Thoughts From the Past Two Years

I started writing down some thoughts of mine when they got so large that they could no longer remain concealed to my head. I compiled them all into a note on my phone, and although I did not update them regularly, I updated them when I felt I needed to most. Some thoughts from the past two years follow.

I am sharing this because I believe there is value in sharing life in its raw and unapologetically genuine form. In every form of creative media I practice, I try to be genuine. But when it comes to photography and videography, you edit things a lot – you pin down a type of image, lifestyle, or message you are trying to portray, and refine your media to communicate solely that. Even with writing, some of the most beautiful novels, poems, and reflections are those that are written with a careful mind. Editing is beautiful, and an integral part to successful art.

But this is not work, this is not business. And what I want to do here is to show the most wholesome experience of being human as I possibly can. So what follows is completely unedited, straight from my brain to the keyboard on my phone, in the different places and times I have lived the past two years.

Of course, it is also very specific to one type of experience – confusion and learning. I wrote things down when I felt that I needed to, which means what follows contains questions I asked myself, answers I meditated on, and confusing feelings I encountered. I do not think I need to bother telling you that I am a happy person, or a foolish optimist – if you know me you know that. But we all get confused sometimes, we just don’t share it. I want to.

I’m considering writing down some thoughts every day this year, a new way of exploring written media as raw communication. We’ll see.

2016

There’s this thing that happens when we get lonely, when we feel as though we are misjudged or that others pose impressions on us that likely never existed. We alienate ourselves in a world of social misunderstanding, the most social of socialites and loving of lovers are often the most susceptible to forgetting the main value we adhere to in life: loving people and love them unconditionally. Loving ourselves and enabling confidence in every domain. Seeing the silver strands that represent life in unison with one another, understanding that our lives are not our own, they are shared, our experiences are not novel, they are made in company, and we are never alone, in fact quite the opposite, we are surrounded by people just like us. People that want connection. Perhaps we want it more? Perhaps our plethora of love and genuine humanness is not lightly exposed, because once exposed it is released in full throttle. So we shut ourselves off to those less genuine. But quite a mistake that is, shutting yourself off. Because showing ourselves is what we know how to do best, what we know how to rejoice in. Be yourself, be happy. The four words that are told to us every day that often go unheard, uncredited. But the four most well-informed words our world might have to offer.

We’re all just big kids. That’s as far as you get, everyone’s a kid. Just in larger sizes than before. And then as you get older, life realizes “no, these people aren’t going to become adults, I guess that whole thing was made up, kids is how it is” and stops growing your body as if you weren’t a kid anymore, returning to its short, natural kid-like state.

Travel is not about fixing something broken, it is about unraveling something hidden, or building something new.

There is so much poverty, wrong-doing, and suffering in the world. Not to say that this world is dark, or life itself sad. But to remind us that there is always something to fight for bigger than ourselves, always people to give to, and always ways to help the world around us.

“People shouldn’t worry about things before they happen.” – Conversation about Dakuta moving back to Thailand from U.S.

You can only relate to you now, you don’t know what you in the future will think!. – Selma conversation on way to nation in Lund

When I am joyous and myself, comfortably happy, people respond the best. Maybe the best way to connect is to show the happy-crazy instead of “trying” to befriend someone?

You can be happy almost anywhere, don’t limit yourself by being close minded about living in a certain place. Places and people are extraordinary

“Money can’t buy happiness” is only true to a certain extent. Money can buy comfort, which correlates with happiness in many situations

Traveling alone teaches you how to be happy alone, and be comfortable alone. I hope at least, because you are forced to do things that you normally don’t have to

Our biggest downfall is the time it takes to get to know each other; everyone turns out to be awesome in one way or another

Today my friend asked me if Sweden was one of the most defining experiences I’ve had. And I hesitated, because the question was so heavy-set. I don’t like distinguishing specific periods of my life as more important than others, because that’s not how I view our lives. Each period is important for its own reasons, and gives way to the next. You grow up through the experiences that build you, as time passes you become more defined as to who you are, and each period of the life- the person you were and are today- becomes clearer with each progressive moment in your life. I said it might be, but with lots of reluctance. And went on to talk about how I don’t like the train of thought that defines traveling or living abroad as a definitive thing, separate from everything else. The train of thought that separates people who have travelled from people who haven’t. Because even though these experiences open your eyes, everyone can still relate to each other.

But as I continue to think, I realize that yes. Sweden and living abroad has inevitably been one of the most defining experiences of my life, for the present day me. Just as high school was defining for the me back then. But I guess traveling itself and living independently has its own implications for exponential growth that may outweigh ordinary experience. And that itself is worth acknowledging.

So yes.

Living in Sweden has been extraordinarily defining for me. But it is not the sole thing that defines me.

It has amplified me, and made things so much clearer.

The main key to living a happy life is to forget about enjoying yourself later. Forget about your future self, or the comfortable situation you see yourself having, the life you see yourself living, the “you” you see yourself as. And see yourself as the person you are now, enjoy your life as it is now, and challenge yourself to enjoy every part of it. Even the boring parts, even the early mornings. Because early mornings will always exist, work will always exist, uncomfortable situations will always exist. And if you learn to enjoy those now, in every moment, you will enjoy your whole life. (Imagining comfort in future, what I realized)

Growing apart from someone is not the same as growing apart from them, you are simply growing. And can hopefully appreciate more, understand more, and relate more.

Growing apart from family is not a bad thing, it amplifies the time you have with them. There is nothing in this world that can wholly alienate you from another person, as long as you can see from certain perspectives.

When you travel, you see so many different people in so many different settings, varying in levels of intimacy. And you realize, we are all living, breathing, balls of thought. Walking scripts of various ambitions, values, cultures, and lifestyles. And most importantly, all belonging to the same species.

It’s scary and mind numbing to think that we will eventually exist without some of the people that define us, that give us foundation and security and love. I think about my parents and my future self, without them and with other people I have yet to meet. But it is reassuring to know that we can enjoy every moment we have right now, and that the moments in the future will be enjoyed just the same. Because people will always be in this world for us to love, and to love us. So I think at this moment, every moment, it is important to recognize how special the people in our lives are. How much we love them and want to appreciate them, for now and forever. So cherish the ones you love, they won’t be there forever. But for the time they are, cherish them. Rejoice in them. And love. And be happy.

It’s exciting to think that when your mind wanders, that instance you are contemplating is an opportunity to live in some near or distant time. But it is an opportunity to live then, in the moment, for that instance, as is the moment you are currently in. It is reassuring, because that will be for some other time, while this time is now (so we can stop contemplating, and just live).

2015

I’m sitting in the car on the way to Palo Alto for a family party listening to Bruno Mars endlessly making my ears bleed. Don’t get me wrong, great singer, but most of his tracks are honestly not that impressive. Secondly the music is even more dreadful due to the awkward circumstance of my mother and I sitting in silence as Bruno continues to wallow about love and relationships. Family is everything to me, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. Family connection > friends, less relatable, less connection but a stronger innate one … Why can’t it be as easy as friends … What I want for myself and my family

I can’t exactly be myself around my mom as much as I would like to, because things set her off and I somehow manage to not be doing the right things at all times. So it’s easier to sit in silence, which is terrible and not what I want to do, and I know she would cry if she was reading this. But what can I do? If I knew I would have done it years ago.

I’m tired of trying to communicate with her or make her understand how to be a better family member. Getting donuts when I planned breakfast, not a big deal but just inconsiderate and she calls me inconsiderate (direct insult to who I believe myself to be). She believes she is perfect and I am through with trying to explain to her how she can be offensive and hurtful, how many times have I tried in the past? And is everything ultimately better? These things will continue to happen but I just can’t anymore, I don’t know what to say.

Maybe I’m thinking too much, but I want my relationships with those I love to be honest.

What is life about? These momentary questions bring us to a halt in our momentum of desire, of success, of chase. To be caught in this suspension of thought is to be tortured to the very human core, to feel something so strong and sad, to experience a yearning for something which you do not know. None may know the answer, perhaps one does not exist, perhaps discovery is not the point, but we will forever continue to search with blind direction. These brief moments, however deep and extraordinarily unreasonable, are necessary, vital even. Because without them, what would we be living for? The chase would have no purpose.

Above all else, the most important thing we can do is to be mindful of love. To love others as much as we love ourselves, to love ourselves more and love others more. To be happy with what we have done in the past, what we do in the present, and what we plan for the future.

Separating the mind from the body allows for spiritual meditation and recognition. We must acknowledge that our bodies will continue to function aside from our minds, to shift the focus from body and the physical self to the spiritual self that can exist collectively with the entire universe and mankind as one continuous, progressive entity.

“We all have to run somewhere.” – Paul on the corner of Italian Grocery in downtown Santa Barbara. He’s been saving up his disability checks to move to ?Choni? where he can afford a place.

We are so wired in and do not communicate enough. I am 20 years old but do not feel like an adult, adults are separated and generalized by those younger when in reality every human being of every age experiences the same emotions, sensations, questions, anxieties, and thoughts of identity. But we are all separated to some extent because we do not communicate our experiences. We let the generalizations and stories pinned to us play out as we write our own. A new era should include sharing the stories we write for ourselves and communicating with others, each a chapter in a mass of text making up our interconnected lives.

Talked to David Welsh early January (2015) when I was in a bad rut and his words really hit me. A large part of flourishing is being comfortable and happy with who you are, translating to what you do and what you think. Doing nothing and being happy with that because you’re happy with who you are. Having awkward conversations because who really gives a fuck. Not partying and watching TV because it’s your life. Letting go, being mindful, enjoying time as you.

Desiring a better situation is in a way futile and unproductive unless it contains a goal of some sort or a motivation to keep going, to work hard, and to appreciate your current joys. When we desire a better situation we are putting a single story on that ideal of a better life, or rather fantasizing a situation that amounts to something unreal and unlike anything that exists in this world. The closest thing to that fantasy is the very life we live once we are able to appreciate all that we have, understand the ups and downs, and utilize our circumstances in a way that let’s us act, think, and embrace others in fulfillment rather than the pursuit of a utopian life. Take for example the young college student wishing to drop all of their responsibilities and leave their schedule bound, wealth-driven, and seemingly “oppressive” society. They wish to travel abroad and work miscellaneous jobs, supporting themselves while experiencing life in a fuller form than that of obtaining an education. Yet they don’t think about the long hours they would grudgingly grow tiresome over from the minimum wage jobs they would likely start working, the lack of familial and interpersonal connection in the new and unfamiliar places they would venture, or the inevitable reappearance of the question pertaining to one’s identity, one’s purpose, and one’s subjective well-being that sparks the ultimate internal sense of uneasiness and agitation: the main instigator of such a simple yet overbearingly strong passion of wanting more and renouncing one’s current situation. Truth is, the oppression one sees in society is often constructed by one’s own thoughts and assumptions. That “this life” is but a stage to a “better life”, or that the individual starts out less happy and less deserving than the same individual in 10, 20, 30 years. These ideals of a better life in some other place or in some other time are constructs of self-deceit, a coping mechanism for one’s disability to see life truly for all it’s hidden and revealed beauties. The fact is we exist collectively; our experiences, our identities, and our momentous situations do not correlate separately into rigid phases known as “past”, “present”, or “future”. Rather these words are simple tools used by the human race to organize their existence and the existence of the world into timely, fashionable, and measurable manners. At the very core base of the human experience we exist altogether: there is life, and that is all. There is no separation between what has been “lived”, what is “living”, and what is “to be lived”. Life is interconnected as our minds are to our hearts. So to fixate happiness and our individual well-being on a past joy or a future sense of security and pleasure is to entrap ourselves in a cycle that disables us from experiencing life with fulfillment. It must be understood by the human race that appreciation is the core of what may be called “happiness”, or what may bring one to some state similar to that of “nirvana”. One should smile simply because they have the ability to do so, one should laugh simply because life is amusing, and one should feel sadness- but not be devoured by emotion- simply because spells or moods of discomfort and unhappiness are a part of human life. Negative, upsetting, and conflicting emotion can only affect the human heart and soul detrimentally if the individual fails to remember the core beauty of their life and the lessons to be learned from experiences of all varieties.

There is an incommunicative force of restlessness that hinders the human body and mind in certain circumstances throughout the various phases of life. It consists of questions that are void of satisfactory answers and the constant doubt of whether or not you are living this life correctly and fully, utilizing its potential. Who am I? What am I doing? Am I doing it right? As we grow older our minds become more intricate and ambitious, aligned with persisting thoughts that cultivate a subconscious self that remains confused and unrest amidst our earthly focus. Let us just be happy, let us just live.

Technology is disabling. 50 years ago we would not have these walls in between us preventing face to face communication or in the moment living. We spend so much time on our phones and on our computers that we forget there are people around us, in front of us, that won’t be there forever. Yet at the same time technology has enabled us to do so much and has globalized everything into a reality. We are able to communicate with those who are not by are side, but does that give us a false sense of relationship? Will that prevent us from thinking, “I have not seen this person in a long time, we should meet up”. Are we going to spend our entire lives virtually, instead of living the life that exists in front of us and around us? I do not wish to utilize technology in any way that hinders my experience in the moment. I will strive to live not entrapped by technology but enhanced by it. In owning so much and having plenty in life we create a a risk of debt and loss to the imagined: money, possessions, consumption. Life is meant to be lived, not to be fabricated through wireless satellites or virtual messages.

The Pineapple Express storm could, in reality, destroy California. And if the winds were to blow at 100mph and the rain to flood the parking lots of our beloved buildings, our homes to be destroyed and cities to be obliterated: where would we be? Nature would deconstruct our pride, our earnings, and the comfort of our lives in a single blow. Who would we be? Without the homes we worked our entire lives to pay off, the establishments and universities we spent generations building. In owning so much and having, we risk debt and destruction: money, possessions, electricity, status. These things allow us to do so many things but can destroy us in snagged of seconds. Nature would reclaim us as it’s own, and we would no longer have our created fantasies that clutter reality.

I’m sitting here enjoying myself and appreciating how lucky I am to even stress out about turning in an essay and finishing up the Fall quarter of my sophomore year. There are people starving, there are people dying, there are people without homes. There have been people who have been targeted by such inhumane atrocities that the only thought on their minds were what death felt like, what possible life could still be lived, and any and every hope of surviving their circumstance. I feel guilty. Should I? I don’t know if I should, but I do. I complain about so much, I worry about so much, when in reality I have everything I could ever ask for, everything I need to be happy with the life I have and the person I am. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to remember these things, to keep in perspective of how fortunate we are and how loved, how privileged, how happy… There are events that have occurred that I cannot even fathom, genocide, natural disaster, individual situations that make my life seem like the end of the pursuit of happiness. If only we could remind ourselves every day of these epiphanies, if we could communicate to others the phenomenal circumstances of our lives, reminding each other how lucky we are to live. Maybe then we would be more concerned about others than ourselves. If these notes are to do anything for me, reading back on them or just consolidating my thoughts so they are not meaningless ideas, let me do good in the world and affect others more than I affect myself. Let me choose altruism over wealth, gratitude over anxiety. Perspective over individualization. http://themindunleashed.org/2014/07/20-photographs-will-leave-speechless-especially-11th-one-words.html

I agree with a lot of what you say, however I think that publicizing these problems can at times contribute to the very ability for one to start thinking about how to improve the lives of others rather than simply focusing on their own individual circumstance. It’s true, a lot of these articles and blogs construct methods of taking a “closer look” into humanity that many believe to put them in perspective but ultimately fail to consider the fact that we will most likely never be able to understand the situations of others and always be at a distance from them. But it’s not completely about being able to accurately empathize with someone, the idea of beginning to understand other people is strong in itself and can ultimately affect how we treat and view others. A big problem with some of these works is that they generalize different peoples and characterize them solely off of their situation leading many individuals into assuming an altruistic position in which those such as the homeless become not our equals but people that we idealize and interact with simply to “do good”. But it’s also important to understand that there are a lot of people that aren’t as educated on these realities as others and experience difficulty in considering other peoples and other situations in the first place, which simple articles and works like these can aid in. As far as our perspective not mattering to people suffering in these situations… every single person’s thoughts and actions matter to some extent, the amount of influence we have on others and the amount we are influenced by others speaks for itself. It’s sadly true that its highly unlikely for our perspectives to directly affect many of the people depicted in these works. However the way we think, act, and influence others will ultimately affect people in general and can determine what is being done to alleviate these problems and prevent some from developing further. That’s why it’s so important to understand the complex existence of every place and person, beyond the generalizations we tend to make, because these perspectives affect the thoughts we communicate and the behavior we display.

I enjoyed your thoughts so I just thought I should share my own, good luck on your exams if you’re not already done. Got to get back to a final paper.

Conversation with Ah-mah and Uncle Stan. People distinguish themselves in different ways, if you find that way just do it and enjoy it. You have to think what you want, if there is no inclination then it will not happen; it will not just come to you. Go for it. Life is too short, find your ways.

Currently listening to a Tedx Talk about disconnecting, when I saw my reflection in the window of our South Lake Tahoe house. Auntie Mary is sleeping on the couch, Sierra is sleeping in the guest bedroom. Mom is sleeping upstairs in her room. I just had a thought that I was looking at the past, the past my grandchildren will be peeking at through pictures, stories, faces. The reflection looks thoughtful, purposeful, and vintage. I look old and outdated, but I am only twenty years old. Is life itself history? How will I be perceived by my grandkids, my kids themselves. Will I remember this moment? It is beautiful, yet also haunting. I feel as though I am rereading my life, as though I have already presently lived it. Yet there is so much more to live.

Technology can control you, use you, if you put it before the rest of reality. If the rest of your life is lived in the margins and technology takes up your attention, your time, your thought, you may not be living in the real world. With putting aside your phone, your tablet, your computer, your SCREEN, you regain a kind of freedom. The freedom to connect with others, to have face to face contact, to appreciate the world in which you live, not the one fabricated in a 13 inch screen. The challenge is achieving a balance, attaining control over technology and the internet in the sense that you use it, rather than it using you. To utilize the internet and technology for aid in the social, academic, and intelligence worlds. To find a method of utilizing technology to HELP you, not HINDER you. To separate your time with the internet, with technology, from your time with the real world.

Words are so powerful, the ability to speak what you are thinking is rare and takes a high level of intelligence and skill. To be able to communicate is everything, the most important factor of developing strong and healthy relationships and sharing with the world what you wish to create, solve, and pursue. Success is difficult to reach from a bright mind that cannot communicate with the world, whether through words or expressions or art.

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Moments made of people and places, brilliant and ordinary. ↹ Planet Earth, Milky Way

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