ago at work, my coworker, who was struggling with body image issues, said this. She came to work wearing tight, revealing clothing and decided to say to hell with society's definition of beautiful and sexy, just be what you are and flaunt it! It inspires me ever since. <3) 

Check out the 30 days photo challenge!

“I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.” ~ Mary J. Blige

Much love to you,

Xoxo Kim 😀

Retreat

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“There is no need to run outside
For better seeing,…
…Rather abide  
At the center of your being;
For the more you leave it, the less you learn.
Search your heart and see

The way to do is to be.” ~ Lao Tzu

I love this thought provoking quote!
(I think that irony inheres in certain quotes such as this one which is thought-provoking but about not thinking, not doing, not explaining, just being.)
Sometimes all we have to do is seek within, to the stillness and quiet at our center, deep inside, to find answers, to experience serenity and calm, to experience joy, wisdom, and peace. 

It dwells in your core even when you can’t feel it. It can be discovered.

I noticed that the more I meditate, the less I care about certain (often trivial) problems and the better I handle them. Even when I go days/weeks without meditation, the first day I begin again to meditate, I experience more calmness and if I’m depressed the night that I meditate, I often wake up with a sense of happiness and hope. Meditation really has an amazingly positive effect on the brain chemistry and a beautiful psychological effect.

Meditation doesn’t even have to be a deep guided meditation or a long meditation session. It can be just five minutes of sitting in a quiet place, eyes closed, wordless and gentle music as you focus on your breath. Your mind will wander and thoughts will take over. Wandering and thinking is the nature of the human mind. And that’s ok. Just gently bring it back to your breath and the sensations in your body. That’s a very simple meditative practice. You don’t have to know anything about meditation to engage in it. It doesn’t have to be scheduled or planned. It can be during your lunch break in your office, in your bed at night before sleep, when you wake up in the morning, anywhere….not driving though, obviously! lol Or in any other situation that would render it dangerous. 

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If we take a few moments each day to just BE, it can help greatly in situations that are distressing, even if we don’t realize right away.

Often, we are so wrapped up in doing, solving, working, worrying, planning, scheduling, explaining, thinking, wondering….that we forget just being.  

I hope you will take a few minutes to connect with your inner being and forget the world for a while. I’m wishing you much love and peace and happiness! ❤

Xoxo Kim

P.s. Thank You so much to the people who wrote me comments/messages!! I will get back to you very soon!! ❤ ❤

I love….in 400 words <3

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In my inbox, I was delighted to receive a kind of “blog challenge” post where we write what we love in 400 words. It’s basically just a list but in paragraph form. I love, love, LOVE reading about people, whether I know them or not. I love random, useless, interesting facts about people like their favorite color, book, TV show, movie, things that make them unique and make up the someones that they are. It’s great when people share these little gems. 

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Here is what I love in 400 words:

I love…. tropical scents, Hawaiian Ginger, citrus, coconut, cucumber melon, body mist, scented candles, oldies music and sappy love songs, Center City Philadelphia buildings, hugs, tight red dresses, five inch stilettos, especially open toe, strappy ones, my long hair and the way it feels when it brushes my lower back and blows in the wind, photography, being creative with the pictures, nights in bed with doggies, reading fascinating books, philosophy, bright yellow mums, the way the moon stalks me at night and waking up to the incandescent golden sun, writing, receiving sweet blog comments/notifications, early mornings, hot tea, meditation, mindfulness, meeting people, seeing people, talking to people, both strangers and people I know, busses and trolleys, especially ours, snow and rain, listening to rain and hail pelt upon rooftops, the sounds of the city, especially at night, jury service, crunchy Autumn leaves, Summer bumblebees, the gray barrenness of Winter and the colorful life blossoming in Spring, big, warm, fluffy pj’s, the holiday season, feeling as One with all that is, helping people, inspiring people, being inspired, belly laughs that hurt so good, being amused in inappropriate situations and trying hard not to burst out laughing hysterically, shopping for clothes, the changing of the seasons, random acts of kindness, sweet friends(online and off)/family(including pets), feeling someone else’s happiness as if it were my own, simplicity, animals, people, deep connections with others, the floral fragrance of Spring, Love of all kinds, trees, rivers, bridges, especially the Ben F. Bridge, the bright blue sky dappled in fluffy white clouds, twilight, cobblestone streets, Kindle app, light conversations, deep conversations, personal development, thunder,  lightening, cola, old slow songs, the smell of doggy paws and fur, babies, my heartbeat and the way it feels against my hand, wrinkles, laughlines, gray hair, beauty marks, moles, wisdom, quiet, stillness, tuning into the present moment, old pleasant memories, country music, American Southern accent, English accent, packages in the mail, old books, free books, friendly smiles, denim pants, orchids, pitbulls, kids laughing, life itself, scary haunted attractions, Halloween, fiction mystery thrillers, inspiring novels, art journals, trampolines, cafes, myself, inspiring lists, blogs, cool nights, fireflies, flowers, Christmas, bokeh photos, sleet, paw prints in the snow, Philadelphia, pomeranians, romantic comedies, movies about friendship, being in a room full of people, long walks in warm weather, daylight, nightfall, empathy, quiet afternoons, poetry, dark poetry, obscure poetry, old literature, puppy kisses, gratitude, inspiring quotes

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What do you love?! This is a very uplifting activity. Whenever I make a list of all the amazing things I love, I feel so light, uplifted, and happy! I think it has an unconscious effect. I hope you will do this activity too and even if you don’t want to share it, you can just write it in a journal or on a computer or phone.

You can even put your own spin on it, make a list instead of a paragraph…

If you post what you love, share it in the comments! Or you can just post a few things instead of 400 words. 😀

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Here is the link I received in my inbox. This girl, Tanya Geisler, did this activity. I receive many inspiring e-mails by many places and this is just one.

http://www.tanyageisler.com/thinstugs-i-love-in-400-words/

Thank You for reading!!<3

Much love to you! ❤




Offering the Victory – Universal Love <3

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“May I take defeat upon myself 
And offer them the victory”

Hello loves! ❤

I hope you’re having a beautiful day!

On Valentine’s Day this year I attended a Love retreat at a Buddhist Center here in Philadelphia. It was a series of four classes on Love, each class was 45 minutes long, a lecture and meditation on Love, compassion, and kindness. Universal Love was the topic; universal love is all encompassing love. Completely unconditional love. Love for our friends, family, pets, strangers,insects, rodents, flowers, all sentient beings,  enemies, assholes, difficult people…Love for everyone. Love can be an affective feeling, a warm, positive feeling for someone but it’s also just a selfless, genuine wish for someone else to be happy With or without us, even if that someone is a person we view as a difficult person who we don’t have a warm affection for or a positive opinion of. That’s universal love, a wish for everyone to be happy no matter what. We can still want people to be happy and well (in a way that is not at the expense of others in a negative way) even if we don’t like them. It’s not always easy. It can be extremely difficult. It may take much work, thought, reflection, practice, and meditation to get to that point that we generally want even people we don’t like or ones we’re angry at, even difficult people who want nothing more than to see us fall, to be happy. But it can be done. Sometimes those thoughts and feelings may come very easily to us but sometimes we really have to try hard.

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Eventually it can become our general way of life. There may be setbacks, relapses, occasions now and then we want nothing more than to tell someone off, yell at someone, seek revenge, give someone a disgusted look to get a subtle point across without being too dramatic, or just hope bad things in our heads…but generally, with practice, we can cultivate an attitude of Universal Love. 

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The Love we were lectured on and meditated upon is completely, pure, raw, selfless Love. Ultimate, unconditional Love. With absolutely no expectations of anything in return.

Even when someone else is being selfish, unkind, uncaring, rude, vicious…we can genuinely wish that person the best whether out loud or just in our heads, speak with a calm tone, be kind. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it seems near impossible but with practice, it can be our Way.

And even if we choose to terminate a relationship with someone, it can be in a positive/productive way. We can lovingly let go, end on positive terms even if that person is not being loving or positive. On our part, it can be loving. 

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Some of the life lessons we learned during the retreat are:

1.) Offering the Victory and accepting defeat upon ourself (“ourself” as opposed to “ourselves” means people in general, like universally, as opposed to a specific group of multiple people such as a specific family or room full of people…- I just learned this! Lol :-O) even when we know we’re right and others are wrong, to be completely selfless and let go of self cherishing – self cherishing in this case means putting ourself, our own needs and desires(even seemingly reasonable needs and desires) above others.  Sometimes we know for a fact that someone else is wrong and being selfish, rude, unkind and we may have the urge to lash out, argue, be defensive, be rude back, give someone a dirty look or just think negatively in our heads…but it’s possible to get into the habit of offering those people the victory, show them love, let them be “right,” maybe even say sorry just to keep the peace and love around us. Not out of fear of confrontation or what they’ll think of or do to us if we don’t give in, or low self esteem or being weak or fake, but out of love, a genuine desire to make the world a better, more loving place. It takes a certain kind of strength to do this but it’s very worth it. It’s more important to be loving than to be right. 

It’s so tempting to meet someone’s negativity and rudeness with our own negativity and being rude back. It’s often temporarily satisfying to put people in their place or curse them in our heads or out loud but it accomplishes nothing in the long run. It just puts negative energy out into a world where there’s already enough. 

It’s important to keep in mind that just because you do, say, think selfish things does not make you a bad or even necessarily a selfish person. And it’s something that can be changed if you want to change it. If not, that’s ok too. The teachers of universal compassion and love and selflessness, Buddhists, and monks are not being negatively judgmental just as I am not being judgmental. Universal Love is about acceptance, even acceptance of people who are not being loving and people with drastically different views than our own, opposing views, polar opposite views. Some views and religions are incompatible with one another but the people who hold those views do not have to be incompatible with each other.  

We can not agree with people, not like what they think or do but still love them and show compassion and kindness.  

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I’m putting this into practice more and more each day. I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes it’s so hard. Every single day I am faced with a situation, as are most of us probably, whether very trivial or more serious, where I can choose to put my own needs above someone else’s or accuse someone of being wrong. Sometimes the person really is wrong, sometimes it’s me who is really wrong, but no matter which of us is, I make it my ultimate goal to lovingly accept the defeat upon myself and offer the victory, each day.  

On many occasions, it’s hard and some occasions I suck at it and act selfishly, some moments I give into selfishness knowing I’m acting selfishly, other occasions I’m not aware right away that I’m being selfish, but on others it’s much easier. And the more I practice, the easier it becomes. I’m still not perfect at it, I may never be. But my ultimate intention is pure. 

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For many people it’s difficult accepting defeat or admitting they’re wrong even when they are, so imagine how difficult it is accepting defeat, apologizing, letting others be “right” when you know you are right or they are definitely wrong, especially when they’re being rude and negative.  But it makes the world a better place. Imagine if we all, or even just many of us choose to accept defeat upon ourself and let them be right whether or not they really are! The world would be so loving! Totally worth it! And our actions and love will likely inspire others to become more loving. 

But it’s important to not let it wear you out, always letting yourself be defeated and others be right. You have to get your mind in the right state, train it to happily, lovingly accept defeat upon yourself and offer them the victory. Many people complain that they put others first constantly and it takes a toll on them, that they don’t get credit for the positive things they do, that they get walked all over, taken advantage of, give too much, are too kind and want to stop being so kind to those who “don’t deserve it….”

But that’s because they aren’t properly training their mind to do all this with no expectations in return, in a completely selfless way. They are being loving and kind but still expecting something of others or the world, that they aren’t getting, in return. They expect others to be sweet and friendly and helpful just because they are that way. But the world doesn’t work that way. And when their own loving compassion isn’t met with the compassion of others, they feel cheated, worn out, broken, like it’s unfair. But universal love, accepting defeat and offering the victory is about being loving, compassionate, and kind irrespective of whether we receive that in return. Love to love, not to be loved. It’s fantastic to be loved. But being loved isn’t the goal, the goal is to love. Whether the love is returned or not. To love is more important than to be loved. The solution isn’t to stop loving or caring for those who “don’t deserve it” but to build up our minds so we are not buffeted by the unpleasant circumstances we are in sometimes or the negativity of others. 

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To accomplish this, we have to meditate, reflect, practice and get to the point where we can give, give, give, get nothing out of it, be kind and not receive kindness in return, but still not feel worn out and wronged. Instead we feel even more energized and exhilarated. And even if we don’t receive the love and kindness of others, our own love we unleash onto the world and in our own minds is enough.

Again, we love to love, not to be loved. For this to become our Way and not just happen occasionally, it takes a certain kind of meditation. It must be done properly to be effective and not mess up our minds. I’m going to share the information for the book on training the mind in this here post, later towards the end. I’m nowhere near qualified to teach people to train their minds and that’s not what I’m doing here. Not only am I not a teacher, I myself do not yet have my mind trained much. So I’m in no position to teach others. I’m in the process of training my mind, which unless I attain full enlightenment, will be an ongoing process. But even short of reaching full enlightenment, it is extremely beneficial to just reach some stages. I’m just giving suggestions and sharing my own stories and struggles and experiences. 

Sometimes I am so tempted to “self cherish” and want what I want above what someone else wants. Even “reasonable” selfishness is good to avoid.
 
Here is a real life example when I was so so so tempted to self cherish and be selfish and put my desires or needs above someone else’s. But I chose to offer the victory instead. 

Recently I was at home one night, on a wonderful cold, frigid, Winter night in Philadelphia, drinking hot tea, in my pink winter pj’s, warm on the sofa with a snowstorm going outside, all warm and cozy and sweet. I was sickly and in pain in my right kidney – something that happens quite frequently. I’m prone to kidney stones and what I think are (mild) infections.  But I was very content. My sister decided she wanted to go out for ice cream. I really did not want to but my sister wanted me to go. I was tempted to say no. To say I’m in my pj’s, in pain, I’m not going out. But I kept in mind the teachings of the Buddhist classes I been attending and my desire to more frequently put others first. I was never a horribly selfish girl, even before the classes and my interest in Buddhism, I often selflessly put others first, changing my plans, willingly putting myself out to the point I have been called a “fool” and “pushover” and other insults on multiple occasions by multiple people,  but who isn’t selfish every now and then? Especially when others are wrong or rude or selfish? We often react similarly to that person, reacting with less than kindness or putting our desires first even if we are usually very kind and selfless. So I said ok I’ll go. 

And at first I really wasn’t happy about it, I was reluctant. But determined to “fake it til I make it.” Keep practicing doing what I don’t want to do as long as it’s making others happy.
Not to be “a fake” but to practice acting more selfless to feel more selfless. To BE more selfless. Even if you aren’t happy putting yourself out to help someone else, as long as you aren’t helping just to get something in return, like a positive reputation or favor in return, you are still being selfless if it’s purely to help others be happy and help make the world a better place. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit disappointed once in a while. The fact that you put your own needs last even when it’s reluctant indicates that you are being selfless. Even though you are disappointed for you, you are still happy for others.

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 I want to help people be happy. Even if it means not getting what I want in other ways. Just helping others be happy so often helps me be happy even when I’m not getting my own way and am disappointed about it. But sometimes it’s harder to be happy when I’m not getting my own way. But I’m trying to be better.  

I had to go to CVS to get a picture enlarged to give my friends of us in New York City together. We went for a fun trip a couple years ago and I bought the large photo. They did not want to spend the money. So they got pocket size ones. I got the larger one but lost it the next day. The other day I found the pocket size one I had and decided to get it enlarged as a gift for each of my friends. So I decided after getting ice cream with my little sister, we would go to CVS. And my sister said no! She said no! She wanted to just get ice cream and come home! I felt a pang of anger surge through me. I was so tempted to say “fucking seriously?! I’m agreeing to go out in a snow storm sick and in pain, getting all dressed for you and you can’t stop at CVS with me for two minutes just to scan a picture?!” I opened my mouth to speak then held my tongue. 

That’s not the kind of woman I want to be. I want to help others even when they are not being very agreeable, even when they’re being selfish and unreasonable. If I would have said what I wanted to, that wouldn’t be terribly selfish. It’s actually quite reasonable. I was doing her a favor and it would have took less than 5 minutes to stop at CVS. But she did not want to do me the favor, stopping there with me. Even though it was reasonable selfishness it was still selfishness, self cherishing. Putting what I wanted (going to cvs) over what my sister wanted (just coming home). And I still don’t believe I would have been wrong to respond saying I really want to go to cvs. 

And I wouldn’t negatively judge others who would say that. But I want to become completely selfless (like the Buddha) and always put others first but still being peaceful in my mind. I want to be this way because I want people to be happy, even those acting unkindly and selfishly, even ones who don’t return the favor. And I want the world to be better. 
Even though this is, generally, my ultimate goal and truest desire, on certain occasions, it’s hard to live up to, difficult to not get caught up in the negativity or emotions of that specific occasion. It takes practice. 

After I held my tongue I was still pissed. But I saw it as practice to become better and better. And I took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to practice. I thought about the Buddha’s teachings and the monk’s lessons in our classes and my meditations and the woman I aspire to be. And my anger eventually melted away. Even though I was still resentful for a while, at least the environment was still more peaceful and my sister was happy and everyone was happy. If I would have spoken up, expressed my displeasure, it may have relieved my own anger or annoyance a bit but she would have become infuriated or devastated (she’s very sensitive).

So holding my tongue was good even though I did not get what I wanted. And in the end, all the things I want won’t bring me as much peace and happiness as a peaceful, compassionate, selfless mind that puts others (family, friends, strangers, difficult people, even assholes….) first. My meditation and teachings help me so I can put everyone else first but not feel lowered, degraded, worn out. It’s a journey, a process, it will not always come easily. I will always have selfish intentions now and then but I will become a more selfless being with practice. Like I said, I have never been extremely selfish. But like many or most of us, I want what I want occasionally and I think it’s more important than what someone else wants sometimes and I try justify it by showing how it really is more important….but I intend to becomes less and less that way. I offered my sister the victory. I accepted defeat upon myself. 

I’m not bragging. I’m using my own real example because I believe when people are open and honest and share their own stories, they are easier to take seriously. If I’m going to preach or give suggestions, it’s good to use a real experience of my own, right?  And a genuine example, if I have one, is often better than an imaginary one I can make up in my head. 

You can practice Love and selflessness every single day in very simple but significant ways. For example, when you’re walking in back of slowpokes, instead of thinking unpleasant thoughts like “I wish these people would just move already!, How selfish walking so slow when they know people are in back of them!,  Assholes!” 

I’m not innocent of these thoughts occasionally. I thought all of them at some points. 
And actually during one of the breaks the very day of the retreat I found myself almost late for one of the classes in back of very slow people thinking “Move! Move! Move! I’m about to be late!” and not in a pleasant way. Lol And I caught myself and realized the irony of it.

We can instead think “I wish these people well, I hope they’re happy or become happy, I wish them health, joy, friendship, love…” it puts positive energy into the world and if nothing else, it gets you in a positive, loving habit and then you begin to act more lovingly also,  unconsciously and consciously. 

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The Buddhist monk teaching our class most weeks, and the retreat, gave an example of someone going to Starbucks and asking for a latte and thinking how slow the worker is being and thinking “just hurry up with my coffee!” but instead we can think “Yeah! Pump it up! I hope he’s having fun pumping my coffee!” lol! Everyone burst out laughing! It’s funny but it’s true! Let’s hope the workers are having fun or are peaceful and happy or at the very least, not suffering.

And when our pet chews the sofa or our shoes, think how much we love him/her instead of being destructively furious. It can be so hard but with practice, it’s possible.  

For many of us, no matter how loving and positive we are even to strangers, we probably almost never even think to hope the person making our coffee is feeling happy pumping the coffee, or the person who cuts us off in traffic is well, or the pizza delivery man is healthy, or the person who writes us an incredibly rude comment online feels loved today and always….those are incredibly small (but significant) things we completely do not think to do no matter how loving we generally are. But they help significantly. Us and everyone around us.

Soon we begin to exude love and compassion and positivity.

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Outside the Buddhist Center, after the classes, I saw a man crossing the street, walking a dog, and he was almost ran over by another man in a car. I don’t know which one was in the wrong, I wasn’t paying attention, but they both did not handle it well. The one man beeped the horn much longer than necessary. The one man yelled “watch where you’re going asshole!” and the other yelled “suck it you fucking asshole!” and the other responded “not on your life, asshole!”. And they both gave each other vicious looks and the one walking with the dog flipped the one in the car off. I couldn’t stop laughing because first of all, again with the irony, outside a Buddhist Center where they preach nothing but Love and on the day of a Universal love retreat! And because how they both just kept yelling “asshole!”

Lol I probably shouldn’t be so amused but I am! 
  
2.) Mindfully focusing on all the kindness and love we have been shown since we came into the world, the love and kindness shown by family, friends, teachers, animals, strangers…

We are alive today and much of where we are is because of the love and kindness of others either directly targeted at us or indirectly. Since we came into the world we have been shown kindness and love. Even in the simplest, smallest ways but are still significant.

The doctors and others who took care of you and your birth mother before you were born,  took care of you and your unborn children, your family who kept you alive and safe, your friends you had in and out of school growing up, who taught you things, your teachers, professors, instructors, the law enforcement officers who keep our communities safer, the people who grow/make our food, doctors and nurses, cashiers in stores, government workers, janitors who keep our buildings clean, fast food workers who serve us, strangers who showed us random acts of kindness throughout the years…

During the meditation, I was surprised at the emotions that welled up in me when we were meditating on this concept. While I felt warmth, love, gratitude, joy, happiness, inspiration, awe, I also experienced guilt, contrition, awkwardness, sadness, embarrassment, grief  about all I have been overlooking all these years, completely disregarding. As grateful and reflective as I often am, I still overlook, ignore, close my eyes to so much.  But this retreat awakened me even more.

 At some points during the meditation, it was difficult to focus, too painful, too awkward, too uncomfortable ,at some points, I felt so small,  but I once read that the best teachers bring us to ruin, instead of having his/her students clapping and cheering, s/he has them in silent awe, mouths gaping open in disbelief, astonishment, heads held low in embarrassment, remorse, guilt at all they have been ignorant of. These aren’t the words that I read but the same concept. I’m paraphrasing, capturing the sentiment. And it’s what I felt during the classes. 

I invite you to try this activity. Just sit or lay in a quiet place or listen to some gentle, wordless, music and reflect on and feel gratitude for all those who have shown you kindness and love, even the ones you never met, the people who grow/make the food to be sold in 
stores, your family and all the things they have done for you through the years, your friends, acquaintances, pets, neighbors, strangers you remember who showed you love in some way, the doctor who was your biological mom’s when she was pregnant with you, the persons who safely delivered or assisted in delivering you when you were born, your ancestors who all led to you, singers, celebrities who inspire you, all of the people in this life who help you or have helped you in any way no matter how seemingly simple or small.

We are also encouraged to think of and give thanks for those we haven’t yet met but will meet in the future. Future best friends, coworkers, family members, future children, strangers we’ll meet at a Busstop, walking up the street, a new neighbor who may move in near you and become like family to you, the employees in restaurants and cafes we will go to, future lover/s, there are infinite opportunities waiting to unfold for us to meet various kinds of beautiful people.  And experience many more beautiful things. This brought and still brings me so much hope. To think of all those people and all those experiences and opportunities that are still to come to me, tomorrow, next year, in twenty years and more….

Think of and give thanks for all these people and animal friends and experiences who bless and will bless your life.

And let us give thanks for all our blessings.

Also let’s remember to accept defeat upon ourself and offer the victory to them. Even when we know without a doubt that we are right and they are wrong. Love is more important than being right.

You may think “why should *I* be the one to give in?” We have control over our own selves, not others. It’s up to them to decide what to be and up to each one of us to decide for ourself. 
I hope you choose to be all that you can be in each moment. You probably won’t always live up to that goal but on many occasions you will and that’s fantastic. 

We will have setbacks and succumb to selfish ways again and again. We will expect things that others will not do for us, we will cherish ourself and ignore the needs and desires of others, we will be ungrateful, angry, and negative sometimes because we are not fully enlightened. And that’s ok. We can just be as loving as we can and when we fall, gently remind ourself that love is the Way. 

When we keep putting others first over and over and being kind to people being rude, we will very likely still feel annoyed or angry even if we don’t act on it. That’s ok. Eventually we will be better and better at putting others always first while still feeling happy and pleasant about it. 

3.) And remember to view each unpleasant encounter with someone as an opportunity to practice becoming more loving, more patient. It’s a habit that must be maintained to keep it going. It’s an ongoing journey. Practice, practice, practice. Challenging encounters are a good thing.

“No one ever learns to be a great driver by just driving upon a straight road.”

4.) “It is like a diamond, like the sun, and like a medicinal tree.”

That is to say that when we train our minds by following the instructions of Geshe Chekhawa’s text on being more compassionate, loving, kind, meditative, offering the victory, accepting defeat, any little thing we do is good. Even if it’s just a sliver of what he teaches. When a diamond is cut into little pieces, every fragment, even the most microscopic piece, is extremely valuable. Geshe Chekhawa’s text is best when practiced as a whole, but like a broken diamond, even the smallest part is extremely valuable. Priceless are his teachings, even when only part is followed. Sunlight completely dispels all darkness but even just a few beams of golden sun provide some light. If we practice his full text, we completely dispel all of our darkness of ignorance but just engaging in some parts of the practice is incredible. Even just one moment you choose kindness as opposed to lashing out, it is like a beam of sun. Beautiful. 
And just as every part of a medicinal tree (roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit) provides medicine, so every part of the instructions on training the mind provide insight, relief, invaluable information to us.
Every word of his is infinite wisdom. 

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And you don’t have to be a Buddhist or plan on becoming one to incorporate some Buddhist views such as these, into your world. Even if you have another religion, universal love is compatible with it. 

I purchased a book at the retreat called “Universal Compassion” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the teacher of the monk who teaches our class. I love his books and have many. This is the book I mentioned above on training the mind to be completely selfless but still completely happy and peaceful in general. It is a beautiful and practical book that helps us train our brains to be all that we can be. 
 Geshe Chekhawa’s teachings are mentioned there. It’s based on his wisdom. 

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These are just some of the things I learned during the retreat and practice, meditate upon  in class every week and at home during my meditations and everywhere I go. I’m so thankful I attended and have awakened to so much wisdom and experienced amazing things during meditation and lectures. It’s amazing to be surrounded by people who have similar goals and interests as me. I hope I can remember and share bits of wisdom I learn each week/day and share it along with my own experiences and struggles, to help others.  

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Links on Metta(universal love):

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

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

Lovingkindness meditation: 

Desktop:

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

Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sz7cpV7ERsM&app=m&persist_app=1

This page, below, has free mp3’s for songs and meditations/guided meditations about love & compassion.
 
http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-library.htm

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

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Xoxo Kim ❤ ❤

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xoxo Kim