Saturday, November 26, 2011

On what I Deserve.

Part II of the III Series. Going off of what I believe, I also know now what I deserve. Thanks to my family and their gracious reminders. And although the unconditional is something not innate in us, I believe I know that we can get pretty damn close to it. With compassion, forgiveness, honesty. And all that other good stuff. 

Unconditional Love. What is it? I googled it the other day and got this:

Loving someone unconditionally does not mean that we must sacrifice ourselves for them, nor does loving someone unconditionally mean that we must have that person in our life. Unconditional love does not require one to love another, and want nothing in return. There is no sin in wanting to be loved in return. Wanting to share love, wanting to give and receive love is as natural as breathing. To suggest that we should love and want nothing in return is unrealistic. Love for the individual needs balance. We will not always receive love in return, which does not change our love, if our love is real. We can feel love, and not give our to another, but not giving our to another, does not change the love which we feel.

I know the word "deserve" and "should" are annoying. To say I deserve something comes with so much weight. But I do believe that we, as people that care for one another, are worth plenty. And so when we love, we should in turn receive love. Don't get me wrong, I do not mean that love is this score card that measures our quid pro quos - you gave me this, I should give you this. Love is and will never be that boring, quite the opposite. 

Like the heart, we should be able to receive the same amount that we put out. Our vitality depends on it. Every day our hearts modulate between the two to ensure a constant flow. Now if only there was something that can modulate me and my actions. My goodness, I love. So much. In fact, my output is tremendous and am surprised sometimes on how much there is of me to give. Makes me wonder what I am compensating to do this or if there is any compensation at all. I'd like to think that I am this bottomless pit of oozing love (heh) but recently, I am not quite sure. I might've 'accidentally' tapped into my end systolic self and it wasn't pretty. It's like one of those things where it was nice to say you did but probably won't ever do again. I was honored to do that but I also know I wouldn't be able to do it anymore. It left me a half-filled heart.

A one-sided affair is not sexy. It was actually pretty tiresome, this selfless kind of love. It was never love if you have to give more than yourself. Love is to be an exchange. A swamping of thoughts, love, ideas, fluids, memories. And the cool thing about all this is that we were meant for this, to feel this, we deserve to be part of it all. Whether we like it or not. And how do I know this? Isn't it obvious? Because when it does happens, it comes so natural and we become overwhelmed with this inexplicable joy. Reaffirming that that is good. Yes, barf away but I'm serious!

But here's the problem with this set-up. If we can only give what we have to offer, then what happens when we are limited in what we have. Not because you do not want to pump it up but because the resources around you is lacking. Let it be time, space, energy, etc. Are you then not deserving of love? No. Hell no. I think if anything, you may need it ever the more. But then I guess the next step is to define what is love. Is it counted by the number of phone calls or text messages we get through the day? No. Habitual tendencies in reaction to boredom are not expressions of love. Rather, I believe it is measured on how we feel when you have a conversation or when you are able to receive a hug from them. Like I said, Love is a much more interesting entity than what we've made it to be. The best part of it all, that I have come to learn, is that we get to define those terms, discern its significance, and distribute it accordingly. The best part is knowing that I have the choice. I've always had a choice. 

Love is meant to be reciprocated. More importantly sans conditions. I believe in this love that is uplifting, grandiose, extreme, honest, joyful, tearful and all the in-betweens. I don't mean for such a tall order but I know, you know it feels that good. And heck, I'm flexible in whatever form it comes in. It does not have to come of equal action but rather equal intention. I know we have different ways of expressing love, I know we all have different priorities, time constraints, energy available - all of which vary from person to person. I know this. And accept it. But in how ever ways it is given to me I deserve an equal flow of intent. As do all of you. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On what I Believe.

This is one of three of series for the Thanksgiving Holiday break. With the extra time for personal givings, food, and conversation, I thought this may be a good time to make this all happen. So as you digest your food, I too will be digesting some of my own sentimental meals. So if you find yourself bored of watching yet another rerun of the Thanksgiving Macy's parade. I'll be here hopefully as a light read. Bon Appetite!

They say the goodness in life belongs to those who believe. So, I believe. (Mos Def)

You want to believe in something. Let it be Love. God, gods, USA Government, the Sciences. Medicine. Anything. I cannot imagine a world without that something, which exists in real space and time but lives in a way that is bigger than ourselves. Without it, I find it so difficult to live. The world is large enough already - with all its guts and glory, bullshit and ideals - it is way too easy to wander around aimlessly without there being something to ground yourself when things get shifted. Believing in something makes what is, concrete. Preventing the tilting that inevitably comes around when things seem to go to shit.

This feeling that someone believes in you, and you in them is insoluble.  Whether it is to a single person or to an institution, it is uplifting. The act of faith is intrinsic. Believing in others, as well as ourselves, is what we do. I want to believe in people. In myself. This may be a lame reference but when I was watching a  Modern Family episode, where Phil was talking to his father-in-law Jay Pritchett (Al Bundy) about whether or not he should leave his current job for a new one. Phil was hesitant and doubted whether or not he was capable of leaving, but Jay told Phil that he should "Gamble on yourself. I'd gamble on you" and with that, Phil made the big decision. But it was the believing in him, in his capabilities, in his goals. This extra support of faith that sustains us. It's so fulfilling in that it pushes us even past where we sometimes view ourselves. After watching the episode, I walked around school that day with a pep in my step. It also could've been the fact that I was on my 5th coffee that day. But, nevertheless, it was a good feeling.

Okay, let's be honest. What I wanted to really talk about is how much I believe in Love. So much in fact that it barfilicious. If only I put as much faith in myself as much as I put in this "in love" business, I'd be rich with arrogance. The good kind of course. When I look back at my old relationships, leaving some or having some leave, I always believed that there was this much higher power in Love that, as long as it was honest, it will find its place back in my universe. From my last relationship, my whole justification was that even though it was the end of a very long-term relationship, there was an evident love that was loss and that we did not have enough to sustain the connection. So, that it was. Grief but gone. This time, though, it is much more difficult to trust the end since I believe that our love is still sustainable, just the circumstances and schedules make it impossible to practice. So, is that how Love exists? Only when convenient. For all the times I have had a brief encounter with real love, no. So then how do I justify the ending of this story? Does Love still have my best interest in mind? Do I believe that Love still loves me? Agh so lame. 

For me, my love exists in a way much more intimate than a friend. So what do I do. Love but not.. I want to believe that the circumstances and priorities were main culprits here but then if that is the case, where does the love go? Is there a place where I can tuck this all away? I know that the conditions are so apparent and will not change anytime soon. But what am I supposed to do until then? Or is there even an 'until then' to wait for. No, there is isn't. I have always believed in Love. But now, I have evolved to this unfamiliar of becoming a skepticAt this point, I don't know if it'll ever return or come back. Not necessarily the person, but Love. Whether as a new form, a new person, a new anything. I just don't know what to believe anymore.

I always did believe that with God, whenever faced with what felt like the most difficult tribulation, I could sit in it and believe that although it was as tortuous and unbecoming, there still lies this underlying benevolent intention from the universe. And with that, I could trust it more and allow it to do its thing. But this time, my heart lacks the faith. The weird thing is that I am where I am supposed to be physically, with my career, friends, heck even Boston. But this place where I sit now in my heart- is foreign, uncomfortable, sad. 

I want to believe. I want to practice this act of faith. I think the beauty of believing, particularly anything beyond the definition of you, is that more often than not, it is in the process of this faith, that we evolve into something in turn bigger than yourself. Something unimaginable tangible. I want to believe in something again, something beyond my limited perception and know how. I want this entity - may it be the institution of Love or faith in myself again, to consume me and bring me back to what is familiar. Where I am happy again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Seesaws.

From my last entry on the Greatest Commandmentit made me think more about this balance of Love. Like a fat kid on a seesaw, I find myself sitting heavily on one end more so than another. The balance, that is, between loving one self and thy neighbor. I sit of course at the oh so familiar altruistic end of the seesaw. Neglecting the very necessity of loving one self. 

I do this a little bit too often. I am a people whore. I tell myself that I'm this closet introverted individual but for all those that know me, this cannot and will never be true. I enjoy far too much the conversations I share with people. Whether the interaction is with a stranger or a lover. People matter so much to me. Call it compassion, call it martyrdom. I would do anything for those that I love. And heck, even for those that I don't. Part of it in hopes to gain favor. Other times in fear of losing them. The majority part of it though, I would to believe, is purely for the exchange that comes from sharing our selves. My father made a living of studying people. This was easy for him because he attracted everyone and anyone he came encounter with. His charisma was contagious. I'd like to believe that some of his spirit and curiosity of human behavior in part runs through me. This love for people. It's fascinating. But is it healthy? Depends. On the level of permeability. 

I know that, although we may share in these enticing interaction with others, there is an importance to the boundaries we make for ourselves and understand that my identity is of my own and separate from those I am with. I just think I may be a bit more permeable than others. While others are fenestrated, I may be a bit more discontinuous. 

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those that are so engrossed with what stares back at them in that mirror. Narcissism isn't as cute as much as it may be as it is to the beholder. Arrogance is even uglier. This notion that "if I am to survive in this world, this would be of my doing. And mine alone". We tell ourselves that we must be able to do everything and anything on our own. Yes, I agree with you that it originates from within. But it does not sustain with us alone. Arrogance can only protect us from so much from the failures and distractions of others that may come from involving others. In a weird way, it this M.O. is actually very responsible. Trying to find mechanisms to protect one's emotional and mental assets. Yet, so shortsighted and unbecoming at the same time.

This used to be my life mantra. My mother raised me to think only as this. As a single mother, single person. She believes, as do I to some extent, that the only person that can 'save me' is me. This is true. To some extent. We can survive on your own but life shouldn't be about trying to stay above water. There is something about the process of extending ourselves to another or with others that make our existence mean so much more than about mere survival. I believe that knowing and accepting our shortcomings and this process of sharing these with others to help strengthen, challenge, support, and evolve to be the best forms of ourselves, is [life].  

It's all about balance. A balance between solitude and solidarity. Between courage and arrogance. Between the most superficial and more profound. There exists a yin and a yang for everything and for good reason. I found myself recently pushed and pulled in both directions. Favoring of course the act of loving another. This unfortunately begets failure when or if that love flees. And without a sustaining substance to anticipate the loss, we are empty. On the other end, there is also this emptiness that we feel when we attempt to protect ourselves from the world alone. I believe it is in this balance that we both need: the love for ourselves and the love for others to sustain. If only there was this homeostasis to the soul that can mediate the imbalance between the two. Baroreceptors of the soul would make this life so much easier, balancing this seesaw we always find ourselves at.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the Sacred.

These past couple days, I've been trying to navigate through this idea of the what it means to be sacred. I should add the disclaimer that I do not necessarily mean in terms of a religious context, though I would gladly extend it to that, but more on this idea of regarding something or someone with this loving reverence. 

I recently had a dear friend of mine that had something happen to her that was just, despicable. A man (I use this term, rather loosely - I would rather call him other names but he's not worth my vulgarity) had behaved in a way that was so cruel and short-sighted. He defiled the love that he and my friend shared. He cheated on her.

Now, I am not saying that I am a saint in all of this. God no. I did the same thing. At one point in my life, I thought overlapping love/sex endeavors was natural. Of course, it was easier to say as the culprit but that did not mean that my actions were not a complete disrespect to the man that I thought I loved. It was a complete, utter sacrilegious act that I did over and over again. But here is the thing. Did I love this man at that time? Yes I most certainly did. I indulged in a four year relationship with that man, lived with him for two, did everything and anything under the sun to make sure our relationship was intact every time we had a moment of separation. He was my everything. I loved him. But I did not adore him.

The difference? I think it is easy to fall in love with someone, just as easy to fall out of love with someone. Heck, you can even love someone when you are not in a relationship with them. My life story. But, here's the thing, to adore is like an act of worship. Something more deep, more profound in Love. There is no superficiality when it comes to this pure adoration for a person. Now, there is also a fine line between adoration and obsession. You can adore another human being, while sharing that same admiration for yourself. Just never at the price of your own self. This delusional adoration evolves into an obsession that becomes self-debilitating.

Love, a relationship between two individuals, is sacred. There is an honest. grueling. exposing part of one's being that is shared in a relationship. You can not replicate that with any other individual. A peace consumes you when you are with that person, this almost erupting joy that when you see their face, a very deep part of you, smiles. It's as simple as that. Now, do not mistake that this fleeing moment of a visual cue of someone you love, as an act of adoration. It's not. Too superficial. But more of, when you see that person, there is this exchange of this over pouring love that emits from them to you and from you to them.

So I go to adoration at my church about once a week. You literally sit for an hour and stare at the Eucharist, which sometimes can seem boring. But boredom occurs when you are not engaged in the process of worshipping. If you withdraw from the noise and enter this internal prayer, you find yourself lost in this Love. This pure love that comes from an honest adoration. It's overwhelmingly beautiful. This is what I want. I want this all-consuming adoration with a person and then in return receive it as graciously and humbly as I give it. I had a conversation with my aunt about this. She told me, which I would love to share with you:
"We have something so sacred within ourselves. What is sacred within us isn't necessarily synonymous with self-worth. And with this sacredness, it must be honored by people by those around you. Those that do not, that can not, or do not want to - are not worthy of sharing that sacred love that you have to offer."
This is what happened to my friend, where this man forgot how sacred it is that they share. I believe if he had only seen her and what is sacred about her, I doubt that he would've done what he had done. Or at least handled it the way that he did.

I want that despite all the business that life brings, that despite all temptations and distractions, despite all that is warranted from social norms, that one day I may indulge in this sacredness with a person that grounds me, showers me, adores me with a love and practice that is honest and pure. Which I shall return so gladly with the same humility and joy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Myopic Vision.

Just halfway through the semester of this program, my eye sight is deteriorating. This is full-blown, blind as a bat, must sit at the second row. Or else. It is not even at the point when things are slightly hazy. This is "I can't tell you who you are unless your standing 5 feet in front of me" ordeal. Story of my life. 

The funny, though not so funny thing, is that my physical degradation of my eyesight is analogous, yet opposite to my own internal decay of my insight. The problem with my eyes is that I cannot see anything of far distances. But in my own life, with my optical soul, I could see everything but what was in front of me

What I could see, or rather what I choose to see, was of things or circumstances that were of far, far distances. And I mean, faaaaaaaaaar. Quantitatively, I'm talking about the next five to ten years of my life. I put all my energy, my love, my thoughts into the intangible things of my 10 year plan. I never thought I was that kind of person nor would I ever would have wanted to be. But I was. And it was disgusting. The result was as painful as the epiphany, and I regret it as such. 

I kept on trying to fill in the blanks: where I will live, what career I will have, who it will be with - doing so in this daydream fashion. What I forgot to add in the equation is: the work, the sacrifice, the hours, the decisions that need to be made that are essential for these speculations to come to existence.

Nothing that I could see then or would want to see was the, now. I failed to see what was vital for, now. The decisions and sacrifices I need to make, now. Not who I want to be with but rather who I want to be. What character and soul would I need to develop to make my goals a reality, now. The reality of what I would need to make my life become, all of it a blur.

I lost many a things because of this very hyperopia vision. 

Pretty much, I focused everything - my time, energy, thoughts, love - and threw it (rather, shoved it) into the irrelevant and inadequate. This make-believe future. What is important, the heart and brain of this endeavor was and has been in front of me this whole time. Staring at me, waiting for me to make my move before any further damage can occur. I need a prescription of glasses for my soul? Preferably before the Christmas break. I have lost more than just my sight in these past 2 months and too much of it.

Instead of being able to see and appreciate the meaning behind my actions of the moment, I lost prudence and made a frivolous life out of it. I have not been able to see the bigger picture on many, many levels that. I am not sure which was more skewed. My ability to not understand the responsibilities of my life or the inability to see why those responsibilities are so significant. The only things I could see was what I wanted to see. My shutters were blared outward. Useless and unproductive. The focus must and is from within. What was I doing. What can I do. It's so blatantly obvious that it's sad that I didn't see it earlier. 

If you may not have time to read this, I highly recommend this RSAnimate Talk. He is far more eloquent than I. Plus, there's cool pictures:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Romantic Films.

I love romantic films. It's actually an obsession of mine; I watch these romantic comedies not only once or twice or three times. But many, many times. Then after doing so I watch the movie with director commentary. I think it is the familiarity, the music, the conversations I find comforting. I even like the ones that end so tragically. Everything in a romantic film is so graceful and artificial. 

So enthralled by romantic films, I thought it would be a good idea to create my own last week. Got on a plane, flew to see the person I loved and failed with such ease. What they do not show you in these films are the waiting in layovers. The quiet moments in the hotel. The buying McDonalds for food in the hotel. Its just not as cute and much more expensive than what we see on the silver screen. Of course, I am embarrassed but a part of me laughs every time I think about it. Just because I would do something like this. That is a full expression of who I am. Crazy but ideal. And as I make these decisions, I am realizing I am much more braver than I thought I was. 

I actually attempted this little adventures the week prior but changed my mind last minute. The same hour I was about to jump on a plane, was also happened the same hour I found myself back on the T. It was a whirlwind of an hour, let me tell you. I realized that the person that would've been at that door would have been the weakest version of me. I wanted so many things, needed words, affection, love. All the things that should never be warranted from no one else other than yourself. You cannot convince someone your worth if you cannot answer that on your own. And even though it was only a week that had passed, I felt like I was ready to jump on the horse again. Just this time it would be for me. And only me.

I wanted peace, I wanted dialogue. But more importantly I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to create movement through a conversation and was waiting too long for the inevitable. Many of my loved ones were against my little voyage, not wanting this to be a part of my memories but because of this, I reached an euphoria that has only taken me forward. I do not see my story as an inspiration to a film anytime soon, but it was honest. Something that actually was very sweet. It may not have been the greatest thing to happen but there was still so much love even in the end. Happy Ending, not so much. Happiness? Possibly.

My real life story is, I do not know where I will be in the next year or so. God willing I will have options when I apply to medical schools. So until things become more real, I do not have choices to make. I am sad now but I also know I would die if I do not live the life I want that I've wanted for myself. Love, or rather more so, relationships are fleeing and less tangible in comparison to a beckoning career. But here is the thing. I don't think real love can ever really flee. Relationships can. But if Love is in its most purest form, then I don't think it can be easily disposed with time. I thought life was much more dynamic than this. That we can multitask in the different roles in our lives: as professionals, as lovers, as parents, as children, as women and men. I hate that there is an ultimatum between the roles we play and for this need for compartmentalization. 

I want to believe that love can transcend these sort of things. I would want the kind of love that can sustain on faith, forgiveness, foresightBut until then, until this obscurity clears, I just have to trust in it and work with it. So maybe this isn't the end to my love story. Maybe this was just part of the bigger story line. Or a giant pause in it. Whatever it is, I will trudge along. Working hard, loving hard. All at the same time.

So moral of the story: Being romantic is expensive. Just kidding. But seriously.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On the Heart.

I have always been a brain person. I liked our thoughts, our ability to know things, to learn things, to be able to be conscious or non-conscious of our environment and then internalize that stimuli of our world into some sort of intangible but tangible material in our brains. Amazing.

Yet, I have come to adore the organ of the heart more and more recently. I find joy in the fact that the beating of the heart, the steady state pump, exists without any innervation of the brain. It happily does its thing, pumping along, incessantly each minute of the day, each hour, each lifetime. Even when we may not want to endure yet another day, the heart pushes us on, one beat at a time. This remarkable stamina lives within us. This is how we exist. Relentless.

Another reason to heart the heart is the heart's ability to "handles its shit". Not literally, of course. But rather, the heart is not only capable of assessing the pressure it receives but is also very efficient in quickly accommodating to it, then responds with what it was given in a heart beat. Pun so intended. The heart will work, with what you give it.

Pretend you found yourself or put yourself in this horrible situation, you are 'thinking' that this may be one of the worst ideas ever. You are frustrated, scared, exhausted. Something I have experienced rather recently. Nonetheless, the heart does not care what you think or feel. It does not judge, it does not criticize. It just does its function without hesitation and supplies you the necessary force you need to go on and do your thing. The heart provides you the means to do what you need to do, at that exact moment. To function.

When we age, the heart may less compliant (also described as more "stubborn") that ultimately  compromises the output of our hearts. The less compliant, the more work, more pressure is needed. But we already know this from personal experience.

The one downfall of this glorious organ is that, it cannot rejuvenate itself. Our brain and our muscles, to some extent, can heal after experiencing trauma. There can be stem cells or mechanisms that mend away after the damage has been done. Except for the heart. Surprisingly our heart does not have the capability to replace the dead cells with any spankin new ones. A localized injury to the cardiac muscle results in complete morbidity of that one section. Instead, we find what once were cells with a purpose and function, instead lies a "fibrous tissue" in its place.

Is that what happens, physically and figuratively, to our hearts when it may be broken? Torn apart, dead? When part of our cells die, pieces of our soul dies as well? You've felt it before. After losing someone, losing a job, losing hope. There are times where I feel a pain in my chest from an experience that has no physical matter. How is it that some arbitrary experience can transcend into a physical form?

The idea that that part of me cannot rejuvenate upsets me. Who would want to think that that such a vital organ cannot 'fix' itself. Not in my body nor in my life is this notion acceptable. There is some hope. It was observed that with those who have received transplants, were able to - at a very small, small percentage - regenerate some growth of new tissue. You just need a new heart, I guess.

Side note, in regards to at least the elements of the heart. I donated blood today and would like to think that not only did I give a physical part of myself, but also I'd like to think that an extension of my heart provided a medium for one or technically, three lives live a little easier. Okay, okay I know blood comes from the marrow but eh you think heart, you also think blood. My nerd is bulging out - I think this entry is really the reflection of my guilt because I should be studying the heart more so than writing about it. With that said, I leave with a quote from Mark Twain:

When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.