Accepting death and being rewarded with life


We’ve all said it and heard it countless times that death is life’s greatest mystery.  What it also seems to be is life’s greatest gift.  The comprehension of no longer having a body allows one to take pleasure in even the smallest moment, like a breath.  If you haven’t sat in the understanding of losing what you consider yourself, that is a disservice to the life you’ve been given.  As I said in my previous post, Feeling Displaced and Disillusioned, everything in life is temporary – and this includes life itself, as we know it.

I’m not here to tell you what I think happens after we pass on.  I have no answers there and I’m perfectly content with that.  My light, spirit, personality and unique collection of experiences and expressions will one day no longer be present here on Earth.  The people I’ve known, the lives I’ve touched, those I’ve hurt and those that will never remember me may live on.  I will go to a place without them, like walking out one door and in through another, or I will be nothing at all and my consciousness will cease to be, or I will be everything, a combined and collective universal mind. These appear to be the options we’ve been presented so far.  But how do we perceive death throughout our life?  Do we fear it?  Do we have faith in it, or is it all just one big cosmic joke? Instead of explaining what happens after, because no one actually knows, I’d like to write about how I’ve contemplated death and how this has given me more life.

While trying to obtain a higher understanding/change of perspective I implement the three “A’s”: awareness, acceptance, and action. To start in awareness, take this next moment to just bow your head and acknowledge your inevitable death.  Imagine your body without “you” inside it.  Breathe deeply and focus on what that feels like – examine that experience of withdrawing from your body.  Be an anthropologist of your own concept of death.  Does this bring up feelings of fear?  Of regret?  Of sadness, loneliness, or even jubilation?  Does your death have a color, is it all black or bright as the sunshine, what does your experience feel like? I personally do this every day as a reminder that I was given another opportunity to live – a practice reminding me of gratitude and humility.

Once you are awake and can conceptualize your own mortality you can then greet acceptance.  Most people will likely say “I know I’m going to die, it happens to everyone and it’s going to happen to me.” But internally, feelings of fear are aroused as to what’s going to happen next.  Fear of the pain that one might suffer prior to death.  Fear of leaving behind loved ones.  Fear of not having enough time and not accomplishing our dreams.  These fears can run our lives in a very real and powerful way because death can happen at any moment.  Humans are fragile creatures, we are strong, we can fight but we are not immortal.

Let me tell you right now that fear of “not living your dreams” is bullshit.  YOU ARE ABLE TO DREAM – THAT IS THE GIFT! You can envision yourself owning a home, having a baby, getting your film career started but all of these are just human aspirations.  They are the shallow end of the pool.  Dive into the deep-end and acquiesce that just by opening your eyes in the morning, breathing in another sip of air and saying “hello” to the world is the actual gift of your life.  Genuine acceptance of death fosters and breeds fearlessness.  Afraid to go skiing?  Nope!  Afraid to go scuba diving or explore a new city or get on an airplane?  Definitely not!  If I am to die, which I will, I’d much rather do it actually living my life, rather than sitting at my desk, driving on my commute home or eating a safe salad at the same corner street cafe.  Acceptance of death is even, possibly, laced with a tinge of excitement for yet another potentially beautiful journey.

After contemplating death for many years now, I’ve come to a place of missing those that have passed, but knowing that I was only supposed to be blessed by their light for a certain chapter of my life.  I truly hope when I die that no one mourns me.  Do not miss me, do not cry, do not suffer in any way, for I will already be somewhere or nowhere at all and I will be completely excited and satisfied by that!  It’s the very last stage to what we know of – I made it to the last video game check-point if you will.  I leveled up!  Feel gratitude in your heart for our shared experiences, remember the love, the laughter and the journey we created together – but never feel pain.

Lastly, after awareness and acceptance, the final step is action.  What do you do with this fearlessness and bliss for owning your own life and no longer being beholden to your death?  You appreciate, feel overwhelming gratitude and experience all the tributes each new day and breath has to offer.  Some days hurt, but hurting reminds us that we are alive to feel it.  Challenges and hurdles remind us that life is about hiking up the mountain for a breathtaking view of it all.  We can move skillfully and carefully through our lives just like a baby witnessing their first inhale of existence.  Like brand new conscious beams of kindness, love, joy, and human will – we can delight in all of the life’s treasures.  There will be no more “bad” days, no more fear of the “next steps” and no more pressures to accomplish your “dreams” because you will be too preoccupied with what you were freely and graciously given – life.



Feeling displaced and disillusioned


I’m currently reading “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac and heading into work after reading several chapters about the gloriousness of mountains, the peacefulness of no possessions and the lustful lack of direction makes my nine to five feel so contrived and menial.  It’s hard to decipher between the pull of what I should do and the push of what I want to do.

I grew up in the woods surrounded by tall oak trees, smelling sweet pine and neighboring cows.  I built things with my hands and drank from ponds.  I felt mud, rocks, and grass under the soles of my feet every day.   I listened to the songs that the lavish green leaves made as they fell onto patches of sun-drenched puddles.  My body yearned to rest itself in the middle of a field.  It ached to breathe in the stars and exhale the sunrise.  And yet displaced now, I find myself flooded with neon and desperate midnight car alarms.

One thing I’ve learned from Buddhism is that everything is temporary.  Nothing in this life is permanent and that thought refreshes me.  It allows me to separate my consciousness-based needs and my human-based needs.  Humans appear to require attachment.  Or, that is how we’ve been evolved to behave in civilized society.  We need a person, a tribe, hunting ground, layers of fabric and rubber soles to protect our fragile shells.  These things have accumulated and have been capitalized upon over the centuries.  “Work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume…” as Kerouac so poignantly described.

There are movements nowadays dedicated to a minimalistic lifestyle and while I applaud those disentangling themselves from former restraints, I cannot help but envy the larger meaning.  While meditating, I often sift through thick layers of responsibility, cultural norms, self-idealized and preconceived notions until I hit a core of vibration.  Sinking into that void of numb and yet eccentric totality.  For mere minutes of my day, I’m no longer what I own or how I work or where I’m going with my life.  I am Ray Smith leaping down Matterhorn, whooping and yodeling acknowledging that I can’t fall off the mountain.

To consistently live in this space is foreign, alluring and terrifying.  How can I completely detach from all the things that make me human and still remain human enough to appreciate the opportunity I’ve been granted?  Being born a human is a gift.  We can taste food and feel sun seeping into our skin and raindrops kissing our eyelashes.  We grow and feed babies and love with boundless beginningless strength.  We desire and make choices and are awake.

Disappearing into nature’s all-encompassing womb is a step only someone who has surpassed humanity can take.  We can hike, we can climb and we can visit but living in a state of pure disassembled reality where we want for nothing is unrealistic for the average man.  For wherever we go, there we are – unable to free our consciousness’ from our human hulls.

Our generation is close to discovering a new way of life.  With every new breath, there is hope for progress and the awakening of change.  We do not live the way our parents lived or the way their parents lived and so on.  Bettering ourselves, our planet and our chances of survival are a continued pursuit.  This includes the exploration of self, of being human and of what it means to fully live.

I may always feel divided.  Walking around sensing all of the possibilities of my lifetime at once.  The inner essence navigating from a seat littered with versions of myself unlived.  To only receive one lifetime is an unfair and poetically humbling adventure.


Fear & Transformation

Fear & Transformation

I am no longer afraid.  I’ve been scared most of my life; scared of someone noticing me, scared if they didn’t.  I was scared to speak my needs, wants and interests or appearing different in any capacity.  “Different” was bad in my household.  We had to blend.  My family taught me how to chameleon my way throughout social situations, mimicking those around me, laughing at things I thought were utterly obnoxious all the way to sleeping with partners that I didn’t particularly care for just for the sake of looking normal.  (That’s a whole other post, though).  When you’re the product of mentally ill, alcoholic parents from a long line of mentally ill, alcoholic people – it’s deep seeded in your bones to not stand out.  You learn to become completely invisible.  At least, that was my response.

I’ve chosen not to do that anymore.  I’ve worked for 7 long, hard years to hear my own thoughts, desires, ambitions and my wanderlust for change.  You cannot speak your own true voice if you cannot even hear it.  I’ve been transforming into new iterations or upgrades of myself every few years since – and I’m fairly certain I’m in the midst of another large shift. I was afraid yet again when I wrote my first blog post.  Worried that my family might see it and it could ruin all the hard work I’ve done to bring us back together.  But then I remembered one really important thing: You cannot change something that you cannot face.  Meaning, if you aren’t willing to own that there’s a problem and if you cannot accept that you are unhappy – then the circumstance will never change.  I was unhappy because I’ve been silent for too long.  I finally faced that truth within myself.

The writers I admire most are raw and authentic without glorifying their pain.  They provide just enough detail so you can taste their sadness without it actually touching your heart.  And the most mesmerizing thing about these idols is that they have gratitude in their voice.  They are thankful for the past they were given, they even take pride in their discomfort – and day by day I try to remain in a seat of uncomfortability to always remain teachable by my fear.

I think, as conscious humans, we can all accept that fear is false.  I’ve heard various acronyms used to explain fear; False Evidence Appearing Real, Fuck Everything And Run, Future Events Already Ruined, etc. But my favorite one is: Face Everything And Rise.  If you can stare your fear right in the face, feel the shaking palms, the nervous belly and the uncertainty of the future outcome and then still do the thing you feel you need to do, then absolutely nothing can stop you!  I believe that fear is an indicator.  It’s telling you a story about yourself that you feel “unprepared” to hear.  It starts off as a whisper, maybe something like, “Hey, doing a handstand might be cool, I wish I could do that.”  Then, it becomes a quiet voice, “Why don’t you try it?”  Eventually, the longer you ignore it, the louder it becomes until it’s a battle cry.  “Get on your hands and lift off!”

“The true warrior isn’t immune to fear.  She fights in spite of it.” – Francesca Lia Block

If you are living in fear, you will never change.  Your unhappiness and unfulfillment and dissatisfaction will linger and grow.  Your heart will harden.  You will no longer be open to accepting new ideas, new experiences, new roads untraveled or new relationships never explored.  Fear gets bigger and badder the longer you suppress it.  It becomes a part of you.  Your fear not only prevents you from becoming a better version of yourself, but it also prevents you from living.  You will likely never meet someone on their death bed saying, “Man, super glad I listened to my fears and stayed at the same job that I hated for 30 years and drove down the same road every day and only spoke to my select friend group.”  NOPE!

Obviously, fear is a built-in human preservation mechanism.  Oh, you’re thinking about eating that random berry you’ve never seen before?  Fear responds with, “Yeah, let’s not eat that, it could kill you.”  However, in today’s society, we no longer really need to worry about those types of fears the way we used to a hundred or so years ago.  (But let’s not go around eating random berries, okay?)  Our fears nowadays are more focused on shallow, non-life-threatening things like, will I look stupid if I get bangs?  Will people make fun of me if I post this picture of myself in a bikini?  Should I stay in this job because it’s stable, even though I hate it?

If you are yearning for change, for transformation, for growth and a better way of life – it’s all completely possible if you face your fears.  For example, I really disliked that I had road rage.  I live in L.A. and as I stated in my previous post, it takes me on average an hour to an hour and a half to drive about 8 miles.  Some days it can take up to 2 hours.  That shit is insane, I know… but, when you’re driving in those kinds of conditions, road rage is very real.  I would get SO upset.  I would absolutely lose it.  I would yell, scream, throw tantrums, cry, flip people off, etc.  But, the only person this road rage was hurting was me.  Where’s the fear in road rage?  The fear for me was being honest enough with myself to recognize that I was being a dick. A dick to others and a dick to myself, because every time I got road rage, it kind of ruined my day.  Then, one day about a year ago, I had supreme road rage and I got all hot and bothered by someone not using their blinker and cutting me off aggressively.  I swerved around them in a very dickhead way and flipped them off – and who was on the receiving side?  The world’s most adorable grandma with what looked like her grandbabies in the back seat.  THAT was my reality check.  I faced that fear of no longer being the “really sweet, nice Midwestern girl” to being an actual L.A. asshole driver.  Once I looked at myself honestly, I began to change my behaviors.  Moving forward, instead of getting upset and lashing out at others on the road, I would take a breath, learn from what that driver did so I didn’t make the same mistake and carried on my merry little way.

Transforming yourself into the person you want to be will be challenging.  You’ll mess up and likely flip off grandmas too – but you will grow if you keep working at it.  As the days pass, it’ll get easier.  One day you might even realize that you didn’t do that thing you didn’t like about yourself and you will feel such pride.  If you mess up, that’s okay!  There are 365 days in a year, which means you are granted 365 new beginnings.  Don’t start on a Monday, start today.  Transformation, growth, and change are right around the corner if you want them to be.

Fuck fear, get real and be awesome.

Start a blog they said… It’ll be easy they said…

Start a blog they said… It’ll be easy they said…

For a long while, my friends have suggested I start a blog.  I’ve always been rather self-conscious, fearing that by speaking my opinion online, I’ve just become exactly like the countless other Millennials and L.A. stereotypes who feel like their particular voice needs to be heard.  In many cases, our generation was raised believing we could do anything – and most of us, in my experience, wanted to change the world.  This has proven to be quite a task indeed.  After realizing that “changing the world” is pretty freaking impossible, I’ve retreated inward to change myself first.  Since making this life-pivot, I’ve actually learned that in order to change the world, changing myself is the perfect place to start.

My uncomfortable quest to bettering myself actually began 7 years ago, but me writing about it publically began on August 1st, 2017.  I had just come home from a long day at the office, I sat in 1.5 hours of traffic to go 8 miles, then collapsed onto the floor and proceeded to cry onto my cat (yes, I actually cried onto her).  That’s when I realized I’m not alone.  Which is interesting, because in that exact moment I felt the most alone.  I don’t know if my voice needs to be heard, but if you’re on the hunt for self-reflection, a different perspective, or maybe even some tangible life tools – my posts may help.  At the very least, I want others who are on the quest with me to know they aren’t alone in their struggles and their successes.  I’ll also likely post about self-helpy type things, science, philosophy, food/health & wellness, the human condition, music, books and a multitude of other midnight ramblings.

I’m almost 30 and I definitely have some of my shit together.  Clearly, not all of it, given my fetal-position-cry-session I had not more than 3 hours ago… but still, I mean, I have a cat.  Oh, and like THREE of my plants are alive.  So I feel pretty good about it.

I’ve been studying various aspects of the human mind since I was 23.  Mostly because I wonder every day how I didn’t turn out to be a stark-raving lunatic and instead have somehow managed to become a successful contributor to American society.  Upon years of research, therapy, meditation sessions, terrible pharmaceutical drugs and self-internalization, I have learned that there are two things that prevented a survivor of childhood abuse, trauma, and neglect from turning into a lunatic – resilience and books.

The 10th Doctor in “Doctor Who”, played by David Tennant once said, “You want weapons?  We’re in a library!  Books!  The best weapons in the world! … arm yourselves!”  If anyone has a problem, which let’s be honest, everyone does – it’s likely been written about, studied, posted online and there are at least one or two viewpoints that could aid in your healing, growth and self-improvement.  I’ve armed myself to the teeth with books and I’m hoping my discoveries and experiences can provide some comfort, relief or even wisdom to those seeking it.

There it is, I’m yet another narcissistic white-girl blogger trying to summarize why the hell I’m getting myself into this endeavor.  So… let’s get started…