Advice To My Nephew: Age 3

Never let anyone make you feel like you need to dumb/quiet/calm/slow yourself down in order for you to matter to them.  The people who love you will adjust, and those who don’t will slough off on their own.

Do not be scared of the weight of other people’s lives no matter how difficult their story.  By carrying the weight of someone else’s truth, your empathy will build strength and your compassion will gain stamina.  Be a rock of a witness who can look the experiences of others in the eyes without bending away; the world already has too many do-gooders with weak backs.

There is nothing selfish about loving yourself so long as you aren’t a cocky punk about it.

The ability to respect all creatures is one of the most beautiful characteristics of being human.

If you want to be heard, learn how to listen.

Just because someone is older or bigger does not mean that they are automatically wiser.  Nobody explains to children that there are a lot of stupid adults in the world and you are bound to meet some while being related to others.  Kindly let them have their opinions (you might learn something), but do not for a second believe they have the right to tell you how to think or what to believe.

Being excited and bewildered about life is an amazing gift we have the capacity to give our selves.

Humility and humiliation are not the same thing.  Humility promotes growth.  Humiliation causes unnecessary suffering.

If you want people to take you seriously, respect them.  Otherwise, why should they?

You are your own god.  Within you is everything you need to be your own source of self-forgiveness, grace, damnation, shame, guilt, pleasure, virtue, salvation, and morality.  Despite what the crazies say, these are the real endowments you are free to take for yourself in the here-and-now rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that it’ll be granted unto you in some afterlife.

If you find yourself feeling like you need something to be happy, chances are 1.) you do not need it, and 2.) it will not last very long once it is found.

Listen to what the trees and plants have to say.  Pay attention to the morning gossip of finches, the cawing of crows, and the forlornly cry of loons.  Learn how to read the tracks of the animals living around you.  Your neighborhood is brimming with so much more life than that of mere humans.

Beige is not only a color, it is a lifestyle.  I sharply discourage both.

If someone hits you, you alone decide whether or not if you should turn the other cheek or knock them out.  Neither is wrong given the proper circumstance, so just make sure that whatever you choose honors what you need so you neither get a chip on your shoulder nor feel ashamed.

If you are going to compare your life to other people’s in order to get a sense of need, look to those who are different for guidance rather than so-and-so down the street.  They are usually of the wiser.

There is a difference between self-respect and individual exceptionalism: one is genuine, the other is a lie we tell ourselves.

Gentleness is stronger than aggression.

There is not a soul on this planet whose attention is worth muting yourself for, that is, unless they’re talking.

Adults around you are going to tell you very silly things about people.  Never take their word for it but go and experience them for yourself. Always make your own conclusion.

Alan Watts, Ludovico Einaudi, and Choices

Everyone I know seems to be facing an important choice that will directly impact the direction of the rest of their lives.  Whether it has to do with a validating career, the compatibility of a life partner, a child’s welfare, defining a home, or making peace with one’s self-respect, at each point where I see someone struggling there is a question involved whose answer speaks from their core, whether it is intended to or not.  This video was shared with me from a dear friend and I hope it speaks to you as it has to us.  Ultimately our follies are not what define us, but the decisions we allow ourselves to make.  Try listening to the entire piece before watching it – between the words of Alan Watts and the music of Ludovico Einaudi, it is a gem of an experience.

Going Home

People wonder why I isolate myself by moving to remote locations with minimal human contact. They worry it will only compound my psychosis and depression by causing further disconnect to everyday life. Where social outings, meeting new people, sharing moments, and being an interactive human being provides my loved ones with a healthy source of self-awareness and distraction, I exempt myself from the hive, causing them to worry that such a vacancy in both time and space will only fill itself with more flashbacks, loneliness, and the shadows of being damaged. From the outside, my life seems disparaging and sad.

My life isn’t anything like that; I’m not the little kid on the sideline waiting to jump into the game and finally get to play. I’ve played my hand at many, many games and have risked more than those who care to comment when it comes to finding where I belong (for example). I’ve given myself the distinct permission to live, and continue to do so whole-heartedly. I’ve sought, found, stumbled upon, and narrowly escaped more than a lifetime’s worth of experiences for some, yet there is nothing in the human world that has yet to cease my mind from being its broken self. Only when I am removed, dwelling in the silence and stillness that is out of sight, out of mind, do I feel comfortable within my own skin.

If one took stock of the world I choose to be a part of, they would realize it is far from being secluded. In nature, I have found countless friends and companions who allow me to be my clumsy, deformed self without any reservation or judgment. I can stomp down the road in a raging hate and the trees are still there to accompany my walk. I can thrash and scream into the ocean and it doesn’t relent from holding a calm, soothing embrace.  The wind has yet to pull its hand back from caressing the scars on my arms while my flashbacks continue to fail in coercing the birds to abandon them. The moon does not turn its face away from the bloody late-night battles, and animals pay very little attention to an unraveling mind. In nature, so long as you are non-threatening, you are allowed to stumble around, get some bumps and bruises, stutter, make a mess of things, and it will still show up to say hi. I have finally found a place where broken hearts are irrelevant, and thus, always welcomed.

Sometimes – I must admit – my body and mind feel like a barrier that is keeping me from becoming a sincere part of it all. As a human, I still feel like an outsider who is fortunate enough to to be tolerated but only as a guest. Death would alleviate this disconnection by allowing me to return as an elemental member of nature once again. I have all but given up on the notion of finding a home among people due to my mental illness. I don’t want to wander from house to house as a stray, scalded dog any more. I want to go home, curl up on the warm floor, and feel as though I belong to something again.

Don’t worry, I’ll still stick around in the land of the living for a while – just don’t expect me to show up very often.

God

God
is our way of coping
with the worst
of our
selves;

we transform
our perceptions
of morality,
forgiveness,
and accountability

so we may make
peace
with our actions

without having to
stop
them.

Looking Back: Cobscook, Sept. 2014

Rules
if you find yourself losing time to idleness, grab a book and read

don’t worry about the tidiness of things, just make sure they’re where they need to be before it gets dark

pick three songs to begin each day with (make them good, this sets the pace)

allow racing thoughts to happen in the background if they need to, they don’t alter anything in the present

be kind to yourself, always

remember, curiosity is the antithesis of fear

make a steady habit of trying to remain in your body (it is safe there now)

watch the moon every chance you get

avoid passing a single day without photographing something beautiful

when sitting down, always keep the pug no more than an arm’s length away, if not on your lap

kayak, bike, swing, fish, explore – it’s okay to be a little girl

let the tides be your chronograph for determining what is important