Monday, September 30, 2013

Light

"In the Hebrew tradition, which splintered off into the Christian tradition, which is how I was raised, light is a metaphor. God makes a cosmos out of the nothingness, a molecular composition, of which He is not and never has been, as anything is limiting, and God has no limits. In this way, He isn't, and yes is. The poetic imagery is rather beautiful, stating that all we see and feel and touch, the hardness of dense atoms, the softness of a breeze (atoms perhaps loose as if in play) is the breath of God. And into this being, into this existence, God first creates light. This light is not to be confused with the sun and moon and stars, as they are not created until later. He simply creates light, a nonsubstance that is like a particle and like a wave, but perhaps neither, just some kind of traveling energy. A kind of magnetic wave. Light, then, becomes a fitting metaphor for a nonbeing who is. God, if like light, travels at the speed of light, and because space and time are mingled with speed, the speed of light is that magic, exact number that allows a kind of escape from time. Scientists have played with atomic clocks, matched exactly, setting one in a plane to fly around the world, and another motionless, waiting for the return of its partner. When they reunite, the one that traveled rests milliseconds behind the one fixed. The faster you move, physicists have found, the less you experience time. And if you move at the speed of light, you will never age; you are outside of time; you are an eternal creature. But before you strap on your running shoes, you should know scientists warn us that with speed, matter increases in density, so an attempt at the speed of light will have you imploded by the time you hit Wichita, your atoms as dense as bowling balls. And to make matters worse, your density increases on a curve; the faster you go, the greater the density, and though you can get close to the speed of light, matter and that magic speed can never meet; the faster you go, the steeper the trajectory on the graph. You and I, made from molecules, cannot travel at the speed of light and cannot escape time, at least not with a body. Consider the complexity of light in light of the Hebrew metaphor: we don't see light; we see what it touches. It is more or less invisible, made from nothing, just purposed and focused energy, infinite in its power (it will never tire if fired into a vacuum, going on forever). How fitting, then, for God to create an existence, then a metaphor, as if to say, here is something entirely unlike you, outside of time, infinite in its power and thrust: here is something you can experience but cannot understand. Throughout the remainder of the Bible, then, God calls Himself light. The perfection of the Hebrew metaphor.."

Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Core

My mind is full again. This is something that has been on my heart and has only been growing stronger the further I get from home. The hunger grows deeper the more I read of cultural practices and rituals. In the past few months, I've been reading up on traditions.

Tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group of society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.

I've been missing home a lot these days. I have a father who is a total knowledge source. Not sure why it happened to me, but I gained my father's gift of thinking with both the left and right side of my brain. Whenever I'm caught in a bind, I call dad. If I'm struggling with how to respond to someone, I call dad. My first response when my logic and reasoning are clouded, I seek after my father's wisdom. And it isn't only when I'm struggling, but when I need answers, or inspiration. One of my favorite things to do when I come home is to raid his book collection. I know that I have the hunger to learn and broaden my thinking, but a big piece is desiring my father's knowledge. Follow his motions. Read the same books. He's the man I've set as standard for the type of husband I need. I can't even begin to explain the love I have for him.

And my mother. She has a beautifully refined heart. Simply beautiful on the outside, too. I'm always trying to best understand the people around me and what gifts they have to teach me. My mother is the encourager. The supporter. That's what moms are for. In the exciting times of first taking steps as an infant, they are there with open arms saying "c'mon baby!". When I was playing competitive softball, I could hear my mom's voice cheering me on from the stands at every game. Through the tough beginning stages of dealing with Grave's disease, my mom sat through every doctor's appointment with me. After a big tear in our relationship years ago, we've been able to build our relationship from the ground up into a bond that I wouldn't break for the world. In the last year, I've been able to completely share my triumphs, tribulations, and thoughts to a mom who listens and responds with a pure love. She's the woman I want to be.

So here's where I am...I've never been so excited to move back home into my parents' home. My home. I want nothing more than to be surrounded by the people I hold in such high regard. I want to soak up every ounce of knowledge, encouragement, wisdom, and love from these two.

And this is where I've put my struggle to rest.

For the last year, I have had this hunger for tradition. I want culture, and not American culture. I wanted to be deeply rooted in cultural rituals and practice, not this young American attitude of "yolo" and false freedoms. I wanted to be proud of something, but how can I be when I can't even nail down my own nationality? The most of what I am is 25% Mexican and the rest if just a European white wash. I don't care if this sounds silly, but I struggle with what box to check...am I white or am I Mexican? Well, I'm both, but I'm allowed once box.

And this is where it all came together for me. I am an American. We are a young country and a melting pot of cultures. I realized that I am the American culture. I am the American ritual. When my family line looks back hundreds of years from now at 2013, I am their traditions, practices, and values. ME.

So what I am going to bring the table?

I'm already so grateful for my parents, but this only deepened the love and respect I have for them. Their words gained more value when I came to the realization that I have the opportunity to be the American culture and tradition. I have a say in it, however I decide to live and teach my children is how I can shape their relationships and their world, like my parents have already done for me. In other cultures, there is so much respect for parents. I don't know where in our society that there became a disconnect and tear in the relationship. This relationship with our parents and elders are vital to our heart and mind. This our lifeline. I believe that this type of love determines the health of our life. If we can become enveloped with the wisdom of our parents, than we too may instill the same wisdom into our children.

I will be the mother that instills the core values from my parents. I will be their wisdom, support, encouragement, and unconditional love they need. And when I can't provide answers, you best bet I'm going back to my two best sources: mom and dad.



Ps- to my future husband: you have big shoes to fill. good luck.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Human

My mind tends to flood at night with thoughts. 1 am? Right on time.

There's a few places on the human body that I love, and no, I'm not talking about the reproductive organs. I'm not talking about what I think is hot or sexy either. I'm talking about something I love about everyone. My most favorite thing on the human body are hands. They are like trees; no two are alike. Your hands are even different on your own body. Everyone's are different. Sometimes, you can tell what type of things a person is into based on their hands. Guitarists have calluses on their left fingertips, if they're right handed. Mechanics typically have grease covering their fingertips. Little boys have blisters on their palms and dirt under their fingernails.

I love it. The design for hands blows my mind. While in the shower, I held my hands together to catch the water pouring above my head. My fingertips begin to prune, and soon it trails down my fingers until it reaches my palms. I don't know why I wasn't told sooner, but the purpose of our hands pruning in the water is so we can grip things. It was one of those "Errrrduuurrrr" moments, but it is brilliant! I ran my hand down the tiles and my finger squeaked the whole way down. Then I did the same thing with my forearm. Slipped right across the tile no problem!

As I'm watching my skin adjust to the water, I'm brought outside of my body and into the greater perspective.

These are the things that make me human. That make everyone human. In our uniqueness of brilliant design, there is unity in that we are all human. Everyone's hair will raise and goosebumps appear when there's a sudden chill. Fingertips will prune when in water, despite temperature.

But then I questioned why we categorize humans into types. Culture, color, height, weight, etc. Sure, there's logical reasons for it now to describe each other. But look outside of that. The person you fight against because you fall into a different category is just as much a human as you are.

Yo, I'll admit I'm at fault! I am judgmental. I'm quick to sum people up based on outward appearance. But I'm choosing to think differently. To think better. There is no love in cruel judgment.

The change begins with your thoughts. The uniqueness is what makes you an individual. Our bodies are so beautifully and brilliantly designed, and the design is what unifies us.

I guess this follows into the Golden Rule: to love your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes God gives me these nuggets in my brain to just sit on for a moment. That my mind connects the fascination of my hands to the unity in humans. In that, a character flaw in me is revealed. Maybe it is the constant desire to improve and reach my potential. But I'm able to respond...making a conscious decision to change the way I look at people.

Stop looking at the type and start looking at the whole. Love people because they are people. It is contagious! Change your thinking and you just might change the world.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chewed Up, Spit Out

I've been going through my closet trying to cut all my belongings in half. I've found things I've been looking for, tossed crap I've accumulated, but I've opened things that have reopened emotions from the last three years.

Before I flipped through the journals, I wrote in my current one. Spoke about my recent job success, my visit home last weekend, and on topics that are flooding my head. I read back on my entries in my current journal and noticed a recurring theme. Inner struggle. Brain and heart constantly at war. I noticed that this battle has been going on up until last week when I drove up to San Jose to visit.

Now, I found two journals, both incomplete. When I go through a tough season, I'll write until the end of days. But when I come out of a tough season, I'm not quite at a personal peak and typically don't write as much. Usually, I don't write because I'm working more. The first one I read contained entries from the end of 2011 up until January 2013. I was in an okay state of mind. At work, I was promoted to a supervisor, then had demoted myself, and was contemplating moving to Southern California. My friendships were close, and growing stronger by the minute. Music was somewhat steady, but I was very exclusive about it. I hadn't been in a relationship for a while and had dated a few guys over that time, but nothing seemed to last longer than two months. My heart was heavy, I was lonely, but my friendships and family relationships were stronger than they had ever been.

Then I read through the other journal, which started at the beginning of 2010 and had entries up until summer of 2012. I couldn't believe the things that I wrote. Immediately, my heart sank. I had come out of a (very stupid) long relationship that had left me completely shattered. Ripped up, shut out, and numb. After struggling and trying so hard to find fellowship at church, I finally gave up and have only been back on occasion. I so deeply desired relationship that I clung onto any guy who gave me the slightest bit of attention. I would jump into things too quickly and be tossed out soon after. There was a time that I went to a guy's house to hang out and he accidentally sent me a text meant for his buddy that read, "Fuck, this girl is no good. " Imagine reading that. At the time, my friendships were total crap, so I didn't feel that I had anyone close enough to confide in about my struggles. Still trying to mend a broken heart, I continue into 2011 running to any guy who calls my name. I wasn't just walked all over, but I was kicked and spat on. My continuous theme was "I just want to be worth it to someone" .

Whoa. Depression hit heavy. I thought so little of myself. I remember thinking how easy it could be to just crash in the freeway walls to simply end the sorrows of broken girl. I knew I would never kill myself, but if someone had to get kicked off the island, you best bet I was the first to volunteer. I was a waste of space. Nothing but another body on the world. It's funny how numbness works because it heightens the sorrow, and blacks out the goodness. Sadness turns into a deeper sorrow. Total bitterness. My emptiness was so heavy, my chest ached as if it was to cave in. Every entry ended with "I just want to be worth it to someone".

Fall of 2011, my dear friend, Chris, had a tough talk with me. He began to tell me how I am worth more than I could ever know. That's the very shortened version, but after a good, hard cry...I believed him. After our talk, I wised up. Stopped talking stupid flings and said, "I need to be happy with myself first before I can be with anyone." From then until winter, I began to surround myself around people who made me a better friend, and who I could invest time into and know that it isn't wasted efforts.

December of 2011, I turned twenty one. I ventured out to the bars every weekend, had a new bottle of wine every other day, and was having the time of my life. Around the same time, a new church group had developed and I felt that I might be able to be a part of it. My relationship with God has been odd. I had shut the door for two years and knew that I wanted to open it up again. I met with a mentor, I worshiped with them, and was in the Word every chance I had. I thought, "Yes, this is it. This is the fellowship I needed." But then I became overwhelmed with doubt. I was trying so hard to be involved and felt like I just wasn't getting the spiritual response that I expected. I still felt dry. I even had the pastor prophecy directly to me saying how deeply God wants the relationship with me. I don't know what stopped me, but I didn't go back. I cut off my relationships with the church, and relapsed into poor dating choices, but with an "I don't give a fuck" attitude.

As I continued to read my entries, my attitude had changed. There was a change in character. I was tired of being walked all over, being used, and then left out in the cold. I started to believe that I could be whoever I wanted to be. I knew that if I wanted things to be different that I had to change them myself. Sure, I was still lonely because I wanted to be with someone, but I wasn't going to settle for anyone. My heart began to soften again, but I walked around with a chip on my shoulder knowing that I was going to be my best me, and have zero emotional attachments to any guy because its my game now. My transformation wasn't overnight, but I had to make the decision in my head that I am fucking awesome, and anyone who didn't see that, is blind and isn't worth a second of my time.

During the Spring of 2012, I was a new person. The last five months, I had been working on what I saw as flaws to better myself. My thinking had changed, also, not allowing others to negatively alter my day, my emotions, or my actions. I chose to communicate more effectively with people because I wasn't going to get pushed around anymore. And then I did things to sharpen my brain, like read more books, watch TED talks, go to more concerts. My friendships were flourishing and I continued to meet people on a daily basis. Never a dull time. I stopped over thinking, doubting, and started looking at the positive things in my life. I was at my best, but still feeling that void of not having an intimate relationship with someone.

Summer 2012 rolls in and I fall head over heels for a guy. Woowee, someone should have told me to slow down because sure enough, I'm the one who ended up with a broken heart. For a moment, I relapsed and felt the way I did a year prior. Reading through my entries, I notice a change of heart. Instead of allowing myself to be sad, I told myself, "Get the hell over yourself. You know you deserve better." I knew what I was doing was pathetic. Sure, occasionally I would get tripped up over my emotions, but I had to constantly remind myself that if I want the best out of a guy, that he in returns deserves the best out of me.

My journal entries changed. Enough with the bullshit. I decided, hey, if the right guy rolls around, then I'm sure he'll say hello, but I'm done. I decided that I didn't need anyone. I became so content with loneliness that I've now realized that I'm okay being alone the rest of my life. Would I like to spend my life with a man? Hell yeah. Do I need to? No. Instead, I invested my time into my friendships and into the betterment of my well being. I had the companionship of a best friend, the love of my family, and a clear head.

Through the rest of 2012 until now, I am a new human. None of this intended to say, "hey, look at how awesome I am!" but to show the beauty in transformation. I struggled with self image, self worth, and after a lot of tears...I am here. You don't hear me complaining that my pants don't fit, or that I'm depressed because I'm single. After almost three years, I stepped into a relationship. Although short lived, it was a chance for me to see how someone responds to the gifts I have to offer, and how I respond in return. But when things ended, I bounced back and said, "Not for me." and moved on. Dating narrows down the characteristics in a man that I desire, that compliment mine, and that challenge who I am to be a better me.

Last week, I sat down for the usual drinks with my two best friends in Orange County. I had never heard anyone speak such kind words to me. "You are beautiful, so talented, hilarious. Any guy who doesn't see that doesn't deserve you. You are the ultimate catch!" I've built friendships with people who have my best interest in mind. To go from total emptiness, to full of life...now that is transformation.

After I read my old journals, I went back and read the entry I wrote today. My journal now overflows with happiness. The lines are flooded with desires to travel, my thoughts on the vastness of our bodies to the universe, how deeply I feel for other people, and why I can't breathe underwater. Today, I wrote about the overwhelming feeling of joy. After being home in San Jose, I realized that I have undeniably some of the best people in my life. During that weekend, I saw all the right people and returned home to a grandpa who missed me, and friends waiting to have a beer with me.


So here I am. Clear head, full heart.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Refined By Loneliness

There has to be this contentment with loneliness. And loneliness has such a negative weight on the word, but it isn't. Loneliness is being okay with the company of yourself. Knowing who you are, what you have to offer...that all of you is enough. I think that people are afraid to be alone because they realize where the dirt and grime has accumulated over the years. I want to be able to look at myself without saying "yuck". But people desire people so deeply that they're willing to handover their "yuck" to someone else. I'm saying no. No. I'm not going to hand over "yuck" because I'm doing some deep cleaning in all the nooks and crannies of my heart. If I'm not alright with being alone with myself, then I'm sure as hell not alright being alone with someone else. And if you TRULY love someone that much, you will want to give them your best..and 'yuck' isn't your best. Sure, it seems like EVERYONE is in a relationship, so deeply in love, getting married, having babies...but I'm more frustrated with people who feel like they have to keep up with them.

My thoughts are running wild tonight. More so on the topic of relationships. I've reached the point where I'm more than alright with being alone. In fact, I like being alone. I cooked dinner tonight and thought, "thank goodness I don't have a boyfriend because I wasn't down to share my epic dinner."

I know that I've got a lot to offer a man one day, and boy, is he one lucky guy! I have a routine I follow every morning. When I wake up, I stumble out to the kitchen, throw the kettle on the stove, and layout (what I call) my poisons for the day. After I gulped down my poisons, I focused my attention to my coffee. Now, coffee is an important piece to my day. I choose a blend based on the events on the day and how I'm feeling at that exact moment. Coffee becomes a science. A thought ran across my mind that never has before: love isn't an occasional grand gesture, but an accumulation of small gestures everyday. Whoa. I looked down at the coffee dripping into my mug. As small as coffee is in the greater scheme of my day, it still holds importance to my morning ritual. One day, allowing someone to become a part of my morning ritual means taking as much time and care on his cup of coffee that I spend on mine. Not only that, serving his coffee before mine. Now coffee is small, but it is one way, everyday to show him that I care for him.

I believe people are meant to be alone before being with one for the rest of their years. The time spent alone is preparation for the one. I wish that more people would take all of it in for what it is worth, rather than glorifying this socially acceptable, single-life depression. I find it highly unattractive. Identify the loneliness, embrace the emotion, and instead of barfing it out into a relationship (because clearly that's unhealthy), chip away at it because you are building up your character. Trust me, attractive is the person who is refined by loneliness.