gra-tu-i-tous |grəˈt(y)oōitəs|
{ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin gratuitus ‘given freely,spontaneous’}
1. uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted : gratuitous violence.2. given or done free of charge : gratuitous advice.
vi-o-let |ˈvī(ə)lət|{ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French violette} adjective:
1. a bluish-purple color seen at the end of the spectrum opposite red.
2. a herbaceous plant of temperate regions, typically having purple, blue,or white five-petaled flowers, one of which forms a landing pad for pollinating insects. Genus Viola, family Violaceae.
3. ME.

Friday, December 31, 2010

fri. dec 31 2010. i'm ready.

as i begin this blob* it is 11:32 am, and seeing as how i am not an adept typist, by the time i am done with this introductory sentence, which is not introducing much of anything, 2 minutes have passed. the edge of my computer is very sharpish and is leaving me with these stripey indentations which are slightly painful too. 11:36 and all's well. all swell. bloated, like i am now. puffy. too much alcohol and- where's my period? i know i left it somewhere...
okay. what am i saying, or rather- what am i not saying?
it's the day before the new year, and i was perusing the interweb for dead people, like i do every year-end. i like to remember people, and sometimes say their names aloud. it's a small way to honor their living selves. regardless of whether or not that maters is of no consequence to me. or them, perhaps. so, in my searching for the dead of 2010, i came across lists famous dead people who died in the last few years, and i started to look up tidbits about them and interviews or what-have-you.
here are three deceased people i am affected by:

~david foster wallace. hung himself. sad genius.

~kurt vonnegut. took a wicked spill and died of brain injuries. kind genius.

~miep gies+. she was 100 years old. brave soul.

what i am most tired of is nothing. doing nothing. leaving behind no-thing worth mentioning. sure, i make some lovely things. so what? many people do. i am a chronic underachiever of epic non-proportions. rather than go down the dangerous road of what i could have achieved if i only... i want to take a detour and make a commitment to do something this year. something small, like finish art projects i started forever ago. selling my work would be great too. maybe i will actually commit to myself- the worthiness of... me as an artist i guess. sounds sappy, so saccharine. i know. i don't care. it's like the fact that so much of what i make sculpturally is downright whimsical or cute. barf. cute! eeew. whimsy. gross. in attempts to make scary or creepy stuff, my work always comes out adorable. i have not only accepted this, but i relish in it now. why fight the facts? i love my cute art. charlie chia is the best! the chupacabank is fangtastic! so doing what i love was not enough, i needed to love what i do. i was embarrassed about it before, but that was lame. now when people tell me my work is adorable, i simply thank them. and if someone makes a snippy comment about my stuff, forget them. anyone who judges the things that make others happy is a turd, and most likely an insecure turd who is afraid of what people think. i don't want to be that person. admittedly, i have been that person in the past. i have suffered from misery off and on. i reject living in miseryville any more. the rent is too damn high there, and the taxes are worse! enough. 12:21 pm, and i haven't said much of anything i intended to.

oh yeah, as i was saying, i want to do something this year. really put myself out there. be available for the good things in life to be my good things. i'm so very tired of looking at the greener grass. what am i doing to make my grass green? not much.
in many ways, i am a risk-taker. in others, i am not. we all have ways we become debilitated by fears, many of which are irrational. i take risks in love. i take risks in employment. i take creativity risks. but have not taken risks in business. okay, i have taken a few but they didn't pan out. i think i am just a tad lazier than i openly admit. until now. there- i said it. i'm lazy in my promoting and marketing myself as an artist... direct throwback to the unworthiness school of illogical thinking and behavior. many people attend that school. i say we burn it down!
yesterday, a dear friend offered to help me with starting up an etsy web page. i accepted. the time is right. isn't everything we do about timing? i have talked about it for years- selling art online, but i never did. i made myriads of excuses for why i wasn't doing it though, some even i believed. i struggled with the pricing dilemma, and the originality dilemma. and who knows what else. either way, for whatever reason, real or imagined, the timing wasn't right. i was learning other valid things that got me to where i am now: ready.

*blob: i am replacing blog with blob. i like that word better, and since no-one reads this but me- who cares?

+ gies and a few other courageous dutch people hid anne frank and her family. gies stowed away anne's writings, and thanks to her doing so, we have a timeless portrait of such astounding hopefulness.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

confessions of an almost-buddhist

maybe i should have named this online journal- confessions of an almost-buddhist.
almost buddhist because i do not sit in zazen*,

 and i am led to believe that's a biggie for real buddhists. i have not been successfully able to meditate in the traditional sitting down style for a long while. i would probably benefit greatly from it though. someday i will try again. soon.
the ways i do identify with buddhism are circumstantial or logical to me, rather than taught or based as philosophical or even religious views... i understand that human suffering is linked to our desires. [see last blog.] i believe that all living creatures are equally important. karma and reincarnation make perfect sense to me, so i say why not? 
i used to get hot under the collar when i heard people call themselves buddhist. mostly they were just rich, white, over-educated yuppies to me. how dare they?!? what did they understand about overcoming suffering? they had fat bankrolls and big fancy houses. i resented their cliche'd adages and fortune-cookie faux wisdom. i would hear them all holier-than-thou blathering self-righteously about the true way, blah blah blah, then get into their swanky cars and speed away from the meditation center. i became jaded in my search for peace. the opposite feeling i was going for. i also believed that white people couldn't truly be buddhist, that it was a strictly-asian thing. ridiculous, i know, but i actually thought that.
then i read the autobiography of malcolm x,

and i decided that my silly belief was not only untrue, but destructive.
if there was a buddha in real human life/time- he would want all races to be exposed to the theories and ideas of the buddhist teachings.

therefor i decided that a more compassionate route may be better for me and my health. my mental health, my physical health, and my spiritual health mostly. regardless of whether or not i called myself by some stupid label or not, i could apply certain ideas to my life. i could behave in ways that are more beneficial to my and others' experiences-
be honest, yet not hurtful. accept the empty spaces. try to not give in to the trickster-mind. abandon extremist views and actions. etc. etc. etc...
now these four examples are not always easy for me to live by. i "forget" them often, but i know that they are a few very important guidelines for leading a peaceful life.
i can just smile at the people i perceive as ignorantly blissful, (or just jerky,) regardless of their religious or philosophical affiliations. let it go. release the need to know. release the need to be equal or even better than anyone else.
we are all important.
we are all unimportant.
however it appears, it's all the same stuff.
people seek love, validation, security, recognition, respect, safety, encouragement, purpose, and knowledge to name a few things.
but what do we give back?
i don't want to just wear out our natural resources, take up space on the earth, live it up, then die in vain. i seek a meaningful existence, rich with selfless giving and love.
when i get pensive and broody and feel like my time here is useless, i have to return to my breath.
in and out, air. simple, but easy to forget.
breathe and be completely present. right here. right now.
and who cares if i'm white, have no job or car, and feel lost in many ways? does that invalidate my presence? in fact, i am not actually lost. everything is exactly as it should be- right now.
i just have to breathe through it.
and be kind,
and patient.
with myself
as well as everyone else.

*zazen- practice of sitting in meditation for buddhists- usually in lotus position. not usually in a tree, but why not?

Monday, December 27, 2010

moving forward...

did you see the full lunar eclipse last tuesday night the 21st? it was a lovely edition to the winter solstice,
and just the symbolic reminder i needed to move past the crud of the last murky year on this spinning orb.
i know i am not alone in this opinion.
many of the closest people to me have mentioned, at least once- being in a funk or downright struggling. be it employment-related, relationship-minded, or just singing the proverbial blues, the year 2010 has been such a turd.
but since it's the turd that encourages the garden to grow, why not compost the years' worth of ick into a beneficial outcome... who said beneficial must equal pleasant? let me stop making such assumptions, shall i?
moving forward.
with the "new"* year quickly approaching on our heels, why not unclench our fists long enough to let go of the outdated and burdensome thoughts and or behaviors we have held onto?
let me start with:
are you a worrier? i have delved into the lush forays of worry.
it has not gotten me anywhere i wanted to be. not only do the physical ramifications of worrying wreak havoc on the body, [see: raised heart-rate, sleep disturbances, headaches, intestinal troubles, nervousness, and poor fashion decisions, just to name a few...] but worry does a real doozy on the soul. it's like saying "i don't trust that things will work out. although i have little to no control over the outcome, i still want to effect my world with a firm hand." realistic, no? every time we put beliefs out there as per the fact that we are above the chaos +/or order of life, does not a new hurdle present itself? hence: when it rains, it pours. look at that however you choose to.
i only hope to worry less in 2011 than this year. practice makes better. perfect does not exist.
2) perfection.
i am a smidge of a perfectionist. i have been told that before i openly admitted it to myself, for obvious reasons. like- the same reasons i asked- in the past- "have you seen my glasses?" when they were on my face. it has been hard to see how and who i really am at times. i am. perfectly imperfect. faulted and caught up. like we all can be. so, what to do?
a dear friend relayed an adage of a wisdom once told to him: it doesn't have to be perfect to be good.
amen to that. i will aim for good-  it feels more attainable anyway.
3) proaction.
i seek to be more pro-active as opposed to re-active. reacting can be more of an emotive response to challenges, or mere disturbances to the status quo of our daily regime. i, on most occasions when stressed out, or hormonal, or blue- have bypassed the thinking and breathing portion of the experience and gone head-on into the re-action option. why? simply put- i was not in the moment. although it seemed as if i was hyper-in-the-moment... i was wrong, looking back on it now. i can choose to calmly step back, note my thoughts and physical sensations and such, and move forward from there. use wisdom to deal with obstacles rather than muscle through them. why fight against the current?
4) expectations.
this may just be the hardest one for me. releasing the need for desired expectations and outcomes- because we desire things to be or go a certain way, we are open for disappointment. tons of disappointment. believing that we deserve the best in life is not realistic, and can be downright destructive even. i want a good stable job. i want healthy solid relationships. i want to travel, go back to school, move into my own apartment. but those things aren't happening now. maybe they will. maybe they won't. if i am constantly in the state of desire/expectation, i am not experiencing what i do have.
one of the only ways i can get back to a grounded point-of-view is to be grateful for that which i do have.
another friend recently told me that my grateful list was not-so-grateful sounding. in effect- that i was grateful with strings attached. i am not truly grateful if i expected more in the long run. i desire the good life- or what i perceive to be better than the life i am currently living. and wanting or dreaming about beautiful things doesn't make one selfish necessarily.
so- today- what am i grateful for?
1] the genuine, loving and kind friends i know.
i sincerely love and appreciate them being in my life. i can't look back and say- any more- that i'm grateful of the few friends i have left. that's like saying "thanks, but it's not enough." true friends are priceless, no matter how many or few one has.
2] my cats.
fletcher and zenobia make my world so much more loving than if i didn't have them in my life. at times, they were all that i had in my life to count on. friends, family, lovers have come and gone out of my life, and the kitties still love me, no matter what. truly unconditional love. that's rare.
3] my health.
i have my faculties about me. my limbs work. i have no injuries or diseases that limit me.

so- perhaps, in conclusion, this new year will truly be a new one. i welcome it.

* "new"- come on. calendar-schmalendar. it's what the date represents to us that we link it to such an important thing. but, since we, as a group of beings, in such a concentrated populous, need order for purpose, let's accept the "new" year as a big deal... okay? what is new? new is an experience, a perception so personal, that it may not even have expressions in our tiny, worded language.

Friday, December 17, 2010

t'was the week before claire-mas.....

i said i wanted to leave my daily gig before the end of this year- the latest.

yesterday, i was fired... [pheeeeewwww.]
for the second time in my life as an employee.

the first time was when i was 18;
i gave a senior discount to an 86 year old woman... on a few sale items.
the conglomerate department store "lost" like 3 bucks- at most.
so much for appreciating our elders.

so, my bitter greedy boss lost a whole buck- which she demanded i retrieve from the woman who "underpaid" for a mere 8 oz cup of soup... served without bread.

regardless of the interstices about our different point of view or subsequent altercation, it's truly a blessing in no disguise.
fuck her.

so as an act of clearing the air (if only in my world-) here's a retort to her redundant psycho-babblings and finger-pointing rant(s):

dearest claire,
thank you so much for the last year of employ. on occasion it helped me pay most of my rent and none of my other bills. and thanks for cutting my hours back when i asked for more, especially after i reluctantly told you i was struggling financially. and, after i was promised more work-  thanks for giving my lost hours to the kids who still live at home and are supported by their parents. i am sure they really need the cash a whole lot more than an independent adult with responsibilities. like for shopping. and getting drunk with. that stuff's not cheap you know.
thanks a bunch for doing away with tipping- especially for the sole serving/delivery person du jour. acting as a prep person and as waitress is an easy, rewarding job, and does not- ever- warrant tip money as thanks for a job well done. it's overly thoughtful of you to "donate" the cash that people would otherwise tip with to the charity of your choice- in your name. you deserve the tax write-off, and your staff should feel good that they are a part of an infrastructure that is superior to the archaic ways of tipping.
thank you too, for the brave passion enough to reprimand me on a myriad of occasions in front of the customers, it showed them who has the control, and the upper hand. it gave them that warm cozy feeling, i am sure of it. after all, you owe it to the public to be an example of how to run a tight ship. fear always works best to keep the staff in line. pitting people against one another works well too. i found that people do exactly what you want them to do when they think they will get fired at any moment. oh- thanks for making an example of me in lieu of the prior mentioned tactic. your business will definitely run smoother while you are gone on vacation, i am sure of it. 
thanks too, for offering an entire menu {wink-wink} of wholesome, organic foods. your secret is safe with me. i'd never tell the public that less than half of it is... at most. even if they believe they aren't eating pesticides, bleach, and chemicals. what they don't know won't hurt them, after all, as a nurse you'd understand that, right? even if, the last time you were a practicing nurse, doctors told pregnant women it was perfectly fine to smoke and drink alcohol. (ride that by-line as long as you can. it only adds credibility to your brand.) 
so, in closure, i would love most- to thank you for being a selfless giving person. it's wonderful to be reminded, often, that there are people such as yourself, helping the community at large. you should always tell people how generously you give of your time and money. in telling them, maybe they too will act in kind, and even follow by golden example, of just how good a human being can be.
so, regardless of the fact that my job was terminated a week before christmas, i thank you saint claire, for deepening my sense of self. showing me, that doing what's right is always a concrete and scripted thing. thinking for one's own is a bygone act of rebellion, and charging people only for what they get, and not a dollar more, is a bad thing. may class ring true, and people know their place in the world this holiday season. bless us, every one.
except me.

i have managed to alienate most of the people i have loved. or so it seems.
not going to delve into the lesson about that.
i have managed to get off the path i was on which i thought would lead to my success as an artist and human.
what the heck?
i have managed to gain all my excess weight back, and re-introduce foods into my diet which aren't good for me.
forget why. all i know is- i don't like it.

ever felt like this?
lucky you.

i was perusing the oprah website last night- there's some interesting stuff on there. check it out.
one post caught my eye. although i read only part of the article, it was about the power of our words to make us feel better or worse about our negative experiences and hurdles. making the point that some of us surround ourselves with people who act sympathetic and such, yet who may actually be doing us harm.
rather than hearing "oh my, you must be really in pain. my heart goes out to you." [which keeps you feeling that pain.] if you heard "you're a strong woman, it's going to be better soon." you may believe that, and draw from your inner strength.

so- now, i guess i have to tell myself that. can't really turn to anyone else. either they no longer are in my life, are too busy, or are in a funk themselves. it's up to me to give myself a pep-talk. get right on my side, and not wade in the murky waters of depression too long.
a wise friend once said of depression to me "it's okay to visit, but don't stay too long, and you definitely don't want to live there."
she was also the speaker of "don't should all over yourself."
i think about her generous wisdom, and hold it dear to me when i'm hurting, like now. oh- i may not be in the throes of agony and writhing in pain, it's more like a dull ache... and that's bad enough. but, i'm strong, and will get through it.
i have beaten the undertow of the melancholic bane before, and will do so again.

i am strong. it will get better. i am strong.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

and what do we really know?

i wanted to erase these weak posts...

but instead, i decided to expose the barest-boned moment: the moment of truth.
i think of that moment as the split second you make a decision to thoroughly authenticize your existence.

sincerely... i am faulted.
but we all are.

so, why not self-expose the tender points of human weakness, and thereby give inadvertent permission to be flawed to others, and subsequently- to yourself as well.
i admit i worry too much.
this blog is a confessional to deaf ears.
phhhheeewwww. thank goodness i have no readers. i may feel mortified if i knew i did.
this assumed lack of readers allows me to freely be vulnerable while i post an online journal of sorts...
so, as i was not exactly saying-
on one hand, i'm feeling embarrassed to complain about petty b.s. regarding my pedestrian employment and other mundane topics...
on the other hand, i am experiencing relief- albeit somewhat- to be able to do just that.
yes, i know i'm rambling.

what i am seeking out is authentic living. sound ridiculous or vague? i used to think so too.
allow me to elaborate.
it is easy to judge that which we do no know.
and what do we really know?
we know our own experiences, our own feelings, our own desires. the rest is assumption. [i'm not referring to the natural sciences or grammar or other concrete subject matter.] we assume that we know where others are coming from. we assume that our experiences are better or worse off that the next person's. we assume that we are authentic if we are living an honest life, out of harm's way.
that may not be so.
the safe life may not be honest, and the honest life may not be safe.
to live a safe life, i mean the life played safe- scripted almost, and without risks that would procure serious repercussions. this may not be honest because that safe zone may not include your dreams being lived out. it may never put the people in your path that may encourage you to live a dynamic-you existence. it may feel okay, but under the surface, an itch that cannot be scratched causes some tension. many often resign this to "that's just how it is." or "those are the cards i was dealt."
i say- come on. re-shuffle and deal again. why settle for the just okay? it may not happen overnight, but that does not mean it will never happen. if we intend to be our most genuine selves, we will be- eventually if not right now. we are constantly changing. our cells regenerate and we are newly formed molecular beings every few months. our air changes, our dietary intake changes, we are different all the time, so shouldn't our needs and expressions mirror that evolution? i don't want to lose sight of my dreams to barely exist. at times my survival mode didn't allow me the luxury to dream big, but i knew i could shelve the dream-fest for a bit, and return to it when the space opened up.
i am blessed to be a dreamer.
now, my dreams are not empire state's building in size, but to me, in my current life/scenario, they are.
i crave creative autonomy, financial security, and emotive happiness- no matter what. i am constantly working on one or all of these areas.
i change my habits often. i have changed my eating habits more than i would like to count, having found what feels best, even if i cannot afford to apply it to my face constantly. i have found a sleeping habit that work best for me, even if i have noisy neighbors, or a snorer in my midst. i have made the most changes to my outlook, and thinking habits. that's the tie-breaker. mentally, i struggle the most. the mind plays tricks on us, causing a hair-trigger reaction to the emotional and physical body as a result. this tricky aspect gives me the most grief in my life. i believe my thoughts and assumptions, even when there is absolutely no concrete or intuitive evidence that i should. this false belief system throws me into chaos mode often. while i wear a solid exterior. ouch. that's not so authentic, no matter how you look at it.
so how can i be more authentic?
first off, to mold one's self into the person you desire to become, even if you aren't sure who she is, takes equal amounts of flexibility, rigidity and stoicism. we must be flexible to adjust to the changes inside us, and in our environment; rigid to keep us on our path, and resist the temptation to slip back into patterns of unraveling; and stoic enough to not assign the terminology "good" or "bad" to our experiences- be both yielding and invisible to them both.
if every mere moment of our consciousness has the possibility to be perceived in a myriad of ways, why not play around with the options? try them on for size. what pleases us one moment may repel us another. like when i was a kid, i hated asparagus. wouldn't give it a chance. but my palate matured as i did, and now i am an asparagus fan. trial and error does not end with youth, and- if anything, our adult years call for it more than ever.
can you remember thinking that "grown-ups" were crazy or weird for the stuff they said and did? did their behavior confuse your youth-logic and consequently- perhaps you even vowed to not be that way?
what on earth happened?
have you become that adult person who both perplexed and scolded your kid self?
said toast, and you walk in:
toast gone, no-one home.
you still can smell it, no?
that type of experience happened and still happens to me alot. some people never have that gift. {i truly believe it is a gift and not a curse. not everyone can handle that gift. not everyone with it does.} in my world, i believe that everything we do is done out of love or fear. hate is often given the title of opposite of love, but is wrongly named. if someone is acting from a place of fear, rather than love, even if that inclination is not obvious, an imprint (a heaviness) is left around where their energetic field was; their space. some have stronger signals than others. some project, like a scream unheard by ears, yet felt on a vibrational level. some are more secretive, or even reserved, undiscovered. if someone is operating from a place of love, it too resounds in the environment, yet dissipates (upwards/outwards) faster as it is light/is lighter. one must be vibrating at an almost identical level to pick up on residual love. think about it this way: conversion/comparison of temperature- fahrenheit and centigrade: at -40 they are equal, then, exponentially, they differ in leaps and bounds as the temperature rises or falls.
where am i going with this?
honestly, i have written this over the period of 3 sittings spanning over 2 weeks.
i truly do not really know.
where am i today? what is going on in my world that i am mirroring out into the stratosphere?
i am getting over a cold. too much stress, and germs.
i am trying to clean a bit. i need to relax and heal.
maybe i am a reflection of the burnt toast in my life, soggy burnt toast. absorbing the maladies of my disappointing existence. perhaps i am just worn out form too much life to handle.
all i really know now is i need more love, and i don't feel it.
love, where are you?
i guess i have to go. i have to concoct some love.

oh- here comes zenobia- she's got some love to share...
thank goodness for cats.