In silence

In silence, I’d be fated to a life of wonder and you a life of grey…

For the songs in your voice never sang,

and the colors in your voice never painted,

and the vessels in my ears never heard the stories

that they thought this life was meant for.

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Writing in the Gardens

I bought my favorite notebook, the thin one with the flowers on the cover and the thick pages, and I took it to the gardens that I’ve been to so many times with my lover, but seldom by myself. No other notebook would fit what I wanted to do, in the place I wanted to do it, and no other notebook has felt so close to my heart. In the gardens, I situated myself in a bench outlined with plants, and trees, and animals, and insects that I couldn’t see. It was spring or summer and I was just where I was supposed to be; alone in the gardens with a flower notebook and a pen. I wrote about my feelings and transformed the negative emotions into pretty ones, finding solutions to problems easily and lucidly. I wrote down what I think were almost promises, but no, they were almost like vows. Vows that I have yet to keep but one day will float in my commitment to them. These vows are everlasting and unconditional, they’re within me and without me on that paper and don’t judge me if it takes a while to make contact.

This garden that I’ve been to many times before has been a place of exploration and peace, physically through walking within its woods and mentally through the love spells it casts on two people- it subtly infiltrates the skin and reaches the invisible parts of a human’s being. Just as the gardens can infiltrate to the point of love, they can infiltrate to the point of inspiration. Without even noticing, the garden’s leaves were imprinted on the pages of my favorite notebook, so I took a leaf and gave it a home in tree that was cut down, distilled, and manufactured for humans.

Without even noticing, the garden’s atmosphere crept in my airways and though I cannot tell you a word for word phrase or passage of what was written, it made me feel. My soul was imprinted on that page as it is in many others. This place that I’ve been to so many times before now held a new meaning, one of beautiful loneliness and quiet but exciting inner discovery.

If only every day could feel the way it did that day. If only every experience was filled with the optimism of those moments on the bench of better moments to come to me. If only all my writing was accompanied by fresh air and sun. If only promises were always so wonderful. If only the breaking of promises didn’t compromise my feelings for myself. If only I completely understood the unconditionality of nature, life, love, and god, I would unconditionally love myself in the same way. Nature is destroyed at times to produce the paper I write on, but nature keeps giving and forgiving. Nature made the bench I sat on, and the paper I wrote in, and the air I breathed in, and the sun that warmed me, and the passion that flows inside, and the hurt that’s heavy like a paperweight. But like snow and the sun, in time, some things will melt and fade away, and some things will melt and turn into others, like the tears that probably fell from my eyes on that day in the garden and made my thick pages sodden.

Happiness?

Q: “What is your goal in life?”

 

A: “To be happy.”

I’ve been thinking about how easily we give this answer- that happiness is the ultimate goal. It’s what we wake up for, what we go to school for, why we do art, why we go to work. Is it? Do artists practice art because it makes them happy? Does going to class make you happy?

I think the word “happy” is over-exploited. I don’t believe the creator of the word intended for it to be people’s perceptions of what the essence of life should be. Happiness is an emotion, state-of-being, feeling, just like sadness, excitement, and euphoria are. We feel different throughout the day. I wake up tired. Once I shower, I feel better. Once I eat, I feel energized. When I’m at work, I feel ready. I don’t often feel sad during this routine, but I also don’t often feel excited, euphoric, or happy. I just am.

I wonder what chasing happiness all of your life will do to you. I wonder if it leaves one disappointed. What if happiness isn’t the ideal? So many things intrude on so-called happiness. Every day, life brings us situations which turn down our positivity even just momentarily. Chasing happiness after a negative instance can drive the emotional body wild.

Happiness is wavering, situational, inconsistent.

Shouldn’t our goal in life be peace?

There’s no happiness during sadness, but many times I’ve found myself in profound peace during sadness. When something irritates you, happiness won’t be immediate, but peace can very quickly be yours after going away and breathing for 5 minutes.

In the color wheel, happiness is sometimes red, yellow, or bright blue.

Peace can adorn and live within every color from the softest pinks to the blackest blacks. It’s only a matter of finding it within ourselves despite the energies that are constantly surrounding us.

 

Melting the Stone

It took a thousand years to freeze the stone
      and only one minute to melt it.
            It took a million twists to crack at the soul
                              for one meditation to mend it.

Through Their Skin and Through The Sky

She found herself in every spring flower and winter flake.

The autumn leaves were synonymous with her own bone structure, and in the summer, she felt the most connected to it all. The sun, the earth, humans, and the gods.

He found himself in every introspection. Every situation held promise of inner discovery. The way he’d yell when he was angry taught him peace. The way he suffered in sadness of a loss taught him strength. The ignorance of others taught him patience.

He felt the connection between himself and others, and himself with himself.

She prayed in the nights for safety, love, and a little bit of luck. She prayed to find inspiration in every day, and the will to live every day better than the one before.

She yearned for an inner movement. She wrote, she moved her body, she smiled, and she cried. Some mornings produced an intoxicating relationship with herself. Almost dream-like. She wouldn’t trade that for anything, but would trade it all for just a little more.

He looked for answers in the books. The big ones, and the skinny ones produced no answers. So he visited the mosques, the churches, and the homeless shelters, wanting to help them, and himself.

He visited bars at night and danced with beautiful women, asked them questions, and drank too much. On some nights, he’d make love with them. Always placing their needs before his own. He lived for this connection. For any connection.

In the summers, she’d lay in the grass in the meadows, feeling the wetland intrude her thin dress, curl her hair, taint her clean skin in the purest of ways. She’d shed a tear for every flock that danced in almost perfect unison, and laughed every time a dancer would come too close.

She tried to think rationally about the stars that would appear at night. But it wouldn’t work. How could a blue landscape turn into flickering lights at night?

He rode the train to big cities and wrote stories about people he would see in his small leather notebook. They were artists, or architects, plumbers, or mothers, or carers. They always had something to tell, and it was these characters in his notebook that taught him the most about the world, the most about himself.

Every outer speculation became the recipe for who he was all along.

She felt high among the trees. She wished for uncivilization, but understood her societal counterpart. Her reflection was a sunflower, for throughout the year, she learned to feel beautiful. She had so much to learn, but she had learned so much. Nature was always a metaphor for who she was. How she was.

Her biological cycles and her mental ailments could all be mirrored through the sky, the moon, the wind. Like the growth of a flower mirroring her own.

Your Mind & Your Essence

Pop culture magazines emphasize the superficial: outer beauty and the enrichment of the physical body. This includes exercise, diet, and anything else that aids in making you feel better, or make you feel better because you (ultimately) look better. While this focus on physical health, diet, and self-esteem can be crucial for mental satisfaction and happiness, there are aspects of the mind (and soul) missing in these how-to’s and recipes for the perfectly healthy body. The path to mental stability can be attained through keeping fit and eating well, but what if you’re just not there yet? What if you aren’t aware that being physically healthy is a step you can take towards mental wellness?

How often do popular magazines educate us on how to feel mentally stable? Psychology magazines are a step, but I think curing ourselves takes more than a profession to define us. Sometimes it’s deeper than your psychology..
Here are a few definitions of psychology i found throughout the web:

(Merriam- Webster)
1: The science of mind and behavior
2: a. The mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group b. the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity.2
(Oxford Dictionaries)
1: The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.
2: The mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group

The science of. The scientific study of. The mental characteristics of. While extremely useful and sometimes life-saving, the scientific study of the mind only resolves the why of why we behave the way we behave. That sounds complete. Know why you do something, feel something, think something, and solve it. From personal experience, I’ve looked at the why and have continued to be plagued by my own mind. The science of the mind also defines the how. Your mind makes certain patterns and distinctions and acts accordingly. The what is what you have right in front of you. What you’ve seen, heard, felt, thought, experienced. But the “who” is much more interesting. It’s in this discovery that I believe the mind can be helped.

Let’s look at the mind as a being apart from the brain, apart from the body, apart from the “consciousness”, “soul”, “spirit”, “ghost in machine”, whatever you define your personality or self as. I like to think of it as the essence.
Here’s some definitions of “essence” from the web:

(Merriam- Webster)
1: a. The permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of being
b. The individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing, especially opposed to its existence (ex. a painting that captures the essence of the land)
2: Something that exists: ENTITY
3: (I like this one) One that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form (ex. She was the essence of punctuality)
4: The most significant elements, quality, or aspect of a thing or person.
In or by its very nature.
(Dictionary.com)
1: The basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individial features.
2: A substance obtained from a plant, drug, or the like, by distillation, infusion, etc., and containing its characteristic properties in concentratied form.
3: An alcoholic solution of an essential oil; spirit
4: Something that exists, especially a spiritual or immaterial entity.
5: In philosophy: The inward nature, true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory, etc.

These definitions, while they slightly waver here and there, are essentially the same. The permanent element of being, something that exists, the significant elements of a thing or person. Even the definitions associated with plants or alcohol- this is the concentration of a plant. The essence of a plant contains all of its properties…the energy and matter just change. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Essence is the core of something. Essence is the beginning and the end. It is more than existence. It is the truth of a particular thing.

I’ll define essence here in regards to the human, though it’s still hard for me to even understand. Does essence change like personality through the twists and turns of life? If i were raised in the woods, would my essence be different than if i were raised in the city? Would I be an honest person in both of these circumstances? Or is everything absolutely defined by my experiences? I don’t know, but I’ll try to define it here revolving around the person you presently are, completely inclusive of all of your experiences.

Essence is who you are, unchanged with coming events. It is something that cannot be fixed, altered, or transformed. It is the truth of a human being. I feel my essence all the time, and when i do, it calms me in the present. It makes me look forward to the future. It answers the question of why I’m on earth. I am essential to earth as is everyone on this planet.

With something as beautiful and serene as essence has to exist an opposition. In my opinion, this is the mind. No, I dont think the mind is ugly. I dont think the mind is not beautiful. I dont think the mind is useless. I feel the contrary. The mind can very much help us achieve our many goals both inward and outward. It helps us rationalize and understand. It is a companion to the soul and body and brain. It helps us understand our emotions, the outer world, and technicalities. But it also hinders us. The brain is an amalgam of sensory data, and our mind defines this data into good, bad, useful, not useful. This in turn makes us feel- a role of the consciousness or essence. It began with our brain. Our mind judged an experience (either outward or inward (thought)), and our soul is affected.

These emotions stick to our soul as they do in our mind, but because we feel so deeply about our experiences, it gives our mind permission to keep on thinking about it, obsess, stay in there. We feel anxious, our mind starts to dance. Our mind starts to dance, we feel anxious. Then we feel our hearts beat, our eyes widen, goosebumps where we didn’t know we could get them. We start to pace. Your head feels heavy. You want to curl up and cry. How beautifully crazy this circle-cycle we call the human experience. Each level of us relies on the other to react to what’s going on. Could we benefit and feel more at peace if we tried to disconnect them from each other? The brain from the mind, the mind from the soul, the soul from the body.

This is why it’s so important to go beyond psychology when seeking mental, spiritual wellness. It’s vital to find your essence and keep it with you at all times like a loving friend.

The Best Part of Human

          Humans progress. We trust our fellow humans to build our bridges, take care of our children, write our math books, and fly our planes. These people woke up and got things done whether through the will of obligation or the fire of their own passions. Look around your room, in your car, on the streets as you walk. The bike you’re riding. Someone didn’t procrastinate that day… they were busy creating.
          All of these beautiful, amazing creations in the world, yet some of us are standing still, stranded, because of the infamous procrastination. I wake up every day with the intention to do more than I did yesterday. To fill up every second. To fill up the page.
I could write an encyclopedia on the things I never got done, but truly, they would all be defined the same.

 

Play Guitar:  “She didn’t do it because she didn’t do it.”
Read two chapters: “She didn’t do it because she didn’t do it.”

 

          So, what do all of these beautiful, amazing creators possess that I, and many of us, do not? Nothing special. We all have it in us to do exactly what we want and when we want to do it. But recently I’ve learned that personally, my mind has created the pattern of waiting.
          The brain loves a pattern. It’s how we distinguish what we want in life, what’s safe, what the next step is. Patterns create the automatic actions in life like driving a car or brushing your teeth. Without patterns it would be difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Ironically enough, it’s this custom of patterns that can keep us in bed waiting for tomorrow to come and really believing that tomorrow you’ll feel that cosmic spark to finally follow your passions…
It’s unreal.
          Procrastination doesn’t  feed off of itself. I think it’s fed by fear: The doubt that our new project will be any good and the anxiety of how others will react. The reality of hard work. From what I’ve read, following a passion or creative-work is more difficult than working under someone else. You have to push your own self. You have to give your own deadlines. You have to edit your own work. You have to make the decision of whether your project needs to be trashed…
          It’s scary. But what’s scarier is that all of these thoughts appear and are felt as real feelings even before any work has started. This is what feeds creative procrastination.
          This is my first blog post, and it took me a year to get here. I woke up today, like every day, and decided I was going to have a rich morning full of reading, writing, and nature. That didn’t happen. Instead, it’s 8:50 PM, what I call the end of the day, and I’m writing this.
          The point is to start even if you believe it’s too late. Even if someone else has already done it. Even if you think the people around you won’t like it. Do what fills you.

 

This is for you, me, Jennifer.