Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letter to a Little Sister

How could I forget you? Self exploration is key to life, because who we are is the lens through which we see the world. If we are skewed, blurry and clouded, then our perception of reality will be skewed, blurry and clouded. The first thing that I'd like to say is that there is no formula for self discovery. I can tell you what I did to help me along that path, but your path is your own and only you can find your way along it.

The first thing I tried to do was simplify. "What makes me happy?" "What makes me unhappy?"

-Sunrises make me happy. So occasionally I'll get up really early and go to canyon rim park to watch the sunrise.
-Quiet moments with a cup of coffee or tea make me happy.
-Hugs make me happy, so I hug everyone.
-Good music makes me happy.
-Green olives, bread, and cheese make me happy.
-Not really caring what people think of me makes me happy, so I don't.

-Church makes me unhappy, so I don't go to church.
-People who are judgemental make me unhappy, so I do my best not to judge.
-Certain friends didn't make me happy, so I didn't spend as much time with them.

There is this story that I heard about this dude Kurt and his uncle. Kurt and his uncle would go fishing with the fam, play football, and everything fun that families normally do. But every once and a while, when the conversation died for a second, or there was a quiet moment, Kurt's uncle would say: "I'm happy." What Kurt took from these statements is that we don't often realize when we are truly happy, and that it is important to just take a second when you are to recognize and embrace it- to just understand how special that moment truly is.

Second, I marinated in the idea of contentment. To me it is that soft feeling inside where I know that myself, the universe, and all that is- are right where they need to be- and that is ok. Contentment is like a boat. It is a state of mind that can ride the waves of joy and anguish in life and still leave me a part of, and feeling ok with the world. Without contentment I am swimming in a hurricane.

Third, I read a book called: "The Dhammapada" It is the book written by Buddha. If you are Buddhist or not, the book is full of simple wise passages about how one can remain balanced and happy in this turbulent world. It is super short and really easy to read. You can find it at any library or bookstore. Look at all of the copies that they have, because different translators will have different styles, and you want the one that speaks best to you.

Fourth, I spent a lot of time sitting and thinking. Being alone in nature helped a ton to free me from the normal baggage that comes with thinking. "What am I going to eat for dinner?" and such unimportant thoughts. I also found sitting in a dark room with candles and quiet relaxing music without words very helpful for good thinking. Yoga is great as well because it combines exercise and meditation. If you look to join a class make sure that it has both parts, because some classes will be heavy on one side or the other and do not give you the complete experience.

Fifth, I talked to people. I bounced ideas and feelings off friends, family, and complete strangers. Talking helps to consolidate my thoughts so that they make more sense, and usually the person that I'm talking to has some sort of insight into the topic.

Lastly, I did my best to let go. I let go of hurt, guilt, and suffering. There was a point where I needed to address my pain, and there was a point where I could not let it rule me any longer. I realized that the pain was a part of my history- my story, but the story is mine. I am the writer and I can choose not to allow pain from the past to taint my future.

I hope that helps. :) Let me know if you have any other thoughts.


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