Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Dalai Lama's Rules for Living

Sharing is caring! 

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs:
    1. Respect for self
    2. Respect for others
    3. Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wendell Berry- The Sycamore

You know when you come across a new piece of art that you feel was personally written about you? Or even just speaks to you- whispers in your ear until the message seeps down into your soul?

That's how I feel about this beaut. Enjoy.

The Sycamore

In the place that is my own place, whose earth
I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,
a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.
Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,
Hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.
There is no year it has flourished in
that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it
that is its death, though its living brims whitely
at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.
Over all its scars has come the seamless white
of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history
healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection
in the warp and bending of its long growth.
It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.
It has become the intention and radiance of its dark face.
It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable.
In all the country there is no other like it.
I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling
the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.
I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,
and is fed upon, and is native, and maker.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Street smart art

Tuxedo Man, Soho, June 2011

Street art or dirt?

I walked across this earlier today. It took me a few minutes to try to decode whether it was someones deliberate attempt at art or whether it was just some mess I translated into a portrait.

Today I started reading about the NYC crime rates of the 1980s & 1990s in Gladwell's book The Tipping Point. The interesting part being that (researchers & sociologists etc) first targeted the graffiti problem in their efforts to clean up their streets. And it worked.

Obviously I wasn't around here then. And am scared to imagine what life must have been like. But to think of this city without it's mysterious, camouflaged flowers wouldn't be the same.

This is one of my favorite things about NYC. It doesn't make up for the lack of greenery but sure is interesting scenery.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Metamorphosis ?

What is it about getting a hair cut? When it goes right it feels like peeling an orange and inhaling the intense, citrus scent as it infiltrates the rest of your senses. Then as you start peeling off the remaining white sticky strands, you start anticipating the sweet juiciness of possibilities that await.

In my younger days, every time my mood changed so did my hair. But ever since I cut off my dreads last Spring it has been on sabbatical.

Today that changed. I went out and got bangs. While my feelings about them are still up in the air, for the first time changing my hair didn't have the life-changing effect I was hoping for.

Maybe I was hoping too hard it'd steer me towards some kind of answers.

Livejournal Shot, June 2011

Do you have a classic cut you prefer to stick to? Or are you more of an adventurous style maven?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Uno Momento

Holy guacamole. I didn't realize it had been such a minute since my last post. I can't lie- I haven't even thought about writing in here :(

This whole work thing? It's hard to get adjusted to. Especially when you are developing a program, calendar, and the rules. You'd think it'd be easier that way.

Plus. This is my fourth week and I'm still constantly exhausted despite eating a healthy diet. It seems my health has actually deteriorated.

And I think I know why: how do you deal with an intolerable coworker? I am pretty positive this person is the sole reason for my added stress, exhaustion, mood swings, and anything else negative going on with me? (In all sincerity this person is that bad- no scapegoating here).

Any tips or suggestions for how to deal with this person? If it's any help, it's a no-it-all-never-shuts-their-mouth type... I've started to TRY to work on myself more because we all know you can't change someone else, but it's taking up the last bit of energy I have left :(

Monday, May 23, 2011

Working girl

Schedules: I'm good at making work-related ones, but I can't figure out how to make a personal one.

When I read about people "scheduling themselves in" I scoffed. PFT! I don't need to schedule myself in! I do what I want when I want!

Apparently, that train of thought wasn't entirely accurate. At least not at this moment of my life. For example: I tell myself I'll wake up early to go for a jog, but that doesn't happen. And after work is a definite no-go. I say I'm going to dedicate time to write at least a decent paragraph daily. Not to mention I need to lean basic French by September somehow

Maybe I'm being prematurely hard on myself? (Sure...) Should I wait a full month before I worry about my personal goals?

Do you have any tips on how to prioritize your personal life? How to reach your own goals, even if it involves small steps at a time?

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Here's to striving to be a better person!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Catatonic Recuperation, Sunnyside May 21,201

This is how I spent the entirety of my Saturday. Safe to say, I think this sums up the past few days.

Do you work a M-F, 9-5? How do you spend your weekends? Are you more of a "I-need-to-recuperate-and-relax" like myself or do you prefer to spend off days being actively out & about?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lovin' is what I got

Birthday Latte, @DoraCoffee, LES, NYC, May 16, 2011
(In an effort to avoid whining about the fact I'll have spent the second day in a row on my hands and knees scrubbing our new office space in the basement of a project that hasn't been used in two years nor cleaned, I'm auto-setting this post before I have a reason to complain about more things and sharing the happier moments from the past few days.)

24th Birthday & Graduation Weekend, NYC, May 15, 2011
24th Birthday & Graduation Weekend, NYC, May 15,2011
Birthday Sapphires & Love, Sunnyside, May 16, 2011

Birthday Ohana, Sunnyside, May 16, 2011
Keep on smiling!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You're a good man, Charlie Brown

Is it too early to start complaining about my new job?

Complain isn't the right word per say. More like a misunderstanding due to miscommunication a top my already gloomy demeanor is resulting in a lot of whining and questioning on my part.

I don't grumble this much out loud or in "real life". In fact, that's the problem. It stays bottled up until I explode and viscously lash out at unsuspecting victims. And then I feel bad and apologize despite really meaning what I say. And start bottling things up again etcetcetc.

So despite this bloggy-whineyness, I believe it is best to get it out one way or another .

After all, all this growing up stuff means I can't keep throwing temper-tantrums, right?

How do you release your thoughts & emotions without hurting others and/or appearing overly negative?Please share your thoughts!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Celebrate (?)

Do you celebrate things? Occasions? Yourself?

I tend to not.

Today is my 24th birthday. Tomorrow is my graduate school graduation ceremony.

What have I been doing? Working & weeping.

I am not a birthday person. At all. They depress me though not because of the aging factor. And the fact that every single one of these 24 years, it has literally rained on my date (and whenever I choose to throw a party) doesn't help the cause.

I should be upbeat. I'm young, educated, and slightly successful.

But all day I have fought off a torrential downpour of tears. On the train, with clients, surrounded by coworkers. They just creep up on me again and again. And not just any tears. The tears you need to hold back because they hold so much ridiculous emotion with each tiny droplet. The ones that'l give you a migraine at the end of the bout from their intensity.

And here I am, rounding out the last few hours of my date, still glum as hell. Sometimes I tell myself I'll try to be better about it next year. Not let myself get so depressed. But it happens, year after year.

Here's to the day after my birthday.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alas, I am still alive. (Or am I?)

Here I am, a week later. Full of sleepiness. Full of excuses. Full of definitely not myself.

But I do have a good reason for my absence. Two Saturdays ago I received a call at 11 am.

I was offered a job. And I took it. Without thinking (much).

They wanted me to start ASAP, which meant this Monday. But due to my last remaining graduate school final, I started Tuesday after signing the papers officially on Monday- after said final.

I didn't want to announce anything to anyone before I signed the HR papers. And then I started working and have been so exhausted I completely conk out within minutes of getting home.

So here I am.
After my last graduate school finals.
Before my official graduation.
After my first official week as a Mental Health Counselor.
A few days before my 24th birthday.
First time on the computer since last Saturday (no lie).
Completely pooped- physically, mentally, spiritually.

And here I go. To sleep. Before 9 PM on a Friday night. And I have no problem admitting that.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

2 years 2 many

As I've mentioned, recent weeks have been hectic. But from them came Jon's 24th birthday and our two-year anniversary. (Did you know 2 years stands for cotton or china? Or something like that)

So. For the sake of my lovely boo, I am here to commemorate these past couple of years. And cheers to many more. Instead of flowery words I just wanted to share some smiley pics. We are a pair for words with few flicks to parade our silliness.

Here's to loving to live and living to love.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Recognition where it's due

Little by little I'm going to catch up. And so, I shall start by recognizing these lovely ladies that shared some lovely awards with me over the past month. I know I received a couple of others but can't for the life of me remember who/what/when/where I was given them.

Julie Flanders over at What Else Is Possible? was kind enough to share this with me.

And this beaut was sent over by Dafeenah many moons ago! And here I am, finally sharing it as well :)

The rules state to share 7 things and pass it on to 10-15 others. I've noticed a lot of these are flying around blogosphere so I'm not going to be specific and designate the award to the blogger. So, for the sake of cheating feel free to pick whichever you prefer :)

So! Here we go.......

1. I am one of those cat-people that consider my cat my "child".
2. I am more of a salty than sweet person. Though the past two years with my boyfriend have me leaning towards sweet.
3. I'm about to graduate with two Masters degrees for Mental Health Counseling to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (thank cheeze!)
4. I originally wanted to be a photojournalist and an interior designer before I choose the "safe" path. I went to a high school spefically for photography at one point.
5. My personality is essentially, a set of contradictions.
6.  Big fan of breakfast foods. Big. (at any time of the day)
7. I am genuinely in awe of how other bloggers can sustain regular working lives and have time to blog! (Share your tips please!!!!!!)

And therefore I choose to pass these on to some fellow lovelies I've had the opportunity to meet along the way:

-Judy @ Raising Reizo
-Yvonne @ Welcome to my world of poetry
-Dafeenah @ Dafeenah [for the stylish blogger :) ]
-Beverly @ Writing in flow
-Su @ Cheekyness
-Sarah Allen @ No Write or Wrong
- Christine @ The Imagination Station
- Sharlene @ Mainstream solar cooking
- Doreen @ Doreen McGettigan
Siv Maria
- Suzanne @ Blue Sand Studio
-Gina @ A Muse in my pocket

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"Things will never be the same" -Tupac

Original Source- unknown

(this is what I feel like). So. many.things. going on.

Every time things seem to settle, a giant wooden spoon jumps into my pot to stir everything up causing overflowing bubbles to spill out.

But I'm running out of space to spill out onto.

And I haven't wanted to write these half-lazy posts. I have so many things to share, so much on my mind. Somanysomuchsomany.

Tomorrow I will be back with a vengeance.

Monday, May 02, 2011

"History" in the making ?

Last night I fell asleep before the news hit. Jon tried to wake me up when he got home to fill me in, but exhaustion caught the best of me and I mumbled a groggy "go awaaaaaay".

I guess on some level I heard what he said because at 4 am I shot up out of bed terrified. Osama is "dead" ? What does that mean? What is going to happen?! 

You see, I'm more of a realist-borderline-occasional-conspiracy theorist especially since living in NYC. By 4:02 AM I started scouring MSN and NYTimes to read the details. Osama "buried at sea"? Found in a millionaire compound? Blahblahblah? By the time Jon roused at 7:30 I had plenty of pent up fear and questions to wake him up with.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is not my place to bash ideologies. But like many mourners have mentioned, an eye for an eye leaves the world blind. One "death" does not equate to thousands lost. Nor does it take into account that this occurrence will most likely spur massive retaliation. (We the people should not be so gullible nor blindly celebratory- after all isn't that what got us in this mess in the first place?!?!)
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the recent news? I'd love to hear your conversations, but please be respectful of others' beliefs!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Z's zZzZ's

**So. I just realized my posts for Y & Z did not "automatically post" like blogger promised. So here they are for the heck of it**

I'm not going to lie. All I can think of is catching some Z's. Grad school is just about over as is this challenge. The job hunt is full on. My focus for the next month is to......become a grown up. Maybe.............

On a more positive note, hallelujah for the end of this challenge! It's been fun, but very badly timed and thought out on my own behalf. Woulda-coulda-shoulda.

This week I'll actually have time (knock on wood) to dedicate some time to writing and blogging. Here's hoping.

Good riddance A-Z! Until next year!

Generation Y's Y

***So. I just realized my posts for Y & Z did not "automatically post" like blogger promised. So here they are for the heck of it**

If I understand the terminology correctly, my friends and I are part of the "generation Y" movement. I don't know- because I have two older brothers I feel a stronger kinship to the "x-er's".

I mean, I don't think I can fit neatly into either box. If anything, I'm a combination of the two. I grew up with the emergence of computers' accessibility. I remember we had a "computer period" in grade school once a week where we were allowed to play math games and Amazon Rainforest and Oregon Trail. Memories.

Now I'll admit I'm fond of my iPhone. But I could live without it. Sure the internet makes life easier (does it?), but I can live without it- for periods of time.

I don't know. And I don't really care. Just. trying. to. make. it. through. these. next. few. days!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xeroxing X

Xerox |ˈzi(ə)rˌäks|noun trademarkxerographic copying process.• copy made using such a process.• a machine for copying by xerography.
Can I breathe yet? I am completely dumb-struck and in awe that the end of April is here, not to mention my boyfriend's birthday tomorrow! These past couple of weeks have made me almost resent writing and blogging for that matter thanks to the ridiculous amount of added-on papers, cover letters, and thank you letter's I've had to make up. Not to mention all the running around the city in between class breaks. Note to self: do not sign up for writing challenges when trying to simultaneously graduate from graduate school and find a job within my career!
It's too soon to tell what is going on in my life. Or is it? 
I don't know, but I can sure as diddly say that I wish I could xerox myself to get through this next week and a half!
Can I get an a-men?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well-being Wants W

Being a holistically, humanistic oriented counselor always has me thinking about my own well-being. Not to mention that ever since I moved to the Big Apple my being it self has been all over the place, despite incorporating and focusing all these positive adjustments.

But I'm starting to wonder if I'm going about it all wrong.

Maybe, after all, it is not in my body's best interest to become wholly aligned. Maybe, I should stop focusing on achieving internal harmony and proudly help myself to that medium serving of french fries. Maybe, I should listen to what I want instead of believing what scientists and often-sued doctors have "proven" I should want.

Maybe, I should just let my body, mind, and spirit have whatever it wants- whatever that may be.

How do you live your life? Do you believe in moderation and/or alignment or do you "do what you want when you want!"?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V's Variability

variable |ˈve(ə)rēəbəl|adjectivenot consistent or having a fixed pattern; liable to change 
Before taking the billions of research oriented classes I've taken, I never really understood the term variable.
Now I do. Oh how I do. And it has come to be one of my favorite words.
I like the fact it can be easily applied to several situations- taken out of scientific context and variably used. (hah!) I like that its soft sounding and includes the word "able" making it sound positive. 
And, most importantly, I like the fact that it describes a loyal aspect of my own nature: having a fixed pattern of inconsistency. (More or less). I like to pretend that I'm consistent. Heck sometimes I even thoroughly believe myself. But then something happens and I'm back at it all over the place. Changing plans, making big moves. Delusional with dreamy expectations.
And I (sometimes) love it. After all, what is life without a bit of variability?

Do you have any particularly favorite words? Or do you have a habit of taking words out of their original context and applying them generously?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Unicorn-ly U

Thanks to Lisa Frank, I grew up an avid believer in unicorns. She also had me under the impression that cats and dogs could, in fact, get married and have puppies and kittens together.


No. My point is, despite never actually seeing a unicorn I believed in them. And that their shiny iridescent horns held some magical powers.

I'm taking it back to the age old saying/ thought process/ state of mind that seeing isn't always believing.

Is it?

I don't think so. I've been blessed with getting practically every thing I've ever wanted- eventually. Now I'm not saying I've been given handouts. But one way or another my life has worked itself out to give me the things that I need and want at one point or another. Maybe not immediately, but eventually things work out.

I need a job. I need to decide where to live. What do to with my future.

And I need to remember to believe... that things will work themselves out... like they always do.

Sometimes we just have to believe in unicorns.

Are you a believer? Or do you at least believe in unicorns?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T's Tolerating Time's Temperamentally

Is it just me or has time been spiraling at a ridiculous pace? Most days I feel as if the day itself is never ending but come nightfall I wonder where the time went. Not to mention I still can't believe it's the end of April. Wasn't I just on winter break in January whining about tearing my ligament?

I remember complaining about the seemingly endless summer breaks during grade school: too hot to play outside, pools too crowded to enjoy the urine infested water, and butt imprint firmly mapped on the living room sofa. Now I have a hard time holding on to the few moments I have to relax between days.

And why is it that when you want time to speed up it it thrives on slow motion? And when you need a few extra minutes you just can't seem to catch a break?

Father Time, I know you want us all to our existence in this whirlwind clock. But can't you just give a sistah a break someTIMES?

How do you feel about the Time's Tempermental-ness? Can you enjoy each moment or do you find yourself wondering where the last 24 hours, year, decade went?

Friday, April 22, 2011

S's Smiley face


This is a main motto in my life. Even if it's not a completely genuine smile, just displaying that grin will gradually help it grow into authenticity. Like sneezes, smiles are contagious.

Smiling, I believe (and has been "proven"), makes others likely to smile in reciprocity. And simply smiling at someone who gazes your way may have such a positive impact on their day: you never know when someone else desperately needs a friendly twinkle.

Even in my current state of on the verge of being swallowed by work and others irresponsibility. I'm trying to grin and bear in. Move forward through the next two weeks of intensity.

As Vitamin C once sang, "put a smile on your face, make the world a better place".

"Story of my life", Custom shirt, Downtown Disney April 2011-

Side note: I'd also like to come back and revisit this topic when I have a chance to breathe and properly articulate my thoughts.

R's Resilience (risking resistance for resting relaxation)

Deer goodness. I am quite literally drowning in work and angry group members- talk about a major case of resistance of trying to cooperate together to finish a stinking silly paper.

I haven't had the chance to adequately think about this topic because of said silly group, difficult professors, and running on 2-3 hours of sleep per night. But, this is a topic I really want to delve into at a later date- when I have been a bit rested and relaxed and far far away from the negative resistant attitudes of stubborn group members.

This is me being resilient to the silly situation. Bouncing back to try to completely my own goals in the best way possible that I can manage right now. Operative term being "right now".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Questioning q's quintessence


1. the pure and concentrated essence of a substance.
2. the most perfect embodiment of something.

It seems like forever ago when I posted this, though it is still relevant. Especially after this weekend's play-cation.

What characteristics compose me? What desires? What needs? Some people can rattle off a laundry list by memory of what defines them. But me? Not so much. Like my moods, my necessities tend to fluctuate around the ideas of love, laughter, family, nature, and comfort.

But this weekend rattled what I had thought had become a somewhat stable mentality.

You see, I'm a native Miami-an. I skipped town in 2005 to embark on collegiate wonders renouncing the state of Florida with its perpetual heat. Here I am, six years later wondering if Florida really is so bad. This weekend I was reminded how much I miss the simplicity of being able to see grass, the remarkable difference that an ocean breeze has on rising temperatures and in turn my sanity.

Maybe it's because I'm still partially in a playcation-coma, and maybe it's partially due to the overwhelming anxiety about if I'll be able to land a job in NYC. (And I'm not going to lie, a BIG part is because I have been absolutely miserable the past two completely unbearable NYC summers.)

So what is my quintessence at this point in my life? I guess I'll have to see....

What is the "pure essence of you"? Or what would be the "perfect embodiment of something" for you?

Playful P

I thought I had managed to post yesterday from my phone. But apparently I'm not that crafty yet. Here are a few quick flicks taken from my fancy phone. 

We got home late last night and I'm still in a vacation coma. Hopefully I'll be able to write and visit everyone within the next day. Who knew a mini 3-day play-cation could leave you totally pooped?

Quick point being, play is a necessity in life! Despite being totally exhausted, we had a blast and definitely needed the chance to play around :)

Butterbeer is better, Harry Potter World, IOA, April 2011
Story of my life, Downtown Disney, April 2011

Ohana means family <3, Epcot, April 2011

Day 2 beginnings, IOA, April 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Opportunistic O

I love to use the word "opportunity". Not because I'm necessarily an adamant go-getting, but because it is realistic euphemism for anything.

"Why are you going for a walk Michelle?"
"Oh you know, give my bones an opportunity to stretch and brain some room to jiggle!"

"Why do you want this job?"
"Oh because it would be an amazing opportunity for clients to have someone to really listen to, and for myself to learn from their strengths"
Yes, this is a weak post and I could do so much more with it. But, I "auto-tuned" it because I'm having a blast in Disneyworld!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nice nilly-nally, N

Why is it so hard to come by genuine niceness?

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to encounter all kinds of not-really-niceness all over the place. In Miami, there was a sense of pride, a feeling of obligation to be nice to elders and those in your inner circle- but if an outsider came sniffing by your territory they were often barked at. In Pennsylvania, people seemed genuinely nice to your face but often gossiped and lied behind your back. And New York? Well, here people don't even pretend to be nice. Chivalry and respect seem to be non-existant and the few times someone may tentatively hold a door for you, you have to run to make it because within seconds that moment of niceness is right down the sewers.

I'm a generally nice person, but sharing and compromise aren't exactly part of my nature. Though I do put forth considerable effort to extend my hand to close friends when they need it. Mostly, not thinking of expecting anything in return.

But. The few times where I have been in dire need of their open hands, I reach out only to find a clenched fist. I can't help but wonder why this keeps happening and beyond that, why do I keep putting forth the effort to contradict my own nature?

I guess this is part of growing up.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Michelle's mother Mabel

Thanksgiving 2009, Camp Hill, PA
My mom is a bit bananas. And significantly older than me (she had me at 39 in the 80s!) Now that I'm older and not constantly surrounded by her, I can appreciate her level of looniness.

Like many mother and daughters, we had quite the rough patch during my teen years. Partly I attribute to her menopause, partly to my hormonal teenage-ary, partly because a lot of anger I had in me from their divorce came out. She kicked me out of the house so many times I ran out of friends to stay with.

But, for the most part we have overcome these bouts of emotional lunacy. Again, I believe this is mainly because we don't live in the same immediate radius. (If I were, I'm positive she would randomly burst into my house whenever she wants without notice, because thats her nature...and thats what she does to my brother.)

Now that I'm a bit older and very slightly wiser, I can understand my mom better when she hits her lows or becomes too needy. I can also tolerate my temper enough to not yell at her for silly things: I can pick our battles.

And interestingly enough, my mom now regards me as an "expert" and often asks me my opinion on psychologically or any brain-sciency oriented things. (Oh how the tables have turned!) My mom is NOT a dumb lady. I might have been a latch-key kid out of necessity, but she did the best she could to satisfy my wants beyond my needs. I look at some of my friends that grew up in dual-parent households and I see the difference of how growing up with a single mom had a positive effect on my sense of self.

For better or worse, I've inherited her: mood swings, sense of independence, strength, smile, sense of humor, cleanliness...and that's about it. When I think about it, we are far more different than similar. But we get along. And she's always by my side when I need her.

Every year I write her a nice letter for mothers day and her birthday. I'm (almost) 24 and I usually make her a cheesy present instead of buying one- and she always loves it because she's that kind of mom. And I know I don't say it much aloud, but I love her for being my mom, being herself, and teaching me how to become a strong woman.

Thanks, mom.

New Years 2007, Jojo's, Camp Hill, PA
New Years 2008, Jojo's, Camp Hill, PA

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life with L

Is it really April 14??? Talk about an eventful week. Lack of time is leading me to loosely post my life in pictures from the week. I guess there really are only so many hours in a day....
Subway Art, 6 train, April 2011
Sunnyside and the livin ain't too sunny, April 2011

Chelsea Drear, Chelsea, April 2011
(no filters)
Melanie & Andrea & May, Hospital Part Deux, April 2011

PB&J Doughnut, Doughnut Plan LES, April 2011
Bird Skull?, SoHo, April 2011

If only... (LOLCats)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kidding around with K

Crazy Rafiki, Disneyworld May 15 ,2009
I am not a serious person. I can be serious for a while. I can act like a grown up. But my nature is to laugh, hysterically. I kid around like nobody's business. I find terribly corny jokes hilarious. I live for fun.

I get this sense of juvenile joy from my mom. My mom is all about embracing the humor in life. It's also part of the reason why I want to work with kids. So much fun, so innocent, so exciting.

This weekend we're going to Disneyworld- honestly my favorite place in the world tied with the beach. We planned it last month and I have had this overwhelming sense of joy ever since. It feels like I have a nebula in my chest ready to explode with fun and excitement.

Don't wanna, Disneyworld May 16, 2009

Do you like to kid around? Do you think those that do are childish? What do you find fun?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is to joie de vivre

Joie de vivre (French pronunciation: [ʒwa də vivʁ]joy of living) is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. Joie de vivre

joie de vivrenounif there is one symbol that represents French society and its joie de vivre, it is theParis caféjoyfulnesscheerfulnesscheerinesslightheartedness,happinessjoygaietyhigh spiritsélanjollityjovialityexuberance,ebulliencelivelinessvivacityverveeffervescencebuoyancyzest,zestfulnessinformal pepzingliterary blitheness. ANTONYMS sobriety,depression.
I first heard this phrase not too long ago and fell in love. Those French- always so clever with their abstract concepts-turned phrases. Then I thought about it. Why don't Americans have a translatable phrase for this? Oh that's right, because the American way is to live to work, not work to live.

Right now I can't say I'm much different, stuck balancing all these different identities in my life like many others. (Why do we create so many identities for ourselves? That's a whole other topic).

But it seems so obvious: the joy of living. How often do we fall ill and pronounce life-altering changes like, "when I feel better I'm going to be on top of the world..." and then end up reverting back to our old, over-consumed, preoccupied, stressed ways?

I know I can be guilty of this. Which is why I made one of my life-resolutions to start enjoying more, stressing less. After all, our life is composed of many "too beautiful a day not to share it with the flowers".

How often do you genuinely feel joie de vivre?

**And thank you everyone who sent well-wishes for my friend. She was just released from the hospital and sends her thanks as well!*

Monday, April 11, 2011

I's Insight versus Ignorance?

**My best friend who has been living with us was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning and will most likely be there through tomorrow. Point being I have barely left the hospital which has no service. Again, sorry for not having the chance to visit blogs but I’m running on 3 hours of sleep and all over Manhattan/Queens**

My belief as a therapist is that insight will enable individuals to overcome adversity and achieve progress towards their self-actualizing process.

But this article brings about a good point. Does insight always help? Sure, ignorance can be blissful but it depends your philosophy on life, I suppose. If you’re looking for a quick fix and purposely avoiding the intricacies of life as you know it then gaining insight will probably have a negative impact (at first) if you’re not quite ready to delve into that arena. Though working through it can help.

Life, as I’ve learned, is all about timing.

Are you for insight or “ignorance”? I like to think I’m insightful but there are certainly times when I choose ignorance over awareness.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

H's Happiness Health

There are flowers everywhere for those who look- Matisse

Over the past decade or so, the field of positive psychology has flourished thanks to researchers such as Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihaly among several others. And it's just about everywhere we look in pop culture. It's all about making yourself happy, what's wrong with you that you're not like people in commercials with giant smiles running through a grassy field with dogs.

But happiness is particularly important to me. Not necessarily because I strive to avoid unhappiness- that's not healthy. My family has a long, long history of "mental health issues". Enough so that my main priority as of recent years is to keep track of my happiness meter to evade the scary shadow of emotional catastrophe.

So what do I do? I'm far from figuring out what makes me tick and a part of me doesn't even want to know that much. But I try to eat well, observe my emotional characteristics, and semi- recently took up actively exercising.

After all, it's not about just knowing. It's about learning and living.

Luke: What's in there?
Yoda: Only what you take

What makes you happy?

Friday, April 08, 2011

G's Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for surviving the first session of a seven hour class I am required to take the over the next four Fridays. Whoever came up with the idea to create a "modified schedule course" for evaluation methods is very, very silly.

But I am grateful for making it back home. For my health, for my family, for the incredible amount of love in my life, for all the support I receive.

On a more global level, I'm grateful for the goodness both of and in people, for the fact that we still live in a somewhat liberal society, and that the world hasn't ended yet!

And this evening, I am grateful that I have a lovely comfortable bed that I am going to conk out in within the next five minutes. My brain has officially evaporated.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Faithfully F

Faithfully frazzled that is. The past few days have been an absolute blur- I can't even remember what I did Tuesday but I remember frantically flying through the city. Yesterday involved a long, long, job interview process which ended with me most likely getting a job. Point being, I've been so busy I've barely even opened my computer because the few moments I've had to relax I've spent them vertically with eyes closed. (AKA sorry for not getting around to blogs)

Faith is a tricky subject for me. And I'm not necessarily speaking to the religious and spiritual aspects of it but rather faith in myself and those closest to me. Until recently, I had never quite correlated the idea of confidence and faith as synonymous. But they are.

And it ties into the idea of accepting oneself. Right now, I'm on the precipice of several things and if I miscalculate my moves I'll waver and crash head first into an eight ounce glass of water without the freedom to wiggle. Trying to manage the last five (hopefully) stressful weeks of graduate school in order to graduate on my 24th birthday, searching for a job within my field, balancing my needs for financial security with the needs of Jonathan at this phase in his life, and family.

I'm weary of not choosing the right path per say. But on some level, I've managed to create a sense of faith in myself. Maybe because I have the avid support of friends and family; they've managed to instill this loving security blanket around me. But at the same time, I've realized I've yet to drastically misstep in my life.

I've blundered a bit, but I've bounced back harder. So if I slip and flail through the air, I have faith there will be a trampoline waiting for me at the bottom to ricochet me back towards the sky. Everything happens for a reason.

What do you have faith in?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

E is to Empathically Emote

"When you extract a splinter it hurts, briefly, but then you feel relief, even pleasure. When you find a fault in yourself it will hurt, briefly, but it you keep going and acknowledge the fault, you are likely to be rewarded with a flash of pleasure that is mixed, oddly, with a hint of pride. It is the pleasure of taking responsibility for your own behavior. It is the feeling of honor."
-Jonathan Haidt- The Happiness Hypothesis

Obvious: We are emotional creatures.
Not so obvious: Sometimes what we think are emotional reactions are really our brains interpretation of      them turning them into thoughts.
Semi-obvious: It's much harder to identify the fundamental emotion underlying said thoughts

Maybe all of the above statements are well-known facts, but I learned them the hard way (graduate program in mental health counseling anyone). Where you're graded on discovering emotional awareness, insight, and developing appropriate cognitive reactions in yourself in order to then help others.

And these emotional experiences affect our self-esteem (obvious). And this in turn affects are ability to empathize. We may confuse our own emotional/thought processes as an attempt to demonstrate to our friends we understand them, that we hear them.

But do we? Think about it. How often are you having a conversation with a friend when you say "Man, I feel your pain" but what you're really doing is rehashing your own experience and projecting it on to another? How often do you ask others how they are doing and let them get by with a simple "Fine, Great, How are YOU?"

My point is, we think of tend to think of emotions as a by product of life when the truth is that for most of us our emotions are unconsciously or not, the driving force maneuvering our thoughts, our actions, and broadly our overall existence. But we tune out, instead of tuning in creating barriers in communication.

And quite frankly, I think its time to start tuning in. Because if we can't figure our how we're feeling we're far from capable of empathizing with others and creating meaningful connections.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

D to Do less doing

"If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading" -Lao Tzu

What ever happened to the act of less is more? Specifically, doing less. But where should we draw the line as to what constitutes the positive aspects of "doing less"? They say the purpose of technology is/was to maximize our productivity: less effort into each project amounts to having Xtimes more projects to do.

These days quantity seems to surpass the importance of quality. We're glued to our smart phones because they hold our 10 different fancy apps for all of our different tasks because we've adapted to the paradox of consumerism so much so that we can't seem to decide what silly app is best for us. (Or maybe this is my personal experience when discovering the capabilites of my iPhone).

Where are we headed when are heads aren't even looking at our direction? We rely on GPS to get places instead of learning the routes. We use twitter to masturbate our need for "connection" in as few words as possible. We immerse ourselves into everything and anything because we want more more more with less effort, less thought, less emotion attached.

I'm all for doing less. But only if doing less leads to being able to relax- not doing more of everything else.

Here's to doing less.

Monday, April 04, 2011

C is for Character (istics)

character |ˈkariktər|nounthe mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual runningaway was not in keeping with her character.• the distinctive nature of something gas lamps give the area its character.• the quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way the island is full of character. 

Personality is a rather fixed set of characteristics and traits. Some inherited others well, not so much. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm dramatizing my natural characteristics to fulfill certain personas. And there have been times when I have been described as "being a character".

But what characteristics compose my disposition?

Stubbornly adamant, slightly obsessive, passionately slothish, romantically motivated, sleepily hyper, shyly silly, whimsically catlike, cunningly witty.

I think about my closest friends and my family. People I encounter in random circumstances. Everyone is a character in their own right. And I wonder, is that because I've (or we've) made them out to be? Or is it safe to say their characteristics have crafted their own character?
"CatLady",  April 2011

What defines your Character?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

B is Between Being Balanced

I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, I speak like a child.
— Vladimir Nabokov

I wanted to hold this post off until the last moment because I was struggling between deciding between balance and being. Here I am with the moments ticking still unsure of where to go, and where to find my own balance in being.

So I'm just going to Be. Being is such an effort. You know, really being. Being conscious of your thoughts, your emotions, your movements. It's easier to drift off and focus on space- or the absence of space in my mind. It's easy to be sucked into the vacuum that entails our daily existence. But it takes power to become aware of ourselves.

But Being is not just what we are as sentimentally propelled creatures. It's cyclical. We must be in order to become. We must become in order to be. And as we do so, we must maintain balance to bloom.

"To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart." 
-Elizabeth Gilbert