An End of the Year Post

A very personal post with some reflections on the year to put things in perspective…

This was the year I lost my mother, and in a few days, I will have my first birthday on this earth without her.  Wisdom from an older aunt: “I never felt old until I had no one to call mama”…

This was also the year I said a final goodbye to a man I called home…and it was the year when my concept of home got shaken.

This year was just a continuation of a very long era of wars and hatred in this region; it was also a continuation of the descent into a time of intellectual and spiritual darkness.

My way of coping in these past years has been to prioritize happiness: no easy task because it means that one must become more selfish, unfeeling, and apathetic.  One must stay shallow and abandon the dark depths where real life happens. I was successful most of the time, but I missed being who I was when I was younger: more passionate about my beliefs, more emotional, more vulnerable, and much less jaded. I believe that as we grow we must shed some of our older attributes, and even if we miss them, we must leave them behind: every station in life needs a different ticket to ride!

Through it all, and on the rare occasions when I let my guard down, I let some new and stimulating people into my life to shake things up a bit.  I also developed a deeper fondness for the ones who have been here all along, the friends and family who create a circle of comfort.  Still, I spent a lot of time alone questioning my roots, my wings, what I knew, and what I didn’t know.

No year passes without illuminated moments, and I had my share of those, and it is always those moments that I grab on to and highlight to the world outside.

Thank you 2015 for the lessons, for the friends, for the lovers, for the losses, for the wins, and for the changes. You will not be missed and you will not be forgotten…

 

 

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Filed under Literature, soul searching

You’re Never Too Old to have Imaginary Friends!

Disclaimer (this is in no way a professional opinion-it is based on my own crazy musings- If anyone finds it necessary to call the guys in white coats on me after reading this, please read some of my other articles first!)

I didn’t have imaginary friends as a child, I actually started having them as an adult, after being hit with the realities of relationships of all kinds. I found that having a customized imaginary friend or two, was actually quite amusing and helpful!

Here are some of the obvious benefits of having an imaginary friend:

You always have someone you really like to share your craziest ideas with, and that someone will never look at you like you’ve lost your mind!

You always have excellent adventures that transcend the reality of your lifestyle.

Your imaginary friend is never too busy, and when they are away, it’s only because you need some alone time or time with real friends and lovers, and conveniently enough they have something of their own to do!

Your imaginary friend can also be your imaginary lover (I will not elaborate more on this particular point, use your imagination).

And now for the serious side:  How you chose to create your imaginary friend says a lot about what your truest self wants. It can be a great exercise in self-discovery and visualization.

If you could have the perfect partner, how would you visualize them to every last detail? What would be his or her strengths? Weaknesses? What would he or she look like or feel like? What would her or his quirks be? What would you admire most about him or her? What would you have to tolerate about him or her? Would his or her convictions be similar or different from yours? What would he or she look like physically? What are his or her most admirable virtues? How would he or she treat you? What nationality would he or she be? What language would you speak together? Where would you go together? What experiences would you share? What would the biggest obstacles be in your relationship (yes even if it’s an imaginary friend, he or she can’t be perfect)? How would you resolve them? There are many many other questions that can be explored in one’s imagination.  However, what is important, is to explore with purpose! The purpose being to explore your true self: what you really want, what you really need, what you really desire.

My imaginary friend/boyfriend of this past year (his name is Sven) did actually teach me a lot about what I value most in a relationship.  After making so many mistakes in judgement, it was great to explore what I really really desired in a friend or partner. Some of the choices I made in customizing my imaginary friend shocked me, they were not things that I would have ever admitted to myself. It was a way to realign my moral, ethical, and emotional compass without hurting anyone and without getting hurt.

I encourage you to try this.  Create yourself an imaginary friend and do some real self-exploration as you go places with that person you never thought you actually would…

 

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Filed under Poetry, soul searching

Tolerance is not Necessarily Respect

In a discussion with a friend on the subject of tolerance in a pluralistic society, the issue of respecting the “other’s” beliefs and convictions came up.
My friend said: “I can tolerate them but I can’t respect them” and that was a statement that got me thinking!

Let me backtrack a bit here: In my corner of the world, conflict is rampant. What is now called the Middle East is the source, and bottomless well, of diversity, war, and polarization.

Back to the tolerance issue, and I’ve written about this before on this blog, because lately, I am having trouble being tolerant and I’m not liking myself too much because of it.

So my friend’s statement gave me a bit of relief, since it differentiated between tolerance and respect.

You know the adage: I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with it? That’s a load of bull! I only respect your right to have your own opinion, but not the opinion itself. Additionally I only respect your right to have your own opinion as long as you voice it and manifest it logically.

I am allowed not to agree with, and not to respect your opinion, but for the sake of coexisting on this piece of the planet, I will tolerate it (only as long as your opinion does not become hostile action towards me, but that is another story).

Mind you, this is an internal issue; I am only allowing myself to disrespect and loathe the others’ opinions and practices while tolerating them internally, in my head. I am in no way condoning disrespectful speech or hostile action against others as is so rampant these days.

You see, it gives you inner peace to allow yourself to not only disagree, but also disrespect things that do not match your system of thinking, however, as soon as you begin to voice that disrespect, then it becomes intolerance and slander.

Personally and very frankly, I am more concerned with my inner peace at this stage than I am with changing the opinions of others, and in order to maintain that peace I do need to be tolerant, but will allow myself not to respect and to strongly dislike (I don’t like the word hate) the nonsense I see all around me.

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Filed under Political, Social Organization

Five Short Love(?) Poems

master the elements

master the elements

When you love me

I control the elements

High Priestess…

The universe and I are one

I command:

“Rain!”…. it rains

 

All is within my power

The time of the sunset

The moonrise

The ebbs and flows of the tides

The direction that time flies

The blooming of the flower

My realm I rule with force and light

Taking no notice of the long night

I become sheer energy

I become you I become me

When you love me

****************

After the Eruption

Boiling incessantly

Begging to leave the darkness

To see the light

To breathe….

Pushing upwards

Breaking the fragile coating

Of the ever protective skin

And finally existing

In the form of a slow

Steady, solidifying

Flow ………

****************

You are beginning to bore me

I see the light in a new eye

The mystery the surprise

The promise the new polish

Beginnings are tempting

The sirens beckon with their songs

Recapture the magic!

For you I want to yearn

Alas

You are beginning to bore me….

****************

Burden

A heavy load

On a mule’s back

Going uphill

In the midday sun

You have become!

****************

translucency

Translucence

The lights are dimmed

The night is fleeing

Towards the arms of dawn

The sun will rise in spite of you

To spite you and the night

Where is the light?

Resist temptation

Why?

Rise above

What?

It is dawn

The lantern burns no more

 

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Musings on the State of just Being (or My Days of Doing Nothing)

I have been in a state of not having to do something or be somewhere on any particular day or hour for a few days now, a state that is partially voluntary, yet it is not a vacation.

Here is what I have observed so far:

I found myself waking up earlier than I usually did when I had work.

I noticed the details of my house more intently.

I only did things that I wanted to do, not that I had to do and found that I liked doing a lot of the things that I thought I “had” to do!

I found that each day had its own rhythm and it was best to surrender to those rhythms of high energy and low energy.

I thought about things a lot more clearly.

I felt emotionally liberated in that I could feel whatever I wanted to feel without any pressure or control.

I had some very interesting and profound conversations with people.

I discovered that staring at the wall for an hour was not boring at all, but was a sort of peaceful meditation, and a great way to let the mind wander and ponder some deep issues.

I discovered new writers that made me feverish with intellectual excitement.

I got really good as SUDOKU.

I reconnected with reading.

I reconnected with my plants.

I did not for one second feel bored or restless.

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Filed under Arts, Literature

Reading and Other Offline Distractions

Some thoughts now that I have gone back to reading actual books (in paper format).

I won’t talk about the intimate experience of reading a real book and about the connection with the object and the smell of the paper etc… I basically went back to reading offline because I needed to get offline. Here are the thoughts:

FOCUS: Reading on a tablet or laptop or phone is quite distracting for me, because I always find myself interrupted by one thing or another, always multitasking, always in an agitated state of mind: here, there, and everywhere at the same time, and agitation that was both addictive and counterproductive.  Sometimes the mind needs to calm down!

CALM: It’s such a calming effect to only be focuses on one thing at a time!

REFLECTION: Since I am focused and calm, my mind can wander into a state of uninterrupted reflection and thinking without being bothered by electronic signals.

LMA: Leave Me Alone: somehow, if you are actually reading a paper book people are less likely to disturb you than if they see you on some electronic device.  I think it’s because the etiquette of reading is pretty much established, while we’re still working on our e-etiquette.

TIME LAPSE (NOT): Time stretches out and moves at a more natural pace – things take the time they need no more no less.

PERSPECTIVE:  Rereading some stuff that I read years ago, with the perspective of today’s me is an awesome experience, it’s like reading something new altogether.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: Somehow I found that non-electronic reading was a better springboard for creativity, thinking, and emotion than its e-counterpart.

 

 

 

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Grin and “Bear” it or (How to Cure the Hard Heart Syndrome)

The Hard Heart Syndrome!

Over the course of a lifetime lived in a corner of the world that is full of conflict, war, and death, it sometimes happens that people get a condition that I will call “hardening of the heart”: this is not a medical condition but it is more of a psychological condition or syndrome that gradually diminished one’s apathy and compassion and that makes a person indifferent to the agony of witnessing so much injustice, so much violence, and so much pain.  It is also a condition that makes people selfish, hey, survival in dire times requires self-protection, and self-protection requires a big dose of self-love.

I write this because of a seemingly insignificant incident that happened last week and that got me thinking about starting to reverse the process of the hardening of my heart in order to really feel human again, not only that, but I wanted to remember how a younger version of me experienced life with a fully functioning heart.  So I am writing this blog entry as a totally transparent exercise in self-examination!

It’s just a bear!

Some friends and I went on a little road trip to a mountain village and visited a little wild animal shelter run by a couple who have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about wildlife in Lebanon (the story of this shelter is very important and I may write about it at a later time).  There we saw different animals with different injuries in enclosures and in cages being taken care of in order to be re-released into the wild.  One animal, a large bear that looked a lot like a grizzly, somehow touched my hardened heart.  The caretaker told us that this species in now nearly extinct in Lebanon, and that this guy is a sole survivor and has been living at the shelter for a while.  This made me sad and stuck with me for days and I’m not the kind of person that gets emotional over animals: I eat meat, and I would wear fur if I could afford it!

It’s a lot to bear!

But this whole unexpected emotional episode over a lonely bear in a big cage really got me thinking about how tough I have become on the inside and I asked myself some hard questions: why is it that children begging in the streets don’t move me? Why don’t the senseless and violent deaths of innocents in the many warzones all over the region make me angry or sad anymore? Why am I indifferent to the plight of millions of refugees? Why do I only care about a small number of people who comprise my family and close entourage? When did I become so good at selecting who to feel for and when to feel? And how did the big sad bear break through my defenses?

Bear with me on this!

Each person who is suffering from “hardening of the heart” will probably have different answers if they were to ask themselves the questions I asked myself, or similar ones depending on what they have selected to harden their heart about.  And (I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with and) even if they found the answers, would that make any difference? Would it cure this affliction? I don’t think it would, although it might help a little in finding a cure or a course of treatment.  And are we really sure we want to be cured? YES I WANT TO BE CURED because a lukewarm life is a sign of surrender!

And I found that the cure lies in a decision, a decision to care again in spite of the pain that is suffered because of caring.

And once I start to care and hurt again, I just might become part of some kind of solution.

Thank you almost extinct bear! I love you

The Bear! You can visit him at https://www.facebook.com/animalencounter.org

The Bear!
You can visit him at https://www.facebook.com/animalencounter.org

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Filed under Literature, Social Organization