So You Voted For Trump!

Rock Bottom

You are not a racist! You are not a bigot and you’re not some redneck. No, you did the world a favor and did what was best for America. Of course, your world pretty much consists of people just like you. The same people who live in your neighborhood, the people at church, those who like the same sports and maybe even cheer for the same teams, as well as good old friends you’ve known your entire life and of course, the relatives. All of them look and think and talk just like you, and they are patting you on the back, because they are from the same stock. You were tired of the establishment and you are going to show these elitist liberal assholes what happens when you get pissed off!

My world started out in Europe: Germany to be exact. My dad was an alcoholic loser, and he worked as a janitor. My mom was a cleaning woman. She scrubbed toilets to feed me and my brother and to keep a roof over our heads after they finally divorced. Luckily for me I grew up in a country where status and money didn’t matter when it came to getting an education; we all got the same one, rich and poor and how far you went depended on how smart and driven you were. In school, I’ve learned about world history and what hatred, bigotry and fear can do to an entire nation. So, I have always had a healthy curiosity about people that are the opposite of me. I made sure I wouldn’t grow up to be like my country men in the 1930s and 40s.

So now I have friends who come from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, England, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Scotland, Netherlands, Greece, India, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Iran, India, Turkey and South Africa. Some went back, the majority of them are still here. My friends are Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics and Muslims. They are black, white, brown, yellow and any color in between. They are straight, gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual. And they taught me a great deal about the world, love, compassion, open-mindedness and inclusion. America is great like that.

I entered the US in December of 1992. Over the years I’ve met a bunch of amazing Americans who shaped and helped strengthen my belief in all things good and the importance to help those who have less. I wanted to pay it forward and I became an American, too. I guess I’m lucky to know so many people who inspired me and over the years, I’ve joined them in the support of various causes; we volunteered and donated. As my income and influence grew, I met more people like me. People who gladly pay more taxes to support those who make less. We help the homeless, we support the environment, we help in soup kitchens, work with kids on the streets, tutor, work with women in battered women shelters and we volunteer at the humane society. We march for cancer cures and we ride bikes to stop diabetes. We walk and bike for MS, Parkinson’s Disease, lymphoma, breast cancer and yes, we volunteer and donate to LGBT centers and AIDS walks. We stop human trafficking, we work in law enforcement and fraud prevention, and we serve in the military, so your lives and rights are protected. We know what it feels like to be judged, discriminated against and marginalized, because we experienced it ourselves, or have compassion for those who are still in it.

So, when we vote, we vote for ALL of us. We don’t shove our religious beliefs, or limited knowledge down other people’s throats, and most of the time we are out there DOING, not preaching. We remember how it feels like to be on the receiving end of hypocrisy, judgment and preconceived notions. We vote, not just to benefit us, but we cast our voices for those who are oppressed and maybe even don’t have one! We do what is right, based on fundamental laws of decency and kindness, because we are stronger together.

I’m not gay, bi or transgender. But my sister and a large amount of my friends are! She disabled her FB profile, because “the country” basically sent her, her wife and all her friends a big “f** you! Did I mention that my sister is an ex-Marine and ex-cop, still working in law enforcement, protecting society from criminals?

How do you think us immigrants feel? I don’t think you cared and I don’t think you ever considered that, because that is what privileged people do, they get so caught up in their own anger and perceived sense of lack, that they no longer consider the consequences their actions have to those who are vastly different. So, while you go back to your life as you know it, there are quite a few people who now have to live in fear; the same fear the Jews did back in Germany. There are people who will lose their rights, benefits and all the things others worked so hard to help them attain.

So no, we are not whining. We are, however, deeply disappointed that you stood by a guy who has never done a single thing to benefit anyone else but himself. You hired a football coach, who has never held a ball in his life, never played or coached, but promised you he’d win every game by a tremendous lot without a single game plan, and you bought it. I’m glad you are winning. My heart is breaking for the millions who are losing – in true, bleeding heart liberal fashion.


Rejection – Part II

Rejection

Having talked yesterday about rejection being a good thing, because we generally have something/someone better waiting for us, I’d like to talk today about the deserved rejection we get when we stubbornly refuse to learn a lesson. However, make no mistake, even when rejection occurs due to our own actions, it is still a good thing and here is why.

As previously stated, I do believe that we always get exactly what we are asking for. Remember, thoughts DO become things. However, this very process spells out disaster for all of those who have low/no self-confidence, are broken, haven’t done any soul searching and just allow their fears to run rampant. Again, in order to keep it real, I will use myself as the example, to demonstrate how sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

I am an extremist. I don’t do moderation well, so when I choose to engage in anything, be it a sport, a certain look, getting a tattoo, liking or disliking someone, or a job and loving or hating, I do so 200%, all the way, with nothing left in the middle.This extreme way of being sometimes works extraordinarily well; especially in my career. My passion about always doing the right thing, no matter what, works great in an environment where I am catching bad people and attempt to stop them from doing bad things to others. However, when I take this passion of mine and apply it randomly to everything in my life, I often end up creating situations I didn’t quite hope for. To say it bluntly, I can be a tornado, that comes in, swirls and twists and runs over everything in its path. I suffer from eternal diarrhea of the mouth and instead of measured and well thought out responses, I just say and do whatever seems like a good idea at the time. Don’t get me wrong, there is beauty in my honesty, but there is no beauty in putting someone on the spot, expecting them to work, think or feel as fast as I do. Moderation is the better way and while I’ve been working hard on being better in that department, I still fail at times.

So when I think of some of the times I have been rejected, I can clearly see that the outcome may have been in my favor, had I only slowed down and presented my thoughts and feelings honestly, but not forcefully. My highly analytical mind has done a great job in understanding that sometimes, well, I created my own disappointment. It also made me realize that my approach needs some tweaking and that altering a behavior does not mean you are doing so, because “no one accepts you the way you are,” but because you want to be the best you can be and create space for only the best people to come in. Being imbalanced will rarely bring in the highest caliber of situations and people. This is the absolute of the law of attraction. Like-minded energy attracts each other.

I often cursed those experiences that left me heartbroken and shattered, but only in the moment. In hindsight, the sum of my experiences made me the person that I am. It allowed me to clearly figure out not only who I really am, but what I really need and want in my life. It allowed me to create, manifest and visualize the things that make me happy, even though this process is hard work. It requires brutal honesty with oneself and absolute authenticity in all your ways of being. It means that you have to be vigilant, about each and every word, thought and feeling you have and extend into the world, and understand how they actually shape your reality. Happiness requires accountability, never blame and finger pointing. 

Which brings me to my last piece of advice, which I am going to give straight from my heart: Don’t ever, ever roll your past into the present or future! Yes, we create, map and draw into existence based on the things we know, but if you are not sure if what you know is enough, watch those who are doing it right, or get help from an expert. Find someone who can help you keeping it real. Someone who will honestly tell you if you are “doing it again,” whatever the false and destructive feeling and thought may be that compels you to potentially make another stupid mistake.

Don’t punish, project and accuse people of things someone else has done before, therefore pushing away the ones who should be in your life. Each day and each experience is new and offers a completely blank canvas and clean slate. The past served its purpose in making you the person that you are today; and this is where it ends. Now go into the world and land that amazing new job, start that new project and if you are single, find the person who takes your breath away and helps you evolve into the person you are meant to be, allowing you to live  an absolute extraordinary life.


Why You Should Jump For Joy When You Are Rejected

Rejection

 

Most of my life I used to be one of the people who would feel terribly sad when someone rejected me. It didn’t matter if it was in jobs, friendships or relationships, rejection was always a huge slap in the face. I’d take it personal and wonder what I did, or why I wasn’t good enough. It never occurred to me that maybe rejection is the best thing that could have happened to me. It also didn’t occur to me that what I think I wanted or needed so badly was, in fact, the worst that could have been.

There is a whole story behind being a victim of “I never get what I want.” The truth is, that we generally get exactly what we want and just ignore the fact that we managed to manipulate ourselves into thinking that this is the best we can do. It doesn’t matter if we span this construct over jobs, friends or relationships. I’d like to use the relationship example!

Remember the time when you first met that person that ended up cheating on you, hurting you, letting you down, leaving you or otherwise wrong you? Remember how great they looked on paper, how much you lusted after them, or simply projected whatever you wanted to see, therefore happily ignoring all the red flags he/she threw up way before it got too serious or too emotionally charged for you to walk away. We do a fine job in looking the other way when we really want something or someone, or have a wrong sense of loyalty attached to those who don’t deserve it. We are also not very honest in that process. We are, however, amazing in crying over the fact that we attracted, yet again, another person who wasn’t “the one.”

I’m going to make it a bit personal for a moment. I look back on the relationships that seriously failed; meaning, I got my heart shredded into pieces, to the point where I thought I could never repair it again. Each and every time, I knew from the beginning that this is going to end in severe tragedy. I could tell he was <—insert deal breaker here, and deliberately ignored it. I would reason with myself by saying that I had not enough information, that I may be wrong, that I may have misinterpreted the words and actions and the worst of all, that he may change (his mind/being). I stubbornly ignored all signs, including those that would have made it abundantly clear that this isn’t the person I should be with. See, they remained exactly who they were the entire time, it was I who wanted more respect, love or care than they could have ever given me to begin with.

Now, looking back on my own behavior, I can say that being rejected or treated in ways that were hurtful or unkind, was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The thing is that the jobs and people I lost were always replaced with much better situations, provided I didn’t go and do the same mistake again! If I would have stood firmly in what I believe, who I am, what I want and what I need, I would have gotten that. Instead, I settled because of a deep rooted belief that maybe this is as good as it gets, or maybe that I owed them love, help or care. It never even occurred to me that not having them in my life was much better than being miserable and having to censor myself around them all the time.

I pay a lot of attention these days. Not to what someone is doing, but to how I am feeling. My gut is a great guide and much better advisor than my emotions or my head. I find that I, and my friends, all talk too much. Round and round we go in circles why this situation is so frustrating and below us, all the while doing absolutely nothing. I am becoming a doer more and more. I don’t analyze anymore why this and that is off, or why I liked someone or a situation that clearly spells out disaster, I just acknowledge it and do my best to walk away before it becomes an issue. Notice that it doesn’t even have to be a disaster, maybe it’s simply not what you want. Settling is also not our friend.

I realize that the same person has made an appearance in my life over and over, showing up as a boss, co-worker, friend or partner. It is the egotistical, narcissistic, disloyal, severely damaged, dishonest with themselves and others, not-quite-able-to-feel-at-all type that neither loves me, nor nourishes or positively adds to my life type. The person that keeps leaving me drained, tired and questioning my very core of being. The type that lashes out, accuses me of stuff, ungrateful and entitled; the type who never changes, sometimes talks a whole lot or not at all, but never acts. The lazy type that tells everyone how self-aware they are, when they have no clue how they are affecting others, or who they really are, because actually standing in integrity would be way too much work for them. You know, this includes the finger pointers and eternal victims, who are never to blame for anything.

Here is what I do know. I know that I am lovable, deserving, successful, competent, sexy and awesome because I am who I am in its entirety. There is nothing wrong with me and it isn’t my job to figure out why I am not enough for some, or apparently, merely an ego booster or temporary distraction for others. It is my job to recognize when someone treats me in ways I don’t wish to be treated, continuously oversteps and ignores my boundaries, is talking behind my back, or deliberately uses or hurts me. It is then also my job to walk away, without the long diatribe about why they are asshats. It suffices to understand that they are not serving my greatest good and as such, are not suitable, or allowed to be a part of my life.

So, while I am still sometimes off, at least they are doing me a great service by walking away and/or rejecting me. Thank you! Thank you for saving me the time to find out the hard way that you are not it, or wasting years of my life with your BS. Thank you for understanding that you don’t belong into my life and chose to run for the hills. You think you can do better? Well, so do I! See you, never. With love.


The Construct of Reality

slow-down-to-go-fast-5-638
Recently I attended a seminar and learned a few more cool things about brain mapping. While I knew most of the stuff that was presented, I did not know how they all come into play together. I’m going to geek out for a moment, but also hope that this will help others to understand the true potential they have.
There are thousands of thoughts that rush through our brains on a daily basis. Most of them are so fast that we never even knew we’ve had them. Yet, the fast brain actually dictates the majority of our reality. The fast brain is the one that recognizes patterns and continuously searches for mapping clues. In other words, the fast brain maps the surroundings, then seeks out familiar people, scenarios and places that it can connect to previous experiences. The fast brain acts on only one thing: the world as we know it.

So what is the fast brain? It is the instinct, your “animal” brain and it does not discriminate between good and bad. It merely maps. This is why people keep repeating the same cycles and keep making the same decisions, hence, finding themselves in the same relationships and outcomes, year after year, time after time. Our fast brain mapped, recognized based on the existing database, then pulled the experience into existence; because we flock to what we know.
Luckily for us, we also have the slow brain, also known as the methodical side. This one does not act on compulsion, but actually responds to decisions that are well thought out, envisioned, wanted and desired. This is where your ability lies to change a pattern; and where your free will comes into play!
When talking about the slow brain, let’s also talk about your two best friends that will help you with the rewiring – procrastination and distraction. Yes, in the context of rewiring your brain patterns and impulses, it is not only OK, but necessary to use these two traits. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to lose weight and you seem to lack total control when it comes to sweets. If you can fool the brain, by ignoring the impulse to reach for the cookies, let’s say, and just simply decide to wait (I use gaming to keep me distracted), your brain will, after a while, learn that the impulse doesn’t mean you are hungry, no matter how you feel and that  the urge will cease. The impulse may appear as true and real, for example being super hungry or starving, when all we are doing is experiencing an impulse, based on conditioned action. Slowing the impulse down is our friend and allows us to get back in touch with our true will.
How does this shape your true will, you may ask. Well, as human beings we often feel as if we are merely pinballs, mercilessly thrown around by emotions, seemingly random thoughts, impulses and whims. It appears as if we have no or very little control over what happens, because we keep ending up in the same situation, even though we may have moved; well, sometimes across the globe. Even though we truly changed the environment! It’s just that no matter where we go and what we do, we assess with lighting speed, unbeknownst to us, the one thing that is familiar, even if that’s the one thing we no longer want.

The beauty is, once you are aware and understand how your brain maps and how you are able to use the slow brain to dictate what you think and how you respond, you will also start attracting different outcomes. As you reinforce the new patterns, by visualization, meditation, or just acting, the fast brain will start mapping the new thoughts to match it up with the appropriate experience and outcome.

Thoughts become things, as Mike Dooley always says and you and your life are, in fact, a complete product of what you think. This is also how cognitive behavioral therapy works, btw. You delay the response, sit with the experience until you learn that absolutely nothing happens, contrary to what your brain tells you, which is to run or act. With this new knowledge you can start literally creating your life as you see fit; and the sky truly is the limit!


(Not) The One

The one

Some of the best ideas for writing come to me when talking to friends and yesterday, one such conversation took place. My friend expressed regret for not pursuing the “one who got away.” Without going into too much detail, the story unfolded somewhat like this. He was with “the one” for almost 3 years. She dumped him for an ex. He felt strongly that if it was meant to be – and there was true love between them – she’d be back. Based on this belief, he decided to not chase after her. She never came back and that is where he thinks he may have failed. He felt he should have “fought for her.” I, however, disagree. I feel he did the right thing and I don’t think he lost “the one.”

I am not going to speak for others, but the way I see it is like this. When someone leaves me, it isn’t my “duty” to chase after him; unless I caused the breakup. When someone chooses someone else over me, I see absolutely no reason to attempt winning that person back. Being dumped is bad enough; but losing my dignity, too, while attempting talking someone into being with me, especially someone who clearly does not want me, makes no sense. I am not saying that people don’t make mistakes. I am not saying that someone who leaves shouldn’t be forgiven or even be taken back. But it isn’t my responsibility to make it happen. I feel that the one who broke the agreement and the trust should be responsible for reestablishing the bond, and actually do the work to make it happen. 

The truth is, at least in my experience, those who dump you generally don’t come back. The reasons are plentiful and include shame, guilt and “feeling bad,” but sometimes the reason is much more simple: They didn’t want me! They chose someone else over me and not only moved on, but forgot about me. I was a temporary solution to maybe fill a need. No amount of pain on my side, no amount of chasing and sorrow, guilt trips or anger will change that. I wasn’t it, someone else was/is. Done – end of story.

See, I expect anyone who is a grown-up to do the right thing and own up to their mistakes. So when someone walks out on me, I’ll do absolutely nothing. As crappy as it sounds, I’ll suffer, mostly silently, because nothing is worse than being dumped by someone you loved AND having your friends beat you up for missing him. But no matter how much I hurt, I will not contact him. And yes, if that means he is lost to me forever, it gives me all the answers I needed – including the one that hurts the most: he didn’t love me and he doesn’t want me back. The “he will see what he’s lost once is gone” is BS. I don’t buy it. Nah, he doesn’t see that he’s lost a precious thing, or he wouldn’t have left to begin with/been back already.

The most destructive pattern we can fall prey to is beating ourselves up for not having been enough. Nothing beats down one’s dignity and self-worth more than chasing after someone who doesn’t want us. I’m not saying that one should be a self-righteous jerk. But I am saying that it isn’t up to you to pursue any person who disrespects, hurts, lies or walks out on you. As such, I have always upheld the simple policy of “you think I’m not worth spending time and space with or being with? Well, that’s OK. I’ll miss you, I’ll morn you, but there’s the door.”

If a person who is supposed to respect, love and care for you does not find it necessary to come after you and clean up their mess, if someone has no ability to apologize, own up to their crap and fix it, then they are simply not worth it. All that means is that they would do it again. It takes self-reflection, humility, integrity and decency to truly own up to being an ass and why would you want to be with someone who has neither of these traits? Your worth is not determined by others. It is determined by yourself; so when you allow people to treat you a certain way and then go and chase after them, you essentially say that it is OK for them to mistreat you. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the message I want to send.

I am using a simple philosophy in life for both, friends and  relationships. If I screw up, I’ll clean up my mess and attempt to make it right. If they deny me this opportunity, well, I can at least say that I tried. But if a trusted and loved friend, partner or family member betrays me or walks out on me, I’ll let them go. I choose to be around those who know that their life wouldn’t be as bright without me in it – even though I am not perfect and can be a royal pain in the butt. But that is love and exactly what I want in my life. Life is too short to chase people who don’t give a damn. If someone leaves and doesn’t come back, it’s because they don’t want you, not because you “let them go.” 


Dating – Poison for the Soul

online-dating-ecards-dv03o4eu

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing, absolutely nothing more demoralizing than online dating. But what’s an introverted woman, who hates bars, to do? The choices are limited and so, again, I find myself sporting not one, but two dating profiles online.

I am not going to bag on men only. I am going to be an equal opportunity hater here, so if you are easily offended, here’s your way out.

Everyone online loves to cook, is athletic, enjoys long hikes through the wilderness and strolls on the beach, enjoys traveling, is sincere, honest, caring and nice. Except that most of it is made up. Women lie about their body type, men about their height, both lie about their age and post old pictures that no longer represent how they look at all. But all of this is not the worst part. The worst part is the fact that people on these sites are almost always as incapable of having an honest, true and intimate relationship, as they are capable of being honest with themselves. They actually believe their own BS and that makes it a gazillion times worse.

Everyone looks great on paper and no one talks about who they really are. And just like in marketing, you are encouraged to lie, by being positive, and not stating negatives. I’ve stated that I have fibromyalgia. I’ve also stated what I don’t like, but feel guilty about that.

The thing is that who I am doesn’t fit in a box that asks me to describe myself. My pictures give a glance, what I say does, too, but how can anyone truly know me from these tidbits? I don’t want to be judged and labeled, but this is what online dating is all about; an endless stream of judgments, based on superficial expectations of what is considered right/wrong, hot/sexy/beautiful and worthy or not. The whole thing makes me want to curl up, but I feel one has to put oneself out there.

I guess, at the end of the day, one has to be careful what one puts out there, because sometimes and maybe even frequently, you attract the one thing you’d never wanted to begin with. And lastly, one has to remain hopeful, because if I am out there, someone who is like me will be too. And that guy will be thankful that I put myself out there and that he found me.

 


The Day Karma Died

 

Karma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to be a strong believer in Karma; amongst a whole slew of other things of a so called “spiritual nature.” Until the day it just died.

I am not sure I can recall a certain day or time; nor would I say that my beliefs died a sudden death. But rather, the process was gradual and slow, until I had to fess up one day that maybe, just maybe, none of it was true.

There was a time in my life, namely when I was a small girl, when angels, supernatural powers, god(s), guardians and all the other things of that nature served me well. There was a time when I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have survived without them. To this day, I still cannot quite bring myself to proclaim that I am an atheist. There was/is a certain “magic” in believing that there is purpose and meaning to my life and actions; and I admit, there was/is a certain comfort in believing that “bad” people get what they deserve and “good” people get what they deserve. But being the logical and rational person that I am, I simply cannot believe in these things any longer. I am saddened to admit that I simply don’t see the evidence.

Since I was little I have seen my fair share of “bad” people. Not just in my life, but in other people’s lives, too. I have seen the best people, the most generous and kind people, get hit with losses so profound and huge that I admired them for the sheer strength of continuing their life; but more so, for continuing to believe. I have met a lot of “bad” people, but must admit that the vast majority of them were mean, spiteful, cowardly, bitter, narcissistic and abusive not because they chose to be, but because someone/something made them that way. And by definition, that meant they weren’t really evil in a traditional sense, but simply hurt, bitter and well, just jerks. I can honestly claim that I have only met a couple of people who I consider truly evil – sociopaths/psychopaths, whatever you want to call them. The important part though is that I didn’t see it “come around.” Not for them and definitely not for the amazing people who didn’t deserve the card they were handed.

Some of the worst people lived happily ever after. Some of the best lost everything. And there is no rhyme or reason. There is no rhyme or reason for rape, torture, child abuse, murder and killings (and that’s just naming the worst offenses) and there is no payment for those who commit these crimes. There is no bill being served to those who have destroyed lives with their careless, mean, selfish and stupid actions. There is no reward for those who lived “by the book,” quite literally. I no longer subscribe to “he works in mysterious ways” when horrible things happen and “it must have been his will” when good things do. I still admire the Dalai Lama, but karma, well, karma is just a bunch of man invented BS, too.

It’s not that I ridicule people who need/want to believe. It’s more a baffled sense of awe that no logic or even evidence can convince them otherwise. Working in fraud prevention, I watch bad people getting away with billions of dollars and identities – without consequence. I read the news and see that a bunch of “believers” picketed a funeral, a Planned Parenthood or a gay wedding and just shake my head in disgust. I cannot fathom under which circumstance anyone would subscribe and believe in anything that hurts others – and I don’t care what religion we are talking. Maybe I find hate in the name of a god or prophet even more despicable.

It’s been a long and sometimes super hard life. I am the master of my destiny now. But I am so, because I believe in myself and always, always at least try to do and say the right thing, even though I fail quite miserably at times. Alas, I think I simply ran out of god(s) and a believe in karma and know only one thing: Nothing is certain and anything and everything can be gone and taken from you, at a moment’s notice. Hence, I take nothing and no one for granted; and that is all I can muster.

Today, I sadly must admit, that karma and god died for me. But I am still holding out on an afterlife. Because, the light tunnel is a much better image than nothingness.


Belief Trumps Knowledge – When Truth Is Merely An Opinion

belief-system-1
Over the past few years, I have gotten increasingly disgusted by what is sold to the public as truth and by how little people actually inform themselves.
As a modern and intelligent society, we are failing miserably. We have made our fights and passions about beliefs instead of facts. We follow what we have been taught and are conditioned to believe, even though said beliefs may be downright wrong or untrue; and we are willing to defend them and our views at all cost.
We follow; even in the face of blatant injustice; and even when someone proves us wrong. We take questioning as an attack on our character and we lash out. I want to trust in a society that is growing and evolving as a species. Alas, a lot of people are regressing. We used to laugh about movies like “Idiocracy” and yet, there are times when I wonder if we are headed this way.
I used to be super spiritual. I believed in “god” very strongly and devoted a vast majority of my time to convince others that believing in a higher power is not a bad thing. My beliefs were based on the need to escape from an abusive childhood. After all, if you have the option to choose between having been visited by angels, over your brain creating an alternate reality in order for you to cope, you’ll choose the angels. If you get to pick the idea that you’ll live on after you die and hang with friends and relatives that have also died, you’ll probably choose that, instead of the, somewhat cold and not so inspiring version of you going nowhere and just being dead. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of that! I still believe in life after death! I still believe my mom came and visited me after she died! But the key words in my statements are “I believe!” I am not traveling the world and my circle of friends or co-workers, selling my personal views as the ultimate truth. I always stated very clearly that my personally held beliefs, faith and views are up for grabs, debate and debunking!
I pride myself on being open-minded, even though I sometimes am not and haven’t always been. However, there is this thing called “self-awareness,” and that dictates that I look at my own biases and hypocrisy; namely applying the same common sense I expect others to have. Being open minded also means that I am open to the idea that I may just be completely and utterly wrong! Sometimes, this means overwriting a belief or view I may have held for many years, or even most of my life. But having free will dictates that I am shifting my views and opinions as evidence to the contrary surfaces. If proof comes from sources that are not based on belief and bias, but instead on extensive study, research and testing, how can we turn around and respond with “screw you! I don’t believe you.” How do we justify arguing that creation trumps science, but call other other religions nonsense? The gist of all religions is the pretty much the same. The interpretation, however, varies immensely.
Why are we lacking the fundamental reasoning ability to make the “right” decision, regardless of what we have been taught? In what universe can we defend harming, hating and killing others?! In what universe do you live when your compassion has been reduced to a “I’m not supporting moochers” every time you are asked to help people that are less fortunate. Do you feel better by thinking that everyone without a job, or who is poor, is a moocher and therefore not worthy of your help? Why is it OK to not care about the well-being of our fellow men? Is it because you, as the stronger and wealthier one, are asked to step up to the plate and help out?  Does it make you feel better to tell yourself that you don’t have a lot either, and therefore shouldn’t give at all? How can you not see that by denying basics like food, health, shelter and compassion, you are also contributing to a society that is no longer able to sustain itself in healthy ways.
The only time people tend to change false beliefs and biases is if it costs them dearly, or if they are affected. When I first moved to this country, my neighbor used to be a minister for the Church of the Nazarene. He preached and engaged in missionary trips with his wife for most of their life. “Rules” included crap like women having to dress modestly – no make up, no “flashy” clothes, etc. And of course, the ultimate evangelical rule: NO HOMOSEXUALITY! He preached this stuff, across the globe, until his son came out to him. He left the church. As he and his wife told me, they could no longer engage in a religion that taught them to outcast and hate their own child. This is awesome, but where was that knowledge that he was harming another, before he was affected!? Why did he think it was OK to hate gay people before his own child came out?
And sadly, this is how we operate. We badmouth those on welfare, because they must be lazy. After all, WE never had to use welfare or unemployment. We fight equal health care, because god forbid, we have to pay more taxes; after all, we have healthcare and take care of business. But boy does this change when you get diagnosed with cancer and can’t afford the treatment; or when you have an accident and have to stay in the hospital for a while and can neither pay the medical bills, nor your house payments any longer, because you lost your job. We don’t pay, unless we have to. We don’t donate, unless we are affected. We have no compassion, unless we are hit.
We vote for government officials that are bought by the Koch Brothers and other filthy rich individuals, as well as corporations who don’t pay a single dime in tax dollars, or actually harm our environment and/or health (just look at who voted against the health reform and who paid for their campaigns!). If you look at the officials who run the FDA, health departments, etc. and who sponsor their campaigns, namely Pfizer and Eli Lilly, just to name two, you’ll realize that your truths may need a major revamp.
Yes, Obama is also one of these officials. He and Hillary Clinton took huge amounts of campaign money from corporations that contribute to everything that is wrong with us as a nation. You scream about taxation and how the liberals and lefties will kill this country, while you fail to see that the “taxation” you are going on about stems from major corporations paying ZERO dollars in income tax. See, the small business owner is put out of business by the Walmarts of this world; and guess how much these corporations, including Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Pfizer, Facebook (geez, I could drag this list on forever), pay in taxes? ZERO! ZERO dollars!
But who brainwashed you into believing that you are doing the right thing by opposing equal pay, higher minimum wages, affordable health insurance, and all those other nasty social services that are being sold as communism and crap socialism? The very corporations who don’t pay a dime, outsource their jobs and rely on a dumbed down society that actively votes and fights AGAINST their own self interest. The very corporations who pay off the government officials in BOTH parties to turn their interests into laws. All the while, you are too busy fighting the opposite side to see that the entire government is corrupted and has very little of your interest in mind.
I realize that I have no power to change anyone. I realize that I piss people off and that they will argue that I am wrong. But I DO invite everyone to investigate, learn and be open, before you shut people like me down. I have no interest in convincing you. No one pays me, I make no money off of sponsoring electric cars, organic food, equal rights and affordable health insurance. I do, however, want a better life for everyone and a society that gives a shit about each other. I want happiness and freedom for everyone and I have no problem paying my share for it.
I have no children, so technically, I don’t have to give a damn to what happens to this planet or country after I die. However, I have compassion and I want the world to be a better place. And making the world a better place starts with each and every one of us. In this spirit, go and inform yourself before you fight. Knowledge is power and the only way we can advance as a species.
Most of our senators, governors and officials are a bunch of corrupted, bought off douche bags. The few who want to make a difference don’t make it very far, because they don’t have the millions of campaign dollars needed to run for office or even get a vote. Inform yourself, instead of holding on to a belief!

“We are a country where everyone has rights, and no one has responsibilities.” I don’t want to be part of that, do you?


The Fecal Matter Construct of Reality

looking-outside-known-universe

I’ve been pondering for a little while now why there is no argument that can convince another from letting go of their firmly held belief. Sure, I am stubborn and judgmental, but there have been situations where someone pointed out the error of my ways (facts work super well for me), stopped me in my tracks and actually changed my mind. Sometimes, changing my mind required an overhaul of a fundamental belief I held. But the more you learn, the less you can feign ignorance.

So why is it that seemingly intelligent and decent people buy into complete douche baggery and falsehoods – not only about the world they live in but also about who they are? Think of people who argue that the earth is flat! What happens in one’s brain that allows a person to completely dismiss evidence, bypass logic and reason and move on to “WOW!”? I think, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found the answer and I’m calling it “the fecal matter construct of reality!” I invite you to follow me down the rabbit hole. BTW, this is my theory and I may be completely off my rocker!

Let’s say a person had some rough times, and experienced trauma or other hardships in their life (especially at childhood. The earlier the better!) and finally realizes that what happened wasn’t their fault. Most people want to make sense of what happened; sometimes they blame themselves or believe they could have changed things. Guilt is a powerful emotion, so much so that it causes cancer. Yes, guilt and regret are the top emotions who cause physical illness – there are studies on this topic! However, I digress. So, now we have a person who had something bad happen, may feel guilty, but can’t let go and keeps trying to make sense of the incident(s). Sometimes, the outlook on life and situations has been permanently altered and the brain is the most powerful reality creator that exists. Now we have trauma, combined with the need to make sense and a potentially permanently altered outlook.

When bad things happen, we need comfort. We get comfort in all kinds of ways – drugs, alcohol, prayer/religion, sex, sports, TV, or whatever else that helps numbing or easing our pain. We also have a tendency to attract like-minded individuals. Namely people who support our beliefs, agree with our outlooks and confirm that we are “right.” The older we get, the more the network of potentially false beliefs grows. We learned that some actions cause less pain than others and that there are people who are in alignment with that believe, hence supporting whatever we say. By the time we reach a certain age/have repeated this pattern for years, we are no longer able to distinguish between our reality and the reality of, let’s say, the rest of the world. Each time someone challenges the hive (our neuro network), we fight, lash out and stomp out the intruder. If we have kids, we pass our “proven” knowledge on to them. In time and with sufficient breeding power, you may have an entire army of people, all convinced that they are absolutely right and supported by many others who feel the same. The entire system is literally built on a pile of shit and there is no one out there who can challenge it, because this truly is their reality.

The paradox for myself is that I am judgmental and opinionated. And yet, I have always wanted to find people who challenge my reality. I went through great lengths and read a LOT of books and articles, spanning from psychology, religion, unexplained phenomena and philosophy, over spirituality, drugs/chemicals and psychiatry. I started the quest of “why people do the things they do and are the way they are” when I was in 3rd grade! Living with a highly unstable mother, after leaving a violent and sadistic father, convinced me that there must be a reason they did what they did.

I’ve got news to report! I still don’t know the answer, but I am a lot closer to understanding what drives behavior. I also learned to consistently challenge my reality and myself. I was strategic in this quest. I looked for people who were the opposite of who I was and observed and learned. When choosing role models, I chose exceptionally smart and successful people – they often came in form of bosses or teachers, but sometimes in form of friends I’ve made. After studying what they do different, I would simply mimic their behavior. This very ability helped me to succeed more times than I can count. And while I still have firm beliefs of right and wrong, I am much more flexible in the definition of who constitutes a bad person and who does not.

Lastly I learned a truth that is still at times hard to execute on: Just  because I am right, does not mean I get to hurt/belittle/correct/fight or hate the other!!! I think that’s where it all fails for humanity. Knowing that we are right doesn’t give us the reason to be cruel or “destroy” the other. Watching actions of people who may or may not have been right, still turned me off to listening to them because of how they went about it. Douche baggery never convinced anyone; just like war never changes anything and hardly puts the wrong things right. But watching actions of a person like Mother Theresa, Gandhi or the Dalai Lama has inspired me in the past to be more mindful and sometimes has changed my mind. Sometimes the actions would come in form of an actor/actress I really admire, but the outcome was the same: I instinctively realized that they had a light that I aspired to have and that made it good enough for me to try out their ways.

At the end of the day, being right does not change the world. I think all one can do is striving to be open, kind, compassionate and caring equally! It’s easy to be these things to those who agree with you and treat you amazingly well. But helping and trying to understand people who are less fortunate or on the exact opposite end of the spectrum could make changes. After all, imagine if we all lived in a world where everyone helped everyone and religion, color, status and sexual preference did not matter at all, but who we are as people did!? I can’t bitch about others being asshats, while also engaging in douche baggery. So I will keep trying to stop my own negativity and crap, before I move on to want to change others. I don’t want to be a hater!

Except of Rush Limbaugh! I still think he is a douche canoe and I still hope his ass gets torn apart by diarrhea 😀


Depression – My Own Skeletons

depression

 

I really wanted to write about depression, because the death of Robin Williams affected me so much. It makes me so incredibly sad to see such an amazing person succumb to this disease. I’ve been there and it kills me to know that he felt there was no other way of getting rid of the pain.

Depression runs in my family and I can remember back to feeling the effects of it in 2nd grade already. Like everyone I know who suffers from depression, the pain can be overwhelming – physically, emotionally and mentally. The feeling of hopelessness and exhaustion from fighting can bring even the strongest to their knees. Not all of us win the fight.

Almost eight years ago it got the better of me, too. I crashed so severely that my doctor hospitalized me. Many factors lead to this boiling point. In addition, I just had shoulder surgery in my left shoulder. Having a weak physical body gave it the rest. It was one of the worst times I can remember, and yet, it felt strangely liberating to simply not give a shit anymore. I was taught that being weak was punishable when I was a kid – by a mother who would hit me when I started crying and tell me to stop my over-sensitive crap. I didn’t show weakness after that. I still have a hard time with it. This was unlike anything I had ever done.

So I sat in my garage, chain smoking, not eating, on Percocet, unable to move the left side of my body and crying. I woke up in the morning crying, I’d cry throughout the day and I would go to bed crying. I couldn’t stop. I felt so hopeless and I was so tired and exhausted. The physical and emotional pain was unbearable. I also had horrible panic attacks. I had locked myself away in my house and talked to no one. I finally went to my doctor; initially to ask for Xanax, so I could stop the panic attacks. I walked into the office, barely keeping up my composure and by the time I was in his office, I was sobbing again. He had been my doctor for years and it was his decision to admit me to the psych ward at the Huntington Memorial hospital in Pasadena. I had literally lost my will to live.

I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. Only a handful of people knew. My family didn’t know and neither did most other people. I was ashamed; I didn’t want to be labeled “crazy.” But, looking back at this time, I can honestly say that these were the “best” two weeks of my life. While I do not suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, I made friends with two bipolar women. I was on Paxil, Ativan and Ambien. For the first time in many years I slept and I was comfortably numb. No one could get to me. I was shielded from the world. My doctors would come to look after me, and my appointed psychiatrist would meet with me for therapy sessions. There were group sessions, which I often didn’t want to attend. I stayed in my room and read books. I slept a lot. I officially checked out of the world and for once didn’t give a damn what others needed from me. By the time I was released it was quiet in my head; for the first time ever. And, also for the first time, I didn’t have a whole lot to say to anyone. I felt that the people in the psych ward were more “normal” than the ones outside of it. I didn’t want to leave and finally understood why people get addicted to drugs. I saw to it that things never got that bad for me again, which is why I manage my fibromyalgia and life events very different now. I seek help when it gets bad.

Sadly, over the years I have been around many people who suffer from severe depression and do not have the ability to ask for help. I think it’s due to the stigma surrounding depression; especially for men. To watch someone you care about suffer so much is difficult. It is also very difficult to not take their moods, anger and outbursts personal. As they descent further into depression and keep shutting you out more and more, it becomes harder and harder to not trigger your own depression and/or feeling completely helpless. You want to help and be supportive, but there is nothing you can do or say that accomplishes that. Trapped in a world of darkness, they cannot see their way out or seek help from a professional. Their self-loathing often spills over to other parts of their life. The “healthy” people start leaving and the toxic ones keep fueling the fire. This is when most of them start self-medicating, which perpetuates their cycle of despair.

The funniest and most artistic people I have known almost always suffered from depression. An overwhelmingly high number of them never sought therapy or rehab. They bought into the bullshit myth that it was brought on by some life event/chapter of their life, and that they can snap out of it whenever they choose. No matter how many relationships, jobs and friends they’ve lost, they had learned to cope, which meant clinging to the “if only” belief. You know the “if I only had a better job/friends/boyfriend/girlfriend, etc., everything would change” belief? I know from my own experience that you can’t run from depression. I managed to continue my cycles on a new continent for quite some time. Geography was just that – geography.

I think the best way to describe depression is like cancer, because it literally is cancer of the mind. Leave it untreated and it will slowly but surely kill you. Depression causes a whole slew of diseases – cancer being one of them! I feel lucky that I was desperate enough to seek help after my mother died when she was 48 years old. While she officially died from pancreatitis, I know that it was depression that literally ate her up on the inside. I had watched her self-destruct all my life and saw what it did to her health. I was too afraid that I would end up like her. Hence, I didn’t’ have kids. The fear of passing my issues on to a child was too big. I often wonder how many illnesses we could cure, if we could figure out how to repair the mind. Alas, we live in a country where public healthcare is being fought and no one wants to pay or invest into mental illness. I hope this changes one day.