Your Buddy, Crocker

Visiting my first farmer’s market, which didn’t take place until way after I moved to FL, was magical. Ever since then I have always wanted to work my own show booth and this past weekend, 10 years after visiting my one, I actually got to. The spectacular part? Not only was it my first trade show, but it was AC’s very first ganja fair, and I got to be a part of it. Holy shite, right?!? The kicker? I had less than a week to mass produce product to sell, order packaging and labels, and gather materials to somewhat decorate my space to better attract buyers. Good thing I am always down for a challenge.

When I began making edibles, I knew that the idea was a solid one but what I didn’t know was how I would fair when there were others in the area doing the same thing. It was an idea that popped up when I was totally fed up with serving. After more than 15 years in the restaurant game, I needed an out. Having no real plan, and genuinely over the work related bullshit, I, one day, cashed out my last tables and walked out. It hadn’t been an easy day and so I spent the day fuming, going over in my mind what had happened at work to get me to the point of quitting. I spent the following day on Indeed going over the listings in hopes of finding work. Due to the pandemic, I was already behind on bills so this last minute decision to quit my was pretty bad timing. Everything that popped up on the site seemed to be restaurant related and although I knew there was money to be made there, instant money, I reminded myself that it was again a restaurant job. They were all the same, therefore why continue down the same path that would produce the same unhappy results? I needed to do something different. I began applying for other types of work, but no matter. Every application I sent in, didn’t make me feel excited one bit. Instead of feeling hopeful and excited, I felt dread and almost would wish for no one to call me. I began picking up odd jobs here and there. A little bit of puppy sitting here, a little bit of babysitting there. A little bit of selling ganja here, a little bit of delivering Mary jane there. It was one day, sitting in the backyard of a client’s house trying smoke a bowl without the neighbors seeing (or smelling) that I thought to myself, “I wish I had an edible instead…it would make this a lot easier…” and that’s when the bulb turned on. Why not make and sell edibles? The clientele was out there. I knew I had some talent in the kitchen. All I needed were the supplies and equipment.

My next move was risky. I guess that entire week I was full of risky moves. I took my last couple hundred dollars and spent it on everything I needed to get started. I had no real plan (seems to be a running theme) other than to bake and sell, “Let’s see where this takes me.. I’ve got nothing to lose.” That was back in July, now 11 months later, after much trial and error, I am elated to see this risk turn into great reward.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still so much more to do to get this little baby of mine fully up and running. I spend my days working towards taking the steps to do MORE, then spend my night’s dreaming of all that will be. Last weekend’s ganja fair allowed me to get a glimpse of what things for me could look like in the future. Selling my product to people, watching their expressions when trying my homemade edibles, and recognizing the look of satisfaction, made me feel so proud. To watch the first product sell out, then the second, my heart was elated.

Although I’ve winged much of this, I now have plans, solid plans, to grow this business. With the support of those around me, and trusting in the Universe, I’m excited for the future of Buddy Crocker Co.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Goethe

That Little Prince

It’s summer but I spring cleaned my room this week, for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. It’s not that I’m messy. It’s a controlled chaos. Sometimes that controlled chaos gets a little frizzy, so I have to come around and tame it a bit, just like everyone else. Actually, not like anyone else but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because during this so-called “spring cleaning” I stumbled across an item that sent me reeling back to a time that once was. It was a book gifted to me by someone special in the days before me moving back home from CA. The book is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

The book came to me initially by recommendation. I was at my local library at the time scanning isles, nothing really jumping out at me. One thing about me and my trips to the library, which could be either good or bad or neither really, is the fact that I never went in with a plan as to what I was looking for. I would just walk up and down the row of bookshelves, with hopes that the right one would jump out at me. On one of my trips searching for that right book, I accidentally (on purpose) bumped into my crush. Now, this tall glass of water worked there restocking books. By this point we hadn’t exchanged more than a few words here and there, and definitely some stolen glances. This particular day was the beginning of something special. After apologizing for the minor collision, he asked me if there was something in particular that I was looking for. I told him the method to my madness and in turn he asked me if I was open to any recommendations. I, of course, accepted. I would have accepted almost anything by him at this point, and that’s when he mentioned The Little Prince.

Typically, I do not judge a book by it’s cover, not in any aspect that you can apply that phrase to. Taking a look at the font cover of this one, however, made me doubt my desire to read this book. It did look a bit adolescent to me, but what did I expect when taking recommendations from an almost complete stranger. That same night I sat on my bed and began reading, and by early the next morning I was finished. I closed the book amazed at the fact that something so small could pack such a big punch.

I walked to the library the next day, all the while planning on how I was going to walk up to him directly, without any pretenses other than to thank him for the recommendation. It’s not everyday that someone impresses me with a good read, and so I walk in. I dropped the book into the “return” bin and scanned the library, wondering where he could be. Maybe in the non-fiction, historical section? Religious or Spiritual isle? Or maybe in the cooking section? I couldn’t find him, but it didn’t take him long to find me.

He asked me out on a date that day. I was over the moon. I had always thought I would meet the man of my dreams in a library, and walah! It happened. From the night of our first date, we were inseparable. I found a lot of joy sharing my time with him, as we both learned and experience so much with one another. The tragedy didn’t come for months later, but it was one that I saw coming, hoping in silence that it wouldn’t. I was to return back home after a year of not being able to get my life together there. It had all been so hard, much harder than I ever thought it would be. Jobs were scarce and those that I was able to obtain never lasted long. They were either temp jobs or paid peanuts. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how little I tried to eat, no matter the times I would sit in my home with all the lights off, trying to conserve any bit of electricity I could, I never had enough money to cover life in CA. I had two major heartbreaks that year, leaving CA, and leaving him behind.

After having to deliver the news of my return home, the weeks following that were filled with happiness draped in a woven quilt of sadness. We tried to make sure that we relished in every moment that we spent together, but as the days would turn into darkness, the feeling became more desolate, each day being one day closer to that of me leaving.

On the last day that we spent together, we did nothing remarkably special. We went to our favorite burger joint, the one where we went to the day after I first spent the night and morning with him. We rode around the neighborhoods in his El Camino, taking in the last bit of Cali streets I would be seeing in what I knew would be a long time, if ever again. That night we hung out in his bedroom, and after a while of listening to music and reminiscing of our times together he mentioned that he had something for me. I closed my eyes and once reopened, there in front of me, was the library copy of The Little Prince.

Fast forward to earlier this week when I was cleaning out my room, I began dusting the books that lined the walls of my bedroom. Dusting was something that I hadn’t done the last time I cleaned, which is probably why I hadn’t noticed the book there before. The moment I saw it and picked it up, my heart skipped a beat and slightly sunk. So many memories resurfacing, pulling at my heart, instances that I had thought I tucked away so many years ago. I brushed of the dusty cover and opened the book, and there on the inside cover was the quote…

“But she in herself is more important than all of you because she is the one I watered. Because she is the one I put a glass dome. Because she is the one I sheltered behind a screen. Because it is for her that I killed caterpillars (all except for two or three who were to become butterflies). Because she is the one I have listened to, complaining, or boasting, or sometimes when she says nothing. Because she is my rose.”

Immediately after reading this, I felt almost every emotion one can feel. Happiness and sadness. Anger. Guilt. After leaving CA, it wasn’t long when I had slowly started to cease communication with him. I had been depressed. I felt as though CA was such a painful experience that I just couldn’t continue to remember. I knew I had, too, broken his heart and I didn’t feel ok in knowing that by keeping in touch, I could be hurting him even more. Before I knew it, communication completely stopped, and even though I have since reached out on a number of occasions, our talks have never been longer than just a couple sentences.

By the time I wanted to try to save even a friendship, it had been too late. I lost him.

If I could tell him anything, I would tell him how sorry I was to have let our friendship go silent. I made a mistake by closing a chapter in my life that was too painful to continue reliving and by doing so, I lost one very important highlight of what once was a time so cold. I’ve never forgotten, nor will ever forget what it was to have a person like you on my team, making some of my best memories in CA being shared with one very special Little Prince, that one who got away.

Inevitable Crossings

South Jersey, a small little beach town cannot hide what you’re not trying to see. It’s been 10 months and I avoided running into the past that I have worked so hard to forget. Still, it is like a shadow that inevitably reveals itself, reminding you of what once was. It is crazy for me to see how much others have not been able to move on with their lives even years later when memories are now fuzzy with dust.

When I moved away the second time it was due to two heartbreaks, the passing of my closest cousin and the infidelity of my best friend. For years I delt with both losses. One still wears on my heart like an itchy wool sweater because he is no longer able to enjoy and share in the journey of this world. The other I learned to forgive as well as forget. I knew that once coming back to my hometown, the later would resurface but I would be damned if I would make it easy for a chance encounter. I almost made it an entire year.

Like mentioned before, this area is small, where everyone knows everyone and if they don’t know you, there will still be various mutual acquaintances to keep you tethered. That’s how we ended up crashing into each other again. I remember it being innocent and refreshing. I felt as though full closure was finally had, and to know that we could each move on with our lives without the weight of a tragic and heartbreaking past weighing us down was a great feeling. In my mind there was no longer a full need to dodge, for both parties were in accordance, a synchronized dance. Yet, it was two days later that I heard through the grapevine that things were not well; drama was to ensue.

Honestly, what the actual fuck did I think was going to happen? Not everyone is going to be like me. Not everyone can forgive or forget, even if it was them that were the snake in Eden’s garden. I decided to ignore the gossip, although juicy. I also couldn’t help feel the slight ego boost that infiltrated my soul. A moment in which it all came full circle, knowing that ultimately they did not succeed in their malicious plan to thwart something so natural. Never the less, it was none of my business and I wanted no part of being caught up in the spectacle. She, however, could not help it.

Weeks later I run into him again, even though at this point there was no mistaking, it wasn’t coincidental. I knew he was finding ways to bring himself around and on this specific night I decided to let him know that this, what he was doing was not only brazen, but dissapointing. I now understood that there had not been much change that had taken place in the time of my absence. Even though I wanted to believe that with age there had been much growing amongst all involved, that had simply not been the case.

“We need to talk,” he begged as I turned away from him. “Just give me a minute.” Without wanting to be rude or cold, I allowed him the minute, but he only got about 10 seconds in before I stopped him. He began by asking me why it was that I had contacted his wife in order to tell her that we had seen each other. I laughed. I was shocked at the lie she had configured and even more so at the fact that he believed her. The serpent had slithered her way into trying to gain information and he fell for her trickery. I give her props, but then immediately took it back. I don’t like to be used as a manipulation tactic.

“I have absolutley no need to contact your wife. I haven’t spoken to her in over 5 years. I also have no time for childish games. Please, both of you need to forget about me just as I have moved on from all of you. You’re no more than a grain of sand in my sandbox.” And with that I relocated to another area of the bar.

He ended up following right behind but his boys, my angels, decided to send him packing, but not before he could rob himself a hug and a drunken smooch on my cheek. A smooch that cost him a hard and boney elbow to his chest. “Get off of me! Don’t you EVER do that again!” With that, he was wisked away into an uber.

Apologies and messages of shock radiated from his friends. I wasn’t too surprised at his actions so I told his friends there truly was no need of an apology from them. This was exactly the kind of thing I was used to years ago, when all of this was my life. Now however, I would not tolerate the disrespect be it towards me or his serpent. I left this life long ago and there was no way in hell I wanted any part of it back. A friendship, at most, would have been the only thing I was open for when it came to these circus clowns but now seeing as though conflict is all they still swam in, I was not at all interested.

As sure as I am that I will see them around for the world is too small, I am equally as sure that I won’t even take a glance in their direction. All I will say is that it’s sad to see people in your life staying trapped in a time that truly has no present purpose other than to keep you chained to unease and unhappiness. When you notice that their days are filled with empty monotony and lack of passion. They mesure their success with titles and tangibles and never seem to notice that they never evolved into their full potential simply because they got caught up with trying to manipulate life. Life isn’t a game. It is a beautiful journey of inner growth and spiritual learning. Many may not understand this, but I do. So I will continue on my path without taking much of a glance back, because what’s important to me is making a consious effort in maintaing my inner peace, while showing others that it is ok to evolve in to a more happier and peaceful version of what once was.

A Letter To Self

You are so imperfect, its perfection. Don’t doubt who you are or what you’re becoming. Simply live every day getting yourself to the highest level of good feeling frequency that you can. Living positively is the force that will take you where you need to be. Believe in your intuition and if something gives off a negative frequency, steer clear. Take steps with love and kindness in mind, with no regard to race, gender, religion, or any other sort of diversity, and understand that that path will never lead you in the wrong direction. 

Life isn’t a race. You’ll get to accomplish the things you want and need to accomplish at its own time. Don’t compare where you are in life with those around you. See them as their own individual example of how others live their life. Contemplate the lessons you may take away by admiring their situation but don’t compare, for you are on your own journey.

Be mindful and stay present. The best way to live your life is to live right here, right now. Feel the breeze that just brushed across your cheek. Touch the petal of the flower that just caught your eye, give it a “thank you” for blessing you with its natural beauty. Listen to the laughter that erupts from children playing as you walk by your neighborhood playground. Let their giggles uplift you and ride its innocence to the depths of inner joy. Have no thought to the past for why reminisce and long after what no longer is. Don’t live in the future for there is no real future. You’re not promised the next 60 seconds let alone an entire lifetime.

Waste not your energy or time on things, people, or situations that bring you no joy. Forcing yourself to do things won’t strengthen anything other than the bond others will have a hold on you. Don’t allow the social chains to hold you back from taking advantage of this journey you’re on.

Laugh as much as possible and if you cry, cry from deep within your soul and let your tears nurture the ground below your feet. Allow its nutrients to strengthen the foundation for your rebuild. Don’t simply get over your problems, work through them, and move on.

Happiness is a choice and you have an abundance of it at your disposal, but only if you make the choice to seize it. Have faith in yourself because you are worth more than you know.

XOXO

Me.

A COV(ert)ID Silverlining

When all of this “virus” chatter began, I will admit that I wasn’t fully convinced at the gravity of it all. I blame our government and media outlets for that. They have broken my trust on many levels, so pardon me that it took me some time to believe what was being said. Lucky for me I learned at a young age to look outside of mainstream media sources and to dig deeper when seeking out the truth. Slowly I began to ingest what was truly going on and instead of brushing it off as, once again, another media-driven hysteria, I began to heed what was being warned. For me, it went from being “virus” chatter to serious virus talk.

I am currently on day 8 of our “official” lockdown and although I have been able to see friends and family periodically, it was only in the last three days that I have chosen to completely isolate myself, and not for the reasons that you may think. 

Amid all the calamity this virus has brought to our front doors, I’d like to think of all this as a necessary evil for society and what’s left of this starving planet Earth.

I might get shit for calling this pandemic a “necessary evil”. How could I say such a thing when so many people have died? But like a war, a battle being fought for the greater good, it has its deaths by the thousands of the guilty and of the innocent alike; it is exactly that, war. This type of war, however, isn’t to bring together land and eradicate manmade borders. This war is an internal war, not only physically but spiritually and emotionally. It’s a war to remind us of where we came from. It’s a war for time, because humanity needed time. Humanity needed a break from it all.

The last three days have been filled with a lot of self-reflection. I’ve been taking a look inside myself, asking myself questions, and having discussions that I should’ve had long ago. I limited my T.V time and within the silence, I have found sparks of creativity. I’m able to connect with nature better and I even feel as though the Universe speaks to me louder and more clearly without all the every day static I had grown conditioned to. I have learned to be a little more resourceful and a lot less wasteful. I’ve become more aware of the immediate things I must change to improve who I am.  I’ve become aware of the things I will gradually give up in order to live my version of a better life.

Some people end up finding themselves while lost at sea. Some find themselves after veering off track and getting lost in the wilderness. We have been given the chance to find ourselves within the confines (and comfort) of our own home. We have been given that extra bit of vacation time. We have been given the chance to learn from crisis hoarders, that greed leads you nowhere other than to the land of Overloaded and Nowhere To Store It.  We have been given extra time with our family, with our pets, with our crafts. We have been given the space to work on ourselves; the time to detox from everything that has been pumped into our senses.

I have read that for us here in the U.S it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I also hear that “getting better” still means that we’re going to be set back about a decade.  Whether any of that is true or not, I don’t know. We’ll call it what it is, speculation. I say that if at the end of all of this there is more genuine happiness within homes all around the world, genuine happiness within our own home, and with one’s self than I’ll pay that price. In the end, we are all going to be going through it together and there is comfort in that. This is a covert opportunity to change humanity in wonderful ways if only we begin to choose love before greed. We have the ability to rebuild a stronger and better world by going through such adversity together. I wish that through all if this social distancing and social isolation, after all the souls who have passed on because of this virus, we end up choosing to do good to one another.

“We will have suffered together, we will have fought through it together, and we will overcome together.”

 

 

 

Before It Could Blossom

In a concrete jungle, they had found love, their eyes first meeting the day she had discovered her neighborhood library. She walked in excited to have found a place where she could feel comfortable and at home. Since her move into the big city, she had yet to feel either. There was always something amazing about being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It was as if you were surrounded by so many different lives, being fictitious or not. She entered the library and walk towards the right heading towards the fiction section comma and that’s when she had spotted him. He obviously worked or volunteered there. His ID dangled around his neck while he sorted away the books on each shelf. Her heart jumped a little. Weird how that happened. He was cute …and tall …and mysterious …but there was something else about him. She didn’t know what it was but it was like a magnet.
Whenever she wasn’t at work she was at the library. What was there to do at home anyways? There was no internet and there was no cable, which meant all she had where her books. Some days he was there. Some days he wasn’t. By the second week of her routine visits, they had become friendly. They greeted each other with a warm smile and a nod, and soon it became a full-on wave with a, “Hey how’s it going?!“
Eventually exchanging phone numbers, they began to get to know each other. Their text messages were more silly than they were flirtatious. She absolutely loved that. They chatted throughout the day about anything and everything. It was not only easy to talk with him but it was also exciting. They could go from cracking jokes one second to a conversation on aliens and alternate dimensions the next. This was why, although she ended up finding out he was 4 years her junior when he asked her out to dinner, she happily said yes.
He picked her up in his old school El Camino. Her heart melted and it was from that night that the two were inseparable. Absolute best friends from the very beginning, they couldn’t have been any more compatible with one another. But sometimes, just because the yin had found its yang, that didn’t mean that their coming together would last forever. Throughout the time that they were building what could have been an everlasting and loving relationship, life behind the scenes wasn’t working out too well for her. Life in the big city had been rough and expensive. The jobs she was able to get hired for simply didn’t pay enough to cover her rent and utilities, let alone make enough for food and savings. It was a real struggle to make ends meet and the stress and anxiety would eat her up alive at night when her thoughts would run around her mind like wild horses. It was only when they were together that she felt something other than pain and heartache. He made her feel good.
They were sitting at one of their favorite burger spots. It was a beautifully sunny day and only she knew how sad of a day it was about to turn into. As they waited for their number to be called, he sat across from her telling her all about the first half of his day. They sat there in the booth on his lunch break, him chatting away while she barely listened. All she could hear were the roaring waves of sadness that were ripping apart her heart.
“Babe, are you listening? I know you’re not because that was funny and you’re not laughing.” He grinned at her. Man did she love those dimples.
“I’m moving back home in 2 weeks.” It came out barely a whisper. He just stared at her, at first making her believe that he hadn’t heard her. She didn’t know if she had the courage to say it once again but she soon realized that she wasn’t going to have to. His eyes misted over and as the lady working the counter called out their number, neither of them moved.

*

We never ate the burgers. We never even claimed them. Our hearts sunk deep into our bellies, heartbreak oozing into our souls. We spent as much time together as we could. We revisited our favorite places together. I went with him on his runs at the park (he ran while I waited on the sidelines). We hugged. We kissed. We cried. On our very last night together we laid on his bed in darkness our heads down towards the opposite end, and while staring up into the ceiling, we listened to all our favorite songs. Both of us being such great lovers of Motown, we listened deep into the night and I will never forget the last song we listened to. As if the Universe knew what we were going through, Kiss and Say Goodbye by The Manhattans came on and as if a switch had turned on, tears pooled into the corners of my eyes and overflowed, rolling past my temples and into my hair. The amount of sadness that was burying itself deep within my throat was overwhelming, so much so that it had sent me into a daze. The one last kiss as I left his bedroom, the one last handhold as I walked out of his front door, the one last hug before getting into the car, the last drive I’d take with him in his El Camino and the last time I would watch him drive away as he waved his last goodbye… I can’t even describe the feeling of what it was like to leave that piece of my heart behind.
I heard the song today and just like any other time I hear it, my heart smiled. Although it was so painful to leave before the relationship had a real chance to fully blossom, I love knowing that I got to experience such love in only just a few short months. I got to experience what felt like an entire lifetime in love and the memories of all that we shared will forever be in bloom, my heart a basket containing every petal.

Discovering YOUR Purpose

Even before being able to form a sentence we are discussed about to family and to outsiders as to what we are to later become professionally in life. Straight out the womb it’s, “Maybe she will become a lawyer like her father? Maybe he will become a doctor like his grandmother?” As we become older the question is always hovering above us, “What’s your life purpose? What do you think you’re meant to be or do here?” Because we are asked these questions from such a young age and then grow into asking our selves these very same questions on almost a daily basis, we are conditioned to give these thoughts way too much importance. We begin to believe that in this life we are meant to do something major or significant in order to have given our life meaning, and how do we even define for ourselves what is “major and significant”? If we don’t succeed in becoming that doctor or that lawyer then we are just a waste of a life. We begin to compare ourselves to those around us, who also don’t really know what they’re doing. Those who are also following this weirdly imposed set of social norms that in reality limit our potential to do the things in life that we actually want to do for ourselves and maybe need to do for our soul.

Graduate highschool the top of your class, attend college, meet your life partner, get married, buy a house, have kids, work, raise your family, maybe travel once they fly the coop, and then you die. 

Now let’s say your life up until now hasn’t followed these set of social standards. Maybe you have done things “out of order” or maybe you totally missed a couple “key steps” in making something out of yourself. You begin to feel lost and the little voice inside your head begins to tell you that maybe you just weren’t good enough for certain things. Maybe you didn’t try hard enough…

But what if…

…certain things in life weren’t meant for you. Maybe you’re actually better than that in other ways and it’s in those ways that you’re supposed to be shining. What if our life’s purpose is actually as simple as being here to shift energies within other people. In reality, such a purpose isn’t “simple”. To shift energies around you is a gift you are born with and its importance is grander than any job title you could study for. Maybe you are that person that walks into a room and immediately people are drawn to you. They lean to you for advice no matter how small, no matter how personal. A light follows you, casting positivity and radiating joy wherever you go. Such a person is a ripple effect, touching and reshaping lives on a daily basis. There is no small feat in that.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and question ourselves why it is that we are so hard on ourselves especially when it comes to things we pursue solely to appease others. Is it so hard to believe that maybe that’s why it isn’t working for you? It could be that while you felt like you were going with the flow of life in attempting to pursue something that would make a loved one happy, you in turn were actually going against the grain and disrupting your true journey.

I feel as though when speaking to many around me, this is a constant internal battle, the fight we have within ourselves about our purpose. So many of us feel so lost but it’s because we are focusing on all the wrong things. We aren’t really listening to our true selves. We are also looking towards others for answers that in all reality they don’t have. What you should count on are the signs from the Universe. Count on the fact that if you start believing in yourself and set aside the negative self talk, the hints and guidance from the Universe will shout to you what it is that you should be doing; what you should be doing for yourself and your genuine happiness.

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.