Ripples of the Mind

One’s mind is as deep as the galaxy’s core and at times can get as dark as the bottom pit of the Earth’s seas. Raging internal wars will occasionally interrupt our external lives making life difficult and at times unbearable. We fight with ourselves, with others, and with imaginary entities.  It’s only when we learn to control it that we can make it calm. Still, that only comes with practice and only after we have even acknowledged that we need to do so.

I found myself swimming in unchartered territory last night. I was watching t.v with my pup when she began clearing her throat and at times, gasped for air as if she was trying to catch her breath. My dog isn’t some young pup anymore. She’s 16 years old so during moments such as these my own breath will catch and my mind begins to wander. Dark thoughts begin to toss around my mind. Images of her falling ill and me not being able to do anything about it. It’s a reality that continuously lingers in the back of my mind. A reality that isn’t far from someday happening. As my mind played the unwanted scenario, my body began to act as if it were really happening. My heart began to beat a little faster. My eyes began to tear up. It was as if I was experiencing a loss that hadn’t happened yet.

This is where meditation and learning to silence the mind comes into play. Where before my mind would have continued to run with the thoughts that began to plague my mind, now I find that I can slowly still it. I relaxed my breathing and the thoughts that swirled my mind and suffocated my heart began to subside. I took myself out of a future; a moment that hadn’t happened yet, and brought myself back to the present moment, sitting on the couch, snuggled with my puppy who had stopped gasping for air and was currently staring up at me with happy eyes.

The mind can be trick There have been many times when I’ve found myself having a conversation with people who aren’t there over encounters and situations that hadn’t happened. I’ve gotten as worked up as I would have if the confrontation were to be actually taking place. Meditation has really been such a great tool in helping me control my thoughts. It also helps when it comes to me being less reactive and when it comes to situations that frustrate me or are completely out of my control. It seems strange or silly when Ii talk about it for I am no meditation expert but over the years of me slowly leaning into the practice I have come to truly understand how great of a weapon it is to have in your arsenal when it comes to overcoming one’s own mind.

If you find that your mind is one vast ocean full of turbulent thoughts, waves of ideas that come crashing down on you, debilitating you when you least expect it, try meditating. Slowly, with practice, you can guide your mind towards the stillness of peace. A place where the ripples of the mind become calm and as still, and nothing but tranquility governing your mind.

Addiction and Its Trickery

“He’s spiraling. I’d talk to him about it but I know he doesn’t want to hear it. He’s been so cynical and fake lately. It’s been driving me crazy. There used to be a time when I could talk to him about anything. Now there is nothing. It’s kind of like when you scream down an empty hallway and the only response back is total darkness.”

These are the words from a girl who lost her partner in crime; her best friend. Addiction can be tricky, and it has tricked me many times. From family members to significant others to my closest friends, addiction has taken the souls of many I love and in its place left me with an empty shell of a human being. The biggest loss of all was the loss of my best friend. It’s been almost an entire year since I first really noticed that he was no longer the same person I met a year prior. He had become my best friend almost from the day we met and my roommate not too long after that. He was like a brother I never had and it was nice to not be so alone anymore. At the time we met I had just relocated to a new area in FL and other than an ex, I knew no one in town. The bond was created almost instantly the day he was hired at my job and after a devasting breakup that he went through with his partner he moved into my one-bedroom apartment.

I learned much about his life as he was very honest and open with the struggles he had faced in life. He at the time was a year and a half sober although he had already started to dabble back into the scene. He had been a full-blown heroin addict and it had been a struggle to get himself clean. After meeting the guy he was with, it wasn’t long before he introduced him back into the party scene. His partner (being the irresponsible pharmacist that he was) was providing him with Adderall, Xanax, coke, booze, all the things a recovering addict had no place in partaking in. When I say it wasn’t even a full year before he was back into getting too intoxicated to even control his bowel movements, I mean it. Before I knew it I was fearing for his life.

The light in his eyes began to slowly fade as well as the love for life. He no longer was excited about the little things. Before we would have our dedicated “Adventure Days” where at least once a week we would go to new parts of the surrounding cities looking for places we had never been before. Now it was difficult to even get him to want to leave the confines of his bedroom. His hygiene at this point was almost non-existant and forget about him even trying to contribute to the day to day upkeep of our apartment.

The day he was no longer able to keep up with the bills was the day I knew he had completely lost his grip on reality. He was engulfed in simply trying to get by. His routine was sleep, work, home, drugs, sleep, work, home, drugs. I started to find random little baggies throughout the apartment. I would run into these baggies more often than I would see him. I’d find my cat playing with broken apart pens and pulled apart q-tips. Still, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I was obviously in extream denial.

To make an already long story short I eventually had a confrontation with him giving him an ultimatum: either he went to detox or the moment he left the apartment I would change the locks and he would no longer have a place to live.

The entire ordeal ended up being too much for our friendship to bare. He did go and get help but that help hadn’t been more than a tiny step towards a very long road ahead of him. By this point, I had made a choice to move back home to Jersey and we eventually went our separate ways. He moved out a couple weeks before I hit the road towards home and from that day on I hadn’t heard from him again. I reached out a couple times with no reply and even tried reaching out to his mother to see if he was alright. The last I heard no one had spoken to him and sometimes I wonder if he’s ok and safe.

The fact that he is no longer in my life has made it selfishly better. My quality of life, sad to say, has improved because I am not longer fighting an internal battle between my logical side and my compassionate side. I felt that towards the end there was a codependent relationship that had been built between us and I was happy to walk away from that. Years before meeting him I had worked really hard at trying break from my codependency and I had begun to drift back into old habits. This friendship had started taking me back to dark places and all because I was trying to keep someone else from drowning.

For me, it’s a hard thing to accept that so many people in this life are battling addictions. It’s hard to accept because I was left so jaded and to try to build relationships with people who are going through such struggles is not easy. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it? Did the good times outweigh the bad? Yes. Yes, they did. I miss my friend, I truly do. I hope that he’s ok although my hopes aren’t very high.

One thing I’ve really learned when it comes to dealing with addiction when you lose people you love to addiction, you really are mourning the loss of a loved one almost as though you’ve lost them to death. It is painful. The heartbreak at times more than one can bear. Although it has been a little over two months I still feel the conflict of what used to be following me around. It hides in the outskirts of my mind popping in at odd moments to remind me of who I lost and what I lost them to. Still, I try to continue my days with hopes that someday the pain of this loss will ease and that this will become just another chapter in a long story called Life.

Writing: My Internal Battle

There is an internal battle constantly raging inside of me. I always have the need to write but having the discipline to sit down and do so is another story. A notebook and pen is what I always carry. I jot down notes or thoughts throughout my day with the notion that later on that night I’ll sit down at my desk like a good little writer and produce something with it. I rarely ever do and what ends up happening is that I am left with a notebook full of thoughts and ideas that ends up going into my big plastic bin of notebooks.

I’ll tell myself to log onto my WordPress and create! Yet, I will sit at my computer and stare at the screen with a million ideas swirling around my brain and still not type any bit of it. Or worse yet, I’ll type out a couple sentences, and then delete them immediately feeling as though everything I wrote isn’t good enough for anyone to spend their time reading. I mean, the last thing I want as a writer is to have someone read something I wrote and feel as though they wasted their time. So I do this little dance, “Have I written something decent? Have I given them enough content? Will people be able to relate? Do I even have a point and is it getting across?” If I’m not happy with my answers, deleted it gets.

It’s true when they say that we are our own biggest hurdle. I want to get deep into writing. I yearn for the opportunity to make this my priority and eventually turn writing into what I do for a living, yet how can I when all I do is get in my own way? I’ve read the motivational books. I’ve given thought to the inspirational messages. There is a strong pull however to always go back to doing what is “safe” even if being safe is detrimental to what it is you’re one day hoping to accomplish. For me, what is being safe? I find safety in not putting myself out there unless I find that what I wrote is worth being read. That means never taking a risk at posting something garbage all because the possibility of negative feedback scares me. Being safe is losing myself in the need of helping others when they need me. Even if it cuts into my writing time or distracts me from doing what I need to do to better myself. All that is an excuse for me not to work on my writing because ultimately I fear putting myself out there. If someone reaches out to me for help, I drop what I’m doing immediately to go help, even if it is not a tru emergency on their end and it’s cutting into my writing time. For me if I am helping someone, my excuse to not getting back to my writing sounds better than if I were to just say, “I’m scared to sit, write, produce, and post because I fear vulnerability and the potential criticism.”

I have sat down and really pondered all of this. I cringe at knowing that I have been standing in my own way of accomplishing my goals and obtaining my dreams because of myself and fear. With this understanding there is no going back. It is like they say, the first step to fixing your problem is acknowledging that there is a problem to begin with. I now wholeheartedly own the fact that I am my most biggest problem. I have been standing in my own way for far too long and now since I have learned to fully own it, it is time to take charge and to make some changes, even if those changes are totally out of my comfort zone. If writing doesn’t happen then it is solely me to blame. I’ve come up with a writing game plan in order to get me to write at least once a day:
* Write a book review for each book that I consume.

* Write online reviews for local businesses.

* Write journal entry a day, be it 3 words or 3 pages.

* Choose one descriptive word a day and write down a list of synonyms.

They’re basic daily goals for me to meet but goals none the less. It is time for me to take myself seriously instead of waiting for some sort of magical opportunity to present itself. It’s a weight off my shoulders to take responsibility for my actions (or lack there of) when it comes to my writing. I dream of the day that I turn all my hopes into fruition and am able to happily give myself a pat on the back for sticking to what means most to me.

 

Throwback: A Message to My FL Fam

**A Journal entry dated 2 months ago. Here’s a message that still rings true.                           To: My FL fam.**

I’m packing away my life once again.

People often ask me what it feels like to move around so often. It depends on the situation I suppose. Sometimes, packing feels like running away. The pressure to get out mounts until you’re bursting through the doors with the last box or suitcase in hand. You peer up and look through the rear-view with a smirk on your face, realizing that the only time you’ll look back on this moment is to relive the feeling of fleeing for freedom.

Packing this time didn’t feel this way. This time packing was bittersweet. I cried a bunch; sobbed tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of excitement, and tears of nervousness. I remember how I felt the day I first viewed my current FL apartment as this “potential” FL apartment, which later turned home (then turning in a place I never wanted to go to). I remember telling myself that I wasn’t going to be moving for a while after this. My roommate and I felt refreshed starting over in a more roomy place with better lighting, better neighbors, a better location, and simply put, just a better way of living. That’s when life happened. It shattered all and any hope of me wanting to continue this life here in Florida on my own, because in reality that’s exactly where I was, not only on my own but also all alone.

Between having to deal with my close friend/roommate’s relapse  (emotionally and financially), the feeling of being alone, and missing what has always been important to me, my family and close childhood friends I’ve had enough. My 11 years in FL haven’t been wasted. I’ve experienced so much; adventures, moments I would’ve never had if not for living in the “Sunshine State”. Still, I feel like it’s now time to go on home. I haven’t been doing anything here that I couldn’t be doing back home. Every time I go back home I see my mother just a tad bit older. These are the years that I can’t waste away because who knows how much longer I have with her. So I back home is where I go because for now, it’s where I feel like I need to be.

The irony is making a close circle of friends in the last few weeks before my departure. As I pack up the last bits of my life I reminisce on these last few weeks and although I’m sad to be leaving, I’m happy that I leave with the knowledge that I did make a family away from family. This family came to be unexpected and formed without me even noticing what was taking place. The people who kept tabs on me while I was sick. Those, that when they knew that I was undergoing tremendous amounts of stress, made sure that I remembered to breath, and to look at the glass half full, bubbly, and fun. These are the same people who would listen, understand… and who didn’t judge. These are the people that no matter the distance, I’ll always have my Florida family; a home away from home.

From the Southwest coast over to the Southeast coast, pieces of my heart left behind like bread crumbs. 

This Round of Retrograde

Let me tell you a bit about how I’ve been fairing during this retrograde. It has literally been kicking my ass.

It began uneventful. I remember thinking to myself, “Is it possible? Will I be able to get away unscathed this time around?” The instant I thought it, I wanted to kick myself because at that moment I felt as though I had jinxed myself.

By day four life was still smooth sailing and I figured that maybe, just maybe that by realizing I had jinxed myself days before, I had inadvertently jinxed the jinx and it had just canceled each other out. I mean, in life anything is possible, right?

WRONG!!! SO SO SO WRONG!!!

Ok, so…

If you’re not big into astrology and universal vibrations, things of this nature, you must be thinking, “What the fuck is this person even talking about? Retro-what now?” I totally understand that. I also understand that many of you won’t care for specifics as to the details of what mercury’s retrograde is and other’s who have heard of it and find it to be a bunch of baloney. Short description for those of you who are interested is a 3 week period that happens every few months in which the planet Mercury shifts differently within its rotation throwing off the balance of how certain things operate. During this period communication with others is poor, electronics malfunction, travel plans become more difficult to follow through with, and every thing is more accident prone. Luck isn’t very much on your side, anyone’s side really. If you find the topic interesting or feel as though it’s pretty relateable to you, I do suggest looking it up and doing further research on it.

I am a HUGE believer in all of this and the last few days have been a testament to its validity. Its almost as if the Universe has decided to turn my life into the poster child of the unluckiness this period of time can be.

A week ago today is when it all began. It was my last day off before I had to return to work for the weekend. I took myself out to breakfast to my favorite local diner. After a delicious meal and a bit of relaxation, it was time to head out and continue with the day’s errands. As I get into my car and go to start it, dead. Alright, no biggie. I’ve got a power box in the back seat so I hook it up to the battery and jump it.

I continue on about my day without much of glitch until later on that evening I decide to log onto my bank site to check on things when I noticed that airline tickets were purchased with my card. Living in a metropolitan area one finds that this happens all the time. Since moving to South East Florida I have had to get my account suspended and card replaced numerous times. This time was no different, it would be 5-7 business days before I would receive it. I could get a temporary card from the bank to hold me over but unfortunately it was already late in the evening and banks were closed and I worked all day Friday and the entire weekend. It was no problem really. I would just patiently wait.

The next morning it became a problem. My car wasn’t starting and I had to get t work. I was running early to work until I spent 15 mins trying to get it to start. I gave up, went upstairs to wash up, and decided on calling an Uber and dealing with the car trouble later.

Uber: “Unable to process payment. Please reenter payment option below”

FUCK!

Since my bank account is suspended any links to it would be too. I have no other forms of plastic and therefore no other means of independently getting to work so I opted to ring a friend. I made it to work an hour late but just in time to help with the rush. A nice and busy day is what my wallet needed especially now with the unexpected car troubles waiting for me once I got home.

I had a quick dinner with a coworker of mine. After work we decided on grabbing a bite to eat and then went our separate ways, her on her bike, me in an old school taxi cab. On the way home I realized that, me not being used to having to call cabs, had used most of my cash at dinner so if I wanted to leave the driver a tip Id have to run up to my apartment to grab some. We arrived and I quickly explained the situation, exited the cab, ran up, and then down again in seconds. It hadn’t been until 30-45 mins later, once I polished off the rest of my left over dinner, that I realized that my phone was missing. I had left it in the cab.

Without my phone I have no internet.  Since moving into this apartment I hadn’t splurged on buying internet for a couple different reasons, one of them being that Xfinity is the only provider in this area and I REFUSE to use Comcast/Xfinity. Instead, I decided to just use my mobile hot spot. That choice was all fine and dandy until now. Without internet or my phone, there was no way of contacting anyone. So here I am, no car, no debit card, no phone, and no internet. Great….

I set the oven timer as my morning alarm and went to bed. I had to work at 9 am the next day and I would need the rest.

Its been exactly one week since things in my life started to tank. I was able to get through the weekend, getting to work and back with the help of neighbors and coworkers. I’ve had off from work since Tuesday (its Thursday now) but haven’t really enjoyed or relaxed because I have been having to deal with one thing or the other. I’m still waiting to get my card. I’m truly hoping (fingers crossed) that it arrives today. Cabs are way too expensive.

After battling with Verizon’s RIDICULOUS process of filing a claim on a lost phone, they shipped me a phone last night so I should be getting it today. My car? It’s no more. I’ve come to the final realization that it is truly time to sell her.

Has this week been an easy week? No, not one bit. Yet, I will say that up until yesterday I have handled everything pretty well if you were to ask me. I say “until yesterday” because after realizing that Verizon still hadn’t shipped out my phone due to “insufficient documentation” I freaked out a bit. Luckily it was just the pets and I that got to bare witness to my mini meltdown. As soon as it was over (it took approximately 5 mins from start to finish) I felt so much better.

I sat and thought about my entire situation, and although many wouldn’t agree with me, I say that it all could have been much worse. I was lucky that my car hadn’t broken down anywhere else, leaving me stranded. I was lucky enough to have had a dear friend of mine (really one of the only two I have here) help me with sending in the paperwork for my phone, rides to and from work, ect. I was lucky to have had the last 3 days off so that I had time to deal with all of this. I’m also lucky in the way that I love reading, and writing, and was able to entertain myself  through these while not having a phone or internet to distract me.

In the next couple of weeks I will be going through some major life changes. I can’t help but think that this period of retrograde was a true end to all of what no longer serves me. A tearing down of what was in order to make way for the rebuild of what’s to come. I am excited. Months ago I had begun to minimize the junk in my life. I wanted to not just start over from scratch but to maintain the lightness of what it feels to be free. Free of gadgets, materialistic shit I never use, freedom of always having to stay connected, freedom from obligations or expectations placed upon me, not for my benefit but for the sake of other’s happiness. This past week has shown me a lot. It has freed me from certain things and has reminded me that life isn’t what makes it comfortable. Life is about living in the moments, embracing its natural beauty of all that is around us. Life is also about the moments of discomfort, because those are the moments that allow for us to grow much taller and s Continue reading

Judgement Free Zone Please

Human beings tend to forget that we are indeed that, human beings. Some people place certain humans on such a pedestal that when that person “fucks up” or does something that goes against what another would do, those who once supported that individual feel cheated or lied to. I laugh at that. It is one of the silliest mistakes people make.

A good person can make an “evil” mistake. A sad person can be happy. A positive person can be depressed. A selfless person can make a “selfish” decision. Who is anyone to criticize and judge the choices made by others? Do we live their lives? Do we walk in their shoes? Is it fair to question the choices they make for themselves without understanding the situation they are in?

It blows my mind to watch family members and “friends” be most critical of their loved ones. People who claim to be supportive, accepting, and understanding are actually the first to disagree over a decision made, their conditioned minds allowing them to feel as though they could have done things differently or even better. I tend to try to stay away from people of this caliber. Life can get pretty tough at times so why keep people like that close?

Since childhood we are told stories, certain tales spoken through allegories of how everyone is created uniquely different. This is what keeps the world beautiful, unique, and interesting. As children we accept this wholeheartedly. It is as if we are already born with this knowledge and aren’t aware that there is another way to think until it is brought to our attention. It is only as we become older that we forget this known little fact and begin to criticize the people around us. Whether it is because we are conditioned by society, by our loved ones, or by strangers who begin to infiltrate our minds with tainted garbage.

Times are tough right now for people all across the globe and while in some ways we have to begin to hold each other accountable for certain things, it is also time that we let up on one another. It is crucial for humanity that we begin to support those around us in ways of understanding and encouragement. This doesn’t mean that you must compromise your beliefs or ways of happiness. It just means that instead of belittling one another, we instead try to understand each other and accept  that we are individually different. So the next time someone you know makes a decision you may find questionable, try to understand and if you cant, you don’t have to. Simply support because at the end of the day, it is their lives they are trying to work out, not yours.

Summer Breeze

I’ve always said that I’m more of a “go with the flow” kind of girl. I don’t typically have much planned, at least not every little detail. I’ve usually got a general idea of what I’d like to do, but to say I’ve got my entire life mapped out down to the tiniest detail is completely untrue. Yet, having your whole life mapped out and having goals are two different things.

When I was younger I had my life totally mapped out. I knew what career I wanted, where I wanted to travel to, the type of husband I wanted to have, the style of family we were going to be (yes, I said style) and the home we would be creating in. All of this before I even knew who I was. As I got older and learned a couple of hard but meaningful lessons, I realized I was trying to live a highly contradictory life. Not contradictory because I wouldnt be able to live it, but because none of it was me. I went from a detailed plan to scratching all of it from my to-do list keeping only the traveling part.

I quit school and solely focused on working so that I could get from one place to the next. Finding love was importnant but there lied the problem. I was trying to find it, therefore I was constantly pointing myself in the wrong direction instead of letting it find me.

I also came to discover that I, in fact, was in no hurry at all to have children. As one does when on the road to self discovery, I asked myself Why? Why was I trying to find romantic love so hard but not with the end result of a child? The answer was the most honest and direct as I could be with myself.

I had a necessity in finding my best friend and partner so that I could enjoy all of life’s magic and splendor with someone. I would feel fulfilled with being able to share the journey of life and constructing memories of that journey with someone else. Having kids for me wasn’t a need. I feel as though for many, having children is a desire that most people have for they have a need to leave behind a footprint or legacy. I don’t have such desires.

So here I was, now in my late 20s. Only now I am beginning to differentiate what was important to me and what wasn’t. I lost most of my blueprint and only had one thing on my mind and that was to live life! During this time is when I lost my dear cousin in a tragic and unexpected accident which pushed me even harder towards living life for the now, fuck the later. The problem to this thinking? You begin to not set goals for yourself. You literally begin to live your days moment to moment with no thought to your future.

This is where I’ve been fort the last 4 years, floating.

Ok…. maybe “floating” is being a bit dramatic… or maybe… I’m trying to not be so hard on myself? I don’t know. What I do know is, after an immense break-down, I’ve begun to take my life back instead of letting it drift around with the breeze. I’ve started to make solid goals for my immediate future, because of course although “Summer breeze makes me feel fine…” to continuously allow yourself to drift along with it will most certainly be the death of you and your purpose.