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The Grand Finale of My Raging Twenties: Be Here

A little more than a year ago I sat on my yoga mat and set an intention for how I want to be during my 28th year on this planet. I breathed and I made a vow to myself to BE HERE for all of it. I would actively practice my state of presence no matter what. Little did I know that 28 would be the most difficult and trying year of my life so far.

Here is a top 10 list of things I was absolutely present for, and its not all but its enough for this post.

The Grand List to End All Lists: Be Here for it

1- I participated in the biggest protests Lebanon had witnessed since its inception

2- I caused an involuntary fire

3- I maintained my job (you read this again, YES it is an achievement)

4-A 2 week trip to India became 5 months of lockdown in Rishikesh

5- The slow and sad decay of my 7 year relationship, and a divorce

6-I survived the insane Beirut explosion

7-Took an unhealthy number of flights to make my way out of India, Beirut and EU. I spent too much time in airports during the worst time possible for that. (COVID anyone?)

8-I bought a one way ticket to Mexico and moved to Tulum

9-Survived my first Carribean Hurricane

10-Stopped eating meat. Full on vegetarian diet and Im still alive.

Had I known all this and more would happen, I would have still set the same intention honestly. To be here for it all. During the hardest moments I found nothing but myself to truly rely on. I learned that radical presence can allow us to withstand crazy experiences. I learned that no matter how much we try to distract ourselves, there are certain states we have to experience, especially those related to pain. There is no way out but in.

This is still a jolly birthday post don’t get me wrong. To be here right now, celebrating my existence on this realm is super exciting. I have come to realize two absolutely simple truth, and as my favorite person in the world says: Boom!

There is a huge difference between what SOUNDS good and what FEELS good. Always pay attention to the latter.

We think that just because something sounds good to us mentally then it is what we need. It doesn’t always have to be this way. Paying attention to what really feels good to us no matter how small can change our day better yet our lives. It requires listening to our bodies, and paying close attention to how we feel after we do something or after we eat it. Learn what puts us in a better place and do that. Eating a big fat burger from Mcdonalds might sound great for your hungry mind. Though usually you find that you feel shame and guilt after it. However you feel amazing after eating a pesto pasta. EAT THAT. Master level of this lesson becomes doing that with the thoughts you have, but let’s take it easy now.

Everything ends especially those bad bits, nothing lasts. So just allow the experience to take space. BE HERE for it, and then let it be.

Radical presence allows us to accept our realities regardless what they seem like. Truly experiencing the moment be it happiness, sadness, glory, shame, defeat, disgust, pride…anything at all starts with acknowledging that this is how we feel RIGHT NOW. It will end.

So I welcome 29 with a humility I had never known before. I release this year’s birthday post to you my dear readers, as I drink my morning cup of coffee and my cake is on its way. This year’s intention is to FEEL. I hope you enjoyed this and see you next year. Making it to 30 one fleeting feeling at a time.

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28 Years Later;

Another year has graced me, and I cannot stop smiling on this warm 14th of October. Ive experienced this day 28 years in a row now, and for some reason being here today feels like a new experience.

Ive been writing these birthday posts for 6 years, and weird enough I do not cringe when I read them {22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27}. Perhaps it is watching yourself become someone you now know, but had no idea you were becoming as it happened. So much has happened, but when has it ever not, and I’ve grown but when has that stopped either?

A part of me wants to make lists of my achievements and my failures, and put in front of me plans for later; maybe even goals for the next 5 to 10 years; but a different part of me doesn’t care at all, and that’s the person I like, that’s the person who I’d been working on for a while. This is the person who wants to just be here right now, watching my cats sleep through noon, and sit beside a few lit candles and some incense. This is the person who grew out of countless insecurities and crawled anew out of self sabotaging fires and crippling anxieties. This person is here now and i cannot be happier. This person doesn’t want to buy anything special or take memorable pictures in fear of losing the attention received on this day. This person is basking in it all and feeling absolutely grateful to be here, along with so much love and acceptance.

Twenty eight years today, and the ride becomes softer because there is no other way to live. Maybe in not resisting it all we can learn to open our hearts to the adventures we need but not necessarily want. Maybe there is something waiting to be uncovered in the pits of our stomachs, something weightless and boundless; a sense of liberty from stories we cannot stop telling ourselves and one another.

Perhaps when the lines on our faces become deeper, we get wiser in retrospect. Life then feels laid out in front of us, and the stories all combine into one overarching narrative; a moral then presents itself to us in all of its triumph and tragedy. Except, time doesn’t have to work that way, time is not married to waste. So, what if we can take that wisdom we are bound to get to from others, and live by its virtues today? What if we really listen to the people who have been here longer than us, people we appreciate and look up to, people we consider mentors and teachers. Would we still live the same way and be the same people if we listened intently, reflected and acted upon it?

I write this piece today, and I catch myself wondering if it is at all relatable to you my dear reader. Then again, must our experiences be all the same?

Absolutely not, and that is the entire point.

Finally, and most importantly Eat some cake; Live a little!

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A child on the 27th ride around the sun

I keep having the same dream, one where I am young, younger than I ever was; and I am starting to believe one thing only. My dream has never been to grow up, possibly never will be. My dream is to forever be the child I knew at 8, the child that grew to be 16, and has now become 27.

The child lives on and crosses time zones and experiences that nobody really should. The child lives on and meets lovers and haters, finds hiding places and extreme emotions. The child serves the greater good and suffers from indecent thoughts. I remain that child as I attempt to learn and walk on. I remain that child as I suddenly need to have answers for things I never questioned. It seems that walking in the shoes of a growing person becomes tricky the longer you walk.

See, kindness helps, love helps, people help and everything has a place in the greater story we tell ourselves and each other, but the only thing that never changes is the child that is constantly in awe of the life happening all around. We suddenly become capable of handling experiences bigger than us, smaller than us and beyond us. Something is in control but not us. Twenty-seven is the number of breaths I take when I get anxious for something stupid, it is the number of steps I will take as I walk down the aisle to my future husband, it is the number of people who still care about me despite my lack of social adeptness. Twenty-seven is just a number, but for some reason it is heavy; which makes me wonder how Seventy-two-year-olds do it.

There is a certain glory, a form of an ego boost to be able and cut past the bullshit. There is a freeing sensation beneath all the weight. There is a knowing that you hold on to as long as you hold on to the child within you. The child always knows something, the child takes life as it is but also with an underlying understanding of the comedy of it all, the unrealness of it. How funny is it really, to be considered old and young at the same time by the people around you. You go to a cousin’s 12th birthday party and you are so old. You visit your grandfather and suddenly you are a baby again. So I do not take it so seriously, hopefully never will.

I write to tell my story, and to describe the sometimes overwhelming feelings that come with living a good life; one that has allowed me to still walk on both my feet, breathe well and look alright. The longer I stay here, the funnier it gets; to be fair the less I believe any of it. The longer you open your eyes, your heart and your mind to the world the more you find pieces of yourself looking straight back at you. You pick some up and you leave some to be free elsewhere in the world. Life gets heavy, so do we if we don’t watch our weight, but the point is to always cater equally to our senses. Don’t eat too much, don’t think too much, don’t get caught up. Catching and releasing is a pleasure and one that I intend to keep.

I get wiser, but I also get sillier, and there is no basis to any of it. We work so hard to make our lives legendary, but we also get bowel movements that make us remember who we really are. The child runs free, the child pays no mind to the chaos. I choose to keep some of the lessons I have learned over the course of my life so far, but I also choose to drop a truckload of useless mind traps that I thought were lessons.

I cried when I entered this life as a baby, because who wouldn’t? so I still shed a couple of tears every birthday. A birthday is a reminder of the first arrival. It is an anniversary of being transformed from nonbeing into being, it is a reminder of life and the beauty of finding ourselves suddenly here. Birthdays also make us think about who we are, where we are and what we are doing.

And the best part forever and ever and always is the CAKE…until next year, let’s take this cake loving child in the body of a twenty-seven-year-old, on a ride around the sun.

 

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Twenty-Six, shall we?

I begin again, at the beginning, twenty six and fully here. I have gratitude and a deep tremulous journey ahead. A journey not outwards, to you, or to the world, but inwards into my self. Because I do not feel that different, and I suppose age goes hand in hand with time, and if you don’t check the time you lose yourself. I want to lose myself in this beginning and only want to emerge again at the end.

Losing yourself begins with recognizing that there is a story you tell yourself, one that is fed by all of your upbringing, your culture, your fears, your passions, your dreams and your wildest desires. You could live your entire life telling yourself and everyone else that story.

OR

Your could live your life free from all those conditions. Imagine your life Free from boundaries of a single story. Imagine living obnoxiously and inherently to the point of elation. Imagine being able to love yourself, faults,fears and all. Imagine being able to demand and attain your own freedom, not from the chains of the world, but from yourself.

Twenty six, is young; but I am both very young and very old. I was born yesterday twenty six years ago, but every day after that as well. Time is time as long as you bound yourself by it. Time is free of judgment and it is yours from beginning to end; you just decide where and how to locate those points.

“Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” Lewis Carroll

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Chapter Twenty Five: Prologue 

Well here we are. Quarter of a century and still kicking. With the proper nutrition, and medical advances I might even live seventy five years longer. But I’m not betting on it. Whether it’s 75 more years, or just one more day I am more than blessed to be here today.

I’ve always adopted a rather dramatic approach towards my life. Ive circled around myself like a predator and pounced at myself when weak, I tore myself apart any given chance I got. Except I made it through, it never worked, nothing was ever solved, words were just words at the end of the day, and thoughts remained just thoughts, with no real value.

Approaching twenty five i began to take it easy, I figured, well if all this hate, this suffering, this negativity surrounding me couldn’t destroy me, then I probably am bigger than this, I am deeper, stronger and much more surreal. I decided to love. I chose it even when walls crashed. I found it in ruins of relationships, broken ideals and beliefs. I created love when it ran out from the hearts surrounding my own. I loved, and I learned. I still am.

I started to let go, and forgive. I decided that every human I will meet from now on will be a lesson and I will try my best to be a source of light. I started getting comfortable in my skin or lack thereof. I shaved part of my head and i discovered that just like thoughts, my hair wasn’t real either. I was still there, even when uncovered I recognized myself. I overcame my deep fear of loss. I pushed through.

Twenty five and present, no more preconceived notions. I have exhausted my prejudices, and my thoughts. My doubts are all still present, so are my insecurities and my demons. Except I know them all on first name’s basis now. I see them coming, I greet them and sit with them. The battle to get them to leave has become civil. But very difficult still.

There is more to life than I thought there was. I will keep this one to myself though. Words are just words after all. Let’s hope that at twenty five, I can live better, love better and just be.

Thank you

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Birthday: Twenty Four 

Here I am, above a city, beneath a universe of stars and by the shore of familiar faces and lovely hearts. Somehow I am hurt, somehow it wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Sometimes the softest hearts hurt you and you have to learn how to love better, bigger and deeper.

I am still when I am beside him when he looks at me and smiles. We have adventures we are yet to take and tales we are bound to tell.

I shed skin, and I undress thoughts. I am myself and somebody else. I peer through the night and look for that person I want to become. I brave through the years and I break down limits and walls, I am closer to uncovering the ruin. I am almost the self I thought I would be. I run across images and memories, my muscles are rubbed and the knots untied, and slowly my body heals. Slowly my mind bends itself back to its proper form.

Twenty four Octobers today. Twenty four years of life bestowed upon my meager and frail soul. Twenty four years of attempting to figure out why all this happens. Why was I born out of ruin in a city taking its first breath after a civil war? and a world so sick it still needs healing.

One more year, and another shot at kindness. Another attempt for smoothing out the harshness of expectations, one more year of practice on how to become a better human being.

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Almost Twenty-Three

I pause at a line. It looks like an ocean, though it appears as a person too. It looks like the wall of my room, but sometimes it looks like me.
I am shackled by a thought maybe even two. Three months of dancing with my favorite demons and four years of oblivious survival. Five fingers collide with mine leaving me with a sixth sense of unrivaled helplessness. I look at seven days of meticulous repetition rendering eight a very lonely number.
I count again in hopes of finally leaping from eight to nine dismantling and cutting all lines and ropes of connection. I want none of that. I want ten, eleven, and twelve. I want thirty-four and seventy six. I want hundreds and three thousands. I want a million thoughts and nothing less than a billion dollars worth of right decisions and cashed out bravery.
I want infinite countless-ness and meaningless sounds. I want the absurd and the surreal. I want the fruitful desert and the rotten garden. I want more than I dare ask for. My hurt and my hardened skin heart into a beat of song and a song of word and a word of lines. The lines and the lanes; spiderwebs of possibilities and limitations weaved into my clothes.
I pause at these lines I cannot move. I pause at a whirlwind of infinite choice and nothing at all.