Category Archives: Archive

The Tone Of My Voice

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I long to hear the tone of my voice… what shape will it take?  What sound does it make?

She’s strong, passionate, relentlessly determined… She’s had to learn the territory of overcoming oppression.  She’s had to learn to over come oppression in a society blind to its own discrimination.  She knows that their ignorance is blind, only coming to light through impulsive sparks of rage; spurring into a mask of righteousness, to cover up their shame.

They think awareness is the devil; ashamed to see how they really feel, ashamed to realize the limitations of their autonomy.  They don’t like the emotion shame, it must be a sign to turn back, right?  How could anything good come from shame?  If they turn away from this part of their-selves, this part of the human experience, then that must be a good thing… right?

‘That is right!  I’m not ashamed!  No!  I’m much smarter than everyone else, they haven’t learned to turn away from shame like I have.  THAT is their weakness and my strength, shame is not a good thing, it’s a weakness and the only way to overcome it is to not do the things that make you feel it!  Idiots!  All idiots, shame isn’t real, it’s unnecessary, a waste of time, how stupid everyone must be for believing in shame!  I’m so glad that I can live without shame, how good is that, how smart am I.’

Yet, she’s ashamed for us, not out of weakness, but of strength.  They type of strength that is capable of carrying such a heavy weight.  The type of strength that is built through seeing all humanity as one, like a timeless net endlessly emerging from the past and forever casting into the future, she embraces shame and in turn the whole race of humanity responds.

To be human is to be flawed, but she knows that embracing our flaws and walking in their direction is the first step towards divinity.  She knows that we can never be autonomous from our flaws if we turn away from them, but in their embrace we can learn from them, heal them.  She knows that autonomy comes from being whole, integrated, considered.

She waits to hear the tone of her voice…

 

 

 

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Chains That Bind

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Chains That Bind

Today I just can’t seem to quiet my mind, between the recent election and some other personal things, the noise running through my mind is loud, fast and not going anywhere.  When this happens I always turn to writing, if I can’t turn the noise down then I must get it out!  So I went to my personal folder, opened up my “writings” and came across a piece I wrote almost exactly a year ago today (11/13/15).  I can relate to this piece now more than ever.  It’s ending seems incomplete, but really I like that, it engages the reader to finish it, to think about it themselves and come up with their own answer.  I hope you do…

Chains that bind or channels that express?  We rebel against society, trying to break free from the culture that is laid under our feet the moment we are born.  Unable to escape we humbly retreat inward looking for salvation, and begin the revolution all over again in another attempt to jar loose from the psychology of our minds.  With new hope we eagerly get to work illuminating the deep dark contours of our psyche with the same wish as the last, is it possible to break free?  Can I set myself free?  Am I free?

Eventually over time we come to the realization that freedom may very well be an illusion.  As our culture, society and the experiences we’ve had in life are the very fabric that make up who we are.  After all, the culture we’re born into is as connected to us as the genes we’re passed down.  Although the journey to find autonomy may be an illusion, it’s one a lot of us experience, a common thread, one that leads us to discover something greater than just freedom.

The gift of society is finding ourselves, when we go through the trials and tribulations of modern culture, and subsequently get tossed around enough, we begin to discover aspects of ourselves that have been ever-present.  The constant needs or dislikes we carry with us day after day… We begin to discover the unique expression of our genes engaged in an eloquent dance with culture.  However, our unique expressions are not always clear, as one of the biggest challenges we face in modern culture is whether we like what we like because we like it, or whether we like it because we’re told to.  The only way to discover the different between preference and suggestion is to start asking why you like what you like and is it serving you?  Does it really fulfill your needs and wants?

Using the experience I’ve had asking myself the very question I pose here, why do I like what I like and is it serving me?  I’ve begun to discover one very important component, home.  How do you feel when you are there?  How connected are you to your family, your spouse, your kids?  Aren’t these people the very reason you do anything at all?  If so, what kind of connection do you have with your family and with your home, other than passing by each other on the way to another task, another responsibility, another item on your calendar.  The people in my home are the ones I will love the most my entire life, the ones I care more about above myself.  My home is where I recharge, where I connect with my family and be myself.  So if you looked at your “home” as the meter that quantified your actions and desires, and concluded whether you’re succeeding or failing, could you say to yourself that the “things” you’re chasing and trying to sustain are serving you?

Home is where it all begins…

Home is the stone that creates the ripple…

Home is where the heart is…

Home is what you make it.

 

Don’t loose your voice through the noise…

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Don’t loose your voice through the noise…

Hello… is there anybody out there, just nod if you can here me.

My mind swirls with the chaotic memories that make up my current life.  Now at an age where responsibility is at an all time high, invisible chains tether me to the various aspects of my life that require my constant attention, and pull at me relentlessly.  Like the ocean swell, the chains of responsibility tug and wane, sometimes coming from all directions.  The vessel made of of my body and mind gets me through the turbulent tug-o-war of life.

Set adrift among the ebb and flow of life, where am I going?  If I were a boat set to sea, would it not be with a destination or a goal… a purpose?  A vessel without a captain is destine to deteriorate, find itself adrift, vulnerable to the ebb and flow of inevitable currents.  Captain my captain where am I going?  What is your purpose, what is the thing you’ve always been drawn to do?  The thing that no matter how good you’ve gotten at being rational, objective or “realistic”, you’ve never been able to compromise?  Is that your Captain?  Is that the thing steering the vessel of your life?  Because it should be.

The thing inside of me that has always steered my decisions… Shes a relentless bitch, a tough teacher.  I can see her saying “Oh cute, you think that making ‘that’ decision will make you happy.  Sure Sweetheart, go ahead and give it a try.”  Knowing very well the tough lessons that lie ahead.  She’s passionate, unforgivingly so and will settle for nothing less.  No shortcuts, never a shortcut.  Only the long hard road for me.  Driven to find passion in all things.

I believe we often think of passion objectively.  You’ll hear things like, I’m passionate for (fill in the blank).  This template for passion sets us adrift for some-thing that will fulfill our happiness.  What I think my tough inner teacher is trying to show me is that passion is not a thing, it’s an action.  What if you made life your passion, what would that look like?  Well life is made of a lot more then just any one singular thing, it’s made up of so many things, could you be passionate about all of them?  Is there enough time in the day, or a lifetime?

Rachel, you want to connect with people.  You want to understand suffering… you want to heal suffering.  Why can’t you see that suffering is essential to growth, it is growth.  This thing that suffers in the prospect of change, it’s not you.  Change anyway.  Sing, sing into your writing.  Cry into the abyss.  Connect.  I’ve been pushed to grow, not for myself, but for the suffering of the world, for my passion of life, for this amazing experience to live, the ultimate gift.  I didn’t ask for this…  This has just always been my voice.  I don’t always listen or hear my passion through all the noise of life, but she never goes away.  She’s always eagerly waiting for my return, with a loving and tough embrace.  She keeps me on track and moving forward.

Don’t loose your voice… Keeping singing, keep searching, keep trying.  We need to hear you!

Thought Cast

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Thought Cast

Ten years ago I was compelled to write, so I picked up a journal and a pen and I started writing.  The main purpose of writing for me was to document my thoughts, emotions, experiences.  Doing this has helped me objectify my day to day life, or sometimes shed light on perspectives that don’t seem to be very helpful.  A conflict I’ve always felt I’ve carried with me is how different I feel from general society, the very distinct feeling that I don’t fit in.  This feeling over time has manifested in a very strong need to design a life I want to live.  Idealistic in nature and very romantic at heart.  I’ve set out on the path to do just that.  Currently I find myself in the very chess like strategy stage, setting goals down the line and slowly manipulating my day to day moves to achieve that goal.  However, life is the greatest chess player, exposing weaknesses, throwing variations you never anticipated or could see… but you must keep moving forward, even if you can’t quite see how.

I’ve never asked myself why I like writing, why I consider it my passion, even in spite of not being very good at it, until this morning.  This morning during my walk I decided to listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast, this particular podcast happened to be about psychedelic drugs, specifically Ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT & Ayahuasca.  I was moved to a very strong feeling of excitement, hope & curiosity by this podcast.  I tend to get this sort of “high” feeling when listening to podcasts, specifically ones that involve the pulse of change in human behavior, or as Tim Ferriss calls it, human performance.  For the first time today instead cashing in on the “high” feeling I get from the podcasts I started to question that feeling… Why do I get that feeling?  What is it about these podcasts that make me feel high?  These questions seems to scratch the surface of something very primal in me.

I’m very much in love with human behavior and not just in the sense of the psychological map, but in the sense of the whole organism and how every aspect of life can combine in an infinite way to illicit innumerable experiences of life.  This to me as fascinating as it is extremely terrifying.  On one hand, like the silly movie The Secret clumsily tries to explain, you have all the ability in the world to achieve your deepest goals and dreams.  Yet on the other, you are also tethered to a culture that has been designed by people before you… Dreamers who want to change the world and their capitalist counterpart.

As far as I can tell human behavior can be considered synonymous with the inquisition of change and development.  However, in modern culture we find ourselves ushered into streams of specific thought, most obviously starting in our schools, I like to call these thought casts.  A thought cast is the formal training one gets through adolescence into early adulthood, for the preparation of becoming a contributing citizen.  The inner rebel in me wants to hate this concept, however, the inner integral thinker cautions me to stay positive with this concept to see it through.

I’ve always loved the punk culture, I think in part because I could relate to the whole not fitting into society, but also because I thought mohawks were pretty hot.  Although that culture didn’t last, as most time-stamped subcultures don’t, I think it was the breakdown of the punk culture that really honed in on a very important truth that I needed to find in myself.  You can’t work or function outside of society, without first going through it.  This perspective is why I believe it’s important to realize that the thought casts we’re molded into are important stepping stones but not the end goal.

‘So what is the next step?’  To me the next obvious step is to start exercising thinking outside of the cast, and this next step is the reason I get so excited when I listen to a Podcast that stimulates this part of my brain.  There are people already starting to think differently, most notably in the drug culture, but not limited to.  I find that technology also has really stimulating perspectives, getting people to think about the future and how it will be, how they can contribute to improving it.  I want to emphasize that I’m leaving the arts out of this category for a reason.  As arts are creative in nature, they’re not the goal, they’re the conduit to help us exercise this way of thinking, but not the goal.

What is the goal?  I wish I knew.  I can only answer this in retrospect… The goal is not to imprison people to a desk or job for a now growing 9, 10, 11, 12 (and on) hour work day.  This has to change for optimal human performance.  I may not have the answer to solve this modern day riddle, but I can tell you that every day I work toward solving this riddle.  I work towards creating strengths in my overall life, developing resilience to whether whatever storm comes next.  Patiently (kind of, patience is part of my daily practice), silently watching and waiting.

I’m not sure where we will all end up.  There’s part of me that’s terrified at the level of output necessary to be successful in society right now.  The level of detail required has seemingly multiplied ten times, humans are naturally flawed, yet there’s no room for flaws right now.  Suck it up, make it happen, fall apart if you have to, just make it happen.  Chewed up and spit out.  Our brains have not been taught how to handle this level of output, the plasticity of creativity is needed now more than ever, yet we think in black and white, because we’ve only been trained to look in retrospect… this is the thought casts we’re stuck in.  Looking back to move forward.

Workplace Archetypes

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Workplace Archetypes

I’ve been sitting on this gem for a while… I did this one day as a sort of therapeutic exercise.  It still makes me laugh every time I ready it.  Enjoy!  Disclaimer:  If you’re not laughing, well…

Workplace Archetypes

  1. The Anchor
    1. Thinks holding paperwork hostage is an effective strategy for negotiation
    2. Waits to get their paperwork done until a week before closing
    3. Nitpicks details within the contracts to stall for time
    4. Says that something didn’t get done/ordered because you never provided them with needed information; yet they never mention it prior to you asking for an update – They’re always using other people as their reminding system
  2. The Alarmist
    1. Anytime a change occurs, or a step in the process has been met, it MUST get done IMMEDIATELY!! Go go go, now now now
    2. Often sends you a form that they have to reiterate ten times because they’re going too fast
    3. Sends 20 emails a day; most of which repeat the same information
  3. The Aloof
    1. Sends you paperwork you already have
    2. Say’s they sent you something; but they never did
    3. Forgets to send you copies of the paperwork
    4. Doesn’t sign their own paperwork
    5. Often sends you paperwork that isn’t fully executed
    6. Sends you something you don’t need; trying to satisfy an outstanding item
    7. Is constantly asking for paperwork you’ve already sent them
    8. Can never find your email
  4. The Apparition
    1. Someone you see only pop up intermittently during the transaction
    2. They disappear thinking that everything will get done in their absence
  5. The Active
    1. Has a system in place that allows for consistent and effective follow up
    2. Manages their own file and paperwork without relying on others
    3. Keeps track of the transaction timeline and responds accordingly
    4. Sends out correspondence and doesn’t expect an email back immediately (it’s email people, not a phone conversation!)

It’s not me… It’s you!

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It’s not me… It’s you!

Dear Coffee,

I don’t know where to begin, this is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time.  First I want you to know how much I love you, you’ve been in my life now for 18 years, that’s more then half my lifetime!  I write this letter because I’m afraid I can’t hangout with you anymore.  You know that I’ve been working really hard at improving my life and my health and I feel that you aren’t being very supportive of that, you keep holding me back.  Yes I know that we’ve been very active together, going on morning hikes, bike rides, long walks, jogging, etc., but I can’t stand living with the feeling you give me day after day.

I can no longer continue to live with the stress, anxiety and nervous energy you leave me with.  Somewhere along our relationship you changed.  Perhaps it was in the 90’s when you started showing up everywhere with your elaborate garnishments.  Or maybe it was when you started hanging out with Hipsters and went organic.  I fondly look back at when we started hanging out at my first job, Java 33.  I was young and you were a lot less complex, life was easy.  Remember that time at Java 33 when the old man Morano came in without any teeth!  Those were to good ol’ days.

Everyone thinks I’m crazy for leaving you.  There’s still part of me that wakes up every morning thinking about you, my head aches knowing you won’t be there.  You always made me and everyone around you feel energized and young.  I fear that our relationship has been a lie, if I knew our relationship would end up here I would have had to reconsider things a long time ago… but we were young and crazy back then.

I have no doubt that you will continue to thrive and have a long life, and I’m certain we will run into each other from time to time.  I hope the best for you.

Good Bye,

Rachel

Breaking Silence

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Breaking Silence

I like to write… and it’s for this reason I know that life thrives on cruel yet entertaining ironies.  I’m not good at spelling, grammar or giving a shit about the two, I just like writing.  It’s not that I don’t understand their value, like the infinite variables that reside in a simple sentence and how each one can completely change the meaning…  That’s pretty fucking awesome and incredibly intoxicating, but for some cruel cosmic reason, my mind cannot wrap its damn head around these formal structures and rules.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try my hardest, but you may catch a few wrong doings along the way, so here’s my upfront and formal apology.  Sorry!  I’m not perfect at writing and I’m not going to get the “formal” training to change this, so that’s all I have to say about that.

The other day I heard that to be good at writing you have to write for yourself.  Initially I thought ‘Of course!’, but then my mind really got to thinking about that concept and it kind of freaked me out.  I’m not sure I know what I like.  Over the last nine years I’ve been writing to get to know myself better, not for discovering my likes, but for the purpose of questioning them.  Have I been caught in a vacuum of ambiguity?

After letting the concept of writing for myself marinate for a couple of days, I discovered something…  I’m afraid of settling into a preference, or in other words creating a ground from which I can be set up for disappointment.  Yet this mental exercise also made me discover a truth I’ve been avoiding, which is that even the non-preference stance is still a stance, one I created as insulation to failure.  Preferences exist no matter what, and I’d much rather be the one deciding where my preferences lie verses continuing to try and convince myself that they don’t exist at all.  However, I have to look at my preferences as living organisms, in other words they must have some flexibility, to have the ability to change and evolve with circumstance.  Its like using a lighthouse as your destination, but then using the ocean swell to determine how you end up at the lighthouse.

Take writing for example… Writing to me is the destination, but what I write about needs to be organic, flowing and open to the moment.  The challenge: Is getting out of my own way.  Somehow my writing always ends up sounding more like a journal entry.  I’ve been writing in a journal consistently for the last nine years, therefore I often catch myself analyzing my thoughts verse exploring them.  I fell in love with writing because of the rawness and transparent truth that comes from it.  To me, writing is one of the best tools for self-awareness…  A quiet blank platform, that is relentlessly honest.  After all, a journal doesn’t write itself, every word that breaks the silent page is a window into your Self.

The intention of this blog is to create a platform from which I can explore to purpose of writing from a new angle.  To develop new ways to use this incredible tool for deeper and more expansive insight.  As important as it is to be able to “look” at yourself from the proverbial mirror, it’s equally important to cultivate the ability to expand your line of sight beyond yourself and see the world.  I can’t think of a better platform for this type of mental exercise then one that is connected via the world wide web, and whether it actually reaches that far or not is of no consequence, because the writing itself will still be developed as if it is!

Most importantly, I REALLY want this blog to be a home base where people come and feel connected, hopefully even understood, through this experiment of expanding our mental exploration.  I will unquestionably be covering the struggles and success of my experience in modern culture, as well as an optimistic view of the same, which I discovered as a result of extreme pessimism.  Life is hard but not without hope and I will strive to shed some much needed light on the topic!!

Enjoy the ride!

Rach