Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our dark, dark sides

It's ok to surrender to the dark moments. The loneliness, the despair, the utter darkness. We all have it in us. Sometimes it's the best thing to do, really embrace it.

When I first read about the "dark side", I didn't understand it. I hadn't recognized my own dark side. It took me until very recently to actually see it, even though I've know it my whole life.

The loneliness that never leaves my side. Sometimes vanishing, but its always lurking. At most times manageable. Sometimes overwhelming. There's this self-hatred that crops up, this lack of self-faith. There's some evil, and selfishness, and emptiness. My journey to learn who I am is obviously going to mean I have to see and acknowledge, and maybe appreciate my dark side.

A friend recently shared that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was on the phone with him and even though I was upset and worried, I instantly realized that I was not surprised to learn that. And I guessed nor was he. We were familiar with his dark side. But here was this loud, big label. A hoisted flag, the "disorder".  I didn't have to think, some voice was speaking for me, some ancient old part of me.

I said we all have the capacity to be bipolar. I have been a millionth of a millimeter away from madness. I have sat and despaired and sobbed until I couldn't move. I have felt madness rise in my blood to my head. Sometimes followed by a rush, a high of the same intensity.

We all have moments of insanity. Some of us are doomed by our genes to be more susceptible. Some are doomed by our habits, and lifestyles and circumstances. But we all can understand what it means to be "bipolar." I'm not trying to take anything away from the those who suffer from infinitely more than many of us, I'm feeling like I can relate, understand and connect. Maybe I can't help, maybe I can.

Maybe all it takes is knowing that it passes. That there's more to us than the darkness. Breaking habits, patterns is hard, I know only too well. It can't be done alone. I've learned that we're a species bound to one another, meant to love, to share, to touch, to teach. And for all the loneliness that follows me, I deeply appreciate people and the magic of genuine companionship.

One other thing I know and I hope is true, is that I also have this intensely strong light in me. The light that won't let me sit in despair too long. The light that drags me back to the day, to fresh air and blue sky and green grass. I'm infinitely grateful I have that light that fights to live. I hope I can share it, and light up more lives than my own.

Tonight I want to declare my love for life in me and in those around me. Dark and light.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Drunk, etc

Every now and then I get drunk. And today was such a now-and-then. I noted a couple lessons.

After spending a delightful maybe-last-summer-day that involved a fair amount of drunk, I got on a bus toward home. I soon realized that I was incapable of producing an edible dinner, and decided it would be best to get a take-away.

And thus, I stepped into QFC. I walked down the 'Pets and Household Cleaning' aisle and felt the urge to pee. A friendly face in the QFC uniform said, "Down the aisle, and through the doors on the left."

The doors down-the-aisle-and-on-the-left indicated "Employees Only". Hesitating for a moment, I saw another friendly face in the 'see-through' doors and asked him if they restrooms were here. He cheerfully said, "There behind those crates."

That was my first lesson. This friendly face was pushing a large stack of crates on a hand truck. There were many piles of crates waiting for him. I was glad that I wasn't pushing them and felt grateful -- he let me use the bathroom marked "Employees Only -- No Public Use" and also made sure that the box of cereal was waiting for me on Aisle 12. True, honest gratitude as I pushed through the doors into the restroom. I suppose I wouldn't have felt this emotion if I was sober, just focusing on my need to pee.

I guess intoxication gives you that room to be disconnected, and if you allow that disconnect to become awareness, it can be special.

I went back through the aisles, and paid for my pomegranate and butter. While walking out the door another face said, "Have a good day." "You too," I mumbled in my fake-normal voice and wondered why we had to go through that charade. 10 years from now, no -- 10 minutes from now, would my life be any different because of the polite "Have a good day"? That was my second lesson.

PS: I appreciate the polite moments. Earlier today, (when I was sober) I got off a bus and my driver said, "Have a good day now". I felt, hey, this driver actually is proud that she delivered me to my destination safely. Maybe there's a line between the employee who says it because it was in the training manual versus one who says it because they mean it. I could tell the difference.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Celebrating femininity

I read somewhere recently that in all our attempts for equality for men and women, we've really only pushed women to have to be more like men. More ambitious, more aggressive, less willing to let up on her physical limitations. And while this has had the positive effects of giving women a lot of freedom and independence, on another level, this has created an imbalance in the masculine-feminine balance of the world. The qualities of gentleness, compassion, unconditional love, the more feminine aspects of human nature, are overpowered by greed, lust and compulsiveness  And mind you, by masculine and feminine I'm not indicating men and women, but the aspects of masculine and feminine that are in us all.

So, going back to what I was reading, the text said that when the balance of the world tips to being more feminine, that's when our suffering will diminish, that will be the first step toward a peaceful planet and a flourishing, nurturing humanity.

And so I say, let's explore and express the gentle, compassionate, loving qualities in us and in our women. Let's celebrate femininity.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Of cooing babies growing up

Lots of people around me are having babies. Well, not directly around me, but in my social circles, far and wide as they may be. And at the same time, lots of people around me (me included) are pretty, fairly, honestly, lost. Our value systems are eccentric, our ethics are questionable, our priorities are selfish. And so when I think about the next few generations to come, it scares me.

I'm not a parent yet, and while my friends are all turning into loving, giddy-eyed parents, I hope and fervently wish that they take some time to really think about what kind of people they want their kids to grow up to be. Not what professions they choose, or what hobbies they take up -- but some of the deeper stuff. Like how they will treat those less fortunate than them. Or how they will treat the planet when her meager resources depend on the choices they make.

So don't put an ipad in their hands before you put some discipline in their heads. Don't teach them to be cool before you teach them to be humble. Don't expose them to fantastic superheros before you show them some real heros. Give them the chance to grow up knowing that life gives back what you give life. That way they don't grow into confused, superficial people to whom life is about as interesting as the next funny tweet.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Borrowed -- Autobiography in 5 chapters

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost . . . I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in... it's a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street. 
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

by Portia Nelson from the book There's A Hole in My Sidewalk. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Excerpt --

"Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity; but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography", our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards... It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely on our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?"

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Monday, December 10, 2012

No regrets

I have always, somehow, found the phrase "no regrets" vaguely disturbing. And I've heard people assert it so strongly, that it was easy to ignore that vague feeling. It's definitely one of those mantras about life that get tossed around so flippantly, and sometimes consolingly - "oh, dont regret anything."

This book I'm reading though, quoted a buddhist poet who said, "My religion is to live --and die-- without regret." That line rang a bell, and made me stop for a second.

Yes, I've done things I regret. And even though eventually life turned out ok, I still regret some of the things I did. So here's a mantra I'm willing to take up -- Not "don't regret anything I did" but instead, "don't do anything I'd regret."

What's it going to be?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Northness

Look how north I am --

Red line = Seattle
Green line = Mumbai

I'm norther than ANY part of India and most of China.
Comparatively, the latitude I've lived most of my life, is the southern tip of Mexico. Bloody hell.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Love, by Neelix

"Commander, I don't think you can analyse love. It's the greatest mystery of all. No one knows why it happens, or doesn't. Love is a chance combination of elements -- any one thing might be enough to keep it from igniting. The mood, a glance, a remark. And if we could define love, predict it, it would probably lose its power."

 -- Neelix

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Time to look up. Look ahead.
There's nothing to gather, nothing to take.
Nothing to learn, nothing to break.
Time to be grateful for what stuck around.
Time to say hello to the moment.To now.
Time to be clear. Time to be fair.
Time to stop trying to be somewhere.
Somewhere else but here.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Excerpt - the unknown

What do I mean when I say "everyone seeks samadhi?" Not just through yoga, the slow, sure, safe and proven method. People seek samadhi through drugs, alcohol, the danger of extreme sports, the romanticism of music, the beauty of nature, and the passion of sexuality. There are a thousand ways, and they all involve the transcendence of the suffering ego in a blissful fusion with an entity much greater than ourselves. When we shed a tear for the two lovers united at the end of a film, or for a character reformed and redeemed, we are expressing our own longing to flee the confines of self, to unite with the greater, to discover through loss of the known, the endless, gorgeous horizon of the unknown.

Light on Life -- B.K.S Iyengar

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Once again...

No words, no sense flows out of the broken mind.
Conflicting emotions, a roller coaster of turbulence.
A moment of joy, a moment of pain, a moment of real insane.

To pin it together, to pull it together, to rise above
Over the moon and way beyond.
To find once again, where I belong.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I need some bollywood.

Monday, July 16, 2012

"The elephant's trunk is six feet long and one foot thick and contains sixty thousand muscles. Elephants can use their trunks to uproot trees, stack timber, or carefully place huge logs in position when recruited to build bridges. An elephant can curl its trunk around a pencil and draw characters on a letter size paper. With the two muscular extensions at the tip, it can remove a thorn, pick up a pin or a dime, uncork a bottle, slide the bolt off a cage door and hide it on a ledge, or grip a cup so firmly without breaking it, that only another elephant can pull it away. The tip is sensitive enough for a blindfolded elephant to ascertain the shape and texture of objects. In the wild, elephants use their trunks to pull up clumps of grass and tap them against their knees to knock off the dirt, to shake coconuts out of palm trees, and to powder their bodies with dust. They use their trunks to probe the ground as they walk, avoiding pit traps, and to dig wells and siphon water from them. Elephants can walk underwater on the beds of deep rivers or swim like submarines for miles, using their trunks as snorkels. They communicate through their trunks by trumpeting, humming, roaring, piping, purring, rumbling and making a crumpling-metal sound by rapping the trunk against the ground. The trunk is lined with chemo-receptors that allow the elephant to smell a python hidden in the grass or food a mile away. Elephants are the only living animals that possess this extraordinary organ."

via  The Art of Looking Sideway

Friday, January 20, 2012

Confessions of a Misfit

I think I've always been a misfit. Such a misfit that I don't even fit among the misfits. And unless you looked really carefully, you'd never think so.

I'm a ordinary looking girl, with a supposedly nice smile and a possibly naive air. Around some people I can talk and make jokes, and around some more, I can listen and laugh. But very few to whom I can talk my mind, and even fewer who actually listen.

And under all that, there's an awkwardness in me, so subtle that most don't feel it, but so strong that I can't shake it off. It's in the way I feel about myself... so deep rooted, that it's in how I walk, how I meet someone's eyes, and how I talk. Not visible enough for people to shun me or mock me. And not strong enough for others to welcome me. But it's certainly there.

There are those best friends though, who are happy and whole enough, to not care about how and what I am, but just have enough room in their hearts to love me. And those are the hearts I miss, here, in the land of lonely, floating souls.

I'm not unhappy with my misfitedness. I think it's part of who I am. But maybe I've not embraced it fully. I've held it and and worn it awkwardly, and I have a feeling that maybe its time to grow into it.