lauantai 31. elokuuta 2013

Days 304-305: The fallen, the homeless, the disappeared


30-31082013



One day I was waiting for a bus and I started talking with a homeless man. He told me that he had three adult children which he had not seen since their childhood (the youngest had been around 5 when he “disappeared” from their lives), and that the children did not know where he is and he did not know where his children are. This made me think of all the people I've met who have told me that either one of their parents has “left” when they were young and that they have not seen this parent ever since. I was looking at the homeless man in front of me and realizing: He is one of those “missing fathers” – but he is here, he exists, he is not missing. Somewhere in this world his children are wondering what their father is doing, if he's still alive, why he left without an explanation, wanting to meet him, maybe, if only once more – and here he sits on a bench without a home and a family, regretful, hopeless and suicidal.

At the end of the conversation I shook his hand, and I was surprised by how warm and clean his hand was.



The self-forgiveness here is what I have processed for many years, so not all of it applies to who I am at the moment; some of this I have outgrown already. The behavior of the other people in the situation reminded me of these points and I wanted to write them out to be clear with myself, and also to not judge others for being resentful of homeless people.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that homeless people – the people on the streets – have once “had a life” from which they have now fallen, and that they have not been born into a life on the streets. (This is very uncommon in Finland as far as I know; in other places people are in fact born into slums and extreme poverty.)

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to accuse homeless people for causing their own downfall, not realizing that this society has basically offered them no choice due to lack of support (education, resources, tools) for them, their parents, their grandparents and so forth, this lack of support throughout generations resulting in a person “falling” from society.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that homelessness is a consequence of who we are as a society.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to resent homeless people because I perceive them to be dirty, not realizing that they are not dirty out of their own will but because they have no place to wash themselves in.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that homeless people are lazy, not realizing that they are not offered chances to do things NOR the mental and physical support they would need to outgrow what the previous generations and our current society have passed on to them (i.e. addictions, powerlessness, self-abuse).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that people end up on the streets for various reasons, loss of income, loss of family and loss of sanity only being a glimpse into why someone might not have a home.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear homeless people because I have believed they might attack me out of jealousy, bitterness and spite – not looking into myself to see if I give them a cause to attack me, if I in fact create separation between us.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to ignore a homeless person talking to me because I have wanted them to leave me alone and go bother someone else as I have feared they might attack me if I paid attention to them.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize how immensely rude and arrogant it is to ignore another person who is trying to communicate with you.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that by ignoring another person I tell them they are “invisible” to me – that they do not matter to me – that they are not one with and equal to me; I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not recognize homeless people as LIFE – not realizing that while doing so I separate from myself what a homeless person represents and thus make myself less than LIFE as well.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to try and keep homelessness out of my life because I did not understand what it was and why it existed.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to resent homelessness because homelessness represented losing and death, a worst-case scenario, and I feared I would end up like the homeless people.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not want to see that which I fear.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that homeless people have all had mothers and fathers, they have all been children, they have (mostly) went to school (at least in Finland), that they are people who have been born, grown up and lived just as I have, but that somewhere along the way because of how they were raised, how they were taught and how they were supported they fell out of the society – which is a phenomenon that tells me there is something wrong, because we shouldn't have a society from which you can fall out of.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to separate myself from homeless people as human beings and as beings of LIFE.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to accept homelessness as an inevitable phenomenon that is a part of our society – not realizing that this is not the kind of a society I wish to create, build and uphold, and that a society is what the people make of it.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that homelessness is a consequence of inequality and separation among human beings in thought, speech and action, and that it is thus not inevitable / unrepairable because I have seen that equality and unity in thought, speech and action – in who people are and live as – are in fact possible because this is in alignment with the physical reality, the equality and oneness of all physical matter being absolute.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge people who resent the homeless because I see myself to be “better” than them as I do interact with the homeless – not realizing that by thinking I am doing something “noble” by talking with the homeless I am feeding my ego and living as arrogance.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think of the homeless as “lesser people” who need to be “given” mercy and kindness from the above, as if my time and effort was somehow precious and special and not commonsensical – that which needs to be done.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to elevate myself above the homeless because I have not fallen from the society - according to the rules of the game, I am still playing – not realizing that the game of survival only exists within the human minds and that if I believe the game to be real I lose touch of the physical reality.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the reason I am in a more fortunate position in the society than the homeless is because of arbitrary factors, not because I'd “deserve” it or be somehow entitled to it, and that I am in fact one with and equal to the homeless people because they are beings of LIFE.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge others for resenting the homeless because I have not wanted to face my arrogance and wanted to make someone else the “bad guy”.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react with anger to people who resent the homeless, because in them I see my own fear and helplessness.



When and as I see myself reacting to a person resenting homeless people by getting angry and wanting to show them an example of how to treat them better – I stop, I breathe and I realize that if I do this through anger or even slight irritation I am not focusing on what's best for the homeless person – I might not hear a word they say – as I am only concerned with my own behavior and how I appear to other people. I realize that my reaction of anger is triggered as I see my own fear and helplessness reflected in the person resenting the homeless, which I then exert and blame onto the other. I realize that if I would act from this starting point of anger I would not be helping anyone, as the homeless would not be heard, I would feed my ego and the other would witness an example of how to appear selfless, not how to actually be selfless. Therefore, I stop and I breathe, and I release the anger from me through self-forgiveness and breathing. I ground myself back into the physical. I move my focus into the homeless person ad ask myself: what does he/she need? I proceed with action from this perspective.

I commit myself to study and investigate how homelessness / falling out of the society as a phenomenon could be prevented in the field of education and child care.

I commit myself to continue to interact with the homeless / the fallen within and as the realization that even though I cannot save the world one homeless at a time (ego point – the savior) I will learn from the interaction and grow towards finding a real solution to inequality.

I commit myself to check my starting point when and as I interact with the homeless / the fallen and to thus make sure I am not approaching them through a high status.

I commit myself to interact with the homeless / the fallen without the assumption that their life is and has always been pure suffering, thus eliminating pity from my approach as pity often makes me blind to the mistakes the other had done.

perjantai 30. elokuuta 2013

Day 303: The insanity of a contest


30082013



When I was working as a judge in the children's singing contest a few days ago I heard about an email the organizer had received from the mother of a child who didn't make it to the final round from the semifinals. In the email she had written that the entire family had cried for hours because of disappointment, and that the situation was organized so that the contestants who were “eliminated” were publicly embarrassed. In fact, the organizers had deliberately tried to avoid any embarrassment or separation and had arranged the setting so that no one would be lifted above anyone else, but these precautions were not enough to stop a child / a family from taking the situation personally.

Hearing this paired up with other things I'd seen among the parents I learned something.

Most contestants (their families included) do not realize a contest is just a game; therefore, no matter how nice, soft and friendly you try to make your contest, if it is organized without taking into consideration the fact that people don't know “how to compete” (how to not take it personally), it is irresponsible to organize a contest, because it will end up causing harm among those who do not yet understand. This is especially because we are talking about children who get fucked up more easily.

I also realized something while I was sitting among the judges and listening to the contestants singing. Another judge was sitting next to me and every now and then she would sigh at the end of a performance and just keep on sighing while I was writing down notes on each performer. I thought about that sense of wonder, amazement or “love” she might be experiencing while hearing these children sing, while I was trying to see past my experience (nostalgia, sadness, joy, wonder, whatever arose while I heard the songs) and to focus on who the child was when he/she was performing – how were they trying – as whom were they singing.

I then realized that the decision we as a jury would come to would most likely be completely arbitrary – chosen on random terms – because we had not agreed on what to judge before the competition began. Others would look at their emotional experience, which has nothing to do with the child; others would focus on their technical abilities, which alone doesn't say anything about the child as a being expressing him/herself. I realized that it is insane to have a contest because the result is based on fluff – and yet these people attending it take it extremely seriously! The children stand there waiting for the results, nerve-wrecked and trembling, looking at the jury in horror and anticipation, and the parents paste a smile on their face to act as if their child's inevitable loss didn't shake them down to their core.

I had my chance to speak to the audience but I didn't utilize it, as all of this came together only after the contest. What I should have told them is:

Hello everyone, thank you for being here and being such a great support for all these children when they performed. All of you contestants did very well. Each one of you was immensely brave to come here in front of all these people, and each one of you sang very well. I could see that you enjoyed singing, and I hope that you will all keep on singing everywhere you go, with everyone you meet. Songs are stories that we share and create with each other, like books that you can hear.

The reason you had this competition arranged for you today was so that you could show yourselves that you are brave, and that you do not have to fear other people. When you sing you show others who you are, because when you sing everyone can hear you; everyone can see you, and everyone wants to see you. Today you let yourself be seen. So that means that everyone of you succeeded! Give yourself a handshake and say: “congratulations, me!”

So the results of this contest don't really matter; I could just throw them away right now and nobody would ever know what the seven of us judges decided. How could we ever decide who really deserves these prizes, this keyboard, these microphones? How could we ever know which one of you already has a keyboard or doesn't even want a keyboard? How could we know whether any of you actually wants a keyboard or just to see your mother smile? I would love to give the first place to the one who needs this keyboard the most, but we do not know enough about you to decide that. And that is why our silly opinions about the teeny weeny glimpse we saw of you on this stage, nervous and frightened, is what we have used to decide who gets which prize. That's all we have, and that is unfair towards all of you. I would love to see you sing with your friends and family, or when you are alone. I'm sure you all sing way better when you're not on this awful stage.

So, I will now announce the results, because that is what everyone wants to hear. But please bear in mind that they are not real – they tell nothing of the reality. The one who wins first price is not a better singer than everyone else here. The one who doesn't win anything is not a bad singer. We, the judges, we're just people like you, and in fact we do not know better. We know nothing at all. The only one who knows what you are worth is YOU. So give yourself another handshake and join me here on stage. Here's the results.

It would've been a little less elaborate in a 2-minute speech, lol, but to show myself how I could've handled the situation.

keskiviikko 28. elokuuta 2013

Days 301-302: Unattainable beauty


27-28082013

Artist: Gabriel Aceves Higareda


Because an ego point surfaced a few days ago I've now been opening up a certain point in my past: the birth or the trigger for my self-hate when I was an adolescent. My older sister was a beauty pageant and a model and she succeeded well in her career, and because the world systems defined her as “beautiful” and rewarded her for her “beauty”, she became my definition of beauty. Thus when I did not look like her – I compared my pre-teen body to her adult one – I thought that I must be something that is “not beautiful”: I started to believe that I was ugly because I didn't look like my beauty ideal. I did not realize that I couldn't have looked like that no matter how hard I tried simply because my body wasn't grown up yet. I hated various parts of myself and didn't want to look in the mirror or at pictures taken of me. The mental weight of my issues pulled me down and so I became slouched, chubby and weak.

When I did start to mature physically around the age 15-17 I became infatuated with myself. There is a specific turning point that I remember around the age 14 where I was sitting in a car and happened to look at myself in the mirror above my head, and I saw myself and I thought that I looked pretty: my face wasn't ugly in the way I remembered it to have been and it had become closer to my ideal, especially when I looked at it from a certain perspective and kept a certain kind of an expression. For the years to come I became glued to the mirror and the camera to bathe in the feelgood of finally looking good.

What I realized when writing a timeline of these memories is that every time I still these days make myself look “good” and admire my beauty – be it by putting on make-up or making an appearance in an event or putting nice pictures of myself on facebook – I do it to compensate for the self-hate that I still harbor. As a child I thought that looking like a child was bad and ugly and I wanted to be something else; now I happen to look like my ideal because my ideal matches my age, body type and gender; but the fear (and the knowledge) that this 20-something phase of my physical existence will pass is there, waiting beneath the surface, ready to sneak into my actions with small steps, “maybe I should apply moisturizer more often”, “it won't do me any harm to use these anti-aging creams, right?”, “maybe just a little bit of cosmetic surgery”, “I'll photoshop these pictures just a little” - and that's where the paranoia takes over and I become obsessed with holding on to what I once was instead of allowing my body to change. Of course not all changes are inevitable – I don't have to become fat with age, for instance – but as I age some changes are bound to happen. So every time I “soothe” myself by showing myself how good I look, getting that energy high, I state to myself: “It's OK that I was once ugly” - when in fact I have never been ugly. It's my definition of beauty that is fucked up.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that when my mother and sister told me I should lose weight they wanted me to do it because I was “ugly”, filtering the reality through my self-definition, not realizing that they were more likely actually concerned about my health – and even if they weren't, it would have been a valid point for me to look at.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to look at my sister and create an ideal of what visual “beauty” is using her as a mold – her body shape and size, her posture, her clothing style – because the world told me that she was “beautiful” and that her success was because of her “beauty”, not realizing that she is also hard-working and intelligent and created her success through consistency rather than just being immediately awarded for an external quality.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that it's valid to measure a person's worth by his/her “beauty” and that some people are “more beautiful” and some are “less beautiful” because I saw this done to people in the beauty pageants my sister took part in and everyone being OK with this arrangement.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive it is OK for me to measure my worth by my “beauty” as defined by the ideal I created according to what the world showed me, and I forgive myself that as a result I accepted and allowed myself to judge myself as “not beautiful” and start resenting myself because I believed and perceived that if I was not “beautiful” I could not succeed – I'd be a loser.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that I cannot succeed if I am not what I defined as “beautiful” - that the world would punish me instead of rewarding me – because this is what I saw being done in the world: arbitrary external terms dictating how a person was treated by others.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to become spiteful towards my sister for being “the beautiful one”, asking the world in bitterness why she became “beautiful” and I did not, blaming her for being the comparison point next to which I appeared “less” - not realizing that she was not responsible for me comparing myself to her as she never encouraged me to do this.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create a hidden spiteful conflict of comparison between me and my sister where I tried to compensate for my “lesser beauty” with the skills I possessed and she didn't - the skills I had practiced and she hadn't.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that because of how I looked I would be a “loser” in this world and never find acceptance, and to thus feel excluded from others whom I perceived to look OK (not “ugly” like me) as I perceived and believed them to be unconditionally accepted because they looked “normal”.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that nobody else among my friends, peers and age group felt isolated because of their looks because from my perspective they all looked OK – never stopping to realize that it would be quite the chance if I was truly The Only One who was “ugly”, and that this, too, was a point of ego where I separated myself from others to feel “special”.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to hate my physical body because of it's visual aspects that didn't fit a collection of traits (the beauty ideal) I had compiled arbitrarily.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that what the world told me to be “beautiful” was based on the admiration and idolization of youth and an arbitrarily chosen specific kind of a body type and even ethnicity, and that the reason these traits were advertised was to uphold the sex system, the racial hierarchy, the gender inequality, the competition and the entertainment/distraction system – and that the beauty ideal had nothing to do with actual beauty – health of body and soul - but only seeked to pull specific reactions and responses from people to keep the circus running.

--

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to seek for that energetic high I get when I perceive myself to “look good” because it supports my self-image (“I am pretty”).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to define myself as “pretty” when my looks started to remind myself of my beauty ideal so that I would no longer “have to” be “ugly” and would “get to” be “pretty” - I would be a winner instead of a loser in the world system of competition.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to react with fear every time I perceive my “beauty” to be “decreasing” or to have gone “missing”, reacting to the threat to my self-image which is my comfort in a world system of competition (“I am pretty”, thus “I am winning”).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to desire to keep my physical appearance such that reminds me of my beauty ideal as I fear that without it I will lose my dominant position in the world system.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that my body is here to practically serve me as a vessel in this physical reality, and that the only thing that undoubtedly matters is the practical function of my body and its different parts – the muscles, bones, fat, tissue, organs – and that my body will adjust to my life according to its requirements, which may be different at different times of my life, meaning that my body is most likely going to change and morph.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that my body is in constant change as there are cells dying and being born every moment, and that it is thus not possible for me to “stay the same” without this stagnation having serious consequences to my body.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to resent the changes in my physical body because they have broken the self-image in which I am “beautiful” (a definition I created as an adolescent based on my sister), not realizing that the changes in my physical body are a direct result of how I live and that they can be taken as an indication of a malfunction, which can then be directed.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the longer I use my body the more it wears out, and that no matter how well I maintain my body it is one day going to be so worn out that it stops functioning.

--

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself, when and as I went to appear in the children's singing contest, to want to dress up and make myself look as pretty as possible because I saw this to be a good chance to draw positive reactions from others with my pretty appearance and thus get validation through their reactions.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to manipulate the audience into admiring me by making myself appear just about flashy, confident and bold enough to appear “dominant” in a slightly intimidating way, for which I compensated with my soft and pleasant behavior. (I'm not sure how intentional this was, but this is what happened, and this is the response I usually get from people.)

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to mold my appearance to attract a certain kind of an outcome or a specific reaction from others, not realizing that this is manipulation in which I not only trick others but also limit myself extensively by having already decided what I want to experience, not allowing myself to live one breath at a time.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear appearing in public because there is a chance of public embarrassment and to thus try and prepare myself as well as possible by i.e. dressing up to minimize the risk of embarrassment/failure.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not admit that without something to boost my confidence – be it a role, a costume or a script – I am nervous to appear in public, because I don't believe that I am good enough to pass the eye of the public without being judged.



Old definition of “beauty” (in a person/woman):

Skinny, nice curves, big eyes, full lips, tall, small feet, narrow face, long neck, shiny hair, white teeth; mysteriousness, confidence, seriousness, elegance.


New definition of “beauty” (in a person):

Whatever is healthy, practical and in accordance with all Life.



I commit myself to search for beauty in myself and others according to my new definition of beauty.

I commit myself to stop assessing people according to their looks unless there is a practical reason for it.

I commit myself to flag the moments when I assess/judge another person by their appearance and to open them in writing.

When and as I see myself assessing my appearance, I commit myself to stop, breathe and ask myself whether it has a practical reason or not. I will accept and allow no bullshit, excuses or justifications, and I will dig around myself for as long as it takes to find the truth. If there is no practical reason, I ask myself what I fear and what I'm trying to cover up under my appearance. I release the point in self-forgiveness and breathing.

When and as I react to my looks with fear of aging, I stop, I breathe and I realize that the condition of my body is a result of how I live. I breathe through the reaction and remind myself that I am still HERE, that I am the same no matter what my body looks like. I investigate the trigger of my reaction (i.e. a wrinkle on my face) to see what has happened in my body for it to become like this – what have I done so that my body changed? I search for a solution accordingly.

I commit myself to stop trying to dominate and manipulate others with my appearance.

I commit myself to stop seeking for acceptance, approval and attention from others by using my appearance as a tool.

I commit myself to challenge myself to appear in public without a role, a mask, a script, a costume or anything else to “back me up”, and I commit myself to investigate what kind of “back-ups” I use to boost my confidence.

maanantai 26. elokuuta 2013

Days 298-300: Ego as an Idol


24-26082013



For the past two days I've been writing about a situation in which I accepted and allowed my ego to lead me blindly into seeking fame and glory at the expense of children. I was asked to be a judge in a children's singing contest and also to speak to the audience on behalf of the entire jury. I did all of this and in my own terms I managed “well”, I was pretty to look at and comfortable to listen to, I was setting an “admirable” example to the children, I was making the “right” choice on the winners – except that this is all bullshit. I justified participating in a system (competition) that supports inequality and creates separation by thinking that this way the children “get experience on performing” (which they could actually get in a simple concert without the setting of a contest) and all the while the reason I really wanted to be there was to be seen, to show off myself and build a self-image of an admirable public figure.

The consequence of this was that I became anxious and paranoid while walking in the middle of the crowd because I started judging myself on how “well” I did on the speech and the appearance and then projected my self-judgement on others and believed them to now think less of me. I could not stand the eyes I imagined to have been on me and I had to leave.

When I was writing through all this (in extensive and messy writings which I will not publish) I came across self-hate when I realized what I had done. I need to forgive myself for falling.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to hate, despise and loathe myself when and as I realized I had listened to my ego when making a decision to participate in the contest.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that self-hate will not assist and support me to grow as a being because hate is an act of holding on to the past and judging myself in the present (and future, “I will never be good enough”) according to who I was.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that self-hate will not assist and support me to move on because from within hate I cannot truly forgive myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that I should lash myself into “being a better person” through guilt, shame and self-hate, not realizing that doing so is an act of punishing myself which will eventually kill me, either through exhaustion or through the culmination of self-hate in suicide.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not have mercy on myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that making mistakes is inevitable, and that the way to deal with mistakes is not to hate myself (which will only incapacitate me and make me “even less” than I already am within my moment of falling) but to recognize the consequences of my mistake and to carry responsibility for them.



I commit myself to consider participating in contests like this from a wider perspective: what are the implications of the existence of a contest like this? What is a children's singing contest as a system? What does it serve? What are the consequences for the children? What are the consequences for the families? Who are the parents that bring their children to contests like this? Who are the children we see competing? What would rewarding one individual do for him/her and what would it do for another? [I will shortly write an essay on what I saw and have seen about all this.]

If I am asked to participate in a contest like this again, I commit myself to consider what my field of influence there would be and decide my participation accordingly; I also commit myself to discuss the purpose and necessity of a children's singing contest with the people arranging it.

--

Another thing I went through is my desire to be famous, which I have already written about quite a lot. I realized that there is a certain set of memories I need to go through to access the root of this desire, which is in the birth of my self-hate when I compared myself to my sister and later on to my female friends.

Some SF on fame I wrote earlier:

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to desire to be famous.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to desire to be famous because I wanted to be loved by as many people as possible – I wanted to make sure everyone liked me, or that enough people liked me so that I'd be “untouchable” / immune to judgement.

  • I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that the energetic “high” I would get from the adoration of the public would be the only way for me to ever handle negative attention because it would act as a “buffer” or a “shield” as long as many enough people were there to “accept” me.
  • I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that I am “too weak” to handle negative attention and that to deal with it I “need” the “love” of the audience (the confirmation that I am “good enough”).
  • I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that I have actually been escaping my tendency to take negative attention personally and avoiding facing this point by blaming my reaction on others and avoiding ever facing what the negative attention (bullying) actually was.
  • I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that I have been reaching for fame so that it would work as a “shield” to protect me from bullying or, in fact, my own self-judgement.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that being exposed to many people's attention would bring me acceptance because I had a skill (singing) that everyone I had met so far had appreciated.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that if I could expose as many people as possible to my skills I would be accepted and loved by all.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that what I was actually seeking from fame was the acceptance I was not giving myself; a placebo to my self-hate. [Note to self: the birth of my self-hate would be a good point to open up – specific memories of a certain era to be mapped out.]

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the acceptance I would receive from the audience would never be enough to sustain me throughout my life AND death because in essence I am alone – I'm born alone, I breathe alone, I die alone; if I were to depend on others for sustenance I would have to keep on pulling the tricks that bring out positive reactions from others.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the “adoration”, “love” and “acceptance” that I have believed and perceived myself to be getting from the people who admired me was actually me taking the reactions and experiences of others personally, believing I was the cause of another's experience when in fact I was “just” the trigger.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to desire for others to look at me with adoration and submission instead of hate, ridicule and dominance – not realizing that I would just be exerting a sugar-coated revenge by dominating others in turn as I did not see, realize and understand that I could be equal with others as I had never seen an example of equality.



I commit myself to proceed next onto going through these memories of how I came to hate myself as a child/adolescent.

--

Forgiving the ego point.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel like I was doing “the right thing” when I got compliments about my appearance, thinking that it was justified for me to be doing the judging/performing/appearance because I was so good at it.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that by looking pretty, calm and composed I would be a good example for the children, not realizing that the children pick up who I live as, not who I appear to be, and that because I was appearing pretty, calm and composed as an image driven by the ego this is what the children will learn: to appear confident because it is a part of their self-image and because they're afraid of being anything else.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear “letting loose” (expressing myself however the hell I wanted) in front of the audience because I wanted to maintain an appearance and feared that breaking that appearance would mean that I would no longer be appreciated or respected.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that I need to appear serene, beautiful, calm, balanced and stable to be the kind of a public figure that everyone would respect / not hate.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear being exposed to the public because some people might not like me and exert their disapproval on me.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that when I am exposed to the public as myself I am bound to not be liked by all as the things I have to say/express are such that not everyone wants to hear; someone is bound to react.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that in order to be liked by everyone I would have to keep on changing my appearance according to my audience and that this way of living would be based on dishonesty: I would live as a multitude of characters instead of living as myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the price I pay for “being safe” is too much; it is not worth sacrificing myself for.



I commit myself to flag any and all moments when I see myself limiting my expression for the sake of my appearance and to investigate them in writing.

When and as I see myself limiting my expression for the sake of my appearance – thinking/experiencing “I have to do this” or “I cannot do this” - I stop, I breathe and I realize I am living as my ego and serving my self-image. I ask myself: what am I trying to portray and why? I answer myself in self-honesty, not accepting or allowing myself to believe any bullshit excuses or justifications, demanding myself for the truth. I forgive myself for whatever I find, allowing myself to face and realize who I am within the moment, yet understanding that we all make mistakes and that now that I see mine I am able to make amends. I look at the consequences of this self-limitation and I carry my responsibility for what I have caused, within or outside of myself.

I commit myself to carry on with my process in order to become an example I would be happy to have children live by, and I commit myself to settle for no less.

perjantai 23. elokuuta 2013

Days 296-297: Mapping out the physical


22-23082013



I was asked: “what are you processing at the moment?”, and I realized that for some reason it was difficult for me to see the big picture of where I am standing. In order to find some perspective I decided to focus on what my physical body has been going through lately. During the past few months I have been noticing specific points in my physical body that are in pain, tense or otherwise non-aligned. They are:

  • forehead
  • knees
  • left shoulder & neck

In my forehead there is a constant tension, like an expression that is “stuck” on my face. This has been the case for as long as I can remember – I can remember in my teens my family joking about my forehead being “lively” (lol), by which they meant that my forehead muscles were constantly “doing something”. A friend pointed this out to me a couple of months ago and ever since I've been paying attention to it and learning to relax the muscles on my forehead whenever I notice them getting tense, however I have not yet been able to pinpoint how exactly this tension is triggered. So far I've noticed that whenever my forehead is tense the rest of my body is often tense as well, and I have to relax everything at once – as if I was wearing a character / a role / a costume all the way from my ass to my face.

My knees have been acting up ever since I started yoga about 8 months ago. I would get a discomfort/pain in my knees (sometimes in one, sometimes both) usually while walking and I would have a difficult time shaking it off. Although this might be “just” a physical problem (my joints appear to be overly mobile), I came to think there might be something else there when I recently read a blog post where it was mentioned that pain in the knees means reluctance to “move onwards” - that I am holding on to something in the past. This realization was so recent I haven't yet had a chance to stop and investigate the moment when the discomfort/pain occurs in my knees.

My left shoulder and sometimes also neck are quite often in pain. I have gone through what the Structural Resonance interview has to say about these specific body parts, and I have realized that a major point I have been processing during the past year has been about what the interview points out: shoulders being the point of the parent survival systems, neck/throat being the point of communication/expression and the left side of the body being connected to the father/masculine system of my mind. Because of the pains I have lately been going through my process with these points thus far and trying to figure out how to proceed with this point.

So basically my shoulder is saying “don't express yourself!”, my face is saying “wear a character!” and my knees are saying “do not move!” - fascinating. When I piece it together I can see how my body is trying to tell me I am stagnant. Thank you, physical!

What has been most prominent recently is the shoulder/neck point. What got me writing about it today was that the pain was really intense when I woke up. I started looking at the point of idolizing masculinity and demonizing femininity, which is related to the father survival system I've been going through recently.

I have known for years that one of my problems is that I am trying to be “one of the guys”. I have demonized certain qualities of femininity, despising them, rejecting them, attempting to be as cool as I perceived the guys to be. I was looking for the stability I saw in my father, and I thought I could override my femininity with masculine traits (stability, rationality, non-emotionality, joking/being a clown, physical strength/ability). I was looking for respect from others because I was not giving it to myself, and because I saw men gaining respect by being masculine I thought that this was the way to do it.

During the past year as the self-suppression point inherited/adopted from my father has been opening up my expression has also been expanding. This has brought me face to face with a quality of femininity I have previously found despicable: talkativeness. I've found myself talking A LOT recently and I have felt a great release whenever doing it. There are still points where I inhibit myself from talking (which I have done to insane extents) but overall I am making progress, and this point of expression has opened up some other traits of femininity as well, for example a certain softness or kindness. When I no longer have a need to “be a guy” to defend myself I find myself really tender, and not in a bad way at all, quite the contrary.

So what I'm wondering is that even though the pain has now dissolved by the evening, why was it there when I woke up? What in the events of the previous day or in my expectations for the beginning day triggered the father survival system – the male/suppression/strength point?

--

Here I did private writings to clear up things I had been piling up the previous day, which I realized had nothing to do with the shoulder point, which left me a bit confused and wondering where the hell the pain came from then – until I realized that I had overlooked one simple thing in the morning and the moment of waking up. Because I had worked the previous night and had to wake up early the following morning I only got around 4 hours of sleep, which is too little for my body, especially when I do physical work. I felt really heavy when waking up and would have rather just went back to sleep, but I forced myself out of bed with the thought: “If I don't get up, it will mess up other people's plans.” Both the pain and the tiredness followed me throughout the day until in the afternoon I got to the forest to do some physical labour, which is when they both vanished. See what I messed up here? In the morning when I woke up I did not move myself within and as breath – I did not move as one with my body, aware of my movements, of my body parts, of the weariness, of the heaviness. Instead I whipped myself into getting out of bed by thinking “I have to get up”, and I moved myself within and as the mind, completely neglecting my physical body. I remember not being aware of my body that morning at all. When I got into the forest I purposefully brought myself back to breath because the work I was doing was so tiring to my body that I realized that I wouldn't be able to keep it up if I didn't work with my body. So: the father survival system that was at play in the morning was that of “pushing through” - forcing myself to do things out of duty/obligation or because of others.

This shows me I have to pay more attention to the moment of waking up, because how I get out of bed defines the “path” that my day takes. If I get up in beautiful sunshine hearing birdsong and instantly cheer up, my day begins with a joyful charge and I dash through my day like a movie character in a perfect world. If I wake up remembering the chores I have to do and get anxious, all of my day is dragging along with everything feeling heavy and burdensome. If I, instead of either of these polarities, get up within and as breath, as a physical being that has received her rest and now moves on to live some more of her life, be it troublesome or celebratory – according to my experience I will be more stable, less tired, thinking clearly and responsive.

This post became a bit of a digressing one, lol, kinda like my speech these days. So: I mapped out the points my physical body is pointing out to me. I opened up the shoulder/neck point a little more. I will keep on investigating the forehead and knee points in my living when and as they occur.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to separate myself from my physical body so that I have walked through my life without being aware of my physical form of existence – the only kind of existence I can be “sure” of because it has been verified by other beings, and the only kind of reality I share with others undoubtedly – as I have not seen, realized and understood that this separation from the physical reality into the conceptual reality, so that I literally do not feel my body most of the time as I “disconnect” from my senses, actually causes damage onto my physical body because when I move without being aware of myself as the physical I am not working WITH my body but using my body as a tool/vessel for the mind with no consideration for the actual condition of my body unless I go too far and the pain/tension/discomfort/misalignment becomes too big to go unnoticed.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to slack off on practicing physical self-awareness by accepting and allowing myself to “let loose” when I was on a holiday – not realizing that I become what I do; in other words, if I slack off for many enough times I will regress and/or stagnate.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to move myself out of bed within and as the mind, motivated by thoughts that aroused a feeling of obligation, thus forcing myself to get up because I “had to”, instead of realizing the necessity of getting up and understanding that I best wake myself up by breathing and being aware of each and every movement I make.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to neglect the needs of my body by not drinking enough liquids when waking up, thus being dehydrated for the next few hours and prolonging my weariness.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to motivate myself to get out of bed by thinking: “tonight I get to sleep it off, just bear with it for today” - not realizing that with this reward-oriented thinking I was not HERE working with my body so that I would best manage myself during the day but was instead projecting myself into the future moment where I would get to sleep and thus holding onto the experience of being tired.



I commit myself, when and as I wake up, to focus on breathing and to thus be aware of my experience upon the moment of waking up, not accepting and allowing my experience to define the beginning day.

I commit myself to move myself out of bed within and as breath and aware of my movements.

When and as I am required to start my day without sufficient sleep, I stop upon the moment of waking up, I breathe and I become aware of my entire body, from head to toe, hand to hand, back to chest. If I do not feel tired/heavy/worn out, I proceed to move myself out of bed within and as breath to begin my day. If I do feel tired/heavy/worn out I wake myself up with breathing, moving my focus from limb to limb, muscle to muscle and thus activating my body piece by piece. I move myself out of bed and wake myself up through movement within and as breath. I will also utilize voice to wake me up by for example talking to myself. If the tiredness remains, I go through all of my senses (touch, smell, hearing, sight, taste) to ground myself into the physical.

keskiviikko 21. elokuuta 2013

Day 295: Singing to succeed


21082013




A few days ago I was a judge in a children's singing contest. It was a semifinal and we had to select a few children who would not be continuing to the final round which is held this weekend. After the contest a father approached me and another judge, telling us that his daughter had been dropped from the final and asking for specific feedback on what his daughter could improve; why exactly did she not make it?

I went through my notes and remembered this girl having been the least developed singer of the bunch, mainly because her singing was really forced and violent. I explained to the father the technical issues and basically told him that the girl needs to relax, and that she has to be given time to develop, because the voice of a child goes through a huge maturing process simply through the growth of the physical body. The judge I was with also gave her point of view which followed along the same lines as my feedback.

As I observed the father I noticed a huge tension in him. He told us how disappointed the girl is, because she has been in many contests never succeeding. I could see him anxious for his child's happiness and success, and the way he was doing it out of fear was pulling him, straining him; the feedback we gave was difficult for him to take because there was no comfort there; there was no quick fix to the child's “issue”, the boulder keeping her from happiness – what she believes she needs to be happy. I don't know how he broke it down to the child, but I hope he got my point about relaxing about it.

This got me thinking about my own childhood. I was taken to numerous singing contests ever since the age 6. I won the very first contest I attended, and ever since then I went to more and more contests in search of more success. I enjoyed the contests because it usually meant I could learn new songs and perform in front of people, and we usually also took a trip somewhere special so that I could attend the contest. It was a good way to motivate me to practice singing and performing and I learned a lot through it.

But there was also a negative side to it. My mother really wanted me to go to these contests because otherwise my “talent” would “go to waste”. She perceived and believed success in music to be measured by exposure, fame, awards and recordings, and I don't blame her because that's the limited way our culture defines music. She wanted me to have all the chances to express and explore myself that she didn't have growing up in a really poor family. Her enthusiasm topped mine, and eventually the contests became a strain to me, I felt like I was forced to do things, I felt disappointed when I didn't win (I rarely did), I felt like I was being forced into a mold that I didn't want to fit in. So in my teens I told my mother I didn't want to do it anymore and so she stopped pushing me, although expressing her great regret about it.

When I return to thinking about that very first contest I attended and won, I realize it has been a turning point, a defining moment. I was a very small girl and I have very vague memories of that situation. I can't remember the moment I got up on the stage and sang, but I do remember the moment the results were announced, I was declared winner and my family told me to get up and get my trophy. What I remember of this moment is noticing my family's agitation. All of my family, my parents and my three siblings, were with me (a rare occasion), and I remember my sister, my idol and anchor, was sitting next to me. I didn't really understand what the announcers were saying, but I remember they announced the results so that my family could guess that I was the winner before anyone said it because I was the only one left without a reward. I remember this wave of excitement coming from my family sitting on my left side, them being all “oh my god did she?” “can it be?” “oh wow you won!”, surprised and overjoyed and excited for me. I didn't understand what “winning” meant, but from my family's reaction I gathered that I had done something positive, I had succeeded. I walked down to the stage to be awarded, and the judges handed me a huge, heavy trophy, making a joke that I might not be able to lift it (I was tiny) and everyone in the audience laughing in approval of my adorable victory.



I see that the reaction of my family defined the moment for me, because their emotional response was overflowing, it was really “big” for me. Their joy represented acceptance, ultimate acceptance, and topped with the huge trophy the moment was somehow “crowned”. In order to get that ultimate acceptance I would have to succeed in the same way. This is where I started to define myself according to my singing: it was my strength, my asset, and I would have to be the best to remain accepted in the eyes of others. The fact that the victory is the only thing I remember of the contest is revealing, because my memory has selected not to remember the singing - the moment of expression - at all. All my memory selected is the moment of positive reinforcement.

So most of my life (ever since the age 6) I have been in search of that ultimate acceptance, which I believed to be found in other people, in my success, and not from within myself. This is probably one of the reasons why I react to disapproval / rejection / failure so strongly. I am afraid that when I express myself I will not be accepted – that I will be rejected as I was so many times in all those singing contests. Of course my history in being bullied in school also has a part to play, but I see that the bullying and the search for approval in contests are interlinked: they are my childhood, who I was back then. Through writing I am slowly piecing together my past so that my childhood/adolescence would make sense to me – that I would see the big picture – and every time I actually go through a specific memory like I did above I see the big picture getting a little bit clearer. I have been postponing going through a lot of things in my past but now I see I can no longer do that. I want to understand who I am now and why I keep messing shit up (there is one major underlying issue I haven't gotten hold of yet), and the way there goes through my past. Thus:



I commit myself to write about a memory from my past every day from now on until I am done with my past.

  • I may write about the memory in my blog
  • I may write about the memory separately from my blog posts
  • I choose whichever memory seems to be “on the surface”
  • I will have a specific notebook with me so that I will be able to do this anywhere

I commit myself to this challenge and project within and as the realization that the key to who I am now lies in my past in all the moments that have led up to this moment as everything I am now has accumulated over time.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear committing to this project because it appears long, time-consuming and, as my thoughts put it, “daunting” - not realizing that my past is not infinite and that eventually I will have gone through all of it, as long as I do it consistently: a little at a time at regular intervals.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear this commitment because I believe and perceive it is “too much” for me in addition to writing a blog, attending the DIP Lite course AND studying and working and living a life – not realizing that I have already committed to the Journey To Life project, where I will write a blog for seven fucking years, and that an additional project of opening a memory each day is not much compared to or in addition to that – and they might actually contribute to each other!



I commit myself to embrace this new challenge within and as the realization that it is what is best for me and thus also what is best for all.

tiistai 20. elokuuta 2013

Day 294: Dressing up

20082013

 Me in 1993 (?) and 2012 dressing up the best I can!


I was asked to be one of the judges in a children's singing contest and I agreed to go. The night before the event I was thinking of what to wear to the contest because I realized that these children will look at me as a role model: I would be appear to be in a position of authority, plus for all the small girls a young woman like me does show an example of a kind – and as it turned out, I was the only 20-something in the jury, which makes me the person there that the children most likely relate to, as everyone else was the age of their mothers.

So I thought to myself: I am giving these kids the model of a woman, the model of a grown-up, the model of a human being. What do I want to show them? Or in other words: If I wear this and this, who am I while wearing those clothes and do I want kids to see that?

I realized that in terms of clothing there were many bad choices I could have made. I thought about a really neat black dress with a business woman type of feel, and I realized that I would wear a dress like this to gain authority, to appear powerful, and I would thus set an example that women have to be intimidating and serious, or even man-like to be appreciated.

I concluded that I would wear colour, I would be feminine and that I would show kids that one doesn't have to be serious about clothing – that it's OK to play around with what you wear, because what you wear doesn't define you. With the clothes I wore I felt comfortable, light, mobile, girly and silly. I noticed that I was nervous/anxious about “setting an example” so I kept myself in breath throughout the contest, trying to keep myself as “me” as possible. It was a little challenging with so many eyes following my movements and drinking up everything.

After the show I received feedback not only about my clothing but also about how I carried myself: I had appeared “graceful like a movie star”. That comment showed me that it's the combination of wearing clothes as self-expression and the way you carry yourself within the clothing that creates your appearance – not just one or the other. Sometimes clothing becomes an armor behind which I like to hide, as if the clothes would make me “bigger” than I am (this is the case with the black dress), and I have to start paying more attention to what I wear and why, so that with every piece of clothing there would be no fear but only self-expression – and practicality, duh, lol.



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that with what I wear and why I set an example for the future generations on what the purpose and use of clothing is.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that if I wear clothes out of fear, I teach the future generations that clothing is used so that we may hide behind them and thus present an image of who we would like to be, believing our own fabric facade and hoping that everyone else buys into it too.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that if I wear clothes out of practicality I teach the future generations that clothing is used to help our bodies adjust to the conditions of our living environments and to assist and support us in our activities. (This is why I never wear jeans, lol)

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that if I wear clothes out of self-expression I teach the future generations that clothing is used to express ourselves to the world as who we are, not as our self-image, and that this can be fun, enjoyable, lively, not serious and non-personal.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that what I wear does not define me – that I could wear goth, hippie, business, farm, hobo, hollywood or prisoner clothes and remain the same within all of them – that I am not the costume I wear but the being within those clothes carrying those clothes and moving within their limits.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to define myself according to what I wear, morphing my posture and personality to “fit” the clothes I am wearing, not realizing that real life is not about theatre stereotypes and that I can in fact re-define the clothes and disassemble my image of what a person carrying them must be like by stopping, breathing and through the touch sensation feeling what the clothes are, testing their qualities, how they move, stretch, weigh and breathe and carrying them according to who I am / who I become through creation within and as breath as self-expression within these kinds of clothes.



I commit myself to pay attention to what I wear and why.

When and as I see myself thinking of wearing a piece of clothing out of fear – to present an image, to gain power, to be a character – I stop, I breathe and I realize I am not utilizing clothing for practicality and self-expression but for fear and hiding. I ask myself what I am trying to convey with the particular clothes and why. I realize it is not necessary for me to present a dishonest appearance in order to gain something. I forgive myself for the fear and I release it by facing it and breathing it out. I re-assess the situation I was dressing up for and I choose my clothes based on practicality and self-expression asking myself what I would actually want to convey in that situation without fear driving me.

I commit myself to explore clothing by slowing myself down when dressing up to actually feel the clothes on me and what their qualities and limits are, and to re-shape the clothes if it serves a purpose; I have scissors and a sewing machine, so better make use of them!

sunnuntai 18. elokuuta 2013

Day 293: Bartending


18082013



I have returned to Finland from my travels and pretty much directly I also returned to work. I started working in a new bar as a bartender, which is a job I will do part-time while I study to support my living. This is the first time ever I am working only in a bar and not with food or dining in any way whatsoever, as my previous jobs have always contained serving tables and food in one way or another. This has brought up some challenges I already faced last winter when working in a bar and I went through them today.

I faced interesting moments at work one night when I had two conflict situations. I had just the previous day watched a colleague deal with troublesome customers in an aggressive way and I had thought about the whole thing with being aggressive and defensive in situations like that. I asked myself: do I want to be like that? Do I want to be all angry and nasty and yelling and pointing-to-the-door? So the next day when I faced conflict I decided that I would first try to sort it out without exerting my power, making myself a big authority or being unkind to the other, and only when it would fail I would use force.

In the first situation I had to tell a man he was too drunk and that I would no longer serve him alcohol. I approached him by telling him he had probably had one too many today and that it would be best if he went home. I then offered him a glass of water instead of the pint of beer he asked for, because I knew the water would help him sober up and get home. He accepted my offer, thanked me for it, drank the water and left without causing any trouble. So this act of kindness and care for another got me through the situation with no conflict and the guy getting what he actually needed. Quite often the protocol in these situations is to say “get out, now” and then get the bouncer to kick them out shit-faced and verbally abused onto the streets.

In the second situation a man came to the counter yelling to my co-worker about his drink having been stolen from his table while he was in the bathroom. I remembered visiting the table just moments ago and collecting an empty glass from it. I thought that in order to survive the conflict I could just lie and tell the guy I had not seen his glass. Instead I decided to tell him what had actually happened and what I had observed. He kept yelling a couple of meters away as I was talking to him while doing the dishes with my co-worker standing in between us. I realized that this is no way to communicate and I stepped in front of him, looked him in the eye and told him firmly that I had taken an empty glass from the table, not a full one, and that it was very likely that his friend had finished his drink and then ran off. I told him the truth as I saw it to be in self-honesty. Surprisingly, the man calmed down. The ripples of the aggressive energy were still dripping from him but with every word he spoke from then on the energy faded, and he ordered a new drink and ripple by ripple he apologized for his behavior. I found this very interesting. I had expected him to hold on to his point of view that asshole bartenders try to trick people into buying more alcohol, but instead he let go of his anger and moved on.

These experiences show me that being the nice kind of a bartender instead of the asshole one is indeed worth trying and investigating!



I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that being a bartender requires me to be unkind, inconsiderate, pessimistic, angry, bored – in other words, an asshole – because these are the kinds of bartenders I have seen and admired, not realizing that the reason I admired them were not these qualities but the way these people didn't take bullshit, which is a quality I lacked (and still do to some extent).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe and perceive that in order to be “ballsy” enough to be a bartender I need to have a negative attitude towards my job and towards the customers.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to try to be a good enough bartender by attempting to portray in my own behavior how my bartending mentors appeared to me.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that bartending does not in fact require me to be negative about everything and that this is a misconception I have pieced together by observing every bartender I have ever seen.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that what bartending does require of me is an understanding of my responsibilities (handling and distributing legalized poison and making sure everyone under my supervision stays within the boundaries that have been defined as “healthy” or “not fatal”) and a decision to carry out my responsibilities – and that the “ballsyness” comes out of the firm, unwavering stance within this decision and understanding.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the firmness of a bartender's decision/commitment/responsibility is often misunderstood to be personal towards the customer who is denied access to alcohol, which creates the stereotype of the “asshole bartender” as customers believe bartenders to be assholes even when they don't mean to and as bartenders become assholes because (they believe) it is expected of them.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that while I tend the bar I do not have to turn into an asshole to survive the situation but that I can in fact remain as myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that I will not survive bartending because of the verbal, physical and mental attacks bartenders sometimes have to deal with when and as customers exert their frustration on them, not realizing that these attacks are nothing personal towards me but an expression of who the other one is (which is often a person addicted to alcohol for whatever reason).

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that the people who snap at bartenders are most likely driven and possessed by their “addiction demons” and are not in control of themselves, and that their actions are thus not a manifestation of their full potential but of the things keeping them from attaining their potential – and that I should not then treat them with disdain, anger or fear but with compassion and care however they are best executed (sometimes telling a person to leave might be an act of love).



I commit myself to challenge myself to drop the tough guy act when and as I work in the bar and to instead try to remain kind, compassionate and caring.

I commit myself to carry my responsibility as a person assigned to handle, distribute and regulate alcohol.

I commit myself to slow myself down in breathing whenever I get a break while working in the bar, as I see, realize and understand that because the work is fast-paced it is easy for me to lose touch with myself in the physical.

I commit myself to engage in eye contact not only with the customers (which is easy because they are right in front of me) but also with the other workers even when it's busy and we communicate mainly by voice and touch because I have seen, realized and understood how this lack of eye contact with my fellow workers contributes to my tough guy act.

lauantai 17. elokuuta 2013

Day 292: The Stable One


17082013

Chaos.


I was thinking back on what I wrote in my previous post (written a few days ago) and I thought about wanting to be “the stable one” - the one who remains steady even though everything and everyone else is in chaos – and how this ideal (a model I learned from my father) has led me to suppress my emotions and feelings. I asked myself today: why did I even want to be stable? And I replied: because my environment was chaotic. And then I realized something about our family dynamics.

In my core family when growing up there were six people plus one close relative who spent a lot of time with us. Three of my family members were very open about their emotions/feelings and their extrovertedness was sometimes even explosive. The remaining two in addition to myself throughout the years became very introverted, still and calm. I believe that to balance out the family dynamics I have become an introvert, a stabilizer of the other half of the family that was running rampant. This much was clear to me before.

But what surprised me was that for some reason in my childhood my family environment has felt chaotic to me. I know that I enjoyed all that hassle as well: most of my memories of my family life are positive and lively. But overall there has been a chaos of sorts around all of my childhood, be it in the large size of our family, all the people who came and went in our house, the general untidiness of our home, the complexity of social relations in such a wild bunch of people, the different stages of life everyone was in – or maybe it's the fact that I didn't have enough mental tools to comprehend all this. Some things we never spoke of simply because I don't think my parents knew how to, and I cannot blame them for not teaching us something they did not know themselves.

To handle the chaos I have learned to become an anchor to myself, which is cool because it has taught me independence and stability. The downside of this is the fact that my model of “stability” came from a source who was doing it at his own expense, which is what I learned as well. Now I need to unlearn this trait. I do not need to suppress myself to be stable – I do not need to suppress myself to handle chaos – I do not need to fear chaos; There is chaos remaining within me and the only way to remove it is to go through it. What is Life if not a chaotic bundle of every god damn thing?

Now that I think of it, I do recall being uncomfortable seeing that people around me were having chaos within them but not speaking about it. It stirred anxiety in me – perhaps I was learning to feel the anxiety the others were feeling themselves. I remember people in my family all hiding things, and it being obvious to me that they were, yet no one was speaking up to change that. Growing up among people full of bottled up chaos has taught me to fear chaos, because I did not understand it. All I saw as a child was people being dishonest, people in hiding, people afraid of themselves. I didn't understand that they were going through their personal challenges that had nothing to do with me.

So I've seen the emotional chaos that people have within themselves, and I've seen them suppress it, and I've seen how all of this makes them suffer. I've seen them strained, stretched, pulled; imploding, exploding. I'm guessing I did not want to add up to all of that. I didn't want to be one of them. And so I acted as if my inner chaos did not exist, and at times I believed my own act. So I created a separation of “me vs. the others” - me “having to” stabilize others by being sensible, calm and rational. Fascinating indeed.