Living with the sun (2)

Before I get into my mindful walk this morning (and pretty much all afternoon)…I want to talk about how I feel at this exact moment. My body is feeling vulnerable to the emotions that have filled me up today. It’s the same lightness you feel after giving your energy to someone you love. It’s probably the same amount of fragility the butterfly first feels when breaking out of it’s cocoon. I want to cry both tears of joy and sorrow. Joy for how beautiful today was, and sorrow for the days I took it for granted.

I didn’t get much sleep last night which has been the norm this past week. I still maintained to jog back and forth on the way to hot pilates. I passed by more homes than people. The houses here are old but charming. It was a rainy day and each of them had turned into their darkest shade. The balcony gates and door knobs glistened from the cleaning of the showers. It’s spring time and everything is blooming.

The people that I saw on my way to the studio mainly consisted of older men and women with babies. I decided to quickly but kindly smile at each one of them, especially the ones who had frowns on their faces. They must have questioned why someone was smiling and running at the same time. I probably did look oddly happy.

I even surprised myself, I didn’t run out of breath once. Anyway, most people were happy to smile back. It was almost like we were all thinking: “Here is my facial recognition for the day.” We miss out on that so often because either our heads are down or we are looking at our phone…or both.

Once I got to the yoga studio I realized I showed up way too early, that’s how fast I ran…nice! On my way out, I ran back and I noticed more people filling up the streets. It’s honestly interesting how many people from all walks of life are around me, it feels very wholesome. To see different generations and colors all walking on one block. When walking, I am more aware of small details. When I run, I’m able to compile a lot of these small details and pick up on the bigger picture.

This simple quote written on a street lamp is the bigger picture.

This is going to happen way more.

Live with the Sun.

I noticed the funny little things today when I was taking a walk to hot yoga. I was watching how people communicated with one another or when they were walking alone. One Greek woman who looked to be above the age of 90 was walking with a cane but with such a speedy stillness. She was carrying a loaf of French bread in her basket. The cherry blossoms were covering our heads from the rays of the sun. Just a couple of block later n older couple arguing over the trash. A bunch of kids who just got out of recess were cheering for joy. I spotted the happiest kid running around in circles. and then a group of boys who were rounding up for a fight. I don’t know what was going on before this but have I always been this mindful or is this a new discovery? I mean, I have a keen memory of things. It would be interesting to write what I see each morning. I nearly get an hour of walking in…but I might jog there tomorrow. Note to self: you’re not a night person, nor are you a nap person. you’re a early morning and early nights person. Live with the sun. That’s what I’ll call this mindful walk series.

The evolution.

I’m a fan of astrology because it helps one look into themselves and grow. Improvement of self takes place when one is vulnerably honest with themselves. That ‘man in the mirror’ moment that Michael Jackson sang about.

Evolving has a limit with many people because facing yourself can be brutal. However, it’s within those humbling experiences where we learn how to truly love ourselves.

So, I began reading about the 7 symbols in my star sign, which is Scorpio. Each symbol is a progression in human evolvement.

The first symbol is the spider, which is the lowest on the evolutionary scale. The spider symbolizes child-like behavior; spoiled, mean and self-centered. Which is either out grown or never experienced depending on the child’s upbringing. However many people don’t evolve past this stage. (Cough, psychopaths?)

The second is the scorpion itself. The scorpion represents immaturity, jealousy and a harsh temper.

The third is the lizard which is more relaxed, an observer but also very stagnant and still fond of revenge. This form is dangerous to stay in as it creates way for depression and other medical ailments.

Fourth comes the serpent, a snake, known to be dangerous if provoked. The venom is lethal. And it’s usually used when the lives of loved ones are at stake. So in many ways the Scorpio has learned to pick & choose their battles. The serpent strikes in the fear of not surviving instead of plotting revenge for fun.

Fifth comes the wolf, a time when Scorpios go off on their own. Solitude means peace. However, much like the serpent, if family life is threatened it will attack.

Sixth is the eagle or dove. In this stage of evolvement the Scorpio has matured. It becomes spiritual and no longer seeks revenge but instead leaves it up to God. Like the eagle, the Scorpio watches over everyone and becomes a solid guardian.

The seventh symbol is the Phoenix, a mythological creature who rises from it’s own ashes. The Scorpio is fully mature at this point. It has gone through the destroying process and has recreated itself into a more peaceful, spiritual and loving person.

In my current life stage, I’m somewhere between the wolf and the eagle. I’ve dealt with outgrowing my immature ways and getting people back. It began as a thirst for revenge and later turned into a survival tool. Since I’m no longer in survival mode, I’ve neglected being vindictive. I’ve now accepted the laws of the universe and karma is real. However, I’m still wolf-like in the sense that if my loved ones are threatened I will do what I have to do to protect them. I’m getting close to evolving into the eagle due to my efforts in interning for a non-profit organization. I’ve found that in my own evolution, the lessons I’ve learned from my past are a great example that can be used by adolescents to learn from.

I hope that this work will lead me into my final stage of enlightenment: the Phoenix. I’m learning not to bark at time, instead flow with it. The good thing is, I’ve outgrown my childish behavior. Being in-between the wolf and the eagle is a great place to be at 26.

I want to serve the world, in whatever way I can. I’ve had the lucky opportunity to migrate to the US as a refugee. When I watch the news, I see my people getting killed and oppressed. That could’ve been me, but the universe gave me a chance. This humbling experience has put me in debt with the universe. I’ve now realized everything I’ve been through up to this point was to help me evolve into a helper, healer and server.

When I was doing bad shit and hanging around with bad people, the universe shook me up. I wanted to end my life because it got so hard, but some powers wouldn’t let that happen. I ended up in a hut with an old friend who helped me turn on the flashlight in a dark path.

This is how I saw God. This is how I met God. I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman, nature, black or white. I just know God is real. And now I know with the position that I’m in, I’ve been granted the opportunity to serve.

Shame game

From all of the feminist movement novels I’ve been digging my nose in, you’d think I’d feel more resilient to shame.

But I’m not.

I mean…the feelings have decreased. For example if I were to be confronted by my past, I wouldn’t feel shame because I’m happy with who I am. My past made me who I am today. It molded me into a beautiful woman. Inside and out.

But there are many cultural aspects that are hard to defy.

It’s so easy for everyone to say: “well, stop caring what people think.”

It’s easier said than done. Like most immigrants from the Middle East or south east Asia, I’ve been raised to consciously reiterate my mother’s favorite line: “what will the people think.”

Maybe the people will give a fuck for 5 minutes, maybe even 30. Maybe my seemingly treacherous ways will be discussed over wine and chocolates.

I get it. In the big scheme of things, it’s all about me.

Shame is powerful. As a middle eastern woman, it feels even more powerful. Simply being a woman… it feels more powerful. * cough cough * double standards much?

Yes.

But I have to let go. I have to just accept that this is how it is.

How? With time.

All I have left to say is “dammit.”

Eventually, time heals all burdens. In the mean time if this is my biggest problem…. so be it.

Sand dollar

I was meditating at the beach yesterday and I came to a realization; my flashbacks have almost vanished. A sigh of relief. It was not easy coming out of hell and dealing with the demons that were holding on to the edges of my heels. It took 6 months of intense healing.

The things that have helped: Solitude and only being around those who truly care, meditation, yoga, cooking, exercising, reading, praying, writing and time.

Healing is a life long process, but seeing the progression makes me full of joy.

I’m so hard on myself sometimes. I’m always searching for my soul intended purpose. I don’t ever want to be living a life of luxury and ignoring the work that I’m supposed to do on this earth. Being a refugee, it’s hard to ignore the devastations of the world. I always feel like I need to be doing more.

This very thought has lead me to be very anxious. I decided to write a letter to myself explaining that I have to let timing be the leader of that. I forgot that I went through a lot. A LOT. I’m surprised I’m alive. And although, I love the fact that I’m not willing to end the progression… I’ve realized that the progression lies within myself. In other words I need to chill.

Take care of me first, before I take care of anyone else.

The beach is my favorite place. When I lay on the crust of the earth I can see where the ocean touches earth. Look at that, all of the powers in the universe have allowed us to sit and watch the ocean waves roar as the magnitude of the wind pulls it back. This is how it is right now and I get to be apart of it….

Positive vibes only

The author Joanna Scutts dedicates a chapter of her book, The Extra Woman, to America’s self-help book phenomenon.

I found this really interesting because I have been an avid buyer in the self-help section. It’s said that most of these books are best sold during times of war, natural disaster and depressions in our economy.

Everything from Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People to Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was written in times where the United States was suffering from large unemployment rates. Every self-help book (including those listed) that I’ve read have put light on thinking positive and watching how it creates a domino effect into more positive things happening. I do believe if we focus on the positive, the more positive things will seem. But also, in hindsight, if you’re being oppressed how much can positive thinking do for you?

My generation seems to be a bit pretentious and somewhat patronizing when we rage about thinking positive. Anyone who is negative or posts… let’s say… real life things on social media is outcasted. It’s as if you are weak for being distracted by external events. More recently, I lost an old friend to a suicide. I remember having many talks with her and at one point telling her she was always so negative, she later thanked me and told me that helped her change. It clearly did not. And I’m somewhat haunted that I even told her that. (But I didn’t know better!)

Although, it’s best that we do put time into wanting to improve and be the best people… I think what we forget is that the self-help book industry is an industry. Meaning people write these things to make change. (Change=$$$).

We must not neglect the fact that we are humans with emotions. Calling someone out for thinking negatively is helpful to a certain extent…but does it really help? Could one read a self-help book about thinking positively when they are starved from nutrients? From war? From deep human misery?

I don’t know. A friend of mine that believes we should avoid the unhappy has advised me to do the same … and when I mentioned preventing a suicide. He said that there isn’t much we can do for those fighting their own demons. I agreed, but what if we had the same demons? What if I fought mine off and you were still fighting yours? Is it best to avoid you still?

I don’t really have an opinion on what is right or wrong. I’m just mildly fascinated by the fact that we’ve turned negative thinking into an std. Even in the midst of bullying I was called negative. A gang of girls began hash-tagging “positive vibes only” as a way to shun me as the negative one. (In hindsight, isn’t bullying negative vibes? Lol!)

I don’t know. What I do know is that this world can be a very hard place to live in…especially when you don’t have the means or the love. Maybe, in addition to pointing out negative habits… we can just relate and give love. It doesn’t seem right to base the knowledge of our universe in books written by authors who are just trying to make a buck. Right?

Alone.

I’m at a fancy vegan restaurant in New York City. This place screams ‘millennial version of sex and the city’ amongst me are women sitting in large groups.

Then there is me, sitting alone and waiting for MK to finish up. It’s a small price to pay for all of the things I receive. Life is a blessing but it feels so lonely…. I’m starting to accept that. I think it will be lonely for a while.