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When Your Budding Romance Shows its Teeth

You find yourself plastered in front of your TV. She blinks twice and he slams his body into hers as he then releases his grip and gives her one of the gentlest kisses to ever be featured on screen. Damn, I think to myself, love looks so glamorous in movies. They portray two lovers longing for each other, each overcoming a series of challenges to find their way once and for all into the arms of the other. They then remain in a sultry heaven-like love lock for their days on end. BEAUTIFUL.

But, slightly FALSE too.

Love is gentle and it is beautiful but we are not deities or angels who do not falter. Surely, a budding romance does make us feel that way, we even believe it for the first couple of months maybe even years. We can all love the God image of our lovers, but can we love their human one?

Have you ever noticed the moment you realize that your love interest is human after all? Not in the mental or physical sense, but in that they suddenly become real, and you can see them not just through lust’s eye but through your human lens as well. The experience doesn’t always look the same and sometimes we simply don’t notice it. It goes something like this: “Something’s changed, you (or I) have changed”. The other person then responds, “but what happened? I didn’t do anything. The reply:”Exactly.”

Nothing happened, but something has changed. What do we do then?

There are options and people behave in different ways when this happens. Especially when nothing has effectively changed but our perception of one another. And so we look at the person and we suddenly see flaws, some big and some meaningless, maybe a red flag waves high, maybe we plant it there to tell ourselves one thing: THE SPARK IS GONE.

It is absolutely normal to not register who the human in front of you is for a while when you have placed them on a marvelous pedestal. You see them from a distance, you place every hope on them and they keep on getting higher in your mind. Then time happens, or a mundane situation has them plummet from that pedestal and into your lap. You suddenly look at the human and their beauty, but you cannot help but notice the weight of their thoughts, and their feelings, their behaviors, their pasts and their futures. That is where you decide if you are willing to help them with their burdens, if those are worth it or not. You are not obliged in any way to over extend yourself or to try and build their pedestal all over again. You get to see them for who they really are; some good some bad, some roughness and some pain.

Some people cannot tolerate the come down, and so they leave before it happens or as it happens. Others understand that the process is mutual. Love is a seed in a budding relationship. You could toss the seed away if you find that you expected a tropical garden and all they could give you was a sun flower. Or you could cultivate a dream half way through, that is if you both liked each other as humans, and shared some basic values, laughter, some good music and a genuine attitude.

We prefer to stick to our ideas of how things should be, but we cannot expect others to buy in on our takes. The God image of our significant other is the love image we keep on painting. It is not limited to our opinions when we first meet, but if we can incorporate their real image with how we choose to see them in a healthy way, we could be incredible together. The person we love is better than most but not the best there is. The person we choose in his/her many forms is malleable capable of growth; mirroring our own openness and flexibility. No body should fit into a mold we force them into; and we must not create the mold in the first place.

The pedestal breaks and we find that the holy love we chose to romance is just a person after all. Just a person who is capable of love and support, a person with eccentricities and funny glitches. The beautiful thing about this however is that You Are Too.

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Fighting Etiquette for Higher Value Outcomes

We don’t always have to agree, you know that right? It surely feels good when we do, but it is not the end of the world when we don’t. Guess what, I can even not agree with you over more than one issue and still like you very much; hell, i can even love you and still disagree with you.

Now that’s set, what do we do when we disagree? On a basic level, we have the urge to convince one another, one argument might be stronger than the other, maybe both arguments are logical in their own right and still we are nowhere near changing sides. A possible outcome is frustration, and with certain people for certain subjects anger shows its teeth. If we were animals, the one with bigger scarier teeth would win; but we wont resort to that now would we?

Let’s talk about arguing in a manner where neither party gets bitten, smitten or ripped apart.

Being cool headed is not everyone’s skill but it ought to be. Who here loses their ability to think straight when angry? Who here fumes when the opposite party does not seem to get it AT ALL? There is a way around this, we just need to learn how to fight better.

So what does fighting better mean?

Initially, fighting is a last resort, by that we are talking about red faces, stress signals going off everywhere and general dismissal of the other party’s right to be here for “that” reason. The trick is not to get carried away with the frustration; but to catch it and twist it on its head.

When we are getting frustrated we feel unheard, we feel inferior and misunderstood. The upside – ironically- is that the other party is feeling that way too. So we must in that second notice that and pause. What do we want to get out of that interaction? What are we really fighting or disagreeing over? And finally can we do it alone? Meaning if we walk away from the argument right now, will it come back to bite us later? Do we need the cooperation of the other party?

Most of the times when we are arguing with a loved one, a friend or a colleague, we are hoping to get them into our boat so that we could set sail somewhere meaningful. So yes, this post is about needing cooperation to get somewhere. If you were at it alone, you can just move on and do it yourself. However, needing others means we need to learn how to play for the win, and better yet, we need to learn how to lose and how to tie.

When arguing never get personal, never tell someone that they are “bad” at something or that they for some personal reasons don’t get it. We must always keep a certain degree of grace in misunderstandings. We must maintain that emotions run high and words shoot higher and deeper. Notice when the ego starts to talk and try to bring it back to the issue. Learn your limits and don’t exceed them but also don’t force someone else to exceed theirs. It sounds perfect, but it’s not; cooperation requires believing in the value that your opposite is bringing to the table; and if there is no value to you, then why are you even trying to get them in that boat with you?

Learn that the best teams and partnerships are not between people who are great together in good and easy times, but between people who know how to argue with each other to come out the other side better off. There is no shame in backing down, on the contrary those who know when to cave are those who recognize the value of moving out of their own way and letting things happen. We can choose to be children with a limited capacity for understanding values beyond our direct reward. We can grab on to our argument and refuse to let it go; because we are seeking the reward of being right, but in doing so we are losing a valuable partnership.

At the end it is a choice. We are either working together towards a higher purpose, or we are competing and keeping score of who is right more often. The problem is not with the disagreement itself, but with how we choose to carry ourselves through it.

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Overthinking Our Lives Away

Many of us attribute our worry to overthinking. We have the capacity to worry about everything real and surreal, and when there is nothing more to worry about we start worrying about worrying. We can overthink ourselves into ruining relationships and jobs, into pushing people and opportunities away; simply because we cannot STOP THINKING.

So what does it all really mean? We want things to be OK, we want ourselves and the people around us and the events that gather us to go in a certain number of ways vs an opposite. We worry because we want to make sure that we have some semblance of control when we don’t. We overthink because we know how to think, but we don’t know how to make life bend at our wills. So we create plans and processes and scenarios, we go through the drills and sort our expectations in order to minimize the margin of error in our calculations; essentially all that to define our expectations. All of those strategies are logically fool proof, we are doing what our clever minds that were built for problem solving naturally do. We are not doing anything wrong; so nothing should go wrong. But, WHAT IF THEY DO? and the worry wheel starts spinning for the over-thinkers amongst us.

Overthinking feels like an incessant treadmill set to high speed, high incline and an inability to stop. The only way the hike seems to end is when we throw ourselves off of that treadmill. We find our thoughts unbearable and we quiet our minds harshly either by negative self talk, or by substance abuse and most terribly by distraction. So we develop all sorts of negative habits because of our worried and paranoid minds.

The OVER DOING IT effect

Over thinking means that we worry too much about yesterday and tomorrow. When we worry too much about the past, we start beating ourselves up, we forget to forgive and move on. When we worry too much about tomorrow, we start overdoing other things. Worried about how your interview will go tomorrow and overthinking it? You will over do it with the studying and preparation, you will over exert yourself and find that when tomorrow comes you are facing a 2 headed monster instead of simply meeting a man or a lady in a suit. Our worries magnify the risk and the fear grows so much that it devours our ability to be calm when tomorrow comes, better yet, it wastes all of our time and energy today which is absolutely more important and the only thing we can all ever be sure of.

There are all sorts of hacks for worrying less, and thinking in a healthy and effective capacity rather than scaring ourselves sh*tless. But this isn’t about the hacks, this is about noticing that overthinking is a problem, that worrying is you telling yourself that you can do something but aren’t doing it for reason (x) or simply can’t do anything more to fix it or control the outcome. So why do we beat ourselves up with worry? Why do we refuse to let go of the weight if it isn’t ours to carry?

You see, if we can do something to our full knowledge, within our best capacity and in the most creative method known to us, we have done our job. YOU have done what you need to do. Leave the rest, it is arrogant and ignorant of us to believe that we determine the outcome of tomorrow beyond what we logically and emotionally have done to prepare.

Overthinking is not a virtue nor is it something that is good for the heart. So as I teach myself to have faith in an outcome that I could learn from tomorrow, I hope you can do the same. Stop there, take what you need, leave the rest and keep on. Nothing belongs to us especially not tomorrow. Let’s live today.

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The Lazy Club: For People Who Want to Stop Being Lazy

Why you will continue to be underwhelming.

You know that feeling when that sweet mood hits? where you had been putting something off for a day or 10, and thinking to yourself, I’ll do that when I’m in the mood for it. The day comes sooner than later, and that long awaited mood hits! Your pupils dilate and your heart beats faster, your focus increases and you want to push through the task at hand; FINALLY! The sweetness of Wanting to do what you must do anyway. Also Known as The MOOD THAT ALMOST NEVER COMES.

Most of the generations before us didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the mood to hit. Being ready for something, or being in the mood to do it was never part of the thoughts they could have before action. They just did what they needed to for as long as they needed to do it in order to achieve said target. They obviously then developed machines to do a lot of their jobs for them because machines don’t have moods, and when oiled and maintained correctly do not get exhausted and go get a divorce because they are sick of that life; where their mood never mattered to their bosses or their wives or husbands. Long story short, dedication and commitment used to be a lot more popular; but then a lot of things happened, and life got easier, and we didn’t have the urgency to act on things anymore; and so the laziness era of Netflix and selfies took over.

A good question to ask yourself when faced with the dreaded necessity of choosing between now or later is this: Am I not doing this because I’m lazy? Will I stop being lazy in an hour or in a day or in a year? If you were honest with yourself and the answer was NO, my laziness will prevail for as long as I let it, then WELCOME to my Lazy Club for people who want to stop being lazy.

Laziness looks harmless in the beginning, it looks easy and just fleeting. Nothing to make of it. Except, laziness grows and grows like a vine that feeds off of a leaky faucet. Your brain is that leaky faucet, and your thoughts (better yet, excuses) are out of control. They seep out and feed that laziness until it becomes a cornerstone of your character and possibly one of the major reasons you wont succeed.

So my lazy friend, I respect that not wanting to do something just because you are not in the mood is a good enough reason for many things. But notice when it starts getting to the big things, the important ones. Our excuses are due to our preference for being babies in certain situations. But know when it’s time to step up, when you need to throw that rattle in the air and make that punch of a move instead.

Those of us who show up, stand up, and choose to do what others aren’t in the mood for, get a lot more out of life; and a lot more out of themselves. Laziness affirms our insecurities and our feelings of not being good enough. It throws our game completely off course and we start to navigate only easy routes that offer little challenge.

So let’s not wait for that sweet mood to hit, but let’s see our tasks for what they are, that they do not need to mean something or be on our schedule, but they do give us an insane advantage.

Discipline.

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YOU NEED TO STOP GIVING

A disclaimer on the photo used: The monkey picture is a GOOD example of giving. The monkey reached out its adorable fingers as I handed it peanut after peanut; the feeling was wonderful for both of us. If Giving doesn’t make you feel good, stop it my friends. And read on, because there is a reason for that.

What do we do when we find that we some how ended up sliced open, fully exposed, with the rest of our bodies being taken in for one last round of screening; just in case there is something left in there of value that has not been given away for free, by who else but us almighty?

There is something to know here, that we can GIVE TOO MUCH. It Is Possible. Especially if we have no idea what we are doing, and are just practicing what every self help guru out there is saying. JUST GIVE, YOU WILL FELL BETTER!

  • Well yes, but HOW do we give?
  • WHAT do we give exactly?
  • And best of all, TO WHOM do we give?

First things first, nobody is perfect, and as far as science knows, none of us are angels. So it doesn’t hurt to admit that we love gifts, we love it when we can receive something we really wanted, needed or simply just discovered that we did. Once we recognize this basic trait of our humble human souls, we can try to attain higher grounds; better known as becoming givers.

So How Do We Give?

Well, we initially must give ourselves. If I cannot give myself kind words, gentle gestures and a hard heart felt talking to when I need it, then I cannot do that for someone else. That is why only when we are really good at giving ourselves kindness, can we really understand what that means for others. Then we can see what our kind words, gentle gestures and a hard heart felt talking to can do for people we care for.

What Do We Give?

Essentially our best bet is realizing that time is a major asset to present for ourselves, and then to others. Giving time to someone we care about will put us in a position to then understand what they want or need; surely if we listen. Giving time to someone doesn’t count if you spend 2 hours together, each on a mobile device liking instagram pictures and nodding to one another.

To Whom Must We Give What Ought to Be Given?

You guessed it, give yourself first and then move on to the next lucky winner. That is a major point because we can get lost so quickly, so quietly and elaborately giving away pieces of ourselves to others, ones we had no idea we needed; simply because we weren’t paying attention. Once we feel the abundance within, it becomes a joy to give others; to listen and provide care wherever necessary.

Giving must not consume us; because that my friends is no longer giving; it is being completely careless and reckless; it is thinking we can push one more deed out because we are so wonderful. Thats is toxic, and that is plain I’m sorry to have to say it; but I will, stupid.

Now that’s what a hard heart felt talking to feels like <3

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PLASTIC, Thanks but No Thanks.

Let’s talk about PLASTIC.

Three things that are incredibly easy to try:

  1. Make better choices when buying regular supermarket items, they don’t have to be plastic.

2. Lose the straws in your drinks, they give us wrinkles around our beautiful lips, and get stuck in sea animals. Let’s use those lips to sip our beverages and say kinder words.

3. Find your favorite tote bag, it is reusable and so much more handsome than regular plastic bags.

PSA over. We needed to get that out of the way.

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I’m Here to Tell You about Serendipitous Flow

What is Serendipity?

Ask this question to google and it tells you the following “The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”

Ask this question to an overworked businessperson and they might tell you, there is no such thing. Ask it to a joyful child, they will laugh back at you and that would be your answer.

So I ask myself this question, and I am somewhere in between working really hard for a positive event to happen to me, and also laughing at the hilarity of the possibility of controlling life in any way.

Serendipity becomes real when we learn to live in a careful balance between doing what must be done gently and without force or resistance.

Force life to go in a certain direction and face the consequence of life’s love for probability and NOT giving you what you wanted just because you “worked really hard for it”. Losing is an enormous part of life, except we choose to completely dismiss it from existence and by only focusing on the winning strategies, winning people, teams and ideas we delude ourselves into a wrong mental state. We start thinking that doing what someone else has done to the detail will land us the same result; and that’s almost never how life works. The losing ones had at some point similar chances as those who eventually won. So the idea is not to favor one consequence over the other. The idea is to learn and become good, become humble and eloquent in the language of serendipitous life.

Many have achieved so much and when asked about it they say that they have no idea why they made it and the others didn’t. Obviously one major book that tries to address this is Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. The book dives into the personal lives of the “successful” ones and tries to pin point one major commonality of years of practice, or age, or physical build, many of which are factors outside of our control.

Except there is one huge trick to unlocking our own mental barriers regardless of physical strength, education or economic situation. Serendipitous flow is that feeling of being totally immersed in an experience that goes beyond your effort and doubts. It is a total merger between our attention and our action. It feels like you are being operated by an outer force; it is complete let go. An orgasm of human functioning- I hope that’s a good description! This tends to happen when we are really happy, we feel like we are in trance; but what if we can switch that into something that makes us work better?

So, I hear you ask, how do we take ourselves to Serendipitous flow in an activity?

You must first be quiet, being really silent is the only way to begin.

Then you must observe how said activity is done.

Third, you must give attention to each factor and not dismiss something as easy or unimportant.

Fourth comes a good one, practice the activity you want to become good at. That is all that is needed to say, PRACTICE. Thank you Mr Gladwell for proving that.

Fifth is the most difficult part to some, and the most put aside step, and that is remaining calm. Remaining calm entails an action of steadiness in your step. It means ZERO FORCE and ZERO RESISTANCE, those two actions or non-actions help your mind into the state of serendipitous flow.

Serendipitous flow is the magic trick, the golden card for living, and although it sounds like a flashy trend, it actually is what separates a Jedi or a Ninja from regular office working 9 to 5 living homo sapiens.

So who do you want to become?